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The Education Of The Negro Prior To 1861
Chapter III - Education as a Right of Man
by Woodson, Carter Godwin


In addition to the mere diffusion of knowledge as a means to teach religion there was a need of another factor to make the education of the Negroes thorough. This required force was supplied by the response of the colonists to the nascent social doctrine of the eighteenth century. During the French and Indian War there were set to work certain forces which hastened the social and political upheaval called the American Revolution. "Bigoted saints" of the more highly favored sects condescended to grant the rising denominations toleration, the aristocratic elements of colonial society deigned to look more favorably upon those of lower estate, and a large number of leaders began to think that the Negro should be educated and freed. To acquaint themselves with the claims of the underman Americans thereafter prosecuted more seriously the study of Coke, Milton, Locke, and Blackstone. The last of these was then read more extensively in the colonies than in Great Britain. Getting from these writers strange ideas of individual liberty and the social compact theory of man's making in a state of nature government deriving its power from the consent of the governed, the colonists contended more boldly than ever for religious freedom, industrial liberty, and political equality. Given impetus by the diffusion of these ideas, the revolutionary movement became productive of the spirit of universal benevolence. Hearing the contention for natural and inalienable rights, Nathaniel Appleton[1] and John Woolman,[2] were emboldened to carry these theories to their logical conclusion. They attacked not only the oppressors of the colonists but censured also those who denied the Negro race freedom of body and freedom of mind. When John Adams heard James Otis basing his argument against the writs of assistance on the British constitution "founded in the laws of nature," he "shuddered at the doctrine taught and the consequences that might be derived from such premises."[3]
[Footnote 1: Locke, "Anti-slavery", etc., p. 19, 20, 23.]

[Footnote 2: "Works of John Woolman" in two parts, pp. 58 and 73; Moore, "Notes on Slavery in Mass.", p. 71.]

[Footnote 3: Adams, "Works of John Adams", vol. x., p. 315; Moore, "Notes on Slavery in Mass.", p. 71.]
So effective was the attack on the institution of slavery and its attendant evils that interest in the question leaped the boundaries of religious organizations and became the concern of fair-minded men throughout the country. Not only did Northern men of the type of John Adams and James Otis express their opposition to this tyranny of men's bodies and minds, but Laurens, Henry, Wythe, Mason, and Washington pointed out the injustice of such a policy. Accordingly we find arrayed against the aristocratic masters almost all the leaders of the American Revolution.[1] They favored the policy, first, of suppressing the slave trade, next of emancipating the Negroes in bondage, and finally of educating them for a life of freedom.[2] While students of government were exposing the inconsistency of slaveholding among a people contending for political liberty, and men like Samuel Webster, James Swan, and Samuel Hopkins attacked the institution on economic grounds;[3] Jonathan Boucher,[4] Dr. Rush,[5] and Benjamin Franklin[6] were devising plans to educate slaves for freedom; and Isaac Tatem[7] and Anthony Benezet[8] were actually in the schoolroom endeavoring to enlighten their black brethren.
[Footnote 1: Cobb, "Slavery", etc., p. 82.]

[Footnote 2: Madison, "Works of", vol. iii., p. 496; Smyth, "Works of Franklin", vol. v., p. 431; Washington, "Works of Jefferson", vol. ix., p. 163; Brissot de Warville, "New Travels", vol. i., p. 227; Proceedings of the American Convention of Abolition Societies, 1794, 1795, 1797.]

[Footnote 3: Webster, "A Sermon Preached before the Honorable Council", etc.; Webster, "Earnest Address to My Country on Slavery"; Swan, "A Dissuasion to Great Britain and the Colonies"; Hopkins, "Dialogue Concerning Slavery".]

[Footnote 4: Boucher, "A View of the Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution", p. 39.]

[Footnote 5: Rush, "An Address to the Inhabitants of", etc., p. 16.]

[Footnote 6: Smyth, "Works of Franklin", vol. iv., p. 23; vol. v., p. 431.]

[Footnote 7: Wickersham, "History of Ed. in Pa"., p. 249.]

