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The Education Of The Negro Prior To 1861
Appendix - Documents
by Woodson, Carter Godwin

The following resolutions on the subject treated in this part (the instruction of Negroes) are from the works of Dr. Cotton Mather.--Bishop William Meade.

1st. I would always remember, that my servants are in some sense my children, and by taking care that they want nothing which may be good for them, I would make them as my children; and so far as the methods of instituting piety into the mind which I use with my children, may be properly and prudently used with my servants, they shall be partakers in them--Nor will I leave them ignorant of anything, wherein I may instruct them to be useful to their generation.

2d. I will see that my servants be furnished with bibles and be able and careful to read the lively oracles. I will put bibles and other good and proper books into their hands; will allow them time to read and assure myself that they do not misspend this time--If I can discern any wicked books in their hands, I will take away those pestilential instruments of wickedness.

3d. I will have my servants present at the religious exercises of my family; and will drop, either in the exhortations, in the prayers or daily sacrifices of the family such pages as may have a tendency to quicken a sense of religion in them.

4th. The article of catechising, as far as the age or state of the servants will permit it to be done with decency, shall extend to them also,--And they shall be concerned in the conferences in which I may be engaged with my family, in the repetition of the public sermons. If any of them when they come to me shall not have learned the catechism, I will take care that they do it, and will give them a reward when they have accomplished it.

5th. I will be very inquisitive and solicitous about the company chosen by my servants; and with all possible earnestness will rescue them from the snares of evil company, and forbid their being the companions of fools.

6th. Such of my servants as may be capable of the task, I will employ to teach lessons of piety to my children, and will recompense them for so doing. But I would, by a particular artifice, contrive them to be such lessons, as may be for their own edification too.

7th. I will sometimes call my servants alone; talk to them about the state of their souls; tell them to close with their only servant, charge them to do well and "lay hold on eternal life," and show them very particularly how they may render all they do for me a service to the glorious Lord; how they may do all from a principle of obedience to him, and become entitled to the "reward of the heavenly inheritance."

To those resolutions did I add the following pages as an appendix:

Age is nearly sufficient, with some masters to obliterate every letter and action in the history of a meritorious life, and old services are generally buried under the ruins of an old carcase. It is a barbarous inhumanity in men towards their servants, to account their small failings as crimes, without allowing their past services to have been virtues; gracious God, keep thy servants from such base ingratitude!

But then O servants, if you would obtain "the reward of inheritance," each of you should set yourself to enquire "how shall I approve myself such a servant, that the Lord may bless the house of my master, the more for my being in it?" Certainly there are many ways by which servants may become blessings. Let your studies with your continual prayers for the welfare of the family to which you belong: and the example of your sober carriage render you such. If you will but remember four words and attempt all that is comprised in them, Obedience, Honesty, Industry, and Piety, you will be the blessings and Josephs of the families in which you live. Let these four words be distinctly and frequently recollected; and cheerfully perform all your business from this consideration--that it is obedience to heaven, and from thence will leave a recompense. It was the observation even of a pagan, "That a master may receive a benefit from a servant"; and "what is done with the affection of a friend, ceases to be the act of a mere servant." Even the maid-servants of a house may render a great service to it, by instructing the infants and instilling into their minds the lessons of goodness.--In the Appendix of Rev. Thomas Bacon's "Sermons Addressed to Masters and Servants".


Concernant les Esclaves Négres des Colonies, qui seront amenés, ou envoyés en France. Donné à Paris au mois d'Octobre 1716.

I. Nous avons connu la nécessité qu'il y a d'y soutenir l'exécution de l'édit du mars 1685, qui en maintenant la discipline de l'Eglise Catholique, Apostolique et Romaine, pourvoit à ce qui concerne l'état et la qualité des Esclaves Nègres, qu'on entretient dans lesdites colonies pour la culture des terres; et comme nous avons été informés que plusieurs habitans de nos Isles de l'Amérique désirent envoyer en France quelques-uns de leur Esclaves pour les confirmer dans les Instructions et dans les Exercices de notre Religion, et pour leur faire apprendre en même tems quelque Art et Métier dont les colonies recevroient beaucoup d'utilité par le retour de ces Esclaves; mais que les habitans craignaient que les Esclaves ne pretendent être libres en arrivant en France, ce qui pourroit causer auxdits habitans une perte considérable, et les détourner d'un objet aussi pieux et aussi utile.

* * * * *

II. Si quelques-uns des habitans de nos colonies, ou officiers employés sur l'Etat desdites colonies, veulent amener en France avec eux des Esclaves Nègres, de l'un & de l'autre sexe, en qualité de domestique ou autrement pour les fortifier davantage dans notre Religion, tant par les instructions qu'ils recevront, que par l'exemple de nos autre sujets, et pour leur faire apprendre en même tems quelque Art et Métier, dont les colonies puissent retirer de l'utilité, par le retour de ces Esclaves, lesdits propriétaires seront tenus d'en obtenir la permission des Gouverneurs Généraux, ou Commandans dans chaque Isle, laquelle permission contiendra le nom du propriétaire, celui des Esclaves, leur age & leur signalement.--Code Noir ou Recueil d'édits, declarations, et arrêts concernant des Esclaves Nègres Discipline el le commerce des Esclaves Nègres des isles françaises de l'Amérique (in Recueil de règlemens, edits, declarations, et arrêts concernant le commerce, l'administration de la justice et la police des colonies françaises de l'Amérique et les Engages avec le Code Noir et l'addition audit Code) (Jefferson's copy). A Paris chez les Libraires Associés, 1745.


"It being a duty of Christianity very much neglected by masters and mistresses of this country (America) to endeavor the good instruction and education of their heathen slaves in the Christian faith,--the said duty being likewise earnestly recommended by his Majesty's instructions,--for the facilitating thereof among the young slaves that are born among us; it is, therefore, humbly proposed that every Indian, Negro, or mulatto child that shall be baptized and afterward brought to church and publicly catechized by the minister in church, and shall, before the fourteenth year of his or her age, give a distinct account of the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and Ten Commandments, and whose master or mistress shall receive a certificate from the minister that he or she hath so done, such Indian, Negro or mulatto child shall be exempted from paying all levies till the age of eighteen years."--Bishop William Meade's "Old Churches, Ministers, and Families of Virginia", vol. i., p. 265.


To the Masters and Mistresses of Families in the English Plantations abroad; exhorting them to encourage and promote the instruction of their Negroes in the Christian Faith. (About 1727.)

The care of the Plantations abroad being committed to the Bishop of London as to Religious Affairs; I have thought it my duty to make particular Inquiries into the State of Religion in those Parts, and to learn among other Things, what numbers of slaves are employed within the several Governments, and what Means are used for their Instruction in the Christian Faith: I find the Numbers are prodigiously great; and am not a little troubled to observe how small a Progress has been made in a Christian country, towards the delivering those poor Creatures from the Pagan Darkness and Superstition in which they were bred, and the making them Partakers in the Light of the Gospel, and the Blessings and Benefits belonging to it. And what is yet more to be lamented, I find there has not only been very little Progress made in the work but that all Attempts toward it have been by too many industriously discouraged and hindered; partly by magnifying the Difficulties of the Work beyond what they really are; and partly by mistaken Suggestions of the Change which Baptism would make in the Condition of the Negroes, to the Loss and Disadvantage of their Masters.

As to the Difficulties; it may be pleaded, That the Negroes are grown Persons when they come over, and that having been accustomed to the Pagan Rites and Idolatries of their own Country, they are prejudiced against all other Religions, and more particularly against the Christian, as forbidding all that Licentiousness which is usually practiced among the Heathens.... But a farther Difficulty is that they are utter Strangers to our Language, and we to theirs; and the Gift of Tongues being now ceased, there is no Means left of instructing them in the Doctrines of the Christian Religion. And this, I own is a real Difficulty, as long as it continues, and as far as it reaches. But, if I am rightly informed, many of the Negroes, who are grown Persons when they come over, do of themselves obtain so much of our Language, as enables them to understand, and to be understood, in Things which concern the ordinary Business of Life, and they who can go so far of their own Accord, might doubtless be carried much farther, if proper Methods and Endeavors were used to bring them to a competent Knowledge of our Language, with a pious view to instructing them in the Doctrines of our Religion. At least, some of them, who are more capable and more serious than the rest, might be easily instructed both in our Language and Religion, and then be made use of to convey Instruction to the rest in their own Language. And this, one would hope, may be done with great Ease, wherever there is a hearty and sincere Zeal of the Work.

But what Difficulties there may be in instructing those who are grown-up before they are brought over; there are not the like Difficulties in the Case of their Children, who are born and bred in our Plantations, who have never been accustomed to Pagan Rites and Superstitions, and who may easily be trained up, like all other Children, to any Language whatsoever, and particularly to our own; if the making them good Christians be sincerely the Desire and Intention of those, who have Property in them, and Government over them.--Dalcho's "An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina", pp. 104-106.


To the Missionaries in the English Plantations (about 1727).


Having understood by many Letters from the Plantations, and by the Accounts of Persons who have come from thence, that very little progress hath hitherto been made in the conversion of the Negroes to the Christian Faith; I have thought it proper for me to lay before Masters and Mistresses the Obligations they are under, and to promote and encourage that pious and necessary Work....

