Cuffee and wrote to him saying, 'The great desire of those whose minds are impressed with the subject is to give opportunity to the free people of color to rise to their proper level and at the same time to provide a powerful means of putting an end to the slave trade, and sending civilization and Christianity to Africa'.9 Finley became an architect of the Liberian colonization scheme.
When eventually the American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed in December 1816 in a hall in the United States House of Representatives, Cuffee's proposals and example were the inspiration, and Sierra Leone the model that people had in mind. The board of managers of the ACS paid fulsome tribute to Cuffee in a memorial note, praising him for his clear and unwavering judgement, his informed opinion, his unyielding commitment and unstinting devotion, and, above all, for his hands-on experience of life in West Africa, experience that counteracted the effects of unfounded prejudice. The tribute to him ended with the point that any future engagement with Africa would have to be based on partnership of an uncommon order, one in which fact and knowledge would replace prejudice and aspersion, an order that must be evaluated in terms of its 'usefulness to the native Africans and their descendants in this country'.10 With the antislavery cause in West Africa, the African theme in Christianity acquired a trans-Atlantic range.
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