[Footnote 8: "Ibid"., p. 250; "Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed"., 1869, p. 375; "African Repository", vol. iv., p. 61; Benezet, "Observations"; Benezet, "A Serious Address to the Rulers of America".]
The aim of these workers was not merely to enable the Negroes to take over sufficient of Western civilization to become nominal Christians, not primarily to increase their economic efficiency, but to enlighten them because they are men. To strengthen their position these defendants of the education of the blacks cited the customs of the Greeks and Romans, who enslaved not the minds and wills, but only the bodies of men. Nor did these benefactors fail to mention the cases of ancient slaves, who, having the advantages of education, became poets, teachers, and philosophers, instrumental in the diffusion of knowledge among the higher classes. There was still the idea of Cotton Mather, who was willing to treat his servants as part of the family, and to employ such of them as were competent to teach his children lessons of piety.[1]
[Footnote 1: Meade, "Sermons of Thomas Bacon", appendix.]
The chief objection of these reformers to slavery was that its victims had no opportunity for mental improvement. "Othello," a free person of color, contributing to the "American Museum" in 1788, made the institution responsible for the intellectual rudeness of the Negroes who, though "naturally possessed of strong sagacity and lively parts," were by law and custom prohibited from being instructed in any kind of learning.[1] He styled this policy an effort to bolster up an institution that extinguished the "divine spark of the slave, crushed the bud of his genius, and kept him unacquainted with the world." Dr. McLeod denounced slavery because it "debases a part of the human race" and tends "to destroy their intellectual powers."[2] "The slave from his infancy," continued he, "is obliged implicitly to obey the will of another. There is no circumstance which can stimulate him to exercise his intellectual powers." In his arraignment of this system Rev. David Rice complained that it was in the power of the master to deprive the slaves of all education, that they had not the opportunity for instructing conversation, that it was put out of their power to learn to read, and that their masters kept them from other means of information.[3] Slavery, therefore, must be abolished because it infringes upon the natural right of men to be enlightened.
[Footnote 1: "The American Museum", vol. iv., pp. 415 and 511.]

[Footnote 2: McLeod, "Negro Slavery", p. 16.]

[Footnote 3: Rice, Speech in the Constitutional Convention of Kentucky, p. 5.]
During this period religion as a factor in the educational progress of the Negroes was not eliminated. In fact, representative churchmen of the various sects still took the lead in advocating the enlightenment of the colored people. These protagonists, however, ceased to claim this boon merely as a divine right and demanded it as a social privilege. Some of the clergy then interested had not at first seriously objected to the enslavement of the African race, believing that the lot of these people would not be worse in this country where they might have an opportunity for enlightenment. But when this result failed to follow, and when the slavery of the Africans' bodies turned out to be the slavery of their minds, the philanthropic and religious proclaimed also the doctrine of enlightenment as a right of man. Desiring to see Negroes enjoy this privilege, Jonathan Boucher,[1] one of the most influential of the colonial clergymen, urged his hearers at the celebration of the Peace of 1763 to improve and emancipate their slaves that they might "participate in the general joy." With the hope of inducing men to discharge the same duty, Bishop Warburton[2] boldly asserted a few years later that slaves are "rational creatures endowed with all our qualities except that of color, and our brethren both by nature and grace." John Woolman,[3] a Quaker minister, influenced by the philosophy of John Locke, began to preach that liberty is the right of all men, and that slaves, being the fellow-creatures of their masters, had a natural right to be elevated.
[Footnote 1: Jonathan Boucher was a rector of the Established Church in Maryland. Though not a promoter of the movement for the political rights of the colonists, Boucher was, however, so moved by the spirit of uplift of the downtrodden that he takes front rank among those who, in emphasizing the rights of servants, caused a decided change in the attitude of white men toward the improvement of Negroes. Boucher was not an immediate abolitionist. He abhorred slavery, however, to the extent that he asserted that if ever the colonies would be improved to their utmost capacity, an essential part of that amelioration had to be the abolition of slavery. His chief concern then was the cultivation of the minds in order to make amends for the drudgery to their bodies. See Boucher, "Causes", etc., p. 39.]

[Footnote 2: "Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed"., 1871, p. 363.]

