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(title page) The Tragedy of the Negro in America: A Condensed History of the Enslavement, Sufferings, Emancipation, Present Condition and Progress of the Negro Race in the United States of America
(spine) The Tragedy of the Negro in America
Rev. P. Thos. Stanford., D.D., LL.D.
, xvi, 230 p., ill.
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MY MANY FRIENDS AND FELLOW-HELPERS,
ALL HONEST MEN WHO SYMPATHIZE WITH MY
I DEDICATE THIS SHORT STORY OF
NEGRO LIFE IN THE UNITED STATES, IN THE
HOPE OF HELPING CREATE A STRONG, HEALTHY
PUBLIC OPINION THAT WILL
MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR OUTRAGES AND LYNCHINGS
TO BE MUCH LONGER CONTINUED.
P. T. S.
This volume is intended to compress, within the narrowest limits, an account of Negro life in the United States of America. I have consulted the most reliable histories, and made personal inquiries with great care, and can conscientiously present the story as trustworthy. No desire has been felt about gratifying the spirit of any race, but fairness to both white and black has been carefully kept in sight; the oppressors of the Negro have been looked at from every point of view in the hope of finding some excuse for their cruelty.
In my work as a Christian teacher I have naturally felt the deepest sympathy for the poor and needy, and devoted my chief care to them. I was born a slave, and lived for several years with the poorest of the poor, and can never forget my own poverty and sufferings; to help the down-trodden is a desire which never leaves me.
When the Public Meeting, which was held at the Wilberforce Memorial Church, Priestly Road, Birmingham, England, on the 28th of May, 1894, passed the following resolutions:--
"RESOLVED: That the Rev. Peter Stanford (England's Coloured Preacher) be deputed, in the
interests of the philanthropic and Christian public of England, to visit the States for the purpose of investigating these alleged outrages, and of there pleading with the prominent white Christians to induce them to exert their influence in preventing further reprisals, and in insisting upon the enforcement of law and order."
"RESOLVED: That this meeting, having implicit confidence in the impartiality and good judgment as a representative of his race, hereby desires to assure the Rev. Peter Stanford of their entire sympathy and support":--I felt there was nothing for me to do but relinquish my pastoral work in England, and as best I might proceed to discharge the new duties thrust upon me.
Leaving my Birmingham Church was the greatest trial of my life. Greater than the trials of my youth, because then I knew not the meaning of human sympathy and helpfulness; greater than those of school and college days; it was my greatest trial because the kindness and love of many friends must be left behind, could not longer be enjoyed in all the paths afforded by church fellowship, neither requited with gratitude in bodily presence. Until the day shall come that will witness my departure from this world, I can not forget the splendid generosity of my Birmingham Church members, and their sympathy in every time of trial will be enshrined in my heart.
When I arrived at America, and proceeded to make investigation into the condition of my race, I was soon convinced that a pamphlet of ten or a dozen pages would not afford space enough for a satisfactory description of it to be made; indeed, were I to arrange, and print all the material now in my possession a book several times the size of this one would have to be issued. The history of the Negro in America cannot yet be written; but when it shall be written it will be a terrible comment on the character of many so-called Christians. Pain, cruelty, and death will appear on almost every page.
Having investigated as thoroughly as time, ability, and means permitted, the various outrages reported in the press, and finding myself with material enough for a large book, after much consideration and consultation with friends of my race, I decided that a brief story of Negro life in the States would best answer my purpose. I saw that the outrages of to-day are merely repetitions of previous outrages, the bad, poisonous fruit of seed sown in the distant and near past, and was convinced that the Negro's cause would be best helped forward by a condensed statement of slave history from the beginning. If I have successfully compassed my intention, the reader will be able in some measure to understand, at small expenditure
of money and time, the indescribable horrors of slavery, and see the fearful darkness in which my people lived for centuries, and in which millions of them now live.
To tell the story as effectually as possible, observations are made on Africa, and why and how the Negro was brought thence is explained; a few remarks are made respecting American geography and the founding of the States; John Brown, the puritan descendant who attempted to free the slaves, is described; what befell the Negro from 1619 to this present day is told in the briefest manner; Lynchings, which are so diabolically done until now, are set forth in the mildest possible language; some friends of the race are named with gratitude; the different conditions of the Negro of the North and his brother of the South are made as clear as the writers ability permits; and some suggestions are made for the consideration of all Christian people in respect of the future.
The attention of the reader is directed to the labour of the American Missionary Association among the coloured people of the South, of which it is impossible to speak with too much praise, and Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, Alabama, Wilberforce University, Ohio, Guadalupe College, Texas, Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute, Virginia, Howard University, Washington,
D. C., and Livingstone College, North Carolina, are mentioned gratefully, and brief descriptions of the educational work they do are given. These Christian and Educational Institutions will help the Negro to attain a complete victory over all his opponents.
Sending this "TRAGEDY OF THE NEGRO IN AMERICA"--to me it is a tragedy--to the public, I can not withold gratitude from any of the friends who have helped me, but do thank one and all most sincerely for the asssistance they have so willingly rendered. Their reward must be my deepest thankfulness and, as I hope, an improved and healthier public opinion on the Negro question.
Praying and hoping for God's blessing on this poor effort to expose a perpetuated wrong and help bring nearer the day of universal brotherhood, and that He may send labourers, more and more, into the "black malarial slough," and make them competent to convey His love and enlightening spirit to the millions of my race there living, I send it forth in humility to do whatever of good is possible.
P. T. S.
That the public may know who the writer is, and that this book may go forth with every mark of honesty and sincerity upon it, and, above all, that sympathy may be enlarged in the hearts of all Christians for the Negro of the "Black South," the author deems it his duty to put aside delicacy of feeling and give the following particulars of his life. Fortunately he is under no necessity of writing of himself; he is spared that undesirable task by several newspapers and journals, quotations from whose articles, published at different times, will be found below.
The Christian Educator, edited by J. W. Hamilton, D.D., and M. C. B. Mason, D.D., the Official Magazine of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the South, in its issue of October and November, 1896, says:--"In Birmingham, England, there is a congregation which is white that had a black preacher for several years. This distinguished preacher is the Rev. Peter Thomas Stanford, D.D., who was born a slave. His parents lived at Hampton, Virginia. His father was sold before he was born, and his mother was taken away from him when he was only four years old. While yet a child he attracted the attention of General Armstrong, and was received
into his Home for Black Orphan Children. From the Home he was taken to Boston, where he was received into the family of Mr. Perry L. Stan- ford, whose name he adopted. Here he remained until he was twelve years of age, when, for some trivial matter, he ran away from Mr. Stanford, and became a wanderer among the street arabs in New York City. When Messrs. Moody and Sankey began their tabernacle meetings in that city, he was attracted through curiosity to attend them, and was led to become a Christian. Through the kindness of Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Rev. Henry Highland Garnett, and the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, he was educated at Suffield Institute, in Suffield, Connecticut. While attending the school he began to preach; was ordained pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Hartford, on the twenty-sixth day of September, 1878. In 1880 he went to Canada, and was there employed by the African Baptist Association. He became pastor of the Horton Street Baptist Church in London, Ontario, and later on was editor of The Christian Defender. He went from Canada to England. He was kindly received by the English people, and greatly encouraged to prosecute his work as a Christian minister. August 13, 1888, he married Miss Beatrice Mabel Stickley, an English lady, who was a cultivated Christian woman. He went to Birmingham, where he be- came pastor of the Wilberforce Memorial Church. The congregation was composed largely of the laboring people, who were greatly attached to their preacher. Here he continued for eight years, doing heroic work. He was popular, and treated with
great consideration by men of position and influence. During the agitation over the lynching of Negroes in this country, eminent citizens came together and organized a committee to protest against the barbarous treatment of black criminals in the United States. Mr. Stanford did effective service in the public meetings which were held, and the interest which was awakened led to his return to America, where he has since remained. He accepted work at first under the direction of the Massachusetts Home Missionary Society. He is an earnest and interesting public speaker. He delivered one of the addresses at the recent International Christian Endeavor Convention, held in Washington, D. C."
The following was sent by the members of the Wilberforce Memorial Church and Congregation:-- "To the Editor of the Freeman:--On Monday and Tuesday, September 30th and October 1st, 1894, the farewell services of the Rev. Peter Stanford, who is soon to leave England as her representative upon the lynch-law question, were held at the Wilberforce Memorial Church, Priestly Road. On Monday a crowded and enthusiastic public meeting was held, over which the Rev. W. A. H. Babidge presided. During his address he said: "For a testimony to Rev. Peter Stanford's worth and work in the city of Birmingham, we need only refer to the large congregation which assembled at his farewell services, and in the name of the Bible Xian Conference and my colleagues, I wish Mr. Stanford god-speed and great success in his undertaking on behalf of his brethren in America.' Mr. J. Hallett, the assistant minister, offered prayer, and then a scene of the most pleasing
character took place. A. D. Chin, Secretary of the church much of the time during Mr. Stanford's ministry in Birmingham, stepped forward and informed him that he had been intrusted with a number of useful gifts to present him on that occasion. An illuminated address containing a photo of the chapel and public buildings of the city, costing $30; a farewell address; a number of volumes rebound; a fountain pen; a traveling reading lamp; a traveling dressing case, and a jug with Revs. John Wesley and Peter Stanford's pictures engraved thereon; a gold ring with Masons' emblems. Letters of encouragement were received from the following: Sir James Sawyer, Knight; Revs. W. Wallace, George Campbell Morgan, Charles Joseph, N. M. Hennesey, T. Travers Sherlock, B. A., Richard Cadbury, Esq., and J. P. Mosely. Addresses were given by H. E. Carl, Chairman of the Lynch Law Repression League, Thos. Wright, Esq., of the Peace Society, and J. Milton Chasterton, Esq. On Tuesday and Friday evenings, special credentials were presented to Mr. Stanford from the Ancient Order of Foresters and the Grand United Order of Good Templars, and before the Reverend gentleman sails he will receive the special commission from the Ancient Order of Buffaloes and Freemasons, of which he is an active member. The meeting was altogether of a very satisfactory character, and was a happy punctuation to this part of Mr. Stanford's life in Birmingham, and will be an inspiration to him in the new piece of work which he has undertaken."
The Boston Courant, March 13, 1897, says:-- "The Rev. Stanford arrived in this city June 1st, 1895, not quite two years ago, and when we consider the amount of work accomplished by him in so short a time we are amazed. In August, 1895, at the urgent request of the leading colored citizens of Boston, the Doctor founded the first and only congregational church in the city of Boston. The churches invited were all the Congregational Churches in Boston, the Harvard Congregational Church, Brookline, and Rev. Joshua Coit, Rev, H. A. Bridgman, Rev. C. H. Daniels, D, D., Rev. A. E. Dunning, D. D., Rev. Geo. H. Gutterson, Rev. E. B. Palmer, Rev. H. A. Quint, D. D., Rev. D. W. Waldron. In September, 1895, the Doctor, finding his new church well organized, lent himself to other important interests of the race. He and the Rev. W. H. Scott united their efforts in the formation of the Interdenominational Ministerial Association, and the Doctor served for six months as its secretary. He has written letters to the British press on Negro questions, also many able articles to our daily papers in Boston. In November, 1896, the Doctor was called upon to preach a sermon to the ministers of the Suffolk South Association of Congregational white ministers on the subject, 'What the influence of the ministry should be in literature,' and in commenting upon it some of the ablest of them said the Doctor's sermon was an able production. The trustees of one of our leading colleges are seeking to further honor their great and influential institution of learning by conferring upon the Doctor the degree of L.L.D., and we hasten to
urge his acceptance, and will be the first to acknowledge that he is the Rev. P. Thos. Stanford, D.D., L.L.D., America's "Negro Beecher" and England's colored minister, and author of "From Bondage to Liberty," and "The Tragedy of The Negro in America."
Zion Congregational Church,
Haverhill, Mass.,May 5th, 1897.
REV. P. THOS. STANFORD, D.D., L.L.D.,
Rev. and Dear Sir:--Some twelve months ago a few of us met together to talk over matters pertaining to the welfare of our people and to see what we as colored citizens in Haverhill could do to assist in bettering the condition of the race.
We were not long in arriving at the conclusion that much could be done. Haverhill has a population of fifty thousand, of which seven hundred are colored, and this number is being augmented every year.
Having been organized into a regular Church of the Congregational faith, we have set ourselves the task of helping to build up our people, intellectually, morally and spiritually.
We want a house of worship, also a suitable building in which to provide for and train some of the orphan and neglected negro children, who are to be found in the rural districts of the Southern States, for whom no provision has as yet been made. We have been praying earnestly and the burden of our prayers has been that God would send us a leader.
Knowing your world-wide reputation as a minister of the Gospel and as an ardent defender of our race, we feel that there is no one better able to direct our efforts in this important work.
We therefore unite in extending to you this unanimous call and hereby agree, should you decide to accept, that you have all the time you may require for your projected trip to England, and pray that the Great Head of the Church may send you to us.
Anxiously awaiting your reply,
We are faithfully yours,Signed in behalf of the Church at the regular meeting, Friday Evening, April 23, '97,
ISAAC ROBERTS, Church Clerk.
Boston, May 10th, 1897.
TO THE OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF THE ZION CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, HAVERHILL, MASS.,
Brethren:--After much thought, prayer and consultation with friends, I have decided to accept your call to the partorate; but must make my position very clear to you. The work I have in hand respecting the whole Negro race in America, and the expectation of my many friends in England of hearing from me on the lynching question, will require and must receive much of my attention in the next twelve months. Therefore, you will be prepared to accept such time and service as I will be able to give previous to my visit to Great Britain, also permit me, as you say in your call, to leave for that country in September or thereabouts, and return some time in the summer of 1898. Subject to these conditions and
agreements, I accept. I hope that our union will be for the good of our people in Haverhill, and I pray God to grant us His blessing.
Yours in Christian sympathy,
P. THOS. STANFORD.
At a meeting of the Garrison Memorial Church, held on the twenty-ninth of March, 1897, the following business was transacted, and reported in the Boston Journal on the thirtieth:--"The meeting was called to order at 8 P. M. Mr. Charles Prevoa presided. Doctor Stanford presented his resignation, in person, which was accepted. Mr. W. H. B. Johnson, J. P. presented a set of resolutions, which embodied the acceptance of the resignation and expressed the regard of the membership of the society for the retiring pastor. Mr. Johnson informed the meeting that Doctor Stanford received information yesterday that the degree of L. L. D. had been conferred upon him by Guadalupe College, Seguin, Texas, and the society passed a vote of thanks to the college for its action. Doctor Stanford informed the Journal representative that he would return to England in September, for a stay there of six months or so."
Stanford's Coloured Orphanage and Home for Friendless Girls, Haverhill, Mass., near Boston. President, Rev. P. Thos. Stanford, D.D., LL.D., Pastor of Zion Congregational Church, Haverhill.
Gifts of money, clothing, type-writers, sewing-machines, books, or any other useful thing, may be sent to Doctor Stanford or Mrs. Stanford, Haverhill, near Boston, Mass, and to every donor a receipt will be sent by Secretary and Treasurer.
The aim of the Institution, which will soon be incorporated, is to provide for Orphan and Neglected children of the rural districts of the South, and to give them normal and industrial training; also to provide a temporary home for coloured girls who come to Boston and vicinity. "Feed the hungry." "Clothe the naked." "The poor ye have always with you."
MASSACHUSETTS HOME MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
CONGREGATIONAL HOUSE, ROOM NO. 9. REV. JOSHUA COIT, SECRETARY.
(P. O. BOX, 2374.) REV. EDWIN B. PALMER, TREASURER. Boston, April 7, 1897.
To whom it may concern: -
Rev. P. Thomas Stanford, D. D., has served the Garrison Memorial Church, a Home Missionary Church, in Boston for more than a year. He has been faithful and diligent, and has made great personal sacrifice to establish the Church. He and his wife Mrs. B. Stanford have both given themselves freely to the work. I gladly commend him to any people, where in the providence of God his lot may be cast, as a man of irreproachable character, an able preacher and a faithful pastor.
MRS. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE,
AUTHOR OF "UNCLE TOM'S CABIN."
Loss of life by unauthorized violence, and the resulting unhappiness to others, is called a tragedy; and, every tragedy of real life has stimulated the best and the worst passions of mankind to vigorous interest and exertion. All tragedies, however, have not been caused by unauthorized violence; the pages of history are black with records of the foulest crimes, of violations of human rights and the divine law, by violence authorized and made legal by men in whom power was vested.
The history of the Martyrs of England, France and Spain is a tragedy which began in the distant past, whose pains and horrors, which were the direct result of misuse of power by cruel kings and bigoted statesmen, were realized by men and women of many generations; and, in this day of civilization and advanced knowledge of christianity, the world is looking with weary eyes and sickened heart upon a tragedy in Armenia, commanded and made legal by the Sultan of Turkey, in which little children
are mutilated, helpless women are outraged, and unarmed toiling men are horribly done to death. This is an authorized, not an unauthorized, tragedy, which the whole world knows, but has not yet been outraged enough to stop it; more cruelties must be done and more human blood must flow before the Christian powers will be sufficiently stimulated to dethrone the murderer and restore peace and order to the fairest garden of the east. "Come and see the works of God:" said one of old, "His eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves." "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste." Man knows not as God knows; sees not as He sees. It is written, however, so that he who runs may read, that all tyrants shall fall; all cruelties will be avenged; all powers which brutalize mankind must be either saved by fire or destroyed; the righteousness of God is ordained to prevail in the world; and, the brotherhood of man shall be fully established.
In America,--which is known as the land of the free, whose people are rightly proud of a history that speaks of a noble, victorious struggle against tyranny; of the wisdom, foresight, and piety of the founders of the States; of the marvellous energy which transformed vast plains and forests into fields
of wealth creating grain and fruit, built cities, established manufactures, and made a large sphere of art and science;--a long and revolting tragedy has been in progress, in which the Negro has sufferred indescribable misery and been afflicted with diabolical torture. This also was a tragedy authorized by the powers that were, was recognized and defined by law, and endorsed and supported by not a few churches and religious teachers, in which the Negro was bound with chains, whipped with the lash, treated as a beast, sold in the common market as a thing, and, when he was no longer worth money, hurried to death and buried anyhow.
This authorized tragedy came to an end; by fire, the fire of the vengeance of righteousness, it was destroyed. In the great conflagration of the War of Emancipation, which would not have happened had the United States of America been willing to know God's will without pain and blood-shed, no preserving angel walked to keep those from harm and death who were engaged therein; the nation had sinned, and could not be relieved from sin's penalty. The nation paid the penalty in money and in blood, and thereby saved herself from the fate of Babylon, Assyria, and Rome. Nations that forget God and forsake righteousness cannot abide; they have been, and will be, overthrown. Power cannot forever stay in the hand of the tyrant; prosperity forsakes
the land of blood; ignorance and every debasing habit are the heritage of nations that do wickedly; decay and destruction wait for the people who oppress the poor. This authorized tragedy of the States, whose sufferer was the poor Negro, was always abhorred by pious men and righteous citizens, and eventually aroused the natural good feeling of the multitude, who together swept it away and prevented the country from sliding into immeasurable disgrace and calamity.
The authorized tragedy of the Negro in America, then, ended in a pouring out of blood and of treasure, and in a vast war tax which continues until now; but did not in its death struggle engulf all the meanness of iniquity. They who fought against emancipation, and many who fought for emancipation, when the war was over and the Negro set free, were unwilling, and remain unwilling, to recognize in him a brother. He was free; let him care for himself, and see what he could make of his freedom. Free, it is true, but untaught, homeless, moneyless, a stranger in a land whose people loved him not. Free; yes, free; to look on the fields he had made smile with harvests, but not to call one grain of the wheat his own; to gaze with what intelligence was in him on all the wealth he had created, but not to find one copper of it in his own pocket; to behold luxury and affluence all around him, but not to
have a home for himself, in which to find shelter, peace, and love. History tells of men being cast on uninhabited islands, in which naught but trees and wild fruit grew; in which birds lived and reared their young, and wild beasts prowled and fought each other; which was an unfortunate experience. But they were free to fell the trees and make houses of wood for themselves, and to pluck the wild fruit and catch the fish of the streams for food, and to use the implements of defence they possessed in their struggle with the beasts; and more than once have men filled desolate parts of the earth with human life, prosperity, peace, and happiness by merely putting forth unhindered effort. How much worse was the position of the emancipated Negro than that of ship-wrecked men cast on uninhabited, fruitful islands!
The authorized Negro tragedy in the United States of America did indeed come to an end, but the unauthorized tragedy began with the declaration of emancipation; and, had there been no righteousness therein, no hearts of flesh, no men whose souls had received the light of God and the compassion which is tender and eternal, the poor coloured man must have wished, had he known of such a thing, that he might be free as the ship-wrecked mariner to pluck and eat wild fruit in a lonely land, and make for himself a home out of wood which no man
claimed. Land there was around him in the States, stretching away in every direction, thousands of miles of it, but none of it his; he must ask permission of the owners to live on it, which fact kept him in their power, and enabled the unworthy to continue the tragedy in an unauthorized form, which continues until now. Will it forever continue? Let men who deny the Negro equal opportunity, who say equal civic rights are enough for him, who hinder and obstruct his development and progress in every imaginable manner, who cast him out of the sphere of white men and lynch him to death on the smallest Provocation, remember the saying:--"He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker." It may be that a few bold, bad men live, in whom neither faith nor love dwells, who dare even reproach God, who will do so until the grave swallow them up, and persecute not Negroes only, but whom they can of any colour; but it can not be that the enlightened United States will forever tolerate this unauthorized tragedy of the Negro, this unlawful lynching which occurs in so many places. Yet a little while, and, surely, the righteous people of the States will once more make an effort, an effort of peace, in the name of "Our Father who art in heaven," to make it impossible in their country for child of His to suffer hardship because of colour, and bring to an end the reproach of caste which rests now on black and white equally.
It is the purpose of this little book, which pretends only to be a report of inquiries made, to present in brief form the history of the Negro from the time of his importation into America as an article of commerce down to this day. The writer aims not at sensation, but desires first to see for himself the facts in their true light, and, having seen, give to his readers an unexaggerated statement thereof. No cause is assisted by falsehood; no race of men can be permanently helped forward by fraud. The scriptures are as full of warnings against misrepresentation, as against oppression, and all human history affords for all who are willing to see the clearest demonstrations of how falsehood developes destruction. Not by falsehood, then, does this book seek to promote the Negro's cause, but by a simple and brief story of his life in America. It may be that white men and black men will never be as one people, perhaps cannot be; but none who have accepted the teachings of the Christ can refuse to accord equal opportunity to the sons of Africa.
MRS. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE'S HOUSE,
IN WHICH SHE WROTE "UNCLE TOM'S CABIN."
Africa, an immense peninsula of the Old World, the third in size of the great divisions of the globe, is a land of ignorance and darkness, and the home of the Negro. "Its greatest length is about 5,000 miles; its greatest breadth is about 4,600 miles; its superficial area comprises nearly 12,000,000 square miles; its population is estimated at 200,000,000." Fifty years ago this vast peninsula was a land of mystery, of which we had the most meagre maps, and of whose people we knew next to nothing.
The Phoenicians, who lived in cities on the coast of Syria, one of which was ancient Tyre, were devoted to the pursuit of the sea, and established colonies on the north coast of Africa, and created extensive commerce. It is said of them that they were the first people to circumnavigate Africa, and that Necho, who ascended the throne of Egypt in the year 617, B.C. was the navigator. The Carthaginians, who established a mighty empire, and
absorbed all the Phoenician settlements of the West, followed in the steps of the Phoenicians, and sent their navy along the Atlantic Shores of Africa, which returned in the year 570, B. C., having settled several colonies on the coast. Herodotus, who was born in the year 484, B.C., was the first Greek who travelled in quest of distant lands and the founder of Grecian geography. He explored Egypt as far as the Cataracts of the Nile, and made excursions into Lybia and Arabia, and subsequently wrote accurate descriptions of the countries he visited. After Herodotus, little seems to have been written of Africa until Ptolemy,--who was born in Egypt and lived in the second century of the Christian Era,--wrote his "Universal Geography, illustrated with maps, which was not superseded as the text book of science till the fifteenth century." After Ptolemy, nobody wrote much of Africa, and little is known of that strange land, other than that provided by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Herodotus, and Ptolemy, until modern maritime discovery began in the fifteenth century, after which information was afforded that astonished the world. Since then adventurers, explorers, and missionaries have been busy in the great work of discovering the world, and of bringing to those in darkness the light of the truth of God. Adventurers went forth in ships, which were paid for in their own money,
to gain wealth; explorers, to make discovery in the name of king and country for the benefit of both; missionaries, to declare the knowledge and love of the Most High. Adventurers left behind them the bitterness of cruelty and the devastation of greed; explorers made it easier for mankind to understand the greatness of the earth; missionaries advanced, and yet advance, the eternal good of the human race by displaying before untaught men the gentleness and sympathy of the Christ. The age of the adventurer in its ancient form is ended, passed and gone forever, and can never return in its old, bad sense of theft and murder; but the humane explorer and the Christian missionary possess both present and future, in which they may together pursue their beneficent work.
The Portuguese, who explored the West coast of Africa in the fifteenth century, and the Spaniards, who gained possession of South America, were the first Christian powers that paid attention to Africa, and did indeed erect the figure of the Cross there, and upon every new land they discovered; but by their foul and brutal practices caused the holy symbol to remind the native tribes of rapine and murder. They respected no right of property in the land, in the produce of the country, not even in the flesh and blood of the natives; but treated all and sundry with indignity and plunder. They have
long since received the recoiling punishment of wrong doing, and are to-day among the weakest and poorest nations of the world.
Africa, whose peoples, it must be said, have inflicted fearful cruelties upon one another, has not escaped the ravages of the adventurer; but when her true history shall be written, the names of Mungo Park, Dr. Barth, Dr. Livingstone, Dr. Moffat, Mr. Stanley, and a host of others will stand out in letters of gold for all time, and the African of the future, who will certainly be educated and one day stand erect among men, claiming and receiving perfect equality, will in them recognize under the providence of God, the saviours of his race. Then, in his native land of luxuriant vegetation, fruitful fields, noble rivers, vast forests, and immense deposits of mineral wealth, and wherever else he may chance to live or be, white men will respect him, and none will dare speak of slavery, shackles or death.
