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INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 




MONO the large body of negroes held in a state of 
bondage, or otherwise living in a condition unfavourable 
to mental developmf^nt, there have at various times 
occurred instances of intelligence far beyond what could 

have been expected in this unhappy and abused, or at 

least neglected race. In the United States of America an instance 
occurred during last century of a coloured man shewing a remark- 
able skill in mathematical science. His name was Richard Banneker, 
and he belonged to Maiyiand. He was altogether self-taught, 
and having directed his attention to the study of astronomy, his 
calculations were so thorough and exact, as to excite the approbation 
of such men as Pitt, Fox, Wilberforce, and other eminent persons ; 
and an almanac which he cornposed was produced in the House of 
Commons as an argument in favour of the mental cultivation of the 
coloured people, and of their liberation from their wretched thraldom. 
Elsewhere, we have presented the history of the gallant and unfor- 
tunate Toussaint rOuveiture, a negro of St Domingo, whose name 
will ever be cherished by the friends of suffering humanity ; and we 
now lay before our readers a few sketches of the lives of coloured 
individuals, who, though less celebrated than Toussaint, are equally 
worthy of remembrance, and of being placed along with Richard 
Banneker. We begin with a notice of 
No. 59. 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



THOMAS JENKINS. 

Thomas Jenkins was the son of an African king, and bore 
externally all the usual features of the negro. His father reigned 
over a considerable tract of country to the east of, and, we believe, 
including Little Cape Mount, a part of the wide coast of Guinea, 
which used to be much resorted to by British vessels for the purchase 
of slaves. The negro sovereign, whosn the British sailors knew by 
the name of King Cock-eye, from a personal peculiarity, having 
observed what a superiority civilisation and learning gave to the 
Europeans over the Africans in their traffic, resolved to send his 
eldest son to Britain, in order that he might acquire all the advan- 
tages of knowledge. He accordingly bargained with a Captain 
Swanstone, a native of Hawick, in Scotland, who traded to the- 
coast for ivory, gold-dust, &c. that the schiid should be taken by him 
to his own country, and returned m a few years fully educated, for 
which he was to receive a certain consideration in the productions 
of Africa. The lad recollected a little of the scene which look place 
on his being handed over to Swanstone. His father, an old man^ 
came with his mother, who was much younger, and a number v>of 
sable courtiers, to a place on the side of a green eminence near the 
coast, and there, amidst the tears of the latter parent, he was for- 
mally consigned to the care of the British trader, who pledged him- 
self to return his tender charge, some years aifterwards, endowed 
with as much learning as he might be found capable of rec€srving» 
The lad was accordingly conveyed on ship-board, where the faacf 
of the master conferred upon him the name of Thomas Jei^iS;^ 

Swanstone brought his protdgd to Hawick, and was aboeat tal:^ 
the proper means for fulfilling his bargain, when, unfortunately, he 
was cut off from this hfe. No provision having been made for such 
a contingency, Tom was thro^-Am upon the wide world, not only with- 
out the means of obtaining a Christian education, but destitute of 
everything that was necessary to supply still more pressing wants. 
Mr Swanstone died in a room in the Tower Inn at Hawick, where 
Tom ver>'' faithfully attended him, though almost starved by the cold 
of a Scottish winter. After his guardian had expired, he was in a 
state of the greatest distress from cold, till the worthy landlady, Mrs 
Brown, brought him down to her huge kitchen fire, where alone, of 
all parts of the house, could he find a climate agreeable to his nerves. 
Tom was ever after very grateful to Mrs Brown for her kindness. 
After he had remained for some time at the inn, a farmer in Teviot- 
head, who was the nearest surviving relation of his guardian, agreed 
to take charge of him, and accordingly he was removed to the house 
of that individual, where he soon made himself useful in rocking the 
cradle, looking after the pigs and poultry, and other such humble 
duties. When he left the inn, he understood hardly a word of 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



English ; but here he speedily acquired the common dialect of the 
district, with all its peculiarities of accent and intonation. He lived 

in Mr L family for several years, in the course of which he 

was successively advanced to the offices of cow-herd and driver of 
peats to Hawick for sale on his master's account, which latter duty 
he discharged very satisfactorily. After he had become a stout boy, 
Mr Laidlaw of Falnash, a gentleman of great respectability and 
intelligence, took a fancy for him, and readily prevailed upon his 
former protector to yield him into his charge. * Black Tom,' as he 
was called, became at Falnash a sort of Jack-of-all-trades. He acted 
as cow-herd at one time, and stable-boy at another : in short, he 
could turn his hand to any sort of job. It was his especial duty to 
go upon all errands to Hawick, for which a retentive memory well 
qualified him. He afterwards became a regular farm-servant to Mr 
Laidlaw, and it was while acting in this capacity that he first dis- 
covered a taste for learning. How Tom acquired his first instructions 
is not known. The boy probably cherished a notion of duty upon this 
subject, and was anxious to fulfil, as far as his unfortunate circum- 
stances would permit, the designs of his parent. He probably 
picked up a few crumbs of elementary literature at the table of Mr 
Laidiaw's children, or interested the servants to give him what 
knowledge they could. 

In the course of a brief space, Mrs Laidlaw was surprised to find 
that Tom began to have a strange liking for candle-ends. Not one 
about the fannhouse could escape him. Every scrap of wick and 
tallow that he fell in with was secreted and taken away to his loft 
above the stable, and very dismal suspicions began to be entertained 
respecting the use he put them to. Curiosity soon incited the people 
about the farm to watch his proceedings after he had retired to his 
den ; and it was then discovered, to the astonishment of all, that the 
poor lad was engaged^ with a book and a slate, in drawing rude 
imitations of the letters of the alphabet. It was found that he also 
kept an old fiddle beside him, which cost the poor horses below 
many a sleepless night. On the discovery of his literary taste, Mr 
Laidlaw put him to an evening school, kept by a neighbouring 
rustic, at which he made rapid progress — such, indeed, as to 
excite astonishment all over the country, for no one had ever 
dreamt that there was so much as a possibility of his becoming a 
scholar. 

By and by, though daily occupied with his drudgery as a farm- 
servant, he began to instruct himself in Latin and Greeh A boy- 
friend, who in advanced life communicated to us most df the facts 
we are narrating, lent him several books necessary in these studies ; 
and Mr and Mrs Laidlaw did all in their power to favour his wishes, 
though the distance of a classical academy was a sufficient bar, if 
there had been no other, to prevent their giving him the means or 
opportunity of regular instruction. In speaking of the kind treat- 

3 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



ment which he had received from these worthy individuals, his heart 
has often been observed to swell, and the tear to start* into his 
honeist dark eye. Besides acquainting himself tolerably well with 
Latin and Greek, he initiated himself in the study of mathematics. 

A great era in Tom's life was his possessing himself of a Greek 
dictionary. Having learned that there was to be a sale of books 
at Hawick, he proceeded thither, in company v/ith our informant. 
Tom possessed twelve shillings, saved out of his wages, and his 
companion vowed that if more should be required for the purchase 
of any particular book, he should not fail to back him in the com- 
petition — so far as eighteenpence would warrant, that being the 
amount of his own little stock. Tom at once pitched upon the 
lexicon as the grand necessary of his education, and accordingly he 
began to bid for it. All present stared with wonder when they saw 
a negro, clad in the gray cast-off surtout of a private soldier, and the 
number * XCVI.' still glaring in white oil-paint on his back, compet- 
ing for a book which could only be useful to a student at a consider- 
ably advanced stage. A gentleman of the name of Moncrieff, who 
knew Tom's companion, beckoned him forward, and inquired with 
eager curiosity into the seeming mystery. When it w^as explained, 
and Mr Moncrieff learned that thirteen and sixpence was the utmost 
extent of their joint stocks, he told his young friend to bid as far 
beyond that sum as he chose, and he would be answerable for the 
deficiency. Tom had now bidden as far as he could go, and he was 
turning away in despair, when his young friend, in the very nick of 
time, threw himself into the competition. *What, what do you 
mean?' said the poor nv^gro in great agitation ;^ you know we cannot 
pay both that and the duty.' His friend, howevei*, did not regard 
his remonstrances, and immediately he had the satisfaction of placing 
the precious yolume in the hands which were so eager to possess it 
— only a shilling or so being required from Mr Moncriefif. Tom 
carried off his prize in triumph, and, it is needless to say, made the 
best use of it. ; 

It may now be asked — what was the personal character of this 
extraordinary specimen of African intellect We answer at once— 
the best possible. Tom was a mild, unassuming creature, free from 
every kind of vice, and possessing a kindliness of manner which 
made him the favourite of all who knew him. In fact, he was one 
of the most popular characters in the whole district of Upper Teviot- 
dale. His employers respected him for the faithful and zealous 
manner in which he discharged his humble duties, and everybody 
was interested in his singular efforts to obtain knowledge. Having 
retained no trace of his native language, he resembled, in every 
respect except his skin, an ordinary peasant of the south of Scotland : 
only he was much more learned than the most of them, and spent 
his time somewhat more abstractedly. His mind was deeply 
impressed with the truths of the Christian faith, and he was a regular 

4 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



attender upon every kind of religious ordinances. Altogether, Tom 
was a person of the most worthy and respectable properties, and, 
even without considering his meritorious struggles for knowledge, 
would liave been beloved and esteemed wherever he was known. 

