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LIBRARY

OF THE

JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

AN

ENQUIRY
CONCERNING

THE INTELLECTUAL
AND

MORAL FACULTIES, AND LITERATURE,


OF
.

NEGROES
FOLLOWED WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE

LIFE

AND WORKS
OF
s?

FIFTEEN NEGROES

MULATTOES,

DISTINGUISHED IN

SCIENCE, LITERATURE AND THE ARTS.

BY

H.

GREGOIRE,

t'ORMERLY BISHOP OF BLOIS, MEMBER OF THE CONSERVATIVE

SENATE, OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE, OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF GORTTINGUEN, ETC. ETC.

TRANSLATED

BY

D. B.

WARDEN,

SECRETARY TO THE AMERICAN LEGATION AT FARIS.

BROOKLYN
PRINTED BY THOMAS KIRK, MAIN-STREEi.
1810.

Gr *

-45-^v2-^

District

of New-Tori,

ss.

Remembered, That on the twelfth day of April, in the thirty fourth Year of the Independence of 'he United States of America, Thomas Kirk, of the said District hath deposited in this Office the Title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as Proprietor, in the words following-, to wit
it
:

Be

"An
'*

Enquiry Concerning the Intellectual and Moral faculties, and Literature of Negroes, followed wit', an Account of the Life " and Works of fifteen Negroes and Mulattoes, distinguished " in Science, Literature and the Arts By H. Gregoire, for"merly Bishop of Blois, Member of the Conservative Senate, of " the National Institute, of the Royal Society of Gorttinguen, " etc. etc. Translated by D. B. Warden, Secretary to the " American Legation at Paris."

entitled,

Act of the Congress of the United States, Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and PropriIn Conformity to the

"

At)

Copies during the times therein mentioned," and Act, entitled, "An Act supplementary to an Act, entitled, an Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Hooks, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the times therein mentioned ant! extending the benefits to the Arts of Designing, Engraving and Etching his?rical and other prints."
etors of such
also, to an
;

I..

S")

CHARLES CLINTON,
Clerk of the District of Nevi-Torf.

DEDICATION.

TO
toes,

all

those

men who have had

the courage to

plead the cause of the unhappy blacks and

mukt

whether by the publication of their works, or


in national assemblies,

by discussions

&c,

PREJYCHMEJY.

Adanson* Antony
Pierre,
viere,

Benezet,

Bernardin

St.

Boissy D'Anglas, Brissot, Citrra, ClaCointe Marsillac, Condorcet, Cournandj

Le

Dessessarts, D^Estaing, Ducis,

Dupont de NeFebrie,

mours, La Fayette, Fauchet

Ferrand

de Baudieres, Frossard, Garat,

Garran, Genty,
St

Gramagnac, Jacquemin, Bishop of Cayenne,

John Crevecceur, de Joly, Ladebat, Lanthenas^

The names

in italic characters indicate that the writers

are dead

11

DEDICATION.
Mirabeau, Montesquieu, Mils cent, Nec-

Lescalier,
ker,

Petion, Robin,

La Rochefoucault, Rochen,

Roederer, Boucher, St. Lambert, Sibire, Sieyes,

Santhonax, Tracy, Turgot, Viefville Dessessarts.

ENGLISHMEN.
William Agutter, Anderson, David Barclay,
Richard Baxter, Mrs. Barbauld, Barrow, Beattie,
Beaufoy, Mrs. Behn, Buttler, Campbell, T. Clarkson,

Cooper, Charles

Crawford,

Thomas Day,

Darwin, Dickson, Dyer, Alexander Falconbridge,

James Foster, Fothergill, Charles Fox, George


Fox,
Gardenstone,

Thomas

Gisborne,

James

Grainger, Grandville Sharpe, Gregory,


Hill,

Rowland
Took,

Lord Holland, Hornemann,

Home

Hughes, Francis llu tchinson, James Jamieson, Lay,


Lcdyard, Lettsom, Lucas, Luffman, Madison,

Mackintosh, Miss Hannah More,

Mungo

Park,

Mason, John Newton, Robert Boucher, Nicholls,

Mrs. Opie, Robert


more,

Percival, Pickard, John Phil-

Pinckard, Pitt, Pratt, Price, Priestley,

Ja?nes Bamseij, Richman, Robert Robinson, Rogers, Roscoe,

Ryan, Seval, Shenstone, Sheridan.

DEDICATION.
Smeatham, William Smith, Southey,

Hi

Stanfield,

Stanhope, Sterne, Stone, Rector of Coldmorton, Thelwall, Thompson,

Thornton, John Walker,


Wesley,

George

Wallis,

John

Whitchurch,

George Whitfield, Wilberforce, Miss Helen Maria

Williams, John Woolman, Miss Yearsley.

AMERICANS.
Joel Barlow,

James Dana,

D wight,

Franklin,

Humphreys, Imlay, Livingston, Madison, Pearce,


William Pinkney, Rush, John Vaughen, D. B.

Warden, Elhanan Winchester.

NEGROES & MULATTOES.


Cugoano,
Othello,
Phillis

Wheatley, Julien

Raymond, Ignatius

Sa?icho,

Gustavus Vasa.

GERMANS.
Blumenbach, Augustus La Fontaine, Olden^
borg, Usteri.

DANES,
Isert, Olivarius,

Th. Thaarup,

SWEDES.
Afzelius, Nordenshiold,

Wadstrom*

IV

DEDICATION,

HOLLANDERS.
Peter Paulus, Vos, Wrede.

ITALIANS,

The Cardinal Cibo,

the

Abbe

Pierre,

TamburinL

SPANIARD.
Avendano.

Let us not be surprised

at not finding here the

name

of any Spanish or Portuguese writer, except

Avendano.

None but

he, as far as I

know, has

taken the trouble of proving that the negro belongs


to the great family of the

human
fulfil all

race

and

that

consequently he ought to
exercise
all

the duties, and

the rights of this family

On
whom

the

other side of the Pyrenees, these rights and duties

were never problematical

and against

are

we

to defend ourselves, if there be

no aggressor.*

It is in

our time only, that by a forced interpreta-

tion of the bible, a Portuguese has endeavoured

* V.

Analyse sur

la justice

du commerce, du rachat des


J.

esclayes de la cote d'afrique, par J,

d'Acunha de Azerede

Coutinho, Svo, Loodres, 1798.

DEDICATION.

to prove the lawfulness of colonial slavery, so unlike to that

among

the
;

Hebrews, which was a

spe-

cies of domesticity

but this pamphlet of Azero-

do, has passed from the shop of the librarian to the


river of forgetfulness.

Such

also in Poland, has

been the

fate

of the pamphlets of the trinitarian

Grabovvski,

who

laboured to prove from the bible,

the right of rivetting irons on the peasants of that

country;

whilst

Joseph Paulikowski* and


in his

the

Abbe Michel Korpowitz,


monstrated,

sermons f derights.

and claimed an equality of

The

friends of slavery are necessarily the enemies

of humanity.

In the Spanish and Portuguese settlements,

we

generally see negroes live like brethren of different

complexions.

Religion, the source of joy,

who

V.

Poddanych polskich,

c'est-a-dire,

des paysans
1

polonais, par Joseph Paulikowski. 8vo.


t

Roku,

788,

V.

Kazania X. Michala Karpowicza,

W.

Roz^nych
de
l'abbe

ocolicznosciach

Miane,

c'est-a-dire,

Sermons

Kaipowicz, 3

vol. in-12,

W.

Krakovie 1806. V. surtout les

second et troisieme volumes.

vi

DEDICATION.

wipes the tear from the eye of the sorrowful, and

whose hand

is

ever ready to bestow benefits

reli-

gion interposes between the slave and the master,


to soften

the rigor of authority and the

yoke of

obedience.

Thus among two


composed
for the

colonial powers, they

have not

useless discourses in favour of negroes,


that in

same reason

Belgium, before the

English Hartlib, there was no treatise on agriculture, because the


tion

improved practice of cultiva-

made books unnecessary.


names of

If I be reproached for inserting the


certain individuals,

whom

virtue disowns, 1 shall

answer, that not willing to attenuate the faults of


individuals, I

do not present them here except un-

der a point of view relative to the amelioration of


the condition of the blacks.
at

Every person

is left

liberty to exercise his

opinion in associating

those writers with that class of


fortunately very

men

of

letters,

un-

numerous, who are

less valuable

than their books.

DEDICATION.'

VII

The
it

list

we

offer, is

doubtless very incomplete

ought to contain distinguished names, which,


to

unknown

me

or forgotten, either because their

works are anonymous, or have escaped


searches
:

my

re-

I shall, therefore, receive with gratitude

any information which may repair these involuntary omissions, rectify errors, and complete the

work.

Of philanthropic
more
;

writers, a great
I

number

are no-

on their tombs

present

my

homage, and
still

I offer the

same

tribute to individuals

living,

who

not having abandoned their principles, pur-

sue, with constancy, their noble enterprise, each


in the sphere in

which Providence has placed him.

Philanthropists
ty,

no individual can, with impuni-

be just and benevolent.

At

the birth of time,


vice,

war commenced between virtue and


not cease but with them.
sire to

and

will

Devoured with

the de-

do

injury,

the

wicked are always armed

against

him who

dares to reveal their crimes, and

prevent them from tormenting the

human

race,

Vll

DEDICATION.
let

Against their guilty attempts


of brass, but
let

us oppose a wall

us avenge ourselves by benefits.


Life,

Let us be

active.

which

is

so long for the

commission of evil

actions, is short for the perfor-

mance of

virtue.

The

earth steals from under


this terrestrial scene.

our steps, and we go to quit

The

corruption of our times carries towards pos-

terity all the

elements of slavery and crimes. Nein

vertheless,

when we repose

the tomb,

some

honest men, escaping the contagion, will become


the representatives of Providence.
to

Let us leave
liberty

them the honourable task of defending


;

and misfortune
plaud their
blest

from the bosom of eternity we apand they


shall
all,

efforts,

doubtless be

by the

common

Father of

who

in

men,

whatever be their colour, acknowledges his work,

and loves them as his children.

>

TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE,

RECOLLECT

to

have heard the celebrated


university of Glasgow,

professor Millar, of the

observe, in

his course of civil law,

"

that the

mind

revolts at the idea of a serious discussion

on

the subject of slavery.

Every

individual, whatis

ever be his country or complexion,

entitled to
is

freedom.

The

happiness of the poor

man

of as
has

much

importance as that of the rich.

No man

a right to reduce another to the condition of the


brute.

No
is

individual can sell his liberty.

The
Ne-

bargain

unequal, and ought to be broken.


is

gro slavery

contrary to the sentiments of hujustice.'

manity and the principles of

10

PREFACE.
this opinion,
all

Notwithstanding
just and the

embraced by the

humane of

countries, the slave

trade has been a subject of discussion for

more
;

than twenty years in the British parliament

and

so distinguished for talents and sophistry, have

been some of
their
false

its

abettors,

that a refutation of

reasonings became highly useful, and


Self-interest, or an ardent desire

even necessary.
to

amass

riches, has

such a powerful influence over

the mind, that the English and French colonists

believed, or affected to believe, that the black color

of the negro was a sufficient excuse, not only for

making him

a slave, but for treating

him even

worse than the brute.

In 1796, one hundred thousand Africans, most


of them kidnapped, were dragged from their habitations,
soil

and transported as
isles.

slaves, to cultivate the

of British

The Englishman

calculates

.the profits of their sale, or of their labour, without

reflecting

even for a moment, that these unfortu-

nates have lost their freedom, their relatives, their


friends

and

their country.

All the comforts white*

PREFACE.
oan bestow, can never recompence the loss of
berty.

Ii

li-

This subject
that his

is

so ably discussed by our author,

work must powerfully contribute to hasten

in

all

countries, the abolition of this unjust and intraffic.

human

The

plan recently adopted


States,

by the

government of the United

and the

late de-

cision of the British parliament give


that at

room to hope,

no very

distant period, absolute slavery

will exist

no more.

The

learned senator has proven by facts, that

blacks not only possess talents, but also those nobler virtues ing.

which elevate man

in the scale of be-

The

planter,

by torture and hard labour, en*

deavouring to render the negro as tame and submissive as the brute, creates and fosters in him
that revengeful disposition,

which has been consi-

dered as interwoven in his frame, and peculiar to


his species.
tive ?

Why

is

the slave indolent and vindic;

he has no spur to industry

the product of

his labour is not his

own.

He

is

almost naked,

X2

PREFACE.
his aliment is scanty

and

and unwholsome.

In

the British islands, three herrings per week, and a

small portion of

yams

constitute his allotted food.

By

industry and good behaviour united, he cannot


his

disarm the master of

arbitrary power.

For

him
low

there
slave.

is

no compassion except
is

that of his fel-

He

treated as a malefactor, and un-

der the habitual influence of malevolent passions,

he naturally pants

for revenge.

He

can hardly say

that virtue is his interest.

He

finds that

honour

procures him no benefit


last dejected

industry no reward.

At

and sad,

after

seven or eight years

of hard labour and suffering, he sinks under the

meanness of hope

his condition,

and expires with the

that his spirit will return to his

much

loved

country.

beg leave to inform the reader

that this transla-

tion

was made from the manuscript of the author


that

and with such haste,


fections is necessary.

an apology

for its
I

imperdare to

The

only merit
is that

claim,

if

merit

it

can be called,

of not hav*

ing mistaken the sense of the author.

PREFACE.

13

As

this

production

is

the result of a long and

deep investigation of the subject, and composed by


a

man

of great erudition and rare virtues, well


in the religious, political
it

known
ties

and learned socie-4

of different countries,

will doubtless

be read

with a high degree of interest.

Another recomexists.

mendation

is,

that

no similar work

May

the day soon arrive

when

the defenders of

justice in every country, shall have a right like the

eloquent Curran to exclaim, " I speak in the spirit


of our laws, which

makes

liberty

commensurate
;

with, and inseparable from our soil

which pro-

claims even to the stranger and the sojourner, the

moment he
that the

sets his foot

upon our

native earth,
is

ground on which he treads

holy, and

consecrated by the genius of universal emancipation.

No

matter in what language his


;

doom may

have been pronounced

no matter what complex-

ion incompatible with freedom, an Indian or an

African sun
in

may have

burnt upon him

no matter

what disastrous

battle his liberty

may have been

cloven

down

no matter with what solemnities he

14

PREFACE.
have been devoted on the
altar*

may
the

of slavery
soil,
;

first

moment he touches our

sacred

the
his

altar

and the god sink together

in the dust
;

sonl walks abroad in her


swells

own

majesty

his

body

beyond

the

measure of

his chains, that burst

from around him, and he stands redeemed, regenerated and disenthralled, by the irresistible genius

of universal emancipation."*
i-

.,

'
1

...

Defence of Hamilton Rowan, Esquire.

AN ENQUIRY,

&c.

CHAPTER

I.

Concerning the signification of the zvord Negro.

Ought

all

blacks to be included under this de-

nomination? Difference of opinion concerning


their origin.

Unity of the primitive type of

the

human

race.

UNDER
opinion
is

the

name
all

of Ethiopian,

the Greeks

comprehended

men

of a black colour.

This

founded on passages of Herodotus,

Theophrastus, Pausanias, Atheneus, Heliodorus,

Eusebius, Flavius Josephus, and the Septuagint,*


they are so

named by Pliny

the elder, and by Te-

See Jeremiah
I. 8.

13. 25.
7-

Flavius Josephus, Jewish Anti-

quities

chapter

Theophrastus 22d character, Hero-

dotus, &c.

16

OF THE LITERATURE

rence,* they were distinguished into two classes,


Eastern, and Western or African Ethiopian^
in other words,
;

or

Indians or Asiatics

but

Rome

having more immediate relations with Africa, than


Greece, insensibly introduced the custom of designating the Blacks by the

name

of Africans, f

Among
ny

the moderns, the

name of Ethiopia

be-

ing exclusively applied to a region of Africa, mawriters,

particularly the Spanish and Portu-

guese, have employed the word Ethiopian to designate the whole race of blacks.

Nearly thirty

years ago, Erhlen printed, at Strasburg, a treatise

de

servis

JEthiopibus Europeorum

in

coloniis

America. %
vails,

The denomination

of African preis

but the use of these two names

equally

improper, seeing on the one hand that Ethiopia,


the inhabitants of which are not of the deepest

black colour,

||

is

but a region of Africa, and, on

the other, that there are Asiatic blacks.


tus

Herodo-

names them Ethiopians, with long hair, to distinguish them from those of Africa, whose hair

* Pliny B. 5.
\

l. 9.

Terence Eunuches,

act

1.

scene

1,

Subitq flens Africa

negras procubuit lacerata genas.

\ 4to.
II

Argentorati, 1778.
in Ethiopia
;

Voyage

by Poucct,

p. 99, Ike

OF NEGROES.
is

17
that

frizzled ;* because

it

was believed formerly

the latter belonged exclusively to Africa, and that


the blacks, with long hair,

were only found on the

continent of Asia.

Certain regulations had inter-

dicted their importation into the isles of France

and Reunion.
travellers, that

But we

find,

by the narratives of

on the African continent, as well


are the inhabitants of

as at

Madagascar, there are also Negroes with


hair,

long

Such

the middle parts of Africa :f

Negro Shepherds of
Carthagenians had

the Isle

Bornon in Such were also the of Cerne where the

factories.:}:

On the other hand,


in the

the natives of the Isle

of

Andaman,

gulph

of Bengal, are blacks with frizzled hair; in different parts of India, the inhabitants of the mountains

have almost the same color, form and species of hair.

These
tute.

facts are stated

in

learned

Memoir

of

Francis Wilford, associate of the national Insti

He

adds, that the most ancient statues of


paint the figure
of

Indian

divinities,

Negroes.

These considerations give support

to the opinion

* Herodotus.
t

Thoughts on the

political

and commercial relations of

the ancient people of Africa, and by Heeren, 8vo. Paris, vear


8. vol. II. p.
t

10. 75.

Ibid. vol. I. p. 134. 156. 160.

$ Asiatic

Researches,

yo!. III. p. 355.

18

OF THE

LITERATURE
sway over almost aU

that this race formerly bore

Asia.

The
racter

black color forming the most marked cha-

which separates from the whites, a portion

of the

human

race

less attention has

been paid

to that difference

of conformation which estabthe

lishes

varieties

among

blacks themselves.
says, that

Camper
bens,

alludes to this,

when he

Ruin

Sebastien

Ricci and

Vander-Tempel,

painting the Magi, represented blacks and not negroes.


this last

Thus Camper, and


lips, flat

other authors, confine

denomination to those

who have promi-

nent cheeks, thick

nose and matted hair.

But

is

this distinction
hair,

between them and those


founded on reason ?
people
is
it

who

have long lank

The
dis-

specific character of a

permanent as

long as they live insulated, and


appears by mixture.

weakens, or

Can

Caesar's picture of the

Gauls, be recognized

among

the present inhabit-

ants of France ? Since the people of our conti-

nent have been,

if

we may

so say, blended one

into the other, the national characters can hardly

be known, either in a physical or in a moral point


of view.

There

is less

of the Frenchman, less of

the Sj^niard or of the

German, and more of the


some have
their

European

and, of the Europeans,

hair frizzled, others lank,

but

if,

on account of

OF NEGROES.
this difference,

19
and con-

and some others


to

in stature

formation,

we pretended

mark
same

the extent and

limits of their intellectual faculties,

would

it

not

excite a smile ?

We

find the

in the variety
at the

of the blacks

between individuals, living


line,

extremities of the
difference

there exists a remarkable


lost in those

which

is

weakened, or

who

inhabit the intermediate regions.

The
that the

passages of authors,

we have

cited,
is

prove

Greeks had black

slaves.

This

corrobo-

rated

by Visconti, who,

in the

Pio-Clementine

Museum,
groes

has exhibited a fine figure of the nein the baths.*

who were employed

Of these

Caylus had already presented


ings.

me

several engrav-

As
tion,

the

Mosaic law shielded men from mutilaaffirms, in his Biblical Arcliaology, that

Jahn

Hebrew kings purchased from other nations, many Eunuchs, and particularly blacks,! but he
the

has no authority in support of this opinion.


nevertheless probable that they

It is

may have
fleet

possess-

ed

this description of

men, when the

of Solo-

*P.
t

283. plate 81.


J.

Arch?eologia biblica, &c. a

Ch. John

8.

Vienna, p. 389.

20

OF THE LITERATURE
sailed

mon

from Ezion-geber

to Ophir,

whence

it

carried, says Flavins Josephus,

much

ivory, apes

and Ethiopians ;* or they may have been obtained by means of their communication with the
Arabians,
his
that,
if it

be true, as Whitaker pretends, in


the

Review of

Roman

History of Gibbon,

from time immemorial, the Arabians pur-

chased slaves on the coast of Guinea.

fact

which cannot be disputed


with

is,

that

Egypt traded
Proofs

Ethiopia, and that the Alexandrians were


in the

employed

commerce of

negroes. f

of this have been furnished by Atheneus and by


Pliny the Naturalist, and Ameilhon has referred
to these authors in his history of the

commerce of
latter

the Egyptians.^
are

Pinkcrton believes that the

of Assyrian, or

Arabian origin.

||

Heeren thinks, and apparently with much reason,


that they

descended from the Ethiopians.


antiquity, the

The
re-

more we ascend towards

more

semblance we find between their respective coun-

* Josephus Antiquities, B.viii. ch. 7. p.

2.

Hudson
It is

in his

LaUn translation, says JEthiopes but su^Kwed in the text.


1

in

Mancipai.

not found..

Atheneus, B.
85.

iv.

Pliny,

1. 6.

123.

JP
\\

Modern Geography,

<Uo.

London,

bCT

OF NEGROES.
tries

2l

The same writing, the same manners and The worship of animals, still existing customs. among almost ail the negro race, was that of the
:

Egyptians; their
their colour

form was that of the negro,


influ-

was somewhat whitened by the

ence of climate.

Herodotus assures

us, that the

Colchians are a colony of Egyptians,


like

because,

them, they have a black skin and frizzled

hair.*

This testimony

invalidates the reasoning

of Browne.

The

expressions of Herodotus, says

he, signify only that the Egyptians have a

tawny

complexion and frizzled

hair,

when compared
is

with the Greeks, but the text does not mention


negroes. f

To

this assertion of

Browne, nothing

wanting but the proof.


is clear

The

text of Herodotus

and precise.
to give support to the sys-

Every thing concurs

tem

of Volney,

who

recognizes in the Copts, the


;

representatives of the Egyptians

they have the

same yellowish and smoky


age, a large eye,
flat

skin, a puffed
lip,

up

vis-

nose, thick

in a

word

the

* Herodotus,
t

B.

II.

Travels in Africa, by Browne, 4to. and

new voyage
I.

into

"Upper and

Lower Egypt, by Browne,


Archives Literaires,

v.

ch.

12.

and

Walkener

in the

p. 10. 8*.

&c.

22

OF THE LITERATURE

Mulatto figure.*

The same

observations induced

Ledyard

to believe in the identity of the negroes,

and Copts.f
panied the

The

Physician Frank,

who accom-

expedition to

Egypt, supports this

opinion by the similarity of usages, such as cir-

cumcision and

lexcision
;$

practised

among

the

Copts and negroes


to the report of

customs, which according

Ludolphus, are preserved among

the Ethiopians.il

Blumenbach has observed in the craniums of mummies, that which characterizes the negro
race.

Cuvier does not there find

this

conformity

of structure.

These two imposing. testimonies,


in ad-

but apparently contradictory, are conciliated

mitting with Blumenbach, three Egyptian varieties,

of which one represents the figure of the


;

Hindoo

another, that of the

Negro
;

a third, an
first

Indian of the climate of Egypt

the

two

are

*
I.

Voyage in Syria and Egypt, by Volney, new


and the following.
vol. I.

edition, vol.

p. 10.
t
}

Ledyard,

page 24.

Memoir on

the

commerce of

the negroes at Cairo, by

by Louis Frank, Paris, 1802,


!]

Jobi Ludolphus, Sec. Historia JEthiopica,

fol.

1681.

OF NEGROES.

23

confounded by lapse of time ;* the second, which


is that

of the negro,

is

reproduced, says Blumen*

bach

in the figure of a sphinx.


;

This

is

contradict-

ed by Browne
sphinx
its
is

he pretends that the statue of the


it is

so degraded, that

impossible to

know

true character ;f and Meiners doubts whether

the figures of the sphinx, be those of heroes or


evil genii.

This opinion

is

overthrown by an

inspection of the sphinxes delineated by Caylus,

Norden, Niehbur and Cassas. amined on the spot by the three

They were
last,

ex-

and since by
that

Volney and
figure
is

Olivier.^

They discover
slaves,

the

Ethiopian, from which Volney excludes,

that to the black race,


for the arts, sciences,

now

we

are indebted

and even

for speech.

Gregory,
refers

in his Historical

and Moral Essays,


in like

us to remote ages, to shew

manner,
;

that the negroes are

our masters in science

for

the Egyptians,

among whom Pythagoras and


were

other

Greeks

travelled, to learn philosophy,

in the

De

Generis humani varietate

nativa, 8vo. Goettingen.

1794.
f
\

Brown,

ibid.

Voyage

into the

Ottoman Empire, Egypt,


II,

Persia,

&c.

by Olivier, 3
lowing.

vols. 4to, Paris, 1804-7, vol,

p, 82. andfoli

Volney,

ibid*

24
opinion of

OF TH

LITERATURE
no other than negroes,

many

writers,

whose native

features

were changed and modified

by

the successive mixture of Greeks,

Romans and

Saracens.

If it be proven that the sciences passed


is it

from India to Egypt,


in

less true that to arrive


latter

Europe they crossed the

country ?

Meiners confines himself to the support of the opinion, that we owe little to the Egyptians, and a

man

of letters at Caen, has published a dissertation

to develope this position.*

Already
the
;

it

had for

its

defender,

Edward Long,

anonymous author
in giving to ne-

of the Hretory of Jamaica

who,

groes, a character very analagous to that of the

ancient Egyptians,
qualities, refuses

charges the

latter

with bad
disputes

them genius and

taste,

their talent for

music, painting, eloquence and

poetry, and grants


tecture.!
crity
is

them only mediocrity

in archi-

He might

have added that this medio;

manifest in their pyramids


r

that

those

monuments might be constructed


son, if the
life

by a simple

ma-

of an individual were sufficiently

* Dissertations

on the prejudice which attributes


8cc.

to the

Egyptians discoveries in science,


f

by

Cailly, 8vo. at Caen.


II. p.

History of Jamaica, 3 vols 4to. London, 1774, vol.


Sec.

35 5, and following;, and p. 371,

OF NEGROES.
long.

25

But without ascribing to Egypt the greatest degree of human knowledge, all antiquity decides
in favour of those

who

consider

it

as a celebrated

school, from which proceeded


ble and learned

many of the

venera-

men of Greece.

Although Long refuses to the Egyptians the


praise of genius, he raises

them

far

above negroes,
degree of

for he reduces the latter to the lowest

intelligence.*

As

bad cause

is

always support-

ed by arguments of the same nature, he pretends


to prove the moral inferiority of negroes,

by

as-

suring us that their vermin

is

black.
all

This obserIn

vation, he says, has escaped

naturalists.!

supposing the

reality of this fact,

who, but Long,

would dare to conclude

that the varieties of the hu-

man

race, have

not an identical type, or deny to

some an

aptitude for civilization.

Those who have wished


have
called in

to disinherit negroes,

anatomy

to their aid,

and the

differ-

ence of colour gave birth to their

first

observations.

writer

named Hanneman,

asserts, that the co-

lour of the negroes proceeded from the curse pro-

nounced by Noah against Ham.


* History of Jamaica, 3 vols. 4to.
*

Gumilla, in

re-

London, 17T4.

Ibid. vol. II. p. 352.

26

OF THE LITERATURE
time.

futing him, loses his

This question has

been discussed by Pechlin, Ruysch, Albinus, Littre,

Santonni, Winslow, Mitchil, Camper, Zimthe elder,

merman, Meckel,
ny
others.

Demanet, Buffon, So-

mering, Biumenbach, Stanhope Smith,* and ma-

But how can they agree with regard

to the consequences,

when they

disagree concern-

ing the anatomical facts which ought to serve as


their basis ?

Meckel
groes
is

the cider, thinks that the colour of neto the

owing

deep colour of the brain

but

Walter, Bonn, Somering, Dr. Gall, and other


great anatomists,

have found the colour of the

brain of negroes to be the same as that of whites.

Barrere and

Winslow

believe, that the bile of

negroes

is

of a deeper colour than that of Euro-

* Adversaria

Anatomica, decade,

3, p. 26, et

No. 23. Dis^

sert de sede et causa coloris

JEthiopum

caeterorum homi-

num, Lugd. Bat,


278,

1737.

Mem.

de l'acad des Sciences, 1702.


vol. III.

Gber. anat. 1724. Ven. Expos, anat. 1743. Amst.


p..

De

habitu et colore JLthiopum, K-ilon, 1677.

Dis-

course on the origin and colour of negroes, 1764. See his

Works

translated by Herbel, vol.


2 yols,

I.

p. 24. 1784. History of

French Africa,

8vo.

On

the physical difference be-

tween Negroes and Europeans.

De

generis humani vaiie*

j|te nativa, edjt. 3d, 8vo. Goettfngen. 178

OF NEGROES.
peatis

27
it

but Somering discovered

to

be of a

yel-

lowish green.

Shall

we
it

attribute the colour of negroes to thai

of their reticular
in others

membrane

*?

If in

some

it is

black,
is

has a copper or dark colour.

This

no more than setting the


tance.

difficulty at a greater dis-

For allowing the hypothesis,


reticular

that the

me-

dullary substance, bile,

membrane, are

constantly black, the cause remains to be explained.

Buffon, Camper,
his

Bonn, Zimmerman, BluFrench Translator,* Somer-

menbach, Chardel,

ing and Imlay, attribute the colour of negroes,

and that of other species of the human


regimen.

race, to cli-

mate, aided by accessary causes, such as heat and

The
in

learned professor of Goettingen re-

marks, that
birds,

Guinea, not only men, but dogs,


tribe are

and particularly the gallinaceous


;

black

whilst,

near the frozen seas,


all

bears and

other animals are

white.

Demanet, Imlay, and


Congo,, on the

Stanhope Smith, f observe that the descendants


of the Portuguese, established
at

eoast of Sierra-Leone, and other parts of Africa

De

i'Unite

du Gcnerc humain, by Blumenbach,

trans-

latecl

by Chardel.
essay on the cause and variety of complexion and

An

Hgure

in the

human

species,

by the Rev. S. Stanhope Smith,


is

Svo. Philadelphia, 1787,

This work

worthy of

perusrff.

28
are

OF THE

LITERATURE
to prove that ocular

become negroes,* and


as

witnesses,

the

first

are

deceived,

it

is

not

enough
last

to

deny the

fact like the translator of the

work of

Pallas, f

We know

that those parts of the


to the sun,

human body
;

the least exposed

such as the sole of


thus

the foot, and between the fingers, are pale

Stanhope Smith,

after

having accumulated facts

which prove the influence of climate on the complexion and figure, explains
the

why

the Africans on

western coast,

under the torrid zone, are


;

more black than those on the eastern and also, why the same latitude in America, does not produce the same
is
it

effect.

Here the action of the sun


which
in Africa give
is

opposed by

local causes,

more

force.

In general the black colour


tropics,

found

between the

and

its

progressive shades

follow the latitude

among

those,

who, very long

ago established in a country, have neither been


transplanted into other climates, nor crossed other races.

by

If the savages of North America,

topographical description of the western territory of


letter.

North America, by G. Imlay, 8vo. London, 1793. 9th


f

Voyage

into the southern departments, p. 600. a note.

\ It

has been said, in pleasantry, that at Liverpool, where


they

many owners of vessels are enriched by this traffic, pray God daily not to change the colour of negroes.

OF NEGROES.

29
extremi-

and the Patagonians, placed


ty of this continent, have

at the other

a deeper

hue than the

people

who

live near

the isthmus of
this

Panama,
to resort

ought we in explaining

phenomenon

to ancient transmigrations, and consult local impressions.


S. Williams, author of the history of
this

Vermont, supports

system by observations

which prove the connexion between colour and


cimate.

Reasoning from approximative

data,

he

conjectures that to render the black race, by intermarriage, of a white colour, five generations are

necessary, each of which being

computed

at

twenthe

five years, gives 126 years, and that to

make

blacks white without intermarriage, and by the


sole action of the climate,
ry,

4000 years

are necessa-

and 600

for the red

coloured Indians.*

These

effects are

more
are

sensible

among
;

slaves in

domestic service,

who

accustomed to a milder
not

treatment and a better nourishment


their features

only

and physiognomy have undergone a


moral habits are also im-

visible change, but their

proved, f

History of Vermont, by Williams, 1754,

K An Essay,

&c.

p. 20, 23, 34,

58, 77, 8f

30

OF THE

LITERATURE
fact that there are

Besides the uncontested

AK

binos, Somering proves by various observations,


that whites have

assumed

a black and yellow hue,

and

that negroes have whitened, or

become of

pale colour in consequence of disease.*

In white

women
Angola.

with child, the reticular

membrane someverified by

times becomes as black as that of the negresses of

This phenomenon
-j-

is

Cat,
;

and confirmed by Camper,


of an animal whitens,

as an ocular witness
that

Nevertheless Hunter affirms,


it is

when

the race

a proof of degeneration*

But does

it

follow, that, in the

human
? or is

species, the
it

white variety has degenerated


to say, with Dr.

necessary

Rush,

that the colour of the ne-

groes

is

the result of a disease

become hereditary*

He

supports his opinion by an experiment

made

by Beddoes, who almost whitened the hand of an


African by immersing
acid.J
it

in

oxygenated muriatic

journalist proposes to send


||

companies

of bleachers to Africa.

This pleasantry, which

*
t
la

An

Essay, &c.

p. 48.

Dissertations sur les varietes naturelles qui cardcteriscnt

physionomic, etc. par


Paris, 1791, p.
IS.

Camper

traduit par Jansen,

in

4to.
J
H

Transactions of the American, Philosophical Societies.

Monthly Review,

vol.

XXXVIII.

p. 20.

Op NEGROES.
throws no light on the subject,
applied to so distinguished a
is

SI
improper when
as

man

Dr. Rush.

Philosophers are not agreed concerning what


part of the

human body ought


offer

to

be considered
Descartes,

as the seat of thought and affections.

Hartley,

Buffon,
has>

each

his

system.

