The Journal of Negro History, Volume 4, 1919
Author: Various
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

[Transcriber's Note: Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings and other inconsistencies. Text that has been changed to correct an obvious error is noted at the end of this ebook. Also, the transcriber added the Table of Contents.]




Volume IV


Table of Contents

Vol IV—January, 1919—No. 1

Primitive Law and the Negro ROLAND G. USHER Lincoln's Plan for Colonizing Negroes CHARLES H. WESLEY Lemuel Haynes W. H. MORSE The Anti-Slavery Society of Canada FRED LANDON Documents Benjamin Franklin and Freedom Proceedings of a Mississippi Migration Convention in 1879 How the Negroes were Duped Remarks on this Exodus by Federick Douglass The Senate Report on the Exodus of 1879 Some Undistinguished Negroes Book Reviews Notes

Vol IV—April, 1919—No. 2

The Conflict and Fusion of Cultures ROBERT E. PARK The Company of Royal Adventurers GEORGE F. ZOOK Book Reviews Notes

Vol IV—July, 1919—No. 3

Negroes in the Confederate Army CHARLES H. WESLEY Legal Status of Negroes in Tennessee WILLIAM LLOYD IMES Negro Life and History in our Schools C. G. WOODSON Gregoire's Sketch of Angelo Solimann F. HARRISON HOUGH Documents Letters of Negro Migrants of 1916-1918 Book Reviews Notes

Vol IV—October, 1919—No. 4

Labor Conditions in Jamaica Prior to 1917 E. ETHELRED BROWN The Life of Charles B. Ray M. N. WORK The Slave in Upper Canada W. R. RIDDELL Documents Notes on Slavery in Canada Additional Letters of Negro Migrants of 1916-1918 Book Reviews Notes Biennial Meeting of Association






The psychology of large bodies of men is a surprisingly difficult topic and it is often true that we are inclined to seek the explanation of phenomena in too recent a period of human development. The truth seems to be that ideas prevail longer than customs, habits of dress or the ordinary economic processes of the community, and the ideas are the controlling factors. The attitude of the white man in this country toward the Negro is the fact perhaps of most consequence in the Negro problem. Why is it that still there lingers a certain unwillingness, one can hardly say more, in the minds of the best people to accept literally the platform of the Civil War? Why were the East St. Louis riots possible? I am afraid that a good many of the Negro race feel that there is a distinct personal prejudice or antipathy which can be reached or ought to be reached by logic, by reason, by an appeal to the principles of Christianity and of democracy. For myself I have always felt that if the premises of Christianity were valid at all, they placed the Negro upon precisely the same plane as the white man; that if the premises of democracy were true for the white man, they were true for the black. There should be no artificial distinction created by law, and what is much more to the purpose, by custom simply because the one man has a skin different in hue than the other. Nor should the law, once having been made equal, be nullified by a lack of observance on the part of the whites nor be abrogated by tacit agreements or by further legislation subtly worded so as to avoid constitutional requirements. Each man and woman should be tested by his qualities and achievements and valued for what he is. I am sure no Negro asks for more, and yet I am afraid it is true, as many have complained, that in considerable sections of this country he receives far less.

I have long believed that we are concerned in this case with no reasoned choice and with no explainable act, but with an unconscious impulse, a subconscious impulse possibly, with an illogical, unreasonable but powerful and in-explainable reaction of which the white man himself is scarcely conscious and yet which he feels to be stronger than all the impulses created in him by reason and logic. What is its origin? Is there such a force? I think most will agree there is such an instinctive aversion or dislike.

I am inclined to carry it back into the beginnings of the race, back to the period of pre-historic law and to that psychological origin which antedates the records of history, in the strict sense, to that part of racial history indeed where men commonly act rather than write. The idea of prehistoric law is that obligation exists only between people of the same blood. Originally, charitable and decent conduct was expected only of people of the same family. Even though the family was by fact or fiction extended to include some hundreds or even thousands of people, the fact was still true. The law which bound a man limited his good conduct to a relatively few people. Outside the blood kin he was not bound. He must not steal from his relatives, but if he stole from another clan, his relatives deemed it virtue. If he committed murder, he should be punished within his clan, but protected, if possible, by his clan, if he murdered someone outside it. The blood kin became the definite limitation of the ideas of right and responsibility. This was true between whites. All whites were not members of any one man's blood kin.

Palpably more true was this distinction between the Negro and the white man. The Negro could not by any fiction be represented as one of the blood kin. The Romans extended the legal citizenship to cover all white men in their dominions. It was the fictitious tie of the blood kin, but its plausibility was due to the fact that they were all white. I do not remember to have seen any proof that the Negro inhabitants of the Roman African colonies were considered Roman citizens. This is one of the oldest psychological lines in human history; the rights which a man must concede to another are limited by the relationship of blood. Prima facie there could be no blood relationship between the Negro and the white man. There could therefore be no obligation on the white man's part to the Negro in prehistoric law. This notion has, I think, endured in many ways down to the present day as a subconscious, unconscious factor behind many very vital notions and ideas. Is it not true that international law has been, more often than not, a law between white men?

The next point I hesitate somewhat to make because it is difficult to state without over-emphasis and without saying more than one means. I think it probable that in one way or another the idea of Christianity became connected with the notion of the blood kin and in that sense limited to the blood kin of those to whom Jesus came. Everyone is familiar with the Jewish notion that Jesus was their own particular Messiah, and that the Gentiles were foreclosed claims upon him. As Christianity grew, it grew still among the white nations, and the notion of it was not, I think, extended for a good many centuries to any except white people. The premises of Christianity unquestionably included the Negro, but the notion of the blood kin excluded him, and Christianity, like other religious ideas, was limited to the people who first created it and to those who were actually or by some plausible fiction their kin in blood. The idea of the expansion of the blood kin by adoption either of an individual or of a community of individuals was very old and thoroughly well established, but I think the idea never was applied to Negroes, Indians, or Chinamen except in unfrequent cases of individuals. A volume would be required to bring forward all the available evidence regarding this idea, and another perhaps to examine and develop it, to consider and weigh the pros and meet the cons. But it will perhaps suffice for present purposes to throw out the idea for consideration without an attempt at more considerable defense.

Another fact which has been most difficult to explain has been the continued lynchings of Negroes not merely for crimes against women, but for all sorts of other crimes, large and small. Here the traces of primitive law are very much clearer. Lynching is after all nothing more nor less than the old self-help. The original notion was that the individual should execute the law himself when he could, and that he was entitled in case of crime to assistance from the community in the execution of the law upon the offender. Murder, arson, rape and the theft of cattle were the particular crimes for which self-help by the individual and by the community in his assistance were authorized by primitive law. The preliminaries and formularies were very definite, but they do not look to us of the present day like procedure. It is true, however, that there are very few lynchings in which these formulas have not been unconsciously followed. There must be a hue and cry and pursuit along the trail. The murderer must be immediately pursued. The person against whom the crime is committed or his next of kin must raise an immediate outcry, and they and the neighbors must proceed at once in pursuit. If they caught the criminal within a reasonable distance or within a reasonable time, they then were endowed by primitive law with the right to execute justice upon him themselves. Commonly the criminal was hanged (even for theft) when caught in the act, but barbarous punishments were not uncommon. That was legal procedure, provided the cry was raised, the pursuit undertaken, and the criminal caught within a reasonable number of hours or days as the case might be. The mob had the right to execute the law, and it is not often that lynchings take place long periods after the commission of the crime. Such for many centuries was the law in Europe for whites. Self-help applied in particular to men of different tribes or communities who were not of the same blood kin.

If self-help applied under certain conditions within the blood kin as it unquestionably did, that is to say, within the law, it applied with greater force to all classes and offenders who were outside the blood kin and were outside the law. If a stranger or an alien came within the community bounds and did not sound his horn, community law sanctioned his instant killing by anyone who met him. Men could not peaceably enter the precincts of the German tribes as late as the year 500 or 600 A.D. without being liable to instant death unless they complied with certain definite formularies. Until within five hundred years, the stranger was practically without rights in any country but his own, and might be dealt with violently by individuals or bodies of citizens. One has but to remember the tortures visited upon the Jews in all European countries with impunity to realize the truth of the doctrine of self-help when applied to strangers. There was literally no law to govern the situation. The courts did not deal with it, no penalties were provided for the restraining of individuals or of the community at large, dealing with strangers until a relatively recent time.