Man is one the whole world over, and consists of a single species. He is distinguished from the animals beneath him by conscience, reason, and speech, and is so marvellously endowed that he can adapt himself to every known climate. His intelligence has taught him how to protect himself from the cold of the North, and to endure the heat of the South. He may be found in every climate, from
the hottest to the coldest. In vast forests, in regions of fertility, in wastes of sterility, in valleys and in mountains he finds a home, and makes the earth provide him food and shelter. But man is not the same in stature, intelligence, and colour in every place; diversity obtains most prominently; but colour is the most noticeable feature of difference. His skin is black, yellow, olive, tawny, white, but he is man, qualified for the highest effort of mind and the holiest act of worship. Whether black or white, educated or uneducated, he is the same creature in his feelings, and has ideas of a state after death, of a supreme power, of guilt, of pardon, which vary according to his state of enlightenment. The saying that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" has been abundantly established as a truism all over the world, particularly by the rising of several savage tribes to the average level of educated nations. The ancestry of mankind is one ancestry, and man everywhere is the child of a divine father, and is destined for all eternal life, and nations ought to cultivate sentiments of peace and good-will. It is the duty of the learned to teach the unlearned; the strong to help the weak; and, they who have knowledge of God and are conscious of His sustaining grace and love are under the heaviest obligation to rescue from wretchedness, guilt, and
impurity those who are ignorant and depraved, that the identity of man be perfect.
If this be true; if men ought to respect and help each other, and recognize before God their common origin and the obligation resting upon each to promote the good of all;--of which in this day there can be no doubt--the question, how the Negro was brought from Africa to America, and why, becomes very interesting, particularly so in view of the conditions of his past and present state therein. In the answer we shall see how strangely events of life intertwine with each other.
In the year 1485, just seven years before Columbus was permitted by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to sail westward in search of unknown lands, who discovered Watling Island, one of the Bahamas, and one of the great islands of Cuba and St. Domingo, Alfonso de Aviso discovered Benin, Africa, which then comprised Benin, Dahomey, and Yoruba, three Negro kingdoms, and subsequently Fernando Po of Portugal established a Portuguese Colony and the Church of Rome at Gaton, Benin. The Brothers of Jesus laboured in their usual manner to convert the natives to Christianity, to Christianity as they understood it; but met with small success. Knowing not the "perseverance of the gospel," and not being qualified to labour in patience and love they adopted a quicker
method of conversion than that of the Master. They turned their attention to the king, who cared little for their new religion, but much for the satisfying of his personal desires. This untaught son of the Dark Continent made a proposition, viz., that he would turn Christian, and compel his subjects also to turn, if the Brothers of Jesus would find him a white wife. He asked for a white wife to be provided as he would for any article of manufacture that was new to him, and probably was not conscious of any existing difference between a piece of cloth and a wife; but the same cannot be said of the Brothers of Jesus. However, knowing or not knowing that marriage is a sacred covenant, they agreed to the king's proposal, and forthwith proceeded to keep their part of the agreement. They went to the Sisters of St. Thomas, an order of women devoted to charity and holy work, and, wonderful to relate, one of the Sisters consented to accept the king as husband. What prompted her to agree to this extraordinary compact? Human love was out of the question, because she had never seen him, and it is difficult to imagine that any lower desire moved her. Let it be written down to the eternal credit of this nameless Sister of Mercy that she placed her all on the altar of sacrifice in the name of the Son of Man. Nothing more is heard of her; but her noble effort,--noble from her point of view--
though probably successful for a time, failed of a permanent settlement of Christianity in the king's country. Why ? The Portuguese established the slave trade in Gaton, which is answer enough. Men cannot preach the Kingdom of God, establish colonies in peace, prosperity and social order, and at the same time buy and sell, or steal and sell, flesh and blood. "Ye can not serve God and Mammon." It is impossible to educate and civilize the human race by any such self-destructive method; piety and holiness can not be preached by men who traffic in human life.
The influence of this diabolical conduct of the Portuguese was almost instantaneous on the natives, who, taught by the evil example of the Europeans, themselves became man stealers and followers of the slave trade. Then the poor, ignorant people, who had previously tilled the land and pursued the calling of fishermen, gave themselves to the work of hell, and carried all who were weaker than they to the coast, and for the merest trifles, for worthless trinkets, sold them into slavery. This was the white man's work in Benin. Instead of inspiring honesty, truthfulness and gentleness, he stirred up a huge sea of treachery, duplicity and cruelty, and made himself rich for a time by the proceeds of miseries immeasurable which were heaped on the helpless, the aged, and all who were unable to protect
themselves. He can find no excuse for his base conduct in the cruelty of the King of Dahomey, the adjoining kingdom, whose court was paved with human skulls, and whose palace,--the place he called his palace--walls were decorated in like manner. There it stands, and will abide, a deep black mark of infamy against the white man, who went to Africa to establish colonies and preach heaven, yet managed to create pandemonium on earth.
This fiendish work was begun by white men on the coast of Africa between the years 1485 and 1490, and in 1492 Columbus set forth to find lands in the West. Following Columbus, but unlike Columbus, were thousands of Spaniards, and legendary stories of the measureless wealth of the West were soon told far and wide. Spain was then preeminent among the nations of the world, and pointed with pride to continents discovered by her mariners. But Spain was unfitted to be the missionary of heaven; she was drunk with the lust of gold, knew not liberty, gloried in her cruel inquisition, and has long since found her reward. Other nations entered into the work of discovery, and wrested from her the supremacy. On the fifth of March, 1496, John Cabot was commissioned by Henry VII. of England "to sail into eastern, western, or northern seas with a fleet of five ships, to search for islands, provinces and regions hitherto unseen by Christian people,
and to set up the banners of England on city, island, country or continent, and, as vassal of the English Crown, to possess and occupy the territories which might be found." On the twenty-fourth of June, 1497, fourteen months after Columbus on his third voyage came in sight of the main land, John Cabot discovered the Western Continent, and, "having sailed three hundred leagues along the coast, planted on the land the flag of England." Then followed in due time Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard Grenville, Cavendish, the great navigator, and ultimately the Pilgrim Fathers, and English colonies were established in Virginia and in Massachusetts. In 1664 the English defeated the Dutch at New York, and became the masters of North America.
In that wonderful fifteenth Century, then, we find the Portuguese in Africa, the Spaniard in South America, the Dutch in New York, the English in Virginia, and subsequently in Massachusetts. White winged ships crossed and re-crossed every sea, carrying cargoes of commerce to favourable ports. Why not carry cargoes of Negroes? Were there not enough and to spare of them in Africa? Had not the Portuguese stolen and sold them in 1485 ? It was a profitable idea; not to be forgotten. They were black men, therefore inferior, fit only to obey the white man, who needed them to
do the work of the New World. The Dutch of New York would buy some Negroes, or steal them; would sell them and make money; and, in 1619, a Dutch Man of War brought the first slaves, fourteen in number, to Virginia. There the captain of the ship gave them in exchange for provisions to Captain Miles Kendall, deputy-governor of the colony. Why not? In those days few men so much as thought of the great sin which was being committed, and were utterly incapable of foreseeing the fearful heritage of sorrow that would accrue to succeeding generations. This is how the Negro was brought from Africa. First by the Dutch, in a Man of War, and the why may be seen in the money value of so much free labour, which was made to produce harvests at the low cost af feeding.
To look back on those fearless Englishmen, who fought like heroes in defence of their own homes and country, and laboured continuously that wife and child might be fed and clothed, and supplied with every comfort the earth could produce, and see them doing the devil's work so shamelessly, is to look upon a scene which causes infinite regret, which more than suggests the thought that England's priests had grossly neglected to guide rightly her valiant men. The Dutch, too, were brave and religious, thrifty and careful of each other, yet could barter in flesh and blood, which proves how
strangely and awfully both good and evil are mixed in man. Love of money, a real, frightful source of wrong in all times, blinded the eyes of these brave men, and prevented them seeing rightly; and, having no prophet to warn and guide them, they fell into the blackest sin. For money and ease of life they gave play to the worst passions of human nature, and dared heaven, perhaps unconsciously, to curse them, which curse came then and there, though they knew it not, and burst in tornadoes of of fire, shot and death on succeeding generations.
We see, then, how and why the Negro was brought from Africa to America, and it is known that this mad trafficing in blood, which stained the banners of England and America, finally cost both countries millions of treasure and thousands of lives to erase the blot. It is a tragedy indeed, this of the Negro in America, which we are watching, on which also a silent, offended God looks; but a tragedy whose end is not death to all concerned; a tragedy whose clearest fact is fire, the fire of cleansing and deliverance. It is strange that men will so depart from virtue and plunge so deeply into sin, when they know that catastrophe must follow. Meanwhile, we leave white and black men face to face, one the owner and oppressor, the other the owned and oppressed, and will see in following chapters how the mighty battle was fought and won between right and wrong.
MRS. HARRIET TUBMAN,
SHE ACTED AS A SPY FOR THE UNION ARMY.
The geography and history of the United States need not more than a passing glance; the Negro and what has befallen him therein being the subject of this little book. It is enough to say that the territory of the States stretches for thousands of miles in every direction, that the population exceeds the huge figure of 70,000,000, and that for great rivers, coal fields, gold mines, silver mines and agriculture it is not surpassed by any other part of the globe. The growth of its population is one of the world's wonders; a kind of miracle wrought by steam boat and railroad train. In the year 1800 it amounted to about 6,000,000, that is, it was not more than the population of London to-day; had increased to 39,000,000 at the census of 1870, and,--an extraordinary fact--as stated above, to 70,000,000 at this present time. The natural leaders of this great population, which is composed of men from almost every nation under the sun, have resting
upon them a responsibility that will not be easily borne, a responsibility which calls for the highest qualities of mind, extensive knowledge of human nature, and faith in the providence of God.
Compared with the older nations of Europe and Asia, the States are yet in their infancy; but have in the short period of one hundred years become infinitely more important than most of them in respect of everything pertaining to the good of the human family. Here are Greeks, Russians, Armenians, Germans, French, Chinese, Japanese, English, Irish, Scotch and Americans, men born under every form of government and trained in conflicting ideas of religion and morals, bound together in a free republican government, each having the right to vote in City, State and National affairs. It has been an experiment, perhaps is so yet, in human government on a vast scale; but appearances justify the remark that it has successfully stood the test of trial, and that to-day, thanks to Washington, Adams, Webster, Lincoln, and many other noble men, who devoted extraordinary powers of mind to the service of the New Nation, is better established than many of the dynasties of the Old World.
But the States were not a nation of 70,000,000 of inhabitants when white and black man first stood face to face on American soil; they were colonies of England, and were governed by that extraordinary
power, which has so marvellously colonized so many portions of the globe. But the England of the year 1619, when those fourteen slaves were landed on the shore of Virginia, and given in exchange for provisions to Captain Miles Kendall, deputy-governor of that state, and the England of to-day are scarcely comparable. Then, it is true, Englishmen were free men, and could pursue the calling of their choice in perfect safety; but the toiling millions were practically outside of the constitution, and had no voice whatever in the government of the country. Then England was governed by the aristocracy and the free-holders, who formed a very small part of the population, and the colonies were in the hands of chartered trading companies. Corruption was in every office; the House of Commons was in the power of the House of Lords; seats in the Commons were bought and sold openly, and places of power were given without regard to merit; reformers, men who sought the privilege of the vote, were persecuted and even put to death by the sword; and, not until the year 1832 was the constitution widened so as to admit persons of substantial position, which good work was completed in 1867 with Household Suffrage. To-day it is a different and better England. Every working man who has a home or a lodging can vote in every election that is held, whether for City Counsellors, Members of
School Board, Members of the House of Commons, or any representative position, and can even be elected himself. Corruption is dead; the power of the House of Lords is small, and cannot be exercised at all in respect of money bills; seats in the Commons are no longer, cannot be, bought and sold; places of power are bestowed according to merit and length of service; reformers are free to advocate reform in open meeting or in any manner not harmful to the persons and property of the inhabitants, without fear of interference. To-day, as some one has well put it:--"England is a republic with a hereditary president" and protects her citizens the wide world over, and suffers no slave to live beneath her banner.
Let England and America, then, as we know them to-day, be in no sense blamed for the fixing of a slave-system in the States. Both countries have paid in money and in blood the price of the sin of dead generations, and are the greatest hope of mankind. In a holy rivalry they hold up the torch of civilizing light, spread on every hand the beneficence of business, display before all nations the safety and solidity of national life based in the free vote of their peoples, and send forth missionaries at immense cost to all who are in the darkness of ignorance. Personal wrong there surely is in both countries, which is inflicted by individuals upon
others who can not help themselves; but the wisdom of their peoples and rulers will yet find a remedy for these evils, and perfection will be attained as nearly as is possible in human institutions. In that good time which is certainly before both countries, the unworthy effort of many wicked persons to place the Negro outside the human family will be finally defeated, and race prejudice in the States will be dead.
Returning to the evil year 1619, we find that Captain Butler succeeded Captain Miles Kendall in the governorship of Virginia, and that a disgraceful dispute arose respecting the ownership of the fourteen slaves. He claimed the negroes in the name of the Earl of Warwick which claim Captain Miles Kendall resisted, and sought what he called equity by placing his case before the London company. From the beginning of the traffic, human strife and cruelty were alarmingly aggravated, and men of all stations in life were filled with the meanest wickedness, rich and poor alike, from the Earl of Warwick to the poorest black man who was strong enough to kid-nap a weaker black man and sell him into slavery on the coast. This dispute was not quickly settled. However, in July, 1622, the London Court disposed of the case, giving nine slaves to Captain Kendall and the remainder to the company. But what is the terrible fact of this fixing of the slave
system in the States? This: That the English colony of Virginia purchased the first Negroes who were brought to the States, and inaugurated the hideous traffic in human flesh and blood. For this most shameful act of inhumanity, out of which crime too black and foul to be described grew, the reader must not blame either England or America; it was the act of men who had left the Old Country to seek wealth and get it in any manner, righteous or unrighteous, who scrupled not to class a man with a coloured skin with the beasts of the field. Their reward is shame, which clings to them until now, and reflects disastrously upon the otherwise fair fame of the wisest and best of them.
The institution of slavery, once established, took root, but did not grow rapidly. Taking the census of the colony of Virginia of February 16, 1624, the fourteen slaves of 1619 had only grown to twenty-two. Perhaps they were a little afraid of the system; may be conscience troubled many of the colonists; or, what is quite as likely, importers of flesh and blood were probably not over well supplied by Negro stealers. But twenty-four years subsequently, in 1648, the population of Virginia was about 15,000, of whom 300 were slaves. Evidently the whites had somewhat lost fear of the system in those twenty-four years, if they ever felt it, and it is equally certain that conscience had been educated.
The colonists of 1648 were not a reputable lot; indeed there were more men of bad character among them than the original settlers and their descendants liked. Thieves, vagrants, burglars and disorderly persons of every evil character, who had been sent to Virginia by the English Government for their crimes at home, formed no inconsiderable part of the population; yet were more graciously received than the poor Negro. It is difficult, if not impossible, in this day of enlightenment to imagine how a God-fearing man,--many of the colonists were such--could bring himself to treat a condemned criminal with greater kindness than he was willing to extend to a Negro; yet such is one of the ugly facts of that time. Sin is subtle, and overthrows the best of men, if they cease to fight it, and destroys their manhood, covers them with disgrace, and causes them to make the most ignoble laws. It so happened in Virginia. On September 17, 1630, an act of prohibition was passed by the colonists to the following effect: "That the banished criminals of England must not have relations with Negroes." Think of it. The vilest of the vile, men too bad to be allowed a place in English life, banished for offences proven against them in courts of law, must not defile themselves with the Negro! Language, it is said, undergoes perpetual enlargement of meaning and purification, and it must be true that defilement
could not have meant in Virginia at the time now under consideration what it means to-day. How could a criminal, a creature of the blackest indecencies, defile himself by having relations with an ignorant, untaught, probably trustful Negro? The defilement would be more on the side of the Negro, though he knew it not. Yet the prohibition was made, and the punishment for every such offence was public flogging and confession of the offence in church on the following sabbath. Bad men may make bad laws, and other bad men will break them, even as good laws are broken, and have been broken in every age.
The colonists had to bring out the whip and hear confession in church; villany could not forego the easy prey within its reach. Hugh Davis, a white servant, whose name is written in history forever,-- whether an English criminal or an ordinary colonist we know not--was indeed publicly flogged before a company of blacks and whites for defiling himself with a Negro. He was not the last victim of this vicious law; but if it were possible or right to sympathize with a worker of iniquity, Hugh Davis would have our sympathy. We can pity him, and regret that he could defile himself with any child of God; but for the Negro, whose education along lines of debasement, cunning and treachery had been continued by white men, only sympathy ought
to be felt. He was a natural child of the forest, acquainted with the rudest life only, knowing nothing of civilization and little of the white man, whose whole subsequent history in America would have been different and better had he been put to work in a humane manner and treated as a man who needed training in skilled labour and educating in letters. It was not. Therefore, he became the cause, by no fault of his own, of the most fearful struggle of modern times, which held in suspense for four years the very life of a mighty nation, whose salvation was accomplished by the slaughter of 1,000,000 men.
From 1619 until 1662 slavery existed without any direct sanction in law, and had no foundation in the order of state Virginia, the mother state of slavery, and none in any other state. It was a case of one man owning another because he had bought him. But was he not property? He had cost money. Slave owners felt the need of a law, which would fix beyond dispute the right of ownership, as real estate was fixed, and on the fourteenth of December, 1662, the foundations of slavery were laid by a proclamation--"that the issue of slave mothers should follow their condition." No help now for the Negro, neither for any innocent child born of a coloured mother; for two hundred years he must toil, bleed, die in the service of the white man, and
not dare to murmur. For two hundred years he must obey his master and ask no questions, though he hear questions of right and wrong discussed. Patience must be the order of his tribe; ignorance, and suffering will abide with him. While this inhuman business was being done, it is certain that Christian mothers in Virginia taught their children that stealing, swearing, speaking falsely, coveting another's property and committing adultery were all sins against God and man; and, it is equally certain that so-called Christian fathers did steal the Negro's labour, did most cruelly abuse him, did commit adultery with their own slaves with the horrid intent of increasing their live stock, and forsook, turned their backs upon every feeling of humanity. God has made it easy for man in all the departments of morality to decide the right and the wrong, in view of which eternal fact no excuse can be found for slave owners. They decided, those original slave owners of Virginia, "that the issue of slave mothers should follow their condition," and thereby accomplished two things; viz, hereditary slavery, and statutary sanction thereof. Thus far this battle between right and wrong went against right in the person and life of the Negro, and the quotations given below will show how tightly the manacles were fastened to his feet and hands.
In 1670, Virginia, thoroughly accustomed to the
infamous institution, and having realized the profit of so much unpaid labour, declared by Act of Assembly that "all servants not Christians, coming into the colony by shipping, should be slaves for their lives."
On the twenty-fourth of October, 1684, the province of New York made the slave trade legitimate within its borders, recognizing that the white man had a right to buy and sell the coloured man.
On the fourth of October, 1705, an act was passed without a single dissenting voice, declaring the Negro, Mulatto and Indian, slaves within their dominion.
In 1706 an act was passed to "encourage the baptism of Negroes," which was done, it is said, "to quiet the public mind on the question."
On the thirty-first of October, 1751, King George II. issued a proclamation repealing the act which declared slaves real estate.
Thus the business went, all against the Negro, who had become a thing. King George II. declared he must not be "real estate," but left him to be classed with cattle, or crops, or any other miserable article, and the traffic increased. In 1648 there were 300 slaves in the colony of Virginia; in 1671-- 2,000; in 1715--23,000; and in 1758 more than 100,000, which was only a little less than the white population. Think of it. In one hundred and
thirty-nine years fourteen slaves had increased to over 100,000; an awful fact, which caused even Virginia to realize that the institution was a most serious and alarming one. True, it was a well organized system, and recognized in the most solemn manner by the law; was defended by the Church of Christ, the Church of Him who declared and revealed the brotherhood of man, and Christian ministers received slaves as salary; yet was the ghost that haunted the vision of many good men, and a problem which was ultimately solved by a volcanic upheaval that scattered death on every hand. It was futile to baptize the Negro that his soul might be saved; that same Negro lived and multiplied to baptize a nation in blood. He had no rights; could not appear as witness in any court of law; could be condemned on the evidence of one witness without a jury; could own nothing; if he secretly saved anything it was taken from him; had no family relations such as white men enjoyed; lived together by common consent; dared not strike a Christian or Jew, no matter what the provocation; had no schools; was at last buried in a common ditch. Pity 'tis there was no prophet in those days to foresee coming events, and to warn men of judgment to come. Such an one might have saved past and present generations from deep disgrace and exhausting strife.
This is what befell the Negro in the States of America between the years 1619 and 1712. God, it is said, never makes haste, but that His will is certain of execution. We do know that He desires none to be ignorant, and that He seeks to save every child of man with a complete salvation. With Him was the issue, and is, and as we shall examine and describe the condition of the Negro from 1712 to 1865, the year of emancipation,--his life on the plantations, his struggles for freedom, his simple, hearty acceptance of the gospel, his glad awakening on the day of redemption, and his most wonderful subsequent progress, we shall hope to see that the hand of God is set against the wrong doing of men, and behold the promise, set as in rainbow-light and beauty, "that the kingdoms of this world" shall "become the kingdoms of God and His Christ."
HON. FREDERICK DOUGLASS.
THE NEGRO STATESMAN AND ORATOR.
The closing years of the nineteenth century will be looked back upon by future generations with considerable interest, and the whole century will be esteemed the most important in results of beneficence to human life since the time of Jesus Christ. Man has always been king of all creatures living on earth; but time never was when he stood for so much as now. Fortune, caste, privilege and birth, the historic barrier builders, are by no means passed and done with, yet do not obstruct individual progress so seriously as they used to; there is now plenty of room for earnest capable men to exercise their personal powers. Vast business companies and combinations notwithstanding, which certainly many times and in different ways destroy the best efforts of the individual, a man of energy, endowed with faith in the Almighty, may make much of his life. Christian sympathy and the spirit of God are his assistants, by whose help he may overcome many difficulties. Indeed, the fact is, whenever
we see success of any kind we know that a man is behind it, though we see him not. Ideas, principles, truth and right are indispensible, it is true; but until a living man incarnates them, and puts them into active operation, not much is accomplished. A man of noble personality,--who loves truth, dispenses right, lives by principle, does right because it is right and refuses to do wrong because it is wrong, and disseminates ideas of holiness,--inspires everybody and moves hundreds forward to the ground of hope and a happier existence. Such an one,-- possessing a tender conscience, natural piety, a glowing heart full of sympathy and benevolence, and a high moral purpose in all he does--carries heaven with him and strengthens the weakness of all among whom he moves. Jesus Christ, Martin Luther, John Knox and John Wesley; Tennyson, Longfellow and Whittier; Thos. Carlyle, Emerson and Chas. Dickens were men who saw, and knew, and taught, and the whole civilized world looks back upon them with admiration and gratitude. Jesus Christ was the incomparable one, who illumined human consciousness and commenced an era of never ending progress, whose name must always be mentioned with reverence. When men listen to His teaching and emulate His example it is well for the world, and progress is advanced in the best and surest manner. If dead generations had walked in
His footsteps, obeying His commands, and if living generations were eager above all things to keep His law, slavery had never been amongst men in the last nineteen centuries, and war and standing armies would have no place in the life of nations to-day.
Looking back from this wonderful nineteenth century to the year 1712, in which the Negro in the States of America found himself bound by manacles of slavery, in which, also, men and women, the men and women who owned him, feared God and reverenced Jesus Christ, it is difficult to realize that the holy name had much influence with them, and no one could for a moment believe that it had if evidence were not abundantly at hand in proof thereof. "They feared God and worshipped their idols" was said by one of old of a well known people, which saying might with perfect justice be applied to many of the original slave owners. It seems mysterious that the year, in which the Dutch man of war landed the first batch of slaves at Jamestown, Virginia, bore the "Mayflower" to the New World, whose passengers, were men and women that sought a new home and liberty to worship God according to their conscience. The "Mayflower" carried a freight of piety, learning and Christian civilization which were to be written into the law of the New World; the Dutch man of war carried a burden of wretchedness
and sorrow, and a system destined to perish in the flames its own hand should kindle. The Pilgrim Fathers were men whose fame has gone forth over all the world, and probably to the end of time they will be held up as ensamples of robust faith, fearless courage, and sincere piety; yet it is certain that slavery was established in Massachusetts not long after their arrival. Chief-justice Parsons declared from the bench that "slavery was introduced into Massachusetts soon after its first settlement and was tolerated until the ratification of the present constitution of 1780." Let all ministers of the gospel observe this fact, and be it their duty never to weaken God's demand for righteousness. Need there is for real prophets, who seek not wealth, neither position, who will at any cost warn men of the sinfulness of sin. Slavery cannot come back, but other evils are here, and will increase in power and in destructiveness, if the voice of the preacher be not true to the solemn duty of declaring the whole counsel of God.
The first mention of Negroes in Massachusetts we find in the year 1633. It appears that some Indians found a creature in the woods they thought was the devil, of whom they were so afraid that they dared neither approach nor touch him. They hastened to the English settlers, and declared they had seen the evil spirit. The English returned with the
terrified red men to the woods and found a harmless black man, who was lost, had wandered from his master's house; but they sent him back to his master. Why? Why did they not keep him, and instruct him in their religion, and in all useful social duties? He was a black man, and was owned by a white man, which is explanation enough. It was no doubt honest to send him back; but it would have been more in keeping with the religion they professed to have kept and treated him in a Christian manner. This amusing incident of red men being afraid of a black man, and of white men returning him to his owner on a point of honesty, brings into clearest view the peculiar, soul-saddening fact, that religious people can be morally blind and do grossly immoral acts.
