New York Tribune, August 15, 1862. An act ``releasing certain persons held to labor in the District of Columbia'' and providing $100,000 for colonization, became law on April 16, 1862, and an act approved on July 16, freed slaves in the hands of the army and granted $500,000 for colonization. Since October, 1861, the Chiriqui Project for colonization had been under cabinet consideration (see Lincoln to Smith October 23 and 24, 1861, supra). The appointment of Reverend James Mitchell of Indiana as agent of emigration is not listed in the Official Register, but contemporary records indicate that he operated in the Department of Interior as early as May 28, 1862, when he sent Lincoln his long letter on colonization printed by the Government Printing Office. His activity in July and August brought the matter of colonization to a head with the arrangement for an interview between Lincoln and the committee of Negroes headed by Edward M. Thomas on August 14. Thomas was president of the Anglo-African Institute for the Encouragement of Industry and Art. The committee's reception of Lincoln's views is indicated by a letter from Thomas written on August 16:
``We would respectfully suggest that it is necessary that we should confer with leading colored men in Phila New York and Boston upon the movement of emigration to the point recommended in your address.
``We were entirely hostile to the movement until all the advantages were so ably brought to our view by you and we believe that our friends and colaborers for our race in those cities will when the subject is explained by us to them join heartily in sustaining such a movement. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).
Subsequent developments, however, indicated that Negroes in the District of Columbia received the colonization proposal with hostility. A Negro meeting held at Union Bethel Church was reported in the Baltimore Sun on August 23 as protesting against the plan: ``Such dissatisfaction had been manifested in regard to the course of the committee who lately waited on the president . . . that they did not attend. It was hinted that they had exceeded their instructions.''
Plans were fully matured in August, however, to send Senator Samuel C. Pomeroy with ``500 able-bodied negroes as the first colony'' to be settled on a site on the Isthmus of Chiriqui to be selected by Pomeroy (New York Tribune, September 15, 1862). A letter of authority from Lincoln to Pomeroy was prepared for Lincoln's signature, probably by the State Department, under date of September 10, 1862, but remains unsigned in duplicate copies in the Lincoln Papers. The project was abandoned when first Honduras and later Nicaragua and Costa Rica protested the scheme and hinted that force might be used to prevent the settlement.
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