When Tom was about twenty years of age, a vacancy occurred in 
the school of Teviot-head, which was an appendage to the parish 
school, for the use of the scattered inhabitants of a very wild pastoral 
territory. A committee of the presbytery of Jedburgh was appointed 
to sit on a particular day at Hawick, in order to examine the candi- 
dates for this humble charge, and report the result to their constitu- 
ents. Among three or four competitors appeared the black farm- 
servant of Falnash, with a heap of books under his arm, and the 
everlasting soldier's greatcoat, with .the staring *XCVI.* upon his 
back. The committee was surprised ; but they could not refuse to 
read his testimonials of character, and put him through the usual 
forms of examination. More than this, his exhibition was so 
decidedly superior to the rest, that they could not avoid reporting 
him as the best fitted for the situation. Tom retired triumphant 
from the field, enjoying the delightful reflection, that now he would 
be placed in a situation much more agreeable to him than any other 
he had ever known, and where he would enjoy infinitely better oppor- 
tunities of acquiring instruction. 

For a time this prospect was dashed. On the report coming before 
the presbyter}'-, a majority of the members were alarmefj at the 
strange idea of placing a negro and born pagan in such a situation, 
and poor Tom was accordingly voted out of all the benefits of the 
competition. The poor fellow appeared to suffer dreadfully from 
this sentence, which made him feel keenly the misfortune of his 
skin, and the awkwardness of his situation in the world. But 
fortunately, the people most interested in the matter felt as indignant 
at the treatment which he had received, as he could possibly feel 
depressed. The heritors, among whom the late Duke of Buccleuch 
was the chief, took up the case so warmly, that it was immediately 
resolved to set up Tom in opposition to the teacher appointed by 
the presbytery, and to give him an exact duplicate of the salary 
which they already paid to that person. An old smiddy (blacksmith's 
shop) was hastily fitted up for his reception, and Tom was imme- 
diately installed in office, with the universal approbation of both 
parents and children. It followed, as a matter of course, that the 
other school was completely deserted ; and Tom, who had come to 
this country to learn, soon found himself fully engaged in teaching^ 
and in the receipt of an income more than adequate to his wants. ^ 

To the gratification of all his friends, and some little confusion 
of face to the presbytery, he turned out an excellent teacher. He 
had a way of communicating knowledge that proved in the highest 
degree successful, and as he contrived to carry on the usual exercises 
without the use of any severities, he was as much beloved by his 

5 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



pupils as he was respected by those who employed him. Five days 
every week he spent in the school. On the Saturdays, he was 
accustomed to walk to Hawick (eight miles distant), in order to make 
an exhibition of what he had himself acquired during the week, to 
the master of the academy there ; thus keeping up, it will be observed, 
his own gradual advance in knowledge. It further shews his untiring 
zeal for religious instruction, that he always returned to Hawick 
next day — of course an equal extent of travel—in order to attend the 
church. 

After he had conducted the school for one or two years, finding 
himself in possession of about twenty pounds, he bethought him of 
spending a winter at college. The esteem in which he was held 
rendered it an easy matter to demit his duties to an assistant for the 
winter ; and this matter being settled, he waited upon his good 
friend, Mr Moncriefif (the gentleman who had enabled him to get the 
lexicon, and who had since done him many other good offices), in 
order to consult about other matters concerning the step he was 
about to take. Mr Moncrieff, though accustomed to regard Tom as 
a wonder, was nevertheless truly surprised at this new project. He 
asked, above all things, the amount of his stock of cash. On being 
told that twenty pounds was all, and, furthermore, that Tom contem- 
plated attending the Latin, Greek, and mathematical classes, he 
informed him that this would never do : the money would hardly pay 
his fees. Tom was much disconcerted at this ; but his srenerous 
friend soon relieved him, by placing in his hands an order upon a 
merchant in Edinburgh for whatever might be further required to 
support him for a winter at college. 

Tom now pursued his way to Edinburgh with his twenty pounds. 
On applying to the Professor of Humanity (Latin) for a ticket to his 
class, that gentleman looked at him for a moment in silent wonder, 
and asked if he had acquired any rudimental knowledge of the 
language. Mr Jenkins, as he ought now to be called, said modestly 
that he had studied Latin for a considerable time, and was anxious 

to complete his acquaintance -with it. Mr P , finding that he 

only spoke the truth, presented the applicant with a ticket, for which 
he generously refused to take the usual fee. Of the other two pro- 
fessors to whom he applied, both stared as much as the former, ai?,d 
only one took the fee. He was thus enabled to spend the winter in 
a most valuable course of instruction, without requiring to trench 
much upon Mr Moncrieffs generous order ; and next spring he 
returned to Teviot-head, and resumed his professional duties. 

The end of this strange history is hardly such as could have been 
wished. It is obvious, we think, that Mr Jenkins should have been 
returned by some benevolent society to his native country, where he 
might have been expected to do wonders in civilising and instructing 
his father's, or his own subjects. Unfortunately, about thirty years ago, 
a gentleman of the neighbourhood, animated by the best intentions, 

6 



INTELLiaSNT NEGROES. 



recommended him to the Christian Knowledge Society, as a proper 
person to be a missionary among the colonial slaves ; and he was 
induced to go out as a teacher to the Mauritius — a scene entirely 
unworthy of his exertions. There he attained great eminence as 
a teacher. 

PHILLIS WHEATLEY. 

In the year 1761, Mrs John Wheatley, of Boston, in North 
America, went to the slave-market, to select, from the crowd of 
unfortunates there offered for sale, a negro girl, whom she might 
train, by gentle usage, to serve as an affectionate attendant during 
her old age. Amongst a group of more robust and healthy children, 
the lady observed one, slenderly formed, and suffering apparently 
from change of climate and the miseries of the voyage. The 
interesting countenance and humble modesty of the poor little 
stranger induced Mrs Wheatley to overlook the disadvantage of a 
weak state of health, and Phillis, as the young slave was subsequently 
named; was purchased in preference to her healthier companions, 
an4 taken home to the abode of her mistress. The child was in a 
state almost of perfect nakedness, her only covering being a strip of 
dirty carpet. These things were soon remedied by the attention of 
the kind lady into whose hands the young African had been thrown, 
and in a short time, the effects of comfortable clothing and food were 
visible in her returning health. Phillis was, at the time of her 
purchase, between seven and eight years old, and the intention of 
Mrs Wheatley was to train her up to the common occupations of 
a menial servant. But the marks of extraordinary intelligence which 
Phillis soon evinced, induced her mistress's daughter to teach her to 
read ; and such was the rapidity with which this was effected, that, 
in sixteen months from the time of her arrival in the family, the 
African child had so mastered the English language, to which she 
was an utter stranger before, as to read with ease the most difficult 
parts of sacred writ. This uncommon docility altered the intentions 
of the family regarding Phillis, and in future she was kept constantly 
about the person of her mistress, whose affections she entirely won 
by her amiable disposition and propriety of demeanour. 

At this period, neither in the mother-country nor in the colonies 
was much attention bestowed on the education of the labouring- 
classes of the whites themselves, and much less, it may be supposed, 
was expended on the mental cultivation of the slave population. 
Hence, when little Phillis, to her acquirements in reading, added, by 
her own exertions and industry, the power of writing, she became 
an object of very general attention. It is scarcely possible to sup- 
pose that any care should have been expended on her young mind 
before her abduction from her native land, and indeed her tender 
years almost precluded the possibiHty even of such culture as Africa 

7 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



could afford. Of her infancy, spent in that unhappy land, Phiilis 
had but one solitary recollection, but that is an interesting one. She 
remenrbered that, every morning, her viother poured out water 
before the rising sun — a religious rite, doubtless, of the district from 
which the child was carried away. Thus every morning, when the 
day broke over the land and the home which fate had bestowed 
on iier, was Phiilis reminded of the tender mother who had watched 
over her infancy, but had been unable to protect her from the hand 
of the merciless breakers-up of all domestic and social ties. The 
young negro girl, however, regarded her abduction with no feelings 
of regret, but with thankfulness, as having been the means of bring- 
ing her to a land where a light, unknown in her far-off home, shone 
as a guide to the feet and a lamp to the path. 

As? Phiilis grew up^ to womanhood, her progress and attainments 
did not belie the promise of her earlier years. She attracted the 
notice of tlie literarj' characters of the day and the place, who sup- 
plied her with books, and encouraged by their approbation the 
ripening of her intellectual powers. This was greatly assisted by 
the kind conduct of her mistress, who treated her in every respect 
like a child of the family — admitted her to her own table— and intro- 
duced her as an equal into the best society of Boston. Notwith- 
standing these honours, Phiilis never for a moment departed from 
the humble and unassuming deportment which distinguished her 
when she stood, a little trembling alien, to be sold, like a beast of 
the field, in the slave-market. Never did she presume upon the 
indulgence of those benevolent friends who regarded only her worth 
and her genius, and overlooked in her favour all the disadvantages 
of caste and of colour. So far was PhilHs from repining at, or 
resenting the prejudices which the long usages of society had 
implanted, too deeply to be easily eradicated, in the minds even of 
the most humane of a more favoured race, that she uniformly 
respected them, and, on being invited to the tables of the great and 
the wealthy, chose always a place apart for herself, that none might 
be offended at a thing so unusual as silting at the same board with 
a woman of colour — a child of a long-degraded race. 

Such was the modest and amiable disposition of Phiilis Wheatley : 
her literary talents and acquirements accorded well with the intrinsic 
worth of her character. At the early age of fourteen, she appears 
first to have attempted literary composition ; and between this 
period and the age of nineteen, the whole of her poems which were 
given to the world seem to have been written. Her favourite author 
was Pope, and her favourite work the translation of the Iliad, It 
is not of course surprising that her pieces should present many 
features of resemblance to those of her cherished author and model. 
She began also the study of the Latin tongue, and if we may judge 
from a translation of one of Ovid's tales, appears to have made no 
inconsiderable progress in it. 

