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´╗┐Title: The Future of the Colored Race in America
 - Being an article in the Presbyterian quarterly review of July, 1862
Author: Aikman, William
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Future of the Colored Race in America
 - Being an article in the Presbyterian quarterly review of July, 1862" ***


BY WILLIAM AIKMAN, Pastor of the Hanover Street Presbyterian Church,
Wilmington, Delaware.

In whatever way the present civil war in America shall result, it
is certain that the future condition of the colored race in this
country will be the question over-mastering all others for many
years to come. It has already pushed itself into the foremost place.
However it may be true, that slavery and the negro were not the
proximate causes of this war, no one who gives any candid thought
to the matter can fail to recognize the fact, that back of all,
this stands as the grand first occasion of it. Had there been no
slavery, there would have been no war. General Jackson was only
partly right when he said, that while in his day the tariff was
made the pretext of secession, and that by and by slavery would take
its place, but that neither would be the true motive of disunion;
that a desire for a separate confederacy was the final cause. This
was evidently correct, yet had slavery not stood in this country
there would not have come into being that peculiar state of society
which now lives in the Southern States, and which demands for its
very existence that it should rule alone. Slavery has created an
aristocracy, not of numbers, but of wealth and power, which bears
with all the social forces. While the slave-holder are but a very
small minority of the whole people, yet by the force of their
wealth and the fact of their being slave owners, they hold all the
political power, and indeed, sweep out of existence any opposition.
There are, with very rare exceptions throughout the whole South,
but two classes--free and slave, or we may say, slave-holders and
slaves, for the non slave-holders are completely lost and absorbed
in the all-controlling element which is above them; they work
in with it, and are indeed a part of it. As slavery called this
aristocracy into being, and created its power, so it holds it in
being; anything which strikes at slavery strikes at the root of
this power; to destroy slavery would be to blot it out of existence.

Around this point the whole contest is waged, and from it alone
every movement is to be interpreted. In the days of South Carolina
nulification the tariff was indeed the pretext of rebellion, and
the true motive was a separate government and the perpetuation of
the power of the dominant class, but this power depended wholly
upon the status of slavery, and so, back of all slavery was even
then the thought, and to strengthen slavery the great end. In
this we find the accurate explanation of the studied and persistent
efforts to extend and perpetuate it, not because it is admired
in itself, or because it is seen to be politically or socially
beneficial, but because it is the cornerstone of a valued social
state. A friend, some years ago sailing down the Potomac, was
engaged in conversation with the captain of the boat, a blunt, bluff
Southerner, and looking over the beautiful scenery on either side
of the river, said, "Why do you Virginians hold on to slavery? it is
a thousand pities that such a country as this should be so poorly
used." "I know it," replied the captain, "slavery does ruin the
state; but the fact is, we like it; a man feels good when he owns
twenty or fifty negroes, and can say to one go, and he goes, and
to another come and he comes." Here the whole philosophy of the
social state of the South is in a nut-shell. To abandon slavery is
to abandon a position which has been held as a tenure of nobility
for two hundred years. Nothing but the direst necessity will bring
it about. It will never be given voluntarily up; the whole force
of human nature is against it relinquishment. As well might the
nobility of England be expected to throw up their titles and their
coronets on persuasion. Here is a case where argument has no power.
You may exhaust it, you may prove slavery to be wrong morally, wrong
socially, wrong politically, you may prove it to a demonstration
that it is an economic blunder of the most gigantic proportions, you
may make it clear as sunlight that it is demoralizing and ruinous,
but you have done absolutely nothing toward its abolishment. Here
and there a truly conscientious man or woman, under the great
pressure of duty, will consent to the liberation of their slaves;
but the public conscience is so ethereal a thing that it can be
touched by no appeals of duty or obligation, and will never force
a community up to any great work, least of all to such a work as

The effect of emancipating one's slaves upon the social position
of the master, has been seen over and over again; the hour when
the bonds are broken and freedom is given is the hour when all the
former associations are given up; expatriation and banishment are
the inevitable results. The generous, or the conscientious emancipator
at once becomes an exile; he has sunk at once out of an aristocracy
whose titular power he gave up the moment he ceased to be a slave-holder,
and he cannot comfortably abide in even his old home. Here is the
explanation of the vast and unexpected power put forth by this
rebellion, of the unconquered will, of the enormous sacrifices
endured; here is the explanation of the seeming insanity of the
struggle, of the unwarrantableness of its acts, of the demoniac
fierceness of its rage, and the diabolical malignity and cruelty
of its method of war; it is the death struggle of a great social
element, for which to be conquered is to be ruined and swept out
of existence.

No man understood this so well or so soon as the great Nullifier.
He was a thinker and a philosopher, and so with great logical
consistency he became the early author of the doctrine of slavery as
now almost universally held at the South. He startled and shocked
the men of his time by his bold positions in respect to that
institution, and was far in advance of his time in his assertions
of its inherent rightfulness, and the determination not only
to terminate, but to extend, strengthen and perpetuate it. He was
a nullifier because a slave-holder in principle. The one grew out
of, and was a part of the other. The maintenance of an oligarchy
was the ultimate end, that rested on slavery, and so "state rights"
so called, and the divine right of slavery went hand in hand.

This is strikingly evident in the history of the present war. The
rapid rise, and the culmination of rebellion in act, was preceded
by the new annunciation of these doctrines of Calhoun on slavery.
We remember well how strange it sounded, and how startling in
the General Assembly of only 1856, when slavery was declared an
institution not needing to be defended or apologized for, but to
be praised and justified as truly an ordinance of God as marriage,
or the filial relation. The church had known no such doctrine
before, and then spued it out of her mouth, but it was gravely held
and fiercely and impudently avowed. It was followed by secession
as a logical consequence. It is very remarkable how rapid was the
change in public sentiment. This new doctrine of the rightfulness
of slavery swept over the whole Southern States in a few months,
politicans philanthropists, ministers, suddenly starting up to find
that they had been all along in error in thinking that slavery was
an evil, and hoping that some day it would be removed, that they
had been wrong in speaking of being "opposed to slavery in the
abstract," it was abstractly not wrong, but right; they had been
mistaken when regretting the circumstances which made emancipation
ought not to be desire. This change of sentiment an doctrine was
not gradual, but sudden; it went with telegraphic speed. The reason
was that events were pressing upon the aristocracy of the South and
threatening its destruction. Slavery had ceased to be a dominant
power in the Federal legislation, and the social state which rested
upon it was trembling to its foundation. There was but one thing
to be done, and that was the setting up of a new government, the
corner stone of which should be slavery. And this was not accidental
or capricious, but simply a necessity The state of society which
was sought to be maintained had its origin in slavery, and slavery
could not but be put in the foremost place. Alexander Stephens
understood both himself and the matter which he had in hand when
he told the people, and the world that they had hitherto understand
this thing. Before, they had sought to maintain their social state
and only tolerate slavery, they had not seen that all depended
on it; here was the true corner-stone which former builders had
rejected, but which they were now making the head of the corner. The
secession was a foregone conclusion long enough before it actually
occurred: it was so understood throughout the South by thinking
men, and the sudden spread of the new doctrine on slavery was the
necessary preparation for it.