Who the owner was of this solitary Negro is not known, neither does history tell how he came into Massachusetts; but it is clearly recorded that the first importation of slaves into the state was in 1637, just four years after the above mentioned event, who were brought from Barbados, and for whom Indians were given in exchange.
At first, slavery in Massachusetts, as in the other colonies, was a family business, which was its most harmless form; then it became an affair of the community; and, finally, an ordinary business of men who wished to enjoy the fruits of forced labour.
Like all the works of sin it developed into larger proportions, destroyed the humanity of men, and filled the colonies with unworthiness. In 1720, General Shute placed the number of slaves in Massachusetts, including a few Indians, at 2,000. In 1735 there were 2,600, and within the next seventeen years the Negro population of Boston alone was 1,541. In 1754 a system of taxation was established by the Colonial government, which included black people in the schedule of taxable property, not a little to the confusion of Governor Shirley. In his message of November 19, 1754, to the assembly, he said: "There is one part of the estate, viz., the Negro slaves, which I am at a loss how to come at the knowledge of, without your assistance." But he was helped out of his difficulty. In that year 4,489 Negroes were classed with hogs, and in 1764 the number had increased to 5,779. 5,779 human beings, in Massachusetts, the home of the Pilgrim Fathers, were rated with hogs and horses, and Negro children were considered an incumbrance, and were given away like puppy dogs.
It is impossible to believe that all the Colonists countenanced this horrible business, indeed it is certain they did not; but it is clear that the life of the colony was morally poisoned, which was the unhappy condition of all the English colonies in the year 1754, Georgia excepted. The natural
rights of thousands were subverted. They were "deemed, held, taken, reputed and adjudged in law to be chattels personal to all interests, constructions and purposes whatsoever," as the law put it; which was contrary to reason and the admonitions of conscience, and gratified the spirit of vulgar pride and class distinction, and the lust of dominion. Violence was the spirit of slavery, and depraved greed its inspiration. From the first slave-hunt in unhappy Africa to the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox, its blood-stained hand was laid on the bodies and souls of the slaves, and on the moral sensibilities of the people. It had no mercy; knew no decency; forced the slave to make the earth produce harvests; whipped him; sold him; killed him; defied God and the inexorable law of righteousness. But Jehovah's judgment came at last in the awful War of Emancipation, and men trembled; and, let this never be forgotten, all who thus disobey must, either here or yonder, in time or eternity, stand in the same sure retribution. It was the old sin, of which many are guilty to-day, of "doing wrong that good may come." There is nothing before men who forget righteousness but confusion and disaster.
It is with astonishment we read the state papers and official documents bearing on the slave trade; they cause us to imagine that we hear the clanking
chains which bound living men to a living death; but when to-day we see 8,000,000 of Negroes living and toiling as free men a great hope is felt, which is related to the whole Negro race in Africa and America. May not these 8,000,000, when they shall have won equality as well as liberty, provide our missionary societies the best ministers for the African field? Is it impossible for them to become a power under the providence of God which shall lift the entire race of coloured people to conditions of moral and spiritual life? They have suffered, and yet suffer. They have been in the blackest darkness of despair; but now see a light of hope, in which thousands of them rejoice perfectly. They have been, as their brethren in Africa are to-day, untaught, savage and immoral; but are now gaining knowledge, and becoming followers of Christ. All their suffering and degradation, heroic struggles and present pursuit of things worthy and sacred cannot end merely in their own elevation, but must surely have some relation to the uplifting of the race.
It has puzzled and perplexed thoughtful men to explain the connection between suffering and progress, and probably no satisfactory solution of the problem has yet been found; but it is known that the cleansing fire of affliction and the noblest character have a close relation with each other.
There is something in prolonged prosperity which demoralizes most men, and something in fierce adversity that draws the grandest soul-elements to the surface. The man who never had a personal Gethsemane knows not the supremest glory of the mount of Transfiguration; the greatest men and women have braved the storm. Is it not possible, then, that what men call the worst thing may turn out the best? The undisciplined soul cannot be compared with the soul that has by bitter experience learned the deepest truth of the Christ. The Negro, therefore, may yet, by the over-ruling providence of God, become one of the world's most noble benefactors. While we follow to a close the history of his life in America, this hope of future extensive good shall be cherished, and faith reposed in God.
Resuming the story of his life in the United States of America, a quotation from the pen of the immortal Rev. George Whitefield, the renowned evangelist, who travelled extensively through the Southern States, will help the reader to understand the awful sufferings that were inflicted upon him. "In 1739, Mr. Whitefield said, in a letter he addressed to the inhabitants of the Southern States, that his sympathies had been strongly excited by what he had seen of the 'miseries of the poor Negroes.' He called attention to the practice of slave-masters, and the encouragement it afforded to the savage
tribes in Africa to continue their warfare on each other, to supply the demand for slaves thus created. He charged 'the generality' of them with using their slaves 'as bad as though they were brutes nay, worse,'--worse than their horses which were 'fed and properly cared for' after the labours of the day, while the slaves must grind their corn and prepare their own food,--worse than their dogs, who are 'caressed and fondled' while the slaves 'are scarce permitted to pick up the crumbs which fall from their master's table.' He spoke of the cruel lashings which 'ploughed their backs and made long furrows,' sometimes ending in death. He reminded them of their spacious houses and sumptuous fare; while they to whose 'indefatigable labours' their luxuries were 'owing had neither convenient food to eat nor proper raiment to put on.'" Mr. Whitefield did not exaggerate; but placed on record a faithful description of what he had seen, which record can not be destroyed. His letter briefly set forth what was happening in all the English colonies, Georgia excepted. In New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, in one degree or another of fiendishness, more severely in some states than others, these cruelties were inflicted on 58,850 human
beings, each one a sensitive creature, capable of feeling pain, and endowed with faculties of soul, whose deep moan and uttered cry for deliverance went up constantly to heaven.
It is impossible to set forth in words the horrors of the trade in New York. The Dutch, under whose government it was known as New Netherlands, looked on slavery as a necessary evil, but did not treat slaves with cruelty. They added them to their families, taught them letters as best they could, and called them in to family prayers; but bought and sold them in the ordinary manner. When the Dutch were defeated by the English the lot of the Negro changed for the worse; a system of neglect, punishment and torture was introduced. In 1702 the assembly passed a law which was called "An Act for Regulating Slaves," and the following quotations show the quality of that regulation. It was declared "not lawful to trade with Negro slaves;" "not more than three slaves may meet together;" "a slave must not strike a freeman;" "all the children of freed black mothers already born, or yet to be born, must be slaves;" "that a common whipper be appointed." No lion in his cage, no eagle fastened by chain to post, fed and cared for by keeper, was ever so miserable as the poor Negro in the bad past. He might walk about and work; but no Christian or Jew would risk fine and
imprisonment by trading with him. He was allowed to talk with two other Negroes; but if more than three met together they were all whipped by a J. P. or the common whipper, or sent to jail. A freeman was at liberty to beat him anywhere and anyhow; but let him so much as raise his hand in self-defence, and legal punishment followed. A freed black woman--some of the better sort gave manumission papers to their slaves--could become a mother; but her child was taken from her as soon as he could work and was pushed into slavery, often sold to a dealer in another state. All this being true, how great ought one's sympathy to be for coloured men and women who are the children of parents that were so ill-treated! That they can believe in a God of righteousness, that they do not hate and abhor the white man, is the miracle of our time, and a solid proof of the divine that is in them.
From the eleventh of May to the twenty-ninth of August, 1741,--only three short months--one hundred and fifty slaves were cast into prison in New York; eighteen of whom were hanged, fourteen burnt to death, seventy-one transported to other colonies,--sold for cash--and the remainder, forty-seven of them, pardoned. For what? Absolutely nothing. One, Mary Barton by name, gave out a report that the slaves had made a plot to burn the town and murder the inhabitants, which was absurd
on the face of it. Yet Justices lost their heads, and the inhabitants, each one armed,--slaves were unarmed-- became terror stricken, and hanging and burning were done without mercy. "The wicked fleeth, when no man pursueth."
God is the maker and judge of all men. He made us innocent, and never placed burden on mortal man beyond his strength, nor imposed a duty that could not be discharged; but men have created apparently inexplicable contradictions, crooked aspirations, and injustice and impurity, and now and again vainly endeavour to run away from their own badness.
Looking steadfastly into this Egyptian darkness of slavery in the States we see a little light of promise; and, in God-fearing men, most of them Quakers, such as Leister King, Elizur Wright, John Sloane of Ravenna, David Hudson, from whom Hudson City received its name, and Owen Brown, father of the immortal John Brown, we discern His ambassadors, who feared not to proclaim their Master's will. They did not labour in vain. As early as 1726, the Colonists of Virginia, alarmed by the increase of slaves, tried to check further importation by imposing a tax; but "the African company obtained the repeal of that law." In I760, South Carolina endeavoured to restrict the traffic, "for which she received the rebuke of the British
government." Earlier than the Colonists of Virginia, the people of Pennsylvania passed a law in 1712 to prevent the increase of slaves, which the Crown promptly annulled. In 1771, also in 1774, Massachusetts adopted measures for the abolition of slavery; but the Colonial Governors, who represented the government, refused to approve them, and so they were lost. Rhode Island, more fortunate than the other colonies, passed a law in 1774, prohibiting the importation of slaves, and in 1784, declared all children free born after the next March, of which acts the government took no notice. Light was breaking through the clouds; this was the first step towards emancipation. No more slaves to be imported, and all children of slaves then in the state, also all children to be born, to be free, meant the redemption of Rhode Island from the horrible crime, and had more influence in the other states than can now be measured.
The light and the promise grow more clear while we look, and circumstances of good omen accumulate. With the annexation of Texas, a vast country adapted to the growth of cotton, which increased the demand for and the price of slaves, we see a bolder activity on the part of the Quakers, who, filled with the love of God and man, stepped forth before all men to render aid to the hunted fugitive. The hunted fugitive? Yes; for the slave had at
last found manhood enough in himself to attempt escape, to fly from the auction block, the flesh and blood jobbers, the pain of the lash and the woe of children sent from his heart into other lands. To Eastern Pennsylvania hundreds of them took flight, and were received and helped by good Samaritans. This was the beginning of the end. God had assisted the Negro to feel his manhood, and had provided good men to help him. The slave power might, and did, continue to oppress him; deny him the rights of citizenship; prohibit meetings and schools; forbid him to preach to his brother slaves; punish white men who dared to instruct him; bind manacles tighter to his feet; but in vain. He had learned that men lived in other places who were ready to serve him, and had discovered a personal courage to dare something for himself. Previous to the annexation of Texas came the revolution, and separation from England, in which the Negro found that he could use arms, and was encouraged by both Colonists and Crown to do so, and of 501,102 slaves at that time in the States, some fought for the Crown and some for the Colonists. They knew not for what they fought; but it was a new experience, and was not forgotten.
His valour, however, did not win liberty for him. After the new constitution had been ratified, and the States were established as a separate nation, he
went back to his labour and sorrow; for him no improvement had been won. But something had been won personal to himself, which was increased courage and bolder daring. He had seen white men fight for something they called liberty; had ignorantly fought with them, and had seen many new things. And slaves in every state had heard of Canada, a land far away; but of distance they knew nothing and cared less. With miraculous courage and wonderful faith thousands of them ventured forth; were helped by a society known as the Underground Railroad;--composed of good men of all creeds--were fed and directed; were sheltered by day and conducted through the woods by night; and, it is pleasing to read that they always proffered to pay in labour for what they had received. The light grows clearer, and thousands of men are looking at the horrid cruelties of darkness, and much earnest discussion is heard throughout the land.
It is 1844, just two hundred and twenty-five years since those unfortunate fourteen slaves were delivered to the Governor of Virginia, and the divine judgment of slavery and slave-holders is getting nearer. In eighteen years the inhabitants of the States will know what slavery means, and how fearful a thing it is to forsake righteousness. England, once a partner in the business, has meanwhile made
a noble repentance, and has set free every slave that lived beneath her banner, and never more will stain her hands with the blood of such a crime. More than that; at her own cost and as best she can she prevents the crime being committed by others. Her Sons of to-day must not be blamed for the sins of their fathers. But in 1844 the darkness had not passed from the United States, though thousands of her noblest sons saw the light, and sorrowed o'er the sin; the storm might not be avoided, but must break in death-giving force upon them. The Negro must suffer and wear his manacles yet a while. Then the world shall see and the States feel the awful judgment of God, and widows will weep, and sons lament, and fathers moan for those who are not.
PURITAN HERO, CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHER, MARTYR
FOR THE SLAVES.
On the seventeenth of October, 1859, John Brown, at the head of a small force of armed men, entered the town of Harper's Ferry, Virginia, a little after ten o'clock in the evening, to free the slaves. Five colored and fourteen white men constituted the entire force, with which he hoped not to destroy the huge slave party of the South, but to create a feeling, or so inflame a feeling already created, that would burn in Christian hearts until the power of that party should be destroyed. He took possession of the armoury buildings, cut the telegraph wires, stopped trains on the railroad, liberated several slaves, and held the town not much longer than a day. The slave party, at first, were astounded, if not for a moment paralized; then they laughed, and said: "The folly of a madman." John Brown could not with his small force accomplish a task which ultimately cost millions of treasure and one million lives; but he could, and did, reveal to the anti-slave party, as they had never seen it before,
the evil spirit of the slave party in its diabolical nature and purpose.
On the nineteenth of October, 1859, only two days after his bold attack on the town, John Brown was cast into prison, where he remained until the seventh of November without a change of clothing, and, his wounds not withstanding, without medical aid; and, forty-two days from the time of his imprisonment was hanged to death. The raid, capture, trial, conviction and execution of this wonderful man and his followers profoundly stirred the nation, and attracted the attention of the civilized nations of the world. His friends, who admired his simplicity of heart and life, felt very sorrowful; thought he had made a grievous mistake and that military action would not advance legitimate reform; the slave-owners were excited and furiously determined to stand by their property. But his friends did not know that they had opposed to them the worst, most wicked, subtlest of sin-serving men this world has ever seen; they could not then feel, for which they cannot be blamed, that only blood and death could rid the nation of the evil of slavery. But it was brought home to them a few months after John Brown's execution, when they saw for the first time that it was war or eternal disgrace, perhaps destruction. Then all good men of every creed, with infinite regret, but with courage made mighty
by burning indignation, drew the sword, not to sheath it until the curse was destroyed.
We are, always have been, for peace, and must oppose war; but if ever war was justifiable, that of the emancipation is justified. It was not desired by the North, the government did not seek it, there was no coveted territory to be won, not a private interest to be advanced; it was a case of wresting from blood-stained hands that would not peaceably let go millions of human beings.
John Brown did not mean war; but was mysteriously, no doubt providentially, influenced at the last moment to depart from his original plan. To quote from a letter he wrote on the fifteenth of November, 1859, to a minister of religion, it is clear that some influence moved him to act as he had not intended. He says: "I am not as yet, in the main, at all disappointed. I have been a good deal disappointed as it regards myself in not keeping up to my own plans; but now I feel entirely reconciled to that even; for God's plan was infinitely better, no doubt, or I should have kept my own. Had Samson kept to his determination of not telling Delilah wherein his great strength lay, he would probably have never overturned the house. I did not tell Delilah; but I was induced to act very contrary to my better judgment." God's plan was better than my own is the substance of the letter,
and we doubt not that this rugged puritan, a lineal descendant in the direct line of Peter Brown of the "Mayflower," saw visions and dreamed dreams in his cell, and clearly perceived that the end of slavery in the United States was near at hand, and that his own death would hasten its downfall. He felt that he, as Samson by telling his secret was brought to the task of overturning the enemies' house, by not keeping his own plans had secured the destruction of slavery in the States. There can be no question now about his vision being correct. A few months later, the Twelfth Massachusetts marched out of Boston singing the John Brown song, and sang it in camp, and regiment after regiment caught up the air of it, and on the march and in the midst of battle descendants of the Puritans and of the Pilgrim Fathers, and other noble-hearted men, made fields and pathways resound with musical words of "John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave," and of "his soul still marching on." The fore-seeing eye is yet in the world, and God's prophets have somewhat to do even in the nineteenth century.
He was a real Puritan, and, like the fathers from whom he descended, sternly religious. Baxter and Bunyan were the men with whom he sat and talked, through their books, and the bible was his chief adviser and guide. Selfishness had no place in his character, but generosity was the shining virtue of
his life, and he was endowed with an exceedingly fine sense of justice. Fear he knew not; when told that the Missourians had marked him for death, he replied: "The Angel of the Lord will camp round about me." His destiny was linked with that of the slave; he felt that he must live and die for him; he was one of the instruments by which God worked out His will. In prison, he wrote: "I never did intend murder, or treason, or the destruction of property, or to excite or incite slaves to rebellion, or to make insurrection. The design on my part was to free the slaves."
Virginia and all the Southern States, though the great slave-owners called him a madman, were thrown into confusion by this Puritan and his nineteen men, and the baser sort would gladly have lynched him. They had for years taunted the anti-slavery party with cowardice, saying that they dared not preach emancipation in the South. In their imagined safely established power they sneered at the party of humanity, were sneering on that historic seventeenth of October, when, to their infinite surprise, momentary dread, and long-continued suspicion of a vast conspiracy against them, a few brave men stood up in their midst sword in hand to bear testimony with their lives against the crime of slavery. Never did lightning from heaven smite the human heart with terror more suddenly than
did this John Brown into the souls of men who owned flesh and blood. They must find out who had supported him, and see what power was behind him. Therefore, Senator Mason hastened to Harper's ferry, and, finding the old puritan lying on the floor of the armoury office, his face, hands and clothes stained with blood which flowed from his undressed wounds, proceeded to question him. When was the organization formed? Who provided the money? Where did he get the arms? Said Brown: "I will answer freely and faithfully about what concerns myself--I will answer anything I can with honour, but not about others." Asked: "How do you justify your acts?" he answered: "I think, my friend, you are guilty of a great wrong against God and humanity--I say it without wishing to be offensive--and it would be perfectly right for anyone to interfere with you so far as to free those you willingly and wickedly hold in bondage. . . . I think I did right, and that others will do right who interfere with you at any time and all times. I hold that the golden rule, 'Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you,' applies to all who would help others to gain their liberty." . . . "I want you to understand, gentlemen," he said, "that I respect the rights of the poorest and weakest of coloured people oppressed by the slave system just as much as I
do those of the most wealthy and powerful. That is the idea that has moved me, and that alone. We expected no reward except the satisfaction of endeavouring to do for those in distress and greatly oppressed as we would be done by. The cry of distress of the oppressed is my reason and the only thing that prompted me to come here. . . . I wish to say, furthermore, that you had better, all you people of the South, prepare yourselves for a settlement of this question, that must come up for settlement sooner than you are prepared for it. . . . You may dispose of me very easily. I am nearly disposed of now; but this question is still to be settled-- this Negro question I mean; the end of that is not yet." Prophetic words, let the reader observe, spoken by one whose soul was full of light, who in few days would join the "Sons of the morning."
Of course, the flesh jobbers called him a fanatic, a fool, a madman, and his friends scarcely knew at first what to say; but in a little while they heard God's message which came to them through his death. Jefferson Davis called it: "The invasion of a state by a murderous gang of abolitionists, to incite slaves to murder helpless women and children . . . and for which the leader has suffered a felon's death." Mr. Douglass said he was "a notorious man who had recently suffered death for his crimes upon the gallows." Yes; he was such an one to
the slave party. Slave-owners were as incapable of understanding a John Brown as the slave was of expounding Euclid; they could not comprehend the man who said, while waiting for execution: "It is a religious movement;--I regard myself an instrument in the hands of providence." He was a puritan; they were slave-owners; there was nothing in common between them. They were accustomed to the sight of the plantation, which debased them; he, mostly with the pictures which bible stories inspired within him. Had he not read of Joshua taking a walled city by the blowing of trumpets and the shouting of his people! And had he not studied the story of Gideon, who, with three hundred men, bearing only trumpets and lamps and pitchers, put to flight with mighty confusion the Midianites and Amalekites, who were like grasshoppers for multitude! He would take his nineteen men against the slave power, and let God decide. God did decide. John Brown was hanged, and went to heaven; and the influence of his life and death inspired the hearts of Northern men with feelings they never had before, and moved them to look more earnestly at the monster in front of them, and caused thousands of them to realize that more men would have to die, to give their lives to free the land from the great abomination. God did decide, from whose decision neither North nor South could escape.
Governor Wise, who went to see Brown, said in a public speech at Richmond: "They are mistaken who take Brown to be a madman. He is a bundle of the best nerves I ever saw, cut and thrust, and bleeding and in bonds. He is a man of clear head, of courage, fortitude . . . and he inspired me with great trust in his integrity, as a man of truth. He is a fanatic, vain and garrulous, but firm and truthful and intelligent." Not a bad opinion for the governor of the mother state of slavery to give of Brown, of which Emerson took note, and observed thereon: "Governor Wise, in the record of his interviews with his prisoner, appeared to great advantage. If Governor Wise is a superior man, or inasmuch as he is a superior man, he distinguishes John Brown. As they confer, they understand each other swiftly; each respects the other. If opportunity allowed, they would prefer each other's society and desert their former companions." Whether Emerson's estimate of these two men be right or wrong we do not know; but we do know that a lawyer, by name, Abraham Lincoln, was thinking of the incident of Harper's ferry, and that he said at Cooper College, February 27, 1860: "John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection, it was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in which the slaves refused to participate. In fact, it was so absurd that
the slaves, with all their ignorance, saw plainly enough it could not succeed. That affair in its philosophy corresponds with the many attempts related in history at the assassination of kings and emperors. An enthusiast broods over the oppression of a people, until he fancies himself commissioned by heaven to liberate them. He ventures the attempt, which ends in little else than his own execution." Abraham Lincoln felt much more than he said; he was speaking as a statesman. But he uttered the truth, John Brown had brooded over the oppression of the Negro, and did venture the attempt to liberate him, and was executed. And he did more. He left the incompleted effort to be completed by the same Abraham Lincoln, whose life also was sacrificed in the interest of the holy cause. Only a few months after speaking his memorable words on John Brown he was elected President of the United States, which event was quickly followed by the War of Emancipation, after which the assassin ended his life; but not before he had saved the nation and set the Negro free.
When Lincoln was assassinated the whole Christian world heard the news with sorrow; but there were men, who lived in civilized society, that rejoiced, and said in their hearts, if not with their lips: "The South is avenged," which words Wilkes
Booth shouted in Ford's Theatre after shooting the president. He was a martyr, whose death sealed and made secure the glorious work which had been done. His assassination was another proof of the most weird fact of history, that martyrdom is the price good men have paid for human progress. Jesus Christ gave His life to save all men from sin and the ruin of disobedience, and His disciples feared not to emulate His example. Filled with His spirit, from His day until now, to give a larger application to Lincoln's words, noble men have brooded over the sorrows of the human family, and feeling heaven's call have ventured to assuage them, and, like John Brown, passed into rest by violence.
John Brown had, we think, a consciousness for years that the victory would be made sure by his own death, and if we were attempting more than a brief review of the efforts he made much evidence might be produced in support of that view. A few of his own words must suffice. Writing to Mr. Sanborn, a short time before he made his attack on Harper's ferry, he said: "I have only had this one opportunity in a life of nearly sixty years, and could I be continued ten times as long again, I might not again have another equal opportunity. God has honoured but comparatively a very small part of mankind with any possible chance of such mighty and soul-satisfying rewards. . . . I expect nothing
but to 'endure hardness;' but I expect to effect a mighty conquest, even though it be like the last victory of Samson." A little while before his execution he wrote to his brother: "I am quite cheerful in view of my approaching end, being fully persuaded that I am worth inconceivably more to hang than for any other purpose. I count it all joy. 'I have fought the good fight,' and have, as I trust, 'finished my course.'" To his cousin he said: "When I think how easily I might be left to spoil all I have done or suffered in the cause of freedom, I hardly dare wish another voyage, even if I had the opportunity." To his children he wrote: "I feel just as content to die for God's eternal truth on the scaffold as in any other way," and he added: "as I trust my life has not been thrown away, so I also humbly trust that my death will not be in vain. God can make it to be a thousand times more valuable to his own cause than all the miserable service (at best) that I have rendered it during my life." To a minister of religion, who had written him a letter of sympathy, he replied: "I think I feel as happy as Paul did when he lay in prison. He knew if they killed him, it would greatly advance the cause of Christ; that was the reason he rejoiced so. On that same ground 'I do rejoice.' Let them hang me; I forgive them, and may God forgive them, for 'they know not what they do.' I have no regret
for the transaction for which I am condemned. I went against the laws of men, it is true, but 'whether it be right to obey God or men, judge ye.'" His last words to his family were: "John Brown writes to his children to abhor with undying hatred that sum of all villianes--slavery."
These words make a mirror, in which we may see this man, John Brown, and if we be capable of looking behind the flesh, we may behold his very spirit. For generations other good men had talked about the slave trade, had felt, too, unutterable things in respect of it,--sorrow, shame, indignation; but the slave-owner dared them preach their theories in the South, and mocked their piety. If the men of the North so much as whispered the word compulsion, the men of the South shouted independence, separation from the North, two United States, a North and a South. In the senate and in the assembly the voice of the demon was all-powerful, and no remedy by talk or resolution could be had. John Brown saw, heard and studied it all; "brooded over it," to use Lincoln's words; felt that he must do more than talk. Samson went into the house of the Philistines, and pulled it down, and perished; he would go boldly into the enemies' camp, and, "though it be like the last victory of Samson," would try to effect a mighty conquest. He went, and met the fate that befell Samson. The slave-owners
hanged him, and said "he has died a felon's death."