As to those Ministers who have Negroes of their own; I cannot but esteem it their indispensable Duty to use their best Endeavors to instruct them in the Christian Religion, in order to their being baptised; both because such Negroes are their proper and immediate Care, and because it is in vain to hope that other Masters and Mistresses will exert themselves in this Work, if they see it wholly neglected, or but coldly pursued, in the Families of the Clergy ...

I would also hope that the Schoolmasters in the several Parishes, part of whose Business it is to instruct Youth in the Principles of Christianity, might contribute somewhat towards the carrying on of this Work; by being ready to bestow upon it some of their Leisure Time, and especially on the Lord's Day, when both they and the Negroes are most at liberty and the Clergy are taken up with the public Duties of their Function.--Dalcho's "An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina", pages 112-114.


"The next Object of the Society's Concern, were the poor Negroes. These unhappy Wretches learn in their Native Country, the grossest Idolatry, and the most savage Dispositions: and then are sold to the best Purchaser: sometimes by their Enemies, who would else put them to Death; sometimes by the nearest Friends, who are either unable or unwilling to maintain them. Their Condition in our Colonies, though it cannot well be worse than it would have been at Home, is yet nearly as hard as possible: their Servitude most laborious, their Punishments most severe. And thus many thousands of them spend their whole Days, one Generation after another, undergoing with reluctant Minds continual Toil in this World, and comforted with no Hopes of Reward in a better. For it is not to be expected that Masters, too commonly negligent of Christianity themselves, will take much Pains to teach it their slaves; whom even the better Part of them are in a great Measure habituated to consider, as they do their Cattle, merely with a view to the Profit arising from them. Not a few, therefore, have openly opposed their Instruction, from an Imagination now indeed proved and acknowledged to be groundless, that Baptism would entitle them to Freedom. Others by obliging them to work on Sundays to provide themselves Necessaries, leave them neither Time to learn Religion, nor any Prospect of being able to subsist, if once the Duty of resting on that Day become Part of their Belief. And some, it may be feared, have been averse to their becoming Christians because after that, no Pretence will remain for not treating them like Men. When these Obstacles are added to the fondness they have for their old Heathenish Rites, and the strong Prejudices they must have against Teachers from among those, whom they serve so unwillingly; it cannot be wondered, if the Progress made in their Conversion prove slow. After some Experience of this kind, Catechists were appointed in two Places, by Way of Trial for Their Instruction alone: whose Success, where it was least, hath been considerable; and so great in the Plantation belonging to the Society that out of two hundred and thirty, at least seventy are now Believers in Christ. And there is lately an Improvement to this Scheme begun to be executed, by qualifying and employing young Negroes, prudently chosen, to teach their Countrymen: from which in the Opinion of the best Judges, we may reasonably promise ourselves, that this miserable People, the Generality of whom have hitherto sat in Darkness, will see great Light."--Seeker's "A Sermon Preached before the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts", 1741.


"Next to our children and brethren by blood, our servants, and especially our slaves, are certainly in the nearest relation to us. They are an immediate and necessary part of our households, by whose labors and assistance we are enabled to enjoy the gifts of Providence in ease and plenty; and surely we owe them a return of what is just and equal for the drudgery and hardships they go through in our service....

"It is objected, They are such stubborn creatures, there is no dealing with them.

""Answer". Supposing this to be true of most of them (which I believe will scarcely be insisted on:) may it not fairly be asked, whence doth this stubbornness proceed?--Is it from nature?--That cannot be:--for I think it is generally acknowledged that "new Negroes", or those born in and imported from the coast of "Guinea", prove the best and most tractable servants. Is it then from education?--for one or the other it must proceed from.--But pray who had the care of bringing up those that were born here?--Was it not ourselves?--And might not an early care, of instilling good principles into them when young, have prevented much of that stubbornness and untractableness you complain of in country-born negroes?--These, you cry out, are wickeder than the others:--and, pray, where did they learn that wickedness?--Was it not among ourselves?--for those who come immediately from their own country, you say, have more simplicity and honesty. A sad reproach to a Christian people indeed! that such poor ignorant heathens shall bring better morals and dispositions from home with them, that they can learn or actually do contract amongst us!

* * * * *

"It is objected,--they are so ignorant and unteachable, they cannot be brought to any knowledge in these matters.

""Answer". This objection seems to have little or no truth in it, with respect to the bulk of them.--Their ignorance, indeed, about matters of religion, is not to be disputed;--they are sunk in it to a sad and lamentable degree, which has been shown to be chiefly owing to the negligence of their owners.--But that they are so stupid and unteachable, as that they cannot be brought to any competent knowledge in these matters, is false, and contrary to fact and experience. In regard to their work, they learn it, and grow dexterous enough in a short time. Many of them have learned trades and manufactures, which they perform well, and with sufficient ingenuity:--whence it is plain they are not unteachable; do not want natural parts and capacities.--Most masters and mistresses will complain of their art and cunning in contriving to deceive them.--Is it reasonable to deny then they can learn what is good, when it is owned at the same time they can be so artful in what is bad?--Their ignorance, therefore, if born in the country, must absolutely be the fault of their owners:--and such as are brought here from Africa may, surely, be taught something of advantage to their own future state, as well as to work for their masters' present gain.--The difference plainly consists in this;--that a good deal of pains is taken to shew them how to labour, and they are punished if they neglect it.--This sort of instruction their owners take care to give them every day, and look well to it that it be duly followed.--But no such pains are taken in the other case.--They are generally left to themselves, whether they will serve God, or worship Devils--whether they become christians, or remain heathens as long as they live: as if either their souls were not worth the saving, or as if we were under no obligation of giving them any instruction:--which is the true reason why so many of them who are grown up, and lived many years among us, are as entirely ignorant of the principles of religion, as if they had never come into a christian country:--at least, as to any good or practical purposes.

* * * * *

"I have dwelt the longer upon this head, because it is of the utmost importance, and seems to be but little considered among us.--For there is too much reason to fear, that the many vices and immoralities so common among white people;--the lewdness, drunkenness, quarrelling, abusiveness, swearing, lying, pride, backbiting, overreaching, idleness, and sabbath-breaking, everywhere to be seen among us, are a great encouragement to our Negroes to do the like, and help strongly to confirm them in the habits of wickedness and impiety.

"We ought not only to avoid giving them bad examples, and abstain from all appearance of evil, but also strive to set a daily good example before their eyes, that seeing us lead the way in our own person, they may more readily be persuaded to follow us in the wholesome paths of religion and virtue.

* * * * *

"We ought to make this reading and studying the holy scriptures, and the reading and explaining them to our children and slaves, and the catechizing or instructing them in the principles of the Christian religion, a stated duty.

* * * * *

"We ought in a particular manner to take care of the children, and instil early principles of piety and religion into their minds.

"If the grown up slaves, from confirmed habits of vice, are hard to be reclaimed, the children surely are in our power, and may be trained up in the way they should go, with rational hopes that when they are old, they will not depart from it.--We ought, therefore, to take charge of their education principally upon ourselves, and not leave them entirely to the care of their wicked parents.--If the present generation be bad, we may hope by this means that the succeeding ones will be much better. One child well instructed, will take care when grown up to instruct his children; and they again will teach their posterity good things.--And I am fully of opinion, that the common notion of "wickedness running in the blood", is not so general in fact as to be admitted for an axiom. And that the vices we see descending from parents to their children are chiefly owing to the malignant influence of bad example and conversation.--And though some persons may be, and undoubtedly are, born with stronger passions and appetites, or with a greater propensity to some particular gratifications or pursuits than others, yet we do not want convincing instances how effectually they may be restrained, or at least corrected and turned to proper and laudable ends, by the force of an early care, and a suitable education.

"To you of the female sex, (whom I have had occasion more than once to take notice of with honor in this congregation) I would address a few words on this head.--You, who by your stations are more confined at home, and have the care of the younger sort more particularly under your management, may do a great deal of good in this way.--I know not when I have been more affected, or my heart touched with stronger and more pleasing emotions, than at the sight and conversation of a little negro boy, not above seven years old, who read to me in the new testament, and perfectly repeated his catechism throughout, and all from the instruction of his careful, pious mistress, now I hope with God, enjoying the blessed fruits of her labours while on earth.--This example I would recommend to your serious imitation, and to enforce it shall only remark, that a shining part of the character of Solomon's excellent daughter is, that she looketh well to the ways of her household."--Rev. Thomas Bacon's "Sermons Addressed to Masters and Servants", pp. 4, 48, 49, 51, 64, 65, 69, 70, 73, 74.


"Rejoice and be exceeding glad, that you are delivered either from the Frauds of Mohamet, or Pagan Darkness, and Worship of Daemons; and are not now taught to place your Dependence upon those other dead Men, whom the Papists impiously worship, to the Neglect and Dishonor of Jesus Christ, the one only Mediator between God and Men. Christ, tho' he was dead, is alive again, and liveth forever-more. It is Christ, who is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Bless God, with all your Heart, that the Holy Scriptures are put into your Hands, which are able to make you wise unto Salvation, thro' Faith which is in Christ Jesus. Read and study the Bible for yourselves; and consider how Papists do all they can to hide it from their Followers, for Fear such divine Light should discover the gross Darkness of their false Doctrines and Worship. Be particularly thankful to the Ministers of Christ around you, who are faithfully labouring to teach you the Truth as it is in Jesus....

