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u Why did you treat that man with such contempt,” said an English gentleman to a Brahmin--" Because," replied the lordly priest “ he is a Pariah.”
“What makes you hate the French so much "said a minister to an English prisoner in Newgate, about fifty years ago. Because," replied the prisoner, “they speak French and wear wooden shoes."
" Is it not very ridiculous," said a Missionary not long since, to an African on the East coast of Africa, thus to deposit provisions, &c., in the graves of your departed friends “It is my country's fash” (fashion or custom) replied the African.
“Why do you wish those people removed to Africa, or to some other place beyond the limits of the United States ? “Because they are of the proscribed class,” replied the United States' man!! Why do you object to placing them in this their native country under benignant and impartial laws immediately and thoroughly? Because their poor mothers were outraged before them, replied the same.
Which of these is the best reasoning? The Brahmin's; or the British felon's; or the heathen African's; or the civilized United States' man's ?
I know the United States' man pretends to other reasons" They are so incorrigibly vicious and degraded, says he (confuting himself) that we must send them to enlighten and christianize Africa !!! They are so inhuman and per
verse, that though the meekest and gentlest of men, under the most burning provocations; yet if you were to treat them with cordial equity and kindness, they would immediately rise and murder you !! The gospel of Christ, which is all powerful to conquer sins of the grossest and most inveterate stamp in heathen and benighted Africa, idolatry, oppression and lust; is utterly incapable of controlling the most insane and criminal prejudices in the United States; therefore must the criminals remove the sufferers from incorrigible America, to teachable Africa !!
But leaving these dreams of tyrant prejudice and pride, I proceed —
Who are the colored people of the United States—omitting the few thousands feloniously imported and yet surviving ?
They are a multitude of native born Americans, of all colors—in number, about 2,700,000-nearly 400,000 of these, in various senses, free-and upwards of 2,300,000 of them, more or less deeply enslaved-despised and oppressed, not simply on account of color ; for some of them are fairer than their masters—not simply on account of their vices or degradation ; for probably they are the least criminal part of the community; and multitudes of a stamp decidedly more vicious, turbulent and degraded, are continually received and welcomed from foreign lands—but despised and degraded, because their poor mothers were similarly despised and degraded before them. Take up an American in Boston or New-York on suspicion of being a runaway slave-let his color, as dark as ebony, if you please-and his hair as woolly as wool, testify against him-or let his character, be as vile or as stupid as vile or stupid can beand yet he is not convicted-he may yet be a free man. Prove him even to be the son of a foreign slave, and he yet is free. But prove his mother to have been an enslaved American and that he has sought an asylum from slavery without his oppressor's permission, and his liberty is gone
his poor mother's misery in being born an American, not a foreigner, is made his guilt, and without even the charge of a crime, he is treated as though he were one of the worst of felons.
But in the article before me, I wish rather to do justice to the character and conduct of these outraged and suffering
people; than to dwell upon the guilt of their oppressors. One reason, doubtless, of the wrongs which they are enduring, consists in the false conceptions entertained against them. Represent a man as a drunkard, and many hearts which would respect him, if they knew him to be a sober man will be alienated from him as a drunkard. Give such hearts sufficient testimony that he is a sober man, and their enmity is gone. Let such hearts be satisfied, that the people called colored in the United States, are as worthy of confidence, respect and affection as the other classes of community in the United States, and they will esteem them equally. The prejudices which have darkened them, will be dissipated by the light of truth, justice will be substituted for injustice-love for enmity—and the cordial hand of help will be busy in making them happy at home—instead of their being crushed in their native places by the heel of despotism; or spurned to foreign lands by the foot of scorn.
The slaves as a body, are exceedingly misrepresented. The influences of circumstances upon mind, are overlooked--and the difference between cultivation and intellect, between learning and intelligence, is disregarded--the poor sufferers are contemplated in the attitude in which slavery exhibits them; and in contempt alike of nature and of history, it is cruelly and insanely presumed, that under the happier influences of lawful liberty, they would remain the same; just as if, when a slaveholder is breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the advocates of impartial liberty, it should be affirmed, that amidst the blandishments of his own table, where an entirely different class of motives excited in his mind totally dissimilar emotions, he would still exhibit the same furious and malignant passions.