No separation from the North now, you flesh and blood jobbers, that you may continue the infernal traffic; this man Brown has destroyed all your schemes; his blood has been sprinkled upon the sons of God. You have killed him, hanged him to death, it is true, and it is also true that the nation has watched you, and her best men and women have written in their diaries what they think of it. Louisa Alcott has written: "The execution of St. John the Just took place December second," and Longfellow has set down in his journal: "This will be a great day in our history; the date of a new revolution, quite as much needed as the old one. Even now, as I write, they are leading old John Brown to execution in Virginia for attempting to rescue slaves. This is sowing the wind to reap the whirlwind, which will come soon." You ought not to have hanged John Brown, you buyers and sellers of flesh and blood; it was a mistake you made, to which you were moved by the blind wickedness that was in you; you shall ere long go out to see, and feel, the whirlwind. It is dangerous work, hanging a saint of God, though his methods have been indiscreet; they who are wicked enough to do it may look out for God's judgment, which you shall on no account escape.
At last the real prophets were aroused, to whom the country had to listen. Speaking of John Brown, Emerson said: "I wish we might have health enough to know virtue when we see it, and not cry with the fools 'madman' when a hero passes;" and the audience responded with prolonged applause. Again he said: "That new saint, than whom none purer or more brave was ever led by love of man into conflict and death--the new saint awaiting his martyrdom, and who, if he shall suffer, will make the gallows glorious like the cross;" and the audience broke into intense enthusiasm. Thoreau said: "Christ was crucified some eighteen hundred years ago; this morning, perchance, Captain Brown was hung. These are the two ends of a chain which is not without its links. He is not old Brown any longer, he is an angel of light." Victor Hugo wrote: "In killing Brown, the Southern States have committed a crime which will take its place among the calamities of history. He was an apostle and a hero. The gibbet has only increased his glory and made him a martyr." And Mrs. Stearns wrote these words in respect of her husband: "On the second of December, Mr. Stearns yearned for the solitude of his own soul, in communion of spirit, with the friend who, on that day, would 'make the gallows glorious like the cross;' and he left Dr. Howe and took the train for Niagra Falls. There,
sitting alone beside the mighty rush of water, he solemnly consecrated his remaining life, his fortune, and all that was most dear, to the cause in whose service John Brown had died." To these words of the real prophets of that time the country listened, and great was the result.
It was wrong, no doubt, as men speak, to attempt by ambush, force and invasion to subvert slavery in Virginia; it is always better to appeal to reason and judgment, and have the matter settled by ballot. Enlightened forms of government and the Christian religion equally shrink from violence and the use of arms; but in the case of the Negro in America the Southrons would not listen to appeal, would scarcely discuss the question, and finally, on that and some other issues, declared themselves a separate nation. What was to be done? John Brown had recently been hanged, and Abraham Lincoln more recently elected president, and the Christian conscience of the North was roused and instructed. What was to be done? With the boom of Southern guns firing on Fort Sumter millions of eyes turned to Harper's Ferry, and millions of hearts felt--that is what has to be done, and sooner we emulate the example of John Brown the better for the nation and the future of mankind.
It was done; once and forever. Harper's Ferry could not be forgotten. Once more in the history
of man the stern, awful righteousness of the Old Testament was seen on earth. Once again mothers sent their sons with prayer and benediction to the awful battle-field, to the conflict that was not for gold, neither for dominion. And while fathers and sons fought side by side, and together sang the stirring words of the John Brown song, mothers and daughters stayed at home and prayed, which prayers were heard in heaven. And strange things were seen. On the very spot in Virginia where John Brown was hanged, the Webster Regiment of Massachusetts stood on the first day of March, 1862, and sang to the music of a Methodist hymn -
"John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
But his soul goes marching on."
And many wept, and deep emotions were stirred, and the God of heaven looked down on the sons of men, and saw the good and the evil.
He saw that many men of the North would not fight to free the slaves; that the president himself did not understand; that the army of the North did not unanimously believe it was a war of emancipation. The God of heaven guided the president, and helped him in due time clearly to see the issue, and strengthened him to declare the Negro free. It was to retain the institution of slavery the South fought, as stated distinctly by Jefferson Davis; it was, in the
first instance, to preserve the union and defeat the rebellious states the North fought. Fighting for the union, as the history of the war clearly proves, the armies of the North made no progress toward victory; but when emancipation was declared and the Negro himself was brought into the struggle, victory was assured, and did finally attend their banners. It was victory wrought by the hand of the Almighty, which all may see who are not blind.
One more word from John Brown, the last he wrote.
"Charlestown, Jefferson Co., Virginia,
29th March, 1859.
Mrs. GEORGE L. STEARNS,
My dear Friend
No letter I have received since my imprisonment here, has given me more satisfaction, or comfort, than your's of the 8th inst. I am quite cheerful: and never more happy. Have only time to write you a word. May God forever reward you and all yours.
My love to all who love their neighbours. I have asked to be spared from having any mock, or hypocritical prayers made over me when I am publicly murdered; and that my only religious attendants be poor little, dirty, ragged, bareheaded and barefooted, Slave Boys: and Girls, led by some old gray-headed slave Mother.
LAST MOMENTS OF JOHN BROWN
This letter was written on a half sheet of paper and inserted into the pages of a book, which Mrs. Brown took from the prison with other books and papers to her home. After a lapse of two months she found it, and sent it on to Mrs. Stearns, who received it as from the spirit world. Thoughtful of his friends, ever trustful in God, a devoted servant of Jesus Christ,--this humane man lighted the torch whose shining fell on the darkness of the slave's life, and fired the first shot to set him free.
The authorized tragedy is at an end; the Negro is free to work out his own destiny and overcome the unauthorized opposition of his haters as best he can. It has cost many precious lives to set him free; it required the strength of the strongest and the faith of the holiest to break his fetters.
Passing over the history of the war, we proceed to inquire into the use he has thus far made of his freedom, and to see if he have requited the valour and love of the dead and the living, which they displayed and cherished in his behalf. We look now for evidences of manhood in him, and for tokens of that divinity which the bible and all true churches declare is the quality of the human soul.
THE NEGRO AND HIS MANY DISADVANTAGES AND BURDENS
On the thirteenth of September, 1862, the Protestant Denominations of Chicago sent a deputation of gentlemen to President Lincoln to urge him to adopt measures that would quickly bring about the emancipation of the slave, and to advance the opinion that prompt action in the direction indicated was the only way to save the union. He listened to all they had to say with his usual patience and attention, and answered them in a characteristic speech. He said: "I do not want to issue a document that the whole world will see must necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope's Bull against the Comet. Would my word free the slaves, when I cannot even enforce the Constitution in the Rebel States? Is there a single court, or magistrate, or individual, that would be influenced by it there? . . . . . Now, then, tell me, if you please, what possible result of good would follow the issuing of such a proclamation as you desire?" The deputation urged in reply the good feeling of
Europe, which in their opinion would immediately be declared on the side of the union; also arguments of humanity, and hinted that God might then be challenged to grant success to the union armies. President Lincoln replied: "I admit that slavery is at the root of the Rebellion, or at least its sine qua non. The ambition of politicians may have instigated them to act; they would have been impotent without slavery as their instrument. . . . . Let me say one thing more: I think you should admit that we already have an important principle to rally and unite the people, in the fact that Constitutional government is at stake. This is a fundamental idea, going down about as deep as anything."
From the President it appeared not much might be expected. Some said he was a coward, others thought him lacking in sympathy for the slave, and even a few of his friends were afraid that he had no disposition to act as the anti-slave party desired and requested him. They were all wrong. Upon him rested a responsibility greater than any ever borne by President of the United States, not excepting Washington, and he knew it, and allowed neither individual nor society to hurry him out of his path of duty. He knew the power of the slave party, and the spirit of the slave system, and all through the long struggle waited for the guidance of God.
The lawlessness and barbarism of slavery, its
injustice and cruelty, its opposition to freedom of thought, its degrading influence upon society, and its repression of free speech even in the house of prayer, were particularly manifest in the time of Lincoln, who, from his watch-tower, saw much, though not all, of the horrible work that was being done. No pen will ever write, because it can never be known, a full account of the life of the States from 1860 to 1865. We can not even imagine the state of Southern society at that time. The South was controlled most pitilessly by a merciless cruelty which stopped at nothing. Self-constituted courts of law in the form of vigilance committees made law as it was required for the punishment of offenders, and executed their verdicts quite independently of the Statutes of the Constitution. It was a condition of national life which may be illustrated, but never comprehended in all its vastness of evil.
Some time in the year 1860 the Rev. Solomon McKinney went to Texas from Kentucky. He believed in slavery, and taught that the bible sanctioned it, and by request delivered a sermon on "The relative duties of master and slave." The sermon was "mild enough," as was to be expected from a minister who believed that God approved slavery; but in it were many things which no Christian could avoid saying on such a subject. "Relative duties of master and slave" suggested
some thoughts to the mind of even Rev. Solomon McKinney, to be spoken to both master and slave. Much to his surprise, a public meeting was called for the purpose of discussing his statements; and, this reverend believer in slavery, who had preached his sermon by request in Dallas County, Texas, "was warned not to preach there again." Well, he did not preach there again, but with another preacher left Dallas County quickly as possible. But it seems the public meeting which warned him not to preach again in those parts meant somewhat more than appeared on the face of the resolution that was passed, and a party pursued the two preachers, caught and brought them back, and imprisoned them. Then armed men took them from the jail, gave them eighty lashes each with raw hide whips, until their "backs were one mass of clotted blood and bruised and mangled flesh." Such an event could not happen in any state or country not demoralized by sin; but the depth of the demoralization of the slave states may be dimly perceived in it, and in what followed. Mr. Blunt, Mr. McKinney's brother preacher, sent a memorial to the Wisconsin legislature, in which he declared he had never preached against slavery, and that "for more than thirty years he had uniformly supported the Democratic party in both state and nation, and had sustained the views of that party
upon the issues between North and South." His memorial, from our point of view, reflects disastrously upon himself, and suggests that he knew little of the spirit of St. Paul, not to mention the Christ, and it exposes the fiendish intolerance of the slave states, and makes manifest the determination which obtained not to allow "the other side living room."
It mattered not what a man's position was; he must conform to the opinion of the majority, which was the slave party, or "take the consequences." Many did "take the consequences," and obeyed conscience; and, some fell into trouble quite innocently. A stonecutter, an Irishman, when at work on the South Carolina State House, remarked to a fellow-worker that "slavery caused a white labourer at the South to be looked upon as an inferior and degraded man." He ought not to have made that remark, though true as anything that was ever said. He was not prudent enough with his tongue in that state of South Carolina; it would have paid him to remember that persons who told the truth were punished there sometimes most severely. For making that simple remark he was thrust into jail, subsequently dragged through the streets, tarred and feathered, and banished from the state after suffering a week's imprisonment at Charleston.
President Lincoln, we have said, knew the power
of the slave party, and the spirit of the slave system, and that the evil could not be cast out so easily as the Chicago deputation thought. Reports of the injustice which was done, and of the cruelties that were perpetrated reached him every day, and his noble patience was tried to the utmost. He was under the most solemn oath, which every president of the States takes on inauguration, to keep intact the union and administer law justly and with impartiality; yet was compelled to look upon the Southern States in rebellion, and upon the abrogation of statute law in hundreds of places, and for a time was unable to keep the oath he had taken. Ministers of religion, who ventured not to denounce slavery, but to make the mildest remarks in respect of slave masters' duties to slaves, were whipped almost to death, and artisans were tarred and feathered and banished for making casual truthful remarks. If such treatment in those cruel days was meted out to innocently offending white men, who can describe the tortures that were inflicted on black men? Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, it was said, exaggerated in her wonderful book "Uncle Tom's Cabin;" but no statement of the Negro's condition and sorrow has been nearer the truth. Her name is embalmed in the history of the States, and enshrined in the hearts of all who love mercy and truth, and is an abiding inspiration of love to the
Negro; and we shall ever be grateful to God for the interest which she and her illustrious brother Henry Ward Beecher took in us, and for the help they gave in the time of our struggle to gain education and usefulness.
The war continued. Contrary to expectation, it appeared farther from coming to an end than when it began. Discussions on the slave question were held in the senate, but no satisfactory conclusion could be reached. Europe looked on in silence, and with-held sympathy from the North, because no declaration was made against the hideous traffic in flesh and blood. Deputations waited on the president, and urged immediate proclamation of emancipation, but could not move him. He lived in the White House, a man of heart, conscience and benevolence, feeling keenly the terrible responsibility which Providence had thrust upon him. He was a great man, one of the greatest this world has seen, who desired above all things to do right. His wish always to do right was his reason for not declaring emancipation sooner than he did; he waited for the opportune moment, and God revealed it to him.
The South had command of the slaves, and it is computed that not less than one hundred thousand of them were made to dig trenches and throw up embankments, which liberated so many white men
to handle the rifle and take part in battles. The armies of the North had no such assistance, neither could they gain the mastery. The president's mind had solved the problem. He saw that the union was not to be saved if slavery were retained, and the proclamation of emancipation was written and carried in his pocket; yet he waited for the opportune moment. It came. The armies of the North gained a victory at Antietam, which was most welcome, and inspired every citizen of the North with hope and good feeling, and made a great impression on the continent of Europe. The Negro had been in bondage two hundred and fifty years: been the white man's beast of burthen; felt the whip, worn the chains and endured the agonies of oppression; wept as one without hope at the auctioneer's block when wife and child were sold away from him; prayed to a God he had heard of for deliverance or death; and, at last his day had come. The man of heart, and conscience, and benevolence, who lived in the White House; the great president who, with fortitude of mind never surpassed, had waited for the opportune moment; who said before he was inaugurated that he "would do whatever God wished him to do," now saw and understood the divine will, and made the following proclamation, which was flashed all over the continent:--
Whereas, On the Twenty-Second day of September, in the year of
our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty-two, a Proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things the following, to wit:
"That on the First day of January, in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty-Three, all persons held as Slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforth, and FOREVER FREE, and the Executive Government of The United States, including the Military and Naval Authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
"That the Executive will, on the First day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively shall then be in rebellion against the United States, and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States."
Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, by virtue of the power in me vested as COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMY AND NAVY OF THE UNITED STATES in time of actual armed rebellion
against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this First day of January, in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty-Three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaim for the full period of one hundred days from the day of the first above-mentioned order, and designate, as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:--Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terre Bonne, La Fourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of Orleans,) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth,) and which excepted parts are for the present left precisely as if this Proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that ALL PERSONS HELD AS SLAVES within said designated States and parts of States ARE, AND HENCEFORWARD SHALL BE FREE! and that the Executive Government of the United States, including the Military and Naval Authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all
violence, UNLESS IN NECESSARY SELF-DEFENCE; and I recommend to them that in all cases, when allowed, they LABOR FAITHFULLY FOR REASONABLE WAGES.
And I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable condition will be received into the armed service of the United States, to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be AN ACT OF JUSTICE, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of ALMIGHTY GOD!
In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto set my name, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
[L. S.] Done at the CITY OF WASHINGTON, this First day of January, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty-Three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty Seventh.
By the President,
Secretary of State.
This proclamation was made on the twenty-second day of September, 1862, but the war continued until 1865. Its immediate effects completely answered the expectations of the anti-slavery party, but intensified the bitterness of the slave party. The cause of the North, in the sympathy of christendom and foreign nations was immensely strengthened, and righteousness was added to it, and for the first time since Southern soldiers fired on Fort Sumter, Christian communities and all good Americans, who deplored and opposed the slave system, found themselves free to implore the blessing of the Almighty on the armies of the North, inasmuch as humanity and not dominion was now the defined cause. But opposition to emancipation was declared by some citizens of the North as well as by men of the South, and even in the president's own state, mass meetings were held against it. With him, however, was no faltering. His absolute proclamation was issued at the close of the hundred days of grace, and in a letter to the people of his own state he said it could not be retracted "any more than the dead can be restored to life." In that same letter, replying to their avowed determination not to fight for the Negro, he said: "Some of them seem willing to fight for you." . . . "If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest motive, even the promise of freedom, and the
promise being made must be kept." And he said, after expressing the hope of early peace, in rebuke of their bad spirit: "And there will be some black men who can remember that with silent tongue and clenched teeth, and steady eye and well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation, while, I fear, there will be some white ones unable to forget that with malignant heart and deceitful speech they have striven to hinder it."
From 1862, the year of emancipation, to 1865, the year of the close of the war, the condition of the Negro was not materially changed, his freedom notwithstanding. The war demanded, and received, almost all the thought and energy of the North. But tens of thousands of coloured men escaped from South to North, and were ultimately engaged as soldiers "at a salary of $10 per month, with $3 deducted for clothing--leaving them only $7 per month as their actual pay. White soldiers received $13 per month and clothing." Of the difference between his salary and that of the white soldier the Negro took no notice; he was fighting for the good president who had declared him free, and for the final overthrow of the slave party, and to make safe his own liberty. Little did he expect, indeed he was unable to imagine, the conditions of life which were to be his after the good president's
assassination and the surrender of the Southern army, which events happened within a few days of each other. The story is a long and painful one, and is probably the most disgraceful part of American history. It reveals the white man of the South in the character of a demon, who was determined to remand the freed coloured man as nearly as possible to his former condition by state legislation. Alabama, Florida and Mississippi made it an act of vagrancy, punishable with imprisonment, for a freedman to leave the service of his employer before the term prescribed in a written contact was completed, which contract the Negro had in every case to sign, or die of starvation on the public road. Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana made it a criminal offence for any person to employ, feed or clothe a freedman who had left his employer, under a penalty of a year in the house of correction to both employer and employed, and five dollars reward and ten cents a mile for travelling expenses were paid to any officer of any state who should take such an one back to his master. Florida made it a criminal offence for any black man to enter a white man's place of worship or public meeting, or the white man's railroad car, under a penalty of standing in the pillory for one hour, or be whipped thirty-nine stripes, or both as the jury might decide. South Carolina, Florida and Mississippi made it an
offence to keep any fire-arms, dirk, sword, ammunition or bowie-knife without a license, which was under no circumstances granted to a Negro, under a penalty of stripes and the pillory. President Lincoln had set the Negro free, but the Southern States,--immediately after peace was declared, and they had been restored to the union, exercising their state powers--made him sign contracts of service, forbade him to listen to a coloured preacher, punished him if he entered a white man's church, would not allow him to possess, arms of any kind, and denied him "the right to acquire and dispose of property." Had President Lincoln not been murdered, it is safe to say that these iniquities would not have been permitted; but President Johnson, himself once a slave-owner, who forfeited the confidence of his own party and the Christian world, suffered them without making one remonstrance, and in other ways helped make the freed Negro little different from a slave.
At the beginning of this chapter we saw what was done by the slave party, immediately before emancipation, to the Negro, and to white people who sympathized with him; we are now seeing what was done immediately after emancipation. We can only give illustrations of horrid deeds and samples of inhuman enactments, which were done and made to create fear in the hearts of persons disposed to
help the black man, and render it impossible for him to make progress. For several years a reign of terror existed, and in a short time several thousand murders were committed, and plunder and slaughter were effected the like of which has not been seen in any civilized country. It was stated in the senate that the following outrages and murders had been done. In Mississippi, twenty-three murders and seventy-six cases of outrage. In Alabama, two hundred and fifty murders, and one hundred and sixteen outrages. In Florida, one hundred and fifty-three cases of murder. In Louisiana in one year there were over one thousand murders. Who committed all these crimes? A society called the Ku Klux Klan, sometimes, The Pale Faces, and, Knights of the White Camelia, which was formed for the purpose of punishing Northern men and putting the "Nigger " in his proper place. Who the fiends were was never known, or never officially known, because witnesses dared not tell what they knew; to tell was to sign their own death warrant. Descriptions of a few outrages will illustrate the state of Southern life and of the Negro at that time.
In Eutaw, Alabama, a Negro named Sam Colvin was killed, and the prosecuting attorney, having worked up the evidence, announced that he would proceed against his murderers; but one day armed
men rode up to his hotel, forced the clerk to conduct them to his room, shot him through the head, and left him dying on the floor. The white attorney must be silenced, and all white lawyers must be reminded that when Negroes were murdered nothing must be done. "Governor Parsons said he had never known of a conviction for the murder of a Negro."
In Louisiana, Elias Hill, a poor Negro, who could do no work, being a cripple from his youth, lived as best he could. Most of his time was spent in his cabin, where he sat day after day thinking his own thoughts and knowing his own sorrow. Being endowed with a strong intellect he could not resign himself to eternal ignorance, and set about gathering information in a novel manner. He called the school children into his cabin as they passed from school, and had them repeat to him the lessons of the day, which he quickly learned. Week by week he received instruction in this way from his young teachers, and attained knowledge of reading and writing, and became a school-teacher and Baptist lay preacher. After emancipation he thought himself free to teach and preach according to his conscience, but forgot the society of the White Faces. One day they visited him, and charged him with various offences, of which he was innocent. This poor man, who could not walk,
and never worked, failed to move compassion in them. They stripped him, horsewhipped his bare back, pulled his poor limbs apart, burned his few books and papers, and left him to get back to his cabin as best he might, or perish in the cold.
At the village of Cross Plains, Calhoun County, four coloured men and a white school-master were put to death by hanging and shooting. They were in charge of the officers of the law at the time, but very little evidence was forthcoming against them; in fact no evidence could be produced, and it was certain they would be set at liberty. The White Faces, however, had decided they should die, and proceeded forcibly to take them from the authorities, and murdered them. This case was investigated, and nine persons were arrested, but the grand jury refused to indict a single one of them.
Teachers of coloured children were warned to stop their schools, and were told that, if they should refuse, they would have to choose between shooting, hanging, or whipping to death. In Aberdeen, Monroe County, Mississippi, twenty-six schools were closed in a short time, and even the state superintendent of schools was beaten by armed men. They called upon him and said: "Our rule is, first, warning; second, whipping; third, death." They left him in a state of unconsciousness, having said they would next time call for his life. Nothing
was too wicked for this society, which embraced all the Southern States, to do, and nobody who had sympathized with the North or helped the Negro in his necessity was safe. During its existence thousands of murders were committed, and outrages beyond count were done. "The information obtained from General Forrest and others established conclusively the following facts: the existence of the order; its prevalence in all parts of the confederacy; that numerically it was very strong; that it was so secret that its prescript or constitution was handed from member to member, so that the receiver knew not whence it came, but each reliable member sent it to some other reliable member whose fealty could be depended on; that it was composed of Southern citizens as distinguished from Carpetbaggers, or Northern men; that it worked by signs and not by oral or written orders; that crimes were committed in such a manner that the perpetrators were not usually known to each other." This diabolical society, which set itself to intimidate every friend of the Negro, reduce him to fear and dread, and continue the conditions of the slave time in an illegal manner, was certainly composed of the influential classes of the South and, it is believed, of the majority of Southern white people.
The Israelites in Egypt were not more miserable than the Negro in the States at the time of which
this chapter treats; they had a Moses to lead them forth to liberty and national life. The Negro had no Moses to guide and inspire him; he had to begin at the lowest point of human existence, and as best he might work himself out of it. President Lincoln emancipated him, but his old owners, who commenced the war, did not understand how he could be a free man, neither were they great enough to refrain from pouring their wrath upon him for their defeat. Before the war he was a thing, and they bought and sold him, and became rich; after the war they were poor, and needed his help to repair their broken fortunes, which they would have at little cost; let him keep it back if he could. On the first day of the session, December 4, 1865, Mr. Wilson said in the senate "the condition of the freedman is worse to-day than on the day General Lee surrendered to General Grant." We shall yet see that he did rise in manhood and above many of his troubles.
CARPENTER SHOP, ORANGE PARK, FLORIDA.
SUSTAINED BY AMERICAN MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION.
Failing to keep the Negro in the bondage of slavery, the slave party of the South might have known, had they not been blinded and rendered incapable of knowing by cruelty and inhumanity, that this reign of terror and this Ku Klux Klan could not continue, and that, sooner or later, coloured men must at least be free to labour for whomsoever would employ them, and to work out their own salvation as best they might. Gradually, their opposition notwithstanding, the enactments of the reign of terror period were repealed, and the Negro found himself at liberty to listen to a coloured preacher, have his own school, build his own church, deposit money in a bank, own land, and be elected to state office; that is, he was free to have and do these things; but, having no resources, he found it more difficult to use to his advantage these new privileges than a bird finds the building of her nest.
At first, immediately after the war, he gave himself to pleasure as he understood it. For nearly two hundred and fifty years he had laboured in ignorance and sorrow, and had known scarcely anything of enjoyment, probably nothing other than that afforded by his own musical faculty and undying happiness of spirit; now he was free he would take a holiday, and see what pleasure meant. It was to thousands of the race the pleasure of death, for which calamity no one could be blamed, neither the white man nor the Negro. His nature was, and is, the very essence of fun and frolic, and, owing entirely to ignorance of what religion really required of him, he would join in singing and prayer of the noisiest character, talk excitedly of the Saviour and heaven, and immediately after worship steal a fat chicken and have a good supper, or fall into some other deplorable and damaging sin. In this hour of wild delight he made for the large cities, and paid the penalty. A plantation Negro could live in the country and be healthy, but cities were death to him; and, during the first years of liberty large numbers of coloured men died prematurely. By this abandonment to pleasure, and by its untoward results, the friends who for years had fought his battle were alarmed; but in a short time he settled down to steady labour and to the working out of his own salvation.
The Freedmen's Bureau, which was instituted by Abraham Lincoln's government, was appointed to supervise and manage all abandoned lands, and control all freed men and refugees from rebel states; through the Secretary of War to issue provisions, fuel and clothing to destitute freedmen and refugees; and, by the commissioner, under the direction of the president, to grant the use of abandoned tracts of land to loyal freedmen and refugees. This Bureau was established in the opportune moment, and was of the utmost use to the four millions of freed Negroes; indeed without it both they and the country would have suffered in many ways.
In 1870, Mayor O. O. Howard, Commissioner of the Bureau, five years after his appointment, presented his first report, which to this day retains the interest that attached to it when issued. In five years 4,239 schools were established, 9,307 teachers employed, 247,333 pupils instructed; also 74 high and normal schools, which had 8,147 students; also 61 industrial schools, with 1,750 students. Of these schools the emancipated slaves themselves sustained 1,324, owned 592 school buildings, and raised two hundred thousand dollars of the total sum which was expended during the term of five years. It was a magnificent report the commissioner presented, which reflected upon the Negro most creditably.
