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- The Negro in All Ages
Synopsis: On April 18, 1873, Henry McNeal Turner delivered the lecture, The Negro in All Ages, at the Second Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia. This lecture was publicized as an “examination into several abominable, anti-scriptural, and pseudo-philosophical theories” that was “designed as degradation to humanity.” This lecture explores how Turner maneuvered through the intersections of race and religion, as well as, how Turner challenges and questions the systematic implications of the science of the day (theology, science, art, history, philosophy, etc.) that was detrimental to African Americans.
THE NEGRO IN ALL AGES
DELIVERED IN THE
SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH
REV. H. M. TURNER, D. D., L. L. D.,
APRIL 8th, 1873,
Being an examination into several abominable, anti-scriptural, and pseudo-philosophical theories, designed as a degradation to humanity, by a few malevolent vampires of the age, reviewed and discussed, ethnologically, scientifically and historically.
D. G. Patton, Steam Printer, 97 & 99 Bay St.
Whereas, The admirable Lecture delivered this evening by Hon. H. M. Turner L. L. D., entitled “The Negro in all Ages” has in our opinion, exploded the theory of those enemies of God and the human family who have vainly endeavored to establish the natural inferiority of the colored race, and
Whereas, the people should become more familiar with the incontestable truths therein enunciated, believing they would do much in removing the false impressions which have been indoctrinated into the masses by evil designing individuals, no less vicious than ignorant.
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to procure from Dr. Turner a copy of his able address for publication.
The above resolution was offered by John H. Deveaux, Esquire, and was unanimously adopted by one of the most intelligent colored assemblages which ever met in the City of Savannah.
Hon. Edwin Belshire, Macon, Ga.
My Dear Sir—Having been associated with you for several years in the legislature of our State, in State and county conventions, in political speech making, in devising measures for the education of our race, and in trying to work out a common destiny for the people of our State. And having on several occasions met and discussed with you a large number of moral, religious, scientific and historic questions.
And having among other things given the colored race with them merits and demerits a large share of our consideration.
And I having always found your views intelligent, your conclusions logically arrived at, your scholarships expensive, and your store of knowledge wide. And having found your fidelity to justice and right unquestionable, I have thought it fit and even becoming to dedicate this address with all its defects to you; you will favor me by accepting the good, and rejecting the bed.
I am, &c,
H. M. T.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We live in an age of investigation, scrutiny, and moral and intellectual enlightenment. Every question bred in human imagination with all their natural of assumed phases, are passing through the ordeal of the most searching analysis. This might be justly entitled the Laboratory age; for there is nothing in the infinite realm of man, from the most crude and grotesque material, to the most attenuated film or subtilized monad which connect mind and matter, indeed the most etherealize fancies, as well as the cogitative reverie, are made the themes of criticism, and are reduced to the status of speculative philosophy.
The elementary principles of matter, the most intricate and mazy laws of nature, the fossiliferous inscriptive bearing tablets of the hoary past, which have slept in quiet solitude for countless ages, have of late been aroused by the hand of genius, and whirled into marching lime by the battle gong of thought.
Theology, science, art, and history, have all received an impulse from the estuary state of the mind. The Stygian river with its seven old curls, have been crossed, and the blooming flowers of knowledge are now being plucked. Inquiry seeks a path through the dense forest of an unexplored wilderness, but is foiled in the effort; because the sole of an intellectual foot has never strode this way, but a thousand more enter the arena, with glittering scythes, and level the sward, an highway is thrown up—an avenue extends from the centre to circumference, and the mysteries of ages are brought down to the comprehension of the schoolboy, while they scintillate the grandeur of nature and the glory of nature’s God.
What the wise savants and bards of old, read in the fickle scintillations of their heated imaginations, have been established and incorporated in the principles of philosophical science, and now course investigation, and defies criticism, the theories of the past, the labyrinthine mysteries of the mythological world, the dread and horror of superstitious fancies, the groundless opinions and wild conjectures that awed the ignorant and engrossed the minds of philosophers and poets, have been illumined by the sun beams of a brighter era, and stripped of their capricious whims; while truth stands out in bold relief and throws down the gauntlet to her enemies and laughs to scorn her foes.
It confronts alike the superstitious venerable with the undated antiquity gorgeous with all that refinement and art can do to give them the polish of exquisite perfection, and weave around them illusive charms and magic craft, she assails the vices of the motley rabble in spite of their rancor or numbers, and binds in fetters the sneering Epicureans. The stubborn stoic, the phlegmatic Academician, the ...logomachical babbler, the pragmatic figure head, and the political time serving weather cock. Truth regards not the opinions of illustrious authorities, nor does she pity the mistaken dupes of false theories, however honest to their conviction the devotees may be. Armed with truth, Paul stood on Mars hill, and thundered at the Areopagus, and challenged the isms of the age, with determinativeness that neither Socrates nor Plato ever dreamed. Martin Luther stood in quiet serenity amid a storm of error, because he wore the mail coat of truth, and shook Germany so severely, that the throne of papacy trembled, and the dark haze of the Middle Ages rolled away, as if touched by the wand of Omnipotence.
Truth, however, has had to fight its way, inch by inch, and foot by foot, for the forces of error have been large, vigilant, alterative, and unutterably presumptuous, encouraged by innumerable votaries, error with shameless voracity strode in every direction, and with an insatiable greed sought to destroy the last vestige of truth. But like the serpent that licked the file, she only realized her danger when the mouth was tongue less. And strange as it may appear, the struggle has not been confined to mere technicalities, but to self-evident truisms. The forces of error have been marshaled against the most palpable teachings of nature, as ferociously as against the simple revelations of Holy Writ. Led on by that isle foe of earth and heaven who assaulted Omnipotence upon his throne, and who served hell as an attorney when the humanity of the son of God staggered beneath a forty days fast, it is not a source of surprise that error should be so defiant and blushless, even in the grand blaze of an illuminated age.
The subject of this lecture is, The Negro in all Ages. My reason for choosing this theme grows out of a conversation which took place between a white gentleman and a white fool some time since on the Central Rail Road, in my hearing, which you will better understand by the following statement:
After passing Millen, the dinner house on that road, two white men came in the car where I was sitting to take a smoke, they occupied the seat in my rear, I heard one whisper to the other: That’s the notorious Turner, who says, the other, the Negro Mogul? Yes; was the reply, said the other, I have read his speeches repeatedly, but never saw him before. Well, said one, how do you so count for his ability, intelligence or smartness, or whatever you may call it? For I never can believe that a Negro has a soul, he certainly does not belong to the human family, &c. The other gentleman after making a lengthy and able argument in defense of the Negro’s having a soul, concluded by saying, but you must remember that Turner is not a Negro; for he is mixed blooded.
Here I could no longer keep silence, speak I must or die; and whirling my head around as though a ball had struck me on one side, I said, yes, but Dr. Garnett of New York is not mixed, neither is Major Delaney of S. C., mixed, nor is congressman Elliott and Cain of that State mixed; and Turner or you either might sit at any of their feet and learn instructive lessons. Bishop Ward of this State is not mixed; and a man of more natural eloquence and enchanting oratory, does not walk the soil of Georgia. These distinguished gentlemen said I, are all so black that a white man would be regarded as a fool; who would attempt to claim kin with any of them. But at this juncture, the learned ass that started the conversation, picked up his carcass and conveyed it to another car, and left the other gentleman and me to laugh at his stupidity. But said the remaining gentleman, do you know there are a number of white people in this country who talk in the same way?