The slaves of the United States, as a body, are a remarkably intelligent, discreet and virtuous class-not cultivated -not learned—not discreet as Christians-not virtuous in
regenerate sense—not virtuous, even in a natural sense, when that purity is meant, which most adorns unregenerate nature—but intelligent, as being remarkably shrewd ; quick to apprehend; tenacious to remember and skilful to apply-discreet, as exhibiting wonderful good sense and good temper, in making the best of their miserable lotand virtuous, as compared with their masters and their mas
ters' class; as being decidedly the least criminal of the two; as generally exhibiting botter qualities, than probably any other people on earth would exhibit, under similar provocations. They are eminently gentle, submissive, affectionate and grateful. It is almost impossible to excite them to revenge. Nothing is easier, with a little good sense, justice and kindness, than to win their hearts. Notwithstanding the ignorance in which they are kept, and the sickening of heart which arises from hope deferred, (Prov. xiii. 12.) they often display such moral worth and such intellectual power, that their very masters ask their opinions, and seek their advice. When treated cruelly, in ninety-nine cases out of the hundred, they take it patiently. When treated kindly, they would shed their blood for their kind “Massas." They make as good ploughmen, and seedmen, and hoemen; as good mechanics; as good accountants; though ignorant of letters; as eager aspirants after property, when its acquisition is at all placed within their reach, and the least security is promised them in its enjoyment; as acute bargaindrivers; as shrewd business men ; as discreet and faithful confidants; as wise and as good stewards; as staunch and faithful friends as any other class of men whatsoever, in proportion to circumstances. There is not a set of people on earth more fitted for liberty, under just and benignant laws, than the slaves of the United States. Gentle, submissive, affectionate and grateful—incapable almost of being provoked to bitterness---most easily conciliated to gratitude and affection—thoroughly inured to subordination and to regular labor-perfectly acquainted with the soils, the seasons, and all the local productions of the earth--teachable, humble, lively, intelligent-eager for knowledge--eminently accessible to religious impressions; and, above most men, attached to the place of their birth, and to the associates and associations of their earlier years, all that is wanting to place them amongst the most happy and useful of men, is repentance, and fruits meet for repentance, on the part of their masters-or, in other words, the immediate and thorough substitution, by the lawful authorities, of justice and kindness, for injustice and brute force-of equitable and benig. nant laws, impartially and firmly administered, for the mischief-making enactments and practices of the slave states.
The people called " Free Colored" in the United States,
are in number about 400,000. They are of all colors and of various classes. Like every other body of men, they have leading characteristics-and as in every other body, in these leading characteristics, many exceptions are found. We may also observe that, as among other bodies of men, these leading characteristics, are leading, either in relation to number or to mind-leading, as being exhibited by the majority of the whole—or, leading, as being exhibited by the few more energetic and prominent minds, which, although comparatively few in number, yet by their energy impress externally their character upon the whole-as for instance:
When we estimate the leading characteristics of the people of the United States, in view of number, we find the majority industrious, enterprising, money-making, active, dauntless, well mannered, as to real civility, though often excessively coarse, as to mere politeness; kind husbands and fathers; good neighbors, and orderly and well behaved in public life. We also find them, proud, boastful, hugging their own liberties and rights with idolatrous devotion, and trampling with all possible insolence and injustice, upon the equally sacred rights and liberties of others-exacting the most just and affectionate attention to their own feelings, and tearing to pieces without compunction the equally sacred feelings of others—thundering their love of liberty through the world, while they are deliberately retaining one-sixth part of their whole native population, without even the charge of a crime, in the most ignominious bondage—and boasting even of revivals of religion, where the guilt and shame of slavery and prejudice are studiously covered up, and where old and new converts together, following their leaders, continue to “build their houses by unrighteousness and their chambers by wrong"-to use their neighbor's service without wages, and to give him not for his work.” And they will not “ judge the cause of the poor and the needy" but still set their eyes and their hearts upon their covetousness, for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it." Jer. xxii. 13, 16, 17.
When we estimate the leading characteristics of the people of the United States, in view of mind, we may make the estimate by referring either to politicians or to christians. The politicians I leave to their politics. Referring to chris