If anything could have proved to Southern slave-owners that the man they had bought and sold as a thing was capable of attaining and enjoying intellectual, as well as physical, life, the splendid energy and magnificent results of those five years, which were put forth and accomplished by men and women from whose limbs shackles had only just been struck, would have convinced them, and the whole subsequent history of Negro life in the South would have been different. Had they recognized their defeat good-naturedly, made proper terms with their former slaves, helped the Federal government to grapple with the problem of emancipation, assisted heartily all school building and educational efforts, and accorded without contest and bloodshed the freed people to civic rights, this report would end here with tables of statistics, showing the growth and development of the Negro race. But they were not convinced; the majority of them retained, and yet retain, their old opinions, and despised the black man.
In the South there are two parties to-day; one resolved to help the Negro, the other to oppress him; which are continuations of the parties of thirty years ago. Says one party: "We may take this stand: The Negroes are ignorant, are mendacious, are lazy, are dishonest, are licentious, and are therefore utterly unworthy of social and political
equality. Granted, and granted to the fullest extent; but the more degraded, the world will say, the greater obligation resting upon us to rescue them from their blighted and brutalized condition. . . . . They are with us to remain and they are citizens, and the world will make it its business to see that they are not arbitrarily kept in their present condition. We can no more defend our attitude toward the Negro, than could the Algerian Corsairs defend their attitude to the Christian world." "How shall these alien races dwell in safety side by side, each free and unhampered in the enjoyment of life and liberty and in the pursuit of its happiness? They are the descendants of one father and the redeemed children of one God, the citizens of one nation, neighbours with common interests, and yet are separated by the results of centuries of development, by inherited traditions, by the spirit of caste and by the recollection of wrongs done and suffered. How shall the rights of all be duly guarded? How shall the lower race be lifted up to higher stages of human development? I answer, by the personal endeavours of individuals of the higher race. How and where shall we begin? I answer, by building firm and stable the conviction that the Negro is a man and a citizen; that the conditions of our life are all changed; that old things are passed away, and that the new things which are come to
us demand, with an authority which may not be gainsaid, the effort of mind and heart and hand for the uplifting of the Negro." This is the Christian party, which stands for progress in its truest sense. They know that ignorance in any man, be he black or white, is dangerous, and that it is charged with peril to public life when it abides in millions of men; and, remembering the injunctions of the Saviour, they seek to help the untaught of every colour in their effort to gain knowledge. In the dead years they regretted the lawlessness of their beloved South, and do so to-day, and would, were it in their power, change the hearts of all those citizens who oppose them and persecute the Negro. It has been a hard, sorrowful time for this Christian party during the last fifty years; but they possess the promise of God, and will yet make it impossible for any outrage to be committed, such as made the past infamous and disgrace the present. In the spirit of the Saviour they protest against violence, declare the brotherhood of man, and preach salvation, and will surely have success.
The other party says: "The white men of the South and the Negroes learned to live together in peace while the Negro was in slavery. They can continue to live together so long as the latter is content to remain in subjection, so long as he recognizes the white as the master race. Under
no other conditions is he fit to live in a civilized country. . . . His proper place is that of the white man's servant in a white man's country. The white man and the Negro cannot live together in peace under existing conditions. The white man must rule, the Negro must submit. This is a white man's country, a white man's government, a white man's civilization." "A little education is all the Negro needs. The excess has proved his ruin. Let him learn the rudiments, to read and to write and to cipher, and be made to mix that knowledge with some useful labour. Too much education and too little work are the prime cause of the growing antipathy. With the whites there are some reasons for a higher education, for the professions and the trades are open to them, but all these are closed to the Negro." "An attempt to develop the Negro skull into that of the Caucasian is just as idle, not to say absurd and wicked, as would be the educating of apes, with a view of developing their skull with those of human beings. All attempts to force upon them the education and civilization of the white man are not only unphilosophic but absurd and detrimental. In a zoological sense they belong to the genus homo, but the mode of their creation concludes them only in the highest order of animals, and subjects them to the dominion of the Adamite." This is the anti-Negro, anti-Christian, party, which
stands for oppression and retrogression. Dominion, supremacy and authority for the white man are their watch-words. The Negro is not fit to live in civilized society; he must submit to the white man; God has ordained it that he labour under the white man's rule; "a little education is all the Negro needs." Can the reader realize that these awful statements are being made to-day? It is almost nineteen hundred years since Jesus Christ lived among men, and revealed the fatherhood of God and taught the brotherhood of men, and in all the years servants of His have preached His gospel; yet here are men in the South of the United States who refuse even to be human in conduct, who persecute and lynch to death a brother-man. To-day, let this be remembered, they will not allow a coloured man to enter their churches, nor permit him to ride in the same railroad car with them, and in some States of the South a white man and a coloured woman can not marry. Hotels are closed against coloured men of every station in life; proprietors dare not admit them. Even at the last republican convention, held at St. Louis, which nominated Mr. McKinley for the presidency, at which many coloured men attended as delegates, there was serious trouble about lodging them. In fact they had no lodging for a time, and at last special provision had to be made for them. Of this disgraceful episode one
paper remarked, "foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but coloured delegates have not a lodging." It is difficult to write calmly of such a state of society, and would be impossible if the Christian party did not exist. It is the old sin of the past, inherited by a generation of men not wise enough to see its wickedness. But their opposition is doomed to fail even as their fathers' effort to retain slavery failed; their unholy determination not to admit the Negro into civilization notwithstanding, the beginning of better days is here and progress is being made. Right must prevail; God's will shall be done; righteousness will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea; this anti-Christian party is doomed to final defeat.
Yes; better days have begun and progress is being made, which the following statistics abundantly prove. They are the statistics of 1890, which we give as those of 1896, that any exaggeration may be discounted. In the matter of wealth the Negro has made great progress, and not a little in the professions and literature. Let the figures tell the tale. First, his wealth in business and property.
In New York . . . . . $17,400,756
Louisiana . . . . . 18,100,528
South Carolina . . . . .12,500,000
Pennsylvania . . . . . 15,300,648
Texas . . . . . 18,010,545
Mississippi . . . . . 13,400,213
Georgia . . . . . 10,415,330
North Carolina . . . . . 11,010,652
Alabama . . . . . 9,200,125
Florida . . . . . 7,900,040
Massachusetts . . . . . 9,004,122
and in the other states proportionately. It is computed that two hundred and sixty-three million dollars worth of property is held to-day in the United States by the Negro race. How dare the anti-Christian party say that all Negroes are lazy? Lazy people do not accumulate wealth. Many Negroes are no doubt lazy, but in the way it is put it is a falsehood told to answer a base purpose. But it is true that this race which to-day possesses so much property owned not one cent thirty years ago. Then, Negro men and women toiled for the white man, for which they received food, not much clothing, and no education. The world cannot but admit that great energy must have been exercised for so much to be accomplished in so short a time.
We find the Negro has invented many things of utility, and give the names of a few of them as proof of mental development.
A Corn-stalk Harvester, Wm. Murray, Virginia.
A Locomotive Smoke-stack, L. Bell, Washington.
A Fire Extinguisher, T. J. Martin, Michigan.
A Cotton Cultivator, E. H. Sutton, N. Carolina.
A Joiner's Clamp, D. A. Fisher, Jr., Washington.
A Rotary Engine, B. H. Taylor, Mississippi.
Apparatus for Transmission of Messages by Electricity, G. T. Woods, Ohio, and scores of other inventions. Mr. Woods' invention was assigned to the American Bell Telephone Company, Boston. The anti-Negro party say he must learn the rudiments of education, to read, cipher, and write, and then do manual labour. It is true that the majority of all races of men must do manual labour, and find good therein, also the will of God; but it is a denial of divine providence to say the Negro can not enter higher fields of human effort. His inventions prove him intelligent, as his accumulated property establishes his industry.
In literature he has done more than enough to claim a place among men devoted to letters. We do not say that the literary Negro can be ranked with men of the most brilliant attainments, neither do we think it; but when we find the schools of Ohio using a Greek Grammar for beginners, written by W. S. Scarborough, a coloured man, of Wilberforce, Ohio, we can and do say that the natural incapacity theory is destroyed. Since 1865 over one hundred books have been written by Negroes, not a few of which may be found in American Public Libraries. Even London received Phillis Wheatley,
a young black girl, of Boston, and was astonished by her sweet poetry, in or about 1792. This Phillis Wheatley, whose history is most interesting of whom we shall take notice in another chapter, was an imported slave, and she was deeply beloved by her master, John Wheatley, and by his wife. So pure and simple and refined were the poems she wrote, that many white men doubted their authorship; but her master and certain ministers of Boston proved that she was the author. The mental incapacity theory is doomed, and the men who preach it are certain of confusion. If the Negro were little better than an ape, as many have asserted, he would not write Greek Grammars, articles for Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, The North American Review, and other papers and journals, neither would Negro girls compose sweet and charming poetry. The possibilities of a race of men are never gauged by the work and conditions of its lowest members, but by those of its highest members, which is a just method, and all we ask is that it be applied to the Negro race. The result will be satisfactory.
In the public schools of the United States 23,866 Negro teachers are employed, and there are 1,460,000 pupils receiving education in the free schools. In the medical profession not less than five hundred properly graduated Negro doctors are at work, most of whom are successful. In the pulpit thousands
of coloured preachers work successfully, many of whom have received two or three year's education, and some have graduated in the ordinary manner from theological institutions. In the realm of law about three hundred Negroes have, if not distinguished themselves, succeeded in winning a place, and do enjoy, varying in degree, extensive practice. One is a circuit court commissioner, several are judges, many are clerks of courts, and a few are city attorneys. The value of church property owned by Negroes is not less than $22,000,000, and church members number about 2,600,000. This is progress, we say, for which the Negro's friends ought to be thankful.
A few centuries ago the coloured man was a Pagan, knew nothing of righteousness, and in America was pushed into slavery. He came out a free man, left behind him forever the chains which once bound his wrists, and had a place accorded him in the national life of the States. He came out a free man, but was ignorant, had many gross faults, yet knew somewhat of God and of Jesus Christ. A higher life than his had touched him, which he did not understand, yet cherished it. It did not touch him in vain; in his heart forthwith sprang up a great yearning for knowledge. The day on which the first school for freedmen was opened in September, 1861, under the auspices of
the American Missionary Society, at Hampton, Virginia, three hundred and fifty scholars were enrolled, and in the evening of the same day three hundred more were added. The numbers continued to increase until the enrollment of the day school was 1,200, and the night sessions gathered 800 more,
LAUNDRY, STRAIGHT UNIVERSITY.
SUSTAINED BY AMERICAN MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION.
making a total for this single school of 2,000 pupils daily. Many of them were adults, who came after the fatigue of a hard day's labour, that they might gather the rudiments of knowledge. That was in 1861, and to-day there are 1,460 coloured children in public schools. At Tougaloo University, also at Tuskegee and Hampton Normal, industrial training
is a great feature of the course of education. Boys are instructed in agriculture, horticulture, harness-making, cabinet-making, wood-carving, printing, typesetting, bookbinding, shoemaking, and other trades, and girls in housekeeping, cooking, laundrywork, dressmaking, millinery, nursing and hygiene, all which reminds one of the saying of a Southern educator: "The Negro is coming to have what the white man wants, and this is sure to secure to him his safety and his rights." From that day in 1861 until now a great struggle upward has been made, and in presence of so many evidences of success it is safe to say that better days are with us in which progress is being surely made.
Writing in the name of the American Missionary Association on "The Progress of the Negro," Rev. Geo. W. Moore, of Tennessee, field missionary, says:--
"Thirty years have wrought mighty changes for the South, but the greatest wonder is the progress of the Negro. The freedom of the Negro gave him a new era, and opened doors of opportunity for his material intellectual and spiritual advancement. The distance between the slave and the freeman is world-wide. His freedom has improved his condition and increased the wealth and prosperity of the South. Thirty years is a short period in the life of a race, and yet it is sufficient to note its progress.
The free Negro has been of greater advantage to the South, and has done more for its development than at any time during his slave life. This is so patent that we are safe in asserting that the prosperity of the South is largely dependent upon the elevation of the Negro. He comprises one-third of its population and is a large factor in its development and progress.
His material property enriches it to the degree of the increase. His skill as a laborer is to her advantage, for he is the laborer of the South. His education decreases the illiteracy and increases the intelligence of the South. His religious and moral advancement lifts from the South a weight of superstition and vice. The recognition of his manhood rights develops his selfhood and makes him a better man and a more loyal citizen. Elevate him and you lift up the South, degrade him and you pull down our fair land. The Negro has made rapid progress in spite of his limitations. He has come up from the depths of slavery, poverty, ignorance, superstition and degradation to a freedman, taxpayer, wage-earner, a degree of intelligence and a more enlightened view of Christianity and morality, and to be a citizen of a great country. The pen of Lincoln and the sword of Grant helped to make this possible, but the work of Christian education and an enlightened Christianity, which came to us by
Northern philanthropy, through the schools and churches of the American Missionary Association and kindred organizations, have done more for our uplifting and advancement than any other influence. The work of educating and uplifting the Negro is the brightest page in Southern history. This is indeed the silver lining of our dark cloud. The heroic men and noble women of this grander Army of the Republic, commissioned by the American Missionary Association, proclaimed liberty to the mind and soul as well as freedom to the body of the Negro. Some of them have served for nearly a quarter of a century in the work of the education, Christianization and uplifting of the Negro.
Before referring more fully to the educational advancement of the Negro let us briefly consider his material progress. Coming out of slavery with nothing and meeting with difficulties which have confronted him at every step of the way, his material progress has been remarkable. It is estimated that the Negro pays taxes on over two hundred and seventy-five million dollars' worth of property, besides personal property, churches, schools, etc.
They are entering into the real estate and insurance business. I could give numerous examples of colored men who are successfully conducting dye and steam cleaning works, drug stores, undertaking establishments, mercantile business and all kinds of
work. The following is a partial list of employment of Negroes in Nashville, Tenn.: teachers, ministers, lawyers, physicians, dentists, merchants, all kinds of mechanics, owners of livery stables, undertakers, contractors, firemen, mail carriers, coachmen and teamsters owning their own teams, laborers of all kinds, etc.
But we are still a poor people and must greatly improve our condition materially. In order that the Negro may have better homes and improve his condition materially he should receive better wages for his labor. He is the laborer of the South on the farm, in the workshop, domestic life, and is branching out into professional life. He is the most patient and untiring worker in the South.
What is to be done to better the Negro's condition as a wage earner? He cannot strike for higher wages with safety. The Negro can refuse to work for low wages, but he has no redress or means of appeal for higher wages only as the master-class may choose to increase his pay.
The most hopeful sign of the progress of the South is the education of the Negro. What a field of endeavor among the eight millions of our people. It is estimated that twenty-five thousand Negro teachers are teaching over a million and a half of our children in the public schools of the South. About fifteen thousand of these are trained teachers,
most of whom have been trained in the schools of the American Missionary Association. Over four million colored people have learned to read since the war. The schools of the American Missionary Association are training teachers and leaders for our people in the South. Our schools are well located and classified to meet the wants of the people; some are in our large centers of population like Nashville, New Orleans and Charleston, and others are in country places like McIntosh, Ga., and Cotton Valley, Ala. At Fisk we have a college, normal department and departments of music, theology and industrial training. At Talladega and Tougaloo in the Black Belt of Alabama and Mississippi we have large farms and workshops in addition to the college and normal training; useful industries are taught in all of our Association schools . . . . . .
The religious progress of the Negro has not been as rapid and as great as his material and educational progress. He brought with him from slavery an inheritance of superstition that has been hard to overcome; then, too, the masses of the people have had ignorant and, in many cases, corrupt men as ministers. And yet there has been progress in his religious life, work and worship. This progress has been largely due to the stimulating effect of our Congregational churches in the South, and of the students who have gone out from our American
Missionary Association schools. This progress may be seen in the improved character of their churches and meeting-houses, better men of intelligence and piety as preachers, and improved methods of work. The great need of the colored people is evangelization, ingathering and uplifting. This we are doing in their behalf. We recognize the fact that we have duties to perform as well as rights to maintain; that we are to seize our opportunities rather than emphasize our grievances; yet the real progress of the Negro cannot be measured without considering his advancement in manhood and selfhood. Is his manhood respected, does he receive his rights before the law, is caste prejudice waning? What is his status as a man and a citizen? These are vital questions which affect his destiny.
Put a premium on character, right living and justice. Make it possible for me to say to my son: 'My boy, you are an American; love your country, honor her laws, fight her battles and preserve her free institutions. Be noble and true and good and have a character void of offense, and good people of every race and of every clime will love and respect you and give you every right to which your worth entitles you.' I would rather inspire my son with such sentiments than that he should hold the highest position in the land. It is our hope that some day we can truthfully set such a goal before every boy
and girl of every race in our broad land; that the white boys and girls of Florida and the black boys and girls of South Carolina may alike have an opportunity to rise."
Such testimony from one whose life is devoted to the work of Christianity in "Darkest America," as he calls it, can scarcely be over-estimated, it is so valuable; but the reader must not think that persecution is ended. The anti-Negro party is very much alive and fiercely active, They do not respect the Negro's manhood; refusc to accord him equal rights before the law; cherish caste prejudice; will not recognize the progress which has been made. In the Black Belt of the South, back on the plantations, conditions of life for thousands of Negroes are little better than they were thirty years ago, perhaps for many they are worse, and in hundreds of Southern cities the coloured man--not to mention coloured women, who are subjected to every kind of insult--is under the utmost obligation to "keep his place" or take the consequences. Occasionally he forgets to keep what is called his place, and forthwith suffers for it; and sometimes mad crowds seize him for no offence, neither real nor imagined, and ill-treat him, and often hang perfectly innocent men and riddle their bodies with shot. However, better days are with the Negro, and will continue with him. It is a pleasure to find so much of good
among so much that is bad, and though lynchings yet are done, the story of which will be told in another chapter, and though the anti-Negro party oppose every step forward and upward, the Negro's star of progress has risen, never more to set.
LYNCHING OF THE WAGGONER FAMILY IN TENNESSEE. 1893,
[FATHER, SON, SON IN LAW AND DAUGHTER] FOR NO KNOWN OFFENCE.
Progress is never made by any man or any race of men by methods of ease; opposition must be overcome, pain can not be avoided, exhaustion is frequently realized, and despair often fills the heart. It is easier for a young man of good birth and sound education to make progress than for one born in ignorance and reared among debasing conditions. The latter finds himself at "the bottom of the ladder" with scarcely strength enough to place his foot on the first rung, and when he makes his initial effort he is more likely to be pushed back by the pressure of social influence than helped forward. Character is asked for when he applies for even the most menial position, and he has no character to give; but is desperately anxious to earn one. If they who control the markets of labour were more willing to take a little risk, and would extend confidence to this sort of man, and tell him so, this world would have fewer tramps and jails would be less frequently full.
It is impossible, however, in this connection, to forget political economy, supply and demand, the overstocked condition of labour markets, and the natural desire of employers to engage only the most trustworthy employees. Political economy is, no doubt, a correct science, and perhaps it is dangerous to depart from its practice. Supply and demand can not be forgotten; a merchant may not employ more people than the proper discharge of his business requires. The overstocked labour market is a problem which remains to be solved; must be solved, if social trouble on a vast scale is to be avoided. The multitude of men and women who must earn bread or starve, or live by sin, if it be not done by men of understanding, will one day try to solve the problem themselves, and will fail; by which attempt and failure much will be destroyed that ought to be preserved, and society will know by experience somewhat of the agonies and losses of the French Revolution, which was a blind effort of the masses to reorganize the conditions of human life.
Thirty years ago the Negro was a man without character. Born in slavery, reared in debasing servitude, and kept in ignorance and poverty, he was the unconscious debaser of all who came in contact with him, always excepting those who laboured in the name of Christ to improve him. Nobody trusted him, the majority of the inhabitants
of the South despised him, and they for whom he had laboured in the bad days of slavery would only employ him on their own terms, which circumstances compelled him to accept or die. To get his foot on the first rung of the ladder meant an effort which few are capable of imagining, and it is not surprising that so many of his race have so far failed; but it is surprising that so many have done so well.
The progress described in the last chapter is that of many of the race, but not of the whole race; in the "Black Belt of the South," the "Plantation South," millions of Negroes live in conditions little better, if not worse in some districts, than those of slavery times. But even here an awakening is manifest. These millions of human beings, all over thirty-five years old born in slavery, are asking for better preachers, for ministers "who can teach them something," which is a splendid token of good. The preachers they have been accustomed to hear are losing their influence. "We used to listen," said a Negro man at a recent meeting, "to those whooping and hollering preachers who snort so you could hear them over three hundred yards, and we would come home and say, 'that's the greatest sermon I ever heard.' But now we want men who can teach us something." "Our preachers are not what they ought to be," said one woman. "We have got too many gripsack preachers--men
who go around from church to church with a gripsack, not full of sermons, but of bottles of whiskey, which they sell to the members of their congregation." No better sign of heart and soul uplifting might be had; when masses of men and women ask for a purer religion, they are not far from the Kingdom of God.
Now, it would be thought that the higher race, the white race, of the South would rejoice in these tokens of good, and, if only from selfish motives, hasten to render help in every possible manner. But the majority of the white South do not rejoice, neither are they willing to help the Negro upward; they wish to keep him down. They say "we don't want the Negroes to get educated or to get rich, the more educated they are and the richer they are, the worse it is for us. It is a big stick in their hands." Visciousness could not go farther than this, and it were not easy to find denser ignorance of social economics even among plantation Negroes. The white men of the South do not yet know that having millions of ignorant men among them keeps back their own development in human and spiritual things.
This is the spirit which moves them to do the horrible deeds that will be described in this chapter, which perhaps the reader will find it difficult to believe, so terrible are they. But the truth must
be told. Outrages are being committed in the South, chiefly upon the Negro, which are a disgrace to civilization, and are done to "keep him in his place." He was a slave, and could be loaded with chains, branded with hot irons, or whipped to death, and now he is a free man, why should he be treated differently? For centuries the whites of the South had treated him so, had classed him with hogs, and sold him as a thing; they could not feel that he was a man, and were incapable of knowing their own debasement; and, the majority of them are yet unchanged. Proceeding at once to give the fearful history of torture and murder, the reader may believe that nothing is related that can not be established by evidence, and that all is told to advance the Negro's cause.
We must first give statistics, which are horrible enough, and then a few details, which are more horrible.
1882 . . . . . . . . 52 Negroes were lynched.
1883 . . . . . . . . 39 Negroes were lynched.
1884 . . . . . . . . 56 Negroes were lynched.
1885 . . . . . . . . 77 Negroes were lynched.
1886 . . . . . . . . 73 Negroes were lynched.
1887 . . . . . . . . 70 Negroes were lynched.
1888 . . . . . . . . 72 Negroes were lynched.
1889 . . . . . . . . 95 Negroes were lynched.
1890 . . . . . . . 100 Negroes were lynched.
1891 . . . . . . . 169 Negroes were lynched.
1892 . . . . . . . 160 Negroes were lynched.
1893 . . . . . . . 202 Negroes were lynched.
1894 . . . . . . . 190 Negroes were lynched.
1895 . . . . . . . 171 Negroes were lynched.
1896 . . . . . . . 131 Negroes were lynched.
1897 To date* 40 Negroes were lynched.
*This number is not given as accurate, but is approximately correct.
The United States must be called, if offence is to be avoided, a civilized country; indeed, Americans call it a Christian Country. Churches and ministers of religion abound, and charity is dispensed on a large scale therein. Prayers are offered before God daily for every kind of imagined blessing and furtherance of the kingdom of heaven, and tens of thousands of pious men and women believe they do the will of the Almighty, who to them is "Our Father;" yet parsons and saints are practically dumb in respect of this gigantic outrage and devilish wickedness. Some, who are only a few when compared with the millions of American Christians, protest most earnestly; but let the citizens of the proud United States remember that murders are committed openly in their towns and cities, and that they are guilty of a shameful silence in respect of them[.]
In fifteen years and three months 1,697 Negroes have been lynched in defiance of statute law and in the very presence of legal officials, which is a fact
so horrible that one is tempted to believe it is not to be surpassed, perhaps not equalled, in brutal wickedness even in Darkest Africa. President, Senators, Congressmen, Governors of States, and Mayors of Cities--each and all of them know that this diabolical work has been done, and is continued until now, and that the murderers go unpunished, but seem to be incapable of stopping it. Power and authority appear to be vested in nobody to command Governors of States to arrest and punish the fiends who so openly abrogate the Constitution, and, to tell plain truth, not many governors seem to take much notice of the murders which are done almost beneath the windows of their homes. Let but one governor be brave enough to arrest every person who shall take part in the next lynching in his state, and let them be sent to Washington for trial,-- this for the simple reason that evidence would count as nothing in their own city--and let every one of them be hanged, and lynchings will cease. If power to do this be non-existent, it ought to be created; if the authorities are unwilling to create it, we see not how they can escape the charge of a silent, guilty connivance, and of being possessed in some degree of the murderous spirit. It is futile to say that lynchers can not be arrested; no sane man believes for a moment that sufficient force does not exist in the United States to coerce any city into
obedience, and compel any number of citizens to surrender known murderers and give evidence against them. The authority and needful power do exist, and it were better for the moral life and right development of the population of the States if they who are appointed to use them had the courage and righteousness to do so. The country will one day pay a great price for this national crime, if it be not destroyed, as she paid in blood and treasure for the sin of owning slaves.
Of these 1,697 lynchings only a few may be described, and the most loathsome details shall not be reproduced. The record is foul and revolting enough without added effects of language; as bad as anything in human history.
In the town of Jackson, Tennessee, in 1886, a black woman was lynched because a white woman who engaged her as cook had by some one been poisoned. It appears that a box of rat poison was found in the cook's room, which was evidence enough of her guilt in the eyes of the mob, and she was soon lodged in jail. Thence she was dragged, stripped of every garment, and hanged perfectly naked in the public court-house square, without protest of any kind being made. No trial was held, neither was anyone arrested for the murder; the inhabitants, officials of the law included, looked upon the matter quite complacently. But what
followed? The husband of the poisoned woman became insane, gave every indication in his ravings of his own guilt, and died a maniac, leaving behind him at least a suspicion that he was the poisoner of his wife.