Ladies and gentlemen, it will not be my aim this evening, to try to prove that the negro has a soul, but if all white men were as ignorant as the one just referred to, it might be necessary to prove that the whites have one; I shall not question either or attempt to defend the souls of either. A denial of a soul to either race, would be to advertise my own ignorance and insult heaven; and to admit it as a self-evident act, as it is, would be a useless expenditure of time. The questions I propose to deal with is the Negro like other people, and are other people like the Negro? Does he belong to the same stock, or in other words, is he an emanation of the same source? I shall assume that he does.
When in the impenetrable past, man came on the stage of action, is a problem of difficult solution, for there is no reliable data to be gathered either from the Bible or science. The chronological calculations, the best recognized authority is open to numerous attacks, because our chronology is not a part of inspiration at all; and cannot by any means be received as an infallible item. Supposition has to connect the links all along in the chain of data, and wherever you have to employ this doubtful agent once, the concatenation is broken and loses its hold on popular credence. Science is also at a loss in designating the time when he first began to exist.
Several learned savants contend that he has been an inhabitant of earth ever since the glacial period, which must have ended about a hundred and fifty thousand years ago. This would make him much older than our present chronological data allows; though his position does not as some assume, contradict the Bible, but it does overthrow the theory commonly received in the religious world. Now let us grant that such has been man’s career on earth, and that in the early stages of his existence, for the want of mental culture and experience he was of an enormous size, so as to maintain an existence among the carnivorous animals of those days, and to protect his progeny from destruction; and that those gigantic skeletons which have frequently been exhumed from the earth, ten, fifteen, twenty and even twenty-five feet high, were fair specimens of the sizes of the early inhabitants of the world; when in the language of Prof. Lartet, he was “wasting out his cave-bear epoch.” And this all would not assail a solitary item concerning man, as set forth by the Bible. The Mosaic Record as it has been handed down to us, would still be unharmed, and even unassailed.
For none of these theories interfere in the least with the existence of Adam or Eve, or that they were the starting source of all living humanity. And indeed if we could adduce satisfactory evidence to prove that man has been an inhabitant of this earth ever since the glacial period, it would account for a great many things now wrapt in mystery; especially in regard to the Indian, Esquimaux and several aboriginal Islanders; whose local existences have not been satisfactorily explained by the most renowned ethnologists of the world. For the Bible nowhere pretends to treat upon the age of man or the earth; the distant past and the distant future are alike veiled from observation, only as we decipher their scintillations by the book of Nature on the one hand and the book of Revelation on the other. And it is no unreasonable presumption to suppose that the same designs of providence which would perpetuate the lives of the early inhabitants to so great an age would also giantize them in corresponding sizes; for age and bulk have always had similar proportions when bearing upon specific classes among the animal tribes. When a man therefore attacks the Mosaic Record, upon the plea that the age of man as set forth in Revelation, does not synchronize with the interpretations of science, he exposes his own ignorance and brands his name with ridicule. It matters not, however, how long or how short the time since man began to be, the question is, do the varieties that exist among the human families of earth constitute any aboriginal difference, and if so, does the primitive difference converge or diverge in the scale of development. The principles of these topics we propose to discuss as best we can.
I assume upon the authority of Holy Writ, that all men sprang from one original source. This is most explicitedly set forth in the following declarations of the Bible. “God that made the world and all things therein, hath made of one blood all nations of men; for to dwell on the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their inhabitation.” These words were uttered by Paul to a haughty race, in the face of the theory then prevailing among the Greeks; that they sprang from the sacred soil of Attica. The oneness of the source from which the race of man came, found its proper counter-part in the oneness of that race itself, and that the ethnological distribution of that race was not a mere matter of random-chance, but of divine appointment. Here you see Christianity encounters human philosophy, invades its hoary maxims, and asserts one of its cardinal doctrines to be the emanation of all men from a single source; having a unity of blood-relationship, which implies an oneness of origin. The geographical localities as have been assigned the various nations, as well as the epoch of their history; are not merely the work of blind contingency, but of arrangements super induced by divine appointment. The great Apostle to the gentiles regarded the unity of the human race as much an adjunct to Christianity, as the unity of the God-head; showing their correlative bearing and relation to the fundamental principles of the Christian system.
This great doctrine of race unity is peculiarly asserted in the fifth chapter of Paul to the Romans, where the parallel is drawn between the fall of the race in Adam and its redemption in Christ. “By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men.” Again
“As by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous.” Again
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ—shall all be made alive again.” Again
“The first man—Adam was made a living soul, the last—Adam was made a quickening spirit.” Again, and this is the clincher. A thousand other quotations would not strengthen the argument. Listen,
“The first man is out of the earth—earthy, the second man is the Lord from heaven.”
As Adam is the actual head of all that transgressed, all who die, and all who feel the curse; so Christ is the spiritual head of all that are saved from sin and the sting of death. The universal headship of the other, thus, the path to Eden is the same to all so far as we can glean from biblical authority.
But in order to evade the Negro claim to Adamic priority, certain so-called naturalists, have attempted to divide the human family into the historic and non-historic races, and the Negro they say was non-historic; yet, they pretend to endorse the Mosaic Record. That Moses knew of the existence of the colored races is evident from the pictures on the tombs in Egypt, dating back, as it is alleged, beyond his time, and distinctly portraying the races with black skin and kinky hair, as we now find them. Still he tells us, that Eve was the mother of all living, that the Ethiopic and Egyptian races were the descendents of Noah, through Cush and Mizraim, and, that the diversified nations of earth are all children of Adam. And that the physical characteristics of the Cushites or Negroes, were what they now are, is evidenced in the axiomatic allusions to their black skin. This tenet is endorsed by Christ when he stamps his disapproval upon the custom of divorcing a wife, by original unity of the race in Adam and Eve. And when he commands his disciples to go into the entire world and preach His Gospel to every creature. And we cannot pass by the fact, that the wife of Moses was an Ethiopian, possibly black. Another significant fact is, that the man, who was chosen to aid our Lord in bearing his cross to the crimsoned hill, was Simon of Cyrene, an African; and also, that one of the primitive converts to Christianity was a black eunuch of the majestic court of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. Now let us grant that the Negro belongs to the non-historic race (which is false however,) yet the very recognition of his claims to salvation through Jesus Christ, puts an eternal quietus to the matter; for I challenge the right of men or angels to offer salvation through Christ, to any creature not a descendent of Adam any more to brutes on the one hand, and devils on the other. For salvation is restricted to the sons of Adam; and who ever proves himself a son of Adam, proves his title to salvation, and who ever proves his right to salvation by the operations of the Holy Spirit, proves that he is a son of Adam. The Negro proved himself as we shall show more fully in the Lecture. I pronounce the question settled, and brand every wretch a liar or a fool who dares to dispute it.