Is it not true that the difference in blood between the Negro and the white man has caused a survival of this notion of self-help, today illogical, unreasonable, absurd, but powerful none the less despite its technical infraction of the law of the land? Is not the lynching of a Negro or of a white man simply the old primitive self-help with the hue and cry and the execution of the victim when caught by the mob or by the sheriff's posse? There is perhaps no field of speculation so fascinating as this of the survival of bygone customs, traditions, and notions, in present society. At the same time he will be a poor and uncritical student who will not recognize the ease of erecting vast structures upon slender foundations. My purpose in this article is not to allege the necessary truth of this proposition, but, if possible, to stimulate along different lines than has been common the researches of those who are interested in the psychological attitude of the white man toward the Negro.

There will be no doubt those who will exclaim that if I am right in this analysis of the problem—indeed, if there be any reasonable modicum of truth in what I say—then the solution of the problem will be difficult in the extreme. The whole method of attack upon it will be altered. A long educational campaign will become the main feature, intended to expose the true basis of the white man's denial of real equality to the Negro race. It will look like a battle too long to be waged with courage because the victory will be far in the future. I do not agree. The attack, if properly directed, and vigorously followed up, will, like the assault of the woman suffragists upon equally ancient instinctive promptings, be unexpectedly successful. The walls of the fortress are thin and the defenders the wraiths of a dim past.



The colonization of the emancipated slaves had been one of the remedies for the difficulties created by the presence of freedmen in the midst of slave conditions. The American Colonization Society was founded in 1816 with the object of promoting emancipation by sending the freedmen to Africa. Some of the slave States, moreover, had laws compelling the freedmen to leave the State in which they had formerly resided as slaves. With an increasingly large number securing legal manumission, the problem caused by their presence became to the slaveholding group a most serious one. The Colonization Society, therefore, sought to colonize the freedmen on the west coast of Africa, thus definitely removing the problem which was of such concern to the planters in slaveholding States.

The colony of Liberia, on the west coast of Africa, was chosen as a favorable one to receive the group of freed slaves. Branches of the Colonization Society were organized in many States and a large membership was secured throughout the country. James Madison and Henry Clay were among its Presidents. Many States made grants of money and the United States Government encouraged the plan by sending to the colony slaves illegally imported. But to the year 1830 only 1,162 Negroes had been sent to Liberia. The full development of the cotton gin, the expansion of the cotton plantation and the consequent rise in the price of slaves forced many supporters of both emancipation and colonization to lose their former ardor.

As the antebellum period of the fifties came on these questions loomed larger in the public view. The proposition for colonizing free Negroes grew in favor as the slavery question grew more acute between the sections. Reformers favored it, public men of note urged its adoption and finally, as the forensic strife between the representatives of the two sections of the country developed in intensity, even distinguished statesmen began to propose and consider the adoption of colonization schemes.[2]

Abraham Lincoln, as early as 1852, gave a clear demonstration of his interest in colonization by quoting favorably in one of his public utterances an oft-repeated statement of Henry Clay,—"There is a moral fitness in the idea of returning to Africa her children, whose ancestors have been torn from her by the ruthless hand of fraud and violence."[3] In popular parlance, however, Lincoln is not a colonizationist. He has become not only the Great Emancipator but the Great Lover of the Negro and promoter of his welfare. He is thought of, popularly always, as the champion of the race's equality. A visit to some of our emancipation celebrations or Lincoln's birthday observances is sufficient to convince one of the prevalence of this sentiment. Yet, although Lincoln believed in the destruction of slavery, he desired the complete separation of the whites and blacks.

Throughout his political career Lincoln persisted in believing in the colonization of the Negro.[4] In the Lincoln-Douglas debates the beginning of this idea may be seen. Lincoln said: "If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves and send them to Liberia—to their own native land. But a moment's reflection would convince me that, whatever of high hope (as I think there is) there may be in this, in the long run its sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed there in a day, they would all perish in the next ten days; and there are not surplus shipping and surplus money enough in the world to carry them there in many times ten days. What then? Free them all and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition? I think that I would not hold one in slavery at any rate, yet the point is not clear enough for me to denounce people upon. What next? Free them and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this, and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of whites will not. Whether this feeling accords with sound judgment is not the sole judgment, if indeed it is any part of it."[5]

A few years later in a speech in Springfield, Lincoln said:[6] "The enterprise is a difficult one, but where there is a will there is a way, and what colonization needs most is a hearty will. Will springs from the two elements of moral sense and self-interest. Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and at the same time favorable to, or at least not against our interests to transfer the African to his native clime, and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be."[7] It is apparent, therefore, that before coming to the presidency, Lincoln had quite definite views on the matter of colonization. His interest arose not only with the good of the freedmen in view, but with the welfare of the white race in mind, as he is frank enough to state.

After being made President, the question of colonization arose again. Large numbers of slaves in the Confederate States not only became actually free by escape and capture but also legally free through the operation of the confiscation acts. In this new condition, their protection and care was to a considerable extent thrown upon the government. To solve this problem Lincoln decided upon a plan of compensated emancipation which would affect the liberation of slaves in the border States, and he further considered the future of the recently emancipated slaves and those to be freed.[8]

Taking up this question in his first annual message, he said: "It might be well to consider, too, whether the free colored people already in the United States could not so far as individuals may desire be included in such colonization," (meaning the colonization of certain persons who were held by legal claims to the labor and service of certain other persons, and by the act of confiscating property used for insurrectory purposes had become free, their claims being forfeited). "To carry out the plan of colonization may involve the acquiring of territory, and also the appropriation of money beyond that to be expended in the territorial acquisition. Having practiced the acquisition of territory for nearly sixty years, the question of constitutional power to do so is no longer an open one to us.... On this whole proposition, including the appropriation of money with the acquisition of territory, does not the expediency amount to absolute necessity—that without which the government itself cannot be perpetuated?"[9]

Congress responded to this recommendation in separate acts, providing in an act, April 16, 1862, for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia, including those to be liberated by this act, as may desire to emigrate to the Republic of Hayti or Liberia, or such other country beyond the limits of the United States, as the President may determine, provided the expenditure does not exceed one hundred dollars for each immigrant.[10] The act provided that the sum of $100,000 out of any money in the Treasury should be expended under the direction of the President to aid the colonization and settlement of such persons of African descent now residing in the District of Columbia.[11] It further provided that later, on July 16, an additional appropriation of $500,000 should be used in securing the colonization of free persons.[12] A resolution directly authorizing the President's participation provided "that the President is hereby authorized to make provision for the transportation, colonization and settlement in some tropical country beyond the limits of the United States, of such persons of the African race, made free by the provisions of this act, as may be willing to emigrate, having first obtained the consent of the government of said country to their protection and settlement within the same, with all the rights and privileges of freemen."[13] The consent of Congress was given under protest and opposition from some individual members. Charles Sumner in and out of Congress attacked the plan with vigor,[14] but in spite of this opposition the recommendation was carried.

On several occasions Lincoln seized the opportunity to present his views and plans to visiting groups and committees. On July 16, 1862, when the President was desirous of securing the interest of the border State representatives in favor of compensated emancipation the plan for colonization came to light. His appeal to these representatives was: "I do not speak of emancipation at once but of a decision to emancipate gradually. Room in South America for colonization can be obtained cheaply and in abundance, and when numbers shall be large enough to be company and encouragement to one another the freed people will not be so reluctant to go."[15]

Again on the afternoon of August 14, 1862, the President gave an audience to a committee of men of color at the White House. They were introduced by Rev. J. Mitchell, Commissioner of Emigration. E. M. Thomas, the chairman, remarked that they were there by invitation to hear what the executive had to say to them. Having all been seated the President informed them that a sum of money had been appropriated by Congress and placed at his disposal for the purpose of aiding colonization in some country, of the people, or a portion of those of African descent, thereby making it his duty as it had been for a long time his inclination to favor that cause. "And why," he asked, "should the people of your race be colonized and where? Why should they leave this country? You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think. Your race suffer very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word we suffer on each side. If this is admitted it affords a reason why we should be separated. If we deal with those who are not free at the beginning and whose intellects are clouded by slavery we have very poor material to start with. If intelligent colored men, such as are before me, would move in this matter much might be accomplished. It is exceedingly important that we have men at the beginning capable of thinking as white men and not those who have been systematically opposed."