"Contrary to these evident Truths and precious Comforts of the Word of God, you may perhaps be tempted very unjustly to renounce your Fidelity and Obedience to your Old Masters, in Hope of finding new ones, with whom you may live more happily. At one time or other it will probably be suggested to you, that the French will make better Masters than the English. But I beseech you to consider, that your Happiness as Men and Christians exceedingly depends upon your doing all in your Power to support the British Government, and that kind of Christianity which is called the Protestant Religion; and likewise in opposing, with all your Might, the Power of the French, the Delusions of Popish Priests, and all the Rage and Malice of such Indians, as are in the French Interest. If the Power of France was to prevail in the Country where you now live, you have Nothing to expect but the most terrible Increase of your Sufferings. Your Slavery would then, not merely extend to Body, but also to the Soul; not merely run thro' your Days of Labour, but even thro' your Lord's Days. Your Bibles would then become like a sealed Book, and your Consciences would be fettered with worse than Iron-Chains. Therefore be patient, be submissive and obedient, be faithful and true, even when some of your Masters are most unkind. This is the only way for you to have Consciences void of Offense towards God and Man. This will really be taking the most effectual Measures, to secure for yourselves a Share in the invaluable Blessings and Privileges of the glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, which you have already received thro' the Channel of the British Government, and which no other Government upon the Face of the Earth is so calculated to support and preserve.

"The Lord Jesus Christ is now saying to you, as he did to Peter, when thou art converted strengthen thy Brethren....

"Therefore let me entreat you to look upon your Country-men around you, and pity them, not so much for their being Fellow-Captives with you in a strange Land; as for this, that they are not yet, like you, delivered from the Power of Darkness....

"Invite them to learn to read, and direct them where they may apply for Assistance, especially to those faithful Ministers, who have been your Instructors and Fathers in Christ...."--Fawcett's "Address to the Negroes in Virginia", etc., pp. 8, 17, 18, 24, 25.


"The first Account, I ever met with, of any considerable Number of Negroes embracing the Gospel, is in a letter written by Mr. Davies, Minister at Hanover in Virginia, to Mr. Bellamy of Bethlehem in New England, dated June 28, 1751. It appears that the Letter was designed for Publication; and I suppose, was accordingly printed at Boston in New England. It is to be seen in vol. ii., pages 330-338, of the "Historical Collections" relating to remarkable Periods of the Success of the Gospel, and eminent Instruments employed in promoting it; Compiled by Mr. John Gillies, one of the Ministers of Glasgow: Printed by Foulis in 1754. Mr. Davies fills the greatest part of his Letter, with an Account of the declining State of Religion in Virginia, and the remarkable Means used by Providence to revive it, for a few Years before his Settlement there, which was in 1747; not in the character of a Missionary, but that of a dissenting Minister, invited by a particular People, and fixed with them. Such, he observes, was the scattered State of his Congregation, that he soon found it necessary to license seven Meeting-Houses, the nearest of which are twelve or fifteen Miles distant from each other, and the extremes about Forty; yet some of his People live twenty, thirty, and a few forty Miles from the nearest Meeting-House. He computes his Communicants at about three Hundred. He then says, 'There is also a Number of Negroes. Some times I see a Hundred and more among my Hearers. I have baptized about Forty of them within the last three Years, upon such a Profession of Faith as I then judged credible. Some of them, I fear, have apostatized; but others, I trust, will persevere to the End. I have had as satisfying Evidences of the sincere Piety of several of them, as ever I had from any Person in my Life; and their artless Simplicity, their passionate Aspirations after Christ, their incessant Endeavors to know and do the Will of God, have charmed me. But, alas! while my Charge is so extensive, I cannot take sufficient Pains with them for their Instruction, which often oppresses my Heart....'"

At the Close of the above Letter, in the "Historical Collections" (vol. ii., page 338), there is added the following Marginal Note.--"May 22, 1754. Mr. G. Tennent and Mr. Davies being at Edinburgh, as Agents for the Trustees of the College of New Jersey, Mr. Davies informs,--that when he left Virginia in August last, there was a hopeful Appearance of a greater Spread of a religious Concern amongst the Negroes;--And a few weeks before he left Home, he baptized in one Day fifteen Negroes, after they had been catechized for some Months, and given credible Evidences of their sincerely embracing the Gospel."

After these Gentlemen had finished the Business of their late Mission in this part of the World, Mr. Davies gave the following Particulars to his Correspondent in London, in a letter which he wrote in the Spring of the previous Year, six Weeks after his safe return to his Family and Friends.--"The Inhabitants of Virginia are computed to be about 300,000 Men, the one-half of which Number are supposed to be Negroes. The Number of those who attend my Ministry at particular Times is uncertain, but generally about three Hundred who give a stated Attendance. And never have I been so much struck with the Appearance of an Assembly, as when I have glanced my Eye to that Part of the Meeting-House, where they usually sit; adorned, for so it had appeared to me, with so many black Countenances, eagerly attentive to every Word they hear, and frequently bathed in Tears. A considerable Number of them, about a Hundred, have been baptized, after the proper Time for Instruction, and having given credible Evidences, not only of their Acquaintance with the important Doctrines of the Christian Religion, but also a deep Sense of them upon their Minds, attested by a Life of the strictest Piety and Holiness. As they are not sufficiently polished to dissemble with a good Grace, they express the sentiments of their Souls so much in the Language of simple Nature, and with such genuine Indications of Sincerity, that it is impossible to suspect their Professions, especially when attended with a truly Christian Life and exemplary Conduct.--My worthy Friend, Mr. Tod, Minister of the next Congregation, has near the same Number under his Instructions, who, he tells me, discover the same serious Turn of Mind. In short, Sir, there are Multitudes of them in different Places, who are willing, and eagerly desirous to be instructed, and embrace every Opportunity of acquainting themselves with the Doctrines of the Gospel; and tho' they have generally very little Help to learn to read, yet, to my agreeable Surprise, many of them, by the Dint of Application in their Leisure-Hours, have made such a Progress, that they can intelligibly read a plain Author, and especially their Bibles; and Pity it is that many of them should be without them. Before I had the Pleasure of being admitted a Member of your Society [Mr. Davies here means the Society for promoting religious Knowledge among the Poor, which was first begun in London in August, 1750] the Negroes were wont frequently to come to me, with such moving Accounts of their Necessities in this Respect, that I could not help supplying them with Books to the utmost of my small Ability; and when I distributed those among them, which my Friends with you sent over, I had Reason to think that I never did an Action in all my Life, that met with so much Gratitude from the Receivers. I have already distributed all the Books I brought over, which were proper for them. Yet still, on Saturday Evenings, the only Time they can spare [they are allowed some short Time, viz., Saturday afternoon, and Sunday, says Dr. Douglass in his Summary. See the "Monthly Review" for October, 1755, page 274] my House is crowded with Numbers of them, whose very Countenances still carry the air of importunate Petitioners for the same Favors with those who came before them. But, alas! my Stock is exhausted, and I must send them away grieved and disappointed.--Permit me, Sir, to be an Advocate with you, and, by your Means, with your generous Friends in their Behalf. The Books I principally want for them are, Watts' Psalms and Hymns, and Bibles. The two first they cannot be supplied with any other Way than by a Collection, as they are not among the Books which your Society give away. I am the rather importunate for a good Number of these, and I cannot but observe, that the Negroes, above all the Human Species that I ever knew, have an Ear for Musick, and a kind of extatic Delight in Psalmody; and there are no Books they learn so soon, or take so much Pleasure in as those used in that heavenly Part of divine Worship. Some Gentlemen in London were pleased to make me a private Present of these Books for their Use, and from the Reception they met with, and their Eagerness for more, I can easily foresee, how acceptable and useful a larger Number would be among them. Indeed, Nothing would be a greater Inducement to their Industry to learn to read, than the Hope of such a Present; which they would consider, both as a Help, and a Reward for their Diligence"....--"Fawcett's Address to the Christian Negroes in Virginia", etc., pp. 33. 34. 35. 36, 37. 38.


"If ever these colonies, now filled with slaves, be improved to their utmost capacity, an essential part of the improvement must be the abolition of slavery. Such a change would be hardly more to the advantage of the slaves than it would be to their owners....

"I do you no more than justice in bearing witness, that in no part of the world were slaves better treated than, in general, they are in the colonies.... In one essential point, I fear, we are all deficient; they are nowhere sufficiently instructed. I am far from recommending it to you, at once to set them free; because to do so would be an heavy loss to you, and probably no gain to them; but I do entreat you to make them some amends for the drudgery of their bodies by cultivating their minds. By such means only can we hope to fulfil the ends, which we may be permitted to believe, Providence had in view in suffering them to be brought among us. You may unfetter them from the chains of ignorance; you may emancipate them from the bondage of sin, the worst slavery to which they can be subjected; and by thus setting at liberty those that are bruised, though they still continue to be your slaves, they shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the Children of God."--Jonathan Boucher's "A View of the Causes and Consequences", etc., pp. 41, 42, 43.