Let us in the next place, examine into what constitutes man, and see if the Negro can stand the test. Man ranks alone in the position assigned him by all naturalists. Differing widely however in physical conformation from all other animated beings; distinguished by his reason and power of speech, and wonderfully constructed by his reason and power of speech, and wonderfully constructed, he appears to be the bond of union between matter and Deity, possessed of great mental powers he rises far above the status of all animated creation, and reaches out an unseen hand into the infinite, he looks forward into futurity, and realizes a dependence upon the great cause of all things. Contrary to the nature of other animals, he combines the past, the present, and the future in his calculations of happiness; he counts the cycles of eternity as the time of his existence, in spite of his efforts to materialize his mental powers. However, rude and low he stands in the scale of intelligence, he worships either a true or a false God; and pays homage at the throne of some acknowledge superior power. While articulate speech and artificial language, places an infinite chasm between him and all other living creatures upon the face of the globe. Thus stands man distinct, distinguished, single and alone in every clime, with every color of skin, and every texture of hair. The white Caucasians, the brown Mongolian, the red American, the tawny colored Malayan and the black Ethiopian, or kinky headed Negro and no ridicule, abuse, or condemnation can disrobe him of the dignity, with which he was clothed by his creator when he received the image of his maker.
It has been charged that the Negro has anatomical and physiological conformations so divergent from the white man; that he cannot be a part of the original stock. That there are facial and other constructive differences; I grant, but not greater between the white man and Negro, than between the Indian and white man, and certainly not as great as between the white man and Laplanders. For three years I visited a medical university, and assisted from two or three evenings every week in dissecting the dead; where we had bodies of every grade before us, and one of the special subjects I always kept in view, was to see what constructive difference there were between the Negro and other races, for we dissected all sizes, colors and sex. And to the exception of some shape differences, I have yet to see any actual variation, that deserves mention. I found the same number of bones, muscles, veins, arteries. The heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, and the whole machinery were the same in all respects. And more, I found the same chemical properties in every part of the system, in the same ratio or preponderance as the case may be, regardless of any exterior or contour difference whatever.
Physicians say, there is no difference in the application of medicines, in the effects of poison, in the pulsation of the heart under similar circumstances, in the time of pregnancy, in the gestational arrangement, in the effects of peculiar diets, in the action of diseases, in the similarity of diseases, in the years they live, in the instrumentalities that hasten gray hairs and bald heads, in the time eye glasses are needed, and in the concavity or convexity of the eye glasses used, in the years of infancy, childhood and immaturity, in the passions of lust, in the necessary restraints of chastity, in the mode and manner of sex indulgence, in the quality of strength of jealousy. And all that is peculiar to one man is peculiar to another.
The School Teachers say, there is no difference in the mode and time of mastering a lesson, in learning any particular branch of education, in committing any thing to memory, that where one excel in judgment, the other excel in imitative genius, that children of all colors and nationalities have their idlers, sleepy heads, numskulls, block heads and tale bearers. While on the other hand, they have their promising youths, obedient, mannerly, peaceful and studious. While some die young, others live on and grow old; so that man is but man everywhere, and in every sphere of national identity.
The Phrenologist say there is no difference in the organs, or congeries of cranium protuberances, which indicate the caliber of the brain. Neither Gall, Spurzheim, Comb, nor the two Fowlers’, who are the admitted pioneers and masters of this science have ever so much as raised or mooted the question. They arrange, classify and interpret them the same in the head of the Negro, as in the head of the white, and their interpretation are received by one as satisfactorily as by the other. They find the organs of the propensities, the organs of the sentiment, the organs of intellect, and the organs of reflections the same in ratio, the same in quantum, and the same locus in quo as in the whites, in short, amativeness, philoprogenitiveness, alimentiveness, veneration, imitation, time, and all express the same powers, motives, characteristics and inclinations in one as in the other.
The same textual indications are manifest in the hair, in the rete mucosum, and in the whole organic composition.
And the same passions are awakened by the same causes, and burns in hate, torments in jealousy, fears in danger, sinks in despair, hoards in avarice, cheers up in hope, and leaps in joy. Besides the religion of the one, is the religion of the other; at least so far as we can judge by its operations and ultimate results.
During the last decade and a half, a parcel of self-constituted Anthropologists have sprung up with great flourish, and have tried to shake heaven and earth with new tidings from the scientific arena. Their theory is that man is the culmination of the ape, monkey, orangutan, or some other baboon species. That by some process he lost his hairy hide and long tail, and have thus by a series of upward graduations rose to the status of man and womanhood. This monstrous theory is not only at variance with the Mosaic Record, but is infinitely worse than the opinions which prevailed in Greece, and was a fundamental tenet in the Epicurean and Stoic schools, for they both held, that man sprung from the prolific soil which were anciently far more powerful in its generative strength, than it is now that the earth and vegetable matter, produced myriads of small wombs that rose like mole hills on the ground, and were transformed for his nourishment into an infinite number of glandular and lactiferous bulbs, so as to form a substitute for the breast of the mother. And thus,
“Earth fed the nursling, the warm other clothed,
And the soft downy grass his couch composed.”
This and that other frightful dogma held by the philosophers of Rome, which made man the child of an eternal series of self-existence, are neither so horrible and shocking to our sense of dignity and moral grandeur, as the assumption that he emanated from a dirty stinking baboon. Again, where these great and world renowned Anthropologists, can find authority to reduce the Bimanous creation, to the level of a quadrumana, or show such a connecting specimen as would lead to the conclusion, that one is the offspring of the other, I have been unable to see. For in the language of Dr. Good, who is unquestionable authority, “Both the orangutan and pongo, (and chimpanzee) which of all the monkey tribes, make the nearest approach to the structure of the human skeleton, have three vertebrae less than man. They have a peculiar membranous pouch connected with the larynx or organ of the voice, which belong to no division of man whatever, white or black. The larynx itself, is, in consequence of this, so peculiarly constructed as to render it less capable even of articulate sounds than that of almost any other quadruped. And lastly they have no proper feet, for what are so-called feet, for what are so-called feet, are in reality as directly hands as the terminal organs of the arms; the great toe in man, and that which chiefly enables him to walk in an erect position, being a perfect thumb in the orangutan, whence this animal is naturally formed for climbing, and its natural position in walking and the position it always assumes, except when under discipline, is that of all-fours, the body being supported on four hands instead of on four feet as in quadrupeds. And it is owing to this wide and essential difference that M. Cuvier and other zoologists, thought it expedient to invent a new name by which the monkey and maucauco tribe might be distinguished from all the rest and, instead of quadrupeds, have called them quadrumana, or quadrumanuals, by which they are at the same time equally distinguished from every tribe of the human race, which are informally, alone, Bimanual.
Here are impassable barriers set forth in the anatomical structure, which nothing but the fist of Almighty God could harmonize, and convert either nature into the machinery of the other. But a greater barrier than any mentioned yet, are in the way; I mean the moral and intellectual natures. There never has been an instance since the world began, when a monkey, baboon, ape, chimpanzee, orangutan, or pongo, have been demonstrated to possess any more intellect than the horse or the dog, and far less than the beaver. Indeed, I have seen rats under more rule and discipline than I ever saw either tribe of the monkey species.
