HotFreeBooks.com
History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. Vol 1 - Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens
by George W. Williams
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

HISTORY

OF THE

NEGRO RACE IN AMERICA

FROM 1619 TO 1880.

NEGROES AS SLAVES, AS SOLDIERS, AND AS CITIZENS;

TOGETHER WITH

A PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATION OF THE UNITY OF THE HUMAN FAMILY, AN HISTORICAL SKETCH OF AFRICA, AND AN ACCOUNT OF THE NEGRO GOVERNMENTS OF SIERRA LEONE AND LIBERIA.

BY

GEORGE W. WILLIAMS,

FIRST COLORED MEMBER OF THE OHIO LEGISLATURE, AND LATE JUDGE ADVOCATE OF THE GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC OF OHIO, ETC.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOLUME I.

1619 TO 1800.

NEW YORK: G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS, 27 AND 29 WEST 23D STREET.

1883.



TO THE

REV. JUSTIN DEWEY FULTON, D.D., OF BROOKLYN, NEW YORK;

AND TO THE

HON. CHARLES FOSTER, GOVERNOR OF OHIO;

WHO, AS CLERGYMAN AND STATESMAN, REPRESENT THE PUREST PRINCIPLES OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH AND STATE.

To the Illustrious Representative of the Church of Christ:

WHO, FOR A QUARTER OF A CENTURY, HAS STOOD THE INTREPID CHAMPION OF DIVINE TRUTH, AND THE DEFENDER OF HUMANITY: DURING THE DARK DAYS OF SLAVERY, PLEADING THE CAUSE OF THE BONDMEN OF THE LAND; DURING THE WAR, URGING THE EQUALITY OF NEGROES AS SOLDIERS, DURING RECONSTRUCTION, ENCOURAGING THE FREEDMEN TO NOBLE LIVES THROUGH THE AGENCY OF THE CHURCH AND THE SCHOOL, AND EVERMORE THE ENEMY OF ANY DISTINCTION BASED UPON RACE, COLOR, OR PREVIOUS CONDITION OF SERVITUDE.

To the Distinguished Statesman:

WHO, ENDUED WITH THE GENIUS OF COMMON SENSE, TOO EXALTED TO BE INFLAMED BY TEMPORARY PARTY OR FACTIONAL STRIFE, AND WHO, AS CONGRESSMAN AND GOVERNOR, IN STATE AND NATIONAL POLITICS, HAS PROVEN HIMSELF CAPABLE OF

SACRIFICING PERSONAL INTEREST TO PUBLIC WELFARE;

WHO, IN DEALING WITH THE NEGRO PROBLEM, HAS ASSERTED A NEW DOCTRINE IN IGNORING THE CLAIMS OF RACES: AND WHO, AS THE FIRST NORTHERN GOVERNOR TO APPOINT A COLORED MAN TO A POSITION OF PUBLIC TRUST, HAS THEREBY DECLARED THAT NEITHER NATIONALITY NOR COMPLEXION SHOULD ENHANCE OR IMPAIR THE CLAIMS OF MEN TO POSITIONS WITHIN THE GIFT OF THE EXECUTIVE.

TO THESE NOBLE MEN THIS WORK IS DEDICATED,

WITH SENTIMENTS OF HIGH ESTEEM AND PERSONAL REGARD, BY THEIR FRIEND AND HUMBLE SERVANT,

THE AUTHOR.



PREFACE.

I was requested to deliver an oration on the Fourth of July, 1876, at Avondale, O. It being the one-hundredth birthday of the American Republic, I determined to prepare an oration on the American Negro. I at once began an investigation of the records of the nation to secure material for the oration. I was surprised and delighted to find that the historical memorials of the Negro were so abundant, and so creditable to him. I pronounced my oration on the Fourth of July, 1876; and the warm and generous manner in which it was received, both by those who listened to it and by others who subsequently read it in pamphlet form, encouraged me to devote what leisure time I might have to a further study of the subject.

I found that the library of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio, and the great Americana of Mr. Robert Clarke containing about eight thousand titles, both in Cincinnati, offered peculiar advantages to a student of American history. For two years I spent what time I could spare from professional cares in studying the whole problem of the African slave-trade; the founding of the British colonies in North America; the slave problem in the colonies; the rupture between the colonies and the British Government; the war of the Revolution; the political structure of the Continental government and Confederation; the slavery question in local and national legislation; and then traced the slavery and anti-slavery question down to the Rebellion. I became convinced that a history of the Colored people in America was required, because of the ample historically trustworthy material at hand; because the Colored people themselves had been the most vexatious problem in North America, from the time of its discovery down to the present day; because that in every attempt upon the life of the nation, whether by foes from without or within, the Colored people had always displayed a matchless patriotism and an incomparable heroism in the cause of Americans; and because such a history would give the world more correct ideas of the Colored people, and incite the latter to greater effort in the struggle of citizenship and manhood. The single reason that there was no history of the Negro race would have been a sufficient reason for writing one.

The labor incident upon the several public positions held by me precluded an earlier completion of this task; and, finding it absolutely impossible to write while discharging public duties or practising law, I retired from the public service several years ago, and since that time have devoted all my energies to this work. It is now nearly seven years since I began this wonderful task.

I have been possessed of a painful sense of the vastness of my work from first to last. I regret that for the sake of pressing the work into a single volume, favorable to a speedy sale,—at the sacrifice of the record of a most remarkable people,—I found my heart unwilling, and my best judgment protesting.

In the preparation of this work I have consulted over twelve thousand volumes,—about one thousand of which are referred to in the footnotes,—and thousands of pamphlets.

After wide and careful reading, extending through three years, I conceived the present plan of this history. I divided it into nine parts. Two thoughts led me to prepare the chapters under the head of PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS. First, The defenders of slavery and the traducers of the Negro built their pro-slavery arguments upon biblical ethnology and the curse of Canaan. I am alive to the fact, that, while I am a believer in the Holy Bible, it is not the best authority on ethnology. As far as it goes, it is agreeable to my head and heart. Whatever science has added I have gladly appropriated. I make no claim, however, to be a specialist. While the curse of Canaan is no longer a question of debate, yet nevertheless the folly of the obsolete theory should be thoroughly understood by the young men of the Negro race who, though voting now, were not born when Sumter was fired upon. Second, A growing desire among the enlightened Negroes in America to learn all that is possible from research concerning the antiquity of the race,—Africa, its inhabitants, and the development of the Negro governments of Sierra Leone and Liberia, led me to furnish something to meet a felt need. If the Negro slave desired his native land before the Rebellion, will not the free, intelligent, and reflective American Negro turn to Africa with its problems of geography and missions, now that he can contribute something towards the improvement of the condition of humanity? Editors and writers everywhere throughout the world should spell the word Negro with a capital N; and when referring to the race as Colored people employ a capital C. I trust this will be observed.

In PART II., SLAVERY IN THE COLONIES, I have striven to give a succinct account of the establishment and growth of slavery under the English Crown. It involved almost infinite labor to go to the records of "the original thirteen colonies." It is proper to observe that this part is one of great value and interest.

In PART III., THE NEGRO DURING THE REVOLUTION, I found much of an almost romantic character. Many traditions have been put down, and many obscure truths elucidated. Some persons may think it irreverent to tell the truth in the plain, homely manner that characterizes my narrative; but, while I have nothing to regret in this particular, I can assure them that I have been actuated by none other spirit than that of candor. Where I have used documents it was with a desire to escape the charge of superficiality. If, however, I may be charged with seeking to escape the labor incident to thorough digestion, I answer, that, while men with the reputation of Bancroft and Hildreth could pass unchallenged when disregarding largely the use of documents and the citation of authorities, I would find myself challenged by a large number of critics. Moreover I have felt it would be almost cruel to mutilate some of the very rare old documents that shed such peerless light upon the subject in hand.

I have brought the first volume down to the close of the eighteenth century, detailing the great struggle through which the slavery problem passed. I have given as fair an idea of the debate on this question, in the convention that framed the Constitution, as possible. It was then and there that the hydra of slavery struck its fangs into the Constitution; and, once inoculated with the poison of the monster, the government was only able to purify itself in the flames of a great civil war.

The second volume opens with the present century, and closes with the year 1880. Unable to destroy slavery by constitutional law, the best thought and effort of this period were directed against the extension of the evil into the territory beyond the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri rivers. But having placed three-fifths of the slave population under the Constitution, having pledged the Constitution to the protection of slave property, it required an almost superhuman effort to confine the evil to one section of the country. Like a loathsome disease it spread itself over the body politic until our nation became the eyesore of the age, and a byword among the nations of the world. The time came when our beloved country had to submit to heroic treatment, and the cancer of slavery was removed by the sword.

In giving an account of the Anti-Slavery Agitation Movement, I have found myself able to deal briefly with methods and results only. I have striven to honor all the multifarious measures adopted to save the Negro and the Nation. I have not attempted to write a history of the Anti-Slavery Movement. Many noble men and women have not even been mentioned. It should not be forgotten that this is a history of the Negro race; and as such I have not run into the topic discussed by the late Henry Wilson in his "Rise and Fall of the Slave Power."

In discussing the problem of the rendition of fugitive slaves by the Union army, I have given the facts with temperate and honest criticism. And, in recounting the sufferings Negro troops endured as prisoners of war in the hands of the Rebels, I have avoided any spirit of bitterness. A great deal of the material on the war I purchased from the MS. library of Mr. Thomas S. Townsend of New-York City. The questions of vital, prison, labor, educational, and financial statistics cannot fail to interest intelligent people of all races and parties. These statistics are full of comfort and assurance to the Negro as well as to his friends.

Every cabinet minister of the President wrote me full information upon all the questions I asked, and promptly too. The refusal of the general and adjutant-general of the army did not destroy my hope of getting some information concerning the Negro regiments in the regular army. I visited the Indian Territory, Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico, where I have seen the Ninth and Tenth Regiments of cavalry, and the Twenty-fourth Regiment of infantry. The Twenty-fifth Regiment of infantry is at Fort Randall, Dakota. These are among the most effective troops in the regular army. The annual desertions in white regiments of cavalry vary from ninety-eight to a hundred and eighteen; while in Negro regiments of cavalry the desertions only average from six to nine per annum. The Negro regiments are composed of young men, intelligent, faithful, brave. I heard but one complaint from the lips of a score of white officers I met, and that was that the Negroes sometimes struck their horses over the head. Every distinction in law has disappeared, except in the regular army. Here Negroes are excluded from the artillery service and engineer's department. It is wrong, and Congress should place these brave black soldiers upon the same footing as the white troops.

