Documenting the American South Logo

Lott Cary, The Colonizing Missionary:
Electronic Edition.

Fisher, Miles Mark, 1899-1970.

Funding from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition supported the electronic publication of this title.

Text scanned (OCR) by Robin Roenker
Images scanned by Robin Roenker
Text encoded by Fiona Mills and Jill Kuhn
First edition, 2000
ca. 130K
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,

        © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Source Description:
(caption title) Lott Cary, the Colonizing Missionary
Miles Mark Fisher
380-418 p.
Lancaster, Pa.; Washington, D. C.
The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Inc.
From The Journal of Negro History 7, no. 4 (October 1922), 380-418.
Call number E185 .J86 v. 7 1922 (Davis Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

        The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South.
        All footnotes are inserted at the bottom of the page on which the reference occurs.
        Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
        All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
        All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as " and " respectively.
        All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as ' and ' respectively.
        All em dashes are encoded as --
        Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
        Running titles have not been preserved.
        Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998

Languages Used:

LC Subject Headings:

Revision History:




Page 380


        With Lott Cary and Colin Teague 2 sailing for Africa in 1821, a new era of missionary expansion was begun by Negro Baptists. The distinctive feature of this epoch, which may be termed modern, is the fact that behind these men was the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society, which gave them support, such as it was, and to which periodic reports were made. True enough, Lott Cary was under

        1This spelling seems more correct than either the short form, Lot Cary, used by the Rev. D. Stratton, D.D. of St. Albans, West Virginia, in his "Life and Work of Lot Cary, Missionary in Africa," or the longer form, Lott Carey, used by the Rev. James B. Taylor in "The Biography of Elder Lott Carey" and by many other writers for the following consideration: There is no trace of Cary spelling his name Lot Cary. In the American Baptist Magazine and Gammell's "A History of American Baptist Missions" there are letters from or references to Cary marked Lott Carey, which are no doubt presumptions on the part of the printer or writer that the name is spelled like that of the Rev. William Carey. If, on the other hand, Lott Cary spelled his name either Carey or Cary, that would only argue that his name would be better spelled Lott Cary as a means of distinction from the Rev. William Carey. "The Biography of Elder Lott Carey" written in 1837 is the source of much that is known of the man but seems to draw heavily from the "Life of Jehudi Ashmun, late Colonial Agent in Liberia, with an Appendix Containing Extracts from His Journal and Other Writings, with a Brief Sketch of the Life of the Rev. Lott Cary," written in 1835 by Ralph Randolph Gurley, Secretary of the American Colonization Society. Many incidents of the life of Lott Cary are taken from the life and writings of Mr. Ashmun. It would therefore seem consistent to follow his spelling of the name. In this work, the name, Lott Cary, is used frequently--even signed to a letter to Mr. Gurley--and many references are made to it by Mr. Ashmun who probably knew Cary better than anyone else. Only once in the entire work, on page 126, never in the " Brief Sketch of the Life of the Rev. Lott Cary," is the name spelled Carey. This could be a typographical error. Furthermore, Mr. Randall who went to Africa as Governor of Liberia about a month and a half after Cary's death said, respecting a native settlement, "I propose to have it called after him, Carytown. (The African Repository, Vol. V, p. 1.) Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. I, p. 548, follows this spelling.

        2 This name is also variously spelled--Collin or Colin and Teague or Teage. The above spelling is from the American Baptist Missionary Union in their Missionary Jubilee volume, pp. 215, 267.

Page 381

appointment of the General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States of America but only that fact and the sum of $200 in cash and $100 in books appropriated for his use up to 1826 3 could not be sufficient evidence to claim him wholly as a missonary of the General Missionary Convention although he did receive some advisory instructions from its board. 4 Indeed, Lott Cary was the first American Baptist missionary in Africa, the first representative of a purely Negro missionary organization to labor beyond the limits of the United States.


        Lott Cary was born on the estate of William A. Christian, 5 in Charles City County, Virginia, 6 thirty miles from Richmond, 7 about four years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. There was no exact record kept of the time of his birth, although it appears to have been about the year 1780. 8

        His mother and father lived together on the great plantation of their master, centering their attention on Lott, their only child. His mother gave no public profession of religion although she died giving evidence that she accepted the Christian faith. His father, however, was a pious man, a respected member of a Baptist church. 9 As a result, Lott received some early religious training which may have influenced his later life.

        3 Proceedings of the Fifth Triennial Meeting of the Baptist General Convention, 1826, p. 22; Earnest, The Religious Development of the Negro in Virginia, p. 95; $150 was appropriated for the mission May 23, 1823. Proceedings, 1826, pp. 22, 32.

        4 Report of the Board of Managers of the General Convention in The Latter Day Luminary, Vol. II, pp. 396 ff.

        5 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 340.

        6 Hervey, The Story of Baptist Missions in Foreign Lands, p. 199.

        7 Gurley, Life of Jehudi Ashmun, appendix, p. 147; Peck, History of the Missions of the Baptist General Convention in the History of American Missions to the Heathen, p. 443.

        8 Hervey, op. cit., p. 199.

        9 The African Repository, March, 1829, p. 11; Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 147.

Page 382

        But there were temptings in his life; there were battles in his soul. Why should a slave boy hope? Could he ever become free? Why not drink life to the dregs? The chief among his playmates, he became the mischief-maker of the place. Profligate, profane, polluter was his title. Lott Cary tried to reform but he was only able to control himself a few days. Before long, in 1804, 10 he was hired out by the year as a common laborer 11 in the Shochoe tobacco warehouse at Richmond. 12 There he grew more intemperate and profane and showed little signs of reformation.

        It was not reformation that he needed, but regeneration as was evidenced one Lord's day in 1807 13 as he sat in the gallery of the First Baptist Church 14 and heard the minister preach. He was hopefully converted and was baptized by Pastor John Courtney 15 into the fellowship of the church. There he heard a sermon on the third chapter of the gospel of John which so inspired him that he obtained a Testament in order that he might read for himself the Lord's interview with Nicodemus. In a short time he knew the alphabet, and with very little assistance from the men at the warehouse, 16 he learned to read this chapter and also to write. 17

        Cary was a changed man--industrious, thrifty, Christian. Whereas he had been idle now he devoted his leisure time to reading and it is said that one of the books that he read was Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. 18 By his application to reading and writing he was able in a little time to make dray tickets and to act as shipping clerk. 19 His

        10 Hervey, op. cit., p. 200.

        11 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 340.

        12 Peck, op. cit., p. 443.

        13 The African Repository, March, 1829, p. 11; Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 147.

        14 The gallery was reserved for the slaves connected with the church and congregation. Hervey, op. cit., p. 202.

        15 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 340.

        16 Ibid.

        17 The African Repository, March, 1829, p. 11; Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 147; Peck, op. cit., p. 443.

        18 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 148; Peck, op. cit., p. 443.

        19 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 340.

Page 383

work in the warehouse was "such as no person, white or black, has equalled in the same situation. . . . He could produce any one of the hundreds of hogsheads of tobacco the instant it was called for." 20 For these services he was often given a five dollar note and the privilege to sell small quantities of waste tobacco for his own benefit. 21 He saved the money obtained in this way, and with the aid of a subscription among his employers accumulated by 1813 $850 with which he purchased freedom for himself and his two children. 22

        The following extract of a letter from William Crane to the Rev. Obadiah Brown of Washington City, which he forwarded to the corresponding secretary of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, corroborates, in the main, the foregoing statements as well as gives some interesting sidelights on the lives of Cary and Teague:

Richmond, March 28,1819.

        You will probably recollect, that I introduced you to two of our colored brethren in this place, who are accustomed to speak in public; one named Collin Teague, the other Lot Carey. Ever since the missionary subject has been so much agitated in this country, these two brethren, associated with many others, have been wishing they could, in some way, aid their unhappy kindred in Africa; and I suppose you have heard of their having formed a missionary society for this sole purpose. Some letters published in No. VI of the Luminary (written by Kizell, the Baptist leader in Sherbro Island and by some others) have served to awaken them effectually. They are now determined to go themselves to Africa; and the only questions with them are, in what way will it be best for them to proceed? and what previous steps are requisite to be taken? They think it necessary to spend some time in study first. They both possess industry and abilities, such as, with the blessing of Providence, would soon make them rich. It is but two or three years since either of them enjoyed freedom; and both have paid large sums for their families. They now possess but little, except

        20 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 148.

        21 Peck, op. cit., p. 443.

        22 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 340. His wife died shortly before this time, The African Repository, March, 1829, p. 11; Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 147.

