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HENRY ROWE SCHOOLCRAFT, LL.D.
“Brutes find out where their talents lie;
A bear will not attempt to fly;
Ne NA BAIM,* you have so repeatedly urged me to write sketches of character in Washington (the omnium gatherum of the world); and sketches of plantation life, in my own native State of South Carolina, where my ancestors have lived from its earliest settlement, that I have, for two months past, snatched every moment I could dutifully spare from my innumerable domestic cares, to comply with your wishes, by describing every-day life on the plantations. South Carolinians, you know, are “old fogies,” and consequently they do not believe with the Abolitionists, that God is a progressive being; but that throughout eternity He has been the same; perfect in wisdom, perfect in justice, and perfect in love to all his creatures; we cannot comprehend, therefore, the new-light doctrine, “That slavery is a sin;" for it seems quite incredible that God, through his servant Moses, should have ordered his own peculiar people (to whom he delivered his commandments under the thunderings of Sinai), to take their bondsmen from among the heathen nations around them, and keep them as an inheritance forever to their children's children, if slavery was a crime against the moral law. I have for twenty years studied the Bible with more intense interest than any other book; yet from Genesis to Revelation, I cannot find a sentence that holds out the idea, that slavery will ever cease while there are any heathen nations in this world; or, indeed, will ever cease in this present world at all; for in the final winding-up of all things, daguerreotyped to St. John in the Book of Revelation, we still find bondsmen alluded to in very many places.
* Ne na baim, Indian word meaning my husband.
Surely every Bible Christian is willing to let God Almighty be the expositor of his own laws; and even when He was made flesh, and dwelt among us thirtythree years, He never uttered one single word against slavery, though Jesus Christ rebuked all kinds of sin with the unsparing energy of Omnipotence itself.
I might, 'tis true, amuse my fancy like our daring, dashing, witty romancer, Mrs. Stowe, by imagining a millennial world, where all are born equal, where one man is not a dribbling idiot, and another a genius like Napoleon, Calhoun, or Webster; where one (and he a villain) does not roll in luxury, and fare sumptuously every day, while the wise and the good often have scarcely the wherewithal to keep from starvation; where bare-boned ghastly want, pain, frightful deformity, or decrepitude, does not number its millions as it does in cvery land we know anything about; where that insatiate monster Death does not stalk around day and night, slashing down with his cruelly relentless scythe, incomparable fathers and mothers, leaving their orphan children to be brought up for destruction by foreign selfishness; and the righteous who are the only salt of the earth, hurried away, too, the moment their influence and example seems indispensable to the wretched and morally decaying humanity around them; or I might even lash my sensibilities into fury, that neither the Old Testament nor the New; neither Moses, Jesus Christ, the Apostles, or our own historical experience for six thousand years, agrees with the Honorable Thomas Jefferson, that “All men are born free and equal." But of what practical use would all this castle-building be? It would fritter away the mind, not strengthen it, to bear with pious resignation the inequality that has caused so much heart-burning from the hour that the first son, of our first parents, killed his first brother, from envy of his superior vocation. The wheat and the tares, says inspiration itself, must grow together to the end of the world, when God will then separate them; and we poor animalcules might as well strive to prevent the return of day and night, as divorce what God hath joined together; and if Thomas Jefferson is right, we must search at once for an antislavery Bible, and an Abolition God, to make “all men equal;" and we must blot out the history of the whole human race, whose glaring inequality of mind, body, and condition, has been manifest to every observer, from the time that God created it between our first parents, and ordered Adam, in consequence of his superiority, to rule over Eve.
This primitive, radical inauguration of strength over weakness, has continued from that day to this, and will continue as long as this world lasts, for God has willed it so. Infinite wisdom; - not our impertinent speculations, governs the universe, and determines what is Right and Wrong per se. Our whole duty then is to bow to His revelation.
I do not, Ne na baim, own a slave, and I never again expect to be a slave-holder, though it is a high moral vocation to civilize and christianize the heathen, brought to our very doors in the South by the providence of God; - still, in the deepest recesses of my conscience, from the study of the Bible, and my own experience among Africans all my life, I am so satisfied that slavery is the school God has established for the conversion of barbarous nations, that were I an absolute Queen of these United States, my first missionary enterprise would be to send to Africa, to bring its heathen as slaves to this Christian land, and keep them in bondage until compulsory labor had tamed their beastliness, and civilization and Christianity had prepared them to return as missionaries of progress to their benighted black brethren.
God has placed a mark on the negro, as distinctive as that on Cain; and I do not believe there is a white man, woman, or child, on the face of the earth, who does not, in his deepest heart, regard the African an inferior race to his own. The fiat of the great God Almighty, the researches of ethnology, history, and experience, and our very instincts, teach us this fact; and I believe a refined Anglo-Saxon lady would sooner be burnt at the stake, than married to one of these black descendants of Ham.
Slavery is God's ordinance for one set of His rebellious creatures; and shall the clay say to the potter, Why hast thou made me thus ? This world has been reeking with cruelty and injustice ever since Cain murdered Abel, because he thought God loved, and was too partial to him. But does the New-Light Abolitionist dream that, by a twist and a jerk, he can restore the lost image of God in man? Fie! fie! upon such monstrous infidel arrogance. Did Jesus Christ