South, may, however, be brought about in process of time without much real progress. There is a fundamental prejudice, a false theory as really existing as that in feudal times of the nobles against the masses of the common people; it is that the negroes were never intended by nature for education. ‘If you educate them,’ they say, ‘it will upset them, unfit them for the duties imposed upon them, rob us of our position and consideration among them. Educate them, and you will not only render them discontented laborers, but they will get into all sorts of political jars and excitements, they will become a prey to all the sophistries and isms of New England, and bad politicians will guide them to our detriment. In brief, all the beautiful natural order that God has imposed, making us superior, wise, and provident, and them confiding, childlike, and dependent, will be destroyed as much as the peace of Eden was by allowing Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge. Fix it so that we can be the mind and they the obedient muscle, and all will be well, whether you call it free labor or not.’ If the simple truth could at once break into the minds of all classes at the South, that the elevation of their common people to a higher plane of knowledge and skill would be a positive advantage to the whole, so that in each State there would be established such a system of schools as would bring the privileges of learning to the children of the humblest, then, indeed, could we count upon substantial growth.
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