A Collection in
The Special Collections Department
Accession Number 10595, 10595-a
Special Collections Department, University of Virginia LibraryContact Information:
Alderman Memorial Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4110
Phone: (434) 924-3025
Fax: (434) 924-4968
Processed by: Special Collections Department
Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
© 2002 By the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.
There are no restrictions.
There are no restrictions.
Letters of Samson Ceasar from Liberia, Accession #10595, 10595-a, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
This collection was purchased from David G. Phillips Co. Inc. on June 11, 1984 and from William A Fox Auctions, December 5, 1990.
Samson Ceasar was a freed slave and a settler of Liberia.
This collection consists of six items, 1834-1835, the letters of Samson Ceasar, of Monrovia, Liberia written to David S. Haseldon and Henry R. Westfall of Buchannon, Lewis County, [West] Virginia.
A letter from Samson Ceasar, Monrovia, Liberia to David S. Haseldon of Buchannon, Lewis County, [West] Virginia. Ceasar notes that all landed safely in Monrovia. Most have had fever, and four have died, including the wife of the missionary Reverend Mr. Wrigt. Ceasar says that people have done better than he expected, and that many have become rich. He says that the "natives," most of whom are "Croomen" [Kru], "do most of the work for the people in this place." Samson mentions an offer from a Presbyterian family to support and educate him. The Methodist bishop has also offered to find him a station. Samson is not certain in what part of Africa he will be placed.
Samson Ceasar writes to Henry Westfall asking him to forward a newspaper to Adam Carper. The newspaper contains news of Africa, and Samson asks that Westfall tell Adam to read the news and to have his neighbors read it as well. Ceasar apologizes that he cannot write more, but that he is traveling to Caldwell. The newspaper has apparently been endorsed by one of the storekeepers in the area.
Samson Ceasar writes about conditions in Monrovia, Liberia among the recent immigrants. He notes that many people have died there, and he therefore has not traveled extensively. He comments on the weekly arrival of ships from Europe. He talks about the "natural talents" of the natives, and discusses recent death and sickness among the white missionaries. He realizes that "it is as nigh to heaven in Africa as it is in America," and looks forward to seeing Westfall and his family "on the right hand of God...where we can enjoy the company of each other for ever." He asks Westfall to write "as often as [he] can" about the health of his family and friends, and sends his greetings to all of them. He expects to return "in two or three years," and concludes by apologizing for his bad writing.
Samson Ceasar writes that since his arrival in Africa six months ago he has "not kept [his] bed one day," even though he has had a slight fever and some chills. He says that the more he sees of Africa, the more he likes it, though he is critical of the American practice of sending the "dumb" slaves to Africa instead of the ones who will help to improve the country. He describes the favorable growing conditions in Africa and notes that the white and black races would be equal if only given the same opportunities. He says that he has been studying grammar and arithmetic and describes his continuing dedication to his religious life.
Samson Ceasar complains of having received only two letters from his friend though he has written "as many as a dozen" to him. He recounts that a number of people have died from sickness in the last three months. He remarks that a number of preachers have decided to remain with their families in Liberia "for life" including the superintendent of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He mentions the possibility of coming to America.
Samson Ceasar writes that a settlement at Bassa Cove (about one hundred miles from Monrovia) has been attacked by natives. According to Ceasar, 15 to 20 Americans were killed. He says that he will send one newspaper with this letter and promises to send another paper in the next couple of days. Ceasar says that he does not fear the natives.