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the negro, and started him to his feet. The thnnders of the civil war awoke him from his profound slumber; but he lay on the cotton-bale with his eyes open, uncertain where he was. The man who has been suddenly roused from a long sleep takes some time to recover himself. The negro is now up—stupid yet from a protracted and undisturbed slumber—but he is up, and wants to adjust his relations to the cotton-bale upon an equitable footing, or leave the bale and its owner to their fate. Hence the exodus and migration idea, which menaces the South in every department of its organic life. And this is a specially inopportune moment for the carrying out of such an idea on any thing like a large scale. The prosperity of the South has been rapidly returning under free labor, and was being placed on a satisfactory and enduring basis. Mr. Jefferson Davis lately declared that the ex-slave-holders were so far satisfied with the change that they would not, if they could, revert to the former system. And yet the owners of these reviving estates have been so unwise and reckless as to adopt such a system of treatment as has spread dissatisfaction among their hands. And, from all we can gather, this harsh and oppressive treatment has not been of a haphazard or isolated character, but the result of a deep-laid scheme. The plan seems to have been so to impoverish their laborers as to make them helplessly dependent, to check by a tyrannical repression the normal impulse of advance, to arrest the people through their elementary needs at a capriciously chosen point in their progress, and fix them in it, and thus bring about a species of serfdom very little better than the former bondage. Rev. Joseph Cook, the celebrated Boston lecturer, in an address before the American Association, furnishes the following information:
Last summer, on Lake Chautauqua, while I had a little leisure, I fell into conversation with one of the acutest members of Washington society—I dare not describe him more definitely—and he said to me: "The negro is getting in debt. He is a peasant; he rents land ; he has only very small wages; he buys his groceries at a store owned by his landlord, and runs up a bill there; and the silent scheme of - the South is to get the negro in debt. Then he cannot very well leave town until his debts are paid. He becomes a fixture, in many cases, because of his indebtedness; and, to make the story short, sir," said my informant, " some of us fear that fifty years hence a considerable portion of the freedmen will be in a state of peonage. They will be bankrupt tenants under the power of landlords. And it is often whispered in the South that this will be the next best thing to the restoration of slavery."*
No people having their eyes open and standing on their feet would long submit to such a state of things. But the intelligent among the negro population do not seem to consider that any migration in the United States will materially affect for the better the social and political status of the colored people.
The "People's Advocate," (Feb. 1,1879,) a colored paper published at Washington, in an able editorial on the subject, says:
There has been a very respectable partial migration, and no perceptible change has come over the South in its ideas of negro citizenship. In 1869-70, 60,000 left Virginia and North Carolina for Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. They left Georgia by the thousands for Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and have gone from Eastern Virginia to Isew York and New England ; but the feeling is nearly as bad to-day in Virginia and Georgia as it was years ago.
And they are now fleeing from Alabama, Mississippi, and
Louisiana. „,m. , „, .
"'Tis but a poor relief they gam
Who change the place but keep the pain.'
And it strikes us, viewing matters from this distant standpoint, that the feeling toward the negro will continue to be "bad" in the United States, if being "bad " means the nonrecognition of his social and political equality with the white man. For the negro, pure and simple, there is no country but Africa, and in America his deeper instincts tell him so. He will never be understood, nor will he ever understand his European guide and teacher, as long as he remains in the countries of his exile. He is often misled by the overflowing and ceaseless generosity of white men into a belief that his benefactors are getting nearer to the idea of practical oneness and brotherhood with him. But among the phenomena in the relations of the white man to the negro in the house of bondage none has been more curious than this: that the white man, under a keen sense of the wrongs done to the negro, will work for him, will suffer for him, will fight for him, will even die for him, but he cannot get rid of a secret contempt for him. • "The Three Despised Races," etc., p. 26.
Mr. James Parton, in his article on "Antipathy to the Negro," * says:
When Miss Kemble came first to Boston, in 1832, she sat next to the late John Quincy Adams at dinner one day, and the conversation turned upon the tragedy of "Othello." Miss Kemble has since reported one of Mr. Adams' remarks on this subject: "Talking to me about Desdemona, he assured me, with a most serious expression of sincere disgust, that he considered all hcr misfortunes as a very just judgment upon her for having married a nigger.'" If this anecdote had not come to us on such respectable authority we could hardly believe it of a man who, during the last and best ten years of his life, was looked upon as the black man's champion.