But then, where is the zoologist, or comparative anatomist, who has ever seen a specimen or fossiliferous relic, of the transition or change that was turning a monkey into a man? We have seen the tad-pole turn to a frog, we have seen the caterpillar turn to a butterfly, and a thousand other transitions take place, but who has ever seen a monkey in an intermediate state, with one side monkey and the other side man, or with one end man and the other end monkey? Again, those wise timber heads who trace man’s origin to the monkey tribe invariably identify the Negro race with him especially. Well, let us see how the position will stand the test. The Negro, they say, sprung from the monkey, or in other words, is an elevated monkey, a higher order of monkey. He is a monkey, but he has simply thrown off some of the characteristics of the wild monkey, and through domestication has imbibed moral and mental habits, and partakes of the physical conformations peculiar to the bimanual races. Now let us compare the Negro and orangutan, one of the highest orders of the monkey tribe. The Negro has like the white man two hundred and forty-five bones in his body; the orangutan has two hundred and twenty-eight. The Negro has thirty-two teeth in his mouth; the orangutan has twenty-four. The Negro has two hands and two feet, the orangutan has four hands and no feet. The Negro walks erect or upright; the orangutan walks on his all fours. The Negro has short frizzled hair on his head; the orangutan has hair frequently six inches long and it is straight, covering his whole body. The Negro has black skin, the orangutan has gray, bluish, pale, and sometimes white skin, but never black. They say the Negro has a long heel; the orangutan has no heel at all. The Negro when erect is from five to six and a half feet high; the orangutan is from three to four feet high. The Negro brings forth their young after a gestation of nine months; the orangutan bring for their young after a gestation of five months. The Negro whips their children when they do wrong; the orangutan bit their children when they act rudely.
The Negro is considered old when he arrives at seventy and eighty years of age. The orangutan is considered old when he arrives at twenty and twenty-five. The hair of the Negro is naturally black; the hair of the orangutan is of a brownish red color. The lips of the Negro are generally thick; the lips of the orangutan are so thin, that when his mouth is shut, it looks like a coarse seam. The legs of the Negro are the longest; the arms of the orangutan are the longest. The Negro retires to bed very late as a general rule; the orangutan retires at sun set, and rises at sun rise invariably. The Negro has some shame, and politeness; the orangutan has none; for the blushes at no act. The Negro laughs and talks in his most savage state; the orangutan does neither. And thus we might continue to show their dissimilarity, in a hundred other instances, but what would be the use? I have adduced enough already to show that it would be more trouble for God to transform the orangutan into a man, than it would be to make the man at once. And more, enough has been adduced to prove that those who advocate that abominable heresy are either fools or villains.
But the next question is why the Negro is black? I might with equal propriety ask why are the Caucasians white? They are both mysteries to me; for while I believe we all sprang from Adam. I do not believe Adam was either white or black. For those familiar with the Hebrew language will bear me witness that the word we translate Adam, is so often used in the Hebrew literature as an adjective, to convey the following colors: red, reddish, crimson and brown. And I think it is Prof. Stuart, who states, that according to the etymological significance of the term, and its general application among the Israelites, we are forced to the conclusion, that Adam was either yellow, re, or of a cornelian color. This much we do know that by far the largest number of the world’s inhabitant’s to-day is of that color. And if you will allow me to speak plainly on that point, I have my doubts about either white or black being natural colors. Indeed they are not colors; they are both the extreme of colors. And if it is a matter of astonishment why a man should be black; it is equally wonderful why a man should be white. Particularly so, when we find that out of thirteen hundred millions of people living on the globe, not more than three hundred and seventy millions are white, this leaving nine hundred and thirty millions belonging to the darker hue. Now, if white is the natural color of man, why are they so far in the minority? But if there is any natural color, I believe the Indian or the Japanese have it, and not the black or the white man.
Some however, who were possessed with more zeal than knowledge, have labored hard to prove that black was an execrable or an accursed mark that the negro sprang from Cain, that Cain was cursed, and that curse and black are inseparable correlatives; that each possess a reciprocity of force, which necessitates the other. Well, let us grant it all, and apply the test. If the curse of Cain turned him black, and everybody else in the world was white, then Cain must have married a white woman, and his children of necessity would have been mulattoes. Now suppose they were not guilty of incest, and that Cain’s mulatto children married other white people; the next generation would have all been quadroons, or three-quarters white, and quintroons, &c., till in a few generations the black skin would have been bleached as white as ever. But suppose his wife through some terrible paroxysm, had caught this black leprosy, and bore father Cain a few black babies, off there in the land of Nod, (or in the land wandering as the Hebrew word means.) And they had intermarried and raised up a black community. What became of them at Noah’s flood? Don’t you see this damnable heresy cannot stand the torch of analysis, any more than a feather can stand the fires of a furnace? Away with your nonsense, for it is only the wild jargon of a fool.
But let us see, if science on the one hand, or analogical reasoning on the other, can account for the character of the pigmentum.... of the black race; for really that constitutes all the difference between him and the white or Caucasian races.
I am no adept in the science climatology and shall therefore depend mainly upon illustrious authorities for the views I may advance. Professor Moore, in an able treatise on ethnology says: “It is impossible for us, in the present state of our physiological knowledge to explain the precise mode by which changes are produced in the physical constitution, by a change of geographical location, but the fact is, that there is in the constitution of man a tendency such as we saw in the lower tribes, to put on certain changes of color, hair, form, etc., when removed from one climate and locality to another, or when subjected to any great change of social habits.” Whether the external condition of these changes be the chemical solar rays, the altitude or depression of the general level, the difference of geological formations, the varying agencies of magnetism and electricity, atmospheric peculiarities, miasmatic exhalations from vegetable or mineral matter, difference of soils, proximity to the ocean, variety of food, habits of life and exposure—all of which perhaps at times, come in play, or other causes more occult—there can be no question about the fact that such causes are at work. The fact is, that when other physical conditions are the same, tribes living nearest the equator and level of the sea are marked with the blackest skin and crispest hair, thus we make a gradual ascent from the jetty black negro of the time to the olive colored Arab, the brown Moor, the swarthy Italian, the dusky Spaniard, the dark skin Frenchman, the ruddy Englishman, and the pallid Scandinavian. When the white races are transferred to a tropical clime, there is a gradual darkening of the complexion, and a crisping of the hair. The change is not so perceptible, however, in the removal of the dark races to a cooler climate, because, as Professor Moore says: “The deposition of the coloring pigment in the rete mucosum, or mucous web, is a positive peculiarity, and the law of varieties, as we have ascertained it, is, that these peculiarities once produced become tenacious and permanent, even though the original condition of their production should be changed. The white races are more immediately affected, because their color is a negative peculiarity, and hence more readily affected by the action of positive agencies.”
Dough may be readily changed into brae, by subjecting it to heat, but bread cannot so readily be changed into dough by reversing the process or subjecting it to cold or water—yet no man would from this fact affirm that a lump of dough and a loaf of bread may not have the same origin. But even on these races a bleaching effect is seen after the process of a considerable time. The colored people this country even where the race has not been mixed, are lighter in color than our race in Africa. And the Gypsies, in spite of their exposure and nomadic habits, have gradually assumed a lighter tint in the cooler parts of Europe, so in the opposite direction. Bishop Heber declares that three hundred years residence in India, have made the Portuguese nearly as black as the Caffres.
The learned Richard Watson speaks also of a Jewish settlement in tropical India, where a colony emanating from the same source, that the white Jews of this country did, have in the lapse of few centuries become as black as the negroes. Dr. Morton says, “The children of Abraham are found of every hue; from the ruddy tints of the Polish and German, through the dusky hue of the Moorish and Syrian, to the jetty melanism of the black Jews of India.” Again,
He says, "The Hindoos themselves present every variety of complexions from the fair skinned Rajpoot, whose cheek is tanned by the cool breezes of the Himalayas, to the swart Coolies, and the cold black fishermen, who swarm on the burning banks of the Hooghly."