8 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 

A great number of Phillis Wheatley*s pieces were written to com- 
snemorate the deal^hs of the friends who had been kind to her. The 
following little piece is on the death of a young gentleman of great 
promise : 

' Who taught thee conflict with the powers of night, 
To vanquish Satan in the fields of fight ? 
Who Strang thy feeble arms with might unknown? 
How great thy conquest, and how bright thy ciiown ! 
War with each princedom, throne, and power is o*er; 
The scene is ended, to return no more. 
Oh, could my muse thy seat on high behold, 
How decked with laurel, and enriched with gold ! 
Oh, could she hear what' praise thy harp employs, 
How sweet thine anthems, how divine thy joys, 
What heavenly grandeur should exalt her strain ! 
What holy raptures in her numbers reign ! 
To soothe the troubles of the mind to peace, 
To still the tumult of life's tossing seas. 
To ease the anguish of the parent's heart, 
What shall my sympathising verse impart ? 
Where is the balm to heal so deep a wound ? 
Where shall a sovereign remedy be found? 
Look, gracious Spirit ! from thy heavenly bower, 
And thy fiiU joys into their bosoms pour : 
The raging tempest of their griefs control, 
And spread the dawn of glory through the soul, 
To eye the path the saint departed trod, 
And trace him to the bosom of his God.' 

The following passage on sleep, from a poem of some length, On 
the Providence of God, shews a very considerable reach of thought, 
and no mean powers of expression : 

* As reason's powers by day our God disclose, 
So may We trace Him in the night's repose. 
Say, what is sleep ? and dreams, how passing strange ! 
When action ceases and ideas range 
Licentious and unbounded o'er the plains, 
Where fancy's queen in giddy triumph reigns. ' 
Hear in soft strains the dreaming lOver sigh 
To a kind fair, and rave in jealousy ; 
On pleasure now, and now on vengeance bent, 
The labouring passions struggle for a vent. 
What power, O man ! thy reason then restores, 
So long suspended in nocturnal hours ? 
What secret hand returns* the mental train. 
And gives improved thine active powers again ? 
From thee, O man ! what gratitude should rise ! 



* Reiurtts, a common colloquial error for restores. 

No. 59. 9 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



And when from balmy sleep thou op*st thine eyes, 
Let thy first thoughts be praises to the skies. 
How merciful our God, who thus imparts 
O'erflowing tides of joy to human hearts, 
When wants and woes might be our righteous lot, 
Our God Ibrgetting, by our God forgot 

We have no hesitation in stating our opinion, and we believe that 
many will concur in it, that these lines, written by an African slave- 
girl at the age of fifteen or sixteen, are quite equal to a great number 
of the verses that appear in all standard collections of English 
poetry, under the names of Halifax, Dorset, and others of 'the mob 
of gentlemen who wrote with ease/ Phillis Wheatley's lines are, if 
anything, superior in harmony, and are not inferior in depth of 
thought ; the faults are those which characterise the models she 
copied from ; for it must be recollected that, sixty years ago, the 
older authors of England were almost unknown ; and till the return 
to nature and truth in the works of Cowper, the only popular writers 
were those who followed the artificial, though polished style intro- 
duced with the second Charles from the continent of Europe. This 
accounts fully for the elaborate versification of the^ negro girVs 
poetry; since it required minds such as those of Cowper and 
Wordsworth to throw off the trammels of this artificial style, and to 
revive the native vigour and simplicity of their country's earlier 
verse. 

Phillis Wheatley felt a deep interest in everything affecting the 
liberty of her fellow-creatures, of whatever condition, race, or colour. 
She expresses herself with much feeling in an address to the Earl of 
Dartmouth, secrefary of state for North America, on the occasion of 
some relaxation of the system of haughty severity which the home 
government then pursued towards the colonies, and which ultimately 
caused their separation and independence. 

* Should you, my lord, while you peruse my song, 
Wonder from whence my love of freedom sprung ; 
Whence flow those wishes for the common good, 
By feeling hearts alone best understood — 
I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate. 
Was snatched from Afric*s fancied happy seat. 
What pangs excruciating must molest. 
What sorrows labour in my parents' breast ! 
Steeled was that soul, and by no misery moved, 
That from a father seized his babe beloved ; 
Such, such my case. And can I then but pray 
Others may never feel tyrannic sway?' 

A slight and rather curious defect of Phillis''s intellectual powers 
might, under ordinary circurhstances, have prevented her composi- 
tions from being ever placed on paper. This was the weakness of 

lO 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



her memory, which, though it did not prevent her from acquiring 
the Latin tongue, or benefiting by her reading, yet disabled her 
from retaining on her mind, for any length of time, her own cogita- 
tions. Her kind mistress provided a remedy for this, by ordering a 
fire to be kept constantly in PhiUis's room, so that she might have 
an opportunity of recording any thoughts that occurred to her mind, 
by night as well as by day, without endangering her health from 
exposure to cold. 

The constitution of Phillis was naturally delicate) and her health 
always wavering and uncertain. At the age of nineteen, her condi- 
tion became such as to alarm her friends. A sea voyage was 
recommended by the physicians, and it was arranged that Phillis 
should take a voyage to England in company with a son of Mrs 
Wheatley, who was proceeding thither on commercial business. 
The amiable negro girl had hitherto never been parted from the side 
of her benefactress since the hour of her adoption into the family ; 
and though the necessity of the separation was acknowledged, it 
was equally painful to both. 

* Susannah mourns, nor can I bear 

To see the crystal shower, 
Or mark the tender falling teat; 

At sad departure's hour ; 
Not unregarding can I see 

Her soul with grief opprest, 
But let no sighs, no groans for me 

Steal from her pensive breast. 

3|C 9|C ^ 

Lo ! Health appears, celestial dame, 

Complacent and serene, 
With Heb6's mantle o'er her frame. 

With soul-delighting mien.* 

Phillis was received and admired in the first circles of English 
society ; and it was here that her poems were given to the world, 
with a lijceness of the authoress attached to them. From this like- 
ness, the countenance of Phillis appears to have been pleasing, and 
the form of her head highly intellectual. On this engraving being 
transmitted to Mrs Wheatley in America, that lady placed it in a 
conspicuous part of her room, and called the attention of her visitors 
to it, exclaiming : * See ! look at my Phillis ; does she not seem as 
if she would speak to me ?' But the health of this good and humane 
lady declined rapidly, and she soon found that the beloved original 
of the portrait was necessary to her comfort and happiness. On the 
first notice of her benefactress's desire to see her once more^ Phillis, 
whose modest humility was unshaken by the severe trial of flattery 
and attention from the great, re-embarked immediately for the land 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



of her true home. Within a shprt time after her arrival, she dis- 
charged the melancholy duty of closing the eyes of her mistress, 
mother, and friend, whose husband and daughter soon sunk also 
into the grave. The son had married and settled in England, and 
Phillis Wheatley found herself alone in the world. 

The happiness of the African poetess was now clouded for ever. 
Little is known of the latter years of her life, but all that has been 
ascertained is of a melancholy character. Shortly after the death 
of her friends, she received an offer of marriage from a respectable 
coloured man of the name of Peters. In her desolate condition, it 
would have been hard to have blamed Phillis for accepting any 
offer of protection of an honourable kind ; yet it is pleasing to think 
that, though the man whose wife she now became rendered her after- 
life miserable by his misconduct, our opinion of her is not lowered 
by the circumstances of her marriage. At the time it took place, 
Peters not only bore a good character, but was every way a remark- 
able specimen of his race ; being a fluent writer, a ready speaker, 
and altogether an intelligent and well-educated man. But he was 
indolent, and too proud for his business, which was that of a grocer, 
and in which he failed soon after his marriage. 

The war of independence began soon after this, and scarcity and 
distress visited the cities and villages of North America. In the 
course of three years of suffering, Phillis became the mother of three 
infants, for whom and for herself^ through the neglect of her husband, 
she had often not a morsel of bread. No reproach, however, was 
ever heard to issue from the lips of the meek and uncomplaining 
woman, who had been nursed in the lap of affluence and comfort, 
and to whom all had been once as kind as she herself was deserving. 
It would be needless to dwell on her career of misery, further than 
the closing scene. For a long time nothing had been known of her. 
A relative of her lamented mistress at length discovered, her in a 
state of absolute want, bereft of two of her infants, and with' the third 
dying by a dying mother's side. Her husband was still with her, 
but his heart must have been one of flint, otherwise indolence, which 
Hvas his chief vice, must have fled at such a spectacle. Phillis 
Wheatley and her infant were soon after laid in one humble grave. 

Thus perished a woman who, by a fortunate accident, was rescued 
from the degraded condition to which those of her race who are 
brought to the slave-market are too often condemned, as if for the 
purpose of shewing to the world what care and education could effect 
in elevating the character of the benighted African. The example 
is sufficient to impress us with the conviction, that, out of the count- 
less millions to whom no similar opportunities have ever been pre- 
sented, many might be found fitted by the endowments of nature, 
and wanting only the blessings of education, to make them orna- 
ments, like Phillis Wheatley, not only to their race, but to 
humanity. 

12 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES, 



LOTT GARY. 

