Rev. J. E. Hayne’s Book
Christian Recorder: October 2, 1890
Mr. Editor: - A few days since in overlooking a number of books with a view of finding one bearing upon a special subject, I chanced to draw out a small volume with this imprint upon the left hand side, “The Negro in Sacred History, or Ham and His immediate Descendants,” by Rev. J. E. Hayne, B.D. Having no recollection of ever seeing this work before, curiosity riveted my attention at once and into its contents, I plunged. Turning to the first blank fly leaf I discovered the author had forwarded the book to me through the mail January 25th, 1888; but owing to such a mass of other matter which keeps my office tables covered both in Atlanta and Philadelphia, when I can get to either one, I had evidently lost sight of this inestimable little but neat work of one hundred and twelve pages. I have spent every spare moment I could command for the last three or four days in examining the contents of this valuable production of Rev. J. E. Hayne, B. D., and it occurs to me that I have read or heard that Allen University has made him a D. D. Of this I am not certain however. But if it has not, I am frank to say he deserves it more than half of us who do wear it, for D. D., is almost down to zero in our Church, and the way we are going on heaven knows where it will be in ten years.
Returning to the book before us, however I am frank to say that “The Negro in Sacred History,” is the ablest digest of the race question I have ever read for its compass. Brother Hayne evidently wrote the book with great care and made exhaustive researches and has dealt with philological and geographical terms with technical nicety and precision, which no one but a profound scholar would dare to touch much less wrestle with. He has not only culled out and collected everything in Sacred History bearing upon the Hametic races, but he has supported his definitions and even hypothecations with the ablest authorities extant. Not desiring to contrast this able production with many other able efforts which have been written by the representative men of our race, simple respect for veracity will compel any man who reads it to pronounce it the ablest production for its size in every particular that has come from the printer’s press. Brother Hayne unquestionably took time, exercised patience, consulted the original language, and has given to the young men of our race, especially those aspiring for the platform, authoritative arguments that will bluster the sophistry of the day into confusion, shame and contempt. Should I ever be permitted again to discuss the Negro question in antiquity as I have endeavored to do a hundred times, I shall quote this book with the presumption of defiance in the face of any grade of learning and feel as much complacency as I would in quoting Clark, Henry, Watson, Milton and infinitely more than I would Bishop Newton upon the same subject with which this book deals.
Not only has Brother Hayne betrayed rare scholarship in his historical references and collocations, but his reasoning upon the “Darwinian Theory of Evolution,” show him to be the child of logic. The position he takes on retrogression being feasible a postulate of nature as progression is literally unanswerable. Indeed, it is a position I have never seen or heard assumed before. Our young men, especially our young ministers, who will have racial issues to deal with that their fathers never dreamed of, should procure this book and literally eat it up. For this Caucasian race is now trying to reverse the history of the world and claim kin to all creation, except the Negro. They have made cousins of the Chinamen, and are trying to establish some consanguineous relation with the Hindus. Where they cannot torture history so as to make a direct branch and thus form a direct connection with every people who have power and money, they are trying to show that there was a blood mixture at some dateless period. But all their blood that has been injected into the Negro race goes for nothing. There it is the most visible, and indubitably established, it is the most ignored and contemned.
The Negro of the future will have to paint his own likeness in history, as well as upon the canvass; and if he fails to do it in twenty years he will have none; for just in proportion as the old historical works established the claims of the black man to honor and preferment in the ancient world, just in that proportion are they going out of print. In a short time there will not be a history in the land that will trace the black man’s career beyond the jungles of Africa. Yet our children have to read and study these books after paying their good money for them, to find out the black man never was and never will be anything.
To me this condition of things is alarming, as the effects of it is too manifest even now. I care not what college or institution of learning you may attend, to witness the graduation exercises, you rarely ever hear anyone referred to as possessing merit or fame, unless he was white. Once in a great while you may hear the names of Douglas, Bishop Payne, Major Delaney, Garnett and ex-Senator Bruce incidentally mentioned, but the black or Hametic generals, philosophers, bishops, inventors and scholars of the ancient world, are never referred to. Indeed the poor graduating classes do not know that such men ever lived.
I only wish this little work of Brother Hayne was in the hand of every student in the nation. The learned preface writer, Rev. J. Wofford White says, “We have carefully followed him as he steadfastly, perseveringly and with untiring zeal, uncovered the hidden facts of the past; unearthed and brought to light so much of interest, that is calculated to awaken in his race conscious pride of the deeds of their ancestors and quickened in the spirit of progress. In short, with all the advantages of this age, to emulate the greatness of those long since gone the way of all the earth. If it can be proved that the Negro was of noble ancestry and the curse of Canaan was not one of inferiority for them doubtless new life will course through their veins and they will eagerly, faithfully and prayerfully apply themselves to the work of race relation. The fact is proved in the volume at hand. He who peruses it will not fail to be benefitted.
Dr. Embry, our publisher, ought to print and sell it throughout our church, and if he is not able to do it, our church ought to make him able. I hope Brother Hayne, or Dr. Hayne, for he will be if he is not now, will make this subject a lifetime study and a lifetime work. He is a fine scholar now, and studious by nature, and this book shows that he is peculiarly adapted to that kind of work. I do not know the price of the book, nor where Brother Hayne can be found; but a letter addressed to Charleston, S. C., will find him, I am sure.