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Lecture XI: teaching the slaves to read and Write.

  • Superiors frequently neglect inferiors
  • -- the policy of the South vindicated by necessity -- the results that would follow an attempt to establish a system for instructing the blacks in letters, and those which would follow the establishment of such a system -- the domestic element of the system of slavery in the Southern States affords the means for their improvement adapted to their condition and the circumstances of the country: it affords the natural, the safe, and the effectual means of the intellectual and moral elevation of the race -- the prospects of the Africans in this country, and their final removal to Africa -- the country never will be entirely rid of them -- the Southern policy wise and humane.

one point remains to be considered to complete a full and candid view of the institution of domestic slavery.

It is erroneously said that “we keep the African in a state of barbarism, and then plead that barbarism in vindication of our policy.”

Every thing is liable to abuse. I know that there are instances in the South of great neglect [229] of the slaves, both of their moral and physical condition. The same may be said of individuals at the North. Superiors often neglect their inferiors, and that, in many instances, to a very culpable degree. I know no efficient remedy for this, but that which the diffusion of a pure Christianity is calculated to afford. If any complain of these neglects in a captious spirit, we have nothing to hope from them. But from those who claim to be sincere, we have a right to expect an active and hearty cooperation in diffusing Christianity, as the only thing calculated to afford a remedy.

But it is said that a feature of the system, as established by law, necessarily produces this result: that is, the law which excludes the African from the benefits of school instruction.

The term necessarily is in this instance certainly misapplied. The barbarism in question is not the result of this law, necessarily, or otherwise. It existed originally. It still exists, and to a great extent, though greatly modified; and in the present circumstances of the race, an authorized system of school instruction would cause it to continue to exist, and perhaps in a much greater degree than it now does, and for a longer time than it promises to do under the present system. If this be so, it is the semi-barbarism that creates [230] the necessity for the law, and not the law that makes the barbarism the necessary result.

An unwieldy mass of semi-barbarism dwelling in the midst of a civilized community, with whom they cannot amalgamate by intermarriage, will, at all times, require a peculiar system of appliances for their improvement, so as to make it consistent with the common welfare. The principle of slavery must, of course, be kept in vigorous operation, and the means of improvement be wisely adapted to the state of the pupil. Otherwise, there may not only be a very improvident expenditure of means, but the most disastrous results. The horn-book might be a valuable agent in the hands of a child, but the instruments and agents in a chemical laboratory might prove its ruin.

Should the time ever arrive (which in the opinion of some will be the case, at some distant day) when the progress of African civilization will justify it; and when an asylum in Africa is provided for them — together with the means of their removal in large numbers — I have no doubt that a system of popular education would not only be indicated as proper, but afford one of the most brilliant fields for the display of public and of individual benevolence, that has ever yet presented itself in behalf of that degraded race. But what I have to say of this hypothesis is, that if it ever [231] should, the generations — both North and South--that may then live, I have no doubt, will have both sagacity enough to perceive it, and benevolence enough to improve it to the mutual advantage of themselves and the African race. But it is very evident that neither of these conditions has been fulfilled as yet. In this state of things, it cannot be supposed that the Southern people are prepared for any enterprise of the kind. I cannot imagine that any public movement, having for its object the instruction of the blacks in reading and writing, could be made without involving the most disastrous results.

Let us suppose that a majority in our legislative councils were in favor of such a measure, and were actually to tax the people to support a system of primary education for the blacks : any man would certainly be excessively stupid who would not allow that a minority would, at all times, (in the present state of public experience,) exist, who deemed the law sufficiently oppressive to justify repudiation and physical resistance. If this object were sought to be accomplished by individual enterprise, the results could scarcely be less embarrassing. This will readily appear; for it would have to be effected either in the common schools of the country, or by the establishment of separate schools for the Africans. But I am not [232] aware that the former is allowed to any material extent even in the free States, where certainly, if the scheme were practicable, the free blacks might be educated in the same schools with the whites. The usage of civilization, which denies them a social footing in so many other respects, must, of course, so far deny them this privilege as to render the scheme mainly ineffectual in the accomplishment of good, or the usage is singularly inconsistent with itself.