This self-taught African genius was born a slave in Charles Citjr 
county, about thirty niiles below Richmond, Virginia, on the estate of 
Mr William A. Christian. He was the only child of parents who 
were themselves slaVes, but, it appears, of a pious turn otjmind ; and 
though he had no instruction from books, it may be supposed, that 
the admonitions of his father and mother may have laid the founda- 
tions of his future usefulness. In the year 1804, the young slave was 
sent to Richmond, and hired out by the year as a common labourer, 
at a warehouse in the place. While in this employment, he happened 
to hear a sermon, which implanted in his uncultivated mind a s^^^ong 
desire to be able to read, chiefly with a view of becoming acquamted 
with the nature of certain transactions recorded in the New Testa- 
ment. Having somehow procured a copy of this work, he com- 
menced learning his letters, by trying to read the chapter he had 
heard illustrated in the sermon, and by dint of perseverance, and the 
kind assistance of young gentlemen who called at the warehouse, he 
was in a little time able to read, which gave him great satisfaction. 
This acquisition immediately created in him a desire to be ableta 
write ; an accomplishment he soon also mastered. He now became • 
more useful to his employers, by being able to check and superintend 
the shipping of tobacco ; and having, in the course of time, saved 
the sum of 850 dollars, or nearly .£170 sterling, he purchased his Own 
freedom and that of two children left him on the death of his first 
wife. * Of the real value of his services while in this employment/ 
says the author of the American publication from whence these 
facts are extracted, 'it has been remarked that no one 1?ut a dealer 
in tobacco can form an idea. Notwithstanding the hundreds of 
hogsheads which were committed to his charge, he could produce 
any one the moment it was called for ; and the shipments were made 
with a promptness and correctness such as no person, white or 
coloured, has equalled in the same situation. The last year in which 
he remained in the warehouse, his salary was 800 dollars. For his 
ability in his work he was highly esteemed, and frequently rewarded 
by the merchant with a five-dollar bank-note. He was also allowed 
to sell, for his own benefit, many small parcels of damaged tobacco. 
It was by saving the little sums obtained in this way, with the 
aid of subscriptions by the merchants, to whose interests he had 
been attentive, that he was enabled to purchase the freedom of his 
family. When the colonists were fitted out for Africa, he was 
enabled to bear a considerable paxt of his own expenses. He also 
purchased a house and some land in Richmond. It is said that,, 
while employed at the warehouse, he often devoted his leisure time 
to reading, and that a gentleman, on one occasion, taking up a book 

23 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



which he had left for a few moments, found it to be Smith's Wealth 
of Naiionsi 

As early as the year 1815, this intelligent emancipated slave began 
to feel special interest in the cause of African missions, and contri- 
buted, probably more than any other person, in giving origin and 
character to the African Missionary Society, established during that 
year in Richmond. His benevolence was practical, and whenever 
and wherever good objects were to be effected, he was ready to lend 
his aid. Mr Gary was among the earliest emigrants to Africa. Here 
he saw before him a wide and interesting field, demanding various 
and powerful talents, and the most devoted piety. His intellectual 
ability, firmness of purpose, unbending integrity, correct judgment, 
and disinterested benevolence, soon placed him in a conspicuous 
station, and gave him wide and commanding influence. Though 
naturally diffident and retiring, his worth was too evident to allow of 
his remaining in obscurity. The difficulties which were encountered 
in founding a settlement at Cape Montserado were appalling, and it 
was proposed on one occasion that the emigrants should remove to 
Sierra Leone, whose climate is of the most destructive character ; 
but the resolution of Lott Gary to remain was hot shaken, and his 
decision had no small effect towards inducing others to imitate his 
example. In the event, they suffered severely. More than eight 
hundred natives attacked them in November 1822, but were repulsed; 
and a few weeks later, a body of fifteen hundred attacked them again 
at daybreak. Several of the colonists were killed and wounded ; but 
with no more than thirty-seven effective men and boys, and the aid 
of a small piece of artillery, they again achieved a victory over the 
natives. In these scenes the intrepid Gary necessarily bore a con- 
spicuous part. In one of his letters, he remarks that, like the Jews 
in rebuilding their city, they had to toil with their arms beside them, 
and rest upon them every night ; but he declared affer this, in the 
most emphatic terms, that 'there never had been an hour or a 
minute, no, not even when the balls were flying round his head, when 
he could wish himself back in America again.' 

The ffeculiar exposure of the early emigrants, the scantiness of 
their supplies, and the want of adequate medical attention, subjected 
them to severe and complicated sufferings. To relieve, if possible, 
these sufferings, Mr Gary obtained all the information in his power 
concerning the diseases of the climate, and the proper remedies. He 
made liberal sacrifices of his property in behalf of the poor and 
distressed, and devoted his time almost exclusively to the relief of the 
destitute, the sick, and the afflicted. His services as a physician to 
the colony were invaluable, and were for a long time rendered with- 
out hope of reward. But amid his multiplied cares and efforts for 
the colony, he never forgot or neglected to promote the joint cause 
of civilisation and Ghristianity among the natives. 

In 1 806 Mr Gary was elected vice-agent of the colony, and he 
14 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



discharged the duties of that important office till his death, which 
occurred in 1828 in the most melancholy manner. One evening, 
while he and several others were engaged in making cartridges in 
the old agency house at Monrovia — the chief town in the settlement 
— in preparation to defend the rights of the colony against a slave- 
trader, a candle appears to have been accidentally overturned, which 
ignited some loose powder, and almost instantaneously reached the 
entire ammunition, producing an explosion which resulted in the 
death of eight persons. Mr Car)-"- survived for two days. Such was 
the unfortunate death of this active coloured apostle of civilisation 
on the coast of Africa, where his memory will continue long to be 
cherished. The career which he pursued, and the intelligence which 
marked his character, might prove, to the satisfaction of all impartial 
thinkers, that the miserable race of blacks is not destitute of moral 
worth and innate genius, and that their culture would liberally pro- 
duce an abundant harvest of the best principles and their results 
which dignify human nature. 



PAUL CUFFEE. 

From the foregoing instances of intelligent negroes, we now turn 
to Paul Cuffee^ who presents us with an example of great energy of 
mind in the more common affairs of life, as Gary and Wheatley 
exhibited the finer and higher degrees of intellectual endowment. 
The father of Paul was a native of Africa, from which country he 
was brought as a slave to Boston, in North America. Here he 
remained in slavery for a considerable portion of his life ; but finally, 
by industry and economy, he amassed a sum which enabled him to 
purchase his personal liberty. About the same period he married a 
woman of Indian descent, and continuing his habits of industry 
and frugality, he soon found himself rich enough to purchase a farm 
of a hundred acres at Westport, in Massachusetts. Here a family 
of ten children was born to him, four sons and six daughters, all of 
whom received a little education, and were ultimately established in 
respectable situations in life. Paul, the fourth son, was born in the 
year 1759. When he was about fourteen years of age, his father 
died, leaving a considerable property in land, but which, being at 
that time comparatively unproductive, afforded only a very moderate 
provision for the large family which depended on it for subsistence. 
After assisting his brothers for a time in the management of this 
property, Paul began to see that commerce then held out higher 
prospects to industry than agriculture, and being conscious, perhaps, 
that he possessed qualities which, under proper culture, would enable 
him to pursue commercial employments with success, he resolved 
to betake himself to the sea. A whaling voyage was his first adven- 
ture in the capacity of a mariner, and on his return from this, he 

15 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



made a trip to the West Indies, acting on both occasions as a 
'common man at the mast.'' His third voyage occurred in the year 
1776, at which period Britain was at war with America. Paul and 
his companions were taken prisoners by the British, and detained 
for about three months at New York. On being liberated, Paul 
returned to Westport, where he resided for several succeeding years, 
assisting his brothers in their agricultural pursuits. 

We have now to mention a circumstance most honourable to Paul 
Cuffee. The free negro population of Massachusetts was at that 
period excluded from all participation in the rights of citizenship, 
though bearing a full share of every state burden. Paul, though not 
yet twenty years of age, felt deeply the injustice done to himself and 
his race, and resolved to make an effort to obtain for them the rights 
which were their due. Assisted by his brothers, he drew up and 
presented a respectful petition on the subject to the state legislature. 
In spite of the prejudices of the times, the propriety and justice of 
the petition were perceived by a majority of the legislative body, and 
an act was passed, granting to the free negroes all the privileges of 
white citizens. This enactment was not only important as far as 
regarded the state of Massachusetts ; the example was followed at 
different periods by others of the united provinces, and thus did the 
exertions of Paul Cuffee and his brothers influence permanently the 
welfare of the whole coloured population of North America. 

After accomplishing this great work, our hero's enterprising spirit 
directed itself to objects of a more personal character. In his twen- 
tieth year, he laid before his brother David a plan for opening a 
commercial intercourse with the state of Connecticut. His brother 
was pleased with the scheme : an open boat, which was all that 
their means could accomplish, was built, and the adventurers pro- 
ceeded to sea. Here David Cuffee found himself for the first time 
exposed to the perils of the ocean, and the hazard of the predatory 
warfare which was carried on by the private refugees on the coast. 
His courage sank ere he had proceeded many leagues, and he 
resolved to return. This was a bitter disappointment to the intrepid 
Paul; but he was affectionate, and gave up the enterprise at his 
elder brother's desire. After labouring diligently for some time 
afterwards in the fields, at the family farm, Paul collected sufficient 
means to ti-5'' the scheme again on his own account. He went to sea, 
and lost all the little treasure which by the sweat of his brow he had 
gathered. Not discouraged by this misfortune, he returned to his 
farm labours, only to revolve his plans anew. As he could not now 
purchase what he wanted, he set to work, and with his own hands 
constructed a boat, complete from keel to gunwale. This vessel was 
without a deck, but his whaling experience had made him an adept 
in the management of such a bark. Having launched it into the 
ocean, he steered for the Elizabeth Isles, with the view of consulting 

one of his brothers, who resided there, upon his future plans. Alas, 
16 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 

poor Paul ! he was met by a party of pirates, who deprived him of 
his boat and all its contents. He returned once more to Westport in 
a penniless condition. 

Ardent indeed must the spirit have been which such repeated 
calamities did not shake. Again did our young adventurer prevail 
on his brother David to assist him in building a boat. This being 
accomplished, the respectability of Paul Cuffee's character, and his 
reputation for unflinching energy, procured him sufficient credit to 
enable him to purchase a small cargo. With this he went to sea, 
and after a narrow escape from the refugee pirates, disposed of his 
cargo at the island of Nantucket, and returned to Westport in 
safety. A second voyage to the same quarter was less fortunate ; 
he fell into the hands of the pirates, who deprived him of everything 
but his boat. Paul's inflexible firmness of mind did not yet desert 
him : he undertook another voyage in his open boat, with a small 
cargo, and was successful in reaching Nantucket. He there dis- 
posed of his goods to advantage, and returned in safety to West- 
port. 

