The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 1995,
Memorial Issue, by Various

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Title: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 1995, Memorial Issue

Author: Various

Release Date: June 29, 2008 [EBook #206]
Last Updated: January 8, 2013

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Judith Boss, John Hamm and David Widger


By Various

Edited and Assembled by Judith Boss and John Hamm

HTML File by David Widger



RECONSTRUCTION by Frederick Douglass


THE NEGRO EXODUS by James B. Runnion

MY ESCAPE FROM SLAVERY by Frederick Douglass


PO' SANDY by Charles W. Chesnutt

DAVE'S NECKLISS by Charles W. Chesnutt

THE AWAKENING OF THE NEGRO by Booker T. Washington

THE STORY OF UNCLE TOM'S CABIN by Charles Dudley Warner


THE WIFE OF HIS YOUTH by Charles W. Chesnutt

THE BOUQUET by Charles W. Chesnutt

THE CASE OF THE NEGRO by Booker T. Washington

HOT-FOOT HANNIBAL by Charles W. Chesnutt






THE MARCH OF PROGRESS by Charles W. Chesnutt

THE FREEDMEN'S BUREAU by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois



THE NEGRO IN THE REGULAR ARMY by Oswald Garrison Villard

BAXTER'S PROCRUSTES by Charles W. Chesnutt





Many years ago, the few readers of radical Abolitionist papers must often have seen the singular name of Sojourner Truth, announced as a frequent speaker at Anti-Slavery meetings, and as travelling on a sort of self-appointed agency through the country. I had myself often remarked the name, but never met the individual. On one occasion, when our house was filled with company, several eminent clergymen being our guests, notice was brought up to me that Sojourner Truth was below, and requested an interview. Knowing nothing of her but her singular name, I went down, prepared to make the interview short, as the pressure of many other engagements demanded.

When I went into the room, a tall, spare form arose to meet me. She was evidently a full-blooded African, and though now aged and worn with many hardships, still gave the impression of a physical development which in early youth must have been as fine a specimen of the torrid zone as Cumberworth's celebrated statuette of the Negro Woman at the Fountain. Indeed, she so strongly reminded me of that figure, that, when I recall the events of her life, as she narrated them to me, I imagine her as a living, breathing impersonation of that work of art.

I do not recollect ever to have been conversant with any one who had more of that silent and subtle power which we call personal presence than this woman. In the modern Spiritualistic phraseology, she would be described as having a strong sphere. Her tall form, as she rose up before me, is still vivid to my mind. She was dressed in some stout, grayish stuff, neat and clean, though dusty from travel. On her head, she wore a bright Madras handkerchief, arranged as a turban, after the manner of her race. She seemed perfectly self-possessed and at her ease,—in fact, there was almost an unconscious superiority, not unmixed with a solemn twinkle of humor, in the odd, composed manner in which she looked down on me. Her whole air had at times a gloomy sort of drollery which impressed one strangely.

"So this is YOU," she said.

"Yes," I answered.

"Well, honey, de Lord bless ye! I jes' thought I'd like to come an' have a look at ye. You's heerd o' me, I reckon?" she added.

"Yes, I think I have. You go about lecturing, do you not?"

"Yes, honey, that's what I do. The Lord has made me a sign unto this nation, an' I go round a'testifyin', an' showin' on 'em their sins agin my people."

So saying, she took a seat, and, stooping over and crossing her arms on her knees, she looked down on the floor, and appeared to fall into a sort of reverie. Her great gloomy eyes and her dark face seemed to work with some undercurrent of feeling; she sighed deeply, and occasionally broke out,—

"O Lord! O Lord! Oh, the tears, an' the groans, an' the moans! O Lord!"

I should have said that she was accompanied by a little grandson of ten years,—the fattest, jolliest woolly-headed little specimen of Africa that one can imagine. He was grinning and showing his glistening white teeth in a state of perpetual merriment, and at this moment broke out into an audible giggle, which disturbed the reverie into which his relative was falling.

She looked at him with an indulgent sadness, and then at me.

"Laws, Ma'am, HE don't know nothin' about it—HE don't. Why, I've seen them poor critters, beat an' 'bused an' hunted, brought in all torn,—ears hangin' all in rags, where the dogs been a'bitin' of 'em!"

This set off our little African Puck into another giggle, in which he seemed perfectly convulsed.

She surveyed him soberly, without the slightest irritation.

"Well, you may bless the Lord you CAN laugh; but I tell you, 't wa'n't no laughin' matter."

By this time I thought her manner so original that it might be worth while to call down my friends; and she seemed perfectly well pleased with the idea. An audience was what she wanted,—it mattered not whether high or low, learned or ignorant. She had things to say, and was ready to say them at all times, and to any one.

I called down Dr. Beecher, Professor Allen, and two or three other clergymen, who, together with my husband and family, made a roomful. No princess could have received a drawing-room with more composed dignity than Sojourner her audience. She stood among them, calm and erect, as one of her own native palm-trees waving alone in the desert. I presented one after another to her, and at last said,—

"Sojourner, this is Dr. Beecher. He is a very celebrated preacher."

"IS he?" she said, offering her hand in a condescending manner, and looking down on his white head. "Ye dear lamb, I'm glad to see ye! De Lord bless ye! I loves preachers. I'm a kind o' preacher myself."

"You are?" said Dr. Beecher. "Do you preach from the Bible?"

"No, honey, can't preach from de Bible,—can't read a letter."

"Why, Sojourner, what do you preach from, then?"

Her answer was given with a solemn power of voice, peculiar to herself, that hushed every one in the room.

"When I preaches, I has jest one text to preach from, an' I always preaches from this one. MY text is, 'WHEN I FOUND JESUS.'"

"Well, you couldn't have a better one," said one of the ministers.

She paid no attention to him, but stood and seemed swelling with her own thoughts, and then began this narration:—

"Well, now, I'll jest have to go back, an' tell ye all about it. Ye see, we was all brought over from Africa, father an' mother an' I, an' a lot more of us; an' we was sold up an' down, an' hither an' yon; an' I can 'member, when I was a little thing, not bigger than this 'ere," pointing to her grandson, "how my ole mammy would sit out o' doors in the evenin', an' look up at the stars an' groan. She'd groan an' groan, an' says I to her,—

"'Mammy, what makes you groan so?'

"an' she'd say,—

"'Matter enough, chile! I'm groanin' to think o' my poor children: they don't know where I be, an' I don't know where they be; they looks up at the stars, an' I looks up at the stars, but I can't tell where they be.

"'Now,' she said, 'chile, when you're grown up, you may be sold away from your mother an' all your ole friends, an' have great troubles come on ye; an' when you has these troubles come on ye, ye jes' go to God, an' He'll help ye.'

"An' says I to her,—

"'Who is God, anyhow, mammy?'

"An' says she,—

"'Why, chile, you jes' look up DAR! It's Him that made all DEM!"

"Well, I didn't mind much 'bout God in them days. I grew up pretty lively an' strong, an' could row a boat, or ride a horse, or work round, an' do 'most anything.

"At last I got sold away to a real hard massa an' missis. Oh, I tell you, they WAS hard! 'Peared like I couldn't please 'em, nohow. An' then I thought o' what my old mammy told me about God; an' I thought I'd got into trouble, sure enough, an' I wanted to find God, an' I heerd some one tell a story about a man that met God on a threshin'-floor, an' I thought, 'Well an' good, I'll have a threshin'-floor, too.' So I went down in the lot, an' I threshed down a place real hard, an' I used to go down there every day, an' pray an' cry with all my might, a-prayin' to the Lord to make my massa an' missis better, but it didn't seem to do no good; an' so says I, one day,—

"'O God, I been a-askin' ye, an' askin' ye, an' askin' ye, for all this long time, to make my massa an' missis better, an' you don't do it, an' what CAN be the reason? Why, maybe you CAN'T. Well, I shouldn't wonder ef you couldn't. Well, now, I tell you, I'll make a bargain with you. Ef you'll help me to git away from my massa an' missis, I'll agree to be good; but ef you don't help me, I really don't think I can be. Now,' says I, 'I want to git away; but the trouble's jest here: ef I try to git away in the night, I can't see; an' ef I try to git away in the daytime, they'll see me, an' be after me.'

"Then the Lord said to me, 'Git up two or three hours afore daylight, an' start off.'

"An' says I, 'Thank 'ee, Lord! that's a good thought.'

"So up I got, about three o'clock in the mornin', an' I started an' travelled pretty fast, till, when the sun rose, I was clear away from our place an' our folks, an' out o' sight. An' then I begun to think I didn't know nothin' where to go. So I kneeled down, and says I,—

"'Well, Lord, you've started me out, an' now please to show me where to go.'

"Then the Lord made a house appear to me, an' He said to me that I was to walk on till I saw that house, an' then go in an' ask the people to take me. An' I travelled all day, an' didn't come to the house till late at night; but when I saw it, sure enough, I went in, an' I told the folks that the Lord sent me; an' they was Quakers, an' real kind they was to me. They jes' took me in, an' did for me as kind as ef I'd been one of 'em; an' after they'd giv me supper, they took me into a room where there was a great, tall, white bed; an' they told me to sleep there. Well, honey, I was kind o' skeered when they left me alone with that great white bed; 'cause I never had been in a bed in my life. It never came into my mind they could mean me to sleep in it. An' so I jes' camped down under it, on the floor, an' then I slep' pretty well. In the mornin', when they came in, they asked me ef I hadn't been asleep; an' I said, 'Yes, I never slep' better.' An' they said, 'Why, you haven't been in the bed!' An' says I, 'Laws, you didn't think o' such a thing as my sleepin' in dat 'ar' BED, did you? I never heerd o' such a thing in my life.'

"Well, ye see, honey, I stayed an' lived with 'em. An' now jes' look here: instead o' keepin' my promise an' bein' good, as I told the Lord I would, jest as soon as everything got a'goin' easy, I FORGOT ALL ABOUT GOD.

"Pretty well don't need no help; an' I gin up prayin.' I lived there two or three years, an' then the slaves in New York were all set free, an' ole massa came to our home to make a visit, an' he asked me ef I didn't want to go back an' see the folks on the ole place. An' I told him I did. So he said, ef I'd jes' git into the wagon with him, he'd carry me over. Well, jest as I was goin' out to git into the wagon, I MET GOD! an' says I, 'O God, I didn't know as you was so great!' An' I turned right round an' come into the house, an' set down in my room; for 't was God all around me. I could feel it burnin', burnin', burnin' all around me, an' goin' through me; an' I saw I was so wicked, it seemed as ef it would burn me up. An' I said, 'O somebody, somebody, stand between God an' me! for it burns me!' Then, honey, when I said so, I felt as it were somethin' like an amberill [umbrella] that came between me an' the light, an' I felt it was SOMEBODY,—somebody that stood between me an' God; an' it felt cool, like a shade; an' says I, 'Who's this that stands between me an' God? Is it old Cato?' He was a pious old preacher; but then I seemed to see Cato in the light, an' he was all polluted an' vile, like me; an' I said, 'Is it old Sally?' an' then I saw her, an' she seemed jes' so. An' then says I, 'WHO is this?' An' then, honey, for a while it was like the sun shinin' in a pail o' water, when it moves up an' down; for I begun to feel 't was somebody that loved me; an' I tried to know him. An' I said, 'I know you! I know you! I know you!'—an' then I said, 'I don't know you! I don't know you! I don't know you!' An' when I said, 'I know you, I know you,' the light came; an' when I said, 'I don't know you, I don't know you,' it went, jes' like the sun in a pail o' water. An' finally somethin' spoke out in me an' said, 'THIS IS JESUS!' An' I spoke out with all my might, an' says I, 'THIS IS JESUS! Glory be to God!' An' then the whole world grew bright, an' the trees they waved an' waved in glory, an' every little bit o' stone on the ground shone like glass; an' I shouted an' said, 'Praise, praise, praise to the Lord!' An' I begun to feel such a love in my soul as I never felt before,—love to all creatures. An' then, all of a sudden, it stopped, an' I said, 'Dar's de white folks, that have abused you an' beat you an' abused your people,—think o' them!' But then there came another rush of love through my soul, an' I cried out loud,—'Lord, Lord, I can love EVEN DE WHITE FOLKS!'

"Honey, I jes' walked round an' round in a dream. Jesus loved me! I knowed it,—I felt it. Jesus was my Jesus. Jesus would love me always. I didn't dare tell nobody; 't was a great secret. Everything had been got away from me that I ever had; an' I thought that ef I let white folks know about this, maybe they'd get HIM away,—so I said, 'I'll keep this close. I won't let any one know.'"

"But, Sojourner, had you never been told about Jesus Christ?"

"No, honey. I hadn't heerd no preachin',—been to no meetin'. Nobody hadn't told me. I'd kind o' heerd of Jesus, but thought he was like Gineral Lafayette, or some o' them. But one night there was a Methodist meetin' somewhere in our parts, an' I went; an' they got up an' begun for to tell der 'speriences; an' de fust one begun to speak. I started, 'cause he told about Jesus. 'Why,' says I to myself, 'dat man's found him, too!' An' another got up an' spoke, an I said, 'He's found him, too!' An' finally I said, 'Why, they all know him!' I was so happy! An' then they sung this hymn": (Here Sojourner sang, in a strange, cracked voice, but evidently with all her soul and might, mispronouncing the English, but seeming to derive as much elevation and comfort from bad English as from good):—

     'There is a holy city,
       A world of light above,
      Above the stairs and regions,*
       Built by the God of Love.

     "An Everlasting temple,
       And saints arrayed in white
      There serve their great Redeemer
       And dwell with him in light.

     "The meanest child of glory
       Outshines the radiant sun;
      But who can speak the splendor
       Of Jesus on his throne?

     "Is this the man of sorrows
       Who stood at Pilate's bar,
      Condemned by haughty Herod
       And by his men of war?

     "He seems a mighty conqueror,
       Who spoiled the powers below,
      And ransomed many captives
       From everlasting woe.

     "The hosts of saints around him
       Proclaim his work of grace,
      The patriarchs and prophets,
       And all the godly race,

     "Who speak of fiery trials
       And tortures on their way;
      They came from tribulation
       To everlasting day.

     "And what shall be my journey,
       How long I'll stay below,
      Or what shall be my trials,
       Are not for me to know.

     "In every day of trouble
       I'll raise my thoughts on high,
      I'll think of that bright temple
       And crowns above the sky."

   * Starry regions.

I put in this whole hymn, because Sojourner, carried away with her own feeling, sang it from beginning to end with a triumphant energy that held the whole circle around her intently listening. She sang with the strong barbaric accent of the native African, and with those indescribable upward turns and those deep gutturals which give such a wild, peculiar power to the negro singing,—but above all, with such an overwhelming energy of personal appropriation that the hymn seemed to be fused in the furnace of her feelings and come out recrystallized as a production of her own.

It is said that Rachel was wont to chant the "Marseillaise" in a manner that made her seem, for the time, the very spirit and impersonation of the gaunt, wild, hungry, avenging mob which rose against aristocratic oppression; and in like manner, Sojourner, singing this hymn, seemed to impersonate the fervor of Ethiopia, wild, savage, hunted of all nations, but burning after God in her tropic heart, and stretching her scarred hands towards the glory to be revealed.

"Well, den ye see, after a while, I thought I'd go back an' see de folks on de ole place. Well, you know, de law had passed dat de culled folks was all free; an' my old missis, she had a daughter married about dis time who went to live in Alabama,—an' what did she do but give her my son, a boy about de age of dis yer, for her to take down to Alabama? When I got back to de ole place, they told me about it, an' I went right up to see ole missis, an' says I,—

"'Missis, have you been an' sent my son away down to Alabama?'

"'Yes, I have,' says she; 'he's gone to live with your young missis.'

"'Oh, Missis,' says I, 'how could you do it?'

"'Poh!' says she, 'what a fuss you make about a little nigger! Got more of 'em now than you know what to do with.'

"I tell you, I stretched up. I felt as tall as the world!

"'Missis,' says I, 'I'LL HAVE MY SON BACK AGIN!'

"She laughed.

"'YOU will, you nigger? How you goin' to do it? You ha'n't got no money."

"'No, Missis,—but GOD has,—an' you'll see He'll help me!'—an' I turned round an' went out.

"Oh, but I WAS angry to have her speak to me so haughty an' so scornful, as ef my chile wasn't worth anything. I said to God, 'O Lord, render unto her double!' It was a dreadful prayer, an' I didn't know how true it would come.

"Well, I didn't rightly know which way to turn; but I went to the Lord, an' I said to Him, 'O Lord, ef I was as rich as you be, an' you was as poor as I be, I'd help you,—you KNOW I would; and, oh, do help me!' An' I felt sure then that He would.

"Well, I talked with people, an' they said I must git the case before a grand jury. So I went into the town when they was holdin' a court, to see ef I could find any grand jury. An' I stood round the court-house, an' when they was a-comin' out, I walked right up to the grandest-lookin' one I could see, an' says I to him,—

"'Sir, be you a grand jury?'

"An' then he wanted to know why I asked, an' I told him all about it; an' he asked me all sorts of questions, an' finally he says to me,—

"'I think, ef you pay me ten dollars, that I'd agree to git your son for you.' An' says he, pointin' to a house over the way, 'You go 'long an' tell your story to the folks in that house, an' I guess they'll give you the money.'

"Well, I went, an' I told them, an' they gave me twenty dollars; an' then I thought to myself, 'Ef ten dollars will git him, twenty dollars will git him SARTIN.' So I carried it to the man all out, an' said,—

"'Take it all,—only be sure an' git him.'

"Well, finally they got the boy brought back; an' then they tried to frighten him, an' to make him say that I wasn't his mammy, an' that he didn't know me; but they couldn't make it out. They gave him to me, an' I took him an' carried him home; an' when I came to take off his clothes, there was his poor little back all covered with scars an' hard lumps, where they'd flogged him.

"Well, you see, honey, I told you how I prayed the Lord to render unto her double. Well, it came true; for I was up at ole missis' house not long after, an' I heerd 'em readin' a letter to her how her daughter's husband had murdered her,—how he'd thrown her down an' stamped the life out of her, when he was in liquor; an' my ole missis, she giv a screech, an' fell flat on the floor. Then says I, 'O Lord, I didn't mean all that! You took me up too quick.'

"Well, I went in an' tended that poor critter all night. She was out of her mind,—a-cryin', an' callin' for her daughter; an' I held her poor ole head on my arm, an' watched for her as ef she'd been my babby. An' I watched by her, an' took care on her all through her sickness after that, an' she died in my arms, poor thing!"

"Well, Sojourner, did you always go by this name?"

"No, 'deed! My name was Isabella; but when I left the house of bondage, I left everything behind. I wa'n't goin' to keep nothin' of Egypt on me, an' so I went to the Lord an' asked Him to give me a new name. And the Lord gave me Sojourner, because I was to travel up an' down the land, showin' the people their sins, an' bein' a sign unto them. Afterwards I told the Lord I wanted another name, 'cause everybody else had two names; and the Lord gave me Truth, because I was to declare the truth to the people.

"Ye see some ladies have given me a white satin banner," she said, pulling out of her pocket and unfolding a white banner, printed with many texts, such as, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof," and others of like nature. "Well," she said, "I journeys round to camp-meetins, an' wherever folks is, an' I sets up my banner, an' then I sings, an' then folks always comes up round me, an' then I preaches to 'em. I tells 'em about Jesus, an' I tells 'em about the sins of this people. A great many always comes to hear me; an' they're right good to me, too, an' say they want to hear me agin."

We all thought it likely; and as the company left her, they shook hands with her, and thanked her for her very original sermon; and one of the ministers was overheard to say to another, "There's more of the gospel in that story than in most sermons."

Sojourner stayed several days with us, a welcome guest. Her conversation was so strong, simple, shrewd, and with such a droll flavoring of humor, that the Professor was wont to say of an evening, "Come, I am dull, can't you get Sojourner up here to talk a little?" She would come up into the parlor, and sit among pictures and ornaments, in her simple stuff gown, with her heavy travelling-shoes, the central object of attention both to parents and children, always ready to talk or to sing, and putting into the common flow of conversation the keen edge of some shrewd remark.

"Sojourner, what do you think of Women's Rights?"

"Well, honey, I's ben to der meetins, an' harked a good deal. Dey wanted me for to speak. So I got up. Says I,—'Sisters, I a'n't clear what you'd be after. Ef women want any rights more 'n dey's got, why don't dey jes' TAKE 'EM, an' not be talkin' about it?' Some on 'em came round me, an' asked why I didn't wear Bloomers. An' I told 'em I had Bloomers enough when I was in bondage. You see," she said, "dey used to weave what dey called nigger-cloth, an' each one of us got jes' sech a strip, an' had to wear it width-wise. Them that was short got along pretty well, but as for me"—She gave an indescribably droll glance at her long limbs and then at us, and added,—"Tell YOU, I had enough of Bloomers in them days."

Sojourner then proceeded to give her views of the relative capacity of the sexes, in her own way.

"S'pose a man's mind holds a quart, an' a woman's don't hold but a pint; ef her pint is FULL, it's as good as his quart."

Sojourner was fond of singing an extraordinary lyric, commencing,—

   "I'm on my way to Canada,
     That cold, but happy land;
    The dire effects of Slavery
     I can no longer stand.
    O righteous Father,
     Do look down on me,
    And help me on to Canada,
     Where colored folks are free!"

The lyric ran on to state, that, when the fugitive crosses the Canada line,

   "The Queen comes down unto the shore,
     With arms extended wide,
    To welcome the poor fugitive
     Safe onto Freedom's side."

In the truth thus set forth she seemed to have the most simple faith.

But her chief delight was to talk of "glory," and to sing hymns whose burden was,—

   "O glory, glory, glory,
     Won't you come along with me?"

and when left to herself, she would often hum these with great delight, nodding her head.

On one occasion, I remember her sitting at a window singing and fervently keeping time with her head, the little black Puck of a grandson meanwhile amusing himself with ornamenting her red-and-yellow turban with green dandelion-curls, which shook and trembled with her emotions, causing him perfect convulsions of delight.

"Sojourner," said the Professor to her, one day, when he heard her singing, "you seem to be very sure about heaven."

"Well, I be," she answered, triumphantly.

"What makes you so sure there is any heaven?"

"Well, 'cause I got such a hankerin' arter it in here," she said,—giving a thump on her breast with her usual energy.

There was at the time an invalid in the house, and Sojourner, on learning it, felt a mission to go and comfort her. It was curious to see the tall, gaunt, dusky figure stalk up to the bed with such an air of conscious authority, and take on herself the office of consoler with such a mixture of authority and tenderness. She talked as from above,—and at the same time, if a pillow needed changing or any office to be rendered, she did it with a strength and handiness that inspired trust. One felt as if the dark, strange woman were quite able to take up the invalid in her bosom, and bear her as a lamb, both physically and spiritually. There was both power and sweetness in that great warm soul and that vigorous frame.

At length, Sojourner, true to her name, departed. She had her mission elsewhere. Where now she is I know not; but she left deep memories behind her.

To these recollections of my own I will add one more anecdote, related by Wendell Phillips.

Speaking of the power of Rachel to move and bear down a whole audience by a few simple words, he said he never knew but one other human being that had that power, and that other was Sojourner Truth. He related a scene of which he was witness. It was at a crowded public meeting in Faneuil Hall, where Frederick Douglas was one of the chief speakers. Douglas had been describing the wrongs of the black race, and as he proceeded, he grew more and more excited, and finally ended by saying that they had no hope of justice from the whites, no possible hope except in their own right arms. It must come to blood; they must fight for themselves, and redeem themselves, or it would never be done.

Sojourner was sitting, tall and dark, on the very front seat, facing the platform; and in the hush of deep feeling, after Douglas sat down, she spoke out in her deep, peculiar voice, heard all over the house,—

"Frederick, IS GOD DEAD?"

The effect was perfectly electrical, and thrilled through the whole house, changing as by a flash the whole feeling of the audience. Not another word she said or needed to say; it was enough.

It is with a sad feeling that one contemplates noble minds and bodies, nobly and grandly formed human beings, that have come to us cramped, scarred, maimed, out of the prison-house of bondage. One longs to know what such beings might have become, if suffered to unfold and expand under the kindly developing influences of education.

It is the theory of some writers, that to the African is reserved, in the later and palmier days of the earth, the full and harmonious development of the religious element in man. The African seems to seize on the tropical fervor and luxuriance of Scripture imagery as something native; he appears to feel himself to be of the same blood with those old burning, simple souls, the patriarchs, prophets, and seers, whose impassioned words seem only grafted as foreign plants on the cooler stock of the Occidental mind.

I cannot but think that Sojourner with the same culture might have spoken words as eloquent and undying as those of the African Saint Augustine or Tertullian. How grand and queenly a woman she might have been, with her wonderful physical vigor, her great heaving sea of emotion, her power of spiritual conception, her quick penetration, and her boundless energy! We might conceive an African type of woman so largely made and moulded, so much fuller in all the elements of life, physical and spiritual, that the dark hue of the skin should seem only to add an appropriate charm,—as Milton says of his Penseroso, whom he imagines

        "Black, but such as in esteem
     Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
     Or that starred Ethiop queen that strove
     To set her beauty's praise above
     The sea-nymph's."

But though Sojourner Truth has passed away from among us as a wave of the sea, her memory still lives in one of the loftiest and most original works of modern art, the Libyan Sibyl, by Mr. Story, which attracted so much attention in the late World's Exhibition. Some years ago, when visiting Rome, I related Sojourner's history to Mr. Story at a breakfast at his house. Already had his mind begun to turn to Egypt in search of a type of art which should represent a larger and more vigorous development of nature than the cold elegance of Greek lines. His glorious Cleopatra was then in process of evolution, and his mind was working out the problem of her broadly developed nature, of all that slumbering weight and fulness of passion with which this statue seems charged, as a heavy thunder-cloud is charged with electricity.

The history of Sojourner Truth worked in his mind and led him into the deeper recesses of the African nature,—those unexplored depths of being and feeling, mighty and dark as the gigantic depths of tropical forests, mysterious as the hidden rivers and mines of that burning continent whose life-history is yet to be. A few days after, he told me that he had conceived the idea of a statue which he should call the Libyan Sibyl. Two years subsequently, I revisited Rome, and found the gorgeous Cleopatra finished, a thing to marvel at, as the creation of a new style of beauty, a new manner of art. Mr. Story requested me to come and repeat to him the history of Sojourner Truth, saying that the conception had never left him. I did so; and a day or two after, he showed me the clay model of the Libyan Sibyl. I have never seen the marble statue; but am told by those who have, that it was by far the most impressive work of art at the Exhibition.

A notice of the two statues from the London "Athenaeum" must supply a description which I cannot give.

"The Cleopatra and the Sibyl are seated, partly draped, with the characteristic Egyptian gown, that gathers about the torso and falls freely around the limbs; the first is covered to the bosom, the second bare to the hips. Queenly Cleopatra rests back against her chair in meditative ease, leaning her cheek against one hand, whose elbow the rail of the seat sustains; the other is outstretched upon her knee, nipping its forefinger upon the thumb thoughtfully, as though some firm, wilful purpose filled her brain, as it seems to set those luxurious features to a smile as if the whole woman 'would.' Upon her head is the coif, bearing in front the mystic uraeus, or twining basilisk of sovereignty, while from its sides depend the wide Egyptian lappels, or wings, that fall upon her shoulders. The Sibilla Libica has crossed her knees,—an action universally held amongst the ancients as indicative of reticence or secrecy, and of power to bind. A secret-keeping looking dame she is, in the full-bloom proportions of ripe womanhood, wherein choosing to place his figure the sculptor has deftly gone between the disputed point whether these women were blooming and wise in youth, or deeply furrowed with age and burdened with the knowledge of centuries, as Virgil, Livy, and Gellius say. Good artistic example might be quoted on both sides. Her forward elbow is propped upon one knee; and to keep her secrets close, for this Libyan woman is the closest of all the Sibyls, she rests her shut mouth upon one closed palm, as if holding the African mystery deep in the brooding brain that looks out through mournful, warning eyes, seen under the wide shade of the strange horned (ammonite) crest, that bears the mystery of the Tetragrammaton upon its upturned front. Over her full bosom, mother of myriads as she was, hangs the same symbol. Her face has a Nubian cast, her hair wavy and plaited, as is meet."

We hope to see the day when copies both of the Cleopatra and the Libyan Sibyl shall adorn the Capitol at Washington.

RECONSTRUCTION by Frederick Douglass

The assembling of the Second Session of the Thirty-ninth Congress may very properly be made the occasion of a few earnest words on the already much-worn topic of reconstruction.

Seldom has any legislative body been the subject of a solicitude more intense, or of aspirations more sincere and ardent. There are the best of reasons for this profound interest. Questions of vast moment, left undecided by the last session of Congress, must be manfully grappled with by this. No political skirmishing will avail. The occasion demands statesmanship.

Whether the tremendous war so heroically fought and so victoriously ended shall pass into history a miserable failure, barren of permanent results,—a scandalous and shocking waste of blood and treasure,—a strife for empire, as Earl Russell characterized it, of no value to liberty or civilization,—an attempt to re-establish a Union by force, which must be the merest mockery of a Union,—an effort to bring under Federal authority States into which no loyal man from the North may safely enter, and to bring men into the national councils who deliberate with daggers and vote with revolvers, and who do not even conceal their deadly hate of the country that conquered them; or whether, on the other hand, we shall, as the rightful reward of victory over treason, have a solid nation, entirely delivered from all contradictions and social antagonisms, based upon loyalty, liberty, and equality, must be determined one way or the other by the present session of Congress. The last session really did nothing which can be considered final as to these questions. The Civil Rights Bill and the Freedmen's Bureau Bill and the proposed constitutional amendments, with the amendment already adopted and recognized as the law of the land, do not reach the difficulty, and cannot, unless the whole structure of the government is changed from a government by States to something like a despotic central government, with power to control even the municipal regulations of States, and to make them conform to its own despotic will. While there remains such an idea as the right of each State to control its own local affairs,—an idea, by the way, more deeply rooted in the minds of men of all sections of the country than perhaps any one other political idea,—no general assertion of human rights can be of any practical value. To change the character of the government at this point is neither possible nor desirable. All that is necessary to be done is to make the government consistent with itself, and render the rights of the States compatible with the sacred rights of human nature.

The arm of the Federal government is long, but it is far too short to protect the rights of individuals in the interior of distant States. They must have the power to protect themselves, or they will go unprotected, spite of all the laws the Federal government can put upon the national statute-book.

Slavery, like all other great systems of wrong, founded in the depths of human selfishness, and existing for ages, has not neglected its own conservation. It has steadily exerted an influence upon all around it favorable to its own continuance. And to-day it is so strong that it could exist, not only without law, but even against law. Custom, manners, morals, religion, are all on its side everywhere in the South; and when you add the ignorance and servility of the ex-slave to the intelligence and accustomed authority of the master, you have the conditions, not out of which slavery will again grow, but under which it is impossible for the Federal government to wholly destroy it, unless the Federal government be armed with despotic power, to blot out State authority, and to station a Federal officer at every cross-road. This, of course, cannot be done, and ought not even if it could. The true way and the easiest way is to make our government entirely consistent with itself, and give to every loyal citizen the elective franchise,—a right and power which will be ever present, and will form a wall of fire for his protection.

One of the invaluable compensations of the late Rebellion is the highly instructive disclosure it made of the true source of danger to republican government. Whatever may be tolerated in monarchical and despotic governments, no republic is safe that tolerates a privileged class, or denies to any of its citizens equal rights and equal means to maintain them. What was theory before the war has been made fact by the war.

There is cause to be thankful even for rebellion. It is an impressive teacher, though a stern and terrible one. In both characters it has come to us, and it was perhaps needed in both. It is an instructor never a day before its time, for it comes only when all other means of progress and enlightenment have failed. Whether the oppressed and despairing bondman, no longer able to repress his deep yearnings for manhood, or the tyrant, in his pride and impatience, takes the initiative, and strikes the blow for a firmer hold and a longer lease of oppression, the result is the same,—society is instructed, or may be.

Such are the limitations of the common mind, and so thoroughly engrossing are the cares of common life, that only the few among men can discern through the glitter and dazzle of present prosperity the dark outlines of approaching disasters, even though they may have come up to our very gates, and are already within striking distance. The yawning seam and corroded bolt conceal their defects from the mariner until the storm calls all hands to the pumps. Prophets, indeed, were abundant before the war; but who cares for prophets while their predictions remain unfulfilled, and the calamities of which they tell are masked behind a blinding blaze of national prosperity?

It is asked, said Henry Clay, on a memorable occasion, Will slavery never come to an end? That question, said he, was asked fifty years ago, and it has been answered by fifty years of unprecedented prosperity. Spite of the eloquence of the earnest Abolitionists,—poured out against slavery during thirty years,—even they must confess, that, in all the probabilities of the case, that system of barbarism would have continued its horrors far beyond the limits of the nineteenth century but for the Rebellion, and perhaps only have disappeared at last in a fiery conflict, even more fierce and bloody than that which has now been suppressed.

It is no disparagement to truth, that it can only prevail where reason prevails. War begins where reason ends. The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion. What that thing is, we have been taught to our cost. It remains now to be seen whether we have the needed courage to have that cause entirely removed from the Republic. At any rate, to this grand work of national regeneration and entire purification Congress must now address Itself, with full purpose that the work shall this time be thoroughly done. The deadly upas, root and branch, leaf and fibre, body and sap, must be utterly destroyed. The country is evidently not in a condition to listen patiently to pleas for postponement, however plausible, nor will it permit the responsibility to be shifted to other shoulders. Authority and power are here commensurate with the duty imposed. There are no cloud-flung shadows to obscure the way. Truth shines with brighter light and intenser heat at every moment, and a country torn and rent and bleeding implores relief from its distress and agony.

If time was at first needed, Congress has now had time. All the requisite materials from which to form an intelligent judgment are now before it. Whether its members look at the origin, the progress, the termination of the war, or at the mockery of a peace now existing, they will find only one unbroken chain of argument in favor of a radical policy of reconstruction. For the omissions of the last session, some excuses may be allowed. A treacherous President stood in the way; and it can be easily seen how reluctant good men might be to admit an apostasy which involved so much of baseness and ingratitude. It was natural that they should seek to save him by bending to him even when he leaned to the side of error. But all is changed now. Congress knows now that it must go on without his aid, and even against his machinations. The advantage of the present session over the last is immense. Where that investigated, this has the facts. Where that walked by faith, this may walk by sight. Where that halted, this must go forward, and where that failed, this must succeed, giving the country whole measures where that gave us half-measures, merely as a means of saving the elections in a few doubtful districts. That Congress saw what was right, but distrusted the enlightenment of the loyal masses; but what was forborne in distrust of the people must now be done with a full knowledge that the people expect and require it. The members go to Washington fresh from the inspiring presence of the people. In every considerable public meeting, and in almost every conceivable way, whether at court-house, school-house, or cross-roads, in doors and out, the subject has been discussed, and the people have emphatically pronounced in favor of a radical policy. Listening to the doctrines of expediency and compromise with pity, impatience, and disgust, they have everywhere broken into demonstrations of the wildest enthusiasm when a brave word has been spoken in favor of equal rights and impartial suffrage. Radicalism, so far from being odious, is not the popular passport to power. The men most bitterly charged with it go to Congress with the largest majorities, while the timid and doubtful are sent by lean majorities, or else left at home. The strange controversy between the President and the Congress, at one time so threatening, is disposed of by the people. The high reconstructive powers which he so confidently, ostentatiously, and haughtily claimed, have been disallowed, denounced, and utterly repudiated; while those claimed by Congress have been confirmed.

Of the spirit and magnitude of the canvass nothing need be said. The appeal was to the people, and the verdict was worthy of the tribunal. Upon an occasion of his own selection, with the advice and approval of his astute Secretary, soon after the members of the Congress had returned to their constituents, the President quitted the executive mansion, sandwiched himself between two recognized heroes,—men whom the whole country delighted to honor,—and, with all the advantage which such company could give him, stumped the country from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, advocating everywhere his policy as against that of Congress. It was a strange sight, and perhaps the most disgraceful exhibition ever made by any President; but, as no evil is entirely unmixed, good has come of this, as from many others. Ambitious, unscrupulous, energetic, indefatigable, voluble, and plausible,—a political gladiator, ready for a "set-to" in any crowd,—he is beaten in his own chosen field, and stands to-day before the country as a convicted usurper, a political criminal, guilty of a bold and persistent attempt to possess himself of the legislative powers solemnly secured to Congress by the Constitution. No vindication could be more complete, no condemnation could be more absolute and humiliating. Unless reopened by the sword, as recklessly threatened in some circles, this question is now closed for all time.

Without attempting to settle here the metaphysical and somewhat theological question (about which so much has already been said and written), whether once in the Union means always in the Union,—agreeably to the formula, Once in grace always in grace,—it is obvious to common sense that the rebellious States stand to-day, in point of law, precisely where they stood when, exhausted, beaten, conquered, they fell powerless at the feet of Federal authority. Their State governments were overthrown, and the lives and property of the leaders of the Rebellion were forfeited. In reconstructing the institutions of these shattered and overthrown States, Congress should begin with a clean slate, and make clean work of it. Let there be no hesitation. It would be a cowardly deference to a defeated and treacherous President, if any account were made of the illegitimate, one-sided, sham governments hurried into existence for a malign purpose in the absence of Congress. These pretended governments, which were never submitted to the people, and from participation in which four millions of the loyal people were excluded by Presidential order, should now be treated according to their true character, as shams and impositions, and supplanted by true and legitimate governments, in the formation of which loyal men, black and white, shall participate.

It is not, however, within the scope of this paper to point out the precise steps to be taken, and the means to be employed. The people are less concerned about these than the grand end to be attained. They demand such a reconstruction as shall put an end to the present anarchical state of things in the late rebellious States,—where frightful murders and wholesale massacres are perpetrated in the very presence of Federal soldiers. This horrible business they require shall cease. They want a reconstruction such as will protect loyal men, black and white, in their persons and property; such a one as will cause Northern industry, Northern capital, and Northern civilization to flow into the South, and make a man from New England as much at home in Carolina as elsewhere in the Republic. No Chinese wall can now be tolerated. The South must be opened to the light of law and liberty, and this session of Congress is relied upon to accomplish this important work.

The plain, common-sense way of doing this work, as intimated at the beginning, is simply to establish in the South one law, one government, one administration of justice, one condition to the exercise of the elective franchise, for men of all races and colors alike. This great measure is sought as earnestly by loyal white men as by loyal blacks, and is needed alike by both. Let sound political prescience but take the place of an unreasoning prejudice, and this will be done.

Men denounce the negro for his prominence in this discussion; but it is no fault of his that in peace as in war, that in conquering Rebel armies as in reconstructing the rebellious States, the right of the negro is the true solution of our national troubles. The stern logic of events, which goes directly to the point, disdaining all concern for the color or features of men, has determined the interests of the country as identical with and inseparable from those of the negro.

The policy that emancipated and armed the negro—now seen to have been wise and proper by the dullest—was not certainly more sternly demanded than is now the policy of enfranchisement. If with the negro was success in war, and without him failure, so in peace it will be found that the nation must fall or flourish with the negro.

Fortunately, the Constitution of the United States knows no distinction between citizens on account of color. Neither does it know any difference between a citizen of a State and a citizen of the United States. Citizenship evidently includes all the rights of citizens, whether State or national. If the Constitution knows none, it is clearly no part of the duty of a Republican Congress now to institute one. The mistake of the last session was the attempt to do this very thing, by a renunciation of its power to secure political rights to any class of citizens, with the obvious purpose to allow the rebellious States to disfranchise, if they should see fit, their colored citizens. This unfortunate blunder must now be retrieved, and the emasculated citizenship given to the negro supplanted by that contemplated in the Constitution of the United States, which declares that the citizens of each State shall enjoy all the rights and immunities of citizens of the several States,—so that a legal voter in any State shall be a legal voter in all the States.


A very limited statement of the argument for impartial suffrage, and for including the negro in the body politic, would require more space than can be reasonably asked here. It is supported by reasons as broad as the nature of man, and as numerous as the wants of society. Man is the only government-making animal in the world. His right to a participation in the production and operation of government is an inference from his nature, as direct and self-evident as is his right to acquire property or education. It is no less a crime against the manhood of a man, to declare that he shall not share in the making and directing of the government under which he lives, than to say that he shall not acquire property and education. The fundamental and unanswerable argument in favor of the enfranchisement of the negro is found in the undisputed fact of his manhood. He is a man, and by every fact and argument by which any man can sustain his right to vote, the negro can sustain his right equally. It is plain that, if the right belongs to any, it belongs to all. The doctrine that some men have no rights that others are bound to respect, is a doctrine which we must banish as we have banished slavery, from which it emanated. If black men have no rights in the eyes of white men, of course the whites can have none in the eyes of the blacks. The result is a war of races, and the annihilation of all proper human relations.

But suffrage for the negro, while easily sustained upon abstract principles, demands consideration upon what are recognized as the urgent necessities of the case. It is a measure of relief,—a shield to break the force of a blow already descending with violence, and render it harmless. The work of destruction has already been set in motion all over the South. Peace to the country has literally meant war to the loyal men of the South, white and black; and negro suffrage is the measure to arrest and put an end to that dreadful strife.

Something then, not by way of argument, (for that has been done by Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens, Wendell Phillips, Gerrit Smith, and other able men,) but rather of statement and appeal.

For better or for worse, (as in some of the old marriage ceremonies,) the negroes are evidently a permanent part of the American population. They are too numerous and useful to be colonized, and too enduring and self-perpetuating to disappear by natural causes. Here they are, four millions of them, and, for weal or for woe, here they must remain. Their history is parallel to that of the country; but while the history of the latter has been cheerful and bright with blessings, theirs has been heavy and dark with agonies and curses. What O'Connell said of the history of Ireland may with greater truth be said of the negro's. It may be "traced like a wounded man through a crowd, by the blood." Yet the negroes have marvellously survived all the exterminating forces of slavery, and have emerged at the end of two hundred and fifty years of bondage, not morose, misanthropic, and revengeful, but cheerful, hopeful, and forgiving. They now stand before Congress and the country, not complaining of the past, but simply asking for a better future. The spectacle of these dusky millions thus imploring, not demanding, is touching; and if American statesmen could be moved by a simple appeal to the nobler elements of human nature, if they had not fallen, seemingly, into the incurable habit of weighing and measuring every proposition of reform by some standard of profit and loss, doing wrong from choice, and right only from necessity or some urgent demand of human selfishness, it would be enough to plead for the negroes on the score of past services and sufferings. But no such appeal shall be relied on here. Hardships, services, sufferings, and sacrifices are all waived. It is true that they came to the relief of the country at the hour of its extremest need. It is true that, in many of the rebellious States, they were almost the only reliable friends the nation had throughout the whole tremendous war. It is true that, notwithstanding their alleged ignorance, they were wiser than their masters, and knew enough to be loyal, while those masters only knew enough to be rebels and traitors. It is true that they fought side by side in the loyal cause with our gallant and patriotic white soldiers, and that, but for their help,—divided as the loyal States were,—the Rebels might have succeeded in breaking up the Union, thereby entailing border wars and troubles of unknown duration and incalculable calamity. All this and more is true of these loyal negroes. Many daring exploits will be told to their credit. Impartial history will paint them as men who deserved well of their country. It will tell how they forded and swam rivers, with what consummate address they evaded the sharp-eyed Rebel pickets, how they toiled in the darkness of night through the tangled marshes of briers and thorns, barefooted and weary, running the risk of losing their lives, to warn our generals of Rebel schemes to surprise and destroy our loyal army. It will tell how these poor people, whose rights we still despised, behaved to our wounded soldiers, when found cold, hungry, and bleeding on the deserted battle-field; how they assisted our escaping prisoners from Andersonville, Belle Isle, Castle Thunder, and elsewhere, sharing with them their wretched crusts, and otherwise affording them aid and comfort; how they promptly responded to the trumpet call for their services, fighting against a foe that denied them the rights of civilized warfare, and for a government which was without the courage to assert those rights and avenge their violation in their behalf; with what gallantry they flung themselves upon Rebel fortifications, meeting death as fearlessly as any other troops in the service. But upon none of these things is reliance placed. These facts speak to the better dispositions of the human heart; but they seem of little weight with the opponents of impartial suffrage.