Page 384

a zealous wish to go and do what they can. Brother Lot has a wife, and several little children. He has a place a little below Richmond, that cost him $1500, but will probably not sell for more than $1000 at this time. Brother Collin has a wife, a son 14 years of age, and a daughter of 11, for whom he has paid $1300, and has scarcely any thing left. Both their wives are Baptists; their children, amiable and docile, have been to school considerably; and I hope, if they go, will likewise be of service. Collin is a saddler and harness maker. He had no early education. The little that he has gained, has been by chance and peacemeal. He has judgment, and as much keenness of penetration as almost any man. He can read, though he is not a good reader, and can write so as to make out a letter. The little knowledge he has of figures, has been gained by common calculations in business. Lot was brought up on a farm; and for a number of years has been chief manager among the labourers in the largest tobacco ware house in this city. He has charge of receiving, marking and shipping tobacco; and the circumstance that he receives $700 a-year wages may help you to form an estimate of the man. He reads better than Collin, and is in every respect a better scholar. They have been trying to preach about ten or eleven years, and are both about forty years of age. 23

         Cary had been licensed to preach by the First Baptist Church, Richmond, and he exercised his talent every Lord's day among the colored people on plantations a few miles from Richmond. 24 It was not many months before he was the highly esteemed pastor of the African Baptist Church in Richmond. As a preacher, Cary was not polished, but "his ideas would sometimes burst upon you in their native solemnity, and awaken deeper feelings than the most polished, but less original" and artificial discourses. 25

        Lott Cary early exhibited the power of an organizer. In 1815, William Crane, who was a member of the First Baptist Church, felt that he ought to use his talent among the twelve hundred Negro members of that congregation.

        23 Fifth Annual Report of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions in The Latter Day Luminary, Vol. I, pp. 400f.

        24 The African Repository, March, 1829, p. 12.

        25 Ibid., Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 148.

Page 385

Consequently, he and David Roper 26 gratuitously opened a tri-weekly night school in the gallery of the old church with Lott Cary, Colin Teague and fifteen or twenty leading members of the church as pupils. 27 Now Crane was able to inspire such a group to practical missionary service, for he himself had been repeatedly urged to become a missionary and had had close contact with Luther Rice as one of the managers of the General Missionary Convention. But it was left to Lott Cary to excite among the Negroes a strong interest in behalf of Africa. The result was the formation of the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society in 1815. Crane was the president or corresponding secretary.28 This was necessary, for since the various uprisings of Negroes 29 were making Virginia a hotbed of discontent, the city of Richmond was wary of having Negro meetings unless they were sponsored by white persons. Crane represented the Society in the General Missionary Convention, 30 formed in 1814, and, remained its delegate for about twenty years.

        At the first triennial session of the Convention at Philadelphia, in May, 1817, a letter was read from the corresponding secretary of the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society and it was unanimously

        Resolved, that the said letter be noticed on the minutes of the Convention, and that the Board, if they find it practicable, be advised to institute an African Mission, conformably to the wishes of the said African Mission Society; and that the Corresponding

        26 Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopaedia, Vol. I, p. 288.

        27 The Missionary Jubilee, pp. 17, 18, 19; Tupper, A Decade of Foreign Missions, p. 875.

        28 Peck, op. cit., p. 444; The Missionary Jubilee, p. 214; Tupper, op. cit., p. 875.

        29 The outbreaks of Toussiant L'Ouverture in Hayti in 1789 and especially Gabriel in Richmond had not died away. Gabriel in 1800 organized 1000 Negroes in Henrico County. The plot, however, was betrayed by a slave Pharaoh and amounted to no lives lost except those of Gabriel and Jack Bowles who were executed. A public guard of 68 policed the city for some months afterwards. Cf. Ballagh, Slavery in Virginia, p. 92.

        30 From Article I of the Constitution of this body it is presumed that the Richmond Society contributed "a sum amounting to at least one hundred dollars" for their membership fee.

Page 386

Secretary of the Board be requested to communicate this resolution, together with an encouraging affectionate letter to that society. 31

         Feeling of sympathy for the African was high. Many slave-holding Baptists felt that they owed the Negro a debt which they should pay. 32 Moreover, the board of the Convention felt that the interest in Foreign missions manifested by the Negro Baptists of Richmond was a providential plan whereby the slaves brought from Africa might be converted and returned to evangelize that continent. 33 Since, therefore, mission work could be propagated in Africa in the English language and for one quarter the expense required for other lands, 34 the Convention felt no hesitancy in acknowledging the claims of Africa.

        Luther Rice, while in Richmond during the winter of 1817, visited the African Missionary Society. "It afforded me much pleasure, indeed," he reported, 35 "to observe the zeal, and intelligence and capacity, and success, discovered in the African Mission Society."

        As a matter of fact, the formation of the Richmond African Baptist Society was an epochal event. The example was followed by the African Baptist Church of Philadelphia 36 and by the Baptists of Petersburg, Virginia. 37 The African mission spirit even permeated North Carolina and Georgia, for during the years 1816 and 1817 the Negro Baptists of those parts contributed $32.64 to the cause. 38

        31 Proceedings of the General Convention, 1817, p. 134.

        32 Gammell, A History of American Baptist Missions, p. 256.

        33 The Third Annual Report of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, p. 180.

        34 Proceedings of the Baptist General Convention, 1829, p. 34; Gurley, op. cit., appendix, pp. 30, 32.

        35 Letter to Doctor Staughton, dated Philadelphia, April 30, 1818, in the Fourth Annual Report of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions.

        36 Third Annual Report of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, p. 180.

        37 Cf. Letters and Addresses of Lott Cary.

        38 August 5, 1816, the Negro Baptists of Warren County, North Carolina, contributed $5.15; August 18, of the County Line Association, Caswell County, North Carolina, $.69; September 1, of the Shiloh Association, Culpepper, Virginia, $1.90; October 21, of the Pee Dee Association, Montgomery County, North Carolina, $2.19; May 7, 1817, "a col. Wom." of Georgia, $1; June 2, "Coloured Brethren" of the Sunbury Association, Georgia, $21; June 16, "a man of colour 15 cts.--a woman of col. 6 cts." and August 1, "a man of col. 25 cts."-- The Third Annual Report of the Baptist Board, pp. 146-149; The Fourth Annual Report of the Baptist Board, pp. 206, 208.

Page 387

This contribution far outstripped the donation of the white Baptists to the same cause. During the same time they contributed only $14.27, $12.27 of which was given by the newly formed African Mite Society of Providence, Rhode Island. 39

        Lott Cary resolved that it was his duty to go and preach the gospel in benighted Africa. It was at Crane's night school that this intention was made known. After Crane had reviewed the report of Burgess and Mills, telling of their exploring tour on the coast of Africa, Lott Cary said: "I have been determined for a long time to go to Africa and at least to see the country for myself." 40 There is no doubt that to some extent Cary was awakened to a deep sense of responsibility for his brethren in Africa by that part of this report which dealt with John Kizell, the Baptist leader in Sherbro Island, the president of the Friendly Society established by Paul Cuffee, the escort and guide of Burgess and Mills on their exploring tour, the man directly responsible for the beginning of the impractical scheme of deportation on the continent of Africa by the American Colonization Society. 41

        But how was he to accomplish his object? Crane said, 42 "I had thought of addressing the Corresponding Secretary on their (Cary and Teague) behalf, for the patronage of the American Baptist Mission Society, but again thought, that the Colonization Society might be pleased with taking them under their care, and that their mission might bear a more imposing aspect under the auspices of this society than it would with the Baptists alone." Lott Cary was received by the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, May 1, 1819,

        39 The Fourth Annual Report of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, pp. 206, 208, 210.

        40 Peck, op. cit., p. 444; Hervey, op. cit., p. 201.

        41 Cf. Journal of Mills in Spring, Memoirs of the Rev. Samuel J. Mills.

        42 Letter dated Richmond, March 28, 1819, to the Rev. Obadiah B. Brown, Washington City.

Page 388

and was accepted by the American Colonization Society to work for them "without pay as other engagements would permit." 43

        The treasurer of the General Missionary Convention reported $2 for Africa received September 21, 1819, from a friend in Nashville Tennessee. The next year the society appropriated $200 in cash and $100 in books. Contrasted with this was the $483.25 paid April 17, 1820, by the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society to the General Missionary Convention to be appropriated for Africa. 44 Thus the Convention served only as a clearing house for the funds contributed from Richmond. With this in mind we can more clearly understand the following order voted by the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions in 1820:

        With African Mission Society, Richmond, To various exp. for Collin Teague and Lot Carey . . . 500 25. 45

         Furthermore, the historian of the Convention up to the year 1840 46 relates that the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society, of which Lott Cary was the recording secretary, appropriated to the cause of African redemption $700, all of its funds collected during the first five years of its existence. For many years thereafter the Society collected and contributed annually from $100 to $150 to the mission in Africa. 47

        Lott Cary was giving up much to be an apostle to his people--a pastorate of nearly eight hundred members, a farm and house costing $1,500 and a salary increase of $200 a year if he would stay. 48 But he must go. There were promptings big and great. Cary and Colin Teague are said to have wished to be where their color would be no

        43 The Missionary Jubilee, p. 215.

        44 Sixth Annual Report of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions in The Latter Day Luminary, Vol. II, p. 141.