In the vicinity of Columbia, Matagorda, Texas, in September, 1887, a coloured constable named Massena was serving writs, which was his duty. A white man named Sanborn was among the number upon whom he had to serve a writ, and he called in the ordinary manner at Sanborn's house to discharge his legal task. The white man, using profane language, declared that no "nigger" should arrest him, and before Massena had time to do more than say he was only doing his duty, Sanborn shot him,--and fled. What followed? His white friends gave out the report that Sanborn had been killed by the Negroes. Then an armed mob and the sheriff visited the coloured settlements on Sunday, arrested without warrant many negroes, killed five and wounded seven of them for refusiug to be arrested, and then gave an alarm of a Negro rising against the Whites. For some days it was the ordinary affair of daily life for "Niggers" to be forced to flee from the neighbourhood to save themselves, and numbers of them were shot without compunction. Of course, nobody was punished; but Sanborn was brought from his hiding place, regiments
were marched through Matagorda, and a ball was held to wind up the affair. The Turks in Armenia have not done worse than this.
In the month of August, 1888, at New Iberia, Louisiana, ten Negroes were done to death for "being too prosperous, and not behaving correctly toward white people." Antonio Smith, Ramson Livingstone, Peter Simon, John Simon, Thomas Simon and Sam Kokee, all of them most respectable men and property owners, and four others whose names are not given, were butchered by a mob for no crime whatever. The authorities took no notice of the matter, and the murderers were thought nothing the worse for their "sport among the Niggers." It is a sport which will yet cost the states more than she imagines.
In the year 1889, and during all his life, a coloured doctor named Rosamore Carmier lived in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, with his wife and daughter, and owned his home. The whites did not like "nigger doctors" to live among them, and told Carmier so, and ordered him to "get out " several times. Seeing he had no intention of "getting out" they whipped him most severely, and told him they would "make him go." He stayed where he was. One night the usual mob surrounded his house and demanded that the door be opened, which Carmier knew meant that he was to be lynched. He fired
on the mob and fled. Then the mob broke in, destroyed his goods, dragged out his sixteen-year-old daughter, and cut her throat; and, one report says, "washed their hands in her blood." His wife quite unintentionally told them the way her husband had gone, whom they pursued and overtook and shot him. For being a doctor and living in a respectable manner with his wife and daughter, poor Carmier was ordered to go away, and because he refused he and his child were murdered.
In June, 1890, a Negro named George Swaysie, who lived in East Feliciana, was butchered by a "large company of white men." The police did not want him, because he had done no crime; but the mob thought it time for a "Nigger to be lynched," and therefore lynched him. The poor man was in bed when the white men arrived at his house, but they dragged him out into the rain and dark night, and "despatched him." What for? Until now nobody has been able to find out. It is enough for a company of white men to agree that a certain "Nigger" has lived long enough, or to imagine he is a nuisance to them, or to have a petty quarrel with him, and, decision being made, he is lynched, and all legal authorities look on in pitiable helplessness.
At Tullahoma, Tennesseee, Will Lewis, a Negro boy of eighteen years, was lynched in the month of
August, 1891. It is no part of the writer's duty to defend drunkenness, but every man must in justice demand that even drunkards receive fair trial and judgment. But when a boy of eighteen years--only eighteen--is taken and murdered in cold blood for being drunk and impertinent to white people, what can anyone say? Thought is paralyzed, and speech is impossible; one can only look on the crime and wonder at the condition of the morals of the country in which it is done. Will Lewis may have been impertinent to white people, he may have been drunk, which charges were never proved; but compared with his white murderers, he was an angel.
At Hollendale, Mississippi, Lou Stevens was hanged from a railway bridge, because she was suspected of being accessory to the murder of a white man who regularly committed adultery with her. This happened in 1892, and in the same year a girl of fifteen years of age was in a similar manner hanged at Rayville, Louisiana, because the mob believed she had poisoned white persons.
At Texarkana, Texas, on the twentieth day of February, 1892, Edward Coy was burned to death. He was taken alive and tied to the stake, and in the presence of thousands of persons the white woman who charged him with assault applied the match.
In the same year, 1892, at Jonesville, Louisiana, a triple murder was committed by the mob on a
father, son, and daughter. This Negro was suspected of murdering a white man. First, the inhuman inhabitants took his son, aged sixteen, and his daughter, aged fourteen, and hanged them, subsequently filling their bodies with bullets, and then lynched the poor father himself, who perhaps was not sorry to follow his children.
In Memphis, Tennessee, not less than thirty thousand coloured people make their home, and to the best of their ability help in the ordinary manner of citizens to make the town prosperous. Of these thirty thousand quite a number are poor, and not a few are often short of food, which is a condition that is the portion of many white people in any similar number of population. In July, 1892, a coloured man named Lee Walker was compelled by want to beg, and did unfortunately commit a small offence for which ordinary law would have punished him with a short imprisonment. He asked alms of two white women who were driving to Memphis, and was refused. Then he pulled one of the women from the buggy, and immediately ran away. He cannot be excused for doing even so small a violence on an unprotected woman; his offence deserved and ought to have received legal punishment. But it was given out that a coloured man had attempted outrage upon a white woman, and forthwith a manhunt was started by companies of passionate citizens.
In the course of ten days Walker was caught and taken to Memphis jail, where he ought to have remained for decent trial and just sentence. But the mob took the law into its own hands, dragged him from prison, and lynched him.
The writer feels like offering an apology to the reader for inserting the following newspaper article on Walker's case, because of its utter fiendishness; but in view of the fact that the woman did not charge him with attempted rape, he believes that nothing could better reveal the deplorable condition of life in the South than this same article. Here it is:--
"The Memphis Commercial of Sunday, July 23, contains a full account of the tragedy from which the following extracts are made,
At 12 o'clock last night, Lee Walker, who attempted to outrage Miss Mollie McCadden, last Tuesday morning, was taken from the county jail and hanged to a telegraph pole just north of the prison. All day rumors were afloat that with nightfall an attack would be made upon the jail, and as everyone anticipated that a vigorous resistance would be made, a conflict between the mob and the authorities was feared.
At 10 o'clock Capt. O'Haver, Sergt. Horan and several patrolmen were on hand, but they could do nothing with the crowd. An attack by the mob was made on the door in the south wall and it yielded.
At 12 o'clock the door of the prison was broken in with a rail.
As soon as the rapist was brought out of the door, calls were heard for a rope; then some one shouted 'Burn him!' But there was no time to make a fire. When Walker got into the lobby a dozen of the men began beating and stabbing him. He was half dragged, half carried to the corner of Front street and the alley between Sycamore and Mill, and hung to a telephone pole.
The mob proceeded north on Front street with the victim, stopping at Sycamore street to get a rope from a grocery. 'Take him to the iron bridge on Main street,' yelled several men. The men who had hold of the Negro were in a hurry to finish the job, however, and when they reached the telephone pole at the corner of Front street and the first alley north of Sycamore they stopped. A hastily improvised noose was slipped over the Negro's head and several young men mounted a pile of lumber near the pole and threw the rope over one of the iron stepping pins. The Negro was lifted up until his feet were three feet above the ground, the rope was made taut, and a corpse dangled in mid-air. A big fellow who helped lead the mob pulled the Negro's legs until his neck cracked. The wretch's clothes had been torn off, and, as he swung, the man who pulled his legs mutilated the corpse.
One or two knife cuts, more or less, made little difference in the appearance of the dead rapist, however, for before the rope was around his neck his skin was cut almost to ribbons. One pistol shot was fired while the corpse was hanging. A dozen
voices protested against the use of firearms, and there was no more shooting. The body was permitted to hang for half an hour, then it was cut down and the rope divided among those who lingered around the scene of the tragedy. Then it was suggested that the corpse be burned, and it was done. The entire performance, from the assault on the jail to the burning of the dead Negro was witnessed by a score or so of policemen and as many deputy sheriffs, but not a hand was lifted to stop the proceedings after the jail door yielded.
Detective Richardson, who is also a deputy coroner, then proceeded to impanel the following jury of inquest: J. S. Moody, A. C. Waldran, B. J. Childs, J. N. House, Nelson Bills, T. L. Smith, and A. Newhouse. After viewing the body the inquest was adjourned without any testimony being taken until 9 o'clock this morning. The jury will meet at the coroner's office, 51 Beale street, upstairs, and decide on a verdict. If no witnesses are forthcoming, the jury will be able to arrive at a verdict just the same, as all members of it saw the lynching. Then some one raised the cry of 'Burn him!' It was quickly taken up and soon resounded from a hundred throats. Detective Richardson for a long time, single handed, stood the crowd off. He talked and begged the men not to bring disgrace on the city by burning the body, arguing that all the vengeance possible had been wrought.
While this was going on a small crowd was busy starting a fire in the middle of the street. The material was handy. Some bundles of staves were taken from the adjoining lumber yard for kindling.
Heavier wood was obtained from the same source, and coal oil from a neighboring grocery. Then the cries of 'Burn him! Burn him!' were redoubled.
Half a dozen men seized the naked body. The crowd cheered. They marched to the fire, and giving the body a swing, it was landed in the middle of the fire. There was a cry for more wood, as the fire had begun to die owing to the long delay. Willing hands procured the wood, and it was piled up on the Negro, almost, for a time, obscuring him from view. The head was in plain view, as also were the limbs, and one arm which stood out high above the body, the elbow crooked, held in that position by a stick of wood. In a few moments the hands began to swell, then came great blisters over all the exposed parts of the body; then in places the flesh was burned away and the bones began to show through. It was a horrible sight, one which perhaps none there had ever witnessed before. It proved too much for a large part of the crowd and the majority of the mob left very shortly after the burning began.
The rope that was used to hang the Negro, and also that which was used to lead him from the jail, were eagerly sought by relic-hunters. They almost fought for a chance to cut off a piece of rope, and in an incredably short time both ropes had disappeared and were scattered in the pockets of the crowd in sections of from an inch to six inches long. Others of the relic-hunters remained until the ashes cooled to obtain such ghastly relics as the teeth, nails and bits of charred skin of the immolated victim of his own lust. After burning the
body the mob tied a rope around the charred trunk and dragged it down Main street to the Court House, where it was hanged to a center pole. The rope broke and the corpse dropped with a thud, but it was again hoisted, the charred legs barely touching the ground. The teeth were knocked out and the finger nails cut off as souvenirs. The crowd made so much noise that the police interfered. Undertaker Walsh was telephoned for, who took charge of the body and carried it to his establishment, where it will be prepared for burial in the potter's field to-day."
It is impossible to describe the loathsomeness of this revolting murder. It is enough to say it was done in the open, in the presence of representatives of the law, and without so much as identification of the man by the woman.
Mr. R. C. 0. Benjamin, Attorney at Law, in his pamphlet "Southern Outrages," affords much information. The following quotations will tell their own story:--
NEW ORLEANS, September 17th, 1893.--Three Negroes were lynched in the parish of Jefferson at midnight Saturday. Since the murder of Judge Victor Estopinal on Friday by the Negro Julien, excitement has been at high pitch in that parish, and parties of white men on foot and on horses have been scouting the country looking for the murderer. The searching parties became very much aroused
when the murderer could not be found. On the suspicion of conspiracy Julien's three brothers, Valsin, Bazile, and Paul, and two cousins, with the murderer's mother, and the wives and sisters of the other men were arrested and locked up in the jail at Southport Wharf, a mile from New Orleans. Late last night the mob disappointed at the failure to find the murderer ('Julien') broke into the Jail. There was a proposition to lynch five of the male prisoners, but this was over-ruled and only two, Bazile and Valsin, were lynched and the cousins severely whipped and ordered out of the parish. The mob took the remaining brother, Paul, to Camp Parapet, a settlement consisting almost entirely of Negroes, a few miles away, where he was lynched to over-awe the Negroes. All three men were strangled to death. After Valsin and Bazile had been taken out of the jail they were carried across to a pasture one hundred yards away, and there were offered the chance to save their lives by telling where their brother was. The Negroes made no reply. They were then told to kneel and pray. One did so, the other remained standing. Both prayed fervently. The taller Negro was then hoisted up. He remained hanging five minutes before the second was hanged. The shorter Negro stood gazing at his dying brother without flinching. It is said that the reason the women were arrested was because they
were found wrapping up some clothing and a loaf of bread. This caused suspicion that the articles were to be conveyed to the fugitive murderer.
During the search for Julien on Saturday, a part of the mob visited the house of a Negro family in the neighbourhood of Camp Parapet, and failing to find the murderer they were looking for, tried to induce John Willis, a young Negro, to tell where he was. Willis could not do so, not knowing, and he was kicked to death by the gang. During the day it was reported that Judge Long, Judge Estopinal's predecessor was assaulted by a Negro. For this two Negroes were lynched and a large number whipped and ordered out of the parish. A victim of this phase of their barbarism, named William Sams was put in jail at Kenner, Jefferson Parish. He suffered terribly from the torture he received. Describing the man's experience the Dispatch says; His feet were swollen, and all about the region of the toes and instep were streaks of white or dead skin, which showed out in strong contrast against the natural skin. A bundle of papers was set a fire and placed beneath his feet; then while it burned the regulators stood around and attempted to extract confessions as to the whereabouts of Julien. Finding they could get no confession out of him they put him in the jail and claimed that he built a fire in the cell and tortured himself. He
was afterwards lynched for the awful crime of torturing himself.
The mob determined to find the murderer, (Julien) got blood hounds from the penitentiary and let them loose in swamps where it was supposed the murderer was in hiding, meanwhile the mob sent word to the agent of the State's laws that when the Negro was found they intended to burn him in broad day light. On the spot where Judge Estopinal fell and died an iron stake was driven into the ground, to which he was to be tied. Fat pine and resinous materials surrounded this. Long iron like branding irons, were put in readiness with which he was to be tortured, while the fire underneath him burned. A rude gallows tree above the pyre was built from which he was to be suspended. The preparations were not in vain, the unfortunate man was caught and dealt with in a manner by these white men of Louisiana, that Apache Indians would be ashamed of. And the guardians of the peace stood and looked on complacently while justice was outraged at the very door of her temple. In the whole annals of race crimes in the South, and at the time when political passions were burning most fiercely, we remember no occurrence as astrocius as the murder of the three innocent Negroes in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, September, 1893. Even the daily press of New Orleans, which so often condoned lynching,
spoke out boldly against this act of barbarity. The Picayune, always timid and conservative, was the first to lead. While it made reports of the barbarous transaction that little tallied with the real facts, it yet spoke against those outrages. It said in its Sunday edition (September 17th):
"Whatever may have been their (the Julien brothers') connection with the case, so far, there is no reason to believe that they were privy to the murder of Judge Estopinal, and, therefore, the Picayune cannot find any justification for this lynching. On the contrary, it must be condemned. The Picayune realizes that there was and should be a most intense popular indignation against the murderer . . . but to take the lives of the other parties under the circumstances cannot be justified. It is a reflection on the officials and citizens whose administration of justice and execution of the law are so lax as to have destroyed public confidence in them. It is the height of savagery to butcher people who are guilty of no offense, but are only suspected and it only shows the fearful extremes of lawlessness to which the country is rapidly drifting."
The Times Democrat agreeably surprised many, and spoke boldly. In the course of its remarks it said:
"These three men who have been lynched were, as far as known, absolutely unconnected with the crime of their brother. There is not a title of evidence,
not a tenable suspicion even, that they had any hand in the killing of Judge Estopinal, or that they even sympathized in that diabolical deed. The killing of the three men, therefore, under the circumstances, for the sole reason presumably that the bloodthirsty avengers, baffled in their pursuit of the murderer, must wreak their spite on some of his kin, however innocent, must be set down as one of the most monstrous deeds that have ever disgraced and humilated this part of the country. It is unmittigated cruelty, cowardice and barbarism from beginning to end, without so much as one redeaming feature in it. Much is at any time to be excused to a justly aroused and enraged community ; but there is no excuse to be made for white men calling themselves gentlemen, who deliberately take out the innocent relatives of a murderer, knowing them to be innocent, and kill them like dogs on the mere ground of their blood relationship."
"PARIS, TEXAS, February 1st, 1893.--A more horrible death than that which was meted out to Henry Smith, the colored ravisher and murderer of little Myrtle Vance, in this city to-day history does not record. The execution of a Negro at Texarkana, (Ed. Coy), several months ago pales to insignificance compared with the awful torture to which Smith was subjected. When the news of his capture flashed over the wires last evening, those who felt that no fate was too cruel for the Negro,
set about preparing for his execution in a manner calculated to strike terror to the Negro element of Texas by making a horrible example of Smith. To such an extreme was the desire to wreak vengeance on the doomed Negro gratified that the entire civilized world may stand aghast at the manner of his execution. It was no spontaneous affair, but had been carefully planned and was executed in its most appalling details in a manner calculated to recall scenes of the Dark Ages. When the train bearing the condemned Negro arrived, not only every member of the community, was in waiting at the depot to receive him and attend his execution, but there were thousands gathered from all towns within a radius of a hundred miles of Paris. Smith's appearance was greeted with wild cheers. There were no efforts to summarily dispose of him. A slow lingering death awaited him, which for downright torture finds few parallels in the history of the martyrs. After being placed in a wagon, Smith, trembling and livid with fear, was driven to the place where death in awful form awaited him . . .
Out on the bare prairie where stood scattering Bois d'Arcs shrubs the scaffold had been built. Four uprights supported, ten feet above ground, a platform ten feet square, railed in except on the south side where a stair ascended. In its center a strong post was set and braced on either side. As
the wagon approached, Henry Vance, the father of Smith's victim, appeared on the platform and asked the crowd, now densely packed for hundreds of yards away and numbering ten thousand people, to be quiet, that he wanted for a while to get his revenge, and then he would turn the prisoner over to any one that wanted him.
Here came the wagon, and Smith was carried onto the platform, stripped to the waist and placed against the stake. His legs, arms and body were corded to it, and he was delivered over to Vance's vengeance to expiate his crime.
A tinner's furnace was brought on filled with irons heated white. Taking one, Vance thrust it under one and then the other side of his victim's feet, who, helpless, writhed as the flesh scarred and peeled from the bones. Slowly, inch by inch, up his legs the irons were drawn and re-drawn, only the nervous, jerky twist of the muscles showing the agony being endured. When his body was reached and the iron was pressed to its most tender part he broke silence for the first time and a prolonged scream of agony rent the air. Slowly across and around the body, slowly upward traced the irons, the withered, seared flesh marking the progress of the awful punishment.
By turns Smith screamed, prayed, begged and cursed his torturer.
When his face was reached his tongue was
silenced by fire, and thenceforth he only moaned or gave a cry that echoed over the prairie like the wail of a wild animal. Then his eyes were put out, and not a finger's breadth of his body being unscathed his executioners gave way.
They were Vance, his brother-in-law and Vance's son, a boy fifteen years of age. When they gave over punishing Smith they left the platform.
Smith and the clothing about his lower limbs were then saturated with oil as was the platform. The space beneath was filled with combustibles, and the whole was covered with oil, and fire simultaneously set to his feet and the stack below.
A cold, sleeting rain had been falling since noon. Silhouetted against the dark, leaden sky, the platform loomed tall and gaunt, and above it with his head dropped on his breast, blackened and scorched, was the body, and so still was it that all thought him dead. Slowly the flames wrapped him in their bluish veil. A moment they burned so and then a shudder shook the throng. The head slowly raised and a broken, quivering cry broke the breathless silence, and was echoed back by shouts and cries from the more thoughtless below.
Then the cords binding the arms burned and he raised the crisped and blackened stumps to wipe the sightless sockets of his eyes.
Then the cords about his waist burned, and he
toppled forward upon the platform and laid there writhing and quivering in the greedy flames. One foot was still fast and held him on a bed of flame.
With one supreme effort the body, still animated by the supreme desire of escape, rolled over on its face, rose upon its arms, reached up and caught the railing, and with convulsive efforts tore the bound leg loose, and stood reeling on the stumps of its feet.
It dragged itself nearly upright against the railing and then dropped sitting upon the burning platform, its head and arms lying upon the railing and the legs dangling over the edge, and there hung a moment as though this had nearly exhausted its little strength.
Then, as the flames roared around him, by another effort he slipped over the egde and fell to the ground. The body lay there still, but was thrust into the mass of fire from beneath the scaffold from which it came, in a few minutes crawling out only to be thrust back again, and the debris of the fire was piled on top and so did death come to Henry Smith.
Every scrap of his clothing was eagerly sought by relic hunters, and when the flames had at length died away, the charred fragments of his bones were raked out and carried away."
At Bardwell, Kentucky, C. J. Miller was lynched
July seventh, 1893. On July fith two white girls were found murdered, and their bodies mutilated, but no satisfactory clue to the author of the tragedy could be found. In any society governed by laws of civilization detectives would have been set to work and every effort made to find the murderer; but the people of Bardwell jumped to the conclusion that a Negro had done the foul deed, and at once began to look for one. Miller was arrested in Sikeston, Missouri, and was handed over to the authorities of Kentucky. He gave his right name without hesitation, and an account of his movements from the first to the fifth of July, the latter date being that of the murder. He said: "My name is C. J. Miller. I am of Springfield, Illinois. My wife lives at 716, North Second Street. I am here among you to-day looked upon as one of the most brutal men before the people. I stand here surrounded by men who are excited; men who are not willing to let the law take its course, and as far as the law is concerned, I have committed no crime, and certainly no crime gross enough to deprive me of my life or liberty to walk upon the green earth. I had some rings which I bought in Bismarck of a Jew peddler. I paid him $4.50 for them. I left Springfield on the first day of July and came to Alton. From Alton I went to East St. Louis, from there to Jefferson Barracks, thence to De Soto, thence to Bismarck;
and to Piedmont, thence to Poplar Bluff, thence to Hoxie, to Jonesboro, and then on a local freight to Malden, from there to Sikeston. On the fifth day of July, the day I was supposed to have committed the offence, I was at Bismarck."
No statement of a man's movements could be clearer, and nothing might have been easier for the police to investigate. One visit to Bismarck would have been sufficient to clear the Negro of the charge, or to have cast suspicion on his story. No investigation was made. The mob took him by force from the jail, tore off his clothing, and hanged him to a telegraph pole. Within twelve hours of his arrest he was a dead man with toes and fingers cut off. After his murder his statement was proven true.
The lynchings of 1894,--in number, one hundred and ninety four--were of the usual order. Innocent men and women, and men and women who were guilty of crime, whom the law ought to have punished in a just manner, were taken from the field, their homes, and state jails and done to death, and police and authorities looked on the brutal work, perhaps unable to prevent it. When the law oonnot be enforced, social order is surely not much different from that of savage tribes, with which observation we leave the year 1894.
On the sixteenth of November, 1895, a young lady
named Miss Jones was found in an unconscious condition in the garden of her home at 6 o'clock in the evening. At 8 o'clock the city policeman arrested a Negro named James Goings, and placed him in the jail. At once a rumour of Negro outrage was spread through the town, which was Frederick, North Dakota, and as the night wore on a crowd gathered and became too large for the authorities to handle, and at midnight they attacked the jail and took Goings out in his underclothing, a lawyer, a newspaper man and other prominent citizens being the leaders. Half-an-hour later Goings was hanging from a chestnut tree near the town, on which a Negro was hanged in November, 1887. When the untried and unrecognized man had been safely "swung up" the lynchers amused themselves by shooting at him. Such brutality causes despair of heart, also amazement that a civilized country can permit it to be done.
At Gilson, Glasscock County, on November 21, 1895, Balam Hancock, a Negro, was lynched before day light. For what? Miss Dessie Shelton, a girl seventeen years old, said he had tried to assault her. Rightly enough the police on receipt of the report set out to find him, and eventually he was caught in Jefferson County and lodged in jail. Not one word will be found in this book in the way of apology for wrong doing, indeed we say with all
earnestness, arrest and punish severely every man who attempts to violate the honour of our wives and daughters; but let justice be done. It is one of the best known facts of life in the Southern States that white men constantly outrage black women, and that never a word is spoken about the matter. Balam Hancock attempted outrage,--it was said, but not proven--and was arrested and placed in jail, and then by force taken therefrom and hanged to a tree. We would ask this question. If a black man is a brute when he attempts outrage, and merits death, what are the white men who hang him without trial, and what do they deserve?
Joe Robinson and Ozias McGalvey, both coloured, were tried at Nashville, Tennessee, November, 1895, for rape, and were found guilty and sentenced to twenty-one years imprisonment. On the twenty-ninth November they were put in charge of some prison officers and sent by train for Tracy City, which they never reached. A Nashville mob wired someone at Fayetteville, who at once called out the lynchers of that town, who in their turn, acting on the instructions of the telegram, went to the railway station, waited for the train, and when it arrived took the prisoners by force and lodged them in the jail. Meanwhile the Nashville mob had taken train for Fayetteville, where in due time they arrived, took the Negroes from the jail and hanged them at
8 o'clock in the court-yard, which, be it observed, is the county seat of Lincoln County. These men had been duly tried, found guilty, and most properly sentenced by the judge; but what can the people of Tennessee say for the government of that state? If these lynched men had been white instead of black, and if coloured men had been the lynchers, no Negro's life in the state would have been worth a day's purchase. We say they were rightly sentenced to a long imprisonment; but can not keep back this observation--let not American citizens boast of their civilization until they shall have asserted and established the justice, equality and majesty of American law.
At Rockfield, Kentucky, February 5, 1897, a most revolting display of savagery was witnessd. Robert Morton, of course a coloured man, was guilty of writing an insulting letter to Miss Johnson, a young white woman of some repute who lived at Rockfield. We do not know what the punishment for writing insulting letters is in Kentucky, but it is quite clear that Kentucky mobs hold it is death for Negroes. The police took him to a house on the Russelville road, and left him in charge of a sufficient guard, whence he was taken at midnight and hanged. Nothing could be more barbarous than this. Pandemonium, the fabled hall of demons, is horrid enough to imagine; but here is a real pandemonium,
and demons who seem to delight in imbruing their hands in the human blood of their fellow-citizens.