It is true that a strong plea for equal suffrage might be addressed to the national sense of honor. Something, too, might be said of national gratitude. A nation might well hesitate before the temptation to betray its allies. There is something immeasurably mean, to say nothing of the cruelty, in placing the loyal negroes of the South under the political power of their Rebel masters. To make peace with our enemies is all well enough; but to prefer our enemies and sacrifice our friends,—to exalt our enemies and cast down our friends,—to clothe our enemies, who sought the destruction of the government, with all political power, and leave our friends powerless in their hands,—is an act which need not be characterized here. We asked the negroes to espouse our cause, to be our friends, to fight for us, and against their masters; and now, after they have done all that we asked them to do,—helped us to conquer their masters, and thereby directed toward themselves the furious hate of the vanquished,—it is proposed in some quarters to turn them over to the political control of the common enemy of the government and of the negro. But of this let nothing be said in this place. Waiving humanity, national honor, the claims of gratitude, the precious satisfaction arising from deeds of charity and justice to the weak and defenceless,—the appeal for impartial suffrage addresses itself with great pertinency to the darkest, coldest, and flintiest side of the human heart, and would wring righteousness from the unfeeling calculations of human selfishness.

For in respect to this grand measure it is the good fortune of the negro that enlightened selfishness, not less than justice, fights on his side. National interest and national duty, if elsewhere separated, are firmly united here. The American people can, perhaps, afford to brave the censure of surrounding nations for the manifest injustice and meanness of excluding its faithful black soldiers from the ballot-box, but it cannot afford to allow the moral and mental energies of rapidly increasing millions to be consigned to hopeless degradation.

Strong as we are, we need the energy that slumbers in the black man's arm to make us stronger. We want no longer any heavy-footed, melancholy service from the negro. We want the cheerful activity of the quickened manhood of these sable millions. Nor can we afford to endure the moral blight which the existence of a degraded and hated class must necessarily inflict upon any people among whom such a class may exist. Exclude the negroes as a class from political rights,—teach them that the high and manly privilege of suffrage is to be enjoyed by white citizens only,—that they may bear the burdens of the state, but that they are to have no part in its direction or its honors,—and you at once deprive them of one of the main incentives to manly character and patriotic devotion to the interests of the government; in a word, you stamp them as a degraded caste,—you teach them to despise themselves, and all others to despise them. Men are so constituted that they largely derive their ideas of their abilities and their possibilities from the settled judgments of their fellow-men, and especially from such as they read in the institutions under which they live. If these bless them, they are blest indeed; but if these blast them, they are blasted indeed. Give the negro the elective franchise, and you give him at once a powerful motive for all noble exertion, and make him a man among men. A character is demanded of him, and here as elsewhere demand favors supply. It is nothing against this reasoning that all men who vote are not good men or good citizens. It is enough that the possession and exercise of the elective franchise is in itself an appeal to the nobler elements of manhood, and imposes education as essential to the safety of society.

To appreciate the full force of this argument, it must be observed, that disfranchisement in a republican government based upon the idea of human equality and universal suffrage, is a very different thing from disfranchisement in governments based upon the idea of the divine right of kings, or the entire subjugation of the masses. Masses of men can take care of themselves. Besides, the disabilities imposed upon all are necessarily without that bitter and stinging element of invidiousness which attaches to disfranchisement in a republic. What is common to all works no special sense of degradation to any. But in a country like ours, where men of all nations, kindred, and tongues are freely enfranchised, and allowed to vote, to say to the negro, You shall not vote, is to deal his manhood a staggering blow, and to burn into his soul a bitter and goading sense of wrong, or else work in him a stupid indifference to all the elements of a manly character. As a nation, we cannot afford to have amongst us either this indifference and stupidity, or that burning sense of wrong. These sable millions are too powerful to be allowed to remain either indifferent or discontented. Enfranchise them, and they become self-respecting and country-loving citizens. Disfranchise them, and the mark of Cain is set upon them less mercifully than upon the first murderer, for no man was to hurt him. But this mark of inferiority—all the more palpable because of a difference of color—not only dooms the negro to be a vagabond, but makes him the prey of insult and outrage everywhere. While nothing may be urged here as to the past services of the negro, it is quite within the line of this appeal to remind the nation of the possibility that a time may come when the services of the negro may be a second time required. History is said to repeat itself, and, if so, having wanted the negro once, we may want him again. Can that statesmanship be wise which would leave the negro good ground to hesitate, when the exigencies of the country required his prompt assistance? Can that be sound statesmanship which leaves millions of men in gloomy discontent, and possibly in a state of alienation in the day of national trouble? Was not the nation stronger when two hundred thousand sable soldiers were hurled against the Rebel fortifications, than it would have been without them? Arming the negro was an urgent military necessity three years ago,—are we sure that another quite as pressing may not await us? Casting aside all thought of justice and magnanimity, is it wise to impose upon the negro all the burdens involved in sustaining government against foes within and foes without, to make him equal sharer in all sacrifices for the public good, to tax him in peace and conscript him in war, and then coldly exclude him from the ballot-box?

Look across the sea. Is Ireland, in her present condition, fretful, discontented, compelled to support an establishment in which she does not believe, and which the vast majority of her people abhor, a source of power or of weakness to Great Britain? Is not Austria wise in removing all ground of complaint against her on the part of Hungary? And does not the Emperor of Russia act wisely, as well as generously, when he not only breaks up the bondage of the serf, but extends him all the advantages of Russian citizenship? Is the present movement in England in favor of manhood suffrage—for the purpose of bringing four millions of British subjects into full sympathy and co-operation with the British government—a wise and humane movement, or otherwise? Is the existence of a rebellious element in our borders—which New Orleans, Memphis, and Texas show to be only disarmed, but at heart as malignant as ever, only waiting for an opportunity to reassert itself with fire and sword—a reason for leaving four millions of the nation's truest friends with just cause of complaint against the Federal government? If the doctrine that taxation should go hand in hand with representation can be appealed to in behalf of recent traitors and rebels, may it not properly be asserted in behalf of a people who have ever been loyal and faithful to the government? The answers to these questions are too obvious to require statement. Disguise it as we may, we are still a divided nation. The Rebel States have still an anti-national policy. Massachusetts and South Carolina may draw tears from the eyes of our tender-hearted President by walking arm in arm into his Philadelphia Convention, but a citizen of Massachusetts is still an alien in the Palmetto State. There is that, all over the South, which frightens Yankee industry, capital, and skill from its borders. We have crushed the Rebellion, but not its hopes or its malign purposes. The South fought for perfect and permanent control over the Southern laborer. It was a war of the rich against the poor. They who waged it had no objection to the government, while they could use it as a means of confirming their power over the laborer. They fought the government, not because they hated the government as such, but because they found it, as they thought, in the way between them and their one grand purpose of rendering permanent and indestructible their authority and power over the Southern laborer. Though the battle is for the present lost, the hope of gaining this object still exists, and pervades the whole South with a feverish excitement. We have thus far only gained a Union without unity, marriage without love, victory without peace. The hope of gaining by politics what they lost by the sword, is the secret of all this Southern unrest; and that hope must be extinguished before national ideas and objects can take full possession of the Southern mind. There is but one safe and constitutional way to banish that mischievous hope from the South, and that is by lifting the laborer beyond the unfriendly political designs of his former master. Give the negro the elective franchise, and you at once destroy the purely sectional policy, and wheel the Southern States into line with national interests and national objects. The last and shrewdest turn of Southern politics is a recognition of the necessity of getting into Congress immediately, and at any price. The South will comply with any conditions but suffrage for the negro. It will swallow all the unconstitutional test oaths, repeal all the ordinances of Secession, repudiate the Rebel debt, promise to pay the debt incurred in conquering its people, pass all the constitutional amendments, if only it can have the negro left under its political control. The proposition is as modest as that made on the mountain: "All these things will I give unto thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me."

But why are the Southerners so willing to make these sacrifices? The answer plainly is, they see in this policy the only hope of saving something of their old sectional peculiarities and power. Once firmly seated in Congress, their alliance with Northern Democrats re-established, their States restored to their former position inside the Union, they can easily find means of keeping the Federal government entirely too busy with other important matters to pay much attention to the local affairs of the Southern States. Under the potent shield of State Rights, the game would be in their own hands. Does any sane man doubt for a moment that the men who followed Jefferson Davis through the late terrible Rebellion, often marching barefooted and hungry, naked and penniless, and who now only profess an enforced loyalty, would plunge this country into a foreign war to-day, if they could thereby gain their coveted independence, and their still more coveted mastery over the negroes? Plainly enough, the peace not less than the prosperity of this country is involved in the great measure of impartial suffrage. King Cotton is deposed, but only deposed, and is ready to-day to reassert all his ancient pretensions upon the first favorable opportunity. Foreign countries abound with his agents. They are able, vigilant, devoted. The young men of the South burn with the desire to regain what they call the lost cause; the women are noisily malignant towards the Federal government. In fact, all the elements of treason and rebellion are there under the thinnest disguise which necessity can impose.

What, then, is the work before Congress? It is to save the people of the South from themselves, and the nation from detriment on their account. Congress must supplant the evident sectional tendencies of the South by national dispositions and tendencies. It must cause national ideas and objects to take the lead and control the politics of those States. It must cease to recognize the old slave-masters as the only competent persons to rule the South. In a word, it must enfranchise the negro, and by means of the loyal negroes and the loyal white men of the South build up a national party there, and in time bridge the chasm between North and South, so that our country may have a common liberty and a common civilization. The new wine must be put into new bottles. The lamb may not be trusted with the wolf. Loyalty is hardly safe with traitors.

Statesmen of America! beware what you do. The ploughshare of rebellion has gone through the land beam-deep. The soil is in readiness, and the seed-time has come. Nations, not less than individuals, reap as they sow. The dreadful calamities of the past few years came not by accident, nor unbidden, from the ground. You shudder to-day at the harvest of blood sown in the spring-time of the Republic by your patriot fathers. The principle of slavery, which they tolerated under the erroneous impression that it would soon die out, became at last the dominant principle and power at the South. It early mastered the Constitution, became superior to the Union, and enthroned itself above the law.

Freedom of speech and of the press it slowly but successfully banished from the South, dictated its own code of honor and manners to the nation, brandished the bludgeon and the bowie-knife over Congressional debate, sapped the foundations of loyalty, dried up the springs of patriotism, blotted out the testimonies of the fathers against oppression, padlocked the pulpit, expelled liberty from its literature, invented nonsensical theories about master-races and slave-races of men, and in due season produced a Rebellion fierce, foul, and bloody.

This evil principle again seeks admission into our body politic. It comes now in shape of a denial of political rights to four million loyal colored people. The South does not now ask for slavery. It only asks for a large degraded caste, which shall have no political rights. This ends the case. Statesmen, beware what you do. The destiny of unborn and unnumbered generations is in your hands. Will you repeat the mistake of your fathers, who sinned ignorantly? or will you profit by the blood-bought wisdom all round you, and forever expel every vestige of the old abomination from our national borders? As you members of the Thirty-ninth Congress decide, will the country be peaceful, united, and happy, or troubled, divided, and miserable.

THE NEGRO EXODUS by James B. Runnion

A recent sojourn in the South for a few weeks, chiefly in Louisiana and Mississippi, gave the writer an opportunity to inquire into what has been so aptly called "the negro exodus." The emigration of blacks to Kansas began early in the spring of this year. For a time there was a stampede from two or three of the river parishes in Louisiana and as many counties opposite in Mississippi. Several thousand negroes (certainly not fewer than five thousand, and variously estimated as high as ten thousand) had left their cabins before the rush could be stayed or the excitement lulled. Early in May most of the negroes who had quit work for the purpose of emigrating, but had not succeeded in getting off, were persuaded to return to the plantations, and from that time on there have been only straggling families and groups that have watched for and seized the first opportunity for transportation to the North. There is no doubt, however, that there is still a consuming desire among the negroes of the cotton districts in these two States to seek new homes, and there are the best reasons for believing that the exodus will take a new start next spring, after the gathering and conversion of the growing crop. Hundreds of negroes who returned from the river-banks for lack of transportation, and thousands of others infected with the ruling discontent, are working harder in the fields this summer, and practicing more economy and self-denial than ever before, in order to have the means next winter and spring to pay their way to the "promised land."

"We've been working for fourteen long years," said an intelligent negro, in reply to a question as to the cause of the prevailing discontent, "and we ain't no better off than we was when we commenced." This is the negro version of the trouble, which is elaborated on occasion into a harrowing story of oppression and plunder.

"I tell you it's all owing to the radical politicians at the North," explained a representative of the type known as the Bourbons; "they've had their emissaries down here, and deluded the 'niggers' into a very fever of emigration, with the purpose of reducing our basis of representation in Congress and increasing that of the Northern States."

These are the two extremes of opinion at the South. The first is certainly the more reasonable and truthful, though it implies that all the blame rests upon the whites, which is not the case; the second, preposterous as it will appear to Northern readers, is religiously believed by large numbers of the "unreconciled." Between these two extremes there is an infinite variety of theories, all more or less governed by the political faction to which the various theorizers belong; there are at least a dozen of these factions, such as the Bourbons, the conservatives, the native white republicans, the carpet-bag republicans, the negro republicans, etc. There is a political tinge in almost everything in the extreme Southern States. The fact seems to be that the emigration movement among the blacks was spontaneous to the extent that they were ready and anxious to go. The immediate notion of going may have been inculcated by such circulars, issued by railroads and land companies, as are common enough at emigrant centres in the North and West, and the exaggeration characteristic of such literature may have stimulated the imagination of the negroes far beyond anything they are likely to realize in their new homes. Kansas was naturally the favorite goal of the negro emigre, for it was associated in his mind with the names of Jim Lane and John Brown, which are hallowed to him. The timid learned that they could escape what they have come to regard as a second bondage, and they flocked together to gain the moral support which comes from numbers.

Diligent inquiry among representative men, of all classes and from all parts of Louisiana, who were in attendance at the constitutional convention in New Orleans, and careful observation along the river among the land owners and field hands in both Louisiana and Mississippi, left a vivid impression of some material and political conditions which fully account for the negro exodus. I have dropped the social conditions out of the consideration, because I became convinced that the race troubles at the South can be solved to the satisfaction of both whites and blacks without cultivating any closer social relations than those which now prevail. The material conditions which I have in mind are less familiar than the political conditions; they are mainly the land-tenure and credit systems, and mere modifications (scarcely for the better) of the peculiar plantation system of slavery days.

The cotton lands at the South are owned now, as they were before the war, in large tracts. The land was about all that most of the Southern whites had left to them after the war, and they kept it when they could, at the first, in the hope that it would yield them a living through the labor of the blacks; of late years they have not been able to sell their plantations at any fair price, if they desired to do so. The white men with capital who went to the South from the North after the war seemed to acquire the true Southern ambition to be large land owners and planters; and when the ante-bellum owners lost their plantations the land usually went in bulk to the city factors who had made them advances from year to year, and had taken mortgages on their crops and broad acres. As a consequence, the land has never been distributed among the people who inhabit and cultivate it, and agricultural labor in the Southern States approaches the condition of the factory labor in England and the Eastern States more nearly than it does the farm labor of the North and West. Nearly every agricultural laborer north of Mason and Dixon's line, if not the actual possessor of the land he plows, looks forward to owning a farm some time; at the South such an ambition is rare, and small ownership still more an exception. The practice of paying day wages was first tried after the war; this practice is still in vogue in the sugar and rice districts, where laborers are paid from fifty to seventy cents per day, with quarters furnished and living guaranteed them at nine or ten cents a day. In sections where the wages system prevails, and where there have been no political disturbances, the negroes seem to be perfectly contented; at all events, the emigration fever has not spread among them. But it was found impracticable to maintain the wage system in the cotton districts. The negroes themselves fought against it, because it reminded them too much of the slave-gang, driven out at daybreak and home at sundown. In many cases the planters were forced to abandon it, because they had not the means to carry on such huge farming, and they could not secure the same liberal advances from capitalists as when they were able to mortgage a growing "crop of niggers." Then the system of working on shares was tried. This was reasonably fair, and the negro laborers were satisfied as long as it lasted. The owners of the land, under this system, would furnish the indispensable mule and the farming implements, and take one half the product. The planters themselves relinquished this system. Some of them contend that the laziness and indifference of the negro made the partnership undesirable; many others admit that they were not able to advance the negro tenant his supplies pending the growth of the year's crop, as it was necessary they should do under the sharing system. Now the renting system is almost universal. It yields the land owner a certainty, endangered only by the death, sickness, or desertion of the negro tenant; but it throws the latter upon his own responsibility, and frequently makes him the victim of his own ignorance and the rapacity of the white man. The rent of land, on a money basis, varies from six to ten dollars an acre per year, while the same land can be bought in large quantities all the way from fifteen to thirty dollars per acre, according to location, clearing, improvement, richness, etc. When paid in product, the rent varies from eighty to one hundred pounds of lint cotton per acre for land that produces from two hundred to four hundred pounds of cotton per acre; the tenant undertakes to pay from one quarter to one half—perhaps an average of one third—of his crop for the use of the land, without stock, tools, or assistance of any kind. The land owners usually claim that they make no money even at these exorbitant figures. If they do not, it is because only a portion of their vast possessions is under cultivation, because they do no work themselves, and in some cases because the negroes do not cultivate and gather as large a crop as they could and ought to harvest. It is very certain that the negro tenants, as a class, make no money; if they are out of debt at the end of a season, they have reason to rejoice.

The credit system, which is as universal as the renting system, is even more illogical and oppressive. The utter viciousness of both systems in their mutual dependence is sufficiently illustrated by the single fact that, after fourteen years of freedom and labor on their own account, the great mass of the negroes depend for their living on an advance of supplies (as they need food, clothing, or tools during the year) upon the pledge of their growing crop. This is a generic imitation of the white man's improvidence during the slavery times; then the planters mortgaged their crops and negroes, and where one used the advances to extend his plantation, ten squandered the money. The negro's necessities have developed an offensive race, called merchants by courtesy, who keep supply stores at the cross-roads and steamboat landings, and live upon extortion. These people would be called sharks, harpies, and vampires in any Northwestern agricultural community, and they would not survive more than one season. The country merchant advances the negro tenant such supplies as the negro wants up to a certain amount, previously fixed by contract, and charges the negro at least double the value of every article sold to him. There is no concealment about the extortion; every store-keeper has his cash price and his credit price, and in nearly all cases the latter is one hundred per cent. higher than the former. The extortion is justified by those who practice it on the ground that their losses by bad debts, though their advances are always secured by mortgage on the growing crop, overbalance the profits; this assertion is scarcely borne out by the comparative opulence of the "merchant" and the pitiful poverty of the laborer. Some of the largest and wealthiest planters have sought to protect their tenants from the merciless clutches of the contrary merchant, who is more frequently than not an Israelite, by advancing supplies of necessary articles at reasonable prices. But the necessities of the planter, if not his greed, often betray him into plundering the negro. The planter himself is generally a victim to usury. He still draws on the city factor to the extent of ten dollars a bale upon his estimated crop. He pays this factor two and one half per cent. commission for the advance, eight per cent. interest for the money, two and one half per cent. more for disposing of the crop when consigned to him, and sometimes still another commission for the purchase of the supplies. The planter who furnishes his tenants with supplies on credit is usually paying an interest of fifteen to eighteen per cent. himself, and necessarily takes some risk in advancing upon an uncertain crop and to a laborer whom he believes to be neither scrupulous nor industrious; these conditions necessitate more than the ordinary profit, and in many cases suggest exorbitant and unreasonable charges. But whether the negro deals with the merchant or the land owner, his extravagance almost invariably exhausts his credit, even if it be large. The negro is a sensuous creature, and luxurious in his way. The male is an enormous consumer of tobacco and whisky; the female has an inordinate love for flummery; both are fond of sardines, potted meats, and canned goods generally, and they indulge themselves without any other restraint than the refusal of their merchant to sell to them. The man who advances supplies watches his negro customers constantly; if they are working well and their crop promises to be large, he will permit and even encourage them to draw upon him liberally; it is only a partial failure of the crop, or some intimation of the negro's intention to shirk his obligations, that induces his country factor to preach the virtue of self-restraint, or moralize upon the advantages of economy.

The land owner's rent and the merchant's advances are both secured by a chattel mortgage on the tenant's personal property, and by a pledge of the growing crop. The hired laborer (for it is common for negroes to work for wages for other negroes who rent lands) has also a lien upon the growing crops second only to the land owner's; but as the law requires that the liens shall be recorded, which the ignorant laborer usually neglects and the shrewd merchant never fails to do, the former is generally cheated of his security. Among those who usually work for hire are the women, who are expert cotton pickers, and the loss of wages which so many of them have suffered by reason of the prior lien gained by landlord and merchant has helped to make them earnest and effective advocates of emigration. The Western farmer considers it hard enough to struggle under one mortgage at a reasonable interest; the negro tenant begins his season with three mortgages, covering all he owns, his labor for the coming year, and all he expects to acquire during that period. He pays one third his product for the use of the land; he pays double the value of all he consumes; he pays an exorbitant fee for recording the contract by which he pledges his pound of flesh; he is charged two or three times as much as he ought to pay for ginning his cotton; and, finally, he turns over his crop to be eaten up in commissions, if anything still be left to him. It is easy to understand why the negro rarely gets ahead in the world. This mortgaging of future services, which is practically what a pledge of the growing crop amounts to, is in the nature of bondage. It has a tendency to make the negro extravagant, reckless, and unscrupulous; he has become convinced from previous experience that nothing will be coming to him on the day of settlement, and he is frequently actuated by the purpose of getting as much as possible and working as little as possible. Cases are numerous in which the negro abandons his own crop at picking time, because he knows that he has already eaten up its full value; and so he goes to picking for wages on some other plantation. In other cases, where negroes have acquired mules and farming implements upon which a merchant has secured a mortgage in the manner described, they are practically bound to that merchant from year to year, in order to retain their property; if he removes from one section to another, they must follow him, and rent and cultivate lands in his neighborhood. It is only the ignorance, the improvidence, and the happy disposition of the negro, under the influence of the lazy, drowsy climate, to which he is so well adapted physically, that have enabled him to endure these hardships so long. And, though the negro is the loser, the white man is not often the gainer, from this false plantation and mercantile system. The incidental risk may not be so large as the planter and merchant pretend, but the condition of the people is an evidence that the extortion they practice yields no better profit in the long run than would be gained by competition in fair prices on a cash system; and in leading up to a general emigration of the laboring population the abuses described will eventually ruin and impoverish those who have heretofore been the only beneficiaries thereof. The decay of improvements inevitable under annual rentings, the lack of sufficient labor to cultivate all the good land, and the universal idleness of the rural whites have kept the land owners comparatively poor; the partial failure of crops and the unscrupulousness of the negro debtor, engendered by the infamous exactions of his creditor, have prevented the merchants, as a class, from prospering as much as might be supposed; and, finally, the uniform injustice to the laborers induces them to fly to ills they know not of, rather than bear those they have. It is a blessing to the negro that the laws do not yet provide for a detention of the person in the case of debt, or escape would be shut off entirely; as it is, various influences and circumstances appertaining to the system in vogue have been used to prevent the easy flight of those who desire to go, and have detained thousands of blacks for a time who are fretting to quit the country.

Political oppression has contributed largely to the discontent which is the prime cause of the exodus. "Bulldozing" is the term by which all forms of this oppression are known. The native whites are generally indisposed to confess that the negroes are quitting the country on account of political injustice and persecution; even those who freely admit and fitly characterize the abuses already described seek to deny, or at least belittle, the political abuses. The fact that a large number of negroes have emigrated from Madison Parish, Louisiana, where there has never been any bulldozing, and where the negroes are in full and undisputed political control, is cited as proof that political disturbances cut no figure in the case. But the town of Delta, in Madison Parish, is at once on the river and the terminus of a railroad that runs back through the interior of the State; thus Madison Parish would furnish the natural exit for the fugitives from the adjoining counties, where there have been political disturbances. It would be just as reasonable to contend that the plundering of the negroes has had no influence in driving them away, since many of those who have emigrated were among the most prosperous of the blacks, as to deny the agency of political persecution. Families that had been able to accumulate a certain amount of personal property, in spite of the extortionate practices, sold their mules, their implements, their cows, their pigs, their sheep, and their household goods for anything they would bring,—frequently as low as one sixth of their value,—in order that they might improve an immediate opportunity to go away; it is evident that there must have been some cause outside of extortion in their case. There are candid native whites who do not deny, but justify, the violent methods which have been employed to disfranchise the negroes, or compel them to vote under white dictation, in many parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, on the ground that the men who pay the taxes should vote them and control the disbursement of the public moneys. The gentlemen who advance this argument seem to ignore the fact that the very Northerner whom they are seeking to convert to "the Mississippi plan" may himself be a taxpayer in some Northern city, where public affairs are controlled by a class of voters in every way as ignorant and irresponsible as the blacks, but where bulldozing has never yet been suggested as a remedy. For the rest, the evidences of political oppression are abundant and convincing. The bulldozers as a class are more impecunious and irresponsible than the negroes, and, unlike the negroes, they will not work. There has been more of the "night-riding," the whippings, the mysterious disappearances, the hangings, and the terrorism comprehended in the term bulldozing than has been reported by those "abstracts and brief chronicles of the time," the Southern newspapers, which are now all of one party, and defer to the ruling sentiment among the whites. The exodus has wrung from two or three of the more candid and independent journals, however, a virtual confession of the fiendish practices of bulldozing in their insistance that these practices must be abandoned. The non-resident land owners and the resident planters, the city factors and the country merchants of means and respectability, have taken no personal part in the terrorizing of the negro, but they have tolerated it, and sometimes encouraged it, in order to gratify their preference for "white government." The negroes have suffered the more because they have not resisted and defended themselves; now they have begun to convince those who have persecuted them that, if they will not strike back, they can and will run away. No one who is at all familiar with the freedman can doubt that the abridgment of his political rights has been one of the main causes of the exodus. Voting is widely regarded at the North as a disagreeable duty, but the negro looks upon it as the highest privilege in life; to be frightened out of the exercise of this privilege, or compelled to exercise it in conflict with his convictions and preferences, is to suffer from a cruel injustice, which the negro will now try to escape, since he has learned that escape is possible. The women, though free from personal assaults, suffer from the terrorism that prevails in certain districts as much as the men. "We might as well starve or freeze to death in Kansas," they say, "as to be shot-gunned here." If they talk to you in confidence, they declare that the ruling purpose is to escape from the "slaughter-pens" of the South. Political persecution, and not the extortion they suffer, is the refrain of all the speakers at negro meetings that are held in encouragement and aid of the emigration. It is idle to deny that the varied injustice which the negroes have suffered as voters is accountable for a large part of their universal yearning for new homes, and it will be folly for the responsible classes at the South to ignore this fact.

As it is the negroes who are fleeing from the South, it is natural to look among the dominant class for the injustice which is driving them away; but it would be unfair to conclude that the blame rests entirely upon the whites, and still more so to leave the impression that there is no extenuation for the mistakes and abuses for which the whites are responsible. Much of the intimidation of the blacks has been tolerated, if not suggested, by a fear of negro uprisings. The apprehension is a legacy from the days of slavery, and is more unreasonable now than it was then; but still it exists. This is not an excuse, but an explanation. The Pharaohs of the time of Moses were in constant dread lest the Hebrews under their rule should go over to their enemies, and their dread doubtless increased the cruelty of the Egyptians; but, while this dread was an extenuation in the eyes of the persecutors, it did not prevent the Hebrews from fleeing the persecution. So the blacks are going without regard to the justification which the whites may set up for their treatment; the only difference between the old and new exodus is that, as the writer heard one negro speaker express it, "every black man is his own Moses in this exodus." The negro may be lazy; it seems impossible to be otherwise in the Southern climate. He may not be willing to work on Saturdays, no matter how urgent the necessity; the indulgence in holidays is said to be one of the chief drawbacks to the advancement of the emancipated serfs of Russia. The blacks are certainly extravagant in their way, though the word seems to be almost misused in connection with a race who live largely on pork and molasses, and rarely wear more than half a dollar's worth of clothes at one time. They have not the instinct of home as it prevails among the whites, but incline to a crude and unsystematic communism; the negro quarters of the old plantations are all huddled together in the centre, and, except where the land owners have interfered to encourage a different life, there is still too much promiscuousness in the relation of the sexes. The negro, as a rule, has no ambition to become a land owner; he prefers to invest his surplus money, when he has any, in personal and movable property. In most cases where the blacks have been given the opportunity of buying land on long time, and paying yearly installments out of the proceeds of their annual crops, they have tired of the bargain after a year or two, and abandoned the contract. The negro politicians and preachers are not all that reformers and moralists would have them; the imitative faculty of the African has betrayed the black politician into many of the vicious ways of the white politician, and the colored preacher is frequently not above "the pomps and vanity of this wicked world." All this is the more unfortunate, as the blacks have a child-like confidence in their chosen leaders, founded partly on their primitive character, and partly on their distrust of the native whites. Both their politicians and their preachers have given abundant evidence of their insincerity during the excitement of emigration by blowing hot and blowing cold; by talking to the negroes one way, and to the whites another; and even to the extent, in some instances, of taking money to use their influence for discouraging and impeding emigration. These are some of the faults and misfortunes on the part of the blacks which enter into the race troubles. The chief blame which attaches to the whites is the failure to make a persistent effort, by education and kind treatment, to overcome the distrust and cure the faults of the negroes. The whites control, because they constitute the "property and intelligence" of the South, to use the words of a democratic statesman; this power should have been used to gain the confidence of the blacks. Had such a course been taken, there would not have been the fear of reenslavement, which actually prevails to a considerable extent among the negroes. So long as a portion of the whites entertain the conviction that the war of the sections will be renewed within a few years, as is the case, the negroes will suspect and dread the class who would treat them as enemies in case the war should come, and will seek to escape to a section of the country where they would not be so treated. Perhaps, too, there would have been a voluntary political division among the black voters, had the whites used more pacific means to bring it about, and had they themselves set the example. And last, but not least, in making up the sum of blame that the whites must bear, is their own unwillingness to labor, which gives the rural population too much time for mischief and too little sympathy with the working classes.

As we have traced the causes that have led to the exodus, and described the conditions which warrant the belief that there will be a renewal of the emigration on a more extended scale next spring, and endeavored to distribute the responsibility for the troubles equitably among whites and blacks, remedies have naturally suggested themselves to the reader; in fact, they are more easily to be thought out than accomplished. A few general reflections may be added, however, in order to indicate the probable solution of the race troubles that have brought about the exodus, if, indeed, the whites and blacks of the South are ever going to live together in peace.

(1.) It is certain that negro labor is the best the South can have, and equally certain that the climate and natural conditions of the South are better suited to the negro than any others on this continent. The alluvial lands, which many persons believe the negroes alone can cultivate, on account of climatic conditions, are so rich that it might literally be said it is only necessary to tickle them with a hoe to make them laugh back a harvest. The common prosperity of the country—the agricultural interests of the South and the commercial interests of the North—will be best served, therefore, by the continued residence and labor of the blacks in the cotton States.

(2.) The fact stated in the foregoing paragraph is so well understood at the North that the Southern people should dismiss the idea that there is any scheming among the Northern people, political or otherwise, to draw the black labor away from its natural home. The same fact should also influence the people at the North not to be misled by any professional philanthropists who may have some self-interest in soliciting aid to facilitate negro emigration from the South. The duty of the North in this matter is simply to extend protection and assure safe-conduct to the negroes, if the Southern whites attempt to impede voluntary emigration by either law or violence. Any other course might be cruel to the negro in encouraging him to enter on a new life in a strange climate, as well as an injustice to the white land owners of the South.

(3.) There is danger that the Southern whites will, as a rule, misinterpret the meaning of the exodus. Many are inclined to underrate its importance, and those who appreciate its significance are apt to look for temporary and superficial remedies. The vague promises made at the Vicksburg convention, which was controlled by the whites, and called to consider the emigration movement, have had no influence with the negroes, because they have heard such promises before. Had the convention adopted some definite plan of action, such as ex-Governor Foote, of Mississippi, submitted, its session might not have been in vain. This plan was to establish a committee in every county, composed of men who have the confidence of both whites and blacks, that should be auxiliary to the public authorities, listen to complaints, and arbitrate, advise, conciliate, or prosecute, as each case should demand. It is short-sighted for the Southern people to make mere temporary concessions, such as have been made in some cases this year, for that course would establish an annual strike. It is folly for them to suppose they can stem the tide of emigration by influencing the regular lines of steamboats not to carry the refugees, for the people of the North will see that the blacks shall not be detained in the South against their will. It is unwise for them to devise schemes for importing Chinese, or encouraging the immigration of white labor as a substitute for negro labor, when they may much better bestir themselves to make the present effective labor content.

(4.) Education will be the most useful agent to employ in the permanent harmonizing of the two races, and the redemption of both from the faults and follies which constitute their troubles. It is not the education of the negro alone, whose ambition for learning is increasing notably with every new generation, but the education of the mass of the young whites, that is needed to inculcate more tolerance of color and opinion, to give them an aspiration beyond that of riding a horse and hanging a "nigger," and to enable them to set a better example to the imitative blacks in the way of work and frugality. The blacks need the education to protect them from designing white men; the whites need it to teach them that their own interests will be best served by abandoning bulldozing of all kinds.

(5.) Reform in the land tenure, by converting the plantation monopolies into small holdings; abolition of the credit system, by abandoning the laws which sustain it; a diversification of crops; and attention to new manufacturing, maritime, and commercial enterprises,—these are the material changes that are most needed. They can be secured only through the active and earnest efforts of the whites. The blacks will be found responsive.

(6.) The hope of the negro exodus at its present stage, or even if it shall continue another season, is that the actual loss of the valuable labor that has gone, and the prospective loss of more labor that is anxious to go, will induce the intelligent and responsible classes at the South to overcome their own prejudices, and to compel the extremists, irreconcilables, and politicians generally, of all parties, to abandon agitation, and give the South equal peace and equal chance for black and white.

MY ESCAPE FROM SLAVERY by Frederick Douglass

In the first narrative of my experience in slavery, written nearly forty years ago, and in various writings since, I have given the public what I considered very good reasons for withholding the manner of my escape. In substance these reasons were, first, that such publication at any time during the existence of slavery might be used by the master against the slave, and prevent the future escape of any who might adopt the same means that I did. The second reason was, if possible, still more binding to silence: the publication of details would certainly have put in peril the persons and property of those who assisted. Murder itself was not more sternly and certainly punished in the State of Maryland than that of aiding and abetting the escape of a slave. Many colored men, for no other crime than that of giving aid to a fugitive slave, have, like Charles T. Torrey, perished in prison. The abolition of slavery in my native State and throughout the country, and the lapse of time, render the caution hitherto observed no longer necessary. But even since the abolition of slavery, I have sometimes thought it well enough to baffle curiosity by saying that while slavery existed there were good reasons for not telling the manner of my escape, and since slavery had ceased to exist, there was no reason for telling it. I shall now, however, cease to avail myself of this formula, and, as far as I can, endeavor to satisfy this very natural curiosity. I should, perhaps, have yielded to that feeling sooner, had there been anything very heroic or thrilling in the incidents connected with my escape, for I am sorry to say I have nothing of that sort to tell; and yet the courage that could risk betrayal and the bravery which was ready to encounter death, if need be, in pursuit of freedom, were essential features in the undertaking. My success was due to address rather than courage, to good luck rather than bravery. My means of escape were provided for me by the very men who were making laws to hold and bind me more securely in slavery.

It was the custom in the State of Maryland to require the free colored people to have what were called free papers. These instruments they were required to renew very often, and by charging a fee for this writing, considerable sums from time to time were collected by the State. In these papers the name, age, color, height, and form of the freeman were described, together with any scars or other marks upon his person which could assist in his identification. This device in some measure defeated itself—since more than one man could be found to answer the same general description. Hence many slaves could escape by personating the owner of one set of papers; and this was often done as follows: A slave, nearly or sufficiently answering the description set forth in the papers, would borrow or hire them till by means of them he could escape to a free State, and then, by mail or otherwise, would return them to the owner. The operation was a hazardous one for the lender as well as for the borrower. A failure on the part of the fugitive to send back the papers would imperil his benefactor, and the discovery of the papers in possession of the wrong man would imperil both the fugitive and his friend. It was, therefore, an act of supreme trust on the part of a freeman of color thus to put in jeopardy his own liberty that another might be free. It was, however, not unfrequently bravely done, and was seldom discovered. I was not so fortunate as to resemble any of my free acquaintances sufficiently to answer the description of their papers. But I had a friend—a sailor—who owned a sailor's protection, which answered somewhat the purpose of free papers—describing his person, and certifying to the fact that he was a free American sailor. The instrument had at its head the American eagle, which gave it the appearance at once of an authorized document. This protection, when in my hands, did not describe its bearer very accurately. Indeed, it called for a man much darker than myself, and close examination of it would have caused my arrest at the start.

In order to avoid this fatal scrutiny on the part of railroad officials, I arranged with Isaac Rolls, a Baltimore hackman, to bring my baggage to the Philadelphia train just on the moment of starting, and jumped upon the car myself when the train was in motion. Had I gone into the station and offered to purchase a ticket, I should have been instantly and carefully examined, and undoubtedly arrested. In choosing this plan I considered the jostle of the train, and the natural haste of the conductor, in a train crowded with passengers, and relied upon my skill and address in playing the sailor, as described in my protection, to do the rest. One element in my favor was the kind feeling which prevailed in Baltimore and other sea-ports at the time, toward "those who go down to the sea in ships." "Free trade and sailors' rights" just then expressed the sentiment of the country. In my clothing I was rigged out in sailor style. I had on a red shirt and a tarpaulin hat, and a black cravat tied in sailor fashion carelessly and loosely about my neck. My knowledge of ships and sailor's talk came much to my assistance, for I knew a ship from stem to stern, and from keelson to cross-trees, and could talk sailor like an "old salt." I was well on the way to Havre de Grace before the conductor came into the negro car to collect tickets and examine the papers of his black passengers. This was a critical moment in the drama. My whole future depended upon the decision of this conductor. Agitated though I was while this ceremony was proceeding, still, externally, at least, I was apparently calm and self-possessed. He went on with his duty—examining several colored passengers before reaching me. He was somewhat harsh in tome and peremptory in manner until he reached me, when, strange enough, and to my surprise and relief, his whole manner changed. Seeing that I did not readily produce my free papers, as the other colored persons in the car had done, he said to me, in friendly contrast with his bearing toward the others:

"I suppose you have your free papers?"

To which I answered:

"No sir; I never carry my free papers to sea with me."

"But you have something to show that you are a freeman, haven't you?"

"Yes, sir," I answered; "I have a paper with the American Eagle on it, and that will carry me around the world."

With this I drew from my deep sailor's pocket my seaman's protection, as before described. The merest glance at the paper satisfied him, and he took my fare and went on about his business. This moment of time was one of the most anxious I ever experienced. Had the conductor looked closely at the paper, he could not have failed to discover that it called for a very different-looking person from myself, and in that case it would have been his duty to arrest me on the instant, and send me back to Baltimore from the first station. When he left me with the assurance that I was all right, though much relieved, I realized that I was still in great danger: I was still in Maryland, and subject to arrest at any moment. I saw on the train several persons who would have known me in any other clothes, and I feared they might recognize me, even in my sailor "rig," and report me to the conductor, who would then subject me to a closer examination, which I knew well would be fatal to me.

Though I was not a murderer fleeing from justice, I felt perhaps quite as miserable as such a criminal. The train was moving at a very high rate of speed for that epoch of railroad travel, but to my anxious mind it was moving far too slowly. Minutes were hours, and hours were days during this part of my flight. After Maryland, I was to pass through Delaware—another slave State, where slave-catchers generally awaited their prey, for it was not in the interior of the State, but on its borders, that these human hounds were most vigilant and active. The border lines between slavery and freedom were the dangerous ones for the fugitives. The heart of no fox or deer, with hungry hounds on his trail in full chase, could have beaten more anxiously or noisily than did mine from the time I left Baltimore till I reached Philadelphia. The passage of the Susquehanna River at Havre de Grace was at that time made by ferry-boat, on board of which I met a young colored man by the name of Nichols, who came very near betraying me. He was a "hand" on the boat, but, instead of minding his business, he insisted upon knowing me, and asking me dangerous questions as to where I was going, when I was coming back, etc. I got away from my old and inconvenient acquaintance as soon as I could decently do so, and went to another part of the boat. Once across the river, I encountered a new danger. Only a few days before, I had been at work on a revenue cutter, in Mr. Price's ship-yard in Baltimore, under the care of Captain McGowan. On the meeting at this point of the two trains, the one going south stopped on the track just opposite to the one going north, and it so happened that this Captain McGowan sat at a window where he could see me very distinctly, and would certainly have recognized me had he looked at me but for a second. Fortunately, in the hurry of the moment, he did not see me; and the trains soon passed each other on their respective ways. But this was not my only hair-breadth escape. A German blacksmith whom I knew well was on the train with me, and looked at me very intently, as if he thought he had seen me somewhere before in his travels. I really believe he knew me, but had no heart to betray me. At any rate, he saw me escaping and held his peace.

The last point of imminent danger, and the one I dreaded most, was Wilmington. Here we left the train and took the steam-boat for Philadelphia. In making the change here I again apprehended arrest, but no one disturbed me, and I was soon on the broad and beautiful Delaware, speeding away to the Quaker City. On reaching Philadelphia in the afternoon, I inquired of a colored man how I could get on to New York. He directed me to the William-street depot, and thither I went, taking the train that night. I reached New York Tuesday morning, having completed the journey in less than twenty-four hours.

My free life began on the third of September, 1838. On the morning of the fourth of that month, after an anxious and most perilous but safe journey, I found myself in the big city of New York, a FREE MAN—one more added to the mighty throng which, like the confused waves of the troubled sea, surged to and fro between the lofty walls of Broadway. Though dazzled with the wonders which met me on every hand, my thoughts could not be much withdrawn from my strange situation. For the moment, the dreams of my youth and the hopes of my manhood were completely fulfilled. The bonds that had held me to "old master" were broken. No man now had a right to call me his slave or assert mastery over me. I was in the rough and tumble of an outdoor world, to take my chance with the rest of its busy number. I have often been asked how I felt when first I found myself on free soil. There is scarcely anything in my experience about which I could not give a more satisfactory answer. A new world had opened upon me. If life is more than breath and the "quick round of blood," I lived more in that one day than in a year of my slave life. It was a time of joyous excitement which words can but tamely describe. In a letter written to a friend soon after reaching New York, I said: "I felt as one might feel upon escape from a den of hungry lions." Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted; but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil. During ten or fifteen years I had been, as it were, dragging a heavy chain which no strength of mine could break; I was not only a slave, but a slave for life. I might become a husband, a father, an aged man, but through all, from birth to death, from the cradle to the grave, I had felt myself doomed. All efforts I had previously made to secure my freedom had not only failed, but had seemed only to rivet my fetters the more firmly, and to render my escape more difficult. Baffled, entangled, and discouraged, I had at times asked myself the question, May not my condition after all be God's work, and ordered for a wise purpose, and if so, Is not submission my duty? A contest had in fact been going on in my mind for a long time, between the clear consciousness of right and the plausible make-shifts of theology and superstition. The one held me an abject slave—a prisoner for life, punished for some transgression in which I had no lot nor part; and the other counseled me to manly endeavor to secure my freedom. This contest was now ended; my chains were broken, and the victory brought me unspeakable joy.