He, then who does not take slavery into the account in his thinking
on this war, has not begun to get a glimpse of what it means; he
who leaves it out in the settlement of it, will not advance a step.
Its origin was in slavery, its issue is to be found only as it is
connected with slavery. There may be, as there has been, through
the tremendous power of a vast prejudice, a thousand endeavours to
avoid the issue, but events will sooner or later compel every man,
whether he will or not, to look it in the face. We say prejudice
for in this thing, as in all history has been the case, a name has
become a well nigh boundless power. The interest of slavery has
for a long course of years, and by a persistent endeavor, created
a term of terrible significance, and has wielded it with prodigious
force,--we mean the word "Abolitionist." History has known before
a term made a watch word and changing a dynasty, but never was a
word brandished with such effect upon a nations well being as this.
Time was when South as well as North, to be an" abolitionist," a
member of the Abolition Society," was not only no strange thing,
but a position held by the the foremost men, and without a thought
that they were amendable to even the slightest censure of their
associates. Jefferson and Pickney, as well as Jay and Adams, were
abolitionists in name, as well as in fact. Delaware, and Maryland,
and Virginia had their Abolition Societies, and the best and greatest
men were members of them. But in the course of years Slavery changed
all that. The oligarchy awakened to the danger which threatened
it, and at first gradually, and them by more and more open effort,
these societies were assailed or suppressed, till they with the
death of the great men who founded them, passed out of existence,
no one perhaps knowing precisely how. Then began the storm of
abuse and anathematizing directed against all who dared to hold,
or at least utter sentiments opposed to slavery. "Abolition" and
"abolitionist" was echoed and howled till men became pale at the
bare sound, and considered it the last and most dreaded terror to
be called by the hated name.

But a change vastly more rapid in its movement is now taking place
in an opposite direction, the significance of which we have but just
begun to measure. The mind of the whole nation has been directed
now for one year, with great steadiness to the contemplation of
slavery from an entirely new stand-point, and divested of the cloud
of prejudice which has for nearly a century, been thrown over it.
The word abolitionist has lost its secret potency.

In this line of thought the present attitude of our government is
of immeasurable importance. We are as likely to undervalue as to
over estimate events which occur just beneath our eye. A few weeks
since President Lincoln sent quietly into the houses of Congress
a message of strangely straightforward character, clothed in very
plain and homely garb, but of meaning not to be misunderstood,
and admitting of no misconstruction. It asked that Congress should
simply resolve that the government was willing to lend its aid to
any State of the Union which should desire to bring slavery to an
end. That was all. But that simple message marked an era in the
history of the world, and will be looked upon in all future time
as one of the grand events of this century. It was unlooked for,
sudden, so that the country stood confounded for the moment, but
the next was ready to adopt it. It quickly became the policy of the
government and of the people, without, so far as we know, a single
voice of moment raised against it. The people have not yet begun
to understand all its great meaning. What is it? It is that the
government of these United States deems slavery an evil, wishes it
to cease , and will do what it can to help it to an end. It is the
first time in all our history that this was true. The government has
never so spoken before. Henceforth its policy is to help emancipation
. It is a risen sun, it has brought a day whose glorious light we
have not yet appreciated. Hereafter all its patronage, and power,
and prestige will be thrown on the side of freedom, and no man can
accurately measure the result.

The President has, by this great act of his, lifted the moral sense
of the nation to a position to which years could not otherwise
have brought it. It was one of those strokes of God-inspired genius
which once in a century or so, changes the face of the world. Like
many other acts of this truly great man, it was wonderfully timely,
put forth at the moment, the fulness of time, it was not too soon,
it was not too late. The sense and the thought of the people needed
to be advanced up to its reception and had not wildly gone beyond
the point of wisdom, the moment with a deep intuition was recognized,
seized upon, and by a few words talismanic, the forming elements
were crystallized. So they will remain. For all the coming time
this people will look forward to the abolition of slavery. Freedom
is the American watch-word, freedom for all men.

But a few weeks have gone, yet the change is wonderful already.
The atmosphere is clearer and purer. The writer of this is living
in a slave state, and is able to mark the changes better than those
in places more remote from the influences of slavery. While a few
months since no prominent men or class of men would venture to plant
themselves openly on the platform of emancipation, now there is a
great party forming in this state, (Delaware,) and at the coming
elections in the autumn of this year, it will go into the canvass
with Emancipation for its watch-word. The stigma which slavery has
succeeded in attaching to the word "abolition" is already passing
away, and it is no longer dangerous to one's reputation to be
considered an emancipationist.

What is true in a slave state will be as true everywhere in the
land. The presidential word has brushed away a world of sophisms,
and settled a thousand pleas against dealing with slavery; it has
declared not only expedient, but possible, immediate emancipation.
The abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia following
so quickly upon the message of the President, and the adoption
by Congress of its recommendation, have made its words facts and
demonstrations. Slavery has been abolished with a word, and in a
moment, over a whole district of country --here is a fact to make
the ages sing over in this land. We do not even think of the fifteen
hundred or so captives set free; they are as nothing, except
as occasions for the bringing into existence the momentous and
glorious fact that this government is on the side of freedom, and
its strength will be given to it henceforth. It is difficult to
measure the import of all this, even as it is difficult to foresee
the sweep of a mighty current which has just begun to rush in a new
channel; that it is destined to sweep slavery from this country,
no one now can have a doubt.

Hereafter the thinking on the subject of American Slavery will be
only in one line--how shall it be done away? If we would have an
understanding where a few weeks may advance us, we have only to
remember what was the point of thought in relation to this matter.
It was, how shall slavery be kept from extending itself. We were
content to let it live if it did not subjugate other lands, but
the events have crowded us far beyond that, we have gotten past a
thought of it, no living man fears now, or even dreams of it, it
has simply gone forever out of a sane man's mind. What an advance
a year has made! We have been hurried past the place of argument
against slavery. We are done with all that; the books and the
pamphlets, the documents and the statistics are growing quickly
obsolete, for they have done their work; we need not be careful of
them for our future use. We shall not need them except as relics
of a well fought field.

Those of us who have for a life time been doing what we could to
hasten forward this day, who have spoken and written and suffered
for it, in the new atmosphere which we breathe are like men that
dream. We know that it would come, we hoped to live long enough
to see the day. We see it and are glad, we did not think to see
it soon, it has come so suddenly, it shines so broadly and with
so rich a promise that we recognize it as God's day; we see his
wonder-working power moving marvellously, making--was it ever shown
so before?--the wrath of man to praise him; we behold how God has
taken the work into his own hand; how he has made slavery destroy
itself. More than human wisdom, and beyond human guidance is here,
the thick night would not have gone so wondrously had not He rolled
it away, we hail the light. This is the day the Lord hath made, we
will rejoice and be glad in it.

But like all of God's gifts, it demands work and gives responsibility,
responsibility and work proportionate to the boon.

He has given us a day, but it brings with it work of which perhaps
we have gotten only a mere glimpse. It is well that we should
endeavour to understand and appreciate what that work is, for it
is no holiday that He has given us. We have asked in many a prayer
that it might come, and having come we must see what is to be done,
and manfully deal with it.

It is easy to talk of emancipation, but he has thought loosely and
ill who sees no great difficulties in bringing it to a happy issue;
who has not questions arise in his mind to give him pause when he
contemplates a social change so vast in state of a race of twelve
millions of men. Let not the reader suppose a mistake in the
figures, we mean twelve millions, and not four; there are, indeed,
four millions of slaves to be made free, but a change is to be
wrought in the social state of the eight millions of the whites,
which is only less than that of the blacks. To alter radically, to
remodel the whole social fabric of a great and numerous people, to
shift the foundation stones, remove them, and place others in their
palaces, without racking the edifice or tumbling it in a hideous
ruin, is the work of no inexperienced or careless architect.