[Footnote 3: An influential minister of the Society of Friends and an extensive traveler through the colonies, Woolman had an opportunity to do much good in attacking the policy of those who kept their Negroes in deplorable ignorance, and in commending the good example of those who instructed their slaves in reading. In his "Considerations on the Keeping of Slaves" he took occasion to praise the Friends of North Carolina for the unusual interest they manifested in the cause at their meetings during his travels in that colony about the year 1760. With such workers as Woolman in the field it is little wonder that Quakers thereafter treated slaves as brethren, alleviated their burdens, enlightened their minds, emancipated and cared for them until they could provide for themselves. See "Works of John Woolman" in two parts, pp. 58 and 73.]
Thus following the theories of the revolutionary leaders these liberal-minded men promulgated along with the doctrine of individual liberty that of the freedom of the mind. The best expression of this advanced idea came from the Methodist Episcopal Church, which reached the acme of antislavery sentiment in 1784. This sect then boldly declared: "We view it as contrary to the golden law of God and the prophets, and the inalienable rights of mankind as well as every principle of the Revolution to hold in deepest abasement, in a more abject slavery than is perhaps to be found in any part of the world, except America, so many souls that are capable of the image of God."[1]
[Footnote 1: Matlack, "History of American Slavery and Methodism", pp. 29 "et seq".; McTyeire, "History of Methodism", p. 28.]
Frequently in contact with men who were advocating the right of the Negroes to be educated, statesmen as well as churchmen could not easily evade the question. Washington did not have much to say about it and did little more than to provide for the ultimate liberation of his slaves and the teaching of their children to read.[1] Less aid to this movement came from John Adams, although he detested slavery to the extent that he never owned a bondman, preferring to hire freemen at extra cost to do his work.[2] Adams made it clear that he favored gradual emancipation. But he neither delivered any inflammatory speeches against slaveholders neglectful of the instruction of their slaves, nor devised any scheme for their enjoyment of freedom. So was it with Hamilton who, as an advocate of the natural rights of man, opposed the institution of slavery, but, with the exception of what assistance he gave the New York African Free Schools[3] said and did little to promote the actual education of the colored people.
[Footnote 1: Lossing, "Life of George Washington", vol. iii., p. 537.]

[Footnote 2: Adams, "Works of John Adams", vol. viii., p. 379; vol. ix., p. 92; vol. x., p. 380.]

[Footnote 3: Andrews, "History of the New York African Free Schools", p. 57.]
Madison in stating his position on this question was a little more definite than some of his contemporaries. Speaking of the necessary preparation of the colored people for emancipation he thought it was possible to determine the proper course of instruction. He believed, however, that, since the Negroes were to continue in a state of bondage during the preparatory period and to be within the jurisdiction of commonwealths recognizing ample authority over them, "a competent discipline" could not be impracticable. He said further that the "degree in which this discipline" would "enforce the needed labor and in which a voluntary industry" would "supply the defect of compulsory labor, were vital points on which it" might "not be safe to be very positive without some light from actual experiment."[1] Evidently he was of the opinion that the training of slaves to discharge later the duties of freemen was a difficult task but, if well planned and directed, could be made a success.
[Footnote 1: Madison, "Works of", vol. iii., p. 496.]
No one of the great statesmen of this time was more interested in the enlightenment of the Negro than Benjamin Franklin.[1] He was for a long time associated with the friends of the colored people and turned out from his press such fiery anti-slavery pamphlets as those of Lay and Sandiford. Franklin also became one of the "Associates of Dr. Bray." Always interested in the colored schools of Philadelphia, the philosopher was, while in London, connected with the English "gentlemen concerned with the pious design,"[2] serving as chairman of the organization for the year 1760. He was a firm supporter of Anthony Benezet,[3] and was made president of the Abolition Society of Philadelphia which in 1774 founded a successful colored school.[4] This school was so well planned and maintained that it continued about a hundred years.
[Footnote 1: Smyth, "Works of Benjamin Franklin", vol. v., p. 431.]

[Footnote 2: "Ibid"., vol. iv., p. 23.]

[Footnote 3: Smyth, "Works of Benjamin Franklin", vol. v., p. 431.]

[Footnote 4: "Ibid"., vol. x., p. 127; and Wickersham, "History of Education in Pennsylvania", p. 253.]
John Jay kept up his interest in the Negro race.[1] In the Convention of 1787 he coöperated with Gouverneur Morris, advocating the abolition of the slave trade and the rejection of the Federal ratio. His efforts in behalf of the colored people were actuated by his early conviction that the national character of this country could be retrieved only by abolishing the iniquitous traffic in human souls and improving the Negroes.[2] Showing his pity for the downtrodden people of color around him, Jay helped to promote the cause of the abolitionists of New York who established and supported several colored schools in that city. Such care was exercised in providing for the attendance, maintenance, and supervision of these schools that they soon took rank among the best in the United States.
[Footnote 1: Jay, "Works of John Jay", vol. i., p. 136; vol. iii, p. 331.]