        45 The Latter Day Luminary, Vol. II, p. 141.

        46 Peck, op. cit., p. 439; cf. also The Missionary Jubilee, p. 215. The constitution of the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society restricted its funds to Africa.

        47 The African Repository, March, 1829; Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 148.

        48 This would have increased his salary to $1000 annually.

Page 389

disparagement to their usefulness. 49 "I am an African," he is reported to have answered an intelligent minister who asked him why he was leaving, 50 "and, in this country, however meritorious my conduct, and respectable my character, I cannot receive the credit due to either. I wish to go to a country where I shall be estimated by my merits, not by my complexion; and I feel bound to labor for my suffering race."

        It is highly probable that Cary possessed no such race consciousness as is portrayed in the foregoing reports of Crane and Gurley. True enough, the occasion for such sentiment was there in the institution of slavery but had Cary imbibed the spirit? On the one hand, the free Negro was not wanted in Virginia as is evidenced by an act which made unlawful the permanent residence in the State of any slave set free after May 1, 1806. But, on the other hand, this act was not generally enforced because of the economic value of many of the freedmen. 51 Thus it is doubtful whether Cary, whose salary would be increased if he remained in Virginia, and Teague, both effectual workmen whose industry was needed, would have to go away to gain a higher status.

        Let us examine the facts further. Crane was certainly enthusiastic for African colonization and Gurley was the secretary of the American Colonization Society. Thus these statements, as well as similar ones which follow, seem like attempts on the part of the friends of colonization to make Cary say to the other free Negroes that colonization was a desirable thing. Certainly such an attitude would be a timely rebuttal of the anti-colonization sentiment of the Negro ministry in general.

        Furthermore, this reason for going to Africa was not in accord with the one given at Crane's night school. Then he wanted to see Africa for himself; now he finds America no place for the Negro. He could have changed his point

        49 Letter of William Crane to the Rev. Obadiah Brown.

        50 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 148.

        51 Russell, The Free Negro in Virginia, pp. 145-156.

Page 390

of view, but did he? If he did change his view, he had changed again in less than two years (March 13, 1821) when he wrote as follows to the corresponding secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions:

        If you intend doing anything for Africa you must not wait for the Colonization Society, nor for government, for neither of these are in search of missionary grounds, but of colonizing grounds; if it should not suit missionary needs, you cannot expect to gather in a missionary crop. And, moreover, all of us who are connected with the agents, who are under public instructions, must be conformed to their laws, whether they militate against missionary operation or not. 52

         Thus if Cary made statements which favor colonization he was very inconsistent, for it was he who was chiefly responsible for the colonists openly defying the Colonization Society in 1824. Nor could Cary write so well. It is most likely, therefore, that Lott Cary wanted to go to Africa simply to see the country and to do missionary work.

        Prior to his public farewell, Lott Cary and Colin Teague were ordained and they, with their wives, Joseph Langford and wife and Hilary Teague, were organized in January, 1821, into a church. Lott Cary was elected pastor. The constitution of this body which they were to plant in Africa was modelled after the Samson Street Church of Philadelphia. 53

        Cary's farewell sermon, preached in the meeting house of the First Baptist Church, Richmond, was well ordered, without the rant common to some preachers of that day, dignified and pathetic, and left a lasting impression on the audience. 54 Teague had often remarked to William Crane, "Sir, I don't hear any of your white ministers that can preach like Lott Cary." Crane was anxious to hear him and after listening to his farewell message from Romans

        52 Seventh Annual Report of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions in The Latter Day Luminary, Vol. II, pp. 317f.

        53 Ibid., p. 399; The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 341; Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 159; Peck, op. cit., p. 439; The Missionary Jubilee, p. 215.

        54 Peck, op. cit., p. 444; Hervey, op. cit., p. 202.

Page 391

8:32--"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"--he did not hesitate to declare: "I have a most vivid recollection of the manner in which, towards the close, he dwelt upon the word 'freely.' With thrilling emphasis he exclaimed over and over, 'He gave them freely!' He rang a succession of perhaps a dozen changes upon the word, in a manner that would not have dishonored Whitfield." 55

        Lott Cary closed his sermon with this thought:

        I am about to leave you and expect to see your faces no more. I long to preach to the poor Africans the way of life and salvation. I don't know what may befall me, whether I may find a grave in the ocean, or among the savage men, or more savage wild beasts on the Coast of Africa; nor am I anxious what may become of me. I feel it my duty to go; and I very much fear that many of those who preach the Gospel in this country, will blush when the Saviour calls them to give an account of their labors in His cause and tell them, "I commanded you to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature;" (very emphatically he exclaimed) the Saviour may ask where have you been? What have you been doing? Have you endeavored to the utmost of your ability to fulfill the commands I gave you, or have you sought your own gratification, and your own ease, regardless of My commands? 56

        A distinguished Presbyterian minister said to Gurley, "A sermon which I heard from Lott Cary, shortly before he sailed for Africa, was the best extemporaneous sermon I ever heard. It contained more original and impressive thoughts, some of which are distinct in my memory, and never can be forgotten." 57 Elder John Bryce, assistant pastor of the First Baptist Church, afterwards confessed that he had never been so deeply interested in a sermon. 58


        By the twenty-third of January, 1821, Cary and his

        55 Hervey, op. cit., pp. 201f.

        56 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 149.

        57 Ibid., p. 148; The African Repository, March, 1829, p. 12.

        58 Hervey, op. cit., p. 202.

Page 392

church were ready to sail. 59 At half past six in the morning 60 the Nautilus, carrying 28 colonists and a number of children, left Norfolk, Virginia, en route to Sierra Leone. 61

        As the agents of the American Colonization Society, who made the journey, had not completed their negotiations for the purchase of a site for the settlers, the party remained at Freetown, Sierra Leone, for some months. 62 From there Cary wrote the Corresponding Secretary of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, March 13th:

Rev. and Dear Sir

        I am happy that an opportunity is now afforded me, to inform the Board through you, the only proper medium of communication with them, that we all arrived safe in Africa. We had a long passage of forty four days, yet we were wonderfully preserved by the great Ruler of the winds and the seas. . . .

        I am truly sorry, that the hopes and expectations of the Board cannot be realized, as to our missionary labours; for, as it pleased you to have us connected with the Colonization Society, and the agents of the Society upon their arrival here, finding their prospects of getting lands very gloomy, so much so that they disowned us as colonists; and the government's agent had captured Africans for whom he was bound, by the laws of the United States, to procure a place, in order to settle them, or until there can be a more permanent settlement obtained, the agent received us as labourers and mechanics, to be settled with them in order to make preparations for the reception of others; we are therefore bound to the government's agent. He has rented a farm, and put us on it, and we must cultivate it for our support, and for the support of these Africans; and pay as much of the rent as we can. And as this obligation will last until lands are purchased by the agents of the Colonization Society, I am greatly afraid it will not end soon; and until it does end, our mission labours will be very few. Jesus Christ, our Saviour, when he came on his mission into this world, was found often with a broad axe in his hand: and I believe that a good many corn field missionaries would be a great blessing to

        59 Earnest, op. cit., p. 95.

        60 Journal of Cary in The Latter Day Luminary, Vol. II, p. 399.

        61 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. III, p. 181.