The gigantic war which has been desolating one half of this
land, has been, as we have said, simply the mighty frantic effort
of a social state to establish itself; of a peculiar civilization
to consolidate its power. The result of the war will be the total
defeat of this attempt; the very endeavor, the waging of the
war has shaken its foundation, its end will remove it entirely.
This civilization, whose basis is slavery, has chosen to risk its
existence on the issue of the war: it must accept the alternative
which it has raised, and be content to pass away.

The war will decide the question of slavery, and with it alter the
whole form of society at the South which rests upon it. But one
civilization cannot pass away and leave a vacuum; one state of
society cannot cease and have no other in its palace. It is only
changes, not new creations which take place in the social world;
one civilization gives place to another; society passes from one
state into another . We are, then, on the eve of a mighty change,
perhaps the greatest ever seen in the world before. That it can
or could take place without an awful struggle, pangs which are the
birth-thores of a nation, let no one imagine; that it will be done
in a few brief months is impossible. While we write, victories have
just been gained, the great city of the South has passed into the
hands of our army, and men begin to predict the speedy downfall of
the rebellion; but, alas, we cannot felicitate ourselves with any
such prospect. The great class which has made the war to maintain
its existence, will not consent to die thus; every element of human
nature in its fallen form is against it. It will yield to nothing
but simply irresistible force, it will die only as it is killed.
We confess, as we look over the whole ground and weigh well as we
can the origin and caused of this gigantic war, to a feeling, not
of despondency or uncertainty, for we believe that God will one day
bring it to a happy end, but of heart-sorrow and care, even as a
woman has sorrow and foreboding at the inevitable agony ere a man
is born into the world. To lift twelve millions of men to a new
better place, to open before them a good and happy future, instead
of certain prospective woe and final dissolution, is a work worth
the tears and groans of a nation, and they can well afford to be
patient till the time has come. At present let not one's heart fail
him if the horizon grows dark and hope seems at times blotted out;
let him remember well what the meaning of the strife is, that it is
no accident, but the death-struggle of a civilization two hundred
years old, and based on all the worst and strongest elements of
human nature. It can have no easy death.

Taking it for granted, then, that a great change is about to take
place in the social state of the South, and taking it for granted
that slavery on which it is based must, under the pressure of the
forces which are bearing upon it, pass sooner or later away, a point
which we are not disposed just now to consider even debatable, a
great question comes up, What shall be the future condition of the
colored race in this land? How shall the problem be solved? What
shall be done with the slave? Hasty and inconsiderate persons
may find ready answers, but it seems to us that just now there is
no question of so great intricacy, and certainly no one of equal
moment to which an American can address himself. We propose in the
remainder of this article to discuss it. It is not a subject on
which it is well to dogmatize; we have learned that there is room
for a very wide diversity of opinion; the most that any one can
hope to do is by discussion to endeavor to elicit light. After all
the Providence of God will do the work; it is for us to be abreast
of that Providence, ready to accept the trust and do the work which
it assigns us.

We have dwelt thus long on the causes, and what we consider to be
the true meaning of the war, because only by a right apprehension
of them can we be prepared to deal with this great question. Those
who are at the head of the government appreciate it most fully, and
the President in his message frankly intimates that the only true
hope of a lasting settlement of our national difficulties must be
found in the ultimate emancipation of the blacks. But aware of the
objections which must arise to the setting free of four millions
of slaves and their remaining in the country, he proposes that a
system of colonization shall be inaugurated by which they may be
removed. Emancipation with colonization in lands provided for the
freed slaves, is the scheme.

Without dealing with this proposition of the President in detail,
let us look at the state of the case, and ask, Is colonization
possible; and if possible; it is necessary, or even desirable? By
colonization we mean, of course, the removal or deportation of the
blocks to another country. We do not mean emigration; that is an
entirely different thing.

We may ask at the outset, Have we a right to send out of the
country the emancipated slaves? However it may have failed to be
his country, this is his home, and by what law of morality shall
you compel him to abandon not only his, but his father's and his
ancestor's home? It is his by a line of descent stretching, in most
cases, far back of theirs who talk so glibly of his colonization:
and after, by a great act of justice, you have raised him from
chattelhood into citizenship, and have given him a country, by what
rule of right do you propose at the same time to banish him from
it? A right-minded man will hesitate before he leaves the feelings
of four millions of hearts out of his calculations. It is, we think,
an element somewhat to be considered, and yet one utterly ignored
by the most of those who talk on this subject. If it be answered,
the colonization is to be voluntary, they only going who choose to
go, we have only to say that that is not the true meaning of the
terms, nor what is by common consent understood by it. If merely
emigration is intended, and it is made no part of the scheme of
emancipation, the case is altered radically. But of this more by
and by.

Of the possibility of the deportation of the freedmen, a thoughtful
man will have many doubts. The shipment of the natural increase for
one year of our present slave population, sixty thousand, (60,000,)
would tax the energies and resources of the nation to an extent
which they who talk of it have not very fully measured. And then
the original 4,000,000 remain. To those who have been accustomed
to advocate the removal of the colored race from this country, we
recommend a matter-of-fact calculation in ships and money and time.
It will be both interesting and profitable; possibly it will impart
some new ideas on the matter. For ourselves, we may say that we
deem the proposition for the deportation of a race of four millions,
with a yearly increase of sixty thousand, a wild dream, one of the
emptiest that a sane man cares to entertain. The history of the
race has never known such a thing; it has seen the emigration of
millions, but the sending of them never.

But passing this, is the colonization of the colored race in
this country desirable or necessary? For the entering upon a work
so gigantic, even were it possible, there ought to be reasons the
most imperative, absolute, and pressing. Mere opinions, theories,
or prejudices, will not be sufficient; the demand for it must be
made to appear with sunlight clearness.

What are these reasons? To us it does not seem easy to exhibit
them. It is easy to declaim about the inferiority of the race, the
impossibility of their ever living on an equality with the white
race, their lack of ability to support themselves, and the like,
but in the end it is very difficult to perceive the logicals
consecutiveness of the argument. The inferiority of a race can
hardly be shown to be a valid reason for its banishment from the
presence of the superior, and by its power; the inability of a people
to care for or to elevate themselves, does not seem a precisely good
argument for sending them to a new land, and to a naked dependence
on their own resources; the invincible prejudice of the white does
not at once give a very potent, at least a very just reason why
the black should be expatriated.

We will not assert it, but there is good cause to suspect that
while in the minds of perhaps the majority of those who for a few
years past have been active supporters of the colonization scheme,
the good of the black and of Africa have been prominent motives,
yet it had its birth and its chief support in the way in which it
bore upon the interests of slavery. The presence of free blacks
among slaves is an element of weakness in the system, and though
it may not have been openly avowed, yet there is too much reason to
suspect that colonization was intended vastly more for them than
for freed slaves. It was a scheme to strengthen slavery, and it
ceased to elicit sympathy or generous support so soon as it appeared
to give no promise of that result.

Asking the reasons for colonization, we apprehend that when the
argument is pressed, it will be found to terminate, if on any thing
substantial, upon the benefit which it will confer on the black
race. Without volunteering the details of that argument, which,
indeed, we do not profess to see clearly, we may say that there
is at least a preliminary question, whether or not that end cannot
be better attained without colonization than with it? Is it not
possible better to elevate and to do good to the colored race in
this than in any other land to which they may be sent?