Prof. Lichtenstein says, "That the Caffres in many instances, are as light-colored as the Portuguese;" other races have been found in the tropical climes, where the hair is crisped, but the faces are merely tawny. And still others, with the physiognomy of the Caucasian and the black-color of the Negro. And thus we might go on adducing evidences of climatological changes till they would become burdensome. But if you ask me what it is in the climate that so operates as to work these varieties in the human species, I have but to say, I cannot tell; nor can I tell what it is in the climate of Africa, that has made white hogs turn black, that strips the sheep of its wool, and clothes it with black hair; that causes the dog to lose his hair, and leaves him with a black oily skin; that changes the feathers of several gallinaceous fowls from lively colors to black; too little is known of the chemical workings of nature's mysterious laboratory to solve the problem yet, for chemistry is the hands of god, it’s working in the heavens, in the atmosphere, in the sweeping rivers, in the ocean, in dew drops, in the earth, in the rocks, in the vegetable and mineral kingdoms, and in man, bird, and beast.
The most philosophical exegesis I have found on this subject, however, is the following which I copy verbatim from the learned Dr. Good: "The immediate matter of color is the mucous pigment, which forms the middle layer of the general integument of the skin, and upon this the sun, in hot climates appears to act in a two-fold manner; first, by the direct affinity of its colorific rays with the oxygen of the animal surface, in consequence of which the oxygen is detached, and flies off, and carbon and hydrogen being at liberty, form a more or less perfect charcoal, according to the nature of their union, and next, by the direct influence which its colorific rays, like many other stimulants, produce upon the liver by exciting it to a secretion of more abundant bile, and of a deeper hue. And that this second or coloring layer of the general integument of the skin differs (as indeed all the layers of the skin do) in its thickness, not only in the different kinds of animals, but very frequently in the different species, varieties, and even individuals, and we find the hair is effected in the same ratio of the mucous pigment."
But why should this subject be one of so much speculation and doubt, when the very rudiments of psychological experience will teach us the mode of transforming one race into another, by application of such means as heaven has placed at our disposal, in from three to four generations? When you can take two sisters of the same stock, and surround their progeny with dissimilar influences and circumstances, and work a complete change in their physical contour in so short a time. But why follow this line of argument further? When we have arrived at Quod erat demonstrandum.
The next great bugbear that has agitated Christendom, and desecrated even the pulpits of this country, has arisen from the so-called curse of old father Noah. And here I feel the need of an admirable work on that subject which was published a few years ago, from under the powerful pen of that learned and eminent divine Rev. B. T. Tanner, D. D., of Philadelphia, but having mislaid it, I will be unable to give you the benefit of his masterly views and arguments.
Happily, however, for the occasion, I have before me a similar line of argument from another eminent colored divine of Liberia. Rev. Alex Crummell, B. A., a graduate of Queen's College, Cambridge, whose clear masterly mind deals with that subject as few are able.
Mr. Crummell, after proving by both sacred and profane history,, that the malediction or curse of Noah, never effected any of Ham's children, except Canaan, and that the curse was exhausted in the extermination of the Canaanites by the children of Israel, after their introduction into the promised land, proceeds to say, "that Africa was originally settled by the descendents of Ham, excepting his son Canaan. Ham himself is supposed to have immigrated to Egypt, and Egypt in scripture is called the "land of Ham." There he attained to state and eminence, and after his death, it is said, was deified by his descendents. The supreme deity Am of the Egyptians, it is stated, signifies his name, e.g. Ham, and the Jupiter Ammon, in honor of whom a temple was erected, is supposed to indicate Ham.
Africa was peopled by Ham in the line of his three sons, Cush, Mizraim and Phut.
1st. Cush, the eldest, and undoubtedly the most distinguished of all the sons of Ham, appears to have been the great progenitor of the Negro race. His name is also associated, with distinction, with Asia. The records of these early periods of the world's history are by no means clear and distinct; but Cush appears to have gone at first, into Arabia, between the Euphrates and the Tigris; the country sometimes called Chaldea, and in scripture, Shiraz. Thence his descendents spread themselves abroad through the beautiful and luxuriant region of "Araby, the blest," and eastward, by the Persian Gulf to the Orient. Here, in the first place, Cush and his children distinguished themselves. Here, Nimrod, his son became the first of kings, and reared the mighty city of Babylon, and founded Nineveh. In the course of time, some of the descendents of Cush crossed the straits of Rabelmandel turned their steps southward toward the sources of the Nile and settled in the land south of the mountains of the Moon, and from them the negro race has sprung, although the Cushites were undoubtedly, greatly mingled in blood with the children of Mizraim and Phut.
2nd. Mizraim was the father of the Egyptians. Wherever, in our version, we find the name Egypt, in the original it is Mizraim.
3rd. Of Phut, the third son of Ham, we have but little more than conjecture. It is the generally received opinion that his descendants settled on the northern Atlantic coast of Africa—Libya, and the adjacent parts, the country of the Moors." So you see there is no connection with Canaan, the fourth son of Ham, and the Negro race.
Mr. Crummell, in another place, says:
"It appears then, from the evidence adduced; that the curse in its locality and significance is altogether Asiatic and not African. Asia was the field on which the Canaanites moved, and whence their history is derived. The Canaanites of old were Asiatic, that is, so far as residence is concerned, and that the mass of their descendants, if existing anywhere, are the modern Syrians."
Mr. Watson says:
"The Cushites extended westward their migration into the heart of the African continent, where only in the woolly headed negro the genuine Cushites is to be found."
Herodotus, the Father of history, says: "That Xerxes had in the army prepared for the Grecian expedition, both Orientals and African Ethiopians, and those from Africa had kinky hair, which, says Dr. Pritchard, 'must have been caused by the tropical effects of their specific locality.'"
Dr. Hales says: "That the Cushites were allotted to the hot regions of Africa."
Mr. Rollin says: "That Cushites, with a mixture of Mizraim and Phut, settled Africa, and were the progenitors of the Negro race."
Mr. Watson again says: "The only probable account which can be given of the negro tribes, is, that, as Africa was peopled, through Egypt by three of the descendants of Ham, they are the offspring of Cush, Mizraim and Phut."
Dr. Bascom says: "The descendents of Cush first settled between the Euphrates and Tigris, and the region was styled the Country of Cushdim, or Chaddea, and the land of Shinar, and Nimrod, a son of Cush erected there the first kingdom on earth."
The Cushites are without doubt the origin and stand in history as the face of the great Negro world, says the same author. And again, Ethiopia proper, lying on the South of Egypt, in Africa, was also settled by a colony of Cushites, together with an admixture of the descendents of Mizraim, and to these we must trace the present Ethiopian race. And again,
The Canaanites, to whom the curse of Noah was limited, never entered Africa, except a few on the coast of Barbary, which never belonged to the land of the Negroes, and where they soon became extinct. Of course the curse did not affect Africa, but had its consummation in the destruction to the seven Canaanite nations.
These illustrious authorities, I think are sufficient to settle the origin of the Negro race and prove those falsifiers who would brand him with the curse of Canaan.
The unity of the human family is also unquestionably demonstrated in the power of the different races to amalgamate, or inter-propagate their offspring; a power which by no means prevails among the animal tribes.