And can it be supposed that such a scheme would operate better in the South, where the reasons against it are a thousand-fold stronger, growing out of the large number of the African population? Certainly nothing could be more utopian than an enterprise of this kind. Public opinion would scarcely be sufficiently divided to justify even the wildest schemer in making a serious attempt to effect it. The latter plan might perhaps be attempted, but, on account of the evils it would involve, it would still be subject to impassable objections.

Slaves, though not owned by the poor, are held for the most part by farmers and planters whose pecuniary circumstances are what is called moderate. There are exceptions. Occasionally, they are held by men of wealth; but in the older States particularly, (and of these I speak from [233] personal knowledge,) the great mass of those who own them cannot be said, in any popular sense of the term, to be rich. Now, the habits of half-labor, as any Northern man would regard them, in which the slaves are usually indulged, would put it quite out of the power of most of slave-owners to afford the necessary support for such schools, however favorable they might be to the scheme. Withal, there is but little if any room to doubt that a great many, both among the rich as well as the poor, would oppose the measure, for what appeared to them reasons of sound policy. This would leave the scheme to be supported entirely by the few rich men, whose benevolence might lead them to overlook the strong popular objections against it. It requires no particular sagacity to foresee the practical mischiefs which would attend the efforts of a few rich men who might attempt to override the popular feeling on a subject of this kind. Public opinion would put it down! This would be the end of it in one direction, but not in another.

The whole movement would be attended, from first to last, with an irritation of the public mind in the highest degree unfavorable, and, indeed, dangerous to the peace and prosperity of the commonwealth. All irritations of the public mind in regard to the blacks, it is well known, result [234] injuriously to them, generally abridging them of their civil privileges and social comforts. In this instance, viewing the subject as a practical question, I cannot see that it would be attended with a single redeeming virtue, so far as the blacks are concerned. But to place it in the most favorable light, let us suppose that, by some means, one or the other of these plans had actually gone into operation — which, by the way, can scarcely be conceived to be possible in the present state of society — and had already made a decided impression upon the public mind of the Africans. Even in this case it would still be liable to strong and impassable objections. It would be educating them in advance of their circumstances and prospects. In their circumstances, it would be even more objectionable than it could be to take the time and labor of a white youth, which (we will also suppose) were required for the immediate support of himself and of those depending upon his labor, and educate him for the learned pursuits of a Newton or a Macaulay, whilst at the same time, for causes beyond his control, he was doomed for the remainder of his days to work in the mines of Cornwall or Chesterfield, by the light of Sir Humphrey Davy's lamp! No one of the important objects of so high an education is accessible to him. The least part of the objection to [235] such a course as this is, that it would be a useless expenditure of time and labor.

But the reason is much stronger in the case of the African. The civil offices are all closed against him. No one of the learned professions is open to him. The Law of caste which forbids his amalgamation bars him out from every thing of the kind. He is doomed to occupy, so long as he remains in the midst of a white community, the position of an inferior. God himself has so ordered it. The bold line of distinction he has drawn between the races, is fully declarative of his will. He only can reverse the decree, “The Ethiopian cannot change his skin,” any more than “the leopard can change his spots.” In this state of facts, would not the public mind — whose decisions must be authoritative in the settlement of such a question — very naturally inquire for the good that it was thought might result from so material a change in the circumstances of the institution? And is it not obvious that no answer could be given that would insure satisfaction? No power of eloquence with which it is competent to enforce the claims of education, could possibly move the public mind from the sober conviction that the advantages and privileges of education, so necessary to a state of civil liberty, and so appropriate in other respects to that state, could not, with any [236] degree of propriety be demanded in behalf of a necessary condition of slavery!