But we are writing coolly, as if this were an open question whether
the four millions of blacks are to remain for many years to come
in this country or not. It is no open question. They are here, and
here they must remain for a period which no man is competent to
limit, even in his argument. They cannot, or to speak mildly, they
will not be transported across the sea or to any foreign land.
They may eventually, as we shall endeavor to suggest, go, but they
cannot be sent away. In this assertion, we leave the inclinations
and the will of the black man out of the question. There are reasons
which must operate on the side of the white to make it impossible.
The colored race is necessary, and will be so for a period indefinitely
long, to the southern country. It constitutes its labor; it is the
productive force of that land; it has been for the past two hundred
years. It is the foundation element of the whole social state. Now
by what power shall there be a speedy removal of the whole labor
of a country? How shall the entire producing element be suddenly
abstracted? Were that possible to be done, the whole state would
plunge at once into poverty and ruin. Once or twice the experiment
has been tried, in historic times, of banishing or destroying a
producing element of a state, and though done on a comparatively
small scale, the result are sufficiently marked to teach all after
time. Spain did it when she drove the Moors from her Castilian
lands. France did it when she murdered and banished the Huguenots,
and they both have scarcely, after two and three centuries, recovered
from the shock and the ruin.

But we need not spend our space in discussing the point. However any
one may deem the colonization of the whole colored race desirable,
still it will remain an impossibility; there are natural and
economic forces which would be omnipotent to prevent it. They are
needed here, and where a race is needed, there, in this age of the
world, it will abide. There is work to be done; they can do it,
they have done it; there is no one else at present to take their
place, and so a power above wishes, prejudice, or argument, holds
them here--the power of an economic necessity.

The colored race is here, here for a long time it will remain; it
will not--the events bewildering us by their rapid march all point
one way--it will not remain in slavery; it will and must by-and-by
be free. We, as an American people, must accept this double truth
with all its difficulties and perplexities; we must like men,
in God's fear and with many a cry for his help, bravely deal with
it. We need not now go back and stand sighing over the past, and
mourning that we did not a century ago meet it and escape the mighty
work and sorrow of to-day; we cannot put it away any longer; the
great questions rise up before us with a menace upon their brow;
they demand and they will have an answer now to-day. No scheme of
deportation or colonization shall open any easy door of escape; let
no man console himself that the question of emancipation is to be
solved by any such short and simple process; here on this continent,
within the borders of these States, slavery has done its work, and
just here freedom is to have her greatest and most glorious triumph.
This American State has given some examples to history, it has
given some demonstrations of the power of free institutions for the
white, it is giving to-day its most memorable, and is it too much
to hope that it will yet give to the world a more glorious, because
more difficult, demonstration of the same power in the black race?
What if it should remain, for it, after having completed its work
for the one, it should crown it in the other, by lifting it from
deepest slavery, and by self-sacrifice and toil make it a blessing
to the world! So we believe it will yet be. The way is not clear now;
the people do not see their work; but by-and-by it will of itself
be before them, and they will address themselves to it, bringing
every quickened power which marks them among the nations, and,
under God, they will complete it.

How it shall be done we do not feel competent to intimate, and it
was not the purpose of this paper to attempt to indicate. No man,
perhaps, is sufficient for that. The Providence of God we believe
will mark the path, and events will hurry us if we be ready to
follow them in right line of the work.

There are some things, however, which may be said that may possibly
cast some light upon the supposed difficulties of the matter of
emancipation without colonization. These difficulties, we think,
arise in many cases from a mistaken estimate of the negro character
and capabilities.

It is not our design to enter upon the question of the inferiority
of the race or the impossibility of its ever living on an equality
with the white; while we are not ready to grant the first,
certainly not to the extent to which it is pushed, we are disposed
to believe the latter. It is doubtful, we are inclined to believe
it impossible, that the two races can ever on this continent abide
on terms of social equality. We are, too, inclined to believe that
this country is not to be the ultimate home of the colored race. It
will go out from it. We think that there is that in the character
of the African race which makes this probable, perhaps certain. In
the strange workings of Divine Providence this race has in a marvellous
manner been brought to this land, and put under a tutelage for a
great future, and that Africa, its home, may become the recipient
of blessing, the foundation and preparation for which were made in
this country.

The bondage of the Israelites in Egypt was not an accident, but a
divinely ordered procedure, which had a striking bearing upon the
character of the Jew and shaped his whole after history. It was
a work of preparation, and it was not done in a short time, but
took two or three centuries to be brought to perfection. American
slavery, like this Egyptian bondage, will have its results on the
future or Africa.

In saying this, of course no reader will suppose that there is in
the thought a justification of slavery, any more than when speaking
of the great benefits which flowed from the bondage in Egypt to the
Jew, we justify the selling of Joseph, or the tyranny of Pharaoh.
It is God's wonderful work to bring the greatest good out of the
deepest evils; the Fall to issue in Redemption.

It is impossible to discuss the future of the black people in this
country without immediately being brought into contact with the
future of Africa. The one is closely connected with the other. The
movements of Providence are synchronous. How wonderfully events
are prepared in distant places, that they may be brought together
at the appointed moment! The fact that at just the time when the
great and absorbing questions which relate to this people in our
own land are forcing themselves upon our attention, the continent
of Africa is attracting more of interest in the way of discovery
and travel than any other portion of the earth, has, we think, a

Geographical research has almost exhausted other lands, while here
almost a continent, at least till within a few years, has remained
unexplored. This has not been because no efforts have been made
to break through the thick veil that has always hung over it.
Travellers have been unceasing in their attempts to penetrate into
the interior, and have failed, not from want of energy, but because
of the insuperable difficulties in the way. If they have succeeded
in reaching the shores, they died under the fatal coast fever. If
they have escaped this death, and pressed towards the interior, it
has been only to fall victims to savage beasts or more savage men.
So that African exploration has been, until perhaps within the last
fifteen years, a history of melancholy disaster and sacrifice of
valuable life.

Of late, new and marked success has crowned the efforts made to
lay open this continent to the knowledge of the world.

What has been accomplished will strike with surprise any one whose
attention has not before been called to the facts of the case. Let
the reader take a well prepared map of to-day and compare it with
that from which he studied his lessons a score of years ago. He will
remember how simple and easy to be remembered was the information
to be conveyed by that wide and lightly-colored track which bore
the words, "Unexplored Regions ." It embraced the largest portion
of the whole continent. But this has been encroached upon year
after year, on the South by Livingstone and Cumming, on the North
by Barth, on the East by Barton, and on the West by Wilson and Du
Chaillu, until the discoveries have almost touched each other. Wide
stretches of thousands of miles, given up hitherto in the thoughts
of men to perpetual desolation and drought, have been shown to hold
vast inland seas, deep navigable rivers, and to be teeming with
animal life, populous with men and faithful of all the products
of tropical luxuriance. So Africa begins to be known; by-and-by it
will be opened up, made ready, we think, to link its history with
a people on the other side of the ocean.

Leaving the point as proved, that the blacks are to remain, at least
for an indefinite period in this country, (we do not say that it
will be forever, but of this we shall speak in another place,) we
naturally ask whether there is anything in the African character
that is possible of future progress and elevation. We answer
unhesitatingly, there are natural characteristics which will in a
very marked and peculiar way be a means of their speedier rise.