Had the all-wise Creator not limited the extent of propagation in the animal creation the earth might have become a scene of organic confusion, for they might have commingled ad infintum, and thus bred into a strange and nondescript monstrosity; impassable barriers were therefore necessitated, and were provided in the genius and species, which now, and have always existed. It is this fact (or law) that establishes the conditions of hybridity, and ends the intermixture. A hybrid may be produced between two different species, but never a hybrid species, for the hybrid is barren and cannot perpetuate its kind. And as evidence that this is a trespass upon the order of nature, hybrids are rarely, if ever produced among animals in a wild state, they are almost invariably the result of domestic force or manipulation. The law of heaven is that each kind shall beget its own kind. And if we find the power of reproduction existing between any two classes, we know that they are merely varieties, and belong to the same species.
And if they belong to the same species, we know they had the same origin; for we have seen that the production of new species is impossible through any process of hybridity. A mule is a hybrid, and was never known to give birth to a colt. The products of a buffalo and cow and the China and common goose, possibly have feebly bred to the second generation, and then became extinct; but then it was doubtful if they were not only a variety. Dr. Morton to appease his prejudices against the Negro, has most elaborately discussed this subject, and labored hard to prove out hybrid races. Dr. Bachman, a far more able naturalist, has taken up his arguments seriatim, and utterly demolished them.
Now let us apply this rule to man, and what a wide contrast we behold. The different races everywhere not only amalgamate, but reproduce their amalgamated offspring forever, and by it establish varieties, generate different nationalities, transform complexions, and what is far more, raise up new races, larger in size, more robust, stalwart, and invariably more beautiful. And at the same time prove beyond cavil by the immutable laws of nature, the common origin of the human family, so, if one man came from a Adam—all did; for we were all of one species.
Do you want ocular proof of this? If you do, look at the mulattoes, quadroons, quintroons, and octoroons, who swarm the country. And as evidence, they are no hybrids, and procreate their kind. I knew a mulatto woman who was the mother of twenty-nine children, and twenty-six were living four years ago. And as though nature intended to satisfy the world on that subject, by making her the standard-test. Some of these children were by white men, and some by black men. I also knew a beautiful mulatto woman in Abbeville District, S. C., who gave birth to twins, and one was nearly white with straight hair, and the other was nearly black with kinky hair; thus showing a white and black father. And if you want any more races interblending than that, to prove the oneness or homogeneousness of human nature, I cannot see what it is for.
On the other hand, I have to learn truthfully of a solitary instance since the world began, of a man breeding with any of the animal creation: monkey, baboon, chimpanzee, orangutan, gorilla, or ape not accepted. This so clearly establishes the unity of the origin of man, that we need no biblical authority. I wish I could however, trace my race to some other source, than the fallen and unfortunate Adam; I wish I could give both him and mother Eve to our white friends if they desire it, but I can't; he is my daddy too.
It has been said, however, that a few instances have occurred, where women have bred for dogs, and that a she bear in Mexico once bread for a man.
But if such a revolting episode to all human sensibility ever did occur, we are sure no such specimen of human and brute monstrosity has ever been able to perpetuate its kind; and we dismiss the subject in disgust.
Having proved both by science and the ablest historical authorities in the world, that the Negro emanated from the sole source, and is a part of the same species, and is one and inseparable with the rest of the human family. Let us now trace him through expired ages, let us look at him as he stands out in colossal grandeur, ranking high in civilization, in art, in science, in literature, in military genius and bravery, in manipulating kingdoms, in shaping the destinies of nations, in establishing navies and paving navigation for future ages. From the time that Asia was a land of tents and shepherds, Greece a waste wilderness, Rome a desert and America unknown in song and history, and the African races rose as the proud mother of nations and centre of civilization and social refinement.
And where shall we begin? And how shall we find language to express ourselves? For noble specimens meet our gaze at every period and every decade. In summing up the career of the Negro race, however, I shall include the descendents of Cush, Mizraim and Phut, because I have proved beyond question, that the children of these three sons of Noah have inter-blended and inter-mixed to an inseparable degree. But that the posterity of Canaan have become extinct, or as Paley says destroyed.
The Negro or African races however, can boast an ancestry as bright and as famous as any people who ever breathed. Compared with whom, the Goths and Vandals of Europe, from which our white friends descended, are no more to be compared, than I am to be compared with Isaac Newton. As Mr. Watson says: "We affirm that the contemned race of Africa, as to intellect and genius, can exhibit a brighter ancestry than our own—wild and untrained (at present) it is true, but still the offshoot of a stem which was once proudly luxuriant of the fruits of learning and taste, while that from which the Goths, their calumniators have sprung remained hard, knotted and barren." There is not a kingdom found upon the map of nations that can lay such an antique claim to art and science, and upon whose lofty brow have been emblazoned more glittering and immoral ornamentations than upon hers. It is thought by some historians that the Cushites were the only branch of Ham's posterity who were ever black, and from the language of Jeremiah the prophet, we know they were black as now twenty-five centuries ago, and from one or two remarks by Herodotus the great historian, we should judge that they were black thirty-three or four centuries ago. Yet, for a thousand years the Cushites except in the simple adjunct of religion, were the most distinguished nation on earth. They instituted the first national police. They formed the priesthood and literati of Egypt and Chaldea. They originated the worship of departed heroes. They were the authors of all that complicated machinery of gods and goddesses, which have been handed down in classic history. For a thousand years they held aloft the blazing torch of science to a darkened world, while philosophy strode, and nations learned the wisdom of temples, the obelisks and pyramids. Their everlasting architecture has resisted alike the corroding tooth of time, and the ravages of barbarism, and to-day monument the greatness of their eclipsed genius. Their ruins are still the wonders of the world, and have been three of its seven wonders for four thousand years. And in the words of one witness the pyramids of Egypt, the ruins of Thebes and Hermopolis, of Alexandria and Jupiter Ammon Look at the palace of the Ptolemaic, the catacombs of Sycopolis, the ancient capital of Abyssinia, where forty pillars and one hundred and thirty pedestals of granite are still standing in gloomy magnificence to tell you what Africa once was.
Eighteen Ethiopians were at separate times monarchs of Egypt. And Abyssinia at one time brought a hundred thousand horsemen and the same number of camels in the field of battle.
And though Ethiopians swayed the scepter over Egypt, yet, there repaired Plato, Solon, Pythagoras, Lycurgus, Herodotus, Strabo and Tacitus, to learn the laws and principles of science, statesmanship and religion. While Napoleon Bonaparte, forty centuries after, stood in awe at the base of her monuments, and melted into insignificance before the majesty of her ruins.
Ethiopia in the days of King Asia of Israel, mustered a million of men for the battle field. We read of twenty thousand African cities existing at one time. Two of the Romish Popes, if not three, were Cushites or Negroes. Africans taught the arts in the tongue of the Pharaohs, and originated the hieroglyphic symbols. From them mythology received her birth, astronomy attention, the zodiac a system, and the constellations notation. They paved the way for the future greatness of Homer and Achilles. Their heroes stood the conquest of nations. The mighty Shishak, the great Sestostris, the conquering Hannibal, at whose martial tread the majesty of Rome trembled and quaked upon her alpine embrasures. The renowned Queen of Sheba was also an African. Also Queen Candace of Ethiopia. The Princess of Meroe who swayed the scepter of Ethiopia, and once dictated terms of peace to Augustus Caesar, was an African. Cleopatra, before whose beauty rival Kings knelt in infatuated madness, was a daughter of African Egypt. St. Cyprian, Augustine, Tertullian and Terrence of classic poetry, had African mothers. So was the mother of Hannibal, who blazed out a path over the Alps, and thus laid out a system of tactics for the guidance of Napoleon Bonaparte, fifteen hundred years before he was an invader of Italy—Yes, Hannibal, whose fame will glow upon the pages of history, and also his armies, which hung like the cyclones of the desert upon the declivities of the towering Alps.