The place the President proposed at this time was a colony in Central America, seven days' run from one of the important Atlantic ports by steamer. He stated that there was great evidence of rich coal mines, excellent harbors, and that the new colony was situated on the highways from the Atlantic or Caribbean to the Pacific Oceans. He told this delegation of men to take their full time in making a reply to him. The delegation withdrew, and we are unable to discover any information regarding the reply. Evidently the group of men never returned to make reply to the appeal of the President.[16]

In the Second Annual Message December 1, 1862, more practical suggestions were made to Congress by the President. Says he: "Applications have been made to me by many free Americans of African descent to favor their emigration, with a view to such colonization as was contemplated in recent acts of Congress. Other parties at home and abroad—some upon interested motives, others upon patriotic considerations, and still others influenced by philanthropic sentiments have suggested similar measures; while on the other hand several of the Spanish American Republics have protested against the sending of such colonies to their respective territories. Under these circumstances I have declined to move any such colony to any State without first obtaining the consent of the government, with an agreement on its part to receive and protect such emigrants in all the rights of freemen. I have at the same time offered to several States situated within the tropics, or having colonies there to negotiate with them, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, to favor the voluntary emigration of persons of that class to their respective territories upon conditions which shall be equal, just and humane. Liberia and Hayti are as yet the only countries to which colonies of African descent from here could go with certainty of being received and adopted as citizens; and I regret to say such persons contemplating colonization do not seem so willing to go to those countries as to some others, nor so willing as I think their interest demands. I believe, however, opinion among them in this respect is improving; and that ere long there will be an augmented and considerable migration to both countries from the United States."

Later in the same message Congress is requested to appropriate money and prepare otherwise for colonizing free colored persons with their own consent at some place without the United States. The President continues: "I cannot make it better known than it already is, that I strongly favor colonization and yet I wish to say there is an objection urged against free colored persons remaining in the country, which is largely imaginary, if not sometimes malicious. It is insisted that their presence would injure and displace white labor and white laborers. Is it true then that colored people can displace any more white labor by being free than by remaining slaves? If they stay in their old places they jostle no white laborers; if they leave their old places they leave them open to white laborers. Logically then there is neither more nor less of it. Emancipation even without deportation would probably enhance the wages of white labor and very surely would not reduce them. Reduce the supply of black labor by colonizing the black laborer out of the country and by precisely so much you increase the demand for and wages of white labor."[17]

Pursuant to the power given the President, negotiations were begun with the foreign powers having territory or colonies within the tropics, through the Secretary of State, W. H. Seward, mainly to ascertain if there was any desire on the part of these governments for entering into negotiation on the subject of colonization. Negotiations were to be begun only with those powers which might desire the benefit of such emigration. It was suggested that a ten years' treaty should be signed between the United States and the countries desiring immigration. The latter were required to give specific guarantees for "the perpetual freedom, protection and equal rights of the colonies and their descendants." Before and after the transmission of the proposals to foreign countries, propositions came from the Danish Island of St. Croix in the West Indies, the Netherland Colony of St. Swinam, the British Colony of Guiana, the British Colony of Honduras, the Republic of Hayti, the Republic of Liberia, New Granada and Ecuador. The Republics of Central America, Guatemala, Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, objected to such emigration as undesirable.[20]

Great Britain rejected the proposal as a governmental proposition on the ground that it might involve the government in some difficulty with the United States government because of fugitives, and therefore expressed her disagreement with such a convention. Seward had asserted that there was no objection to voluntary emigration; the government of British Honduras and Guiana then appointed immigration agents who were to promote the immigration of laborers by using Boston, New York and Philadelphia as emigration ports.

The President came to be of the firm opinion that emigration must be voluntary and without expense to those who went. This was repeatedly asserted according to reports of the Cabinet meeting by Gideon Wells.[21] The Netherlands sought to secure a labor supply for the colony of Swinan for a term of years, using the freedmen as hired laborers. Seward objected to the acceptance of such a proposal.

Of all the propositions offered President Lincoln seemed satisfied with two—one was for the establishment of a colony in the harbor of Chiriqui in the northeastern section of the State of Panama,[22] near the republics of New Granada and Costa Rica. The situation seemed favorable not only because of the ordinary advantages of soil and climate but also because of its proximity to a proposed canal across the Isthmus of Darien and because of its reputedly rich coal fields. There were two objections to this plan. One was the existence of a dispute over territory between the republics of Costa Rica and Granada. The other grew out of a specific examination of the coal fields by Professor Henry of the Smithsonian Institute.[23] His report doubted the value of the coal bed and advised a more thorough examination before closing the purchase. Before the project could be examined a more acceptable proposition appeared. In addition it also developed that there was opposition to Negro emigration from several of the States of Central America.[24]

An effort was then made to establish a colony on the island of A'Vache in the West Indies. This colony was described in a letter to the President by Bernard Kock, represented to be a business man. This site was described as the most beautiful, healthy and fertile of all the islands belonging to the Republic of Hayti, and in size of about one hundred square miles. "As would be expected," writes Kock, "in a country like this, soil and climate are adapted for all tropical production, particularly sugar, coffee, indigo, and more especially cotton which is indigenous. Attracted by its beauty, the value of its timber, its extreme fertility and its adaptation for cultivation, I prevailed on President Geffrard of Hayti to concede to me the island, the documentary evidence of which has been lodged with the Secretary of the Interior."[25]

On December 31, 1862, there was signed a contract by which, for a compensation of $50 per head, Kock agreed to colonize 5,000 Negroes, binding himself to furnish the colonies with comfortable homes, garden lots, churches, schools and employ them four years at varying rates. He further agreed to obtain from the Haytian government a guarantee that all such emigrants and their posterity should forever remain free, and in no case be reduced to bondage, slavery or involuntary servitude except for crimes; and they should specially acquire, hold and transmit property and all other privileges of persons common to inhabitants of a country in which they reside. It would be further stipulated that in case of indigence resulting from injury, sickness or age, any such emigrants who should become pauperous should not thereupon be suffered to perish or come to want, but should be supported and cared for as is customary with similar inhabitants of the country in which they should be residents.[26]

Kock also proposed a scheme to certain capitalists in New York and Boston. This had nothing to do with the contract with the President. He proposed to transport 500 of these emigrants at once, begin work on the plantations, and by the end of the following September—a period of eight or nine months—he estimated that this group could raise a crop of 1,000 bales of cotton. It was planned that the colonists should secure from the island a profit of more than 600 per cent in nine months. Kock estimated his necessary expenses as $70,000, and all expense incurred by freighting ships and collecting immigrants was to be borne by the government. It soon became known to the government that Kock had sought the aid of capitalists and money makers. Suspicion as to the honesty of his purposes was then aroused. It was finally discovered also that he was in league with certain confederates to hand over slaves to him as captured runaways on the condition of receiving a price for their return. Lincoln investigated the matter and discovered that Kock was a mere adventurer and the agreement with him was cancelled.[27]

A certain group of capitalists, whose names are not mentioned, then secured the lease from Kock and entered into contract with the government through the Secretary of the Interior, April 6, 1863.[28] Under this agreement a shipload of colonists from the contrabands at Fortress Monroe, said to number 411-435, were embarked.[29] An infectious disease broke out through the presence on board of patients from the military hospital on Craney Island and from twenty to thirty died. On the arrival in the colony no hospitals were ready, no houses were provided, and the resulting conditions were appalling. Kock was sent along as Governor, and he is said to have put on the air of a despot and by his neglect of the sick and needy to have made himself obnoxious.

Rumors of the situation came to the President and he sent a special agent, D. C. Donnohue, who investigated the matter and made a report. Donnohue elaborately described the deplorable situation of the inhabitants, the wretched condition of the small houses and the prevalence of sickness. He further reported that the Haytian government was unwilling that emigrants should remain upon the island and that the emigrants themselves desired to return to the United States. Acting upon the report, the President ordered the Secretary of War to dispatch a vessel to bring home the colonists desiring to return.[30] On the fourth of March the vessel set sail and landed at the Potomac River opposite Alexandria on the twentieth of the same month. On the twelfth of March, 1864, a report was submitted to the Senate showing what portion of the appropriation for colonization had been expended and the several steps which had been taken for the execution of the acts of Congress.[31] On July 2, 1864, Congress repealed its appropriation and no further effort was made at colonization.[32]

The failure of this project did not dim the vision of the successful colonization of the freed slaves in the mind of President Lincoln. As late as April, 1865, according to report, the following conversation is said to have ensued between the President and General Benjamin F. Butler: "But what shall we do with the Negroes after they are free?" inquired Lincoln. "I can hardly believe that the South and North can live in peace unless we get rid of the Negroes. Certainly they cannot, if we don't get rid of the Negroes whom we have armed and disciplined and who have fought with us, to the amount, I believe, of some 150,000 men. I believe that it would be better to export them all to some fertile country with a good climate, which they could have to themselves. You have been a staunch friend of the race from the time you first advised me to enlist them at New Orleans. You have had a great deal of experience in moving bodies of men by water—your movement up the James was a magnificent one. Now we shall have no use for our very large navy. What then are our difficulties in sending the blacks away?... I wish you would examine the question and give me your views upon it and go into the figures as you did before in some degree as to show whether the Negroes can be exported." Butler replied: "I will go over this matter with all diligence and tell you my conclusions as soon as I can." The second day after that Butler called early in the morning and said: "Mr. President, I have gone very carefully over my calculations as to the power of the country to export the Negroes of the South and I assure you that, using all your naval vessels and all the merchant marines fit to cross the seas with safety, it will be impossible for you to transport to the nearest place that can be found fit for them—and that is the Island of San Domingo, half as fast as Negro children will be born here."[33]

This completes all of the evidence obtainable concerning Lincoln's thought and plan for the colonization of the slaves freed by his proclamation. From the earliest period of his public life it is easily discernable that Abraham Lincoln was an ardent believer and supporter of the colonization idea. It was his plan not only to emancipate the Negro, but to colonize him in some foreign land. His views were presented not only to interested men of the white race, but to persons of color as well. As may have been expected, the plan for colonization failed, both because in principle such a plan would have been a great injustice to the newly emancipated race, and in practice it would have proved an impracticable and unsuccessful solution of the so-called race problem.



