The lengthy arguments concerning the intellect of the negroe drawn from history, and the numerous explanations of his mental inferiority, which have at various times been given, (without supposing him of a distinct species,) are rendered totally useless, if it can be shown, that the portion of his brain, which presides over the animal functions, exceeds, to any great extent, that from which the mental endowments arise. Furthermore, although we are not believers in physiognomy, (as a science,) yet we cannot avoid making a remark upon the negro's face, which may not be entirely overlooked--although we may thereby risk the commission of a tautology.
His lips are thick, his zygomatic muscles, large and full* (*"These muscles are always in action during laughter and the extreme enlargement of them indicates a low mind." Lavater)--his jaws large and projecting,--his chin retreating,--his forehead low, flat and slanting, and (as a consequence of this latter character,) his eyeballs are very prominent,--apparently larger than those of white men;--all of these peculiarities at the same time contributing to reduce his facial angle almost to a level with that of the brute--Can any such man become great or elevated?--the history of the Africans will give a decisive answer. Even the ancients were fully aware of this kind of mutual coincidence, between the facial angle, and the powers of the mind: consequently, in their statues of heroes and philosophers, they usually extended the angle to 90 degrees,--making that of the Gods to be 100: beyond which, it cannot be enlarged without deformity. Modern anatomists have fixed the average facial angle of the European at 80--negro 70,--ourang outang 58--all brutes below 70, the average angle of quadrupeds being about 20. ******
If then it is consistent with science, to believe that the mind will be great in proportion to the size and figure of the brain: it is equally reasonable to suppose, that the acknowledged meanness of the negroe's intellect, only coincides with the shape of his head; or in other words, that his want of capability to receife a complicated education renders it improper and impotitic, that he should be allowed the privileges of citizenship in an enlightened country! It is in vain for the Amalgamationists to tell us that the negroes have had no opportunity to improve, or have had less opportunities than European nations; the public are well aware that three or four thousand years could not have passed away, without throwing advantages in the way of the Africans; yet in all this time, with every advantage that liberty, and their proximity to refined nations could bestow, they have never even attempted to raise themselves above their present equivocal station, in the great zoological chain. (pp. 24-25)
Slavery is that system of labour which exchanges subsistence for work, which secures a life-maintenance from the master to the slave, and gives a life-labour from the slave to the master. The slave is an apprentice for life, and owes his labour to his master; the master owes support, during life, to the slave. Slavery is the negro system of labour. He is lazy and improvident. Slavery makes all work, and it ensures homes, food and clothing for all. It permits no ideless, and it provides for sickness, infancy and old age. It allows no tramping or skulking, and it knows no pauperism.
This is the whole system substantially. * * * *
If Slavery is subject to abuses, it has its advantages also. It establishes more permanent, and, therefore, kinder relations between capital and labour. It removes what Stuart ill calls "the widening and embittering feud between the class of labour and the class of capital." It draws the relation closer between master and servant. It is not an engagement for days or weeks, but for life. There is no such thing, with Slavery, as a labourer for whom nobody cares or provides. The most wretched feature, in hireling labour, is the isolated miserable creature who has no home, no work, no food, and in whom no one is particularly interested. This is seen among hirelings only.
I do not say that Slavery is the best system of labour, but only that it is the best, for the negro, in this country. In a nation composed of the same race or similar races, where the labourer is intelligent, industrious and provident, money wages may be better than subsistence. Even under all advantages, there are great defects in the hireling labour system, for which, hitherto, no Statesman has discovered an adequate remedy. In hireling States there are thousands of idlers, trampers, poachers, smugglers, drunkards and thieves, who make theft a profession. There are thousands who suffer for want of food and clothing, from inability to obtain them. For these two classes--those who will not work, and those who cannot--there is no sufficient provision. Among slaves there are no trampers, idlers, smugglers, poachers, and none suffer from want. Every one is made to work, and no one is permitted to starve. Slavery does for the negro what European schemers in vain attempt to do for the hireling. It secures work and subsistence for all. It secures ore order and subordination also.* (*One of the best arrangements for the relief of the hireling labourer, is the provision made in France, of houses where the children of labourers are taken in when the labourers go to work in the morning, are carefully attended during the day, and restored to the parents on their return t night--a similar provision for the care of children is found on every plantation.) The master is a Commissioner of the Poor, on every plantation, to provide food, clothing, medicine, houses, for his people. He is a police officer to prevent idleness, drunkenness, theft, or disorder. I do not mean by formal appointment of law, but by virtue of his relation to his slaves. There is, therefore, no starvation among slaves. There are, comparatively, few crimes. If there are paupers in slave States, they are the hirelings of other countries, who have run away fro their homes. Pauperism began, with them, when serfage was abolished.
