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God supplies to the notion, that there is any essential difference between them. The Creator of all has “made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth "; and he who practically denies this,“ maketh God a liar”. How admirably does the proud spirit which leads the white American to revolt at worshipping his Maker in the same church with his sable fellow Christian, harmonize with the apostolic exhortation, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,” who “is not ashamed to call us”—men of every hue, partakers of the same flesh and blood—“his brethren "! Had Our Lord himself appeared to the American nation“ in the form of a servant”, with a skin of darker hue than their own, they would have exclaimed with one voice, “ Crucify him."
No one who is aware of the intense, the almost savage antipathy which inspires an American towards the coloured races, will accuse us of exaggeration. In this respect, our own West Indians, with all their faults, discover a less unconquerable prejudice. It seems inherited less, indeed, from the European, than from the aboriginal Indian, between whom and the negro there exists a peculiar mutual repugnance, as there is also the most extreme physical contrariety. The very sight of a gentleman of colour, whatever his wealth and intelligence, at the same dinner-table, in the same box of a theatre, still more at the same altar, would, even in this country, throw an American into the agitation of suppressed rage. The well authenticated anecdotes we have heard, illustrative of this fact, would be simply amusing, were it not for the serious consequences of this absurd prejudice. When we find such a spirit as this in Christians, we may well cease to wonder at the haughty prejudice of the ancient Jews towards the Gentiles, which led them to resent Our Saviour's eating with “publicans and sinners,” and to exclaim respecting the Apostle of the Gentiles, “ Away with this fellow: he is not fit to live.” The conduct of the Brahmins towards the inferior castes, finds its counterpart, in the nineteenth century, among the philosophic republicans of America. In proof of this, we shall transcribe a few sentences from the publications of the advocates of Colonization.
Among the twelve millions who make up our census, two millions are Africans-separated from the possessors of the soil by birth, by the brand of indelible ignominy, by prejudices, mutual, deep, incurable, by an irreconcileuble diversity of interests. They are aliens and outcasts”; --they are, as a body, degraded beneath the influence of nearly all the motives which prompt other men to enterprise, and almost below the sphere of virtuous affections. Whatever may be attempted for the general improvement of society, their wants are untouched. Whatever may be effected for elevating the mass of the nation in the scale of happiness, or of intellectual and moral character, their degradation
is the same,--dark, and deep, and hopeless. Benevolence seems to overlook them, or struggles for their benefit in vain. Patriotism forgets them, or remembers them only with shame for what has been, and with dire forebodings of what is yet to coine . . . In every part of the United States, there is a broad and impassable line of demarcation between every man who has one drop of African blood in his veins, and every other class in the community. The habits, the feelings, all the prejudices of society - prejudices which neither refinement, nor argument, nor education, nor religion itself can subdue-mark the people of colour, whether bond or free, as the subjects of a degradation inevitable and incurable. The African in this country belongs by birth to the very lowest station in society; and from that station he can never rise, be his talents, his enterprise, his virtues what they may. ... They constitute a class by themselves--a class out of which no individual can be elevated, and below which none can be depressed.' African Repository. Vol. IV. pp. 117–119.
• Here, invincible prejudices exclude them from the enjoyment of the society of the whites, and deny them all the advantages of free
The bar, the pulpit, and our legislative halls are shut to them by the irresistible force of public sentiment. No talents however great, no piety however pure and devoted, no patriotism however ardent, can secure their admission. They constantly hear the accents, and behold the triumph of a liberty which here they can never enjoy:
16. Vol. VI. p. 17. • Is it not wise then, for the free people of colour and their friends to admit, what cannot reasonably be doubted, that the people of colour must, in this country, remain for ages, probably for ever, a separate and inferior caste, weighed down by causes powerful, universal, inevitable, ' which neither legislation nor Christianity can remove ?' • Let the free black in this country toil from youth to age in the honourable pursuit of wisdom-let him store his mind with the most valuable researches of science and literature—and let him add to a highly gifted and cultivated intellect, a piety pure, undefiled, and “unspotted from the world”-it is all nothing : he would not be received into the very lowest walks of society. If we were constrained to admire so uncommon a being, our admiration would mingle with disgust, because, in the physical organization of his frame, we meet an insurmountable barrier even to an approach to social intercourse; and in the Egyptian colour which nature has stamped upon his features, a principle of repulsion so strong as to forbid the idea of a communion either of interest or of feeling, as utterly abhorrent. Whether these feelings are founded in reason or not, we will not now inquire--perhaps, they are not. But education, and habit, and prejudice have so firmly riveted them upon us, that they have become as strong as nature itself. And to expect their removal, or even their slightest modification, would be as idle and preposterous as to expect that we could reach forth our hands, and remove the mountains from their foundations into the valleys which are beneath them.' Ib. Vol. VII. pp. 195, 231.
· The Soodra is not further separated from the Brahmin, in regard to all his privileges, civil, intellectual, and moral, than the negro is from the white man, by the prejudices which result from the difference
made between them by the God of nature.' Seventh Annual Report of Col. Soc.
Christianity cannot do for them here, what it will do for them in Africa. This is not the fault of the coloured man, nor of the white man, nor of Christianity; but an ordination of Providence, and no more to be changed than a law of nature. Fifteenth An. Rep.
• The coloured people are subject to legal disabilities, more or less galling and severe, in almost every State of the Union. Who has not deeply regretted their late harsh expulsion from the State of Ohio, and their being forced to abandon the country of their birth, which had profited by their labours, and to take refuge in a foreign land ? Severe regulations have been recently passed in Louisiana, to prevent the introduction of free people of colour into the State. Wherever they appear, they are to be banished in 60 days. The strong opposition to a negro college in New Haven, speaks in a language not to be mistaken, the jealousy with which they are regarded. And there is no reason to expect that the lapse of centuries will make any change in this respect.'