But my gladness was short-lived, for I was not yet out of the reach and power of the slave-holders. I soon found that New York was not quite so free or so safe a refuge as I had supposed, and a sense of loneliness and insecurity again oppressed me most sadly. I chanced to meet on the street, a few hours after my landing, a fugitive slave whom I had once known well in slavery. The information received from him alarmed me. The fugitive in question was known in Baltimore as "Allender's Jake," but in New York he wore the more respectable name of "William Dixon." Jake, in law, was the property of Doctor Allender, and Tolly Allender, the son of the doctor, had once made an effort to recapture MR. DIXON, but had failed for want of evidence to support his claim. Jake told me the circumstances of this attempt, and how narrowly he escaped being sent back to slavery and torture. He told me that New York was then full of Southerners returning from the Northern watering-places; that the colored people of New York were not to be trusted; that there were hired men of my own color who would betray me for a few dollars; that there were hired men ever on the lookout for fugitives; that I must trust no man with my secret; that I must not think of going either upon the wharves or into any colored boarding-house, for all such places were closely watched; that he was himself unable to help me; and, in fact, he seemed while speaking to me to fear lest I myself might be a spy and a betrayer. Under this apprehension, as I suppose, he showed signs of wishing to be rid of me, and with whitewash brush in hand, in search of work, he soon disappeared.

This picture, given by poor "Jake," of New York, was a damper to my enthusiasm. My little store of money would soon be exhausted, and since it would be unsafe for me to go on the wharves for work, and I had no introductions elsewhere, the prospect for me was far from cheerful. I saw the wisdom of keeping away from the ship-yards, for, if pursued, as I felt certain I should be, Mr. Auld, my "master," would naturally seek me there among the calkers. Every door seemed closed against me. I was in the midst of an ocean of my fellow-men, and yet a perfect stranger to every one. I was without home, without acquaintance, without money, without credit, without work, and without any definite knowledge as to what course to take, or where to look for succor. In such an extremity, a man had something besides his new-born freedom to think of. While wandering about the streets of New York, and lodging at least one night among the barrels on one of the wharves, I was indeed free—from slavery, but free from food and shelter as well. I kept my secret to myself as long as I could, but I was compelled at last to seek some one who would befriend me without taking advantage of my destitution to betray me. Such a person I found in a sailor named Stuart, a warm-hearted and generous fellow, who, from his humble home on Centre street, saw me standing on the opposite sidewalk, near the Tombs prison. As he approached me, I ventured a remark to him which at once enlisted his interest in me. He took me to his home to spend the night, and in the morning went with me to Mr. David Ruggles, the secretary of the New York Vigilance Committee, a co-worker with Isaac T. Hopper, Lewis and Arthur Tappan, Theodore S. Wright, Samuel Cornish, Thomas Downing, Philip A. Bell, and other true men of their time. All these (save Mr. Bell, who still lives, and is editor and publisher of a paper called the "Elevator," in San Francisco) have finished their work on earth. Once in the hands of these brave and wise men, I felt comparatively safe. With Mr. Ruggles, on the corner of Lispenard and Church streets, I was hidden several days, during which time my intended wife came on from Baltimore at my call, to share the burdens of life with me. She was a free woman, and came at once on getting the good news of my safety. We were married by Rev. J. W. C. Pennington, then a well-known and respected Presbyterian minister. I had no money with which to pay the marriage fee, but he seemed well pleased with our thanks.

Mr. Ruggles was the first officer on the "Underground Railroad" whom I met after coming North, and was, indeed, the only one with whom I had anything to do till I became such an officer myself. Learning that my trade was that of a calker, he promptly decided that the best place for me was in New Bedford, Mass. He told me that many ships for whaling voyages were fitted out there, and that I might there find work at my trade and make a good living. So, on the day of the marriage ceremony, we took our little luggage to the steamer JOHN W. RICHMOND, which, at that time, was one of the line running between New York and Newport, R. I. Forty-three years ago colored travelers were not permitted in the cabin, nor allowed abaft the paddle-wheels of a steam vessel. They were compelled, whatever the weather might be,—whether cold or hot, wet or dry,—to spend the night on deck. Unjust as this regulation was, it did not trouble us much; we had fared much harder before. We arrived at Newport the next morning, and soon after an old fashioned stage-coach, with "New Bedford" in large yellow letters on its sides, came down to the wharf. I had not money enough to pay our fare, and stood hesitating what to do. Fortunately for us, there were two Quaker gentlemen who were about to take passage on the stage,—Friends William C. Taber and Joseph Ricketson,—who at once discerned our true situation, and, in a peculiarly quiet way, addressing me, Mr. Taber said: "Thee get in." I never obeyed an order with more alacrity, and we were soon on our way to our new home. When we reached "Stone Bridge" the passengers alighted for breakfast, and paid their fares to the driver. We took no breakfast, and, when asked for our fares, I told the driver I would make it right with him when we reached New Bedford. I expected some objection to this on his part, but he made none. When, however, we reached New Bedford, he took our baggage, including three music-books,—two of them collections by Dyer, and one by Shaw,—and held them until I was able to redeem them by paying to him the amount due for our rides. This was soon done, for Mr. Nathan Johnson not only received me kindly and hospitably, but, on being informed about our baggage, at once loaned me the two dollars with which to square accounts with the stage-driver. Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Johnson reached a good old age, and now rest from their labors. I am under many grateful obligations to them. They not only "took me in when a stranger" and "fed me when hungry," but taught me how to make an honest living. Thus, in a fortnight after my flight from Maryland, I was safe in New Bedford, a citizen of the grand old commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Once initiated into my new life of freedom and assured by Mr. Johnson that I need not fear recapture in that city, a comparatively unimportant question arose as to the name by which I should be known thereafter in my new relation as a free man. The name given me by my dear mother was no less pretentious and long than Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. I had, however, while living in Maryland, dispensed with the Augustus Washington, and retained only Frederick Bailey. Between Baltimore and New Bedford, the better to conceal myself from the slave-hunters, I had parted with Bailey and called myself Johnson; but in New Bedford I found that the Johnson family was already so numerous as to cause some confusion in distinguishing them, hence a change in this name seemed desirable. Nathan Johnson, mine host, placed great emphasis upon this necessity, and wished me to allow him to select a name for me. I consented, and he called me by my present name—the one by which I have been known for three and forty years—Frederick Douglass. Mr. Johnson had just been reading the "Lady of the Lake," and so pleased was he with its great character that he wished me to bear his name. Since reading that charming poem myself, I have often thought that, considering the noble hospitality and manly character of Nathan Johnson—black man though he was—he, far more than I, illustrated the virtues of the Douglas of Scotland. Sure am I that, if any slave-catcher had entered his domicile with a view to my recapture, Johnson would have shown himself like him of the "stalwart hand."

The reader may be surprised at the impressions I had in some way conceived of the social and material condition of the people at the North. I had no proper idea of the wealth, refinement, enterprise, and high civilization of this section of the country. My "Columbian Orator," almost my only book, had done nothing to enlighten me concerning Northern society. I had been taught that slavery was the bottom fact of all wealth. With this foundation idea, I came naturally to the conclusion that poverty must be the general condition of the people of the free States. In the country from which I came, a white man holding no slaves was usually an ignorant and poverty-stricken man, and men of this class were contemptuously called "poor white trash." Hence I supposed that, since the non-slave-holders at the South were ignorant, poor, and degraded as a class, the non-slave-holders at the North must be in a similar condition. I could have landed in no part of the United States where I should have found a more striking and gratifying contrast, not only to life generally in the South, but in the condition of the colored people there, than in New Bedford. I was amazed when Mr. Johnson told me that there was nothing in the laws or constitution of Massachusetts that would prevent a colored man from being governor of the State, if the people should see fit to elect him. There, too, the black man's children attended the public schools with the white man's children, and apparently without objection from any quarter. To impress me with my security from recapture and return to slavery, Mr. Johnson assured me that no slave-holder could take a slave out of New Bedford; that there were men there who would lay down their lives to save me from such a fate.

The fifth day after my arrival, I put on the clothes of a common laborer, and went upon the wharves in search of work. On my way down Union street I saw a large pile of coal in front of the house of Rev. Ephraim Peabody, the Unitarian minister. I went to the kitchen door and asked the privilege of bringing in and putting away this coal. "What will you charge?" said the lady. "I will leave that to you, madam." "You may put it away," she said. I was not long in accomplishing the job, when the dear lady put into my hand TWO SILVER HALF-DOLLARS. To understand the emotion which swelled my heart as I clasped this money, realizing that I had no master who could take it from me,—THAT IT WAS MINE—THAT MY HANDS WERE MY OWN, and could earn more of the precious coin,—one must have been in some sense himself a slave. My next job was stowing a sloop at Uncle Gid. Howland's wharf with a cargo of oil for New York. I was not only a freeman, but a free working-man, and no "master" stood ready at the end of the week to seize my hard earnings.

The season was growing late and work was plenty. Ships were being fitted out for whaling, and much wood was used in storing them. The sawing this wood was considered a good job. With the help of old Friend Johnson (blessings on his memory) I got a saw and "buck," and went at it. When I went into a store to buy a cord with which to brace up my saw in the frame, I asked for a "fip's" worth of cord. The man behind the counter looked rather sharply at me, and said with equal sharpness, "You don't belong about here." I was alarmed, and thought I had betrayed myself. A fip in Maryland was six and a quarter cents, called fourpence in Massachusetts. But no harm came from the "fi'penny-bit" blunder, and I confidently and cheerfully went to work with my saw and buck. It was new business to me, but I never did better work, or more of it, in the same space of time on the plantation for Covey, the negro-breaker, than I did for myself in these earliest years of my freedom.

Notwithstanding the just and humane sentiment of New Bedford three and forty years ago, the place was not entirely free from race and color prejudice. The good influence of the Roaches, Rodmans, Arnolds, Grinnells, and Robesons did not pervade all classes of its people. The test of the real civilization of the community came when I applied for work at my trade, and then my repulse was emphatic and decisive. It so happened that Mr. Rodney French, a wealthy and enterprising citizen, distinguished as an anti-slavery man, was fitting out a vessel for a whaling voyage, upon which there was a heavy job of calking and coppering to be done. I had some skill in both branches, and applied to Mr. French for work. He, generous man that he was, told me he would employ me, and I might go at once to the vessel. I obeyed him, but upon reaching the float-stage, where others [sic] calkers were at work, I was told that every white man would leave the ship, in her unfinished condition, if I struck a blow at my trade upon her. This uncivil, inhuman, and selfish treatment was not so shocking and scandalous in my eyes at the time as it now appears to me. Slavery had inured me to hardships that made ordinary trouble sit lightly upon me. Could I have worked at my trade I could have earned two dollars a day, but as a common laborer I received but one dollar. The difference was of great importance to me, but if I could not get two dollars, I was glad to get one; and so I went to work for Mr. French as a common laborer. The consciousness that I was free—no longer a slave—kept me cheerful under this, and many similar proscriptions, which I was destined to meet in New Bedford and elsewhere on the free soil of Massachusetts. For instance, though colored children attended the schools, and were treated kindly by their teachers, the New Bedford Lyceum refused, till several years after my residence in that city, to allow any colored person to attend the lectures delivered in its hall. Not until such men as Charles Sumner, Theodore Parker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Horace Mann refused to lecture in their course while there was such a restriction, was it abandoned.

Becoming satisfied that I could not rely on my trade in New Bedford to give me a living, I prepared myself to do any kind of work that came to hand. I sawed wood, shoveled coal, dug cellars, moved rubbish from back yards, worked on the wharves, loaded and unloaded vessels, and scoured their cabins.

I afterward got steady work at the brass-foundry owned by Mr. Richmond. My duty here was to blow the bellows, swing the crane, and empty the flasks in which castings were made; and at times this was hot and heavy work. The articles produced here were mostly for ship work, and in the busy season the foundry was in operation night and day. I have often worked two nights and every working day of the week. My foreman, Mr. Cobb, was a good man, and more than once protected me from abuse that one or more of the hands was disposed to throw upon me. While in this situation I had little time for mental improvement. Hard work, night and day, over a furnace hot enough to keep the metal running like water, was more favorable to action than thought; yet here I often nailed a newspaper to the post near my bellows, and read while I was performing the up and down motion of the heavy beam by which the bellows was inflated and discharged. It was the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, and I look back to it now, after so many years, with some complacency and a little wonder that I could have been so earnest and persevering in any pursuit other than for my daily bread. I certainly saw nothing in the conduct of those around to inspire me with such interest: they were all devoted exclusively to what their hands found to do. I am glad to be able to say that, during my engagement in this foundry, no complaint was ever made against me that I did not do my work, and do it well. The bellows which I worked by main strength was, after I left, moved by a steam-engine.


About ten years ago my wife was in poor health, and our family doctor, in whose skill and honesty I had implicit confidence, advised a change of climate. I was engaged in grape-culture in northern Ohio, and decided to look for a locality suitable for carrying on the same business in some Southern State. I wrote to a cousin who had gone into the turpentine business in central North Carolina, and he assured me that no better place could be found in the South than the State and neighborhood in which he lived: climate and soil were all that could be asked for, and land could be bought for a mere song. A cordial invitation to visit him while I looked into the matter was accepted. We found the weather delightful at that season, the end of the summer, and were most hospitably entertained. Our host placed a horse and buggy at our disposal, and himself acted as guide until I got somewhat familiar with the country.

I went several times to look at a place which I thought might suit me. It had been at one time a thriving plantation, but shiftless cultivation had well-night exhausted the soil. There had been a vineyard of some extent on the place, but it had not been attended to since the war, and had fallen into utter neglect. The vines—here partly supported by decayed and broken-down arbors, there twining themselves among the branches of the slender saplings which had sprung up among them—grew in wild and unpruned luxuriance, and the few scanty grapes which they bore were the undisputed prey of the first comer. The site was admirably adapted to grape-raising; the soil, with a little attention, could not have been better; and with the native grape, the luscious scuppernong, mainly to rely upon, I felt sure that I could introduce and cultivate successfully a number of other varieties.

One day I went over with my wife, to show her the place. We drove between the decayed gate-posts—the gate itself had long since disappeared—and up the straight, sandy lane to the open space where a dwelling-house had once stood. But the house had fallen a victim to the fortunes of war, and nothing remained of it except the brick pillars upon which the sills had rested. We alighted, and walked about the place for a while; but on Annie's complaining of weariness I led the way back to the yard, where a pine log, lying under a spreading elm, formed a shady though somewhat hard seat. One end of the log was already occupied by a venerable-looking colored man. He held on his knees a hat full of grapes, over which he was smacking his lips with great gusto, and a pile of grape-skins near him indicated that the performance was no new thing. He respectfully rose as we approached, and was moving away, when I begged him to keep his seat.

"Don't let us disturb you," I said. "There's plenty of room for us all."

He resumed his seat with somewhat of embarrassment.

"Do you live around here?" I asked, anxious to put him at his ease.

"Yas, suh. I lives des ober yander, behine de nex' san'-hill, on de Lumberton plank-road."

"Do you know anything about the time when this vineyard was cultivated?"

"Lawd bless yer, suh, I knows all about it. Dey ain' na'er a man in dis settlement w'at won' tell yer ole Julius McAdoo 'uz bawn an' raise' on dis yer same plantation. Is you de Norv'n gemman w'at's gwine ter buy de ole vimya'd?"

"I am looking at it," I replied; "but I don't know that I shall care to buy unless I can be reasonably sure of making something out of it."

"Well, suh, you is a stranger ter me, en I is a stranger ter you, en we is bofe strangers ter one anudder, but 'f I 'uz in yo' place, I wouldn' buy dis vimya'd."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Well, I dunner whe'r you b'lieves in cunj'in er not,—some er de w'ite folks don't, er says dey don't,—but de truf er de matter is dat dis yer ole vimya'd is goophered."

"Is what?" I asked, not grasping the meaning of this unfamiliar word.

"Is goophered, cunju'd, bewitch'."

He imparted this information with such solemn earnestness, and with such an air of confidential mystery, that I felt somewhat interested, while Annie was evidently much impressed, and drew closer to me.

"How do you know it is bewitched?" I asked.

"I wouldn' spec' fer you ter b'lieve me 'less you know all 'bout de fac's. But ef you en young miss dere doan' min' lis'n'in' ter a ole nigger run on a minute er two w'ile you er restin', I kin 'splain to yer how it all happen'."

We assured him that we would be glad to hear how it all happened, and he began to tell us. At first the current of his memory—or imagination—seemed somewhat sluggish; but as his embarrassment wore off, his language flowed more freely, and the story acquired perspective and coherence. As he became more and more absorbed in the narrative, his eyes assumed a dreamy expression, and he seemed to lose sight of his auditors, and to be living over again in monologue his life on the old plantation.

"Ole Mars Dugal' McAdoo bought dis place long many years befo' de wah, en I 'member well w'en he sot out all dis yer part er de plantation in scuppernon's. De vimes growed monst'us fas', en Mars Dugal' made a thousan' gallon er scuppernon' wine eve'y year.

"Now, ef dey's an'thing a nigger lub, nex' ter 'possum, en chick'n, en watermillyums, it's scuppernon's. Dey ain' nuffin dat kin stan' up side'n de scuppernon' fer sweetness; sugar ain't a suckumstance ter scuppernon'. W'en de season is nigh 'bout ober, en de grapes begin ter swivel up des a little wid de wrinkles er ole age,—w'en de skin git sof' en brown,—den de scuppernon' make you smack yo' lip en roll yo' eye en wush fer mo'; so I reckon it ain' very 'stonishin' dat niggers lub scuppernon'.

"Dey wuz a sight er niggers in de naberhood er de vimya'd. Dere wuz ole Mars Henry Brayboy's niggers, en ole Mars Dunkin McLean's niggers, en Mars Dugal's own niggers; den dey wuz a settlement er free niggers en po' buckrahs down by de Wim'l'ton Road, en Mars Dugal' had de only vimya'd in de naberhood. I reckon it ain' so much so nowadays, but befo' de wah, in slab'ry times, er nigger didn' mine goin' fi' er ten mile in a night, w'en dey wuz sump'n good ter eat at de yuther een.

"So atter a w'ile Mars Dugal' begin ter miss his scuppernon's. Co'se he 'cuse' de niggers er it, but dey all 'nied it ter de las'. Mars Dugal' sot spring guns en steel traps, en he en de oberseah sot up nights once't er twice't, tel one night Mars Dugal'—he 'uz a monst'us keerless man—got his leg shot full er cow-peas. But somehow er nudder dey couldn' nebber ketch none er de niggers. I dunner how it happen, but it happen des like I tell yer, en de grapes kep' on a-goin des de same.

"But bimeby ole Mars Dugal' fix' up a plan ter stop it. Dey 'uz a cunjuh 'ooman livin' down mongs' de free niggers on de Wim'l'ton Road, en all de darkies fum Rockfish ter Beaver Crick wuz feared uv her. She could wuk de mos' powerfulles' kind er goopher,—could make people hab fits er rheumatiz, er make 'em des dwinel away en die; en dey say she went out ridin' de niggers at night, for she wuz a witch 'sides bein' a cunjuh 'ooman. Mars Dugal' hearn 'bout Aun' Peggy's doin's, en begun ter 'flect whe'r er no he couldn' git her ter he'p him keep de niggers off'n de grapevimes. One day in de spring er de year, ole miss pack' up a basket er chick'n en poun'-cake, en a bottle er scuppernon' wine, en Mars Dugal' tuk it in his buggy en driv ober ter Aun' Peggy's cabin. He tuk de basket in, en had a long talk wid Aun' Peggy. De nex' day Aun' Peggy come up ter de vimya'd. De niggers seed her slippin' 'roun', en dey soon foun' out what she 'uz doin' dere. Mars Dugal' had hi'ed her ter goopher de grapevimes. She sa'ntered 'roun' mongs' de vimes, en tuk a leaf fum dis one, en a grape-hull fum dat one, en a grape-seed fum anudder one; en den a little twig fum here, en a little pinch er dirt fum dere,—en put it all in a big black bottle, wid a snake's toof en a speckle' hen's gall en some ha'rs fum a black cat's tail, en den fill' de bottle wid scuppernon' wine. W'en she got de goopher all ready en fix', she tuk 'n went out in de woods en buried it under de root uv a red oak tree, en den come back en tole one er de niggers she done goopher de grapevimes, en a'er a nigger w'at eat dem grapes 'ud be sho ter die inside'n twel' mont's.

"Atter dat de niggers let de scuppernon's 'lone, en Mars Dugal' didn' hab no 'casion ter fine no mo' fault; en de season wuz mos' gone, w'en a strange gemman stop at de plantation one night ter see Mars Dugal' on some business; en his coachman, seein' de scuppernon's growin' so nice en sweet, slip 'roun' behine de smoke-house, en et all de scuppernon's he could hole. Nobody didn' notice it at de time, but dat night, on de way home, de gemman's hoss runned away en kill' de coachman. W'en we hearn de noos, Aun' Lucy, de cook, she up 'n say she seed de strange nigger eat'n' er de scuppernon's behine de smoke-house; en den we knowed de goopher had b'en er wukkin. Den one er de nigger chilluns runned away fum de quarters one day, en got in de scuppernon's, en died de nex' week. W'ite folks say he die' er de fevuh, but de niggers knowed it wuz de goopher. So you k'n be sho de darkies didn' hab much ter do wid dem scuppernon' vimes.

"W'en de scuppernon' season 'uz ober fer dat year, Mars Dugal' foun' he had made fifteen hund'ed gallon er wine; en one er de niggers hearn him laffin' wid de oberseah fit ter kill, en sayin' dem fifteen hund'ed gallon er wine wuz monst'us good intrus' on de ten dollars he laid out on de vimya'd. So I 'low ez he paid Aun' Peggy ten dollars fer to goopher de grapevimes.

"De goopher didn' wuk no mo' tel de nex' summer, w'en 'long to'ds de middle er de season one er de fiel' han's died; en ez dat lef' Mars Dugal' sho't er han's, he went off ter town fer ter buy anudder. He fotch de noo nigger home wid 'im. He wuz er ole nigger, er de color er a gingy-cake, en ball ez a hoss-apple on de top er his head. He wuz a peart ole nigger, do', en could do a big day's wuk.

"Now it happen dat one er de niggers on de nex' plantation, one er ole Mars Henry Brayboy's niggers, had runned away de day befo', en tuk ter de swamp, en ole Mars Dugal' en some er de yuther nabor w'ite folks had gone out wid dere guns en dere dogs fer ter he'p 'em hunt fer de nigger; en de han's on our own plantation wuz all so flusterated dat we fuhgot ter tell de noo han' 'bout de goopher on de scuppernon' vimes. Co'se he smell de grapes en see de vimes, an atter dahk de fus' thing he done wuz ter slip off ter de grapevimes 'dout sayin' nuffin ter nobody. Nex' mawnin' he tole some er de niggers 'bout de fine bait er scuppernon' he et de night befo'.

"W'en dey tole 'im 'bout de goopher on de grapevimes, he 'uz dat tarrified dat he turn pale, en look des like he gwine ter die right in his tracks. De oberseah come up en axed w'at 'uz de matter; en w'en dey tole 'im Henry be'n eatin' er de scuppernon's, en got de goopher on 'im, he gin Henry a big drink er w'iskey, en 'low dat de nex' rainy day he take 'im ober ter Aun' Peggy's, en see ef she wouldn' take de goopher off'n him, seein' ez he didn' know nuffin erbout it tel he done et de grapes.

"Sho nuff, it rain de nex' day, en de oberseah went ober ter Aun' Peggy's wid Henry. En Aun' Peggy say dat bein' ez Henry didn' know 'bout de goopher, en et de grapes in ign'ance er de quinseconces, she reckon she mought be able fer ter take de goopher off'n him. So she fotch out er bottle wid some cunjuh medicine in it, en po'd some out in a go'd fer Henry ter drink. He manage ter git it down; he say it tas'e like whiskey wid sump'n bitter in it. She 'lowed dat 'ud keep de goopher off'n him tel de spring; but w'en de sap begin ter rise in de grapevimes he ha' ter come en see her agin, en she tell him w'at e's ter do.

"Nex' spring, w'en de sap commence' ter rise in de scuppernon' vime, Henry tuk a ham one night. Whar'd he git de ham? I doan know; dey wa'nt no hams on de plantation 'cep'n' w'at 'uz in de smoke-house, but I never see Henry 'bout de smoke-house. But ez I wuz a-sayin', he tuk de ham ober ter Aun' Peggy's; en Aun' Peggy tole 'im dat w'en Mars Dugal' begin ter prume de grapevimes, he mus' go en take 'n scrape off de sap whar it ooze out'n de cut een's er de vimes, en 'n'int his ball head wid it; en ef he do dat once't a year de goopher wouldn' wuk agin 'im long ez he done it. En bein' ez he fotch her de ham, she fix' it so he kin eat all de scuppernon' he want.

"So Henry 'n'int his head wid de sap out'n de big grapevime des ha'f way 'twix' de quarters en de big house, en de goopher nebber wuk agin him dat summer. But de beatenes' thing you eber see happen ter Henry. Up ter dat time he wuz ez ball ez a sweeten' 'tater, but des ez soon ez de young leaves begun ter come out on de grapevimes de ha'r begun ter grow out on Henry's head, en by de middle er de summer he had de bigges' head er ha'r on de plantation. Befo' dat, Henry had tol'able good ha'r 'roun de aidges, but soon ez de young grapes begun ter come Henry's ha'r begun ter quirl all up in little balls, des like dis yer reg'lar grapy ha'r, en by de time de grapes got ripe his head look des like a bunch er grapes. Combin' it didn' do no good; he wuk at it ha'f de night wid er Jim Crow 1, en think he git it straighten' out, but in de mawnin' de grapes 'ud be dere des de same. So he gin it up, en tried ter keep de grapes down by havin' his ha'r cut sho't."

1 (return)
[ A small card, resembling a curry-comb in construction, and used by negroes in the rural districts instead of a comb.]

"But dat wa'nt de quares' thing 'bout de goopher. When Henry come ter de plantation, he wuz gittin' a little ole an stiff in de j'ints. But dat summer he got des ez spry en libely ez any young nigger on de plantation; fac' he got so biggity dat Mars Jackson, de oberseah, ha' ter th'eaten ter whip 'im, ef he didn' stop cuttin' up his didos en behave hisse'f. But de mos' cur'ouses' thing happen' in de fall, when de sap begin ter go down in de grapevimes. Fus', when de grapes 'uz gethered, de knots begun ter straighten out'n Henry's h'ar; en w'en de leaves begin ter fall, Henry's ha'r begin ter drap out; en w'en de vimes 'uz b'ar, Henry's head wuz baller 'n it wuz in de spring, en he begin ter git ole en stiff in de j'ints ag'in, en paid no mo' tention ter de gals dyoin' er de whole winter. En nex' spring, w'en he rub de sap on ag'in, he got young ag'in, en so soopl en libely dat none er de young niggers on de plantation couldn' jump, ner dance, ner hoe ez much cotton ez Henry. But in de fall er de year his grapes begun ter straighten out, en his j'ints ter git stiff, en his ha'r drap off, en de rheumatiz begin ter wrastle wid 'im.

"Now, ef you'd a knowed ole Mars Dugal' McAdoo, you'd a knowed dat it ha' ter be a mighty rainy day when he couldn' fine sump'n fer his niggers ter do, en it ha' ter be a mighty little hole he couldn' crawl thoo, en ha' ter be a monst'us cloudy night w'en a dollar git by him in de dahkness; en w'en he see how Henry git young in de spring en ole in de fall, he 'lowed ter hisse'f ez how he could make mo' money outen Henry dan by wukkin' him in de cotton fiel'. 'Long de nex' spring, atter de sap commence' ter rise, en Henry 'n'int 'is head en commence fer ter git young en soopl, Mars Dugal' up 'n tuk Henry ter town, en sole 'im fer fifteen hunder' dollars. Co'se de man w'at bought Henry didn' know nuffin 'bout de goopher, en Mars Dugal' didn' see no 'casion fer ter tell 'im. Long to'ds de fall, w'en de sap went down, Henry begin ter git ole again same ez yuzhal, en his noo marster begin ter git skeered les'n he gwine ter lose his fifteen-hunder'-dollar nigger. He sent fer a mighty fine doctor, but de med'cine didn' 'pear ter do no good; de goopher had a good holt. Henry tole de doctor 'bout de goopher, but de doctor des laff at 'im.

"One day in de winter Mars Dugal' went ter town, en wuz santerin' 'long de Main Street, when who should he meet but Henry's noo marster. Dey said 'Hoddy,' en Mars Dugal' ax 'im ter hab a seegyar; en atter dey run on awhile 'bout de craps en de weather, Mars Dugal' ax 'im, sorter keerless, like ez ef he des thought of it,—

"'How you like de nigger I sole you las' spring?'

"Henry's marster shuck his head en knock de ashes off'n his seegyar.

"'Spec' I made a bad bahgin when I bought dat nigger. Henry done good wuk all de summer, but sence de fall set in he 'pears ter be sorter pinin' away. Dey ain' nuffin pertickler de matter wid 'im—leastways de doctor say so—'cep'n' a tech er de rheumatiz; but his ha'r is all fell out, en ef he don't pick up his strenk mighty soon, I spec' I'm gwine ter lose 'im."

"Dey smoked on awhile, en bimeby ole mars say, 'Well, a bahgin's a bahgin, but you en me is good fren's, en I doan wan' ter see you lose all de money you paid fer dat digger [sic]; en ef w'at you say is so, en I ain't 'sputin' it, he ain't wuf much now. I spec's you wukked him too ha'd dis summer, er e'se de swamps down here don't agree wid de san'-hill nigger. So you des lemme know, en ef he gits any wusser I'll be willin' ter gib yer five hund'ed dollars fer 'im, en take my chances on his livin'.'

"Sho nuff, when Henry begun ter draw up wid de rheumatiz en it look like he gwine ter die fer sho, his noo marster sen' fer Mars Dugal', en Mars Dugal' gin him what he promus, en brung Henry home ag'in. He tuk good keer uv 'im dyoin' er de winter,—give 'im w'iskey ter rub his rheumatiz, en terbacker ter smoke, en all he want ter eat,—'caze a nigger w'at he could make a thousan' dollars a year off'n didn' grow on eve'y huckleberry bush.

"Nex' spring, w'en de sap ris en Henry's ha'r commence' ter sprout, Mars Dugal' sole 'im ag'in, down in Robeson County dis time; en he kep' dat sellin' business up fer five year er mo'. Henry nebber say nuffin 'bout de goopher ter his noo marsters, 'caze he know he gwine ter be tuk good keer uv de nex' winter, w'en Mars Dugal' buy him back. En Mars Dugal' made 'nuff money off'n Henry ter buy anudder plantation ober on Beaver Crick.

"But long 'bout de een' er dat five year dey come a stranger ter stop at de plantation. De fus' day he 'uz dere he went out wid Mars Dugal' en spent all de mawnin' lookin' ober de vimya'd, en atter dinner dey spent all de evenin' playin' kya'ds. De niggers soon 'skiver' dat he wuz a Yankee, en dat he come down ter Norf C'lina fer ter learn de w'ite folks how to raise grapes en make wine. He promus Mars Dugal' he cud make de grapevimes b'ar twice't ez many grapes, en dat de noo wine-press he wuz a-sellin' would make mo' d'n twice't ez many gallons er wine. En ole Mars Dugal' des drunk it all in, des 'peared ter be bewitched wit dat Yankee. W'en de darkies see dat Yankee runnin' 'roun de vimya'd en diggin' under de grapevimes, dey shuk dere heads, en 'lowed dat dey feared Mars Dugal' losin' his min'. Mars Dugal' had all de dirt dug away fum under de roots er all de scuppernon' vimes, an' let 'em stan' dat away fer a week er mo'. Den dat Yankee made de niggers fix up a mixtry er lime en ashes en manyo, en po' it roun' de roots er de grapevimes. Den he 'vise' Mars Dugal' fer ter trim de vimes close't, en Mars Dugal' tuck 'n done eve'ything de Yankee tole him ter do. Dyoin' all er dis time, mind yer, 'e wuz libbin' off'n de fat er de lan', at de big house, en playin' kyards wid Mars Dugal' eve'y night; en dey say Mars Dugal' los' mo'n a thousan' dollars dyoin' er de week dat Yankee wuz a runnin' de grapevimes.

"W'en de sap ris nex' spring, ole Henry 'n'inted his head ez yuzhal, en his ha'r commence' ter grow des de same ez it done eve'y year. De scuppernon' vimes growed monst's fas', en de leaves wuz greener en thicker dan dey eber be'n dyowin my rememb'ance; en Henry's ha'r growed out thicker dan eber, en he 'peared ter git younger 'n younger, en soopler 'n soopler; en seein' ez he wuz sho't er han's dat spring, havin' tuk in consid'able noo groun', Mars Dugal' 'cluded he wouldn' sell Henry 'tel he git de crap in en de cotton chop'. So he kep' Henry on de plantation.

"But 'long 'bout time fer de grapes ter come on de scuppernon' vimes, dey 'peared ter come a change ober dem; de leaves wivered en swivel' up, en de young grapes turn' yaller, en bimeby eve'ybody on de plantation could see dat de whole vimya'd wuz dyin'. Mars Dugal' tuck 'n water de vimes en done all he could, but 't wan' no use: dat Yankee done bus' de watermillyum. One time de vimes picked up a bit, en Mars Dugal' thought dey wuz gwine ter come out ag'in; but dat Yankee done dug too close unde' de roots, en prune de branches too close ter de vime, en all dat lime en ashes done burn' de life outen de vimes, en dey des kep' a with'in' en a swivelin'.

"All dis time de goopher wuz a-wukkin'. W'en de vimes commence' ter wither, Henry commence' ter complain er his rheumatiz, en when de leaves begin ter dry up his ha'r commence' ter drap out. When de vimes fresh up a bit Henry 'ud git peart agin, en when de vimes wither agin Henry 'ud git ole agin, en des kep' gittin' mo' en mo' fitten fer nuffin; he des pined away, en fine'ly tuk ter his cabin; en when de big vime whar he got de sap ter 'n'int his head withered en turned yaller en died, Henry died too,—des went out sorter like a cannel. Dey didn't 'pear ter be nuffin de matter wid 'im, 'cep'n de rheumatiz, but his strenk des dwinel' away 'tel he didn' hab ernuff lef' ter draw his bref. De goopher had got de under holt, en th'owed Henry fer good en all dat time.

"Mars Dugal' tuk on might'ly 'bout losin' his vimes en his nigger in de same year; en he swo' dat ef he could git hold er dat Yankee he'd wear 'im ter a frazzle, en den chaw up de frazzle; en he'd done it, too, for Mars Dugal' 'uz a monst'us brash man w'en he once git started. He sot de vimya'd out ober agin, but it wuz th'ee er fo' year befo' de vimes got ter b'arin' any scuppernon's.

"W'en de wah broke out, Mars Dugal' raise' a comp'ny, en went off ter fight de Yankees. He saw he wuz mighty glad dat wah come, en he des want ter kill a Yankee fer eve'y dollar he los' 'long er dat grape-raisin' Yankee. En I 'spec' he would a done it, too, ef de Yankees hadn' s'picioned sump'n, en killed him fus'. Atter de s'render ole miss move' ter town, de niggers all scattered 'way fum de plantation, en de vimya'd ain' be'n cultervated sence."

"Is that story true?" asked Annie, doubtfully, but seriously, as the old man concluded his narrative.

"It's des ez true ez I'm a-settin' here, miss. Dey's a easy way ter prove it: I kin lead de way right ter Henry's grave ober yander in de plantation buryin'-groun'. En I tell yer w'at, marster, I wouldn' 'vise yer to buy dis yer ole vimya'd, 'caze de goopher's on it yit, en dey ain' no tellin' w'en it's gwine ter crap out."

"But I thought you said all the old vines died."

"Dey did 'pear ter die, but a few ov 'em come out ag'in, en is mixed in mongs' de yuthers. I ain' skeered ter eat de grapes, 'caze I knows de old vimes fum de noo ones; but wid strangers dey ain' no tellin' w'at might happen. I wouldn' 'vise yer ter buy dis vimya'd."

I bought the vineyard, nevertheless, and it has been for a long time in a thriving condition, and is referred to by the local press as a striking illustration of the opportunities open to Northern capital in the development of Southern industries. The luscious scuppernong holds first rank among our grapes, though we cultivate a great many other varieties, and our income from grapes packed and shipped to the Northern markets is quite considerable. I have not noticed any developments of the goopher in the vineyard, although I have a mild suspicion that our colored assistants do not suffer from want of grapes during the season.

I found, when I bought the vineyard, that Uncle Julius had occupied a cabin on the place for many years, and derived a respectable revenue from the neglected grapevines. This, doubtless, accounted for his advice to me not to buy the vineyard, though whether it inspired the goopher story I am unable to state. I believe, however, that the wages I pay him for his services are more than an equivalent for anything he lost by the sale of the vineyard.

PO' SANDY by Charles W. Chesnutt

On the northeast corner of my vineyard in central North Carolina, and fronting on the Lumberton plank-road, there stood a small frame house, of the simplest construction. It was built of pine lumber, and contained but one room, to which one window gave light and one door admission. Its weather-beaten sides revealed a virgin innocence of paint. Against one end of the house, and occupying half its width, there stood a huge brick chimney: the crumbling mortar had left large cracks between the bricks; the bricks themselves had begun to scale off in large flakes, leaving the chimney sprinkled with unsightly blotches. These evidences of decay were but partially concealed by a creeping vine, which extended its slender branches hither and thither in an ambitious but futile attempt to cover the whole chimney. The wooden shutter, which had once protected the unglazed window, had fallen from its hinges, and lay rotting in the rank grass and jimson-weeds beneath. This building, I learned when I bought the place, had been used as a school-house for several years prior to the breaking out of the war, since which time it had remained unoccupied, save when some stray cow or vagrant hog had sought shelter within its walls from the chill rains and nipping winds of winter.

One day my wife requested me to build her a new kitchen. The house erected by us, when we first came to live upon the vineyard, contained a very conveniently arranged kitchen; but for some occult reason my wife wanted a kitchen in the back yard, apart from the dwelling-house, after the usual Southern fashion. Of course I had to build it.

To save expense, I decided to tear down the old school-house, and use the lumber, which was in a good state of preservation, in the construction of the new kitchen. Before demolishing the old house, however, I made an estimate of the amount of material contained in it, and found that I would have to buy several hundred feet of new lumber in order to build the new kitchen according to my wife's plan.

One morning old Julius McAdoo, our colored coachman, harnessed the gray mare to the rockaway, and drove my wife and me over to the saw-mill from which I meant to order the new lumber. We drove down the long lane which led from our house to the plank-road; following the plank-road for about a mile, we turned into a road running through the forest and across the swamp to the sawmill beyond. Our carriage jolted over the half-rotted corduroy road which traversed the swamp, and then climbed the long hill leading to the saw-mill. When we reached the mill, the foreman had gone over to a neighboring farm-house, probably to smoke or gossip, and we were compelled to await his return before we could transact our business. We remained seated in the carriage, a few rods from the mill, and watched the leisurely movements of the mill-hands. We had not waited long before a huge pine log was placed in position, the machinery of the mill was set in motion, and the circular saw began to eat its way through the log, with a loud whirr which resounded throughout the vicinity of the mill. The sound rose and fell in a sort of rhythmic cadence, which, heard from where we sat, was not unpleasing, and not loud enough to prevent conversation. When the saw started on its second journey through the log, Julius observed, in a lugubrious tone, and with a perceptible shudder:—

"Ugh! but dat des do cuddle my blood!"

"What's the matter, Uncle Julius?" inquired my wife, who is of a very sympathetic turn of mind. "Does the noise affect your nerves?"

"No, Miss Annie," replied the old man, with emotion, "I ain' narvous; but dat saw, a-cuttin' en grindin' thoo dat stick er timber, en moanin', en groanin', en sweekin', kyars my 'memb'ance back ter ole times, en 'min's me er po' Sandy." The pathetic intonation with which he lengthened out the "po' Sandy" touched a responsive chord in our own hearts.

"And who was poor Sandy?" asked my wife, who takes a deep interest in the stories of plantation life which she hears from the lips of the older colored people. Some of these stories are quaintly humorous; others wildly extravagant, revealing the Oriental cast of the negro's imagination; while others, poured freely into the sympathetic ear of a Northern-bred woman, disclose many a tragic incident of the darker side of slavery.

"Sandy," said Julius, in reply to my wife's question, "was a nigger w'at useter b'long ter ole Mars Marrabo McSwayne. Mars Marrabo's place wuz on de yuther side'n de swamp, right nex' ter yo' place. Sandy wuz a monst'us good nigger, en could do so many things erbout a plantation, en alluz 'ten ter his wuk so well, dat w'en Mars Marrabo's chilluns growed up en married off, dey all un 'em wanted dey daddy fer ter gin 'em Sandy fer a weddin' present. But Mars Marrabo knowed de res' wouldn' be satisfied ef he gin Sandy ter a'er one un 'em; so w'en dey wuz all done married, he fix it by 'lowin' one er his chilluns ter take Sandy fer a mont' er so, en den ernudder for a mont' er so, en so on dat erway tel dey had all had 'im de same lenk er time; en den dey would all take him roun' ag'in, 'cep'n oncet in a w'ile w'en Mars Marrabo would len' 'im ter some er his yuther kinfolks 'roun' de country, w'en dey wuz short er han's; tel bimeby it go so Sandy didn' hardly knowed whar he wuz gwine ter stay fum one week's een ter de yuther.

"One time w'en Sandy wuz lent out ez yushal, a spekilater come erlong wid a lot er niggers, en Mars Marrabo swap' Sandy's wife off fer a noo 'oman. W'en Sandy come back, Mars Marrabo gin 'im a dollar, en 'lowed he wuz monst'us sorry fer ter break up de fambly, but de spekilater had gin 'im big boot, en times wuz hard en money skase, en so he wuz bleedst ter make de trade. Sandy tuk on some 'bout losin' his wife, but he soon seed dey want no use cryin' ober spilt merlasses; en bein' ez he lacked de looks er de noo 'ooman, he tuk up wid her atter she b'n on de plantation a mont' er so.

"Sandy en his noo wife got on mighty well tergedder, en de niggers all 'mence' ter talk about how lovin' dey wuz. W'en Tenie wuz tuk sick oncet, Sandy useter set up all night wid 'er, en den go ter wuk in de mawnin' des lack he had his reg'lar sleep; en Tenie would 'a done anythin' in de worl' for her Sandy.

"Sandy en Tenie hadn' b'en libbin' tergedder fer mo' d'n two mont's befo' Mars Marrabo's old uncle, w'at libbed down in Robeson County, sent up ter fine out ef Mars Marrabo couldn' len' 'im er hire 'im a good han' fer a mont' er so. Sandy's marster wuz one er dese yer easy-gwine folks w'at wanter please eve'ybody, en he says yas, he could len' 'im Sandy. En Mars Marrabo tole Sandy fer ter git ready ter go down ter Robeson nex' day, fer ter stay a mont' er so.

"Hit wuz monst'us hard on Sandy fer ter take 'im 'way fum Tenie. Hit wuz so fur down ter Robeson dat he didn' hab no chance er comin' back ter see her tel de time wuz up; he wouldn' a' mine comin' ten er fifteen mile at night ter see Tenie, but Mars Marrabo's uncle's plantation wuz mo' d'n forty mile off. Sandy wuz mighty sad en cas' down atter w'at Mars Marrabo tole 'im, en he says ter Tenie, sezee:—

"'I'm gittin monstus ti'ed er dish yer gwine roun' so much. Here I is lent ter Mars Jeems dis mont', en I got ter do so-en-so; en ter Mars Archie de nex' mont', en I got ter do so-en-so; den I got ter go ter Miss Jinnie's: en hit's Sandy dis en Sandy dat, en Sandy yer en Sandy dere, tel it 'pears ter me I ain' got no home, ner no marster, ner no mistiss, ner no nuffin'. I can't eben keep a wife: my yuther ole 'oman wuz sole away widout my gittin' a chance fer ter tell her good-by; en now I got ter go off en leab you, Tenie, en I dunno whe'r I'm eber gwine ter see yer ag'in er no. I wisht I wuz a tree, er a stump, er a rock, er sump'n w'at could stay on de plantation fer a w'ile.'