[1] Cf. Chapter XVII, Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, a History.

[2] President Fillmore in his last message to Congress proposed a plan for Negro colonization and advocated its adoption. This part of his message was suppressed on the advice of his cabinet; but even had this not been done, there is no reason to suppose that the plan would have been adopted. President Buchanan made arrangements with the American Colonization Society for the transportation of a number of slaves captured on the slaver, Echo, in 1858.

[3] Eulogy on Henry Clay, delivered in the State House at Springfield, Illinois, July 16, 1852. The quotation here noted is taken from a speech by Henry Clay before the American Colonization Society, 1827. Lincoln continued: "If as friends of colonization hope, the present and coming generations of our countrymen shall by any means succeed in freeing our land from the dangerous presence of slavery, and at the same time in restoring a captive people to their long lost fatherland with bright prospects for the future, and this too so gradually that neither races nor individuals shall have suffered by the change, it will be a glorious consummation." The Works of Abraham Lincoln, Federal Edition, edited by A.B. Lapsley, VIII, pp. 173-174.

[4] "The political creed of Abraham Lincoln embraced among other tenets, a belief in the value and promise of colonization as one means of solving the great race problem involved in the existence of slavery in the United States.... Without being an enthusiast, Lincoln was a firm believer in Colonization." Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln—A History, VI, p. 354.

[5] Speech at Peoria, Ill., in reply to Douglas. Life and Works of Abraham Lincoln, II, Early Speeches. Centenary Edition, edited by M.M. Miller. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, October 16, 1854; p. 74.

[6] In the same speech, Lincoln said: "I have said that the separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation.... Such separation, if ever effected at all, must be effected by Colonization." The Works of Abraham Lincoln, Federal Edition, edited by A. B. Lapsley, II, p. 306.

[7] Nicolay and Hay, Speeches, Letters and State Papers, Abraham Lincoln, I, p. 235. Lincoln's Springfield Speech, June 26, 1857.

[8] Ibid., VI, p. 356.

[9] Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, VI, p. 54. First Annual Message, December 3, 1861.

[10] Section XI of Act approved April 16, 1862.

[11] Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, VI, p. 356. Act approved July 16, 1862.

[12] Raymond, Life, Public Services and State Papers, p. 504.

[13] Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, VI, p. 357.

[14] Charles Sumner in a speech before a State Committee in Massachusetts, said: "A voice from the west—God save the west—revives the exploded theory of colonization, perhaps to divert attention from the great question of equal rights. To that voice, I reply, first, you ought not to do it, and secondly, you cannot do it. You ought not to do it, because besides its intrinsic and fatal injustice, you will deprive the country of what it most needs, which is labor. Those freedmen on the spot are better than mineral wealth. Each is a mine, out of which riches can be drawn, provided you let him share the product, and through him that general industry will be established which is better than anything but virtue, and is, indeed, a form of virtue. It is vain to say that this is a white man's country. It is the country of man. Whoever disowns any member of the human family as brother disowns God as father, and thus becomes impious as well as inhuman. It is the glory of republican institutions that they give practical form to this irresistible principle. If anybody is to be sent away, let it be the guilty and not the innocent."—Charles Sumner's Complete Works, XII, Section 3, p. 334.

[15] Nicolay and Hay, Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, II, p. 205. Nicolay and Hay, A History of Abraham Lincoln, VI, p. 356.

[16] Raymond, Life, Public Services and State Papers of Abraham Lincoln, p. 504. Nicolay and Hay, Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, VIII, p. 1.

[17] Richardson, The Messages and Papers of the President, 1789-1897, p. 127. Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, VIII, p. 97.

[18] A section of the emancipation proclamation states that it is the President's purpose upon the next meeting of Congress to recommend the adoption of a practical measure so that the effort to "colonize persons of African decent with their consent, upon this continent or elsewhere with the previously obtained consent of the governments existing there," will be continued. Nicolay and Hay, A History, VI, p. 168.

[19] It is interesting to note that the colored population seemed very little in favor of colonization. "It is something singular that the colored race—those in reality most interested in the future destinies of Africa—should be so lightly affected by the evidences continually being presented in favor of colonization." The National Intelligencer, October 23, 1850. But an address issued by the National Emigration Convention of Colored people held at Cleveland, Ohio, urged the colored inhabitants of the United States seriously to consider the question of migrating to some foreign clime. See also JOURNAL OF NEGRO HISTORY, "Attitude of Free Negro on African Colonization," I.

[20] Diplomatic Correspondence, Part I, p. 202. Nicolay and Hay. Complete Works, p. 357.

[21] "Mr. Bates was for compulsory deportation. The Negro would not," he said, "go voluntary." "He had great local attachment but no enterprise or persistency. The President objected unequivocally to compulsion. The emigration must be voluntary and without expense to themselves. Great Britain, Denmark and perhaps other powers would take them. I remarked there was no necessity for a treaty which had been suggested. Any person who desired to leave the country could do so now, whether white or black, and it was best to have it so—a voluntary system; the emigrant who chose to leave our shores could and would go where there were the best inducements." Diary of Gideon Wells, I, p. 152.

[22] Cf. Account by Charles K. Tuckerman, Magazine of American History, October, 1886.

[23] Joseph Henry said to Assistant Secretary of State, September 5, 1862: "I hope the government will not make any contracts in regard to the purchase of the Chiriqui District until it has been thoroughly examined by persons of known capacity and integrity. A critical examination of all that has been reported on the existence of valuable beds of coal in that region has failed to convince me of the fact." Chiriqui is described in report Number 148, House of Representatives, 37th Congress, Second Session, July 16, 1862, by John Evans, geologist.

[24] "There was an indisposition to press the subject of Negro Emigration to Chiriqui at the meeting of the Cabinet against the wishes and remonstrances of the states of Central America." Diary of Gideon Wells, I, p. 162.

[25] Manuscript Archives of the Department of the Interior.

[26] Nicolay and Hay, A History, VI, p. 361.

[27] Richardson, Message and Papers of the President, I, p. 167.

[28] Nicolay and Hay, A History, VI, p. 362.

[29] Complete records to substantiate this statement have not been discovered.

[30] Lincoln addressed thus the Secretary of War, February 1, 1864: "Sir; You are directed to have a transport ... sent to the colored colony of San Domingo to bring back to this country such of the colonists there as desire to return. You will have a transport furnished with suitable supplies for that purpose and detail an officer of the quartermaster department, who under special instructions to be given shall have charge of the business. The colonists will be brought to Washington unless otherwise hereafter directed to be employed and provided for at the camps for colored persons around that city. Those only will be brought from the island who desire to return and their effects will be brought with them."

[31] Nicolay and Hay, Complete Works, II, p. 477.

[32] Statutes at Large, XIII, p. 352.

[33] Butler's Reminiscences, pp. 903-904.


Lemuel Haynes was born July 18, 1753, at West Hartford, Conn. He was a man of color, his father being of "unmingled African extraction, and his mother a white woman of respectable ancestry in New England." She was then a hired girl in the employ of a farmer who had a neighbor to whom belonged the Negro to whom the woman became attached. Haynes took neither the name of his father nor of his mother, but probably that of the man in whose home he was born. It is said that his mother, in a fit of displeasure with her host for some supposed neglect, called her child by the farmer's name. Mr. Haynes took the young mother to task, and while yet the baby was but a few days old, she disappeared. As she was the daughter of a Tolland County farmer, Mr. Haynes shielded the family from disgrace by having the child take his name with that of Lemuel which in Hebrew signifies "consecrated to God." The mother never had anything to do with her child, and it is said she married a white man, and lived a respectable life. Lemuel providentially met his mother once in an adjoining town, at the house of a relative, fondly expecting that he would receive some kind attentions from her. He was sadly disappointed, however, for she eluded the interview. Catching a glimpse of her at length when she was attempting to escape from him he accosted her in the language of severe but merited rebuke.