[Footnote 2: "Ibid"., vol. iii., p. 343.]
More interesting than the views of any other man of this epoch on the subject of Negro education were those of Thomas Jefferson. Born of pioneer parentage in the mountains of Virginia, Jefferson never lost his frontier democratic ideals which made him an advocate of simplicity, equality, and universal freedom. Having in mind when he wrote the Declaration of Independence the rights of the blacks as well as those of whites, this disciple of John Locke, could not but feel that the slaves of his day had a natural right to education and freedom. Jefferson said so much more on these important questions than his contemporaries that he would have been considered an abolitionist, had he lived in 1840.

Giving his views on the enlightenment of the Negroes he asserted that the minds of the masters should be "apprized by reflection and strengthened by the energies of conscience against the obstacles of self-interest to an acquiescence in the rights of others." The owners would then permit their slaves to be "prepared by instruction and habit" for self-government, the honest pursuit of industry, and social duty.[1] In his scheme for a modern system of public schools Jefferson included the training of the slaves in industrial and agricultural branches to equip them for a higher station in life, else he thought they should be removed from the country when liberated.[2] Capable of mental development, as he had found certain men of color to be, the Sage of Monticello doubted at times that they could be made the intellectual equals of white men,[3] and did not actually advocate their incorporation into the body politic.
[Footnote 1: Washington, "Works of Jefferson", vol. vi., p. 456.]

[Footnote 2: "Ibid"., vol. viii., p. 380; and Mayo, "Educational Movement in the South", p. 37.]

[Footnote 3: As to what Jefferson thought of the Negro intellect we are still in doubt. Writing in 1791 to Banneker, the Negro mathematician and astronomer, he said that nobody wished to see more than he such proofs as Banneker exhibited that nature has given to our black brethren talents equal to those of men of other colors, and that the appearance of a lack of such native ability was owing only to their degraded condition in Africa and America. Jefferson expressed himself as being ardently desirous of seeing a good system commenced for raising the condition both of the body and the mind of the slaves to what it ought to be as fast as the "imbecility" of their then existence and other circumstances, which could not be neglected, would admit. Replying to Grégoire of Paris, who wrote an interesting essay on the "Literature of Negroes", showing the power of their intellect, Jefferson assured him that no person living wished more sincerely than he to see a complete refutation of the doubts he himself had entertained and expressed on the grade of understanding allotted to them by nature and to find that in this respect they are on a par with white men. These doubts, he said, were the result of personal observations in the limited sphere of his own State where "the opportunities for the development of their genius were not favorable, and those of exercising it still less so." He said that he had expressed them with great hesitation; but "whatever be the degree of their talent, it is no measure of their rights. Because Sir Isaac Newton was superior to others in understanding, he was not therefore lord of the person or property of others." In this respect he believed they were gaining daily in the opinions of nations, and hopeful advances were being made toward their reëstablishment on an equal footing with other colors of the human family. He prayed, therefore, that God might accept his thanks for enabling him to observe the "many instances of respectable intelligence in that race of men, which could not fail to have effect in hastening the day of their relief." Yet a few days later when writing to Joel Barlow, Jefferson referred to Bishop Grégoire's essay and expressed his doubt that this pamphlet was weighty evidence of the intellect of the Negro. He said that the whole did not amount in point of evidence to what they themselves knew of Banneker. He conceded that Banneker had spherical knowledge enough to make almanacs, but not without the suspicion of aid from Ellicott who was his neighbor and friend, and never missed an opportunity of puffing him. Referring to the letter he received from Banneker, he said it showed the writer to have a mind of very common stature indeed. See Washington, "Works of Jefferson", vol. v., pp. 429 and 503.]
So much progress in the improvement of slaves was effected with all of these workers in the field that conservative southerners in the midst of the antislavery agitation contented themselves with the thought that radical action was not necessary, as the institution would of itself soon pass away. Legislatures passed laws facilitating manumission,[1] many southerners emancipated their slaves to give them a better chance to improve their condition, regulations unfavorable to the assembly of Negroes for the dissemination of information almost fell into desuetude, a larger number of masters began to instruct their bondmen, and persons especially interested in these unfortunates found the objects of their piety more accessible.[2]
[Footnote 1: "Locke, Anti-slavery", etc., p. 14.]