Matthew Carey's “ Reflections". • With us, Colour is the bar. Nature has raised up barriers between the races, which no man with a proper sense of the dignily of his species, desires to see surmounted.' Speeches at the formation of a Col. Soc. in New York. pp. 135—140.
And this in America! These are the fruits of reason and philosophy, in a republic founded on the rights of man', and glorying in the political equality of its citizens, while every sixth individual is a soodra, the victim of a prejudice as senseless, of injustice as enormous, as ever disgraced a heathen nation. Talk of freedom, of toleration, of justice, in a country where a free citizen may be expelled from his native soil, because of his complexion! Why Russia and its autocrat appear to advantage in comparison with this ruthless, irresponsible despotism. And then, think of the blasphemy of making the Deity an accomplice in this cruelty and injustice, by resolving it into an ordination of Pro• vidence,' a 'law of the God of nature', which defies the utmost power of Christianity, which religion cannot, that is, shall not subdue ! How must this language of obstinate determination and defiance sound in the ears of Heaven! How righteously will the refusal to inquire whether these feelings be founded in reason or not, whether they be consonant with justice and religion or not, be visited with a rebuke of fearful indignation! When we read such expressions, we are forcibly reminded of the emphatic words of President Jefferson in reference to slavery: 'I tremble for my country, when I reflect that God is just, and that his justice cannot sleep for ever.'
But what shall we say to such language from ministers of the Gospel ? Let us for one moment imagine St. Paul revisiting the earth, and passing from the extreme western limit of his former labours to the shores of the new world, colonised by those who
forsook their native land, that they might plant their churches beyond the reach of intolerance, in the western wilderness. With what language would he address their descendants, on finding them leagued in a general conspiracy against their fellow Christians of a darker skin! He who once pleaded for Onesimus, the runaway slave, as his spiritual son, entreating his master to receive him, not as a slave or servant, but “ above a servant, a brother beloved"; --who taught in the churches, that the slave, on being “called in the Lord,” became “the Lord's freeman”, as the freeman was Christ's servant, and that between the Jew and the Gentile there was no difference, the same Lord over all being rich in mercy to all who call upon him ;-who insisted so continually and pathetically upon the unity of the body, as having one head, one hope,“ one lord, one faith, one baptism";-how would he deal with these teachers of religion, who lend their sanction to a brutal prejudice which defies every principle of Christianity ? What would the Apostle have said to those who should have urged, that an ordination of Providence' forbade the realizing of that chimerical unity of the Church upon which he insisted ; that the black and white porticns of the mystical body of Christ are incapable of union by a law of nature; that the prayer of the Saviour is at variance with the decrees of the God of nature; that He has not made of one blood all races; and that the mountains should be moved from their foundations, before they would admit their sable fellows, “ for whom Christ died”, to the privileges of brethren ? Faithful disciples of Him who “gave his life a ransom for all”; who has left this prime commandment, binding upon all,—“ As ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also unto them "; and, as a test of obedience, By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, when ye love one another!"
We cannot forbear to address a few words to those Christian ministers in this country, who cherish, as becomes them, brotherly regard for the transatlantic churches, and are apt to look with a degree of fondness and partiality to the land of religious freedom, where Christianity has seemed to put forth of late so holy an energy. Far be it from us to wish to check those feelings, and to sow discord between the two countries. But this we must say; that it becomes the Christians of England to make their voice heard across the Atlantic on behalf of their coloured brethren ; and that our ministers are more especially bound to enter a solemn protest against the antichristian prejudice which the American pastors seem either timidly to yield to, or criminally to participate. Nor, speaking for ourselves, and willing to bear all the blame attaching to the avowal, shall we be disposed to place much faith in American revivals, or to augur well for the interests of religion in the United States, so long as American Christianity shall be found so partial or so feeble in its operation,
as to exert no modifying influence upon this unjust, cruel, and insolent prejudice.
Its essential immorality is evinced by the avowals we have transcribed, which shew that all moral distinctions are lost sight of in comparison with a superficial physical difference. Virtue is not to be discriminated from vice, knowledge from ignorance, probity from dishonesty, piety from infidelity, if veiled beneath a coloured skin. The lowest profligate, the meanest villain, if a white, shall be admitted to contact and fellowship, rather than Toussaint L'Ouverture, or Lott Carey, or any coloured minister of Christ. The Brazilian Catholic does not scruple to receive the sacred wafer at the hands of a black priest: the American Protestant will not enter the same church as his black fellow citizen! And what is this insurmountable physical barrier ? Prejudice is not to be reasoned with, but let us be allowed to examine the matter physiologically: National antipathies are generally founded upon, or fostered by, a difference of creed, of language, of habits, or an hereditary feud between an intrusive and an aboriginal race. In respect to the whites and coloured people of the United States, the creed, the language, the habits are the same; and both are alike exotic races who have become naturalized to the soil together. The one belongs as much to Europe, as the other to Africa ; and the indigenous tribes may regard both alike as intruders. Both races are American by birth, English in language, Christian in creed, citizens of the same political family. What prevents their amalgamation ? difference of race? No, for the races have blended; the proud white blood has mingled itself with the African, in America as in the West Indies and every where else, till new terms have been rendered necessary to describe the shades that distinguish the gradations by which the mulatto fades into the quadroon or darkens into the zambo. Physical antipathy between the white and black races, nature disowns. It is not strong enough, in tropical climes, to become the faintest check upon immorality. To an American critic, nothing seems so unnatural, so monstrous as the love of Desdemona for the Moor, which Shakspeare has shewn his matchless knowledge of human nature in depicting so well. Brabantio talks just like a lordly American, incredulous that a maid
so tender, fair, and happy,
Of such a thing.'