Address of Welcome
His Excellency, the Hon. W. Y. ATKINSON
Governor of Georgia
[The following is a condensed report of the Governor's address, giving his.
most memorable sentences, as they were taken down at the time.]
It is entirely proper that Georgia should take a leading part in a work of
this character. Her first settlers were from the oppressed. They were actu¬
ated by a spirit of philanthropy which would lead their settlement to be a
blessing to mankind, including Africa. Though pressed with many official
duties, I am here to attest my interest, as the Governor of the State and as
an individual, in this work.
A mysterious Providence has been over us. Slavery cannot be justified.
But may not God have intended that you, who are the descendants of those-
whom slavery brought to this country, should pray and work for the redemp¬
tion of your fatherland ?
There is no higher duty resting upon the Governor of the State of Georgia
than to advance the education of the people of the State without regard to
color. If any doubt that the colored man can be educated existed, it has all
been dispelled by my attending the commencements of the colleges of the
State for the colored people. It is natural, proper, noble to look beyond
yourselves and your country to save the people of your fatherland. No gov¬
ernment, no society, can settle whether you should return to reside in Africa.
You are free, independent citizens, and you must decide for yourselves, on the
principles of your duty and your interest, whether you will reside in Georgia
or in Africa. But in saving men and women from sin, degradation and hell,
it is sometimes necessary to forego and forget interests. The great are not
alone those who shine in high places. There are great souls careless of repu¬
tation among men and who are seeking only the approval of God.
So long as the colored man remains in Georgia, so far as is in my power, I
shall see to it that he is fairly and justly treated—that he receives his rights.
The Anglo-Saxon cannot defend the honor and reputation of his race by in¬
justice to his fellow-man.
Do your duty, and for results trust in God.