Thus far, the principles of political economy, alone considered, would, in the public estimation, fully settle this question. But this is not all. The question has much graver aspects than money can possibly give it. The effect of generally enlisting the African mind in literary pursuits and inquiries is too obvious either to be overlooked or slightly regarded. A state of popular disquietude must inevitably result, and this, too, at a time when the door of Providence remains effectually closed against his release from slavery and his removal to Africa. This disquietude could not fail to lead to many fanatical and fruitless attempts to effect a change in the political condition of the race. Such a state of popular solicitude among the blacks would of course be followed by much greater solicitude and even irritation on the part of the whites. So potent a cause would certainly precipitate its appropriate results. The oppressive and, in some respects, the savage laws by which ancient Sparta, Greece, and Rome governed their slaves — some of who were highly educated men — would of necessity be reenacted in this country. Our present mild a form of slavery would be substituted by a form of oppression unknown to the history of this country, even in the most barbarous [237] condition of the African race. And thus would end the chapter of abolition benevolence in behalf of the African race in the United States.

In view of these considerations, the policy of the South on this subject, allow me to affirm, is founded no less in benevolence to the African and the peace of the commonwealth, than in the soundest principles of political economy. It relies upon the domestic element of the system of slavery, as the natural, the only safe, and ultimately the effectual means of the intellectual and moral elevation of the African — so far as any means can be effectual in the accomplishment of that object.

1. It is the natural way — that is, the way adapted to their condition as an inferior and naturally distinct race, who, both on account of the physical facts which constitute them a distinct race, and the low state of civilization (if it may be called civilization at all) which they have yet been able to attain, should not be admitted to a social footing by intermarriage with the superior race.

In a former lecture, it was demonstrated that an uncivilized race, dwelling in the midst of a civilized community, had no right to social equality, and, for a still stronger reason, no right to political sovereignty in such a community. It was also shown that their natural rights entitled them to protection, and reasonable provision for their improvement, [238] and, as in the case of minors, to such “authoritative control” as is best calculated to preserve their power of self-action — their power of volition — from that enslavement to the baser passions of depraved nature, which is destructive of all true liberty, and the most degraded and ruinous form of slavery — subjection to the devil; in comparison with which, a physical subjection to a fellow-man, in civilized life, with a power, defined by law, only to control his time and labor to a reasonable extent, is a paradise. These — we of the South say — are their natural rights--the good to which they are entitled in virtue of their humanity. Now as these rights are in their nature relative, they imply the duty on the part of the civilized race amongst whom, in the providence of God, they dwell, to afford them both the protection and control in question. Their duty, in these respects, is clearly reciprocal with the rights of the Africans. They can no more omit these duties to the blacks with impunity, than they can do so to the minors and imbeciles of their own race. Now what form of control will more naturally or appropriately fulfil the conditions of this problem? They are to exercise the sovereign control: all political freedom is denied the blacks by their condition. They have no right to it. It is not, to them, the essential good. Their rights lie, [239] as in the case of imbecies of any other race, in being governed, not in governing themselves, in those matters which constitute the objects of civil government. To exercise this sovereign control of the blacks, and at the same time afford them the protection and improvement which are appropriate to a necessary condition of slavery, or state of subjection to such sovereign control, is the solemn duty of the superior race. The position here advocated is, that the domestic element of the present system in operation amongst us, affords a more perfect guaranty that all the conditions of this problem will be fulfilled, than could be effected by any other system, or by the proposed modification of the present system. The element in question constitutes for them an invaluable school of instruction — a school in which both the mental and moral nature is developed. A school for the formal instruction of the blacks in letters, we have seen would operate only to defeat the end proposed by its establishment. To govern and protect them, and at the same time make them useful to themselves and to society, by a system of military police, could find but few if any advocates, even among the visionary. But what more natural than to accomplish all these objects, by a system which distributes them n small numbers through the different families of civilized life? Here they [240] are brought into immediate connection with much that is calculated to develop the mind, cultivate the moral sense, and train the will to the habit of obedience to its high behests. The law confers upon the head of the family the same right to direct and appropriate the time and labor of the blacks, that he enjoys in the case of his children — and no more. The period of time to which this authority extends, differs in the one case from that of the other; but this is the only difference known to the law. Great abuses of this authority sometimes occur in the case of the blacks; but the same is occasionally true of parental authority in all parts of the civilized world. The former may furnish a fit theme for the perverted genius of Mrs. Harriet Stowe. The fruit of such a genius may have a poetry — of its kind; but it can lay claim to neither philosophy nor common sense. The same force of logic which is hurled against the authority of the master, rakes the authority of the parent in the line of its fire, with an effect no less destructive. Both are equally necessary; both are equally protected by law; and both are open to great abuses. The poetry which invests these abuses with the show of argument against the authority of the master may cater to the corrupt taste of both the “great vulgar” and the “little vulgar;” but it is the same cormorant [241] appetite which is fed, that leads the mere “readers and cipherers” of the land to turn aside from those valuable productions so appropriate to their real wants, and delight themselves in tragic stories of murder, arson, and rape, from the perusal of which they rise with passions inflamed to crusade against the morals of society. Christianity sternly rebukes the abuses complained of; and equally condemns that perversion of genius which employs those abuses to corrupt the public taste and the public morals. As far as Christianity prevails, the civil law which requires humanity in the exercise of domestic authority, no less in the case of the slave than in the case of the child or the apprentice, is sanctioned, and, in cases demanding it, is duly enforced by public opinion and sentiment. In all communities in which Christianity is the presiding influence, African slavery must, therefore, be a mild form of domestic servitude. It even contributes in a measure to a knowledge of letters. Many servants are raised by their associations with civilized life to a desire to read the word of God. The domestic relation often supplies them with the means of gratifying this desire. Many pious slaves read the word of God as a part of their family worship; and instances are not wanting of those of whom it may be said, they “are mighty in the Scriptures.” Such are the tendencies [242] and capabilities of domestic slavery as a system recognized by law; and apart from those abuses which all good men deplore — no less in the case of the slave than in the case of the child and the apprentice, who are no further protected from inhumanity by the provisions of law than is the slave. Hence this system is the natural way of protecting, improving, and governing the African for the mutual benefit of society. It is evidently indicated by Providence. No other can be appropriate to a mass of population who can never be politically free in our midst, for the reason that, in the order of Divine Providence, they never can amalgamate with us. But it is,