I have to thank Drs. George H. Moore and S. Austin Allibone, of the Lenox Library, for the many kind favors shown me while pursuing my studies in New-York City. And I am under very great obligations to Dr. Moore for his admirable "History of Early Slavery in Massachusetts," without which I should have been put to great inconvenience. To Mr. John Austin Stevens, late editor of "The Magazine of American History," who, during several months residence in New-York City, placed his private library and office at my service, and did every thing in his power to aid my investigations, I return my sincerest thanks. To the Librarians of the New-York Historical, Astor, and New-York Society Libraries, I return thanks for favors shown, and privileges granted. I am especially grateful to the Hon. Ainsworth R. Spofford, Librarian of Congress, for the manner in which he facilitated my researches during my sojourn in Washington. I had the use of many newspapers of the last century, and of other material to be found only in the Congressional Library.

To Sir T. Risely Griffith, Colonial Secretary and Treasurer of Sierra Leone, I am indebted for valuable statistics concerning that colony.

To the Assistant Librarian of the State Library of Ohio, the accomplished and efficient Miss Mary C. Harbough, I owe more than to any other person. Through her unwavering and untiring kindness and friendship, I have been enabled to use five hundred and seventy-six volumes from that library, besides newspaper files and Congressional Records. To Gov. Charles Foster, Chairman of the Board of Library Commissioners, I offer my profoundest thanks for the intelligent, active, and practical interest he has taken in the completion of this work. And to Major Charles Townsend, Secretary of State, I offer thanks for favors shown me in securing documents. To the Rev. J.L. Grover and his competent assistant, Mr. Charles H. Bell, of the Public Library of Columbus, I am indebted for the use of many works. They cheerfully rendered whatever aid they could, and for their kindness I return many thanks.

I am obliged to the Rev. Benjamin W. Arnett, Financial Secretary of the A.M.E. Church of the United States, for the statistics of his denomination. And to all persons who have sent me newspapers and pamphlets I desire to return thanks. I am grateful to C.A. Fleetwood, an efficient clerk in the War Department, for statistics on the Freedmen's Bank. And, above all and more than all, I return my profoundest thanks to my heavenly Father for the inspiration, health, and money by which I have been enabled to complete this great task.

I have mentioned such Colored men as I thought necessary. To give a biographical sketch of all the worthy Colored men in the United States, would require more space than has been occupied in this work.

Not as the blind panegyrist of my race, nor as the partisan apologist, but from a love for "the truth of history," I have striven to record the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I have not striven to revive sectional animosities or race prejudices. I have avoided comment so far as it was consistent with a clear exposition of the truth. My whole aim has been to write a thoroughly trustworthy history; and what I have written, if it have no other merit, is reliable.

I commit this work to the public, white and black, to the friends and foes of the Negro, in the hope that the obsolete antagonisms which grew out of the relation of master and slave may speedily sink as storms beneath the horizon; and that the day will hasten when there shall be no North, no South, no Black, no White,—but all be American citizens, with equal duties and equal rights.

GEORGE W. WILLIAMS.

NEW YORK, November, 1882.



CONTENTS.

Part I.

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS

* * * * *

CHAPTER I.

THE UNITY OF MANKIND.

The Biblical Argument.—One Race and One Language.—One Blood.—The Curse of Canaan. 1

CHAPTER II.

THE NEGRO IN THE LIGHT OF PHILOLOGY, ETHNOLOGY, AND EGYPTOLOGY.

Cushim and Ethiopia.—Ethiopians, White and Black.—Negro Characteristics.—The Dark Continent.—The Antiquity of the Negro.—Indisputable Evidence.—The Military and Social Condition of Negroes.—Cause of Color.—The Term "Ethiopian." 12

CHAPTER III.

PRIMITIVE NEGRO CIVILIZATION.

The Ancient and High Degree of Negro Civilization.—Egypt, Greece, and Rome borrow from the Negro the Civilization that made them Great.—Cause of the Decline and Fall of Negro Civilization.—Confounding the Terms "Negro" and "African." 22

CHAPTER IV.

NEGRO KINGDOMS OF AFRICA.

BENIN: Its Location.—Its Discovery by the Portuguese.—Introduction of the Catholic Religion.—The King as a Missionary.—His Fidelity to the Church purchased by a White Wife.—Decline of Religion.—Introduction of Slavery.—Suppression of the Trade by the English Government.—Restoration and Peace.

DAHOMEY: Its Location.—Origin of the Kingdom.—Meaning of the Name.—War.—Capture of the English Governor, and his Death.—The Military Establishment.—Women as Soldiers.—Wars and their Objects.—Human Sacrifices.—The King a Despot.—His Powers.—His Wives.—Polygamy.—Kingly Succession.—Coronation.—Civil and Criminal Law.—Revenue System.—Its Future.

YORUBA. Its Location.—Slavery and its Abolition—Growth of the People of Abeokuta.—Missionaries and Teachers from Sierra Leone.—Prosperity and Peace attend the People.—Capacity of the People for Civilization.—Bishop Crowther.—His Influence. 26

CHAPTER V.

THE ASHANTEE EMPIRE.

Its Location and Extent.—Its Famous Kings.—The Origin of the Ashantees Obscure.—The War with Denkera.—The Ashantees against the Field conquer two Kingdoms, and annex them.—Death of Osai Tutu.—The Envy of the King of Dahomey.—Invasion of the Ashantee Country by the King of Dahomey.—His Defeat shared by his Allies.—Akwasi pursues the Army of Dahomey into its own Country.—Gets a Mortal Wound and suffers a Humiliating Defeat,—The King of Dahomey sends the Royal Kudjoh his Congratulations.—Kwamina deposed for attempting to introduce Mohammedanism into the Kingdom.—The Ashantees conquer the Mohammedans.—Numerous Wars.—Invasion of the Fanti Country.—Death of Sir Charles McCarthy.—Treaty.—Peace. 34

CHAPTER VI.

THE NEGRO TYPE.

Climate the Cause.—His Geographical Theatre.—He is susceptible to Christianity and Civilization. 45

CHAPTER VII.

AFRICAN IDIOSYNCRASIES.

Patriarchal Government.—Construction of Villages.—Negro Architecture.—Election of Kings.—Coronation Ceremony.—Succession.—African Queens.—Law, Civil and Criminal.—Priests.—Their Functions.—Marriage.—Warfare.—Agriculture.—Mechanic Arts.—Blacksmiths. 50

CHAPTER VIII.

LANGUAGES, LITERATURE, AND RELIGION.

Structure of African Languages.—The Mpongwe, Mandingo, and Grebo.—Poetry: Epic, Idyllic, and Miscellaneous.—Religions and Superstitions. 66

CHAPTER IX.

SIERRA LEONE.

Its Discovery and Situation.—Natural Beauty.—Founding of a Negro Colony.—The Sierra Leone Company.—Fever and Insubordination.—It becomes an English Province.—Character of its Inhabitants.—Christian Missions, etc. 85

CHAPTER X.

THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA.

Liberia.—Its Location.—Extent.—Rivers and Mountains.—History of the First Colony.—The Noble Men who laid the Foundation of the Liberian Republic.—Native Tribes.—Translation of the New Testament into the Vei Language.—The Beginning and Triumph of Christian Missions to Liberia.—History of the Different Denominations on the Field.—A Missionary Republic of Negroes.—Testimony of Officers of the Royal Navy as to the Efficiency of the Republic in suppressing the Slave-Trade.—The Work of the Future. 95

CHAPTER XI.

RESUME.

The Unity of the Human Family re-affirmed.—God gave all Races of Men Civilization.—The Antiquity of the Negro beyond Dispute.—Idolatry the Cause of the Degradation of the African Races.—He has always had a Place in History, though Incidental.—Negro Type caused by Degradation.—Negro Empires an Evidence of Crude Ability for Self-Government.—Influence of the two Christian Governments on the West Coast upon the Heathen.—Oration on Early Christianity in Africa.—The Duty of Christianity to evangelize Africa. 108

* * * * *

Part II.

SLAVERY IN THE COLONIES.

CHAPTER XII.

THE COLONY OF VIRGINIA.

1619-1775.

Introduction of the First Slaves.—"The Treasurer" and the Dutch Man-of-War.—The Correct Date.—The Number of Slaves.—Were there Twenty, or Fourteen?—Litigation about the Possession of the Slaves.—Character of the Slaves imported, and the Character of the Colonists.—Race Prejudices.—Legal Establishment of Slavery.—Who are Slaves for Life.—Duties on Imported Slaves.—Political and Military Prohibitions against Negroes.—Personal Rights.—Criminal Laws against Slaves.—Emancipation.—How brought about.—Free Negroes.—Their Rights.—Moral and Religious Training.—Population.—Slavery firmly established. 115

CHAPTER XIII.

THE COLONY OF NEW YORK.

1628-1775.

Settlement of New York by the Dutch in 1609.—Negroes introduced into the Colony, 1628.—The Trade in Negroes increased.—Tobacco exchanged for Slaves and Merchandise.—Government of the Colony.—New Netherland falls into the Hands of the English, Aug. 27, 1664.—Various Changes.—New Laws adopted.—Legislation.—First Representatives elected in 1683.—In 1702 Queen Anne instructs the Royal Governor in Regard to the Importation of Slaves.—Slavery Restrictions.—Expedition to effect the Conquest of Canada unsuccessful.—Negro Riot.—Suppressed by the Efficient Aid of Troops.—Fears of the Colonists.—Negro Plot of 1741.—The Robbery of Hogg's House.—Discovery of a Portion of the Goods.—The Arrest of Hughson, his Wife, and Irish Peggy.—Crimination and Recrimination.—The Breaking-out of Numerous Fires.—The Arrest of Spanish Negroes.—The Trial of Hughson.—Testimony of Mary Burton.—Hughson hanged.—The Arrest of Many Others implicated in the Plot.—The Hanging of Caesar and Prince.—Quack and Cuffee burned at the Stake.—The Lieutenant-Governor's Proclamation.—Many White Persons accused of being Conspirators.—Description of Hughson's Manner of swearing those having Knowledge of the Plot.—Conviction and Hanging of the Catholic Priest Ury.—The Sudden and Unexpected Termination of the Trial.—New Laws more stringent toward Slaves adopted. 134

CHAPTER XIV.