"Atter Sandy got thoo talkin', Tenie didn' say naer word, but des sot dere by de fier, studyin' en studyin'. Bimeby she up'n says:—

"'Sandy, is I eber tole you I wuz a cunjuh-'ooman?'

"Co'se Sandy hadn' nebber dremp' er nuffin lack dat, en he made a great miration w'en he hear w'at Tenie say. Bimeby Tenie went on:—

"'I ain' goophered nobody, ner done no cunjuh-wuk fer fifteen yer er mo; en w'en I got religion I made up my mine I wouldn' wuk no mo' goopher. But dey is some things I doan b'lieve it's no sin fer ter do; en ef you doan wanter be sent roun' fum pillar ter pos', en ef you doan wanter go down ter Robeson, I kin fix things so yer won't haf ter. Ef you'll des say de word, I kin turn yer ter w'ateber yer wanter be, en yer kin stay right whar yer wanter, ez long ez yer mineter.'

"Sandy say he doan keer; he's willin' fer ter do anythin' fer ter stay close ter Tenie. Den Tenie ax 'im ef he doan wanter be turnt inter a rabbit.

"Sandy say, 'No, de dogs mout git atter me.'

"'Shill I turn yer ter a wolf?' sez Tenie.

"'No, eve'ybody's skeered er a wolf, en I doan want nobody ter be skeered er me.'

"'Shill I turn yer ter a mawkin'-bird?'

"'No, a hawk mout ketch me. I wanter be turnt inter sump'n w'at'll stay in one place.'

"'I kin turn yer ter a tree,' sez Tenie. 'You won't hab no mouf ner years, but I kin turn yer back oncet in a w'ile, so yer kin git sump'n ter eat, en hear w'at's gwine on.'

"Well, Sandy say dat'll do. En so Tenie tuk 'im down by de aidge er de swamp, not fur fum de quarters, en turnt 'im inter a big pine-tree, en sot 'im out mongs' some yuther trees. En de nex' mawnin', ez some er de fiel' han's wuz gwine long dere, dey seed a tree w'at dey didn' 'member er habbin' seed befo; it wuz monst'us quare, en dey wuz bleedst ter 'low dat dey hadn' 'membered right, er e'se one er de saplin's had be'n growin' monst'us fas'.

"W'en Mars Marrabo 'skiver' dat Sandy wuz gone, he 'lowed Sandy had runned away. He got de dogs out, but de las' place dey could track Sandy ter wuz de foot er dat pine-tree. En dere de dogs stood en barked, en bayed, en pawed at de tree, en tried ter climb up on it; en w'en dey wuz tuk roun' thoo de swamp ter look fer de scent, dey broke loose en made fer dat tree ag'in. It wuz de beatenis' thing de w'ite folks eber hearn of, en Mars Marrabo 'lowed dat Sandy must a' clim' up on de tree en jump' off on a mule er sump'n, en rid fur 'nuff fer ter spile de scent. Mars Marrabo wanted ter 'cuse some er de yuther niggers er heppin Sandy off, but dey all 'nied it ter de las'; en eve'ybody knowed Tenie sot too much by Sandy fer ter he'p 'im run away whar she couldn' nebber see 'im no mo'.

"W'en Sandy had be'n gone long 'nuff fer folks ter think he done got clean away, Tenie useter go down ter de woods at night en turn 'im back, en den dey'd slip up ter de cabin en set by de fire en talk. But dey ha' ter be monst'us keerful, er e'se somebody would a seed 'em, en dat would a spile de whole thing; so Tenie alluz turnt Sandy back in de mawnin' early, befo' anybody wuz a'stirrin'.

"But Sandy didn' git erlong widout his trials en tribberlations. One day a woodpecker come erlong en 'mence' ter peck at de tree; en de nex' time Sandy wuz turnt back he had a little roun' hole in his arm, des lack a sharp stick be'n stuck in it. Atter dat Tenie sot a sparrer-hawk fer ter watch de tree; en w'en de woodpecker come erlong nex' mawnin' fer ter finish his nes', he got gobble' up mos' fo' he stuck his bill in de bark.

"Nudder time, Mars Marrabo sent a nigger out in de woods fer ter chop tuppentime boxes. De man chop a box in dish yer tree, en hack' de bark up two er th'ee feet, fer ter let de tuppentime run. De nex' time Sandy wuz turnt back he had a big skyar on his lef' leg, des lack it be'n skunt; en it tuk Tenie nigh 'bout all night fer ter fix a mixtry ter kyo it up. Atter dat, Tenie sot a hawnet fer ter watch de tree; en w'en de nigger come back ag'in fer ter cut ernudder box on de yuther side'n de tree, de hawnet stung 'im so hard dat de ax slip en cut his foot nigh 'bout off.

"W'en Tenie see so many things happenin' ter de tree, she 'cluded she'd ha' ter turn Sandy ter sump'n e'se; en atter studyin' de matter ober, en talkin' wid Sandy one ebenin', she made up her mine fer ter fix up a goopher mixtry w'at would turn herse'f en Sandy ter foxes, er sump'n, so dey could run away en go some'rs whar dey could be free en lib lack w'ite folks.

"But dey ain' no tellin' w'at's gwine ter happen in dis worl'. Tenie had got de night sot fer her en Sandy ter run away, w'en dat ve'y day one er Mars Marrabo's sons rid up ter de big house in his buggy, en say his wife wuz monst'us sick, en he want his mammy ter len' 'im a 'ooman fer ter nuss his wife. Tenie's mistiss say sen Tenie; she wuz a good nuss. Young mars wuz in a tarrible hurry fer ter git back home. Tenie wuz washin' at de big house dat day, en her mistiss say she should go right 'long wid her young marster. Tenie tried ter make some 'scuse fer ter git away en hide tel night, w'en she would have eve'ything fix' up fer her en Sandy; she say she wanter go ter her cabin fer ter git her bonnet. Her mistiss say it doan matter 'bout de bonnet; her head-hankcher wuz good 'nuff. Den Tenie say she wanter git her bes' frock; her mistiss say no, she doan need no mo' frock, en w'en dat one got dirty she could git a clean one whar she wuz gwine. So Tenie had ter git in de buggy en go 'long wid young Mars Dunkin ter his plantation, w'ich wuz mo' d'n twenty mile away; en dey want no chance er her seein' Sandy no mo' tel she come back home. De po' gal felt monst'us bad erbout de way things wuz gwine on, en she knowed Sandy mus' be a wond'rin' why she didn' come en turn 'im back no mo'.

"W'iles Tenie wuz away nussin' young Mars Dunkin's wife, Mars Marrabo tuk a notion fer ter buil' 'im a noo kitchen; en bein' ez he had lots er timber on his place, he begun ter look 'roun' fer a tree ter hab de lumber sawed out'n. En I dunno how it come to be so, but he happen fer ter hit on de ve'y tree w'at Sandy wuz turnt inter. Tenie wuz gone, en dey wa'n't nobody ner nuffin' fer ter watch de tree.

"De two men w'at cut de tree down say dey nebber had sech a time wid a tree befo': dey axes would glansh off, en didn' 'pear ter make no progress thoo de wood; en of all de creakin', en shakin', en wobblin' you eber see, dat tree done it w'en it commence' ter fall. It wuz de beatenis' thing!

"W'en dey got de tree all trim' up, dey chain it up ter a timber waggin, en start fer de saw-mill. But dey had a hard time gittin' de log dere: fus' dey got stuck in de mud w'en dey wuz gwine crosst de swamp, en it wuz two er th'ee hours befo' dey could git out. W'en dey start' on ag'in, de chain kep' a-comin' loose, en dey had ter keep a-stoppin' en a-stoppin' fer ter hitch de log up ag'in. W'en dey commence' ter climb de hill ter de saw-mill, de log broke loose, en roll down de hill en in mongs' de trees, en hit tuk nigh 'bout half a day mo' ter git it haul' up ter de saw-mill.

"De nex' mawnin' atter de day de tree wuz haul' ter de saw-mill, Tenie come home. W'en she got back ter her cabin, de fus' thing she done wuz ter run down ter de woods en see how Sandy wuz gittin' on. W'en she seed de stump standin' dere, wid de sap runnin' out'n it, en de limbs layin' scattered roun', she nigh 'bout went out'n her mine. She run ter her cabin, en got her goopher mixtry, en den foller de track er de timber waggin ter de saw-mill. She knowed Sandy couldn' lib mo' d'n a minute er so ef she turn' him back, fer he wuz all chop' up so he'd a be'n bleedst ter die. But she wanted ter turn 'im back long ernuff fer ter 'splain ter 'im dat she hadn' went off a-purpose, en lef' 'im ter be chop' down en sawed up. She didn' want Sandy ter die wid no hard feelin's to'ds her.

"De han's at de saw-mill had des got de big log on de kerridge, en wuz startin' up de saw, w'en dey seed a 'oman runnin up de hill, all out er bref, cryin' en gwine on des lack she wuz plumb 'stracted. It wuz Tenie; she come right inter de mill, en th'owed herse'f on de log, right in front er de saw, a-hollerin' en cryin' ter her Sandy ter fergib her, en not ter think hard er her, fer it wa'n't no fault er hern. Den Tenie 'membered de tree didn' hab no years, en she wuz gittin' ready fer ter wuk her goopher mixtry so ez ter turn Sandy back, w'en de mill-hands kotch holt er her en tied her arms wid a rope, en fasten' her to one er de posts in de saw-mill; en den dey started de saw up ag'in, en cut de log up inter bo'ds en scantlin's right befo' her eyes. But it wuz mighty hard wuk; fer of all de sweekin', en moanin', en groanin', dat log done it w'iles de saw wuz a-cuttin' thoo it. De saw wuz one er dese yer ole-timey, up-en-down saws, en hit tuk longer dem days ter saw a log 'en it do now. Dey greased de saw, but dat didn' stop de fuss; hit kep' right on, tel finely dey got de log all sawed up.

"W'en de oberseah w'at run de saw-mill come fum brekfas', de han's up en tell him 'bout de crazy 'ooman—ez dey s'posed she wuz—w'at had come runnin' in de saw-mill, a-hollerin' en gwine on, en tried ter th'ow herse'f befo' de saw. En de oberseah sent two er th'ee er de han's fer ter take Tenie back ter her marster's plantation.

"Tenie 'peared ter be out'n her mine fer a long time, en her marster ha' ter lock her up in de smoke-'ouse tel she got ober her spells. Mars Marrabo wuz monst'us mad, en hit would a made yo' flesh crawl fer ter hear him cuss, caze he say de spekilater w'at he got Tenie fum had fooled 'im by wukkin' a crazy 'oman off on him. Wiles Tenie wuz lock up in de smoke-'ouse, Mars Marrabo tuk'n' haul de lumber fum de saw-mill, en put up his noo kitchen.

"W'en Tenie got quiet' down, so she could be 'lowed ter go 'roun' de plantation, she up'n tole her marster all erbout Sandy en de pine-tree; en w'en Mars Marrabo hearn it, he 'lowed she wuz de wuss 'stracted nigger he eber hearn of. He didn' know w'at ter do wid Tenie: fus' he thought he'd put her in de po'-house; but finely, seein' ez she didn' do no harm ter nobody ner nuffin', but des went roun' moanin', en groanin', en shakin' her head, he 'cluded ter let her stay on de plantation en nuss de little nigger chilluns w'en dey mammies wuz ter wuk in de cotton-fiel'.

"De noo kitchen Mars Marrabo buil' wuzn' much use, fer it hadn' be'n put up long befo' de niggers 'mence' ter notice quare things erbout it. Dey could hear sump'n moanin' en groanin' 'bout de kitchen in de night-time, en w'en de win' would blow dey could hear sump'n a-hollerin' en sweekin' lack hit wuz in great pain en sufferin'. En hit got so atter a w'ile dat hit wuz all Mars Marrabo's wife could do ter git a 'ooman ter stay in de kitchen in de daytime long ernuff ter do de cookin'; en dey wa'n't naer nigger on de plantation w'at wouldn' rudder take forty dan ter go 'bout dat kitchen atter dark,—dat is, 'cep'n Tenie; she didn' pear ter mine de ha'nts. She useter slip 'roun' at night, en set on de kitchen steps, en lean up agin de do'-jamb, en run on ter herse'f wid some kine er foolishness w'at nobody couldn' make out; fer Mars Marrabo had th'eaten' ter sen' her off'n de plantation ef she say anything ter any er de yuther niggers 'bout de pine-tree. But somehow er nudder de niggers foun' out all 'bout it, en dey knowed de kitchen wuz ha'anted by Sandy's sperrit. En bimeby hit got so Mars Marrabo's wife herse'f wuz skeered ter go out in de yard atter dark.

"W'en it come ter dat, Mars Marrabo tuk 'n' to' de kitchen down, en use' de lumber fer ter buil' dat ole school-'ouse w'at youer talkin' 'bout pullin' down. De school-'ouse wuzn' use' 'cep'n' in de daytime, en on dark nights folks gwine 'long de road would hear quare soun's en see quare things. Po' ole Tenie useter go down dere at night, en wander 'roun' de school-'ouse; en de niggers all 'lowed she went fer ter talk wid Sandy's sperrit. En one winter mawnin', w'en one er de boys went ter school early fer ter start de fire, w'at should he fine but po' ole Tenie, layin' on de flo', stiff, en cole, en dead. Dere didn' 'pear ter be nuffin' pertickler de matter wid her,—she had des grieve' herse'f ter def fer her Sandy. Mars Marrabo didn' shed no tears. He thought Tenie wuz crazy, en dey wa'n't no tellin' w'at she mout do nex'; en dey ain' much room in dis worl' fer crazy w'ite folks, let 'lone a crazy nigger.

"Hit wa'n't long atter dat befo' Mars Marrabo sole a piece er his track er lan' ter Mars Dugal' McAdoo,—MY ole marster,—en dat's how de ole school-house happen to be on yo' place. W'en de wah broke out, de school stop', en de ole school-'ouse be'n stannin' empty ever sence,—dat is, 'cep'n' fer de ha'nts. En folks sez dat de ole school-'ouse, er any yuther house w'at got any er dat lumber in it w'at wuz sawed out'n de tree w'at Sandy wuz turnt inter, is gwine ter be ha'nted tel de las' piece er plank is rotted en crumble' inter dus'."

Annie had listened to this gruesome narrative with strained attention.

"What a system it was," she exclaimed, when Julius had finished, "under which such things were possible!"

"What things?" I asked, in amazement. "Are you seriously considering the possibility of a man's being turned into a tree?"

"Oh, no," she replied quickly, "not that;" and then she added absently, and with a dim look in her fine eyes, "Poor Tenie!"

We ordered the lumber, and returned home. That night, after we had gone to bed, and my wife had to all appearances been sound asleep for half an hour, she startled me out of an incipient doze by exclaiming suddenly,—

"John, I don't believe I want my new kitchen built out of the lumber in that old school-house."

"You wouldn't for a moment allow yourself," I replied, with some asperity, "to be influenced by that absurdly impossible yarn which Julius was spinning to-day?"

"I know the story is absurd," she replied dreamily, "and I am not so silly as to believe it. But I don't think I should ever be able to take any pleasure in that kitchen if it were built out of that lumber. Besides, I think the kitchen would look better and last longer if the lumber were all new."

Of course she had her way. I bought the new lumber, though not without grumbling. A week or two later I was called away from home on business. On my return, after an absence of several days, my wife remarked to me,—

"John, there has been a split in the Sandy Run Colored Baptist Church, on the temperance question. About half the members have come out from the main body, and set up for themselves. Uncle Julius is one of the seceders, and he came to me yesterday and asked if they might not hold their meetings in the old school-house for the present."

"I hope you didn't let the old rascal have it," I returned, with some warmth. I had just received a bill for the new lumber I had bought.

"Well," she replied, "I could not refuse him the use of the house for so good a purpose."

"And I'll venture to say," I continued, "that you subscribed something toward the support of the new church?"

She did not attempt to deny it.

"What are they going to do about the ghost?" I asked, somewhat curious to know how Julius would get around this obstacle.

"Oh," replied Annie, "Uncle Julius says that ghosts never disturb religious worship, but that if Sandy's spirit SHOULD happen to stray into meeting by mistake, no doubt the preaching would do it good."

DAVE'S NECKLISS by Charles W. Chesnutt

"Have some dinner, Uncle Julius?" said my wife.

It was a Sunday afternoon in early autumn. Our two women-servants had gone to a camp-meeting some miles away, and would not return until evening. My wife had served the dinner, and we were just rising from the table, when Julius came up the lane, and, taking off his hat, seated himself on the piazza.

The old man glanced through the open door at the dinner-table, and his eyes rested lovingly upon a large sugar-cured ham, from which several slices had been cut, exposing a rich pink expanse that would have appealed strongly to the appetite of any hungry Christian.

"Thanky, Miss Annie," he said, after a momentary hesitation, "I dunno ez I keers ef I does tas'e a piece er dat ham, ef yer'll cut me off a slice un it."

"No," said Annie, "I won't. Just sit down to the table and help yourself; eat all you want, and don't be bashful."

Julius drew a chair up to the table, while my wife and I went out on the piazza. Julius was in my employment; he took his meals with his own family, but when he happened to be about our house at meal-times, my wife never let him go away hungry.

I threw myself into a hammock, from which I could see Julius through an open window. He ate with evident relish, devoting his attention chiefly to the ham, slice after slice of which disappeared in the spacious cavity of his mouth. At first the old man ate rapidly, but after the edge of his appetite had been taken off he proceeded in a more leisurely manner. When he had cut the sixth slice of ham (I kept count of them from a lazy curiosity to see how much he COULD eat) I saw him lay it on his plate; as he adjusted the knife and fork to cut it into smaller pieces, he paused, as if struck by a sudden thought, and a tear rolled down his rugged cheek and fell upon the slice of ham before him. But the emotion, whatever the thought that caused it, was transitory, and in a moment he continued his dinner. When he was through eating, he came out on the porch, and resumed his seat with the satisfied expression of countenance that usually follows a good dinner.

"Julius," I said, "you seemed to be affected by something, a moment ago. Was the mustard so strong that it moved you to tears?"

"No, suh, it wa'n't de mustard; I wuz studyin' 'bout Dave."

"Who was Dave, and what about him?" I asked.

The conditions were all favorable to story-telling. There was an autumnal languor in the air, and a dreamy haze softened the dark green of the distant pines and the deep blue of the Southern sky. The generous meal he had made had put the old man in a very good humor. He was not always so, for his curiously undeveloped nature was subject to moods which were almost childish in their variableness. It was only now and then that we were able to study, through the medium of his recollection, the simple but intensely human inner life of slavery. His way of looking at the past seemed very strange to us; his view of certain sides of life was essentially different from ours. He never indulged in any regrets for the Arcadian joyousness and irresponsibility which was a somewhat popular conception of slavery; his had not been the lot of the petted house-servant, but that of the toiling field-hand. While he mentioned with a warm appreciation the acts of kindness which those in authority had shown to him and his people, he would speak of a cruel deed, not with the indignation of one accustomed to quick feeling and spontaneous expression, but with a furtive disapproval which suggested to us a doubt in his own mind as to whether he had a right to think or to feel, and presented to us the curious psychological spectacle of a mind enslaved long after the shackles had been struck off from the limbs of its possessor. Whether the sacred name of liberty ever set his soul aglow with a generous fire; whether he had more than the most elementary ideas of love, friendship, patriotism, religion,—things which are half, and the better half, of life to us; whether he even realized, except in a vague, uncertain way, his own degradation, I do not know. I fear not; and if not, then centuries of repression had borne their legitimate fruit. But in the simple human feeling, and still more in the undertone of sadness, which pervaded his stories, I thought I could see a spark which, fanned by favoring breezes and fed by the memories of the past, might become in his children's children a glowing flame of sensibility, alive to every thrill of human happiness or human woe.

"Dave use' ter b'long ter my ole marster," said Julius; "he wuz raise' on dis yer plantation, en I kin 'member all erbout 'im, fer I wuz ole 'nuff ter chop cotton w'en it all happen'. Dave wuz a tall man, en monst'us strong: he could do mo' wuk in a day dan any yuther two niggers on de plantation. He wuz one er dese yer solemn kine er men, en nebber run on wid much foolishness, like de yuther darkies. He use' ter go out in de woods en pray; en w'en he hear de han's on de plantation cussin' en gwine on wid dere dancin' en foolishness, he use' ter tell 'em 'bout religion en jedgmen'-day, w'en dey would haf ter gin account fer eve'y idle word en all dey yuther sinful kyarin's-on.

"Dave had l'arn' how ter read de Bible. Dey wuz a free nigger boy in de settlement w'at wuz monst'us smart, en could write en cipher, en wuz alluz readin' books er papers. En Dave had hi'ed dis free boy fer ter l'arn 'im how ter read. Hit wuz 'g'in de law, but co'se none er de niggers didn' say nuffin ter de w'ite folks 'bout it. Howsomedever, one day Mars Walker—he wuz de oberseah—foun' out Dave could read. Mars Walker wa'n't nuffin but a po' bockrah, en folks said he couldn' read ner write hisse'f, en co'se he didn' lack ter see a nigger w'at knowed mo' d'n he did; so he went en tole Mars Dugal'. Mars Dugal' sont fer Dave, en ax' 'im 'bout it.

"Dave didn't hardly knowed w'at ter do; but he couldn' tell no lie, so he 'fessed he could read de Bible a little by spellin' out de words. Mars Dugal' look' mighty solemn.

"'Dis yer is a se'ious matter,' sezee; 'it's 'g'in de law ter l'arn niggers how ter read, er 'low 'em ter hab books. But w'at yer l'arn out'n dat Bible, Dave?'

"Dave wa'n't no fool, ef he wuz a nigger, en sezee:—

"'Marster, I l'arns dat it's a sin fer ter steal, er ter lie, er fer ter want w'at doan b'long ter yer; en I l'arns fer ter love de Lawd en ter 'bey my marster.'

"Mars Dugal' sorter smile' en laf' ter hisse'f, like he 'uz might'ly tickle' 'bout sump'n, en sezee:—

"'Doan 'pear ter me lack readin' de Bible done yer much harm, Dave. Dat's w'at I wants all my niggers fer ter know. Yer keep right on readin', en tell de yuther han's w'at yer be'n tellin' me. How would yer lack fer ter preach ter de niggers on Sunday?'

"Dave say he'd be glad fer ter do w'at he could. So Mars Dugal' tole de oberseah fer ter let Dave preach ter de niggers, en tell 'em w'at wuz in de Bible, en it would he'p ter keep 'em fum stealin' er runnin' erway.

"So Dave 'mence' ter preach, en done de han's on de plantation a heap er good, en most un 'em lef' off dey wicked ways, en 'mence' ter love ter hear 'bout God, en religion, en de Bible; en dey done dey wuk better, en didn' gib de oberseah but mighty little trouble fer ter manage 'em.

"Dave wuz one er dese yer men w'at didn' keer much fer de gals,—leastways he didn' tel Dilsey come ter de plantation. Dilsey wuz a monst'us peart, good-lookin', gingybread-colored gal,—one er dese yer high-steppin' gals w'at hol's dey heads up, en won' stan' no foolishness fum no man. She had b'long' ter a gemman over on Rockfish, w'at died, en whose 'state ha' ter be sol' fer ter pay his debts. En Mars Dugal' had b'en ter de oction, en w'en he seed dis gal a-cryin' en gwine on 'bout bein' sol' erway fum her ole mammy, Aun' Mahaly, Mars Dugal' bid 'em bofe in, en fotch 'em ober ter our plantation.

"De young nigger men on de plantation wuz des wil' atter Dilsey, but it didn' do no good, en none un 'em couldn' git Dilsey fer dey junesey,2 'tel Dave 'mence' fer ter go roun' Aun' Mahaly's cabin. Dey wuz a fine-lookin' couple, Dave en Dilsey wuz, bofe tall, en well-shape', en soopl'. En dey sot a heap by one ernudder. Mars Dugal' seed 'em tergedder one Sunday, en de nex' time he seed Dave atter dat, sezee:—

"Dave, w'en yer en Dilsey gits ready fer ter git married, I ain' got no rejections. Dey's a poun' er so er chawin'-terbacker up at de house, en I reckon yo' mist'iss kin fine a frock en a ribbin er two fer Dilsey. Youer bofe good niggers, en yer neenter be feared er bein' sol' 'way fum one ernudder long ez I owns dis plantation; en I 'spec's ter own it fer a long time yit.'"

2 (return)
[ Sweetheart.]

"But dere wuz one man on de plantation w'at didn' lack ter see Dave en Dilsey tergedder ez much ez ole marster did. W'en Mars Dugal' went ter de sale whar he got Dilsey en Mahaly, he bought ernudder han', by de name er Wiley. Wiley wuz one er dese yer shiny-eyed, double-headed little niggers, sha'p ez a steel trap, en sly ez de fox w'at keep out'n it. Dis yer Wiley had be'n pesterin' Dilsey 'fo' she come ter our plantation, en had nigh 'bout worried de life out'n her. She didn' keer nuffin fer 'im, but he pestered her so she ha' ter th'eaten ter tell her marster fer ter make Wiley let her 'lone. W'en he come ober to our place it wuz des ez bad, 'tel bimeby Wiley seed dat Dilsey had got ter thinkin' a heap 'bout Dave, en den he sorter hilt off aw'ile, en purten' lack he gin Dilsey up. But he wuz one er dese yer 'ceitful niggers, en w'ile he wuz laffin' en jokin' wid de yuther han's 'bout Dave en Dilsey, he wuz settin' a trap fer ter ketch Dave en git Dilsey back fer hisse'f.

"Dave en Dilsey made up dere min's fer ter git married long 'bout Christmas time, w'en dey'd hab mo' time fer a weddin'. But 'long 'bout two weeks befo' dat time ole mars 'mence' ter lose a heap er bacon. Eve'y night er so somebody 'ud steal a side er bacon, er a ham, er a shoulder, er sump'n, fum one er de smoke-'ouses. De smoke-'ouses wuz lock', but somebody had a key, en manage' ter git in some way er 'nudder. Dey's mo' ways 'n one ter skin a cat, en dey's mo' d'n one way ter git in a smoke-'ouse,—leastways dat's w'at I hearn say. Folks w'at had bacon fer ter sell didn' hab no trouble 'bout gittin' rid un it. Hit wuz 'g'in' de law fer ter buy things fum slabes; but Lawd! dat law didn' 'mount ter a hill er peas. Eve'y week er so one er dese yer big covered waggins would come 'long de road, peddlin' terbacker en w'iskey. Dey wuz a sight er room in one er dem big waggins, en it wuz monst'us easy fer ter swop off bacon fer sump'n ter chaw er ter wa'm yer up in de winter-time. I s'pose de peddlers didn' knowed dey wuz breakin' de law, caze de niggers alluz went at night, en stayed on de dark side er de waggin; en it wuz mighty hard fer ter tell W'AT kine er folks dey wuz.

"Atter two er th'ee hund'ed er meat had be'n stole', Mars Walker call all de niggers up one ebenin', en tol' 'em dat de fus' nigger he cot stealin' bacon on dat plantation would git sump'n fer ter 'member it by long ez he lib'. En he say he'd gin fi' dollars ter de nigger w'at 'skiver' de rogue. Mars Walker say he s'picion' one er two er de niggers, but he couldn' tell fer sho, en co'se dey all 'nied it w'en he 'cuse em un it.

"Dey wa'n't no bacon stole' fer a week er so, 'tel one dark night w'en somebody tuk a ham fum one er de smoke-'ouses. Mars Walker des cusst awful w'en he foun' out de ham wuz gone, en say he gwine ter sarch all de niggers' cabins; w'en dis yer Wiley I wuz tellin' yer 'bout up'n say he s'picion' who tuk de ham, fer he seed Dave comin' 'cross de plantation fum to'ds de smoke-'ouse de night befo'. W'en Mars Walker hearn dis fum Wiley, he went en sarch' Dave's cabin, en foun' de ham hid under de flo'.

"Eve'ybody wuz 'stonish'; but dere wuz de ham. Co'se Dave 'nied it ter de las', but dere wuz de ham. Mars Walker say it wuz des ez he 'spected: he didn' b'lieve in dese yer readin' en prayin' niggers; it wuz all 'pocrisy, en sarve' Mars Dugal' right fer 'lowin' Dave ter be readin' books w'en it wuz 'g'in de law.

"W'en Mars Dugal' hearn 'bout de ham, he say he wuz might'ly 'ceived en disapp'inted in Dave. He say he wouldn' nebber hab no mo' conferdence in no nigger, en Mars Walker could do des ez he wuz a mineter wid Dave er any er de res' er de niggers. So Mars Walker tuk'n tied Dave up en gin 'im forty; en den he got some er dis yer wire clof w'at dey uses fer ter make sifters out'n, en tuk'n wrap' it roun' de ham en fasten it tergedder at de little een'. Den he tuk Dave down ter de blacksmif-shop, en had Unker Silas, de plantation black-smif, fasten a chain ter de ham, en den fasten de yuther een' er de chain roun' Dave's neck. En den he says ter Dave, sezee:—

"'Now, suh, yer'll wear dat neckliss fer de nex' six mont's; en I 'spec's yer ner none er de yuther niggers on dis plantation won' steal no mo' bacon dyoin' er dat time.'

"Well, it des 'peared ez if fum dat time Dave didn' hab nuffin but trouble. De niggers all turnt ag'in' 'im, caze he be'n de 'casion er Mars Dugal' turnin' 'em all ober ter Mars Walker. Mars Dugal' wa'n't a bad marster hisse'f, but Mars Walker wuz hard ez a rock. Dave kep' on sayin' he didn' take de ham, but none un 'em didn' b'lieve 'im.

"Dilsey wa'n't on de plantation w'en Dave wuz 'cused er stealin' de bacon. Ole mist'iss had sont her ter town fer a week er so fer ter wait on one er her darters w'at had a young baby, en she didn' fine out nuffin 'bout Dave's trouble 'tel she got back ter de plantation. Dave had patien'ly endyoed de finger er scawn, en all de hard words w'at de niggers pile' on 'im, caze he wuz sho' Dilsey would stan' by 'im, en wouldn' b'lieve he wuz a rogue, ner none er de yuther tales de darkies wuz tellin' 'bout 'im.

"W'en Dilsey come back fum town, en got down fum behine de buggy whar she be'n ridin' wid ole mars, de fus' nigger 'ooman she met says ter her,—

"'Is yer seed Dave, Dilsey?'

"No, I ain' seed Dave,' says Dilsey.

"'Yer des oughter look at dat nigger; reckon yer wouldn' want 'im fer yo' junesey no mo'. Mars Walker cotch 'im stealin' bacon, en gone en fasten' a ham roun' his neck, so he can't git it off'n hisse'f. He sut'nly do look quare.' En den de 'ooman bus' out laffin' fit ter kill herse'f. W'en she got thoo laffin' she up'n tole Dilsey all 'bout de ham, en all de yuther lies w'at de niggers be'n tellin' on Dave.

"W'en Dilsey started down ter de quarters, who should she meet but Dave, comin' in fum de cotton-fiel'. She turnt her head ter one side, en purten' lack she didn' seed Dave.

"'Dilsey!' sezee.

"Dilsey walk' right on, en didn' notice 'im.

"'OH, Dilsey!'

"Dilsey didn' paid no 'tention ter 'im, en den Dave knowed some er de niggers be'n tellin' her 'bout de ham. He felt monst'us bad, but he 'lowed ef he could des git Dilsey fer ter listen ter 'im fer a minute er so, he could make her b'lieve he didn' stole de bacon. It wuz a week er two befo' he could git a chance ter speak ter her ag'in; but fine'ly he cotch her down by de spring one day, en sezee:—

"'Dilsey, w'at fer yer won' speak ter me, en purten' lack yer doan see me? Dilsey, yer knows me too well fer ter b'lieve I'd steal, er do dis yuther wick'ness de niggers is all layin' ter me,—yer KNOWS I wouldn' do dat, Dilsey. Yer ain' gwine back on yo' Dave, is yer?'

"But w'at Dave say didn' hab no 'fec' on Dilsey. Dem lies folks b'en tellin' her had p'isen' her min' 'g'in' Dave.

"'I doan wanter talk ter no nigger,' says she, 'w'at be'n whip' fer stealin', en w'at gwine roun' wid sich a lookin' thing ez dat hung roun' his neck. I's a 'spectable gal, I is. W'at yer call dat, Dave? Is dat a cha'm fer ter keep off witches, er is it a noo kine er neckliss yer got?'

"Po' Dave didn' knowed w'at ter do. De las' one he had 'pended on fer ter stan' by 'im had gone back on 'im, en dey didn' 'pear ter be nuffin mo' wuf libbin' fer. He couldn' hol' no mo' pra'r-meetin's, fer Mars Walker wouldn' 'low 'im ter preach, en de darkies wouldn' 'a' listen' ter 'im ef he had preach'. He didn' eben hab his Bible fer ter comfort hisse'f wid, fer Mars Walker had tuk it erway fum 'im en burnt it up, en say ef he ketch any mo' niggers wid Bibles on de plantation he'd do 'em wuss'n he done Dave.

"En ter make it still harder fer Dave, Dilsey tuk up wid Wiley. Dave could see him gwine up ter Aun' Mahaly's cabin, en settin' out on de bench in de moonlight wid Dilsey, en singin' sinful songs en playin' de banjer. Dave use' ter scrouch down behine de bushes, en wonder w'at de Lawd sen' 'im all dem tribberlations fer.

"But all er Dave's yuther troubles wa'n't nuffin side er dat ham. He had wrap' de chain roun' wid a rag, so it didn' hurt his neck; but w'eneber he went ter wuk, dat ham would be in his way; he had ter do his task, howsomedever, des de same ez ef he didn' hab de ham. W'eneber he went ter lay down, dat ham would be in de way. Ef he turn ober in his sleep, dat ham would be tuggin' at his neck. It wuz de las' thing he seed at night, en de fus' thing he seed in de mawnin'. W'eneber he met a stranger, de ham would be de fus' thing de stranger would see. Most un 'em would 'mence' ter laf, en whareber Dave went he could see folks p'intin' at him, en year 'em sayin:—

"'W'at kine er collar dat nigger got roun' his neck?' er, ef dey knowed 'im, 'Is yer stole any mo' hams lately?' er 'W'at yer take fer yo' neckliss, Dave?' er some joke er 'nuther 'bout dat ham.

"Fus' Dave didn' mine it so much, caze he knowed he hadn' done nuffin. But bimeby he got so he couldn' stan' it no longer, en he'd hide hisse'f in de bushes w'eneber he seed anybody comin', en alluz kep' hisse'f shet up in his cabin atter he come in fum wuk.

"It wuz monst'us hard on Dave, en bimeby, w'at wid dat ham eberlastin' en etarnally draggin' roun' his neck, he 'mence' fer ter do en say quare things, en make de niggers wonder ef he wa'n't gittin' out'n his mine. He got ter gwine roun' talkin' ter hisse'f, en singin' corn-shuckin' songs, en laffin' fit ter kill 'bout nuffin. En one day he tole one er de niggers he had 'skivered a noo way fer ter raise hams,—gwine ter pick 'em off'n trees, en save de expense er smoke-'ouses by kyoin' 'em in de sun. En one day he up'n tole Mars Walker he got sump'n pertickler fer ter say ter 'im; en he tuk Mars Walker off ter one side, en tole 'im he wuz gwine ter show 'im a place in de swamp whar dey wuz a whole trac' er lan' covered wid ham-trees.

"W'en Mars Walker hearn Dave talkin' dis kine er fool-talk, en w'en he seed how Dave wuz 'mencin' ter git behine in his wuk, en w'en he ax' de niggers en dey tole 'im how Dave be'n gwine on, he 'lowed he reckon' he'd punish' Dave ernuff, en it mou't do mo' harm dan good fer ter keep de ham on his neck any longer. So he sont Dave down ter de blacksmif-shop en had de ham tak off. Dey wa'n't much er de ham lef' by dat time, fer de sun had melt all de fat, en de lean had all swivel' up, so dey wa'n't but th'ee er fo' poun's lef'.

"W'en de ham had be'n tuk off'n Dave, folks kinder stopped talkin' 'bout 'im so much. But de ham had be'n on his neck so long dat Dave had sorter got use' ter it. He look des lack he'd los' sump'n fer a day er so atter de ham wuz tuk off, en didn' 'pear ter know w'at ter do wid hisse'f; en fine'ly he up'n tuk'n tied a lightered-knot ter a string, en hid it under de flo' er his cabin, en w'en nobody wuzn' lookin' he'd take it out en hang it roun' his neck, en go off in de woods en holler en sing; en he allus tied it roun' his neck w'en he went ter sleep. Fac', it 'peared lack Dave done gone clean out'n his mine. En atter a w'ile he got one er de quarest notions you eber hearn tell un. It wuz 'bout dat time dat I come back ter de plantation fer ter wuk,—I had be'n out ter Mars Dugal's yuther place on Beaver Crick for a mont' er so. I had hearn 'bout Dave en de bacon, en 'bout w'at wuz gwine on on de plantation; but I didn' b'lieve w'at dey all say 'bout Dave, fer I knowed Dave wa'n't dat kine er man. One day atter I come back, me'n Dave wuz choppin' cotton tergedder, w'en Dave lean' on his hoe, en motion' fer me ter come ober close ter 'im; en den he retch' ober en w'ispered ter me.

"'Julius', [sic] sezee, 'did yer knowed yer wuz wukkin' long yer wid a ham?'

"I couldn 'magine w'at he meant. 'G'way fum yer, Dave,' says I. 'Yer ain' wearin' no ham no mo'; try en fergit 'bout dat; 't ain' gwine ter do yer no good fer ter 'member it.'

"Look a-yer, Julius,' sezee, 'kin yer keep a secret?'

"'Co'se I kin, Dave,' says I. 'I doan go roun' tellin' people w'at yuther folks says ter me.'

"'Kin I trus' yer, Julius? Will yer cross yo' heart?'

"I cross' my heart. 'Wush I may die ef I tells a soul,' says I.

"Dave look' at me des lack he wuz lookin' thoo me en 'way on de yuther side er me, en sezee:—

"'Did yer knowed I wuz turnin' ter a ham, Julius?'

"I tried ter 'suade Dave dat dat wuz all foolishness, en dat he oughtn't ter be talkin' dat-a-way,—hit wa'n't right. En I tole 'im ef he'd des be patien', de time would sho'ly come w'en eve'ything would be straighten' out, en folks would fine out who de rale rogue wuz w'at stole de bacon. Dave 'peared ter listen ter w'at I say, en promise' ter do better, en stop gwine on dat-a-way; en it seem lack he pick' up a bit w'en he seed dey wuz one pusson didn' b'lieve dem tales 'bout 'im.

"Hit wa'n't long atter dat befo' Mars Archie McIntyre, ober on de Wimbleton road, 'mence' ter complain 'bout somebody stealin' chickens fum his hen-'ouse. De chickens kip' on gwine, en at las' Mars Archie tole de han's on his plantation dat he gwine ter shoot de fus' man he ketch in his hen-'ouse. In less'n a week atter he gin dis warnin', he cotch a nigger in de hen-'ouse, en fill' 'im full er squir'l-shot. W'en he got a light, he 'skivered it wuz a strange nigger; en w'en he call' one er his own sarven's, de nigger tole 'im it wuz our Wiley. W'en Mars Archie foun' dat out, he sont ober ter our plantation fer ter tell Mars Dugal' he had shot one er his niggers, en dat he could sen' ober dere en git w'at wuz lef' un 'im.

"Mars Dugal' wuz mad at fus'; but w'en he got ober dere en hearn how it all happen', he didn' hab much ter say. Wiley wuz shot so bad he wuz sho' he wuz gwine ter die, so he up'n says ter ole marster:—

"'Mars Dugal',' sezee, 'I knows I's be'n a monst'us bad nigger, but befo' I go I wanter git sump'n off'n my mine. Dave didn' steal dat bacon w'at wuz tuk out'n de smoke-'ouse. I stole it all, en I hid de ham under Dave's cabin fer ter th'ow de blame on him—en may de good Lawd fergib me fer it.'

"Mars Dugal' had Wiley tuk back ter de plantation, en sont fer a doctor fer ter pick de shot out'n 'im. En de ve'y nex' mawnin' Mars Dugal' sont fer Dave ter come up ter de big house; he felt kinder sorry fer de way Dave had be'n treated. Co'se it wa'n't no fault er Mars Dugal's, but he wuz gwine ter do w'at he could fer ter make up fer it. So he sont word down ter de quarters fer Dave en all de yuther han's ter 'semble up in de yard befo' de big house at sun-up nex' mawnin'.

"Yearly in de mawnin' de niggers all swarm' up in de yard. Mars Dugal' wuz feelin' so kine dat he had brung up a bairl er cider, en tole de niggers all fer ter he'p deyselves.

"All dey han's on de plantation come but Dave; en bimeby, w'en it seem lack he wa'n't comin', Mars Dugal' sont a nigger down ter de quarters ter look fer 'im. De sun wuz gittin' up, en dey wuz a heap er wuk ter be done, en Mars Dugal' sorter got ti'ed waitin'; so he up'n says:—

"'Well, boys en gals, I sont fer yer all up yer fer ter tell yer dat all dat 'bout Dave's stealin' er de bacon wuz a mistake, ez I s'pose yer all done hearn befo' now, en I's mighty sorry it happen'. I wants ter treat all my niggers right, en I wants yer all ter know dat I sets a heap by all er my han's w'at is hones' en smart. En I want yer all ter treat Dave des lack yer did befo' dis thing happen', en mine w'at he preach ter yer; fer Dave is a good nigger, en has had a hard row ter hoe. En de fus' one I ketch sayin' anythin' 'g'in Dave, I'll tell Mister Walker ter gin 'im forty. Now take ernudder drink er cider all roun', en den git at dat cotton, fer I wanter git dat Persimmon Hill trac' all pick' ober ter-day.'

"W'en de niggers wuz gwine 'way, Mars Dugal' tole me fer ter go en hunt up Dave, en bring 'im up ter de house. I went down ter Dave's cabin, but couldn' fine 'im dere. Den I look' roun' de plantation, en in de aidge er de woods, en 'long de road; but I couldn' fine no sign er Dave. I wuz 'bout ter gin up de sarch, w'en I happen' fer ter run 'cross a foot-track w'at look' lack Dave's. I had wukked 'long wid Dave so much dat I knowed his tracks: he had a monst'us long foot, wid a holler instep, w'ich wuz sump'n skase 'mongs' black folks. So I follered dat track 'cross de fiel' fum de quarters 'tel I got ter de smoke-'ouse. De fus' thing I notice' wuz smoke comin' out'n de cracks: it wuz cu'ous, caze dey hadn' be'n no hogs kill' on de plantation fer six mont' er so, en all de bacon in de smoke-'ouse wuz done kyoed. I couldn' 'magine fer ter sabe my life w'at Dave wuz doin' in dat smoke-'ouse. I went up ter de do' en hollered:—


"Dey didn' nobody answer. I didn' wanter open de do', fer w'ite folks is monst'us pertickler 'bout dey smoke-'ouses; en ef de oberseah had a-come up en cotch me in dere, he mou't not wanter b'lieve I wuz des lookin' fer Dave. So I sorter knock at de do' en call' out ag'in:—

"'O Dave, hit's me—Julius! Doan be skeered. Mars Dugal' wants yer ter come up ter de big house,—he done 'skivered who stole de ham.'

"But Dave didn' answer. En w'en I look' roun' ag'in en didn' seed none er his tracks gwine way fum de smoke-'ouse, I knowed he wuz in dere yit, en I wuz 'termine' fer ter fetch 'im out; so I push de do' open en look in.

"Dey wuz a pile er bark burnin' in de middle er de flo', en right ober de fier, hangin' fum one er de rafters, wuz Dave; dey wuz a rope roun' his neck, en I didn' haf ter look at his face mo' d'n once fer ter see he wuz dead.