As

thought

been generally supposed to reside in


that the greatest
talents,

the brain,

some have concluded


richly

brains are most


that,

endowed with
is

and

as the brain of negroes

smaller than that of

the whites, the latter ought to be superior to the

former.

This opinion

is

destroyed by recent ob-

servations.

Mo^t
the

birds,

and

different

quadrupeds

and

fishes,

mouse,

squirrel,

marmoret, dol-

phin, and sea-calf have proportionably the brain

more voluminous
Cuvier
is

than that of man.

not willing that the extent of

intelli-

gence should be measured by the volume of the


brain, but

by

that of a portion of

it,

named hemis-

pheres, which augments or diminishes, says he,


in the

same proportion as the


those beings which

intellectual faculties

of

all

compose

the animal kingit

dom.
moral

To draw
know
state,

this inference,

would

not be ne-

cessary to

better the relations of


shall

man,

his

and how many ages

perhaps

elapse, before v/e

have penetrated this mystery.

32

OF THE

LITERATURE

u All the difference among nations," says Cam" consists in a line drawn from the conduits of per,
the ears to the base of the nose, and another right
line

which touches the eminence of the

coronal

bone above the nose, and extends to the most prominent part of the jaw bone,
the head
is
it

being supposed that


It is

viewed

in profile.

not only the

angle formed by these two lines, which constitutes


the difference of animals, but also that of different
nations
sort
;

and

it

may be

said that nature has in

some

employed
and

this angle to

determine the animal


if

varieties,

to

advance them, as

by degrees,
This
in pro-

to the perfection of the finest race of men.

angle

is

smallest in birds, and


the

it

augments
the

portion as
figure.

animal approaches

human

" I

shall notice, for

example,

(it is

Camper who

speaks) the heads of the ape race, of which some


give an angle of 42 degrees, others, one of 50.

The head
that of the

of the African Negro, as well as that of

the Calmuck, makes an angle of 70 degrees, and

European, one of 80. This difference of


an angle of 100 degrees which congreat perfection

10 degrees forms the beauty of European heads,


because
stitutes
it is

the

of antique heads.

Such heads, approaching

the greatest degree of

beauty, resemble most that of the Pythian Apollo,

OF NEGROES,

33

and of the Medusa, by Sosocles, two pieces of


statuary

unanimously considered as superior

to all

others in beauty."*

This
angle

facial line

of

different anatomists.

Camper has been adopted by Bonn says, that he found the

of 70 degrees in the head* of negresses,f

and

as,

on one hand, these differences are nearly empire of fashion,


this species

constant, and, on the other, as science submits


itself to the

of ob-

servation on the volume, configuration, and pro-

tuberance of the cranium, and the expansion


the brain has taken the
since doctor Gall

of

name of Cranology, ever


it

made

the object of his system,

which has been combatted by Osiander, who observes, that


it is

not new, and says, that

it is

conthe

tained in the

Metoscopy of Fuschius, and

in

Fasiculus Medicines of John Ketham.

He might

also have added, Aristotle, Plutarch, Albert the


great,

Triumphus, Vieussens, &c.

Gall would also establish, from the structure of

the cranium, the

pretended moral inferiority of


and Physical Dissertations on

* Opuscules, vol.

I,

p.

16

the real difference which the


ferent countries.
t
p.

human

features present in dif-

Descriptio

thesauri

ossium Morbosoa.

Iloviij

17S-;,

133

o4
negroes, and
the talents of

OF THE

LITEKATURE

when he is opposed by the fact, that many negroes are incontestible, he


;

answers, that in this case their cranological form

approaches the structure of the whites


procally, that the stupid whites have a

and

reci-

conforma-

tion similar to that of negroes.

pay ready ho-

mage

to the talents

and amiable qualities of docdistin-

tor Gall

and Osiander,* but men the most

guished

may be

led astray

by hypothesis, or may

draw just observations from exaggerated conseFor example, no one will deny that quences.
the president of the
a great painter, but

academy of arts at London,

is

how

are

we

to consider

West's

opinion, that the

physiognomy of
Is
all
it

the

Jews ap-

proaches that of the goats, f

easy to deter-

mine

national forms when, in

countries

we

see

remarkable varieties even in passing from village


to village ?
I

remarked

this particularly in

the

Voge,
saw
at

as

Olivier had done

in

Persia.

Lopez

Congo, negroes with red

hair.

Admitting
racter,

that each people has a distinct chais

which

reproduced until

it

is altered,

or

effaced

by eventual mixture, yet who can

fix the

P.

SPO

of Chardel.
in

t
|

Epigrammala

complures.
di

Relazionc del rcame

Congo,

p. 6.

OF NEGROESlapse of time necessary

35

to

destroy the influence

of those diversities hereditarily transmitted, and

which are the


dietetic
sified in
is

effect

of climate, of education, of

regimen, or of habit.

Nature

is

so diver-

her operations, that the most skilful eye

often

tempted to

class

congenerous

plants

with different species, nevertheless she admits of

but few primitive types, and in the three king-

doms

the fruitful

power of

the Eternal has caus-

ed to shoot forth an

infinite variety

which form the

ornament and riches of the globe*

Blumenbach believes, that the Europeans degenerate by a long residence in the two Indies, or in Africa. Somering dare not decide whether the
primitive race of man, which once inhabited

some

corner of the earth,

be perfected in Europe.
in Nigritia, seeing, that

Whether

it

be adulterated

in point of force

and

activity the conformation of


is as

negroes, with relation to their climate,


pleat,

and perhaps more

so,

than that of the

comEuro-

peans.

The negro

surpasses the European in the

exquisite keenness of his senses,


ly in that of smell.
all

more
is

particular-

This advantage

those inhabitants of different countries to

common to whom
Such
are

want has prescribed frequent exercise.


the natives of

North America

the i?iaroons, ne-

groes of Jamaica, who, with one glance of the eve

36

OF THE

LITERATURE
woods
that are

distinguish objects in the


ceptible to whites.

imper-

Their erect form,

their bold

countenance, and their manly vigour announce


their superiority
:

they

communicate with each

other by sounding the horn, and the variations of

sound are such

that they

summon

each other

at

a distance, distinguishing each by his

name.*

Somering
perfection of

farther

observes,
plants
is

that

the essential

many

injured by culture.

The

beauty and short-lived freshness which they

are forced to exhibit in the flowers, often destroy

the end for which nature had designed them.


art of

producing double flowers,

The which we owe to

the Hollanders, almost always deprives the plant

of the faculty of reproduction.

Something analais

gous
often

to this is

found among men, their mind


at the

improved
he

ex pence of the body, apd.


the slave is brutalized,

reciprocally, for the

more

the

more

is

fitted for

manual labour, f
negroes have great cor-

It is not denied that

poreal strength, and as to beauty,

we may ask

* History of the

Maroons, from their origin


tribe, at

to the esta-

blishment of their chief

Sierra Leone, by B, C

Pallas, 2 vols. 8vo. p. 83, and following.


f

Somering, 74.

OF NEGROES.

'37

whence does
founded

it

result ?

Doubtless from the color


;

and regularity of the features


this
?

but on what

is

Is

white as a colour, to enter exthis

clusively into

what constitutes beauty, whilst

principle

is

not applicable to other productions of


this subject
it

nature ?

On

appears, that each has


that different black

his prejudices,

and we know

tribes, presenting the devil in the

most unfavora-

ble colour, paint

him

white.

As

to regularity of features,
ideas,

it

is

one of those
still

complex

whose elements

are perhaps

unknown, and concerning which, notwithstanding the efforts Crouzas, Hutcheson, and father Andre,
principles are yet to be established.

In the

Manto

chester

memoirs,

George Walker pretends

shew

that the forms and features universally apall

proved among

people, constitute the essential


is

type of beauty, that which


defect

contested,

is

then a
is

a deviation of judgment.*

This

ask-

ing from erudition the solution of a physiological

problem.

Bosman
of India. f

boasts of the beauty

of the negresses

Ledyard and Lucas

that of the negroes

* Vol
f

V. second

part.

Bosnian's

Voyage

to

Guinea, 1705, Utrecht,

letter .

38
of Jalof.*

OF

THE LITERATURE

Lobo

that of the negroes of Abyssinia.

Those of Senegal, says Adanson,

are the finest

men

of Nigritia
is

their shape is without defect,

and there

no maimed amongst them.J Cosigny

saw, at Goree, negresses of great beauty, of an

imposing form with

Roman

features.

Ligon

speaks of a negress of the

isle

of St. Jago,

who

possessed such a degree of beauty and majesty,


that he had never seen her equal.

Robert Chasle, author of the voyage of Admiral du Quesne, ap||

plies this

eulogium

to the negresses

and mulat-

toes of

all

the isles of

Cape Vert. IT
Jedediah

After such

testimonies,

Morse

will

doubtless find some

difficulty in

explaining that

character of superiority which he sees imprinted

on the face of the white.**

*
t

Voyage of Ledyard and Lucas,

vol. II. p. 338.

Hist, account of Abyssinia, by Lobo, 4to. Paris,

1726,

Adanson's Voyage in Senegal,


Cossigny's Voyage to Canton.
History of the
isle

p. 22.

il

of Barbadoes, by Richard Ligon, in

i.hc

collection of voyages

made

in

Africa and America, 4to.

Paris, 1764, p. 20.


T

Journal of a voyage to the East Indies, squadron of

f)\\
v

Quesne,
*

3 vol. 12 mo.
p. 182.

Rouen, 1721,

vol. 1. p. 202.

Vol.

T.

OF NEGROES.

39
essential dif-

Those systems, which suppose an


been adopted,

ference between negroes and white men, have


1st.

by those who, by every means


2d.

seek to materialize man, and to rob him of the


dearest hopes of his heart
:

By

others,

who,

in the primitive diversity of the

human

race, seek

for an

argument against the truth of the narration


3d.

of Moses.
nial

By men, who

interested in colo-

culture,

seek, in the

supposed want of the


like a beast of bur-

moral faculties of the negro, another reason for


treating him, with impunity,

den.

One

of those

who had been accused

of mani-

festing this opinion, defends himself with

warmth.

Nevertheless he avows, that in his


nions, concerning

some

regulations

summary opimade at the

colonial assembly, and printed at the Cape, he insists that there are

two species of men, the white

and the red

that

negroes and mulattoes not being

of the same species as the white, can no more pre-

tend to natural rights than the ourang outang, and


that thus St.
cies, f

Domingo

belongs to the white spe-

It is

remarkable that the author, then a

corresponding

member

of the academy of scien-

By

the Baron de Beauvois, p.

6.

and 26.

Report on the

troubles of St.

Domingo, by Garran,

8vo. Paris.

40
ces

Of THE LITERATURE.

now member

of the institute, had precisely at

this epoch,

as fellow correspondent of the

same

academy, a mulatto of the isle of France, Geoffroi


Lislet, of

whom we

shall hereafter speak.

The

colonial laws did not formally declare, that

the slave and the brute are equal,

but this vvas


1st,

implied.

From

a multitude of facts I select,

A
St.

decision of the council of the Cape, taken from

an unsuspected source, the collection of Moreau

Mery.

The

declaration

of this judgment

places

negroes and hogs on the same level :*


regulation of police, which, at Batavia

2d,

The

prevents slaves from wearing stockings or shoes,

and from appearing on the side walks near houses,


as they are destined to

march with brutes

in the

middle of the

street.

For the honor of learned men who have investigated this subject, we hasten to acknowledge that
they have not committed outrage against reason in

trying to reduce the blacks below humanity.

Even

Laws and
vol.

Constitution of the colonics, by

Moreau

St.

Mery,
t
1

VI, p. 144.
to

Voyage

Cochin China, by Barrow, 2


<58j

vols. 8vo. Parit-

807. vol. II. p,

and the following.

QB NEGROES.
those

4l

who would measure


by the size of the
and
all

the extent of their moral


brain,

faculties

disavow the reve-

ries of Kaims

the inductions
to

which material-

ism, or cupidity

may wish

draw from them.

I have had an opportunity of conversing with

Bonn of Amsterdam, who has the finest collection known of human skins with Blumenbach, who perhaps has the richest of human skulls, with
;

Gall,

Meiners, Osiander, Cuvier, and Laeepede,


seize this occasion of expressing
to

and

my

ac-

knowledgments

those learned men.

All,

with

the exception of one


like

who did

not dare to decide,

Buffon, Camper, Stanhope Smith, admit, in the

Zimmerrace, the

man and Somering

human

unity of the primitive type.

Thus physiology
we
are

accords with the ideas to which

constantly led by the study of languages


facts

and of history, and with those

which are

re-

vealed in the sacred books of the Jews and Christians.

These same authors

reject all assimulation

of

man

with the race of apes, and Blumenbach,


that the female

from repeated observations, denies


6

ape has periodical evacuations, which has been con-

42

OF THE LITERATURE, ETC.


its

sidered as a proof of

similitude with the

human

species.*

Between the head of a wild boar and


race, there is

that of the

domestic hog, which are confessedly of the same

more

difference than

between the
:

head of a negro and


he,

that of a white

man

but, adds

between the head of a negro and an ourangis

outang, the distance

immense.

Negroes being

of the same nature as the whites, have the same


rights
fulfil.

as they to exercise

the same duties


This exercise

to

These

rights

and these duties are anteceis

dent to moral developement.

doubtless improved, or deteriorated according to


the qualities of individuals.

But

is

the enjoyment

of social advantages to be graduated by a comparative scale of virtues

and

talents,

on which many of

the whites themselves would not find a place ?

De

generis

humani

varietate nativa.

Nevertheless, ac-

cording to Desfontaines, the female of the pitheque (simi*


pithecus) has a slight periodical discharge.

43

CHAPTER

II.

Opinions relative
groes.

to the

moral

inferiority
subject.

of Ne-

Discussio?is on this

Of

the

obstacles which slavery opposes to the develope-

ment of

their faculties.

These obstacles cornreligion.

batted by the

christian

Of

bishops

and negro priests.

THE
new.

opinion of the inferiority of negroes

is

not
is

The

pretended superiority of the whites

defended by interested judges of the same colour, whose competency might be questioned, before
their decision is

attacked.

This reminds us of
picture repreto the

the fable of the lion,

who on seeing a

senting an animal of his species struck

ground ^by a man, simply observed,


have no painters.

that lions

44

OF THE LITERATURE

Hume, who
that the white

in his essay

on national character,
five

admits that there are four or

races,
;

aft.

ms

man

only

is

improved

that

no black
by his

has distinguished himself by his actions

oi

knowledge,

his translator

Estwick,* and Chate-

lux have repeated the same assertion.

Barre-Saint-Venant thinks that

if

nature has glft

en to negroes some combinations of ideas,


raise

hich

them above other animals, she has denied


reflection,

them deep

genius and reason.


prejudice in a man,

We regret to find the same


whose name
spect
is

not pronounced

amongst
or

us,

but
re-

with the most profound esteem

merited

we mean

Jefferson in his
his opinion

" Notes on Virit

ginia. "J

To support

was not en ough


:

to undervalue the talents of

two negro writers


the situation and

it

was necessary
multitude of

to establish
if

by argument and by a
cir-

facts, that

cumstances of blacks and whites be the same, the


former can never
rival the latter.

*
t

Considerations on the Negro Modern Colonies under the

cause, by Estwick.
torrid zone, particularly

ihat of

Saint-Domingo, by Barre-St-Venant. 8vo. Paris,


4.

1302. chap.
}

Notes on Virginia, by T. Jefferson, 8vo. London.

OF NEGROES.

45
arising

With
the

regard to

the difficulty

from
and

circumstance

of

Epictetus,

Terence

Phadro, being slaves (he might have added the

names of Locman, Esop, Servius Tullius,


were whites.
Jefferson

&.c.)

he answers, by a petitio pri?icipu, saying, that they

attacked by Beattie, has been

since

opposed by Imlay, his countryman, with considerable warmth, especially concerning Phillis
ley.

Wheat-

Of

her works Imlay transcribes


is

affecting

passages, but he also


ferson, that to
that he
cite

deceived, in saying to Jefis

Terence

aukward, seeing
a

was not only an African but

Numidian,
what

and

Negro.*

It

appears that Terence was a


to
is

Carthaginian.

Numidia corresponds
Mauritania,

now named

whose

inhabitants,

of

Arabian descent, having invaded Spain, were the

most enlightened people of

the

middle age.

Besides, Jefferson furnishes arms against himself in his

answer to Raynal, who reproaches Amehaving produced one celebrated man.


shall

rica for not

When we

have existed, says this learned

American, as a nation, as long as the Greeks be-

Topographical description of the western

country of

North America, by G. Imlay, London, 1793,

letter 9th.

46
fore they

or THE

LITERATURE

had a Homer, the Romans a Virgil, or

the French a Racine, there will be

nishment.

We

may

in

like

room for manner say,

astothat

when

the negroes shall have existed in a state of

civilization as long as the inhabitants of the Unit-

ed States, without having introduced such

men

as

Franklin, Washington, Warren, Jefferson, Ritten^

house, Rush, Barlow, Rumford, West, Putnam,


Mitchell, Hancock,
Miller, Trumbull,

Alston, Vanderlyn,

Copely,

Smith, Barton, Fulton, Ed-

wards, and Ramsay, there will be reason for believing that

among them there

is

a total absence of

genius.

Alas

how

did Genty write in his work, on the

" How of America. can the genius of invention spring up from the boinfluence of the discovery

som

of disgrace
in

and misery

recompence

view

no hope of

where

there

is

no

relief."*

In most parts of the regions of Africa,


tion

civiliza-

and the

arts

are yet in their infancy.

If

it is,

that the inhabitants are negroes, explain to us the

cause,

why

whites, or copper coloured

men of

other

countries have remained savage, and even

Topographical description of the western country f


Artierica,

North

by G. Imlay, p. 167

OF NEGROES.

47

man

eaters?

Why

had not the wandering tribes of


before the arrival of

hunters of North America,

Europeans, attained the rank of Shepherds ? Nevertheless their capacity for

improvement

is

not

contested

it

is

readily

acknowledged by those

who

traffic

with them.

We

may

consider

it

as a

truth well ascertained that cupidity will always find

pretexts to justify their slavery.

The

arts originate

from natural or from

facti-

tious wants

the latter are almost

unknown

in Af-

rica, and as to the natural wants of nourishment,

cloathing and shelter, they are almost nothing on

account of the heat of the climate.


very restrained,
nature
is is

The
:

first,

besides easily satisfied, because


all

there prodigal of her riches

the re-

cent narratives of travellers have greatly

modifilit-

ed the opinion, that the African countries are


tle

more than

unfruitful

deserts.
entitled

James Field
Guinea,
is

Stanfield, in his fine

Poem,

no

more, in this respect than the echo of Travellers.*

The Guinea Voyage,

Poem
1789.

in 3 books,
I

by James
to
cite the

Field Stanfield, 4to. London,

beg leave

beginning of the 2d Book.

High where primeval forests shade the And in majestic solemn order stand,

land,

48

OF THE LITERATURE

The

christian religion is the infallible

mean
was by

of

extending and securing civilization.


been, and will always be
its effects.

Such has
its

It

influence that our ancestors, the

Gauls and Francs


that the

ceased

to

be barbarians,

and

sacred

woods were no longer stained with

the blood of hu-

man

sacrifices.

It

was she who illuminated the

African church, formerly one of the most splendid


regions of catholicity.

When

religion

forsook

these countries they were again plunged in darkness.

The

historian

Long, who thinks

that the

negroes are incapable of forming great mental conceptions, and who, as


self in

we

shall see, refutes

him-

many

passages

of his work, and

among
were a
:

others concerning
the negroes

Francis Williams, reproaches


it

for eating wild cats, as if

crime, and a circumstance

unknown

in

Europe

he

says also, that they are given to superstition,*

as if Europe

was

free

from

this infection,

and par-

ticularly the country of this historian.

We may

sacred station raises

now

its seat,

O'er the loud stream that murmurs

at its

feet

Of Niger rushing
Long

thro' the fertile plains,


.-

Swelled by the Cataract of tropic rains

ere surcharged, his turged flood divides,

To

burst an ocean in three thundering tides.

Long,

vol. 2. p.

420.

OF NEGROES*
see in Grose a long and ridiculous

49
enumeration

of the superstitious observances of English protestants.f

If the superstitious
least

man

is

to

be

pitied,

he

is at

not inaccessable to sound notions*

False

lights

We

may disappear before the splendour of truth. may be compared to the earth, whose fertility,
is

as the soil

neglected or cultivated, produces ve;

nemous, or salutary plants


pletely sterile is an

whereas a
of

soil
is

comas a

emblem

him who

void of

religious principles.

The

belief in a

God,

rewarder and punisher, can alone secure the probity of a

man, who screened from the view of those


with impunity, or commit every

around him, and having no dread of public vengeance may


steal

other species of crime.

These
is

reflections

may

lead to the solution of a problem often discussed,

namely, which of the two


or

worse, Superstition
individuals, passion

Atheism

Altho' in

many

stifles

every sentiment of justice and probity, yet


hesitate in our choice
it

can

we

between him who to


act conformably

be virtuous thinks

sufficient to

A Provincial

Glossary with a collection oflocal proverbs

and popular superstition, by Francis Grose, 8vo. London,


1790.

50

OF THE

LITERATURE
who,
that he

to his belief, and another,

may

not be

a knave, acts in opposition to his system ?

To the

slave trade,

Barrow

attributes the present

barbarity of some countries of Africa.

The Eu-

ropeans, to procure slaves there, create and perpetuate a state of constant warfare.

Those regions
by every sper
not dailv reun-

are poisoned by their strong liquors,


cies of debauch, of rapacity,
tion.
Is there a single vice
in that

cruelty and seducis

which

newed
to

country

We have
negroes

an example

der our eyes,

in those

who

are brought
I

Europe, or transported to our colonies.

am

not surprised to read, in Beaver, (who was certainly the friend

of negroes, and who, in his African


their

memoranda bestows eulogiums on


virtues

native

and

talents)

the following

words,
a

"

would

rather

introduce

snake than a negro

among who had lived

.them
at

rattle

London."*
is

This exaggerated expression, and which

not

very flattering to the whites, shews what individuals

may become who

are taught

every species of

* African

memoranda,

relative to an attempt to establish

a British settlement in the island of


lip

Boulam, by Capt. Phia

Beaver, 4to. London.


snake, p. 597.

would rather carry thither

rattle

OF NEGROES.
depravation, without opposing a single

51

check to

overcome

its

cruel consequences.

Homer tells us, man to slavery, he

that

when

Jupiter

condemns a
mind.
is

takes from

him

half his

Liberty conducts to every thing that

sublime in
all.

genius and virtue, whilst slavery extinguishes

What

sentiments of dignity or

of respect,

can

those mortals have for themselves,

who

are consitheir

dered as
masters,

cattle,

and who are often staked, by


against some

at cards or billiards,

barin-

reis of rice or other

merchandize.

What can

dividuals perform

when degraded below

the con-

dition of brutes, overwrought, covered with rags,

famished by hunger, and for the slightest

fault torn

by the bloody whip of an overseer ?

The worthy Curate


in

Sibire,

who
of

after

having

travelled as a successful missionary in Africa

and

Europe,

has met

the

fate

many worthy

priests,

being driven from his ministry by a fanatic


Sibire says, in ridiculing the colonists,

Clergy.

" They have made exaggerated descriptions of the


happiness of their negroes, and with colours so
captivating that
in

admiring their picture,


free, or desire

we
hap

almost regret being


I

to be a slave. a similar

would not wish these colonists

52
piness,

OF THE

LITERATURE

although they are but too worthy of it.*

Whom
nal

will you persuade, (says he,) that the eterwisdom can contradict itself, and that the com-

mon
If,

father of
it

men

can become a tyrant like you.

were

possible, there existed

upon earth
would

man
an

destined as a prey to his equals,


invincible

it

afford

argument against Providence. "f We have not seen one of those white impostors change
his
situation for
that of

one of his negroes.

If

slaves be so happy,

why

before these last years did

they

transport,
fill

annually

from

Africa,

80,000

blacks to

the place of those

who had sunk un;

der fatigue, misery and

despair

for planters

ac-

knowledge

that a great portion of

them

die after

their arrival in

America.

The

colonists endeavour,

by every means, to

pursuade their slaves that they are happy.


slaves support the contrary opinion.

The

Whom must

we believe ?

Why are

their looks

and recollections

* L'aristocratie negriere par

Pabbe Sibire, missionaire

dans le royaume de Congo, 8vo. Paris, 1769, p. 9J.


+ \

Ibid. p. 27.

Practical rules for the

management and medical


p. 47^>.

treat-

ment of negro

slaves in the sugar colonies,

by a profes-

sional planter, 8vo.

London, 1805,

OF NEGROES.
constantly turned towards their country ?
arise

53

Whence

these bitter regrets of separation, and this


life

disgust of

Why

that

anxiety to attend the

funeral of their companions,

whom
shall

death has freed

from bondage

Whence
in

this

consoling tradition

that their happiness


their native

dying

be to return to
these fre-

land?

Whence
to

originate

quent suicides to hasten their return? If Bryan

Edwards has thought fit

deny that

this opinion is

common among the


his

negroes.*

He

is

contradicted
others,

by a number of authors, and, among

by

countryman Hans Sloane, who was well ac-

quainted with the colonies, t and by Othello, the

negro author. $

The
two

inhabitants of

Low -point

and of Carbet
for

districts of Martinique,

more distinguished

their regard to truth,

than other colonists, de-

clared, in 1778, that

" Religion only, which gives

hopes of a better world, can enable the negroes to


support a yoke so contrary to nature
;

and they

*
t

Magazin Encyclop.

8vo.

London, 1805.

p. 470*

Voyage

to the Island of Madeira, Barbadoes, and Jarr.aivol. fol.

oa,

by Hans Sloane, 2

London, 1707. p. 48.


in
1

His Essay against public Slavery,

788, Baltimore

54

Of THE LITERATURE.

thus console this people


labour and chains."*

who

see nothing here but

At
mass

Batavia, the inhabitants flog their slaves in a


several times a year
;

after they are whipt, to

prevent gangrene, the wounds are immediately co-

vered with pepper and

salt

it

is

Barrow who anslaves

nounces the
cival,

fact.f

His countryman Robert Per-

observes on this occasion, that the

of Batavia and of other

Dutch

colonies to the

East, being cruelly treated, and having no defence


against tne ferocity of their masters, and no

hope

from the justice of


their tyrants,

tribunals, seek revenge against

against themselves, and the

human

race, in

those homicidal
are

courses
in

named Mocks,

which

more frequent
:|:

those colonies than

elsewhere.

Volumes might be
crimes, of which

filled

with the

recital

of

they

have been

the victims.

When

the partizans of slavery cannot deny the

* Letter of his

an inhabitant of Martinique

to

Mr.

Petit,

on

work

entitled,

The

public right of

government over the

French
t
%

colonies, 8vo. 1778.


to

Voyage

Cochin China, by Barrow,


File

v. II. p. 98, 99.


translat-

Voyage a

du Ceylan, by Robert Percival,

ed by P. F. Henry, 1803.

OF NEGROES.

$5

truth of this, they entrench themselves in saying,


thar

nothing of this kind took place

lately, to sully

the annals of the colonies.


planters

There

are doubtless

who cannot be accused


belongs to
this class,
if

of cruelty, and as

we

leave to every individual the

power of shewing
any should comshall

that he

plain as if attacked, like


that

Erasmus, we

answer,

by

this
is

he unveils his conscience.*


of the negro captain,

The
be-

anecdote

modern

who

ing in want of water, and seeing his cargo ravaged

by mortality, threw the blacks by hundreds


the sea.
tain,

into

fact

is

recent of another negro cap-

who

disturbed by the cries of the child of a


it

negress on board, dragged

from
;

its

mothers' bo-

som, and threw

it

into the

waves
still

the groans of the


if

poor negress annoyed him

more, and
it

she

did not experience a similar


this

fate,

was because
sale.

African trader hoped to profit by her


persuaded, says John Newton, that
will
all

am

mothers

worthy of the name,

lament her

fate.

The
having

same author mentions,

that another captain

appeased an insurrection, was long employed in


seeking modes of the most refined torture
to

punish what he called a revolt.

* t
ton,

Qui

se laesum clamabit is conscientiam

suam

prodet.

Thoughts on the African


2d
edit. 8vo.

slave-trade,
p. 17

by John New-

London, 1788,

and

18.

56
In 1789,

OF THE

LITERATURE

we have

the following account from

Kingston, in Jamaica.

" Besides the


to prevent

lash of the

whip, with which they tear the


groes, they

flesh of the ne-

muzzle them

them from
watered

sucking those

sugar-canes, which

are

with their sweat, and the instrument of iron with

which the mouth

is

compressed,

stifles

their cries

when

they suffer under the lash."*

In 1795, the Maroons of Jamaica, made the


planters tremble.

colonel Quarrel proposed to

the colonial assembly to go to Cuba, to seek there


a pack of devouring dogs.

His proposition

is re-

ceived with transport.

He

departs, arrives at

Cuthe

ba, and in the recital of this infernal mission, inserts a

description of a ball given to

him by

marchioness of St. Philippe.


ca with his

He

returns to Jamai:

hunters and his dogs

fortunately

neither were of use, as peace had been

made with
and voted

the Maroons.

But

the intention of those planters

ought

to

be known,

who payed

largely,

thanks to colonel Quarrel, whose name, ever to be


execrated, ought to figure with that of Phalaris,

Mazentius
but truth
is

and

Nero.

say

this

with pain,

more respectable than men.

In truth

American Museum,

8vo. Philadelphia,

179, v. VI. p.

407.

QF NEGROES,
the evidence
is

57

against the character of Dallas, for

what can we think of him who became the apologist of this

measure

There

are none, according

to his opinion, but arch-sophists,


it.

who can censure


in

" Did not th^ Asiatics employ elephants


Is not cavalry in use
If

war?

among

the nations of

Europe? would he

a man were bitten by a mad dog,

hesitate to cut off the part attached to

save his life."

And who
in

are

the biters and the

mad

but those, who, devoured by a thirst of gold, both hemispheres,


all

trampling under feet

hu-

man and
It is

divine laws, have diagged unhappy slaves


to oppress

from Africa,

them

in

another region.

then true that the thirst of gold and of power,

renders

men

ferocious,

adulterates their reason,


If circum-

and destroys every moral sentiment.


stances force
fits,

them

to

be just, they boast as bene-

those acts which are prompted by necessity.


!

Colonists

if

you had been dragged from your


fate

hearths, to

undergo the
?

of the slave, what

would you then say


groes as tigers
:

Bryan Edwards painted newith child, and infants at

he accused them of having butch-

ered prisoners,

women

the mother's breast.

5S

OF

THE HTE1UTURE

Dallas in refuting him, refutes himself, and with-

out intention, destroys by facts the

false

reasonings

advanced to justify the use of blood hounds.*

Oh

that

it

had pleased

God to

cause the waves


flesh,

to swallow

up these devourers of human

trained and directed by


I have heard
it

man against his

fellow

man.

asserted, that on the arrival of the

dogs

at St.

Domingo, they
the

delivered to

them by

way of experiment,

first

negro they found.

The

promptitude with which they devoured this

unfortunate

the

dogs'

reward

rejoiced

those

white tygers in

human

form.

AVimphen, who wrote during the revolution,


declares, that at St.

Domingo

the strokes of the

whip, and the groans of sufferers, served instead


of the crowing of the cock,
to

mark
to

the hour.

He

speaks of a

woman who

threw her cook into

an oven, because she had forgotten


pastry.

Before this fiend, a planter,

make some named Cha-

peron, had done the same thing.

See the horrible


he.
to the

details of this in Dallas, vol. II. letter 9.

p. 4,

Voyage

West-Indies, by Bossu, 1769, Amster-

dam, 1769,

p. 14-

UF NEGROES.
Innumerable depositions made
crimes of planters.
ded,
if possible, to

59
at the bar

of the

British parliament, have completely unveiled the

New

developements have ad-

this evidence,

by the publica-

tion of a work, entitled

Horrors of Slavery ;* and


voyages
of Pinckard,f

more

recently

by

the

and of Robin. $

In reading the

last,

we

find that

many

Creole

women

have renounced that mildness

their sex.
visit the

and modesty which are the patrimonial heritage of With what singular effrontery do they
markets to buy naked negroes,

whom
make

they employin their workshops without giving them


clothes.

To

cover their nakedness

they

girdles of moss.

Robin reproaches

the Creole wo-

men

for

exceeding the

men

in cruelty.

Negroes

condemned

to the lash, are fixed with their face to


;

the earth between four stakes

without emotion

they see the blood flow, and look with indifference


at the

long stripes of skin torn from the body of

these unfortunates.

Negresses with child are not

The

horror of the negro slavery existing in our Westofficial

Indian islands, irrefragably demonstrated from

docu-

ments recently presented


London, 1&05.
t
%
Sr.c.

to the

house of commons, 8vo

Notes on the West-Indies, by G. Pinckard.

Voyage dans

1'interieur

de

la

Louisiane, de

la Floridc.,

par Robin, 3 vols. 8vo. Paris, 180T

60

OF THE LITERATURE
this

exempt from
lege

punishment. them,
is is

The

only privi-

granted to
their

to excavate the earth

where

abdomen

to be placed.

The
by

white

children, daily witnesses of these horrors, serve

an

apprenticeship to

inhumanity,

amusing

themselves in

tormenting negro children.*


cry of

And

notwithstanding, that the

humanity has

been raised from

all

quarters against the crimes

of the slave-trade and slavery, although

Denmark,
traffic
;

England and

the United States,

disown the

among

us some are found

who

solicit its re-estabit,

lishment, notwithstanding the decrees against

and these words of the proclamation of the first magistrate to the region of St. Domingo, " you
are
all

equal andjrce before

God and

the republic.

Those pamphleteers speak without ceasing of unhappy colonists, and never of unhappy negroes.

The
a

planters

repeat, that the soil of the colonies

hab betn watered by their sweat, and never utter

word concerning

the sweat of their slaves.

colonists, with reason, paint the negroes of St.

The Doto a

mingo, as monsters, who, having recourse

honible revenge, butchered the whites; but they


never say that the whites provoked
this

vengeance,

* Vol.

I,

p. 175..

and following.

OF NEGROES. by driving negroes


to be

into the sea, or causing

them

dev<>u:ed by dogs.
is

The

erudition of the

colonists

rich in citations in favour of servitude.


better acquainted than they,

N -me

are

with the

tactics of despotism.

They have read


them
slaves
;

in

Vinnius,

that the air renders

in

Fermin, that

slavery

is

not contrary to natural law ;* in Beck-

ford, that the negroes are slaves by nature.