"You pay far too little regard to parental education....

"What is still less credible is that at least two-thirds of the little education we receive is derived from instructors who are either indented servants or transported felons. Not a ship arrives either with redemptioners or convicts, in which schoolmasters are not as regularly advertised for sale as weavers, tailors, or any other trade; with little other difference, that I can hear of, excepting perhaps that the former do not usually fetch so good a price as the latter....

"I own, however, that I dislike slavery and among other reasons because as it is here conducted it has pernicious effects on the social state, by being unfavorable to education. It certainly is no necessary circumstance, essential to the condition of a slave, that he be uneducated; yet this is the general and almost universal lot of the slaves. Such extreme, deliberate, and systematic inattention to all mental improvement, in so large portion of our species, gives far too much countenance and encouragement to those abject persons who are contented to be rude and ignorant."--Jonathan Boucher's "A View of the Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution", pp. 183, 188, 189.


"We are expressly commanded to preach the gospel to every creature; and therefore every human creature must necessarily be capable of receiving it. It may be true, perhaps, that the generality of the Negro slaves are extremely dull of apprehension, and slow of understanding; but it may be doubted whether they are more so than some of the lowest classes of our own people; at least they are certainly not inferior in capacity to the Greenlanders, many of whom have made very sincere Christians. Several travellers of good credit speak in very favorable terms, both of the understandings and dispositions of the native Africans on the coast of Guinea; and it is a well-known fact, that many even of the Negro slaves in our islands, although laboring under disadvantages and discouragements, that might well depress and stupefy even the best understandings, yet give sufficient proofs of the great quickness of parts and facility in learning. They have, in particular, a natural turn to the mechanical arts, in which several of them show much ingenuity, and arrive at no small degree of perfection. Some have discovered marks of genius for music, poetry, and other liberal accomplishments; and there are not wanting instances among them of a strength of understanding, and a generosity, dignity, and heroism of mind, which would have done honour to the most cultivated European. It is not, therefore, to any natural or unconquerable disability in the subject we had to work upon, that the little success of our efforts is to be ascribed. This would indeed be an insuperable obstacle, and must put an effectual stop to all future attempts of the same nature; but as this is far from being the case, we must look for other causes of our disappointment; which may perhaps appear to be, though of a serious, yet less formidable nature, and such as it is in the power of human industry and perseverance, with the blessing of Providence, to remove. The principal of them, it is conceived, are these which here follow:

1. "Although several of our ministers and catechists in the college of Barbadoes have been men of great worth and piety, and good intentions, yet in general they do not appear (if we may judge from their letters to the Board) to have possessed that peculiar sort of talents and qualifications, that facility and address in conveying religious truths, that unconquerable activity, patience, and perseverance, which the instruction of dull and uncultivated minds requires, and which we sometimes see so eminently and successfully displayed in the missionaries of other churches.

"And indeed the task of instructing and converting near three hundred Negro slaves, and of educating their children in the principles of morality and religion, is too laborious for any one person to execute well; especially when the stipend is too small to animate his industry, and excite his zeal.

2. "There seems also to have been a want of other modes of instruction, and of other books and tracts for that purpose, besides those made use of hitherto by our catechists. And there is reason moreover to believe, that the time allotted to the instruction of the Negroes has not been sufficient.

3. "Another impediment to the progress of our slaves in Christian knowledge has been their too frequent intercourse with the Negroes of the neighboring plantations, and the accession of fresh slaves to our own, either hired from other estates, or imported from Africa. These are so many constant temptations in their way to revert to their former heathenish principles and savage manners, to which they have always a strong natural propensity; and when this propensity is continually inflamed by the solicitations of their unconverted brethren, or the arrival of new companions from the coast of Guinea, it frequently becomes very difficult to be resisted, and counteracts, in a great degree, all the influence and exhortations of their religious teachers.

4. "Although this society has been always most honourably distinguished by the gentleness with which the negroes belonging to its trust estates have been generally treated, yet even these (by the confession of our missionaries) are in too abject, and depressed, and uncivilized a state to be proper subjects for the reception of the divine truths of revelation. They stand in need of some further marks of the society's regard and tenderness for them, to conciliate their affections, to invigorate their minds, to encourage their hopes, and to rouse them out of that state of languor and indolence and insensibility, which renders them indifferent and careless both about this world and the next.

5. "A still further obstacle to the effectual conversion of the Negroes has been the almost unrestrained licentiousness of their manner, the habits of vice and dissoluteness in which they are permitted to live, and the sad examples they too frequently see in their managers and overseers. It can never be expected that people given up to such practices as these, can be much disposed to receive a pure and undefiled religion: or that, if after their conversion they are allowed, as they generally are, to retain their former habits, their christianity can be anything more than a mere name.

"These probably the society will, on inquiry, find to have been the principal causes of the little success they have hitherto had in their pious endeavors to render their own slaves real christians. And it is with a view principally to the removal of these obstacles that the following regulations are, with all due deference to better judgments, submitted to their consideration.

"The first and most essential step towards a real and effectual conversion of our Negroes would be the appointment of a missionary (in addition to the present catechist) properly qualified for that important and difficult undertaking. He should be a clergyman sought out for in this country, of approved ability, piety, humanity, industry, and a fervent, yet prudent zeal for the interests of religion, and the salvation of those committed to his care; and should have a stipend not less than 200 f. sterling a year if he has an apartment and is maintained in the College, or 300 f. a year if he is not.

"This clergyman might be called (for a reason to be hereafter assigned) 'The Guardian of the Negroes'; and his province should be to superintend the moral and spiritual concern of the slaves, to take upon himself the religious instruction of the adult Negroes, and to take particular care that all the Negro children are taught to read by the catechist and the two assistant women (now employed by the society) and also that they are diligently instructed by the catechist in the principles of the Christian religion, till they are fifteen years of age, when they shall be instructed by himself with the adult Negroes.

"This instruction of the Negro children from their earliest years is one of the most important and essential parts of the whole plan; for it is to the education of the young Negroes that we are principally to look for the success of our spiritual labours. These may be easily taught to understand and to speak the English language with fluency; these may be brought up from their earliest youth in habits of virtue, and restrained from all licentious indulgences: these may have the principles and the precepts of religion impressed so early upon their tender minds as to sink deep, and to take firm root, and bring forth the fruits of a truly Christian life. To this great object, therefore, must our chief attention be directed; and as almost everything must depend on the ability, the integrity, the assiduity, the perseverance of the person to whom we commit so important a charge, it is impossible for us to be too careful and too circumspect in our choice of a CATECHIST. He must consider it his province, not merely to teach the Negroes the use of letters, but the elements of Christianity; not only to improve their understandings, but to form their hearts. For this purpose they must be put into his hands the moment they are capable of articulating their words, and their instruction must be pursued with unrelenting diligence. So long as they continue too young to work, they may be kept constantly in the school; as they grow fit to labour, their attendance on the CATECHIST must gradually lessen, till at length they take their full share of work with the grown Negroes.

"A school of this nature was formerly established by the society of Charlestown in South Carolina, about the year 1745, under the direction of Mr. Garden, the Bishop of London's commissary in that province. This school flourished greatly, and seemed to answer their utmost wishes. There were at one time sixty scholars in it, and twenty young Negroes were annually sent out from it well instructed in the English language, and the Christian faith. Mr. Garden, in his letters to the society, speaks in the highest terms of the progress made by his scholars, and says, that the Negroes themselves were highly pleased with their own acquirements. But it is supposed that on a parochial establishment being made in Charlestown by government, this excellent institution was dropt; for after the year 1751, no further mention is made of it in the minutes of the society. From what little we know of it, however, we may justly conceive the most pleasing hopes from a similar foundation at Barbadoes."--"The Works of Bishop Porteus", vi., pp., 171-179.


"Words of Dr. Bray"

"I think, my REVEREND BRETHREN, that we are now gone through such measures as may be necessary to be considered for the more universal as well as successful Catechising, and Instruction of Youth. And I heartily thank you for your so ready Concurrence in every thing that I have offered to you: And which, I hope, will appear no less in the Execution, than it has been to the Proposals.

"And that proper Books may not be wanting for the several Classes of Catechumens, there is care taken for the several sorts, which may be all had in this Town. And it may be necessary to acquaint you, that for the poor Children and Servants, they shall be given Gratis."--Hawks's "Ecclesiastical History of the United States", vol. ii., pp. 503-504.



"And having grounds to conclude that there are some brethren who have these poor captives under their care, and are desirous to be wisely directed in the restoring them to liberty: Friends who may be appointed by quarterly and monthly meetings on the service now proposed, are earnestly desired to give their weighty and solid attention for the assistance of such who are thus honestly and religiously concerned for their own relief, and the essential benefit of the negro. And in such families where there are young ones, or others of suitable age, that they excite the masters, or those who have them, to give them sufficient instruction and learning, in order to qualify them for the enjoyment of liberty intended, and that they may be instructed by themselves, or placed out to such masters and mistresses who will be careful of their religious education, to serve for such time, and no longer, as is prescribed by law and custom, for white people."--"A Brief Statement of the Rise and Progress of the Testimony of the Religious Society of Friends against Slavery and the Slave Trade". Published by direction of the Yearly Meeting, held in Philadelphia, in the Fourth Month, 1843, p. 38.