"Den I knowed how it all happen'. Dave had kep' on gittin' wusser en wusser in his mine, 'tel he des got ter b'lievin' he wuz all done turnt ter a ham; en den he had gone en built a fier, en tied a rope roun' his neck, des lack de hams wuz tied, en had hung hisse'f up in de smoke-'ouse fer ter kyo.

"Dave wuz buried down by de swamp, in de plantation buryin'-groun'. Wiley didn' died fum de woun' he got in Mars McIntyre's hen-'ouse; he got well atter a w'ile, but Dilsey wouldn' hab nuffin mo' ter do wid 'im, en 't wa'n't long 'fo' Mars Dugal' sol' 'im ter a spekilater on his way souf,—he say he didn' want no sich a nigger on de plantation, ner in de county, ef he could he'p it. En w'en de een' er de year come, Mars Dugal' turnt Mars Walker off, en run de plantation hisse'f atter dat.

"Eber sence den," said Julius in conclusion, "w'eneber I eats ham, it min's me er Dave. I lacks ham, but I nebber kin eat mo' d'n two er th'ee poun's befo' I gits ter studyin' 'bout Dave, en den I has ter stop en leab de res' fer ernudder time."

There was a short silence after the old man had finished his story, and then my wife began to talk to him about the weather, on which subject he was an authority. I went into the house. When I came out, half an hour later, I saw Julius disappearing down the lane, with a basket on his arm.

At breakfast, next morning, it occurred to me that I should like a slice of ham. I said as much to my wife.

"Oh, no, John," she responded, "you shouldn't eat anything so heavy for breakfast."

I insisted.

"The fact is," she said, pensively, "I couldn't have eaten any more of that ham, and so I gave it to Julius."

THE AWAKENING OF THE NEGRO by Booker T. Washington

When a mere boy, I saw a young colored man, who had spent several years in school, sitting in a common cabin in the South, studying a French grammar. I noted the poverty, the untidiness, the want of system and thrift, that existed about the cabin, notwithstanding his knowledge of French and other academic subjects. Another time, when riding on the outer edges of a town in the South, I heard the sound of a piano coming from a cabin of the same kind. Contriving some excuse, I entered, and began a conversation with the young colored woman who was playing, and who had recently returned from a boarding-school, where she had been studying instrumental music among other things. Despite the fact that her parents were living in a rented cabin, eating poorly cooked food, surrounded with poverty, and having almost none of the conveniences of life, she had persuaded them to rent a piano for four or five dollars per month. Many such instances as these, in connection with my own struggles, impressed upon me the importance of making a study of our needs as a race, and applying the remedy accordingly.

Some one may be tempted to ask, Has not the negro boy or girl as good a right to study a French grammar and instrumental music as the white youth? I answer, Yes, but in the present condition of the negro race in this country there is need of something more. Perhaps I may be forgiven for the seeming egotism if I mention the expansion of my own life partly as an example of what I mean. My earliest recollection is of a small one-room log hut on a large slave plantation in Virginia. After the close of the war, while working in the coal-mines of West Virginia for the support of my mother, I heart in some accidental way of the Hampton Institute. When I learned that it was an institution where a black boy could study, could have a chance to work for his board, and at the same time be taught how to work and to realize the dignity of labor, I resolved to go there. Bidding my mother good-by, I started out one morning to find my way to Hampton, though I was almost penniless and had no definite idea where Hampton was. By walking, begging rides, and paying for a portion of the journey on the steam-cars, I finally succeeded in reaching the city of Richmond, Virginia. I was without money or friends. I slept under a sidewalk, and by working on a vessel next day I earned money to continue my way to the institute, where I arrived with a surplus of fifty cents. At Hampton I found the opportunity—in the way of buildings, teachers, and industries provided by the generous—to get training in the class-room and by practical touch with industrial life, to learn thrift, economy, and push. I was surrounded by an atmosphere of business, Christian influence, and a spirit of self-help that seemed to have awakened every faculty in me, and caused me for the first time to realize what it meant to be a man instead of a piece of property.

While there I resolved that when I had finished the course of training I would go into the far South, into the Black Belt of the South, and give my life to providing the same kind of opportunity for self-reliance and self-awakening that I had found provided for me at Hampton. My work began at Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1881, in a small shanty and church, with one teacher and thirty students, without a dollar's worth of property. The spirit of work and of industrial thrift, with aid from the State and generosity from the North, has enabled us to develop an institution of eight hundred students gathered from nineteen States, with seventy-nine instructors, fourteen hundred acres of land, and thirty buildings, including large and small; in all, property valued at $280,000. Twenty-five industries have been organized, and the whole work is carried on at an annual cost of about $80,000 in cash; two fifths of the annual expense so far has gone into permanent plant.

What is the object of all this outlay? First, it must be borne in mind that we have in the South a peculiar and unprecedented state of things. It is of the utmost importance that our energy be given to meeting conditions that exist right about us rather than conditions that existed centuries ago or that exist in countries a thousand miles away. What are the cardinal needs among the seven millions of colored people in the South, most of whom are to be found on the plantations? Roughly, these needs may be stated as food, clothing, shelter, education, proper habits, and a settlement of race relations. The seven millions of colored people of the South cannot be reached directly by any missionary agency, but they can be reached by sending out among them strong selected young men and women, with the proper training of head, hand, and heart, who will live among these masses and show them how to lift themselves up.

The problem that the Tuskegee Institute keeps before itself constantly is how to prepare these leaders. From the outset, in connection with religious and academic training, it has emphasized industrial or hand training as a means of finding the way out of present conditions. First, we have found the industrial teaching useful in giving the student a chance to work out a portion of his expenses while in school. Second, the school furnishes labor that has an economic value, and at the same time gives the student a chance to acquire knowledge and skill while performing the labor. Most of all, we find the industrial system valuable in teaching economy, thrift, and the dignity of labor, and in giving moral backbone to students. The fact that a student goes out into the world conscious of his power to build a house or a wagon, or to make a harness, gives him a certain confidence and moral independence that he would not possess without such training.

A more detailed example of our methods at Tuskegee may be of interest. For example, we cultivate by student labor six hundred and fifty acres of land. The object is not only to cultivate the land in a way to make it pay our boarding department, but at the same time to teach the students, in addition to the practical work, something of the chemistry of the soil, the best methods of drainage, dairying, the cultivation of fruit, the care of livestock and tools, and scores of other lessons needed by a people whose main dependence is on agriculture. Notwithstanding that eighty-five per cent of the colored people in the South live by agriculture in some form, aside from what has been done by Hampton, Tuskegee, and one or two other institutions practically nothing has been attempted in the direction of teaching them about the very industry from which the masses of our people must get their subsistence. Friends have recently provided means for the erection of a large new chapel at Tuskegee. Our students have made the bricks for this chapel. A large part of the timber is sawed by students at our own sawmill, the plans are drawn by our teacher of architecture and mechanical drawing, and students do the brick-masonry, plastering, painting, carpentry work, tinning, slating, and make most of the furniture. Practically, the whole chapel will be built and furnished by student labor; in the end the school will have the building for permanent use, and the students will have a knowledge of the trades employed in its construction. In this way all but three of the thirty buildings on the grounds have been erected. While the young men do the kinds of work I have mentioned, the young women to a large extent make, mend, and launder the clothing of the young men, and thus are taught important industries.

One of the objections sometimes urged against industrial education for the negro is that it aims merely to teach him to work on the same plan that he was made to follow when in slavery. This is far from being the object at Tuskegee. At the head of each of the twenty-five industrial departments we have an intelligent and competent instructor, just as we have in our history classes, so that the student is taught not only practical brick-masonry, for example, but also the underlying principles of that industry, the mathematics and the mechanical and architectural drawing. Or he is taught how to become master of the forces of nature so that, instead of cultivating corn in the old way, he can use a corn cultivator, that lays off the furrows, drops the corn into them, and covers it, and in this way he can do more work than three men by the old process of corn-planting; at the same time much of the toil is eliminated and labor is dignified. In a word, the constant aim is to show the student how to put brains into every process of labor; how to bring his knowledge of mathematics and the sciences into farming, carpentry, forging, foundry work; how to dispense as soon as possible with the old form of ante-bellum labor. In the erection of the chapel just referred to, instead of letting the money which was given us go into outside hands, we make it accomplish three objects: first, it provides the chapel; second, it gives the students a chance to get a practical knowledge of the trades connected with building; and third, it enables them to earn something toward the payment of board while receiving academic and industrial training.

Having been fortified at Tuskegee by education of mind, skill of hand, Christian character, ideas of thrift, economy, and push, and a spirit of independence, the student is sent out to become a centre of influence and light in showing the masses of our people in the Black Belt of the South how to lift themselves up. How can this be done? I give but one or two examples. Ten years ago a young colored man came to the institute from one of the large plantation districts; he studied in the class-room a portion of the time, and received practical and theoretical training on the farm the remainder of the time. Having finished his course at Tuskegee, he returned to his plantation home, which was in a county where the colored people outnumber the whites six to one, as is true of many of the counties in the Black Belt of the South. He found the negroes in debt. Ever since the war they had been mortgaging their crops for the food on which to live while the crops were growing. The majority of them were living from hand to mouth on rented land, in small, one-room log cabins, and attempting to pay a rate of interest on their advances that ranged from fifteen to forty per cent per annum. The school had been taught in a wreck of a log cabin, with no apparatus, and had never been in session longer than three months out of twelve. With as many as eight or ten persons of all ages and conditions and of both sexes huddled together in one cabin year after year, and with a minister whose only aim was to work upon the emotions of the people, one can imagine something of the moral and religious state of the community.

But the remedy. In spite of the evil, the negro got the habit of work from slavery. The rank and file of the race, especially those on the Southern plantations, work hard, but the trouble is, what they earn gets away from them in high rents, crop mortgages, whiskey, snuff, cheap jewelry, and the like. The young man just referred to had been trained at Tuskegee, as most of our graduates are, to meet just this condition of things. He took the three months' public school as a nucleus for his work. Then he organized the older people into a club, or conference, that held meetings every week. In these meetings he taught the people in a plain, simple manner how to save their money, how to farm in a better way, how to sacrifice,—to live on bread and potatoes, if need be, till they could get out of debt, and begin the buying of lands.

Soon a large proportion of the people were in condition to make contracts for the buying of homes (land is very cheap in the South), and to live without mortgaging their crops. Not only this: under the guidance and leadership of this teacher, the first year that he was among them they learned how, by contributions in money and labor, to build a neat, comfortable schoolhouse that replaced the wreck of a log cabin formerly used. The following year the weekly meetings were continued, and two months were added to the original three months of school. The next year two more months were added. The improvement has gone on, until now these people have every year an eight months' school.

I wish my readers could have the chance that I have had of going into this community. I wish they could look into the faces of the people and see them beaming with hope and delight. I wish they could see the two or three room cottages that have taken the place of the usual one-room cabin, the well-cultivated farms, and the religious life of the people that now means something more than the name. The teacher has a good cottage and a well-kept farm that serve as models. In a word, a complete revolution has been wrought in the industrial, educational, and religious life of this whole community by reason of the fact that they have had this leader, this guide and object-lesson, to show them how to take the money and effort that had hitherto been scattered to the wind in mortgages and high rents, in whiskey and gewgaws, and concentrate them in the direction of their own uplifting. One community on its feet presents an object-lesson for the adjoining communities, and soon improvements show themselves in other places.

Another student who received academic and industrial training at Tuskegee established himself, three years ago, as a blacksmith and wheelwright in a community, and, in addition to the influence of his successful business enterprise, he is fast making the same kind of changes in the life of the people about him that I have just recounted. It would be easy for me to fill many pages describing the influence of the Tuskegee graduates in every part of the South. We keep it constantly in the minds of our students and graduates that the industrial or material condition of the masses of our people must be improved, as well as the intellectual, before there can be any permanent change in their moral and religious life. We find it a pretty hard thing to make a good Christian of a hungry man. No matter how much our people "get happy" and "shout" in church, if they go home at night from church hungry, they are tempted to find something before morning. This is a principle of human nature, and is not confined to the negro.

The negro has within him immense power for self-uplifting, but for years it will be necessary to guide and stimulate him. The recognition of this power led us to organize, five years ago, what is now known as the Tuskegee Negro Conference,—a gathering that meets every February, and is composed of about eight hundred representative colored men and women from all sections of the Black Belt. They come in ox-carts, mule-carts, buggies, on muleback and horseback, on foot, by railroad: some traveling all night in order to be present. The matters considered at the conferences are those that the colored people have it within their own power to control: such as the evils of the mortgage system, the one-room cabin, buying on credit, the importance of owning a home and of putting money in the bank, how to build schoolhouses and prolong the school term, and how to improve their moral and religious condition.

As a single example of the results, one delegate reported that since the conferences were started five years ago eleven people in his neighborhood had bought homes, fourteen had got out of debt, and a number had stopped mortgaging their crops. Moreover, a schoolhouse had been built by the people themselves, and the school term had been extended from three to six months; and with a look of triumph he exclaimed, "We is done stopped libin' in de ashes!"

Besides this Negro Conference for the masses of the people, we now have a gathering at the same time known as the Workers' Conference, composed of the officers and instructors in the leading colored schools of the South. After listening to the story of the conditions and needs from the people themselves, the Workers' Conference finds much food for thought and discussion.

Nothing else so soon brings about right relations between the two races in the South as the industrial progress of the negro. Friction between the races will pass away in proportion as the black man, by reason of his skill, intelligence, and character, can produce something that the white man wants or respects in the commercial world. This is another reason why at Tuskegee we push the industrial training. We find that as every year we put into a Southern community colored men who can start a brick-yard, a sawmill, a tin-shop, or a printing-office,—men who produce something that makes the white man partly dependent upon the negro, instead of all the dependence being on the other side,—a change takes place in the relations of the races.

Let us go on for a few more years knitting our business and industrial relations into those of the white man, till a black man gets a mortgage on a white man's house that he can foreclose at will. The white man on whose house the mortgage rests will not try to prevent that negro from voting when he goes to the polls. It is through the dairy farm, the truck garden, the trades, and commercial life, largely, that the negro is to find his way to the enjoyment of all his rights. Whether he will or not, a white man respects a negro who owns a two-story brick house.

What is the permanent value of the Tuskegee system of training to the South in a broader sense? In connection with this, it is well to bear in mind that slavery taught the white man that labor with the hands was something fit for the negro only, and something for the white man to come into contact with just as little as possible. It is true that there was a large class of poor white people who labored with the hands, but they did it because they were not able to secure negroes to work for them; and these poor whites were constantly trying to imitate the slave-holding class in escaping labor, and they too regarded it as anything but elevating. The negro in turn looked down upon the poor whites with a certain contempt because they had to work. The negro, it is to be borne in mind, worked under constant protest, because he felt that his labor was being unjustly required, and he spent almost as much effort in planning how to escape work as in learning how to work. Labor with him was a badge of degradation. The white man was held up before him as the highest type of civilization, but the negro noted that this highest type of civilization himself did no labor; hence he argued that the less work he did, the more nearly he would be like a white man. Then, in addition to these influences, the slave system discouraged labor-saving machinery. To use labor-saving machinery intelligence was required, and intelligence and slavery were not on friendly terms; hence the negro always associated labor with toil, drudgery, something to be escaped. When the negro first became free, his idea of education was that it was something that would soon put him in the same position as regards work that his recent master had occupied. Out of these conditions grew the Southern habit of putting off till to-morrow and the day after the duty that should be done promptly to-day. The leaky house was not repaired while the sun shone, for then the rain did not come through. While the rain was falling, no one cared to expose himself to stop the leak. The plough, on the same principle, was left where the last furrow was run, to rot and rust in the field during the winter. There was no need to repair the wooden chimney that was exposed to the fire, because water could be thrown on it when it was on fire. There was no need to trouble about the payment of a debt to-day, for it could just as well be paid next week or next year. Besides these conditions, the whole South, at the close of the war, was without proper food, clothing, and shelter,—was in need of habits of thrift and economy and of something laid up for a rainy day.

To me it seemed perfectly plain that here was a condition of things that could not be met by the ordinary process of education. At Tuskegee we became convinced that the thing to do was to make a careful systematic study of the condition and needs of the South, especially the Black Belt, and to bend our efforts in the direction of meeting these needs, whether we were following a well-beaten track, or were hewing out a new path to meet conditions probably without a parallel in the world. After fourteen years of experience and observation, what is the result? Gradually but surely, we find that all through the South the disposition to look upon labor as a disgrace is on the wane, and the parents who themselves sought to escape work are so anxious to give their children training in intelligent labor that every institution which gives training in the handicrafts is crowded, and many (among them Tuskegee) have to refuse admission to hundreds of applicants. The influence of the Tuskegee system is shown again by the fact that almost every little school at the remotest cross-roads is anxious to be known as an industrial school, or, as some of the colored people call it, an "industrus" school.

The social lines that were once sharply drawn between those who labored with the hand and those who did not are disappearing. Those who formerly sought to escape labor, now when they see that brains and skill rob labor of the toil and drudgery once associated with it, instead of trying to avoid it are willing to pay to be taught how to engage in it. The South is beginning to see labor raised up, dignified and beautified, and in this sees its salvation. In proportion as the love of labor grows, the large idle class which has long been one of the curses of the South disappears. As its members become absorbed in occupations, they have less time to attend to everybody else's business, and more time for their own.

The South is still an undeveloped and unsettled country, and for the next half century and more the greater part of the energy of the masses will be needed to develop its material opportunities. Any force that brings the rank and file of the people to a greater love of industry is therefore especially valuable. This result industrial education is surely bringing about. It stimulates production and increases trade,—trade between the races,—and in this new and engrossing relation both forget the past. The white man respects the vote of the colored man who does $10,000 worth of business, and the more business the colored man has, the more careful he is how he votes.

Immediately after the war, there was a large class of Southern people who feared that the opening of the free schools to the freedmen and the poor whites—the education of the head alone—would result merely in increasing the class who sought to escape labor, and that the South would soon be overrun by the idle and vicious. But as the results of industrial combined with academic training begin to show themselves in hundreds of communities that have been lifted up through the medium of the Tuskegee system, these former prejudices against education are being removed. Many of those who a few years ago opposed general education are now among its warmest advocates.

This industrial training, emphasizing as it does the idea of economic production, is gradually bringing the South to the point where it is feeding itself. Before the war, and long after it, the South made what little profit was received from the cotton crop, and sent its earnings out of the South to purchase food supplies,—meat, bread, canned vegetables, and the like; but the improved methods of agriculture are fast changing this habit. With the newer methods of labor, which teach promptness and system, and emphasize the worth of the beautiful,—the moral value of the well-painted house, and the fence with every paling and nail in its place,—we are bringing to bear upon the South an influence that is making it a new country in industry, education, and religion.

THE STORY OF UNCLE TOM'S CABIN by Charles Dudley Warner

On the 29th of June, 1852, Henry Clay died. In that month the two great political parties, in their national conventions, had accepted as a finality all the compromise measures of 1850, and the last hours of the Kentucky statesman were brightened by the thought that his efforts had secured the perpetuity of the Union.

But on the 20th of March, 1852, there had been an event, the significance of which was not taken into account by the political conventions or by Clay, which was to test the conscience of the nation. This was the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Was this only an "event," the advent of a new force in politics; was the book merely an abolition pamphlet, or was it a novel, one of the few great masterpieces of fiction that the world has produced? After the lapse of forty-four years and the disappearance of African slavery on this continent, it is perhaps possible to consider this question dispassionately.

The compromise of 1850 satisfied neither the North nor the South. The admission of California as a free State was regarded by Calhoun as fatal to the balance between the free and the slave States, and thereafter a fierce agitation sprang up for the recovery of this loss of balance, and ultimately for Southern preponderance, which resulted in the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska war, and the civil war. The fugitive slave law was hateful to the North not only because it was cruel and degrading, but because it was seen to be a move formed for nationalizing slavery. It was unsatisfactory to the South because it was deemed inadequate in its provisions, and because the South did not believe the North would execute it in good faith. So unstable did the compromise seem that in less than a year after the passage of all its measures, Henry Clay and forty-four Senators and Representatives united in a manifesto declaring that they would support no man for office who was not known to be opposed to any disturbance of the settlements of the compromise. When, in February, 1851, the recaptured fugitive slave, Burns, was rescued from the United States officers in Boston, Clay urged the investment of the President with extraordinary power to enforce the law.

Henry Clay was a patriot, a typical American. The republic and its preservation were the passions of his life. Like Lincoln, who was born in the State of his adoption, he was willing to make almost any sacrifice for the maintenance of the Union. He had no sympathy with the system of slavery. There is no doubt that he would have been happy in the belief that it was in the way of gradual and peaceful extinction. With him, it was always the Union before state rights and before slavery. Unlike Lincoln, he had not the clear vision to see that the republic could not endure half slave and half free. He believed that the South, appealing to the compromises of the Constitution, would sacrifice the Union before it would give up slavery, and in fear of this menace he begged the North to conquer its prejudices. We are not liable to overrate his influence as a compromising pacificator from 1832 to 1852. History will no doubt say that it was largely due to him that the war on the Union was postponed to a date when its success was impossible.

It was the fugitive slave law that brought the North face to face with slavery nationalized, and it was the fugitive slave law that produced Uncle Tom's Cabin. The effect of this story was immediate and electric. It went straight to the hearts of tens of thousands of people who had never before considered slavery except as a political institution for which they had no personal responsibility. What was this book, and how did it happen to produce such an effect? It is true that it struck into a time of great irritation and agitation, but in one sense there was nothing new in it. The facts had all been published. For twenty years abolition tracts, pamphlets, newspapers, and books had left little to be revealed, to those who cared to read, as to the nature of slavery or its economic aspects. The evidence was practically all in,—supplied largely by the advertisements of Southern newspapers and by the legislation of the slaveholding States,—but it did not carry conviction; that is, the sort of conviction that results in action. The subject had to be carried home to the conscience. Pamphleteering, convention-holding, sermons, had failed to do this. Even the degrading requirements of the fugitive slave law, which brought shame and humiliation, had not sufficed to fuse the public conscience, emphasize the necessity of obedience to the moral law, and compel recognition of the responsibility of the North for slavery. Evidence had not done this, passionate appeals had not done it, vituperation had not done it. What sort of presentation of the case would gain the public ear and go to the heart? If Mrs. Stowe, in all her fervor, had put forth first the facts in The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin, which so buttressed her romance, the book would have had no more effect than had followed the like compilations and arraignments. What was needed? If we can discover this, we shall have the secret of this epoch-making novel.

The story of this book has often been told. It is in the nature of a dramatic incident of which the reader never tires any more than the son of Massachusetts does of the minutest details of that famous scene in the Senate Chamber when Webster replied to Hayne.

At the age of twenty-four the author was married and went to live in Cincinnati, where her husband held a chair in the Lane Theological Seminary. There for the first time she was brought into relations with the African race and saw the effects of slavery. She visited slaveholders in Kentucky and had friends among them. In some homes she saw the "patriarchal" institution at its best. The Beecher family were anti-slavery, but they had not been identified with the abolitionists, except perhaps Edward, who was associated with the murdered Lovejoy. It was long a reproach brought by the abolitionists against Henry Ward Beecher that he held entirely aloof from their movement. At Cincinnati, however, the personal aspects of the case were brought home to Mrs. Stowe. She learned the capacities and peculiarities of the negro race. They were her servants; she taught some of them; hunted fugitives applied to her; she ransomed some by her own efforts; every day there came to her knowledge stories of the hunger for freedom, of the ruthless separation of man and wife and mother and child, and of the heroic sufferings of those who ran away from the fearful doom of those "sold down South." These things crowded upon her mind and awoke her deepest compassion. But what could she do against all the laws, the political and commercial interests, the great public apathy? Relieve a case here and there, yes. But to dwell upon the gigantic evil, with no means of making head against it, was to invite insanity.

As late as 1850, when Professor Stowe was called to Bowdoin College, and the family removed to Brunswick, Maine, Mrs. Stowe had not felt impelled to the duty she afterwards undertook. "In fact, it was a sort of general impression upon her mind, as upon that of many humane people in those days, that the subject was so dark and painful a one, so involved in difficulty and obscurity, so utterly beyond human hope or help, that it was of no use to read, or think, or distress one's self about it." But when she reached New England the excitement over the fugitive slave law was at its height. There was a panic in Boston among the colored people settled there, who were daily fleeing to Canada. Every mail brought her pitiful letters from Boston, from Illinois, and elsewhere, of the terror and despair caused by the law. Still more was the impressed by the apathy of the Christian world at the North, and surely, she said, the people did not understand what the "system" was. Appeals were made to her, who had some personal knowledge of the subject, to take up her pen. The task seemed beyond her in every way. She was not strong, she was in the midst of heavy domestic cares, with a young infant, with pupils to whom she was giving daily lessons, and the limited income of the family required the strictest economy. The dependence was upon the small salary of Professor Stowe, and the few dollars she could earn by an occasional newspaper or magazine article. But the theme burned in her mind, and finally took this shape: at least she would write some sketches and show the Christian world what slavery really was, and what the system was that they were defending. She wanted to do this with entire fairness, showing all the mitigations of the "patriarchal" system, and all that individuals concerned in it could do to alleviate its misery. While pondering this she came by chance, in a volume of an anti-slavery magazine, upon the authenticated account of the escape of a woman with her child on the ice across the Ohio River from Kentucky. She began to meditate. The faithful slave husband in Kentucky, who had refused to escape from a master who trusted him, when he was about to be sold "down river," came to her as a pattern of Uncle Tom, and the scenes of the story began to form themselves in her mind. "The first part of the book ever committed to writing [this is the statement of Mrs. Stowe] was the death of Uncle Tom. This scene presented itself almost as a tangible vision to her mind while sitting at the communion-table in the little church in Brunswick. She was perfectly overcome by it, and could scarcely restrain the convulsion of tears and sobbings that shook her frame. She hastened home and wrote it, and her husband being away, read it to her two sons of ten and twelve years of age. The little fellows broke out into convulsions of weeping, one of them saying through his sobs, 'Oh, mamma, slavery is the most cursed thing in the world!' From that time the story can less be said to have been composed by her than imposed upon her. Scenes, incidents, conversations rushed upon her with a vividness and importunity that would not be denied. The book insisted upon getting itself into being, and would take no denial."

When two or three chapters were written she wrote to her friend, Dr. Bailey, of Washington, the editor of The National Era, to which she had contributed, that she was planning a story that might run through several numbers of the Era. The story was at once applied for, and thereafter weekly installments were sent on regularly, in spite of all cares and distractions. The installments were mostly written during the morning, on a little desk in a corner of the dining-room of the cottage in Brunswick, subject to all the interruptions of house-keeping, her children bursting into the room continually with the importunity of childhood. But they did not break the spell or destroy her abstraction. With a smile and a word and a motion of the hand she would wave them off, and keep on in her magician's work. Long afterwards they recalled this, dimly understood at the time, and wondered at her power of concentration. Usually at night the chapters were read to the family, who followed the story with intense feeling. The narrative ran on for nine months, exciting great interest among the limited readers of the Era, and gaining sympathetic words from the anti-slavery people, but without making any wide impression on the public.

We may pause here in the narrative to note two things: the story was not the work of a novice, and it was written out of abundant experience and from an immense mass of accumulated thought and material. Mrs. Stowe was in her fortieth year. She had been using her pen since she was twelve years old, in extensive correspondence, in occasional essays, in short stories and sketches, some of which appeared in a volume called The Mayflower, published in 1843, and for many years her writing for newspapers and periodicals had added appreciably to the small family income. She was in the maturity of her intellectual powers, she was trained in the art of writing, and she had, as Walter Scott had when he began the Waverley Novels at the age of forty-three, abundant store of materials on which to draw. To be sure, she was on fire with a moral purpose, but she had the dramatic instinct, and she felt that her object would not be reached by writing an abolition tract.

"In shaping her material the author had but one purpose, to show the institution of slavery truly, just as it existed. She had visited in Kentucky; had formed the acquaintance of people who were just, upright, and generous, and yet slave-holders. She had heard their views, and appreciated their situation; she felt that justice required that their difficulties should be recognized and their virtues acknowledged. It was her object to show that the evils of slavery were the inherent evils of a bad system, and not always the fault of those who had become involved in it and were its actual administrators. Then she was convinced that the presentation of slavery alone, in its most dreadful forms, would be a picture of such unrelieved horror and darkness as nobody could be induced to look at. Of set purpose, she sought to light up the darkness by humorous and grotesque episodes, and the presentation of the milder and more amusing phases of slavery, for which her recollection of the never-failing wit and drollery of her former colored friends in Ohio gave her abundant material."

This is her own account of the process, years after. But it is evident that, whether consciously or unconsciously, she did but follow the inevitable law of all great dramatic creators and true story-tellers since literature began.

For this story Mrs. Stowe received from the Era the sum of three hundred dollars. Before it was finished it attracted the attention of Mr. J. P. Jewett, of Boston, a young and then unknown publisher, who offered to issue it in book form. His offer was accepted, but as the tale ran on he became alarmed at its length, and wrote to the author that she was making the story too long for a one-volume novel; that the subject was unpopular; that people would not willingly hear much about it; that one short volume might possibly sell, but that if it grew to two that might prove a fatal obstacle to its success. Mrs. Stowe replied that she did not make the story, that the story made itself, and that she could not stop it till it was done. The publisher hesitated. It is said that a competent literary critic to whom he submitted it sat up all night with the novel, and then reported, "The story has life in it; it will sell." Mr. Jewett proposed to Professor Stowe to publish it on half profits if he would share the expenses. This offer was declined, for the Stowes had no money to advance, and the common royalty of ten per cent on the sales was accepted.

Mrs. Stowe was not interested in this business transaction. She was thinking only of having the book circulated for the effect she had at heart. The intense absorption in the story held her until the virtual end in the death of Uncle Tom, and then it seemed as if the whole vital force had left her. She sank into a profound discouragement. Would this appeal, which she had written with her heart's blood, go for nothing, as all the prayers and tears and strivings had already gone? When the last proof sheets left her hands, "it seemed to her that there was no hope; that nobody would read, nobody would pity; that this frightful system, which had already pursued its victims into the free States, might at last even threaten them in Canada." Resolved to leave nothing undone to attract attention to her cause, she wrote letters and ordered copies of her novel sent to men of prominence who had been known for their anti-slavery sympathies,—to Prince Albert, Macaulay, Charles Dickens, Charles Kingsley, and Lord Carlisle. Then she waited for the result.

She had not long to wait. The success of the book was immediate. Three thousand copies were sold the first day, within a few days ten thousand copies had gone, on the 1st of April a second edition went to press, and thereafter eight presses running day and night were barely able to keep pace with the demand for it. Within a year three hundred thousand copies were sold. No work of fiction ever spread more quickly throughout the reading community or awakened a greater amount of public feeling. It was read by everybody, learned and unlearned, high and low, for it was an appeal to universal human sympathy, and the kindling of this spread the book like wildfire. At first it seemed to go by acclamation. But this was not altogether owing to sympathy with the theme. I believe that it was its power as a novel that carried it largely. The community was generally apathetic when it was not hostile to any real effort to be rid of slavery. This presently appeared. At first there were few dissenting voices from the chorus of praise. But when the effect of the book began to be evident it met with an opposition fiercer and more personal than the great wave of affectionate thankfulness which greeted it at first. The South and the defenders and apologists of slavery everywhere were up in arms. It was denounced in pulpit and in press, and some of the severest things were said of it at the North. The leading religious newspaper of the country, published in New York, declared that it was "anti-Christian."

Mrs. Stowe was twice astonished: first by its extraordinary sale, and second by the quarter from which the assault on it came. She herself says that her expectations were strikingly different from the facts. "She had painted slaveholders as amiable, generous, and just. She had shown examples among them of the noblest and most beautiful traits of character; had admitted fully their temptations, their perplexities, and their difficulties, so that a friend of hers who had many relatives in the South wrote to her: 'Your book is going to be the great pacificator; it will unite both North and South.' Her expectation was that the professed abolitionists would denounce it as altogether too mild in its dealings with slaveholders. To her astonishment, it was the extreme abolitionists who received, and the entire South who rose up against it."

There is something almost amusing in Mrs. Stowe's honest expectation that the deadliest blow the system ever suffered should have been received thankfully by those whose traditions, education, and interests were all bound up in it. And yet from her point of view it was not altogether unreasonable. Her blackest villain and most loathsome agent of the system, Legree, was a native of Vermont. All her wrath falls upon the slave-traders, the auctioneers, the public whippers, and the overseers, and all these persons and classes were detested by the Southerners to the point of loathing, and were social outcasts. The slave-traders and the overseers were tolerated as perhaps necessary in the system, but they were never admitted into respectable society. This feeling Mrs. Stowe regarded as a condemnation of the system.

Pecuniary reward was the last thing that Mrs. Stowe expected for her disinterested labor, but it suits the world's notion of the fitness of things that this was not altogether wanting. For the millions of copies of Uncle Tom scattered over the world the author could expect nothing, but in her own country her copyright yielded her a moderate return that lifted her out of poverty and enabled her to pursue her philanthropic and literary career. Four months after the publication of the book Professor Stowe was in the publisher's office, and Mr. Jewett asked him how much he expected to receive. "I hope," said Professor Stowe, with a whimsical smile, "that it will be enough to buy my wife a silk dress." The publisher handed him a check for ten thousand dollars.

Before Mrs. Stowe had a response to the letters accompanying the books privately sent to England, the novel was getting known there. Its career in Great Britain paralleled its success in America. In April a copy reached London in the hands of a gentleman who had taken it on the steamer to read. He gave it to Mr. Henry Vizetelly, who submitted it to Mr. David Bogue, a man known for his shrewdness and enterprise. He took a night to consider it, and then declined it, although it was offered to him for five pounds. A Mr. Gilpin also declined it. It was then submitted to Mr. Salisbury, a printer. This taster for the public sat up with the book till four o'clock in the morning, alternately weeping and laughing. Fearing, however, that this result was due to his own weakness, he woke up his wife, whom he describes as a rather strong-minded woman, and finding that the story kept her awake and made her also laugh and cry, he thought it might safely be printed. It seems, therefore, that Mr. Vizetelly ventured to risk five pounds, and the volume was brought out through the nominal agency of Clarke & Company. In the first week an edition of seven thousand was worked off. It made no great stir until the middle of June, but during July it sold at the rate of one thousand a week. By the 20th of August the demand for it was overwhelming. The printing firm was then employing four hundred people in getting it out, and seventeen printing-machines, besides hand-presses. Already one hundred and fifty thousand copies were sold. Mr. Vizetelly disposed of his interest, and a new printing firm began to issue monster editions. About this time the publishers awoke to the fact that any one was at liberty to reprint the book, and the era of cheap literature was initiated, founded on American reprints which cost the publisher no royalty. A shilling edition followed the one-and-sixpence, and then one complete for sixpence. As to the total sale, Mr. Sampson Low reports: "From April to December, 1852, twelve different editions (not reissues) were published, and within the twelve months of its first appearance eighteen different London publishing houses were engaged in supplying the great demand that had set in, the total number of editions being forty, varying from fine illustrated editions at 15s., 10s., and 7s. 6d. to the cheap popular editions of 1s. 9d. and 6d. After carefully analyzing these editions and weighing probabilities with ascertained facts, I am able pretty confidently to say that the aggregate number of copies circulated in Great Britain and the colonies exceeds one and a half millions." Later, abridgments were published.

Almost simultaneously with this furor in England the book made its way on the Continent. Several translations appeared in Germany and France, and for the authorized French edition Mrs. Stowe wrote a new preface, which served thereafter for most of the European editions. I find no record of the order of the translations of the book into foreign languages, but those into some of the Oriental tongues did not appear till several years after the great excitement. The ascertained translations are into twenty-three tongues, namely: Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, French, German, Hungarian, Illyrian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, modern Greek, Russian, Servian, Siamese, Spanish, Swedish, Wallachian, and Welsh. Into some of these languages several translations were made. In 1878 the British Museum contained thirty-five editions of the original text, and eight editions of abridgments or adaptations.

The story was dramatized in the United States in August, 1852, without the consent or knowledge of the author, and was played most successfully in the leading cities, and subsequently was acted in every capital in Europe. Mrs. Stowe had neglected to secure the dramatic rights, and she derived no benefit from the great popularity of a drama which still holds the stage. From the phenomenal sale of a book which was literally read by the whole world, the author received only the ten per cent on the American editions, and by the laws of her own country her copyright expired before her death.

The narrative of the rise and fortunes of this book would be incomplete without some reference to the response that the author received from England and the Continent, and of her triumphant progress through the British Isles. Her letters accompanying the special copies were almost immediately replied to, generally in terms of enthusiastic and fervent thankfulness for the book, and before midsummer her mail contained letters from all classes of English society. In some of them appeared a curious evidence of the English sensitiveness to criticism. Lord Carlisle and Sir Arthur Helps supplemented their admiration by a protest against the remark in the mouth of one of the characters that "slaves are better off than a large class of the population of England." This occurred in the defense of the institution by St. Clare, but it was treated by the British correspondents as the opinion of Mrs. Stowe. The charge was disposed of in Mrs. Stowe's reply: "The remark on that subject occurs in the dramatic part of the book, in the mouth of an intelligent Southerner. As a fair-minded person, bound to state for both sides all that could be said, in the person of St. Clare, the best that could be said on that point, and what I know IS in fact constantly reiterated, namely, that the laboring class of the South are in many respects, as to physical comfort, in a better condition than the poor in England. This is the slaveholder's stereo-typed apology; a defense it cannot be, unless two wrongs make one right."

In April, 1853, Mr. and Mrs. Stowe and the latter's brother, Charles Beecher, sailed for Europe. Her reception there was like a royal progress. She was met everywhere by deputations and addresses, and the enthusiasm her presence called forth was thoroughly democratic, extending from the highest in rank to the lowest. At Edinburgh there was presented to her a national penny offering, consisting of a thousand golden sovereigns on a magnificent silver salver, an unsolicited contribution in small sums by the people.

At a reception in Stafford House, London, the Duchess of Sutherland presented her with a massive gold bracelet, which has an interesting history. It is made of ten oval links in imitation of slave fetters. On two of the links were the inscriptions "March 25, 1807," the date of the abolition of the slave-trade, and "August 1, 1838," the date of the abolition of slavery in all British territory. The third inscription is "562,848—March 19, 1853," the date of the address of the women of England to the women of America on slavery, and the number of the women who signed. It was Mrs. Stowe's privilege to add to these inscriptions the following: "Emancipation D. C. Apl. 16, '62;" "President's Proclamation Jan. 1, '63;" "Maryland free Oct. 13, '64;" "Missouri free Jan. 11, '65;" and on the clasp link, "Constitution amended by Congress Jan. 31, '65. Constitutional Amendment ratified." Two of the links are vacant. What will the progress of civilization in America offer for the links nine and ten?

One of the most remarkable documents which resulted from Uncle Tom was an address from the women of England to the women of America, acknowledging the complicity in slavery of England, but praying aid in removing from the world "our common crimes and common dishonor," which was presented to Mrs. Stowe in 1853. It was the result of a meeting at Stafford House, and the address, composed by Lord Shaftesbury, was put into the hands of canvassers in England and on the Continent, and as far as Jerusalem. The signatures of 562,848 women were obtained, with their occupations and residences, from the nobility on the steps of the throne down to maids in the kitchen. The address is handsomely engrossed on vellum. The names are contained in twenty-six massive volumes, each fourteen inches high by nine in breadth and three inches thick, inclosed in an oak case. It is believed that this is the most numerously signed address in existence. The value of the address, with so many names collected in haphazard fashion, was much questioned, but its use was apparent in the height of the civil war, when Mrs. Stowe replied to it in one of the most vigorous and noble appeals that ever came from her pen. This powerful reply made a profound impression in England.

This is in brief the story of the book. It is still read, and read the world over, with tears and with laughter; it is still played to excited audiences. Is it a great novel, or was it only an event of an era of agitation and passion? Has it the real dramatic quality—the poet's visualizing of human life—that makes works of fiction, of imagination, live? Till recently, I had not read the book since 1852. I feared to renew acquaintance with it lest I should find only the shell of an exploded cartridge. I took it up at the beginning of a three-hours' railway journey. To my surprise the journey did not seem to last half an hour, and half the time I could not keep back the tears from my eyes. A London critic, full of sympathy with Mrs. Stowe and her work, recently said, "Yet she was not an artist, she was not a great woman." What is greatness? What is art? In 1862 probably no one who knew General Grant would have called him a great man. But he took Vicksburg. This woman did something with her pen,—on the whole, the most remarkable and effective book in her generation. How did she do it? Without art? George Sand said, "In matters of art there is but one rule, to paint and to move. And where shall we find conditions more complete, types more vivid, situations more touching, more original, than in Uncle Tom?" If there is not room in our art for such a book, I think we shall have to stretch our art a little. "Women, too, are here judged and painted with a master hand." This subtle critic, in her overpoweringly tender and enthusiastic review, had already inquired about the capacity of this writer. "Mrs. Stowe is all instinct; it is the very reason that she appears to some not to have talent. Has she not talent? What is talent? Nothing, doubtless, compared to genius; but has she genius? I cannot say that she has talent as one understands it in the world of letters, but she has genius as humanity feels the need of genius,—the genius of goodness, not that of the man of letters, but of the saint." It is admitted that Mrs. Stowe was not a woman of letters in the common acceptation of that term, and it is plain that in the French tribunal, where form is of the substance of the achievement, and which reluctantly overlooked the crudeness of Walter Scott, in France where the best English novel seems a violation of established canons, Uncle Tom would seem to belong where some modern critics place it, with works of the heart, and not of the head. The reviewer is, however, candid: "For a long time we have striven in France against the prolix explanations of Walter Scott. We have cried out against those of Balzac, but on consideration have perceived that the painter of manners and character has never done too much, that every stroke of the pencil was needed for the general effect. Let us learn then to appreciate all kinds of treatment, where the effect is good, and where they bear the seal of a master hand."

It must be admitted to the art critic that the book is defective according to the rules of the modern French romance; that Mrs. Stowe was possessed by her subject, and let her fervid interest in it be felt; that she had a definite purpose. That purpose was to quicken the sense of responsibility of the North by showing the real character of slavery, and to touch the South by showing that the inevitable wrong of it lay in the system rather than in those involved in it. Abundant material was in her hands, and the author burned to make it serviceable. What should she do? She might have done what she did afterwards in The Key, presented to the public a mass of statistics, of legal documents. The evidence would have been unanswerable, but the jury might not have been moved by it; they would have balanced it by considerations of political and commercial expediency. I presume that Mrs. Stowe made no calculation of this kind. She felt her course, and went on in it. What would an artist have done, animated by her purpose and with her material? He would have done what Cervantes did, what Tourgenieff did, what Mrs. Stowe did. He would have dramatized his facts in living personalities, in effective scenes, in vivid pictures of life. Mrs. Stowe exhibited the system of slavery by a succession of dramatized pictures, not always artistically welded together, but always effective as an exhibition of the system. Cervantes also showed a fading feudal romantic condition by a series of amusing and pathetic adventures, grouped rather loosely about a singularly fascinating figure.

Tourgenieff, a more consummate artist, in his hunting scenes exhibited the effect of serfdom upon society, in a series of scenes with no necessary central figure, without comment, and with absolute concealment of any motive. I believe the three writers followed their instincts, without an analytic argument as to the method, as the great painter follows his when he puts an idea upon canvas. He may invent a theory about it afterwards; if he does not, some one else will invent it for him. There are degrees of art. One painter will put in unnecessary accessories, another will exhibit his sympathy too openly, the technique or the composition of another can be criticised. But the question is, is the picture great and effective?