Hilliard

D'Auberteuil,

whom

the

ungrateful

colonists caused to perish in a

dungeon, because

he was suspected of being the friend of mulattocs

and free

negroes., thus wrote,

"

interest

and safety

prompt us

to load the blacks with so great con-

tempt, that those

who

reach the sixth generation,

are covered with stains which can never be effac-

ed "J Barre

St.

Venant regrets

that they have de-

stroyed the opinion of the superiority of the whites.

* Dissertation

on the question, whether

it is

permitted to

have slaves, &c in the colonies of America, by P. Fermin,


8vo. Mastrich, 1776.
t Will.

Beckford, 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1790, vol.11,

p.

382.
$

Considerations on the present state of St. Domingo, by


Hilliard D'Auberteuil, 8vo. Paris, 1777, p. 73. and

H. D. L.
following.

62

OP THE

LITERATURE

Felix Carteau, author of a work entitled Soirees

Bermadie nnes,
white race

or Evenings in

Bermuda, admits
the palla-

as an axiom, this unalterable supremacy of the

this pre

eminence which

is

dium of our

species.*

He

attributes the ruin of St.

Domingo,

to the

pride and premature pretensions of people oj colour,


instead of attributing
it

to the pride

and immodeauthor of a
last

rate pretensions of the whites.

The

voyage
ry, is

in Louisiana, at the close

of the

centu-

willing to perpetuate the


to hate the

happy prejudice
is

which leads many

negro because he

destined to be a slave. f

Armed

with these blas-

phemies, they again, without shame, request that

new

fetters

may be

forged for Africans.

The

au-

thor of a work, entitled an examination of slavery


in general,

and particularly of
;

the slavery of the

negroes in the French colonies


that negroes

appears to believe
life,

do not receive

their

but upon

Evenings

in

Burmuda, concerning the events which


St.

have operated the ruin of the French part of

Domingo,
p. 60.

by F. C. one of
r.nd G6.

its

former

colonists,

Bordeaux, 1802,

Voyage

in Louisiana,

and on the continent of America.

by B. U. 3vo. Paris, 1802, p. U7. and 191.

OP NEGHOES.

63

condition of being slaves, and he pretends that

they themselves

would vote

for slavery.*

He
dow

regrets the time

is

no more, when the shathe

of the white

man made
is

negroes run.

Preacher of ignorance, he

unwilling that the

people be instructed, and he honours Montesquieu

with his criticism, because he dared to ridicule


the infallibility of the colonists.

Belu,

who

wish-

ed

to restore this

abhorred regime, declares that

they lacerated the negroes with the strokes of the

whip.
tion,

The bad

effects,

says he, of this lacera-

were prevented by pouring upon the wounds

a kind of brine, which increased the pain, but heal-

ed them quickly. This

fact

corresponds with what

we

have read concerning Batavia.


is

But nothing
Lozie-

can equal what

written in his pretended wander-

ings of negrophilism.
res,

An individual named
**

whom,

not to believe worse of him,

we can
that the

only consider as deranged, assures us

inventor of the slave-trade merits altars ;f that by


slavery

we make men worthy

of heaven and of

earth."$

He

informs us, that the Guinea masters,

Examination, &c. by V, D. C. formerly lawyer


vols. 8vo. Paris, 1802.

at

..

Domingo, 2
t

See p. 22.

J Ibid. p. 11.

64

OF THE LITERATURE
they have slaves attacked with cutaneous

when

disorders,

which might injure


to strike in the

their

sale,

give

them drugs

humors, of which the

more tardy developement, afterwards occasions


horrible ravages.*

Slaves are almost entirely dilivered to the discretion

of their masters.
latter,

The

laws have d ne

evtry thing for the


the former, who,

and every thing against


incapacity, cannot

doomed to legal
to

even be admitted
whites.
If a black

give

evidence against the


to escape, the

man endeavours

black code of Jamaica gives the tribunal power to

condemn him

to death, f

Some years since, regulations, less


stituted in the

ferocious, sub-

code of
that

this island,

prove
;

how

horri-

ble

were those

have been annulled


are
still

and never-

theless, the new,

which

an outrage against

justice, are they put in execution? Dallas,

them, acknowledges
ration remains to be

that in practice

who cites much amelio-

made

This avowal leaves


mocking, intended

us to doubt whether the recent determinations be

any thing

else than a legislative

* Ibid. p. 102.
t
%

Ibid. p. 102.

Long, Vol.

2. p.

489,

OF NEGROES.
to silence
for the

65

the expostulations of philanthropists

whites always
all

make

common

cause

against

those

who

are not of their colour.

Besides cupidity will find a thousand means of


eluding the laws.
States,

This

is

the case in the United


traffic

where, notwithstanding the


is

of mer-

chant

Guineamen

interdicted, cargoes of blacks

are brought from the coast of Africa to be sold in

the Spanish colonies.

They would even touch


sell

at

a port of the Union, and

them

there, if they did

not dread the vigilance of estimable Quakers,


are

who

always ready

to

denounce

to

magistrates,

those daring infractions of law, and violations of

the principles of nature.

At Barbadoes and
rily

at

Surinam, he

who

volunta-

and cruelly

kills a slave is

acquitted of the

crime by paying the

sum
:

of fifteen pounds ster-

ling to the public treasury.*

In South Carolina
there

the forfeit

is

greater
;

it

is

fixed at

fifty

pounds

sterling

but in an American Journal


is

we
with

find that this

crime

absolutely committed
is

impunity, as the

sum

never paid.f

Remarks on

the slave trade, 4to. 1788, p. 125.

t Literary Magazine and

American Register,

8vo. Phila-

delphia, 1803. p. 36.

66

OF THE

LITERATURE
is

If the existence of slaves

so precarious, their
all

modesty

is

surrendered without reserve to

the

attacks of brutal lubricity.

John Newton,
in

after

having been employed nine years


trade,

the slave-

and who afterwards became an English

divine,

makes honest minds shudder when he


traits

laments the outrages committed against negresses,

" although often we must admire

of modesty

and delicacy among them of which a virtuous Englishwoman might be proud."*


In the French, English and Dutch colonies, the
laws, or public opinion, so prevents marriages be-

tween individuals of

different colours, that

those

who
as

would contract them, would be considered


alliance.

degraded by their

To

this prejudice

the Portuguese and the Spaniards form an honourable exception,

and

in their colonies,

a
It

catholic
is

marriage

is

shield against

censure.

not

surprising,

that

Barre

Saint

Venant

inveighs

against this religious regulation,! seeing he dares


to

censure the ever celebrated decree by which


the

Constantine facilitated
slaves. f

enfranchisement

of

What

has resulted from those prohibi-

*
t
[

Thoughts upon
Barre
St.

slavery, p. 20, and following,


p. 92,

Venant,

Ibid. p. 120

and

121.

OF NEGROES,
'tive

67
which
relate

laws,

more
will

particularly those

to marriage ?

Libertinism has eluded or overcome

them.

This

always take place when

men

act

in contradiction to nature.

I leave to

physiologists the task of unfolding


;

the advantages of the mixture of races

with regard

to the physical constitution as well as to the ener-

gy of the moral
land of St.

faculties,

exemplified
it

at

the a

is-

Helena, where

has

p.

oduced
to

mag.
from

nificent variety of mulattoes.


ists

leave

to moralstart

and

politicians,

the

same

principles,

who ought but who are


it

often in direct

opposition to them, to weigh the consequence of


the opinion, which considers
a

dishonour to

have a negress as a legitimate wife, whilst as a concubine she


trary,
is

no disgrace.

Barlow, on the con-

proposes to encourage mixt marriages by


offered for that purpose.

premiums
negroes
white
cast,

Neither the

or

mulattoes can
whilst the latter

ever

augment

the

augments

daily that

of the mulattoes*

The

inevitable result will be,

that the mulattoes in the

Reasoning from
and that

this

become observation, Robin


end
will

masters.
believes,

that the distinction of colour is a


nies,
St,

scourge of colostill

Domingo would be

in its

08
splendour,

OE THE LITERATURE
if it

had followed the Spanish policy,

which does not exclude Creoles from intermarriage


and other social advantages.*

The
sition.

negroes are accused of a vindictive dispo-

What

other temper can

men

possess,

who

are

vexed and deceived continually, and even pro-

voked to vengeance.
thousand proofs
;

Of
shall,

this

we could

cite a

we

however, confine ouractive,

selves to a single fact.

The negro Baron,


is

well informed and faithful,

brought to Suri-

nam in
freedom

Holland,

his master promises

him
is

his

at his return.

Notwithstanding

this pro-

mise, when he

arrived at Surinam, Baron


;

sold

he obstinately refuses to work


foot of a gibbet
;

he

is

lashed at the

he escapes, joins the maroons,


whites.

and becomes the implacable enemy of the

This torturing system has been pursued so

far

as to prevent the developement of the mental faculties.

By

a regulation adopted in the state of Vir-

ginia, they are not allowed to learn to read.

To

have been able to read cost one of those black

Vol.

I.

p. 281.

or NEGROES.

69
that the Africans

men

his

life.

He demanded,
and he supported

should share the benefits which the American liberty promised,


this

demand by

the

first

articles of the bill

of rights.

The

argu-

ment was without


rates those

reply.

In such cases, where


the inquisition incarceit

refutation is impossible,

whom

formerly

would have burned.

All tyrannies have features which resemble each


other,

The negro

suffered

on the gallows.

In the government of this lower world, force

ought never to intervene except when reason has


pleaded in vain.
son.

But power generally


to

silences rea-

"

Is

it

not shameful to speak as a philoso;

pher, and to act as a despot


ses on
liberty,

make

fine discour-

and to annex as a commentary, an


It is

actual oppression.
legislative

a political

maxim
this

that the

system ought to harmonize with the

principles of the government.

Does

harmo-

ny exist

in a constitution reputed free, if slavery is

sanctioned by authority ?"

Thus,

in

1789,

William Pinkney expressed


Maryland,

himself, in a discourse delivered before the representative assembly of


in

which sound

70
reasoning
is

OF THE LITERATURE

ornamented with erudition and the

graces of style, which do equal


heart and his

honour to his

mind.*
of executioners

The employment

was always

to calumniate the victims.

The merchant Guinea

masters and planters have denied, or extenuated


the recital of facts of
ed.

which they have been accusto

They have even endeavoured


all

make

a pa

rade of their humanity in supporting the opinion,


that
slaves,

brought from Africa, were prison-

ers of war, or criminals destined for punishment,

who ought
are saved,

to felicitate

themselves that their lives

and

that they are permitted to cultivate

the soil of the Antilles.

They have been

refuted

bv many John Newton, who resided a long time in Africa. He adds, " that the respectable author of the Spectacle de
in
la

ocular witnesses, and lately by the honest

Mature, (Pluche) was led into error


sell their

declaring, that fathers


:

children,

and

children their fathers

have not heard in Africa

American Museum, or Annual Register for the year 1778.

vo. Philadelphia, p. 70, and following,

OF NEGROES.
that this practice exists there."*

71

When

the re-

ality of the torture applied to slaves, and the bar-

barity of their masters have been proven by the

most

direct evidence, the masters has denied that the

negro

is

susceptible of morality or of intelligence,


in the scale of beings,

and have placed him

be-

tween

man and the


to

brute.

According

this

hypothesis,

we may

ask,

whether man has not rights to exercise and duties


to
fulfil

towards those animals which he associates


himself? and whether he does not

in labour with

offend against religion and morality in overwork-

ing those unhappy quadrupeds whose


thing

life

is

no-

more than

a continued

punishment

Strong

maxims on

this subject are contained in the sacred

books which Christians and Jews equally revere. A bird pursued by a sparrow-hawk seeks refuge
in the

bosom of

the child by
it

whom

it is

killed.

The

areopagus condemns

to death.

This puwill the

nishment was doubtless too severe, but

moment

ever arrive

when

a police justly rigid will

punish those ferocious carters,


especially at

who

daily,

more

Paris, destroy by fatigue

and blows

* Ibid. p. 31.
r

Deut.

:;xvi. 6.

Tim.

13.

Non

alligabis,

kc.

72
the

OF THE

LITERATURE
all

most useful of

domestic animals
finest

the
of

Horse, which Buffon

calls the

conquest

man.
it,

This treatment renders those who practice

insensible and cruel.

It is

with pleasure I recollect to have read


at the

at

London,

market of Smithfield, a regulation


fine

which imposes a
wantonly.

on those who abuse animals

This discussion

is

not foreign to

my subject,

if

the principles of morality are applicable to the relations

which man has with brutes, the negroes,


intelligence,

though deprived of
ercise
;

have rights to ex>

but

if

the deepest researches prove, that

notwithstanding the different shades of the colour of the skin, whether yellow,
white, the organization
is

copper, black
:

or

the

same

if

the virtues

and

talents of

negroes invincibly demonstrate, that

susceptible of all the combinations of intelligence

and morals, they constitute, under


coloured skin, our identical species,

different

how much

more
ed,

guilty

do Europeans appear, who, trampling


and afterwards by

under foot the knowledge and principles propagatfirst

by

Christianity,

civiliza-

tion,

tear the bodies of


their blood.

unhappy negroes, and

suck gold from

OP NEGROES.

Twenty
what reply
flesh.

years
is

of experience have taught


the merchants of

me
to
sla-

made by

human
and

To

understand their reasonings,

have a right to an opinion on the lawfulness of


very, a residence
if

in the colonies is necessary,

as

the immutable principles of liberty and morali-

ty varied

according to degrees of latitude.

When
have

we

offer the irresistible authority

of men who

inhabited those climates, and have even been em-

ployed in this commerce,

they oppose falsehood


finish

and calumny.

They would

by slandering

Page, who
tion,

after

having been one of the most obchaunts his recantain his

stinate defenders of slavery,

and makes strange avowals,

the restoration of St.


is

work on Domingo, of which the theme

the freedom of the blacks.*

The

planters ob-

stinately affirm that in colonies, purely agricultural,

this first of arts

as

Europeans are
is

must be tarnished by slavery, unfit for the task. Although this


this irrefragable
fact,

opinion

contradicted by

that a colony of Germans was established by Estaing, in 1764, at Bombade, near the mole St. Ni-

cholas,

whose vigorous inhabitants saw around

* Treatise

on the

political

economy of the
7.

colonies,
10.

by

Page, 1st part, Svo. Paris, year

2d part, year

]Q

74

OF THE LITERATURE
and successful^

their habitations a cultivation rich

the fruit of their

own

labours.

Are they ignorant


was

that the first cultivation of the colonial soil

made by

whites ? In our glass works and foundaries


that of the

do they not support a heat greater than


Antilles ?

Were

it

true that these countries can-

not flourish without the assistance of negroes, an


inference different from that of the colonists

would
inve-

ensue, but they constantly have recourse to the


past for the justification of the present, as
terate abuses
if

were become legitimate.


?

Do we
observa-

speak to them of justice


tions

They answer by
They

on sugar, indigo, and the balance of com-

merce.

Do we
:

reason with them ?

say that

we

declaim

instead of discussing the subject in


all

their turn, they have recourse to

the false ar-

guments,

all

the

common

sayings so often refuted,


a bad cause.

by which they would support

Do
and

we appeal

to hearts that can feel ?

They

sneer,

endeavour to carry our views to the poor of the


different countries of

Europe, to prevent us from


unfortunates,

fixing

them on those

whom

avarice
if

persecutes in other quarters of the globe, as

the

duty of giving to one


ing to others.

intei

dieted us from speak-

What

idea then

do the

planters

entertain concerning the extent of moral obligations ?

They

pretend that by our Jove of the hu~

OF NEGROES..
llian

75

race,

we

neglect our love of

we cannot

give comfort to those

men because who surround us


:

but in a manner disproportionate to their

number
dif-

and their wants, we are accused as culpable when

we raise
ferent

our voice in favour of those who, of a


suffer

complexion,
is

in

distant

countries.
-

Such

the author of the voyage in Louisiana.*


in

As
lot

long as an individual

Europe
in

surfers,

these

gentlemen would prevent us from lamenting the


of those,

whom they
feel

torment

Africa and

A-

merica.

They

indignant that

we

trouble the
:

enjoyment of

tigers

devouring their prey


vilify the

they

have even attempted to


or the friend of

philanthropist ,
is

man, whose pride

to

honour
:

him who has not abjured

affection for his equals

they have invented the epithets negrophites and


blancophages, with the hope that they would leave

a stain

they have supposed that

all

the friends of

the blacks are in the pay of England, and the ene-

mies of the whites and of France.


1,500,000

The

author

of this work, formerly accused of having received


livres for writing in favour of the

Jews,

was

to receive three millions

more

for constituting
It

himself the advocate of the negroes.

need not

be enquired,

why our

antagonists have not

em-

P. 103, and following. It

is, I

believe, Berquin Dnvallon.

76

Of

THE LITERATURE

ployed other arms than those of sarcasm and ca-

lumny.
at

It is said that a

subscription

was opened

Nantz,

for the

purpose of assassinating a phiin effigy at

lanthropist t

who had been hung

Cape

Francois and Jeremi

and

this affords

an index of

what we are
justice

to gain

when we

plead the cause of

and misfortune.
if the

Frapolosarpi, said with reason, that

plague

had rewards and pensions to bestow, it would find apologists but in defending the poor and the op:

pressed, as

we must struggle against power, riches and frensy, we may expect nothing but calumny,

injuries and persecutions.

The
since

African slave traders have then a bad cause,


it

is

supported by such means.

Let us
reli-

avenge ourselves by the only means which


gion acknowledges.
nity of doing
is

Let us seize every opportuto the persecutor, as to

good

him wbu

persecuted.

Thus have they calumniated


wards, in order to justify

negroes,
;

first,

in or
after-

der to have the right to inslave them

and

themselves,

because

they had enslaved them, and acted culpably to-

wards them.

The

accusers are both judges and


call

executioners, and they

themselves christians


Ol'

NEGROES.

77

thousand times have they attempted to torture

the sense of the sacred writings, to find therein an

apology for colonial slavery, although the scriptures


declare that all are children of the heavenly Father
all

mortals are sprung from the same family.


If,

Re-

ligion admits of no distinction.

in the

churches

of the colonies,

those of

we sometimes see blacks and mulattoes,' condemned to places distinct

from those of the whites, and even separately admitted to the eucharistical participation, the pastors

are criminal in having tolerated an usage


spirit

so

opposed to the
ly in the

of religion.

It is

particular-

church, says Paley, where the poor

man
re-

raises his humiliated form,

and where the rich

gard him with respect.

It is

there, the minister of the altar

reminds no

his

auditors of their primitive equality, in the house of


a

God who

declares that with

him

there

is

re-

spect of persons.*

There
to

the heavenly oracle proto others that

claims that

we ought

do

which we

wish to be done

for us.f

II. Paral.

19.7. Eccles.
25.

20.24. Rom.
1.

2.

U. Ephcs.

6. 9. Coloss. 3.
t

James

2.

1st

Peter

1.

3$

Matthew

7. 12.

78

OF THE

LITERATURE
due

To

the christian religion alone the glory is

of having placed the weak under the protection of


the strong.

By

her influence, in the fourth cen-

tury, the first hospital

was established

in the

West**
unhap-

She has constantly laboured

to console the

py, whatever be their country, their colour or religion. The parable of the Samaritan imprints on

persecutors the seal of reprobation, f

It is

an anathema, for ever applied to the per.


to exclude

son,

who would wish

from the

circle of

his charity a single individual of the

human

race.

Memoir on
1780, p.

different subjects of literature,


14.

by Monges,
religio

Paris,

ami Commentatio de

vi

quam

Christiana habuit,
f

by Paetz,

4to. Goetting, 1799.


in the habit of re-

The

colonists

and their friends are


that admits of

peating accusations of which the absurdity has been demon-'


strated in a

manner

no reply

thus Dupont,
30b,

author of the Voyage in Terra Firma, vol


tions that

I. p.

menIt

Las Casas, Bishop of Chiappo, has usurped the ho-

nours of celebrity, and voted for the slavery of negroes.


is

now

six years since

my

apology of Las Casas was printed


Institute, class

in a

volume of the Memoirs of the National

of moral and political sciences, p. 44.


this paper,

We

refer

Dupont

to

and invite a reply.

The

author of the voyage in

Louisiana, Berquin Duvallon, again presents the


posture, p.
'.05,

same im-

and following.

OF NEGROES.

7.S

I wish to recal the attention of the reader to a


fact attested in history, that the

friends of despo-

tism and impiety are always the defenders of slavery,

and

irreligion,

whereas the defenders of the


religious.

blacks are almost

all

The undisputed thors, among whom


gy
for

testimony of protestant
is

au-

Dallas, reproaches the cler-

neglecting the religious instruction of the

negroes,

and

this

inculpation

applies to

the bi-

shops of London,

who have western


But

colonies un-

der their jurisdiction.*

these writers bestow

eulogiums on caiholic missionaries, and on some


societies of dissenters,

such as the Moravians and

Quakers, or Friends, among


our neighbour
is

whom

the love of

not a sterile theory.

All have

discovered an indefatigable zeal to bring the negro


slaves to Christianity

and

to freedom.

Schools for

the education of children of the blacks have been


established at Philadelphia and other places

by the

society of Friends.

This description of people

forms the majority of the committees disseminated


over the United States for the abolition of slavery.

These committees send deputies

to a convention,

Dallas, vol. II. p. 427 and following*


:

80

OF THE

LITERATURE
is

or central assembly which


at Philadelphia for the

held every third year

same.*

The Quakers,
ings

at

London, have periodical meettheir representatives, delegated

composed of
of the

by

their brethren of different countries.


sitting

At

the

close

they never

fail

to

terminate

their labours

by addressing to

all

those of their

profession, a circular letter concerning abuses to

be combated,

virtues to

be practised, and the


fit

black slaves are always recommended as


jects of christian charity.

ob-

To

Dallas's eulogiums on

the catholic priests,


this sub:

he has annexed their correspondence on


ject with the present
prelate

archbishop of Tours

this

with reason remarks,


is

that the circle of

their duties

not confined to preaching and readit

ing the liturgy, but that

embraces the care of

I seize

with pleasure this occasion of expressing

my

gratitude,

1st,

To

the presidents and secretaries of these

conventions, who, during

many
;

years, have sent

me

the mi-

nutes of their proceedings


ker,

and 2d,

To Mr.

Philips, a

Qua-

and a Bookseller

at

London, who, during


rare and useful

my

stay in

England, procured

me many

works on the

freedom of the blacks.

OF NEGROES.
-the sick,

81
and
visits

the education of children,

to

families.*
other,

The

catholic religion,

more than any


sa-

established various

and intimate relations

between pastors and those who partake of the


crament*

An
which
the

imposing ceremony speaks to the senses,


are, if I

soul.

may so express myself, the gates of From these considerations protestant

writers acknowledge, and Mackintosh, has repeat-

ed to me, that catholic missionaries are


ter fitted than those

who

are not

much betcatholics, to make


them
consola-

proselytes of negroes, and to afford


tion.

The

first

conquerors of America,

that

they

might have

a right to butcher the poor Indians, af-

fected to doubt whether they were

men.

A bull of

the

Pope destroyed this doubt, and the councils of Mexico present, in this respect, a monument highhonourable to the clergy of those countries.
I

ly

In

another work,f which

propose to publish,

we

cannot read, without commiseration the decisions

* Ibid. p. 430, and following.


t

History of the liberty of negroes, read

at

the settings of

the class of moral and political science of the National Instil


rate

JPI

OE

THE LITERATURE

made

against negro slavery by the college of Car-

dinals* and that of the Sorbonne.f

Elesban, in his calendar of the catholic church,


has inserted the

names of many

blacks.

The

ne-

groes of the Spanish and Portuguese possessions

have adopted

this priest as their patron.

Under the
life

date of the 27th of October,


in Baillet,

we may

read his

known

as a severe critic, but

we

shall

give some

details of another black, of

whom

he

has not spoken


recollects.

a secular brother of the order of

Benoit of Palermo, also named Benoit of


Philadelphia, or of Santo Fratello
;

St

Benoit the

Moor
slave,

and holy Black,

was the son of a negress

and himself a negro.

Roccho

Pirro, author

of the Sic ilia Sacra, characterizes him by these

words

" Nigro quidem corpore

sed candore

animi przsclarisimus quern et miraculis Deus contestatum esse voluit."


it

His body was black, but

pleased

God

to testify

by miracles the whiteness

of his

soul.jt

In the collection of voyages of Astley, vol.

II,

p. 154,

and Benezet, p. 50.


f
t

Labat, vol. IV, p. 120.


Sicilia sacra, &x.

auctore don.

Roccho

Pirro,

3d

edit

OF NEGROES.
Historians praise in

b.

him

that

assemblage of

eminent virtues, which, content to have


as a witness, conceal themselves

God

only,

from the sight of


while vice
is

man
sy
:

for real virtues are silent,

noi-

a great

crime excites generally more sensation

in the world than a

thousand good actions.

Some-

times nevertheless, whether prompted by justice or

by

curiosity,

men endeavour

to

remove the moit is

dest veil which conceals merit, and


this, that

owing

to

Benoit the Moor, or the holy Black, has

escaped oblivion.

He

died at Palermo, in

589,

where
ed.

his

tomb and memory


rite,

are generally rever-

This

authorised by the Pope, in 1610,

and more
in Joseph

particularly, in

1743, by a decree of the

congregation of church

rites,

which we may read

Mary Ancona,

the continuator of
if,

Wadhad

ing,* will soon obtain

more solemnity,

as

been announced

in the Gazettes, at the

commenceArthur,

ment of this

year, they

occupy themselves with his


Pirro,
father

canonization.

Roccho

Gravima,J and many other writers are fullofeulo-

* Annales
fol.

minorum,

Sec.

continuati
p.

.Maria
202.

di

Ancona,

May

20, 1745, vol.

XIX,

201

Sc

Martyvologium franciscanum cura

et labore, fol. Paris,

1-638, p. 32.

Vox

turturis seu de florenti

adusquc nostra tempera


Sec

sanctorum Benedict!; dominici francisci ;

84

OF

THE LITERATURE

gy concerning the venerable negro, Benoit of Pa= lermo but in our libraries, altho' very extensive,
;

have never been able to find his

life,

neither in

Italian,

by Tognoletti, nor

in Spanish,

by Meta-

plana.

Among
ed

the Spaniards and Portuguese, slaves in

general have

more

morality, because they are allow-

to partake of the benefits of civilization,

and

they are not oppressed by labour.


tinually interposes

Religion con-

between them and proprietors,

who

residing almost always on their plantations, see

with their
gers.

own

eyes, and not with those of mana-

At

Brazil, the curates, appointed by law as

the defenders of negroes, can legally force cruel


colonists to sell
at least the

them elsewhere, and the

slaves have

chance of a better existence.

Among
habits of

the Spaniards

manumissions cannot be
fixed by the laws.

refused, on paying a

sum

By

economy, the

slaves can purchase a dav-

of the week, which facilitates the privilege of a second, of a third, and


gives
finally

of a whole week, which

them complete

liberty.

In

765, the English papers, cited as a remark;

able event the ordination of a negro,

by Doctor

OF NEGROES.,
Keppel, bishop of Exeter.*
niards,

85

Among

the Spait is

and

still

more among the Portuguese,

common occurrence.
an account of a

The history of Congo gives black bishop who studied at

Rome.f

The

son of a king, and

many young

people of

quality of this country, sent into Portugal, in the

time of king Immanuel, were distingnished


universities,

at the

and many of them were promoted

to

the priesthood

4 Du

Near

the close of the 17th century, admiral


at the isles

Quesne saw,

of Cape Vert, a catholic

negro clergy, with the exception of the bishop and


curate of St. Yago.$

In our time, Barrow and

* Gentleman's Magazine, 35th year, 1765, p. 145.


f
J

Prevot, General History of voyages, vol. V. p. 53.

History of Portugal, by Clede,


p. 594, 95.

2 vol. 4to. Paris, 1735,

vol. I

Journal of a

voyage to the East Indies, on board the


vol. in

squadron of
p. 193,

Du

Quesne, 2

12mo. Rouen, 1721,

vol.

I.

and narrative of a voyage to and return from the East


1691, by Claude Michel

Indies, during the years 1690, and

Ponchot de Chantassin, of the guard on board


Sec.

De

Quesne,

12mo. Paris,

p. GO.

86

OF THE

LITERATURE

Jackquemine Sacre, bishop of Cayenne, found the

same establishment

still

in force.*

Laincourt, and a hundred other Europeans, have


visited, at

Philadelphia, an
is also

African church,

of

which the minister

a negro, f

When we
genders
all its

consider, that slavery


it

supposes

all

the crimes of tyranny, and that


vices
;

commonly en-

that virtue can hardly thrive

among men who have no


soured by misfortune,

consideration,

who

are

dragged into corruption


all

by the example of crimes, driven from


able, or supportable

honourdepiived

ranks in society,

of religious and moral instruction, placed in a


situation

where

it

is

impossible to acquire knowagainst


obstacles

ledge,

or

struggling

which

oppose themselves to the developement of their


faculties,

we

shall find

room

for

surprize,

that

so

many

are signalized

by estimable

qualities.

In their place perhaps,


virtuous,

we would have been less than the virtuous among them, and more

Barrow.

Voyage
in the

to

Cochin China,

vol. p. 87.

Voyage

United States of America, hy RochefouParis,,

eaut Laincourt, 8vo.

year

8. vol.

VI.

p. 334.


OF NEGROES.
vicious than their

87

worst characters.

The same
Jews of
all

reflections apply to the Parias


tinent, vilified

of the Asiatic con;

by the other

casts

to

colours, for there are also blacks of this profession


at

Cochin, whose history since the dispersion,


;

is

nothing but a bloody tragedy


lics,

to the Irish catho-

condemned,

like the

negroes,

by

black

code, the

popery laws.

Thus

resemblance
of Afri-

offers equally injurious to the inhabitants

ca and of Ireland,
brutes,

who

are represented as hordes of

incapable of self government.

The

lat-

ter like the

oppressed of other countries, were to


to the iron sceptre, which, for

submit irrevocably
so many

ages, has been kept suspended over

them

by the English government.*


ranny will exist
till

This

infernal ty-

an epoch, not far distant,

when

the brave sons of Erin shall erect the standard of


liberty,

adopting the sublime invocation of Ameri-

cans

an appeal

to the justice

of Heaven.

Irish-

men, Jews and negroes, your talents are yours


your vices are the work of nations called christians.

* In Pieces of Irish

History" an interesting work, pub-

lished by

M'Neven,

8vo.

New-York, 1807.

There

is a

pre*

eious narrative by
r*xsny

Emmet,

his friend, entitled,

Part of an

towards the History of Ireland:'

(89)

CHAPTER

III.

Moral

qualities of the negroes

their love

of

in-

dustry, courage, bravery, paternal tenderness,


filial generosity, S(c.

1 ItE introductory remarks


foreign to

we have

read are not

my

subject.

could have hastily ap-

proached the question, and shewn, by a multitude


of facts, the aptitude of the negroes for virtue and
talents.

Facts are the best reply.

The
to ing,

negroes are accused of idleness.


it,

Bosman,
have you
that
it

prove
not,

says that they are in the habit of ask-

How

do you do

? but,

How
is,

reposed f*

The maxim

with them
:

is

better to be lying than seated

better to be seated

Voyage

in

Guinea, by Bosman, Utrecht, 1705, p. 131

12

90

OB THE LITERATURE

than to stand, and better to stand than to walk.

Since

we made them

so wretched, they have ad-

ded

this Indian proverb, that

death

is

preferable to

all this.

The
It is

accusation of indolence, which


is

is

not with-

out some degree of truth,

often

exaggerated.

exaggerated in the mouth of those


to

who

are

accustomed

employ a bloody whip


;

to

conduct
sit-

slaves to forced labour

it is

true that in this

uation
dustry,

men

cannot have a great inclination to in-

either,

even that

when they have no property, not of their own person, and when the fruits
;

of their sweat feed the luxury or avarice of a merciless

master

or,

when

in countries favoured

by

nature, her spontaneous productions, or an easy

industry, abundantly supply wants which are merely natural.

But blacks or whites,

all

are laborious
utili-

when
ty,

stimulated by the spirit of property, by

or by pleasure.

Such

are the negroes of Se-

negal,

who work

with ardour, says Pelletan, be-

cause they are unmolested in their possessions and

enjoyments.

Since the suppression of slavery,

adds he, the

Moors make no more


villages are rebuilt

inroads

upon

them

thus

and repeopled.*

Memoirs on

the French colony of Senegal, by Pelletan.


Ecc.

Svo. Paris, years 9. p. 69,

OF NEGROES.

9l

Such
cribe.*

are the laborious inhabitants of

Axiam on

the golden coast,

whom

all travellers

love to des-

The

negroes of the country of Boulam,


to industry ;f

whom
tivity

Beaver mentions as innured

those of the country of Jagro, celebrated for an ac-

which enriches

their country j those of

Ca-

bomonte and of Fido or Juido, are infatigable cultivators, says Bosman, who certainly is not
prejudiced in their favour
soil,
;

economical of their

they scarcely leave a foot path to form a compossessions


;

munication between the different


they
reap one
earth,

day, and the next, they


it

sow

the

same

without allowing

time for repose, v

They

are too sensible of the allurements of plea;

sure to resist them often

they

know however,

how

to support pain with a courage truly heroic,

and which perhaps, must be partly attributed to


their athletic constitution.

History

is full

of traits

of their intrepidity.

Punishments of the most

horrible description, multiplied by the cruelty of


the whites, have afforded proofs of this.

Can

life

be desirable, when existence

itself is a

perpetual

calamity ? Slaves have been seen, after

many days

Prevot, vol. IV. p.

HT.

t
f

Beaver, p. 333.

Ledyard,

vol. II. p. 332.

U.abaVvol. IV.

p. 183.

92

OF THE

LITERATURE

of uninterrupted torture, and almost in the grasp


of death, to converse calmly

among

themselves,

and even

to smile at torture.*"

negro

at

Martinico, condemned to be burned,


to

and passionately fond of tobacco, begged


a lighted cigar,

have
:

which was put

in his

mouth

he

continued to smoke, says Labat, even when his

members, were attacked by the

fire.

In 1750, the negroes of Jamaica revolted, with

Tucky

as their chief:

their tyrants

remaining confire,

querors

condemned many
gaily to
his limbs

to
;

the

and

all

marched
tion

punishment

one, without emo-

saw

reduced to ashes

one

hand

was disengaged, the flame having consumed the


cord which confined
it
it,

he seizes a brand, and darts

against the face of the executioner.

In the seventeenth century,


still

when Jamaica was


of John de Bolas,

under the dominion of the Spaniards, a party

of slaves, under the

command

regained their independence.