"A tender Christian sympathy appears to be awakened in the minds of many who are not in religious profession with us, who have seriously considered the oppressions and disadvantages under which those people have long laboured; and whether a pious care extended to their offspring is not justly due from us to them, is a consideration worthy of our serious and deep attention; or if this obligation did not weightily lay upon us, can benevolent minds be directed to any object more worthy of their liberality and encouragement, than that of laving a foundation in the rising generation for their becoming good and useful men? remembering what was formerly enjoined, 'If thy brethren be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee, then thou shalt relieve him; yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.'"--"Ibid"., p. 38.


"The consideration of the temporal and spiritual welfare of the Africans, and the necessary instruction of their offspring now being resumed, and after some time spent thereon, it is closely recommended to our several monthly meetings to pay due attention to the advice of the Yearly Meeting on this subject, and proceed as strength may be afforded, in looking after them in their several habitations by a religious visit; giving them such counsel as their situation may require."--"Ibid"., p. 39.


"In Haddonfield Quarterly Meeting, a committee was kept steadily under appointment for several years to assist in manumissions, and in the education of the negro children. Religious meetings were frequently held for the people of color; and Haddonfield Monthly Meeting raised on one occasion 131 pounds, for the education of negro children.

"In Salem Monthly Meeting, frequent meetings of worship for the people of color were held by direction of the monthly meeting; funds were raised for the education of their children, and committees appointed in the different meetings to provide books, place the children at school, to visit the schools, and inspect their conduct and improvement.

"Meetings for Divine worship were regularly held for people of color, at least once in three months, under the direction of the monthly meetings of Friends in Philadelphia; and schools were also established at which their children were gratuitously instructed in useful learning. One of these, originally instituted by Anthony Benezet, is now in operation in the city of Philadelphia, and has been continued under the care of one of the monthly meetings of Friends of that city, and supported by funds derived from voluntary contributions of the members, and from legacies and bequests, yielding an income of about $1000 per annum. The average number of pupils is about sixty-eight of both sexes."--"Ibid"., pp. 40-41.


A committee reported "that having met, and entered into a solemn consideration of the subject, they were of the mind that a useful alteration might be made in the query referred to; yet apprehending some further Christian endeavors in labouring with such who continue in possession of slaves should be first promoted, by which means the eyes of Friends may be more clearly opened to behold the iniquity of the practice of detaining our fellow creatures in bondage, and a disposition to set such free who are arrived to mature age; and when the labour is performed and report made to the meeting, the meeting may be better capable of determining what further step to take in this affair, which hath given so much concern to faithful Friends, and that in the meantime it should be enforced upon Friends that have them in possession, to treat them with tenderness; impress God's fear on their minds; promote their attending places of religious worship; and give such as are young, so much learning, that they may be capable of reading.

"Are Friends clear of importing, buying, or any ways disposing of negroes or slaves; and do they use those well who are under their care, and not in circumstances, through nonage or incapacity, to be set at liberty? And do they give those that are young such an education as becomes Christians; and are the others encouraged in a religious and virtuous life? Are all set at liberty that are of age, capacity, and ability suitable for freedom?"--"Ibid"., pp. 45,46.


"Are Friends clear of importing or buying negroes to trade on; and do they use those well which they are possessed of by inheritance or otherwise, endeavoring to train them in the principles of the Christian religion?"

The meeting of 1773 recommended to Friends, "seriously to consider the circumstances of these poor people, and the obligation we are under to discharge our religious duties to them, which being disinterestedly pursued, will lead the professor to Truth, to advise and assist them on all occasions, particularly in promoting their instruction in the principles of the Christian religion, and the pious education of their children; also to advise them in their worldly concerns, as occasions offer; and it advised that Friends of judgment and experience may be nominated for this necessary service, it being the solid sense of this meeting, that we, of the present generation, are under strong obligations to express our love and concern for the offspring of those people, who, by their labours, have greatly contributed toward the cultivation of these colonies, under the afflictive disadvantage of enduring a hard bondage; and many amongst us are enjoying the benefit of their toil."--"Ibid.", pp. 51, 52, and 54.


"Q. What directions shall we give for the promotion of the spiritual welfare of the colored people?

"A. We conjure all our ministers and preachers, by the love of God and the salvation of souls, and do require them, by all the authority that is invested in us, to leave nothing undone for the spiritual benefit and salvation of them, within their respective circuits or districts; and for this purpose to embrace every opportunity of inquiring into the state of their souls, and to unite in society those who appear to have a real desire of fleeing from the wrath to come, to meet such a class, and to exercise the whole Methodist Discipline among them."

"Q. What can be done in order to instruct poor children, white and black to read?

"A. Let us labor, as the heart of one man, to establish Sunday schools, in or near the place of public worship. Let persons be appointed by the bishop, elders, deacons, or preachers, to teach gratis all that will attend or have the capacity to learn, from six o'clock in the morning till ten, and from two o'clock in the afternoon till six, where it does not interfere with public worship. The council shall compile a proper school book to teach them learning and piety."--Rev. Charles Elliott's "History of the Great Secession front the Methodist Episcopal Church", etc., p. 35.


The Assembly recommended:

"2. The instruction of Negroes, the poor and those who are destitute of the means of grace in various parts of this extensive country; whoever contemplates the situation of this numerous class of persons in the United States, their gross ignorance of the plainest principles of religion, their immorality and profaneness, their vices and dissoluteness of manners, must be filled with anxiety for their present welfare, and above all for their future and eternal happiness.

"3. The purchasing and disposing of Bibles and also of books and short essays on the great principles of religion and morality, calculated to impress the minds of those to whom they are given with a sense of their duty both to God and man, and consequently of such a nature as to arrest the attention, interest the curiosity and touch the feelings of those to whom they are given."--"Act and Proceedings of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in the Year 1800", Philadelphia.


"The Assembly resumed the consideration of the communication from the Trustees of the General Assembly and having gone through the same, thereupon resolved,

"5. That there be made a purchase of so many cheap and pious books as a due regard to the other objects of the Assembly's funds will admit, with a view of distributing them not only among the frontiers of these States, but also among the poorer classes of people, and the blacks, or wherever it is thought useful; which books shall be given away, or lent, at the discretion of the distributor; and that there be received from Mr. Robert Aitken, toward the discharge of his debt, books to such amount as shall appear proper to the Trustees of the Assembly, who are hereby requested to take proper measures for the distribution of same."--"Act and Proceedings of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A."


The business relative to free blacks shall be transacted by a committee of twenty-four persons, annually elected by ballot at a meeting of this Society, in the month called April, and in order to perform the different services with expedition, regularity and energy this committee shall resolve itself into the following sub-committees, viz.:

I. A Committee of Inspection, who shall superintend the morals, general conduct, and ordinary situation of the free negroes, and afford them advice and instruction, protection from wrongs, and other friendly offices.

II. A Committee of Guardians, who shall place out children and young people with suitable persons, that they may (during a moderate time of apprenticeship or servitude) learn some trade or other business of subsistence. The committee may effect this partly by a persuasive influence on parents and the persons concerned, and partly by coöperating with the laws, which are or may be enacted for this and similar purposes. In forming contracts of these occasions, the committee shall secure to the Society as far as may be practicable the right of guardianship over the person so bound.

III. A Committee of Education, who shall superintend the school instruction of the children and youth of the free blacks. They may either influence them to attend regularly the schools already established in this city, or form others with this view; they shall, in either case, provide, that the pupils may receive such learning as is necessary for their future situation in life, and especially a deep impression of the most important and generally acknowledged moral and religious principles. They shall also procure and preserve a regular record of the marriages, births, and manumissions of all free blacks.

IV. The Committee of Employ, who shall endeavor to procure constant employment for those free negroes who are able to work; as the want of this would occasion poverty, idleness, and many vicious habits. This committee will by sedulous inquiry be enabled to find common labor for a great number; they will also provide that such as indicate proper talents may learn various trades, which may be done by prevailing upon them to bind themselves for such a term of years as shall compensate their masters for the expense and trouble of instruction and maintenance. The committee may attempt the institution of some simple and useful manufactures which will require but little skill, and also may assist, in commencing business, such as appear to be qualified for it.

Whenever the Committee of Inspection shall find persons of any particular description requiring attention, they shall immediately direct them to the committee of whose care they are the proper objects.

In matters of a mixed nature, the committee shall confer, and, if necessary, act in concert. Affairs of great importance shall be referred to the whole committee.

The expense incurred by the prosecution of this plan, shall be defrayed by a fund, to be formed by donations or subscriptions for these particular purposes, and to be kept separate from the other funds of the Society.

The Committee shall make a report on their proceedings, and of the state of their stock, to the Society, at their quarterly meetings, in the months called April and October.--Smyth's "Writings of Benjamin Franklin", vol. x, p. 127.


