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By Bronwen Everill (auth.)

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Church membership was viewed as essential to institutional identification with the goals of the British colony. The linking of worldly benefits to baptism posed a problem for some of the more traditional evangelical missionaries. There were disputes between Governor MacCarthy and some of the CMS missionaries as he was setting up his parish system because some missionaries objected to MacCarthy’s lenient prerequisites for baptism: MacCarthy and some missionary supporters argued that once a Liberated African showed signs of becoming ‘civilized’, he should be baptized; some missionaries objected that baptism should follow a change of heart, not a change of dress.

By 1822, the ACS had gained enough support to establish a new colony in West Africa. Not only was the colony founded with $100,000 appropriated for the resettlement of recaptive Africans rescued from the slave trade, but the ACS agent to the colony was almost always, from 1822, also the US government agent for recaptive Africans. 30 After the false starts at Sherbro Island and Providence Island, Monrovia – named for President James Monroe, a supporter of the colonization cause – was founded as the capital of the new colony of Liberia.

Cuffe and Coker’s Atlantic networks hint at the role that cooperation and competition played in influencing the site and type of colony founded by the American movement. Quaker networks helped Cuffe travel to Sierra Leone and make inroads with the African Institution; the transatlantic African Institution brought credibility to early ACS emigration schemes; but ultimately the commercial and African separatist church motives revealed the burgeoning nationalism involved in the American Colonization Society, and the African Institution’s reluctance to cooperate with American emigration plans on a large scale showed the limits of those networks and emerging competitive colonization that would characterize much of the endeavour.

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