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- Letter from Rev. H. M. Turner: November 30, 1861
Original Document Coming
Christian Recorder: November 30, 1861
Turner writes about the happenings in Baltimore
Mr. Editor - It has been some time since I have pinned anything for the columns of the Recorder, though I pledged my word to do so regularly. But this neglect has been owing to the noble manner in which many other more efficient correspondents than I, have represented the views, successes, and wants of our people. And while I have read much in the Recorder of which I am proud, coming fresh from the pens of the abject black man, giving out thoughts glowing with rivetable interest to all who read them; and carrying upon their frontlet badges, arguments more irrefutable of the black man’s ability, then Clay’s originality, or Webster’s eloquence could produce, I have yet had to regret the rippling undulations which have to some extent thwarted by their continual flaunt, and roll, the pleasure arising from these sources by the animated controversy in reference to the legal procedure of one of our Episcopates.
Though we do not feel that our experience, ability, or position entitles us to any claim on that question if desired, neither do we denied the right of searching out, and investigating anything that may lead to a bad result, and exposing it to the world. For such a crucible purgation do not only very frequently set others examples, but they bring out new gems, and disclose noble features and other intellectual and moral traits, which give this individual a power and influence, when the disputation ceases, never possessed prior. But yet it is saddening to see such an crudites belligerent in relation to one so distinguished in rank. Nevertheless, let right prevail, for all things shall work together for good to those who love God.
The next thing we wish to advert to, is the many reports coming from the Navel Expedition at Beaufort, South Carolina. Though we would say in the premises, that a short time ago, we read an article from the pen of the Rev. J. P. Campbell, ( a brother from whose judgment we cherish a high regard,) on the observance of the fast day appointed by the President of the United States, in which article he argued, if I make a mistake not, the almost non-beneficiality of the observance of that day to the colored man, as he had no interests for which the administration contemplated any idea of benefiting, and thus our prayers by the strong cord of faith brought to bear, would either have to counteract theirs, or else prove useless, for every one known, that from the apparent aversion of the administration to the colored man, that we all could not raise for the one the same thing. However we begged leave at the time, very privately, to differ from our brother in opinion, and felt somewhat ostensibly elated at the idea, then we had fasted over twenty-four hours on the occasion. But since that time a disappointing blight has been apparently sweeping over the sky, that we thought was so diamond-speckled with hopeful stars, and have found it were the deceptive phosphorus of an eagerly heated imagination.
There is not an army correspondent of any paper, to our knowledge, except the Independent, where the colored people are ever represented as truly civilize. Why, colored as we are, if we were in some parts of the world, where we had never seen a black man, and no other means of forming an acquaintance with him, than through the newspapers of this country, we should unhumanize him, and sat him down as only fit to be the servos servorum on earth, and then to rankle out the balance of his time in the dreary regions, of Pluto in Proserpine. We are represented right here, where the writers, and every one else knows it to be false, as being in savage, and as ferocious as carnivorous animals; an even those who pretend to be favorable to our emancipation, will speak and write of us that times, as most dangerous creatures; our language is described as but little above of whining of a horse, or the croaking of a frog, and as only possessing three ideas, murder, pillage, and run-away. And every person knows, that the national strife now agitating this country, is about the thraldomized condition of the colored man, a yet it’s unpopularity palsies the tongue of its clearest perceivers, and they will wise in, and wise out, and wise all around the theme, and never wise into it.
Now for Beaufort, South Carolina. We have heard some of the most ridiculous, outrageous, and cannibalistic reports from there, about the conduct of the Negroes, that ever grated upon mortal ears; reports which we know to be absurd, for the writer is well acquainted with the South, having traveled through every state in it, saved one; as well as having been a resident of the above named State for over twenty years, and we can certify for a truth, that there are no class of colored people south of Mason and Dixon’s line, where more sound sense morality, religion, and refined taste, prevails, than in Beaufort, and in Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah Georgia. And what is more, in the first two named places you may find hundreds of well educated color persons; and how they all have become so demoralized, yes, brutalized, since secessionism has been raging, is astonishing to us. We think some of these reports are got up for effect, but wait till time develops the facts in the case.
As for whites, we will say nothing about them. Dictum sapienti sat cat. We will leave them to revel and masquerade in the glories of secessionism; but concerning the colored, we speak what we know, and testify to what we have seen. But the same has been said of the colored at Fortress Monroe, Western Virginia, and Missouri, and according to the New York herald, it is an undeniable fact, that whoever speaks in favor of the colored man in this country, almost instantly, will get an infamous brand. If he is a preacher, he will be shot at from a thousand batteries; if he is a General, doomed is his command… ..But thank God, the success and durability of a nation depend upon the elements of justice, and the principles of equity that it is founded upon; other wise, they may, like the sea waves, dash in apparent success against the majestic rocks of a thousand ages, but only to break in a moment to soon forgotten fragments.
A certain mental philosopher says, whatever is repugnant to the will and choice of man, is bound to end, regardless of its apparent stability, for will and choice shall sever iron bars, and cut asunder the prison doors, will loose the captives’ chain, and choice bid him go free.
However, slow the tooth of time may seem to grind, it will gradually, in the Providence of God, pulverize the….calumny, scandal, reproach and everything else they can heap upon us, and we shall rise from our long abhorred abasement, to ranks of honor, and fame. “Poor, tempted, tested soul, be still.”