It has been the misfortune, if so we may call it, of the African
continent and the African people, to present their worst and most
repulsive aspects first. This is the case with the country. The
coast to which the voyager comes, for the most part lies low, and
everywhere in its teeming bottoms disease and death are lurking. If
he escapes the one he never avoids the other. The "African Fever"
on the West coast is the certain welcome of the new comer, the only
question is whether he will survive it. The incidental mention which
the missionary traveller, Livingstone, makes of his thirty-seventh
attack of fever, and Du Chaillu of his fiftieth, and the exhaustion
of the last of fourteen ounces of quinine which he had taken on
his journey, are ominous of the inhospitable reception which the
country gives. But as soon as the traveller passes inland he comes
into an entirely different region. Towering mountains, snow-capped
and forest-crowned rise before him, and down through their passes
healthful and bracing winds are winds are blowing, wide champaigns
already full of uncultivated fruitfulness, or grass and bush-covered
tracts, which nature seems to exult in filling with animal life,
in its most beautiful, as well as gigantic and ferocious forms,
everywhere appear. While at first it would seem as if here were
a continent capable of doing little or nothing for the world, fit
only to give, as in the past, a little indigo, ivory and palm oil,
borne on the backs of degraded natives to the coast, we find that
it is in reality a continent already producing unassisted harvests
of cotton and sugar, and some of the products most necessary to
man, and only needing that development which Christian civilization
can give, but has never given, to bring it into the closest sympathy,
and for good, with the rest of the world.

What is true of the Africa continent has been emphatically true
of the people. The world has always seen the African race in its
lowest form. This seems true as far back as Egyptian monumental
times. One is struck, when looking at copies of ancient hicroglyhics,
with the degraded type of negro feature which always appears when
these captive people are delineated. The African race seems to
have been fated to be always represented by a slave, and, as was
inevitable, it has been judged by the example seen. But the researches
of travellers have, of late, compelled us to reverse many, if not
all these conceptions. Africa, gives us indeed, perhaps the lowest
types of humanity in the Bushman * or Hottentot, yet the explorations
of travellers have also shown these are not true and normal examples
of the African stock.

*Even these Bushmen seem to have suffered in reputation from their
observers. "Those who inhabit," says Livingstone, "the hot sandy
plains of the desert possess generally thin, wiry forms, capable
of great exertion, and severe privation. Many are of low stature,
but not dwarfish; the specimens brought to Europe have been selected,
like coster-mongers' dogs, on account of their extreme ugliness;
consequently English ideas of the whole tribe are formed in the same
way, as if the ugliest specimens of the English were exhibited in
Africa as characteristic of the entire British nation."

It can readily be seen that whatever the African character is
measured by the standard of an African slave, the judgement must
necessarily be an erroneous one. The best tribes are not, in the
nature of things, those out of which slaves are made. The bolder,
more energetic and intelligent are those who make slaves. War and
conquest are the fruitful sources of slavery; they have been in all
age, in every country, and are so today in Africa. But the abler
tribes are the warriors and the conquerors, while the weaker and
the lower are the captives. Thus at the outset the slave declares
by the fact of his servitude his inferiority of lineage.

To this we are also to add the pretty well-known fact that the
poorest of these captives are those who came into the hands of
the slave-dealer on the coast, while the better made and the more
intelligent are reserved for the service of their captors. Thus,
with this further reduction, you have in the African as he comes
to the slave-ship, the lowest specimen of an inferior type of
his people. But just these have been the exponents of the African
race, and it is not only not surprising, but entirely natural that
a false estimate should have been made of the whole negro family.

What we would infer, the exploration of recent travellers show to
be actually the case. Within the limits of a single article such
as this, it is of course impossible to traverse the whole ground.
We might, however, refer to the Caffrees in the south, close upon
the regions where the Hottentot is found, a race of stalwart and
noble men, who have had skill and bravery enough to resist the
power of the Dutch, and even to wage a determined war with the
English power itself. To the east of these, Dr. Lindley, one of the
missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign
Missions, found tribes among whom he lived for a quarter of
century, and whom he describes as being physically inferior to no
race, the men in some districts averaging nearly six feet in height.
"They might be called stupid," says Livingstone, (p.21,) speaking
of Bakwains, a people with whom he was much associated in South
Africa, in "matters which had not come within the sphere of their
own observation, but in other things they showed more intelligence
than is to be met with in our own uneducated peasantry." Two of
the missionaries of the American Board, Messrs. Preston and Adams,
speaking ( Missionary Herald , 1856,) of a visit to the Pangwees,
a very extensive tribe of people living just under the Equator
and back from the coast, and who are described by other writers as
an every way superior race, tell us of natives whom they saw from
places still farther inland "which we had heard of, but as yet
had been unable to reach." "The variety," say they, "of complexion
presented to us was quite an object of curiosity. Some were of a
jet black, others with their braids of soft black hair, one and a
half, or two feet in length , might be easily mistaken for quadroons."
The New American Encyclopedia treating of the Mandingoes, a West
African race, says: "They are remarkable for their industry and
energy. They are mostly Mohammedans. The principal trade of that
part of West Africa which lies between the equator and the great
desert is in their hands. They are not only active and shrewd
merchants, but industrious agriculturists, and breeders of good
stock of cattle, sheep and goats. They are black in color, tall,
well-shaped, with regular features and wooly hair. In character
they are amiable, hospitable, imaginative, credulous, truthful,
fond of music, dancing and poetry. They are adventurous travellers,
extending their commercial journeys over a greater part of Africa.
The Mandingoes are the most numerous race of West Africa, and have
spread themselves to a great distance from their original seat, being
found all over the valleys of the Gambia, Senegal and Niger." Such
quotations and testimonies might be multiplied, were it necessary,
but enough have been exhibited to demonstrate the fact that there
are superior races of men in Africa, that these are even the
characteristic races of the continent. Every new discovery exhibits
this more clearly. The negro as he has been seen in the slave
transported to other countries is no true type of the African man,
but the continent is peopled by races capable of high attainments
and indefinite civilization.

Though the negro of this country may not be of the best races of
Africa, yet he is not of the worst, and as we shall have occasion
to remark, he has had influences exerted, both as to race and character
which much more than compensate for any possible inferiority of
descent. We may fairly take the estimate of the native African as
we find him at his best estate at home, and build a promise of the
future of the African here upon it.

The African character has its own marked and distinctive
peculiarities. It is tropical. It has passion deep and pervasive,
slumbering within a rounded form and in deep dreamy eyes. It is
ductile and plastic, ready to receive impressions and to be shapen
by them. It does not posses the hard, aggressive features of
the character of the tribes of Northern Europe; it does not seek
by conquest to extend its power, or to mould other people to its
form. It is adapted to receive rather than to give. It is therefore
essentially imitative. From this comes the rapidity with which
under favorable influences, the African advances in civilization.
Wherever these influences are numerous and powerful enough to be the
most prominent, the negro yields to them with marvellous rapidity.

There is, perhaps, no race that gives up so readily and fully old
habits and associations. We find no granite formations of character
underlying the race, such as are met with in the tribes and peoples
of Asia. Compare, for instance, the plastic mobility of the Pangwee
and Bakwain with the rigidity of the Hindu or Chinese. Or where the
case may be seen in even a more striking way, compare the African
negro with the American Indian; take the one from his tropical
wilds, the other from his forest home, and place them both under
the same civilizing influences, and where at the end of a fixed
period will you find them? In a single generation the one is nearly
at your side, the other is simply a savage still.