What more can be required of Slavery, in reference to the negro, than has been done? It has made him, from a savage, an orderly and efficient labourer. It supports him in comfort and peace. It restrains his vices. It improves his mind, orals and manners. It instructs him in Christian knowledge.
* * * *
All Christians believe that the affairs of the world are directed by Providence for wise and good purposes. The coming of the negro to North America makes no exception to the rule. His transportation was a rude mode of emigration; the only practicable one in his case; not attended with ore wretchedness than the emigrant ship often exhibits even now, notwithstanding the passenger law. What the purpose of his coming is, we may not presume to judge. But we can see much good already resulting from it--good to the negro, in his improved condition; to the country whose rich fields he has cleared of the forest and made productive in climates unfit for the labour of the white man; to the Continent of Africa in furnishing, as it may ultimately, the only means for civilizing its people.
Discourse I. Colossians IV.I: Masters give unto your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also have a master in heaven.
The strict meaning of the word here rendered servants, is bondmen or slaves. In this sense, particularly when applied, as here, to a distinct class of men, it is believed to be uniformly employed in the New Testament, especially in the Epistles.
Slavery, it appears, is of great antiquity. It has existed in the world, in some form or other, even from the times immediately following, if not before the flood. It may be regarded as one of the penal consequences of sin--an effect of that doom pronounced upon the human race in consequence of the disobedience of our first parents, whereby perpetual labour was entailed upon man as the only means of sustaining life--"Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. In the swat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground."
Though this sentence was passed upon mankind generally, it was not to be expected, that its effects would continue for any length of time to be felt by all alike. There would, of necessity, very soon arise an inequality e men. The Father, s the head of the family, would of course direct and command the labours of his children; and as the number of these increased, and the operations of the household became, in consequence, expanded, his time would be more and more occupied in planning and superintending the labours of the rest, until, in process of tie, he would find it essential to the welfare of the whole, that he should withdraw entirely from manual toil, and devote himself exclusively to cares and labours of a different kind.
So, also, as society advanced and the human race multiplied in the earth, the idleness of some, the incapacity of others, and the vices of a still greater number, would lead to greater inequalities. The wants of the idle and improvident, would, after a while, constrain them to enter the service of the more industrious and prudent; the incapable and weak would naturally become dependent upon the intelligent and strong; and a regard to the common safety, if o other cause, would ultimately lead to something like the enslaving of the lawless and violent.
To such a state of things had the world advanced long before the establishment of the Mosaic Institutions. Subordination in society existed everywhere. Servitude was recognized as a necessary condition, and patiently, if not cheerfully, submitted to, in every variety of form. Patriarchs, or heads of families, held in subjection to their authority, not only the inferior branches of their respective tribes, together with their hired labourers and menials, but also servants "bought with their money," or "born in their houses"--that is, slaves.* (See Genesis xiv. 24, 25--svi. 6,90--xvii. 12. 13.)
[Note: Here the author goes on to describe the nature and extent of slavery in the Roman world.]*****
Such were the nature and extent of slavery in the world, when our Saviour appeared, to proclaim "peace on earth, and good will to men"--to preach the glad tidings of salvation to a ruined world--to redeem us from sin and everlasting death, and to "open the kingdom of Heaven to all believers." And how did he regard it? What had he to say of this institution, as he found it existing among the people he came to save? Did he condemn it as anti-scriptural and unjust? Did he enjoin on his disciples an immediate emancipation of their slaves? Did he so much as caution his followers against purchasing them in the future? Not a word, disapproving the practice, ever fell from his lips. As a settled civil institution of the Empire, he meddled not with it, of course--for his "kingdom", as he declared "was not of this world." He came not to remodel the governments--he came not to reform the civil institutions of the world--he came "to seek and to save that which was lost." But in the course of his ministry, he must have come in contact with many individuals who were holders of slaves; and surely, had he regarded them as living in the habitual commission of a 'moral wrong,' he would scarcely have forborne, on some occasion, to express his indignation. And did he never rebuke them for holding their fellow-men in bondage? Did he never give them to understand that, if they would be his disciples, they must set their slaves at liberty? No, Brethren, nothing of the kind occurs in his whole history. On the contrary, it appears that he habitually inclined to discountenance the dissevering of those ties which he found binding society together. He sought to reform the hearts and lives of men, and to fit them for Heaven; not to change their relative condition on earth. Indeed, so far was he from anathematizing those who were owners of slaves, it seems he once passed a very high encomium on one of this class--on a Heathen Slave-holder! Of the Centurion--a n officer in the Roman army--who applied to him on behalf of a sick servant, upon his declining the honor of a personal visit from our Lord, and arguing, "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant (slave) shall be healed; for I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say unto one, go, and he goeth, and to another come, and he cometh, and to my servant (so slave) do this, and he doeth it"--of him, we are told, that Jesus "said to them that followed, verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith; no, not in Israel.