They

increased in

* Labat, vol.
t

IV.

p. 183.

Bryant Edwards's history of the West-Indies, and thf

Bibliotheqiie Brittanique, vol. IX. p. 495. and following.

OF NEGROES.

93

numbers and became formidable after they had elected Cudjoe, as chief, whose portrait is seen in
Dallas's work.

Cudjoe, equally brave,

skilful

and

enterprising,

in

1730, established a confederation

among

all

the

Maroon

tribes,

tremble, and compelled

them

to

made make

the English
a treaty, in

which they acknowledged the


blacks, and they ceded to

freedom of the
for ever a portion

them

of the territory of Jamaica.*

The Portuguese
part

historian Borros, says, in

some
his

of his work, that the negroes were

in

opinion, preferable to Swiss soldiers.

To

heigh-

ten the praises of the former, a comparison

was

made
ry

with the Helvetians, which he considered as

the most honourable.

Among the
at the

traits of

bravere:

which Labat has collected, one of the most

markable happened
all

seige of Carthagena

the troops of the line had been repulsed at the

attack of fort Bochachique.

The

negroes, brought

from

St.

Domingo, attacked with such impetuosiwere forced


to surrender.

ty that the beseiged

In 1703, the blacks took arms for the defence


of Guadaloupe, and were more useful than
all

the

*
t

Dallas, vol.

I.

p. 25, 46, 60, fcc,

Labat, vol. IV. p. 184.

94
rest of the

OP THE

LITERATURE
at the

French troops,

same time, they

defended Martinico against the English.*

The

honourable conduct of the


toes, at the siege of

negroes and mulatat the

Savannah,
;

taking of Pen-

secola, is well
tion,

known

and also during our revoluthe

when incorporated with

French troops,

they shared their dangers and their glory.

The

African prince Oronoko, sold at Surinam,

was a negro.

Madam

Behjj' had

been a witness
fidelity

of his misfortunes.

She had seen the

and

courage of the negroes contrasted with the baseness and perfidy of their tyrants.

Having returnIt is

ed

to

England she composed her Oronoko.

to be regretted that

on a historical canvas she has

painted a romance.

misfortunes of this
interest the reader.

The simple recital of the new Spartacus was sufficient to

Henry Diaz, who is of Brasil, was a negro.


colour, to

extolled in

all

the histories

Once

a slave, he

became

colonel of a regiment of foot-soldiers of his

own

whom Brandano (who was

certainly not

a colonist) bestows the praise of talents and saga-

Memoir

of the king against Poupet, by Poucet de

hi

tlrave Henrion de Foucet et de Fois. 8vo. Paris, 1770, p. 14,

OF NEGROES.
city.

95
still

This regiment, composed of blacks,

Portuguese America, under the name of Henry Diaz. The Hollanders, then possessors of
exists in
Brasil, disturbed
its

inhabitants.
to

This circumreflect

stance gives

La Clede occasion

on the

impolicy of conquerors, who, instead of conciliation,

aggravate their yoke,

and foster hatreds,


to ty-

which sooner or later, have a reaction cruel


1637, Henry Diaz,
in

rants and useful to the liberty of the people.

In

order to chase away the

Hollanders, joined the Portuguese.

The

former,

being beseiged in the town of Arecise, having

made

a sally,

were repulsed with great

loss,

by a

negro general.

He

took the fort by assault which

they had erected at

some

distance

from this town.

To

a knowledge of military tactics and warlike

manoevre, by which the Dutch generals were often


disconcerted, they combined the most determined

courage.
riority

In a

battle,

struggling against a supe-

of numbers, and perceiving that some of

his soldiers

began

to give

way, he darts into the

midst of them, crying, are these the brave corn;


panions of

Henry Diaz

His discourse and

his

example, says a historian, gives them fresh courage,

and the enemy, who already thought


to

itself

victorious, is attacked with an impetuosity

which

obliges

it

fall

back precipitately into the town.


Fernan

Henry Diaz

forces Arecise to capitulate,

96

OF THE
to surrender,

LITERATURE

bon

and

entirely destroys the Batavi-

an army.

In 1745, in the midst of his exploits, a ball


pierced his
left

hand

to spare the delay of dressit

ing the wound, he caused

to be amputated, say-

ing, that each finger of his right is worth a

hand in

combat.

It is

to be regretted, that

history does
this general

not inform us where, when, and


died.

how who

Mcnezes

praises

his

consummate expeall

rience, and speaks of the Africans,

of a sud-

den are converted into intrepid warriors.*

The
was
a

unfortunate Oge, worthy of a better

fate,

man

of colour.

He

sacrificed himself to
all

insure his mulatto brethren and free negroes,

Nova

Lusitania, istoria de guerras Brasilicas, by Fran-

cisco de Brito Freyre, folio, Lisbon, 1675, B. VIII,

p 610

and B. IX, No. 762.


di Alessandro

Istoria delle
4to.

guerre di Portogallo,

8cc.

Brandano,

Venezia,

1689, p. 181,329,

364,393,

Sec.

Istoria delle

guerre del regno del Brasile,


santa

Sec. dal

P.

G. Jioseppe,
1698, parte
I,

di

Theresa Carmelitano,
;

folio,

Uoma,

p. 133

and 183

part II, p.

103, and following.

Historiarum Lusitanarum

libri, Sec.

autore Fernando de

Menezes, comite Ericeyra,


p.

2 vols.

4to.

Ulyssippone, 1734,

606, 635, 675,

See.

La Clede,

histoire de Portugal, Sec

Passim.

OF NEGROES.
the

7
anticipate,
5

advantages which they

might

from the decree of the Constituent Assembly


of the
fifteenth

of

May;

decree

whi

h,

without asperity, would have gradually intro-

duced

into

the

colonies, an

order of things
at the

conformable to justice.
sity

Enraged

perver-

of the colonists

who

not only prevented

the

execution of laws, but


the

to induce

government

to prevent the

who found means em1

barkation
the

of negroes and mulattoes, he forms

resolution to return to the Antilles.

he

author of this work, so often accused for having


advised him to depart, in vain represents to him
that he

must temporize, and not compromit,


Notwithstanding his
in

by a precipitate conduct, the success of so just


a

cause.

advice,

Oge

found means

1791, of repassing, by the way

of England and the American continent, to St,

Domingo.
decrees.

He demands

the execution of the

His reclamation founded upon reason,


is

and sanctioned by divine authority,

rejected-

The
sues.

parties are exasperated,

and an attack en-

Oge
well
;

is

perfidiously delivered

up by the

Spanish government.
secret

His process discloses a


tribunals
;

known

in the

of the Inhis request

quisition
is

he demands a defender
:

refused

thirteen of his

companions are con-

13

98

OF THE LIIERATURL
to the galleys,

demned

more than twenty

to the

gibbet, and

Oge with Chavanne


They

are destined to

the torture of the wheel.

carry their ani-

mosity so

far as to

make

a distinction between

the place of punishment for the mulattoes


for

and

the

whites.

In a report in which these


impartiality,

facts are
after

examined with

Garran,

having justified Oge, concludes with these


:

words

"

We

cannot rtfuse a tear to his ashes,

but leave his executioners to the judgment of


history."*

Saint George, called the Voltaire of equitation, of

fencing and instrumental music, was a

man

of colour.

By

the amateurs of these exerin

cises he

was placed

the

first

rank, and

by
of

compositors, in the second, or third.


his concertos are
still

Some

held in estimation.
in

Alit is

though he was a hero


difficult to believe,

gymnastics, yet

with his admirers, that he

could with a gun


jected in the air.

fire at,

and strike a

ball pro-

According to the

traveller

Arndt,

this

new
most

\lcibiades was the finest,

strongest, and

* Report on the troubles of St.


4to. Paris,

Domingo, by Garran>
p. 7?.

year

6, vol. II, p.

5Z and following,
;

OF NEGROES.
amiable of his cotemporaries

99
and besides, he

was generous,

good citizen, and a good friend.*


in other words,
fri-

All people of fashion, or,

volous people, considered him as an accomplish-

ed man.
eties.

He was

the idol of fashionable soci-

When
it

he fought with the Chevalier D'Eon,


affair

was almost an

of state, because then the


the public.

state

was nothing

for

When

St.

George, who was considered as the best swords-

man

of his time, was to fence, or to exhibit

his musical talents, the to the idle


foil

newspaper announced
His

it

of the capital.
Paris in motion.

set all

bow and his Thus formerly


a brotherhood

they assembled at Seville

when

of negroes which had not been destroyed, but,

which

for

want of subjects, exists no more,


brilliant

formed on certain holy days,


sions,

proces-

and performed various manoeuvres and

evolutions, f

* Bruch-StUcke einer reise


fruhling and

durch Frankreich

im

sommer,

1799, von Ernst Moritz Arndty

3 vol. 8vo. Leipzi, 1802, vol. II, p.


t

36 and 37.

Note communicated by Mr. de Lasteyrie, who has


several scientific voyages in Spain ? the publication

made

100
I

OF THE LITERATURE.

do not

think, as Malherbes,that
is

agood

play-

er at nine pins

of as great importance as a

good

poet; but are

all

the amiable talents united,

worth one

that is really useful ?

What

pity that

the happy inclinations of St.

George had not been directed towards pursuits which would have procured him the esteem and gratitude of his
fellow citizens ?

We

may however

recollect,

that enlisted under the banners of the republic

he served in the war of freedom.

Alexander

Dumas was

a mulatto,

who, with
fifty

four men, near Lisle, attacked a post of

Austrians, killed six, and


ers.

made

sixteen prisonle-

He, during a long time, commanded a

gion of horse, composed of blacks and mulat


toes,

who were

the terror of their enemies.

In the army of the Alps, with charged bayonet,

he ascended

St. Bernard, defended

by a num-

ber of redoubts, and took possession of the can-

non, which he immediately directed against the

enemy.

Others have already recounted the ex.

of which

is

expected.

The work

will justify

the hope*

*f the public.

OF NEGROES.
ploits

101
in

by which he signalized himself

Europe

and

in Africa, for
;

he belonged to the expedition

of Egypt
to
fall

on his return he had the misfortune


hands of the Neapolitan go-

into the

vernment,
years in

who kept him and Dolomieu two irons. Alexander Dumas, General
named by Bonapaite,
in 1807.

of Division,

the Horatius

Coelesofthe Tyrols, died

John Kina, of

St.

Domingo, was

a negro,

he was a partizan of a bad cause, for he fought


against the blacks, but his valour gained

him

the

most
tish

flattering reception at

London.
to

government confided

him

the

The Bricommand

of a company of
tect the

men

of colour, destined to pro-

remote quarters of the colony of SuriIn


1800,

nam.
tilles
:

he crossed over to the An-

a humiliating pride reminds


;

him

that

he

is free

his heart swells with this sensation.

He

excites an insurrection to protect his


against the colonists, who, by

brethren

employing the

negresses in hard labour, caused


carry
to
;

them
free

to mis-

and who resolved

to

expose

negroes
to

sale.

He

is

soon
in

apprehended, sent

London, and shut up


*

Newgate.*
XXXI, p.
405, Sec.

Work

entitled, Paris, vol.

102

OF THE LITERATURE
at

Mentor, born
negro.

Martinico, in 1771, was a

In fighting against the English he

was

made
ant,

prisoner.

In sight of the coast of Ush-

he took possession of the vessel which was

conducting him to England, and carried her into Brest.

To

a noble

physiognomy he united

an amenity of character, and a mind improved

by

culture.

We

have seen him occupy the

legislative seat at the side of the estimable

Tocon-

many.

Such was Mentor, whose


killed at St.

latter

duct has perhaps sullied these

brilliant qualities.

He was

Domingo.

Toussaint Louverture had worn the chains of


slavery, for he had

been a herdsman

at the plan-

tation of Breda, to the Intendant of

which, he

sent pecuniary aid,

who, with Reymond, the


the National
Institute,

mulatto,

associate of

formed a democratic constitution mingo.


His bravery and
that

for St.

Doa

of Rigaud,

mulatto general, and his competitor cannot be


contested, for
casions.
it

had been displayed on many oc-

In this view he resembles the Cacique

Henry, whose memory Charlevoix has celebrated.

have seen a very curious manuscript, on the present state of the

entitcola-

led, Reflections

of negroes.

103

nyofSt. Domingo, by Vincent, engineer.


following
is

The

the portrait

he presents of the ne-

gro general.

" Toussaint,

at the

head of his army,

is

the

most
he

active

and indefatigable man of

whom we

can form an idea,


is

we may

say, with truth, that

found wherever instructions or danger ren-

der his presence necessary.


care

The

particular

which he employs

in his

march, of always
he has need, and
he gives to
ex-

deceiving the

men

of

whom

who

think they enjoy a confidence


effect,

none, has such an

that he is daily

pected in

all

the chief places of the colony. His

great sobriety, the faculty, which none but he

possesses, of never reposing, the facility

with
af-

which he resumes the


ter the

affairs

of the cabinet

most tiresome excursions, of answering


a hundred letters, and of habitually
tirall

daily

ing five secretaries, render him so superior to

those around him, that their respect and sub-

mission are in most individuals carried even to


fanaticism.
It
is

certain that

no man,

in

the

present times, has obtained

such an influence

over a mass of ignorant people, as general Tous?


saint possesses over his brethren in St.

Domin-

go,'"

104

Of THE LITEUATURE

Vincent, the engineer adds, that Toussaint


is

endowed with
good

a prodigious

memory

that he
that his
is

is a

father, a

good husband, and

civil qualities are as solid, as his political life

cunning and culpable.

Toussaint
at St.

re-established religious

worship

Domingo, and on account of his zeal in this respect he was named the capucliine> by a class of men who certainly merited the name of
persecutors.

With myself, he had

a curious cor-

respondence, the object of which was to obtain,


twelve ecclesiastics. Several set out for that
isl-

and, under the direction of the estimable bishop

Mauviel Sac>e,

for

St.

Domingo, who geneon

rously devoted himself to this painful mission.

Toussaint,

had congratulated the colony

his arrival, by a

solemn proclamation, yet

after-

wards led astray by the suggestion of some

monks,
and

the

bishop experienced

difficulties.

That Toussaint may have been


cal,

cruel, hypocriti-

deceitful, as well as the

negroes and

mulattoes

who accompanied

his operations, I
;

do

not pretend either to affirm, nor to deny

for

we

do not judge a cause from


ty only.

the hearing of one par-

Some

day, perhaps, the negroes will

write and print in their turn, or the pen of

some

OF NEGROES.
white
is

105

may be guided by
Whilst

truth.

Recent

facts, it

observed, are under the dominion of adulation,

or of satire.
ral is

among

us

the negro gene:

painted in the most odious colours

Whit-

church, in his poem, pursuing another extreme,

has

made him

a hero.*

Though Toussaint

is

dead,

posterity,

which destroys, confirms, or

rectifies the

judgments of contemporaries, has

not yet passed sentence on his character.

Hispaniola, a

Poem, by Samuel Whitchurch, 12m

London, 1805.

\A

107

CHAPTER

IV.

Continuation of the same Subject.

NOBLENESS
are

of character

is

the inseparable
facts this

companion of true bravery.

The

which

now

to

be narrated, will in

respect,

place the blacks and whites on a parallel.


impartial reader will hold the balance.

The

The negro Maroons

of Jacmel have been, for

almost a century, the terror of St. Domingo.

Bellecombe, the most imperious of governors,


in

17S 5, was by them obliged to capitulate. There were not more than one hundred and

108
twenty-five

OF THE

LITERATURE

men on
is

the French side, and five on

the Spanish. It

Page, the planter, who asks,*

has
the

it

ever been heard that those


;

men

violated
like

capitulation

although

they

were,

wolves, chased from the bushes ?

In 1718,

when we were
St.

in peace with the

red Caribs of

Vincent,

who

are

carry their bravery even


are

to rashness, and

known to who

more

active

and industrious than the white

Caribs, an unjust and unsuccessful expedition

was directed against those of Martinico. Instead


of being
irritated, the

year following they mildly


;

acquiesced in a peace
velin, are not

these traits, says

Chau-

found in the history of civilized

nations.

In 1726, the Maroons of Surinam,


ferocity of the colonists

whom the

had driven to despair, ob-

tained their liberty with the sword and forced


their oppressors to a treaty
;

they religiously obthe colonists

served their conventions.

Do

me-

* Treatise on the political


i

economy and commerce of

he colonies.
t

Voyage

in

Martinico, by Chauvelin, 4to. p. 39, and

following,

CF NEGROES.
rit

109
to negotiate
:

the

same

praise ?

They, willing

a peace, ask a conference with the negroes


is

this

granted, and as a preliminary

it is

stipulated,

that

with

many

useful objects, they should

send them good fire-arms and ammunition.

Two Dutch
pear in the
ton, their

commissaries under escort, apof the negroes.

camp

Captain Bosthat the

commander, perceives
bring only
trifles,

com-

missaries

scissars,

combs

and small mirrors,

and neither fire-arms nor

powder; with a voice of thunder he addresses " Do Europeans think that negroes them
:

have need only of combs and scissars

One

of

such

articles

is sufficient for

us

all

one barrel

of powder would have testified that the Hollanders have confidence in us."

The

negroes, however,

instead of yielding

to a sentiment of just indignation against a go-

verment which broke

its

engagements, give a

year to deliberation, and to choose either peace


or war.
fetes, treat
pitality,

They honor
and
in parting,

the commissaries with

them with the most generous hosremind them


that the

colonists of Surinam,

by

their

inhumanity to

110
their
their
slaves,

QF

THE LITERATURE
of

were themselves the authors


Stedman, to

own misfortunes.*

whom we
maize,

owe

these details, adds, that the fields of this

republic of blacks were covered with


Igna??ies plantanicr manioc.

All unprejudiced authors,


groes,

who speak who

of ne-

do justice

to their natural disposition

and

virtues.

Some even
of slavery,
to

of those,

are the par-

tizans

are occasionally

compelled

by truth
are, 1st,

make avowals

in their favour.

Such

Long, the

historian of Jamaica,

who
filial

found some of excellent character,


grateful,

good and
and
of

and remarkable
2d,

for paternal

tenderness. f

Duvallon, whose

recital

the misfortunes of the poor and decrepid Irrouba, cannot


fail

to

move

the heart of the

reader,

and force him to execrate the ferocious colonist,

of

whom

she had been the foster mother.J

* t
I

Stedman, vol.

I.

p. 88,

and following.

Long,

vol.

II, p.

416.

View

of the Spanish colony, in 1802, by Duvallon,

8vo. Paris, 1803, p. 268,


visit

and the following.

" Let us

says

woman, who has seen her hundredth year, some one of the company and we advanced to the
the old
;

door of a

little

hut,

where an old negress of Senegal

OF NEGROE.S.

HI
are conspicuous,

The same virtues of negroes


in the

narrative,

by

Hilliard D'Auberteuil, Fal-

conbridge, Grandville, Sharp, Benezet,


say,
larly

Ram-

my

Horneman, Pinkard, Robin, and particuexcellent friend Clarkson, who, as well


by
his

as Wilberforce, is immortalized

works

appeared, and so decrepitated, that she was bent towards


the ground, and obliged to lean against the side of her hut
to receive the

company assembled
still

at the

door

she was

also

deaf,

but her eye was

lively.

Every thing

around her shewed that she was destitute and wretched.

She had scarcely rags enough


had not brands
the cold
larly
is

to

cover her nakedness, and

sufficient to give
felt

warmth,
old,

at a

season

when
occu-

as sensibly

by the

and more particu-

by those of the black race.


little

We found her

pied in boiling a

water and rice for her supper.


that regular sub-

For she received not from her master


sistance
ed.

which her great age and former services requir-

She was besides, alone and abandoned, her strength


reader ought to

exhausted and more indebted to nature than to them.

The

know

that independently of her long


in

services, this

woman, now

her hundredth year, had

formerly nourished, with her milk, two white children,

whom whom
sent.

she had seen arrive at complete growth, and


she afterwards accompanied to the tomb
;

and

these were the brothers

of one of the masters then pre-

The

old

woman

perceived him, and called

him by

his

name, and

ttitagant

him (according

to

the custom

"

112

OF THE LITERATURE
his

and

zeal

in

the

defence

of Africans.

George Roberts, an English navigator, pillaged


by the captain of
a privateer

belonging to his
isle

country, sought refuge in the


in the Archipelago,

of St. John,

near Cape Vert.

The

ne-

groes give him succour.


phleteer,

An anonymous pamfact,

who

dare not deny the

endeavours

of the

negroes

of Guinea) with an

air

of kindness

truly affecting,

and when, said she,


?

wilt

thou repair the

roof of

my

hut

It

was almost uncovered, and the rain


raised his eye towards
;

poured
it

freely.

The master
Thee
is

it

was no higher than the hand could reach


will think of
it,

I shall

think

of this, said he.

thee always tells


chil-

me

so,

but nothing

ever done.

Hast thee not thy

dren (two negroes of the work shop, her grand-children)

who could mend


ter,

the hut

and thee,

art thee not their


?

mas-

and

art thee not thyself

my son Come,
;

said she, tak-

ing

him by the arm, and introducing him into the Cabin, come and see thyself these openings have pity then,
on the old Irrouba, and repair
is

my son,

at least that part


all I

of

the roof which

above

my

bed,

it

is

ask,

and the
?

good Being

will bless thee.

And what was her bed

Alas

three boards grossly connected, and on which was dispos-

ed a bundle of a parasite plant of the country, named


Barbe-Esfmgnole.

The

roof of thy hut

is

almost unco-

vered, the sleet and the rain beat against thy miserable

bed

thy master sees

all this,

and yet has no compassion

for the

poor Irrouba.

OF NEGROES.

113

to extenuate its merit, in saying that the condi-

George Roberts would have moved a tygert> pity.* Durand extols the modesty and
tion of

chastity of ncg. oe wives,

and the good education

of the mulattoes at Goree.f


boasts

Wadstrom, who

much

of their friendship, thinks their


affecting than that of

sensibility

more mild and

the whites.

Captain Wilson,

who

lived

anmng

them, speaks highly of their constancy in friend*


ship
:

they shed tears at his departure*

Some
who
fact,

negroes of St. Domingo, had from

at-

tachment, followed their masters to Louisiana,


sold

them

there.

This, and the following

taken from Robin, furnish materials for a

moral comparison between the blacks and the


whites.

slave

had runaway

the

master

promised a reward of twelve


brought him back
ter
;

dollars to

him who

he

is

conducted to the mas*


toaccept the reward
the
;

by

a negro,

who refuses
for

he only asks pardon


ter grants
it,

the deserter,

mas-

and keeps the

sum

he offered,

*
t

Of slavery
Voyage
in

in general,

and particularly, &c.

p. ISO.

Senegal, by Durand, 4to. Paris,

180?,

p. 36*.

15

114

OF THE

LITERATURE
remarks, that the

The

author of the voyage

master hud the soui of a slave, and the slave that


of a master.*

Doctor Newton
cused
a

relates that

one day he ac-

negro

of imposture and injustice.

The

latter,

with pride, replies, do you take

me

for a white ?f

He

adds, that on the borders of

the river Gabaon, the negroes are the best race

of

men

that exists.^

Ledyard says the same of


is

the Foulahs,

whose government

paternal.

Proyart, in his history of Loango asserts, that


if the

negroes,

who

inhabit its coasts, and

who as-

sociate with Europeans, are inclined to fraud

and libertinism; those of the interior are humane,


obliging, and hospitable.il

This eulogium

is

repeated by Golberry

he inveighs against the

presumption with which Europeans despise and


calumniate nations,

improperly called savage,

among whom we
* t
j

find

men
203.

of probity, models of

See Robin,

vol. II, p.

Thoughts upon the African

slave trade,

An

abstract of the evidence, &c. p. 91, and following.

Ledyard, vol. II, p. 340.


||

History of Loango, by Proyart, 1766, 8vo. Paris, p


;

'^9,

and following

p. T:>,

OF NEGROES.
filial,

115

conjugal and paternal affection,


energies

who know
virtue,

all

the

and

refinements of

among whom
dictates

sentimental impressions are

deep, because they observe,

of nature,

more more than we, the and know how to sacrifice


Golproofs of this.*

personal interest to the ties of friendship.

berry furnishes

many

The anonymous
Eclogues, \ owes his
it,

author of the West Indian


life

to a negro,

who, to save
not this poet,

sacrificed his

own.

Why has
preserver
!

who,

in a note relates this circumstance,

men

tioned the

name of his

Adanson, who

visited Senegal, in 1754,

and

who

describes this

country as an

Elysium,

found the negroes very sociable, obliging, hu-

mane and

hospitable

their amiable simplicity,

says he, in this enchanting country, recalled to

me

the

idea

of the primitive race of


its

thought I saw the world in


ty of domestic manners.

man I infancy. They


:

have generally preserved an estimable simplici-

They

are distinguish-

Fragments of a voyage
In 4to. London, 1787.

in Africa,

by Golberry, 2

vol,

Ivo. Paris, 1802, vol.11, p. 391,


t

and following.

116

OF THE LITERATURE
tenderness for their parents, and great

by

their

respect for the aged


in our days,
is

a patriarchal virtue, which,

almost unknown.*

Those who are Mahometans


lar alliance

contract a particu-

with

those who

are circumcised at the


as brethren dur-

same epoch, and consider them


ing the rest of their lives.

Those who

are

christians always preserve a particular veneration


for their

god -fathers and god- mothers.

These

words

recal to

mind

sublime institution of

which philosophy

in latter times

might envy
adoption

Christianitythis kind of religious


connects children by

certain ties of love

and

kindness, that in the event of the death of their


parents,

which unfortunately happens too

often,

prepare for orphans, advice and an asylum.

Robin speaks of a
having gained n:oney

slave of

Martinico,

who
ran-

sufficient for his


it

own

som, purchased with

his mother's

freedom.

The most

horrible outrage that can be


is

commit-

ted against a negic >

to curse his father or his

mother,| or to speak of either with contempt.

* t

Dcmanet,p. Long,

1.

vol. II, p.

416

OF NEGROES.

117

Strike mc, said a slave to his master, but curse

not

mj mother.*

It is

from

Mungo

Park,

take this, and the following

fact.

A negrcss havralates, that a

ing lost her son, her only consolation was, that

he had never told a

lie.t

Casaux

negro seeing a white


carry

man abuse his

father, said,

away the child of this monster

that

it

may

not learn to imitate his conduct.

The

veneration of blacks for their grandfalife


:

ther or grandmother is not confined to

in

mournful sympathy they hang over the ashes of


those

who

are

no more.

A traveller has preserved

the anecdote of an African

Frenchman

to

who recommended a respect places of interment. What


if

would the African have thought,


faned throughout

he could

have believed that one day they would be proall

France

a nation which

boasts of its civilization.

The blacks,
man,

according to the account of Stedit is

aie so benevolent one to another, that

useless to say to them, love your neighbour as

Voyage
Ibid. p.

into the Interior of Africa,

by tylungo Park,

vol. II, p.

8 and 10,
1 1

118
yourself.*

OF THE
Slaves,

LITERATURE
particularly those of

the

same country, have


sist

a decided inclination to as!

each other.

Alas

it

happens always, that

the wretched

have nothing to hope but from

their associates in misfortune.

Several maroons had been

condemned
life,

to the

gallows

one has the

offer

of his

provided
:

he becomes the executioner of his fellows


refuses
:

he

he prefers death.
to

The master
this office.

orders

one of his negroes


said he,
till I

perform

Wait,

get ready, he goes into the house,

takes a

hatchet,

cuts off his hand, returns to


to

his master,

and sajs

him

order

me now

to

be the executioner of

my

comrade.

We are indebted to Dickson for the following fact. A negro had killed a white man ano:

ther accused of the crime

was about

to suffer

death.

The murderer acknowledged


"
I
feel

his crime,

because, said he,


I

cannot suffer the remorse

must

from the idea of being the cause of


individuals.

the death of two

The

innocent

*
f

Stedman,

vol. Ill, p. 66.

Night Cap, by Mercier,

vol. II, article, morals*

OF NEGROES.

119

man is released
days.

the negro
alive

is

sent to the gibbet,

where he remained

during six or seven

The same Dickson has informed us among one hundred and twenty thousand
ders have been

that

ne-

groes and Creoles of Barbadoes, only three mur-

known

to be

committed by
-

them

in the course of thirty years, although ofI


tri-

ten provoked by the cruelty of the planters.*

doubt whether an inspection of the criminal


bunals of Europe would give a like result.

The gratitude

of the blacks, says Stedman,


life

is

such, that they often expose. their

to save that

of their benefactor, f

Cowry relates,
trial for

that a Portu-

guese slave having

fled to the

woods, learns that


the crime

his master is brought to


assassination
:

of

the negro goes to prison instead

of his

master, gives false,

though judiciary

proofs of his pretended crime, and suffers death


instead of the criminal, $

Dickson's Letters on Slavery

1789, p. 20, and

fol-

lowing.
t
t

Stedman,

vol. Ill, p.

70 and 70.

Cowry,

p. 27,

120

0* THE

LITERATURE

The anecdote
he
left

of Louis Desrouleaux, a negro


is little

pastry cook, of Nantes,

known.

Atter

Nantes, he lived

at the

Cape, where he

had been a slave of Pinsum, of Bayonne, a captain in the

negro trade,

who came with

great

riches to France,

where he was

at last ruined.

He returns to St. Domingo. Those who, when he was rich, called themselves his friends, now scarcely recognized him. L. Desrouleaux, who had acquired a fortune, supplies their place. Hi iearns the misfortune of his old master, hastens to find him, gives him lodging a*. nourish!

ment, and nevertheless proposes


lire in France,

that he
will

should
not he

where

his feelings

mortified

by the

sight cf ungrateful

men.

But
an

I cannot find a subsistance in

France

will

annual revenue of
sufficient

fifteen

thousand francs be

The

colonist

weeps with joy.

The

negro signs the contract, and the pension was


regularly paid,
till

the death of

Louis Desrou-

leaux, which happened in 1774.

If
to

it

were permitted

to insert a
cite the

fact foreign

my

subject, I

would

conduct of the

Indians towards the Bishop Jacqumin,

who was

twenty-two years a missionary,

at

Guyanne.

These Indians, who loved him

tenderly, seeing-

qF NEGROES,

121

him stripped of all,


ceased to "employ
said
;

at the

time when they had

Pastors,
:

went to him, and


remain with us
;

Father, thou art aged

we

will

hunt and

fish for thee.

And how can


ous even

these sons of nature be ungrate-

ful to their benefactors,

when they

are gener-

to their tyrants at sea ?

The

blacks in

chains, have been seen to share, with the sailors


their

unwholesome and scanty nourishment.*


the cap-

A contagious disease had carried off


tain, the
sel in

mate, and most of the sailors of a vestrade


:

the negro

those

who remained
:

were incapable of conducting the vessel


negroes assist
;

the
ar-

and by their aid the vessel

rives at her destined port,


fer

where the slaves

suf-

themselves to be sold.f

The
sure in

philanthropists of England, take a plea-

speaking of the good and religious Jo-

seph Rachel, a free negro, of Barbadoes,

who,

* +

Stedman,

vol. I, p. 270,

Ibid. vol. I, p.

270,

122

O*

THE LITERATURE

having become rich by commerce, consecrated


all

his fortune to acts of charity

and beneficence*
his colour,

The

unfortunate, whatever

was

had
a

a claim

upon

his affections.

He

gave

to the in-

digent, lent to those


return, visited

who

could not

make

prisoners, gave

them good ad-

vice

and endeavoured to bring back the guilty

to virtue.

He

died,

at

Bridgetown, in 1758 ?

equally lamented

by blacks and whites.*

The French ought

to bless the

memory

of

Jasmin Thoumazeau, born

in Africa, in in 1736.

1714

He
the

was sold at

St.

Domingo,

Having

obtained his freedom, he married a negress of

Golden

coast, and, in

1756, established a

hospital, at the
lattoes.

Cape,

for

poor negroes and


forty years, he

mu=
and

During more than


were occupied

his wife,

in giving

them comfort,
in the

and rendering
wants.

his fortune subservient to their

The

only pain they

felt,

midst
their

of those unfortunates,
charity, arose

who were solaced by


the idea,

from

that after their

death, the hospital might

be abandoned.

The

Philadelphian society at the Cape, and the agri-

Dickson, p. 1*0

OF NEGROES.
cultural society at Paris, decreed

123

medals to

Jas-

min,* who

died near the close of the century.

Moreau

St.

Mery, and many other

writers

inform us, that negresses and female mulattoes


discover great maternal tenderness and charity
for the poor.f

Proofs of this are found in an


all

anecdote which has not yet received


licity
it

the

pub-

merits.

Mungo

Park, in the

bosom of

Africa, was ready to perish

by hunger.

good negress meets him, conducts him to her hut, treats him in the most hospitable manner, assembles the women of the family, who passed
a part of the night spinning cotton, and singing extemporary songs to amuse the white man,

whose appearance
ticing novelty.

in that

country was an en-

He

was the subject of one of

these songs, which brings to

mind

the idea 6f

Hervey

in his meditations.

I think I hear the


:{:

winds plead the cause of the wretched.


as follows
:

" The winds howled, and


Mery,
p. 44.
vol. I, p. 4
1

It is

the rain

* Description of the French portion of St.

Domingo.
praises

by Moreau
t St.

St.

6,

and following.

Mery,

A few pages before this, he

their habits of cleanliness.


%

Hervey's Meditations, p, 151

124
fell

OF THE
the poor white
1

LITERATURE
fatigue,

man, weary with


:

sits

down under
other

our tree

he has no mother to
to giind his corn ;"

bring him milk, no


the

woman
in

women

sang

chorus

"

pity

the

poor white man, he has no mother to bring him


milk, no

woman to
are the
in

grind his corn."*

Such
les,

men

calumniated by Descroizil-

who,

1803, published a treatise, in which


in-

he asserts that social affections and religious


stitutions,

have taken no hold on this character.

To those
and
to the

traits

of virtue practised by negroes,

honourable testimony which authors


I

have rendered them,

might have added manyofficial

others which .may be found in the


pe sitions

do-

made

at

the bar oi

the Parliament

of

England-}

That which we have read

will suf-

Voyage

of discovery in the

Interior of Africa, by

Houghton and Mungo Park,


f

p. 130.
isles

Essay on the agriculture and commerce of the

of France and Reunion) Svo. Rouen, 1803, p. 37.


$

Among

the other works

-ve

may

consult an abstract

fj the evidence delivered before a select committee of the

house of commons,

in

1790 and 1791, 8vo.


a,rd following.