"We cannot forbear expressing to you our earnest desire, that you will continue, without ceasing, to endeavor, by every method in your power which can promise any success, to procure, either an absolute repeal of all the laws in your state, which countenance slavery, or such an amelioration of them as will gradually produce an entire abolition. Yet, even should that great end be happily attained, it cannot put a period to the necessity of further labor. The education of the emancipated, the noblest and most arduous task which we have to perform, will require all our wisdom and virtue, and the constant exercise of the greatest skill and discretion. When we have broken his chains, and restored the African to the enjoyment of his rights, the great work of justice and benevolence is not accomplished--The new born citizen must receive that instruction, and those powerful impressions of moral and religious truths, which will render him capable and desirous of fulfilling the various duties he owes to himself and to his country. By educating some in the higher branches of science, and all the useful parts of learning, and in the precepts of religion and morality, we shall not only do away with the reproach and calumny so unjustly lavished upon us, but confound the enemies of truth, by evincing that the unhappy sons of Africa, in spite of the degrading influence of slavery, are in no wise inferior to the more fortunate inhabitants of Europe and America.

"As a means of effectuating, in some degree, a design so virtuous and laudable, we recommend to you to appoint a committee, annually, or for any other more convenient period, to execute such plans, for the improvement of the condition and moral character of the free blacks in your state, as you may think best adapted to your particular situation."--"Minutes of the Proceedings of the Second Convention of Delegates, 1795."


"In the first place, We earnestly recommend to you, a regular attention to the duty of public worship; by which means you will evince gratitude to your CREATOR, and, at the same time, promote knowledge, union, friendship, and proper conduct among yourselves.

"Secondly, we advise such of you, as have not been taught reading, writing, and the first principles of arithmetic, to acquire them as early as possible. Carefully attend to the instruction of your children in the same simple and useful branches of education. Cause them, likewise, early and frequently to read the holy Scriptures. They contain, among other great discoveries, the precious record of the original equality of mankind, and of the obligations of universal justice and benevolence, which are derived from the relation of the human race to each other in a COMMON FATHER.

"Thirdly, Teach your children useful trades, or to labor with their hands in cultivating the earth. These employments are favorable to health and virtue. In the choice of masters, who are to instruct them in the above branches of business, prefer those who will work with them; by this means they will acquire habits of industry, and be better preserved from vice, than if they worked alone, or under the eye of persons less interested in their welfare. In forming contracts for yourselves or children, with masters, it may be useful to consult such persons as are capable of giving you the best advice, who are known to be your friends, in order to prevent advantages being taken of your ignorance of the laws and customs of your country.""--Minutes of the Proceedings of the Third Convention of Delegates, 1796. American Convention of Abolition Societies, Minutes, 1795-1804"


"The great work of emancipation is not to be accomplished in a day;--it must be the result of time, of long and continued exertions: it is for you to show by an orderly and worthy deportment that you are deserving of the rank which you have attained. Endeavor as much as possible to use economy in your expenses, so that you may be enabled to save from your earnings, something for the education of your children, and for your support in time of sickness and in old age: and let all those who by attending to this admonition, have acquired the means, send their children to school as soon as they are old enough, where their morals will be the object of attention, as well as their improvement in school learning; and when they arrive at a suitable age, let it be your especial care to have them instructed in some mechanical art suited to their capacities, or in agricultural pursuits; by which they may afterwards be enabled to support themselves and a family. Encourage also, those among you who are qualified as teachers of schools, and when you are of ability to pay, never send your children to free schools; this may be considered as robbing the poor, of the opportunities which were intended for them alone."


I, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, being just on my departure from America, do hereby declare and direct, that, should I make no other testamentary disposition of my property in the United States, I hereby authorize my friend, Thomas Jefferson, to employ the whole thereof in purchasing Negroes from his own or any others, and giving them liberty in my name, in giving them an education in trade or otherwise, and in having them instructed for their new condition in the duties of morality, which may make them good neighbors, good fathers or mothers, husbands or wives in their duties as citizens, teaching them to be defenders of their liberty and country, and of the good order of society, and in whatsoever may make them happy and useful. And I make the said Thomas Jefferson my executor of this.

(Signed) T. KOSCIUSZKO. May 5, 1798. [See "African Repository", vol. xi., p. 294.]


"Upon the decease of my wife, it is my will and desire that all the slaves whom I now hold in my own right shall receive their freedom.... And whereas among those who will receive freedom according to this devise, there may be some who, from old age or bodily infirmities, and others who on account of their infancy will be unable to support themselves, it is my will and desire that all who come under the first and second description, shall be comfortably clothed and fed by my heirs while they live; and that such of the latter description as have no parents living, or if living are unable or unwilling to provide for them, shall be bound by the court until they shall arrive at the age of twenty-five years; and in cases where no record can be produced, whereby their ages can be ascertained, the judgement of court upon its own view of the subject shall be adequate and final. The negroes thus bound are (by their masters or mistresses) to be taught to read and write, and to be brought up to some useful occupation, agreeable to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, providing for the support of orphan and other poor children."--Benson J. Lossing's "Life of George Washington", vol. iii., p. 537.


The following dialogue took place between Mr. Jackson the master of a family, and the slave of one of his neighbors who lived adjoining the town, on this occasion. Mr. Jackson was walking through the common and came to a field of this person's farm. He there saw the slave leaning against the fence with a book in his hand, which he seemed to be very intent upon; after a little time he closed the book, and clasping it in both his hands, looked upwards as if engaged in mental prayer; after this, he put the book in his bosom, and walked along the fence near where Mr. Jackson was standing. Surprised at seeing a person of his color engaged with a book, and still more by the animation and delight that he observed in his countenance; he determines to enquire about it, and calls to him as he passes.

"Mr. J". So I see you have been reading, my lad?

"Slave". Yes, sir.

"Mr. J". Well, I have a great curiosity to see what you were reading so earnestly; will you show me the book?

"Slave". To be sure, sir. (And he presented it to him very respectfully.)

"Mr. J". The Bible!--Pray when did you get this book? And who taught you to read it?

"Slave". I thank God, sir, for the book. I do not know the good gentleman who gave it to me, but I am sure God sent it to me. I was learning to read in town at nights, and one morning a gentleman met me in the road as I had my spelling book open in my hand: he asked me if I could read, I told him a little, and he gave me this book and told me to make haste and learn to read it, and to ask God to help me, and that it would make me as happy as any body in the world.

"Mr. J". Well did you do so?

"Slave". I thought about it for some time, and I wondered that any body should give me a book or care about me; and I wondered what that could be which could make a poor slave like me so happy; and so I thought more and more of it, and I said I would try and do as the gentleman bid me, and blessed be God! he told me nothing but the truth.

"Mr. J". Who is your master?

"Slave". Mr. Wilkins, sir, who lives in that house.

"Mr. J". I know him; he is a very good man; but what does he say to your leaving his work to read your book in the field?

"Slave". I was not leaving his work, sir. This book does not teach me to neglect my master's work. I could not be happy if I did that.--I have done my breakfast, sir, and am waiting till the horses are done eating.

"Mr. J". Well, what does that book teach you?

"Slave". Oh, sir! every thing that I want to know--all I am to do, this book tells me, and so plain. It shew me first that I was a wretched, ruined sinner, and what would become of me if I died in that state, and then when I was day and night in dread of God's calling me to account for my wickedness, and did not know which way to look for my deliverance, reading over and over again those dreadful words, "depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire," then it revealed to me how Jesus Christ had consented to come and suffer punishment for us in our stead, and bought pardon for us by his blood, and how by believing on him and serving him, I might become a child of God, so that I need be no more terrified by the thoughts of God's anger but sure of his forgiveness and love....

(Here Mr. J. pursued his walk; but soon reflecting on what he had heard, he resolved to walk by Mr. Wilkins's house and enquire into this affair from him. This he did, and finding him the following conversation took place between them.)

"Mr. J". Sir, I have been talking with a man of yours in that field, who was engaged, while his horses were eating, in reading a book; which I asked him to shew me and found it was the Bible; thereupon I asked him some questions and his answers, and the account he gave of himself, have surprised me greatly.

"Mr. W". I presume it was Will--and though I do not know what he may have told you, yet I will undertake to say that he has told you nothing but the truth. I am always safe in believing him, and do not believe he would tell me an untruth for any thing that could be offered him....

"Mr. J". Well, sir, you have seen I trust in your family, good fruits from the beginning.

"Mr. W". Yes indeed, sir, and that man was most instrumental in reconciling and encouraging all my people in the change. From that time I have regarded him as more a friend and assistant, than a slave. He has taught the younger ones to read, and by his kindness and example, has been a great benefit to all. I have told them that I would do what I could to instruct and improve them; and that if I found any so vicious, that they would not receive it and strive to amend, I would not keep them; that I hoped to have a religious, praying family, and that none would be obstinately bent on their own ruin. And from time to time, I endeavored to convince them that I was aiming at their own good. I cannot tell you all the happiness of the change, that God has been pleased to make among us, all by these means. And I have been benefited both temporally and spiritually by it; for my work is better done, and my people are more faithful, contented, and obedient than before; and I have the comfort of thinking that when my Lord and master shall call me to account for those committed to my charge, I shall not be ashamed to present them.--Bishop William Meade's "Tracts and Dialogues," etc., in the Appendix of Thomas Bacon's "Sermons Addressed to Masters and Servants".


