תמונות בעמוד

flames of civil war; you are seeking to destroy our happy union; -look before you leap. Oh, that abominable doctrine of expediency! (says the other,) Has not God said, leap and never look in every case of duty ? Now we hear an earnest note of remonstrance, -I should not think so good a man could write so many disingenuous, sophistical, and yet dangerous things: then a more serious tone, from some other quarter,--I have no confidence in colonization or the representations of its friends.

Then there is one whose great disqualification for being listened to, is, that he comes from beyond the sea; and when at any arrival of the stage-coach, his name is rumored among the people, straight the sexton runs to see the church-doors well secured, lest mob-moving doctrine should gain entrance. "But if, through unexpected lenity, entrance should not be denied, then shall all NewEngland learn how her clergy are upholding slavery by their influence; and how her churches are thoroughly corrupted, having, it seems, expressed a fear lest it should hurt a prisoner's limbs to knock his fetters off with a pick-axe, instead of taking time to find the key and unlock them gently. Mean time, both great hearts and lesser hearts swell with indignation ; and strong passions, hardly bound by necessary christian and civil forms of speech, struggle for utterance. All the while, there stands one, foremost in every tumult, who, at every pause, lest there should be too much of the gentle in the scene, Alings bis mad banner on the winds, and screams out, in concert with some half-score of confederate voices, hypocrite! blasphemer! apologist for slavery!

As to TRUTH, she is always well spoken of in the abstract; but the practical idea seems to be at present, in religious and benevolent controversy, if an assertion is to your purpose, make it, -make it, and leave the truth to Providence. As to religion, the world has many fears there is such a reality somewhere, but is sure, by the

quarrels of her children, that she is any where rather than in her 19

own family. But some, more serious and hopeful, think her not : unobservant of the present din, whether she be hidden in the earth,

or underneath the sea ; and that when she shall disclose her form, all glorious as it was when the heathen used to say,—see how they love one another,-it may again be said of all her saints who shall at once drop their contentions,

.Them unexpected joy surprised,

When the great ensign of Messiah blazed.” Colonizationists may disregard it, and their opponents may be reckless of it; but the moral condition of New-England is critical in the extreme.

There is just at hand a dissolution of that beautiful and most powerfully beneficent union, which has bound into one system, not of doctrine alone, but of harmonious and simulta

Vol. VII.


neous action, in every great and good cause, all her Congregational churches. No power on earth can long keep that harmonious system together, when once there shall have become fixed in the middle ground between then, one great exciting subject, on which they shall differ so widely, as that one body shall deem it the cause of Satan, and the other the cause of God. See how slight, compared with this, are the foundations of those distinctions which are deepest, and have kept widest apart the dominal branches of the true church. A question in baptism, as to sprinkling or immersion, or the age at which either may be a christian ordinance; a disputation about the forms of ecclesiastical government,-whether church concerns shall be regulated by no one man, or by one man, or by nien ranged above each other respectively, and various like diversities of little importance, when brought and weighed with the great duty of mutual fellowship ainong christians,--have so set off from one another large bodies of true and humble christians, it has been thought a great discovery of the age, that these different bodies can be made to act in union in the bible cause, and the tract cause, and a few others. But now on that subject which, of all others, needs the most perfect union of action to accomplish any thing, and on which all seel alike, there are such personal divisions as ought at once to make great searchings of heart.

It is vain to think, that this divided feeling can be reunited by the annihilation of either of the two great causes which have been artificially drawn into antagonist positions. The cause of abolition must advance, and new light must and will continually pour in, to show, that some plan of abolishing slavery is a safe and happy refuge from the enormous physical, political and moral evils, which it is gathering with fearful rapidity into a cloud, that must ere long, if not dissipated, sweep over the nation with its hurricane, and give out the voice of its thunder. On the other hand, those who have lately discovered, that colonization is a bubble, and even something worse, ought to be convinced, by what they may remember of the past and observe of the present, that their judg. ment on that subject is fallible. For, what may be thought of the present attitude of that subject, it is not essential to inquire; but there inust be a plan of colonizing free people of color, which is capable of sustaining a great system of benevolent thought and action, because for many years it has sustained it. If the idea is now so absurd, that Mr. Jay is right in saying, nothing but hatred to the blacks can make men believe that it will be a blessing to Africa, it was just as absurd twenty years ago. It was absurd in Mills to dream of it,-greatly absurd to pray for it,-indescribable in the degree of its absurdity, to be willing to die for it. Saints, whose bones are now under the ground or in the sea, have mixed

a love for this absurdity with their warmest current of thoughts. The New-England clergy, who are not wont to take an unreasonable practice into favor, out of mere fashion, have for years commended it to their people; and now, when the absurdity, if it be one, is so fully exposed, the great body of New-England's best sons love the cause, and delight in hope of its future glory. There is no question on the subject: a great and noble work is to be performed by colonization. We know it, and half of New-England knows it, by the same perception that leads us to a like confidence in any of her enterprises; and if there are any who do not know it, then they have never perceived what colonization, as undertaken by New-England, was originally meant to be, or they have lost the perception.