        62 Hervey, op. cit., p. 202.

Page 393

this country, that is if they were not confined to the field by law and by necessity. We are bound by both. I converse very freely with you on this subject, because with me it is a very important one, and because of the interest which the Board has taken in this mission. 63

        Mrs. Cary, "a sensible woman and an exemplary Christian," 64 was sick at this time and soon died, leaving her husband the care of their two children. 65 Despite this and the appalling circumstances of the first settlers, they wrote to the Board rejoicing that they were in the country of their forefathers and hoping that His gracious approbation would crown their labors. 66 Lott Cary kept constantly in mind the great object of his mission. He not only preached as often as opportunity would permit but he established a mission among the Mandingoes. 67

        Nevertheless, there was danger for some time that the whole enterprise would be abandoned. Whereupon, Captain Robert F. Stockton was sent to Africa in the armed schooner Alligator with full powers from President Monroe and the American Colonization Society to make arrangements for a new and permanent settlement. 68 On December 11, he and Doctor Eli Ayres, the Society's agent, who had left America in July, anchored off Cape Mesurado or Montserado and, with John Mills, an English mulatto and slave dealer, as interpreter, made negotiations with King Peter, the principal chief around the Cape, for the purchase of a settlement. After much parleying and delay on the part of the king and treachery on the part of Mills, 69 they finally exchanged gunpowder, tobacco, rum, iron pots, beads, looking glasses, "four Hats, three Coats, three pair Shoes" 70

        63 The Latter Day Luminary, Vol. II, pp. 397f.

        64 Peck, op. cit., p. 439.

        65 Gammell, op. cit., pp. 247, 249.

        66 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. II, p. 181.

        67 Alexander, A History of Colonization on the Western Coast of Africa, p. 245.

        68 Latrobe, Maryland in Liberia, p. 9.

        69 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, pp. 149f.

        70 Cf. Letters and Addresses of Lott Cary.

Page 394

and other minor articles not worth more than $300 for that valuable tract of land 71 which was the nucleus of what is now the Republic of Liberia. 72

        Arrangements were made for the colonists to take possession of their new home the 7th of February, 1822. 73 The territory, finally including ninety miles of coast lying between the Junk and Sesters Rivers and extending nearly seventy miles into the interior, presented, on the one hand, an excellent opportunity to work among the Bassa, Vey, Dey and Kroo tribes, 74 who numbered about 125,000, and exhibited, on the other hand, many obstacles, for the natives were hostile, and the rainy season was approaching, at the time when provisions were scarce.

        The condition of the colonists was so appalling that many proposed to return to Sierra Leone. Just a few more hours and the Cape would have been abandoned, but when the Agent went ashore to prepare for departure he was informed by Lott Cary that he was determined not to go. Nearly all the colonists were induced to follow his example.

        In the event they suffered severely; nearly 1,000 natives attacked them in November, 1822, but were repulsed. During this and similar encounters with the natives, which lasted through the months of November and December, Lott Cary cooperated wisely with the Agent, Jehudi Ashmun, 75 and, although several of the colonists were killed and wounded, with only 37 men and boys he, on one occasion, drove back with considerable loss 1,500 wild and exasperated natives who were bent on extirpating the settlement. Lott Cary compared the little company of disturbed settlers to the Jews, who "grasped a weapon in one hand, while they labored with the other" to rebuild the city. But he is said to have asserted: "There never has been an hour

        71 The Fifth Annual Report of the American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Colour of the United States, pp. 55-64.

        72 Liberia was named at the annual meeting of the Colonization Society, February, 1825. Fox, The American Colonization Society, p. 71.

        73 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 149; Hervey, op. cit., p. 202.

        74 Warneek, Outline of a History of Protestant Missions, p. 193.

        75 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 149; Hervey, op. cit., p. 203.

Page 395

or a minute, no, not even when the balls were flying around my head, when I could wish myself again in America." 76

        These colonists planted their church at Monrovia and soon had under way the nucleus of a flourishing Sunday-school. 77 Cary extended his labors to communities far and near, and by 1823 had 6 converts. 78 The following resolution adopted by the General Missionary Convention speaks for itself the sentiment of that body respecting the work of Cary and Teague up to May 7, 1823: 79

        The committee states that the present condition and prospects of the mission are encouraging. Brethren Cary and Teague are at present much occupied in aiding in the establishment of the colony at Cape Mesurado. Their conduct has been good and that of the former, in particular, has been specially commended by the Agent of the Colonization Society. The committee recommends that an able white missionary be stationed, as soon as practicable, at Cape Mesurado. The mission has a double effect. While it tends to introduce the gospel into Africa, a mission establishment on the coast will essentially aid in the suppression of the slave trade.

        In spite of the fact that his associate, Colin Teague, had returned to Freetown, Sierra Leone, 80 Lott Cary was adding some few of the natives to the church. In 1824, he baptized 9. One by the name of John from Grand Cape Mount, a town about eighty miles distant, proved a valuable helper by the good influence which he exerted. Some word from Hector Peters 81 had touched him and he came to the American settlement for instruction and baptism. Without being asked, he related his experience to the church.

        76 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 149; Hervey, op. cit., p. 203; The African Repository, March, 1829, p. 13; The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 341.

        77 Gammell, op. cit., p. 244; Peck, op. cit., p. 441.

        78 Peck, op. cit., p. 439; Gammell, op. cit., p. 244.

        79 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. IV, p. 142.

        80 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 341; Gammell, op. cit., p. 244; Tupper, The Foreign Missions of the Southern Baptist Convention, p. 277.

        81 A Negro Baptist preacher who accompanied David George to Sierra Leone from Nova Scotia in 1792. For a detailed account cf. Rippon, The Baptist Annual Register, Vol. I, pp. 478-481.

Page 396

        "When me bin Sa' lone," he began, " me see all man go to church house--me go too-- me be very bad man too--suppose a man can cus (curse) me--me can cus im too--suppose a man can fight me--me can fight im too.--Well, me go to church house--the man speak, and one word catch my heart (and at the same time laying his hand on his breast)--I go to my home-- my heart be very heavy--and trouble me too--night time come--me fear me can't go to my bed for sleep--my heart trouble me so--something tell me go pray to God--me fall down to pray--no--my heart be too bad--I can't pray--I think so--I go die now-- suppose I die--I go to hell--me be very bad man--pass all turrer (other) man--God be angry with me--soon I die--suppose man cus me this time--me can't cus him no more--suppose man fight me--me can't fight him no more--all the time my heart trouble me--all day--all night me can't sleep--by and by my heart grow too big--me fall down this time--now me can pray--me say Lord--have massey. Then light come in my heart--make me glad--make me light--make me love the Son of God--make me love everybody."

        John was baptized the 20th of March, 1825. The church neatly dressed him, gave him an extra suit, about $10.50, 3 Bibles and 2 hymn books and sent him on his way rejoicing. 82

        The impetus received by the church was amazing. The membership by 1825 had increased to 60 or 70 and two or three pious emigrants were assisting in the work. This same year, Lott Cary directed the building of a substantial meeting house which would have been completed immediately if nails and boards could have been procured. 83 In a letter from Monrovia, 84 dated April 24, 1826, he wrote a

        82 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. V, pp. 241f.; The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, pp. 222f.

        83 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, pp. 222f.

        84 At the annual meeting of the American Colonization society, February, 1825, on motion of General Robert G. Harper, the settlement was named Monrovia, in honor of the President of the United States. Fox, op. cit., p. 71.

Page 397

brother in Norfolk: "We dedicated our meeting house last October; it was four weeks from the time we raised it to the time it was dedicated. It is quite a comfortable house, 30 X 20 feet, and ceiled inside nearly up to the plates, with a decent pulpit and seats. I feel very grateful to you for your services, and to the brethren and friends for their liberal contribution." 85

        This progress of the church might, at first blush, seem to say that everything was in a state of tranquility and peace. This is far from being the case. In the face of the record of Lott Cary as a Christian, a pastor, a representative of the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society and a church builder in Africa, it is interesting to note the invective hurled against him by Governor Ashmun in 1823. The Governor's phraseology is unique. "Wretched," "morose," "obstinate," "soured," "narrow," "disobliging," "moral desert," "a corroding temper," and "destitute of natural affection," were some of the epithets used as over against "more obliging," "affectionate husband," "display of tenderness," "sweet and profound humility," "promoter of every commendable and pious design," "every laudable habit," "moral renovation," "habit of holiness," and " redeemed" when an understanding was perfected in 1824. 86

        The cause of the misunderstanding was of long standing. Agents of the American Colonization Society prior to Ashmun's time were accused of transmitting false reports to the board and of appropriating to their own use the provisions and supplies of the colonists. 87 It is also known that a commercial company of Baltimore, whose business

        85 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VI, pp. 244f. In the Report of the Board of Managers of the General Missionary Convention, May, 1825, "Lott Cary . . . states that hostilities . . . of the natives had ceased. . . . He asks for assistance to complete the work (on the church); and the Board feel pleasure in recommending the case to the hearts of all who are interested in the melioration of the condition of the African Race." Ibid., Vol. V, p. 216.

