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[277]

The response was violence and scorn.

The negroes were finally allowed to occupy the land for which they had paid, but what a very invigorating sympathy did these two emancipators excite in this free State! Here was one Virginian who had emancipated by will numerous slaves, and here was another who had relinquished a large estate to secure the fulfillment of this part of the will. The response to them from the North was mob violence and contumelious scorn. What was a poor belated Virginian to do? If his slaves went North with his consent, stones and curses were good enough for them; they were only welcome when they went without it. In effect it was said, ‘Your negroes are intolerable to us; we are not willing to accept the companionship of a very small number, even on the terms of no cost to ourselves and all their expenses paid; but we will not cease to weary you with our importunity to set free and provide for your millions,’ and to do it, as Mr. Mendenhall said, ‘forthwith.’ Crusaders are not unapt to be a trifle derelict in magnetism when their solicitude is to convert everyone except themselves.

That which the North demanded of the South, as their expository supplement has shown, involved the admission of the improvised freedman to all those privileges which in the land of the crusaders had been so curiously overlooked, including that which at the North could not possibly exist — the power at the polls to exchange the barbarism of Africa for the civilization of the United States. Mr. Freeman, in his ‘Impressions of the United States,’ with the judicial calm which tempers all his writings,1 has stated the problem as it was and is presented to the South. ‘There is, I allow difficulty and danger in the position of a class enjoying civil but not political rights, placed under the protection of the law, but having no share in making the law or in choosing its makers. But surely there is still greater difficulty and danger, in the existence of a class of citizens who at the polling-booth are equal to other citizens, but who are not their equals anywhere else. We are told that education has done and is doing much for the once-enslaved race. But education cannot wipe out the eternal distinction that has been drawn by the hand [278] of nature. No teaching can turn a black man into a white one. The question which in days of controversy the North heard with such wrath from the mouth of the South, “Would you like your daughter to marry a nigger?” lies at the root of the matter.2 Where the closest of human connections is in any lawful form looked on as impossible there is no real fellowship. The artificial tie of citizenship is in such cases a mockery.’

1Professor Freeman's sympathies were strongly marked, but they never caused him to swerve from truth, and they rarely caused him to swerve from justice.’—New York Nation, April 14, 1892.

2 For years the repetition of this question has been the standing gibe whereby the missionaries of a higher culture have exposed the illogical and slightly barbarian mental attitude of the South. But to this enlightened scholar the question seems to have several signs of hereditary intelligence.

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