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Lincoln urged Britain to help set up colony for freed slaves


March 6, 2011 - Washington

Abraham Lincoln had told freed slaves that they should found a colony in Latin America, and also urged Britain's help in proving land to these slaves in British Honduras, now Belize, a new book has claimed.

As America celebrates the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's first inauguration this week, a new book by researchers at George Mason University in Virginia, claims that Lincoln was more committed to colonising black people than previously thought, The Independent reports.

The book entitled 'Colonization After Emancipation' is based on newly uncovered documents that authors Phillip Magness and Sebastian Page found at the British National Archives in Kew and in the US National Archives.

Besides the other well known facts, the book claims that in 1862, Lincoln had urged a White House audience of "free blacks" to leave the US and settle in Central America, adding: "For the sake of your race, you should sacrifice something of your present comfort for the purpose of being as grand in that respect as the white people."

Lincoln further said that those who wanted a permanent life in the US were being "selfish" and he promoted Central America as an ideal location "especially because of the similarity of climate with your native land - thus being suited to your physical condition".

Lincoln had always voluntarily promoted colonisation, but historians differ on whether or not he moved away from the concept after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation on 1 January 1863.

The new book suggests Lincoln continued to support colonisation, engaging in secret diplomacy with the British to establish a colony in British Honduras. Among the records found at Kew is an 1863 order from Lincoln granting a British agent permission to recruit volunteers for a colony.He didn't let colonisation die off. He became very active in promoting it in the private sphere, through diplomatic channels," Magness said.

ANI

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