Mr. Haynes kept Lemuel till he was five months old, and then had him "bound out" to Deacon David Rose, of Granville, Massachusetts, a man of singular piety. There Lemuel grew up, and lived for thirty-two years. One condition of his indenture was that, in common with other children, he should enjoy the usual advantage of a district school education. Yet, as schools of that section were decidedly backward, his early opportunities for instruction were very limited. Like other farmer boys, however, he was instructed in the fundamentals of education and the principles of religion. His duties often kept him from school, or caused him to arrive at a late hour. Yet he said, "As I had the advantage of attending a common school equal with other children, I was early taught to read, to which I was greatly attached and could vie with almost any of my age."[1] He soon formed the habit of studying the Bible and early made a profession of faith in the Christian religion. While young he was baptized by the Reverend Jonathan Huntington.

He quickly mastered the studies of the district school but he struggled forward, becoming his own teacher and subjecting his mind to unremitting and severe discipline. The scarcity of books was one of the severest difficulties which he had to encounter. There was no public library in the place. The Bible, Psalter, spelling-book, and perhaps a volume or two of sermons, comprised the library of the intellectual people of those towns. But says he: "I was constantly inquiring after books, especially in theology. I was greatly pleased with the writings of Watts and Doddridge, and with Young's Night Thoughts. My good master encouraged me in the matter."[2]

There came a turning point in Haynes's life when in 1775 the excellent and pious Mrs. Rose died. She had been more to him than an employer. Adopting him as her own son in early infancy, she tenderly trained him up to intellectual and Christian manhood. Speaking of this, Haynes said: "Soon after I came of age, God was pleased to take my mistress away, to my inexpressible sorrow. It caused me bitter mourning and lamentation."[3] Prostrated thus, he sought relief from his affliction in the service of the continental army.

Lemuel Haynes was a patriot of the Revolution. He early imbibed those great principles respecting "the rights of man," in defense of which the colonies fought Great Britain. In 1774 he enlisted as a minute man. Under the regulations of this enlistment he was required to spend one day in the week in manual exercises, and to hold himself in readiness for actual service, but soon after the battle at Lexington the following year he joined the regular army at Roxbury. The next year he volunteered to join the expedition to Ticonderoga to expel the enemy. Referring to this service in an address some years later Haynes said: "Perhaps it is not ostentatious in the speaker to observe that in early life he devoted all for the sake of freedom and independence, and endured frequent campaigns in their defense, and has never viewed the sacrifice too great. And should an attack be made on this sacred ark, the poor remains of life would be devoted to its defense."

After the close of his northern campaign he returned to his former home to engage in agricultural pursuits. But while thus engaged he little anticipated the designs of Providence concerning him. Improving his leisure hours, he had made considerable progress in the study of theology. At length he selected his text, and composed a sermon, without education or teacher. It happened thus: In the family of Deacon Rose, the evening preceding the Sabbath was customarily devoted to family instruction and religious worship. Haynes was occasionally asked to read from the sermons of Watts, Whitefield, Doddridge or Davies. Called upon to read as usual one evening, he slipped into the book his own sermon which he had written, and read it to the family. Greatly delighted and edified by this sermon read with unusual vivacity and feeling, Deacon Rose, who was then blind, inquired: "Lemuel, whose work is that which you have been reading? Is it Davies's sermon, or Watts's, or Whitefield's?" Haynes blushed and hesitated, but at last was obliged to confess the truth—"It's Lemuel's sermon."[4]

It was then discovered that in this young man was the promise of usefulness. The community encouraged him to look forward to the Christian ministry. Referring to this, he said: "I was solicited by some to obtain a collegiate education, with a view to the gospel ministry. A door was opened for it at Dartmouth College, but I shrunk at the thought. Reverend Mr. Smith encouraged me with many others. I was at last persuaded to attend to studying the learned languages. I was invited (1779) by the Reverend Daniel Farrand, of Canaan, Connecticut, to visit him. I accordingly did. With him I resided some time, studying the Latin language."[5]

How long he studied under Mr. Farrand is not known. He devoted a part of his time to belles lettres and the writing of sermons. While with Mr. Farrand, Haynes composed a poem which was surreptitiously taken from his desk and afterward delivered by a plagiarist at a certain college on the day of commencement. During these years he labored in the field to defray the expense of board and tuition, but the mind of this student underwent unusual development for which Mr. Haynes retained to the end of life a grateful remembrance of his friend and patron.

After making an extensive study of the Latin language, he felt a desire to study Greek that he might read the New Testament in the original, but he had no means to prosecute this study. While in doubt as to how he could attain so desirable an end the Reverend William Bradford, of Wintonbury, a small parish composed, as its name imports, of a part of three towns, Winsor, Farmington and Symsbury, offered to instruct him in the Greek language. This benefactor promised also to secure there for Mr. Haynes a school paying him sufficient money to defray his expenses. Mr. Haynes said: "I exerted myself to the utmost to instruct the children of my school, and found I gave general satisfaction. The proficiency I made in studying the Greek language I found greatly exceeded the expectations of my preceptor."[6] He was thus serving as a "spiritual teacher in a respectable and enlightened congregation in New England, where he had been known from infancy only as a servant boy, and under all the disabilities of his humble extraction." "That reverence which it was the custom of the age to accord to ministers of the gospel," says his biographer, "was cheerfully rendered to Mr. Haynes."[7] All classes and ages were delighted with the sweet, animated eloquence of the man. In consideration of his talents Middlebury College later conferred upon him the degree of master of arts.[8]

This led friends to advise that he should be licensed to preach, and on November 29, 1780, after "an examination in the languages, sciences, doctrines and experimental religion," he was licensed and preached intelligently from Psalm 96:1. He was ordained soon thereafter. Then came an early call to begin his ministry at the Congregational meeting house at Middle Granville, where he labored five years, preaching eloquently with zeal. The time was one of moral darkness with intemperance, profanity and infidelity rife. Strange doctrines intruded. Vice came boldly forward, but, like a rock, the young minister stood by his Lord and faith.

Among the pious in the church was Bessie Babbitt. She was a woman of considerable education and was engaged as a teacher in her town. Looking to Heaven for guidance, she was led, with consistent delicacy, to offer her heart to her pastor. He commended the proposal to God in prayer, and consulted other ministers. Knowing his birth and race, he sought their counsel. They advised in favor, and on September 22, 1773, they were married. There began then their happy married life which was blessed with nine children.[9]

From his small retired parish, among the companions of his childhood, he was called to Torrington, Connecticut, where he continued preaching two years to large audiences.[10] It is said that at Torrington a leading citizen was much displeased that the church should have "a nigger minister," and, to show his disrespect, this man went to church and sat with his hat on his head. "He hadn't preached far," said he, "when I thought I saw the whitest man I ever knew in that pulpit, and I tossed my hat under the pew."

The number of communicants increased during the term of his residence in Torrington. Some of the most respectable families from adjoining towns, particularly from Goshen, became his warmest friends, who constantly attended on his ministry. His biographer says: "The aged refer to his ministry with many delightful recollections. He was held in high estimation, especially by the church, and was esteemed by all classes as "an apt and very ready man in the pulpit." The mere mention of his name even now, after the lapse of half a century, seems to renew in their minds interesting associations. The church and society were strengthened by his labors, and many wished to retain him as their permanent pastor. The sensibility of a few individuals prevented, it is said, the accomplishment of their desires.

His eloquence and Christian nobility won him much attention and led to his being called to the pastorate of the Congregational Church in West Rutland, Vermont. The town was a country seat, and the church was one of importance. Then in the meridian of life, rich with the spirit and devoted to his calling, he was singularly successful; and while there were those who saw in him "that colored minister," all knew his pure white soul. The first year of his pastorate he received forty-two members by profession. In 1803 there came a great revival, and there were one hundred and three conversions, together with one hundred and fifty in the adjoining town of Pittsfield. Five years later there was another revival and Haynes received one hundred and nine. Naturally he was in demand by other churches as a revival preacher.

At this time New England was in a very backward state. The genial influence of science and religion had not been generally felt. There was no college in Vermont and its only academy was the one at Norwich, near Dartmouth College. There were not more than four or five Congregational ministers on the west side of the Green Mountains. A religious revival of considerable extent, under the preaching of Reverend Jacob Wood and others, had resulted in the formation of small churches. Certain parts of Connecticut were not much more advanced. In 1804 the Connecticut Missionary Society, therefore, appointed Mr. Haynes to labor in the destitute sections of Vermont. In 1809 he was appointed to a similar service by the Vermont Missionary Society. In this capacity Haynes became a great factor in the religious awakening throughout New England at that time.

