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May 14, 1914.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
A. S. BARNES & Co.,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern
District of New York,
183 William Street, N. Y.
THE great interest awakened in this land in behalf of the African race, more especially since the abolition of slavery, has prompted the author in the preparation of the present volume. The interesting fact is here presented of a nation born in a day on the coast of Africa—a nation, indeed, having a form of government more in harmony with the teachings of divine revelation in its structure and application to the wants and well-being of the people than that of any human government. In this respect, it may be said to present a model, even in its youth, to the old nations of Europe and Asia, worthy of imitation. This is the more worthy of note when it is borne in mind that the continent of Africa is to-day the most degraded portion of our globe, and is less known to the civilized nations than any other. But the little republic so recently planted upon the shores of that dark continent, and recognized by the great powers of Europe and America as a free and independent government, is already giving signs of growth and expansion, having passed the period of its infancy, and is now entering upon the great mission which Divine Providence has so manifestly assigned to her. It becomes a question of vast importance to the African race what part the freed people in this country are to take in the great work of enlightening and elevating her children, thousands of whom have been enveloped in the darkness of heathenism, and are not able to rise till the blessings of civilization and the gospel shall be diffused among them. The following pages will give some idea of what has been done in Liberia and the adjacent country in abolishing the slave trado, and in the work of general education, along with missionary labors, the planting of Christian churches and Sabbath-schools, for the instruction of the young, both native and foreign, in a knowledge of the Scriptures; thus aiding in the intellectual and moral training of the rising generation, that they may come up to be good citizens and members of society. It may be matter of surprise to some to learn that Liberia already has a college for her sons, having a president and professors, whose inaugural addresses, which may be found in the closing part of this volume, would do credit to any college in this land for rich and scholarly thought, and giving conclusive evidence to the world that there are men of African blood who are competent to fill the highest positions where cultivated intellect and brilliant talents are required. The first chapters of the book are taken from a small work by J. W. Lugenbul, M.D., for many years resident in Liberia, and having, as United States agent, ample facilities for gaining correct information on the geography, climate, seasons, and productions of that portion of Africa, which will be of interest to the general reader. The historical portions of the work are for the most part gathered from materials furnished by Wm. Coppinger, Esq., of Washington, to whom I am specially indebted, and may be regarded as furnishing a correct history of Liberia down to the present time. Much of this matter is in the form of letters, written by colored men in. Liberia, and given in their own language, giving facts and incidents which go to make up the history of a people settling in a new country. The body of the work has been arranged in short chapters and paragraphs, to adapt it for use in schools among the freedmen in the North as well as for the general reader. Many of the colored people in the South will be able to gather much valuable information in regard to their friends who left them years ago and went to Liberia. It is believed that more extended and reliable intelligence can be found in this work relative to the history of Liberia and that portion of Africa, than in any other work yet published. In a commercial point of view, the facts here presented in relation to the soil and productions of Liberia are of great importance; for with the development of its vast resources there will spring a commerce with foreign nations which will attract to her shores multitudes for the purposes of gain. And while this is going on, let the Christian teacher and missionary go also, to carry the blessings of education and the gospel of Christ, that the great work of elevating and saving the benighted millions of Africa may be hastened on to a glorious triumph. G. S. S.