On the eighteenth of February, 1897, about eight miles from Roxie, Mississippi, a murder was committed of the most dastardly nature. Ben Land, a coloured man, and his wife lived on a piece of United States land, which by hard, continuous labour they had improved. Late at night, when he and his wife were asleep, armed men surrounded his little home, sprinkled it with coal oil, set it on fire, and waited. Soon the place was enveloped in flames, and poor Land and his wife rushed out into the darkness to save their lives. She did escape; but he was shot down the moment he emerged from his burning home, and was found next morning "with all the top and back of his head shot off." His only offence was living on that particular piece of land, which was proven in the State's Court. He was known as a quiet, industrious man, and lived on terms of peace and good-will with everybody. The fact is, a white family wanted the property and had approached Land in respect of it, who, having consulted Hon. S. A. Beadle, an attorney-at-law, intended compromising with them, because he knew that henceforth his life would not be safe. He was not allowed to live long enough to carry out his purpose. He was murdered, and his wife was turned out to do as best she could, and white men
saw the deed done,--did it--and went on their way in a Christian County.
We have given this account of these lynchings in the briefest manner, and have striven to avoid the use of inflammatory language. They tell their own story, and are a fearful reflection on the social condition of life in the South of the United States. Sixteen hundred and ninety-seven coloured men, women and children have been lynched to death in the last fifteen years, and other outrages on the race have been perpetrated, more than can be counted. It has been enough for a white man to make a charge against a black man to cause the mob to arrange punishment, or a lynching, and legal officials have been powerless to prevent them. For attempted rape, for suspected murder, for marrying a white person, and for no reason given, these lynchings have been done in defiance of law, and the spirit which did them obtains at this hour in the South. If a white man commit rape on a black woman no notice is taken of it, not even by the police, and these murders in the light of day are done without any attempt being made to punish the murderers. Lynch Law might as well be written into the constitution of many states; it is in force and flourishes in not a few of them. Public opinion, if there be such a thing on this question, is impotent, and can avail nothing, which terrible fact
ought to stir the churches of both North and South to begin a campaign of education, and of denunciation. "How long, O Lord, how long" shall this horror continue? When will Thy coloured children be properly recognized and treated humanly by Thy white children?
When the white men of the South left their homes to join the army and fight the North, the coloured slave was left in charge, and not a single case of outrage has been reported against him; none during the whole war period; none to this day. Wives, children, and property were left behind, and he, in thousands of cases, was the only man about to sow and gather harvests, and protect the home. He laboured, and obeyed, and suffered the indignity of a slave's condition as in former years, yet never attempted outrage; but now he is free this charge is made against him indiscriminately. It may be that a few black men, which is equally true of a few white men, have wickedly made the attempt; but the law ought to deal with them, and their punishment should be inflicted in a civilized manner. No christian would shield a fiend, be he white or black, guilty of indecent attacks upon women; but a trial at law is the right of both black and white. What would white men say and do, if black men lynched one of them? Not for a day would they suffer such a condition of things. The
Negro is in the minority, is weak, is disliked, and can be shot or lynched; but the day is coming when this last abomination shall be banished from the South by the force of public opinion. White Southerners there are in thousands who regret the crimes which are done, who labour day by day to create a more humane condition of thought, and if there be a God of truth and compassion, which cannot be doubted, their labours cannot be in vain; they must succeed.
HON. JUDGE GEORGE L. RUFF.
Before and since emancipation the Northern States have accorded the Negro many advantages and opportunities of progress, which the States of the South have until now with-held from him; and, as might be expected, in the North he is far more independent of spirit, and disposed to take a lively interest in public affairs. Here he is among friends, who recognize him in the spirit of humanity. He attends, if he so desire, the white man's church; sends his children to the ordinary common school; sells his labour in the open market; takes a part in politics; can ride in the white man's car; is free to enjoy the privileges of the constitution.
He is, we say, among friends in the North; but all the inhabitants are not his friends, neither does he enjoy equality of opportunity. Some are yet unfriendly to him, and many places are closed against him, which may be filled by white men only. Not many white men call him to exercise his medical
skill upon them, and perhaps none resort to him for legal advice; in the higher branches of labour he must find employment among coloured people, or not at all. Therefore, his freedom to compete in every field of enterprise is considerably impaired, and in many directions rendered useless.
Of this disadvantage complaint is useless; time must work the remedy, and will. Patience and perseverance must be his companions; faith in the good providence of God must dwell in his heart. Strife will not help him; but education, thrift and practice of religion will break down the wall of exclusion, and in due time he and his friends will rejoice in a perfect victory. In the North it depends entirely upon himself whether he finally stand abreast with his white brother or remain in his present position.
In this connection we must look backward. For the last hundred and thirty years the Negro has been making it manifest that he is endowed with soul faculties, which he has used to great advantage, thanks to the inspiring sympathy of friends. He has invented labour-saving machinery, written books, composed music, acquired and used eloquence of speech, built churches and Sunday-schools, and published volumes of poetry; in almost every department of human effort in the North he has distinguished himself.
Far back as the year 1761 a slave-ship arrived at Boston from Africa, and among the slaves was a delicate girl of seven years. She had, of course, been stolen from her mother, probably by another Negro, who no doubt sold her to a white dealer on the coast. At the sale, which was held soon after her arrival in Boston, she was bought by Mr. John Wheatley for his wife, who, requiring a girl, attended the slave auction and selected her because she was delicate and graceful in appearance. Mrs. Wheatley gave her the name of Phillis and treated her with motherly affection, also educated her, and was soon repaid with most grateful service and with tokens of genius and superiority of intellect which surprised everybody who visited her house.
In less than a year and a half from the time of her importation she could converse fluently in English,--which language she had not heard before being kidnapped--and could read and pronounce correctly the most difficult passages of scripture; and within a period of ten years she wrote letters and poetry that astonished the literary men of New England. The growth of her piety kept pace with that of her intelligence; she learned to fear and love God most devoutly, and became a communicant of the Old South Church under the simple name of "Phillis, the servant of Mr. Wheatley." Having no paternal name of her own, she was too scrupulous
to have her master's name written on the church register as her surname.
In 1773 she was sent to England for the benefit of her health with Mr. Nathaniel Wheatley and his family, and was well received in London, where her poems were published. The following letter-- selected as a sample--reveals the quality of her piety and intelligence.
"TO OBOUR TANNER,
IN NEW PORT.
Boston Oct. 30, 1773
Dear Obour,--I rec'd your most kind epistles of Augt. 27th, and Oct. 13th, by a young man of your acquaintance, for which I am oblig'd to you. I hear of your welfare with pleasure; but this acquaints you that I am at present indispos'd by a cold, and since my arrival have been visited by the asthma.
Your observations on our dependence on the Deity, and your hopes that my wants will be supply'd from his fulness which is in Christ Jesus, is truly worthy of yourself. I can't say but my voyage to England has conduced to the recovery (in a great measure) of my health. The friends I found there among the nobility and gentry, their benevolent conduct towards me, the unexpected and unmerited civility and complaisance with which I was treated by all, fills me with astonishment. I can scarcely realize it. This I humbly hope has the happy effect of lessening me in my own esteem. Your reflections on the sufferings of the Son of God, and the inestimable price of our immortal souls,
plainly demonstrate the sensations of a soul united to Jesus. What you observe of Esau is true of all mankind, who (left to themselves) would sell their heavenly birth rights for a few moments of sensual pleasure, whose wages at last (dreadful wages!) is eternal condemnation. Dear Obour, let us not sell our birthright for a thousand worlds, which indeed would be as dust upon the balance. The God of the seas and dry land, has graciously brought me home in safety. Join with me in thanks to him for so great a mercy, and that it may excite me to praise him with cheerfulness, to preserve in Grace and Faith, and in the knowledge of our Creator and Redeemer,--that my heart may be fill'd with gratitude. I should have been pleas'd greatly to see Miss West, as I imagine she knew you. I have been very busy ever since my arrival, or should have now wrote a more particular account of my voyage, but must submit that satisfaction to some other opportunity. I am Dear friend,
Most affectionately ever yours
My mistress has been sick above 14 weeks, and confined to her bed the whole time, but I hope is somewhat better, now.
The young man by whom this is handed you seems to me to be a very clever man, knows you very well, and is very complaisant and agreeable.
I enclose Proposals for my book,* and beg you'd
use your interest to get subscriptions, as it is for
my benefit. P. W."
*This refers to the first edition of Phillis' collected poems, which was printed in London, in 1773.
Her letters, however, though very beautiful, caused no excitement in the literary world; but her poems, of which she composed thirty-nine, which were published by Mr. A. Bell, Bookseller, No. 8, near the Saracens Head, Aldgate, London, created so much astonishment that it became necessary for the following statement to be made to convince the public that they were the productions of a slave girl:--
"We whose names are under-written, do assure the world, that the poems specified in the following pages, were (as we verily believe) written by Phillis, a young Negro girl, who was but a few years since, brought an uncultivated Barbarian from Africa, and has ever since been, and now is, under the disadvantage of serving as a slave in a family in this town. She has been examined by some of the best judges, and is thought qualified to write them.
His Excellency Thomas Hutchinson, Governor; The Hon. Andrew Oliver, Lieutenant-Governor; The Hon. Thomas Hubbard; The Hon. John Erving; The Hon. James Pitts; The Hon. Harrison Gray; The Hon. James Bowdoin; The Rev. Charles Chenney, D. D.; The Rev. Mather Byles, D. D.; The Rev. Ed. Pemberton, D. D.; The Rev. Andrew Eliot, D. D.; The Rev. Samuel Cooper, D. D.; John Hancock, Esq.; Joseph Green, Esq.; Richard Carey, Esq.; Mr. Samul Mather; Mr. John Moorhead; Mr. John Wheatley, her master."
Her master also published a letter in confirmation of above statement.
The two quotations given below must suffice, and will show the quality of her work.
"'T was mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too;
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
'Their colour is a diabolic die.'
Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' Angelic train."
The following is selected from a poem of about one hundred lines.
"O thou bright jewel in my aim I strive
To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare
Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach.
I cease to wonder, and no more attempt
Thine height t' explore, or fathom thy profound.
But, O my soul, sink not into despair,
Virtue is near thee, and with gentle hand
Would now embrace thee, hovers o'er thine head.
Fain would the heav'n-born soul with her converse,
Then seek, then court her for her proms'd bliss."
A Negro of the North; a child of God; a minister of His grace; a sweet singer of divine thoughts; a link which bound the coloured slave to the white owner on the highest plain of life; one that gave proof to the world of the common origin of the human race was Phillis Wheatley.
In the year 1817 Frederick Douglass was born a slave in the district of Tuckahoe, Maryland, whence he was transferred to Baltimore, Maryland, where he lived seven years, and then ran away and sought safety and liberty in the North.
At Baltimore he found a friend in his owner's wife, who taught him letters and in many ways endeavoured to help him acquire knowledge. But this tender-hearted mistress had not remembered her husband in all this human helpfulness, and was surprised by being told it was against the interest of slave-owners to educate their slaves; her good work was stopped there and then. But the mind of young Douglass could not be so easily kept in the darkness of ignorance as his owner's wife could be stopped giving him instruction; having tasted the sweet of knowledge he must and did continue the pursuit of it. And as he made progress he was better able to estimate rightly the painful experiences of slavery--early separation from his mother, whippings, scarcity of clothing, lack of school and church, etc., etc.--which experiences filled his
EDWIN G. WALKER, ESQ., ATTORNEY AT LAW.
HE WAS ELECTED TO THE MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE IN 1863 AND NOMINATED BY GENERAL BUTLER FOR THE POSITION OF JUDGE.
mind with thoughts that burned within and demanded expression.
In this condition he arrived at New York, a fugitive slave, where he was assisted by a coloured gentleman, Mr. David Ruggles. At New York he married his first wife, who was a free coloured woman, from whom he was liable at any moment to be taken and sent back into slavery. However, his friend shielded and guided him, and ultimately sent him to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he found new friends to help and credit with which to start life afresh, also work at a brass foundry, which he followed earnestly and patiently. In a little while he became an exhorter in the Coloured Methodist Church, and soon earned a good reputation, which fact really determined his life work, as we shall see.
At that time William Lloyd Garrison was issuing every week powerful arguments against slavery in the "Liberator"--a copy of which Douglas never failed to secure--and was holding meetings North, South, East, and West of New England. In the summer of 1841, at Nantucket, Massachusetts, an anti-slavery convention was held, which was attended by abolitionists from Boston, Worcester, New Bedford, and many cities of New England, William Lloyd Garrison presiding. Douglass heard of this convention, and decided to attend it, which
decision was the turning point of his life. Man never knows how much depends upon apparently insignificant actions.
In the immense audience which had assembled to hear William Lloyd Garrison, and to discuss the question of slavery was William C. Coffin of New Bedford, who had heard Douglass make earnest appeals to sinners in the Coloured Methodist Church, who also had an idea that the young slave-- Douglass was yet a slave--might very well help the good cause by using his exhorting power before that assembly. He sought Douglass out and urged him to speak, and succeeded, from which moment a New sphere opened to the "fugitive slave," whose influence against slavery became second to that of Mr. Garrison only. He was engaged by the Anti-Slavery Society as an agent, and was sent on a lecturing tour through New England. His appearance created a great sensation, and the thousands who flocked to hear him were astounded by his eloquence. "A thing that can talk and give an interesting account of the cruelties of slavery,"-- was the favorite advertisement of his meetings, and the "thing that can talk" so astonished the hearers that many were with difficulty convinced he was a slave. However, a slave he was, and on his head was a price, which would have had to be paid, if his owner in Baltimore, Maryland, had known
that Frederick Douglass the orator was the nameless slave who had run away from him, or Frederick Douglass could have been forced back into slavery. Indeed the price was paid while Douglass was in England. Mrs. Henry Richardson and a few friends raised the money, purchased his liberty, and placed his freedom papers in his hands.
This remarkable man, who once had to hide himself in New York from slave-catchers, became a Presidential Elector for the state of New York, and voted in the name of that state for U. S. Grant, in 1872; was sometime United States Marshall for the District of Columbia; Recorder of Deeds for the same district under President Garfield; edited several newspapers and published a few books; and, after a life of extraordinary activity, passed into rest in the year 1896, leaving a character behind that will endure in the memory of humanity.
The following quotations will enable the reader to estimate the mental power of this "Thing that can talk."
Writing to Mr. Garrison on the 1st of January, 1846, from England, he said, among other things:--
My dear friend Garrison,--Up to this time I have given no direct expression of the views, feelings, and opinions which I have formed, respecting the character and condition of the people of this land. I have refrained thus, purposely. I wish to
speak advisedly, and in order to do this, I have waited till, I trust, experience has brought my opinions to an intelligent maturity. . . . I can truly say, I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life since landing in this country. I seem to have undergone a transformation. I live a new life. . . . The deep sympathy for the slave, and the strong abhorrence of the slave-holder, everywhere evinced; the cordiality with which members and ministers of religious bodies, and of various shades of religious opinion, have embraced me, and lent me their aid; the kind hospitality constantly proffered me by persons of the highest rank in society; the spirit of freedom that seems to animate all with whom I have come in contact, and the entire absence of everything that looked like prejudice against me, on account of the colour of my skin-- contrasted so strongly with my long and bitter experience in the United States, that I look with wonder and amazement on the transition. . . . I gaze around in vain for one who will question my equal humanity, claim me as his slave, or offer me an insult. . . . I find no difficulty here in obtaining admission into any place of worship, instruction, or amusement, on equal terms with people as white as any I ever saw in the United States. I meet nothing to remind me of my complexion. I find myself regarded and treated at every turn with the kindness and deference paid to white people. When I go to church, I am met by no upturned nose and scornful lip to tell me, 'We don't allow Niggers in here.'"
On the fifth of July, 1852, at Rochester, New York, he made the following remarks in what is considered the most effective speech of his life, on the subject of American Independence:--
"Fellow Citizens:--Pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice embodied in that declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits, and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us? Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. . . . This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. . . . Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions, whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are today rendered more intolerable by the jubilant shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those
bleeding children of sorrow this day, 'may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.' . . . My subject, then, fellow citizens, is American Slavery. I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this Fourth of July. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery--the great sin and shame of America."
It is more than probable that many of his audience, who were present to celebrate the Fourth of July and to hear words that would exalt American independence and liberty to the skies, were bitterly chagrined by his bold exposure of the crime of the nation; but nothing greater was seen on American soil in the year 1852, neither anything more in keeping with the will of God. His friends and all anti-slavery people were gratified by it; it was an effort which helped forward the good cause and brought nearer the day of redemption.
George Lewis Ruffin, Judge of the district court of Charlestown, Mass., died in Boston in December 1887, leaving a widow and a four children. Fifty-two years before this he was born in Richmond, Virginia, of free parents. He was one of a family of twelve children, whose parents engaged a broken-down student at an enormous price to teach their children, with the result that at sixteen years of age George was not only well grounded in common English studies, but had some knowledge of Latin and the Classics and an excellent taste in English literature. At this time his mother, having decided that no effort which was for the ultimate good of her family was too great to be made, broke up her Southern home, came North with her brood and settled in Boston, where they might have every advantage possible. Here George attended the Chapman Hall School, and afterwards studied law at Harvard, and later in the office of Harvey Jewell, Esq. Before beginning the study of law, he began to earn his living as a barber, opening a shop on Green Street. While still a barber and only twenty-four years of age he married Josephine H. Pierre, a Boston girl, than in her sixteenth year. After his admission to the bar a good practice at once opened up to him."
Mr. Ruffin began to represent the coloured people as a councilman, and was elected for three successive
terms, and served on many of the most important committees. Afterwards he went to the legislature for two successive terms, and was never a defeated candidate for any office. He was appointed Judge by Gov. Benjamin F. Butler in 1884. (?)
He was identified with many religious and charitable organizations, and all his life was a leading spirit among the coloured people of Boston.
His widow, Josephine H. P. Ruffin, is one of the picturesque figures of to-day. Descended from a pure-blooded English mother and a father who was the result of the union of a N. E. Indian and an African, fresh from his natives shores, she combines the indomitable spirit and determination, the courage and perseverance of those races. She is an active worker in the following organization: The Moral Education Society, The N. E. Women's Press Club, The Woman's Charity Club and The Massachusetts State Suffrage Association. In 1891 she became editor of the Boston Courant, and after that with her daughter started the Woman's Era, a monthly paper devoted especially to the interest of coloured women. She was the originator of the Woman's Era Club, an organization which numbers about 150 coloured women, and was one of the pioneers in the Women's Club movement. It was Mrs. Ruffin through the Woman's Era, who was instrumental in bringing about the first convention
of coloured women, from which has grown the large and promising organization known as the "National Association of Colored Women." She is now the recognized leader of the coloured women of Boston and is among the first in all public movements.
Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Judge Ruffin and many others, graduates of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, also graduates of grammar and high schools, whose names and doings we have no space, neither need, to notice, have shown what the ablest Negroes of the North can do, and their work is abundantly sustained by members of the race to-day. In medicine, law, education and art Negroes are working, and not a few have made efforts which have won universal commendation, and created for themselves spheres of activity and usefulness that are most satisfactory.
What of the Negro masses in the North? They may be found with the white masses, toiling together in peace. In foundries, dry-goods stores and markets; on passenger trains, freight trains, and in the parcel-express business; in hotels, private families and clubs; in barber shops, shoe-mending stores and meat stores; in every kind of human effort and wherever labour is put forth the Negro may be found taking a part, and earning his living in a manly fashion. Here his future is in his own hands, and we believe he will be guided by the
spirit of God so to use his abundant opportunities that, throughout New England and in all Northern States, the remaining disinclination, which abides in the hearts of a minority, to admit him without reserve to every social privilege will pass away.
New England and Old England are much alike in many things, chiefest in this--love of liberty; and, from New England we expect an influence will yet go forth that will at least help win for the Negro in the South the advantages that are accorded him in the North.
HOME SCHOOL, BERTHOLD, NORTH DAKOTA.
SUSTAINED BY AMERICAN MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION.
It is not possible to entertain just views and form a right estimate of the character of the Southern Negro, if it be forgotten that thirty years ago he was classed with hogs and treated by his owner with less kindness than he extended to his dogs. It must be remembered that he was in the power of his master; could own nothing; was bought, and sold; and, as the horrible Dred Scott decision put it:--"he was supposed to have no rights which white men were bound to respect." White men could whip, starve, shoot and hang him without fear of legal interference, and in law he had no parents, no wife, no marriage, no human rights whatever. All this must be borne in mind when the Negro of the South is the subject under consideration.
They who know only the cities and towns of the South can not very easily form a correct idea of what is called "the black South," they are so unlike each other. In the "Black Belt," comprised
in six Southern States, there are at least four millions of Negroes, of whom not more than half a million live in villages, towns and cities; the other three and a half millions live on the plantations. This "Black Belt" has been called by one who thoroughly understands it--"the vast black malarial slough of the American Republic."
In Southern cities Negro life is not very different from Negro life in the North; if any difference obtain worth notice it is in greater wealth and finer churches. In fact, Southern coloured churches and congregations of the cities compare most favourably with white churches and congregations, and, unfortunately,--this is a fault time and education will correct--coloured people who form them are not a little given to outward show and vanity. They are quick, too, in emulation of the worst features of "white society," and have already created an aristocracy of their own, which would be amusing, if it were not reprehensible. These aristocrats of the race refuse to recognize the name Negro; call themselves coloured people; say that Negroes are the "low blacks." In truth, they are not Negroes,--are by blood much nearer the whites, and could no doubt claim descent from the wealthy slave-owners of the past. Some of them are almost white, and have property, education and refinement. From this "aristocratic party" we hope
and expect much in the future, and shall be greatly disappointed, their foolish pride and separation from the blacks notwithstanding, if they do not ultimately prove to be a power that will lift the whole race of the South to a higher state of civilization.
Of all Southern cities Washington is called "the coloured man's paradise," the city which accords him a social standing, in which he enjoys life on a higher plane. "The coloured aristocracy of Washington," says the Buffalo Commercial, "numbers about four hundred all told. These Washington coloured swells live in fine houses. They are possessed in many cases of large wealth. They keep their own carriages, and they have servants in abundance who minister to their wants. They have everything, in short, that money and good taste can suggest. . . . In their church worship the coloured 'four hundred' are quite as exclusive as their white neighbours, and a coloured day labourer would hesitate as much to enter one of these sanctuaries as a white man of the same degree would in presenting himself at the portals of Grace Church in New York. There are other coloured churches in Washington where the poor and fairly well-to-do meet on equal terms, but they are not the churches of the 'four hundred.' The swellest coloured church in Washington is the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian.
On Sunday mornings Fifteenth Street in the vicinity of the church is filled with carriages. In this respect they are aping the worst form of white snobbery." The Buffalo Commercial speaks truth, whose words we have quoted to afford the reader an idea not of this "swellest coloured church," but of those "other coloured churches where the poor and fairly well-to-do meet on equal terms." Such churches are found in many Southern cities, and what has been said of the Negro in the North may be applied to the Negro in the cities of the South, with differences arising out of state enactments, which do not affect him very seriously.
In the "Black Belt," where three and a half million Negroes live, everything is very different. In many parts of it the idea of a free church, independent of outside control, devoted to the task of teaching morality and education, is a thing almost unknown; indeed a preacher who ventures to insist on cleanliness of life is looked upon with suspicion. Old superstitions survive, and even serpent worship is done, as in Africa, by some of the most ignorant. Among these millions of plantation Negroes necromancy and witchcraft, superstition and wild religious excitement, and a terrible divorce between faith and morals obtain, all which fearful things constitute the most awful judgment on the doings in past years of the "superior race" that this world
has ever seen. "The superior race" has sown, and many yet sow, the wind, and are now gathering the whirl-wind, in which occupation they might be left without pity, if it were not for the thousands of christian men among them, who are innocent of the great crime of the past, and the millions of blacks who suffer, and are yet the subjects of a dense ignorance.
That two hundred and fifty years of slavery could
end in anything better than ignorance, vice and
crime no sane man might expect; every heaven-illumined
soul knows that virtue and self-control
form no part of the heritage of human enthrallment.
The chains of slavery are no longer worn in the
South, it is true, but the chains of the Convict
Lease System are worn, and inhumanity is yet practised
in the vilest manner, and vice and crime are
manufactured. Under this infamous Convict Lease
System the very worst features of slavery are
retained and nourished. For offences which were
scarcely noticed when he was a slave the Negro is
sentenced to long terms of imprisonment, and then
leased out to contractors, mining companies, and
large plantation owners, who pay to the state forty
cents a day for him. For larceny, sentences of
fifteen and twenty years have been given; for hog stealing,
twenty years; for assault, two, five, six and
seven years; and thousands of coloured men and women
are serving out such sentences to-day, serving them out on plantations and in mines, making their lessees rich and gratifying the spirit of dominion which lives in the South. In this "Black Belt" of the South, indeed in every Southern State, there is a determination to sustain "White Supremacy" at any cost of religion or humanity. A bishop of the Southern Methodist Church said recently: "Now-a-days, it seems the killing of Negroes is not so extraordinary an occurrence as to need explanation; it has become so common that it no longer surprises. We read of such things as we read of fires that burn a cabin or a town. Unless the killing occurs in our own neighbourhood, we do not remember the names till the next morning." Comment on this statement were useless; that a christian bishop can make it, and remain uncontradicted, reveals a condition of society than which none might be more horrible.
Some time in the year 1896 a very young boy wandered into the garden of General Flagles, of Washington, D. C., and innocently picked some grapes. He was a young Negro boy, a little fellow who had travelled out of his mother's sight, and knew not that he was doing any wrong. But the general's daughter, who watched him enter the garden, thought he did serious wrong, and, instead of warning the little fellow off, took a revolver and shot him dead on the spot. She was brought before
the authorities, pleaded guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter, and the sentence was--three hour's imprisonment and a fine of five hundred dollars. The fine was paid, the general's daughter spent three hours in the sheriff's private parlour, and "justice was done." The reader probably asks-- Can that be true? It is solemnly true; and these pages could be filled many times with records of cruelties and murders quite as heartless and diabolical. Lynching, shooting, burning and whipping of Negroes; convict plantation work, separation of white and coloured children in school, and disfranchisement of voters by the thousand because of colour; separate churches and railroad cars for "Niggers;" and, ignorance dense and awful are the common things of the "Black Belt of the South," and at least three and a half millions of the Negro race live in conditions, if not worse, little better than those of slavery.