THE COLONY OF MASSACHUSETTS.

1633-1775.

The Earliest Mentions of Negroes in Massachusetts.—Pequod Indians exchanged for Negroes.—Voyage of the Slave Ship "Desire" in 1638—Fundamental Laws adopted.—Hereditary Slavery—Kidnapping Negroes—Growth of Slavery in the Seventeenth Century—Taxation of Slaves—Introduction of Indian Slaves prohibited.—The Position of the Church respecting the Baptism of Slaves—Slave Marriage—Condition of Free Negroes—Phillis Wheatley the African Poetess.—Her Life—Slavery recognized in England in Order to be maintained in the Colonies—The Emancipation of Slaves.—Legislation favoring the Importation of White Servants, but prohibiting the Clandestine bringing-in of Negroes.—Judge Sewall's Attack on Slavery.—Judge Saffin's Reply to Judge Sewall. 172

CHAPTER XV.

THE COLONY OF MASSACHUSETTS,—CONTINUED.

1633-1775.

The Era of Prohibitory Legislation against Slavery.—Boston instructs her Representatives to vote against the Slave-Trade.—Proclamation issued by Gov. Dummer against the Negroes, April 13, 1723.—Persecution of the Negroes.—"Suing for Liberty."—Letter of Samuel Adams to John Pickering, jun., on Behalf of Negro Memorialists.—A Bill for the Suppression of the Slave-Trade passes.—Is vetoed by Gov. Gage, and fails to become a Law. 220

CHAPTER XVI.

THE COLONY OF MARYLAND.

1634-1775.

Maryland under the Laws of Virginia until 1630.—First Legislation on the Slavery Question in 1637-38—Slavery established by Statute in 1663—The Discussion of Slavery.—An Act passed encouraging the Importation of Negroes and White Slaves in 1671.—An Act laying an Impost on Negroes and White Servants imported into the Colony.—Duties imposed on Rum and Wine.—Treatment of Slaves and Papists.—Convicts imported into the Colony—An Attempt to justify the Convict-Trade.—Spirited Replies.—The Laws of 1723, 1729, 1752.—Rights of Slaves—Negro Population in 1728.—Increase of Slavery in 1750—No Efforts made to prevent the Evils of Slavery.—The Revolution nearing.—New Life for the Negroes. 238

CHAPTER XVII.

THE COLONY OF DELAWARE.

1636-1775.

The Territory of Delaware settled in part by Swedes and Danes, anterior to the Year 1638.—The Duke of York transfers the Territory of Delaware to William Penn.—Penn grants the Colony the Privilege of Separate Government.—Slavery introduced on the Delaware as early as 1636.—Complaint against Peter Alricks for using Oxen and Negroes belonging to the Company.—The First Legislation on the Slavery Question in the Colony.—An Enactment of a Law for the Better Regulation of Servants.—An Act restraining Manumission. 249

CHAPTER XVIII.

THE COLONY OF CONNECTICUT.

1646-1775.

The Founding of Connecticut, 1631-36.—No Reliable Data given for the Introduction of Slaves.—Negroes were first introduced by Ship during the Early Years of the Colony.—"Committee for Trade and Foreign Plantations."—Interrogating the Governor as to the Number of Negroes in the Colony in 1680.—The Legislature (1690) passes a Law pertaining to the Purchase and Treatment of Slaves and Free Persons.—An Act passed by the General Court in 1711, requiring Persons manumitting Slaves to maintain them.—Regulating the Social Conduct of Slaves in 1723.—The Punishment of Negro, Indian, and Mulatto Slaves, for the Use of Profane Language, in 1630.—Lawfulness of Indian and Negro Slavery recognized by Code, Sept. 5, 1646.—Limited Rights of Free Negroes in the Colony.—Negro Population in 1762.—Act against Importation of Slaves, 1774. 252

CHAPTER XIX.

THE COLONY OF RHODE ISLAND.

1647-1775.

Colonial Government in Rhode Island, May, 1647.—An Act passed to abolish Slavery in 1652, but was never enforced.—An Act specifying what Times Indian and Negro Slaves should not appear in the Streets.—An Impost-Tax on Slaves (1708).—Penalties imposed on Disobedient Slaves.—Anti Slavery Sentiment in the Colonies receives Little Encouragement.—Circular Letter from the Board of Trade to the Governor of the English Colonies, relative to Negro Slaves.—Governor Cranston's Reply.—List of Militia-Men, including White and black Servants.—Another Letter from the Board of Trade.—An Act preventing Clandestine Importations and Exportations of Passengers, Negroes, or Indian Slaves.—Masters of Vessels required to report the Names and Number of Passengers to the Governor.—Violation of the Impost-Tax Law on Slaves punished by Severe Penalties.—Appropriation by the General Assembly, July 5, 1715, from the Fund derived from the Impost Tax, for the paving of the Streets of Newport.—An Act passed disposing of the Money raised by Impost-Tax.—Impost-Law repealed, May, 1732.—An Act relating to freeing Mulatto and Negro Slaves passed 1728—An Act passed preventing Masters of Vessels from carrying Slaves out of the Colony, June 17, 1757.—Eve of the Revolution.—An Act prohibiting Importation of Negroes into the Colony in 1774.—The Population of Rhode Island in 1730 and 1774. 262

CHAPTER XX.

THE COLONY OF NEW JERSEY.

1664-1775.

New Jersey passes into the Hands of the English.—Political Powers conveyed to Berkeley and Carteret.—Legislation on the Subject of Slavery during the Eighteenth Century.—The Colony divided into East and West Jersey.—Separate Governments.—An Act concerning Slavery by the Legislature of East Jersey.—General Apprehension respecting the rising of Negro and Indian Slaves.—East and West Jersey surrender their Rights of Government to the Queen.—An Act for regulating the Conduct of Slaves.—Impost-Tax of Ten Pounds levied upon each Negro imported into the Colony.—The General Court passes a Law regulating the Trial of Slaves.—Negroes ruled out of the Militia Establishment upon Condition.—Population of the Jerseys in 1738 and 1745. 282

CHAPTER XXI.

THE COLONY OF SOUTH CAROLINA.

1665-1775.

The Carolinas receive two Different Charters from the Crown of Great Britain.—Era of Slavery Legislation.—Law establishing Slavery.—The Slave Population of this Province regarded as Chattel Property.—Trial of Slaves.—Increase of Slave Population.—The Increase in the Rice-Trade.—Severe Laws regulating the Private and Public Conduct of Slaves.—Punishment of Slaves for running away.—The Life of Slaves regarded as of Little Consequence by the Violent Master Class.—An Act empowering two Justices of the Peace to investigate Treatment of Slaves.—An Act prohibiting the Overworking of Slaves.—Slave-Market at Charleston.—Insurrection.—A Law authorizing the carrying of Fire-Arms among the Whites.—The Enlistment of Slaves to serve in Time of Alarm.—Negroes admitted to the Militia Service.—Compensation to Masters for the Loss of Slaves killed by the Enemy or who desert.—Few Slaves manumitted.—From 1754-76, Little Legislation on the Subject of Slavery.—Threatening War between England and her Provincial Dependencies.—The Effect upon Public Sentiment. 289

CHAPTER XXII.

THE COLONY OF NORTH CAROLINA.

1669-1775.

The Geographical Situation of North Carolina favorable to the Slave-Trade.—The Locke Constitution adopted.—William Sayle commissioned Governor.—Legislative Career of the Colony.—The Introduction of the Established Church of England into the Colony.—The Rights of Negroes controlled absolutely by their Masters.—An Act respecting Conspiracies.—The Wrath of Ill-natured Whites visited upon their Slaves.—An Act against the Emancipation of Slaves.—Limited Rights of Free Negroes. 302

CHAPTER XXIII.

THE COLONY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.

1679-1775.

The Provincial Government of Massachusetts exercises Authority over the State of New Hampshire at its Organization.—Slavery existed from the Beginning.—The Governor releases a Slave from Bondage.—Instruction against Importation of Slaves.—Several Acts regulating the Conduct of Servants.—The Indifferent Treatment of Slaves.—The Importation of Indian Servants forbidden.—An Act checking the Severe Treatment of Servants and Slaves.—Slaves in the Colony until the Commencement of Hostilities. 309

CHAPTER XXIV.

THE COLONY OF PENNSYLVANIA.

1681-1775.

Organization of the Government of Pennsylvania.—The Swedes and Dutch plant Settlements on the Western Bank of the Delaware River.—The Governor of New York seeks to exercise Jurisdiction over the Territory of Pennsylvania.—The First Laws agreed upon in England.—Provisions of the Law.—Memorial against Slavery draughted and adopted by the Germantown Friends.—William Penn presents a Bill for the Better Regulation of Servants.—An Act preventing the Importation of Negroes and Indians.—Rights of Negroes.—A Duty laid upon Negroes and Mulatto Slaves.—The Quaker the Friend of the Negro.—England begins to threaten her Dependencies in North America.—The People of Pennsylvania reflect upon the Probable Outrages their Negroes might commit. 312

CHAPTER XXV.

THE COLONY OF GEORGIA.

1732-1775.

Georgia once included in the Territory of Carolina.—The Thirteenth Colony planted in North America by the English Government.—Slaves ruled out altogether by the Trustees.—The Opinion of Gen. Oglethorpe concerning Slavery.—Long and Bitter Discussion in Regard to the Admission of Slavery into the Colony.—Slavery introduced.—History of Slavery in Georgia. 316

* * * * *

Part III.

THE NEGRO DURING THE REVOLUTION.

CHAPTER XXVI.

MILITARY EMPLOYMENT OF NEGROES.

1775-1780.