In 1814 he was fraternal delegate from the Vermont to the Connecticut Ministers' Association at Fairfield. On his way thither he stopped on Sunday at New Haven, where, at the Blue Church (formerly Dr. Edwards'), he preached a sermon to a crowded house, having in the audience President Dwight of Yale and many distinguished people. At Fairfield the association insisted on his preaching the annual sermon.

Haynes soon exhibited evidences of being no ordinary man. He readily engaged in the heated theological discussion of his time, taking first rank as a theologian.[11] His most interesting debate was that with the famous Hosea Ballou, whom Haynes vanquished in his famous sermon based on the text, Ye shall not surely die. Many strange doctrines were then abroad. A writer says: "The Stoddardian principle of admitting moral persons, without credible evidence of grace, to the Lord's Supper, and the half-way covenant by which parents, though not admitted to the Lord's Supper, were encouraged to offer their children in baptism, prevailed in many of the churches. Great apathy was prevalent among professing Christians, and the ruinous vices of profaneness, Sabbath-breaking and intemperance were affectingly prevalent among all classes. The spark of evangelical piety seemed to be nearly extinct in the churches. Revivals of religion were scarcely known except in the recollections of a former age. Some of the essential doctrines of grace were not received even by many in the churches.[12] Respecting the operations of the Holy Spirit, Mr. Haynes adopted the same principles as Edwards and Whitefield. He became effective in dispelling some of these clouds of doubt, bringing the people back to a more righteous conduct. Out of it he emerged a man of fame.

Happy as was this apostle in his work at Rutland the violent political controversy of his time was divided between two militant parties with one of which every freeman felt that he should be allied. Imbued with the spirit of the American Revolution, Haynes could not be neutral. "In principle," says his biographer, "he was a disciple of Washington and, therefore, favored those measures conducive of national government."[13] As party spirit rapidly developed into deeply rooted rancor, sharp differences of opinion led to controversy in his parish. Invited to preach on political occasions and in some cases to the public through the press, he discussed political affairs with such keenness and sarcasm that unprincipled parasites in his community were much disturbed. In one of his discourses he used the following expression: "A dissembler is one proud of applause—will advertise himself for office—dazzling the public man with high pretext, like aspiring Absolom, 'Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man might come unto me and I would do him justice.' Such subjects to applause and hypocrisy will, even when the destinies of their country are at stake, be to a commonwealth what Arnold was to American freedom or Robespierre to a French Republic."[14]

It was not long before political excitement disturbed the harmony between the pastor and the people in West Rutland. On certain occasions Haynes was treated with unkindness and even with abuse by unprincipled men. Scandalous reports concerning him were circulated and he was denounced with profane language. But he gloried in tribulations, knowing that "tribulations worketh patience and patience experience and experience hope and hope maketh not ashamed." Observing the signs of the times, therefore, and governed by prayerful deliberation he felt that he should sever his connection with his church in Rutland. Accordingly, on the 27th of April, 1818, at a council convened to consider the serious question the pastoral relation was by mutual consent dissolved.

Haynes was then invited to preach in Manchester, Vermont, a desirable town west of the Green Mountains. Because of his reputation as a preacher here Haynes had the helpful contact of the Honorable Richard Skinner, who in early life was elected a member of Congress and afterwards served as a judge of the Supreme Court and finally as Governor of Vermont. He associated also with Joseph Burr, the liberal benefactor of several literary and religious institutions.

In 1822 Haynes removed from Manchester to Granville, New York. He had enjoyed the support of the best people in that New England community and had usually found them a generous and enlightened people. Under his ministration at Manchester the church was much enlarged, but he was now declining in intellectual vivacity and realized that, although there was entire harmony between him and the people in Manchester, they should have a younger man. His church accordingly yielded to the desire of the Congregational Church in Granville, New York, and he took leave of Vermont to preach in another State.

In going to Granville, Haynes connected with the renowned Deacon Elihu Atkins, of Granville, with whom he had corresponded for more than thirty years. There had been a cherished intimacy between them from their youth. Atkins had for years relied upon the convincing instruction which he endeavored to obtain through correspondence with Haynes. These letters show the tenderness and the watchfulness of a pastor over a flock, which reminds one of the relation existing between Paul and the aged Philemon. During the eleven years which he spent at Granville, his congregation was decidedly edified. Thousands of persons giving evidence of their piety, joined the church and lived above reproach. While laboring among these people he died in the year 1833.

Thus passed away the man who was regarded by those who knew him as a worker of unusual ability and a preacher of power. Says his biographer: "Although the tincture of his skin, and all his features bore strong indications of his paternal original, yet in his early life there was a peculiar expression which indicated the finest qualities of mind. Many, on seeing him in the pulpit, have been reminded of the inspired expression, 'I am black, but comely.' In his case the remarkable assemblage of grace which was thrown around his semi-African complexion, especially his eye, could not fail to prepossess the stranger in his favor."[15]

He was a man of a feeling heart, always sensibly affected at the sight of human suffering. His sensibility knew no bounds. He exhibited quickness of perception and had the advantage of a never-failing memory. The confidence generally reposed in him by both ministers and the people credit him with having mature judgment. Although lacking in what is commonly known as classical education, as he never penetrated very far into the Greek and Latin classics, his mind was decidedly literary. He read the Latin language fairly well but had never read more than the Greek testament and Septuagint. He was well read, however, in the English classics and his discourses show taste for the beauties of poetry and elegant composition.

Haynes was always industrious, his early habits having been formed in the rigid pursuits of business. At home he was a man of the highest domestic virtue. His family government was strictly parental, based on reason and principle, not on passion or blind indulgence. He was always strict, ever adhering to a standard of the most Puritanic order. Having early formed the high ideals of uprightness, no man could ever bring against him the charge of dishonesty. Above all he was a man of consistent piety and resignation to the will of God.

His dying testimony was: "I love my wife, I love my children, but I love my Saviour better than all." A plain marble marks his grave. On it is this inscription, prepared by himself:

"Here lies the dust of a poor hell-deserving sinner, who ventured into eternity trusting wholly on the merits of Christ for salvation. In the full belief of the great doctrines he preached while on earth, he invites his children and all who read this, to trust their eternal interest on the same foundation."

So lived and died one of the noblest of the New England Congregational ministers of a century ago. Of illegitimate birth, and of no advantageous circumstances of family, rank or station, he became one of the choicest instruments of Christ. His face betrayed his race and blood, and his life revealed his Lord.



[1] Cooley, Sketches of the Life and Character of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, p. 36.

[2] Ibid., p. 38.

[3] The pious Deacon Rose lived some years thereafter and had the pleasure of seeing Lemuel a distinguished man. See Cooley, Sketches of the Life and Character of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, p. 40.

[4] Cooley, Sketches of the Life and Character of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, p. 48.

[5] Cooley, Sketches of the Life and Character of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, p. 60.

[6] Cooley, Sketches of the Life and Character of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, p. 63.

[7] Ibid., p. 66.

[8] Simmons, Men of Mark, p. 677.

[9] Ibid., p. 678.

[10] Special Report of the United States Commissioner of Education, 1871, p. 342.

[11] Woodson, The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861, p. 280.

[12] Cooley, Sketches of the Life and Character of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, p. 67.

[13] Ibid., p. 169; Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, XLIX, p. 234.

[14] Cooley, Sketches of the Life and Character of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, p. 170.

[15] Cooley, Sketches of the Life and Character of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, pp. 372-373.


The Anti-Slavery Society of Canada was one of the forms in which the abolition sentiment of the province of Upper Canada made its contribution to the final settlement of the great issue in the neighboring country. Though founded comparatively late in the struggle, it was, after all, rather the union of forces long active than the creation of some new weapon to aid the battle. The men and women who composed its membership were abolitionists long before the society was founded. Its purpose was solely to bring united effort to bear upon the great task and the great responsibility that fell upon Canada when the passing of the Fugitive Slave Bill drove the Negroes from the North into Canada by the hundreds, if not by the thousands. With newcomers arriving every day, destitute, friendless and more or less dazed by the experiences through which they had passed, it was no small task that these Canadian abolitionists had undertaken to care for the fugitives, give them opportunities for education and social advancement and enable them to show by their own efforts that they were capable of becoming useful citizens.

The society had its birth in Toronto in February, 1851. There had been attempts before this to found such an organization but they had come to nothing. By 1851, however, the situation in the United States had changed and the effect had at once shown itself in Canada, so that the time was ripe for the bringing into one body of the various individuals who had been showing themselves the friends of the slave. The Society of Canada continued active right through the fifties and early sixties, not resting until the aim for which it had been founded had been accomplished. With the close of the Civil War there was a large emigration of Negroes back to their own land where their freedom had been bought in blood, and the need of any large organization to look after their welfare as a race gradually ceased. During its period of active work, however, the society spread out from Toronto to all the larger cities and towns where there was a Negro population, and in both educational and relief work showed itself an energetic body. Included in its active membership were some of the best-known men in the province and as its organ it had an outstanding newspaper, The Globe, of Toronto.