[Footnote 2: Brissot de Warville, "New Travels", vol. i., p. 220; Johann Schoepf, "Travels in the Confederation", p. 149.]
Not all slaveholders, however, were thus induced to respect this new right claimed for the colored people. Georgia and South Carolina were exceptional in that they were not sufficiently stirred by the revolutionary movement to have much compassion for this degraded class. The attitude of the people of Georgia, however, was then more favorable than that of the South Carolinians.[1] Nevertheless, the Georgia planters near the frontier were not long in learning that the general enlightenment of the Negroes would endanger the institution of slavery. Accordingly, in 1770, at the very time when radical reformers were clamoring for the rights of man, Georgia, following in the wake of South Carolina, reënacted its act of 1740 which imposed a penalty on any one who should teach or cause slaves to be taught or employ them "in any manner of writing whatever."[2] The penalty, however, was less than that imposed in South Carolina.[3] The same measure terminated the helpful mingling of slaves by providing for their dispersion when assembled for the old-time "love feast" emphasized so much among the rising Methodists of the South.
[Footnote 1: The laws of Georgia were not so harsh as those of South Carolina. A larger number of intelligent persons of color were found in the rural districts of Georgia. Charleston, however, was exceptional in that its Negroes had unusual educational advantages.]

[Footnote 2: Marbury and Crawford, "Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia", p. 438.]

[Footnote 3: Brevard, "Digest of the Public Statutes of South Carolina", vol. ii., p. 243.]
Those advocating the imposition of restraints upon Negroes acquiring knowledge were not, however, confined to South Carolina and Georgia where the malevolent happened to be in the majority. The other States had not seen the last of the generation of those who doubted that education would fit the slaves for the exalted position of citizens. The retrogressives made much of the assertion that adult slaves lately imported, were, on account of their attachment to heathen practices and idolatrous rites, loath to take over the Teutonic civilization, and would at best learn to speak the English language imperfectly only.[1] The reformers, who at times admitted this, maintained that the alleged difficulties encountered in teaching the crudest element of the slaves could not be adduced as an argument against the religious instruction of free Negroes and the education of the American born colored children.[2] This problem, however, was not a serious one in most Northern States, for the reason that the small number of slaves in that section obviated the necessity for much apprehension as to what kind of education the blacks should have, and whether they should be enlightened before or after emancipation. Although the Northern people believed that the education of the race should be definitely planned, and had much to say about industrial education, most of them were of the opinion that ordinary training in the fundamentals of useful knowledge and in the principles of Christian religion, was sufficient to meet the needs of those designated for freedom.
[Footnote 1: Meade, "Sermons of Thomas Bacon", pp. 81-87.]

[Footnote 2: Porteus, "Works of", vol. vi., p. 177; Warburton, "A Sermon", etc., pp. 25 and 27.]
On the other hand, most southerners who conceded the right of the Negro to be educated did not openly aid the movement except with the understanding that the enlightened ones should be taken from their fellows and colonized in some remote part of the United States or in their native land.[1] The idea of colonization, however, was not confined to the southern slaveholders, for Thornton, Fothergill, and Granville Sharp had long looked to Africa as the proper place for enlightened people of color.[2] Feeling that it would be wrong to expatriate them, Benezet and Branagan[3] advocated the colonization of such Negroes on the public lands west of the Alleghanies. There was some talk of giving slaves training in the elements of agriculture and then dividing plantations among them to develop a small class of tenants. Jefferson, a member of a committee appointed in 1779 by the General Assembly of that commonwealth to revise its laws, reported a plan providing for the instruction of its slaves in agriculture and the handicrafts to prepare them for liberation and colonization under the supervision of the home government until they could take care of themselves.[4]
[Footnote 1: "Writings of James Monroe", vol. iii., pp. 261, 266, 292, 295, 321, 322, 336, 338, 349, 351, 352, 353, 378.]

[Footnote 2: Brissot de Warville, "Travels", vol. i., p. 262.]

[Footnote 3: "Tyrannical Libertymen", pp. 10-11; Locke, "Anti-slavery", etc., pp. 31-32; Branagan, "Serious Remonstrance", p. 18.]