        86 Cf. Letters and Addresses of Lott Cary.

        87 Gurley, op. cit., p. 196.

Page 398

it was to prosecute the African slave trade, was jealous of the Society and tried to undermine it. In addition, the trials and hardships incidental to founding the colony had reduced many of the settlers to want. 88 The most ignorant could thus fathom their condition: "We suffer: if the Society have means and does not apply them to our relief, it is without benevolence; if it have not means, it wants power and in either case is unworthy of our confidence." 89

        This lack of power showed itself in the helplessness of the government to restrain the first vestiges of insubordination and to enforce the law. Thereupon, the discontentment of Cary and one or two others became widespread. 90 Probably the manhood consciousness of Cary would not have asserted itself so soon had not the occasion arisen between August 31 and September 25, 1823, when the principal Agent attempted to redistribute the town lots of the earliest colonists who alleged that they held them under a former sanction of the Agent and so refused to have them redistributed. They resolved to appeal to the board of the American Colonization Society. 91 Moreover, they openly avowed that they would neither survey nor cultivate any of the lots (thickly covered with undergrowth) assigned to them nor aid in any public improvements 92 until they should hear from the board. On the 13th of December, Ashmun published the announcement that there were in the Colony more than a dozen healthy persons who would not receive any more provisions out of the public store till they earned them. Six days later the Agent ordered the rations of the offending persons to be stopped. Next morning a few 93 of the colonists assembled at the Agency House and vociferously

        88 Gurley, op. cit., p. 213.

        89 Ibid., p. 214.

        90 Ibid., p. 213.

        91 Ibid., op. cit., p. 182.

        92 The laws of the Society required every adult male to work two days a week for the public good while receiving rations from the public store. This rule was dispensed with providing each colonist would cultivate his own land. Ibid., p. 186.

        93 Ibid., appendix, p. 150.

Page 399

demanded the Agent to rescind his order. Ashmun was unmovable. The colonists straightway hastened to the storehouse where rations for the week were then being issued and each seized a store of provisions and went home. 94 Lott Cary had no small influence and share in this seditious proceeding. 95 Toward evening, the Agent addressed a circular "to all the colonists" declaring that the impropriety of the morning's act would be communicated to the board. He further exhorted all to go to work and not to commit such an offence again for their sakes in this world or in the one to come. Lott Cary was not to perform any of his ministerial functions " till time and circumstances shall have evidenced the deepness and sincerity of his repentance." 96 Gurley states that the leaders of the sedition, led by Lott Cary, almost "immediately confessed and deplored" their error. 97

        It seemed in 1824 that the affair of the previous year would be repeated when, on March 17, the rations were reduced one half. The act was viewed by the colonists as oppression and they openly reproached Ashmun. Through all of this period, the spirit of disorganization was working so that the colonists furnished little support towards developing the government. 98

        In communicating the account of the disturbances to the board, Ashmun wrote, March 15, that "the services rendered by Lott Cary in the Colony, who has with very few (and those recent exceptions), done honor to the selection of the Baptist Missionary Society, under whose auspices he was sent out to Africa, entitle his agency in this affair, to the most indulgent construction which it will bear. The hand which records the lawless transaction, would long since have been cold in the grave, had it not been for the unwearied and painful attentions of this individual rendered

        94 Gurley, op. cit., p. 187.

        95 Ibid., appendix, p. 150.

        96 Fox, op. cit., p. 72.

        97 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 150.

        98 Ibid., pp. 190ff.

Page 400

at all hours--of every description-- and continued several months." 99

        The General Missionary Convention was influenced very little, if any, by the report, if, indeed, they had received it officially. At the annual meeting of the Board of Managers, April, 1824, the committee on the African mission had "no hesitation in recommending a careful regard to this mission, which though it may seem to slumber for a moment, in their opinion promises great and extensive usefulness." The board recommended

        That a constant correspondence be kept up with the brethren there by which their minds will be encouraged, and their hands strengthened and through which information may be received of the state of the Colony, the progress of the cause, and of the earliest opportunities which may offer for introducing the Gospel more extensively into the heart of Africa. 100

        There is no further account of this misunderstanding other than that from the pen of Ashmun. Mr. Taylor, 101 the biographer of Lott Cary, remarks: "He (Cary) was compelled, to some extent, to act the part of a mediator between the rebellious colonists, who considered themselves injured, and Mr. Ashmun, the Governor. While for a moment he might seem to act injudiciously, he possessed too much noble and generous feeling to be guilty of a dishonorable act." The Rev. G. Winfred Hervey 102 thinks that "in any controversy between mules and muledrivers, the latter have several advantages among which one of the most important is that they have the exclusive use of vocal attack and defence. Cary was too prudent a man to publish an apology for constructive sedition; and as he has not left us his own explanation of any of the facts in the case, we have not all the materials on which to base an impartial judgment."

        99 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 150.

        100 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. IV, p. 423.

        101 Hervey, op. cit., p. 204.

        102 Gurley, op. cit., p. 203.

Page 401

        The agitation at length had its effect. It was directly responsible for the establishment, in 1824, of a new form of government which was approved by Cary and his fellow-citizens and in which the colonists had a full expression. 103 Gurley 104 and Ashmun both testified that Cary readily entered into the spirit of the new government. 105 Only eight days, from August 14 to 22, were needed to organize a government that should be energetic and feasible. 106 "Beneath the thatched roof of the first rude house for divine worship ever erected in the Colony stood the little company of one hundred colored emigrants, who had ventured all things to gain for themselves and children a home and inheritance of liberty and before God pledged themselves to maintain the Constitution of their choice, and prove faithful to the great trust committed to their hands." 107 Despite the seeming repetition of the chagrin of past irregularities in September, 1824, however, the board of the American Colonization Society passed a motion, April 2, 1825, to organize, on the 18th of the next month, a permanent government for the colony. 108


        During these times Lott Cary continued to increase his popularity by performing the pastoral duties of the Providence Baptist Church as vigorously as he could. 109 He preached several times each week, and, in addition, gave religious instruction to many of the native children. A day school of twenty-one pupils was begun April 18, 1825. 110 By June, the number had increased to thirty-two, nineteen of whom came from Grand Cape Mount, some miles distant. 111

        103 Gurley, op. cit., p. 214; Hervey, op. cit., p. 204.

        104 Ibid., op. cit., p. 215; ibid., appendix, p. 150.

        105 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 143.

        106 Ibid.

        107 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 49.

        108 Ibid., p. 246.

        109 Gammell, op. cit., p. 247.

        110 The Missionary Jubilee, p. 215.

        111 The Veys inhabit this healthy country and are very intelligent. They have a written language although no books. Peck, op. cit., p. 441.

Page 402

Cary was handicapped in this work by the lack of funds, by the demoralizing gin traffic of the Europeans, by Mohammedanism, by the deadly climate and by degraded fetichism, 112 yet, in the course of seven weeks, he taught several children to read the Bible intelligently, although he could not devote more than three hours a day to this work. 113

        In the meantime, in keeping with the report of the Board of Managers of the General Missionary Convention in 1823, Governor Ashmun wrote to the American Colonization Society, March 20, 1825, that "the natives have universally a most affecting persuasion of the superiority of white men. . . . I cannot hesitate to say that the missionary, or principal of the proposed establishment (i.e., a religious mission for Africa), ought by preference to be a white man." 114 The little colony of near 400 souls was suffering for an adequate educational program. Excepting Governor Ashmun, there was not an individual there who had ever received a plain English education. 115 Allowing that and granting that there were few intelligent Negroes in the United States, 116 Ashmun would have appeared more hopeful of Negro leadership had he made his request to the board more general.

        Whether because of this appeal or not, it is singular to note that the Rev. Calvin Holton, a graduate of Waterville College (now Colby College), offered his service to the board the same year and, with 34 emigrants, 117 sailed from Boston in the brig Vine, January 4, 1826. He was employed to establish and direct a Lancastrian system of

        112 Warneck, op. cit., p. 189.

        113 Peck, op. cit., p. 441.

        114 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 30.

         115 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 341.

        116 Cf. Jones, The Religious Instruction of the Negro in the United States.

        117 These emigrants with one exception were from Newport, Rhode Island. Eighteen of them were, just before their departure and at their own request, organized into a church. Gurley, op. cit., pp. 308, 310.

