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Chapter 27: a Zambo village.

“what here-what dar? Lib here, paper dar. What place? Hi! hi! dis place Caddo; colour genl'men lib in Caddo-hi!”

Caddo, a village in the Choctaw district, thirtytwo miles north of Red River, thirty-seven miles south of Limstone Gap, is a Zambo settlement, one of the most singular hamlets in a country full of ethnological surprises. A scatter of log-cabins, standing in fenced fields, surrounds a little town, with school and prison, chapel and masonic lodge, main street and market-place, billiard-room and drinking-bar. A line of rails connects this little town with Fort Gibson, in the Creek region, and with Denison city, in Texas. Caddo can boast of a printing-press and of a weekly sheet of news. Yet neither school nor prison, railway plant nor printing-press excites so much attention as the [273] marvel in the ruts and tracks. The people of Caddo are the sight of sights; these cabins in the fields and nearly all these shanties in the town being tenanted by the new race of mixed bloods known to science as Zambos — the offspring of Negro bucks and Indian .squaws.

According to Tschudi's List of Half-castes, a White father and a Negro mother produce a Mulatto; a White father and an Indian mother produce a Mestizo; an Indian father and a Negro mother produce a Chino; a Negro father and an Indian mother produce a Zambo. These four hybrids are the primary mixed breeds of America.

A Mulatto is coffee-coloured; a Mestizo is ruddygold; a Chino is dirty-red; a Zambo is dirtybrown.

A White father and Mulatta mother produce the Quadroon; a White father and Mestiza mother the Creole. Quadroons and Creoles, though dark and coarse, are sometimes beautiful, and in a state of servitude young females of these families always fetched more money than a Turkish pasha gave for his Georgian slave. A Negro father and Mulatta mother produce a Cubra, and a Cubra is an ugly [274] mongrel. In another generation the original Negro type returns. Not so with the Indian family. An Indian father and a Mestiza mother produce the MIestizo-claro-often a handsome specimen of the human animal. But Indian blood appears to mix imperfectly with Black. The Chino is a lanky and ungainly fellow, and his half-brother, the Zambo, is uglier still. Nature, one imagines, never meant these families to mix. A breed so droll in figure and complexion as the Zambo imps who sprawl and wallow in these ruts is hardly to be matched on earth.

Yet these ugly creatures are said to be prolific. Every cabin in Caddo shows a brood of imps; and if the new school of ethnologists are right, they may increase more rapidly than the ordinary Blacks. What sort of mongrels shall we find at Caddo in a hundred years? If she is left alone, Caddo may yield a family on the pattern of Los Angelos and San Jose, and give a line of heroes like Tiburcio Vasquez to the ranch men of Red River and Limestone Gap.

At Caddo, then, we have some means of studying the two questions of Colour and Servitude in [275] their most primitive stages-each in a phase not. seen at Richmond, Charleston, and New Orleans.

Before the war broke out, all Negroes living on the Indian soil were slaves. They were the property of Creek and Choctaw, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Cherokee — the five nations which are said to be “reclaimed from their savage state.” Their lot was hard, their suffering sharp; no harder lot, no sharper suffering, known on earth. In other places servitude is softened by some tie of race, of language, or of creed. At Pekin the slaves and their masters are of one colour; at Cairo they speak the same language; at Rio they worship a common God; but in these Indian wastes, a Negro had neither the same features, the same phrases, nor the same covenants with his savage lord; no common interest in the present world, no common hope in that which is to come.

Can mind of man conceive a lot in life more wretched than that of being a Red man's slave?

To be a White man's thrall was bad enough; but on the worst plantation in Georgia and Alabama there were elements of tenderness and justice never to be found in the best of Cherokee and Seminole [276] camps. In Georgia and Alabama ladies were always near, and children constantly in sight. A civilised and Christian society lay around. People lived by law, and even where cruel masters abounded most, the forces of society were on the side of rule and right. No Negro in Virginia lived beyond the sound of village bells and of the silent teaching of a Day of Rest. No slave in Louisiana was a stranger to the grace and order of domestic life. What sacred sounds were heard in a Choctaw lodge? What charm of life was seen in a Chickasaw tent? In every Indian camp the squaws behaved in a harsher manner towards the Negro than their brutal spouses; and instead of an Indian child acting as a check on cruelty, his presence often led to the slave being pinched and kicked, so that the young brave might learn to gloat over the sight of men in pain. A slave in Tennessee might have a careless master, but this master was a man of settled habits, and amenable to public courts. He was no wandering savage, living by the chase, and governing his household with a hatchet and a scalping-knife. A White owner might be hasty, his overseer vindictive; but the men wvere citizens subject [277] to the law, and Christians subject to the censure of their Church. On every side some limit to abuse was drawn. But where, in Seminole tent or Cherokee lodge, was an injured slave to find a limit to his wrongs? A Seminole had no judge to fear, a Cherokee no pastor to consult. Within his tribe and territory, an Indian chief might glut his anger on a slave as freely as if he were a king of Ashantee. No sheriff asked of him his brother's blood. No public sentiment restrained his arm. When he was roused to wrath, an Indian cared no more for what men might say of him than a tiger thinks of public opinion in the jungle when he makes his spring. A Red savage had more freedom to ill-use his slave than any Pale-face has to hurt his clog.

