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cause he is ill-mannered, or slovenly, or selfish, or vain, or stupid, or contentious-but because he is black;"it is to be decided how far the physical peculiarities which God himself has stamped upon the colored man, form an anti-social wall of partition. What right has any man to dispose of this problem, pregnant with human destiny, by his baseless, question-begging prejudices? It would certainly seem to be the duty of a philanthropic white person, in view of the enormous evils of caste, to seek out proper cases, where, besides the "African" characteristics, as few preventives as possible shall stand in the way of social intercourse, and see, by a sufficient number of trials, whether individuals of the two castes can pleasantly "share their meals and their good nights together." This, not to broach the question whether the intercourse between what are called the upper and lower classes of society needs reform, would seem to be the least that even patriotism could accept of any one professing to be her votary.
And suppose the trial to have been fairly made, and to have resulted, as when fairly made it always will, against the cord of caste, shall a man, out of regard to custom, refrain from intercourse with the colored, shall he abandon the fruits of his discovery? The tyrant custom has been tried, and brought in guilty; is he to retain his throne? And will reasonable third parties--mere lookers-on, though not uninterested, object to an intercourse which is not only agreeable to the directly concerned, but which tends to heal that wound of society hitherto considered immedicable? Will those who wish for peace and harmony, seek to electrify all others with their own repellencies? We believe they will not. We shall be disappointed if there is not found to be a large class, who, when they are made to see the intimate connection of caste with slavery, will refuse to recognize the distinction on which it is based. We do not think so meanly either of the science, or humanity, or religion of our countrymen, as to believe that they will always mistake the color of the skin for the criterion of the soul, or prove themselves brutal by denying the manhood of others, or seal their own hypocrisy by preaching against caste in Hindostan while they cherish it at home. When the mighty delusion which has repressed the benevolent tendencies, both native and christianized, of the human heart is dispell
ed, there will be a reaction. We shall no longer fear to show common kindness to the man who has fallen among thieves, lest we should be taunted with being about to adopt a despised Samaritan into our family circle;- -we shall no longer fear to cultivate friendship with the colored, lest, per. adventure, it should lead the willing parties somewhat further! Far from us be the wish, in the abstract, to spoil any of our fellow-citizens of that choice store of witty, and wise jests, and gestures whereby they seek to maintain that honorable distinction which they owe to the color of their outer integuments-let them use their jokes while the wit is in them—but we look for the day when it will not only be less creditable to control individual free agency by brute force, but when it will take a great deal more wit to do it by ridicule.
It is no part of our present purpose to show that the negro is a man. He is in truth admitted to be so, by the very laws which hold him in bondage-by the very customs
which consign him to an inferior caste. Nor is it our purpose to prove that, as a man, he is naturally equal to the white. No matter whether he be equal or not. If he be equal, surely he ought not to he made inferior;--if he be naturally inferior, there is no need of caste to keep him so. The law, which supports caste by reason of inequality, should forbid the intercourse, and especially the marriage, of unequal individuals. No man should admit guests to his table till he has had them gauged and weighed, both corporeally and intellectually. No man should take a wife either above or below his own degree on the scale of humanity. There should be public weigh-masters in these matters. If the principle is good for classes, it is good for individuals, --we mean, simply, the principle of other people's dictation, whether in the shape of law or custom.
Our limits will confine us to a glance at some of the mischiefs of caste. In the first place, it injures our national character. The civilized world look upon our quarrel about color with disinterested coolness. On the one side they see the rich, the honorable, the learned whites, clamoring against the blacks as a poor, inferior, ignorant, degraded, incurably wretched race of people, who would be better off out of the country than in it, and without whom the country would be better off. And yet they see these
boasting whites in terrors, lest the blacks should become rich, intelligent, virtuous, and every way as respectable as themselves; shutting them out of honorable employments, out of schools, out of every avenue to preferment; mobbing down all their attempts to become what they are banished from society for not being; calumniating a whole class of men, and then laying out all their brute force to make their calumny true. On the other side, they see the blacks striving to rise from a condition to which they have been degraded without their own fault; asking only for fair play; claiming to be judged of after enjoying equal advantages. Is it doubtful on which side the sympathies of disinterested foreigners will be found? They cannot fail to see that the treatment, which the colored people receive, is evidence of unutterable meanness on the part of the whites. To shut the door on the victim of misfortune is disgraceful enough; but to abuse him as a beggar, and then kick him from the threshold for offering to earn his bread, is much more so; yet it is only a faint type of the working of our American caste. Here is a foul blot on American character, a share of which every white American, who goes abroad, must bear with him.