Hitherto we have not alluded to the condition of Paul Cuffee as 
far as regarded mental culture. In truth, up almost to manhood he 
can scarcely be said tb have received any education whatever beyond 
the acquirement of the English alphabet. Ere he was twenty-five 
years of age, however, he had obviated this disadvantage by his 
assiduity, and had taught himself writing and arithmetic. He had 
alsc applied to the study of navigation, and had mastered it so far 
as to render himself capable of engaging in nautical and commercial 
undertakings to any extent. 

The profits of the voyage already alluded to put Paul in possession 
of a covered boatj of about twelve tons burden, with which he made 
many voyages to the Connecticut coasts. In these he was so 
successful, that he thought himself justified in undertaking the cares 
of a family, and married a female descendant of the same tribe of 
Indians to which his mother belonged. For some years after this 
event, he attended chiefly to agricultural con(:ems, but the increase 
of his family induced him to embark anew in comm^ercial plans* 
He arranged his affairs for a new expedition, and hired a small 
house on Westport River, to which he removed with his wife and 
children. Here, with a boat of eighteen tons, he engaged in the 
cod-fishing, and was so successful that he was enabled in a short 
time to build a vessel of forty-two tons, which he navigated with the 
assistance of his nephews, several of whom had devoted themselves 
to the sea-service. 

Paul Cuffee was now the most influential person in a thriving 
fishing community, which depended chiefly on his enterprise and 
voyages for employment and support. How deeply he interested 
himself in the welfare of those around him, may be estimated from 
the following circumstance. Having felt in his own person the want 

17 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 

of a proper education, he called the inhabitants of his village tn a 
meeting, and proposed to them the establishment of a school. J ind- 
ing some disputes and delays to start up in the way, Paul took the 
matter into his own hands, built a school-house on his own ground 
at his own expense, and threw it open to the public. This enlight- 
ened and philanthropic conduct on the part of a coloured person, 
the offspring of a slave, may serve as a lesson to rulers and legis- 
lators of far higher pretensions. Though the range of his influence 
was limited, the intention of the act was not less meritorious than if 
it had extended over an empire. 

About this time, Paul proceeded on a whaling voyage to the 
Straits of Belleisle, where he found four other vessels much bitter 
equipped than his own. For this reason the masters of these vesseli 
withdrew from the customary practice on such occasions, and refused 
to mate with PauFs crew, which consisted of only ten hands. This 
disagreement was afterwards made up ; but it had the effect of 
rousing the ardour of Cuffee and his men to such a pitch, that out of 
seven whales killed in that season, two fell by Paul's own hands, and 
four by those of his crew. Returning home heavily freighted with 
oil and bone, our hero then went to Philadelphia to dispose of his 
cargo, and with the proceeds purchased materials for building a 
schooner of sixty or seventy tons. In 1795, when he was about 
thirty-six years of age, Paul had the pleasure of seeing his new 
vessel launched at Westport. The Ranger was the name given to 
the schooner, which was of sixty-nine tons burden. By selling his 
two other boats, Paul was enabled to put a cargo worth two 3iou- 
sand dollars on board of the Ranger ; and having heard that a load 
of Indian corn might be procured at a low rate on the eastefn shore 
of Maryland, he accordmgly directed his course thither. It may 
give some idea of the low estimation in which the African race was 
held, and of the energy required to rise above the crushing weight 
of prejudice, when we inform the reader that, on the arrival of Paul 
at Vienna, in Nantichoke Bay, the inhabitants were filled with 
astonishment, and even alarm ; a vessel owned and commanded by 
a black inan, and manned with a crew of the same colour, was 
unprecedented and surprising. The fear of a revolt on the part of 
their slaves was excited among the inhabitants of Vienna, and an 
attempt was made to prevent Paul from entering the harbour. The 
prudence and firmness of the negro captain overcame this difficulty, 
and converted dislike into kindness and esteem^ He sold his cargo, 
received in lieu of it three thousand bushels of Indian com, which 
he conveyed to Westport, where it was in great demand, and 
yielded our hero a clear profit of a thousand dollars. He made 
many subsequent voyages to the same quarter, and always with 
similar success. 

Paul Cuffee was now one of the wealthiest and most respectable 
*iien of the district in whiqh he lived, and all his relations partook 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



of his good-fortune. He had purchased some valuable landed 
property in the neighbourhood where his family had been brought 
up, and placed it under the care of one of his brothers. He built 
a brig likewise of a hundred and sixty-two tons, which was put 
under the command of a nephew. As may be supposed, he had in 
the meantime fitted himself also with a vessel suited to his increas- 
ing means. In 1806, the brig Traveller^ of a hundred and nine tons, 
and the ship Alpha^ of two hundred and sixty-eight tons, were built 
at Westport, and of these he was the principal owner. He com- 
manded the Alpha himself, and the others also were engaged in 
the extensive business which he carried on at Westport. 

The scheme of forming colonies of free blacks, from. America and 
other quarters, on the coast, of their native Africa, excited the deepest 
interest in Paul Cuffee, whose heart had always grieved for the 
degraded state of his race. Anxious to contribute to the success 
of this great purpose, he resolved to visit in person the African coast, 
and satisfy himself respecting the state of the country, and other 
points. This he accompHshed in iSiij in the brig Traveller^ with 
which he reached Sierra Leone after a two months' passage. While 
he was there, the British African Institution, hearing of his benevolent 
designs, applied for and obtained a license, which induced Paul to 
come to Britain with a cargo of African produce. He left his nephew, 
however, behind him at Sierra Leone, to prosecute his disinterested 
views, and brought away a native youth, in order to educate him, 
and render him fit to educate others, on being restored to the place of 
his birth. 

On arriving at Liverpool with his brig, navigated by eight men of 
colour and a boy, Paul Cuffee soon gained the esteem of all with 
whom he held intercourse. He visited London twice, the second 
visit being made at the request of the members of the African 
Institution, who were desirous of consulting with him as to the best 
means of carrying their benevolent views respecting Africa into 
effect. This excellent and enterprising man shortly after returned 
to America, to pass the remainder of his days in the bosom of his 
family* and to do good to all around him, with the ample means 
which his industry had acquired. 

The following description is appended to a notice of him which 
appeared in the Liverpool Mercury at the time of his visit to Britain, 
and to which we have been indebted for the materials of the present 
article: 'A sound understanding, united with indomitable energy 
and perseverance, are the prominent features of Paul Cuffee's 
character. Bom under peculiar disadvantages^ deprived of the 
benefits of early education, and his meridian spent in toil and 
vicissitudes, he has struggled under disadvantages which have 
seldom occurred in the career of any individual. Yet, tinder the 
pressure of these difficulties, he seems to have fostered dispositions 
of mind which qualify him for any station of life to which he may 

«9 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



be introduced. His person is tall, well formed, and athletic ; his 
deportment conciliating, yet dignified and serious. His prudence, 
strengthened by parental care and example, no doubt guarded him 
in his youth, when exposed to the dissolute company which unavoid- 
ably attends a seafaring life ; whilst religion, influencing his mind 
by its secret guidance in silent reflection, has, in advancing man- 
hood, added to the brightness of his character, and instituted or 
confirmed his disposition to practical good. Latterly, he made 
application, and was received into membership with the respectable 
Society of Friends.' 



THE AMISTAD CAPTIVES. 

The case of the * Amistad Captives,' as they were termed, created 
considerable sensation in the United States; and as little or 
nothing was known respecting them in England at the time we 
write, we offer the following account, which we have collected from 
materials in the work of Mr Sturge. 

During the month of August 1839, public attention was excited 
by several reports, stating that a vessel of suspicious and piraitical 
character had been seen near the coast of the United States, in the 
vicinity of New York. This vessel Was represented as a long, low, 
black schooner, and manned by blacks. Government interfered, 
and the steamer Fulton and several revenue-cutters were despatched 
^fter her, and notice was given to the collectors.- at various seaports. 

The suspicious-looking schooner proved to be the Amistad, and 
it wias eventually captured off CuUoden Point by Lieutenant Gedney, 
of the brig Washington. On being taken possession of, it was 
found that the schooner was a Spanish vessel, in tlie hands of about 
forty Africans,* one of whom, named Cinque, acted as commander. 
They described themselves, with truth and consistency, to be persons 
who had been originally carried off from their own country as slaves, 
and taken to Havana to be sold; bought there by two Spaniards, 
Jose Ruijs and Pedro Montez, who shipped them on board the 
Amistad, to be conveyed to a distant part of Cuba, at which was 
Ruiz's estate ; and that, when at sea, they overpowered their oppres- 
sors, killing the captain and part of the crew in the effort to regain 
their liberty, and now wished to navigate the vessel homeward to 
Africa. Ruiz and Montez they had not injured, but only placed in 
confinement till an opportunity occurred" for liberating them. Lieu- 
tenant Gedney at once secured the whole as prisoners, and sent them 
to Newhaven county jail, where they were detained by Ruiz and 
Montez, who claimed them as their property, and caused them to be 

* The exact number is not clearly stated by Mr Sturge: be speaks first of forty-four, and 
afterwards of thirty-five: as it appears there were several children, perhaps thirty-five was 
the number of individuals who took a share in the fray. 
20 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 

indicted for piracy and murder. This was almost immediately dis- 
posed of, oh the ground that the charges, if true, were not cognisable 
m the American courts ; the alleged offences having been perpetrated 
on board a Spanish vessel. The whole were, however, still kept in 
confinement ; the question remaining to be determined, whether they 
should be handed over to the Spanish authorities of Cuba, who 
loudly demanded them, or transmitted to the coast of Africa ? 