Londom

1791, particularly p. Pi,

OF NEGROES.
lice to

125

avenge offended truth and insulted hu-

manity.

Let us, however, guard against the extravagant exaggeration, that

among
:

blacks

we

find

none but estimable


have we the right
to

qualities

but we whites,

constitute ourselves their

denunciators ? Persuaded that


ly

we can but

rare-

depend on the virtue and


I

integrity of

men,

of any colour,
is

have tried to prove that one race

not originally inferior to the other.

It is

an error almost general to

call
I

those
so

individuals virtuous,

who have

only, if

may

express myself, a negative morality.


racter
is

Their cha-

not decided

they

are incapable of
;

thinking or of acting for themselves

they have

neither the courage of virtue, nor the

boldness

of vice

equally susceptible of good, or of bad


all

impressions, their ideas and inclinations are

borrowed
mildness

what

in

them

is

called

goodness and

is really

nothing but apathy, weakness


description of persons
:

and dulness.

It is this

that gave rise to the proverb

There are

indi-

viduals so good that they are ivorth nothing,

12$

O* THE LITERATURE, BTC*

In the picture of important facts here presented, we, on the contrary, find
virtus

that energy (vis

which makes
and obliges

sacrifices for the

good of

others,

men

to act conformably to

the principles of morality.

This

practical rea-

son, the fruit of a cultivated understanding,


nifests itself also

ma-

under other vices, although,

among most
are
still

negroes, civilization and the arts

in their infancy.

12T

CHAPTER

V,

Talents of the Negroes for arts


Political societies

and

trades,

organized among the Ne-

groes.

BOSMAN, Bruo, Barbet, Holben, James Lyn,


Kiernan, Dalrymplc, Towne, Wadstrom, Fal-

conbridge > Wilson, Clark son, Durand, Sted-

man,

Mungo

Park, Ledyard, Lucas, Houghton,


all

Horneman,*

of

whom

were acquainted with

* Abstract of the

evidence, &c. p. 89
,

Clarkson, p.

125

Stedman, ch. 26

Durand,

p. 368,
;

and following-;

Histoy of Loangn, by Bogart* p. 1Q7

jVJungo Park, vol.

H, p.

35, 39j and 40^

128
the

OF THE

LITERATURE
among them
thinks
in

blacks, and having lived

Africa,
dustry.

give testimony of their talents and in-

Moreau

St.

Mery
in the

they are
li-

capable of succeeding
beral arts.*

mechanical and

Examine

the authors

we havd

cit-

ed

from the general History of voyages by

Prevot, and the Universal History, the production of an English author, and the narrative of

depositions

made

at

the bar of Parliament

all

speak, of the dexterity with which negroes tan


fnd

dye

leather, prepare indigo aixl soap,


fine

make
arms
they

cordage,

tissue,

excellent pottery ware,


;

although ignorant of the turning machine

of white metal, instruments of agriculture, and

curious

works

in

gold, silver and steel

particularly excel in filigranc vvork.f

One of the

most striking proofs of their


is their

talents in this line,

method of constructing an

anclior for a

vessel. |

At

Juida, they

make combs

of a single

piece of ivory which are nearly two metres or


six feet in length.

Topographical description of

St.

Domingo,

vol. I.p.

90.
t

Prevot, vol.

I, p. 3, 4,
;

and Universal History, 4to

edit.
\

vol. 17, ch. 71

Beaver, p. 327.

Prevot, vol.11, p. 421.

Description

de

la

Negritic, par P.

D. P. Pruneau de

Pommc

Gouje, 8vo, Paris. 1789.

OF NEGUOfiS,

129

Dickson, who knew among them jewellers

and

skilful

watch-makers, speaks with admiraa iiegroe.*

tion of a

wooden lock executed by

In a learned dissertation on the floating bricks

of the ancients, by Fabroni, I find this pas-

sage

"

It is difficult to

conceive in what man-

ner the ancient inhabitants of Ireland and the

Orcades, could construct towers of earth and

bake them on the same spot


is
still

This however

practised

by some negroes on the coast

of Africa, f"

Golberry,
travellers,

who

is

more

particular than other

in his

details

concerning African
stuffs

industry, says, that the


are very fine

made by them

and

of a rare beauty.

The most
Bambou-

ingenious are the Mandingoles and


kains
:

their jars

and mats are executed with

much
make

taste=

With
:

the grossest

same instruments they works in iron, and the most


the

elegant in gold

they thin leather in such a man-

* Dickson, p. 74.
t

Le Majaz, Encycloped.

vol. II,

Brum,

aru

7. p,

17

130

OF THE LITERATURE
it

ner as to render

as flexible as paper

and

the,

only instrument they employ, in the most delicate

workmanship,

is

a very simple knife.

The same
They send
Sandoval,

observations apply to the negroes

of Asia, of Malacca, and other parts of India*


black and white slaves to Manilla.

who was

there,
for

assures us,

that aft

have a great aptitude


larly in

improvement, particuexcel in needle-

music.

Their

women

work, f
Lcscalier, in travelling in

the

continent of

Asia, found that the negroes with long hair, are


well educated, because they have schools. Like
ihe other Indians, they
lins,

manufacture
this

fine

mus-

which are sent by

country to Europe.
is

France, said another traveller,

full

of stuffs

made by negro

slaves.

Fragments of a voyage
I,

in Africa,

by Golberry, 2
;

voj.
|>.

3vo- Paris, 1802, vol.

p. 413,

and following

vol. II,

380,

See.

t Sandoval, part I, vol. II, c. xx, p. 205.


} Journal d'un

voyage aux Indes, sur Pescadrc dedu


214.

Quesne,

vol. II, p.

OF NEGROES.

l3l

In reading Wintcrbottom, Ledyard, Lucas,

Houghton,

Mango

Park and Horneman, we find


of the interior of Africa, are
civilized than those of

that the inhabitants

more virtuous and more


the coasts
;

surpass them also in the preparations

of wool, leather,

wood and

metals

in

weaving,

dying and sewing.

Besides rural labors, which

occupy them much, they have manufactories,


and extract ore from minerals. The inhabitants
of the country of Haissa, who, according to

Horneman,

are the

most

intelligent

people of

Africa, give cutting instruments a keener

edge

than European artists

their files are superior to

those of France or of England.*

These
think,

details already anticipate

what we must

when

to

degrade the blacks, Jefferson


civil-

tells us, that

no nation of them was ever


the

ized.

A problem not yet solved, though doubtless


is

not insoluble,
intellectual

faculties

method of adjusting the and talents, so as not to


which
at

suffer that

corruption to germinate,

tend fashionable

amusements,

do not

say

inevitably, but always follow in their train.

Mungo

Park,

vol. II. p. 35, 39, 40.

The

Journal of
3

Frederic Horneiaian's Travejsj 4te London, 1S2


and following.
,

p. 33,

i32

OP TIfE LITERATURE
that as
it

Be

may,

in confining ourselves tosociability pre-

the acceptation

which the word

sents, that is, a disposition to live

with

men

in

a relation to

mutual services, to the idea of a


the security of persons

polished state, which has a regular form of go-

vernment and religion

and property, which puts under the protection


of laws, or of usages having the force of law, the
exercise of agricultural, mechanical or
cial arts
;

commerit

who can deny

to

many

black people
Is

the qualities of a civilized people ?

they,

of

whom Leon

the African speaks,

who on

the

mountains, have something of the savage, but


in the plains,

have built towns, where they

culti-

vate the sciences and arts.


in

In a narrative, found

the collection of Prevot, they are described

as

more improved than among European

na-

tions.*

Bosman, who found


well governed
tures of the

the country of Agonna,


rap-

by a woman, f speaks with


of
their

appearance of that Juida, of th

number of towns,
dustry.
recital

customs and inde

More

than a century afterwards, his

has been confirmed by Pruneau

* Prevot, vol. IV, p. 283.

Bosman,

4 vote. p. 283*

B PSCROX&,

135'

Pomme
ability

Gouje,

who
life

praises the courage and

of the inhabitants of this country.*


present

The

particulars of their

more ceremonies
Superi-

and

civilities

than are found in China.

ority of rank, has there, as in all other places,


its

proud pretensions
similar

but generally ? individuals

in

other. f

situations, kneel and bless each Without approving these minute cere-

monies,

we must

nevertheless perceive the

fea*.

tures of a nation rescued from barbarism.

Denian, a French consul,

who

resided thir-

teen years in Juida, has assured me, that the go-

vernment of this country,


is

in

cunning diplomacy

a rival to those in Europe,


this

ed

pernicious
find in the

art.

who have improvWhat proofs of this


who
died in 1663 v

do we

life

of the celebrated Gingha

or Zingha, queen of Angola,


in

her 82d year.

Toacuteness of mind, she

united a ferocious intrepidity.

Like most great criminals of her rank,


remorse, which alas! could not restore

in her

old age, she proposed to expiate her crimes by


life

to the

* Description dc

la
1

Nigriue,par P. P.

8.va.

Paris,

178$

X Bosnian,

lettrr

8,

134

OF THE

LITERATURE
she had

unhappy individuals
death.

whom

doomed

to

According

to an opinion generally received


is

among

us, a nation

not civilized unless

it

have
to

historians

and annals.

We
ages,

do not pretend

place the negroes on a level with those, who, to


the discoveries of
heirs,
all

of which they are


it

add

their

own; but can


in

be inferred

from

this, that the

negroes are incapable of bethe store-house of

coming partners

human

know ledge ?

If,

because they are not possessors,

they are incapable of becoming such, the descendants of the ancient

Germans, Helvetians, Batastill

vians and Gauls, would be


there

barbarians

for

was

time when they had nothing so good

as the knots quipos of

Mexico, or the runic stick

of the Scandinavians.
sess ?

What
all

did they then pos-

The vague and

figurative traditions of

ages, similar to those of

negro tribes
all

and
of

nevertheless they had,

like

the

Celts,

which they formed


assemblies, and

a portion,

name,

political

confederations, a regular government, national

more

especially, freedom.

We

agree with the historian of Jamaica,

that

the state of civilization in

every country can

point out only in

some

respects, the degree of

cL

OF NEGROES.
vilization
for

135

applying this standard to England,


ask him, whether an una

his country,

we might

repealed
sell

law,

which authorizes

husband

to

his wife, be a

vilization ?
to these

symptom of an improved ciThe same question may be applied


NotwithBriof

Neronian laws, which have reduced the

Irish catholics to the rank of Helots.

standing these stains which disfigure the


tii

constitution,

we cannot den)

that

it is

one

those which best combines the


state with

security of the
less

individual libeity

under forms

complicated, the same thing exists


black nations,

among many
to

whom Long

supposes not

possess the faculty of combining ideas.*

In
are

many

parts of the coast

of Africa,

there

very small kingdoms, where the chief has


father of a family.

no more authority than the


the government

In Gambia, Bonden, and in other small states,


is

monarchical, but authority


tribes,

is

tempered by the chiefs of


advice they can neither

without whose
peace. i.

make war nor

Long,

vol. II, p.

377, and 278-

t
\

Beaver, p. 328.

Mungo

Park, p.

I2t>,

136

OF THK Ll'iEtATlfRfc
industrious race of Accas,

The

who occupy

the fertile promontory of Cape Verd, have an or*

ganized republic

and although separated by


of-

dry sands, from the king of Darnel, they are


ten engaged with him in war.

When

the king

of Darnel had a dispute with the government of


Senegal, from

whom he no

longer received

toll,

and when he
they should aid

lately treated

with the English

recently established at Goree, he proposed that

him in subjugating this people and to stimulate them to this project, he alleged that the people of Acca were not like the
:

other negroes, submissive to a chief, but free as


the

French then were.

This

trait

of African

diplomacy was communicated to


sonnet.

me by

Brous-

Such then are the people who have seized


ilie

complicated idea of a constitution, a governalliance.

ment, a treaty and


better
first

If they have not a


it is

knowledge of politics,

because

it

was

necessary to have an existence.

In the empire ofBornon, says the traveller


Lucas, the monarchy
is elective,

as also in the

government of Kachmi.

When the

chief

dies,,

thev entrust to three elders

or potables j the

OF NEGROES,.
fight of

137
chil-

choosing his successor among the

dren of the deceased, w ithout regard to


geniture.

primo-

He who

is

elected

is

conducted by

three elders to the dead

body of the deceased,


is

whose eulogium, or condemnation


ed according to his merit
is
;

pronounc-

and his successor


he has dene to the

reminded

that he shall be

happy or miserable,

according to the good or


people.

evil

Similar customs prevail

among

neigh-

bouring tribes.*

self.

The following anecdote naturally presents itThe commandant of a Portuguese fort, who
arrival of the

expected the

envoy of an African
the glare of opulence.

king, orders the most sumptuous preparations,


that he

maj be dazzled with


arrives
:

The envoy

he

is

introduced to a richly

ornamented saloon.
ed under a canopy.
not invited to
instantly
sit

The commandant is seatThe negro ambassador was down. He makes a sign, and

two of

his slaves place their hands up-

on the
seat.
is

floor, the

back of which serves him as a


said the

Thy

king,

commander

to
?

him,

he as powerful as our king of Portugal

My

'

T.ucas, yol.Ijp. 190.

18

138

OF THE

LITERATURE

king, replies the negro, has a hundred servants


like the

king of Portugal, a thousand like thee,

one like

me

and he
is

instantly departs.*

Civilization

no doubt almost nothing

in se-

veral of the negro states, where they do not

speak to a

little

king but through a trumpet,

and when he has dined, a herald announces that


then the other potentates of the world
in their turn.

than a

may dine The king of Kakongo is no more barbarian, who uniting all power in his
all

own

person, judges

causes, swallows a
at

cup of

wine of the palm-tree


and often terminates
gle
setting. |

each sentence he proit

nounces, without which


fifty

would be

illegal,

processes at a sin-

But

the ancestors of civilized

whites were also barbarians. Compare the situation of Russia in the fifteenth century to that of

the present. It

is

now known

that in the regions

Anecdote related by Bernardin

St. Pierre.

The

au-

thor of African

Anecdotes relates the same thing of


that

Zingha.

He
in the

adds,

when she

arose,

the slave rethis,

mained

same posture.

Being reminded of
sits

she replied, the sister of a king never

twice on the

same

scat.

t History of Loango,

&c

OF NEGROES.

139

of Africa, there are states where the social arts

have made progress.

New

proofs have given

the highest degree of evidence to this fact.

TheFoulahs, whose kingdom


ty myriameters in

is

about six-

length,

and thirty-nine in
seven thouits

breadth, have towns with a considerable population.

Temboo,
:

the

capital, has

sand inhabitants

Islamism, there speeding

errors, has introduced

books

chiefly

on religion
al-

and jurisprudence.

In

Temboo, Laby, and


in the

most all the towns of Foulahs, and


of Ban on, there are schools.*"

empire

According to
:

Mungo

Park, the negroes love instruction

they
are

have advocates to defend their slaves,

who
is

brought before the tribunals :f domesticity

un-

known among them, and


traveller
rica, at

slavery is mild.

This

found magnificence in the bosom of AfSego, a town of thirty thousand souls,


to

although, in every respect inferior to Jenne,

Tombuctoo and Houssa.


concordant, which

It

became necessary
the present time

to pay no attention to narratives in other respects

we have

till

obtained concerning these three towns.

Lucas and Ledyard,

vol.

I,

p.

190, and following:

Substance of the report,


t

p. 136.

Mungo

Park, p* 13. and 57

140

OF THE LITERATURE
these African nations,

With
ciate the

we ought to

asso-

Boushouanas, visited by Barrow, uho


the mildness of their
:

praises their character,

they manners, and the happiness they enjoj have stepped be\ond those bounds which separate the savage

from the civilized man, and


is

their

meal improvement
try, the zeal

such, that, in this coun-

of christian missionaries might be


Lttaken, their capital town,
fifteen

usefully exercised.

having from ten to


uated
at

thousand souls,

is sit-

125 myriameters from the Cape.


is

The

government
to

patriarchal

the chief has a right


all

name

his successor, but in

things he acts
is

according to the will of the people, which

communicated
for

to him ; amongst the Boushouanas, old age and au-

by a council of old

men

thority, are,

as

among

the ancients,

words

al-

most synonimous.*
unpleasant
gives the

It

was unfortunate
of which

that

circumstances,
detail,

Barrow

prevented him from visiting

the Barrolons,

more

civilized in civilization,

of slavery,

who were described to him as who have no idea and among whom are found great
different arts flourish.!
I

towns where

forgot

* Voyage a
ing.
f Ibid.

la

Cochinclrine, vol.

I, p.

239, and follow-

p. 519j and following.

OF NEGROES.
to mention

141

what we

find in the narrative of

Gol-

berry, that in Africa there are no beggars, ex-

cept the blind,

who

sing

airs,

or recite passages

of the Koran.*

The

colonists reproach the negro

Maroons, so

improperly called rebels, whether of Surinam,


or of the mountain of Jamaica, of not having

organized
objection

a civilized society.
is

anticipated

The answer to this by what we have read.


that the peaceable arts
al-

Besides, can
will

we suppose

be cultivated by a wandering people,


in forests or in

ways concealed

marshes

always"

occupied in seeking nourishment and defending


themselves against their oppressors,
true rebels.

who

are

Yes, rebels against the sentiments

of justice and of nature.

It will

be objected, perhaps, that the people

of Hayti have not been able to establish a per-

manent form of government, and


each other with their

that they tear


;

own hands

but during

the storm of our revolution, sacred in its principles,

calumniated only by those whose

efforts

Fragment d'un voyage

fait

en Afrique, 2

vols, 890.

Paris, 1802, vols, II, p. 400.

142

OF THE

LITERATURE
its

were directed to destroy

results

have

we

not witnessed every species of

cruelty ?

Was

not the nation, to use the expression of a deputy,

put under regulated torture, and a volcano kindled to devour

many

generations ? Besides,

if

foreign hand has often brandished amongst us

the torch of discord,

how many such may have


Domingo. Six thouassociated

thus been employed

at St.

sand negroes or mulattoes,

them-

selves formerly to the Caribs concentered in the


isles

of St.

Vincent and Domingo.

Those
them
state

black Caribs are a robust people, and proud of


their

independence.*

Every thing
that

told of

by

travellers,

announces

their social

would rapidly improve,

if

they did not fear, and


if

with reason, the rapacity of Europe, and


could enjoy in peace the fruits of the
field,

they

which

they would cultivate without trouble.


.4

During
struggled

century,

they

have

constantly

against the elements and tyrants.

The
rica,

province of Fernanbouc, in South

Ame-

has exhibited a body politic, formed by

negroes,

whom

Malte-Brun

still

very improper-

De

Finflucnce dc

la

decouvertc de FAmerique sur

le

bonheufr
p.

du genre humain, par Le

Gcntil>.8vo. Paris, 1788,

74, and following.

OF NEC roe a.
Iy calls

143
curious me-

rebels

and revolters,

in a

moir on Brasil, according

to

the authority of

Borlochus and Rochapitta, the one a Dutchman

and the other a Portuguese, and which is ed in the translation of Barrow's work.

insert-

Between the years 1620 and 1630, some fugitive negroes, united with some Brasilians, had
formed two
free states, the

great and the

little

Palmares, thus named from the quantity of


palm-trees they had there planted.
great Palmares
the Hollanders.

In 1644, the

was almost entirely destroyed by

And a

Portuguese historian, who

appears, says Malte-Brun, not to have

known

the origin of these tribes, takes their restoration


in

1650,

for their real

commencement.

At

the close of the war with the Hollanders,

the slaves of the

neighbourhood of Fernanbouc,

accustomed

to sufferings

and

to combat, resolv-

ed to form an establishment which would guarantee their liberty.

Forty of them

laid

the

foundation, and their

numbers soon increased by

the addition of a multitude of other negroes and

mulattocs; but having no

women, they commit-

ted, over a vast extent of country, a rape similar

to that of the Sabines.

Having become formi


the Palmarishn-.

dable to

all

their neighbours,

144

OF THE LITERATURE
if

adopted a form of worship, which,


say,

we may

so
a

was

a parody

on

Christianity.

They form d

constitution, laws,
chief,

and tribunals, and e'ected was

named Zombi, which

signifies powerful,
for
jife.

whose authority, though

elective,

They

fortified their villages, situated

on eminen-

ces, and particularly their capital

whose populathey reared do-

tion consisted of

20,000 souls

mestic animals, and

much poultry.

Barloeus des-

cribes their gardens, their cultivation of the sugar-

cane, their potatoes, manioc and millet, the reap-

ing oi which was signalized b\ Jetes and .ongs of


mirth.

Almost

fifty

years elapsed, and not sixty,

as stated

by the author of the memoir, before

they were attacked. But in 1696, the Portuguese

prepared an expedition against the Palmar isiaris.

The

latter

having their

Zombi

or chief at their
valor.

head,

performed prodigies of

At

last

overcome by a superior

force,

some sought
to the rage of

death that they might not survive the loss of


their liberty
;

others, delivered

up

conquerors,

were sold and dispersed.


a republic,

Thus

was extinguished

whica might have


;

revolutionized the

new world

a republic wor-

thy of a better fate.

At

the

end of the 17th century, the colony of

Palmares was destroyed by iniquity.

At

the

or NEGROES.
'J ;Iose

145

of the 18th century, benevolence and jus-

tice

have created another


shall give

at Sierra- Leone,

of

which we

some account.

From
ed
it

the year 1761, Franklin had establish-

as a principle, that the labour of a free

man

costs less and produces more, than that of

a slave.

Smith and Dupont de Nemours, have


;

N<

developed this idea by minute calculations

the

one in his wealth of nations, the other in the


sixth

volume of the Ephemerides of a


1771.

citizen,

published in

He

therein

first

disclosed

his project of substituting for the


civilization in the

slave trade,

bosom of

Africa, by forming

upon the

coasts, establishments of free negroeSj

for the cultivation of colonial productions.

This idea embraced by Fothergill, has been


again illustrated by Demanet, Golberry, and by
Postlewaight, who, in the two last editions of his

commercial dictionary, has shewn himself successively the antagonist

and apologist of negroes.


having had

By Pruneau de Pomme Gouje, who,


trade, has

the misfortune of being engaged in the slave

asked pardon from


3d.

God and from the


who
considers

human

race.

By

Pelletan,

this colonization as the sure

means of changing

19

146

OF THE

LITERATURE
4th.

the face of desolated countries.

By WadBut

who has published which he made in Africa


strom,

the result of a voyage

with Span-man*
it

Dr.

Isert,

had already tried to execute

at

Aqualetters

pin, on the

banks of the Volta, and his

present an affecting picture of the habits of those

negro colonists. There have been successors to


this establishment,
I

but with

its

present situation

am

totally

unacquainted.

In 1792, the English proposed to form a free


colony at Bulam.
at

This attempt

failed like that


;

Cayenne
plan, a

in 1763,

and by the same causes

bad

wretched execution, and a want of


Beaver,

foresight.

lation of this

who published in detail, a reestablishment commenced at BuThis production furnishes

lam, proves the possibility and points out the

means of success.

an answer to Barre St. Venant,


this possibility, if already he

who

questions

had not been refuted


at Sierra

by the existence of a colony

Leone.

Neither Demanet nor Postlew aight, had designated the place


ject.
fit

for the

execution of this proSierra-

Doctor Smeatham seltcted

Leone,

situated between the 8th and 9th degree of north


latitude,

whose

soil is fertile

and climate tempe-

OF NEGROES.
rate.

14,7

territory sufficiently large

was obtained

from two small neighbouring kings. Grandville


Sharp formed a plan
society,
in

union with the London

of which Jonas

dent,

for the relief of

poor blacks.

Han way was presiThus the


after

principal co-operators are

Smeatham, who,

a residence of four years in Africa, returned to

Europe, to concert measures


of free colonies.

relative to his plan

He

died in 1786.

He

did not

write, but his conduct


virtue,

was a model of

practical

and

to
is

him we

are indebted for this

max:

im, which

better than

some hundred books

"

If

every individual were convinced that he


find his

would
blest."

own
the

happiness in labouring for

that of others,

human

race would soon be

Thornton had formed the project of transporting emancipated negroes from America to Africa.

5th.

The same had been proposed by


both Swedes
;

Afzelius,

the botanist, and by Nordenskiold, the mineralogist,


;

the la^t of

whom

died in

Africa

the other

is

actually in

Europe.

6th.

By Grandville Sharp, who,


sent a vessel of

in 178S, at his

own expence,

180 tons with suc^

148

0/ THE

LITERATURE

eours to Sierra- Leone.

He

had previously pub-

lished his plan of a constitution,


tion
for

and of

legisla-

the colonies.*

To

these respectable

names we must join those of Wilberforce, Clarkson,

and others, who have assisted with money.,

with writings, and with counsels, in the execution of this plan.


tigable zeal,

These are they whose

indefa-

and unwearied perseverance, obtainthe abolition of the slave-trade.

ed the

bill for

The
tor its

legislature will doubtless adopt

measures
is

execution, the necessity of which

de-

monstrated by Wilberforce, in a
constituents in Yorkshire. t
for ever recall the

letter to his

This abolition

will

public

life.

It

most honourable trait of his would be worthy of him to turn which has been marIreland,

his views towards that isle

tyred for so

many

ages

towards

where

three millions of individuals are politically disinherited, calumniated,

and abused as

catholics,,

by the government of a nation which has so

much

boasted of

its

liberty

and

its

tolerance,

A A

short sketch of temporary regulations for the in-

tended settlement on the coast of Africa, &c.


t

letter

on the abolition of the slave-trade, addressed


and other inhabitants of Yorkshire, by

'o the freeholders

W.

Wilberforce, 8vo. Londqn, 1807.

OF NEGROES."

\A>9

One

of the constitutional articles of Sierra

Leone excludes Europeans, whose corrupting"


influence
is

generally dreaded, and none are ad-

mitted but the agents of the company.


first

The

embarkation

in

1786, was composed of some

whites necessary for the direction of the establishment, and

400 negroes.
little

This experiment
it

met with very

success until

was aided
and

by another, established on better


parliament.

principles,

which, in 1791, was incorporated by an act of

The

following year 1131 blacks,

from Nova-Scotia were there transported, who,


in the revolutionary
for

war of America, had fought


of them were from Sierra-

England.

Many

Leone ;
native

they gazed with keen emotions on their


soil,

from which they had been dragged

in their infancy, and as the rising colony

was

sometimes

visited

by the neighbouring

tribes,

an aged mother recognized her son, and, in


tears,

threw herself into his arms.

The

natives

of this coast soon united

themselves to those

who were brought from


the latter are
preferable, they

Nova-Scotia.

Some

of

good cannoneers, and what


shew
activity

is far

and intelligence in

agricultural

and industrious occupations.

The

chief place Free-Town, ten years ago, had alrea-

dy new

streets,

and four hundred houses, with a

garden to each.

Not

far

distant

is

Qrandville*

150

OF THE

LITEEATURE
that estimable

Town, which bears the name of


philanthropist Giandviile-Sharp.

In the year 1794,


schools about
natives,

they

counted in

their

300

scholars, of
all

whom 40

were

and almost

were endowed with a

ready conception.

writing

They were taught reading, and arithmetic. The girls were besides
in those branches

instructed
their sex,

which belong

to

and the boys were taught geography

and the elements of geometry.

Most of

the negroes

who came from America,


and the inspection

being Methodists or Baptists, they have meetinghouses, where they worship


;

of

five or six

preachers

blacks, has powerfully

contributed to the support of good order.

The among

negroes exercise

civil

functions, and

others those of jurymen, with firmness,


trial

mildness, and justice for


blished in this colony.

by jury

is

esta-

selves very jealous of their rights.

They even shew themThe goversome


of
conch mired dea verdict

nor, by his

own

authority, having ordered


inflicted, the

punishments to be
clared that they
their peers.

must be judged by

In general, they are pious, sober,


fathers.

correct,

good husbands and good

They

OF NEGROES.

151

give numberless proofs of their honest senti-

ments, and notwithstanding the disastrous events


of the war* and of the elements which have
ra-

vaged

this colony, they


state.

there enjoy

all

the ad-

vantages of a social

These

facts are

ex-

tracted from reports,

published yearly by the


of which a collec-

company
tion

at Sierra-Leone, f

was presented

to

me

by the celebrated Wil-

berforce.

In October 1800, the colony increas-

ed by an addition of Maroons from

Jamaica,

which were deported there contrary


of the treaty which they had

to the faith

made with

general

Walpole, and

in opposition to their reclamations.

* In 1794, a French squadron occupied in destroying


the English establishments on the western coast of Africa, partly

destroyed this colony at Sierra-Leone.


inculpation.

This

fact

was the subject of grave

In January

180G, I read a

memoir

at

the Institute, in which from an

examination of the registers of the commandant of the


squadron,
I

proved that his attack against Sierra-Leone

was the

result of error.

He

believed that

it

was a mer-

cantile enterprize, and not a philanthropic establishment.

This memoir was published

in the

Decade

Philosojihique^

No. 67, and afterwards printed separately.


t

Substance of the report delivered by the court of

di-

rection of the

Sierra-Leone company, and particularly

'hat of 1794, p. 55, and, following.

152

OF THE LITERATURE
things otherwise equal, the
find least

It appears, that all

countries where
try, are those

we

energy and indus*


inclines

where an excessive heat

to indolence

where physical wants, very confinsufficient-

ed by reason of this temperature, are


ly

gratified in the
It

abundance of consumeablc
also

commodities.

appears that owing to

these causes, slavery ought to

be confined to
poli-

burning climates, and that liberty, whether


tical,

or

civil,

ought to meet with more obstatropics, than in higher lati-

cles

between the
:

But who would not smile at the gravity with which Barre St. Venant assures us, " that
tudes
the negroes, incapable of advancing a single step

towards civilization,
ries, that

shall

be

after

20,000 centu-

which they were


race ?

20,000 thousand

centuries ago," the disgrace and misfortune of the

human

Accumulated

facts refute this

planter, so well

informed what the negroes were

before they had an existence, and


phetically
reveals

who
be

so prothe

what they

will

after

lapse of 20,000 centuries.


tives of

Long

since the naat


if

America would have arrived


most
complete
civilization,

a state

of

the

there

had

been destined
part,

for this great


efforts,

purpose, a

hundrcth

of the

of the

money and

OF NEGROES*
time, which have been employed in
flesh,

153
tearing the

and butchering many millions of unfortucalls for

whose blood Europe.


nates,

vengeance against

20

155

CHAPTER

VI.

Literature of Negroes.

WlLBERFORCE, in
members of

conjunction with

many

the society occupied with the edu-

cation of Africans, has established for

them a
placed

kind of college

at

Clapham, which

is

about four
first

leagues distant from London.


there were twenty- one

The
I

young negroes,

sdnt

by

the governor of Sierra Leone.

vibited this

establishment

in

1802, to examine the progress


I

of the scholars, and

found that between them


differ-

and European children there existed no


ence but that of colour.
has been made,
lege of

The same observation


the ancient col-

1st, at Paris, in

La Marche, where Coesnon, formerly

professor of the university s had united a certain

156

OF THE

LITERATURE

number of negro
examined

children.

Many members

of

the National Institute,


this college,
all

who

have also carefully

and traced the progress of


life,

the scholars in
their particular
will give

the circumstances of

in

classes,

and public exercises,

testimony to the truth of my assertion.

2nd. This was proven at a school in Philadelphia,

by Brissot,* a man calumniated with fury,

and then judicially assassinatedcan, of rigid probity,


poor.

a true republi-

who

died as he had lived,

3rd.

The same

fact has

been established

at

Boston, by Giraud, the French consul there, in a


school of
separately

400 negro

children,

who

are educated
their

from whites. The law authorizes

assembling with the young white children, but

owing

to a hereditary prejudice not yet totally

effaced, they

torment the blacks.


is

Sound reason
Free Ma-

proves, that this conduct

disgraceful to the
to the

whites only,

and particularly so

sons in this town,


selves,

who

fraternize

among them*

but

who

have never once visited an

His

travels, vol. II, p. 2.

OF NEGROES.
African lodge.

157

This lodge shared equal hofuneral

nours when
ington,
it

at the

ceremony

for

Wash-

formed a part of the cavalcade.

Among

the

number of

authofs,

who

believe

that the intellectual faculties of negroes are sus-

ceptible of the

same developement as those of

I forgot to cite Ramsay,* Hawker, f and Beckford.J The honest Wadstrom pretendwhites.
ed, that in this respect, the blacks have a superiority ;
is

and Skipwith, the American consul,

of the same opinion.

Clenard counted
negroes than whites

at
;

Lisbon, more

Moors and

and these blacks, said he,


||

are worse than brutes.

Things are wonderfully

changed. Correa de Serra, the learned secretary


of the

Academy

at

Portugal, informs us that se-

veral negroes, have

been learned lawyers, preach-

* Objections to the abolition of the

slave trade, with


vol. II.

answers, by Ramsay, 8vo. London, 1778,


t
J

Sermon,

4to. in 1789.

Remarks upon

the situation of the negroes in Ja-

maica, 8vo. London, 1788, p. 84, and following.


Observations on the slave trade, 8vo. London, 1789.
?!

Varietes

litteraries, 8vo. Paris, vol. I, p. .39,

and 88.

156
ers,

OF THE

LITERATURE
at

and professors

and

Lisbon,

Rio-Janei-

ro,

and in other Portuguese possessions, have


talents.

been signalized by their


negro

In

1717, the
lan-

Don

Juan Latino, taught the Latin

guage

at Seville.

He

lived to the age of

117.*

The

brutality of the Africans, of

which Clenard

speaks,

was then only

the result of misery

and

oppression

besides,
for

he himself acknowledges
'*

their capacity

improvement.
in

instruct,

says he,
|

my

negro slaves
;

literature,
at

and

in

manumitting them
day, like Crassus,

I shall

have

some

future

my

Diphilus, and like Cicero,


be-

my

Tyro

they already write very well, and


:

gin to understand Latin


at table, f

the abiest reads to

me

Lobo, Durand, Demanet, who resided a long


time, the
first

in

Abyssina, the others

in

Gui-

nea, found negroes with a keen

and penetrating
and
delicacy.:}:

mind, a sound judgment,

taste,

Different writers have collected brilliant repar-

* Fact communicated by
t
\

Mr. Lasteyrie.
fran-

Ibid. p. 88.

Durand,

p. 58.

Demanet, Histoire de l'Afrique


Relation historiquc

chise, 2 vol.

p.

3.

de 1'Abyssinie.

par Lobo,4to. Paris, lf28, p. 680/

OF NEGROES.
tees and answers
truly philosophical

159

made by
Bryan
his

blacks.