The Colonial States in 1715.—Ratification of the Non-Importation Act by the Southern Colonies.—George Washington presents Resolutions against Slavery, in a Meeting at Fairfax Court-House, Va.—Letter written by Benjamin Franklin to Dean Woodward, pertaining to Slavery.—Letter to the Freemen of Virginia from a Committee, concerning the Slaves brought from Jamaica.—Severe Treatment of Slaves in the Colonies modified.—Advertisement in "The Boston Gazette" of the Runaway Slave Crispus Attucks.—The Boston Massacre.—Its Results.—Crispus Attucks shows his Loyalty.—His Spirited Letter to the Tory Governor of the Province.—Slaves admitted into the Army.—The Condition of the Continental Army.—Spirited Debate in the Continental Congress, over the Draught of a Letter to Gen. Washington.—Instructions to discharge all Slaves and Free Negroes in his Army.—Minutes of the Meeting held at Cambridge.—Lord Dunmore's Proclamation.—Prejudice in the Southern Colonies.—Negroes in Virginia flock to the British Army.—Caution to the Negroes printed in a Williamsburg Paper.—The Virginia Convention answers the Proclamation of Lord Dunmore.—Gen. Greene, in a Letter to Gen. Washington, calls Attention to the raising of a Negro Regiment on Staten Island.—Letter from a Hessian Officer.—Connecticut Legislature on the Subject of Employment of Negroes as Soldiers.—Gen. Varnum's Letter to Gen. Washington, suggesting the Employment of Negroes, sent to Gov. Cooke.—The Governor refers Varnum's Letter to the General Assembly.—Minority Protest against enlisting Slaves to serve in the Army.—Massachusetts tries to secure Legal Enlistments of Negro Troops.—Letter of Thomas Kench to the Council and House of Representatives, Boston, Mass.—Negroes serve in White Organizations until the Close of the American Revolution.—Negro Soldiers serve in Virginia.—Maryland employs Negroes.—New York passes an Act providing for the Raising of two Colored Regiments.—War in the Middle and Southern Colonies.—Hamilton's Letter to John Jay.—Col. Laurens's Efforts to raise Negro Troops in South Carolina.—Proclamation of Sir Henry Clinton inducing Negroes to desert the Rebel Army.—Lord Cornwallis issues a Proclamation offering Protection to all Negroes seeking his Command,—Col. Laurens is called to France on Important Business.—His Plan for securing Black Levies for the South upon his Return.—His Letters to Gen. Washington in Regard to his Fruitless Plans.—Capt David Humphreys recruits a Company of Colored Infantry in Connecticut.—Return of Negroes in the Army in 1778. 324

CHAPTER XXVII.

NEGROES AS SOLDIERS.

1775-1783.

The Negro as a Soldier.—Battle of Bunker Hill—Gallantry of Negro Soldiers.—Peter Salem, the Intrepid Black Soldier.—Bunker-hill Monument.—The Negro Salem Poor distinguishes himself by Deeds of Desperate Valor.—Capture of Gen. Lee.—Capture of Gen. Prescott—Battle of Rhode Island.—Col. Greene commands a Negro Regiment.—Murder of Col. Greene in 1781.—The Valor of the Negro Soldiers. 363

CHAPTER XXVIII.

LEGAL STATUS OF THE NEGRO DURING THE REVOLUTION

1775-1783.

The Negro was Chattel or Real Property.—His Legal Status during his New Relation as a Soldier—Resolution introduced in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to prevent the selling of Two Negroes captured upon the High Seas—The Continental Congress appoints a Committee to consider what should be done with Negroes taken by Vessels of War in the Service of the United Colonies.—Confederation of the New States.—Spirited Debate in Congress respecting the Disposal of Recaptures.—The Spanish Ship "Victoria" captures an English Vessel having on Board Thirty-four Negroes taken from South Carolina.—The Negroes recaptured by Vessels belonging to the State of Massachusetts.—They are delivered to Thomas Knox, and conveyed to Castle Island.—Col. Paul Revere has Charge of the Slaves on Castle Island—Massachusetts passes a Law providing for the Security, Support, and Exchange of Prisoners brought into the State.—Gen Hancock receives a Letter from the Governor of South Carolina respecting the Detention of Negroes—In the Provincial Articles between the United States of America and His Britannic Majesty, Negroes were rated as Property.—And also in the Definite Treaty of Peace between the United States of America and His Britannic Majesty.—And also in the Treaty of Peace of 1814, between His Britannic Majesty and the United States, Negroes were designated as Property.—Gen. Washington's Letter to Brig-Gen Rufus Putnam in regard to a Negro in his Regiment claimed by Mr. Hobby.—Enlistment in the Army did not always work a Practical Emancipation. 370

CHAPTER XXIX.

THE NEGRO INTELLECT.—BANNEKER THE ASTRONOMER.—FULLER THE MATHEMATICIAN.—DERHAM THE PHYSICIAN.

Statutory Prohibition against the Education of Negroes.—Benjamin Banneker, the Negro Astronomer and Philosopher.—His Antecedents—Young Banneker as a Farmer and Inventor—The Mills of Ellicott & Co.—Banneker cultivates his Mechanical Genius and Mathematical Tastes.—Banneker's first Calculation of an Eclipse submitted for Inspection in 1789.—His Letter to Mr Ellicott.—The Testimony of a Personal Acquaintance of Banneker as to his Upright Character.—His Home becomes a Place of Interest to Visitors.—Record of his Business Transactions.—Mrs. Mason's Visit to him.—She addresses him in Verse.—Banneker replies by Letter to her.—Prepares his First Almanac for Publication in 1792.—Title of his Almanac—Banneker's Letter to Thomas Jefferson.—Thomas Jefferson's Reply.—Banneker invited to accompany the Commissioners to run the Lines of the District of Columbia.—Banneker's Habits of studying the Heavenly Bodies.—Minute Description given to his Sisters in Reference to the Disposition of his Personal Property after Death.—His Death.—Regarded as the most Distinguished Negro of his Time.—Fuller the Mathematician, or "The Virginia Calculator."—Fuller of African Birth, but stolen and sold as a Slave into Virginia.—Visited by Men of Learning.—He was pronounced to be a Prodigy in the Manipulation of Figures.—His Death.—Derham the Physician.—Science of Medicine regarded as the most Intricate Pursuit of Man.—Early Life of James Derham.—His Knowledge of Medicine, how acquired.—He becomes a Prominent Physician in New Orleans.—Dr. Rush gives an Account of an Interview with him.—What the Negro Race produced by their Genius in America. 385

CHAPTER XXX.

SLAVERY DURING THE REVOLUTION.

1775-1783.

Progress of the Slave-Trade.—A Great War for the Emancipation of the Colonies from Political Bondage.—Condition of the Southern States during the War.—The Virginia Declaration of Rights.—Immediate Legislation against Slavery demanded.—Advertisement from "The Independent Chronicle."—Petition of Massachusetts Slaves.—An Act preventing the Practice of holding Persons in Slavery.—Advertisements from "The Continental Journal."—A Law passed in Virginia limiting the Rights of Slaves.—Law emancipating all Slaves who served in the Army.—New York promises her Negro Soldiers Freedom.—A Conscientious Minority in Favor of the Abolition of the Slave-Trade.—Slavery flourishes during the Entire Revolutionary Period. 402

CHAPTER XXXI.

SLAVERY AS A POLITICAL AND LEGAL PROBLEM.

1775-1800.

British Colonies in North America declare their Independence.—A New Government established.—Slavery the Bane of American Civilization.—The Tory Party accept the Doctrine of Property in Man.—The Doctrine of the Locke Constitution in the South.—The Whig Party the Dominant Political Organization in the Northern States.—Slavery recognized under the New Government.—Anti Slavery Agitation in the States.—Attempted Legislation against Slavery.—Articles of Confederation.—Then Adoption in 1778.—Discussion concerning the Disposal of the Western Territory.—Mr. Jefferson's Recommendation.—Amendment by Mr. Spaight.—Congress in New York in 1787.—Discussion respecting the Government of the Western Territory.—Convention at Philadelphia to frame the Federal Constitution.—Proceedings of the Convention.—The Southern States still advocate Slavery.—Speeches on the Slavery Question by Leading Statesmen.—Constitution adopted by the Convention in 1787.—First Session of Congress under the Federal Constitution held in New York in 1789.—The Introduction of a Tariff-Bill.—An Attempt to amend it by inserting a Clause levying a Tax on Slaves brought by Water.—Extinction of Slavery in Massachusetts.—A Change in the Public Opinion of the Middle and Eastern States on the Subject of Slavery.—Dr. Benjamin Franklin's Address to the Public for promoting the Abolition of Slavery.—Memorial to the United-States Congress.—Congress in 1790.—Bitter Discussion on the Restriction of the Slave-Trade.—Slave-Population.—Vermont and Kentucky admitted into the Union.—A Law providing for the Return of Fugitives from "Labor and Service."—Convention of Friends held in Philadelphia.—An Act against the Foreign Slave-Trade.—Mississippi Territory.—Constitution of Georgia revised.—New York passes a Bill for the Gradual Extinction of Slavery.—Constitution of Kentucky revised.—Slavery as an Institution firmly established. 412



HISTORY OF THE NEGRO RACE IN AMERICA.

Part I.

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS.



CHAPTER I.

THE UNITY OF MANKIND.

THE BIBLICAL ARGUMENT.—ONE RACE AND ONE LANGUAGE.—ONE BLOOD.—THE CURSE OF CANAAN.

During the last half-century, many writers on ethnology, anthropology, and slavery have strenuously striven to place the Negro outside of the human family; and the disciples of these teachers have endeavored to justify their views by the most dehumanizing treatment of the Negro. But, fortunately for the Negro and for humanity at large, we live now in an epoch when race malice and sectional hate are disappearing beneath the horizon of a brighter and better future. The Negro in America is free. He is now an acknowledged factor in the affairs of the continent; and no community, state, or government, in this period of the world's history, can afford to be indifferent to his moral, social, intellectual, or political well-being.

It is proposed, in the first place, to call the attention to the absurd charge that the Negro does not belong to the human family. Happily, there are few left upon the face of the earth who still maintain this belief.

In the first chapter of the Book of Genesis it is clearly stated that "God created man," "male and female created he them;"[1] that "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul;"[2] and that "the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."[3] It is noticeable that the sacred historian, in every reference to Adam, speaks of him as "man;" and that the divine injunction to them was,—Adam and Eve,—"Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."[4] As among the animals, so here in the higher order, there were two,—a pair,—"male and female," of the human species. We may begin with man, and run down the scale, and we are sure to find two of a kind, "male and female." This was the divine order. But they were to "be fruitful," were to "replenish the earth." That they did "multiply," we have the trustworthy testimony of God; and it was true that man and beast, fowl and fish, increased. We read that after their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Eve bore Adam a family. Cain and Abel; and that they "peopled the earth."