Page 403

education for (1) the children of the colonists, (2) for the native children living in the settlement, (3) for the recaptured Africans who numbered about 120, and (4) for the young men and women who were teaching or preparing themselves for this profession. 118 His work was not of long duration for on the 2d of July, 1826, he died 119 and was succeeded early in 1827 by the Rev. G. M'Gill, "an intelligent and experienced coloured Teacher from Baltimore." 120

        About this time the number of native boys who received instruction was only 50. These were trained either to be interpreters to American and European missionaries or religious teachers. Lott Cary had 45 scholars enrolled in his school at Monrovia. 121 He was assisted by a lad of fourteen years and by the Rev. John N. Lewis, another missionary sent out by the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society, but who, from lack of adequate support, turned to other business. 122

        Lott Cary had a large task to perform with this school. As a matter of fact, "the hopes of the African tribes," said Ashmun, 123 "from Gallinas to Trade Town, are at present suspended upon it. Most of the boys who attend it are sons of the principal individuals of the country, and more than half can read the New Testament intelligently, and understand the English language nearly as well as the

        118 Gurley, op. cit., p. 309.

        119 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VI, p. 368; Gammell, op. cit., p. 247; Peck, op. cit., p. 412; The Missionary Jubilee, p. 215.

        120 Gurley, op. cit., p. 356.

        121 The schools and scholars in Liberia in 1827 were as follows:

Gurley, op. cit., p. 350.

        122 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VI, pp. 272f.; ibid., Vol. VII, p. 166.

        123 Gurley, op. cit., p. 357.

Page 404

settlers of the same age." The expense of a native boy was estimated at $25 and of a girl at $20. 124

        Gurley believed that the schools were numerous enough and amply able to afford instruction to every child in the colony. Although this instruction was compulsory, it is not altogether evident, however, that at any place save Monrovia a real educational program was begun. Ashmun related that about six out of every ten emigrants were illiterate and that just one pious individual assisted by two or three utterly illiterate exhorters was the only instructor around the settlement. "Not one in five of these people habitually attend, even on Sundays, such religious instruction as they possess." Consequently, he adds that the moral power exerted was not sufficient to offset "the demoralizing influence of corrupt examples." 125

        The Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society and Lott Cary, however, were expending their funds liberally on the schools. The surplus funds in the colonial treasury plus the subscription of $1,400 from the colonists (including $300 subscribed by Ashmun) were spent for education. 126 Yet from all sources enough money could not be raised to continue all the schools begun. Cary, in 1827, removed the day school from Monrovia to Grand Cape Mount. He made appeal after appeal to send the light to Africa. To prove that the natives would sooner steal the light than miss it he gives the following incident that occurred in removing the school establishment to Grand Cape Mount:

        "I had upwards of forty natives," he said, 127 "to carry our baggage, and they carried something like 250 bars ($187.50); a part of them went on four days beforehand, and had every opportunity to commit depredations, but of all the goods that were sent and carried there, nothing was

        124 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. XXI, p. 183.

        125 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, pp. 32, 35, 36, 37.

         126 Ibid., op. cit., p. 356.

        127 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VIII, p. 144; cf. also Alexander, op. cit., pp. 248f.

Page 405

lost except fifteen spelling books; five of them were recovered again."

        Mr. Cary's letter to Mr. Crane will explain somewhat the circumstances of the school at Grand Cape Mount.

June 11, 1827.

        On yesterday week, being our monthly meeting, I baptized one young man, and after preaching in the afternoon, we had the happiness to break bread together in the house of the Lord. I don't like to be too sanguine, but I think he will be a blessing to the church; his name is John Reavy (Revey)-- came out in the first expedition, and has been engaged in teaching a native school on the Sherbro, with Nathaniel Brander, until the last two years, which he has spent at Sierra Leone.

        For I fear I may not have another opportunity to write you again soon, I must again call your attention to the immediate establishment of a school at Cape Mount. Since writing the fore part of this letter, I have received an order for books from Cape Mount, which I have sent. I requested, at the same time, the native Brother, John, 128 to come down immediately, and I would try and arrange business so as to send up a teacher with him; and on proposing the subject to Brother John Reavy, he is quite willing to go up to commence the school as soon as the Brother comes down. I expect to allow him $10.00 per month and find him. My means at present will not justify these engagements, but I know you will do what you can when there is an opportunity; if you cannot send out tobacco or other articles, send out the money. United States bank notes pass as well here as they do with you. I shall try to keep the wheels going until you can send out supplies. I want some writing paper and ink powder or ink, and wish the Society (Richmond) would send me a bbl. of single nails. You will please make my respects to all the brethren and friends, and accept the same for yourself and the Board.129


        128 Baptized eighteen months before by Cary. He was a native evangelist at Big Town, Grand Cape Mount and styled himself John Baptist. Letter of Cary dated Monrovia, June, 1827, to Crane.

        129 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VII, pp. 305f.

Page 406

        After many months of delay 130 the school was established November 10, 1827, at Big Town, Grand Cape Mount. John Revey was in charge. "The school room," says Cary, 131 "is nearly fifteen feet by thirty. We made arrangements to have worship in it on the ensuing Lord's day, and I had the honour to address a very attentive audience twice, through brother John. After service I informed the congregation that I should need their assistance the following day in preparing seats, &c., and they turned out like men, and performed more labour by eight o'clock, than I expected to have accomplished in the whole day. We got seats prepared for about 60 children by 4 o'clock, and gave notice that as the school would be organized on the day following, at 9 o'clock, A.M., all persons wishing to have their children instructed were requested to come at that time and have them entered, and the number received was 37. I read and explained a short set of regulations which I had drawn up; and as I had the king and his head men present, I got them to sign the articles of agreement in the presence of the whole congregation. For twelve months I think the school will, of course, be expensive. The present arrangement is--I agree to allow brother Revey $20 per month, and find him provisions, washing, &c. &c."

        Mr. Cary thought that by this arrangement the station at Grand Cape Mount would net better results than the one at Monrovia. Neither he nor the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society were able to maintain both. Some funds were received 132 but it developed in about a year that the school had to be given up for lack of funds and assistants. 133

        Other duties, moreover, required some time. Lott Cary realized from the beginning of the colony that a missionary in Africa ought to be more than a corrector of moral ills

        130 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VIII, pp. 143f.

        131 Ibid., pp. 53f.

        132 The General Missionary Convention made a remittance of $90 on February 15, 1828. The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VII, pp. 170, 176.

        133 Peek, op. cit., p. 442.

Page 407

and a "doctor" of divinity; he would be fortunate indeed if he could mend human bodies. As a result, Cary was constrained to forego much of the joy which he had anticipated from efforts to show men the living Christ by accepting the position of Health Officer of the colony, August 31, 1822. 134 He had no medical schooling but with the use of home remedies, patent medicines, 135 and common sense, he was able to cure some. Until the 31st of August, 1823, he was practically the only physician in the settlement (excepting Dr. Ayres who was present a part of the year 1822). After that Dr. Ayres returned on the Oswego in the late spring of 1825. 136 He and sixty emigrants who came with him were soon suffering from the disease of the country and had to rely on the medical experience of Cary. Eight emigrants died 137 and by December, Dr. Ayres was compelled to leave the colony. The climate was so unhealthy that hardly any one escaped its pestilence. 138 When, in addition, the poor housing conditions, the inadequate sanitation and the scanty hospital supplies 139 are considered, it is remarkable that so many escaped death.

        Every ship 140 that brought emigrants meant more work for Cary. On February 13, 1824, 141 one hundred and five emigrants arrived in the ship Cyrus and in less than a month every one was prostrate with the fever. 142 "Astonishing," said Ashmun, 143 "that in this atmosphere should exist causes so universal in their operation, as amongst all the varieties of age, sex and habit, not to leave one in the whole number without disease, and that in less than four weeks; and stranger still, that the blast should be so tempered

        134 Alexander, op. cit., p. 181.

        135 Cf. Letters and Addresses of Lott Cary.

        136 The American Missionary Register, May, 1825, p. 142.

        137 Gurley, op. cit., p. 182.

        138 Ibid., p. 190.

        139 Ibid., p. 182.

        140 Cf. Letters and Addresses of Lott Cary.

        141 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 142.

        142 Peck, op. cit., p. 439; Stratton, Life and Work of Lot Cary, p. 3.

        143 Gurley, op. cit., p. 190.

Page 408

to the strength of the constitution of every individual, as only to have swept off three small children. Men may call these phenomena in human life, the effects of the laws of nature; I choose to call them singular proofs of the Providence of God over all his creatures."