It may be supposed that these proceedings excited a lively sensa- 
tion among all the friends of the blacks in America, and every 
proper means was adopted to procure the liberation of the unhappy 
Africans. The American government finally came to the resolution 
of delivering them up either as property or assassins ; and Van 
Buren, the president, issued an order, Januaiy 7, 1840, to that effect. 
But, after all, the order did not avail. The district judge, contrary 
to all anticipations of the executive, decided that the negroes were 
freemen ; that they had been kidnapped in Africa, and were fully 
entitled to their liberty. They were accordingly set free, and allowed 
to go where they pleased. This event gave great satisfaction to the 
anti-slavery societies throughout the States ; and many persons 
kindly vplunteered to assist the late captives in their homeless and 
utterly penniless condition. Lewis Tappan, a member of a com- 
mittee of benevolent individuals, took a warm interest in their fate, 
and was deputed by his brethren to make an excursion with some of 
the Africans to different towns, in order to raise funds. In this he 
was aided by Mr Deming and one or two others ; and by their 
united efforts, several highly interesting public exhibitions were 
accomplished, and some money collected. The Africans, it appears, 
were natives of Mendi, and possessed no small degree of intelligence. 
Ten were selected from among the number as being considered the 
best singers, and most able to address an audience in English. 
These were named Cinque, Banna, Si-si, Su-ma, Fuli, Ya-bo-i, 
So-ko-ma, Kinna, Kali, and Mar-gru. Taken to Boston, they made 
a deep impression on the large audiences which came to hear them 
sing and tell the story of their capture. In a narrative written by 
Mr Tappan, we find the following account of what occurred at one 
of these exhibitions. After some preliminary statements, * three of 
the best readers were called upon to read a passage in the New 
Testament. One of the Africans next related in * Merica language ' 
their condition in their own country, their being kidnapped^ the 
sufferings of the middle passage, their stay at Havana, the trans- 
actions on board the Amistad, Sc. The story was intelligible to the 
audience, with occasional explanations. They were next requested 
to sing two or three of their native songs. This performance 
afforded great delight to the audience. As a pleasing contrast, how- 
ever, they sang immediately after one of the songs of Zion. This 
produced a deep impression upon the audience ; and while these late 
pagans were singing so correctly and impressively a hymn in a 

21 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 

Christian church, many weeping eyes bore testimony that the act 
and its associations touched a chord that vibrated in many hearts. 
Cinque was then introduced to the audience, and addressed them in 
his native tongue. It is impossible to describe the novel and deeply 
interesting manner in which he acquitted himself. The subject of 
his speech was similar to that of his countrymen who had addressed 
the audience in English ; but he related more minutely and graphic- 
ally the occurrences on board the Amis tad. The easy manner of 
Cinque, his natural, graceful, and energetic action, the rapidity of his 
utterance, and the remarkable and various expressions of his coun- 
tenance, excited the admiration and applause of the audience. He 
was pronounced a powerful natural orator, and one born to sway the 
minds of his fellow-men. 

* The amoimt of the statements made by Kinna, Fuli, and Cinque, 
and the facts in the case, are as follow : These Mendfkns belong to 
SLx different tribes, although their dialects are not so dissimilar as to 
prevent them from conversing together very readily. Most of them 
belong to a country which they call Mendi, but which is known to 
geographers and travellers as Kos-sa, and lies south-east of Sierra 
Leone, as we suppose, from sixty to one hundred and twenty miles. 
With one or two exceptions, these Mendians are not related to each 
other ; nor did they know each other until they met at the slave 
factory of Pedro Blanco, the wholesale trafficker in men, at Lomboko, 
on the coast of Africa. They were stolen separately, many of them 
by black men, some of whom were accompanied by Spaniards, as 
they were going from one village to another, or were at a distance 
from their abodes. The whole came to Havana in the same ship, 
a Portuguese vessel named Tecora, except the four children, whom 
they saw for the first time on board the Amistad. It seems that 
they remained at Lomboko several weeks, until six or seven hundred 
were collected, when they were put in irons, and placed in the hold 
of a ship, which soon put to sea. Being chased by a British cruiser, 
she returned, landed the cargo of human beings, and the vessel was 
seized and taken to Sierra Leone for adjudication. After some time 
the Africans were put on board the Tecora, After suffering the 
horrors of the middle passage, they arrived at Havana. Here 
they were put into a barracoo^ for ten days — one of the oblong 
enclosures without a roof, where human beings are kept, as they keep 
sheep and oxen near the cattle-markets in the vicinity of our large 
cities, until purchasers are found — ^v/hen they were sold to Jose Ruiz, 
and shipped on board the Amistad^ together with the three girls, and 
a little boy who came on board with Pedro Montez. The Amistad 
was a coaster, bound to Principe in Cuba, distant some two or three 
hundred miles. 

The Africans were kept in chains and fetters, and were supplied 
with but a smaU quantity of food or water. A single banana, they 
say, was served out as food for a day or two, and only a small cup 

22 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 

of water for each daily. When any of them took a little water fron> 
the cask, they were severely flogged. The Spaniards took Antonio, 
the cabin-boy, and slave to Captain Ferrer, and stamped him on the 
shoulder with a hot iron, then put pov/der, palm-oil, &c. upon the 
wound, so that they " could know him for their slave.'* The cook, a 
coloured Spaniard, told them that, on their arrival at Principe, in 
three days they would have their throats cut, be chopped in pieces,, 
and salted down for meat for the Spaniards. He pointed to some 
barrels of beef on the deck, then to an empty barrel, and by signifi- 
cant gestures — as the Mendians say, by " talking with his fingers" 
— ^he made them understand that they were to be slain, &c. At 
four o'clock that day, when they were called on deck to eat, Cinque 
found a nail, which he secreted under his ami. In the night they 
held a council as to what was best to be done. " We feel bad/' said 
Kinna, " and we ask Cinque what we had best do. Cinque say : 
* Me think, and by and by I tell you.' He then said : * If we do 
nothing, we be kiUed. We may as well die in trying to be free, as 
to be killed and eaten.'" Cinque afterwards told them what he 
would do. With the aid of the nail, and the assistance of another^ 
he freed himself from the irons on his wrists and ankles, and from 
the chain on his neck. He then, with his own hands, wrested the 
irons from the limbs and necks of his countrymen. 

* It is not in my power to give an adequate description of Cinque 
when he shewed how he did this, and led his comrades to the 
conflict, and achieved their freedom. In my younger years I saw 
Kemble and Siddons, and the representation of Othello^ at Covent 
Garden ; but no acting that I ever witnessed came near that tO" 
which I allude. When delivered from their irons, the Mendians,. 
with the exception of the children, who were asleep, about -four or 
five o'clockin the morning, armed with cane-knives, some boxes of 
which they found in the hold, leaped upon the deck. Cinque killed 
the cook. The captain fought desperately^ He inflicted wounds on 
two of the Africans, who soon after died, and cut severely one or two 
of those who now survive. Two sailors leaped over the side of the 
vessel. The Mendians say: "They could not catch land— -they 
must have swum to the bottom of the sea ;" but Ruiz and Montez 
supposed they reached the island in a boat. Cinque now took com- 
mand of the vessel- placed Si-si at the mdder, and gave his people 
plenty to eat and drink. Ruiz and Montez had fled to the hold. 
They were dragged out, and Cinque ordered them to be put in 
irons. They cried, and begged not to be put in chains ; but Cinque 
repUed : " You say fetters good for negro ; if good for negro, good 
for Spanish man too ; you try them two days, and see how you feel.'^ 
The Spaniards asked for water, and it was dealt out to them in the 
same Httle cup with which they had dealt it out to the Africans, 
They complained bitterly of being thirsty. Cinque said : " You say 
little water enough for nigger ; if little water do for him, a little do 

23 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



for you too.'* Cinque said the Spaniards cried a great deal ; he felt 
very sorry; only meant to let them see how good it was to be treated 
iike the poor slaves. In two days the irons were removed, and then, 
said Cinque, we gave them plenty water and food, and treat them 
very well. Kinna stated, that as the water fell short, Cinque would 
not drink any, nor allow any of the rest to drink anything but salt 
water, but dealt out daily a little to each of the four children, and 
the same quantity to each of the two Spaniards ! In a day or two 
Ruiz and Montez wrote a letter, and told Cinque that, when they 
spoke a vessel, if he would give it to them, the people would take 
them to Sierra Leone. Cinque took the letter, and said : " Very 
well;" but afterwards told his brethren: "We have no letter in 
Mendi. I don't know what is in the letter — there may be death in 
it. So we will take some iron and a string, bind them about the 
letter, and send it to the bottom of the sea," 

* At the conclusion of the meeting, some linen and cotton table- 
cloths and napkins, manufactured by the Africans, were exhibited, 
and eagerly purchased of them by persons present, at liberal prices. 
They are in the habit of purchasing linen and cotton at the shops, 
unravelling the edges about six to ten inches, and making with their 
fingers net fringes, in imitation, they say, of * Mendi fashion.' Large 
numbers of the audience advanced and took Cinque and the rest by 
the hand. The transacti- ^ > of this meeting have thus been stated 
at length, and the account will serve to shew how the subsequent 
meetings were conducted, as the services in other places were 
similar. 

* These Africans, while in prison (which was the greater part of 
the time they have been in this country), learned but little compara- 
tively; but since they have been liberated, they are anxious to learn, 
as they said "it would be good for us in our own country." Many 
of them write well, read, spell, and sing well, and have attended to 
arithmetic. The younger ones have made great progress in study. 
Most of them have much fondness for arithmetic. They have also 
cultivated, as a garden, fifteen acres of land, and have raised a 
large quantity of corn, potatoes, onions, beets, &c. which will be 
useful to them at sea. In some places we visited, the audience were 
astonished at the performance of Kali, who is only eleven years of 
age. He could not only spell any word in either of the Gospels, but 
spell sentences, without any mistake ; such sentences as, " Blessed 
are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth," naming each letter 
and syllable, and recapitulating as he went along, until he pi^nounced 
the whole sentence. Two hundred and seven dollars were received 
at this meeting.' 