Mrs. Stowe had not Tourgenieff's artistic calmness. Her mind was fused into a white heat with her message. Yet, how did she begin her story? Like an artist, by a highly dramatized scene, in which the actors, by a few strokes of the pen, appear as distinct and unmistakable personalities, marked by individual peculiarities of manner, speech, motive, character, living persons in natural attitudes. The reader becomes interested in a shrewd study of human nature, of a section of life, with its various refinement, coarseness, fastidiousness and vulgarity, its humor and pathos. As he goes on he discovers that every character has been perfectly visualized, accurately limned from the first; that a type has been created which remains consistent, which is never deflected from its integrity by any exigencies of plot. This clear conception of character (not of earmarks and peculiarities adopted as labels), and faithful adhesion to it in all vicissitudes, is one of the rarest and highest attributes of genius. All the chief characters in the book follow this line of absolutely consistent development, from Uncle Tom and Legree down to the most aggravating and contemptible of all, Marie St. Clare. The selfish and hysterical woman has never been so faithfully depicted by any other author.

Distinguished as the novel is by its character-drawing and its pathos, I doubt if it would have captivated the world without its humor. This is of the old-fashioned kind, the large humor of Scott, and again of Cervantes, not verbal pleasantry, not the felicities of Lamb, but the humor of character in action, of situations elaborated with great freedom, and with what may be called a hilarious conception. This quality is never wanting in the book, either for the reader's entertainment by the way, or to heighten the pathos of the narrative by contrast. The introduction of Topsy into the New Orleans household saves us in the dangerous approach to melodrama in the religious passages between Tom and St. Clare. Considering the opportunities of the subject, the book has very little melodrama; one is apt to hear low music on the entrance of little Eva, but we are convinced of the wholesome sanity of the sweet child. And it is to be remarked that some of the most exciting episodes, such as that of Eliza crossing the Ohio River on the floating ice (of which Mr. Ruskin did not approve), are based upon authentic occurrences. The want of unity in construction of which the critics complain is partially explained by the necessity of exhibiting the effect of slavery in its entirety. The parallel plots, one running to Louisiana and the other to Canada, are tied together by this consideration, and not by any real necessity to each other.

There is no doubt that Mrs. Stowe was wholly possessed by her theme, rapt away like a prophet in a vision, and that, in her feeling at the time, it was written through her quite as much as by her. This idea grew upon her mind in the retrospective light of the tremendous stir the story made in the world, so that in her later years she came to regard herself as a providential instrument, and frankly to declare that she did not write the book; "God wrote it." In her own account, when she reached the death of Uncle Tom, "the whole vital force left her." The inspiration there left her, and the end of the story, the weaving together of all the loose ends of the plot, in the joining together almost by miracle the long separated, and the discovery of the relationships, is the conscious invention of the novelist.

It would be perhaps going beyond the province of the critic to remark upon what the author considered the central power of the story, and its power to move the world, the faith of Uncle Tom in the Bible. This appeal to the emotion of millions of readers cannot, however, be overlooked. Many regard the book as effective in regions remote from our perplexities by reason of this grace. When the work was translated into Siamese, the perusal of it by one of the ladies of the court induced her to liberate all her slaves, men, women, and children, one hundred and thirty in all. "Hidden Perfume," for that was the English equivalent of her name, said she was wishful to be good like Harriet Beecher Stowe. And as to the standpoint of Uncle Tom and the Bible, nothing more significant can be cited than this passage from one of the latest writings of Heinrich Heine:—

"The reawakening of my religious feelings I owe to that holy book the Bible. Astonishing that after I have whirled about all my life over all the dance-floors of philosophy, and yielded myself to all the orgies of the intellect, and paid my addresses to all possible systems, without satisfaction like Messalina after a licentious night, I now find myself on the same standpoint where poor Uncle Tom stands,—on that of the Bible! I kneel down by my black brother in the same prayer! What a humiliation! With all my science I have come no further than the poor ignorant negro who has scarce learned to spell. Poor Tom, indeed, seems to have seen deeper things in the holy book than I.... Tom, perhaps, understands them better than I, because more flogging occurs in them; that is to say, those ceaseless blows of the whip which have aesthetically disgusted me in reading the Gospels and the Acts. But a poor negro slave reads with his back, and understands better than we do. But I, who used to make citations from Homer, now begin to quote the Bible as Uncle Tom does."

The one indispensable requisite of a great work of imaginative fiction is its universality, its conception and construction so that it will appeal to universal human nature in all races and situations and climates. Uncle Tom's Cabin does that. Considering certain artistic deficiencies, which the French writers perceived, we might say that it was the timeliness of its theme that gave it currency in England and America. But that argument falls before the world-wide interest in it as a mere story, in so many languages, by races unaffected by our own relation to slavery.

It was the opinion of James Russell Lowell that the anti-slavery element in Uncle Tom and Dred stood in the way of a full appreciation, at least in her own country, of the remarkable genius of Mrs. Stowe. Writing in 1859, he said, "From my habits and the tendency of my studies I cannot help looking at things purely from an aesthetic point of view, and what I valued in Uncle Tom was the genius, and not the moral." This had been his impression when he read the book in Paris, long after the whirl of excitement produced by its publication had subsided, and far removed by distance from local influences. Subsequently, in a review, he wrote, "We felt then, and we believe now, that the secret of Mrs. Stowe's power lay in that same genius by which the great successes in creative literature have always been achieved,—the genius that instinctively goes to the organic elements of human nature, whether under a white skin or a black, and which disregards as trivial the conventions and fictitious notions which make so large a part both of our thinking and feeling.... The creative faculty of Mrs. Stowe, like that of Cervantes in Don Quixote and of Fielding in Joseph Andrews, overpowered the narrow specialty of her design, and expanded a local and temporary theme with the cosmopolitanism of genius."

A half-century is not much in the life of a people; it is in time an inadequate test of the staying power of a book. Nothing is more futile than prophecy on contemporary literary work. It is safe, however, to say that Uncle Tom's Cabin has the fundamental qualities, the sure insight into human nature, and the fidelity to the facts of its own time which have from age to age preserved works of genius.


Berween me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, How does it feel to be a problem? they say, I know an excellent colored man in my town; or, I fought at Mechanicsville; or, Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil? At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word.

And yet, being a problem is a strange experience,—peculiar even for one who has never been anything else, save perhaps in babyhood and in Europe. It is in the early days of rollicking boyhood that the revelation first bursts upon one, all in a day, as it were. I remember well when the shadow swept across me. I was a little thing, away up in the hills of New England, where the dark Housatonic winds between Hoosac and Taghanic to the sea. In a wee wooden schoolhouse, something put it into the boys' and girls' heads to buy gorgeous visiting-cards—ten cents a package—and exchange. The exchange was merry, till one girl, a tall newcomer, refused my card,—refused it peremptorily, with a glance. Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows. That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads. Alas, with the years all this fine contempt began to fade; for the world I longed for, and all its dazzling opportunities, were theirs, not mine. But they should not keep these prizes, I said; some, all, I would wrest from them. Just how I would do it I could never decide: by reading law, by healing the sick, by telling the wonderful tales that swam in my head,—some way. With other black boys the strife was not so fiercely sunny: their youth shrunk into tasteless sycophancy, or into silent hatred of the pale world about them and mocking distrust of everything white; or wasted itself in a bitter cry. Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house? The "shades of the prison-house" closed round about us all: walls strait and stubborn to the whitest, but relentlessly narrow, tall, and unscalable to sons of night who must plod darkly on in resignation, or beat unavailing palms against the stone, or steadily, half hopelessly watch the streak of blue above.

After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,—a world which yields him no self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,—this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa; he does not wish to bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he believes—foolishly, perhaps, but fervently—that Negro blood has yet a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without losing the opportunity of self-development.

This is the end of his striving: to be a co-worker in the kingdom of culture, to escape both death and isolation, and to husband and use his best powers. These powers, of body and of mind, have in the past been so wasted and dispersed as to lose all effectiveness, and to seem like absence of all power, like weakness. The double-aimed struggle of the black artisan, on the one hand to escape white contempt for a nation of mere hewers of wood and drawers of water, and on the other hand to plough and nail and dig for a poverty-stricken horde, could only result in making him a poor craftsman, for he had but half a heart in either cause. By the poverty and ignorance of his people the Negro lawyer or doctor was pushed toward quackery and demagogism, and by the criticism of the other world toward an elaborate preparation that overfitted him for his lowly tasks. The would-be black savant was confronted by the paradox that the knowledge his people needed was a twice-told tale to his white neighbors, while the knowledge which would teach the white world was Greek to his own flesh and blood. The innate love of harmony and beauty that set the ruder souls of his people a-dancing, a-singing, and a-laughing raised but confusion and doubt in the soul of the black artist; for the beauty revealed to him was the soul-beauty of a race which his larger audience despised, and he could not articulate the message of another people.

This waste of double aims, this seeking to satisfy two unreconciled ideals, has wrought sad havoc with the courage and faith and deeds of eight thousand thousand people, has sent them often wooing false gods and invoking false means of salvation, and has even at times seemed destined to make them ashamed of themselves. In the days of bondage they thought to see in one divine event the end of all doubt and disappointment; eighteenth-century Rousseauism never worshiped freedom with half the unquestioning faith that the American Negro did for two centuries. To him slavery was, indeed, the sum of all villainies, the cause of all sorrow, the root of all prejudice; emancipation was the key to a promised land of sweeter beauty than ever stretched before the eyes of wearied Israelites. In his songs and exhortations swelled one refrain, liberty; in his tears and curses the god he implored had freedom in his right hand. At last it came,—suddenly, fearfully, like a dream. With one wild carnival of blood and passion came the message in his own plaintive cadences:—

     "Shout, O children!
      Shout, you're free!
     The Lord has bought your liberty!"

Years have passed away, ten, twenty, thirty. Thirty years of national life, thirty years of renewal and development, and yet the swarthy ghost of Banquo sits in its old place at the national feast. In vain does the nation cry to its vastest problem,—

"Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves Shall never tremble!"

The freedman has not yet found in freedom his promised land. Whatever of lesser good may have come in these years of change, the shadow of a deep disappointment rests upon the Negro people,—a disappointment all the more bitter because the unattained ideal was unbounded save by the simple ignorance of a lowly folk.

The first decade was merely a prolongation of the vain search for freedom, the boom that seemed ever barely to elude their grasp,—like a tantalizing will-o'-the-wisp, maddening and misleading the headless host. The holocaust of war, the terrors of the Kuklux Klan, the lies of carpet-baggers, the disorganization of industry, and the contradictory advice of friends and foes left the bewildered serf with no new watchword beyond the old cry for freedom. As the decade closed, however, he began to grasp a new idea. The ideal of liberty demanded for its attainment powerful means, and these the Fifteenth Amendment gave him. The ballot, which before he had looked upon as a visible sign of freedom, he now regarded as the chief means of gaining and perfecting the liberty with which war had partially endowed him. And why not? Had not votes made war and emancipated millions? Had not votes enfranchised the freedmen? Was anything impossible to a power that had done all this? A million black men started with renewed zeal to vote themselves into the kingdom. The decade fled away,—a decade containing, to the freedman's mind, nothing but suppressed votes, stuffed ballot-boxes, and election outrages that nullified his vaunted right of suffrage. And yet that decade from 1875 to 1885 held another powerful movement, the rise of another ideal to guide the unguided, another pillar of fire by night after a clouded day. It was the ideal of "book-learning;" the curiosity, born of compulsory ignorance, to know and test the power of the cabalistic letters of the white man, the longing to know. Mission and night schools began in the smoke of battle, ran the gauntlet of reconstruction, and at last developed into permanent foundations. Here at last seemed to have been discovered the mountain path to Canaan; longer than the highway of emancipation and law, steep and rugged, but straight, leading to heights high enough to overlook life.

Up the new path the advance guard toiled, slowly, heavily, doggedly; only those who have watched and guided the faltering feet, the misty minds, the dull understandings of the dark pupils of these schools know how faithfully, how piteously, this people strove to learn. It was weary work. The cold statistician wrote down the inches of progress here and there, noted also where here and there a foot had slipped or some one had fallen. To the tired climbers, the horizon was ever dark, the mists were often cold, the Canaan was always dim and far away. If, however, the vistas disclosed as yet no goal, no resting-place, little but flattery and criticism, the journey at least gave leisure for reflection and self-examination; it changed the child of emancipation to the youth with dawning self-consciousness, self-realization, self-respect. In those sombre forests of his striving his own soul rose before him, and he saw himself,—darkly as through a veil; and yet he saw in himself some faint revelation of his power, of his mission. He began to have a dim feeling that, to attain his place in the world, he must be himself, and not another. For the first time he sought to analyze the burden he bore upon his back, that dead-weight of social degradation partially masked behind a half-named Negro problem. He felt his poverty; without a cent, without a home, without land, tools, or savings, he had entered into competition with rich, landed, skilled neighbors. To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships. He felt the weight of his ignorance,—not simply of letters, but of life, of business, of the humanities; the accumulated sloth and shirking and awkwardness of decades and centuries shackled his hands and feet. Nor was his burden all poverty and ignorance. The red stain of bastardy, which two centuries of systematic legal defilement of Negro women had stamped upon his race, meant not only the loss of ancient African chastity, but also the hereditary weight of a mass of filth from white whoremongers and adulterers, threatening almost the obliteration of the Negro home.

A people thus handicapped ought not to be asked to race with the world, but rather allowed to give all its time and thought to its own social problems. But alas! while sociologists gleefully count his bastards and his prostitutes, the very soul of the toiling, sweating black man is darkened by the shadow of a vast despair. Men call the shadow prejudice, and learnedly explain it as the natural defense of culture against barbarism, learning against ignorance, purity against crime, the "higher" against the "lower" races. To which the Negro cries Amen! and swears that to so much of this strange prejudice as is founded on just homage to civilization, culture, righteousness, and progress he humbly bows and meekly does obeisance. But before that nameless prejudice that leaps beyond all this he stands helpless, dismayed, and well-nigh speechless; before that personal disrespect and mockery, the ridicule and systematic humiliation, the distortion of fact and wanton license of fancy, the cynical ignoring of the better and boisterous welcoming of the worse, the all-pervading desire to inculcate disdain for everything black, from Toussaint to the devil,—before this there rises a sickening despair that would disarm and discourage any nation save that black host to whom "discouragement" is an unwritten word.

They still press on, they still nurse the dogged hope,—not a hope of nauseating patronage, not a hope of reception into charmed social circles of stock-jobbers, pork-packers, and earl-hunters, but the hope of a higher synthesis of civilization and humanity, a true progress, with which the chorus

    "Peace, good will to men,"
    "May make one music as before,
     But vaster."

Thus the second decade of the American Negro's freedom was a period of conflict, of inspiration and doubt, of faith and vain questionings, of Sturm and Drang. The ideals of physical freedom, of political power, of school training, as separate all-sufficient panaceas for social ills, became in the third decade dim and overcast. They were the vain dreams of credulous race childhood; not wrong, but incomplete and over-simple. The training of the schools we need to-day more than ever,—the training of deft hands, quick eyes and ears, and the broader, deeper, higher culture of gifted minds. The power of the ballot we need in sheer self-defense, and as a guarantee of good faith. We may misuse it, but we can scarce do worse in this respect than our whilom masters. Freedom, too, the long-sought, we still seek,—the freedom of life and limb, the freedom to work and think. Work, culture, and liberty,—all these we need, not singly, but together; for to-day these ideals among the Negro people are gradually coalescing, and finding a higher meaning in the unifying ideal of race,—the ideal of fostering the traits and talents of the Negro, not in opposition to, but in conformity with, the greater ideals of the American republic, in order that some day, on American soil, two world races may give each to each those characteristics which both so sadly lack. Already we come not altogether empty-handed: there is to-day no true American music but the sweet wild melodies of the Negro slave; the American fairy tales are Indian and African; we are the sole oasis of simple faith and reverence in a dusty desert of dollars and smartness. Will America be poorer if she replace her brutal, dyspeptic blundering with the light-hearted but determined Negro humility; or her coarse, cruel wit with loving, jovial good humor; or her Annie Rooney with Steal Away?

Merely a stern concrete test of the underlying principles of the great republic is the Negro problem, and the spiritual striving of the freedmen's sons is the travail of souls whose burden is almost beyond the measure of their strength, but who bear it in the name of an historic race, in the name of this land of their fathers' fathers, and in the name of human opportunity.

THE WIFE OF HIS YOUTH by Charles W. Chesnutt


Mr. Ryder was going to give a ball. There were several reasons why this was an opportune time for such an event.

Mr. Ryder might aptly be called the dean of the Blue Veins. The original Blue Veins were a little society of colored persons organized in a certain Northern city shortly after the war. Its purpose was to establish and maintain correct social standards among a people whose social condition presented almost unlimited room for improvement. By accident, combined perhaps with some natural affinity, the society consisted of individuals who were, generally speaking, more white than black. Some envious outsider made the suggestion that no one was eligible for membership who was not white enough to show blue veins. The suggestion was readily adopted by those who were not of the favored few, and since that time the society, though possessing a longer and more pretentious name, had been known far and wide as the "Blue Vein Society," and its members as the "Blue Veins."

The Blue Veins did not allow that any such requirement existed for admission to their circle, but, on the contrary, declared that character and culture were the only things considered; and that if most of their members were light-colored, it was because such persons, as a rule, had had better opportunities to qualify themselves for membership. Opinions differed, too, as to the usefulness of the society. There were those who had been known to assail it violently as a glaring example of the very prejudice from which the colored race had suffered most; and later, when such critics had succeeded in getting on the inside, they had been heard to maintain with zeal and earnestness that the society was a life-boat, an anchor, a bulwark and a shield, a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, to guide their people through the social wilderness. Another alleged prerequisite for Blue Vein membership was that of free birth; and while there was really no such requirement, it is doubtless true that very few of the members would have been unable to meet it if there had been. If there were one or two of the older members who had come up from the South and from slavery, their history presented enough romantic circumstances to rob their servile origin of its grosser aspects. While there were no such tests of eligibility, it is true that the Blue Veins had their notions on these subjects, and that not all of them were equally liberal in regard to the things they collectively disclaimed. Mr. Ryder was one of the most conservative. Though he had not been among the founders of the society, but had come in some years later, his genius for social leadership was such that he had speedily become its recognized adviser and head, the custodian of its standards, and the preserver of its traditions. He shaped its social policy, was active in providing for its entertainment, and when the interest fell off, as it sometimes did, he fanned the embers until they burst again into a cheerful flame. There were still other reasons for his popularity. While he was not as white as some of the Blue Veins, his appearance was such as to confer distinction upon them. His features were of a refined type, his hair was almost straight; he was always neatly dressed; his manners were irreproachable, and his morals above suspicion. He had come to Groveland a young man, and obtaining employment in the office of a railroad company as messenger had in time worked himself up to the position of stationery clerk, having charge of the distribution of the office supplies for the whole company. Although the lack of early training had hindered the orderly development of a naturally fine mind, it had not prevented him from doing a great deal of reading or from forming decidedly literary tastes. Poetry was his passion. He could repeat whole pages of the great English poets; and if his pronunciation was sometimes faulty, his eye, his voice, his gestures, would respond to the changing sentiment with a precision that revealed a poetic soul, and disarm criticism. He was economical, and had saved money; he owned and occupied a very comfortable house on a respectable street. His residence was handsomely furnished, containing among other things a good library, especially rich in poetry, a piano, and some choice engravings. He generally shared his house with some young couple, who looked after his wants and were company for him; for Mr. Ryder was a single man. In the early days of his connection with the Blue Veins he had been regarded as quite a catch, and ladies and their mothers had manoeuvred with much ingenuity to capture him. Not, however, until Mrs. Molly Dixon visited Groveland had any woman ever made him wish to change his condition to that of a married man.

Mrs. Dixon had come to Groveland from Washington in the spring, and before the summer was over she had won Mr. Ryder's heart. She possessed many attractive qualities. She was much younger than he; in fact, he was old enough to have been her father, though no one knew exactly how old he was. She was whiter than he, and better educated. She had moved in the best colored society of the country, at Washington, and had taught in the schools of that city. Such a superior person had been eagerly welcomed to the Blue Vein Society, and had taken a leading part in its activities. Mr. Ryder had at first been attracted by her charms of person, for she was very good looking and not over twenty-five; then by her refined manners and by the vivacity of her wit. Her husband had been a government clerk, and at his death had left a considerable life insurance. She was visiting friends in Groveland, and, finding the town and the people to her liking, had prolonged her stay indefinitely. She had not seemed displeased at Mr. Ryder's attentions, but on the contrary had given him every proper encouragement; indeed, a younger and less cautious man would long since have spoken. But he had made up his mind, and had only to determine the time when he would ask her to be his wife. He decided to give a ball in her honor, and at some time during the evening of the ball to offer her his heart and hand. He had no special fears about the outcotme, but, with a little touch of romance, he wanted the surroundings to be in harmony with his own feelings when he should have received the answer he expected.

Mr. Ryder resolved that this ball should mark an epoch in the social history of Groveland. He knew, of course,—no one could know better,—the entertainments that had taken place in past years, and what must be done to surpass them. His ball must be worthy of the lady in whose honor it was to be given, and must, by the quality of its guests, set an example for the future. He had observed of late a growing liberality, almost a laxity, in social matters, even among members of his own set, and had several times been forced to meet in a social way persons whose complexions and callings in life were hardly up to the standard which he considered proper for the society to maintain. He had a theory of his own.

"I have no race prejudice," he would say, "but we people of mixed blood are ground between the upper and the nether millstone. Our fate lies between absorption by the white race and extinction in the black. The one doesn't want us yet, but may take us in time. The other would welcome us, but it would be for us a backward step. 'With malice towards none, with charity for all,' we must do the best we can for ourselves and those who are to follow us. Self-preservation is the first law of nature."

His ball would serve by its exclusiveness to counteract leveling tendencies, and his marriage with Mrs. Dixon would help to further the upward process of absorption he had been wishing and waiting for.


The ball was to take place on Friday night. The house had been put in order, the carpets covered with canvas, the halls and stairs decorated with palms and potted plants; and in the afternoon Mr. Ryder sat on his front porch, which the shade of a vine running up over a wire netting made a cool and pleasant lounging-place. He expected to respond to the toast "The Ladies," at the supper, and from a volume of Tennyson—his favorite poet—was fortifying himself with apt quotations. The volume was open at A Dream of Fair Women. His eyes fell on these lines, and he read them aloud to judge better of their effect:—

"At length I saw a lady within call. Stiller than chisell'd marble, standing there; A daughter of the gods, divinely tall, And most divinely fair."

He marked the verse, and turning the page read the stanza beginning,—

   "O sweet pale Margaret,
    O rare pale Margaret."

He weighed the passage a moment, and decided that it would not do. Mrs. Dixon was the palest lady he expected at the ball, and she was of a rather ruddy complexion, and of lively disposition and buxom build. So he ran over the leaves until his eye rested on the description of Queen Guinevere:—

    "She seem'd a part of joyous Spring:
   A gown of grass-green silk she wore,
   Buckled with golden clasps before;
   A light-green tuft of plumes she bore
     Closed in a golden ring.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  "She look'd so lovely, as she sway'd
     The rein with dainty finger-tips,
   A man had given all other bliss,
   And all his worldly worth for this,
   To waste his whole heart in one kiss
     Upon her perfect lips."

As Mr. Ryder murmured these words audibly, with an appreciative thrill, he heard the latch of his gate click, and a light footfall sounding on the steps. He turned his head, and saw a woman standing before the door.

She was a little woman, not five feet tall, and proportioned to her height. Although she stood erect, and looked around her with very bright and restless eyes, she seemed quite old; for her face was crossed and recrossed with a hundred wrinkles, and around the edges of her bonnet could be seen protruding here and there a tuft of short gray wool. She wore a blue calico gown of ancient cut, a little red shawl fastened around her shoulders with an old-fashioned brass brooch, and a large bonnet profusely ornamented with faded red and yellow artificial flowers. And she was very black—so black that her toothless gums, revealed when she opened her mouth to speak, were not red, but blue. She looked like a bit of the old plantation life, summoned up from the past by the wave of a magician's wand, as the poet's fancy had called into being the gracious shapes of which Mr. Ryder had just been reading.

He rose from his chair and came over to where she stood.

"Good-afternoon, madam," he said.

"Good-evenin', suh," she answered, ducking suddenly with a quaint curtsy. Her voice was shrill and piping, but softened somewhat by age. "Is dis yere whar Mistuh Ryduh lib, suh?" she asked, looking around her doubtfully, and glancing into the open windows, through which some of the preparations for the evening were visible.

"Yes," he replied, with an air of kindly patronage, unconsciously flattered by her manner, "I am Mr. Ryder. Did you want to see me?"

"Yas, suh, ef I ain't 'sturbin' of you too much."

"Not at all. Have a seat over here behind the vine, where it is cool. What can I do for you?"

"'Scuse me, suh," she continued, when she had sat down on the edge of a chair, "'scuse me, suh, I's lookin' for my husban'. I heerd you wuz a big man an' had libbed heah a long time, an' I 'lowed you wouldn't min' ef I'd come roun' an' ax you ef you'd eber heerd of a merlatter man by de name er Sam Taylor 'quirin' roun' in de chu'ches ermongs' de people fer his wife 'Liza Jane?"

Mr. Ryder seemed to think for a moment.

"There used to be many such cases right after the war," he said, "but it has been so long that I have forgotten them. There are very few now. But tell me your story, and it may refresh my memory."

She sat back farther in her chair so as to be more comfortable, and folded her withered hands in her lap.

"My name's 'Liza," she began, "'Liza Jane. Wen I wuz young I us'ter b'long ter Marse Bob Smif, down in old Missourn. I wuz bawn down dere. W'en I wuz a gal I wuz married ter a man named Jim. But Jim died, an' after dat I married a merlatter man named Sam Taylor. Sam wuz free-bawn, but his mammy and daddy died, an' de w'ite folks 'prenticed him ter my marster fer ter work fer 'im 'tel he wuz growed up. Sam worked in de fiel', an' I wuz de cook. One day Ma'y Ann, ole miss's maid, come rushin' out ter de kitchen, an' says she, ''Liza Jane, ole marse gwine sell yo' Sam down de ribber.'

"'Go way f'm yere,' says I; 'my husban's free!'

"'Don' make no diff'ence. I heerd ole marse tell ole miss he wuz gwine take yo' Sam 'way wid 'im ter-morrow, fer he needed money, an' he knowed whar he could git a t'ousan' dollars fer Sam an' no questions axed.'

"W'en Sam come home f'm de fiel', dat night, I tole him 'bout ole marse gwine steal 'im, an' Sam run erway. His time wuz mos' up, an' he swo' dat w'en he wuz twenty-one he would come back an' he'p me run erway, er else save up de money ter buy my freedom. An' I know he'd 'a' done it, fer he thought a heap er me, Sam did. But w'en he come back he didn' fin' me, fer I wuzn' dere. Ole marse had heerd dat I warned Sam, so he had me whip' an' sol' down de ribber.

"Den de wah broke out, an' w'en it wuz ober de cullud folks wuz scattered. I went back ter de ole home; but Sam wuzn' dere, an' I couldn' l'arn nuffin' 'bout 'im. But I knowed he'd be'n dere to look fer me an' hadn' foun' me, an' had gone erway ter hunt fer me.

"I's be'n lookin' fer 'im eber sence," she added simply, as though twenty-five years were but a couple of weeks, "an' I knows he's be'n lookin' fer me. Fer he sot a heap er sto' by me, Sam did, an' I know he's be'n huntin' fer me all dese years,—'less'n he's be'n sick er sump'n, so he couldn' work, er out'n his head, so he couldn' 'member his promise. I went back down de ribber, fer I 'lowed he'd gone down dere lookin' fer me. I's be'n ter Noo Orleens, an' Atlanty, an' Charleston, an' Richmon'; an' w'en I'd be'n all ober de Souf I come ter de Norf. Fer I knows I'll fin' 'im some er dese days," she added softly, "er he'll fin' me, an' den we'll bofe be as happy in freedom as we wuz in de ole days befo' de wah." A smile stole over her withered countenance as she paused a moment, and her bright eyes softened into a far-away look.

This was the substance of the old woman's story. She had wandered a little here and there. Mr. Ryder was looking at her curiously when she finished.

"How have you lived all these years?" he asked.

"Cookin', suh. I's a good cook. Does you know anybody w'at needs a good cook, suh? I's stoppin' wid a cullud fam'ly roun' de corner yonder 'tel I kin fin' a place."

"Do you really expect to find your husband? He may be dead long ago."

She shook her head emphatically. "Oh no, he ain' dead. De signs an' de tokens tells me. I dremp three nights runnin' on'y dis las' week dat I foun' him."

"He may have married another woman. Your slave marriage would not have prevented him, for you never lived with him after the war, and without that your marriage doesn't count."

"Wouldn' make no diff'ence wid Sam. He wouldn' marry no yuther 'ooman 'tel he foun' out 'bout me. I knows it," she added. "Sump'n's be'n tellin' me all dese years dat I's gwine fin' Sam 'fo I dies."

"Perhaps he's outgrown you, and climbed up in the world where he wouldn't care to have you find him."

"No, indeed, suh," she replied, "Sam ain' dat kin' er man. He wuz good ter me, Sam wuz, but he wuzn' much good ter nobody e'se, fer he wuz one er de triflin'es' han's on de plantation. I 'spec's ter haf ter suppo't 'im w'en I fin' 'im, fer he nebber would work 'less'n he had ter. But den he wuz free, an' he didn' git no pay fer his work, an' I don' blame 'im much. Mebbe he's done better sence he run erway, but I ain' 'spectin' much."

"You may have passed him on the street a hundred times during the twenty-five years, and not have known him; time works great changes."

She smiled incredulously. "I'd know 'im 'mongs' a hund'ed men. Fer dey wuzn' no yuther merlatter man like my man Sam, an' I couldn' be mistook. I's toted his picture roun' wid me twenty-five years."

"May I see it?" asked Mr. Ryder. "It might help me to remember whether I have seen the original."

As she drew a small parcel from her bosom, he saw that it was fastened to a string that went around her neck. Removing several wrappers, she brought to light an old-fashioned daguerreotype in a black case. He looked long and intently at the portrait. It was faded with time, but the features were still distinct, and it was easy to see what manner of man it had represented.

He closed the case, and with a slow movement handed it back to her.

"I don't know of any man in town who goes by that name," he said, "nor have I heard of any one making such inquiries. But if you will leave me your address, I will give the matter some attention, and if I find out anything I will let you know."

She gave him the number of a house in the neighborhood, and went away, after thanking him warmly.

He wrote down the address on the flyleaf of the volume of Tennyson, and, when she had gone, rose to his feet and stood looking after her curiously. As she walked down the street with mincing step, he saw several persons whom she passed turn and look back at her with a smile of kindly amusement. When she had turned the corner, he went upstairs to his bedroom, and stood for a long time before the mirror of his dressing-case, gazing thoughtfully at the reflection of his own face.


At eight o'clock the ballroom was a blaze of light and the guests had begun to assemble; for there was a literary programme and some routine business of the society to be gone through with before the dancing. A black servant in evening dress waited at the door and directed the guests to the dressing-rooms.

The occasion was long memorable among the colored people of the city; not alone for the dress and display, but for the high average of intelligence and culture that distinguished the gathering as a whole. There were a number of school-teachers, several young doctors, three or four lawyers, some professional singers, an editor, a lieutenant in the United States army spending his furlough in the city, and others in various polite callings; these were colored, though most of them would not have attracted even a casual glance because of any marked difference from white people. Most of the ladies were in evening costume, and dress coats and dancing-pumps were the rule among the men. A band of string music, stationed in an alcove behind a row of palms, played popular airs while the guests were gathering.

The dancing began at half past nine. At eleven o'clock supper was served. Mr. Ryder had left the ballroom some little time before the intermission, but reappeared at the supper-table. The spread was worthy of the occasion, and the guests did full justice to it. When the coffee had been served, the toastmaster, Mr. Solomon Sadler, rapped for order. He made a brief introductory speech, complimenting host and guests, and then presented in their order the toasts of the evening. They were responded to with a very fair display of after-dinner wit.

"The last toast," said the toast-master, when he reached the end of the list, "is one which must appeal to us all. There is no one of us of the sterner sex who is not at some time dependent upon woman,—in infancy for protection, in manhood for companionship, in old age for care and comforting. Our good host has been trying to live alone, but the fair faces I see around me to-night prove that he too is largely dependent upon the gentler sex for most that makes life worth living,—the society and love of friends,—and rumor is at fault if he does not soon yield entire subjection to one of them. Mr. Ryder will now respond to the toast,—The Ladies."

There was a pensive look in Mr. Ryder's eyes as he took the floor and adjusted his eyeglasses. He began by speaking of woman as the gift of Heaven to man, and after some general observations on the relations of the sexes he said: "But perhaps the quality which most distinguishes woman is her fidelity and devotion to those she loves. History is full of examples, but has recorded none more striking than one which only to-day came under my notice."

He then related, simply but effectively, the story told by his visitor of the afternoon. He told it in the same soft dialect, which came readily to his lips, while the company listened attentively and sympathetically. For the story had awakened a responsive thrill in many hearts. There were some present who had seen, and others who had heard their fathers and grandfathers tell, the wrongs and sufferings of this past generation, and all of them still felt, in their darker moments, the shadow hanging over them. Mr. Ryder went on:—

"Such devotion and such confidence are rare even among women. There are many who would have searched a year, some who would have waited five years, a few who might have hoped ten years; but for twenty-five years this woman has retained her affection for and her faith in a man she has not seen or heard of in all that time.

"She came to me to-day in the hope that I might be able to help her find this long-lost husband. And when she was gone I gave my fancy rein, and imagined a case I will put to you.

"Suppose that this husband, soon after his escape, had learned that his wife had been sold away, and that such inquiries as he could make brought no information of her whereabouts. Suppose that he was young, and she much older than he; that he was light, and she was black; that their marriage was a slave marriage, and legally binding only if they chose to make it so after the war. Suppose, too, that he made his way to the North, as some of us have done, and there, where he had larger opportunities, had improved them, and had in the course of all these years grown to be as different from the ignorant boy who ran away from fear of slavery as the day is from the night. Suppose, even, that he had qualified himself, by industry, by thrift, and by study, to win the friendship and be considered worthy the society of such people as these I see around me to-night, gracing my board and filling my heart with gladness; for I am old enough to remember the day when such a gathering would not have been possible in this land. Suppose, too, that, as the years went by, this man's memory of the past grew more and more indistinct, until at last it was rarely, except in his dreams, that any image of this bygone period rose before his mind. And then suppose that accident should bring to his knowledge the fact that the wife of his youth, the wife he had left behind him,—not one who had walked by his side and kept pace with him in his upward struggle, but one upon whom advancing years and a laborious life had set their mark,—was alive and seeking him, but that he was absolutely safe from recognition or discovery, unless he chose to reveal himself. My friends, what would the man do? I will suppose that he was one who loved honor, and tried to deal justly with all men. I will even carry the case further, and suppose that perhaps he had set his heart upon another, whom he had hoped to call his own. What would he do, or rather what ought he to do, in such a crisis of a lifetime?

"It seemed to me that he might hesitate, and I imagined that I was an old friend, a near friend, and that he had come to me for advice; and I argued the case with him. I tried to discuss it impartially. After we had looked upon the matter from every point of view, I said to him, in words that we all know:

   'This above all: to thine own self be true,
   And it must follow, as the night the day,
   Thou canst not then be false to any man.'

Then, finally, I put the question to him, 'Shall you acknowledge her?'

"And now, ladies and gentlemen, friends and companions, I ask you, what should he have done?"

There was something in Mr. Ryder's voice that stirred the hearts of those who sat around him. It suggested more than mere sympathy with an imaginary situation; it seemed rather in the nature of a personal appeal. It was observed, too, that his look rested more especially upon Mrs. Dixon, with a mingled expression of renunciation and inquiry.

She had listened, with parted lips and streaming eyes. She was the first to speak: "He should have acknowledged her."

"Yes," they all echoed, "he should have acknowledged her."

"My friends and companions," responded Mr. Ryder, "I thank you, one and all. It is the answer I expected, for I knew your hearts."

He turned and walked toward the closed door of an adjoining room, while every eye followed him in wondering curiosity. He came back in a moment, leading by the hand his visitor of the afternoon, who stood startled and trembling at the sudden plunge into this scene of brilliant gayety. She was neatly dressed in gray, and wore the white cap of an elderly woman.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said, "this is the woman, and I am the man, whose story I have told you. Permit me to introduce to you the wife of my youth."

THE BOUQUET by Charles W. Chesnutt

Mary Myrover's friends were somewhat surprised when she began to teach a colored school. Miss Myrover's friends are mentioned here, because nowhere more than in a Southern town is public opinion a force which cannot be lightly contravened. Public opinion, however, did not oppose Miss Myrover's teaching colored children; in fact, all the colored public schools in town—and there were several—were taught by white teachers, and had been so taught since the state had undertaken to provide free public instruction for all children within its boundaries. Previous to that time there had been a Freedman's Bureau school and a Presbyterian missionary school, but these had been withdrawn when the need for them became less pressing. The colored people of the town had been for some time agitating their right to teach their own schools, but as yet the claim had not been conceded.

The reason Miss Myrover's course created some surprise was not, therefore, the fact that a Southern white woman should teach a colored school; it lay in the fact that up to this time no woman of just her quality had taken up such work. Most of the teachers of colored schools were not of those who had constituted the aristocracy of the old regime; they might be said rather to represent the new order of things, in which labor was in time to become honorable, and men were, after a somewhat longer time, to depend, for their place in society, upon themselves rather than upon their ancestors. But Mary Myrover belonged to one of the proudest of the old families. Her ancestors had been people of distinction in Virginia before a collateral branch of the main stock had settled in North Carolina. Before the war they had been able to live up to their pedigree. But the war brought sad changes. Miss Myrover's father—the Colonel Myrover who led a gallant but desperate charge at Vicksburg—had fallen on the battlefield, and his tomb in the white cemetery was a shrine for the family. On the Confederate Memorial Day no other grave was so profusely decorated with flowers, and in the oration pronounced the name of Colonel Myrover was always used to illustrate the highest type of patriotic devotion and self-sacrifice. Miss Myrover's brother, too, had fallen in the conflict; but his bones lay in some unknown trench, with those of a thousand others who had fallen on the same field. Ay, more, her lover, who had hoped to come home in the full tide of victory and claim his bride as a reward for gallantry, had shared the fate of her father and brother. When the war was over, the remnant of the family found itself involved in the common ruin,—more deeply involved, indeed, than some others; for Colonel Myrover had believed in the ultimate triumph of his cause, and had invested most of his wealth in Confederate bonds, which were now only so much waste paper.

There had been a little left. Mrs. Myrover was thrifty, and had laid by a few hundred dollars, which she kept in the house to meet unforeseen contingencies. There remained, too, their home, with an ample garden and a well-stocked orchard, besides a considerable tract of country land, partly cleared, but productive of very little revenue.

With their shrunken resources, Miss Myrover and her mother were able to hold up their heads without embarrassment for some years after the close of the war. But when things were adjusted to the changed conditions, and the stream of life began to flow more vigorously in the new channels, they saw themselves in danger of dropping behind, unless in some way they could add to their meagre income. Miss Myrover looked over the field of employment, never very wide for women in the South, and found it occupied. The only available position she could be supposed prepared to fill, and which she could take without distinct loss of caste, was that of a teacher, and there was no vacancy except in one of the colored schools. Even teaching was a doubtful experiment; it was not what she would have preferred, but it was the best that could be done.

"I don't like it, Mary," said her mother. "It's a long step from owning such people to teaching them. What do they need with education? It will only make them unfit for work."

"They're free now, mother, and perhaps they'll work better if they're taught something. Besides, it's only a business arrangement, and doesn't involve any closer contact than we have with our servants."

"Well, I should say not!" sniffed the old lady. "Not one of them will ever dare to presume on your position to take any liberties with us. I'll see to that."

Miss Myrover began her work as a teacher in the autumn, at the opening of the school year. It was a novel experience at first. Though there always had been negro servants in the house, and though on the streets colored people were more numerous than her own people, and though she was so familiar with their dialect that she might almost be said to speak it, barring certain characteristic grammatical inaccuracies, she had never been brought in personal contact with so many of them at once as when she confronted the fifty or sixty faces—of colors ranging from a white almost as clear as her own to the darkest livery of the sun—which were gathered in the schoolroom on the morning when she began her duties. Some of the inherited prejudice of her caste, too, made itself felt, though she tried to repress any outward sign of it; and she could perceive that the children were not altogether responsive; they, likewise, were not entirely free from antagonism. The work was unfamiliar to her. She was not physically very strong, and at the close of the first day she went home with a splitting headache. If she could have resigned then and there without causing comment or annoyance to others, she would have felt it a privilege to do so. But a night's rest banished her headache and improved her spirits, and the next morning she went to her work with renewed vigor, fortified by the experience of the first day.

Miss Myrover's second day was more satisfactory. She had some natural talent for organization, though she had never known it, and in the course of the day she got her classes formed and lessons under way. In a week or two she began to classify her pupils in her own mind, as bright or stupid, mischievous or well behaved, lazy or industrious, as the case might be, and to regulate her discipline accordingly. That she had come of a long line of ancestors who had exercised authority and mastership was perhaps not without its effect upon her character, and enabled her more readily to maintain good order in the school. When she was fairly broken in she found the work rather to her liking, and derived much pleasure from such success as she achieved as a teacher.

It was natural that she should be more attracted to some of her pupils than to others. Perhaps her favorite—or rather, the one she liked best, for she was too fair and just for conscious favoritism—was Sophy Tucker. Just the ground for the teacher's liking for Sophy might not at first be apparent. The girl was far from the whitest of Miss Myrover's pupils; in fact, she was one of the darker ones. She was not the brightest in intellect, though she always tried to learn her lessons. She was not the best dressed, for her mother was a poor widow, who went out washing and scrubbing for a living. Perhaps the real tie between them was Sophy's intense devotion to the teacher. It had manifested itself almost from the first day of the school, in the rapt look of admiration Miss Myrover always saw on the little black face turned toward her. In it there was nothing of envy, nothing of regret; nothing but worship for the beautiful white lady—she was not especially handsome, but to Sophy her beauty was almost divine—who had come to teach her. If Miss Myrover dropped a book, Sophy was the first to spring and pick it up; if she wished a chair moved, Sophy seemed to anticipate her wish; and so of all the numberless little services that can be rendered in a school-room.

Miss Myrover was fond of flowers, and liked to have them about her. The children soon learned of this taste of hers, and kept the vases on her desk filled with blossoms during their season. Sophy was perhaps the most active in providing them. If she could not get garden flowers, she would make excursions to the woods in the early morning, and bring in great dew-laden bunches of bay, or jasmine, or some other fragrant forest flower which she knew the teacher loved.

"When I die, Sophy," Miss Myrover said to the child one day, "I want to be covered with roses. And when they bury me, I'm sure I shall rest better if my grave is banked with flowers, and roses are planted at my head and at my feet."

Miss Myrover was at first amused at Sophy's devotion; but when she grew more accustomed to it, she found it rather to her liking. It had a sort of flavor of the old regime, and she felt, when she bestowed her kindly notice upon her little black attendant, some of the feudal condescension of the mistress toward the slave. She was kind to Sophy, and permitted her to play the role she had assumed, which caused sometimes a little jealousy among the other girls. Once she gave Sophy a yellow ribbon which she took from her own hair. The child carried it home, and cherished it as a priceless treasure, to be worn only on the greatest occasions.

Sophy had a rival in her attachment to the teacher, but the rivalry was altogether friendly. Miss Myrover had a little dog, a white spaniel, answering to the name of Prince. Prince was a dog of high degree, and would have very little to do with the children of the school; he made an exception, however, in the case of Sophy, whose devotion for his mistress he seemed to comprehend. He was a clever dog, and could fetch and carry, sit up on his haunches, extend his paw to shake hands, and possessed several other canine accomplishments. He was very fond of his mistress, and always, unless shut up at home, accompanied her to school, where he spent most of his time lying under the teacher's desk, or, in cold weather, by the stove, except when he would go out now and then and chase an imaginary rabbit round the yard, presumably for exercise.

