Letter from Baltimore: August 31, 1861







Letter from Baltimore 
Christian Recorder: August 31, 1861 

Turner offers his congratulations to Anthony L. Stanford when the Recorder named him its editor. 

Keywords: Anthony L. Stanford, Editor, Newspaper 

Brother Stanford, - Dear Sir: - I have not, up to this time, embraced an opportunity of expressing my gratification of appointment of you to the Editorship of our paper. I hope you will credit my veracity when I inform you that I greeted the announcement of your appointment to that responsible position with fervor that I am not often animated with. 

1. Because I thought you possessed the requisite qualifications that are necessarily demanded for the position. 

2. Because I believed that your qualifications were too highly energized with the great importance of doing good, to lie dormant or inactive in a field so capacious. 

3. Because I believe you have a sufficiency of nerve to stand (and I pray God you may) though every Jackleg critic this side of nowhere, rise to puff his gas, or whiff his scorn; for you may rest assured, you will find twenty gasconades to criticize where you will find one to assist; and as a general thing, he that animadverts and confused most, will be the last to show the public a document. A man of learning, or even of accomplishments, looks at a subject with a broad comprehensive soul and if he sees a defect, let it be grammatically, analytically, and synthetically, he first looks at its author’s opportunities, he weighs them properly, passing on, he views his motives and what he is struggling through imperfections to accomplish. And then with a benign and anxious soul for the aspiration of all men, and especially for those who are contending , with deficiencies, but yet are endeavoring to do the best they can, throws abroad, widespread sympathy over it all, and with a degree of consolation, eats up the matter therein contained, and cheerfully passes on. But when Mr. Smatter-brain gets hold of it, whose wagon-tire conception gives fellows no play, he begins to grunt and sneer, vilify and slander et non sapienter agree. I think it Blair who said, “that class of people were the best Jackasses we have.” 

4. I felt proud of your appointment because you are a young man; it has always been the custom of our people to judge a man’s qualification by his age, and even now in our Conferences I sometimes, find if a young man takes the floor, and is about to out-talk the old man, he will soon tell him his age, and inform him, it is his place to keep silent that the young men, are about to take the place, nobody has any sense but them. And will also inform the Bishop, that that fellow needs some of the old long poor circuits; we used to travel to bring him to his senses. I reckon Papa thinks the want of cents will teach him sense. But thank God a new era is dawning, men are now being measured by their intellectual capacities: that man is high, who thinks high, noble who thinks noble, great who thinks great. We are learning that neither flesh, nor blood, nor hair, nor bones, nor hands, nor feet, nor age, make men; but as Dr. Clarke said, “It is the soul that makes the man;” It is that which is rationalistic and not the physical frame; he that looks upon the external appearance of an individual for his greatness, and not to the mind, looks as do the brutes; such a course is animalistic in toto. And the very fact of hearing so much about the fastness of young men and how they were depreciated, has done more to discourage and stupefy me than everything else put together; for instance – I have written several essays for publication and then for fear someone would think I was too fast, or too self-conceited, I declined publishing them; and I believe it has a killing influence upon young men who have any degree of modesty; and if it had not been for the Rev. J. M. Brown, I never would have written a line for publication. But I hope you will never be awed by scorn, nor deterred by derision. But with a great heart and strong will, battle with sin and ignorance till a brighter day shall dawn upon our race. 

The Recorder is a beautiful and interesting sheet. But can be made more interesting by efforts of our ministers; nothing will tend so much to the success of our paper, or any other edited by colored people as the amount of original matter it contains and that it is the only way to bring it notoriety among white friends, for they would rather read one letter from a colored person, than three clipped from other papers and we have talent enough in our connexion (sic) to bring our paper to the highest literary standard not including the Bishops, among the middle aged ministers. We have in the person of Rev. Jabez P. Campbell, a masterly mind, one that is well read, and grapples with great problems, theologically and scientifically. And thus, we might speak of the logical Brown, the eloquent Wayman, the chaste and polished Revels, the learned Strother, and others, whose talents none dare dispute. Turning to the younger men; we view James Lynch of masterly ability, with Hunter, Rue and Cain, (I speak of him from reputation) and others whose acknowledge intellectual superiority none will question. This brilliant constellation might shed a radiance upon the pages of the Recorder that would honor its name in the halls of Edinburgh. We stand already under the blessing of God Almighty, superior to any body of colored Christians in this, or any other country, and as a whole we can present a literary galaxy blended with the elements of true piety, also not equaled by any; and when we see how much remains to be done yet among us, exclusive of the highly problematic field in the South, (a field I hunger to see opened), and view the laborers yet in reserve for us besides the untrodden fields of Africa, Haiti, in which we may one day ramble, and point their perishing millions to the Lamb of God, and proclaim the redemptive jubilee for the return of their ransomed sinners home to God; we find no time to be idle, no time to waste. 

I hope I have said enough for your encouragement. Having recently been requested by one of the editors to contribute to the Recorder, I shall try to send you a few thoughts occasionally, which I hope will fill up a vacancy when matter is scarce. I am yours, very truly.                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              Henry McNeal Turner