Mr Tappan concludes as follows : 'On Wednesday, there is to be 
a large farewell meeting at Farmington ; and in a few days the 
Mendians will embark from New York. May the Lord preserve 
them, and carr}'- them safely to their native land, to their kindred 
24 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



and homes! Su-ma, the eldest, has a wife and five children; 
Cinque has a wife and three children. They all have parents or 
wives, or brothers and sisters. What a meeting it will be with 
these relations and friends when they are descried on the hills of 
Mendi ! We were invited to visit other places, but time did not 
allow of longer absence. I must not forget to mention, that the 
whole band of these Mendians are teetotaleni. At a tavern where 
we stopped, Banna took me aside, and with a sorrowful countenance 
said : " This bad house — bar house — no good.*' But the steam-boat 
is at the wharf, and I must close. The collections in money, on 
this excursion of twelve days, are about a thousand dollars, after 
deducting travelling expenses. More money is needed to defray the 
expenses of the Mendians to their native land, and to sustain their 
religious teachers.' 

Being unanimous in the desire to return to their native country, 
the Meridian negroes, thirty-five in number, embarked from New 
York for Sierra Leone, November 27, 1841, on board the barque 
Gentleman^ Captain Morris, accompanied by five missionaries and 
teachers ; their stay in the United States, as Mr Sturge observes, 
having been of immense service to the anti-slavery cause ; and there 
was reason to hope that, under their auspices, Christianity and 
civilisation may be introduced into their native country. 



IGNATIUS SANCHO. > 

When the subject of slavery was much agitated towards the end 
of the last century, one of the most effective advocates for its aboli- 
tion was a free black living in London in the capacity of valev or 
butler to a family of distinction. This individual had been born in 
a slave vessel bound for Carthagena, in South America, his father 
and mother being destined for the slave-market there. Shortly after 
their arrival his mother died, and his father committed suicide in 
despair. The little slave child was carried to England by his 
master, and made a present of to a family of three maiden sisters 
residing at Greenwich. Being of a droll and hurriorous disposition, 
he earned for himself the nickname of Sancho, after Don Quixote's 
squire ; and ever afterwards he called himself Ignatius Sancho. 
The Duke of Montague, who was a frequent visitor at the house of 
Sancho''s mistresses, took an interest in him, lent him books, and 
advised his mistresses to have him educated. At length, on their 
death, he entered the service of the Duchess of Montague in the 
capacity of butler ; and on the death of the duchess, he was left an 
annuity of thirty pounds. This, added to seventy pounds which he 
had saved during the period of his service, might have enabled him 
to estabHsh himself respectably in life ; but for a while Sancho pre- 
ferred the dissipated life of a wit about town, indulging in pleasures 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



beyond his means, and hanging on about the green-rooms of 
theatres. On one occasion he spent his last shiUing at Drury Lane 
to .^ee Garrick act ; and it is said that Garrick was very fond of his 
negro admirer. Such was Sancho's theatrical enthusiasm, that he 
proposed at one time to act negro parts on the stage ; but as his 
articulation was imperfect, this scheme had to be given up. After 
an interval of idleness and dissipation, Sancho's habits became 
more regular, and he married an interesting West India girl, by 
whom he had a large family. At this period of his life Sancho 
devoted himself earnestly to the cause of negro freedom. His 
reputation as a wit and humorist still continued ; and his acquaint- 
ances were of no mean sort* After his death, two volumes of his 
letters were pubhshed, with a fine portrait of the author; and in 
these letters his style is said to resemble that of Sterne. As a 
•specimen, we subjoin a letter of his to Sterne, with Sterne's reply. 

* Reverend Sir — It would be an insult on your humanity (or 
perhaps look like it) to apologise for the liberty I am taking. I am 
one of those people whom the vulgar and illiberal call negroes. 
The first part of my life was rather unlucky, as I was placed in a 
family whocjudged ignorance the best, and only security for obedi- 
«ence. A little reading and writing I got by unwearied, application. 
The latter part of my life has been, through God's blessing, truly 
fortunate, having spent it in the service of one of the best and 
;greatest famihes in the kingdom; my chief pleasure has been books: 
philanthropy I adore. How very much, good sir, am I (amongst 
millions) indebted to you for the character of your amiable Uncle 
Toby ! I declare I would walk ten miles in the dog-days to shake 
hands with the honest corporal. Your sermons have touched me to 
the heart, and I hope have amended it, which brings me to the 
point. In your tenth discourse, page seventy-eight, in the second 
volume, is this very affecting passage. " Consider how great a part 
•of our species in all ages down to this have been trod under the feet 
•of cruel and capricious tyrants, who would neither hear their cries 
nor pity their distresses. Consider slavery, what it is, how bitter a 
<iraught, and how many millions are made to drink of it.' Of all 
my favourite authors, not one has drawn a tear in favour of my 
miserable black brethren excepting yourself and the humane author 
^ of Sir George Ellison, I think you will forgive me ; I am sure you 
will applaud me for beseeching you to give one half-hour's attention 
to slavery, as it is at this day practised in our West Indies. That 
subject, handled in your striking manner, would ease the yoke 
perhaps oif many ; but if only of one — gracious God ! what a feast to 
a benevolent heart ! and sure I am you are an epicurean in acts of 
charity. You who are universally read, ^nd as universally admired 
— you could not fail. Dear sir, think in me you behold the uplifted 
hands of thousands of my brother Moors. Grief, you pathetically 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



observe, is eloquent : figure to yourself their attitudes ; hear their 
supplicating addresses! Alas! you cannot refuse. Humanity 
must comply ; in which hope I beg permission to subscribe myself, 
reverend sir, &c. Ignatius Sancho.' 

sterne's reply. 

* COXWOULD, July 27, 1767. 

* There is a strange coincidence, Sancho, in the little events (as 
well as in the great ones) of this world ; for I had been writing a 
tender tale of the sorrows of a friendless poor negro girl, and my 
eyes had scarce done smarting with it, when your letter of recom- 
mendation in behalf of so many of her brethren and sisters came to 
me. But why her brethren^ or yours, Sancho, any more than mine ? 
It is by the fijiest tints and most insensible gradations that nature 
descends from the fairest face about St James's to the sootiest com- 
plexion in Africa. At which tint of these is it, that the ties of blood 
are to cease ? and how many shades must we descend lower still in 
the scale, ere mercy is to vanish with them ? But 'tis no uncommon 
thing, my good Sancho, for one half of the world to use the other 
half of it like brutes, and then endeavour to make 'em so. For my 
own part, I never look westward (when I am in a pensive mood at 
least), but I think of the burthens which our brothers and sisters are 
there carrying, and could I ease their shoulders from one ounce of 
them, I declare I would set out this hour upon a pilgrimage to Mecca 
for their sakes — ^which, by the by, Sancho, exceeds your walk of ten 
miles in about the same proportion that a visit of humanity should 
one of mere form. However, if you meant my Uncle Toby more, he 
is your debtor. If I can weave the tale I have wrote into the work I 
am about, 'tis at the service of the afflicted, and a much greater 
matter; for in serious truth it casts a sad shade upon the world, 
that so great a part of it are, and have been, so long bound in chains 
of darkness and in chains of misery ; and I cannot but both respect 
and felicitate you, that by so much laudable diligence you have broke 
the one, and that, by falling into the hands of so good and merciful 
a family, Proyidence has rescued you from the other. 

* And so, good-hearted Sancho, adieu ! and believe me I will not 
forget your letter. Yours, L. Sterne.' 



ZHINGx\— A NEGRO QUEEN. 

The history of Zhinga, the famous negro queen of Angola, on the 

western coast of Africa, exhibits the power of negro character, even 

when untutored and left half savage. She was born in 1582, a time 

when the Portuguese were planting trading settlements on the African 

coast, and making encroachments on the possessions of the native 

27 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



princes. When Zhingawas forty years of a^e, and while her brothe? 
reigned over Angola, she was sent as ambassadress to I^panda, to 
treat of peace with the Portuguese viceroy at that place. * A palace 
was prepared for her reception, and she was received with the honours 
due to her rank. On entering the audience-chamber, she perceived 
that a magnificent chair of state was prepared for the Portuguese 
viceroy, while in front of it a rich carpet and velvet cushions, embroid- 
ered with gold, were arranged on the floor for her use. The haughty 
princess observed this in silent displeasure. She gave a signal with 
her eyes, and immediately one of her women knelt on the carpet, 
supporting her weight on her hands. Zhinga gravely seated her- 
self on the woman's back, and awaited the entrance of the viceroy. 
The spirit and dignity with which she fulfilled her mission excited the 
admiration of the whole court. When an alliance was offered upon 
the condition of an annual tribute to the king of Portugal, she proudly 
refused it ; but finally concluded a treaty on the single condition of 
restoring all the Portuguese prisoners. When the audience was ended^ 
the viceroy, as he conducted her from the room, remarked that the 
attendant on whose back she had been seated still remained in the 
same posture. Zhinga replied : " It is not fit that the ambassadress 
of a great king should be twice served with the same seat. I have 
no farther use for the womaR 

During her stay at Loanda she embraced Christianity, or pre- 
tended to embrace it ; was baptised, and in other respects conformed 
to European customs. Shortly after her return to Angola, her brother 
died, and she ascended the throne, making sure of it by strangling 
her nephew. On her accession to the throne, she was involved in a war 
with the Portuguese ; and, assisted by the Dutch, and by some native 
chiefs, she carried on the c<yitest with great vigour. At length, however, 
the Portuguese were completely victorious, and as she refused the offer 
which they made of re-establishing her on the throne, on condition 
that she should pay an annual-tribute, another sovereign was appointed, 
and Zhinga was obliged to flee. Exasperated at this treatment, she 
renounced Christianity, as being the religion of the Portuguese ; 
and, placing herself at the head of a faithful band of negroes, she 
harassed the Portuguese for eighteen years, demanding the restoration 
of her kingdom, and listening to no other tdrms. At length, softened 
by the influence of advancing age, and by the death of a sister to 
whom she was much attached, she began to be haunted with feelings 
of remorse on account of her apostasy from the Christian faith. 
The captive Portuguese priests, whom she now treated with kindness 
and respect, prevailed on her to declare herself again a convert. 
She was then reinstated in her dominions, and distinguished herself 
by her zeal in propagating her new religion among her pagan subjects, 
not a few of whom were martyred for their obstinacy by her orders. 