Such
:

is

the following, cited by

Edwards
master,
ter

a slave
said,

was suddenly awaked by

who
calls

Dost thou not hear thy mas-

nho

thee f

The poor negro opens


shuts

his

eyes, and

immediately

them,

saying,

Sleep has no master.

With
it is

respect to their intelligence in business,

well

known

in

the Levant.

Michaud, the
in differ-

elder, told

me

that he had seen them

ent parts of the Persian gulph, as heads of great

commercial houses, receiving orders, expediting


vessels to
coast.
all

the different parts of the Indian

Michaud had purchased at Philadelphia, and brought into France, a young negro from the interior of Africa, at an age when his memory had already acquired some geographical
ideas of the country where he

was born.

This

naturalist paid great attention to his

education,

and proposed, when back

it

was

finished, to

send him

to hib native country, as a traveller to exlittle

plain regions

known but Michaud


;

died on

the coast of Madagascar, and this negro,

companied him, was inhumanly


ger

sold.

who acI know

not whether the reclamations which the youn-

Michaud made

against this barbarous action

has been favoured.

160

OF THE

LITERATURE
the negroes sometimes aroffices.

Among the Turks,


rive at the
ters

most eminent

Different wri-

have given the same account of Kislar-Aga,


in 1730,

who,

was chief of the black eunuchs of

the Porte, and have described

him as possessing

great wisdom and profound knowledge.*

Adanson, astonished

to hear the negroes of


stars,

Senegal mention a great number of


reason pertinently concerning
that if they

and

them, believes

had good instruments, they would


astronomers.'!

become good

On
groes

different parts of the coast there are ne-

who speak two


memory.

or three languages, and are

interpreters.^

In general they have a very re-

tentive

This has been remarked by


travellers.
&

Villaut, and

by other

Stedman knew
Job Ben

a negro,

who could repeat from memory the The same


thing
is

Alcoran.

told of

* Observations sur la religion, les loix, les

moeurs,dc

Turcs, traduit de L' Anglais, par


93.
t

M.

B. Londres, 1769, p.

Voyage au Senegal,
Clarkson, p. 125.
Prevot, vol.

p. 149.

4
\

IV, p.

l!>,

6b negroes.

161

Solomon, son of the Mahometan king of Bunda,


on the Gambia.

Solomon taken
in

in 1730,

was

brought to America, and sold


train

Maryland.

A
may

of extraordinary adventures, which


to

be read in the More-lak, brought him


land,
ter

Eng

where

his dignified air,

amenity of charac-

and

talents,

gained him friends, and

among

others,

Hans

Sloane, baronet, for

whom

he trans-

lated several

Arabic manuscripts.

After being

received

with distinction at the court of St.

James, the African company, interested in his


fate, in

1734, reconducted him to Bunda.

One

of

the

uncles of Solomon embracing him, said,


art the first slave that
isles.

during sixty years thou

have seen return from the American


wrote
the
letters to all his friends in

He
in

Europe, and

new

world, which were translated and peinterest.

rused with

At

his father's death he


in his

became
states.*

his successor,

and was beloved

The

son of the king Nimbana,


to study,

who came

to

England

had learnt

different sciences

with rapid success, and in a very short time was

Le More-lack, par
p.

1c Cpinte-Marsjllac,

8?o. Pari*,

r?89,

xv,

ax

162

OF THE LITEKATURE

so well acquainted with


to read the bible

Hebrew

as to be able

in the original.

This young

man, who gave such promising hopes, died a


'short

time

after his return to Africa.

Ramsa}-,

who

passed twenty years in the

midst of negroes, says, they possess the mimic


art to

such a degree, that they can

rival

our mo-

dern Garricks.

Labat assures us that they are


Poivre was often astonishtalent in the

naturally eloquent.

ed with specimens of this


ses,

Madeasin

and Rochon has thought proper to insert voyage


to

his

Madagascar, the discourse of one

of their chiefs, which even after that of Logan,

may be

read with pleasure.*

Stedman, who thinks them capable of great Improvement, and who praises more particularly
their poetical

and musical

talents,

enumerates

their

wind and stringed instruments,


to eighteen in

which famous

amounts
theless,

number

;| and, never-

we do not

find in tire

list,

the

Voyage

Madagascar

ct

aux Indes occidentals, par


&'c'.

Rochon, 8vo. Paris, 3


t

vols. vol. I, p. 175,

Stedman,

c.

xw'h

OF NEGROES.
%

luw
T

balafoii,*

formed of twenty pipes of hard wood,

which gradually diminish, and emit a sound


similar to that of a small organ.

Grainger describes a kind of guitar invented

by the negroes, on which they play airs, which inspire a sweet and sentimental melancholy,
the

music of
happy.

afflicted

hearts.

The

passion of

negroes for the song, does not prove that they


are

This

is

observed by Benjamin

Rush,

in his description of the maladies result-

ing from their state of sorrow and misfortune.!

Dr. Gall has assured me, that

in

negroes the

organs of music and mathematics are wanting.

When, on

the

first

head, I observed that one of

the most distinguishing characters of the negroes, is their invincible taste for music, he ac-

knowledged the

fact,

but denied that they have


art.

capacity for improving this fine

But

is

not

the energy of this inclination an incontestable

* Others write balafeu or balafo, and


ihe spinnet.
t

its

companion

if

The Sugar-Cane,

poem
vol.

in four books,

by Jame*

Grainger, 4to. 1764.


\

American Museum,

IV,

p. 82.

164

OF THE

LITERATURE
by experience that men which they were aliured

proof of talent ?

It is

succeed in studies to

by

strong bias, a decided propensity.

Who

can say
art,

how
the

far

the negroes

may

excel in this

when

knowledge of Europe comes withPerhaps they


will yet

in their reach ?

have their

Glucks and
an
air

Piccinis.

Already Gosses has not

disdained to insert, in his

Camp

de

Grand Pre,

of the negroes of St.

Domingo.

France had formerly her Trouveres and Troubadours,


as

Germany, her

in-

Singer,

and

Scotland her Minstrels.

Negroes have

theirs,

named

Griots,

who
lie

attend kings, and like the

others, praise

and

with wit.

Their women,

named
as the
India.

Griotes, perform almost the same trade

Almees

in

Egypt, and the Bagaders in


trait

This forms another

of resemblance

between them and the travelling uomen of the


Tioubadours.

But

these Trouveres,

in- Sin-

gers, and Minstrels,

were the forerunners of


Racine,

Malherbe,

Corneille,

Shakespeare,
In
all

Pope, Gesner, Kiopstock, Wieland, he.


countries,

genius
flint,

is

a spark concealed in the


forth at the stroke

bosom of a
of the steek

which bursts

Of NEGROES.
In the 16th century, appeared Louisa

1C5

Labbe

de Lyon, surnamed the


sion to the emplo)

fine rope make?', in allu-

ment of her husband-

In the 17th century, Billan, surnamed mastei

Adam,

a joiner at Never; and Hubert Pott,

a simple

workman

in Holland.

Beronicius,

a chimney- sweeper in the

same
poetic

country, exhibited the

phenomenon of a
mind

genius, united to a profession which generally


rejects the idea of a cultivated
taste
;

the nicest

must give them


it

place in

Parnassus,
first.

though

cannot assign them the

The
fa-

traveller Pratt, proclaims Hubert Pott, the

ther of elegiac poetry, in Holland ;* and in the

Aiiddlebury edition of the works of Beronicius,


the print which serves as a frontispiece, represents Apollo

crowning the poet chimney-sweeper

with laurels.f

* Pratt, vol. II, p. 208.


t Beronicius has

made Latin poems

and his

poem

in

two books,

entitled

Georgar, or the battle between the

peasants and the great, has been translated in Holland


verse, and reprinted in 8vo. at Middlebury, in 1766.

166

F THE LITERATURE
servant
of"

A
cited

Glats, in Silesia, has lately ex-

the public attention

by

his

romances.*

Bloomfield, a ploughman, has published a volume

of poetry which has undergone several editions*

and a part of which has been translated into our


language.f

Greensted, a female servant

at

Maidstone, and

Anne

Yearsley, a simple milk-

maid of
of poets.

Bristol, are already placed in the rank

The

misfortunes of negroes form the

subject of the

muse of the last mentioned author,


editions.

whose works have gone through four

We have also witnessed some of those Africans,


whom iniquity destines
tune,
to

contempt and misfor-

overcome

the obstacles connected with

their situation,

and exhibit a great expansion


list

of mind.
thors.

Several have entered the

of au-

In

1787,

when Toderini published


literature of the

three

volumes on the
individuals

Turks,! many

learned person

who doubted whether there was one among them, were surprised to

*
t

La Prusse
by de
la

litterairc,

par Denina, article Peync;mag.

Tales and Rural Songs, by Robert Bloomfield, transVaissc, 8vo. Paris, 1N02.

lated

Literatura turchesca, tf all' abate Giambajjsja,

F NEGROES.

167
pub-

Hnd
Kc

that Constantinople possesses thirteen

libraries.

Will the surprise be


are announced to be

less in France,

when works

composed

by-

negroes and mulattoes ?

Among

the latter, I

could name Castaing,


genius.

who

has exhibited poetic


different

His pieces ornament

edi-

tions of poetry.

Barbaud-Royer, Boisrond, the

author of the Precis des Gemissements des $a?igmeles j*


this class

who announces
;

himself as belonging to
St.

and Michel Mina, a mulatto of


Julien

Domingo.
to,

Raymond,

likewise a mulatclass of

was

also associated with the

moral

and

political sciences, for the section

of legisla-

tion.

Without being

able to justify in every

respect the conduct of


the energy with

Raymond, we may
has published

praise

which he defended men of colour

and

free negroes.

He

many

works, of which the greatest part relates to the


History of St. Domingo, which

may

serve as an

antidote to the impostures circulated


lonists, f

by the co-

ought not

to

forget the negress Belinda-,

born in the charming country of Africa, from


* Par P.
t

M.

C. Sang-mele, 8vo.

Especially a

work

entitled,

Origine

tie's

troubles de

v. Domingo, par Raymond.

t6&

or THE

LITERATURE
at

which she was torn


sold
in

twelve years of age, and


I

America.

Although, says she,


for forty years,

have
la:

been servant to a colonel

my

bours have not procured

me

any comfort

have not yet enjoyed the benefits of creation.

With my poor daughter,


der of

I shall pass the

remain-

my

days in slavery and misery.


I at last

For her
is

and

for

mvself

be^ freedom. Such

the

substance of the petition, which, in 1782, she

addressed to the legislature of Massachusetts.

The

authors of the American

Museum,
art,

have

preserved this petition, written without


dictated by the eloquence of
grief,

but

and therefore
I

more

fit

to

move

the heart to pity.

could also

make mention
Carolina,

of the negro

Cesar, of North-

author of different pieces of printed

poetry, which have

become popular,

like those of

Bloomfield.

The number
shewn more
patriots.

of negro writers

is

greater than

that of mulattoes,

and, in general they have

zeal to

avenge

their African

comarti-

We

shall see proofs

of this in the

cles Othello,

Sancho, Vassa, Cugoana, Phillis

Whcatlev.
cated to

Blumcnbach
the

oblisfmsrlv

communiresearches-

me

works of two

or three negroes,

which

could not procure.

My

OF NEGROES.
have made

169

some of
entitle

me whom

acquainted with other negroes,

have written nothing, but whose

superiority of talents and extent of knowledge,

them

to a place in history.

In this

num-

ber

we

find only

one or two mulattoes, and a Marcel, the director of

negro with long

hair.

the imperial printing press, Cairo,

who

published
Fables,*

at,

an edition of Logman's

be-

lieves that this slave

was an Abyssinian or Ethio-

pian, and consequently, says he, one of those

black slaves, with thick lips and frizzled hair,

from the

interior of Africa,

who, being sold

to

the Hebrews, was


tine.

a keeper of flocks in

PalesA<s-ax.s,

The
is

editor presumes that Esop,

which

nothing more than a corruption of the


K&iTOKor, Ethiopian,

word Al&f^,

might be Log-

man
the

himself.f
this

We

do not
is

well perceive with

what proof
Fables
relate to

assertion

corroborated
17th

of

attributed

to him, the

and

23d

negroes

but was the author a ne-

gro ? This

is

doubtful.

In adopting this hypothesis,


swelled

might have
the Ethio^

my

list

with the names of

all

* Fables cle
t

Logman,

8vo. au Caire, 1799.


\

La

notice de Uediteur, p. 10 ?m<\

1,

22

170

OF THE LITERATURE, ETC.

pians recorded in history.


dolf and Lacroze, prevent
a detail on this subject.*

The works

of Lu-

me
I

from entering into


have thought pro-

per to
times,

make mention of the negroes of modern since the commencement of colonial


and there
is

slavery,

one concerning

whom

have only presumptive evidence, and nothing


certain.

* Jobi Ludolfi, Historia Ethiopica, in fol. 16S1. Francolurti

ad

Moenum.

Histoire du christianisme de Ethiop

par adeyssicre la Croze) 8vo. 1739.

La Haye.

171. )

CHAPTER

VII.

Of

Negroes and Mulattoes distinguished by


their talents

and

their works.

SONNERAT
clair-obscure,
finish to their

affirms that the Indian

painters

arc neither acquainted with perspective, nor with

although,

they

give a

perfect

works.

Nevertheless Higiemon?ie-

de,

or

Higiemondo, commonly named the


artist,

gro, was known as an able

although, his

compositions discovered less of


ture.

art,

than of na-

Such

is

the opinion given

by Joachim de

Sandrart, in his

work

entitled

Academia nobillis*
them very
cele-

simes artis pictorice.*

He

calls

* Joacliim
.orioe, in fol.

de Sandrat, Academia nobilissimoe

artis pic-

Novimbergae, 1683, ch.

15, p. 34.

172
brated

O* THE
clarissimus.
at

LITERATURE
Without mentioning
the
in

epoch

which he

lived, the epithet

nigrum,

the Latin editionof Sandrart,


to prove that

would be

insufficient

Higiemonde was

a negro.

How

many Our doubts


figure of

whites in Europe, have the

name

of black.

are removed by an inspection of the


Kilian,

Higiemonde, engraved by
and
,

and
viz.

inserted in the

two works of Sandrart.*


cited
;

The one we have


tise,
tle,

hib

German

treati-

in three

volumes, folio

with the Italian


delle

d'Academia

rede sea

Architectural

Scultura Piftura, &c.|


last
It

But

in the text of this

wok

find nothing

concerning Higiemonde.

appears that talents do not belong exclusive-

ly to

any country, or to any particular race of

men.

We

have seen
is

at

Paris,
first

Calmuck,

named Fedre, who


court of Baden.

the

painter of the

At Rome,
to slaves.

the art of painting


is

was interdicted
h) Pliny the El-

This

the reason

v\

* In 3 vols.

fol.

Nuremberg, 1675,
is

2d. part, the

copy

of -which in the National Library,


pel

on the outside, mark-

as the first.
t

Pliny, B. S5, ch.

17, et

memoires de L'Academic

des Inscription^

3j, p. 345.

OF NEGROES.
der says, that he
individual
is

173

not acquainted with a single

who

is

distinguished in this branch,

or in torentique.

HANNIBAL.
The
rican
tion
;

Czar Peter the

first,

during his

travels,

had an opportunity of knowing Annibal, the Afnegro,

who had

received a good educa-

and who, under this monarch, became in


lieutenant general and director of ar-

Russia,
tillery.

He

was decorated with the red ribband


Bernarhis

of the order of St. Alexander Nenski.

din St. Pierre and colonel


son, a
lents.

La Harpe, knew

mulatto,

who had
It

the reputation of tain a

In 1784, he
artillery.

was lieutenant general

corps of

was he, who under the or-

ders of prince Potemkin, minister at war, com-

menced
at

the establishment of a port and fortress

Cherson, near the mouth of the Dnieper.

AMO.
Antony
princess

William Amo, born


Brunswick.,

in

Guinea, was

brought to Europe when very young, and the


of

Wolfenbuttle,

took

174

OF

THE LITERATURE

charge of his education.

He embraced

the

Lu-

theran religion, pursued his studies at Halle, in

Saxony, and

at

Wittemberg, and so distinguishtalents, that

ed himself by his good conduct and

the rector and council of the university of the


last

mentioned town, thought themselves obliga letter

ed
of

to give a public testimony of these in


felicitation.

In this they remark, that Terence


;

also
tors,

was an African

that

many

martyrs, doc-

and fathers of the church were born in the


flourished,
faith,

same country, where learning once


and which, by losing the christian
fell

again

back into barbarism.

A mo,

skilled in the

knowledge of the Greek


which
are highly

and Latin languages, delivered with success,


private lectures on philosophy,

praised in the
lished
it is

same

letter.

In a syllabus, pub-

by the Dean of the Philosophical Faculty,


ex-

said of this learned negro, that having

amined the system of ancients and moderns, he


selected and taught
all

that

was best of them.*

Excussis tarn vetcrum

quam novorum

placitis, opti-

ma

quicque selegit selccUu enucleate acdUucideintcrpre

talus est.

OF NEGROES*

175

Amo became
ed a Thesis
dissertation
soul,
at

a doctor.

In 1744, he support-

Wittemberg, and published a


in the

on the absence of sensation


the

and

their presence in

human body.*
This
proves,

In a letter which the President addressed to him,

he

is

named

vir nobillisme et clarissime.


it

may

be intended as a compliment, but

at least, as well as the preceding, that the university of

Wittemberg, concerning the difference of

colour in the

human

species, did not possess

those absurd prejudices of so think themselves enlightened.


the dissertation of

many

others

who

He

declares that

Amo

underwent no change,

because
cates a

it

was well executed.


in

mind exercised

The work indireflection. The auin beings simply


life

thor endeavours to ascertain the difference of

phaenomena which take place


existing,

and those endowed with

a stone

* Dissertatio

inauguralis philosophies

de humanae

mentis

An A0EIA.
humana
autor,

sue sensionis ac

facilitates sentiendi in

mente

absentia et

earum

in

corpore nostro

organico ac vivo praesentia,


defendit,
etc. L.

quam

praeside, Sec. publice

G. Amo, Guinea-afer.
etc.

Philosophice,

C. magister,

1734, 4to.
:

Wittenbergoe

At
Con*

the end are subjoined several pieces


srratnlation of the Rector, 8cc.

The

letters of

176

OF THE

LITERATURE
life.

exists,

hut

it

is

without

It

appears that
for

our author had a particular preelection


struce discussions
sor, he, the
;

ab-

for

being appointed profes-

same

year, supported a Thesis, ana-

logous to the preceding, on the distinction whi. h

ought to be made between the operations of mind

and those of sense.*


dissertations

prove,

that

The titles of these two Amo, the author of

the

first,

was

also the author of the second.

I have sought in vain to

know what became

of this negro, and what other works he published.

The

ancient inhabitants of the Phillipines were

blacks, if

we
If
it

are to believe the accounts given

of these
Cairer.
his

isles,

and particularly that of Gemelli


be true, that he only travelled in
his

chamber, as some pretend to believe,


is

work

composed of good

materials,

and

is

ac-

Disputatio philosophies continens ideain distinctam


vel

carum quae competunt


et

menti vel corpori nostro vivo


philor

organico,

quam

consentiente amplissimorum

sophorum

ordine, praeside

M.

Ant. Guil.

Amo, Guinea
V,

afer, Sec. defendit Joa.

Theod. Muiner,

Philos. et J.

Cultor, 4to, 1734, Wittenbergae.

OF NEGROES.
knowledged
frizzled hair,

177
blacks with
still

as

correct.

Many

enamoured of freedom,
given their

inhaisles.
isle

bit the mountains

and forests of those

They have even


ter.

name

to the

of

Negroes, one of those which compose this clus-

Although the population


black, and

is

made up of

Chinese,

Europeans, Indians and Malays, the


is

general colour

ciently deep, the


call

upon

art to

when it is not suffiwomen, who in all countries assist nature, and who arrive at
different

the

same end by

means, heighten the

colour by the use of different drugs.*

Among
larly

the

varieties

ture of different races,

produced by the mixthe Tagals are particuthe

distinguished,

who resemble

Malays

in stature, colour,

and language.

If this obsershall

vation applies to Bagay, of

whom we

give

some account, it may be doubted whether he was black. I must acknowledge my own uncertainty

on

this

subject.

Carreri places the

Ta-

Voyage autour du monde


1-2

traduit

de L'ltelien dc

Gcmelli Carreri, in

mo.

Paris, 1719, vol.


;

V, p.

64, and

following, p. 135, and following


JVIethodique, art. Philippines.

aho. L'Encyclopedie

23

178
gal

OF THE LITEUATURE
language
at the

head of six, which are in

greatest use in these isles.

He

cites a

Tagal
is

dictionary

made by

a Cordelier.*

There

vocabulary of this tongue printed in the work


of Father Navarette.

A third

was published

at

Vienna,

in

1803.f

In general the Philippines are too


It

little

known.

appears that the Spanish government had proto conceal


it

posed

from Europe,

this portion of the

globe, where

supports colleges and printing-

offices, a regular administration and a

numerous

clergy.

We have

a very curious and

much

es-

teemed map of this country, of large dimensions,

by Father Murello Velarde,


at Manilla,,

a Jesuit,
la

engraved

by Nicholas de
It
is this

Indian

Tagal.

Cruz Bagay, an Bagay whom I proIn

pose to introduce into the representation.


an account annexed to this map,

we

find that the

natives of this country have a great capacity for


painting, sculpture, embroidery, and
all

the arts

of design.

The productions

of Bagay

may be

* Ibid.?- 142, 143.


t

Ueber

die Tagalische sprache

von Franz Carl Al-

ters, See.

8vo. Vienna, 1803.

OF NEGROES,
presented
as a

179
This

proof of this assertion.

map
berg.

has been published in a reduced size,


at
I

by

Lowitz, professor of mathematics,


I

Nurem-

would be ungrateful

if

terminated

this article

without thanking Barbier du Socage,

who

very obligingly communicated to

me

these

maps, and a dictionary of the Tagal language.

V ISLET
artillery,

GEOFFROY.
a mulatto, is an officer of

L'Tslet Geoffroy,

and guardian of the Depot of maps and

plans of the Isle of France.

The

twenty-third

of August, 1735, he was of the

named correspondent

academy of
in the

sciences.

He

is

acknow-

ledged as such

Connoissance des temps for

the year 1791, published in 1789, by this learn-

ed society,

to

whom

Lislet regularly transmitted

meteorological observations and sometimes hydrographical journals.

The

class of

physical
insti-

and mathematical science of the national


tute,

thought

it

their

duty to adopt the members

of the academy of sciences as correspondents and


associates.

By what

fatality

is
it

it

that

Lislet

forms the sole exception ? Is

owing

to his co-

ISO

OF THE LITERATURE

lour ? Let us banish a suspicion which would

be an outrage against
tainly Lislet,

my

colleagues.

Cer*
years

during

the last twenty

instead of losing reputation, has acquired

new

claims on the esteem of the learned.

His map of the

Isles of

France and Reunion,,

delineated according to astronomical observations, the geometrical

operations of
in

La

Caille,

and particular plans was published


5,

1797, year

by order of the minister of marine.

new
by
it is

edition corrected from drawings transmitted

the author, the best

was published

in 1802, year 10,

map

of those isles that has yet appeared.

In the almanac of the

Isle of

France, which I

have not been able to find

at Paris, Lislet has

inserted several memoirs, and

among

others the

description

of Pitrebot,
isle.

one of
fact

the

highest

mountains of the
cated to

This

was communi-

me

by Mr. Aubert du Petit Thouars,

who

resided ten years in this colony.

The Institute, which

has

become

the Legatee,

of several academies at Paris,

will doubtless

publish a precious collection of manuscirpt me-

OF NEGROES.
moirs,

181

deposited in the Archives.

We

find

there the relation of a voyage of Lislet to the

Bay of
Coast.

St.

Luce, an island of Madagascar,


this

it is

accompanied with a map of

Bay, and of the

He

points out the exchangeable


it

comand

modities, the resources which

presents,

which would

increase, says he, if instead of ex-

citing the natives to war, in order to have slaves,

they would encourage industry by the hope of

an advantageous commerce.

The
They
this

description

he gives of the customs and manners of the

Malgaches are very curious.

discover a

man versed

in botany, natural philosophy,


:

geonever

logy and astronomy

and yet

man

visited the continent to

improve

his taste

and ac-

quire knowledge.

He

has struggled against the

obstacles created by the prejudices of the country.


It is

reasonable to suppose that he would


if

have performed more


to Europe,

brought, in his youth,

and breathing the atmosphere of the


had found around him something
his

learned, he

which would have powerfully stimulated


curiosity

and

fructified his genius.

Some

person belonging to the expedition of

Captain Baudin, informed me, that Lislet. bar-

182

OF THE LITERATURE
at the Isle

ing established a scientific society

of

France, some whites refused to be members,

merely because

its

founder was a black.


their

Have

they not proven by

conduct that they were

unworthy of this honor ?

JAMES DERHAM.
James Derh am,
phia,
cian,

originally a slave at Philadel


his master, to a physi-

was transferred by

who gave him

a subaltern employment, as

a preparer of drugs.

During

the

American war,
and

he was sold by by the surgeon


Orleans.
ed, had this

this physician to a surgeon,

to doctor

Robert Dove, of

Newre-

Derham, who had never been

baptiz-

ceremony performed, and was


Learned
speaks with

ceived into the English church.


languages, he

in

facility,

English,

French and Spanish.

In 1788, at the age of

twenty-one years, he became the most distinguished physician


at

New*Orleans.

"

con-

versed with him on medicine," says Dr. Rush,

" and found him very learned.


give

thought

could

him information concerning

the treatment

OF NEGROES.
of diseases, but
T

185

learned

more from him than he

could expect from me."

The

Pennsylvania so-

ciety, established in favour of the blacks,


it

thought
facts,

their duty,

in

1789, to publish these

which are

also related

by Dickson.* In the do-

mestic medicine of Buchan,f and in a work,

named, Medecine du voyagenr,% by Duplaint, we


find an
tle

account of the cure for the bite of a


I

rat-

snake.

know

not whether

Derham was
who
receiv-

the discoverer, but


for this

it is

a well-known fact, that

we

are indebted to a negro,

ed his freedom from the general assembly of


Carolina,

who

also decreed

him an annuity of

100/. sterling.

THOMAS FULLER.
Thomas Fuller, born in Africa, and residing
at the distance of four miles

from Alexandria,

in

*P.
t

184.

Buchan.

Domestic Medicine, Paris, 1783,

vol. Ill,

p. 518.
\

Medecine du voyageur, par Duplaint, 8

vol. 8vo.

Paris, vol. Ill, p. 278,

184

OF THE LITERATURE

Virginia, not

knowing how to read

or write, ex-

cited surprise by the facility with

which he per-

formed the most


different

difficult calculations.

Of

the

methods employed

to put his talents to


:

the proof,

we

select the following

One day he

was asked,

how many seconds

of time have

elapsed since the birth of an individual,


lived seventy years,

who had seven months and as many

days? In
question.

minute and a half he answered the

One

of the interrogators takes his

pen, and after a long calculation, pretended that


Fuller
is

deceived

that the

number he men^
replied the negro,
forgotten,

tioned was too


the error
is

great.

No,

on your

side, for

you have
is

the leap years.


rect.

His answer

found

to

be cor-

We

are indebted for this information to


in

Dr. Rush, a man equally respected and America.

Europe
voyage

His

letter is

found
fifth

in the

of Stedman,* and in the

volume of the

* Narrative of a five years expedition against the revolt-

ed negroes of Surinam,

See.

by

capt. J.
c.

G. Stedman,
In

2 vols. 4to. London, 1796, vol. II,


lation of this

xxvi. French transthe,,

work,

vol. Ill, p. 61,

and following.
is

question addressed to Fuller,


"which renders
it

the word seconds

forgotten'

absurd.

OF NEGROES.

185
several

American Museum,* which appeared


years ago.

years old.

Thomas Fuller was then seventyBrissot, who had known him in Virsame testimony of
the
his talents. -j-

ginia, gives the

There are examples of other negroes, who, by

memory performed
tions,

most

difficult

calcula-

and

for the

execution of which the Eu-

ropeans were obliged to have recourse to the


rules of arithmetic.^

OTHELLO.
In 1788, Othello published European powers,
they
(said he,)
at

Baltimore,

an,

essay against the slavery of negroes.

u The

ought to unite in
:

bolishing the infernal


is

tion.
giers,

commerce of slaves it who have covered Africa with desolaThey declaim against the people of Aland they vilify, as barbarians, those who

inhabit a corner of that portion of the globe,

American Museum,
Clarkson, p, 125.

vol.

V,

p. 2.

t Brissot. $

Ses voyages,

vol. II, p. 2 ;

24

136

Of THE LITERATURE

where ferocious Europeans go to buy and carry away men, for the purpose of torture and these
;

are the people

who

pretend they are christians,

while they degrade themselves by acting the


part of an executioner.
Is not

your conduct,

adds Oihello, when compared with your principles, a sacrilegious irony ?

When you

dare to

talk of civilization

and the gospel, you proIn you the superiority

nounce your anathema.

of power produces nothing but a superiority of brutality and barbarism. Weakness, which calls
for protection, appears to

provoke your inhusystems are sullied

manity.

Your

fine political

by the outrages committed against human nature and the divine majesty.

When America
rights.

opposed the pretensions of


all

England, she declared that

men have

the

same

After having manifested her

hatred

against tyrants, ought she to have abandoned

her principles ?

We

ought to bless the measures

taken in Pennsylvania in favour of the negroes,

and we must execrate those of South Carolina,

who

have

lately

prevented the slaves from learnshall

ing to read.

To whom

these unfortu-

nates then address themselves ?

The law

either

neglects or chastises them.

OF NEGROES.
Othello paints in

187

strong colours the grief


fathers, brothers,

a d sighs of children,
bands,

and hus-

dragged from the country which gave

them
heart,

birth

country always dear to their


local

by the remembrance of a family and


So dear
to

impressions.

them

is it,

that

one of
is

the articles of their superstitious credulity,

to

imagine, that after death they will there return.


"With the happiness which they enjoyed in their
native soil, Othello contrasts their horrible state
in

America

where, naked, hungry, and withall

out instruction, they see

the evils of

life

ac-

cumulate on their heads.


cries

He

hopes that their

may

reach to heaven, and that heaven


their prayers.

may
can

be propitious to be compared

Few works
;

to this of Othello's, for force of


fire

reasoning, and

of eloquence

but what can

reason and eloquence perform,


avarice and crimes ?

when opposed by

BANNAKER,
Benjamin Bannaker,
a negro of

Maryany

land, established in Philadelphia, without

18S

OF THE LITERATURE

other encouragement than his passion for acquir-

ing knowledge, without books, except the works


of Ferguson, and the tables of Tobias Mayer,
applied himseif to astronomy.

He

published
in

al-

manacs

for the years

1794, and 1795,

8vo.

at Philadelphia, in

which are calculated and ex-

hibited the different aspects of the planets, a table of the motions of the sun and
risings

moon,

their

and

settings,

and the courses of the bo-

dies of the planetary system.

Bannaker has

re-

ceived his freedom.

Imlay says, that in


skilled in

New-

England, he knew a negro

astronomy,
does not
it

who had composed


mention his name.

ephemerides.
If
it

He
If
it

be Bannaker,

is

ano-

ther testimony of his talents.


other,
it

be some

is

another evidence in favour of ne-

groes.

CUGOANO.
Ottobah Cugoano,
was dragged from
bers,
his

born on the coast of


country, with twenty-

Fantin, in the town of Agimaque, relates that he

other children of both sexes, by European rob-

who

brandishing their pistols and sabres,

OF NEGROES.
threatened to
cape.
kill

189

them

if

they attempted to eswith others, and

They

confined them
I

soon, says he,

heard nothing but the clanging

of chains, the sound of the whip, and the housings of


at

my

fellow-prisoners.

He was

a slave

Grenada, and was indebted for his

liberty, to

the generosity of

Lord Hoth, who carried him

to

England.

He was
Piatoli,

there in 788, in the service


painter of the Prince of

of Cos^av, the

first

Wales.

author of a treatise in Italian,


burial grounds,

on the situation and dangers of


which Vicq D'Azir,
ing a long residence
acquainted
\

at the

request
Piatoli,

ofDalemwho, durparticularly
forty years

bert, translated into French.


at

London, was

ith

Cugoano, then about

of age, and whose wife was an Englishwoman,


praises highly this African
;

and speaks in strong

terms of his piety, his mild character and mo=


desty, his integrity and talents.

A long time a slave at Cugoano, he had shared the


fate

of those unfortunates,

who

are cor-

rupted, and calumniated by the iniquity of the


"whites.

Like Othello, he paints the heart-rendingspectacle of those unfortunate

Africans,

who

190

OF THE

LITERATURE

are forced to !)id an eternal adieu to their native

soil to

fathers,
;

mothers, husbands, bro-

thers

and children

invoking heaven and earth,


in tears, into

throwing themselves, bathed

each

others arms, giving the last embrace, and in=


stantlv torn

from

all

that the heart holds dear.

This spectacle, says he, would move the heart


of monsters, but not of colonists.

At Grenada, he had

seen negroes lacerated by

the whip, because, instead of working at manual

labour on Sunday, they had been at church.

He

had seen others whose teeth had been broken


because they had sucked sugar cane.
particulars

Of many
of the
:

contained

in the

registers

courts of justice, he cites the following


the
t]ie

when

Guinea captains wanted provisions, or when


cargo was too great, their custom was to

throw overboard those negroes who were sick s


or those whose sale would bring least profit.

In 17S0, a negro trader, detained by contrary

winds on the American coast, and


selected one
slaves,

in distress,

hundred and thirty-two of

his sick

and threw them

into the sea, tied together

in pairs, that they

might not escape by swimthat the insurance

iping.

He

hoped

company

<jf

negroes.
for his loss
;

li

would indemnify him

and

in the

process to which this crime gave birth, he observed, that " the negroes cannot be considered
in any other light than as beasts of burden, to lighten a vessel
it is

and

permitted to throw over-

board the

least valuable effects."

Some

of these unhappy wretches escaped from

the hands of those

who

tied them,

and precipisav-

tated themselves into the waves*

One was

ed by means of a cord, the extremity of which

was thrown
vessel.

to

him by

the sailors of another


assassin of those inno-

The barbarous
but, whether

cents, had the audacity to claim

him

as his pro-

perty

owing

to justice, or to a

sense of shame,

the judges rejected his de-

mand.*

Most

authors,

who had censured

this

com-

merce, had employed the only arms which belong to reason.

voice was raised to spread

abroad the

spirit

of revealed religion, and to


sale

prove by the bible, that the stealing,

and

purchase of men, and their detention


of slavery, are crimes worthy of death
;

in a state

and

this

* Ibid. p. 134, and following.