The Rev. Lyman Abbott, in a Sermon preached before the American Missionary Assiociation at Boston, in 1896, said:--"We do not object that a Negro should be arrested, tried, convicted and executed for crime; but we insist that he should be arrested under law, tried under law, convicted under law and executed under law. . . . The first thing we demand in our redemptive process is law working equal justice for black, for white, for red
and for yellow, and for any other colour that may appear. . . . In the second place, we demand for the inferior race equal industrial opportunities. . . . What we demand for the coloured man and for the Indian is that all doors shall be opened to him, all opportunities freely offered to him. The right and the liberty of industry given to him." . . . "The greater must serve the less. What does this mean? It means, in the first place, just and equal rights before the law. . . . We protest against the heathen barbarism which hangs a white man for crime after trial and burns a black man for crime without trial." . . . "We claim for him--African and Indian-- equal political rights. . . . The law which says to a thrifty Negro, 'You shall not vote,' and to a thriftless white, 'You may vote,' is an unjust and inequitable law." . . . "We stand too for this: . . . That they--African and Indian--shall have the same education and religious facilities and the same stimulus to intellectual and moral growth. Any scheme of education which proposes to furnish the Negro race only with manual and industrial education is a covert contrivance for putting him in serfdom; it tacitly says that the Negro is the inferior of the white race, and therefore we will educate him so as to serve us."
Such words could not be spoken by any man, much less by Henry Ward Beecher's successor, if
just cause did not exist; if Negroes were enjoying just and equal rights before the law, and equal political rights, and receiving the education which is given to Americans,--in the South,--it is perfectly clear they could not have been spoken. No stronger proof of the contents of this book might be given than this sermon of the Rev. Lyman Abbott. It is known by every man in the country that in the Southern States is a "vast black malarial slough," a region of darkness and cruelty, vice and ignorance, and it is equally well known that the majority of whites in the South wish it to remain. By intimidation and state enactment they seek to keep the Negro ignorant and prevent him using the ballot.
Men who have votes are always more powerful and more respected than men without votes, as every Englishman and American knows very well. And the Negro knows it, too; has been compelled not only to know it, but understand it, by bitter experience. The Southern States have in a great measure disfranchised him, yet gain thirty-nine votes in the electoral college by his presence in the South; that is, millions of Negroes are jockied out of their political rights, and have no votes, but white men go in their behalf to the electoral college and help elect a President of the States. The case of Mississippi will illustrate. Sixteen years ago there
were 130,278 coloured voters, who were in a majority of 22,024 over the whites in that state; to-day, with no material variation of proportions of population, the whites have a majority of 60,000. How has it been done? Simply by leaving the Negro off the register. It is perhaps as near the truth as can be when it is said that about one in every hundred coloured men votes. This, as is easily seen, leaves all executive power and the political and legislative machines in the hands of the whites, who fail not to keep the Negro in that condition of poverty and ignorance which is a notorious reflection on everybody concerned.
Perhaps the reader asks--why does he not appeal? Why does he not insist on having his vote? The answer is--this happens in the South, where he can choose between submission or punishment,-- lynching to death. Some "Niggers" are allowed to vote; it would never do to disfranchise the whole race in the South; but they who are not put on the register consult the comfort of their own skin by "keeping quiet."
The Negro of the cities of the South, then, may be classed with the Negro of the North; but the Negro of the "Black Belt,"--the three or four millions who live on the plantations and in the woods-- cannot be classed at all. He is the disgrace of America, the one solid, indisputable proof that, the
boasted civilization of the great United States notwithstanding, all Americans are not the most enlightened, neither the most humane. Millions of white men may call themselves free, educated and civilized, but when those same millions allow "Convict Lease Systems" and lynchings to obtain in their midst without lifting hand to prevent them, without sternly insisting that, state law or none, they who lynch men to death are murderers and must be punished, they must not be surprised if the world think them drunk with lust of gold, blind with the darkness of pride, and indifferent to righteous government.
PLYMOUTH CHURCH. REV. HENRY WARD BEECHER SELLING A SLAVE.
The closing words of the last chapter are strong words, and would seem to cast an odious reflection on every Anglo-Saxon of the United States; the reflection, however, is only intended for those who are mentioned again and again in this book as the oppressors of the Negro. Other American citizens, of whom there are millions, must be spoken of in warmest words of gratitude, sincerest words of praise and highest words of commendation of which our speech is capable. They stand level with the noblest sons of God on earth, and, not only to the African, but to all needing help, instruction and civilization are ministers of grace. They are the salt of the great republic, and will save it in every highest sense, and banish from it the degrading facts of which this book treats. They are lovers of God and man; bright and intelligent; followers of the Christ and, like Him, generous; devoted to their country and ever jealous of its name and watchful for its future;
determined that it shall be just to all and the home of a common brotherhood.
In the dark days of slavery they deplored the huge evil that was in their midst, and did try, using all their power, to destroy it; and, since emancipation, have striven to bring to the emancipated their own high civilization. They have given millions of treasure, also time, thought and labour to the good cause, and not a few of them have spent their lives in "the Black Malarial Slough," surrendering comfort, home, even luxury, to go forth in the name of the Son of man to teach and christianize the ignorant and debased. Their work is like "the leaven which leaveneth the lump;" their lives are imperishable, whose influence abideth forever; their names are written in the hearts of men and women who thirsted for the water of kindness and hungered for the food of benevolence; heaven has received many of them into its rest and ordained them all to everlasting honour.
It is impossible to name them all; thousands of them will never be known for all they were worth and did excepting by "Our Father" who taketh note of both good and evil; but we must mention Arthur Tappan, William H. Seward, Charles T. Torrey, William Lloyd Garrison, Daniel Hand, Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher and Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe. These
MR. BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, A. M.
PRINCIPAL OF TUSKEGEE NORMAL SCHOOL, ALABAMA
have "cast" their "bread upon the waters," which after many days is seen. We thank the Most High for them and their labour, and with deepest satisfaction and gratitude look upon the results of the efforts they made.
Other friends of the Negro in the South are: Rev. M. E. Streiby, D.D., Honorary Secretary of the American Missionary Association; The Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen; The American Baptist Home Mission Society; The Freedmen's Aid and Southern Educational Society; The Educational Society of the United Presbyterian Church; The Protestant Episcopal Commission; The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; The Coloured Evangelistic Fund--Southern Presbyterian Church; The Coloured Baptist Church; and other similar institutions. All these societies and churches seek to uplift the millions of the "Black Belt" and of other parts of the South by imparting education and religion.
Another friend of the Negro in the South is Booker T. Washington, himself an Afro-American; indeed he is a friend of the whole of the race to which he belongs. He is the founder of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, situated in the heart of the "Black Belt," Alabama, and is easy of access to the great cotton plantations of Florida, Mississippi, and Georgia. Fourteen years ago he
started a school with thirty Negro children in a building of no value; to-day he has not less than five hundred students, several fine buildings, and aboul fourteen hundred acres of land, which yields wood, sugar cane, and grain. Too much praise cannot be given to this school, and Booker T. Washington is beyond praise. He has shown, as Dr. Lyman Abbot said, that one Negro has ability, and sends forth every year representatives of the race to take a noble part in the common business of life.
Of Guadalupe College, the Austin Daily Statesman says:--"One of the marvels of the times is Guadalupe College at Seguin, Texas. It is a Negro institution, owned, officered, managed, patronized and supported by the Negroes themselves. It is a grand and growing institution. The school is organized with ten professors or teachers, and has preparatory, scientific, collegiate, normal, theological and industrial departments. There are two hundred and sixty-two pupils in the school, and one hundred and seventy-one of these are boarding in the institution, with six pupils in the senior class for this year, and all doing good work. The young men are taught carpentry, printing, farming, etc., and some of them make money to pay their way in school in this way. The young women are taught all kinds of domestic work, and one room is set aside
and provided with a number of sewing-machines where this skillful use is taught. They own a
GUADALUPE COLLEGE, SEGUINE, TEXAS.
printing-press and publish their own periodicals, and numbers of students learn the printers' trade. The character of the college is first rate in the town. All classes of white people testify to the order maintained on the school grounds, the moral character and the general behavior of the students, the high grade of work done in the school, and the culture and executive ability of the professors. Rev. D. Abner, Jr., President, is esteemed very highly as a scholar, gentleman and Christian. The college has a Bible department; also a theological class of young men preparing for the ministry, numbering some fifteen or twenty. This has been conducted by the president. The school is worthy of help and should have it."
The Indianapolis Freeman says of Wilberforce University:--"Wilberforce University was organized in 1856 by the M. E. Church. In its first board of twenty-four trustees was Hon. Salmon P. Chase, then Gov. of Ohio, and the fugitive slave's powerful advocate; also Rev. Richard S. Rust and Bishop Daniel A. Payne. Its first active president was Dr. R. S. Rust, and its students were largely 'The natural children of Southern and South-Western planters.' While the war was still in progress, the future full of misgivings, without a dollar and alone, on the night of the tenth of March, 1863, Bishop Payne purchased the College property for $10,000. He at once associated with himself Rev. James A. Shorter, afterward Bishop, and Prof. J. G. Mitchell, now Dean of Payne Theological Seminary. An act of incorporation was duly taken out, with the broad principle embodied in it that 'There shall never be any distinction among the trustees, faculty or students on account of race, color or creed.' . . . Wilberforce University is consecrated to the christian enlightenment of the race. Over three hundred students are annually enrolled, the highest registrations in its history. Wilberforce will wield a power that shall be felt in the uplifting of the race from sea to sea."
Howard University, Washington, D. C., Rev. J. E. Rankin, D. D., LL. D., President, also Professor
of Moral Philosopy and Christian Evidences, was founded by Gen. O. O. Howard for all peoples under the sun. It has among its pupils Asiatic, West Indians, North American Indians, Anglo-Saxons and Afro-Americans. It welcomes all such to-day. It has seven distinct Departments under forty competent Professors and Instructors: Theological, Medical,
HOWARD UNIVERSITY, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Legal, College, Preparatory, Normal and Industrial. This institution is always emphatically Christian. Its Instructors believe in Christianity as the only basis of true culture; but pupils here are given no denominational bias. The students in all departments have aggregated six hundred and twenty-nine; the graduates ninety. This university
was organized under the auspices of the Government in 1867. It has never had a public or denominational constituency. It has none to-day. Only for aid funds--that is, for funds to assist indigent students and for the erection of needed buildings-- has it ever made an appeal to the benevolent. It has taken its trustees and teachers from the ranks of all denominations while its aid funds have been distributed without regard to denomination. In the twenty-nine years of its existence it has graduated in all departments 1,354, of whom 1,253 are still living. Although the university is open to all races, yet those who have derived special advantage from it have been of African extraction. Five of the trustees are of the coloured race, and some of every one of its faculties of instruction. It is the only institution where the United States Government succeeds in providing equal facilities for a higher education of all classes of its citizens, without distinction of race or colour. Practically, and in large numbers, the Africo-American is not admitted to any of the Government schools in the land. It is so of all the other great schools of the nation. Is it too much to ask that the government shall do here for the coloured race what it is doing for the white race in other institutions such as West Point and Annapolis?
Among the evidences of Negro ability to establish and control great institutions, we have no better
example than Livingstone College. It was in the spring of 1882 that Bishops Hood and Lomax, with $3,000 of the $9,100 raised by Professor Price in England and $1000 donated by the business men of Salisbury, purchased the site now occupied by Livingstone College. The tract of land consisted of forty acres and the total cost of the place amounted to $4,600. The Board of Bishops at the meeting in Chester, S. C., in September, 1882, adopted Zion Wesley Institute as a connectional school, electing Rev. J. C. Price, president, Rev. C. R. Harris, Prof. E. Moore, instructors, and Mrs. M. E. Harris as matron. October 9, 1882, the Institute was opened on its own premises in Salisbury, and in 1886 or 1887 became Livingstone College, in honor of the great African explorer, David Livingstone. The aim of the school has been to give a thorough literary training to coloured young men and women. The printing office is well equipped and much minute and pamphlet work has been done besides the publishing of the College journal. During the past five or six years the school has averaged an enrollment of over two hundred students, and has done its part in swelling the stream of workers for God and humanity.
The Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, at Hampton, Virginia, is situated on an arm of Chesapeake Bay, near the spot where Negro slaves
were first landed in 1619. Gen. Samuel Chapman Armstrong, the enthusiastic young founder, understood the needs of the race. It was clear to him that selected youths must receive training of hand, as well as of head and heart, that they might go out to teach and illustrate the dignity of labour and of right living. It was also clear to him that nothing should be given these young men and women except the best possible opportunity of helping themselves, and he was confident that the people of the country would supply that opportunity. Beginning in 1868, with two teachers and fifteen students in deserted barracks, the school of 1897 requires fifty buildings for the use and occupancy of its six hundred boarding pupils and eighty officers, teachers and assistants. The student pays for board ten dollars a month in cash or labour. The school flies the flag of no sect or party, but is religious in its influence. About ninety per cent. of the nine hundred graduates have engaged in teaching, and it is estimated that over 150,000 pupils have been under their instruction. Among the graduates are some of the most honoured men and women in the Southland, among them, Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee.
The Grand Fountain of the United Order of True Reformers is a fraternal beneficiary association, organized under the laws of the State of Virginia, and chartered in 1883. It was founded by an ex-slave,
Rev. W. W. Browne, in January, 1881. There were one hundred members in the organization, and the capital invested amounted to $150. Its object then, was to take care of the sick, bury the dead, and to pay a death benefit to the widows and orphans of deceased members. Since that time, it has increased its membership to more than thirty
GRAND FOUNTAIN ASSURANCE HEAD OFFICE,
thousand. Instead of one department, there have been established seven. It has paid $287,924.25 in death benefits. The organization owns property to the value of $100,000 and conducts the most successful Negro Bank in the country. The savings bank was chartered by the Legislature of Virginia in 1888, and began operations in 1889. It has the record
of being the only bank in the city of Richmond that during the panic of 1893 did not at any time suspend the payment of specie. The business done by the bank up to date is nearly $3,000,000. The capital stock of the bank combined with that of the Order amounts to $135,000. The officers and members of this organization are all Negroes. There has been collected more than $4,000 toward the establishment of an Old Folk's Home for the aged and infirm members of the race. The Reformer, the official organ of the organization has a circulation of about 6,000 and is regarded as one of the best newspapers of the race. The President of the Organization is Rev. W. W. Browne; Cashier, R. T. Hill; Secretary, W. P. Burrell.
The American Missionary Association was established on the third of September, 1846. In the "Fiftieth Annual Report of the Executive Committee" we find that seventy schools, six colleges, two hundred and eighteen churches, and one hundred and twenty-seven ministers and missionaries are sustained by it, and that it has the care of 10,708 church members and 12,149 pupils, and that the amount expended during the year was $311,223.35: about £62,604.5.7. Says this wonderful report:-- "Many who began in extreme humbleness are reaching into high places and are standing strong with their brethren of other races in the development
of superior powers." "In different localities in twelve Southern States, pupils numbering several thousands every year are taken through the intermediate, grammar, and normal courses of instruction, and graduates go out yearly to such work in life as they may be able to secure. Many avenues are closed to them which they are prepared to enter, and would enter if the Ethiopian could change his skin. As it is, the verdict of candour from observant Southern people comes to us that most of the pupils educated in our schools do honour to their instruction and to the principles which have been interwoven with their school life."
A friend of the Negro of the South is this American Missionary Association; the friend indeed of the blinded white millions who despise the work that is done and oppress and lynch the Negro. Under the blessing of God this Association alone, unaided by any other human institution, is possessed of power to redeem the South in due time. Christ is in its midst, and "He must increase." To send thousands of educated, trained Negroes into the business of life every year, to live among Negroes and teach and preach, means something; means more than any mortal can tell. Time is long and God is patient. The wickedness of man must be defeated and one grand human brotherhood shall be established. Schools, Colleges, Churches, almost three
hundred of them, managed, financed, tutored and pastored by an Association depending on divine direction and inspiration, and many more by other christian agencies, and by Negroes themselves, cannot for ever be withstood; their light and truth and love, borrowed from heaven, must and will illumine the darkest path, instruct the most ignorant mind, make warm and peaceful the coldest, saddest heart, and redeem the millions of the plantations and mines. The Afro-American Newspapers,--such as The Indianapolis Freeman, The New York Age, The Coloured American, Washington, The Richmond Planet, The True Reformer, The Boston Courant and a number of other secular and denominational papers,--have done valiant work, and deserve the heartiest support of the race, whose interest they do boldly advocate. The names of Negro Ministers, who have attracted by patient well-doing and intelligent display of Christian virtues the admiration of both white and black, are too numerous to mention; but the late Rev. Theodore D. Miller, D. D., who was the beloved pastor of Cherry St. Baptist Church, Washington, Rev. William T. Dixon, D. D., Brooklyn, New York, Rev. Daniel W. Wisher, D. D., New York City, Rev.--Holmes, D. D., Richmond, Virginia, and Rev. G. W. Lee, D. D., Washington, may be spoken of as representative
men, and as leaders of the African people in America. May they, and such as they, ever be found among Christ's servants, doing the work of the Kingdom of God.
It is impossible to conclude this chapter without making a particular reference to the late Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, who hated slavery and laboured to promote the Negro's interests. Writing of her husband, Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher says:--
"In 1847 Mr. Beecher became the pastor of Plymonth Church, Brooklyn, and in his inaugural sermon he frankly stated the position that he intended to hold in opposition to human slavery. The majority of the church members agreed with him, but the majority of the people of New York and Brooklyn were Southern sympathizers. . . . He was abused as a negro-worshiper; he was threatened with personal violence; a mob was formed in New York to tear down the church in which he preached. . . . Amid these excitements Mr. Beecher conceived the idea of giving to the people, who now packed his church to hear him preach, an object-lesson in Southern slavery, as he had seen it in Kentucky and as it had been described to him by fugitives. . . . After a preliminary and very successful experiment in the New York Tabernacle, the first slave auction in Plymouth Church was held on June 1, 1856. . . . That Sunday morning was a memorable one. . . . When Mr. Beecher and I arrived at the church entrance seemed impossible, and for fifteen or twenty minutes several policemen were kept busy making a passageway for us through the crowd so that we could reach the doors. The church was densely crowded; every available foot of space was occupied, and thousands were outside unable to gain admission. When Mr. Beecher appeared on the platform a deathlike stillness fell upon the entire auditorium. For a few moments Mr. Beecher surveyed the wonderful assemblage before him, and then, closing his eyes in prayer for a single
minute, he arose. . . . He began the service by reading the beautiful Scriptural story of the man who was cured of a withered hand, especially emphasizing Christ's question, 'Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath Day or to do evil, to save life or to kill?' Then he said: 'About two weeks ago I had a letter from Washington, informing me that a young woman had been sold by her own father to be sent South--for what purpose you can imagine when you see her. She was bought by a slave-trader for twelve hundred dollars, and he has offered to give you the opportunity of purchasing her freedom. . . . Now, Sarah, come up here so that all may see you.'
The solemn, impressive silence of that vast Plymouth assemblage was absolutely painful as a young woman slowly ascended the stairs leading to the pulpit and sank into a chair by Mr. Beecher's side. Instantly assuming the look and manner of a slave auctioneer he called for bids. 'Look,' he exclaimed, 'at this marketable commodity--human flesh and blood, like yourselves. You see the white blood of her father in her regular features and high, thoughtful brow. Who bids? You will have to pay extra for that white blood, because it is supposed to give intelligence. Stand up, Sarah! Now, look at her trim figure and her wavy hair!--how much do you bid for them? She is sound in wind and limb--I'll warrant her! Who bids? Her feet and hands--hold them out, Sarah!--are small and finely formed. What do you bid for her? . . . How much for her? Will you allow this praying woman to be sent back to Richmond to meet the fate for which her father sold her? If not, who bids? Come now! We are selling this woman, you know, and a fine specimen she is, too. Look at her. See for yourselves. Don't you want her? Now, then, pass the baskets and let us see.' . . . For a half hour money was heaped into the contribution boxes. Women took off their jewelry and put it in the baskets. Rings, bracelets, brooches piled one upon the other. Men unfastened their watches and handed them to the ushers. Above all the bustle and confusion of the remarkable scene Mr. Beecher's powerful voice rang out: 'Shall this woman go back to Richmond, or be free?' 'Free!' said several men, as they emptied their pockets into the collection baskets. . . . Just
at this point, when the scene was becoming hysterical in its intensity, Mr. Louis Tappen rose and shouted above the din: 'Mr. Beecher, there need be no more anxiety as several gentlemen have agreed to make up the deficiency, no matter what it may be.' 'Then, Sarah, you are free!' cried Mr. Beecher, turning to the girl beside him. This statement inspired the almost frenzied audience to wildest demonstrations of enthusiasm, and quiet was not restored for several minutes until Mr. Beecher raised his hand for silence. Then in his usual, mellow voice he fervently exclaimed: 'God bless Plymouth Church! I do not approve of unholy applause in the House of God; but, when a good deed is well done, it cannot be wrong to give an outward expression to our joy.' . . .
Other slaves were sold by Mr. Beecher in Plymouth Church, and it is a proud record that not one had to be sent back to the slave-traders. 'I was glad by this means,' said Mr. Beecher, 'to arouse public feeling against the abomination of slavery, which I hate with an unutterable hatred.'
Mr. Beecher was often summoned to Washington by President Lincoln and by Secretary Stanton for consultation upon public affairs, his advice being prized as disinterested and without political bias. Whenever he called at the White House his persistent appeal to President Lincoln was, 'Free the slaves! Free the slaves!' 'There is no law,' replied Lincoln, 'by which I can abolish slavery, except as a military necessity.' 'Do you promise,' he pressed, 'that you will issue a proclamation of emancipation if ever the military necessity shall occur?' 'Certainly,' replied Lincoln, 'with all my heart.'
One morning, at our home in Brooklyn after he had read the newspaper reports of military affairs, Mr. Beecher was strongly agitated. 'I think that I shall go to Washington,' he said, and gave the usual instructions about the prayer-meeting and the correspondence. I am told that he went to the Fulton Ferry, and crossed and re-crossed several times, as if undecided as to what course to pursue. At length he seemed to arrive at the conclusion that steam could not carry him to Washington fast enough for his purpose. So he entered the nearest telegraph office and sent this message to the President:
'Is there not a military necessity now? Will you keep your promise?' Then he returned home and busied himself with church affairs. As the hours passed he became more preoccupied and absorbed, speaking to no one and answering no question until it had been twice or thrice repeated. When we sat down to dinner he pushed his plate away untasted. The doorbell rang and a telegram was brought to him. As he opened the envelope, his hand trembled visibly. The message consisted of only two words, but they meant the freedom of a race. They were: "Yes! LINCOLN.' It is a sweet thought that connects the freedom sales of Sarah and Pinky, in Plymouth Church, with the emancipation of the colored people, and that gives to Mr. Beecher, who had labored so long, so zealously and so eloquently for abolition, the honor of receiving the first intimation from President Lincoln of that proclamation which has shed upon this country even a greater glory than the Declaration of Independence."
There is hope for the Black South. But probably the reader asks--is it really true that, in the presence of all this christian life and labour, Negroes are down-trodden, treated with cruelty, and lynched to death? It is most sadly true. And it is true that all this christian effort is put forth in behalf of about four millions of Negroes, born slaves and children of slaves,--not much different from slaves now--who know little of all the precious knowledge this world contains, and have less of its civilization. But "the night is far spent." In a little while the morning of hope and promise of future good will spread its light over the "Black South," and will kiss into newness of life the Afro--American people, and the great republic will be cleansed of its deepest stain of sin.
OPEN AIR KINDERGARTEN. LISTENING TO THE BIRDS.
SUSTAINED BY AMERICAN MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION.
A few closing observations must be made. We desire, however, no longer to dwell on this Negro tragedy; but to make the following suggestions.
First, we suggest that Christian people use every opportunity of creating a Christian public opinion on this Negro question. Let not any think that the opinion of England, France, Germany and other European countries counts for nothing in the United States. Americans are proud of their country, and boast of its liberty and equality, and are quick to feel the touch of foreign reproach. If foreign ministers of religion preached with one accord on the barbarity of Negro treatment in the Southern States of America, and if resolutions were passed in condemnation thereof, and if sermons and resolutions were published in American papers, or distributed over the country in pamphlet form, thousands of citizens who now leave the work of amelioration to the best men of North and South would be moved, if only to gratify feelings of national pride, to help establish majesty of law, and so end these barbarities. Let none think that Christian Americans would resent such work as interference; if any were to object they would not be Christians. All Christ's
men will welcome gladly and gratefully the influence of such work as a gift from God, and will be made stronger to discharge successfully the divine duties they have undertaken.
Second, we suggest that prayer be made for the "Black Malarial Slough" of the United States. Christian education, Christian sympathy, and the love of the Christ are the necessity of the Negro race in the "Black Belt." Prayer offered before the Throne of Mercy in faith must reach Christ's servants who toil among the black millions that have inherited ignorance and debasement, and can only result in enlargement of their wisdom and spiritual power; using which they shall more certainly and rapidly extend the kingdom of the Saviour. "Ask and ye shall receive; seek and ye shall find; knock and the door shall be opened unto you." Think of Negro men, women and children as the subjects of greatest hardship, blackest vice and foulest cruelty, and let prayer go up to God for the "Black Belt" of the Southern States of America.
With undying sympathy for the coloured race, and gratitude for all good men who have toiled, given of their substance, and died to educate and christianize Negroes, and in the hope, which is born of faith in "Our Father," that barbarity and cruelty may in due time pass from this world, the writer concludes this effort of love.