(Written about 1800)

Some years ago an English gentleman had occasion to be in North America, where, among other adventures, the following circumstances occurred to him which are related in his own words.

"Every day's observation convinces me that the children of God, viz. those who believe in him, and on such terms are accepted by him through Jesus Christ, are made so by his own especial grace and power inclining them to what is good, and, assisting them when they endeavor to be and continue so.

"In one of my excursions, while I was in the province of New York, I was walking by myself over a considerable plantation, amused with its husbandry, and comparing it with that of my own country, till I came within a little distance of a middle aged negro, who was tilling the ground. I felt a strong inclination to converse with him. After asking him some little questions about his work, which he answered very sensibly, I wished him to tell me, whether his state of slavery was not disagreeable to him, and whether he would not gladly exchange it for his liberty?"

"Massah," said he, looking seriously upon me, "I have wife and children; my massah takes care of them, and I have no care to provide anything; I have a good massah, who teach me to read; and I read good book, that makes me happy." "I am glad," replied I, "to hear you say so; and pray what is the good book you read?" "The Bible, massah, God's own good book." "Do you understand, friend, as well as read this book? for many can read the words well, who cannot get hold of the true and good sense." "O massah," says he, "I read the book much before I understand; but at last I found things in the book which made me very uneasy." "Aye," said I, "and what things were they?" "Why massah, I found that I was a sinner, massah, a very great sinner, I feared that God would destroy me, because I was wicked, and done nothing as I should do. God was holy, and I was very vile and naughty; so I could have nothing from him but fire and brimstone in hell, if I continued in this state." In short, he fully convinced me that he was thoroughly sensible of his errors, and he told me what scriptures came to his mind, which he had read, that both probed him to the bottom of his sinful heart, and were made the means of light and comfort to his soul. I then inquired of him, what ministry or means he made use of and found that his master was a Quaker, a plain sort of man who had taught his slaves to read, and had thus afforded him some means of obtaining religious knowledge, though he had not ever conversed with this negro upon the state of his soul. I asked him likewise, how he got comfort under all his trials? "O massah," said he, "it was God gave me comfort by his word. He bade me come unto him, and he would give me rest, for I was very weary and heavy laden." And here he went through a line of the most striking texts in the Bible, showing me, by his artless comment upon them as he went along, what great things God had done in the course of some years for his soul....--Bishop William Meade's "Tracts, Dialogues," etc., in the Appendix of Thomas Bacon's "Sermons Addressed to Masters and Servants".


I have received the favor of your letter of August 19th, and with it the volume you were so kind as to send me on the Literature of Negroes. Be assured that no person living wishes more sincerely than I do to see a complete refutation of the doubts I have myself entertained and expressed on the grade of understanding allotted to them by nature and to find that in this respect they are on par with ourselves. My doubts were the result of personal observation in the limited sphere of my own state, where the opportunities for the development of their genius were not favorable, and those of exercising it still less so. I expressed them therefore with great hesitation; but whatever be their degree of 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 and property of others. On this subject they are gaining daily in the opinions of nations, and hopeful advances are making towards their re-establishment on an equal footing with the other colors of the human family. I pray you therefore to accept my thanks for the many instances you have enabled me to observe of respectable intelligence in that race of men, which cannot fail to have effect in hastening the day of their relief; and to be sure of the sentiments of the high and just esteem and consideration which I tender to yourself with all sincerity.--"Writings of Thomas Jefferson", Memorial Edition, 1904, vol. xii., p. 252.


Referring to Kosciuszko, Jefferson said:

"On his departure from the United States in 1798 he left in my hands an instrument appropriating after his death all the property he had in our public funds, the price of his military services here, to the education and emancipation of as many of the children of bondage in this country as this should be adequate to. I am now too old to undertake a business "de si longue haleine"; but I am taking measures to place it in such hands as will ensure a faithful discharge of the philanthropic intentions of the donor. I learn with pleasure your continued efforts for the instruction of the future generations of men, and, believing it the only means of effectuating their rights, I wish them all possible success, and to yourself the eternal gratitude of those who will feel their benefits, and beg leave to add the assurance of my high esteem and respect."--"Writings of Thomas Jefferson", Memorial Edition. 1904, vol. xv., pp. 173-174.


"Supposing these conditions to be duly provided for, particularly the removal of the emancipated blacks, the remaining questions relate to the aptitude and adequacy of the process by which the slaves are at the same time to earn funds, entire or supplemental, required for their emancipation and removal; and to be sufficiently educated for a life of freedom and of social order....

"With respect to the proper course of education, no serious difficulties present themselves. As they are to continue in a state of bondage during the preparatory period, and to be within the jurisdiction of States recognizing ample authority over them, a competent discipline cannot be impracticable. The degree in which this discipline will enforce the needed labour, and in which a voluntary industry will supply the defect of compulsory labour, are vital points, on which it may not be safe to be very positive without some light from actual experiment.

"Considering the probable composition of the labourers, and the known fact that, where the labour is compulsory, the greater the number of labourers brought together (unless, indeed, where co-operation of many hands is rendered essential by a particular kind of work or of machinery) the less are the proportional profits, it may be doubted whether the surplus from that source merely, beyond the support of the establishment, would sufficiently accumulate in five, or even more years, for the objects in view. And candor obliges me to say that I am not satisfied either that the prospect of emancipation at a future day will sufficiently overcome the natural and habitual repugnance to labour, or that there is such an advantage of united over individual labour as is taken for granted.

"In cases where portions of time have been allotted to slaves, as among the Spaniards, with a view to their working out their freedom, it is believed that but few have availed themselves of the opportunity by a voluntary industry; and such a result could be less relied on in a case where each individual would feel that the fruits of his exertions would be shared by others, whether equally or unequally making them, and that the exertions of others would equally avail him, notwithstanding a deficiency in his own. Skilful arrangements might palliate this tendency, but it would be difficult to counteract it effectually.

"The examples of the Moravians, the Harmonites, and the Shakers, in which the united labours of many for a common object have been successful, have, no doubt, an imposing character. But it must be recollected that in all these establishments there is a religious impulse in the members, and a religious authority in the head, for which there will be no substitutes of equivalent efficacy in the emancipating establishment. The code of rules by which Mr. Rapp manages his conscientious and devoted flock, and enriches a common treasury, must be little applicable to the dissimilar assemblage in question. His experience may afford valuable aid in its general organization, and in the distribution of details of the work to be performed. But an efficient administration must, as is judiciously proposed, be in hands practically acquainted with the propensities and habits of the members of the new community."


These are the obvious alternatives sternly presented to the free colored people of the United States. It is idle, yea even ruinous, to disguise the matter for a single hour longer; every day begins and ends with the impressive lesson that free negroes must learn trades, or die.

The old avocations, by which colored men obtained a livelihood, are rapidly, unceasingly and inevitably passing into other hands; every hour sees the black man elbowed out of employment by some newly arrived emigrant, whose hunger and whose color are thought to give him a better title to the place; and so we believe it will continue to be until the last prop is levelled beneath us.

As a black man, we say if we cannot stand up, let us fall down. We desire to be a man among men while we do live; and when we cannot, we wish to die. It is evident, painfully evident to every reflecting mind, that the means of living, for colored men, are becoming more and more precarious and limited. Employments and callings formerly monopolized by us, are so no longer.

White men are becoming house-servants, cooks and stewards on vessels--at hotels.--They are becoming porters, stevedores, wood-sawers, hod-carriers, brick-makers, white-washers and barbers, so that the blacks can scarcely find the means of subsistence--a few years ago, a "white" barber would have been a curiosity--now their poles stand on every street. Formerly blacks were almost the exclusive coachmen in wealthy families: this is so no longer; white men are now employed, and for aught we see, they fill their servile station with an obsequiousness as profound as that of the blacks. The readiness and ease with which they adapt themselves to these conditions ought not to be lost sight of by the colored people. The meaning is very important, and we should learn it. We are taught our insecurity by it. Without the means of living, life is a curse, and leaves us at the mercy of the oppressor to become his debased slaves. Now, colored men, what do you mean to do, for you must do something? The American Colonization Society tells you to go to Liberia. Mr. Bibb tells you to go to Canada. Others tell you to go to school. We tell you to go to work; and to work you must go or die. Men are not valued in this country, or in any country, for what they are; they are valued for what they can "do". It is in vain that we talk of being men, if we do not the work of men. We must become valuable to society in other departments of industry than those servile ones from which we are rapidly being excluded. We must show that we can "do" as well as be; and to this end we must learn trades. When we can build as well as live in houses; when we can "make" as well as "wear" shoes; when we can produce as well as consume wheat, corn and rye--then we shall become valuable to society. Society is a hard-hearted affair.--With it the helpless may expect no higher dignity than that of paupers. The individual must lay society under obligation to him, or society will honor him only as a stranger and sojourner. "How" shall this be done? In this manner; use every means, strain every nerve to master some important mechanical art. At present, the facilities for doing so are few--institutions of learning are more readily opened to you than the work-shop; but the Lord helps them who will help themselves, and we have no doubt that new facilities will be presented as we press forward.