192

OF THE LITERATURE

voice was that of Cu^oano,


reflections in English,

who

published his

on the slave-trade, and


there
is

the

slavery of negroes, of which


translation.

French

His work
repetitions,

is

not very methodical.


is

There arc

because grief

verbose.

An

indi-

vidual deeply affected,

is

always afraid of not


not being sufficiently

having said
understood.
tion,

enough of

We

see

talents without cultiva*

and

to

which a good education would

have given great progress.


After some observations on the cause of the
difference of colour and complexion in the hu-

man

species, such as climate, soil


is it

regimen, he asks, whether

and dietetic " more crimi-

nal to be black or white, than to

wear a black or

a white coat. Whether colour and bodily form

give a right to enslave men,

whose
state

vices are the

work of
and

colonists, for in

of freedom,

profiting

by the advantages of a christian


ail

education, they would be conducted to

that is

good, useful and just; but as the colonists do


not see, except through the veil of avarice and
cupidity,

every slave has the

imperscriptible

right of rescuing himself from their tyranny."'

OF NEGROES.

193
the seas to
like

K The negroes have never crossed


steal

white

men

if their

conduct had been

that of other

European

nations, the cry of roball

bers and assassins, would from

quarters have

been raised against them.

They complain of
epithets be-

barbarism, whilst their conduct towards negroes


is

horribly barbarous.

Those odious

long to them.
rica, says

The European

factories in

Af-

Cugoano, are nothing but caverns of

thieves

and murderers.
their liberty, is

To

steal

men,

to rob

them of

worse than to plunder


In this Europe, which

them of

their goods.

is called civilized,

they chain or hang thieves,


to the scaffold
;

and send assassins

and

if

the

Jiegro traders and colonists be


it is

exempt from

trial,

because the people and governors are their

accomplices, for the laws encourage the slave*


trade and tolerate slavery.

On

national crimes

heaven sometimes
Besides, injustice
authors.

inflicts national
is

punishments.

sooner or
is

later fatal to its

This idea which


is

conformable to the

great plan of religion,

well developed by our

author.

He
in the

predicts that the wrath of heaven

will particularly

be directed against England,

which,

annual purchase of eighty thousand

slaves, destined for colonies, is alone proprietor

of two thirds of the commerce.

25

194
It
is

OF THE
said that in
all

LITERATURE
all

times there have been

slaves, but in

times there have been robbers

and

w retches.

Bad examples can never make


Cugoano establishes a com. modern slavery, and
chrisstill

bad actions lawful.

parison between ancient and

proves that the


tians, is

last,

which prevails among

worse than that among pagans, and


that

worse than
not steal
sell

among

the

Hebrews, who did


them,

men

to enslave

them without

their consent,

who did not and who put no

fine
it

on the head of fugitives. In Deuteronomy, is formally said, " Thou shalt not deliver up

to thy master a fugitive slave,

who, in thy house,


the expiration of

has sought an asylum."


the seventh year,

At

which was jubilee, a man had


In a word, slavery

a right to freedom.

among

the

Hebrews was nothing more than a tempora-

ry vassalage.

From

the old testament, the author passes to

the new, and discusses with equal success, facts

and principles, and the superiority

is

evident

which

his

arguments derive from

that celestial

morality, that

commands

us to love our neigh-

bour as ourselves, and to do to another that

which we wish he would do to us. I could wish, says he, for the honour of Christianity,

OF NEGROES.
that the odious art of stealing

195

men had been


for the

known

to

Pagans,*
;

He

ought to say,

honour of christians

for their

crimes attach no

more blame

to religion, than the prevarication

of judges to justice.

Then

his

arguments are

not only applicable to the English clergy, but


also to those of the Catholic church.

The
ciety,

clergy,

by

their vocation, are the

mes-

sengers of justicethey ought to watch our so-

expose

its

errors,

and bring back the


;

wicked

to truth

and virtue

if their
fall

conduct be

otherwise, the public sins will


It is

upon their head.

therefore evident, that the ecclesiastics

do
and

not

know

truth, or they dare not reveal

it,

are therefore partners in national crimes.

He might have added, that adulation and baseness, are vices concerning

which the clergy are

never instructed, and of which they have almost

always shewn the example.

We know the conAmbrosius


;

duet and the answer of

St.

to

The-

odorus of Basil,

at

Valens

others have occu-

The English

is

perhaps the only language, which, to

designate the acts of stealing children, has the word kid'

nap

the verb and

its

derivations.

196

OF THE LITERATURE

pied their places, but they have had no successors.

Although the general opinion

is,

that

Bossuet was not a prelate of the court, but a


prelate at the court
;

yet his answer to the ques-

tion of

Louis the 14th, concerning comedy,


little

perhaps shewed a

of the courtizan, and not

enough of the bishop.

The good Cugoano, had temples erected to the God


ing his precepts on them, and

every where seen


of the christians,

and ministers charged with the task of repeat-

how could he

be-

lieve that the children of the gospel could tram-

ple under foot the morals contained in the

book

which

is

the depositary of the divine oracles ?

He

had too good an opinion of Europeans, and

this error

which does honour


disgrace.

to his heart, is to

them another

CAPITEIN.
Jamf.s

Eliza John Capitein, born in Africa.,


at seven, or eight years of age,

was bought
trader,

on

the borders of the river St. Andre, by a negro

who made

a present of

him

to

one of his

OF NEGROES.
friends.

397

structed,
land,

named him Capltein he inbaptized him, and brought him to Hollatter


;

The

where he acquired the language of that

Country.

He

devoted his time to painting, for


inclination.

which he had a great

He comMiss Bosin this res-

menced

his

studies at the

Hague.
who,

cam, a pious and learned

lady,

pect resembled Miss Schurman, was

much

oc-

cupied with the study of languages, she taught

him the Latin, the elements of the Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaen tongues. From the Hague
he went to the university of Leyden, and found
every where zealous protectors.

He

devoted

himself to theology under able professors, with


the intention

of returning horn, to preach the

Gospel to his Countrymen.*

Having studied

four years, he took his degrees, and in 1742, was


sent as a Calvinist Minister toElmina, in Guinea.

In

802, an English Journal, upon the au-

thority of

Motzere, minister of the Gospel

at

Harlem, spread a vague report,

that Capitein,

having returned to Guinea, had there abjured

Journal, called the Merchant, No.


14, 1802.

31.

August,

198

OF THE LITERATURE

Christianity and

embraced the worship of

his

country.

This anecdote has been told in a less

direct manner, in a letter addressed to

me, by

de Vos, a mennonite minister


author of

at

Amsterdam, the

some good works

against negro sla-

very and duelling.

He

says that Capitein,


his departure,

who
and

whose engraved
on
his return to

was so much praised before portrait was

circulated through;

out Holland, did not support his reputation

that

Europe, some unpleasant news

was spread concerning the immorality of his conduct it is asserted, says he, that he was not
:

far

from abjuring Christianity.*"


be true, the second
others, he
is

If the
;

first ar-

ticle

probable

as, like

so

many

would become an unbeliever


in opposition

that he

might with more ease act

to the morality of the Gospel.

But are

his reat-

proaches well founded ?


tenuates the

De Voss

himself

force of the information, by the

doubtful manner in which he expresses himself

and Blumenbach has written


repeated, that having

to

me, and has since

made enquiries on this head,

he had not found any information against Cap-

* Letter of

Mr. de Vos

to

Mr. Gregoire,

27, 1801.

OF NEGROES.
itein,

199

whose

portrait

he had caused to be engrav-

ed

in his

work on

the variety of the

human

fi-

gure.*

work of Capitein is an elegy in Latin verse, on the death of Manger, minister at the Hague, his preceptor and his friend It is
first

The

as follows.-

Hac autem

in

Batavorum gratissima sede


elementa linguae Belgicce

Non primum tantum

Addidici, sed arti etiara pictorica, in quana

Eram

pro pensissimus, dedi operam

Virum

Interea tempore

labente, institutioni sua

Domestica catechesios mihi interesse permisit


Vir humanissimus, Joannes Phillipus Manger,
Cujus
in

obitum (cum

tanti viri, turn

Solidor eruditionis, turn erga


Pictatis,

deum

smgularis

admirator semper extitissem) flebilibus

Fatis.

Cum Ecclesior

Hagienis protento anno

Esset ademptusj lugubrem banc compersui

Elegiam

Letter of

Mr, Blumenbacb

to

Mr. Gregoire.

:200

OF THE LIlERATl/Rg

ELEGIA.
Ixyida mors lotum
Et
gestit

vibrat sua tela per


sibi.

orbem

quemvis succubuisse

Ilia,

metus expers, penetrat conclavia regum

Imperiique

manu ponere

sceptra jubet.
:

Non

sinit ilia

diu partos spectare triumphos


cogit, clara tropoea duces.

Linquere sed

Divitis et gazas, aliis ut dividat,

omnes,

Mendicique casam vindicat

ilia sibi.

Falce senes, juvenes, nullo discrimine, dura,


Instar aristarum, demittit
ilia

simul.

Hie

fuit ilia

audax, nigro velamine tecta,


sollicitare doniQs.

Limiua Mangeri

Hujus ut ante

domum

steterat funesta cypressus,

Luctisonos gemitus nobilis Haga dedit.

Ilunc lacrymis

tinxit gravibus carissima conjux.

Dum
Non

sua tundebat pectora saepe manu.


aliter
la

Naomi, cum

le viduata marito,

Profudit

crymas, Elimeleche, tua.


civit

Ssepe sui manes

gemebunda

mariti,
;

Edidt et tales ore tremente sonos

Cwndit ut obscuro vultum velamine Phcebus,


Tractibus ut terrae lumina grata neget
;

decus immortale

Sic fugis ex oculis

meum, mea sola voluptas in mea damna meis.


quod
te

Non cquidem
Sc<] quaties

invideo, consors,

ocyor aura*

Transtulit ad lootas sethcrcas que domos.

mando

placid se

mea membra

quieti,

PF NEGROES*
Sive dies veniat,

201

sum memor usque

tui.

Te thalamus

noster raptum mihi funere poscit.


?

Quis renovet nobis foedera rnpta dies

En

tua sacra deo sedes studiisque dicata,


maesti signa doloris'habet.
pleiio,

Te propter,
Quod

magis, effusas, veluti de flufmme

Dant lacrymas

nostri pignora cara tori.


fido pastore lupinis

Dentibus ut misere

Conscisso tenerae disjiciuntur oves,

Aeraque horrendis,

feriunt balatibus altum,


4

Dum

scissum adspiciunt voce cientque ducem

Sic querulis nostras implent ululatjbus sedes

Dum jacet in lecto corpus inane


Succinit huic

tuum.

vatum

viduae pia turba querenti 5

Fuucra quae celebrat conveniente modo

Grande sacerdotum decus,


Delicium domini, gentis

et

mea

gloria cessat,
piae
!

amorque

Clauditur os blandum sacro de

fonte rigatum

Fonte

meam possum
I

quo relevare

sitim

Hei mihi

quam

subito fugit facundia linguae,

Caelesti dederat quae

mihi melle

frui.

Nestoris eloquium veteres jactate poeta?,


Ipso Mangerius Nestore major evat, etc

202

OF THE LITERATURE

Capitein, at his admission to the university

of Le}den, published a Latin dissertation on the


calling
parts.

of the

Gentiles,*

divided

into three

He

therein establishes, by the authority

of the sacred writings, the certainty of the pro-

mise which embraces

all

nations, although the

gospel cannot manifest itself but in a gradual

manner, he proposes,

that for the


\\

purpose of codesign of the

operating in this respect

ith the

Aimighty, the languages of those nations should


be cultivated
to

whom

this blessing is yet un-

known and
;

also that missionaries be sent

among

them, who, by the mild voice of persuasion,

would gain

their affections,

and dispose them to

receive the evangelical light.

The
slaves.

Spaniards, and

still

more

the Portuguese,

observe a milder and better

conduct towards
religion

Amongst them

the christian

inspires a paternal

character,

which brings the

slave nearer to his master.

They

ru.ve

not es-

tablished

their superiority of colour,


to

and they

do not disdain
freedom.

unite in marriage with ne-

gresses, and thus assist slaves in regaining their

De

vocations Ethnicorum.

OF NEGROES.

203

In other colonies

it

has often happened, that

planters have prevented their negroes from be-

ing instructed in a religion which proclaims the


equality

of

men

all

proceeding from a comthe


benefits

mon
men,

stock

is

all

participating

of

creation,

and amongst whom, with the Father of


no acceptation of persons.

their

number
it is

of writers have demonstrated this in the

most evident manner.


sufficient to cite

Of

those in our times,

Robert Robinson,* Havin

er,

Roustan,

Ryan, translated
in

French by

Boulard.

Turgot,

an excellent discourse,

which Dupont de Nemours, communicated to

me, and which he proposes to publish, entitled, Political tyranny and slavery, are an outrage
against Christianity.
great

The low

adulation of a

introduce other

number of bishops and maxims than

priests,

could not

those in opposi-

tion to religion.

The Butch

planters,
is

persuaded

that

the

Christian religion

inconsistent with slavery,

* Slavery inconsistent with the

spirit

of Christianity, a

sermon preached
8vo. 1738.

at

Cambridge, by Robert Rabinson, page


14, that the Africans

He

affirms,

were

the

first

to baptize their children in order to avoid slavery.

204
but

OF THE

LITERATURE

stifiing the

voice of conscience, perhaps in-

stigated Capitein to

become

the apologist of a

bad cause.
to believe,

This negro believing, or feigning


that

by the support of

slavery,

we

favour the propagation of the gospel, composed


a politico-theological dissertation, to prove that
slavery is not

opposed to Christian freedom.*

This scandalous assertion has been revived in America within a few years. A minister, named John Beck, in 1801, dared to preach and
print
to

two sermons

to justify slavery. f

Thanks

Humphrey, for having affixed John Beck to the post of infamy .|

the

name

of

The

author, Capitein, does not dissemble the

difficulty of his

undertaking, and more particu-

* Dissertatio politico-theologica dc servitute hbertati

christians non

contraria,

quam

sub praeside

J. J.

Van den
Capitein,

Iioncrt, publicae disquisitioni subjicit, J.


afcr, 4to.

T.

Lugdunl Batavorum, 1742.


doctrine of perpetual bondage reconciliable with

The

the infinite justice of

God

a truth plainly asserted in the

Jewish and christian scripture, by John Beck.


$

valedictory discourse delivered before the Cincinin Hartford, July 4th,

nati of Connecticut,

1804, at the
8vo. Bostpn.

dissolution of the society,

by

1).

Humphrey,

OF NEGROES.

205 you

larly in

explaining the text of St. Paul


:

have been redeemed

be slaves to no person.*

He

supposes, (I do not say he proves.) that this

decision excludes only engagements


idolatrous masters, to
fight in the arena

made with

become
Romans.

gladiators,, and

with ferocious beasts, f as was


the

the custom

among

He

cites,

and

without a comment, the famous edict of Constantine,


slaves,

which authorised the manumission of


in the

and the christian usage mentioned


on Easterday.$

writings of the fathers, of giving freedom to


slaves,

particularly

From

all

quarters

we hear

the cry of history in favour of


;

the freedom of slaves

the formalities of
;

which

are mentioned in Marcelsus

and because the

law was only the license of the Pope, Capitein


infers the

lawfulness of slavery.

This

is evi-

dently a forced conclusion

He takes

advantage of the testimony of Bus-

bee, to prove that the destruction of slavery has

not existed without

great inconveniences, and

* l.Cor.

vii.

23. Pretio empti estis, nolite

fieri

servi

hominum.
t P. 27.

4 S. Gregory, de HySse.

ii06

OF THE LITERATURE
had continued, we would not

that if the practice

many crimes committed, nor so many scaffolds erected for individuals who have nothsee so

ing to lose;* but slavery inflicted as a lawful

punishment, cannot make negro Siaverv lawful,

and of

this the authority of

Busbec

is

nothing

less than a proof.

This Latin
lated into

dissertation of Capitein, rich in

erudition, though poor in argument, was trans-

Dutch, by Wilheur, with the

portrait

of the author as a frontispiece, in the dress of


a minister, fand has gone through four editions.

All that

we can

infer with reason

from

the so-

phisims of

this negro, (to

whom

his

countrymen
is,

will assuredly not

bestow a vote of thanks)


unjust slavery,

that a people

under an
to

ought

to

be resigned

their

unhappy

lot,

when they

are unable to break asunder their chains.

* Epislola turcica,
161.
t

Lugduni Batavorum, 1633,

p.

160,

Staatkundig-godgcleerd onderzoeksschrift over

dc

slaverny, als niet strydig tcgen de christclike vriheid, Sec.


uit het latyn vertaalt

door heer de Wilhelm, 4to. Le-idep

1742,

OF NEGROES.
Capitein also published a small
4tc>.

207
volume
in

Sermons

in

the

Dutch Language,
and printed
at

preached in

different
in

towns,

Amsterdam,
the

1742,* and Gallendot, who in


the

memoirs of
judgment

Academy

of Flushing, has

published an essay on the slave trade, discovers


link-

in

praising thp
*

work of Capi*

tein.f

FRANCIS WILLIAMS.
The information concerning
has
this

negro poet,

been

taken

partly

from the History of


will

Jamaica, by Long, v\ho

not be suspected of

* Vit gewrogte predicatien zynde de trowherrige ver-

maaninge van den


zoon Timotheus

apostel der
vit. II.

heydenen Paulus, aan zynen


II, v. b. te

Timotheus,

Muider-

berger, den 20 mai 1742, alsmede de voornaamste goe-

deren van de opperste wysheit


in

spit

sprenken VIII,

v. 18,

twee predicatien

in

s'Gravenhage, den 27 mai 1742. eu

t'ouderkerk aan den Amstel, den 6 juny 1742, gedaan door

J.E
dam.
t
t. I.

J.

Capitein, africaansche Moor, beroepen predikant


S.

op d'Elmina, aan het kasteel

George,
_

4to. te

Amster*

Noodigc onderrichtingen voor de slaafhandelaaren,


Verhandelingen vitgegeven door het zeeuwsch gen-

ootschap, etc, te Middleburg, 1769, p. 425.


208
OF THE LITERATURE
negroes
itself

partiality to

for his prejudice against

them shews

even in the eulogium which


truth.

was forced from him by

Francis Williams, the son of negro parents,

was born

in Jamaica,

towards the end of the 17th

or the beginning of the 18 th century.

For he
774.

died at the age of 70, a short time before the


publication of

Long, which appeared

in

Struck with the precocity of talents in the

young negro,
nor of the

the

duke of Montaigue, govertry,

isle,

proposed to

whether by an
to a

improved education, he would be equal

white man, placed in the same circumstances.


Francis Williams being sent to England, com-

menced his

studies in private schools, and after-

wards entered the

university of Cambridge,

where, under able professors, he made considerable progress


stay in
in

mathematics.

During

his

Europe he published commences thus


: )

a Song, which

" Welcome welcome^ brother debtor.'*

This Ballad was so


land, that certain

much

in

vogue

in

Engsee

individuals,

irritated to

such merit

in a black, attempted,
it

but without

success, to claim

as their

own,

OP IfEGROES.

209

Francis Williams having returned to Jamaica,

his protector, the

duke of Montaigne,

tried

to obtain a place for

him

in

the council of the

government. This was refused. Williams then

opened a school,
mathematics.
cessor, a

in

which he taught Latin and


preparing as his suc-

He was
Long

young negro, who unfortunately becites this


fact as a de-

came deranged.

monstrative proof that African heads are incapable of abstruse researches, such as problems in

high geometry

although he supposes that the ne-

gro Creoles have more capacity than the natives


of Africa.
Certainly
if

a particular fact

would

admit of a general induction, as the exercise of


the intellectual faculties has proportionally de-

ranged more heads among the learned and


of
it

men

letters,

than

among

other classes of society,


is

might be concluded that no one

capable of

profound meditation.

But Long
knowledge

refutes himself; for, obliged to ac-

in Francis

Williams a

talent for

ma-

thematics, he might with as

much

justice have-

drawn a conclusion

directly contrary.

The

historian pretends that


:

Williams had no

respect for his parents

that be

was rude, and

27

210

OF THE LITERATURE

almost cruel to his children and his slaves.

He

wore a particular dress and a large wig to give


a

high idea of his knowledge.

He described
thief.

himself to be a white
for

man

with a black skin,

he despised

men

of colour, and often said,


I will

shew

me

a negro,

and

shew you a

He

was

also of

op inion

that a

negro and a white

man, each perfect


This

in his species, is superior to

mulattoes formed of a heterogeneous mixture.


portrait of Williams

may be

t v ue,

but

we

must

recollect that

it

was not executed by a

friendly hand.

It appears that

Williams had written many-

pieces in Latin verse.

He

loved this species of

composition, and he was in the habit of presenting addresses of this kind to the
vernor.
serted in
severely.

new
is
it

goin-

That which he sent


Long's history, who

to

Holdane

criticises

too

Williams having applied to his muse

the epithet Higernina,

Long

indulges in low

pleasantry concerning the introduction of this

new personage
ters,

into the family of the nine sis-

and he

calls

her

madam

JEthiopissa*

He

reproaches the author as a plagiarist,

not in

ideas, nor in phrases, but in the use of certain

expressions, which as they arc found in the best

OF NEGROES,
poets of antiquity, and also in dictionaries,

211
it is

blaming him for making Latin verses with Latin

words.

He

reproaches

him

for

comparing
he-

the members of the

new government with the


it

roes of antiquity
ed.

this accusation is better

foundpoets.

Unfortunately

applies to almost

all

Have they not

flattered

one of the most crimiof

nal and contemptible

men

Rome

to
is

such a

degree, that the

become classical among the English themselves, if we except Akenside, Pope, and some other poets,

name of Mecenas

are they not, in this respect,

all

Wallers ?

Nickolls seeing this Latin ode, and feeling in-

dignant against

the

colonists for

comparing
never

blacks with apes,

exclaimed

/ have

heard, that an our ang out ang has composed an

ode.*

"

Among

the defenders of slavery,


he,) one half of the

we

do not

find, (says

literary

merit of Phillis Wheatley and Francis Williams."

* Letter to the treasurer of the society instituted for

the purpose of effecting the abolition of the slave trade^

from the Rev- Robert Bouche Nickolls, Dean of Middle.ham, 8vo. London, 1788, p. 46.

212
That

OF THE LITERATURE
the reader

the talents of the

may be able to last, we subjoin this

appreciate

Latin proarid

duction, with a translation in French prose,


also

one

in

English verse, which the historiit

an

Long thought

his

duty to execute,

not-

withstanding his prejudices against the author,


Integerrimo
et fortissimo viro

Georgio Holdano, armigero,


Insulae Jamaicensis gubernatori
;

Cui, omnes,

morum, virtutumque
acccsserunt.*

dotes bellicarum,

In

cumulum

CARMEN.
Denique venlurum
fatis

volventibus annum,f

Cuncta per extensum

lseta

videnda diem,

Excussis adsunt curis, sub imagine:}: clara


Felices populi, terraque lege virens.

The

history of Jamaica, or general survey of the an-

cient and

modern

state of that

Island,

&c. in three

Vo-

lumes, illustrated with copperplates, London, 1774, p.


478, 79, and 80.
t Asfiice -venturo Icetentui ut omnia sxclo, Virg.
% Clara seems to be rather an

E. 4 52.

improper epithet joined

to imavo.

OF NEGROES.'
*Tc
duce,f quae fuerant malesuada

213
mente peracta

Irrita

conspectu non reditu ra tuo.

Ert>o omnis populus nee non plebecula cernet

Haesurum

collo

te^:

relegasse

jugum,
cruciatibus, insons

Et mala, quze
Insula passa

diris
;

quondam

fuit

condoluisset onus,
inclyta, nostris

Ni

vixtrix tua

Marte manus prius

Sponte ruinossis rebus adesse

velit.

Optimus

es servus regi servire Britanno,


:

Dum

gaudet genio|| scotica terra tuo


fulcire

Optimus heroum populit


Insula

ruinam

dum

superest ipse** superstes eris.

* Te dnce,
Irrita,

si

qua manent sulenris vestigia nostro


4. 13.
'

perpetua solvent formidine terras, Virg. E.

f Alluding perhaps to the contest, about removing the seat of government and public Qffices from S/mnish Town

to Kingston, during the administration of the governor.,


%

Pro rgvelasse. Quern vocet divum populus mentis imperi rebus,


1.

Hor. B.
||

ode

2.

Mr. Holdane was a native of North


In Ptolemea
8.

Britain*

%
B.

potes magni fulcire

ruinam. Lucan,

28.

** This was a promise of somewhat


diluvian longevity
for
;

more than

ante-

but the poet proved a false prophet,


not survive the delivery of this ad-

dress

M. Holdane did many months.

214

OF THE LITERATURE
te Guadaloufia, suorura

Victorem agnoscet

Despiciel* merito diruta castra ducum.

Aurea
Crede,

vexillis flebit jactantibusf Iris,

Cumque
Denegat

suis populis, oppida victa

gemet.

meum

non

est, vir

Marti chare,$ Minerva

JEthiofu bella sonare

ducum.
parem,

Concilio, caneret te Buchananus et armis,

Carmine

Peleidce, scriberet ille

Ille poeta,

decus

patriae, tua facta referre

Dignior, altisoni vixque Maronc minor.


il

Flammiferos agitante suos sub sole jugales^


;

Vivimus

eloquium

deficit

omne

focis.

Hoc demum
Ore
sonaturo

accipias multa fuligine


;

fusum

non cute, corde

valet.

Pollenti stabilita

manu, Ueus almus, eandem


nil

Omnigenis animam,

prohibente dedit.
;

Ipsa coloris egens virtus, prudentia

honest

Nullus inest animo, nullus

in arte color.

Cur

timeas, quamvis, dubitesve, nigerriroa celsam

* Egerit justo domitor triumipho, Hor. B.


t

1.

ode

12.

Phabus volentem

prcelia

me
art
.

loqui victas et verbev^

increpuitlyra ne, Hor.


4 Invicta Minerva, Maronis
y

Hor. de

poet.
~

altisoni,

cannina J uv. Set. ll.ver. 178,

Flamini /eras rotas toto calo agitat.


this for jubais

1 I apprehend M. Williams mistook Sun beams.


OF NEGROES.
Cessans occiduU scandere*

215
?t

Musa domum

JVade

saiutatum, nee

sit tibi

causa pudoris,
!

^Candida quod nigra corpora peiie geris


Intergitas

muvum|| maurum magis

ornatj et ardor

Ingenii et doctol dulcis in ore decor

Hunc, mage cor

sapiens, patriae virtutis araorque

* This

is

fietitio

firincifiii,

or begging the

question?

unless with

Mr. Pope,

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,

Whose body nature


But,

is,

and

God

the soul

Far

as Creation's

ample range extends


mental powers ascends.

The

scale of sensual

M. Williams has added


her,

a black

muse

to the

Pierian

hoir;

and, as he has uot thought proper to bestow a

name upon
title

we may

venture to announce her by the

of Ethiopissa.

Vade saiutatum subito perorata parentem

litterra.

ovid.

See his apothegms before mentioned.

Maurus,

is

not in classic strictness, proper Latin for

a negro.
fl

Mollis in ore

decorinceit.

216
Eximit
t Insula

OF THE LITEKATUKE
e sociis, conspicuumque

facit,

me

genuit, celebres aleure Britanni

Insula, te salvo

non dolituia| patre

Hoc

precor 6 nullo videant te fine regentem


locus'.

Florentes populos, terra, deique

FRANCISCUS WILLIAMS.
The same
translated.

TO

THAT MOST UPRIGHT AND VALIANT MAN,

GEORGE HOLDANE,
GOVERNOR OF THE
all
ISLAND OF
UPON WHOM

ESQ.
JAMAICA
:

MiLirjar and moral ENDOWMENT'S ACCUMULATED.

are

AN
AT lengih
Advance, and joy the

ODE.
long day shall cheer
;

revolving fates th' expected year


live

Beneath the

fost'ring law's auspicious

dawn

Me

doctorum edere proemia frontium.

secemunt populo:
t
\

Hor.

lib.

ode

Mantua me genuit, calabri rapuere. Virg. Hie ames dici jiatcr atque principi. Hor.
calum rcdeds, duigue Lcctus
intersis ftojiitta.

Serus in

Hor.

OF NEGROES.

217

New
With
Rash
Each

harvests rise to glad the enliven'd lawn.*


the bright prospect blest, the swains repair

In social bands, and give a loose to care.


councils now, with each malignant plan,
faction, that in evil

hour began,
;

At your approach, are in confusion fled Nor while you rule, shall raise their dastard
Alike the master and the slave shall see

head.

Their neck
Till

reliev'd, the

yoke unbound by thee.


wretched
fate

now, our

guiltless isle, her

Had wept, and groan'd beneath the oppressive weight Of cruel woes, save thy victorious hand, Long form'd in war, from Gallia's hostile land And wreaths of fresh renown, with generous zeal Had freely turn'd, to prop our sinking weal.
:

-Form'd

as thou art, to serve Britannia's

crown
;

While

Scotia claims thee for her darling son

Oh

best of heroes, ablest to sustain

falling people,
isle

and relax their chain*


shall

Long as this From age to

grace the western deep


shall

age, thy

fame

never sleep.
shall

Thee, her dread

victor,

Guadaloupe

own,

Crush'd by thy arm, her slaughtered chiefs

bemoan

View

their

proud tents

all

ievell'd in the dust,

And while she grieves, confess the cause was just. The golden iris the sad scene will share, And mourn her banners scatter'din the air
*
viz.
lar

Lawn

is

here used in the sense given


;

it

by Johnson^

an open space between woods

which has a particu-

propriety applied to the corn field* in Jamaica,

218

OF THE LITEttATURE

Lament her vanquish'd troops with many a sigh? Nor less to see her towns in ruins lie. Favorite of Mars ! believe the attempt were vain,
It is not
!

mine

to try the

arduous

strain.

What shall an ^Ethiop touch the martial string Of battles, leaders, great achievements sing Ah no Minerva, with the indignant nine,
!

Restrain him, and forbid the bold design.

To

Buchanan does the theme belong


deserves Buchanan's song.

A theme, that well


Record thee great

'Tis he should swell the din of war's alarms,


in council, as in

arms

Recite each conquest by thy valor won,

And
That

equal thee to great Peleides' son.


bard, his country's

ornament and

pride,
:

And who And

with

Mars might

e'en the bays divide


to rehearse,

Far worthier he, thy glories

paint thy deeds in his immortal verse.


!

We live, alas

where the bright God of day,


:

Full from the zenith whirls his torrid ray

Beneath the rage of his consuming


All fancy melts,
all

fires,

eloquence expires.
to accept this

Yet

may you deign

humble song,
falt'ring

Tho' wrapt in gloom, and from a

tongue

Tho' dark the stream on which the

tribute flows.
it

Not from

the akin, but from the heart

rose.

To all

of

human

kind, benignant heaven,

(Since nought forbids) one

common

soul has giv'n.


;

This rule was

'stablish'd

by the eternal mind


confin'd,
*,

Nor

virtue's self, nor

prudence are

To

colour,

none imbrues the honest heart

OF NEGROES.

219

To science none belongs, and none to art Oh muse of blackest tint, why shrinks thy
!

breast,
I

Why fears to approach

the Cesar of the TVest

Dispel thy doubts, with confidence ascend

The regal dome, and hail him for thy friend Nor blush, altho' in garb funereal drest
Thy
body's white, tho* clad in sable vest.
unsullied, and the radiant

Manners

glow
;

Of And

genius, burning with desire to

know

learned speech, with modest accent worn

Shall best the sooty African adorn.

A heart with wisdom fraught, a patriot flame, A love of virtuethese shall his name
lift

Conspicuous, far beyond his kindred race,


Distinguished from them by the foremost place.
In this prolific
isle I
:

drew my breath

And

Britain nurs'd
isle,

illustrious thro' the earth.

This my lov'd

which never more

shall grieve

Whilst you, our

Then this my

prayer "

common friend, our father live. May earth and heaven * urvey
thy sway."

A people ever blest beneath

FRANCIS WILLIAMS.

VASSA.

Olandad

Eqjjiano, better known by the

name of Gustavus Vassa, was born in 1746, This is the name of a beautiful and at Essaka.
charming
valley, far distant

from the coast and


it

capital of Benin, of

which

is

considered as

220
forming a

OF THE LITERATURE
although

part,

its

government

is al-

most independent, under the authority of some


elders or chiefs, of

which

his father

was one.

At
from
to

the age of 12, Vassa

was carried

off

with
torn

his sister,

when

children,

by

robbers,

their native soil,

and from the arms of those

whom

they

owed

their existence.

The

barba-

rians

soon deprived him of the consolation of


his tears with those of his sibter.

mingling

For-

ever to be separated from her, he was thrown


into a

Guinea

vessel,

and, after a passage, the

horrors of which he relates, he was sold at Bar-

badoes, and resold to a lieutenant of a vessel, w ho

brought him directly to England

he accompa-

nied him to Guernsey, to the siege of Louis-

bourg,
1758,

in

Canada, by Admit ai Boscauen, in


to the siege of Belle-isle, in i761.

and

Events having brought him back


Vassa, sold

to the
in

new

world, by perfidy he was again put


at

irons.

Montserrat, the sport of fortune,

sometimes

free,

sometimes a

slave, or domestic,

made
and

several voyages to

most of the

Antilles,

to different parts of the

American

continent*

He

returned several times to Europe, visited

OF NEGROES.

'221

Spain, Portugal,
land.
felt in

Italy,

Turkey,
his

and Greenfirst

The

love of freedom, which he had

infancy,

tormented

mind, and

this

torment was increased by the obstacles which


prevented him from recovering
it.

He had

vain-

ly hoped that a firm zeal for the interests of his

master would be the sure means of obtaining


this

advantage

justice would' there have found

another
rice
it

reason for breaking his chains, to ava-

was

motive

for rivetting thern

closer.

With men devoured by an insatiable thirst for gold, he saw that he must have recourse to other means. Then commencing the most
rigid

economy, with three pence he began a small trade which gave him a tolerable profit,
notwithstanding the
injuries

he

sustained

by

the roguery of the whites; at last in 1781, hav-

ing escaped the dangers of the sea, being several

times

shipwreeked, and having also avoided


of his masters,

the

cruelty

one of whom,
;

at

Savannah, proposed to assassinate him


years of a wandering and stormy

after

30

life,

Vassa,

restored to liberty, established himself at Lon-

don, where he married and published his me-

222

OF THE LITERATURE

moirs,* which have been several times reprinted


in both hemispheres,

and of which there was


It
is

new

edition in

1794.

proven by the

most respectable testimony


Author.

that he

was the

This precaution

is

necessary for a

class of individuals

who

are always disposed to

calumniate negroes to extenuate the crime of


oppressing them.