Yet, while Red men and Black men were left alone, these Negroes seemed doomed for ever to serve the masters who were but a shade less dusky than themselves.

VWhile sauntering in and out, among the stores and yards at Caddo, we chance to kick an ant-hill, and disturb the small red warriors in their nest.

Like all the South and West, this dry and sunny spot is rich in ants-red, black, and yellow antsamong [278] them the variety known as Amazon ants. All ants appear to live in tribes and nations, under rules which never change. Like Indians they have their ranks and orders-patriarchal, military, servile; and like Indians they hold their property in a common lot. The patriarchs, set apart as fathers and mothers, live an easy life, and pass away when they have done their part. These chiefs among the ants are winged. They soar and pair, eat up the choicest food, and die with mandibles unstained by vulgar toil. Next in rank come the soldiers; ants with strong mandibles, but no wings. Lowest in order stand the serfs or bondmen. Food must be sought, and chambers bored; wherefore a majority of ants are serfs, and all these servile ants are squaws. No male ant ever earns his bread. Scorning to delve and spin, he asks his female architects to build his cell, and sends his female foragers to seek his food. These servile squaws, arrested in their growth, and having neither wings nor ovaries, are content to drudge and slave. But Amazon ants have souls above these ordinary squaws. The Amazons would rather fight than drudge, and, like all fighting creatures, they become the owners [279] of such poor species as would rather drudge than die.

A colony of black ants usually settles near a colony of red. Does Nature mean her duskier children to be seized and made to labour for the fairer kinds? The red ants hunt them down. A red ant is no bigger in body, no stronger in mandible, than a black ant; yet the Amazons always beat their duskier sisters and enslave their brood. Is this result a consequence of their coats being red?

Who knows the mystery of colour? By consent of every age and country black has been adopted as a sign of woe and servitude. “All faces shall gather blackness,” cries the prophet, “ in the day of wrath.” In Spain the unpardoned sinner was arrayed in a black robe. In England the judge who passes sentence of death puts on a black cap. A Russ peasant called his lord the White Tsar, and his old fellow-serfs the Black People. In Turkey a Jew had to wear a black turban. In Bretagne, Navarre, and Connaught the remnants of darker races scowl in hate and fear on their more civilised and prosperous countrymen of a fairer race. A common mode [280] of thought suggests the presence of an underlying law.

VWhat law? Are shades of colour, grades of power?

In every part of Europe people in the upper ranks are fairer than people in the lower ranks. In Spain and Sicily, countries mostly occupied by a swarthy race, the leading families are fair. One rule holds good on the Danube and on the Dneiper. Nearly all the Muscovite princes and princesses are blonde. Venice is the home of raven hair, yet this artistic city has an upper class with blue eyes and golden locks. In Styria, in Bavaria, in Switzerland, the better blood is almost always wedded to the lighter skin. All through the South of Europe, where the masses are dark, the kings and emperors are pale. The kings of Spain, Italy, and Greece are fair. The emperors of Austria and Russia are fair. The royal families of England, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and Sweden are exceptionally fair. The conquerors of Sadowa and Sedan are very fair. The Pope is fair. The. Sultan is fairer than the ordinary Turk. The Shah of Persia, and the Khedive of Egypt, are comparatively fair. The Emperor of [281] Brazil is fair. No white people serve adusky ruler, and no aristocratic class is black.

As in the sphere of men, so in the sphere of ants — colour appears to be an outward sign of sway. A red ant makes the black ant toil for him, but no red ant has ever yet been found, except as an invader, in a black ant's nest. A red ant may be slain in fight, but he will rather fall in war than live in the position of a slave.

The Creek and Choctaw yoked the Negroes, as the red ants yoke the black. When a colony of Amazons need more serfs to drudge for them, they organise a foray, march into a black ant-hill, overturn and scatter the defending force, and carry off the eggs and grubs. Old ants, likely to give trouble, are left behind. So happened with Seminoles and Creeks. The Indians stole or bought the Negro child. A Negro who was used to a plantation could never fall into Indian ways. He missed his meeting-house and village inn, his cane-brake and his evening dance. If he were taken young, a Negro might be trained, as a black ant is trained, to be a useful drudge.

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