        When the brig Hunter arrived, March 13, 1825, with 66 settlers, nearly all of whom were farmers, 144 all were stricken during the first month. Although Cary himself was confined to his house nursing a severe injury, only a few children were fatally affected. 145

        Cary gratuitously spent about half of his time in caring for the sick of the colony. This fact was a matter of course as no funds were specially designated for this purpose. Cary was financially able to do such a thing. He had defrayed no small share of his own expense 146 in equipment for Africa, and when the colonists were in need of medical aid, he spent much of his means in this direction. 147 In 1825 he still owned a house and lot near Richmond which he was desirous of selling. 148

        Lott Cary was so occupied with caring for the sick that his prospective trip to America in the spring of 1826 had to be postponed. 149 He was also physician to Governor Ashmun. The governor was very ill in May after an exposure of four hours in attempting to save the schooner Catherine from destruction. "The prescriptions of our excellent and experienced assistant physician, the Rev. L. Cary," the Governor said, 150 "under the blessing of Divine Providence, so far succeeded as to afford complete relief, only leaving me in a very emaciated and enfeebled state, about the end of the first week in July."

        144 Gurley, op. cit., p. 232.

        145 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. V, p. 242.

        146 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 340.

        147 Cf. Letters and Addresses of Lott Cary.

        148 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 340.

        149 This trip was to influence the free people of color in the United States to emigrate to Liberia. Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 151.

        150 Gurley, op. cit., pp. 340f.

Page 409

        All of this was just part of the work that Lott Cary had set himself to accomplish. By his unselfish labors and untiring efforts he had won the hearts of the natives. He had been indefatigable in his efforts to uplift the colony. The morale of the settlement was greatly lifted. Drunkenness, profanity and quarreling were unknown; the Sabbath was observed with strictness. 151 Nearly the whole adult population had come under the influence of Christianity. On the site of a once desolate forest consecrated to demon worship was erected the commodious chapel which stood as a monument of the overthrow of heathenism and as a tribute to the Son of God. 152

        But in the sight of this landmark of Christianity, the slave trade was carried on extensively. 153 In 1825 from eight to ten, even, fifteen traders were engaged at the same time off the coast. In July "contracts were existing for eight hundred slaves to be furnished in the short space of four months within eight miles of the Cape. Four hundred of these were to be purchased for two American traders. During the same season, a boat belonging to a Frenchman, having on board twenty-six slaves, all in irons, was upset in the mouth of the St. Paul River and twenty of their number perished." 154 Between October, 1825, and April, 1826, no less than one hundred and eighty Negroes were reclaimed from slave traders and taught the Scripture. 155

        When Gurley visited the colony in August, 1824, he found the state of religion and morality hopeful, defenses adequate, quiet Sabbaths and physical improvements which indicated that a considerable amount of labor had been done. For twenty-two months following, the jails were in disuse. 156 By 1826 the people had developed from inexperienced

        151 Peck, op. cit., p. 554.

        152 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VI, p. 216.

        153 Gurley, Life of Jehudi Ashmun, p. 157.

        154 Ibid., op. cit., p. 261.

        155 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. IX, pp. 212f.; Peck, op. cit., p. 442.

        156 The American Missionary Register, Vol. VI, p. 142.

Page 410

immigrants to efficient citizens. No family was without ample food and wearing apparel. Wages were high and employment could be found everywhere. The common laborers were receiving from $.75 to $1.75 a day, while the mechanics got $2 a day. Houses were built and a telegraph system was soon to be installed. There were also two corps of militia, an artillery battery of fifty men and forty infantrymen. These had charge of the fifteen large carriages and three small pivot guns. 157

        A printing press costing more than $1,000, in addition to the salary of a printer, had been sent out. The citizens of Liberia expressed their thanks by subscribing nearly $200 "toward the immediate issue and support of a publick newspaper." 158 One thousand volumes of books, a complete set of the North American Review, a gift of Editor Sparks, and many other useful things were on hand. 159

        Economic effort, however, did not at first play as conspicuous a part in the missionary adventure of Lott Cary as it did in the lives of the pioneers, George Liele and David George, who left this country primarily to be able to make a living. 160 Nevertheless, the economic feature developed after a time. The agricultural progress of the country was rapidly promoted. The sultry and moist climate greatly accelerated 161 the growth of coffee, 162 rice and cassada. The Rev. Colston M. Waring was the first to attempt farming on anything like a large scale. His crop of rice and cassada, on a ten acre farm failed and checked so bold an example from all except Lott Cary. He, too, lost a promising crop in 1825 on the same kind of land because of the birds and the monkeys. 163 This failure, however, showed him that

        157 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VI, p. 216.

        158 The Liberia Herald ran for three issues. Then the printer, Mr. Charles L. Force, died. Ibid., pp. 214ff.

        159 Ibid.

        160 Rippon, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 334, 482; Alexander, op. cit., p. 41; Crooks, A History of the Colony of Sierra Leone, p. 36.

        161 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 66.

        162 Ibid., p. 56.

        163 Ibid., p. 131.

Page 411

either farming as the natives adopted (scratching the surface of the ground with a sharp stick) or more improved methods of thoroughly preparing the soil had to be tried. 164 In the following year, Cary enlarged his farm, had it cleared, dug it up with picks and hoes, and, in June, sowed about three bushels of rice to the acre. At the first cutting, on the 20th of October, it averaged 50 kroos (a measure varying from 3 to 5 winchester gallons) per acre. 165

        In one letter, he says: 166 "I have a promising little crop of rice and cassada, and have planted about 180 coffee trees this week, a part of which I expect, will produce next season, as they are now in bloom. I think, sir, that in a very few years we shall send you coffee of a better quality than you have ever seen brought into your market. We find that trees of two species abound in great quantities on the Cape."

        On the 7th of July, 1825, Cary reported a discovery of gold in the sand near little Cape Mount. 167 The appearance of gold was certain to develop the country commercially; some trade was already being carried on. Endeavoring to participate therein, nine of the natives built a ten ton schooner which carried from four to eight thousand dollars' worth of goods each trip. 168 Doctor Alexander 169 relates that between the first of January and the fifteenth of July, 1826, fifteen vessels stopped at Monrovia.

        Nevertheless, there were some anti-slavery leaders in America who seriously questioned the permanent utility and moral influence of the colony of Liberia. One of these anti-slavery groups, composed of free Negroes of Philadelphia, was led by Richard Allen, the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 170 In a letter to a gentleman

        164 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 132.

        165 Ibid.

        166 Alexander, op. cit., p. 247.

        167 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 126,

        168 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VI, p. 216.

        169 History of African Colonization, p. 225.

        170 Cf. Adams, The Neglected Period of Anti-Slavery in America, p. 92; Cromwell, The Early Negro Convention Movement, pp. 3-5.

Page 412

in Richmond, Lott Cary makes mention, September 24, 1827, of the agitation carried on by these Negroes of Philadelphia. "Before I left America," he said, 171 "and ever since then, the coloured people in about Philadelphia, have been making efforts in opposition to the scheme of colonizing the free people in Africa; and as some of their very recent publications have reached this place, I felt that in justice to the cause, and my own feelings, I ought to undertake to point out to them their situation."

        Unfortunately the letter closes shortly after this but singularly enough our sources supply an "Address, By the Citizens of Monrovia, to the free coloured people of the United States," 172 which no doubt is referred to in the letter. The name of Lott Cary is not attached to this address, which boosts "the doings of the Colonization Society" and which points out the political, social, economic, educational and religious advantages enjoyed by the colonists. Nevertheless, the document could not fully express the sentiments of the colonists unless the feelings of the leaders were given. It is not too much to presume that the address was gotten up by Lott Cary, the outstanding leader of the colonists, but it is very doubtful whether he wrote it in its present form. The correspondence of Cary reveals that he did not express himself so clearly nor did he use so good English. 173 The antithetical style reminds one of the writing of Ashmun. 174

        171 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VIII, pp. 53f.

        172 Cf. Letters and Addresses of Lott Cary.

        173 Cf. especially Gurley, Life of Jehudi Ashmun, appendix, pp. 153, 157. In speaking of going to Grand Cape Mount, Mr. Cary says, "I should have went up last year . . . we may anticipate a middling severe struggle from the Mandingo priests who have been for years propagating their system of religion among that nation. They are a kind of Mahometan Jews--they are very skilful in the Old Testament. . . ." The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VII, p. 305. Moreover, there is no known evidence that any other of the colonists could have written so well.

        174 Compare the Address of the Citizens of Monrovia to the free colored people of the United States with the account given in Gurley, Life of Jehudi Ashmun, pp. 136-138.