Africa has given her fathers, her prelates of every grade to the church of God; her bishops rank first in the order of apostolic succession if any such a fact be in history seven hundred bishops met to deliberate upon the destinies of the church in Africa, and adopted dogmas, and decreed religious tenets, that still constitute the foundation of religious faith throughout the civilized world. Her martyrs have been burnt at the stake, and the flaming fagots have consumed them, while they shouted glory to God.
We need not refer you to the granite chiseled head of Memnon, to find physgionomical expressions carved in rock, that will indicate the negro's past genius, their generals, physicians, philosophers, linguists poets, merchants, mathematicians from Euclid down, all dot the golden shore of their departed glory. And though reason and despair have sat down for ages together on the throne of their intellects, we know from history, it once blazed in glorious grandeur, and the day approaches rapidly when it will repeat the story of its conquest. The celebrated Blumenbach, the great German naturalist, had a library exclusively of Negro works or productions, and fearlessly boasted that there was no branch of science or literature in which they had not excelled. Bishop Gregoria had a book case filled with works by Negro authors, to which he would point with pride; as a refutation of all that could be said against the mental powers of that race. And heaven seems to have rise up examples of Negro capacity, in Freidig of Germany, Hannibal of Russia, Lislet of the French Academy, Dr. Arno of Württemberg University with Vasa and Ignatius Sancho whose taste and genius have enriched the polite literature of civilization. And thus through history, the negro holds the magic wand, and the world looks on with wonder and admiration, from Nimrod, the sons of Cush, and the founder of kingdoms; to Frederick Douglass, whose massive brain and fiery tongue have pelted this nation for thirty years, with logical missiles more fearful in their effects than all the thunderbolts that Vulcan ever forged for Jupiter; yes, Douglass, whose hot breath hung like the tempest of heaven, and battalions of flying cherubim over the horizon of his country, till the hands of those who oppressed his race withered and died; yes, Douglass, whose burning words and flaming eloquence sent an incandescent glare over the gloomy regions of his slave-darkened country, and the torch of liberty blazed like the star of Bethlehem.
But we must not desert poor Canaan. He too was a child of Ham; we are bound to him by the consanguineous law of nature. He is our brother with all his faults and misfortunes, and a noble brother too. The Canaanites can boast a long line of illustrious personages.
Whether the Noachian curse was intended to be an hereditary affliction, fastened on to that race by the God of nature, to ultimately result in their degradation and extermination, or whether it was a mere prophetic indication of what should over take them for their sins, is a question that would require too much elaboration for this occasion.
This much we glean from history; however, they were never black; so the curse did not change their complexion. And it is strange that an accursed race should be allotted a land that flowed with milk and honey. True, I do not endorse the language of the Hon. Garrett Smith, with all his virtues, "that the curse and all connected with it, is a myth, and is entitled to no consideration;" but I do assume there is a great paradox or inconsistency somewhere, if the popular construction given to the curse is entitled to credit. For though the Canaanites appear to have been cursed, yet history only accounts for the posterity of five sons out of eleven who ever settled in Canaan, and of course ever received the effects of the curse. They were Heth, Jebus, Amor, Girrgashi and Hivi, and their father Canaan; leaving six sons with their posterity to whom the curse never extended, nor did the edict of heaven contemplate the destruction of any besides those who were actually in the land of Canaan. Suppose however they were cursed, that the ire of heaven rested upon them, that the frown of God followed them, till they became lecherous in the sight of men and angels. Was it the effects of Noah's drunken curse, or a just and righteous retribution for the sins they had committed. The answer to me is plain and easy. For there is no reference made to the curse of Noah in the catalogue of crimes charged either by God or Moses. But they were charged with sacrificing men, burning their own children on hellish altars, to appease the wrath of Moloch, and in morals, they were charged with adultery, bestiality, incest, profanity, and all kinds of uncleanness, even down to sodomy. But you say, were not these crimes, the natural sequence of the curse. Why no; for the reason that four hundred and fifty years before that time, the Canaanites had of their own race, one of the most pious and holy men as their priest, and king known to the ancient world.
I mean Melchisodeck, King of Salem and priest of the most high God, to whom Abraham when returning from the Assyrian slaughter gave a tenth of his spoils, and thus set the world an example of Christian benevolence that has brought millions into the lap of the church of God, and will forever. Could any person other than a non compos mentis presume for a moment that Melchisodeck wore the badge of a curse? The man whom Abraham the father of the faithful, and friend of God bowed his holy knee. Gentlemen I can't see it in that light.
Again, with all their faults and with the curse too, if you please; these people were so bright and full of military genius, bravery and strategy, that they withstood Joshua six years, before he got possession of their territory, with the infinite *CAPS*FIAT of heaven at his back, and all Israel at his bid. For the Canaanites were an active and intellectual people, as much, if not more so than any of the ancients. They originate maritime adventures, established commerce with the then known world. They passed out the straits of Gibraltar, visited Britain and Ireland, planted colonies in both Spain and Ireland. And I believe the whole Irish race and a part of the English and they are the descendents of Canaan.
I mean no personal reflection upon my Irish fellow-citizens. But they know they cannot trace their own history to any head. Besides, their works of art and genius, they cannot account for, though standing in their own territory—look at their towers and old castles! Their builders are wrapt in the gloom of undated history. And long before the Scandinavians turned their adventurous bowsprits toward the North, the Canaanites had planted their banners on the soil of the Erin Isle; and the same restive genius that then fired their souls, and made them peculiarly a locomotive and migratory people, are seen aglow in the Irish to-day. We are authorized by history also to say, that though the Canaanites were destroyed, and became extinct as to their nationality; yet, there were hundreds who escaped to Phoenicia, a Syrian colony; and there built up the cities of Sidon, Tyre, Sarepta, Biblos, Tripoli, Aradus, &c. And let us see what these Noah cursed people did. They made Phoenicia, the cradle of letters and arts. They carried the letters to Greece, through Cadmus, in which Homer wrote his Iliad and Anacreon his lyrics. They build the world renowned temple of Solomon, whose magnificence and grandeur has baffled the genius of earth and will forever. They navigated the ships that transported his cedar, his stone, his silver, and his gold. They piloted vessels to distant shores, long before any other race dared to leave the sight of land. Gentlemen, I am afraid to tell you any more about this accursed people, I am afraid you will go off and get drunk because you were not cursed too. Ladies, now don't go home and quarrel with old father Noah because he did not curse you. For the Lord's sake let old Pa rest.
I think, however, I have shown conclusively, that the Noachian malediction neither effected their complexion, their intellects, their morals, their religion, their industry, their ingenuity, nor their size, for in the days of Moses and Joshua, there were giants in their midst. And though I said poor Canaan a while ago, and was about to express sympathy. I now imagine a responsive voice comes, saying: Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and your children.
Now I ask in conclusion, is there one here, who does not believe that white gentlemen (God forgive me for calling him a gentleman), was either a fool or a knave, when he questioned the soul of the Negro, and disputed his very humanity? When at the same time, if the facts were known, the hot blood of Canaan were then coursing through his veins, and by virtue of that, is first cousin to the blackest Negro in Guinea.