After a number of years we find that wickedness increased in the earth; so much so that the Lord was provoked to destroy the earth with a flood, with the exception of Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives,—eight souls in all.[5] Of the animals, two of each kind were saved.

But the most interesting portion of Bible history comes after the Flood. We then have the history of the confusion of tongues, and the subsequent and consequent dispersion of mankind. In the eleventh chapter and first verse of Genesis it is recorded: "And the WHOLE EARTH was of ONE LANGUAGE, and of ONE SPEECH." "The whole earth" here means all the inhabitants of the earth,—all mankind. The medium of communication was common. Everybody used one language. In the sixth verse occurs this remarkable language: "And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language." Attention is called to this verse, because we have here the testimony of the Lord that "the people is one," and that the language of the people is one. This verse establishes two very important facts; i.e., there was but one nationality, and hence but one language. The fact that they had but one language furnishes reasonable proof that they were of one blood; and the historian has covered the whole question very carefully by recording the great truth that they were one people, and had but one language. The seventh, eighth, and ninth verses of the eleventh chapter are not irrelevant: "Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."

It was the wickedness of the people that caused the Lord to disperse them, to confound their speech, and bring to nought their haughty work. Evidently this was the beginning of different families of men,—different nationalities, and hence different languages. In the ninth verse it reads, that "from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." There is no ambiguity about this language. He did not only "confound their language," but "scattered them from thence," from Babel, "upon the face of all the earth." Here, then, are two very important facts: their language was confused, and they were "scattered." They were not only "scattered," they were "scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth." That is, they were dispersed very widely, sent into the various and remote parts of the earth; and their nationality received its being from the latitudes to which the divinely appointed wave of dispersion bore them; and their subsequent racial character was to borrow its tone and color from climateric influences. Three great families, the Shemitic, Hamitic, and Japhetic, were suddenly built up. Many other families, or tribes, sprang from these; but these were the three great heads of all subsequent races of men.

"That the three sons of Noah overspread and peopled the whole earth, is so expressly stated in Scripture, that, had we not to argue against those who unfortunately disbelieve such evidence, we might here stop: let us, however, inquire how far the truth of this declaration is substantiated by other considerations. Enough has been said to show that there is a curious, if not a remarkable, analogy between the predictions of Noah on the future descendants of his three sons, and the actual state of those races which are generally supposed to have sprung from them. It may here be again remarked, that, to render the subject more clear, we have adopted the quinary arrangement of Professor Blumenbach: yet that Cuvier and other learned physiologists are of opinion that the primary varieties of the human form are more properly but three; viz., the Caucasian, Mongolian, and Ethiopian. This number corresponds with that of Noah's sons. Assigning, therefore, the Mongolian race to Japheth, and the Ethiopian to Ham, the Caucasian, the noblest race, will belong to Shem, the third son of Noah, himself descended from Seth, the third son of Adam. That the primary distinctions of the human varieties are but three, has been further maintained by the erudite Prichard; who, while he rejects the nomenclature both of Blumenbach and Cuvier, as implying absolute divisions, arranges the leading varieties of the human skull under three sections, differing from those of Cuvier only by name. That the three sons of Noah who were to 'replenish the earth,' and on whose progeny very opposite destinies were pronounced, should give birth to different races, is what might reasonably be conjectured; but that the observation of those who do, and of those who do not, believe the Mosaic history, should tend to confirm truth, by pointing out in what these three races do actually differ, both physically and morally, is, to say the least, a singular coincidence. It amounts, in short, to a presumptive evidence, that a mysterious and very beautiful analogy pervades throughout, and teaches us to look beyond natural causes in attempting to account for effects apparently interwoven in the plans of Omnipotence."[6]

In the seventeenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, twenty-sixth verse, we find the following language: "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation."[7] The Apostle Paul was a missionary. He was, at this time, on a mission to the far-famed city of Athens,—"the eye of Greece, and the fountain of learning and philosophy." He told the "men of Athens," that, as he travelled through their beautiful city, he had not been unmindful of its attractions; that he had not been indifferent to the claims of its citizens to scholarship and culture, and that among other things he noticed an altar erected to an unknown God. He went on to remark, that, great as their city and nation were, God, whose offspring they were, had created other nations, who lived beyond their verdant hills and swelling rivers. And, moreover, that God had created "all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" out "of one blood." He called their attention to the fact that God had fenced all the nations in by geographical boundaries,—had fixed the limits of their habitation.

We find two leading thoughts in the twenty-sixth verse; viz., that this passage establishes clearly and unmistakably the unity of mankind, in that God created them of one blood; second, he hath determined "the bounds of their habitation,"—hath located them geographically. The language quoted is very explicit. "He hath determined the bounds of their habitation," that is, "all the nations of men.[8] We have, then, the fact, that there are different "nations of men," and that they are all "of one blood," and, therefore, have a common parent. This declaration was made by the Apostle Paul, an inspired writer, a teacher of great erudition, and a scholar in both the Hebrew and the Greek languages.

It should not be forgotten either, that in Paul's masterly discussion of the doctrine of sin,—the fall of man,—he always refers to Adam as the "one man" by whom sin came into the world.[9] His Epistle to the Romans abounds in passages which prove very plainly the unity of mankind. The Acts of the Apostles, as well as the Gospels, prove the unity we seek to establish.

But there are a few who would admit the unity of mankind, and still insist that the Negro does not belong to the human family. It is so preposterous, that one has a keen sense of humiliation in the assured consciousness that he goes rather low to meet the enemies of God's poor; but it can certainly do no harm to meet them with the everlasting truth.

In the Gospel of Luke we read this remarkable historical statement: "And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus."[10] By referring to the map, the reader will observe that Cyrene is in Libya, on the north coast of Africa. All the commentators we have been able to consult, on the passage quoted below, agree that this man Simon was a Negro,—a black man. John Melville produced a very remarkable sermon from this passage.[11] And many of the most celebrated pictures of "The Crucifixion," in Europe, represent this Cyrenian as black, and give him a very prominent place in the most tragic scene ever witnessed on this earth. In the Acts of the Apostles we have a very full and interesting account of the conversion and immersion of the Ethiopian eunuch, "a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship."[12] Here, again, we find that all the commentators agree as to the nationality of the eunuch: he was a Negro; and, by implication, the passage quoted leads us to the belief that the Ethiopians were a numerous and wealthy people. Candace was the queen that made war against Augustus Caesar twenty years before Christ, and, though not victorious, secured an honorable peace.[13] She reigned in Upper Egypt,—up the Nile,—and lived at Meroe, that ancient city, the very cradle of Egyptian civilization.[14]

"In the time of our Saviour (and indeed from that time forward), by Ethiopia was meant, in a general sense, the countries south of Egypt, then but imperfectly known; of one of which that Candace was queen whose eunuch was baptized by Philip. Mr. Bruce, on his return from Abyssinia, found in latitude 16 deg. 38' a place called Chendi, where the reigning sovereign was then a queen; and where a tradition existed that a woman, by name Hendaque (which comes as near as possible to the Greek name [Greek: Chandake]), once governed all that country. Near this place are extensive ruins, consisting of broken pedestals and obelisks, which Bruce conjectures to be those of Meroe, the capital of the African Ethiopia, which is described by Herodotus as a great city in his time, namely, four hundred years before Christ; and where, separated from the rest of the world by almost impassable deserts, and enriched by the commercial expeditions of their travelling brethren, the Cushites continued to cultivate, so late as the first century of the Christian era, some portions of those arts and sciences to which the settlers in the cities had always more or less devoted themselves."[15]

But a few writers have asserted, and striven to prove, that the Egyptians and Ethiopians are quite a different people from the Negro. Jeremiah seems to have understood that these people about whom we have been writing were Negroes,—we mean black. "Can the Ethiopian," asks the prophet, "change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" The prophet was as thoroughly aware that the Ethiopian was black, as that the leopard had spots; and Luther's German has for the word "Ethiopia," "Negro-land,"—the country of the blacks.[16] The word "Ethiop" in the Greek literally means "sunburn."

That these Ethiopians were black, we have, in addition to the valuable testimony of Jeremiah, the scholarly evidence of Herodotus, Homer, Josephus, Eusebius, Strabo, and others.

It will be necessary for us to use the term "Cush" farther along in this discussion: so we call attention at this time to the fact, that the Cushites, so frequently referred to in the Scriptures, are the same as the Ethiopians.

Driven from unscriptural and untenable ground on the unity of the races of mankind, the enemies of the Negro, falling back in confusion, intrench themselves in the curse of Canaan. "And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren."[17] This passage was the leading theme of the defenders of slavery in the pulpit for many years. Bishop Hopkins says,—

"The heartless irreverence which Ham, the father of Canaan, displayed toward his eminent parent, whose piety had just saved him from the Deluge, presented the immediate occasion for this remarkable prophecy; but the actual fulfilment was reserved for his posterity after they had lost the knowledge of God, and become utterly polluted by the abominations of heathen idolatry. The Almighty, foreseeing this total degradation of the race, ordained them to servitude or slavery under the descendants of Shem and Japheth, doubtless because he judged it to be their fittest condition. And all history proves how accurately the prediction has been accomplished, even to the present day."[18]

Now, the first thing to be done by those who adopt this view is, to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Noah was inspired to pronounce this prophecy. Noah had been, as a rule, a righteous man. For more than a hundred years he had lifted up his voice against the growing wickedness of the world. His fidelity to the cause of God was unquestioned; and for his faith and correct living, he and his entire household were saved from the Deluge. But after his miraculous deliverance from the destruction that overcame the old world, his entire character is changed. There is not a single passage to show us that he continued his avocation as a preacher. He became a husbandman; he kept a vineyard; and, more than all, he drank of the wine and got drunk! Awaking from a state of inebriation, he knew that Ham had beheld his nakedness and "told his two brethren." But "Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness."[19] It is quite natural to suppose, that, humiliated and chagrined at his sinful conduct, and angered at the behavior of his son and grandson, Ham and Canaan, Noah expressed his disapprobation of Canaan. It was his desire, on the impulse of the moment, that Canaan should suffer a humiliation somewhat commensurate with his offence; and, on the other hand, it was appropriate that he should commend the conduct of his other sons, who sought to hide their father's shame. And all this was done without any inspiration. He simply expressed himself as a fallible man.