Page 413

        Through all of the many affairs which Cary performed, he continued pastor of the church at Monrovia. A missionary society was formed in connection with the church in the spring of 1826. Cary was elected president. 175 At the first anniversary 176 on Easter Monday, in consequence of the failure of the Rev. Colin Teague to come from Sierra Leone, Lott Cary preached the introductory sermon. 177 This society contributed $50 for mission work during the year 1827. 178 By the following year, the church contained one hundred members and two ordained preachers, John Lewis and Colston M. Waring, besides exhorters. 179


        Lott Cary was none the less interested and active in the welfare of the government. From the first settlement in Cape Montserado, he was appointed Government Inspector at the same time he was selected Health Officer 180 and consequently he knew something of the working of the government. In September, 1826, he was unanimously elected vice-agent of the colony. The colonial agent had great confidence in his judgments, decisions and loyalty 181 and left the affairs of the colony in Cary's charge when he was advised in 1828 to return to America for his health. 182

        "I was able," Mr. Ashmun wrote to the board, 183 "to arrange the concerns of the Colony with Mr. Cary, even to the minutest particulars, and I have the greatest confidence that his administration will prove satisfactory, in a high degree, to the Board and advantageous to the Colony."

        175 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VIII, p. 203.

        176 $1 was the annual membership fee; 45 names were enrolled and the money paid. $7.25 was collected at the door. Ashmun contributed $5 extra. The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VII, p. 305n.

        177 Ibid., p. 305.

        178 Ibid., Vol. VIII, p. 170.

        179 Ibid., Vol. IX, p. 195; Peck, op. cit., p. 443.

        180 On August 31, 1822, Alexander, op. cit., p. 181.

         181 The African Repository, Vol. V, p. 14.

        182 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 153.

        183 Ibid., op. cit., p. 385.

Page 414

        During the first six months, Cary's task was to see to it that every man and working family were self-supporting. "To effect this object, they must be furnished with a few simple tools--to pay for them if they can--if not, to receive them gratuitously. Their allowance must be withheld if they neglect or negligently follow the improvement of their lands, and the building of their houses. Much may be done by visiting the people separately, getting at their intentions and circumstances and spurring, advising or reproving as they may require. I am persuaded it will be useful, and in most instances possible to get at least all the men out of the public receptacles and on their lands before the rains set in." Respecting the buildings of the United States, those of the colony, the arms, forts, printing establishment, farms, Millsburg settlement, finances, etc., other particular regulations were suggested. 184 Lott Cary kept Ashmun and the American Colonization Society informed about the condition of the colony. 185 On his death bed, Ashmun again expressed his confidence in Cary and urged that he should be permanently appointed to conduct the affairs of the colony 186 which now contained upwards of 1,200 settlers. 187

        The only trouble that Cary had while he was vice-agent was with the natives. 188 The factory belonging to the colony at Digby, a settlement just north of Monrovia, was robbed by them and general hostilities threatened when satisfaction was demanded and refused. A letter of protest to a slave dealer who had stored his goods in the house where stores of the colony had been deposited was intercepted and destroyed by the natives. Immediately, Cary prepared to defend the rights and property of the colony. He called out the militia and began with others, in the evening of November

        184 Gurley, op. cit., p. 385; cf. Journal of Lott Cary in Gurley, Life of Jehu Ashmun, appendix, pp. 153-156.

        185 Cf. Appendix L.

        186 Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 159.

        187 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. IX, p. 212; Alexander, op. cit., p, 279.

        188 Alexander, op. cit., p. 261.

Page 415

8, to make cartridges in the old agency house. In some manner, a candle was accidentally upset and almost instantly the entire ammunition exploded, entirely destroying the house. Eight people died; six of the number survived until the next day; Lott Cary and one other until November 10, 1828. 189

        The unbelievable news of the death of Lott Cary spread like a mighty conflagration to the organizations which he represented. The following is the resolution read and adopted at the annual meeting of the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society in 1829: 190

        The loss which has been sustained, cannot in our estimation, be easily repaired. This excellent man seems to have been raised up by divine providence, for the special purpose of taking an active part in the management of the infant settlement. His discriminating judgment, his honesty of heart, and decision of character, qualified him eminently, for this service. But, especially, in relation to your society is his death to be sincerely lamented. It will be recollected, that he was a principal instrument in the origin of this society, and for several years acted as its recording secretary. A little more than eight years ago, he received his appointment, and sailed, as missionary, in company with brother Teage, for the land of their forefathers. His exertions as a minister in that land have been of the most devoted and untiring kind. In the communications which have been received by the Board, he seemed to possess the most anxious concern for the salvation of the perishing multitudes around him. Through his instrumentality a considerable church has been collected together which seems to be in a prosperous and growing condition. Sabbath and week day schools have been instituted for the instruction of native children and the children of the colony, which have proved eminently useful. We were looking forward with confidence to the more perfect consummation of our wishes, when that moral desert should rejoice and blossom as the rose; but God has seen fit to cross our expectations, in calling from his station this laborious missionary. It becomes us to bow with submission to the stroke, and to realize the saying of the apostle, "how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways

        189 The African Repository, Vol. V, p. 10; Gurley, op. cit., appendix, p. 160.

        190 Alexander, op. cit., pp. 254f.

Page 416

past finding out." Although we were not permitted to receive his dying testimony to the trust, we have the fullest assurance that our loss is his unspeakable and eternal gain.

        At the sixth triennial meeting of the General Missionary Convention, 1829, the committee on the African Mission made this report 191 which in some particulars was paradoxical:

        This excellent man (it began) went to Africa, under the patronage of the American Colonization Society, as well as of this convention. . . . Could he have devoted his whole time to our service much good might have been expected to have resulted from his labors. But he was under necessity to assist in its government and defense, as well as to act as its physician.

        It is a source of consolation to the friends of Mr. Cary that though his life was terminated in an unexpected moment and in a most distressing manner, the unwearied diligence and fidelity with which he discharged the important trust confided to his care--his zeal for the honor of religion, and the purity and piety of his general conduct have gained him a reputation which must live in grateful remembrance, as long as the interesting colony exists, in whose service he lived and died.

        Your committee cannot help expressing their regret that so small a portion of benevolent feeling has been exercised towards this mission, and that so little has been accomplished during the eight years of its existence.

        The next item of this report is an appeal for "some brethren of competent talents" to go and labor there.

        There surely was ground for regret that so small a portion of benevolent feeling was exercised towards this mission. Some individuals did contribute now and then; "A Georgia Planter" sent a part of $10; 192 a "poor woman" of the Rev. H. Malcom's congregation sent $3 for the African mission; 193 "a friend, to Africa avails of jewelry for mission to Liberia, per Mr. E. Lincoln, $6"; 194 the

        191 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. IX, pp. 212, 215, cf. also p. 195.

        192 Cf. a letter to the treasurer of the Massachusetts Baptist Education Society in The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. VI, p. 181.

         193 The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. IX, p. 255.

         194 Ibid., P. 214.

Page 417

Negroes connected with the First Baptist Church, Washington, sent $15 195 and, no doubt, some others contributed.

        It is not quite clear, however, why William Crane, still representing the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society in the Convention and the Rev. James B. Taylor, a delegate from Virginia and later the biographer of Lott Cary, did not challenge the statement that so little had been accomplished during the eight years of the existence of the African mission.

        The Convention then adopted the following recommendation of the Committee:

        Resolved, That this convention cherish a grateful recollection of the self-denying labors of our late lamented missionary to Africa, Rev. Lott Cary, and that we sympathize with his family, the American Colonization Society, and the church at Monrovia, in the loss they have sustained in his death.

        Resolved, That it be recommended to the Board to take measures for supplying the vacancy occasioned by the death of Bro. Cary as soon as possible by an able white missionary, and that they endeavor to the utmost of their power to promote the success of this mission, as one in which the convention feel a special interest.

S. CORNELIUS, Chairman.

        It was not until 1832 that the Convention saw the error of its conclusion and declared that it must depend "principally on colored persons, as missionaries and school teachers, in Africa." 196 Despite this color-phobia of the Baptists, nothing can explain away the fact that Lott Cary had lived helpfully and died honorably. Gurley 197 and Hervey 198 would make him a man of genius who, had he possessed educational advantages, would have won a worldwide reputation as preacher, as general or as chief magistrate. This square-faced, keen-eyed, reserved, cautious black held nothing back. From Charles City County to Richmond, from slave to freedman, from profligate to prophet, from sinner to saint, is a record that might have

        195 The American Baptist Magazine, p. 215.

        196 Proceedings, 1832, pp. 10, 33.

        197 Op. cit., appendix, p. 160.

        198 Op. cit., p. 207.

Page 418

gone unnoticed; but from America to Africa, from governed to governor, from missionary to martyr is Lott Cary.

        For over a score of years the little village of Carytown was the only memento of the man. But in 1850, the Rev. Eli Ball, an agent of the Southern Baptist Convention, white visiting all the Liberian Baptist Mission stations, found with difficulty the final resting place of Lott Cary. The next year a marble monument was sent out and placed over his grave. 199


        199 Hervey, op. cit., p. 206.