If the alternative were presented to us of learning a trade or of getting an education, we would learn the trade, for the reason, that with the trade we could get the education while with the education we could not get the trade. What we, as a people, most need, is the means for our own elevation.--An educated colored man, in the United States, unless he has within him the heart of a hero, and is willing to engage in a lifelong battle for his rights, as a man, finds few inducements to remain in this country. He is isolated in the land of his birth--debarred by his color from congenial association with whites; he is equally cast out by the ignorance of the "blacks". The remedy for this must comprehend the elevation of the masses; and this can only be done by putting the mechanic arts within the reach of colored men.

We have now stated pretty strongly the case of our colored countrymen; perhaps some will say, "too" strongly, but we know whereof we affirm.

In view of this state of things, we appeal to the abolitionists. What Boss anti-slavery mechanic will take a black boy into his wheelwright's shop, his blacksmith's shop, his joiner's shop, his cabinet shop? Here is something "practical"; where are the whites and where are the blacks that will respond to it? Where are the antislavery milliners and seamstresses that will take colored girls and teach them trades, by which they can obtain an honorable living? The fact that we have made good cooks, good waiters, good barbers, and white-washers, induces the belief that we may excel in higher branches of industry. "One thing is certain; we must find new methods of obtaining a livelihood, for the old ones are failing us very fast".

We, therefore, call upon the intelligent and thinking ones amongst us, to urge upon the colored people within their reach, in all seriousness, the duty and the necessity of giving their children useful and lucrative trades, by which they may commence the battle of life with weapons, commensurate with the exigencies of conflict.--"African Repository", vol. xxix., pp. 136, 137.


("Written by a highly respectable gentleman of the South in" 1854)

Several years ago I saw in the "Repository", copied from the "Colonization Herald", a proposal to establish a college for the education of young colored men in this country. Since that time I have neither seen nor heard anything more of it, and I should be glad to hear whether the proposed plan was ever carried into execution.

Four years ago I conversed with one of the officers of the Colonization Society on the subject of educating in this country colored persons intending to emigrate to Liberia, and expressed my firm conviction of the paramount importance of high moral and mental training as a fit preparation for such emigrants.

To my great regret the gentleman stated that under existing circumstances the project, all important as he confessed it to be, was almost impracticable; so strong being the influence of the enemies of colonization that they would dissuade any colored persons so educated from leaving the United States.

I know that he was thoroughly acquainted with the subject in all its bearings, and therefore felt that he must have good reasons for what he said; still I hoped the case was not so bad as he thought, and, at any rate, I looked forward with strong hope to the time when the colored race would, as a body, open their eyes to the miserable, unnatural position they occupy in America; when they would see who were their true friends, those who offered them real and complete freedom, social and political, in a land where there is no white race to keep them in subjection, where they govern themselves by their own laws; or those pretended friends who would keep the African where he can never be aught but a serf and bondsman of a despised caste, and who, by every act of their pretended philanthropy, make the colored man's condition worse.

Most happily, since that time, the colored race has been aroused to a degree never before known, and the conviction has become general among them that they must go to Liberia if they would be free and happy.

Under these circumstances the better the education of the colored man the more keenly will he feel his present situation and the more clearly he will see the necessity of emigration.

Assuming such to be the feelings of the colored race, I think the immense importance of a collegiate institution for the education of their young must be felt and acknowledged by every friend of the race. Some time since the legislature of Liberia passed an act to incorporate a college in Liberia, but I fear the project has failed, as I have heard nothing more of it since. Supposing however the funds raised for such an institution, where are the professors to come from? They "must" be educated in this country; and how can that be done without establishing an institution specially for young colored men?

There is not a college in the United States where a young man of color could gain admission, or where, supposing him admitted, he could escape insult and indignity. Into our Theological Seminaries a few are admitted, and are, perhaps, treated well; but what difficulty they find in obtaining a proper preparatory education. The cause of religion then, no less than that of secular education, calls for such a measure.

I think a strong and earnest appeal ought to be made to every friend of colonization throughout the United States to support the scheme with heart, hand and purse. Surely there are enough friends of the cause to subscribe at least a moderate sum for such a noble object; and in a cause like this, wealthy colored persons ought to, and doubtless will, subscribe according to their means. In addition to the general appeal through the "Repository", let each individual friend of colonization use all his influence with his personal friends and acquaintances, especially with such as are wealthy. I know from my own experience how much can be done by personal application, even in cases where success appears nearly hopeless.--I will pledge myself to use my humble endeavors to the utmost with my personal acquaintances. A large sum would not be "absolutely necessary" to found the college; and it would certainly be better to commence in the humblest way than to give up the scheme altogether.

Buildings for instance might be purchased in many places for a very moderate sum that would answer every purpose, or they might be built in the cheapest manner; in short, everything might be commenced on the most economical scale and afterwards enlarged as funds increased.

Those who are themselves engaged in teaching, such as the faculties of colleges, etc., would, of course, be most competent to prepare a plan for the proposed institution, and the ablest of them should be consulted; meantime almost anyone interested in the cause may offer some useful hint. In that spirit, I would myself offer a few brief suggestions, in case this appeal should be favorably received.

Probably few men of my time of life have studied the character and condition of the African race more attentively than I have, with what success I cannot presume to say, but the opinion of any one devoting so much of his time to the subject ought to be of "some" value.

My opinion of their capacity has been much raised during my attempts at instructing them, but at the same time, I am convinced that they require a "totally different mode of training from whites", and that any attempt to educate the two races together must prove a failure. I now close these desultory remarks with the hope that some one more competent than myself will take up the cause and urge it until some definite plan is formed.--"African Repository", vol. xxx., pp. 194, 195, 196.



The Memorial is thus introduced:

"Your memorialists are well aware of the delicate nature of the subject to which the attention of the Legislature is called, and of the necessity of proceeding with deliberation and caution. They propose some radical changes in the law of slavery, demanded by our common christianity, by public morality, and by the common weal of the whole South. At the same time they have no wish or purpose inconsistent with the best interests of the slaveholder, and suggest no reform which may impair the efficiency of slave labor. On the contrary, they believe that the much desired modifications of our slave code will redound to the welfare of all classes, and to the honor and character of the State throughout the civilized world."

The attention of the Legislature was then asked to the following propositions: "1. That it behooves us as christian people to establish the institution of matrimony among our slaves, with all its legal obligations and guarantees as to its duration between the parties. 2. That under no circumstances should masters be permitted to disregard these natural and sacred ties of relationship among their slaves, or between slaves belonging to different masters. 3. That the parental relation to be acknowledged by law; and that the separation of parents from their young children, say of twelve years and under, be strictly forbidden, under heavy pains and penalties. 4. That the laws which prohibit the instruction of slaves and free colored persons, by teaching them to read the Bible and other good books, be repealed."--"African Repository", vol. xxxi., pp. 117, 118.


On the sailing of almost every expedition we have had occasion to chronicle the departure of missionaries, teachers, or a physician, but not until the present time, that of a lawyer. The souls and bodies of the emigrants have been well cared for; now, it is no doubt supposed, they require assistance in guarding their money, civil rights, etc. Most professional emissaries have been educated at public expense, either by Missionary or the Colonization Societies, but the first lawyer goes out independent of any associated aid. Mr. Garrison Draper, a colored man of high respectability, and long a resident of Old Town, early determined on educating his only son for Africa. He kept him at some good public school in Pennsylvania till fitted for college, then sent him to Dartmouth where he remained four years and graduated, maintaining always a very respectable standing, socially, and in his class. After much consultation with friends, he determined upon the study of law. Mr. Charles Gilman, a retired member of the Baltimore Bar, very kindly consented to give young Draper professional instruction, and for two years he remained under his tuition. Not having any opportunities for acquiring a knowledge of the routine of professional practice, the rules, habits, and courtesy of the Bar, in Baltimore, Mr. Draper spent some few months in the office of a distinguished lawyer in Boston. On returning to the city to embark for Liberia, he underwent an examination by Judge Lee of the Superior Court, and obtained from him a certificate of his fitness to practice the profession of law, a copy of which we append hereto.

We consider the settlement of Mr. Draper in the Republic as an event of no little importance. It seemed necessary that there should be one regularly educated lawyer in a community of several thousand people, in a Republic of freemen. True, there are many very intelligent, well informed men now in the practice of law in Liberia, but they have not been educated to the profession, and we believe, no one makes that his exclusive business. We doubt not that they will welcome Mr. Draper as one of their fraternity. To our Liberia friends we commend him as a well-educated, intelligent man, of good habits and principles; one in whom they may place the fullest confidence, and we bespeak for him, at their hands, kind considerations and patronage.



October 29, 1857.

Upon the application of Charles Gilman, Esq., of the Baltimore Bar, I have examined Edward G. Draper, a young man of color, who has been reading law under the direction of Mr. Gilman, with the view of pursuing its practice in Liberia, Africa. And I have found him most intelligent and well informed in his answers to the questions propounded by me, and qualified in all respects to be admitted to the Bar in Maryland, if he was a free white citizen of this State. Mr. Gilman, in whom I have the highest confidence, has also testified to his good moral character.

This certificate is therefore furnished to him by me, with a view to promote his establishment and success in Liberia at the Bar there.


Judge of Superior Court, Balt., Md.

"African Repository", vol. xxxiv., pp. 26 and 27.


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