But what is it that colonization, as undertaken by the christian public, particularly in New-England, was originally meant to be, that it has been, so far as genuine New-England has striven to promote it,--that it will be, till genuine New-England shall see it consummated? This question is very easy to be put, and easy to be answered. And since we are pursuing this train of ideas, no less for the sake of peace than for the sake of truth; and as we therefore desire, of course, to carry with us the confidence of colonization opponents, no less than of colovization advocates, we begin with a quotation from Mr. Birney's late letter to the Presbyterian churches of Kentucky,

• Who fears the blacks will, if emancipated, become our school-masters, our college professors, our preachers, our lawyers, or our physicians? No one. Why? Simply because they would, on account of their ignorance and total want of literary or scientific qualification, be totally incompetent; therefore, there would be, on their part, no aspiration to the offices, and on ours there would very justly and tainly be exclusion from them, if they should aspire while deficient in merit. Now from the superior tenderness and delicacy of the marriage relation, and from the greater care we exercise, lest our friends and connections enter into it unworthily, I entertain the opinion, that alliances of this kind would be far less successfully sought by the colored people, than the public stations a while ago mentioned. Many of us would be well contented with persons as school-masters, preachers, lawyers or physicians, with whom we would have insurmountable objections, (leaving out of view personal likings or dislikings,) to contract the marriage relation. Now when to ignorance, degradation of caste, and a great deficiency of those qualities, intellectual, moral, and pecuniary, which secure social equality, is added that physical repugnance on the part of the whites, so earnestly alledged, it seems to me, that a stronger barrier of defense in the premises could not be erected.' p. 20.

We do not with certainty take Mr. Birney to be expressing, in the foregoing passage, his own private feelings with respect to

very cer

amalgamation, which he says, and we agree with him, is an objection to emancipation, unsuitable altogether to a manly mind; but it embodies a clear and undisguised statement of that universal and deep-seated fact, attending the existence of the colored race in the United States, upon which the entire necessity of colonization has been supposed to rest; and we find it in our hearts to bless God, that he has put within our reach language that expresses so forcibly what, for the most part, we must otherwise hare ourselves expressed in the outset of our argument; and what, as coming from us, would have been read by our opposing fellow-citizens with jealousy, but now will be received with confidence, as from a true brother.

Mr. Birney, then, says, and with what emphasis of meaning his italics testify, that a degradation of caste added to a physical repugnance on the part of the whites, together with the less invincible circumstances of present ignorance, poverty, etc., form a barrier so strong, that a stronger could not be erected, to hinder the blacks from becoming relatives of the whites by marriage, or their school-masters, college professors, preachers, lawyers, or physicians. This is not, in any part, too strong a statement of Mr. Birney's views : for, although he has assigned as the reason why emancipated blacks may not become school-masters, college professors, preachers, lawyers or physicians, their " total want of literary or scientific qualification ;" yet, if he had meant to be understood, that this, and not the other circumstances to which be was just going to allude, form, in fact, the effective ground of the exclusion, his amalgamation-fearing readers, he must have seen, would turn upon him at once and say,—Why, in the short period

this barrier

may be done away, in the person of some of the young blacks already born ; who, in that time, if taken in the spring of their childhood, may be made, by education, as fit for those professions, as intellectually and scientifically fit, as the whites now are: and thus Mr. Birney's soothing balsam to their

would be no soothing balsam at all. Mr. B. is addressing his christian brethren on the ground of an existing state of degradation on the part of the blacks, and of a repugnance on the part of the whites; and the strength of his appeal is the same as if he had said in brief,—- You indeed know certainly, that the blacks, if emancipated, cannot, for a long time to come, be even our schoolmasters, college professors, preachers, lawyers or physicians, much less, then, can they become mingled with us by marriage :' which all proceeds upon the ground, that the physical repugnance and the degradation of caste will only very slowly lose their efficacy to keep the blacks aloof, both from intermarriage and honorable stations; or, what is to the same purpose, both to Mr. Birey's argument and our own,—that, for some reason known or un

of ten years,

known, emancipated blacks, as a class, could only with very moderate and difficult advances recover from their totally incompetent state, in respect of literary and scientific qualification. And to such a period of time does Mr. Birney extend the slow progress of the blacks to a social equality with the whites, that he adds, alınost immediately upon the close of the passage which has been above quoted, the following sentiment: "It is very certain, that so strong would be the prejudice against amalgamation, by the present generation of adults, and probably for several to come, that even the valor of a Sesostris, or the charms of a Cleopatra, could not overcome it ;” and then goes on with great good humor, nay, somewhat facetiously, to remark: “It seems to my poor judgment scarcely a sufficient reason for continuing a great trespass against our fellow-men, because some hundred years hence, a princeroyal of Jamaica, or the Duke of Barbadoes, the Countess of Porto Rico, or one of the royal maids of Cuba, dressed in the livery of the burnished sun,' may overcome it in the person of one of our great-great-great-grand-children.”

We do not gather from Mr. Birney's language, (as has been already remarked,) any certainty, that he approves of the existence of that degradation of caste and that physical repugnance which he so forcibly represents, both in its extent and its inevitable duration; but, wrong or right, the state of things which Mr. B. has made the foundation of his argument, does in fact exist, and does exert upon the class who are the subjects of that inferiority of caste, and the objects of that repugnance, a most lamentably depressing influence. Indeed, that influence is, in its very nature, so withering to all the hopes and motives which form the spring of active and persevering efforts among men, that one ought not to be accused of rashness, who should esteem it to be a moral miracle, if any race of men who are its subjects, should rise to their proper station among mankind, except by the most slow and painful process. To rise from ignorance to intelligence, from poverty to competence, from degradation of caste, to respectability of station, implies a change which, even in the case of a select individual, and under the most favoring encouragements and incitements possible, could only be expected from the exercise of much mental vigor, and much perseverance in manly effort. How great a wonder, then, do we justly esteem it, wherever we observe this change taking place in some single instance, without the aid of those encouragements and incitements! How mighty a wonder would it be, and how visionary to look for it, that a whole race should work out for themselves such a change, when the highest personal motive addressed them as individuals, is the step from one inferior caste to another somewhat less inferior, though still at a far remove from social equality ; and when the highest patriotic motive addressed

« הקודםהמשך »