[Footnote 4: Washington, "Works of Jefferson", vol. iii., p. 296; vol. iv., p. 291 and vol. viii., p. 380.]
Without resorting to the subterfuge of colonization, not a few slaveholders were still wise enough to show why the improvement of the Negroes should be neglected altogether. Vanquished by the logic of Daniel Davis[1] and Benjamin Rush,[2] those who had theretofore justified slavery on the ground that it gave the bondmen a chance to be enlightened, fell back on the theory of African racial inferiority. This they said was so well exhibited by the Negroes' lack of wisdom and of goodness that continued heathenism of the race was justifiable.[3] Answering these inconsistent persons, John Wesley inquired: "Allowing them to be as stupid as you say, to whom is that stupidity owing? Without doubt it lies altogether at the door of the inhuman masters who give them no opportunity for improving their understanding and indeed leave them no motive, either from hope or fear to attempt any such thing." Wesley asserted, too, that the Africans were in no way remarkable for their stupidity while they remained in their own country, and that where they had equal motives and equal means of improvement, the Negroes were not only not inferior to the better inhabitants of Europe, but superior to some of them.[4]
[Footnote 1: Davis was a logical antislavery agitator. He believed that if the slaves had had the means of education, if they had been treated with humanity, making slaves of them had been no more than doing evil that good might come. He thought that Christianity and humanity would have rather dictated the sending of books and teachers into Africa and endeavors for their salvation.]

[Footnote 2: Benjamin Rush was a Philadelphia physician of Quaker parentage. He was educated at the College of New Jersey and at the Medical School of Edinburgh, where he came into contact with some of the most enlightened men of his time. Holding to the ideals of his youth, Dr. Rush was soon associated with the friends of the Negroes on his return to Philadelphia. He not only worked for the abolition of the slave trade but fearlessly advocated the right of the Negroes to be educated. He pointed out that an inquiry into the methods of converting Negroes to Christianity would show that the means were ill suited to the end proposed. "In many cases," said he, "Sunday is appropriated to work for themselves. Reading and writing are discouraged among them. A belief is inculcated among some that they have no souls. In a word, every attempt to instruct or convert them has been constantly opposed by their masters." See Rush, "An Address to the Inhabitants", etc., p. 16.]

[Footnote 3: Meade, "Sermons of Rev. Thomas Bacon", pp. 81-97.]

[Footnote 4: Wesley, "Thoughts upon Slavery", p. 92.]
William Pinkney, the antislavery leader of Maryland, believed also that Negroes are no worse than white people under similar conditions, and that all the colored people needed to disprove their so-called inferiority was an equal chance with the more favored race.[1] Others like George Buchanan referred to the Negroes' talent for the fine arts and to their achievements in literature, mathematics, and philosophy. Buchanan informed these merciless aristocrats "that the Africans whom you despise, whom you inhumanly treat as brutes and whom you unlawfully subject to slavery with tyrannizing hands of despots are equally capable of improvement with yourselves."[2]
[Footnote 1: Pinkney, "Speech in Maryland House of Delegates", p. 6.]

[Footnote 2: Buchanan, "An Oration on the Moral and Political Evil of Slavery", p. 10.]
Franklin considered the idea of the natural inferiority of the Negro as a silly excuse. He conceded that most of the blacks were improvident and poor, but believed that their condition was not due to deficient understanding but to their lack of education. He was very much impressed with their achievements in music.[1] So disgusting was this notion of inferiority to Abbé Grégoire of Paris that he wrote an interesting essay on "Negro Literature" to prove that people of color have unusual intellectual power.[2] He sent copies of this pamphlet to leading men where slavery existed. Another writer discussing Jefferson's equivocal position on this question said that one would have thought that "modern philosophy himself" would not have the face to expect that the wretch, who is driven out to labor at the dawn of day, and who toils until evening with a whip over his head, ought to be a poet. Benezet, who had actually taught Negroes, declared "with truth and sincerity" that he had found among them as great variety of talents as among a like number of white persons. He boldly asserted that the notion entertained by some that the blacks were inferior in their capacities was a vulgar prejudice founded on the pride or ignorance of their lordly masters who had kept their slaves at such a distance as to be unable to form a right judgment of them.[3]
[Footnote 1: Smyth, "Works of Franklin", vol. vi., p. 222.]

[Footnote 2: Grégoire, "La Littérature des Nègres".]

[Footnote 3: "Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed.", 1871, p. 375.]


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