Bishop Hopkins, however, is pleased to call this a "prophecy." In order to prophesy, in the scriptural meaning of the word, a man must have the divine unction, and must be moved by the Holy Ghost; and, in addition to this, it should be said, that a true prophecy always comes to pass,—is sure of fulfilment. Noah was not inspired when he pronounced his curse against Canaan, for the sufficient reason that it was not fulfilled. He was not speaking in the spirit of prophecy when he blessed Shem and Japheth, for the good reason that their descendants have often been in bondage. Now, if these words of Noah were prophetic, were inspired of God, we would naturally expect to find all of Canaan's descendants in bondage, and all of Shem's out of bondage,—free! If this prophecy—granting this point to the learned bishop for argument's sake—has not been fulfilled, then we conclude one of two things; namely, these are not the words of God, or they have not been fulfilled. But they were not the words of prophecy, and consequently never had any divine authority. It was Canaan upon whom Noah pronounced the curse: and Canaan was the son of Ham; and Ham, it is said, is the progenitor of the Negro race. The Canaanites were not bondmen, but freemen,—powerful tribes when the Hebrews invaded their country; and from the Canaanites descended the bold and intelligent Carthaginians, as is admitted by the majority of writers on this subject. From Ham proceeded the Egyptians, Libyans, the Phutim, and the Cushim or Ethiopians, who, colonizing the African side of the Red Sea, subsequently extended themselves indefinitely to the west and south of that great continent. Egypt was called Chemia, or the country of Ham; and it has been thought that the Egyptian's deity, Hammon or Ammon, was a deification of Ham.[20] The Carthaginians were successful in numerous wars against the sturdy Romans. So in this, as in many other instances, the prophecy of Noah failed.

Following the chapter containing the prophecy of Noah, the historian records the genealogy of the descendants of Ham and Canaan. We will quote the entire account that we may be assisted to the truth.

"And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan; and the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba and Dedan. And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, and Pathrusim, and Casluhim (out of whom came Philistim), and Caphtorim. And Canaan begat Sidon his first-born, and Heth, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, and the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, and the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations."[21]

Here is a very minute account of the family of Ham, who it is said was to share the fate of his son Canaan, and a clear account of the children of Canaan. "Nimrod," says the record, "began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord.... And the beginning of his kingdom," etc. We find that Cush was the oldest son of Ham, and the father of Nimrod the "mighty one in the earth," whose "kingdom" was so extensive. He founded the Babylonian empire, and was the father of the founder of the city of Nineveh, one of the grandest cities of the ancient world. These wonderful achievements were of the children of Cush, the ancestor of the Negroes. It is fair to suppose that this line of Ham's posterity was not lacking in powers necessary to found cities and kingdoms, and maintain government.

Thus far we have been enabled to see, according to the Bible record, that the posterity of Canaan did not go into bondage; that it was a powerful people, both in point of numbers and wealth; and, from the number and character of the cities it built, we infer that it was an intellectual posterity. We conclude that thus far there is no evidence, from a biblical standpoint, that Noah's prophecy was fulfilled. But, notwithstanding the absence of scriptural proof as to the bondage of the children of Canaan, the venerable Dr. Mede says, "There never has been a son of Ham who has shaken a sceptre over the head of Japheth. Shem has subdued Japheth, and Japheth has subdued Shem; but Ham has never subdued either." The doctor is either falsifying the facts of history, or is ignorant of history. The Hebrews were in bondage in Egypt for centuries. Egypt was peopled by Misraim, the second son of Ham. Who were the Shemites? They were Hebrews! The Shemites were in slavery to the Hamites. Melchizedek, whose name was expressive of his character,—king of righteousness (or a righteous king), was a worthy priest of the most high God; and Abimelech, whose name imports parental king, pleaded the integrity of his heart and the righteousness of his nation before God, and his plea was admitted. Yet both these personages appear to have been Canaanites."[22] Melchizedek and Abimelech were Canaanites, and the most sacred and honorable characters in Old-Testament history. It was Abraham, a Shemite, who, meeting Melchizedek, a Canaanite, gave him a tenth of all his spoils. It was Nimrod, a Cushite, who "went to Asher, and built Nineveh," after subduing the Shemites, So it seems very plain that Noah's prophecy did not come true in every respect, and that it was not the word of God. "And God blessed Noah and his sons."[23] God pronounces his blessing upon this entire family, and enjoins upon them to "be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth." Afterwards Noah seeks to abrogate the blessing of God by his "cursed be Canaan." But this was only the bitter expression of a drunken and humiliated parent lacking divine authority. No doubt he and his other two sons conformed their conduct to the spirit of the curse pronounced, and treated the Hamites accordingly. The scholarly Dr. William Jones[24] says that Ham was the youngest son of Noah; that he had four sons, Cush, Misraim, Phut, and Canaan; and that they peopled Africa and part of Asia.[25] The Hamites were the offspring of Noah, and one of the three great families that have peopled the earth.[26]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Gen. i. 27.

[2] Gen. ii. 7.

[3] Gen. ii. 15.

[4] Gen. i. 28.

[5] Gen. vi. 5sq.

[6] Encycl. of Geo., p. 255.

[7] If the Apostle Paul had asserted that all men resembled each other in the color of their skin and the texture of their hair, or even in their physiological make-up, he would have been at war with observation and critical investigation. But, having announced a wonderful truth in reference to the unity of the human race as based upon one blood, science comes to his support, and through the microscope reveals the corpuscles of the blood, and shows that the globule is the same in all human blood.

[8] Deut. xxxii. 8, 9: "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance."

[9] Rom. v. 12, 14-21.

[10] Luke xxiii, 26: Acts vi. 9, also second chapter, tenth verse. Matthew records the same fact in the twenty-seventh chapter, thirty-second verse. "And at they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross."

[11] See Melville's Sermons.

[12] Acts viii. 27.

[13] Pliny says the Ethiopian government subsisted for several generations in the hands of queens whose name was Candace.

[14] See Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon.

[15] Jones's Biblical Cyclopaedia, p. 311.

[16] The term Ethiope was anciently given to all those whose color was darkened by the sun.—Smyth's Unity of the Human Races, chap. i. p. 34.

[17] Gen. ix. 24, 25. See also the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh verses.

[18] Bible Views of Slavery, p. 7.

[19] Gen. ix. 23.

[20] Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride. See also Dr. Morton, and Ethnological Journal, 4th No p. 172.

[21] Gen. x. 6-20.

[22] Dr. Bush.

[23] Gen. ix. I.

[24] Jones's Biblical Cyclopaedia, p. 393. Ps. lxxviii. 51.

[25] Ps. cv. 23.

[26] If Noah's utterance were to be regarded as a prophecy, it applied only to the Canaanites, the descendants of Canaan, Noah's grandson. Nothing is said in reference to any person but Canaan in the supposed prophecy.



CHAPTER II.

THE NEGRO IN THE LIGHT OF PHILOLOGY, ETHNOLOGY, AND EGYPTOLOGY.

CUSHIM AND ETHIOPIA.—ETHIOPIANS, WHITE AND BLACK.—NEGRO CHARACTERISTICS.—THE DARK CONTINENT.—THE ANTIQUITY OF THE NEGRO.—INDISPUTABLE EVIDENCE.—THE MILITARY AND SOCIAL CONDITION OF NEGROES.—CAUSE OF COLOR.—THE TERM ETHIOPIAN.

There seems to be a great deal of ignorance and confusion in the use of the word "Negro;"[27] and about as much trouble attends the proper classification of the inhabitants of Africa. In the preceding chapter we endeavored to prove, not that Ham and Canaan were the progenitors of the Negro races,—for that is admitted by the most consistent enemies of the blacks,—but that the human race is one, and that Noah's curse was not a divine prophecy.

The term "Negro" seems to be applied chiefly to the dark and woolly-haired people who inhabit Western Africa. But the Negro is to be found also in Eastern Africa.[28] Zonaras says, "Chus is the person from whom the Cuseans are derived. They are the same people as the Ethiopians." This view is corroborated by Josephus.[29] Apuleius, and Eusebius. The Hebrew term "Cush" is translated Ethiopia by the Septuagint, Vulgate, and by almost all other versions, ancient and modern, as well as by the English version. "It is not, therefore, to be doubted that the term 'Cushim' has by the interpretation of all ages been translated by 'Ethiopians,' because they were also known by their black color, and their transmigrations, which were easy and frequent."[30] But while it is a fact, supported by both sacred and profane history, that the terms "Cush" and "Ethiopian" were used interchangeably, there seems to be no lack of proof that the same terms were applied frequently to a people who were not Negroes. It should be remembered, moreover, that there were nations who were black, and yet were not Negroes. And the only distinction amongst all these people, who are branches of the Hamitic family, is the texture of the hair. "But it is equally certain, as we have seen, that the term 'Cushite' is applied in Scripture to other branches of the same family; as, for instance, to the Midianites, from whom Moses selected his wife, and who could not have been Negroes. The term 'Cushite,' therefore, is used in Scripture as denoting nations who were not black, or in any respect Negroes, and also countries south of Egypt, whose inhabitants were Negroes; and yet both races are declared to be the descendants of Cush, the son of Ham. Even in Ezekiel's day the interior African nations were not of one race; for he represents Cush, Phut, Lud, and Chub, as either themselves constituting, or as being amalgamated with, 'a mingled people' (Ezek. xxx. 5); 'that is to say,' says Faber, 'it was a nation of Negroes who are represented as very numerous,—all the mingled people.'"[31]

The term "Ethiopia" was anciently given to all those whose color was darkened by the sun. Herodotus, therefore, distinguishes the Eastern Ethiopians who had straight hair, from the Western Ethiopians who had curly or woolly hair.[32]. They are a twofold people, lying extended in a long tract from the rising to the setting sun."[33]

The conclusion is patent. The words "Ethiopia" and "Cush" were used always to describe a black people, or the country where such a people lived. The term "Negro," from the Latin "niger" and the French "noir," means black; and consequently is a modern term, with all the original meaning of Cush and Ethiopia, with a single exception. We called attention above to the fact that all Ethiopians were not of the pure Negro type, but were nevertheless a branch of the original Hamitic family from whence sprang all the dark races. The term "Negro" is now used to designate the people, who, in addition to their dark complexion, have curly or woolly hair. It is in this connection that we shall use the term in this work.[34]

Africa, the home of the indigenous dark races, in a geographic and ethnographic sense, is the most wonderful country in the world It is thoroughly tropical. It has an area in English square miles of 11,556,600, with a population of 192,520,000 souls. It lies between the latitudes of 38 deg. north and 35 deg. south; and is, strictly speaking, an enormous peninsula, attached to Asia by the Isthmus of Suez. The most northern point is the cape, situated a little to the west of Cabo Blanco, and opposite Sicily, which lies in latitude 37 deg. 20' 40" north, longitude 9 deg. 41' east. Its southernmost point is Cabo d'Agulhas, in 34 deg. 49' 15" south; the distance between these two points being 4,330 geographical, or about 5,000 English miles. The westernmost point is Cabo Verde, in longitude 17 deg. 33' west; its easternmost, Cape Jerdaffun, in longitude 51 deg. 21' east, latitude 10 deg. 25' north, the distance between the two points being about the same as its length. The western coasts are washed by the Atlantic, the northern by the Mediterranean, and the eastern by the Indian Ocean. The shape of this "dark continent" is likened to a triangle or to an Oval. It is rich in oils, ivory, gold, and precious timber. It has beautiful lakes and mighty rivers, that are the insoluble problems of the present times.