The rapid rise of the negro race in the West India Islands, Jamaica,
for example, when made free by the British Government, is a very
striking illustration, though the time has been too short to bring
it out to the full. Taking all the facts as they are given us,
we find the people rising almost at once, (for thirty years are
usually as nothing in the life of a people,) out of the barbarism
of slavery, into a nation self-supporting, self-governing to
a considerable extent, moral and religious, not, indeed, in the
highest degree, but still wonderfully advanced. * We believe that
it is without a parallel.

*See Sewell's "West Indies, or the Ordeal of Free Labor in the British
West India Islands," an evidently dispassionate and disinterested
view of the condition of these islands. An attentive consideration
of his stateements would go far to relieve the matter of emancipation
of some of the difficulties with which to many it seems environed.
"These people," he remarks, "who live comfortably and independently,
own houses and stock, pay taxes and poll votes, and pay their
money to build churches, are the same people whom we have heard
represented as idle, worthless, fellows, obstinately opposed to
work, and ready to live on an orange or banana, rather than earn
their daily bread."

Together with this plastic docility, the African has another which
at first sight seems in flagrant contradiction;--the race has
a peculiar power of resistance permanence. It is said, probably
truthfully, that no race has ever been able to abide a close contact
with the Anglo-Saxon. One of two results has always followed;--either
it has been swallowed up and lost as a river in an ocean, or
it has gone down and been swept away. But this race has neither
been absorbed nor destroyed. It has grown under the most adverse
influences, and asserts itself in all its peculiar characteristics
under foreign skies, and after the lapse of two centuries. The
negro of America is a true African still.

This race has not greatly mingled with other races. It is, we are
inclined to believe, rather a characteristic of it not to seek an
amalgamation with another people, its tendency is to remain apart.
We are well aware, indeed, that this is exactly contrary to the
views of many who have built their opinions on popular assertions
and prejudice rather than on observed facts. The assumption is
that the negro desires to mingle his blood with that of the white
races. The reverse is the fact. There is, though it may seem to
some unaccountable, a certain pride of race, which leads the negro
to exult in the purity of his blood, and to regard a foreign element
in it as not only not desirable, but even objectionable. This
feeling does not belong simply to the negro on his own continent;
it perpetuates, perhaps magnifies itself when surrounded by another
people. Among them in this country a pure-blooded negro will, with
biting sarcasm, taunt the mulatto with the fact that the blood of
another race is in his veins.

This feeling, which must have been noticed by any one whose
observation has been extensive or intelligent enough to collect
the facts, leads the race to remain by itself; and when left to its
natural course, such is the result. The statistics of this country
show that the free black does not and cannot mingle with the white
race. No elevation or freedom can produce such an intermixture. Here
and there, but so seldom as to present but perhaps a single case
only in widely separated communities, there is an inter-marriage.
This seeming want of inclination, coupled with a natural and
insuperable repugnance on the part of the white, must ever keep
the two races apart when they stand on an equal footing of freedom.

The often repeated argument against emancipation, founded on the
notion that it would be necessarily followed by amalgamation, is
the product of the grossest ignorance and thoughtlessness, while
at the same time it betrays a shameful want of confidence in the
white race itself. It surely argues no great power or stability
in a people when they are not able to keep themselves from being
mixed up with a confessedly inferior race. But facts point in
a wholly different direction: so far from freedom promoting this
intermixture, the only condition in which these two races are found
mingling is where the negro is in a state of servitude. Here the
process goes on freely and under the working of natural causes. The
influences which on either side under other circumstances make it
impossible, here become inoperative, and are overborne by other and
more powerful ones. The close intimacies, beginning with infancy
and extending over the whole life, destroying what under other
circumstances might seem to be a natural separation; a servile desire
to please on the part of the slave, lust and cupidity on the part
of the master, all combine to make the blood of the two races flow
in the same veins. Slavery is the source of amalgamation. The
mulatto and the quadroon tell you unerringly of a present or a
former servitude.

With this pliant ductility and this permanence of race, there is
another striking characteristic;--the negro's attachment to place.
It is probably a natural trait, but from easily perceived causes it
is perhaps intensified in the case of the American negro. He loves
his home and seldom goes willingly away from it, whether slave or
free. The number of fugitives from bondage would be prodigiously
multiplied were this feeling more easily overcome. Many a poor
bondman has turned back to slavery when the hard alternative has
been forced upon him to remain in it or go forever away from the
familiar and dear scenes of his childhood's home. It is necessity
scarcely less powerful than death that compels him to leave them

The efforts which philanthropy has made to promote their colonization
have met with an insuperable obstacle here, and will be compelled
to contend, more or less unsuccessfully with it, till there shall
be strength and education enough given the black to rise above it.

Among the many objections which have been urged against emancipation,
this has been a very common one, and has had great force in the
popular mind;--it will flood the Northern States with free blacks.
The objection is vulgar and thoughtless. If the simple economic
law of supply and demand, as powerful over men as materials, were
not sufficient to keep this people where they are needed, and to
prevent them from going where they are not, the love of home would
be strong enough to bar such result. The slave needs all the mighty
stimulus of a prospective deliverance from slavery to induce him to
leave the place of his birth, and that even is often enough; why,
then, when he has that boon in his hand, and walks the old haunts
a freeman, with work requited and enough, why should he now go away
to strangers and strange land? No, the States which have meanly
and and disgracefully passed their laws excluding the freed black
from a home within their borders, might have spared themselves
the dishonor. The dreaded calamity would never have occurred. The
enactments were the assumption of a gratuitous infamy.

The effect of emancipation will be the reverse of this fear. Instead
of the freed slaves flocking northward, the free blacks of the
North will gradually go South; in place of Northern States being
overrun with the one, they will, in process of time, be stripped
of the other. With slavery out of the way, the black will naturally
bend his steps to the region where climate, congenial employments,
habits, associations, all welcome him; he will go away from a people
who do not understand him, and whose prejudices keep him down, to
be near a people who have grown up with him, who know him, and are
better able to do him good. This consolidation of the race in one
part of the land will have an important bearing on its future.
Emancipation only will fully accomplish it.

Passing these characteristics, common to the race both in Africa and
in this country, let us consider others, which have been superadded
by the residence of the negro in America. These are marked and
important. The residence of the Jewish people for some two hundred
years in Egypt, had a controlling influence over the whole national
character and destiny. The Hebrew would never have been the man he
was, nor would he have had the after history had he not known the
bondage in the land of the Pharaohs. So, we think, the negro will,
in all the coming time, be a man essentially different because of
these two hundred years of slavery in America. * Nor will it be a
temporary or limited effect; it will probably mould all the history
of the race on its native continent. Africa will in future times
look back upon slavery in America much in the same way that the
Jew did upon his Egyptian bondage, and will be able to trace the
wonder-working power of Divine Providence in the results which have
flowed from it.

*There are some curious analogies between the bondage in Egypt and
slavery in America. It seems as if slavery were about to come to
an end in this country after almost identically the same period of
existence. As far as the best calculations can fix the time, the
bondage in Egypt lasted something more than two hundred years, and
it is about that time since the first cargo of African slaves were
landed by the Dutch at Jamestown, in 1620. The Hebrews went out
suddenly and unexpectedly, under the pressure of tremendous judgments
Will it be so in America?