28 



* Mrs Child's Appeal, 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 

Among other laws, she passed one prohibiting polygamy, till then 
common in her kingdom ; and as this gave great offence, she set an 
example to her subjects by marrying one of her courtiers, although 
she was then in her seventy-sixth year. She also abolished the 
custom of human sacrifices. She strictly observed her treaties with 
the Portuguese ; and in 1657, one of her tributaries having violated 
the terms of peace, she marched against him, and having defeated 
him, cut off his head, and sent it to the Portuguese viceroy. Nothing, 
however, not even the influence of the priests, could prevail on her 
to become a vassal of the Portuguese king. One of her last acts was 
to send an embassy to the pope, * requesting more missionaries among 
her people. The pontiffs answer was publicly read in church, where 
Zhinga appeared with a numerous and brilliant train. At a festival 
in honour of this occasion, she and the ladies of her court performed 
a mimic battle in the dress and armour of Amazons. Though more 
than eighty years old, this remarkable woman displayed as much 
strength, agility, and skill, as she could have done at twenty-five. 
She died in 1663, aged eighty-two. Arrayed in royal robes, orna- 
mented with precious stones, with a bow and arrow in her hand, the 
body was shewn to her sorrowing subjects. It was then, according 
to her wish, clothed in the Capuchin habit, with crucifix and rosary/ 

PLACIDO, THE CUBAN POET. 

In the month of July 1844, twenty persons were executed together 
at Havana, in Cuba, for having been concerned in a conspiracy 
for giving liberty to the black population — the slaves of the Spanish 
inhabitants. One of these, and the leader of the revolt, was Gabriel 
de la Concepcion Valdes, more commonly known by the name of 
Placido, the Cuban poet. Little is known of this negro beyond a 
few particulars contained in one or two brief newspaper notices, 
which appeared shortly after his execution, announcing the fact in 
this country. The Heraldo, 2l Madrid newspaper, in giving an 
account of the execution, speaks of him as *the celebrated poet 
Placido ;* and says, * this man was born with great natural genius, 
and was beloved and appreciated by the most respectable young 
men of Havana, who united to purchase his release from slavery.' 
The Poems by a Cuba?z Slave, edited by Dr Madden some years ago, 
are believed to have been the compositions of this gifted negro. 
Placido appears to have burned with a desire to do something for 
his race ; and hence he employed his talents not only in poetry, but 
als)0 in schemes for altering the political condition of Cuba. The 
Spanish papers, as might be expected, accuse hipi of wild and 
ambitious projects, and of desiring to excite an insurrection in Cuba 
similar to the memorable negro insurrection in St Domingo fifty 
years ago. Be that as it may, Placido was at the head of a con- 
spiracy formed in Cuba in the beginning of 1844. The conspiracy 

29 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



failed, and Placido, with a number of his companions, was seized 
by the Spanish authorities. The following is the account given of 
his execution in a letter from Havana, dated July i6, 1844, v/hich 
appeared in the Morning Herald newspaper : * What dreadful scenes 
have we not witnessed here these last few months ! what arrests and 
frightful developments ! what condemnations and horrid deaths ! 
But the bloody drama seems approaching its close ; the curtain has 
just fallen on the execution of the chief conspirator, Placido, who 
met his fate with a heroic calmness that produced a universal 
impression of regret. Nothing was positively known of the decision 
of the council respecting him, till it was rumoured a few days since 
that he would proceed, along with others, to the "chapeP' for the 
condemned. On the appointed day a great crowd was assembled, 
and Placido was seen walking along with singular composure under 
circumstances so gloomy, smoking a cigar, and saluting with grace- 
ful ftase his numerous acquaintances. Are you aware what the 
punishment of the " chapel " means ? It is worse a thousand times 
than the death of which it is the precursor. The unfortunate crimi- 
nals are conducted into a chapel hung with black, and dimly lighted. 
Priests are there to chant in a sepulchral voice the service of the 
dead ; and the coffins of the trembling victims are arrayed in cruel 
relief before their eyes. Here they are kept for twenty-four hours, 
and are then led out to execution. Can anything be more awful? 
And what a disgusting aggravation of the horror of the coming 
death ! Placido emerged from the chapel cool and undismayed, 
whilst the others were nearly or entirely overcome with the agonies 
they had already undergone. The chief conspirator held a crucifix 
in his hand, and recited in a loud voice a beautiful prayer in verse, 
which thrilled upon the heart? of the attentive masses which lined 
the road he passed. On arriving at the fatal spot, he sat down on a 
bench with his back turned, as ordered, to the military, and rapid 
preparations were made for his death. An^ now the dread hour had 
arrived. At the 4ast he arose, and said : " Adios, mundo ; no hay 
piedad para mi. Soldados, fuego!" ("Adieu, O world; here is no 
pity for me. Soldiers, fire ! '0- Five balls entered his body. Amid 
the murmurs of the horror-struck spectators, he got up and turned 
his head upon the shrinking soldiers, his face wearing an expression 
of superhuman courage. " Will no one have pity on me he said. 
" Here," pointing to his heart—" fire here.'' At that instant two balls 
pierced his breast, and he fell dead whilst his words still echoed 
in our ears. Thus has perished the great leader of the attempted 
revolt.' 

The following is a translation, by Maria Weston Chapman, of the 
beautiful hnes composed by Placido, as above narrated. 'They 
were written in prison the night before his execution, and were 
solemnly recited by him as he proceeded to the place of death, so 
that the concluding stanza was uttered a few moments before he 
30 



INTELLIGENT NEGROES. 



expired/ The original is in Spanish ; but the following appears te* 
be a pleasing version. 

* Being of infinite goodness ! God Almighty ! 
I hasten in mine agony to Thee I 
Rending the hateful veil of calumny, 
Stretch forth thine arm omnipotent in pity ; 
Efface this ignominy from my brow, 
Wherewith the world is fain to brand it now. 

O King of kings ! Thou God of my forefathers I 

My God ! Thou only my defence shalt be, 

Who gav'st her riches to the shadowed sea ; 
From whom the North her frosty treas-are gathers — 

Of heavenly hght and solar flame the giver, 

Life to the leaves, and motion to the river. 

Thou canst do all things. What thy will doth cherish. 

Revives to being at thy sacred voice. 

Without Thee ail is naught, and at thy choice. 
In fathomless eternity must perish. 

Yet e'en that nothingness thy will obeyed, 

When of its void humanity was made. 

Merciful God ! I can deceive Thee never ; 

Since, as through ether's bright transparency, ■ 

Eternal wisdom still my soul can see 
Through every earthly lineament for ever. 

Forbid it, then, that Innocence should stand 

Humbled, while Slander claps her impious hand. 

But if the lot thy sovereign power shall measure 

Must be to perish as a wretch accursed, 

And men shall trample over my cold dust— 
The corse outraging with malignant pleasure — 

Speg.k, and recall my being at thy nod ! 

Accomplish in me all thy wiH, my God ! ' 



CONCLUSION. 

While these notices anay be (^use in aiding tlie cause of the much 
oppressed negro, -are in mo respect designed to establish the 
fact, that the white asM '^ark races are upQH the same native intel- 
lectual level, and that education and other drcumstances effect all 
the difference which is observable between them. It would, we 
believe, be imprudent, however philanthropic, to attempt to establish 
this proposition, for it is inconsistent with truth, and can only tend to 
obstruct our arrival at a less ambitious, but still friendly and hopeful 

31 



INTELLIGENT NEGROJIS. 



proposition respecting the negroes, which appears, both from their 
organisation and external manifestations of character, to be the only 
one that can be maintained— that is, that, in the mass, they are at 
present far behind the white races, but capable of being cultivated, 
in the course of successive generations, up to the same point ; a 
small advance in each generation being all that can be achieved in 
the way of civilisation even among the white races, and being appa- 
rently the law of social progress. The negro intellect is, we believe, 
chiefly deficient in the reasoning powers and higher sentiments : 
these, though doubtless present in some rudimental form, could no 
more be called instantaneously into the same vigorous exercise in 
which we find them in Europe, than could the wild-apple, by 
sudden transplantation to an orchard, be rendered into a pippin. 
They would require, ia the first place, a species of tender nursing, to 
bring them into palpable existence. From infancy they would need 
to be fondled into childhood, from childhood trained into youth, and 
from oiith cultivated into manhood. It is not a thin whitewash of 
European knowledge which will at once alter the features of the 
African mind. The work must be the work of ages, and those ages 
must be judiciously employed. 

There is no fact more illustrative of this hypothesis than the occa- 
sional appearance of respectable intellect, and the frequency of good 
dispositions, amongst the negroes. Such men as Jenkins and Gary 
at once close the mouths of those who, from ignorance or something 
worse, allege an absolute difference in specific character between the 
two races, and yiistify the consignment of the black to a fate which 

only proves the lingering barbarism of the white. 

32 0