Sunday, May 25, 2014



Then there are the Newport Guards, named after Mary Newport, the heroine of Liberia, who fired the first gun against the rebels in the last insurrection. The officers are promised, on an average, $6.50 per month. They get about $4.85 per year, if they get anything. You understand, though, that English money is almost the only money used. You might say that trade is all barter. Money is very little used/'

"Well, how does the country hang together?"

"It don't 'hang together” always. The natives acknowledge a vague sort of submission to the president of Liberia, because it is convenient to go to Monrovia and exchange their palm oil and gold dust for cloth and hats and kettles. But occasionally they frail out the government. The last insurrection cost Liberia §7,000. The Vey people killed two Liberians, and the government troops fled in frantic confusion without even returning the fire. There was another insurrection which cost the government $4,000. That was Cape Palmas. The government had purchased a lot of cannons from the United States, and when the insurgents fired the Liberians ran, though not a soul was killed. The cannons fell into the hands of the insurgents. But it is convenient, you see, to acknowledge the president, and most of them do so as long as he lets them alone."

"The government troops don't amount to much then?"

"No, they do not. The captain of the Johnson Guards wears a plug hat and an umbrella. The men are at liberty to wear just what they please, and they drill for hours with a slave or two behind each man to hold his gun. They hunt that way, too. The apprentices' go behind and 'tote' the gun till the master gets ready 10 fire it off."

"What about education:"

"The missionary societies of New York and Boston used to have some missions. There was also a Liberian college, but this is defunct. The schools are exceedingly few and weak, and used only by the 12,000, or rather by a very few of that 12,000."

"What about society?”

"How do you mean? Prejudice? Well, I should say-there is more prejudice in Liberia between the Americans and various classes of natives than there is in the United States between white and black. There is infinitely more. A native is not allowed to enter by the front door of the 'civilized' man's house. The native children are not allowed to enter the schools, nor to strike the child of a civilized man under any circumstances whatever.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Oh yeah?

Tweets by @hotchocolatefox