Of the antiquity of the Negro there can be no doubt. He is known as thoroughly to history as any of the other families of men. He appears at the first dawn of history, and has continued down to the present time. The scholarly Gliddon says, that "the hieroglyphical designation of 'KeSH,' exclusively applied to African races as distinct from the Egyptian, has been found by Lepsius as far back as the monuments of the sixth dynasty, 3000 B.C. But the great influx of Negro and Mulatto races into Egypt as captives dated from the twelfth dynasty; when, about the twenty-second century, B.C., Pharaoh SESOUR-TASEN extended his conquests up the Nile far into Nigritia. After the eighteenth dynasty the monuments come down to the third century, A.D., without one single instance in the Pharaonic or Ptolemaic periods that Negro labor was ever directed to any agricultural or utilitarian objects."[35] The Negro was found in great numbers with the Sukim, Thut, Lubin, and other African nations, who formed the strength of the army of the king of Egypt, Shishak, when he came against Rehoboam in the year 971 B.C.; and in his tomb, opened in 1849, there were found among his depicted army the exact representation of the genuine Negro race, both in color, hair, and physiognomy. Negroes are also represented in Egyptian paintings as connected with the military campaigns of the eighteenth dynasty. They formed a part of the army of Ibrahim Pacha, and were prized as gallant soldiers at Moncha and in South Arabia.[36] And Herodotus assures us that Negroes were found in the armies of Sesostris and Xerxes; and, at the present time, they are no inconsiderable part of the standing army of Egypt.[37] Herodotus states that eighteen of the Egyptian kings were Ethiopians.[38]

It is quite remarkable to hear a writer like John P. Jeffries, who evidently is not very friendly in his criticisms of the Negro, make such a positive declaration as the following:—

"Every rational mind must, therefore, readily conclude that the African race has been in existence, as a distinct people, over four thousand two hundred years; and how long before that period is a matter of conjecture only, there being no reliable data upon which to predicate any reliable opinion."[39]

It is difficult to find a writer on ethnology, ethnography, or Egyptology, who doubts the antiquity of the Negroes as a distinct people. Dr. John C. Nott of Mobile, Ala., a Southern man in the widest meaning, in his "Types of Mankind," while he tries to make his book acceptable to Southern slaveholders, strongly maintains the antiquity of the Negro.

"Ethnological science, then, possesses not only the authoritative testimonies of Lepsius and Birch in proof of the existence of Negro races during the twenty-fourth century, B.C., but, the same fact being conceded by all living Egyptologists, we may hence infer that these Nigritian types were contemporary with the earliest Egyptians."[40]

In 1829 there was a remarkable Theban tomb opened by Mr. Wilkinson, and in 1840 it was carefully examined by Harris and Gliddon. There is a most wonderful collection of Negro scenes in it. Of one of these scenes even Dr. Nott says,—

"A Negress, apparently a princess, arrives at Thebes, drawn in a plaustrum by a pair of humped oxen, the driver and groom being red-colored Egyptians, and, one might almost infer, eunuchs. Following her are multitudes of Negroes and Nubians, bringing tribute from the upper country, as well as black slaves of both sexes and all ages, among which are some red children, whose fathers were Egyptians. The cause of her advent seems to have been to make offerings in the tomb of a 'royal son of KeSh—Amunoph,' who may have been her husband."[41]

It is rather strange that the feelings of Dr. Nott toward the Negro were so far mollified as to allow him to make a statement that destroys his heretofore specious reasoning about the political and social status of the Negro. He admits the antiquity of the Negro; but makes a special effort to place him in a servile state at all times, and to present him as a vanquished vassal before Ramses III. and other Egyptian kings. He sees no change in the Negro's condition, except that in slavery he is better fed and clothed than in his native home. But, nevertheless, the Negress of whom he makes mention, and the entire picture in the Theban tomb, put down the learned doctor's argument. Here is a Negro princess with Egyptian driver and groom, with a large army of attendants, going on a long journey to the tomb of her royal husband!

There is little room here to question the political and social conditions of the Negroes.[42] They either had enjoyed a long and peaceful rule, or by their valor in offensive warfare had won honorable place by conquest. And the fact that black slaves are mentioned does not in any sense invalidate the historical trustworthiness of the pictures found in this Theban tomb; for Wilkinson says, in reference to the condition of society at this period,—

"It is evident that both white and black slaves were employed as servants; they attended on the guests when invited to the house of their master; and, from their being in the families of priests as well as of the military chiefs, we may infer that they were purchased with money, and that the right of possessing slaves was not confined to those who had taken them in war. The traffic in slaves was tolerated by the Egyptians; and it is reasonable to suppose that many persons were engaged ... in bringing them to Egypt for public sale, independent of those who were sent as part of the tribute, and who were probably, at first, the property of the monarch; nor did any difficulty occur to the Ishmaelites in the purchase of Joseph from his brethren, nor in his subsequent sale to Potiphar on arriving in Egypt."

So we find that slavery was not, at this time, confined to any particular race of people. This Negro princess was as liable to purchase white as black slaves; and doubtless some were taken in successful wars with other nations, while others were purchased as servants.

But we have further evidence to offer in favor of the antiquity of the Negro. In Japan, and in many other parts of the East, there are to be found stupendous and magnificent temples, that are hoary with age. It is almost impossible to determine the antiquity of some of them, in which the idols are exact representations of woolly-haired Negroes, although the inhabitants of those countries to-day have straight hair. Among the Japanese, black is considered a color of good omen. In the temples of Siam we find the idols fashioned like unto Negroes.[43] Osiris, one of the principal deities of the Egyptians, is frequently represented as black.[44] Bubastis, also, the Diana of Greece, and a member of the great Egyptian Triad, is now on exhibition in the British Museum, sculptured in black basalt silting figure.[45] Among the Hindus, Kali, the consort of Siva, one of their great Triad; Crishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu; and Vishnu also himself, the second of the Trimerti or Hindu Triad, are represented of a black color.[46] Dr. Morton says,—

"The Sphinx may have been the shrine of the Negro population of Egypt, who, as a people, were unquestionably under our average size. Three million Buddhists in Asia represent their chief deity, Buddha, with Negro features and hair. There are two other images of Buddha, one at Ceylon and the other at Calanee, of which Lieut. Mahoney says, 'Both these statues agree in having crisped hair and long, pendent ear-rings,'"[47]

And the learned and indefatigable Hamilton Smith says,—

"In the plains of India are Nagpoor, and a ruined city without name at the gates of Benares (perhaps the real Kasi of tradition), once adorned with statues of a woolly-haired race."[48]

Now, these substantial and indisputable traces of the march of the Negro races through Japan and Asia lead us to conclude that the Negro race antedates all profane history. And while the great body of the Negro races have been located geographically in Africa, they have been, in no small sense, a cosmopolitan people. Their wanderings may be traced from the rising to the setting sun.

"The remains of architecture and sculpture in India seem to prove an early connection between that country and Africa.... The Pyramids of Egypt, the colossal statues described by Pausanias and others, the Sphinx, and the Hermes Canis, which last bears a strong resemblance to the Varaha Avatar, indicate the style of the same indefatigable workmen who formed the vast excavations of Canarah, the various temples and images of Buddha, and the idols which are continually dug up at Gaya or in its vicinity. These and other indubitable facts may induce no ill-grounded opinion, that Ethiopia and Hindustan were peopled or colonized by the same extraordinary race; in confirmation of which it may be added, that the mountaineers of Bengal and Benhar can hardly be distinguished in some of their features, particularly in their lips and noses, from the modern Abyssinians."[49]

There is little room for speculation here to the candid searcher after truth. The evidence accumulates as we pursue our investigations. Monuments and temples, sepulchred stones and pyramids, rise up to declare the antiquity of the Negro races. Hamilton Smith, after careful and critical investigation, reaches the conclusion, that the Negro type of man was the most ancient, and the indigenous race of Asia, as far north as the lower range of the Himalaya Mountains, and presents at length many curious facts which cannot, he believes, be otherwise explained.

"In this view, the first migrations of the Negro stock, coasting westward by catamarans, or in wretched canoes, and skirting South-western Asia, may synchronize with the earliest appearance of the Negro tribes of Eastern Africa, and just precede the more mixed races, which, like the Ethiopians of Asia, passed the Red Sea at the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, ascended the Nile, or crossed that river to the west."[50]

Taking the whole southern portion of Asia westward to Arabia, this conjecture—which likewise was a conclusion drawn, after patient research, by the late Sir T. Stanford Raffles—accounts, more satisfactorily than any other, for the Oriental habits, ideas, traditions, and words which can be traced among several of the present African tribes and in the South-Sea Islands. Traces of this black race are still found along the Himalaya range from the Indus to Indo-China, and the Malay peninsula, and in a mixed form all through the southern states to Ceylon.[51]

But it is unnecessary to multiply evidence in proof of the antiquity of the Negro. His presence in this world was coetaneous with the other families of mankind: here he has toiled with a varied fortune; and here under God—his God—he will, in the process of time, work out all the sublime problems connected with his future as a man and a brother.

