James Spriggs Payne

James Spriggs Payne

name=James Spriggs Payne

order=4th President of Liberia (1868)
8th President of Liberia (1876)
term_start=January 6 1868
term_end=January 3 1870
January 3 1876 – January 7 1878
vicepresident=Unknown (1868)
Unknown (1876)
predecessor=Daniel Bashiel Warner (1868)
Joseph Jenkins Roberts (1876)
successor=Edward James Roye (1868)
Anthony W. Gardiner (1876)
birth_date=birth date|1819|12|19|mf=y
birth_place=Richmond, Virginia
death_date=death date and age|1882|1|31|1819|12|19|mf=y
death_place=Monrovia, Liberia

James Spriggs Payne (December 19, 1819January 31, 1882) served as the fourth (1868 to 1870) and eighth (1876 to 1878) President of Liberia.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Payne grew up in a highly religious Methodist family and was a devout Christian. Payne was nearly white and could have passed for a white man; he was said to be only 1/8th black. While a child, his family moved to Liberia, run by the American Colonization Society, to begin a new life.

Aside from religion, he showed interest in politics and economics, areas he later became a successful author in. He was appointed by the government to work finalizing the breakage of Liberia's ties to the American Colonization Society.

He left office in 1870, and was re-elected in 1876. He died in Monrovia in 1882, four years after finally leaving office.

First presidency (1868-1870)

Relations with indigenous

During his presidency Payne fought to end the slave trade existing on Liberia's coast. (Other reports though (History of Liberia and Joseph Jenkins Roberts) say: “The slave trade from Liberian ports was ended by the British Navy in the 1850s”). He also improved government relations with the natives, who he felt politics had for the most part ignored.


Over the decades after 1868, escalating economic difficulties began to weaken the state's dominance over the coastal indigenous population. When the financially burdened ACS withdrew its support, conditions worsened as Liberia tried desperately to modernize its largely agricultural economy. The cost of imports was far greater than the income generated by exports of coffee, rice, palm oil, sugarcane, and timber. Payne increased the country's foreign trade.

Foreign relations

Denmark recognized Liberia either in 1869 or 1849 (accounts differ).

econd presidency (1876-1878)

Troubles with indigenous

The decades after 1868, escalating economic difficulties weakened the state's dominance over the coastal indigenous population. Conditions worsened, the cost of imports was far greater than the income generated by exports of coffee, rice, palm oil, sugarcane, and timber. Liberia tried desperately to modernize its largely agricultural economy.

Immediately after his inauguration in January 1876 Payne turned his attention to the war that had broken out in Cape Palmas, Maryland County, the previous September. The situation in this area was particularly serious as Britain was supplying ammunition to the contesting parties. Payne appealed to the U.S. for assistance and was taken to Cape Palmas to negotiate in an American man-of-war. These negotiations were successful and a peace treaty was signed on 1 March 1876. Payne returned to Monrovia but his financial scope for policies was greatly reduced during his term due to the war, estimated at around 60,000 pounds.


Besides Payne's descendants in Liberia the Krio branch of the Blyden family are descended from Payne through Anna Erskine, the partner of Edward Wilmot Blyden.

ee also

*History of Liberia

Further reading

*see History of Liberia, further reading

External links

*see History of Liberia, external links

NAME=Payne, James Spriggs
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=James S. Payne, James Spriggs-Payne
SHORT DESCRIPTION=President of Liberia
DATE OF BIRTH=19 December 1819
PLACE OF BIRTH=Richmond, Virginia
DATE OF DEATH=31 January 1882

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