The work
His manner

is

written with that naivete^ I had

almost said, that roughness of a


is

man

of nature.

that
:

of Daniel de Foe, in his


is

Robinson Crusoe
mits,

it

that of Jameira

Duval,
to

who from the rank of a cow-keeper


became Librarian
to Francis the

her-

first,

and

whose unprinted memoirs, so worthy of cation, are in the hands of Ameilhon.

publi-

We

share the

feelings
at the

of surprise which

Vassa experienced

shock of an earth-

quake, the appearance of snow, apicture, a watch

The
9th

interesting Narrative of the

life
,

of Olando Equi-

ano or Gustavus Vassa, the African


self,

written by him-

edit. 8vo.

London, 179 1, with the portrait of the

Author.

OF NEGROES.

225

and a quadrant, and the manner with which he


interrogates his reason concerning the use of

those instruments.

To him

the art of navi-

gation had an inexpressible

charm ; for in this saw the means of one day escaping from he He made an agreement with the capslavery.
tain

of a vessel to

give

him

lessons,

which

weie often

interrupted, but the activity and


all.

intelligence of the scholar supplies


tor Irving, with

Docseaafter-

whom

he had lived as servant,

had taught him the method of rendering


water fresh by
distillation.

Some

time

wards Vassa belonged


North.
In a

to an expedition, the

object of which was to find a passage to the

moment of

distress,

he employed

the process of the Doctor, and furnished a potable water to the crew.

Although carried from


young,

his

country

when

his affection for his family,


for

and a good

memory preserved
lections.

him a rich

store of recol-

We read
has been
is

with interest the description

he has given of his country, where luxuriant


nature
prodigal

of her bounties.

Agriculture
inhabitants,

the principal occupation of the


are very industrious, although

who

224

OF THE

LITERATURE
Music

they arc passionately fond of Poetry,

and Dancing.

Vassa
of Benin
glasses
;

recollects

well that the Physicians

drew blood by means of cupping


effect

that they excel in the art of healing

wounds, and overcoming the

of poisons.

He

presents a curious picture of the supersti-

tions
trasts

and habits of

his country,

which he con*
the Greeks,
:

with those of countries where he has

travelled.
at

Thus he

finds

among

Smyrna, the dances common at Benin he between the customs discovers a resemblance
of Jews, and those of his fellow countrymen,

among whom
ted.

circumcision

is

generally admitis

To

touch a dead body

there consider-

ed as a legal impurity, and the

women
as the

are

accustomed
brews.

to the

same ablutions

He-

The

effect

of adversity often

is

to give

more
aban-

energy to religious sentiments.

Man

doned by

his fellow

man, and unfortunate upon

the earth, turns his looks towards heaven, to

seek there consolation and a father.

Such was

Vassa

he did not sink under the load of

OF NEGROES.

225
Like Pluchc,
with

evils

which pressed upon him.


men,

and other celebrated


the presence of the
tinually directed his

penetrated

supreme Being, he conviews beyond the bounds


country, where all cries
tears
shall

of

life,

towards a

new
all

shall cease y

where

be wiped

away.

A
all

long time

uncertain

concerning

his

choice of a religion, he was shocked to see in


christian societies, a

number of
the

individuals

whose actions
principles
;

are in direct opposition to their

who blaspheme

name of

that

God, of
adorers.

whom

they profess themselves the


feels indignant that

For example, he

the king of Naples and his court should go

every Sunday to the opera.

He

sees

some
a

observe four, others six or seven precepts of the


decalogue, and he cannot conceive

how

man

can be half virtuous.


Nicols has said,

He knew not, that, as we can know nothing of the


;

doctrine by the conduct

nor of the conduct


in

by

the doctrine.

Having long wandered


in the

uncertainty,

he was baptized

English

church, and became a Methodist, and he was

on the point of being sent


Egypt.

as missionary to

Taught by

adversity,

Vassa became

29

226

OF THE LITERATURE

very sensible to the misfortunes of others, and

no one more than


ety

he, could with

more

propri-

adopt the celebrated

maxim

of Terence.

He

deplores the fate of the Greeks,

who

are

treated

by the Turks almost

in the

same man-

ner as the Negroes are by the colonists.

He

has sympathy even for the galley slaves, with

whom

the bounds of just punishment have

been transgressed.

He

had seen his African countrymen exall

posed to

the punishments

which cupidity
contrasts
their

and rage have invented.


are in direct opposition.

He

cruelty with the morality of the gospel,

which

He

proposes a plan

of

commerce
at least

which

Europe and Africa, would not wound justice. In


between

1789, he presents to the parliament of England


a petition for the suppression of the slave trade.
If

Vassa

still

lived, the bill

which was
his heart
to

lately

passed, old age.


after

would be consoling to
That individual
is

and his

be pitied, who,

having read the memoirs of Vassa, does


the author, sentiments of affection

not

feel for

and esteem.

His son, named Sanclw, versed

in Bibliography, is an assistant librarian to Sir

Joseph Banks, and

is

also

secretary to the

OF NEGROES.

227

committee
ed

for Vaccination.

I shall terminate,

this notice with observing, that Vassa publish-

poem

containing 112
in

verses,

which he

composed
arising

consequence of his disquietude


religion.

from a choice of a

SANCHO.
The mother
a
of Ignatius Sancho, thrown into
vessel on the coast of Guinea,

employed

in

the slave trade, and destined for the Spanish

possessions in America, was delivered of San-

cho during the voyage.


ed Ignatius.

Arrived

at

Cartha-

gena, he was baptized there by a bishop,

nam-

The change of climate

soon confather,

ducted his mother to the tomb, and his

delivered up to the horrors of slavery, in a

mo-

ment of
his

despair, terminated his existence with

own hand.
when he England by his master, who of him to three young ladies,
Greenwich.

Ignatius was not two years of age

was carried

to

made

a present

sisters, residing at

His character,
that of the

which was supposed


knight of

to resemble

Don

Quixot, induced them to give

228

OF THE

LITERATURE
Sancho was far

him

this

name.

Thejyoung
who

tunate enough to attract the attention of the

Duke
Heath.

of Montague,

resided at Black-

This gentleman

admired

in

him

frankness, which was neither degraded by


vitude, nor corrupted by a false education.
often called

ser-

He

him

to him, lent

him books, and


dis-

advised his sisters to improve his genius, but

from them Sancho had an opportunity of


covering, that ignorance
is

one of the means by


dis-

which African slavery


is to

is

promoted, and he

covers the opinion of planters, that to instruct,

emancipate negroes.

Often they threaten-

ed to send him back to slavery.

The
was

love of
increas-

freedom which agitated

his heart,

ed by study and meditation.


violent passion for a

He

harboured a

young

female, which

drew

upon him another kind of reproach from the


sisters.

He

then resolved to quit their honse.


his patron,

But
(it

the

Duke,
all

was no more.

San-

cho, reduced to misery, employed five shillings

was

he had) to purchase an old

pistol,

with which to terminate his days, as his father

had done.

The Dutchess, who


who
still
till

at first receiv-

ed him mained

coldly, but

esteemed him, em-

ployed him in the quality of butler.


in this situation

He

re-

the death of his pat-

OF NEGROES.

229

roness.

By
this

him by

economy, and by a legacy left lady, he found himself possessor of


his

70 pounds

sterling,

and

thirty of an annuity.

With

a fondness for study, he


theatre,

sometimes
conse-

mingled that of the


gambling.

of

women, and
in

He

renounced

cards
all

quence of a Jew having won


spent his
rick, of
last shilling at

his clothes.

He

Drury-lane to see Garthe friend.

whom afterwards he became

He

then proposed to represent some character

in Othello

and Oronofro, but a bad articulation


in a situation

prevented him from succeeding

which he considered
versity.

as a resource against adin

He

engaged

the service

of the

chaplain

of the family of Montague, and his

conduct becoming very regular, obtained him


the hand of a very interesting female, born in
the

West

Indies.

In 1773, by attacks of the gout and the


smallness of his fortune, he would have again

been plunged

in misery, if the generosity of his

protectors and his

him

the
his

economy had not afforded means of commencing an honest trade.


his wife's industry he reared

By
a

own and

numerous

family.

The

public esteem was

230

OF THE LITERATURE

the price of his domestic virtues.

He

died the

15th of December,
fiae edition

1780.

After his death, a

of his letters was published, in 2

volumes 8vo. which were well received by the public, and of which there was a second edition
in 1783, with the
trait,
life

of the author, and his por-

designed by Bartolozzi, and engraved by

Gainsborough.

Some
in

articles

are

inserted,

which had appeared

the public journals.

Jefferson reproaches

him

for yielding

too

much

to

his

imagination,
is like

whose excentric

march, says he,

to those fugitive meteors

which dart through the firmament.

He never-

theless acknowledges, that he has an easy style,

and happy expression, and


breathe the

that his writings

sweetest effusions of sentiment.*

Imlay declares that he has not had an opportunity of reading them, but observes, that the error

of Jefferson in his opinions concerning negroes,


renders suspicious
all

that he says of Sancho.f

* Letters of the

late Ignatius

Sancho, an African,
his
life.

to which are prefixed memoirs of London, 1732


.

2 toI. 8vo

+ Imlay, p. 315.

OF NEGROES.

231

Letters are a specie of literature which

is

seldom susceptible of

anal) sis,

whether
it

it

be

owing
ing

to the variety of subjects

embraces, or
in

to the liberty

which the author takes


the

groupof exa-

many subjects in mining some deeply,

same

letter,

whilst others are slightly

passed over, and often flying from his subject


to finish by digressions.

We

read the letters


at-

of

madam

de Sevigne, but no one has ever

tempted

to analyse

them.

We

certainly cannot

compare the African author's


that kind of writing for

to her,

except in

which madam de Se-

vigne
are

is

so distinguished

but
The

after

her there

still

honorable places.

epistolary style

of Sancho resembles that of Sterne, of which


it

With him Sancho had formed an acquaintance. The


has
the beauties and defects.

third

volume of the
fine

letters

of Sterne contain a
in

very
tells

one addressed to Sancho,

which ho
hu-

him

that the varieties of nature in the

man

species

do not cut asunder the bands of


:

consanguinity

and he expresses

his

indigna-

tion that certain

men wish

to class a portion of

their equals in the rank of brutes, that they

may

with impunity treat them as such.*

* Letters of the Rev.


friends, 3 vol. Svo.

Lawrence Sterne,

to bis^ intimate

London, 1775-

232

OF THE

LITERATURE

Sometimes he

is

trivial
is

sometimes
;

heated
general

with his subject, he

poetical

but

in

he has the grace and lightness of the fancy


style.

He

is

playfully witty,

when between
;

the

tyrannic empire of fashion on the one hand, and


health and happiness on the other

he places the

man

of the world irrisolute in his choice.

He
ty as

is

grave

when he exposes

the motives

by

which Providence has given


a

to genius pover-

companion

pompous when

interro-

gating nature, she every where points out to

him
',*'

the works and hand of the Creator.

According to the plan of the Deity, com(said he)

merce
all
it

ought to render

common

to
;

the globe

the productions of each country

ought to unite nations by the sentiment of regeneral diffusion of the benefits of the
:

ciprocal wants of fraternal amity, and thus facilitate a

gospel
lias

but those poor Africans,

whom Heaven
soil,

favoured with a rich and luxuriant

are

the

most unhappy of the human species by the


traffic in

horrible

slaves

and

this is

perform-

ed by christians."

We

recollect the tragical

end of Dr. Dodd,


and the whole

condemned

to death for forgery,


OF NEGROES.
of whose former

233

life

had been a model of wis-

dom.

We

regret his punishment,

when we
rea-

read the letter in

which Sancho unfolds the

sons Which prevented

him from obtaining

par-

don.

Some
puted,

of his moral assertions might be diswritings generally did not present


to virtue.

if his

a repeated

homage

He

inspires this

sentiment in painting the dutchess of

the great chancellor tormented by conscience of the soul. " Act then always in such a man-

ner as to gain the approbation of your heart


to

be truly brave, one must be truly good

We

have reason as a rudder, religion


star,

for

our

anchor, truth for our polar

conscience as

a faithful monitor, and perfect happiness as a

recompense.'*

In the same

letter,

endeavouring to drive

away
bring

recollections,

which might expose his

virtue to a
to

new shipwreck, he exclaims, u why mind those combustible matters,

whilst rapidly glancing over

my

past years,

approach the end of

my

career ?

Have

not

the gout, six children and a wife ?

heaven,

where

art

thou

You

see that

it is

much more

30

234

OF THE

LITERATURE
we know how

easy to preach than to act, but


to separate

good from

evil

let

us arm ourselves

against vice and act like a general in his camp,

who

ascertains

the force and position of the

enemy, and places advance guards to avoid surprize,


let

us

act

so even
lift- ;

in

the ordinary

course of

human

and believe me,

my
im
a tc

friend, that a victory gained over passion,

morality and pride,

is

more deserving of
is

deum, than that which

obtained in the field

of ambition and of carnage."*

I request the reader


to the extracts

not to confine himself


read
;

we have

they can give but

an imperfect idea of the author

the
is,

more
the

re-

spectful the authority of Jefferson

more

important

is it

to

combat

his

judgment, which

seems too severe.

PHILLIS WHEATLEY.
Phillis

Wheatiey

was

stolen

from Af-

rica at seven or eight years of age, carried to

Paxtim.

vol. letter 7*

OF NEGROES.
America, and sold

235

in

1761, to John Wheatley,

a rich merchant at Boston.

Of amiable manners,

exquisite sensibility, and premature talents, she

was so cherished by the family, that they not only freed her from those painful labours reserved
for slaves,

but also from the cares of the

household.

Passionately fond of reading, and

delighting in the perusal of the scriptures, she


rapidly attained a knowledge of the Latin lan-

guage.
lis

In 1772, at nineteen years of age, Phislave, published

Wheatley, the negress

little

volume

in

English, of religious and


thirty- nine

mo-

ral poetry,

which contains
in the

pieces.

This work has run through several editions in

England and
take away
all

United States

and to

pretext from malevolence, in say-

ing that she was not the author, the genuineness of the publication
first

was established

in the

page of the volume, by a declaration of her

master, of the governor, and lieutenant gover-

nor of the

state,

and of fifteen other respectable

persons in Boston,

who knew
life.

her talents and

the circumstances of her

In 1775, she received from her master, her

freedom.
a

Two

years afterwards she married


in the superiority

man

of colour, who,

of

hh

236

OF THE LITERATURE
to that of other negroes,

understanding,
also a kind of

was
less

phenomenon.

We

are

no

surprized to see her husband a grocer, be-

come
ter,

a lawyer, under the

name

of Doctor Peof

and plead before tribunals the cause

the

blacks.

The

reputation he enjoyed procured

him a

fortune.

The

sentimental Phillis,
expression,

who according

to

the trivial

was brought up as a
of domestic affairs,

spoiled child,

knew nothing
art.

and her husband proposed that she should learn


the household

He began

with reproaches,

which were followed by


in

a harshness, the con-

tinuance of which afflicted her so much, that

1780 she died of

broken heart.

Her husthree

band, by

whom

she had a child, which died

when

very young,

survived her only

years.*

Jefferson,

who

appears unwilling to acknow-

ledge the talents of negroes,


Phillis

even those of

Wheatley, pretends that the heroes of

* Letter from Mr. Giraud, French consul, at Boston,

dated 8th October, 1805.

or NEGROES.

237

the

Dunciad
this

are

divinities,

when compared
were disposed
it is

with

African muse.*

If we

to cavil,

we might

say, that to an assertion,


;

sufficient to

oppose a contrary assertion

Ave

blight appeal to

the judgment of the public,

which

is

manifested by the collection


Phillis

the poetry of

Wheatley

made of but a more

direct refutation

may

be made, by selecting

some

portions of her works, which will give us


talents.

an idea of her

This has been done

by Clarkson,f ImlayJ and other authors.

was doubtless her acquaintance with the works of Horace, that induced her to comIt

mence whose
by
the

like

him with an Ode

to

Macenas,$

protection poets- secured

by

flattery.

Their baseness throws

a veil over his


in

Augustus,

same means, buried

oblivion the

horrors of the Triumvirate.

Phillis in this piece

* Notes on Virginia.
t Clarkson, p. 131.
\

Imlay's Topographical Description, letter

9, p.

200

and following.
\

Poems on

various subjects, religious and moral, by

Phillis

Wheatley, negro servant, 8vo. London, 1773.

238

OF THE LITERATURE

reminds us that Terence was her compatriot,


It is not without merit
;

but

we

hasten to sub-

jects

more worthy of her muse.


cast

Almost

all

her poetical productions have a religious or

moral

all

breathe a soft and sentimental


relate

melancholy.
friends.

Twelve

to

the

death of

We

are particularly pleased with her

odes on the works of Providence, on virtue,

humanity, to Neptune to
her

young

painter, of

own

color.

On

seeing his works she vents

her grief on the sorrows of her countrymen.


Remember,
Christians, negroes black as Cain
trail).

May

be refin'd and join the Angelic

The

reader will permit us to present to


the productions of Phillis.

him

some of

On

the death

of

J.

C. an infant.

NO

more

the flow'ry scenes of pleasure rise,

Nor charming

prospects greet the mental eyes,

No more

with joy

we

view that lovely face

Smiling, disportive, fiush'd with ev'ry grace.

The

tear of sorrow fiows from ev'ry eye,


to sighs reply
;

Groans answer groans, and si^hs

What sudden pangs shot thro' each aching heart. When, Death, thy messenger disp^tch'd his dart

OF NEGROES.
Thy
dread attendants,
destroying Po<tv*r }

259

all

Hurried the infant

to his mortal hour.


?

Could'st thou unpitying close those radiant eyes

Or

fail'd his artless

beauties to surprize

Could not

his innocence thy stroke controul,


all

Thy

purpose shake, and soften

thy soul

The blooming babe, with

shades of Death o'erspread)


shall raise its
is

No more
But

shall smile,

no more

head

like a

branch that from the tree

torn,

Falls prostrate, wither'd, languid, and forlorn,

" Where flies my Jamzs," 'tis The parent ask, Some angel

thus
tell

seem

to hear

me where
air
?''

He

wings his passage thro' the yielding


a

Methinka

cherub bending from the skies


replies,
r

Observes the question and serene

" In heav'n's high palaces your babe appears


f*

Prepare to meet him, and dismiss your tears. **

Shall not th' intelligence your griefs restrain,

And

turn the mournful to the chearful strain

Cease your complaints, suspend each risiDg sigh, Cease


to

accuse the Ruler of the sky.


falling tear
:

Parents, no more indulge the

Let Faith

to heav'n's refulgent

domes

repair,
:

There

see your infant like a seraph glow


in his

What charms celestial


Dwells on
his tongue,

numbers

flow.

Melodious, while the soul-enchanting strain

and

fills

th' etherial plain ?


;

Enough forever cease your murm'ring breath


Not
as a foe, but friend, converse with Death,

*40

OF THE LITERATURE
Since to the port of happiness unknown

He

brought that treasure which you


gift

call

your own*

The
Not

of heav'n intrusted to your hand


at

Chearful resign
at

the divine

command

your bar must sov'reign Wisdom stand.

An hymn

to the

Morning.

ATTEND my
Assist

lays,

ye ever honour'd nine,

my

labours, and

my

strains refine

In smoothest numbers pour the notes along,

For bright Aurora now demands


Aurora,
hail,

my

song.

and

all

the thousand dyes,


skies

Which deck thy progress through the vaulted The morn awakes, and wide extends her rays,

On

ev'ry leaf the gentle zephyr plays

Harmonious

lays the feather'd race resume*

Dart the bright eye, and shake the painted plume.

Ye shady

groves, your verdant

gloom

display:

To

shield your poet

from the burning day


lyre,
fire

CaUiofic,

awake the sacred


fair sisters fan

While thy

the pleasing

The
In

bow'rs, the gales, the variegated skies


their pleasures in

all

my bosom

rise.

See

in the east th' illustrious

king of day

His rising radiance drives the shades

away

But

Oh

feei his fervid

beams

too strong,

And

scarce begun, concludes th' abortive songi

OF NEGROES.

24i

To

the right honourable

Willi am-

carl of

Dartmovjh,
Ame-

his Majesty's firincifial


rica, etc.

Secretary of State for North

HAIL, happy
Long
Soon
Sick
lost to

day, when, smiling like the morn*


:

Fair Freedom rose jVeiv- England to adorn

realms beneath the northern skies


factio?i dies
:

She shines supreme, while hated

as appear'd the Goddess long desir'd,


at

the view, she languish'd and expir'dt

Tim's from the splendors of the morning light

The owl

in

sadness seeks the caves of night.


in

No No

more, America,

mournful

strain

Of wrongs, and

grievance unredress'd complain>

longer shalt thou dread the iron chain,

Which wanton Tyranny with lawless hand Had made, and with it meant t' enslave the
Should you,

land.

my

lord, while

you peruse

my

song,

Wonder from whence my love of Freedom sprung} Whence flow the wishes for the common good* By feeling hearts alone best understood
:

I,

young

in life

by seeming cruel
Afric's fancy'd

fate

Was snatch'd

from

happy

seat

What pangs excruciating must molest, What sorrows labour in my parents' breast
Steel'd

was

that soul,

and by no misery mov'd,


:

That from
Such, such

a father seized his babe belov'd

my

case

And
31

can

then but pray

Others

may

never

feel tyrannic

sway

etc. etc*

243

CHAPTER

VIII.

CONCLUSION.

UF
ed,

all
I

countries where science is cultivat-

doubt whether there be one so much a

stranger to foreign literature as France.

We
menthan
a

need not therefore be surprized that no


tion
is

made

of negro authors, in our histo-

rical dictionaries,

which are

little

else

financiering

speculations.

They

contain

pompous

list

of ephemeral romances, and the-

atrical pieces

long forgotten.

place

is

giv-

en to Cartouche, and Kaskes, the founder of

Sunday

Schools,

is

forgotten.

No

notice is

taken of Hawes, the establisher of the

Humane

Society, for the recovery of individuals struck

with apparent ddath

nor of Hartlib, Maitland,

Long, Thomas Coram, Hanway, Fletcher of


Salton,

Enius Walter, Wagenaar, Buckelts,


Mineo,
Chiarizi,

Meenwis Parker, Valentyn, Eguyara, Francis


Solis,

Tubero,

Jerusalem

and Finnus Jehannacus, we do not find even the

244

OP THE LITERATURE

name

of

Suhm,

the Puffendorf of the last cen-

tury, nor that of

many

national writers

who

merit distinction, such as Persini, Blarn, Je-

han de Brie, John de Lois, and the good Quaker Benizet, born
all

at St.

Quintin, the friend of

men, the defender of the oppressed, who,


life,

during his whole


son,
at

combatted slavery by rea-

religion

and example.

He

established,

Philadelphia, a

school for young negroes,

who were

taught by himself.

During those
his

in-

tervals of leisure

which the functions of

em-

ployment allowed, he sought for the unfortunate


to give

them comfort. At

his funeral,

which was

honoured with the solemn attendance of an im-

mense number of people, an American

colonel,

who had

served as engineer in the war of free-

dom, exclaimed, " I would rather be Benizet in his coffin, than George Washington with all his
celebrity.

"An

exaggeration which does honour


In speaking of Benizet,

to his heart.

Yvan

Raiz, a Russian traveller, said, " the Aca-

demies of Europe resound with praises decreed


to illustrious

men, and the name of Benizet


list,

is

not found on the


reserve
their

for
?

whom
This

then do they

crowns

Frenchman,
of

who

so powerfully

excited

the attention
in France."

strangers, is not even

known

His

OF NEGR0E8.

245

name

is

not mentioned
;

dictionaries

by our compilers of but Benjamin Rush, and a num-

ber of English and Americans, have at least repaired this omission.

Men, who have consulted only sense, and who have not attended
relative

their

common

to discussions

to

colonies, will perhaps scarcely be-

lieve

that

many have

classed negroes in the

rank of brutes, and have questioned their moral

and

intellectual capacity.
it is

This doctrine,
is

however, as absurd as

abominable,
It

in-

sinuated in different' writings.

cannot be

disputed that negroes, in general, to ignorance


join absurd prejudices, gross vices, and especially those

which belong to slaves of


colors
:

all

spe-

cies

and

all

Frenchmen, Englishmen
if
I

and Hollanders, what would you have been,


placed in the same circumstances ?
that

maintain,

among

errors the

most stupid, and crimes


is

the most hideous, there

not one for which

you ought to reproach them.


In Europe, during ages, whites, under va-

made slaves of whites. Can we otherwise characterize the impressment of men in England, the conduct of lady sellers in
rious forms, have

246

OF THE LITERATURE

Holland, and that of German Princes,

who vend

their regiments for the service of the colonies ?

But,

if

ever

negroes, bursting their chains,


forbid) on the

should come, (which Heaven

European
from them
if

coast, to
;

drag whites of both sexes


to chain

their families

them and conduct

to Africa,

and mark them with a hot iron;

whites stolen, sold, purchased by crimes, and

placed under the guidance of merciless inspectors,

were immediately compelled, by the stroke

of the whip, to work in a climate injurious to


their

health,

where

at

the close of each day,

they would have no other consolation than that

of advancing another step to


other perspective than
all

the

tomb

no
all

to suffer

and

to die in

the anguish of despair

if

devoted to misery

and ignominy, they were excluded from

the privileges of society, and declared legally incapable of judicial action, their testimony

would not have been admitted even

against the

black class :r-if, like the slaves of Batavia, these

white slaves in their turn, were not permitted to

wear shoes and stockings


side

if

driven

from the
to mingle

walks,

they were

compelled
the

with the animals in

middle

of the
to have

street

if

subscription were
in a ma^ss,

made

them lashed

and

their backs,


or NEGROES.
to prevent gangrene, covered

247
with pepper and

with

salt

if

the forfeit for killing

them were

but a

trifling

nam

sum, as at Barbadoes and Suriif a reward were offered for apprehending


escape from slavery

those

who

if

those

who

escape were hunted by a pack of hounds, train-

ed
the

to carnage

if,

blaspheming the Divinity,


that

blacks

pretended,

by

their

origin

they had permission of heaven to preach pas*


sive obedience
if

and resignation to the whites


reprisals

greedy hireling writers published, that for


reason, just

this

may be exercised
and that white

against the rebellious


slaves are happy,

whites,

more happy than the pea:-

sants in the the arts

bosom of Africa

in a word, if
all
all

all

of cunning

and calumny,

the

strength and fury of avarice,

the inventions

of ferocity were directed against you, by a coalition

of dogs, merchants, priests, kings, sol-

diers and colonists,

what cry of horror would


?
;

resound through these countries


it,

To
a

express

new

epithets

would be sought

writers,

and particularly of poets,

crowd of would exhaust


to

their eloquent lamentations, provided that hav-

ing nothing to
gain.

fear,

there

was something
this hypothesis,

Europeans, reverse

and

see what

you

are

248

OF THE LITERATURE
the three last centuries, tvgers-and

Daring For three

panthers are less terrible to Africa, than you.


centuries, Europe,

which

calls herself

christian and civilized, tortures without

pity,

and without remorse, the people of Africa and


America,
rian.

whom

she calls savage

and barba-

To procure

indigo, sugar and coffee, she

has introduced amongst them drunkenness, desolation,

and a forgetfulness of
Africa
is

all

the

senti-

ments of nature.
breathe

not even allowed to

when

the powers of

Europe
Yes,

are

comit,

bined to tear her to pieces.


there
is

I repeat

not a vice, not


is

species of wickedness,

of which Europe

not guilty towards negroes,

of which she has not shewn them the example.

Avenging God! suspend thy thunder, exhaust


thy compassion, in giving her time and courage
to repair, if possible, these horrors
cities.

and

atro-

have taken upon myself the task of prov-

ing, that the negroes are capable of virtues


talents
;

and

this I

have established by reasoning,


facts
:

and

still

more by

these facts do not an;

nounce sublime discoveries

these

works are
I

not chef d'oeuvres, but they furnish irrefutable

arguments against the enemies of negroes.

OF NECROES.

249
all

shall not say

with Helvetius, that

individu-

als at their birth,

have the same dispositions,

and
tion

that
:

man

is

the product of his

own

educageneral

though
is

this assertion, false in a

sense,

true in

many

respects.

union of

fortunate circumstances unfolded the genius of

Copernicus, Galileo, Leibnitz and

Newton
if

perhaps others might have surpassed them,

unfortunate circumstances had not prevented


the developement of their mind.
try has its Baotia, that

Each coun-

but we

virtue

and

vice,

may say, in general, wisdom and foolishness,


all

genius and stupidity, belong to


nations, heads

countries,

and complexions*

To
same

form a comparison of the people of dif-

ferent countries,
situation

we must

place

them
;

in the

and circumstances

and what

likeness can be found between whites, enlight-

ened by the truths of Christianity, (which leads


to almost
ries
all

others) enriched
all

by

the discove-

and information of

ages, and stimulated

by every species of encouragement, and blacks, deprived of all those advantages, and devoted
to oppression and misery ? If

not given a proof of their

some of them had talents, there would


what astonishes us

be no reason for surprize

32

250
that so

OF THE LITERATURE

is,

many

of them have displayed genius.

What would

they

then be,

if

restored to the

dignity of free men, they occupied the rank

which nature has assigned and tyranny

refuse

ed?
Revolutions,
in the
political

world, on ac-

count of the disasters they occasion,

may be

compared

to the great convulsions of nature.

The

planters

have been guilty of another imfriends

posture,

in asserting that the

of the

blacks wished for a sudden and general free-

dom

It is

not so, they were in favour of pro-

gressive measures, which, without commotion,

would accomplish

the desired object.

Such was

the opinion of the author of this work,

when

in

publication addressed to negroes and free


lattoes,

muthat

which brought upon him so much abuse,


still

he announced (and he

announces

it)

one day, on the banks of the Antilles, the sun


will shine

on

free

men

only, and

its

beams no
the

longer set on irons and slaves


planters have rejected with fury

But
all

French

thedecreesby
to in-

which the constituent assembly proposed


troduce gradually those salutary reforms
pride, says Genty, has lost
:

their

them the new

-world,

which

will never flourish

but under the auspi-

OF NEGROES,

251
horrible
traffic

ces of personal liberty.

The

which

mm

there

makes of his own species,

will

never lead to a durable prosperity.

Happily the colonies, and the American continent, the last

asylum of liberty, are advancing


which
will

to a state of things,

be
all

common

to

the Antilles, and

whose course

the combin-

ed powers
reinstated

will

be unable to arrest.
rights,

Negroes,
irresistible

in their
will

by the

force of events,
colonists,

owe no

gratitude towards

whose affections might have been won by means equally easy and useful.

Manual
utility

labour, voluntarily undertaken, the


is

of which

acknowledged

in Brazil

and

the Bahamas, and the successful introduction of the plough in Jamaica,* are sufficient to the order

shew

of over'hrowing, or modifying the

colonial system.

This revolution

will

have an

accelerated motion

when industry and freedom,


relations,

better acquainted with their mutual


shall
call

in the aid of the steam-engine

and

* Dallas, vol. l,p. 4. Barre St.


"o

Venant

?.!so

proposes

introduce the plough into

tfee

colonies.

252

0* THE

LITERATURE
which abridge
;

other mechanical

inventions,

labour and

facilitate

manipulations

when an
every

energetic and powerful nation, to

whom

thing announces a high

destiny,

stretching
Pacific

her

arms

across

the

Atlantic and

Oceans,

shall dart

her vessels from the one to

the other by a shorter rout, whether


the isthmus of

by cutting

Panama, or by forming a canal


and the lake of Nigaragua, and

of communication, as has been proposed, by the


river St. John,

thus change the face of the commercial world,

and of empires

who knows whether Ameri-

ca will not avenge herself for the outrages she


has suffered, and whether old Europe, reduced
to the rank of a subaltern power, will not be.

come

a colony of the

new world ?
is

There
there
is

is

nothing useful but what

just
indi-

no law of nature which makes one


another
:

vidual dependent on

and

all

these
force.

laws, which reason disavows, have

no

Every person brings with him into the world


his title to

freedom.*
its

Social conventions have


its

circumscribed

use, but

limits

ought to

Lc Gent*.

OF NEGROES.
be the same for
ty,

253
of a

all

the

members

communireli-

whatever be their origin, colour or


If,

gion.

says Price, you have a right to


a
:

another

man
slave

slave,
if

he has a right

ro

make make

you a

and

we have no

right, says

Ramsay,

to sell him,

no one has a right

to pur-

chase him.*

May

European nations

at last expiate their

crimes towards Africans.

May

Africans, raisall

ing their humiliated fronts, give spring to


their faculties,

and

rival the whites in

talents

and
fits

virtues only; avenging themselves by bene-

and effusions of

fraternal

kindness, at last

enjoy liberty and happiness.

Although these

advantages be but the dream of an individual,


it is

at least

consoling to carry to the

tomb

the

conviction, that

we have done every

thing in

our power to procure them for others.

* Essay on the treatment and conversion of slaves,

Fum.

CONTENTS.

Page

Dedication
Translator's Preface

.......
I.

CHAPTER
Concerning the

signification of the
all

word

Negro.

Ought
this

blacks to be includDiffer-

ed under

denomination?

ence of opinion concerning their origin.

Unity of the primitive type of the hu-

man

race

->.*--.-..
CHAPTER
II.

ft

Opinions

relative to the

moral inferiority

of Negroes.
ject.

Discussions on this sub-

Of

the obstacles which slavery

opposes to the developement of their


faculties.

These obstacles combatted

by the

christian religion.

Of

bishops

and negro priests

45

CON TENT S<-

CHAPTER
Moral
qualities of the

HI.
rage

Negroes

their love

of industry, courage, bravery, paternal


tenderness,
filial

generosity, &c.

89

CHAPTER

IV.
-

Continuation of the same Subject

107

CHAPTER
Political societies

V.

Talents of the Negroes for arts and trades.

organized

among

the

Negroes

127

CHAPTER
Literature of Negroes

VI.
155
VII.

CHAPTER
Of Negroes and
by
their talents

Mulattoes distinguished

and

their

works
VIII.

171

CHAPTER
Conclusion

245

Date Due

DATE^

L.