There are various opinions rife as to the cause of color and texture of hair in the Negro. The generally accepted theory years ago was, that the curse of Cain rested upon this race; while others saw in the dark skin of the Negro the curse of Noah pronounced against Canaan. These two explanations were comforting to that class who claimed that they had a right to buy and sell the Negro; and of whom the Saviour said, "For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."[52] But science has, of later years, attempted a solution of this problem. Peter Barrere, in his treatise on the subject, takes the ground that the bile in the human system has much to do with the color of the skin.[53] This theory, however, has drawn the fire of a number of European scholars, who have combated it with more zeal than skill. It is said that the spinal and brain matter are of a dark, ashy color; and by careful examination it is proven that the blood of Ethiopians is black. These facts would seem to clothe this theory with at least a shadow of plausibility. But the opinion of Aristotle, Strabo, Alexander, and Blumenbach is, that the climate, temperature, and mode of life, have more to do with giving color than any thing else. This is certainly true among animals and plants. There are many instances on record where dogs and wolves, etc., have turned white in winter, and then assumed a different color in the spring. If you start at the north and move south, you will find, at first, that the flowers are very white and delicate; but, as you move toward the tropics, they begin to take on deeper and richer hues until they run into almost endless varieties. Guyot argues on the other side of the question to account for the intellectual diversity of the races of mankind.

"While all the types of animals and of plants go on decreasing in perfection, from the equatorial to the polar regions, in proportion to the temperatures, man presents to our view his purest, his most perfect type, at the very centre of the temperate continents,—at the centre of Asia, Europe, in the regions of Iran, of Armenia, and of the Caucasus; and, departing from this geographical centre in the three grand directions of the lands, the types gradually lose the beauty of their forms, in proportion to their distance, even to the extreme points of the southern continents, where we find the most deformed and degenerate races, and the lowest in the scale of humanity."[54]

The learned professor seeks to carry out his famous geographical argument, and, with great skill and labor, weaves his theory of the influence of climate upon the brain and character of man. But while no scholar would presume to combat the theory that plants take on the most gorgeous hues as one nears the equator, and that the races of mankind take on a darker color in their march toward the equator, certainly no student of Oriental history will assent to the unsupported doctrine, that the intensity of the climate of tropical countries affects the intellectual status of races. If any one be so prejudiced as to doubt this, let him turn to "Asiatic Researches," and learn that the dark races have made some of the most invaluable contributions to science, literature, civil-engineering, art, and architecture that the world has yet known. Here we find the cradle of civilization, ancient and remote.

Even changes and differences in color are to be noted in almost every community.

"As we go westward we observe the light color predominating over the dark; and then, again, when we come within the influence of damp from the sea-air, we find the shade deepened into the general blackness of the coast population."

The artisan and farm-laborer may become exceedingly dark from exposure, and the sailor is frequently so affected by the weather that it is next to impossible to tell his nationality.

"It is well known that the Biscayan women are a shining white, the inhabitants of Granada on the contrary dark, to such an extent, that, in this region, the pictures of the blessed Virgin and other saints are painted of the same color."[55]

The same writer calls attention to the fact, that the people on the Cordilleras, who live under the mountains towards the west, and are, therefore, exposed to the Pacific Ocean, are quite, or nearly, as fair in complexion as the Europeans; whereas, on the contrary, the inhabitants of the opposite side, exposed to the burning sun and scorching winds, are copper-colored. Of this theory of climateric influence we shall say more farther on.

It is held by some eminent physicians in Europe and America, that the color of the skin depends upon substances external to the cutis vera. Outside of the cutis are certain layers of a substance various in consistence, and scarcely perceptible: here is the home and seat of color; and these may be regarded as secretions from the vessels of the cutis. The dark color of the Negro principally depends on the substance interposed between the true skin and the scarf-skin. This substance presents different appearances: and it is described sometimes as a sort of organized network or reticular tissue; at others, as a mere mucous or slimy layer; and it is odd that these somewhat incompatible ideas are both conveyed by the term reticulum mucosum given to the intermediate portion of the skin by its orignal discoverer, Malpighi. There is, no doubt, something plausible in all the theories advanced as to the color and hair of the Negro; but it is verily all speculation. One theory is about as valuable as another.

Nine hundred years before Christ the poet Homer, speaking of the death of Memnon, killed at the siege of Troy, says, "He was received by his Ethiopians." This is the first use of the word Ethiopia in the Greek; and it is derived from the roots [Greek: aitho], "to burn," and [Greek: ops], "face." It is safe to assume, that, when God dispersed the sons of Noah, he fixed the "bounds of their habitation," and, that, from the earth and sky the various races have secured their civilization. He sent the different nations into separate parts of the earth. He gave to each its racial peculiarities, and adaptability for the climate into which it went. He gave color, language, and civilization; and, when by wisdom we fail to interpret his inscrutable ways, it is pleasant to know that "he worketh all things after the counsel of his own mind."

FOOTNOTES:

[27] Edward W. Blyden, LL.D., of Liberia, says, "Supposing that this term was originally used as a phrase of contempt, is it not with us to elevate it? How often has it not happened that names originally given in reproach have been afterwards adopted as a title of honor by those against whom it was used?—Methodists, Quakers, etc. But as a proof that no unfavorable signification attached to the word when first employed, I may mention, that, long before the slave-trade began, travellers found the blacks on the coast of Africa preferring to be called Negroes" (see Purchas' Pilgrimage ...). And in all the pre-slavetrade literature the word was spelled with a capital N. It was the slavery of the blacks which afterwards degraded the term. To say that the name was invented to degrade the race, some of whose members were reduced to slavery, is to be guilty of what in grammar is called a hysteron proteron. The disgrace became attached to the name in consequence of slavery; and what we propose to do is, now that slavery is abolished, to restore it to its original place and legitimate use, and therefore to restore the capital N."

[28] Prichard, vol. ii. p. 44.

[29] Josephus, Antiq., lib. 2, chap. 6.

[30] Poole.

[31] Smyth's Unity Human Races, chap. II, p. 41.

[32] Herodotus, vii., 69, 70. Ancient Univ. Hist., vol. xviii. pp. 254, 255.

[33] Strabo, vol. I. p. 60.

[34] It is not wise, to say the least, for intelligent Negroes in America to seek to drop the word "Negro." It is a good, strong, and healthy word, and ought to live. It should be covered with glory: let Negroes do it.

[35] Journal of Ethnology, No. 7, p. 310.

[36] Pickering's Races of Men, pp. 185-89.

[37] Burckhardt's Travels, p. 341.

[38] Euterpe, lib. 6.

[39] Jeffries's Nat. Hist. of Human Race, p. 315.

[40] Types of Mankind, p. 259.

[41] Types of Mankind, p. 262.

[42] Even in Africa it is found that Negroes possess great culture. Speaking of Sego, the capital of Bambara, Mr. Park says: "The view of this extensive city, the numerous, canoes upon the river, the crowded population, and the cultivated state of the surrounding country, formed altogether a prospect of civilization and magnificence which I little expected to find in the bosom of Africa." See Park's Travels, chap. ii.

Mr. Park also adds, that the population of this city, Sego, is about thirty thousand. It had mosques, and even ferries were busy conveying men and horses over the Niger.

[43] See Ambassades Memorables de la Companie des Indes orientales des Provinces Unies vers les Empereurs du Japan, Amst., 1680; and Kaempfer.

[44] Wilkinson's Egypt, vol. iii. p. 340.

[45] Coleman's Mythology of the Hindus, p. 91. Dr. William Jones, vol. iii., p. 377.

[46] Asiatic Researches, vol. vi. pp. 436-448.

[47] Heber's Narrative, vol. i. p. 254.

[48] Nat. Hist. of the Human Species, pp. 209, 214, 217.

[49] Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p 427. Also Sir William Jones, vol. iii. 3d disc.

[50] Nat. Hist. Human Species, p. 126.

[51] Prichard, pp. 188-219.

[52] Matt. xxiii. 4.

[53] Discours sur la cause physicale de la couleur des negres.

[54] Earth and Man. Lecture x. pp. 254, 255.

[55] Blumenbach, p. 107.



CHAPTER III.

PRIMITIVE NEGRO CIVILIZATION.

THE ANCIENT AND HIGH DEGREE OF NEGRO CIVILIZATION.—EGYPT, GREECE, AND ROME BORROW FROM THE NEGRO THE CIVILIZATION THAT MADE THEM GREAT.—CAUSE OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF NEGRO CIVILIZATION.—CONFOUNDING THE TERMS "NEGRO" AND "AFRICAN."

It is fair to presume that God gave all the races of mankind civilization to start with. We infer this from the known character of the Creator. Before Romulus founded Rome, before Homer sang, when Greece was in its infancy, and the world quite young, "hoary Meroe" was the chief city of the Negroes along the Nile. Its private and public buildings, its markets and public squares, its colossal walls and stupendous gates, its gorgeous chariots and alert footmen, its inventive genius and ripe scholarship, made it the cradle of civilization, and the mother of art. It was the queenly city of Ethiopia,—for it was founded by colonies of Negroes. Through its open gates long and ceaseless caravans, laden with gold, silver, ivory, frankincense, and palm-oil, poured the riches of Africa into the capacious lap of the city. The learning of this people, embalmed in the immortal hieroglyphic, flowed adown the Nile, and, like spray, spread over the delta of that time-honored stream, on by the beautiful and venerable city of Thebes,—the city of a hundred gates, another monument to Negro genius and civilization, and more ancient than the cities of the Delta,—until Greece and Rome stood transfixed before the ancient glory of Ethiopia! Homeric mythology borrowed its very essence from Negro hieroglyphics; Egypt borrowed her light from the venerable Negroes up the Nile. Greece went to school to the Egyptians, and Rome turned to Greece for law and the science of warfare. England dug down into Rome twenty centuries to learn to build and plant, to establish a government, and maintain it. Thus the flow of civilization has been from the East—the place of light—to the West; from the Oriental to the Occidental. (God fixed the mountains east and west in Europe.)

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15     Next Part
Home - Random Browse