At school Sophy and Prince vied with each other in their attentions to Miss Myrover. But when school was over, Prince went away with her, and Sophy stayed behind; for Miss Myrover was white and Sophy was black, which they both understood perfectly well. Miss Myrover taught the colored children, but she could not be seen with them in public. If they occasionally met her on the street, they did not expect her to speak to them, unless she happened to be alone and no other white person was in sight. If any of the children felt slighted, she was not aware of it, for she intended no slight; she had not been brought up to speak to negroes on the street, and she could not act differently from other people. And though she was a woman of sentiment and capable of deep feeling, her training had been such that she hardly expected to find in those of darker hue than herself the same susceptibility—varying in degree, perhaps, but yet the same in kind—that gave to her own life the alternations of feeling that made it most worth living.

Once Miss Myrover wished to carry home a parcel of books. She had the bundle in her hand when Sophy came up.

"Lemme tote yo' bundle fer yer, Miss Ma'y?" she asked eagerly. "I'm gwine yo' way."

"Thank you, Sophy," was the reply. "I'll be glad if you will."

Sophy followed the teacher at a respectful distance. When they reached Miss Myrover's home Sophy carried the bundle to the doorstep, where Miss Myrover took it and thanked her.

Mrs. Myrover came out on the piazza as Sophy was moving away. She said, in the child's hearing, and perhaps with the intention that she should hear: "Mary, I wish you wouldn't let those little darkies follow you to the house. I don't want them in the yard. I should think you'd have enough of them all day."

"Very well, mother," replied her daughter. "I won't bring any more of them. The child was only doing me a favor."

Mrs. Myrover was an invalid, and opposition or irritation of any kind brought on nervous paroxysms that made her miserable, and made life a burden to the rest of the household; so that Mary seldom crossed her whims. She did not bring Sophy to the house again, nor did Sophy again offer her services as porter.

One day in spring Sophy brought her teacher a bouquet of yellow roses.

"Dey come off'n my own bush, Miss Ma'y," she said proudly, "an' I didn' let nobody e'se pull 'em, but saved 'em all fer you, 'cause I know you likes roses so much. I'm gwine bring 'em all ter you as long as dey las'."

"Thank you, Sophy," said the teacher; "you are a very good girl."

For another year Mary Myrover taught the colored school, and did excellent service. The children made rapid progress under her tuition, and learned to love her well; for they saw and appreciated, as well as children could, her fidelity to a trust that she might have slighted, as some others did, without much fear of criticism. Toward the end of her second year she sickened, and after a brief illness died.

Old Mrs. Myrover was inconsolable. She ascribed her daughter's death to her labors as teacher of negro children. Just how the color of the pupils had produced the fatal effects she did not stop to explain. But she was too old, and had suffered too deeply from the war, in body and mind and estate, ever to reconcile herself to the changed order of things following the return of peace; and with an unsound yet not unnatural logic, she visited some of her displeasure upon those who had profited most, though passively, by her losses.

"I always feared something would happen to Mary," she said. "It seemed unnatural for her to be wearing herself out teaching little negroes who ought to have been working for her. But the world has hardly been a fit place to live in since the war, and when I follow her, as I must before long, I shall not be sorry to go."

She gave strict orders that no colored people should be admitted to the house. Some of her friends heard of this, and remonstrated. They knew the teacher was loved by the pupils, and felt that sincere respect from the humble would be a worthy tribute to the proudest. But Mrs. Myrover was obdurate.

"They had my daughter when she was alive," she said, "and they've killed her. But she's mine now, and I won't have them come near her. I don't want one of them at the funeral or anywhere around."

For a month before Miss Myrover's death Sophy had been watching her rosebush—the one that bore the yellow roses—for the first buds of spring, and when these appeared had awaited impatiently their gradual unfolding. But not until her teacher's death had they become full-blown roses. When Miss Myrover died, Sophy determined to pluck the roses and lay them on her coffin. Perhaps, she thought, they might even put them in her hand or on her breast. For Sophy remembered Miss Myrover's thanks and praise when she had brought her the yellow roses the spring before.

On the morning of the day set for the funeral Sophy washed her face until it shone, combed and brushed her hair with painful conscientiousness, put on her best frock, plucked her yellow roses, and, tying them with the treasured ribbon her teacher had given her, set out for Miss Myrover's home.

She went round to the side gate—the house stood on a corner—and stole up the path to the kitchen. A colored woman, whom she did not know, came to the door.

"W'at yer want, chile?" she inquired.

"Kin I see Miss Ma'y?" asked Sophy timidly.

"I don' know, honey. Ole Miss Myrover say she don' want no cullud folks roun' de house endyoin' dis fun'al. I'll look an' see if she's roun' de front room, whar de co'pse is. You sed-down heah an' keep still, an' ef she's upstairs maybe I kin git yer in dere a minute. Ef I can't, I kin put yo' bokay 'mongs' de res', whar she won't know nuthin' erbout it."

A moment after she had gone there was a step in the hall, and old Mrs. Myrover came into the kitchen.

"Dinah!" she said in a peevish tone. "Dinah!"

Receiving no answer, Mrs. Myrover peered around the kitchen, and caught sight of Sophy.

"What are you doing here?" she demanded.

"I—I'm-m waitin' ter see de cook, ma'am," stammered Sophy.

"The cook isn't here now. I don't know where she is. Besides, my daughter is to be buried to-day, and I won't have any one visiting the servants until the funeral is over. Come back some other day, or see the cook at her own home in the evening."

She stood waiting for the child to go, and under the keen glance of her eyes Sophy, feeling as though she had been caught in some disgraceful act, hurried down the walk and out of the gate, with her bouquet in her hand.

"Dinah," said Mrs. Myrover, when the cook came back, "I don't want any strange people admitted here to-day. The house will be full of our friends, and we have no room for others."

"Yas'm," said the cook. She understood perfectly what her mistress meant; and what the cook thought about her mistress was a matter of no consequence.

The funeral services were held at St. John's Episcopal Church, where the Myrovers had always worshiped. Quite a number of Miss Myrover's pupils went to the church to attend the services. The church was not a large one. There was a small gallery at the rear, to which colored people were admitted, if they chose to come, at ordinary services; and those who wished to be present at the funeral supposed that the usual custom would prevail. They were therefore surprised, when they went to the side entrance, by which colored people gained access to the gallery stairs, to be met by an usher who barred their passage.

"I'm sorry," he said, "but I have had orders to admit no one until the friends of the family have all been seated. If you wish to wait until the white people have all gone in, and there's any room left, you may be able to get into the back part of the gallery. Of course I can't tell yet whether there'll be any room or not."

Now the statement of the usher was a very reasonable one; but, strange to say, none of the colored people chose to remain except Sophy. She still hoped to use her floral offering for its destined end, in some way, though she did not know just how. She waited in the yard until the church was filled with white people, and a number who could not gain admittance were standing about the doors. Then she went round to the side of the church, and, depositing her bouquet carefully on an old mossy gravestone, climbed up on the projecting sill of a window near the chancel. The window was of stained glass, of somewhat ancient make. The church was old, had indeed been built in colonial times, and the stained glass had been brought from England. The design of the window showed Jesus blessing little children. Time had dealt gently with the window; but just at the feet of the figure of Jesus a small triangular piece of glass had been broken out. To this aperture Sophy applied her eyes, and through it saw and heard what she could of the services within.

Before the chancel, on trestles draped in black, stood the sombre casket in which lay all that was mortal of her dear teacher. The top of the casket was covered with flowers; and lying stretched out underneath it she saw Miss Myrover's little white dog, Prince. He had followed the body to the church, and, slipping in unnoticed among the mourners, had taken his place, from which no one had the heart to remove him.

The white-robed rector read the solemn service for the dead, and then delivered a brief address, in which he spoke of the uncertainty of life, and, to the believer, the certain blessedness of eternity. He spoke of Miss Myrover's kindly spirit, and, as an illustration of her love and self-sacrifice for others, referred to her labors as a teacher of the poor ignorant negroes who had been placed in their midst by an all-wise Providence, and whom it was their duty to guide and direct in the station in which God had put them. Then the organ pealed, a prayer was said, and the long cortege moved from the church to the cemetery, about half a mile away, where the body was to be interred.

When the services were over, Sophy sprang down from her perch, and, taking her flowers, followed the procession. She did not walk with the rest, but at a proper and respectful distance from the last mourner. No one noticed the little black girl with the bunch of yellow flowers, or thought of her as interested in the funeral.

The cortege reached the cemetery and filed slowly through the gate; but Sophy stood outside, looking at a small sign in white letters on a black background:—

"NOTICE. This cemetery is for white people only. Others please keep out."

Sophy, thanks to Miss Myrover's painstaking instruction, could read this sign very distinctly. In fact, she had often read it before. For Sophy was a child who loved beauty, in a blind, groping sort of way, and had sometimes stood by the fence of the cemetery and looked through at the green mounds and shaded walks and blooming flowers within, and wished that she could walk among them. She knew, too, that the little sign on the gate, though so courteously worded, was no mere formality; for she had heard how a colored man, who had wandered into the cemetery on a hot night and fallen asleep on the flat top of a tomb, had been arrested as a vagrant and fined five dollars, which he had worked out on the streets, with a ball-and-chain attachment, at twenty-five cents a day. Since that time the cemetery gate had been locked at night.

So Sophy stayed outside, and looked through the fence. Her poor bouquet had begun to droop by this time, and the yellow ribbon had lost some of its freshness. Sophy could see the rector standing by the grave, the mourners gathered round; she could faintly distinguish the solemn words with which ashes were committed to ashes, and dust to dust. She heard the hollow thud of the earth falling on the coffin; and she leaned against the iron fence, sobbing softly, until the grave was filled and rounded off, and the wreaths and other floral pieces were disposed upon it. When the mourners began to move toward the gate, Sophy walked slowly down the street, in a direction opposite to that taken by most of the people who came out.

When they had all gone away, and the sexton had come out and locked the gate behind him, Sophy crept back. Her roses were faded now, and from some of them the petals had fallen. She stood there irresolute, loath to leave with her heart's desire unsatisfied, when, as her eyes fell upon the teacher's last resting place, she saw lying beside the new-made grave what looked like a small bundle of white wool. Sophy's eyes lighted up with a sudden glow.

"Prince! Here, Prince!" she called.

The little dog rose, and trotted down to the gate. Sophy pushed the poor bouquet between the iron bars. "Take that ter Miss Ma'y, Prince," she said, "that's a good doggie."

The dog wagged his tail intelligently, took the bouquet carefully in his mouth, carried it to his mistress's grave, and laid it among the other flowers. The bunch of roses was so small that from where she stood Sophy could see only a dash of yellow against the white background of the mass of flowers.

When Prince had performed his mission he turned his eyes toward Sophy inquiringly, and when she gave him a nod of approval lay down and resumed his watch by the graveside. Sophy looked at him a moment with a feeling very much like envy, and then turned and moved slowly away.

THE CASE OF THE NEGRO by Booker T. Washington

All attempts to settle the question of the Negro in the South by his removal from this country have so far failed, and I think that they are likely to fail. The next census will probably show that we have nearly ten million black people in the United States, about eight millions of whom are in the Southern states. In fact, we have almost a nation within a nation. The Negro population in the United States lacks but two millions of being as large as the whole population of Mexico, and is nearly twice as large as that of Canada. Our black people equal in number the combined populations of Switzerland, Greece, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, Uraguay [sic], Santo Domingo, Paraguay, and Costa Rica. When we consider, in connection with these facts, that the race has doubled itself since its freedom, and is still increasing, it hardly seems possible for any one to take seriously any scheme of emigration from America as a method of solution. At most, even if the government were to provide the means, but a few hundred thousand could be transported each year. The yearly increase in population would more than likely overbalance the number transported. Even if it did not, the time required to get rid of the Negro by this method would perhaps be fifty or seventy-five years.

Some have advised that the Negro leave the South, and take up his residence in the Northern states. I question whether this would make him any better off than he is in the South, when all things are considered. It has been my privilege to study the condition of our people in nearly every part of America; and I say without hesitation that, with some exceptional cases, the Negro is at his best in the Southern states. While he enjoys certain privileges in the North that he does not have in the South, when it comes to the matter of securing property, enjoying business advantages and employment, the South presents a far better opportunity than the North. Few colored men from the South are as yet able to stand up against the severe and increasing competition that exists in the North, to say nothing of the unfriendly influence of labor organizations, which in some way prevents black men in the North, as a rule, from securing occupation in the line of skilled labor.

Another point of great danger for the colored man who goes North is the matter of morals, owing to the numerous temptations by which he finds himself surrounded. More ways offer in which he can spend money than in the South, but fewer avenues of employment for earning money are open to him. The fact that at the North the Negro is almost confined to one line of occupation often tends to discourage and demoralize the strongest who go from the South, and makes them an easy prey for temptation. A few years ago, I made an examination into the condition of a settlement of Negroes who left the South and went into Kansas about twenty years since, when there was a good deal of excitement in the South concerning emigration from the West, and found it much below the standard of that of similar communities in the South. The only conclusion which any one can reach, from this and like instances, is that the Negroes are to remain in the Southern states. As a race they do not want to leave the South, and the Southern white people do not want them to leave. We must therefore find some basis of settlement that will be constitutional, just, manly; that will be fair to both races in the South and to the whole country. This cannot be done in a day, a year, or any short period of time. We can, however, with the present light, decide upon a reasonably safe method of solving the problem, and turn our strength and effort in that direction. In doing this, I would not have the Negro deprived of any privilege guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the United States. It is not best for the Negro that he relinquish any of his constitutional rights; it is not best for the Southern white man that he should, as I shall attempt to show in this article.

In order that we may concentrate our forces upon a wise object, without loss of time or effort, I want to suggest what seems to me and many others the wisest policy to be pursued. I have reached these conclusions not only by reason of my own observations and experience, but after eighteen years of direct contact with leading and influential colored and white men in most parts of our country. But I wish first to mention some elements of danger in the present situation, which all who desire the permanent welfare of both races in the South should carefully take into account.

First. There is danger that a certain class of impatient extremists among the Negroes in the North, who have little knowledge of the actual conditions in the South, may do the entire race injury by attempting to advise their brethren in the South to resort to armed resistance or the use of the torch, in order to secure justice. All intelligent and well-considered discussion of any important question, or condemnation of any wrong, whether in the North or the South, from the public platform and through the press, is to be commended and encouraged; but ill-considered and incendiary utterances from black men in the North will tend to add to the burdens of our people in the South rather than to relieve them. We must not fall into the temptation of believing that we can raise ourselves by abusing some one else.

Second. Another danger in the South which should be guarded against is that the whole white South, including the wise, conservative, law-abiding element, may find itself represented before the bar of public opinion by the mob or lawless element, which gives expression to its feelings and tendency in a manner that advertises the South throughout the world; while too often those who have no sympathy with such disregard of law are either silent, or fail to speak in a sufficiently emphatic manner to offset in any large degree the unfortunate reputation which the lawless have made for many portions of the South.

Third. No race or people ever got upon its feet without severe and constant struggle, often in the face of the greatest discouragement. While passing through the present trying period of its history, there is danger that a large and valuable element of the Negro race may become discouraged in the effort to better its condition. Every possible influence should be exerted to prevent this.

Fourth. There is a possibility that harm may be done to the South and to the Negro by exaggerated newspaper articles which are written near the scene or in the midst of specially aggravating occurrences. Often these reports are written by newspaper men, who give the impression that there is a race conflict throughout the South, and that all Southern white people are opposed to the Negro's progress; overlooking the fact that though in some sections there is trouble, in most parts of the South, if matters are not yet in all respects as we would have them, there is nevertheless a very large measure of peace, good will, and mutual helpfulness. In the same relation, much can be done to retard the progress of the Negro by a certain class of Southern white people, who in the midst of excitement speak or write in a manner that gives the impression that all Negroes are lawless, untrustworthy, and shiftless. For example, a Southern writer said, not long ago, in a communication to the New York Independent: "Even in small towns the husband cannot venture to leave his wife alone for an hour at night. At no time, in no place, is the white woman safe from the insults and assaults of these creatures." These statements, I presume, represented the feelings and the conditions that existed, at the time of the writing, in one community or county in the South; but thousands of Southern white men and women would be ready to testify that this is not the condition throughout the South, nor throughout any Southern state.

Fifth. Owing to the lack of school opportunities for the Negro in the rural districts of the South, there is danger that ignorance and idleness may increase to the extent of giving the Negro race a reputation for crime, and that immorality may eat its way into the fibre of the race so as to retard its progress for many years. In judging the Negro we must not be too harsh. We must remember that it has been only within the last thirty-four years that the black father and mother have had the responsibility, and consequently the experience, of training their own children. That perfection has not been reached in one generation, with the obstacles that the parents have been compelled to overcome, is not to be wondered at.

Sixth. Finally, I would mention my fear that some of the white people of the South may be led to feel that the way to settle the race problem is to repress the aspirations of the Negro by legislation of a kind that confers certain legal or political privileges upon an ignorant and poor white man, and withholds the same privileges from a black man in a similar condition. Such legislation injures and retards the progress of both races. It is an injustice to the poor white man, because it takes from him incentive to secure education and property as prerequisites for voting. He feels that because he is a white man, regardless of his possessions, a way will be found for him to vote. I would label all such measures "laws to keep the poor white man in ignorance and poverty."

The Talladega News Reporter, a Democratic newspaper of Alabama, recently said: "But it is a weak cry when the white man asks odds on intelligence over the Negro. When nature has already so handicapped the African in the race for knowledge, the cry of the boasted Anglo-Saxon for still further odds seems babyish. What wonder that the world looks on in surprise, if not disgust? It cannot help but say, If our contention be true that the Negro is an inferior race, then the odds ought to be on the other side, if any are to be given. And why not? No; the thing to do—the only thing that will stand the test of time—is to do right, exactly right, let come what will. And that right thing, as it seems to us, is to place a fair educational qualification before every citizen,—one that is self-testing, and not dependent on the wishes of weak men,—letting all who pass the test stand in the proud ranks of American voters, whose votes shall be counted as cast, and whose sovereign will shall be maintained as law by all the powers that be. Nothing short of this will do. Every exemption, on whatsoever ground, is an outrage that can only rob some legitimate voter of his rights."

Such laws have been made,—in Mississippi, for example,—with the "understanding" clause, hold out a temptation for the election officer to perjure and degrade himself by too often deciding that the ignorant white man does understand the Constitution when it is read to him, and that the ignorant black man does not. By such a law, the state not only commits a wrong against its black citizens; it injures the morals of its white citizens by conferring such a power upon any white man who may happen to be a judge of elections.

Such laws are hurtful, again, because they keep alive in the heart of the black man the feeling that the white man means to oppress him. The only safe way out is to set a high standard as a test of citizenship, and require blacks and whites alike to come up to it. When this is done, both will have a higher respect for the election laws, and for those who make them. I do not believe that, with his centuries of advantage over the Negro in the opportunity to acquire property and education as prerequisites for voting, the average white man in the South desires that any special law be passed to give him further advantage over one who has had but a little more than thirty years in which to prepare himself for citizenship. In this relation, another point of danger is that the Negro has been made to feel that it is his duty continually to oppose the Southern white man in politics, even in matters where no principle is involved; and that he is only loyal to his own race and acting in a manly way in thus opposing the white man. Such a policy has proved very hurtful to both races. Where it is a matter of principle, where a question of right or wrong is involved, I would advise the Negro to stand by principle at all hazards. A Southern white man has no respect for or confidence in a Negro who acts merely for policy's sake; but there are many cases, and the number is growing, where the Negro has nothing to gain, and much to lose, by opposing the Southern white man in matters that relate to government.

Under the foregoing six heads I believe I have stated some of the main points which, all high-minded white men and black men, North and South, will agree, need our most earnest and thoughtful consideration, if we would hasten, and not hinder, the progress of our country.

Now as to the policy that should be pursued. On this subject I claim to possess no superior wisdom or unusual insight. I may be wrong; I may be in some degree right.

In the future we want to impress upon the Negro, more than we have done in the past, the importance of identifying himself more closely with the interests of the South; of making himself part of the South, and at home in it. Heretofore, for reasons which were natural, and for which no one is especially to blame, the colored people have been too much like a foreign nation residing in the midst of another nation. If William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, or George L. Stearns were alive to-day, I feel sure that he would advise the Negroes to identify their interests as closely as possible with those of their white neighbors,—always understanding that no question of right and wrong is involved. In no other way, it seems to me, can we get a foundation for peace and progress. He who advises against this policy will advise the Negro to do that which no people in history, who have succeeded, have done. The white man, North or South, who advises the Negro against it advises him to do that which he himself has not done. The bed rock upon which every individual rests his chances for success in life is the friendship, the confidence, the respect, of his next-door neighbor in the little community in which he lives. The problem of the Negro in the South turns on whether he can make himself of such indispensable service to his neighbor and the community that no one can fill his place better in the body politic. There is at present no other safe course for the black man to pursue. If the Negro in the South has a friend in his white neighbor, and a still larger number of friends in his own community, he has a protection and a guarantee of his rights that will be more potent and more lasting than any our Federal Congress or any outside power can confer.

The London Times, in a recent editorial discussing affairs in the Transvaal, where Englishmen have been denied certain privileges by the Boers, says: "England is too sagacious not to prefer a gradual reform from within, even should it be less rapid than most of us might wish, to the most sweeping redress of grievances imposed from without. Our object is to obtain fair play for the Outlanders, but the best way to do it is to enable them to help themselves." This policy, I think, is equally safe when applied to conditions in the South. The foreigner who comes to America identifies himself as soon as possible, in business, education, and politics, with the community in which he settles. We have a conspicuous example of this in the case of the Jews, who in the South, as well as in other parts of our country, have not always been justly treated; but the Jews have so woven themselves into the business and patriotic interests of the communities in which they live, have made themselves so valuable as citizens, that they have won a place in the South which they could have obtained in no other way. The Negro in Cuba has practically settled the race question there, because he has made himself a part of Cuba in thought and action.

What I have tried to indicate cannot be accomplished by any sudden revolution of methods, but it does seem that the tendency should be more and more in this direction. Let me emphasize this by a practical example. The North sends thousands of dollars into the South every year for the education of the Negro. The teachers in most of the Southern schools supported by the North are Northern men and women of the highest Christian culture and most unselfish devotion. The Negro owes them a debt of gratitude which can never be paid. The various missionary societies in the North have done a work which to a large degree has proved the salvation of the South, and the results of it will appear more in future generations than in this. We have now reached the point, in the South, where, I believe, great good could be accomplished in changing the attitude of the white people toward the Negro, and of the Negro toward the whites, if a few Southern white teachers, of high character, would take an active interest in the work of our higher schools. Can this be done? Yes. The medical school connected with Shaw University at Raleigh, North Carolina, has from the first had as instructors and professors almost exclusively Southern white doctors who reside in Raleigh, and they have given the highest satisfaction. This gives the people of Raleigh the feeling that the school is theirs, and not something located in, but not a part of, the South. In Augusta, Georgia, the Payne Institute, one of the best colleges for our people, is officered and taught almost wholly by Southern white men and women. The Presbyterian Theological School at Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has only Southern white men as instructors. Some time ago, at the Calhoun School in Alabama, one of the leading white men in the county was given an important position; since then the feeling of the white people in the county has greatly changed toward the school.

We must admit the stern fact that at present the Negro, through no choice of his own, is living in the midst of another race, which is far ahead of him in education, property, and experience; and further, that the Negro's present condition makes him dependent upon the white people for most of the things necessary to sustain life, as well as, in a large measure, for his education. In all history, those who have possessed the property and intelligence have exercised the greatest control in government, regardless of color, race, or geographical location. This being the case, how can the black man in the South improve his estate? And does the Southern white man want him to improve it? The latter part of this question I shall attempt to answer later in this article.

The Negro in the South has it within his power, if he properly utilizes the forces at land, to make of himself such a valuable factor in the life of the South that for the most part he need not seek privileges, but they will be conferred upon him. To bring this about, the Negro must begin at the bottom and lay a sure foundation, and not be lured by any temptation into trying to rise on a false footing. While the Negro is laying this foundation, he will need help and sympathy and justice from the law. Progress by any other method will be but temporary and superficial, and the end of it will be worse than the beginning. American slavery was a great curse to both races, and I should be the last to apologize for it; but in the providence of God I believe that slavery laid the foundation for the solution of the problem that is now before us in the South. Under slavery, the Negro was taught every trade, every industry, that furnishes the means of earning a living. Now if on this foundation, laid in a rather crude way, it is true, but a foundation nevertheless, we can gradually grow and improve, the future for us is bright. Let me be more specific. Agriculture is or has been the basic industry of nearly every race or nation that has succeeded. The Negro got a knowledge of this under slavery: hence in a large measure he is in possession of this industry in the South to-day. Taking the whole South, I should say that eighty per cent of the Negroes live by agriculture in some form, though it is often a very primitive and crude form. The Negro can buy land in the South, as a rule, wherever the white man can buy it, and at very low prices. Now, since the bulk of our people already have a foundation in agriculture, are at their best when living in the country engaged in agricultural pursuits, plainly, the best thing, the logical thing, is to turn the larger part of our strength in a direction that will put the Negroes among the most skilled agricultural people in the world. The man who has learned to do something better than any one else, has learned to do a common thing in an uncommon manner, has power and influence which no adverse surroundings can take from him. It is better to show a man how to make a place for himself than to put him in one that some one else has made for him. The Negro who can make himself so conspicuous as a successful farmer, a large taxpayer, a wise helper of his fellow men, as to be placed in a position of trust and honor by natural selection, whether the position be political or not, is a hundredfold more secure in that position than one placed there by mere outside force or pressure. I know a Negro, Hon. Isaiah T. Montgomery, in Mississippi, who is mayor of a town; it is true that the town is composed almost wholly of Negroes. Mr. Montgomery is mayor of this town because his genius, thrift, and foresight have created it; and he is held and supported in his office by a charter granted by the state of Mississippi, and by the vote and public sentiment of the community in which he lives.

Let us help the Negro by every means possible to acquire such an education in farming, dairying, stock-raising, horticulture, etc., as will place him near the top in these industries, and the race problem will in a large part be settled, or at least stripped of many of its most perplexing elements. This policy would also tend to keep the Negro in the country and smaller towns, where he succeeds best, and stop the influx into the large cities, where he does not succeed so well. The race, like the individual, which produces something of superior worth that has a common human interest, wins a permanent place, and is bound to be recognized.

At a county fair in the South, not long ago, I saw a Negro awarded the first prize, by a jury of white men, over white competitors, for the production of the best specimen of Indian corn. Every white man at the fair seemed to be proud of the achievement of the Negro, because it was apparent that he had done something that would add to the wealth and comfort of the people of both races in that county. At the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, in Alabama, we have a department devoted to training men along the lines of agriculture that I have named; but what we are doing is small when compared with what should be done in Tuskegee, and at other educational centres. In a material sense the South is still an undeveloped country. While in some other affairs race prejudice is strongly marked, in the matter of business, of commercial and industrial development, there are few obstacles in the Negro's way. A Negro who produces or has for sale something that the community wants finds customers among white people as well as black. Upon equal security, a Negro can borrow money at the bank as readily as a white man can. A bank in Birmingham, Alabama, which has existed ten years, is officered and controlled wholly by Negroes. This bank has white borrowers and white depositors. A graduate of the Tuskegee Institute keeps a well-appointed grocery store in Tuskegee, and he tells me that he sells about as many goods to one race as to the other. What I have said of the opening that awaits the Negro in the business of agriculture is almost equally true of mechanics, manufacturing, and all the domestic arts. The field is before him and right about him. Will he seize upon it? Will he "cast down his bucket where he is"? Will his friends, North and South, encourage him and prepare him to occupy it? Every city in the South, for example, would give support to a first-class architect or housebuilder or contractor of our race. The architect or contractor would not only receive support, but through his example numbers of young colored men would learn such trades as carpentry, brickmasonry, plastering, painting, etc., and the race would be put into a position to hold on to many of the industries which it is now in danger of losing, because in too many cases brain, skill, and dignity are not imparted to the common occupations. Any individual or race that does not fit itself to occupy in the best manner the field or service that is right about it will sooner or later be asked to move on and let another take it.

But I may be asked, Would you confine the Negro to agriculture, mechanics, the domestic arts, etc.? Not at all; but just now and for a number of years the stress should be laid along the lines that I have mentioned. We shall need and must have many teachers and ministers, some doctors and lawyers and statesmen, but these professional men will have a constituency or a foundation from which to draw support just in proportion as the race prospers along the economic lines that I have pointed out. During the first fifty or one hundred years of the life of any people, are not the economic occupations always given the greater attention? This is not only the historic, but, I think, the common-sense view. If this generation will lay the material foundation, it will be the quickest and surest way for enabling later generations to succeed in the cultivation of the fine arts, and to surround themselves with some of the luxuries of life, if desired. What the race most needs now, in my opinion, is a whole army of men and women well-trained to lead, and at the same time devote themselves to agriculture, mechanics, domestic employment, and business. As to the mental training that these educated leaders should be equipped with, I should say, give them all the mental training and culture that the circumstances of individuals will allow,—the more the better. No race can permanently succeed until its mind is awakened and strengthened by the ripest thought. But I would constantly have it kept in the minds of those who are educated in books that a large proportion of those who are educated should be so trained in hand that they can bring this mental strength and knowledge to bear upon the physical conditions in the South, which I have tried to emphasize.

Frederick Douglass, of sainted memory, once, in addressing his race, used these words: "We are to prove that we can better our own condition. One way to do this is to accumulate property. This may sound to you like a new gospel. You have been accustomed to hear that money is the root of all evil, etc.; on the other hand, property, money, if you please, will purchase for us the only condition by which any people can rise to the dignity of genuine manhood; for without property there can be no leisure, without leisure there can be no thought, without thought there can be no invention, without invention there can be no progress."

The Negro should be taught that material development is not an end, but merely a means to an end. As professor W. E. B. Du Bois puts it, the idea should not be simply to make men carpenters, but to make carpenters men. The Negro has a highly religious temperament; but what he needs more and more is to be convinced of the importance of weaving his religion and morality into the practical affairs of daily life. Equally does he need to be taught to put so much intelligence into his labor that he will see dignity and beauty in the occupation, and love it for its own sake. The Negro needs to be taught to apply more of the religion that manifests itself in his happiness in prayer meeting to the performance of his daily task. The man who owns a home, and is in the possession of the elements by which he is sure of a daily living, has a great aid to a moral and religious life. What bearing will all this have upon the Negro's place in the South, as a citizen and in the enjoyment of the privileges which our government confers?

To state in detail just what place the black man will occupy in the South as a citizen, when he has developed in the direction named, is beyond the wisdom of any one. Much will depend upon the sense of justice which can be kept alive in the breast of the American people; almost as much will depend upon the good sense of the Negro himself. That question, I confess, does not give me the most concern just now. The important and pressing question is, Will the Negro, with his own help and that of his friends, take advantage of the opportunities that surround him? When he has done this, I believe, speaking of his future in general terms, that he will be treated with justice, be given the protection of the law and the recognition which his usefulness and ability warrant. If, fifty years ago, one had predicted that the Negro would receive the recognition and honor which individuals have already received, he would have been laughed at as an idle dreamer. Time, patience, and constant achievement are great factors in the rise of a race.

I do not believe that the world ever takes a race seriously, in its desire to share in the government of a nation, until a large number of individual members of that race have demonstrated beyond question their ability to control and develop their own business enterprises. Once a number of Negroes rise to the point where they own and operate the most successful farms, are among the largest taxpayers in their county, are moral and intelligent, I do not believe that in many portions of the South such men need long be denied the right of saying by their votes how they prefer their property to be taxed, and who are to make and administer the laws.

I was walking the street of a certain town in the South lately in company with the most prominent Negro there. While we were together, the mayor of the town sought out the black man, and said, "Next week we are going to vote on the question of issuing bonds to secure water-works; you must be sure to vote on the day of election." The mayor did not suggest whether he should vote yes or no; but he knew that the very fact of this Negro's owning nearly a block of the most valuable property in the town was a guarantee that he would cast a safe, wise vote on this important proposition. The white man knew that because of this Negro's property interests he would cast his vote in the way he thought would benefit every white and black citizen in the town, and not be controlled by influences a thousand miles away. But a short time ago I read letters from nearly every prominent white man in Birmingham, Alabama, asking that the Rev. W. R. Pettiford, a Negro, be appointed to a certain important federal office. What is the explanation of this? For nine years Mr. Pettiford has been the president of the Negro bank in Birmingham, to which I have alluded. During these nine years, the white citizens have had the opportunity of seeing that Mr. Pettiford can manage successfully a private business, and that he has proved himself a conservative, thoughtful citizen, and they are willing to trust him in a public office. Such individual examples will have to be multiplied, till they become more nearly the rule than the exception they now are. While we are multiplying these examples, the Negro must keep a strong and courageous heart. He cannot improve his condition by any short-cut course or by artificial methods. Above all, he must not be deluded into believing that his condition can be permanently bettered by a mere battledoor [sic] and shuttlecock of words, or by any process of mere mental gymnastics or oratory. What is desired along with a logical defense of his cause are deeds, results,—continued results, in the direction of building himself up, so as to leave no doubt in the mind of any one of his ability to succeed.

An important question often asked is, Does the white man in the South want the Negro to improve his present condition? I say yes. From the Montgomery (Alabama) Daily Advertiser I clip the following in reference to the closing of a colored school in a town in Alabama:—

"EUFALA, May 25, 1899. The closing exercises of the city colored public school were held at St. Luke's A. M. E. Church last night, and were witnessed by a large gathering, including many whites. The recitations by the pupils were excellent, and the music was also an interesting feature. Rev. R. T. Pollard delivered the address, which was quite an able one, and the certificates were presented by Professor T. L. McCoy, white, of the Sanford Street School. The success of the exercises reflects great credit on Professor S. M. Murphy, the principal, who enjoys a deserved good reputation as a capable and efficient educator."

I quote this report, not because it is the exception, but because such marks of interest in the education of the Negro on the part of the Southern white people may be seen almost every day in the local papers. Why should white people, by their presence, words, and actions, encourage the black man to get education, if they do not desire him to improve his condition?

The Payne Institute, an excellent college, to which I have already referred, is supported almost wholly by the Southern white Methodist church. The Southern white Presbyterians support a theological school for Negroes at Tuscaloosa. For a number of years the Southern white Baptists have contributed toward Negro education. Other denominations have done the same. If these people do not want the Negro educated to a higher standard, there is no reason why they should pretend they do.

Though some of the lynchings in the South have indicated a barbarous feeling toward Negroes, Southern white men here and there, as well as newspapers, have spoken out strongly against lynching. I quote from the address of the Rev. Mr. Vance, of Nashville, Tennessee, delivered before the National Sunday School Union, in Atlanta, not long since, as an example:—

"And yet, as I stand here to-night, a Southerner speaking for my section and addressing an audience from all sections, there is one foul blot upon the fair fame of the South, at the bare mention of which the heart turns sick and the cheek is crimsoned with shame. I want to lift my voice to-night in loud and long and indignant protest against the awful horror of mob violence, which the other day reached the climax of its madness and infamy in a deed as black and brutal and barbarous as can be found in the annals of human crime.

"I have a right to speak on the subject, and I propose to be heard. The time has come for every lover of the South to set the might of an angered and resolute manhood against the shame and peril of the lynch demon. These people whose fiendish glee taunts their victim as his flesh crackles in the flames do not represent the South. I have not a syllable of apology for the sickening crime they meant to avenge. But it is high time we were learning that lawlessness is no remedy for crime. For one, I dare to believe that the people of my section are able to cope with crime, however treacherous and defiant, through their courts of justice; and I plead for the masterful sway of a righteous and exalted public sentiment that shall class lynch law in the category with crime."

It is a notable and encouraging fact that no Negro educated in any of our larger institutions of learning in the South has been charged with any of the recent crimes connected with assaults upon women.

If we go on making progress in the directions that I have tried to indicate, more and more the South will be drawn to one course. As I have already said, it is not to the best interests of the white race of the South that the Negro be deprived of any privilege guaranteed him by the Constitution of the United States. This would put upon the South a burden under which no government could stand and prosper. Every article in our Federal Constitution was placed there with a view of stimulating and encouraging the highest type of citizenship. To continue to tax the Negro without giving him the right to vote, as fast as he qualifies himself in education and property for voting, would insure the alienation of the affections of the Negro from the state in which he lives, and would be the reversal of the fundamental principles of government for which our states have stood. In other ways than this the injury would be as great to the white man as to the Negro. Taxation without the hope of becoming voters would take away from one third of the citizens of the Gulf states their interest in government, and a stimulus to become taxpayers or to secure education, and thus be able and willing to bear their share of the cost of education and government, which now rests so heavily upon the white taxpayers of the South. The more the Negro is stimulated and encouraged, the sooner will he be able to bear a larger share of the burdens of the South. We have recently had before us an example, in the case of Spain, of a government that left a large portion of its citizens in ignorance, and neglected their highest interests.

As I have said elsewhere: "There is no escape, through law of man or God, from the inevitable.

   'The laws of changeless justice bind
    Oppressor with oppressed;
   And close as sin and suffering joined
    We march to fate abreast.'

Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load upwards, or they will pull the load downwards against you. We shall constitute one third and more of the ignorance and crime of the South, or one third of its intelligence and progress; we shall contribute one third to the business and industrial prosperity of the South, or we shall prove a veritable body of death, stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic."

My own feeling is that the South will gradually reach the point where it will see the wisdom and the justice of enacting an educational or property qualification, or both, for voting, that shall be made to apply honestly to both races. The industrial development of the Negro in connection with education and Christian character will help to hasten this end. When this is done, we shall have a foundation, in my opinion, upon which to build a government that is honest, and that will be in a high degree satisfactory to both races.

I do not suffer myself to take too optimistic a view of the conditions in the South. The problem is a large and serious one, and will require the patient help, sympathy, and advice of our most patriotic citizens, North and South, for years to come. But I believe that if the principles which I have tried to indicate are followed, a solution of the question will come. So long as the Negro is permitted to get education, acquire property, and secure employment, and is treated with respect in the business world, as is now true in the greater part of the South, I shall have the greatest faith in his working out his own destiny in our Southern states. The education and preparation for citizenship of nearly eight millions of people is a tremendous task, and every lover of humanity should count it a privilege to help in the solution of a problem for which our whole country is responsible.

HOT-FOOT HANNIBAL by Charles W. Chesnutt

"I hate and despise you! I wish never to see you or speak to you again!"

"Very well; I will take care that henceforth you have no opportunity to do either."

These words—the first in the passionately vibrant tones of my sister-in-law, and the latter in the deeper and more restrained accents of an angry man—startled me from my nap. I had been dozing in my hammock on the front piazza, behind the honeysuckle vine. I had been faintly aware of a buzz of conversation in the parlor, but had not at all awakened to its import until these sentences fell, or, I might rather say, were hurled upon my ear. I presume the young people had either not seen me lying there,—the Venetian blinds opening from the parlor windows upon the piazza were partly closed on account of the heat,—or else in their excitement they had forgotten my proximity.

I felt somewhat concerned. The young man, I had remarked, was proud, firm, jealous of the point of honor, and, from my observation of him, quite likely to resent to the bitter end what he deemed a slight or an injustice. The girl, I knew, was quite as high-spirited as young Murchison. I feared she was not so just, and hoped she would prove more yielding. I knew that her affections were strong and enduring, but that her temperament was capricious, and her sunniest moods easily overcast by some small cloud of jealousy or pique. I had never imagined, however, that she was capable of such intensity as was revealed by these few words of hers. As I say, I felt concerned. I had learned to like Malcolm Murchison, and had heartily consented to his marriage with my ward; for it was in that capacity that I had stood for a year or two to my wife's younger sister, Mabel. The match thus rudely broken off had promised to be another link binding me to the kindly Southern people among whom I had not long before taken up my residence.

Young Murchison came out of the door, cleared the piazza in two strides without seeming aware of my presence, and went off down the lane at a furious pace. A few moments later Mabel began playing the piano loudly, with a touch that indicated anger and pride and independence and a dash of exultation, as though she were really glad that she had driven away forever the young man whom the day before she had loved with all the ardor of a first passion.

I hoped that time might heal the breach and bring the two young people together again. I told my wife what I had overheard. In return she gave me Mabel's version of the affair.

"I do not see how it can ever be settled," my wife said. "It is something more than a mere lovers' quarrel. It began, it is true, because she found fault with him for going to church with that hateful Branson girl. But before it ended there were things said that no woman of any spirit could stand. I am afraid it is all over between them."

I was sorry to hear this. In spite of the very firm attitude taken by my wife and her sister, I still hoped that the quarrel would be made up within a day or two. Nevertheless, when a week had passed with no word from young Murchison, and with no sign of relenting on Mabel's part, I began to think myself mistaken.

One pleasant afternoon, about ten days after the rupture, old Julius drove the rockaway up to the piazza, and my wife, Mabel, and I took our seats for a drive to a neighbor's vineyard, over on the Lumberton plankroad.

"Which way shall we go," I asked,—"the short road or the long one?"

"I guess we had better take the short road," answered my wife. "We will get there sooner."

"It's a mighty fine dribe roun' by de big road, Mis' Annie," observed Julius, "en it doan take much longer to git dere."

"No," said my wife, "I think we will go by the short road. There is a bay tree in blossom near the mineral spring, and I wish to get some of the flowers."

"I 'spec's you'd find some bay trees 'long de big road, ma'am," said Julius.

"But I know about the flowers on the short road, and they are the ones I want."

We drove down the lane to the highway, and soon struck into the short road leading past the mineral spring. Our route lay partly through a swamp, and on each side the dark, umbrageous foliage, unbroken by any clearing, lent to the road solemnity, and to the air a refreshing coolness. About half a mile from the house, and about halfway to the mineral spring, we stopped at the tree of which my wife had spoken, and reaching up to the low-hanging boughs I gathered a dozen of the fragrant white flowers. When I resumed my seat in the rockaway, Julius started the mare. She went on for a few rods, until we had reached the edge of a branch crossing the road, when she stopped short.

"Why did you stop, Julius?" I asked.

"I didn', suh," he replied. "'T wuz de mare stop'. G' 'long dere, Lucy! W'at you mean by dis foolis'ness?"

Julius jerked the reins and applied the whip lightly, but the mare did not stir.

"Perhaps you had better get down and lead her," I suggested. "If you get her started, you can cross on the log and keep your feet dry."

Julius alighted, took hold of the bridle, and vainly essayed to make the mare move. She planted her feet with even more evident obstinacy.

"I don't know what to make of this," I said. "I have never known her to balk before. Have you, Julius?"

"No, suh," replied the old man, "I nebber has. It's a cu'ous thing ter me, suh."

"What's the best way to make her go?"

"I 'spec's, suh, dat ef I'd tu'n her roun' she'd go de udder way."

"But we want her to go this way."

"Well, suh, I 'low ef we des set heah fo' er fibe minutes, she'll sta't up by herse'f."

"All right," I rejoined, "it is cooler here than any place I have struck to-day. We'll let her stand for a while, and see what she does."

We had sat in silence for a few minutes, when Julius suddenly ejaculated, "Uh huh! I knows w'y dis mare doan go. It des flash 'cross my reccommemb'ance."

"Why is it, Julius?" I inquired.

"Ca'se she sees Chloe."

"Where is Chloe?" I demanded.

"Chloe's done be'n dead dese fo'ty years er mo'," the old man returned. "Her ha'nt is settin' ober yander on de udder side er de branch, unner dat willer tree, dis blessed minute."

"Why, Julius!" said my wife, "do you see the haunt?"

"No'm," he answered, shaking his head, "I doan see 'er, but de mare sees 'er."

"How do you know?" I inquired.

"Well, suh, dis yer is a gray hoss, en dis yer is a Friday; en a gray hoss kin alluz see a ha'nt w'at walks on Friday."

"Who was Chloe?" said Mabel.

"And why does Chloe's haunt walk?" asked my wife.

"It's all in de tale, ma'am," Julius replied, with a deep sigh. "It's all in de tale."

"Tell us the tale," I said. "Perhaps, by the time you get through, the haunt will go away and the mare will cross."