Theodore Parker, who in pleading for the slave could " stir his hearers to the bottom of their hearts and soften them to tears;" who, in his famous letter to Millard Fillmore, (Nov. 21, 1850,) could say:
I would rather lie all my life in jail and starve there than refuse to protect one of these parishioners of mine. . . . William Craft and Ellen were parishioners of mine. They have been at my house. I married them a fortnight ago this day. After the ceremony I put -a Bible and then a sword into William's hands, and told him the use of each. . . . 'There hang beside me in my library, as I write, the gun my grandfather fought with at the battle of Lexington—he was a captain on that occasion—and also the musket he captured from a' British soldier on that day, the first taken in the war for independence. If I would not peril my property, my liberty, my life, to keep my parishioners out of slavery, then I would throw away these trophies, and should think I was the son of some coward, and not a brave man's child.\
Theodore Parker, who could say, " I should like of all tilings to see an insurrection of slaves; " % who could pronounce that pathetic and touching but terrible discourse over the .great Webster; this same Theodore Parker did not think it inconsistent with his high ideal of human liberty and equal rights to write in a private letter as follows:
Last night I could not coax the thermometer down below 79° any way we could fix it. Now, at eight and a half A. M., I dare not look at it, it is so high. In the midst of the heat there
• " North American Review," Nov.-Dec, 1878.
f " Biography of Theodore Parker." By Octavius Brooks Frothingham. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co. 1876. Pp. 410, 411. \ IbidL, p. 475.
just came a monstrous African black! O dear, how black he was! Fat! bless me, he looked like a barrel (no, A sugar hogshead) of tar, so black, so fat! What an aggravation, with the thermometer at 90° in the shade ! *
We should have taken this for the irrepressible overflow of harmless witticism but for other disparaging references to the negro. To Miss Hunt he writes, under date November 10, 1857:
There are inferior races which have always borne the same ignoble relation to the rest of men, and always will; For two generations what a change there will be in the condition and character of the Irish in New England! But in twenty generations the negroes will stand just where they are now; that is, if they have not disappeared. In Massachusetts there are no laws now to keep the black man from any pursuit, any office, that he will; but there has never been a rich negro in New England; not a man with ten thousand dollars, perhaps none with five thousand dollars; none eminent in any thing except the calling of a vsaiter.\
Again: "In respect to the power of civilization, the African is at the bottom, the American Indian next." % Again: "When slavery is abolished, the African population will decline in the United States, and die out of the South as out of Northampton and Lexington." §
Mr. Parker, after all he said and did for freedom, seems to have had an invincible contempt for weak and oppressed races. He waged uncompromising warfare against the process by which such peoples are degraded, but had no charity toward those suffering from the results of such process. He fought' against the parent, and ridiculed the offspring. The abstract to him was hateful; the concrete examples contemptible or ludicrous. He scorned the Irish and laughed at the negro. He speaks of the Irish as follows:
I don't know but these Paddies are worse than the Africans to the country. We made a great mistake in .attracting them here and allowing them to vote under less than twenty-one years of quarantine. Certainly it would take all that time to clean a Paddy—on the outside I mean ; to clean him inwardly would be like picking up all the sands of the Sahara. There would be nothing left when the sands were gone. ||
* " Biography," p. 311. \ Ibid., p. 467. % Ibid., p. 3?7.
§ Ibid., p. 473. | Ibid., p. 473.
It is a pity that in speaking of the "gintleman from Car-r-r-k," as in caricature he describes the Irishman, and of "the poor wretches from Africa," he did not conform to his own canon of criticism. Speaking of Pierpont, he says: "Just now, considering all that he has done and suffered, it would seem a little ungenerous to be quite just. All pictures must be painted in reference to the light they are to hang in and be looked at." *
Mr. Parker knew the " light" of prejudice and contempt in which his picture of the negro was to "hang," and yet, mak-. ing no allowance for circumstances, and uninfluenced by the laws of moderation, he holds the balance between light and shade with an indifferent hand, paints in thegloomiest possible colors, and thus encourages ra.ther than disarms the falsifying faculty of the observer predisposed to an unfavorable impression.
Would Mr. Parker have joined Dennis Kearney, and raised a crusade in favor of the inhospitable legislation proposed by the opponents of Chinese immigration? In view of the splendid results in the United States and in the world generally of the manly struggle which Mr. Parker maintained for truth and freedom—in view of the large sacrifices which he unquestionably made in the cause of free humanity—many errors of temper and judgment on his part may be forgotten; but the negro can never forget the slurs upon his race, of which, however, no one, perhaps, more readily than Mr. Parker would now admit the impolicy if not the injustice. For how do such utterances differ in character and effects from those of the Notts and Gliddons, of the Calhouns and Jeff. Davises? And the fact—which should be suggestive to thinking negroes in the United States—that they are reproduced in the biography by Mr. Frothingham, shows that there is a feeling that they are the proper thing to say, even now, about the negro. Can Congressional legislation remedy the evils produced by such caricatures and misrepresentations? Congress may decree civil rights to the "despised" race in America, and the exigencies of party may occasionally bring the negro to the front; but what progress can he make when a public sentiment against him is fostered in the writings and in the private intercourse of his
* "Biography," p. 829.