2. The only safe way.

It is slow, it is true, but it is for that reason only the more safe. Its effects are, for the most part, without observation. Hence, it produces no irritation of the public mind. It develops the law of sympathy on both sides in the ratio in which it unfolds the intellectual and moral nature of the subordinate race. It raises no visionary and fanatical hopes in the one, nor excites any morbid fears in the other. I say, its results march forward without observation. A revenue tariff, for example, affords a full support to the government by a virtual tax upon the pockets of the people; and it does this at a time when they [243] would not for a moment consent to pay that tax, if it were made a direct tax, to be collected by the authority of an exciseman. So, without observation, the domestic element of slavery is accomplishing its results, with equal safety. Or, more in point, perhaps, it is like the “kingdom of heaven,” which “comes without observation.” The “kingdom of heaven,” in the form of principles, diffuses itself through the mass of society, and ultimately works, as a legitimate result, the boldest political revolutions. But by diffusing itself quietly, or “without observation,” it prepares the public mind for its changes in the exact ratio in which it effects them; and thus accomplishes that, by the popular will, the attempt to do which in another way would have razed the foundations of civil society, and closed the history of civilization for ages to come. So, this divine agent — for such I must consider it — is working constant changes. It is daily modifying the features of the system, and so developing the moral character of the African, as to throw him up, by successive steps, higher and still higher on the scale of civilization. But this it does so quietly, because naturally, that it actually works a specific result on the masters, and accomplishes its objects by the consent of their wills and their own active cooperation. [244]