Men for ages have been trying to contemn and ignore the Negro race; but in the language of Mr. Crummell, there is hope for Africa yet. And on this point I would like to spread my literary wings, and quote from the Bible and distinguished divines and philanthropists for hundreds of years. And such statesmen as Wilberforce, Clarkson, Lord Chatham, McQueen in the old world; and Everet, Madison, Jefferson, Clay, and that blazing Comet Charles Sumner, Stevens, Wilson, Greely, and a convoy of others; not to mention the philanthropists from Phillips, down. Men, whose names will glitter on the scroll of fame and whose words are the richest jewels of earth. And prove by them, that the flambeau of hope still lights up the Negroes path, and lifts an arch of seven-fold colors, which spans his darkened brow. A few weeks since, Hon. Frederick Douglass animadverted through his organ severely; upon a paragraph, he saw in one of my speeches in regard to Africa. Wherein I stated, that I did not believe this country would be the ultimate home of the negro race, that I believed our race would one day turn their attention to Africa, and go to it. Mr. Douglass accused me of clandestinely aiding the Colonization Society, and hurled his ohillipics at me in a most frightful manner. Since then, I have given the Colonization scheme some attention; I have read one or two works, which has opened my eyes, and enlarged my store of information, and has enabled me to form an opinion.
And with all the admiration I cherish for that great champion of human rights, I think him wrong in his obstinate and irreconcilable repugnance to that institution; I believe the Colonization Society has done good, is doing good, and will ultimately be adored by unborn millions. Through this very Colonization Society some of the posterity of Mr. Douglass may yet sway a scepter in that now darkened and despised country, but then enlightened and civilized notion, that will rank their names beside such men as Alexander and Charlemagne, with posterity who are now sleeping in the womb of the future. But for the Colonization Society there would be no communication between here and our Fatherland, and there would be no medium through which to convey the waters of life to that famishing people. Why should we despise Africa because the whites do? Let them despise their own fatherland. Whenever I hear the Irish ridiculing Ireland, the English England, the French France, the Germans Germany, the Italians Italy, and the Spanish Spain, then will I as a descendent of Africa consider the propriety of ridiculing Africa? I do not wish it understood that I am advocating African emigration, but I believe it is our duty to civilize our fatherland, and the only way to civilize a people is to move into their midst and live among them.
This must not be done en masse however, otherwise the object sought would be defeated, it must be the work of slow and gradual operation. Just about as slow as the Colonization Society has been since its organization. This will leave here enough of the colored race still to give us that black Emperor, and a snow-white Princess eighty years from now; to which Mr. Douglass referred in his masterly speech at Philadelphia. But then, it is alleged by some, that the prime movers in the Colonization scheme were not, noted friends of the negro race; well grant it, and what would it argue? It would only be another evidence that Providence over-rules evil for good. How many thousands in the late war fought, bled and died for the freedom of the Negro; who hated him, as the devil hates holy water; but is freedom to be despised by us because their motives were impure. The old woman said "she thanked God for the bread, if the devil did bring it;" and I commend her good sense.
O! Africa there is hope for you yet, there are better things in store for thee! These are the days of your small things, "but they are not to be despised;" for in the pregnant words of the poet:
"There is a light in the window for thee, brother,
There is a light in the window for thee."
I must dismiss this phase of the subject, however, and come to a conclusion. I think we have weighed the Negro pretty well, and found him not wanting. We have subjected him to quite a thorough analysis, and he has held his own. We bet on him, and he has won the race. We have found that some good thing could come out of Nazareth.
All along the shores of time we see the Negro figuring high, and making his mark on time's resisting tablets, outrage, abuse, execration, persecution, condemnation, and even death has not paralyzed his energies, nor dampened his courage. He is a man after two hundred and fifty years servitude. Everywhere you see the Negro. He is at every ball, every funeral, every church, every theatre, or has his representatives there; for when he cannot attend in person, he makes white men black their faces and represent him. He is in Congress, in the State Legislature, in the diplomatic corps. Prof. Langston, the polished shaft and master of jurisprudence, is turning out Negroes for the forum.
Bishop Payne, the great scholar and model Christian, who stands at the head of negro prelates, throughout Christendom, is preparing his race for the pulpit.
Hunter, Tanner, Burch, Nelson, Ruby and others, are excelling in journalism, and dictating terms to the nation, men, before whose frown and mighty pens politicians of every shade tremble.
Dr. Garnet, black as jet, but as bright as the sunbeams, looks across the high seas, and views on a distant shore, some of his race still in fetters; he roars like a Bengal lion, his hot breath sweeps over the region, as the ..... Sweeps the Arabian Desert; saying Cuba must be free.
G. T. Downing takes up the constitution of his country, discusses and unravels it with such eminent skill; displaying at the same time such a caliber of statesmanship, that we spot him, the Daniel Webster of his race.
Benji Banneker of precious memory, peeped in the skies, and the many heavens stood still; he almanaced their days, weeks, months, years, changes, eclipses, risings and sittings, as Pythagoras and Socrates never dreamed and startled Thomas Jefferson, then President of the United States.
Governor Pinchback of Louisiana, sees the party that freed him and his race, betrayed by a knave it had trusted; one man alone out of a hundred thousand had the brain and the courage to attack this hydra-headed monster, and save his race from degradation and ruin—he met him in mortal combat, and like David snatched the lamb from his voracious jaw—that man was Pinchback himself.
Shall I speak of Congressman Rainy, Elliott, Walls, Cath, and Rapier? Shall I refer you to Belcher, Quarles, Gibbs, Daveaux, White, Pearce, and a host of other leading politicians?
Need I mention the black prelates, The Rt. Rev. Samuel E. Crowther, Lord Bishop of the Niger in Western Africa, who, when he was consecrated, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the chief primate of all England, locked arms with—and led to the sacred Altar, in respect to his great ability? And in this country, the powerful Bishop Campbell, the logical Bishop Brown, the flowery Bishop Ward, the sweet-tongued Bishop Wayman, The learned though haughty Dr. Thompson, the polished Love, with a host of others, who stud the fair dome of the Christian church, and blaze like the watch fires of ages. Need I mention the name of Toussaint L’Ouverture, compared with whom the glorious fame of Gen. Washington might wither, and the brave sons of the Negro race, whose bleaching bones on every field of battle, tell the story of liberty in this country as the poet muse never dreamed?
Need I mention the unwavering loyalty of the negro, during the fearful ordeal of reconstruction in the South, when he braved starvation, bands of assassins, and death itself for the redemption of his country, and was ever as true to his flag as the needle is to the pole.
I think I hear the voice of God and reason say: Hold! Hold!! Hold your peace, enough has been said! The Negro is a human being, the Negro has capacities susceptible of eternal evolutions—he too, is a man bearing the undoubted impress of his maker. And to those monomaniacs, who would rob him of manhood—seek to defame his name—and eclipse his glory I now leave to the wormwood and the gall, and hell must chant their dreadful requeim, and finish the sad story, for I have no organ that can give utterance to the rest.
Turner, Henry McNeal. The Negro in All Ages. The Henry McNeal Turner Project. (1863, April 8th). http://www.thehenrymcnealturnerproject.org/2019/03/the-negro-in-all-ages.html