Strangely enough, one of the marked effects of the residence of the
black in this country has been to give a new and foreign element
to the mental and physical structure of the negro. It has created
an admixture of blood with a superior race. The natural effect of
slavery has been to infuse the best blood of the master in the veins
of the slave. This fact has not, perhaps, received the attention
which it deserves as having an influence upon the future of the
negro race. We do not speak of it in the way of sarcasm or reproach,
but as something which, while it cannot be concealed or denied,
ought not to be overlooked. It cannot be when the coming history
of this people is under consideration.

The intermingling of race has been extensive; so much so, that in
many places the pure-blooded negro is in the minority of the whole
colored population. Here is not the place to make any extended
observations on the intellectual and physiological effects of the
union of different races in the same people, to elevate and give
them tone and character. The facts are very familiar. We can see
that in the case before us these effects will be of the same general

In the new social order which will come into being on the abolition
of slavery, this intermixture of race will be less and less frequent,
but what has already taken place will tend greatly to hasten the
elevation and advancement of the black. The energy, the fire, and
activity, the ingenuity and perseverance of the Anglo-Saxon, joined
to the plastic docility of the African, is a strange combination,
yet one which may be seen every day, and which when made free and
permitted to exert its unrestrained power, will be of unmeasured
value. The mulatto makes a very bad slave, Anglo-Saxon blood being
never intended to run in the veins of a voluntary bondman, but will
be a noble freedman.

It need not be a perpetuated intermingling of race. It will not
be when slavery has gone, and it is well. Physically the mulattoes
are a feeble people, and destined usually to an early death; nor
are they prolific. By the force of merely natural causes, in process
of time, they will almost wholly disappear. The immobility of the
race will assert itself. But in the meanwhile they will have done
their work in assisting the rise of their brethren. It is a force
imparted for a special occasion. strangely given, but not in vain.
It is a spoil taken from the enemy, one of the marvellous instances
in which human passions and crime go to help human progress; it is
the blood of the master given to make by-and-by a speedier elevation
and a more perfect manhood for the slave.

Together with this transfusion of lineage in a part of the colored
population, the actual contact of the whole with the white race
is another fact which must be attentively regarded. This otherwise
isolated people, isolated not only by continental separation, but
by color from the rest of the human family, have been brought into
the closest possible relationship with one of t he foremost people
of the world. They have been introduced into families, making part
of the household; have, to a certain extent, been brought under
the influences of the civilization and enlightenment of this white
race. Upon such a susceptible people, receiving impressions so
easily, and being moulded so completely by them, this association
cannot but have an unmeasured influence, hastening their elevation
whenever the time of freedom comes.

In a state of slavery, while these influences are exerted and
their power is given, yet it must be more or less a latent power.
Slavery gives no opportunity for its exhibition. It is like throwing
electric sparks into the Leyden jar; it might seem that as they
flash and disappear, that all the power is lost, but when the proper
conditions are fulfilled the unseen force, slowly gathered, puts
itself forth with prodigious energy. When the impulse and opportunity
is given by freedom to the American negro for advancement, the
probabilities are that an example of rapid elevation will be given
by them such as the world has never seen. The elements which have
been working in and around them are such as have never been combined
in any people before. The facts are, when thoughtfully considered,
not only peculiar but wonderful. Here is an imitative and plastic
people dwelling in the most intimate associations with an enlightened,
energetic race, surrounded by the light of civilization, learning,
art, science; it is simply impossible that they shall not partake
in some degree of these great benefits. They may be seemingly excluded
from them all, but a subtile power is the while going forth and is
silently laying itself up in store, by-and-by to appear in their
sudden development.

But beyond and above all, the negro race in America is a Christian
race. Here are four millions of Christians. We mean, of course,
Christian in contradistinction from any other form of religious belief.
Before this one fact we may stand in silent wonder and admiration
at the processes of God's great providence. If any where on earth
the night of heathenism is dark, and the darkness is palpable, it
is in the negro's native home. Yet here are millions of the same race
maintaining their peculiar characteristics with great distinctness,
yet in all essential points a Christian people, infinitely above
their brethren in their original seat. The contrast in this regard
between the race here and there is simply immeasurable. They have
been taken out of the blackness of idolatry, and nurtured for two
centuries in the light of an advance Christianity, so that heathenism
has passed almost out of their traditions.

All this great result has been occasioned by slavery, sprung from
cupidity and the origin of unnumbered crimes! Perhaps human history
presents nowhere a more striking example of God's power to make
the wickedness of man bring honor to his name.

Here, then, are a Christian people, with very much of superstition,
with very much of ignorance, with, you may say, a low type of piety,
but yet, after all, a Christian people. They are more, a Protestant
people. Romanism has never obtained any extensive hold on them here.
* May we not say that in this, that these four millions of blacks
are a Protestant Christian people, there is an element of unbounded

*It is very striking in this connection that Romanism has never
made any progress or met with any permanent success in Africa. In
the North where Mohammedanism prevails, (see Barth,) it is repudiated
on account of its supposed proclivity to polytheism, and in other
parts of the continent different causes have prevented its taking
root. Indeed, West Africa presents the most striking instance on
record of the utter failure of the Romish religion to benefit a
heathen people. For more than two centuries the Portuguese had a
kingdom in Congo, and for a time it was powerful and extensive in
its influence. With it the Papacy sought an establishment. "It was
a work," says Wilson, ( Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan . 1852), "at which
successive missionaries labored with untiring assiduity for two
centuries. Among these were some of the most learned and able men
that Rome ever sent forth to the Pagan world. It was a cause that
ever lay near the heart of the kings of Portugal, when that nation
was at its climax of power and wealth. Yet before the close of the
eighteenth century, indeed, for any thing we know to the contrary,
before the middle of it, not only all their former civilization, but
almost every trace of Christianity had disappeared from the land,
and the whole country had fallen back into the deepest ignorance
and heathenism, and into greater weakness and poverty than had
ever been experienced even before its discovery." With a continent
wonderfully kept from Romanism there, and a people preserved from
it here, may we not see a divine adaptation for the future, a
finger-pointing to some signal good for the church and the world?

If we throw together these characteristics and facts in regard to
the negro race which we have now pointed out, we have this:--Here
is a nation with good mental endowments, peculiarly distinct and
seemingly destined to remain so, yet docile and ready to receive
the impression of all influences surrounding them, brought not
only in closest contact with one of the first races of the world,
but actually receiving a transfusion of its best blood, made at
least in part partakers of a very high civilization, and already
Christianized in a form where there is the least play of superstition
or error. Is it difficult to predict the future of such a people?
Is it certainly absurd to say that there is a history before it,
if not of the highest style, yet one good and even excellent; if
not the noblest, as aggressive in its good upon the world, yet one
sufficiently glorious for itself?

Whatever may be the ultimate destiny of this people, we think that
we are justified when we say, looking over the facts in the case,
that when they have removed from them the incubus of slavery,
and start forth on a career of freedom, that their rise will be
extremely rapid. Indeed, taking all the elements of progress which
they possess into consideration, it is simply impossible that it
should be otherwise.

While we give expression to these thoughts, let us not be understood
as affirming that the benefits of which we speak are the legitimate
results of slavery. Nothing could be farther from our intention. To
substitute a cause for an occasion is a very common error: indeed
some minds seem incapable of fully apprehending the world-wide
difference. The legitimate effect of slavery is to thrust the victim
as far down in the scale of being as is possible. The nearer the
brute, the better the slave , is the true law of slavery. Slavery
is the cause of ignorance, degradation, and crime. It, by a dreadful
necessity, strips the slave of every attribute of manhood; neither
soul nor body is his own; the one is kept in darkness as the
other is sold in the shambles. What can a system that locks up all
human knowledge, stalks through the soul trampling down all that
constitutes the man, not accidentally, but by the necessity of its
existence, what can such a system do for its victim?