All this, we see, is effected with entire safety. Even in those instances-and they are numerous — in which the working of the domestic element of the system results in teaching the African to read, we are not aware that it involves, or even threatens, society, with any of those evils which it is so obvious a more formal system of school instruction would precipitate. Slaves who are below a certain point in civilization, cannot be induced, by any of the influences employed by young masters and mistresses, (and they are often specific,) to deal with the task of learning to read. Only those who are so far raised in the scale of civilization as to have awakened in them a hallowed desire to learn more of the will of God, and their duty as Christians, ever avail themselves of the opportunities afforded them by their domestic relations, and learn to read. These devote a portion of their spare hours to reading the Bible; and a pious African, who reads his Bible, is always known and appreciated as a better servant, as well as a better man. He enjoys the respect and confidence of his owner, and is highly appreciated by all the family. I have often known the prayer of such a slave to be more relied on in times of domestic affliction than that of any minister whose services could be commanded.

But, more than this, the results which have [245] been brought to view are not only effected with safety, but also with a high degree of satisfaction to the owners. Everywhere families may be met with, who will call your attention with hallowed satisfaction to what they have done for the improvement or comfort of their slaves. But it will be found that this very good is just such that if you had attempted to effect it by other means than the quiet influences of the domestic element of this system, you would, by a universal law of our nature — self-preservation---have converted each of those families into a kind of Roman amphitheatre, and made the unhappy slaves the chief victims of your rashness. Hence, it is not without the gravest reasons that the intelligence of the South rebukes the fanatical spirit of abolitionists, with the most solemn assurances that they know not the things whereof they speak, when they urge upon the Southern people the duty of schooling and emancipating their slaves.

3. But I also affirm that the feature of the system under consideration will ultimately effect the moral elevation of the African, so far as any means can be effectual in the accomplishment of this object, whilst he remains in the bosom of a community with which he cannot be admitted to a social footing. [246]

So unobserved is the influence of this element, that I find but few, even among intelligent and practical men, who, before their attention is particularly called to the subject, are aware of what it has already effected. But in numerous public addresses in the States of Virginia and North Carolina, I have appealed to the oldest and most observant men in large assemblies, and in no instance have I met with a single individual who did not concur in my statement that the present race of Africans were very materially improved. both in their moral and physical condition, above what they were some twenty or forty years ago, and that the change has been much greater with the slaves than with the free colored population. Now, it is obvious that this improvement will continue to go on, and in an increasing ratio. On the same principle that labor applied to capital is productive in an increasing ratio, the means in operation for the improvement of the African will greatly accelerate his progress. Hence, some future period will present a generation of Africans highly improved above what they are now. Consequently, there will arrive, at some distant day, a period at which this people will have reached that point of moral progress at which they will be capable of appreciating, and, in a suitable physical [247] condition, adapting them to social equality, will be prepared to occupy and wisely improve, the privileges of civil liberty.

It is on this principle that the laws of all civilized States confer the privilege of political freedom on the descendants of their free citizens. At the age of twenty-one, they are made politically free. The law assumes, what is found generally to be true, that previously to this period they are incapable of using this privilege to the advantage of themselves and of the community; but that, at this age, their capacities are sufficiently developed to make a proper use of this privilege; and as ,neither their physical condition nor any accidents of their position operate as a bar to their social equality with other free citizens, it is conferred on them. By analogy, therefore, we may infer, that when the African in America shall have reached a similar moral state, and when his physical condition and the accidents of his position shall lit him for social equality with other free citizens, a similar right of political freedom will inure to him. It will be to him the right--that is, the good--which ought to be allowed him. To withhold it would be despotism. Now, the former condition of this problem, his moral state in this country at some future day may fulfil; but that the latter can never be fulfilled in this country is [248] obvious from the facts and reasonings already adduced. But when in future time his state shall fulfil the first condition, it is a grave question which we may safely anticipate, whether it will not be the duty of the superior race amongst whom the Africans now dwell, to remove them to a land where they can enjoy social equality. We hazard nothing in deciding this question in the affirmative. Rights and duties are reciprocal. Then whatever it shall be the right of the African to claim of their superiors, it will be their duty to confer. That they would be entitled to removal in large numbers, will appear--1. They will have contributed largely to develop the resources of the country, as the price of their civilization. 2. It would be to them the good, without which their civilization could but partially avail them Hence, it would be the duty of their superiors to remove them in such numbers as their means of doing so might allow. But more than this, it would be a duty which they owed themselves, even if they were under no obligations to the inferior race. For when a numerous population in our midst, though confessedly inferior, shall arise to the moral condition defined, the difficulties attending their longer continuance in a state of slavery, domestic or otherwise, will be far too great to justify the experiment. [249]