The meeting held in Toronto was large and enthusiastic. The Globe of Toronto of March 1, gives almost five columns to the report of the proceedings. The mayor of the city acted as chairman and the opening prayer was made by Rev. Dr. Michael Willis, the principal of Knox Presbyterian Theological College. A series of four resolutions were proposed and endorsed. The first of these declared as a platform of the society that "slavery is an outrage on the laws of humanity" and that "its continued practice demands the best exertions for its extinction." A second resolution, proposed by Dr. Willis, declared the United States slave laws "at open variance with the best interests of man, as endowed by our great creator with the privilege of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." A third resolution expressed sympathy with the abolitionists in the United States, while the fourth and concluding resolution proposed the formation of the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada. "The object," it declared, "shall be to aid in the extinction of slavery all over the world by means exclusively lawful and peaceable, moral and religious, such as by the diffusing of useful information and argument, by tracts, newspapers, lectures and correspondence, and by manifesting sympathy with the houseless and homeless victims of slavery flying to our soil."

Rev. Dr. Willis was chosen as the first president, an office which he filled during the whole of the period of the struggle. Rev. William McClure, a Methodist clergyman of the New Connection branch, was named as secretary, with Andrew Hamilton as treasurer and Captain Charles Stuart, corresponding secretary. A large committee was also named including, among others, George Brown, editor of The Globe, and Oliver Mowat, later a premier of the province of Ontario.

The aims of the society, as set forth in the resolution of organization, called for both educational and relief work. No time was lost in beginning each of these. Within a month after the founding of the society it was holding public meetings, both in Toronto and elsewhere throughout the province. The speakers included George Thompson, the noted English abolitionist; Fred Douglass, the Negro orator, and Rev. S. J. May, of Syracuse. Some hostility developed, The Patriot charging George Thompson with being an abolitionist for sordid motives, while The Leader called him a "hireling." Thompson, defending himself, declared that if he had sold his talents, as charged, he would not be found fighting the slaves' battle but would be sitting by the side of bloated prostitution in Washington." There were even some clerical critics of the society and its work. The Church, a denominational publication, took the ground that Canada was not bound in any way to denounce "compulsory labor." It was quite sufficient to welcome the slave when he came to Canada. To this The Globe replied that it was "truly melancholy to find men in the nineteenth century teaching doctrines which are only fit for the darkest ages."[1]

All through these earlier years of the society's history the public meetings were continued, much use being made of men like Rev. S. R. Ward and Rev. J. W. Loguen, who had known at first hand what slavery meant to their race. Rev. S. R. Ward was appointed an agent of the society in 1851 and traveled the province over, giving the facts with regard to slavery to awaken Canadian sentiment against it and asking aid and kindness for the fugitives then coming to the country in large numbers. Mr. Ward was instrumental in forming branches and auxiliaries of the society at a number of places and has left on record his own impressions of the efforts that were put forth on behalf of the refugees.[2]

The Globe, under Brown as editor, was a stout ally. Brown's personal interest in the fugitives was marked. His private generosity to the needy has been recorded by one of his biographers but greater service was rendered through the columns of his paper. He was outspoken in denunciation of anything that savored of an alliance with slavery. Canada, he believed, should stand four square against the whole system of human bondage. "We, too, are Americans," he declared on one occasion. "On us, as well as on them, lies the duty of preserving the honor of the continent. On us, as on them, rests the noble trust of shielding free institutions."[3]

Relief work in Toronto was looked after by a Ladies' Auxiliary, this being the general practice wherever branches were organized. The wives of the officers of the general or parent society figured largely in the work at Toronto. During the first year of the work in that city more than $900 was raised by the Ladies' Auxiliary. The report for 1853-5 says: "During the past inclement winter much suffering was alleviated and many cases of extreme hardship prevented. Throughout the year the committee continued to observe the practice of appointing weekly visitors to examine into the truth of every statement made by applicants for aid. In this way between 200 and 300 cases have been attended to, each receiving more or less according to their circumstances."[4] A night school opened in Toronto gave to the younger men and women an opportunity to get a little education.

The Canadian Society, at an early date in its history, entered into working relations with the anti-slavery societies of Great Britain and the United States. At the first anniversary meeting, held in March, 1852, a letter was presented from Lewis Tappan, secretary of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, enclosing a resolution of the executive of the American society to the effect that the committee had heard of the formation of the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada at Toronto with much satisfaction, and that they would be pleased to maintain correspondence with this society and unite their efforts for the promotion of the great cause of human freedom on this continent and throughout the world. At the same meeting there were read messages of greeting from S. H. Gay, secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and from John Scoble, secretary of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.[5] At this first anniversary meeting the society was able to report a change in public sentiment toward its aims. At the start there had been coldness and some prejudice but this had largely disappeared and some who had formerly been hostile were now supporters.

The colonization question was before the society in its early period. In August, 1851, Toronto was visited by Rev. S. Oughten, a Jamaican, and later by William Wemyss Anderson, also of Jamaica. The question was also brought to the attention of the government of the province and the Governor-General asked the executive of the society to tender its opinion of the plan. Their decision was altogether unfavorable to colonization whether in Trinidad or Jamaica. With regard to Trinidad their opinion was that slavery in a modified form still existed there. Jamaica, they thought, had nothing to attract the refugee more than Canada, and the society was placed on record as approving the findings of the Great North American convention of colored people, which had met in Toronto the preceding September, to the effect that western Canada was the most desirable place of resort for colored people on the American continent, and that colored people in the United States should emigrate to Canada rather than to the West Indies or Africa, since in Canada they would be better able to assist their brethren flying from slavery. With regard to the American Colonization Society the finding of the Canadian Anti-Slavery Society was that its professions of promoting the abolition of slavery were "altogether delusive." It had originated with slaveholders and was protected by them to rid the country of free Negroes. "A colonization and a bitter, pro-slavery man are almost convertible terms," it was stated.[6]

The attitude taken by the church bodies in Canada towards this new movement is of interest. In general there was not much active support. George Brown brought forward a resolution at the 1852 meeting, deploring the indifference of some church bodies. Dr. Willis had been instrumental in getting the Presbyterians in line, a strong stand having been taken by the synod which declared by resolution that slavery was "inhuman, unjust and dishonoring to the common creator as it is replete with wrong to the subjects of such oppression." A second resolution called upon churches everywhere to testify against legislation which violated the commands of God and declared that the synod must condemn any alliance between religion and oppression, no matter how the latter might be bolstered up by the use of Scripture.

At the 1857 meeting the attitude of the churches was again to the front. Dr. Willis thought it was time that every church synod and conference in Canada should give up one day of its sessions to prayer and humiliation over the presence of human slavery so nearby. It was the duty of all the churches to remonstrate on this question. Rev. Dr. Dick, who followed, declared that the church was "the bulwark of the system." There were churches in Canada which fraternized with those in the United States that patronized slavery. He was equally outspoken on the attitude of the Sons of Temperance in deciding, against his protest, to shut out Negroes from its membership. There were several protests at this 1857 meeting against some slight evidences of race prejudice. Rev. Mr. Barrass said that, as the Negroes in Toronto set an example to the whites in morality, there was the less reason for any prejudice. Thomas Henning, the secretary of the society, probably put the matter right when he pointed out that talk of prejudice must not be understood as general. Negroes were not excluded from the schools, and the laws were administered to white and black alike. He drew attention to the dismissal of a magistrate who had been suspected of conniving at the return of a fugitive, as also to the case of a member of Parliament who had sought to have Negro immigration stopped and had been simply laughed at.

Necessity for action along industrial lines to provide suitable employment for the fugitives was emphasized by the Canadian Anti-Slavery Society and efforts were made to give the black man a fair chance in his new home. The question of cheap land for the immigrants was also kept to the front with the idea of making the refugees more self-dependent and preventing them from congregating in the cities and towns. Some idea of the extent of the relief work being carried on at this time may be gained from the statement presented at the 1857 meeting which showed disbursements of more than $2,200, a total of over 400 having been relieved.