There may be benefits such as we are now speaking of, coming to
the slave in his slavery, but slavery does not give them. The laws
which create slavery would shut out every thing, but they cannot.
In spite of them all, the good will come. So it has been with the
colored race in this country. This good can only be made to appear
in a state of freedom.

Just here there is forced upon us another thoughht of tremendous
significance. This gradual unseen, but mighty gathering of power
in the slave in this land cannot be forever without one day coming
into form. You cannot be evermore throwing electricity into the
jar; by-and-by its overcharged contents will burst out in sudden
explosion. While you may let the conductor take them safely and
usefully away! No one cares to follow in imagination where the
thought leads him. Emancipation must be given sooner or later, or
all goes down in a hideous ruin; and no experience can calculate
nicely when the last moment of safety is reached. It may come, and
the crashing thunderbolt tell that it has gone.

Of the way in which this freedom is to be brought about, it is not
the intention of this article to speak. To this writer, there seem
perhaps no problem which approaches it in difficulty. Emancipation--it
is easy to talk and declaim about, it is easy to prove right and
to show desirable, but how to bring about, that is the labor. He
is a rash man, who speaks very confidently on this matter. That
it should be brought about, that the well-being of the two races,
the interest of two continents, and humanity itself, the very
existence of this American people demand it, no thinking man ought
to doubt. It becomes this nation to address itself to this work,
and see that it is done and done well.

While, however, we stand aghast at the difficulties of the work,
it is comforting to know that the solution is not committed to
us, but that the providence of God is pushing it forward. Events
crowding upon each other with a rapidity which bewilders us, seem
steadily and swiftly bringing the freedom of the negro to its
accomplishments. No man is competent to say what the issue will
be, or to what new form the events will shape themselves. A little
while ago the most common consent of men looked toward a gradual
emancipation, to-day it seems more and more as if the fetters were
to be stricken off at a blow. How, or when, who shall say?

In whatever way it is done, one thing we may expect--it will not
be by the premeditated devices of men. The great works of God are
not done in that way. Smaller and comparatively unimportant ones may
be, but those which affect grand interests, and shape the history
of the world, the Great Jehovah takes into His own hand and brings
them to pass so marvellously that all men shall recognize His power
and "Know His name," (Isa. 52, 6.) "Therefore they shall know in that
day that I am He that doth speak; behold it is I!" In the meanwhile
it becomes all men reverently and obediently to be watching the
movements of His Providence, to keep abreast of them, and boldly
to take each new step as it is indicated, and as soon as it is. The
end may come sooner, as it probably be vastly easier in its coming
than we have dared to hope.

Taking the fact of emancipation as fixed, and to be realized, and
that there will here be a race of freedom rapidly rising civilization
and enlightenment, we are confronted with the question-- Is this
country to be the ultimate home of this people ? We answer, No. We
do not believe that this people were brought here that they might
have a permanent residence. They were brought to this land for
tutelage and trial. The Hebrew bondage is the example illustrating
it. Whatever may be said in respect to the right of the negro
to a perpetual home here, and we would be the last to dispute it;
whatever may be urged against the prejudice which thrusts them out
of association and into painful separation, and we would not for
an instant justify it; yet still we are of the opinion that here
the negro will not abide as a people. Social equality and the
enjoyment of every right are well nigh hopeless for him. Were there
nothing else in the way, the stigma of slavery is almost perpetual
and ineradicable.

He is here, not for America, but for Africa. He is here for a
training that could not have been gotten there. When it is complete,
he will go back and make the continent what it could never do without
him. When, under the influences which have shaped his character
and built him up, he has become a self-reliant, advanced Christian
man, and he is ready and able to do something for his race, he will
go back to do it.

Then will be Africa's time. Exploration, advancing commerce, and with
it Christianity, will have prepared the way, as we see it now being
made ready, and the negro race of this land will go back gradually
but with increasing rapidity, and by a natural and healthy emigration.
Such emigration only could be permanently and extensively beneficial
to a new land. The colonist must be more or less be impelled by
the native force of his own character to seek the new home. Africa
must look for her Christianity and her civilization especially
to her own sons. Like all other lands which are to be elevated,
the power raising her must come from without. It seems to be the
course of Divine Providence that new and heathen countries are
to be civilized and Christianized by Christian colonization; not
commercial, but Christian colonies must go out to them. The colonists
must not supplant and destroy the aboriginal inhabitants, nor must
they come simply as teachers, but they must abide as those whose
home is to be there, who as residents bring them the arts and
practices of civilized and Christian life, and whose extended and
continued example illustrates the power and benefits of the life
they bring.

This has been for the most part of the course of events. No people
rises alone and unaided from a state of barbarism. The early history
of nations which have a history, usually begins with the coming of
a colony, whether it be Phoenician, Cadmean, or Trojan. "Religion,
law and letters are not indigenous, but exotic; in all the past
career of man upon the globe one race hands the torch of science to
another." Of no people must this be more true than of the African.
If Africa is to be elevated, it must be by the infusion of life
and power from without, and by means of colonies which bring with
them the elements of life and power.

The colonist who brings this boon to Africa must be an African.
Every year and every experiment renders this more clearly evident.
The white missionary has done, and is doing, a noble, perhaps
indispensable work, but the permanent results which are to be found
over extensive regions must come from men whose race is similar
to the people among whom they dwell, and with whom it can mingle
freely and advantageously. Such a race has been preparing, and will
be prepared by the overruling power of God in this country.

At present the work of preparation is not complete. A few have been
made partially ready, some fit for the work have gone and, by their
success on the west coast of Africa, have shown what the people
are capable of doing. A beginning has been made, but in the coming
time it must have a new starting-point. The Liberian colony, or
any other which shall be formed, must rise from the position of a
far distant place to which one is banished, to be the attractive
spot which calls, and to which a manly energy and independence

To send only the degraded and the low in intellect is not the method
to elevate and ennoble a new land. The stream will not rise higher
than the fountain, and a slave, though free, cannot at once be a
truly self-reliant man, least of all can he be a good teacher of
self-reliance and progress. He must first teach himself, well as
he may, before he can do much for others. The colonist must, if he
carry good with him, be first elevated himself. Nor, on the other
hand, can the isolated and exceptional cases of advancement and
cultivation be spared from their brethren here.

For the most part, as can easily be seen would naturally be the case,
the colonists who have hitherto gone have been the most energetic
and intelligent. But in the time to come such cannot all be spared:
their example and aid are needed here to help the general rise.
But if the time comes, and when it comes, that under the stimulus
of freedom the colored race as a whole advances to the point which
we think there is for it in the future, individuals will not be
of account; emigration passing along the track of commerce, and
commerce by its own great laws will set toward Africa, and in this
way the problem of Africarn colonization, and of African history
in America will be fulfilled. All this may be very distant, many
years may go by, though, fewer than perhaps we may imagine, but
the Great God who guides the hours and their burden can bring it
all about, and through one of the deepest crimes of history, the
Rebellion of to-day, hasten it in its coming. It will be like Him
to make crime its own avenger, and both crime and vengeance illustrate
his goodness and love.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Future of the Colored Race in America
 - Being an article in the Presbyterian quarterly review of July, 1862" ***

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