Hence I have long thought that there was usually a very unnecessary expenditure of sympathy on behalf of certain enslaved nations of Europe, as well as the African of this country. A nation, the masses of whom have arisen to the moral condition of freedom, will assert their political rights; and they will usually do it on practicable grounds. It is only at this point that they challenge public sympathy. For the mind was never before sufficiently free to make their situation an oppressive one, assuming that their rulers do not abuse their power. Before this period, their rights lay in being governed — not in governing. Political freedom would be as dangerous intrusted to them, as a razor would be in the hands of a child, and should, for the same general reasons, be withheld from them. But withheld by whom? asks the philosophy of Dr. Wayland. I answer, By those who have the intelligence to do it. Both the principle of benevolence and the law of reciprocity require this; and that intelligence which imposes this duty, can never fail to supply the means for the restraint of brute force.

Of the truth of this general position no people appear to be more sensible than the aristocracy of Europe. De Tocqueville clearly asserts this on their behalf, when he states that the object of his tour through the United States arose from the [250] necessity of becoming acquainted with the spirit and character of democracy, that a proper direction might be given to it in Europe. To direct it wisely might be done; but to crush it was utterly impossible. Now if this author be correct in supposing that the spirit of democracy is truly awake among the masses of European population, and that consequently they are asserting their right to freedom — not from the abuse of legitimate power, which calls for reform merely, but, from the power itself, which their improved moral and social condition has rendered no longer appropriate, and which, therefore, they now sensibly feel to be an oppression, calling for revolution — they are following the indications of nature, and there is no power in those nations that can shut the door of Providence against them. An obedient child will cheerfully submit to the reasonable though stringent despotism exercised over him by his parent, and even look back upon it in after life with the highest pleasure. Nevertheless, on reaching his maturity, he will refuse to submit to it any longer, and even feel an attempt to force it upon him as an oppression too intolerable to be borne. So, by parity of reasoning, will the masses of these nations demand an entire abolition of the existing modes of government, and claim such as are adapted to their state of maturity. But, on the other hand, if the [251] movements in question are the work of only a few master-spirits who have mistaken the actual condition of the masses, who have not yet risen to the moral condition of freedom, they will be found to be fighting against God. The door of his providence is closed against them. There are no means in the compass of their power by which they can force an entrance through this door. They may shed oceans of blood, but it shall not avail. So, in the former case, the aristocracy may exhaust alike their treasures and their diplomatic resources, but it can only be to fill the land with desolation and mourning. The enlightened popular mind and will must prevail. “Verily,” a premature resistance in either case “has its reward” --great suffering, and a vast accumulation of guilt, but not success.

These principles are not without their application to the Africans in this country. Should the remote period arrive when the state of the Africans fulfils the first condition of the problem laid down, they will certainly feel their political condition in this country to be an oppressive one, and, if necessary, assert their right to remove. I say, assert their right to remove; for in the mental Condition assumed, they would have far too much good sense to do what many less qualified to judge than they would then be have done-ask for political [252] equality amongst a people with whom they could never be on a footing of social equality. I am equally satisfied that they would be under no necessity to ask this. The intelligence and virtue, no less than the interest, of that age, will forestall such a necessity, by the measures which justice and humanity will dictate as proper to meet the circumstances of the case.

