Superb letter written by a New Jersey African-American man, being a 5-page (legal size) hand-written report to the president and Board of Managers of the New Jersey Colonization Society recounting his trip to Liberia. The Colonization Societies were anti-slavery groups dedicated to repatriating former slaves to Africa, after establishing an African republic (Liberia) modeled on the US. The letter is datelined February 5, 1866, from the Liberian capital city of Monrovia, named for President James Monroe, who was president when Liberia was founded. The author of the letter is H(enry) W. Johnson, a long-time abolitionist who had earlier been a critic of colonization. The prospects in post-Civil War America seem to have been disappointing to him.
Spectacular, detailed content about the promise of the Liberian experiment. The report is full of elegantly written descriptions and details, including an account of the crossing, the beauty of the location, the pleasant climate, and enthusiasm for the project's progress. "All that has transpired since I left America, and all I have witnessed since my arrival here, have only confirmed me in my belief, - that Africa is the best home for the oppressed Black men in America!" The author felt an exhilarating freedom in Liberia that he felt denied in America "for no other reason than I wear the dark skin given me by my Creator!" He offers his opinion that American free Blacks were wrong to stay and "hug their chains" and "kiss the rod that smites them" rather than beginning anew in Liberia.
Fantastic content from an African American eyewitness to the early days of the Liberian experiment in colonization. An absolutely unique and rare document. An interesting postscript explains that the author and his family have contracted "the fever" and thus apologizes for having to continue the report in more detail at a later time. $5900.00