Again, our caste is a reproach to republicanism. Let it be understood, that, in the model republic of the world, there is a minority, or a sect, or a caste, which has nothing to expect but to be trampled upon without mercy, and who will not choose despotism? Let it be understood, that, in a republic, men may be born to infamy, though not to honor; and what honorable man will not prefer monarchy with its hereditary nobility? Our prejudice props the tottering thrones of all Europe; it rejoices the tyrant-hearts of the nabobs of Asia; it strengthens every where those vampires of the human race,
"Whose robber rights are in their swords."
Again, it is a disgrace to our Protestant Christianity. We profess to reverence the BIBLE;—we appeal to it as of paramount authority; yet we are condemned by it in unequivocal terms. "My brethren," says James, "have not "the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, "with respect of persons. For if there come into your as"sembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel; and
"there come in, also, a poor man in vile raiment; and ye "have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and 'say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to "the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool; "are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become "judges of evil thoughts?" In our churches, men are cornered up, not for the vile raiment in which they have clothed themselves, but for the raiment in which God has clothed them. And though in Christ Jesus, there is to be neither "Barbarian nor Scythian ;" yet certain of our own fellow citizens are bid sit by themselves, because they are Africans! "That which long astonished me," says de Beaumont, "was to find this separation of whites and blacks "in the religious edifices. Who would believe it ?-ranks and privileges in Christian churches! Sometimes the "blacks are confined in an obscure corner of the temple, "sometimes wholly excluded. Imagine what would be the "displeasure of a genteel assembly, if it were obliged to be "mingled with coarse and ill clad people. The meeting "in the holy temple, is the only amusement which the "Sabbath authorizes. For American society, the church is "promenade, concert, ball, and theatre ;-the ladies there display themselves elegantly dressed. The Protestant "temple, is the saloon where one prays. Americans would "be distressed to meet there people of low condition. "Would it not be grievous, too, if the hideous sight of a "black face should come in to tarnish the lustre of a brilliant "assembly? In a congregation of fashionable people, the "majority will necessarily have a mind to shut the door "against people of color: the majority willing so, nothing "can hinder it.
"The Catholic Churches are the only ones which admit "neither of privileges nor exclusions: the black population "finds access to them as well as the white. This tolerance "of Catholicism, and this rigorous police of the Protestant "temples, is not accidental, but pertains to the very nature "of the two systems."+
M. de Beaumont, perhaps, did not understand that it is the cornering which operates as an exclusion.
If the work of de Beaumont had been of the Fiddler and Trollope kind, it would long ago have been printed in our language for the gratification of those who know how to repay such travelers, principal and inte est, in their own coin. But our booksellers have no notion of having their houses pulled down about their ears, for translating too much truth about American prejudice.
If it be true that colored people are admitted, on equal terms, to catholic churches, we are quite sure, with M. de Beaumont, that it must be due to the nature of the catholic system-an implicit submission to foreign authority in spiritual matters and not to its better morality or the greater freedom from prejudice of its American devotees. But in furnishing to the Frenchman ground for this unfavorable comparison we think the Protestian, churches have not unlikely done more to confirm Catholicism in Europe, than all their "Protestant Associations" will ever do to check it in America.
The inhumanity of the church is the food of infidelity.— Slavery in the church makes infidels by thousands, caste in the church is still more mischievous, because more extensive. If Christianity cannot be purified from this corruption, her doom is sealed. Her efforts to convert the world will recoil to her own destruction.
Finally, this institution of caste, this disfranchising of a whole class of our countrymen, is an immense waste of the resources of our country. The people of a country are its riches. A country in which there are all varieties of men, and in which all the departments of human achievement are open to all, is like one in which there are all sorts of mines, and all of them open. What mines of incalculable wealth are there not hid in the hardy constitutions, the patient industry, the light-heartedness, the peaceful dispositions, the thirst for knowledge, the strong social affections, the patriotism and the noble generosity of our colored brethren! All this wealth, some of us, forsooth, would keep buried, or fling it across the ocean, because we do not like the looks of the ore!
We deny that he is the greatest hero who has climbed to the greatest height. In estimating what a man has done, we must take into the account what he had to do with. George Washington saved his country. But he was born to her smiles, and dandled on the knees of her favor. Toussaint Louverture also saved his country. He was born a slave. We avow that when we look for those examples of heroism, of which a nation does well to be proud, we shall expect to find them most noble and most abundant below the summits of society-individuals who have not risen to the top, but have started from the bottom. We shall find among