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Father Ludovico's fancy.

the Popes of Rome have accomplished some very tough and apparently hopeless work in their day; and this historical fact, we suppose, emboldened the present papal chairman, to lend his sanction — possibly without due consideration — to an enterprise apparently Utopian, which has been initiated in Naples. For there is in that charming city a certain Father Ludovico, a monk, who is highly zealous and particularly interested in the conversion of Ethiopia — it never having been the luck of the weak-minded Ludovico, to peruse those overwhelming ethnologico-theological exercitations manufactured by our divine Southrons, in which it is distinctly proved that, although “a nigger,” whether he be or be not a human being, can “get religion,” yet that it must be an inferior religion, not founded upon the intelligence of the professor, but something of the nitrous-oxyde description, inhaled by the sable convert, and making him “feel good,” he knows not how or why. This process has, indeed, been found wonderfully effective; and we are not, therefore, startled to find our religious [55] contemporary, The North Carolina Presbyterian, asking the masters of that State why, in the name of common sense and the very cheapest economy, they do not stir up a revival; because, as The Presbyterian justly observes, “The market-value of a pious slave is greater than that of an impious one, while a lively faith improves his personal appearance” --plerophory being followed by pingniosity, and solemnity by sleekness.

But the species of religion admired and cultivated in North Carolina, and especially in Rogersville, Tenn.,--where the sweet-souled Colonel Netherland. gave his negro that beautiful basting behind the church, which, through these columns, has passed into history — this species is one which Father Ludovico does not appear to fancy. He clearly has not embraced the American notion that a black body who cannot read his Testament, and to whom the hymnbook is a jumble of hieroglyphics — who has a good opinion of the Deity, but a much clearer one of his driver — who works out his salvation by spading and digging faster and more steadily than his profane fellows — who grows safely stupid as he grows sweetly saint-like — is as fit for heaven as circumstances will admit. On the contrary, the good Ludovico begins with the head, and so ingeniously works his way down to the heart. Nor does he shrink from solving the problem under the most adverse circumstances. He does not select negroes who have by contact caught a color of civilization, and who have been morally if not physically bleached. [56]

Padre Ludovico sends for his negro-neophytes directly to Africa, and brings them, burned black by Equatorial suns, with skins of ebony, and blubber-lips, and frizzled-hair, and the Ebo shin so enlarged upon by General Wise--brings them to Naples! He knows that the heads are rather hard, but he feels perfectly satisfied that if he can get anything into them, it will have small chance of getting out again. So Father Ludovico goes cheerfully to work with his black possibilities. He teaches them Latin, Italian, French and Arabic, adding to this polyglot process, instruction in geography, arithmetic, physics, chemistry and elementary geometry. Having thus trained these animals in secular accomplishments, he adds to their stock of knowledge “the doctrine of the Catholic Church,” and sends them home to Christianize Africa. And very successful is the Father Ludovico with his animals, in spite of their facial angles and bone-bound brains. At a recent exhibition of the cultivated beasts, everybody was charmed; the Cardinal-Archbishop of Naples was delighted; the Prime Minister was in raptures, and “several other distinguished personages” were filled with admiration, as the achievements of Padre Ludovico quite overshadowed Mr. Rarey's equine triumphs, and plunged all previous monkey-trainers into oblivion and human contempt. And what Father Ludovico is doing, the Abbe Olivieri is also doing at Naples, for the negresses, so that when Africa is christianized, it seems highly probable that it will be done rather after the [57] fashion of Rome, than the fashion of Rogersville, in the State of Tennessee.

We know that it is exceedingly wrong, although not quite so unpopular as it was two or three years ago, to say one word in praise of the Roman Church, or in extenuation of its alleged errors. But, whatever may be urged against it, nobody can dispute its boldness, and activity, and far-reaching sagacity. In the enterprise under consideration, we have another added to innumerable previous instances of its faith in human culture; a faith transcending the most recondite speculations of the ethnologist; the daintiest exegesis of our Doctors of Divinity; the most stalwart prejudices of the white race; a faith in the human soul and not a faith in this or that tint of epidermis.

To draw the conclusion of the congenital, hereditary and hopeless imbecility of a race, from that portion of it which, for more than a century, has been so busy in helping others that it has had no time to help itself — which has been systematically and perseveringly brutalized — which has been surrounded by the light of human civilization, and yet continually and cautiously blindfolded, is to blunder in the beginning, middle and end of the whole matter.

We hope the Presbyterian Church South, and all other Southern churches, will duly consider the example offered by the “Babylonian dame.” Fas est ab hoste doceri--it is just the thing to be taught by an opponent. We can imagine the surprise, and even the consternation, which would ensue, if the [58] population of the quarter-houses should be summoned by the overseer — this one to receive a French grammar, and that, Lindley Murray, and the other, Malte-Brun. We would not plunge into the middle of things in such a reckless way, but would set out with due simplicity, with primers and pictures, and good serviceable horn-books. “But,” interpose the Patriarchs, “teach them their letters, and they will all run away!” Well, if fit to run away, able to run away, and desirous of running away, why should they not run away?

February 2, 1859.

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