Reference has been made to the support given the society by The Globe, of Toronto. For this George Brown was given the credit but it must be said in justice that no small share of the credit for The Globe's attitude should go to the lesser known brother, Gordon Brown, who was regarded by many as really more zealous for abolition than George Brown. This was tested during the Civil War period when the turn of sentiment against the North in Canada brought much criticism upon The Globe. There was a disposition on the part of George Brown to grow lukewarm in his support of the North, but Gordon Brown never wavered and is said to have threatened on one occasion to leave the paper if there were any more signs of hauling down the colors. When the war was over American citizens in Toronto presented Gordon Brown with a gold watch suitably inscribed, an indication possibly of the opinion of that day with regard to his services.

One duty of the American anti-slavery societies which fell but lightly on the Canadian society was the watching of legislation and the courts to see that the Negro obtained his rights. It was rare indeed that anything of this kind called for action in Canada, the only case of any importance that arose being that of the Negro, Anderson, whose return to Missouri was sought on a charge of killing his master in 1853. A slave catcher from Missouri recognized him in Canada in 1860 and had him arrested. The case was fought out in the courts, twice going against the Negro and then being appealed to the English Court of Queen's Bench, which granted a writ of habeas corpus. Anderson was defended by Gerrit Smith and the case attracted great attention throughout Canada. The executive of the Canadian Anti-Slavery Society kept the case well under observation and made its position quite clear by a resolution declaring that principles of right and humanity should prevail. In the end Anderson was acquitted.

The sentiment that was created in Canada by the friends of the fugitive in the decade before the Civil War had its effect when that struggle began. Sir John Macdonald, premier of Canada, made careful investigation to find out how many Canadians were in the northern armies and placed the number at 40,000.[7] The spirit that animated the youth of the North in this moral struggle was powerful in the minds of many of these young Canadians. There was present in Canada not a little of the feeling of responsibility for the honor of the continent that George Brown voiced and both by peaceful means and by the sword the people of the British-American province to the North had their part in striking off the shackles from the slave in the South.




[1] The Globe, April 1, 1851.

[2] Ward, Autobiography of a Fugitive Slave.

[3] Lewis, George Brown, p. 114.

[4] Drew, North Side View of Slavery, p. 328.

[5] Anti-Slavery Society of Canada, First Annual Report, p. 10.

[6] First Annual Report, pp. 12-13.

[7] Letters of Goldwin Smith, p. 377.



Of the fathers of the republic who first saw the evils of slavery, none made a more forceful argument against the institution than Benjamin Franklin. A man of lowly estate himself, he could not sympathize with the man who felt that his bread should be wrung from the sweat of another's brow. Desiring to see the institution abolished, Franklin early connected himself with the anti-slavery forces of Pennsylvania and maintained this attitude of antagonism toward it until his death. His printing press was placed at the disposal of the pamphleteers who by their method endeavored to influence public opinion, and as a means of effecting the liberation of the blacks he cooperated with others in educating them as a preparation for citizenship.

His first effort to promote the education of the Negroes was the assistance he gave the work established by Dr. Thomas Bray, who passed a large part of his life in performing deeds of benevolence and charity. This philanthropist became acquainted at the Hague with M. D'Allone, who approved and promoted his schemes. M. D'Allone, during his lifetime, gave to Dr. Bray a considerable sum of money, which was to be applied to the conversion of Negroes in America. At his death he left an additional sum of nine hundred pounds for the same object. Dr. Bray formed an association for the management and proper disposal of these funds. He died in 1730, and the same trust continued to be executed by a company of gentlemen, called "Dr. Bray's Associates." Franklin was for several years one of these workers.

Writing about this work, he said to a friend:

I have not yet seen Mr. Beatty, nor do I know where to write to him. He forwarded your letter to me from Ireland. The paragraph of your letter, inserted in the papers, related to the negro school. I gave it to the gentlemen concerned, as it was a testimony in favor of their pious design. But I did not expect they would print it with your name. They have since chosen me one of the Society, and I am at present chairman for the current year. I enclose you an account of their proceedings.[1]

Franklin's argument against slavery was economic as well as moral. He said:

It is an ill-grounded opinion that, by the labor of slaves, America may possibly vie in cheapness of manufactures with Britain. The labor of slaves can never be so cheap here as the labor of working men is in Britain. Any one may compute it. Interest of money is in the colonies from six to ten per cent. Slaves, one with another, cost thirty pounds sterling per head. Reckon then the interest of the first purchase of a slave, the insurance or risk on his life, his clothing and diet, expenses in his sickness and loss of time, loss by his neglect of business (neglect is natural to the man who is not to be benefited by his own care or diligence), expense of a driver to keep him at work, and his pilfering from time to time, almost every slave being by nature a thief, and compare the whole amount with the wages of a manufacturer of iron or wool in England, you will see that labor is much cheaper there than it ever can be by Negroes here. Why then will Americans purchase slaves? Because slaves may be kept as long as a man pleases, or has occasion for their labor; while hired men are continually leaving their masters (often in the midst of his business and setting up for themselves).[2]

The Negroes brought into the English sugar islands have greatly diminished the whites there; the poor are, by this means, deprived of employment, while a few families acquire vast estates, which they spend on foreign luxuries, and educating their children in the habit of those luxuries; the same income is needed for the support of one that might have maintained one hundred. The whites who have slaves, not laboring, are enfeebled, and therefore not so generally prolific; the slaves being worked too hard, and ill fed, their constitutions are broken and the deaths among them are more than the births; so that a continual supply is needed from Africa. The northern colonies, having few slaves, increase in whites. Slaves also pejorate the families that use them; the white children become proud, disgusted with labor, and, being educated in idleness, are rendered unfit to get a living by industry.[3]

As the following letter indicates, Franklin was in close touch with one of the most ardent anti-slavery men of his day, Anthony Benezet, whose pamphlets he often published:

LONDON, 22 August, 1772.

Dear Friend,

I made a little extract from yours of April 27th, of the number of slaves imported and perishing, with some close remarks on the hypocrisy of this country, which encourages such a detestable commerce by laws for promoting the Guinea trade; while it piqued itself on its virtue, love of liberty, and the equity of its courts, in setting free a single Negro. This was inserted in the London Chronicle, of the 20th of June last.

I thank you for the Virginia address, which I shall also publish with some remarks. I am glad to hear that the disposition against keeping Negroes grows more general in North America. Several pieces have been lately printed here against the practice, and I hope in time it will be taken into consideration and suppressed by the legislature. Your labors have already been attended with great effects. I hope, therefore, you and your friends will be encouraged to proceed. My hearty wishes of success attend you, being ever, my dear friend, yours affectionately,


The same sentiments of Franklin are expressed in the following letter to Dean Woodward in 1773:

LONDON, 10 April, 1773.

Reverend Sir,

Desirous of being revived in your memory, I take this opportunity, by my good friend Mrs. Blacker, of sending you a printed piece, and a manuscript, both on a subject you and I frequently conversed upon with concurring sentiments, when I had the pleasure of seeing you in Dublin. I have since had the satisfaction to learn, that a disposition to abolish slavery prevails in North America, that many of the Pennsylvanians have set their slaves at liberty, and that even the Virginia Assembly have petitioned the King for permission to make a law for preventing the importation of more into that colony. This request, however, will probably not be granted, as their former laws of that kind have always been repealed, and as the interest of a few merchants here has more weight with government than that of thousands at a distance.[5]

The following letter from Richard Price attests Franklin's interest and efforts in behalf of the slaves:

HACKNEY, 26 September, 1787.

My dear Friend,

I am very happy when I think of the encouragement which you have given me to address you under this appellation. Your friendship I reckon indeed one of the distinctions of my life. I frequently receive great pleasure from the accounts of you, which Dr. Rush and Mr. Vaughan send me. But I receive much greater pleasure from seeing your own hand.

I have lately been favored with two letters, which have given me this pleasure, the last of which acquaints me, that my name has been added to the number of the corresponding members of the Pennsylvania Society for Abolishing Negro Slavery, of which you are president, and also brought me a pamphlet containing the constitution and the laws of Pennsylvania, which relate to the object of the Society. I hope that you and the Society will accept my thanks, and believe that I am truly sensible of the honor done me. As for any services I can do, they are indeed but small; for I find, that, far from possessing, in the decline of life, your vigor of body and mind, every kind of business is becoming more and more an incumbrance to me. At the same time, the calls of business increase upon me, as you will learn in some measure from the Report at the end of the Discourse, which you will receive with this letter.

A similar institution to yours, for abolishing Negro slavery, is just formed in London, and I have been desired to make one of the acting committee, but I have begged to be excused. I have sent you some of their papers. I need not say how earnestly I wish success to such institutions. Something, perhaps, will be done with this view by the convention of delegates. This convention, consisting of many of the first men, in respect of wisdom and influence, in the United States, must be a most august and venerable assembly. May God guide their deliberations. The happiness of the world depends, in some degree, on the result. I am waiting with patience for an account of it.[6]

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