For my own part, I have no doubt that, under that wise superintending Providence which has so signally marked the progress of African civilization, by introducing so large a portion of the race into this country, that distant day, when it arrives, will provide for itself. Anxious solicitude on the part of the present age is not demanded. Neither the intelligence nor the benevolence of that remote age will be unequal to the task of providing for the necessities of its times. Already, indeed, “coming events cast their shadows before.” The elements have been long combining, both to usher in and to dispose of those events. The domestic element of slavery is, as we have seen, quietly and effectually doing its work. God is raising up a vast government on the coast of Africa, which promises to reach a respectable station among the civilized nations of the earth — in moral and physical resources. In the progress of events, there is no ground to doubt that the abolition spirit, abroad [253] in so large a portion of our country, will have had its day, and run its course through all the usual stages and phases of fanaticism, and, giving place to a sounder philanthropy and a purer benevolence, those who now advocate it will be prepared to unite with the philosophy of the South, and availing themselves of the vast resources of this great country, and of those of the new government in Africa, will transport large numbers to a community in which their social equality will enable them to enjoy the freedom for which they were fitted in this country. Many of those who remain will, no doubt, amalgamate with the whites, however it may be in violation of the laws of civilization. Those barriers which free-soilism is now erecting on our Southern border, will ultimately yield to a sounder policy, and many of our slaves will find their way to the remote South, where the state of civilization will admit of a more general amalgamation, and be lost in the Mexican races; whilst the remainder — perhaps a large number — will continue in the United States, but in a highly improved condition, and under a form of civil government which will not be felt by them as a political oppression, and continue to bless the country. I have no idea that the race will ever become extinct in this country, or cease to exist under a subordinate government of some kind. [254]

I would not claim entire accuracy for these views of the distant future; but of their general accuracy I have no doubt. Future history will, doubtless, challenge the gratitude of the Christian world for that wonderful providence by which the residence of the African in this country was made as the sojourn of Joseph in Egypt. As God sent him before his brethren “to preserve life,” so it will be found that he permitted the introduction of the pagan African into this country, that he might be raised by contact with civilization, redeemed by the genius of the gospel, and returned to bless his kindred and his country. Thus all Africa shall, sooner or later, share the blessings of civilization and religion. I am not able to see any thing that can or will embarrass the progress of this great work, but the spirit of a premature abolition. The doctrines of emancipation and school instruction may keep up an irritated state of the public mind, that must act as a serious check to the civilizing tendencies of the domestic element of the system; for the long-continued agitation of these questions may excite fanatical aspirants to attempt to pass limits which God has declared to be impassable — that is, to procure political freedom for a people who are not prepared for it, and that in the midst of another people with whom they can never generally amalgamate. All [255] attempts of this sort, it is well known, are extremely hurtful to the progress of the African in civilization. Every consideration, therefore, of policy and of humanity forbids that these doctrines should receive the slightest encouragement from an enlightened people. The race is not prepared for the operation of either of these schemes. No better evidence need be required by those not personally acquainted with the character of the Africans, than the fact that they have never once attempted to assert a right to political freedom. The fact that, nowhere throughout the Southern States, can it be said of even a respectable minority of the race, that they have given the slightest indication of such a disposition, is proof that they have not yet risen to that mental state, and hence are not entitled to the political privileges which are appropriate to it. It is vain to point to the few attempts at local insurrection which have occurred. The highest conception which the masses have ever yet formed of political freedom is simply liberty to do nothing. To win this cherished object of barbarism-not of civilization--a bare handful, on a few occasions, have concocted plans as hopeless as the spirit in which they were conceived was barbarian, and as visionary as the dreams of Miller that he could make an intelligent Christian people believe his vagaries; or the [256] leaders of the Mormon folly and wickedness, that they could impose their grossly stupid imposture upon the civilized world.

In view, therefore, of these facts and reasonings, we conclude that the Southern people are not obnoxious to the charge of keeping the Africans in a state of barbarism, by their policy, either on the subject of emancipation or of school instruction; but that they are following the indications of Divine Providence, and serving the cause of humanity in the civilization of the African in America, and the redemption of his fatherland.

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