Neither do we find anything in the writings of the Apostles condemnatory of slavery. The relation of Master and Slave is frequently spoken of, but never with one word of disapprobation. The relative duties of each are inculcated with freedom and earnestness, in the same manner as are those of other relations subsisting among men, such as parents and children, husbands and wives, magistrates and citizens; while no intimation whatever is given that that particular one is more inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the gospel than the rest. Indeed we are furnished with one remarkable instance, in which an Apostle appears to have been instrumental, not in setting at liberty, (as some over-benevolent persons in our day are forward to do) but in reclaiming and sending back to his master, A FUGITIVE SLAVE! I allude to the case of Onemsimus. Phileon, it appears, was a Christian--a convert of St. Paul's--and a slaveholder. His slave Onesimus had eloped from his master; but meeting St. Paul in his travels, he became a convert to the Christian Faith, and now, under the influence of Christian principle set home to his conscience, doubtless by the faithful exertion of the Apostle, he resolved on returning to his master's service. This occasion sees to have led to the writing of the "Epistle to Philemon," of which this very Oensimus was the bearer.*
*Footnote: Some strenuous advocates of emancipation, the author is aware, have sought to give this transaction a somewhat different aspect. From the expressions used by the Apostle (vs. 16-21) they have inferred that he did not mean to consign Onesimus again to bondage; confidently trusting that since his conversion he would no longer be regarded by Philemon as a slave, but be received and acknowledged not only as a Christian brother, but as an equal. A candid examination of the Epistle, however, must, it is thought, satisfy every impartial mind that the view given above is the correct one. Certainly, it is the one maintained by the generality of commentators. Bloom field (notes on the Greek Testament) on the expression (v. 15) "that thou shouldst receive him forever," remarks, "this is not only meant to engage that he shall not run away again, but to suggest another and affecting consideration; 'for if,' as Dr. Burton observes, 'Onesimus had continued a heathen, Philemon might have had him a servant for life, but after that they would have been separated; now, they would be companions forever, in this world and the next."'(pp.5-11)
In one thing I concur with the abolitionists; that if emancipation is to be brought about, it is better that it should be immediate and total. But let us suppose it to be brought about in any manner, and then inquire what would be the effects.
The first and most obvious effect, would be to put an end to the cultivation of our great Southern staple. And this would be equally the result, if we suppose the emancipated negroes to be in no way distinguished from the free labourers of other countries, and that their labor would b equally effective. . . Imagine an extensive rice or cotton plantation cultivated by free laborers, who might perhaps strike for an increase of wages, at a season when the neglect of a few days would insure the destruction of the whole crop. Even if it were possible to procure laborers at all, what planter would venture to carry on his operations under such circumstances? I need hardly say that these staples cannot be produced to any extent where the proprietor of the soil cultivates it with his own hands. He can do little more than produce the necessary food for himself and his family.
And what would be the effect of putting an end to the cultivation of these staples, and thus annihilating, at a blow, two-thirds or three-fourths of our foreign commerce? Can any sane mind contemplate such a result without terror? I speak not of the utter poverty and misery to which we ourselves would be reduced, and the desolation which would overspread our own portion of the country. Our slavery has not only given existence to millions of slaves within our own territories, it has given the means of subsistence, and therefore, existence, to millions of freemen in our confederate States; enabling them to send forth their swarms to overspread the plains and forests of the West, and appear as the harbingers of civilization. The products of the industry of those States are in general similar to those of the civilized world, and are little demanded in their markets. By exchanging them for ours, which are everywhere sought for, the people of these States are enabled to acquire all the products of art and industry, all that contributes to convenience or luxury, or gratifies the taste of the intellect, which the rest of the world can supply. Not only on our own continent, but on the other, it has given existence to hundreds of thousands, and the means of comfortable subsistence to millions. A distinguished citizen of our own Stat, than whom none can be better qualified to form an opinion, has lately stated that our great staple, cotton, has contributed more than anything else of later times to the progress of civilization. By enabling the poor to obtain cheap and becoming clothing, it has inspired a taste for comfort, the first stimulus to civilization. Does not self-defense, then, demand of us steadily to resist the abrogation of that which is productive of so much good? It is more than self-defense. IT is to defend millions of human beings, who are far removed from us, from the intensest suffering, if not from being struck out of existence. It is the defense of human civilization. (pp. 617-618)