I was willing to humor the old man's fancy. He had not told us a story for some time; and the dark and solemn swamp around us; the amber-colored stream flowing silently and sluggishly at our feet, like the waters of Lethe; the heavy, aromatic scent of the bays, faintly suggestive of funeral wreaths,—all made the place an ideal one for a ghost story.

"Chloe," Julius began in a subdued tone, "use' ter b'long ter ole Mars' Dugal' McAdoo—my ole marster. She wuz a ladly gal en a smart gal, en ole mis' tuk her up ter de big house, en l'arnt her ter wait on de w'ite folks, 'tel bimeby she come ter be mis's own maid, en 'peared ter 'low she run de house herse'f, ter heah her talk erbout it. I wuz a young boy den, en use' ter wuk about de stables, so I knowed ev'ythin' dat wuz gwine on roun' de plantation.

"Well, one time Mars' Dugal' wanted a house boy, en sont down ter de qua'ters fer hab Jeff en Hannibal come up ter de big house nex' mawnin'. Ole marster en ole mis' look' de two boys ober, en 'sco'sed wid deyse'ves fer a little w'ile, en den Mars' Dugal' sez, sezee:—

"'We laks Hannibal de bes', en we gwine ter keep him. Heah, Hannibal, you'll wuk at de house fum now on. En ef you're a good nigger en min's yo' bizness, I'll gib you Chloe fer a wife nex' spring. You other nigger, you Jeff, you kin go back ter de qua'ters. We ain' gwine ter need you.'

"Now Chloe had be'n standin' dere behin' ole mis' dyoin' all er dis yer talk, en Chloe made up her min' fum de ve'y fus' minute she sot eyes on dem two dat she didn' lak dat nigger Hannibal, en wa'n't nebber gwine keer fer 'im, en she wuz des ez sho' dat she lak Jeff, en wuz gwine ter set sto' by 'im, whuther Mars' Dugal' tuk 'im in de big house er no; en so co'se Chloe wuz monst'us sorry w'en ole Mars' Dugal' tuk Hannibal en sont Jeff back. So she slip' roun' de house en waylaid Jeff on de way back ter de qua'ters en tol' 'im not ter be downhea'ted, fer she wuz gwine ter see ef she couldn' fin' some way er 'nuther ter git rid er dat nigger Hannibal, en git Jeff up ter de house in his place.

"De noo house boy kotch on monst'us fas', en it wa'n't no time ha'dly befo' Mars' Dugal' en ole mis' bofe 'mence' ter 'low Hannibal wuz de bes' house boy dey eber had. He wuz peart en soopl', quick ez lightnin', en sha'p ez a razor. But Chloe didn' lak his ways. He wuz so sho' he wuz gwine ter git 'er in de spring, dat he didn' 'pear ter 'low he had ter do any co'tin', en w'en he'd run 'cross Chloe 'bout de house, he'd swell roun' 'er in a biggity way en say:

"'Come heah en kiss me, honey. You gwine ter be mine in de spring. You doan 'pear ter be ez fon' er me ez you oughter be.'

"Chloe didn' keer nuffin' fer Hannibal, en hadn' keered nuffin' fer 'im, en she sot des ez much sto' by Jeff ez she did de day she fus' laid eyes on 'im. En de mo' fermilyus dis yer Hannibal got, de mo' Chloe let her min' run on Jeff, en one ebenin' she went down ter de qua'ters en watch', 'tel she got a chance fer ter talk wid 'im by hisse'f. En she tol' Jeff fer ter go down en see ole Aun' Peggy, de cunjuh-'oman down by de Wim'l'ton Road, en ax her fer ter gib 'im sump'n ter he'p git Hannibal out'n de big house, so de w'ite folks 'u'd sen' fer Jeff ag'in. En bein' ez Jeff didn' hab nuffin' ter gib Aun' Peggy, Chloe gun i'm a silber dollah en a silk han'kercher fer ter pay her wid, fer Aun' Peggy nebber lak ter wuk fer nobody fer nuffin'.

"So Jeff slip' off down ter Aun' Peggy's one night, en gun 'er de presents he brung, en tol' er all 'bout 'im en Chloe en Hannibal, en ax' 'er ter he'p 'im out. Aun' Peggy tol' 'im she'd wuk 'er roots, en fer 'im ter come back de nex' night, en she'd tell 'im w'at she c'd do fer 'im.

"So de nex' night Jeff went back, en Aun' Peggy gun 'im a baby-doll, wid a body made out'n a piece er co'n-stalk, en wid splinters fer a'ms en legs, en a head made out'n elderberry peth, en two little red peppers fer feet.

"'Dis yer baby-doll,' sez she, 'is Hannibal. Dis yer peth head is Hannibal's head, en dese yer pepper feet is Hannibal's feet. You take dis en hide it unner de house, on de sill unner de do', whar Hannibal'll hafter walk ober it ev'y day. En ez long ez Hannibal comes anywhar nigh dis baby-doll, he'll be des lak it is—light-headed en hot-footed; en ef dem two things doan git 'im inter trouble mighty soon, den I'm no cunjuh-'oman. But w'en you git Hannibal out'n de house, en git all thoo wid dis baby-doll, you mus' fetch it back ter me, fer it's monst'us powerful goopher, en is liable ter make mo' trouble ef you leabe it layin' roun'.'

"Well, Jeff tuk de baby-doll, en slip' up ter de big house, en whistle' ter Chloe, en w'en she come out he tol' 'er w'at ole Aun' Peggy had said. En Chloe showed 'im how ter git unner de house, en w'en he had put de cunjuh-doll on de sill he went 'long back ter de qua'ters—en des waited.

"Nex' day, sho' 'nuff, de goopher 'mence' ter wuk. Hannibal sta'ted in de house soon in de mawnin' wid a armful er wood ter make a fier, en he hadn' mo' d'n got 'cross de do'sill befo' his feet begun ter bu'n so dat he drap' de armful er wood on de flo' en woke ole mis' up an hour sooner'n yuzhal, en co'se ole mis' didn' lak dat, en spoke sha'p erbout it.

"W'en dinner-time come, en Hannibal wuz help'n de cook kyar de dinner f'm de kitchen inter de big house, en wuz gittin' close ter de do' what he had ter go in, his feet sta'ted ter bu'n en his head begun ter swim, en he let de big dish er chicken en dumplin's fall right down in de dirt, in de middle er de ya'd, en de w'ite folks had ter make dey dinner dat day off'n col' ham en sweet pertaters.

"De nex' mawnin' he overslep' hisse'f, en got inter mo' trouble. Atter breakfus', Mars' Dugal' sont 'im ober ter Mars' Marrabo Utley's fer ter borry a monkey wrench. He oughter be'n back in ha'f an hour, but he come pokin' home 'bout dinner'time wid a screw-driver stidder a monkey wrench. Mars' Dugal' sont ernudder nigger back wid de screw-driver, en Hannibal didn' git no dinner. 'Long in de atternoon, ole mis' sot Hannibal ter weedin' de flowers in de front gyahden, en Hannibal dug up all de bulbs ole mis' had sont erway fer, en paid a lot er money fer, en tuk 'em down ter de hawg-pen by de ba'nya'd, en fed 'em ter de hawgs. W'en ole mis' come out in de cool er de ebenin', en seed w'at Hannibal had done, she wuz mos' crazy, en she wrote a note en sont Hannibal down ter de obserseah wid it.

"But w'at Hannibal got fum de oberseah didn' 'pear ter do no good. Ev'y now en den 'is feet'd 'mence ter torment 'im, en 'is min' 'u'd git all mix' up, en his conduc' kep' gittin' wusser en wusser, 'tel fin'ly de w'ite folks couldn' stan' it no longer, en Mars' Dugal' tuk Hannibal back down ter de qua'ters.

"'Mr. Smif,' sez Mars' Dugal' ter de oberseah, 'dis yer nigger has tu'nt out so triflin' yer lately, dat we can't keep 'im at de house no mo', en I's fotch' 'im ter you ter be straighten' up. You's had 'casion ter deal wid 'im once, so he knows w'at ter expec'. You des take 'im in han', en lemme know how he tu'ns out. En w'en de han's comes in fum de fiel' dis ebenin' you kin sen' dat yaller nigger Jeff up ter de house. I'll try 'im, en see ef he's any better'n Hannibal.'

"So Jeff went up ter de big house, en pleas' Mars' Dugal' en ole mis' en de res' er de fambly so well dat dey all got ter lakin' 'im fus'rate, en dey'd 'a' fergot all 'bout Hannibal ef it hadn' be'n fer de bad repo'ts w'at come up fum de qua'ters 'bout 'im fer a mont' er so. Fac' is dat Chloe en Jeff wuz so int'rusted in one ernudder since Jeff be'n up ter de house, dat dey fergot all about takin' de baby-doll back ter Aun' Peggy, en it kep' wukkin fer a w'ile, en makin' Hannibal's feet bu'n mo' er less, 'tel all de folks on de plantation got ter callin' 'im Hot-Foot Hannibal. He kep' gittin' mo' en mo' triflin', 'tel he got de name er bein' de mos' no 'countes' nigger on de plantation, en Mars' Dugal' had ter th'eaten ter sell 'im in de spring; w'en bimeby de goopher quit wukkin', en Hannibal 'mence' ter pick up some en make folks set a little mo' sto' by 'im.

"Now, dis yer Hannibal was a monst'us sma't nigger, en w'en he got rid er dem so' feet his min' kep' runnin' on 'is udder troubles. Heah th'ee er fo' weeks befo' he'd had a' easy job, waitin' on de w'ite folks, libbin off'n de fat er de lan', en promus' de fines' gal on de plantation fer a wife in de spring, en now heah he wuz back in de co'nfiel', wid de oberseah a-cussin' en a r'arin' ef he didn' get a ha'd tas' done; wid nuffin' but co'n bread en bacon en merlasses ter eat; en all de fiel-han's makin' rema'ks, en pokin' fun at 'im ca'se he be'n sont back fum de big house ter de fiel'. En de mo' Hannibal studied 'bout it de mo' madder he got, 'tel he fin'ly swo' he wuz gwine ter git eben wid Jeff en Chloe ef it wuz de las' ac'.

"So Hannibal slipped 'way fum de qua'ters one Sunday en hid in de co'n up close ter de big house, 'tel he see Chloe gwine down de road. He waylaid her, en sezee:—

"'Hoddy, Chloe?'

"'I ain't got no time fer ter fool wid fiel'-han's,' sez Chloe, tossin' her head; 'W'at you want wid me, Hot-Foot?'

"'I wants ter know how you en Jeff is gittin' 'long.'

"'I 'lows dat's none er yo' bizness, nigger. I doan see w'at 'casion any common fiel'-han' has got ter mix in wid de 'fairs er folks w'at libs in de big house. But ef it'll do you any good ter know, I mought say dat me en Jeff is gittin' 'long mighty well, en we gwine ter git married in de spring, en you ain' gwine ter be 'vited ter de weddin' nuther.'

"'No, no!' sezee, 'I wouldn' 'spec' ter be 'vited ter de weddin',—a common, low-down fiel'-han' lak I is. But I's glad ter heah you en Jeff is gittin' 'long so well. I didn' knowed but w'at he had 'mence' ter be a little ti'ed.'

"'Ti'ed er me? Dat's rediklus!' sez Chloe. 'W'y, dat nigger lubs me so I b'liebe he'd go th'oo fier en water fer me. Dat nigger is des wrop' up in me.'

"'Uh huh,' sez Hannibal, 'den I reckon is mus' be some udder nigger w'at meets a 'oman down by de crick in de swamp ev'y Sunday ebenin', ter say nuffin' 'bout two er th'ee times a week.'

"'Yas, hit is ernudder nigger, en you is a liah w'en you say it wuz Jeff.'

"'Mebbe I is a liah, en mebbe I ain' got good eyes. But 'less'n I IS a liah, en 'less'n I AIN' got good eyes, Jeff is gwine ter meet dat 'oman dis ebenin' long 'bout eight o'clock right down dere by de crick in de swamp 'bout halfway betwix' dis plantation en Mars' Marrabo Utley's.'

"Well, Chloe tol' Hannibal she didn' b'liebe a wud he said, en call' 'im a low-down nigger who wuz tryin' ter slander Jeff 'ca'se he wuz mo' luckier'n he wuz. But all de same, she couldn' keep her min' fum runnin' on w'at Hannibal had said. She 'membered she'd heared one er de niggers say dey wuz a gal ober at Mars' Marrabo Utley's plantation w'at Jeff use' ter go wid some befo' he got 'quainted wid Chloe. Den she 'mence' ter figger back, en sho' 'nuff, dey wuz two er th'ee times in de las' week w'en she'd be'n he'p'n de ladies wid dey dressin' en udder fixin's in de ebenin', en Jeff mought 'a' gone down ter de swamp widout her knowin' 'bout it at all. En den she 'mence' ter 'member little things w'at she hadn' tuk no notice of befo', en w'at 'u'd make it 'pear lak Jeff had sump'n on his min'.

"Chloe set a monst'us heap er sto' by Jeff, en would 'a' done mos' anythin' fer 'im, so long ez he stuck ter her. But Chloe wuz a mighty jealous 'oman, en w'iles she didn' b'liebe w'at Hannibal said, she seed how it COULD 'a' be'n so, en she 'termine' fer ter fin' out fer herse'f whuther it WUZ so er no.

"Now, Chloe hadn' seed Jeff all day, fer Mars' Dugal' had sont Jeff ober ter his daughter's house, young Mis' Ma'g'ret's, w'at libbed 'bout fo' miles fum Mars' Dugal's, en Jeff wuzn' 'spected home 'tel ebenin'. But des atter supper wuz ober, en w'iles de ladies wuz settin' out on de piazzer, Chloe slip' off fum de house en run down de road,—dis yer same road we come; en w'en she got mos' ter de crick—dis yer same crick right befo' us—she kin' er kip' in de bushes at de side er de road, 'tel fin'ly she seed Jeff settin' on de back on de udder side er de crick,—right under dat ole willer tree droopin' ober de watah yander. En ev'y now en den he'd git up en look up de road to'ds Mars' Marrabo's on de udder side er de swamp.

"Fus' Chloe felt lak she'd go right ober de crick en gib Jeff a piece er her min'. Den she 'lowed she better be sho' befo' she done anythin'. So she helt herse'f in de bes' she could, gittin' madder en madder ev'ry minute, 'tel bimeby she seed a 'oman comin' down de road on de udder side fum to'ds Mars' Marrabo Utley's plantation. En w'en she seed Jeff jump up en run to'ds dat 'oman, en th'ow his a'ms roun' her neck, po' Chloe didn' stop ter see no mo', but des tu'nt roun' en run up ter de house, en rush' up on de piazzer, en up en tol' Mars' Dugal' en ole mis' all 'bout de baby-doll, en all 'bout Jeff gittin' de goopher fum Aun' Peggy, en 'bout w'at de goopher had done ter Hannibal.

"Mars' Dugal' wuz monst'us mad. He didn' let on at fus' lak he b'liebed Chloe, but w'en she tuk en showed 'im whar ter fin' de baby-doll, Mars' Dugal' tu'nt w'ite ez chalk.

"'What debil's wuk is dis?' sezee. 'No wonder de po' nigger's feet eetched. Sump'n got ter be done ter l'arn dat ole witch ter keep her han's off'n my niggers. En ez fer dis yer Jeff, I'm gwine ter do des w'at I promus', so de darkies on dis plantation'll know I means w'at I sez.'

"Fer Mars' Dugal' had warned de han's befo' 'bout foolin' wid cunju'ation; fac', he had los' one er two niggers hisse'f fum dey bein' goophered, en he would 'a' had ole Aun' Peggy whip' long ago, on'y Aun' Peggy wuz a free 'oman, en he wuz 'feard she'd cunjuh him. En wi'les Mars' Dugal' say he didn' b'liebe in cunj'in' en sich, he 'peared ter 'low it wuz bes' ter be on de safe side, en let Aun' Peggy alone.

"So Mars' Dugal' done des ez he say. Ef ole mis' had ple'd fer Jeff he mought 'a' kep' 'im. But ole mis' hadn' got ober losin' dem bulbs yit, en she nebber said a wud. Mars' Dugal' tuk Jeff ter town nex' day en' sol' 'im ter a spekilater, who sta'ted down de ribber wid 'im nex' mawnin' on a steamboat, fer ter take 'im ter Alabama.

"Now, w'en Chloe tol' ole Mars' Dugal' 'bout dis yer baby-doll en dis udder goopher, she hadn' ha'dly 'lowed Mars' Dugal' would sell Jeff down Souf. Howsomeber, she wuz so mad wid Jeff dat she 'suaded herse'f she didn' keer; en so she hilt her head up en went roun' lookin' lak she wuz rale glad 'bout it. But one day she wuz walkin' down de road, w'en who sh'd come 'long but dis yer Hannibal.

"W'en Hannibal seed 'er he bus' out laffin' fittin' fer ter kill: 'Yah, yah, yah! ho, ho, ho! ha, ha, ha! Oh, hol' me, honey, hol' me, er I'll laf myse'f ter def. I ain' nebber laf' so much sence I be'n bawn.'

"'W'at you laffin' at, Hot-Foot?'

"'Yah, yah, yah! W'at I laffin' at? W'y, I's laffin' at myse'f, tooby sho',—laffin' ter think w'at a fine 'oman I made.'

"Chloe tu'nt pale, en her hea't come up in her mouf.

"'W'at you mean, nigger?' sez she, ketchin' holt er a bush by de road fer ter stiddy herse'f. 'W'at you mean by de kin' er 'oman you made?'

"W'at do I mean? I means dat I got squared up wid you fer treatin' me de way you done, en I got eben wid dat yaller nigger Jeff fer cuttin' me out. Now, he's gwine ter know w'at it is ter eat co'n bread en merlasses once mo', en wuk fum daylight ter da'k, en ter hab a oberseah dribin' 'im fum one day's een' ter de udder. I means dat I sont wud ter Jeff dat Sunday dat you wuz gwine ter be ober ter Mars' Marrabo's visitin' dat ebenin', en you want i'm ter meet you down by de crick on de way home en go de rest er de road wid you. En den I put on a frock en a sun-bonnet en fix' myse'f up ter look lak a 'oman; en w'en Jeff seed me comin' he run ter meet me, en you seed 'im,—fer I had be'n watchin' in de bushes befo' en 'skivered you comin' down de road. En now I reckon you en Jeff bofe knows w'at it means ter mess wid a nigger lak me.'

"Po' Chloe hadn' heared mo' d'n half er de las' part er w'at Hannibal said, but she had heared 'nuff to l'arn dat dis nigger had fooler her en Jeff, en dat po' Jeff hadn' done nuffin', en dat fer lovin' her too much en goin' ter meet her she had cause' 'im ter be sol' erway whar she'd nebber, nebber see 'im no mo'. De sun mought shine by day, de moon by night, de flowers mought bloom, en de mawkin'-birds mought sing, but po' Jeff wuz done los' ter her fereber en fereber.

"Hannibal hadn' mo' d'n finish' w'at he had ter say, w'en Chloe's knees gun 'way unner her, en she fell down in de road, en lay dere half a' hour er so befo' she come to. W'en she did, she crep' up ter de house des ez pale ez a ghos'. En fer a mont' er so she crawled roun' de house, en 'peared ter be so po'ly dat Mars' Dugal' sont fer a doctor; en de doctor kep' on axin' her questions 'tel he foun' she wuz des pinin' erway fer Jeff.

"W'en he tol' Mars' Dugal', Mars' Dugal' lafft, en said he'd fix dat. She could hab de noo house boy fer a husban'. But ole mis' say, no, Chloe ain' dat kinder gal, en dat Mars' Dugal' should buy Jeff back.

"So Mars' Dugal' writ a letter ter dis yer spekilater down ter Wim'l'ton, en tol' ef he ain' done sol' dat nigger Souf w'at he bought fum 'im, he'd lak ter buy 'm back ag'in. Chloe 'mence' ter pick up a little w'en ole mis' tol' her 'bout dis letter. Howsomeber, bimeby Mars' Dugal' got a' answer fum de spekilater, who said he wuz monst'us sorry, but Jeff had fell ove'boa'd er jumped off'n de steamboat on de way ter Wim'l'ton, en got drownded, en co'se he couldn' sell 'im back, much ez he'd lak ter 'bleedge Mars' Dugal'.

"Well, atter Chloe heared dis she pu'tended ter do her wuk, en ole mis' wa'n't much mo' use ter nobody. She put up wid her, en hed de doctor gib her medicine, en let 'er go ter de circus, en all so'ts er things fer ter take her min' off'n her troubles. But dey didn' none un 'em do no good. Chloe got ter slippin' down here in de ebenin' des lak she 'uz comin' ter meet Jeff, en she'd set dere unner dat willer tree on de udder side, en wait fer 'im, night atter night. Bimeby she got so bad de w'ite folks sont her ober ter young Mis' Ma'g'ret's fer ter gib her a change; but she runned erway de fus' night, en w'en dey looked fer 'er nex' mawnin' dey foun' her co'pse layin' in de branch yander, right 'cross fum whar we're settin' now.

"Eber sence den," said Julius in conclusion, "Chloe's ha'nt comes eve'y ebenin' en sets down unner dat willer tree en waits fer Jeff, er e'se walks up en down de road yander, lookin' en lookin', en' [sic] waitin' en waitin', fer her sweethea't w'at ain' nebber, nebber come back ter her no mo'."

There was silence when the old man had finished, and I am sure I saw a tear in my wife's eye, and more than one in Mabel's.

"I think, Julius," said my wife after a moment, "that you may turn the mare around and go by the long road."

The old man obeyed with alacrity, and I noticed no reluctance on the mare's part.

"You are not afraid of Chloe's haunt, are you?" I asked jocularly.

My mood was not responded to, and neither of the ladies smiled.

"Oh no," said Annie, "but I've changed my mind. I prefer the other route."

When we had reached the main road and had proceeded along it for a short distance, we met a cart driven by a young negro, and on the cart were a trunk and a valise. We recognized the man as Malcolm Murchison's servant, and drew up a moment to speak to him.

"Who's going away, Marshall?" I inquired.

"Young Mistah Ma'colm gwine 'way on de boat ter Noo Yo'k dis ebenin', suh, en I'm takin' his things down ter de wharf, suh."

This was news to me, and I heard it with regret. My wife looked sorry, too, and I could see that Mabel was trying hard to hide her concern.

"He's comin' 'long behin', suh, en I 'spec's you'll meet 'im up de road a piece. He's gwine ter walk down ez fur ez Mistah Jim Williams's, en take de buggy fum dere ter town. He 'spec's ter be gone a long time, suh, en say prob'ly he ain' nebber comin' back."

The man drove on. There were a few words exchanged in an undertone between my wife and Mabel, which I did not catch. Then Annie said: "Julius, you may stop the rockaway a moment. There are some trumpet-flowers by the road there that I want. Will you get them for me, John?"

I sprang into the underbrush, and soon returned with a great bunch of scarlet blossoms.

"Where is Mabel?" I asked, noting her absence.

"She has walked on ahead. We shall overtake her in a few minutes."

The carriage had gone only a short distance when my wife discovered that she had dropped her fan.

"I had it where we were stopping. Julius, will you go back and get it for me?"

Julius got down and went back for the fan. He was an unconscionably long time finding it. After we got started again we had gone only a little way, when we saw Mabel and young Murchison coming toward us. They were walking arm in arm, and their faces were aglow with the light of love.

I do not know whether or not Julius had a previous understanding with Malcolm Murchison by which he was to drive us round by the long road that day, nor do I know exactly what motive influenced the old man's exertions in the matter. He was fond of Mabel, but I was old enough, and knew Julius well enough, to be skeptical of his motives. It is certain that a most excellent understanding existed between him and Murchison after the reconciliation, and that when the young people set up housekeeping over at the old Murchison place Julius had an opportunity to enter their service. For some reason or other, however, he preferred to remain with us. The mare, I might add, was never known to balk again.


Once upon a time I taught school in the hills of Tennessee, where the broad dark vale of the Mississippi begins to roll and crumple to greet the Alleghanies. I was a Fisk student then, and all Fisk men think that Tennessee—beyond the Veil—is theirs alone, and in vacation time they sally forth in lusty bands to meet the county school commissioners. Young and happy, I too went, and I shall not soon forget that summer, ten years ago.

First, there was a teachers' Institute at the county-seat; and there distinguished guests of the superintendent taught the teachers fractions and spelling and other mysteries,—white teachers in the morning, Negroes at night. A picnic now and then, and a supper, and the rough world was softened by laughter and song. I remember how—But I wander.

There came a day when all the teachers left the Institute, and began the hunt for schools. I learn from hearsay (for my mother was mortally afraid of firearms) that the hunting of ducks and bears and men is wonderfully interesting, but I am sure that the man who has never hunted a country school has something to learn of the pleasures of the chase. I see now the white, hot roads lazily rise and fall and wind before me under the burning July sun; I feel the deep weariness of heart and limb, as ten, eight, six miles stretch relentlessly ahead; I feel my heart sink heavily as I hear again and again, "Got a teacher? Yes." So I walked on and on,—horses were too expensive,—until I had wandered beyond railways, beyond stage lines, to a land of "varmints" and rattlesnakes, where the coming of a stranger was an event, and men lived and died in the shadow of one blue hill.

Sprinkled over hill and dale lay cabins and farmhouses, shut out from the world by the forests and the rolling hills toward the east. There I found at last a little school. Josie told me of it; she was a thin, homely girl of twenty, with a dark brown face and thick, hard hair. I had crossed the stream at Watertown, and rested under the great willows; then I had gone to the little cabin in the lot where Josie was resting on her way to town. The gaunt farmer made me welcome, and Josie, hearing my errand, told me anxiously that they wanted a school over the hill; that but once since the war had a teacher been there; that she herself longed to learn,—and thus she ran on, talking fast and loud, with much earnestness and energy.

Next morning I crossed the tall round hill, lingered to look at the blue and yellow mountains stretching toward the Carolinas; then I plunged into the wood, and came out at Josie's home. It was a dull frame cottage with four rooms, perched just below the brow of the hill, amid peach trees. The father was a quiet, simple soul, calmly ignorant, with no touch of vulgarity. The mother was different,—strong, bustling, and energetic, with a quick, restless tongue, and an ambition to live "like folks." There was a crowd of children. Two boys had gone away. There remained two growing girls; a shy midget of eight; John, tall, awkward, and eighteen; Jim, younger, quicker, and better looking; and two babies of indefinite age. Then there was Josie herself. She seemed to be the centre of the family: always busy at service or at home, or berry-picking; a little nervous and inclined to scold, like her mother, yet faithful, too, like her father. She had about her a certain fineness, the shadow of an unconscious moral heroism that would willingly give all of life to make life broader, deeper, and fuller for her and hers. I saw much of this family afterward, and grew to love them for their honest efforts to be decent and comfortable, and for their knowledge of their own ignorance. There was with them no affectation. The mother would scold the father for being so "easy;" Josie would roundly rate the boys for carelessness; and all knew that it was a hard thing to dig a living out of a rocky side hill.

I secured the school. I remember the day I rode horseback out to the commissioner's house, with a pleasant young white fellow, who wanted the white school. The road ran down the bed of a stream; the sun laughed and the water jingled, and we rode on. "Come in," said the commissioner,—"come in. Have a seat. Yes, that certificate will do. Stay to dinner. What do you want a month?" Oh, thought I, this is lucky; but even then fell the awful shadow of the Veil, for they ate first, then I—alone.

The schoolhouse was a log hut, where Colonel Wheeler used to shelter his corn. It sat in a lot behind a rail fence and thorn bushes, near the sweetest of springs. There was an entrance where a door once was, and within, a massive rickety fireplace; great chinks between the logs served as windows. Furniture was scarce. A pale blackboard crouched in the corner. My desk was made of three boards, reinforced at critical points, and my chair, borrowed from the landlady, had to be returned every night. Seats for the children,—these puzzled me much. I was haunted by a New England vision of neat little desks and chairs, but, alas, the reality was rough plank benches without backs, and at times without legs. They had the one virtue of making naps dangerous,—possibly fatal, for the floor was not to be trusted.

It was a hot morning late in July when the school opened. I trembled when I heard the patter of little feet down the dusty road, and saw the growing row of dark solemn faces and bright eager eyes facing me. First came Josie and her brothers and sisters. The longing to know, to be a student in the great school at Nashville, hovered like a star above this child woman amid her work and worry, and she studied doggedly. There were the Dowells from their farm over toward Alexandria: Fanny, with her smooth black face and wondering eyes; Martha, brown and dull; the pretty girl wife of a brother, and the younger brood. There were the Burkes, two brown and yellow lads, and a tiny haughty-eyed girl. Fat Reuben's little chubby girl came, with golden face and old gold hair, faithful and solemn. 'Thenie was on hand early,—a jolly, ugly, good-hearted girl, who slyly dipped snuff and looked after her little bow-legged brother. When her mother could spare her, 'Tildy came,—a midnight beauty, with starry eyes and tapering limbs; and her brother, correspondingly homely. And then the big boys: the hulking Lawrences; the lazy Neills, unfathered sons of mother and daughter; Hickman, with a stoop in his shoulders; and the rest.

There they sat, nearly thirty of them, on the rough benches, their faces shading from a pale cream to a deep brown, the little feet bare and swinging, the eyes full of expectation, with here and there a twinkle of mischief, and the hands grasping Webster's blue-back spelling-book. I loved my school, and the fine faith the children had in the wisdom of their teacher was truly marvelous. We read and spelled together, wrote a little, picked flowers, sang, and listened to stories of the world beyond the hill. At times the school would dwindle away, and I would start out. I would visit Mun Eddings, who lived in two very dirty rooms, and ask why little Lugene, whose flaming face seemed ever ablaze with the dark red hair uncombed, was absent all last week, or why I missed so often the inimitable rags of Mack and Ed. Then the father, who worked Colonel Wheeler's farm on shares, would tell me how the crops needed the boys; and the thin, slovenly mother, whose face was pretty when washed, assured me that Lugene must mind the baby. "But we'll start them again next week." When the Lawrences stopped, I knew that the doubts of the old folks about book-learning had conquered again, and so, toiling up the hill, and getting as far into the cabin as possible, I put Cicero pro Archia Poeta into the simplest English with local applications, and usually convinced them—for a week or so.

On Friday nights I often went home with some of the children; sometimes to Doc Burke's farm. He was a great, loud, thin Black, ever working, and trying to buy the seventy-five acres of hill and dale where he lived; but people said that he would surely fail, and the "white folks would get it all." His wife was a magnificent Amazon, with saffron face and shining hair, uncorseted and barefooted, and the children were strong and beautiful. They lived in a one-and-a-half-room cabin in the hollow of the farm, near the spring. The front room was full of great fat white beds, scrupulously neat; and there were bad chromos on the walls, and a tired centre-table. In the tiny back kitchen I was often invited to "take out and help" myself to fried chicken and wheat biscuit, "meat" and corn pone, string beans and berries. At first I used to be a little alarmed at the approach of bed-time in the one lone bedroom, but embarrassment was very deftly avoided. First, all the children nodded and slept, and were stowed away in one great pile of goose feathers; next, the mother and the father discreetly slipped away to the kitchen while I went to bed; then, blowing out the dim light, they retired in the dark. In the morning all were up and away before I thought of awaking. Across the road, where fat Reuben lived, they all went outdoors while the teacher retired, because they did not boast the luxury of a kitchen.

I liked to stay with the Dowells, for they had four rooms and plenty of good country fare. Uncle Bird had a small, rough farm, all woods and hills, miles from the big road; but he was full of tales,—he preached now and then,—and with his children, berries, horses, and wheat he was happy and prosperous. Often, to keep the peace, I must go where life was less lovely; for instance, 'Tildy's mother was incorrigibly dirty, Reuben's larder was limited seriously, and herds of untamed bedbugs wandered over the Eddingses' beds. Best of all I loved to go to Josie's, and sit on the porch, eating peaches, while the mother bustled and talked: how Josie had bought the sewing-machine; how Josie worked at service in winter, but that four dollars a month was "mighty little" wages; how Josie longed to go away to school, but that it "looked like" they never could get far enough ahead to let her; how the crops failed and the well was yet unfinished; and, finally, how "mean" some of the white folks were.

For two summers I lived in this little world; it was dull and humdrum. The girls looked at the hill in wistful longing, and the boys fretted, and haunted Alexandria. Alexandria was "town,"—a straggling, lazy village of houses, churches, and shops, and an aristocracy of Toms, Dicks, and Captains. Cuddled on the hill to the north was the village of the colored folks, who lived in three or four room unpainted cottages, some neat and homelike, and some dirty. The dwellings were scattered rather aimlessly, but they centred about the twin temples of the hamlet, the Methodist and the Hard-Shell Baptist churches. These, in turn, leaned gingerly on a sad-colored schoolhouse. Hither my little world wended its crooked way on Sunday to meet other worlds, and gossip, and wonder, and make the weekly sacrifice with frenzied priest at the altar of the "old-time religion." Then the soft melody and mighty cadences of Negro song fluttered and thundered.

I have called my tiny community a world, and so its isolation made it; and yet there was among us but a half-awakened common consciousness, sprung from common joy and grief, at burial, birth, or wedding; from a common hardship in poverty, poor land, and low wages; and, above all, from the sight of the Veil that hung between us and Opportunity. All this caused us to think some thoughts together; but these, when ripe for speech, were spoken in various languages. Those whose eyes thirty and more years before had seen "the glory of the coming of the Lord" saw in every present hindrance or help a dark fatalism bound to bring all things right in His own good time. The mass of those to whom slavery was a dim recollection of childhood found the world a puzzling thing: it asked little of them, and they answered with little, and yet it ridiculed their offering. Such a paradox they could not understand, and therefore sank into listless indifference, or shiftlessness, or reckless bravado. There were, however, some such as Josie, Jim, and Ben,—they to whom War, Hell, and Slavery were but childhood tales, whose young appetites had been whetted to an edge by school and story and half-awakened thought. Ill could they be content, born without and beyond the World. And their weak wings beat against their barriers,—barriers of caste, of youth, of life; at last, in dangerous moments, against everything that opposed even a whim.

The ten years that follow youth, the years when first the realization comes that life is leading somewhere,—these were the years that passed after I left my little school. When they were past, I came by chance once more to the walls of Fisk University, to the halls of the chapel of melody. As I lingered there in the joy and pain of meeting old school friends, there swept over me a sudden longing to pass again beyond the blue hill, and to see the homes and the school of other days, and to learn how life had gone with my school-children; and I went.

Josie was dead, and the gray-haired mother said simply, "We've had a heap of trouble since you've been away." I had feared for Jim. With a cultured parentage and a social caste to uphold him, he might have made a venturesome merchant or a West Point cadet. But here he was, angry with life and reckless; and when Farmer Durham charged him with stealing wheat, the old man had to ride fast to escape the stones which the furious fool hurled after him. They told Jim to run away; but he would not run, and the constable came that afternoon. It grieved Josie, and great awkward John walked nine miles every day to see his little brother through the bars of Lebanon jail. At last the two came back together in the dark night. The mother cooked supper, and Josie emptied her purse, and the boys stole away. Josie grew thin and silent, yet worked the more. The hill became steep for the quiet old father, and with the boys away there was little to do in the valley. Josie helped them sell the old farm, and they moved nearer town. Brother Dennis, the carpenter, built a new house with six rooms; Josie toiled a year in Nashville, and brought back ninety dollars to furnish the house and change it to a home.

When the spring came, and the birds twittered, and the stream ran proud and full, little sister Lizzie, bold and thoughtless, flushed with the passion of youth, bestowed herself on the tempter, and brought home a nameless child. Josie shivered, and worked on, with the vision of schooldays all fled, with a face wan and tired,—worked until, on a summer's day, some one married another; then Josie crept to her mother like a hurt child, and slept—and sleeps.

I paused to scent the breeze as I entered the valley. The Lawrences have gone; father and son forever, and the other son lazily digs in the earth to live. A new young widow rents out their cabin to fat Reuben. Reuben is a Baptist preacher now, but I fear as lazy as ever, though his cabin has three rooms; and little Ella has grown into a bouncing woman, and is ploughing corn on the hot hillside. There are babies a plenty, and one half-witted girl. Across the valley is a house I did not know before, and there I found, rocking one baby and expecting another, one of my schoolgirls, a daughter of Uncle Bird Dowell. She looked somewhat worried with her new duties, but soon bristled into pride over her neat cabin, and the tale of her thrifty husband, the horse and cow, and the farm they were planning to buy.

My log schoolhouse was gone. In its place stood Progress, and Progress, I understand, is necessarily ugly. The crazy foundation stones still marked the former site of my poor little cabin, and not far away, on six weary boulders, perched a jaunty board house, perhaps twenty by thirty feet, with three windows and a door that locked. Some of the window glass was broken, and part of an old iron stove lay mournfully under the house. I peeped through the window half reverently, and found things that were more familiar. The blackboard had grown by about two feet, and the seats were still without backs. The county owns the lot now, I hear, and every year there is a session of school. As I sat by the spring and looked on the Old and the New I felt glad, very glad, and yet—

After two long drinks I started on. There was the great double log house on the corner. I remembered the broken, blighted family that used to live there. The strong, hard face of the mother, with its wilderness of hair, rose before me. She had driven her husband away, and while I taught school a strange man lived there, big and jovial, and people talked. I felt sure that Ben and 'Tildy would come to naught from such a home. But this is an odd world; for Ben is a busy farmer in Smith County, "doing well, too," they say, and he had cared for little 'Tildy until last spring, when a lover married her. A hard life the lad had led, toiling for meat, and laughed at because he was homely and crooked. There was Sam Carlon, an impudent old skinflint, who had definite notions about niggers, and hired Ben a summer and would not pay him. Then the hungry boy gathered his sacks together, and in broad daylight went into Carlon's corn; and when the hard-fisted farmer set upon him, the angry boy flew at him like a beast. Doc Burke saved a murder and a lynching that day.

The story reminded me again of the Burkes, and an impatience seized me to know who won in the battle, Doc or the seventy-five acres. For it is a hard thing to make a farm out of nothing, even in fifteen years. So I hurried on, thinking of the Burkes. They used to have a certain magnificent barbarism about them that I liked. They were never vulgar, never immoral, but rather rough and primitive, with an unconventionality that spent itself in loud guffaws, slaps on the back, and naps in the corner. I hurried by the cottage of the misborn Neill boys. It was empty, and they were grown into fat, lazy farm hands. I saw the home of the Hickmans, but Albert, with his stooping shoulders, had passed from the world. Then I came to the Burkes' gate and peered through; the inclosure looked rough and untrimmed, and yet there were the same fences around the old farm save to the left, where lay twenty-five other acres. And lo! the cabin in the hollow had climbed the hill and swollen to a half-finished six-room cottage.

The Burkes held a hundred acres, but they were still in debt. Indeed, the gaunt father who toiled night and day would scarcely be happy out of debt, being so used to it. Some day he must stop, for his massive frame is showing decline. The mother wore shoes, but the lionlike physique of other days was broken. The children had grown up. Rob, the image of his father, was loud and rough with laughter. Birdie, my school baby of six, had grown to a picture of maiden beauty, tall and tawny. "Edgar is gone," said the mother, with head half bowed,—"gone to work in Nashville; he and his father couldn't agree."

Little Doc, the boy born since the time of my school, took me horseback down the creek next morning toward Farmer Dowell's. The road and the stream were battling for mastery, and the stream had the better of it. We splashed and waded, and the merry boy, perched behind me, chattered and laughed. He showed me where Simon Thompson had bought a bit of ground and a home; but his daughter Lana, a plump, brown, slow girl, was not there. She had married a man and a farm twenty miles away. We wound on down the stream till we came to a gate that I did not recognize, but the boy insisted that it was "Uncle Bird's." The farm was fat with the growing crop. In that little valley was a strange stillness as I rode up; for death and marriage had stolen youth, and left age and childhood there. We sat and talked that night, after the chores were done. Uncle Bird was grayer, and his eyes did not see so well, but he was still jovial. We talked of the acres bought,—one hundred and twenty-five,—of the new guest chamber added, of Martha's marrying. Then we talked of death: Fanny and Fred were gone; a shadow hung over the other daughter, and when it lifted she was to go to Nashville to school. At last we spoke of the neighbors, and as night fell Uncle Bird told me how, on a night like that, 'Thenie came wandering back to her home over yonder, to escape the blows of her husband. And next morning she died in the home that her little bow-legged brother, working and saving, had bought for their widowed mother.

My journey was done, and behind me lay hill and dale, and Life and Death. How shall man measure Progress there where the dark-faced Josie lies? How many heartfuls of sorrow shall balance a bushel of wheat? How hard a thing is life to the lowly, and yet how human and real! And all this life and love and strife and failure,—is it the twilight of nightfall or the flush of some faint-dawning day?

Thus sadly musing, I rode to Nashville in the Jim Crow car.


From 1830 to 1850 both Great Britain and the United States, by joint convention, kept on the coast of Africa at least eighty guns afloat for the suppression of the slave trade. Most of the vessels so employed were small corvettes, brigs, or schooners; steam at that time was just being introduced into the navies of the world.

Nearly fifty years ago I was midshipman on the United States brig Porpoise, of ten guns. Some of my readers may remember these little ten-gun coffins, as many of them proved to be to their crews. The Porpoise was a fair sample of the type; a full-rigged brig of one hundred and thirty tons, heavily sparred, deep waisted, and carrying a battery of eight twenty-four-pound carronades and two long chasers; so wet that even in a moderate breeze or sea it was necessary to batten down; and so tender that she required careful watching; only five feet between decks, her quarters were necessarily cramped and uncomfortable, and, as far as possible, we lived on deck. With a crew of eighty all told, Lieutenant Thompson was in command, Lieutenant Bukett executive officer, and two midshipmen were the line officers. She was so slow that we could hardly hope for a prize except by a fluke. Repeatedly we had chased suspicious craft only to be out-sailed.

At this time the traffic in slaves was very brisk; the demand in the Brazils, in Cuba, and in other Spanish West Indies was urgent, and the profit of the business so great that two or three successful ventures would enrich any one. The slavers were generally small, handy craft; fast, of course; usually schooner-rigged, and carrying flying topsails and forecourse. Many were built in England or elsewhere purposely for the business, without, of course, the knowledge of the builders, ostensibly as yachts or traders. The Spaniards and Portuguese were the principal offenders, with occasionally an English-speaking renegade.

The slave depots, or barracoons, were generally located some miles up a river. Here the slaver was secure from capture and could embark his live cargo at his leisure. Keeping a sharp lookout on the coast, the dealers were able to follow the movements of the cruisers, and by means of smoke, or in other ways, signal when the coast was clear for the coming down the river and sailing of the loaded craft. Before taking in the cargoes they were always fortified with all the necessary papers and documents to show they were engaged in legitimate commerce, so it was only when caught in flagrante delicto that we could hold them.

We had been cruising off the coast of Liberia doing nothing, when we were ordered to the Gulf of Guinea to watch the Bonny and Cameroons mouths of the great Niger River. Our consort was H.M. schooner Bright, a beautiful craft about our tonnage, but with half our crew, and able to sail three miles to our two. She was an old slaver, captured and adapted as a cruiser. She had been very successful, making several important captures of full cargoes, and twice or thrice her commanding officer and others had been promoted. Working our way slowly down the coast in company with the Bright, we would occasionally send a boat on shore to reconnoitre or gather any information we could from the natives through our Krooman interpreter. A few glasses of rum or a string of beads would loosen the tongue of almost any one. At Little Bonny we heard that two vessels were some miles up the river, ready to sail, and were only waiting until the coast was clear. Captain James, of the Bright, thought that one, if not both, would sail from another outlet of the river, about thirty miles to the southward, and determined to watch it.

We both stood to that direction. Of course we were watched from the shore, and the slavers were kept posted as to our movements. They supposed we had both gone to the Cameroons, leaving Little Bonny open; but after dark, with a light land breeze, we wore round and stood to the northward, keeping offshore some distance, so that captains leaving the river might have sufficient offing to prevent their reaching port again or beaching their craft. At daybreak, as far as we could judge, we were about twenty miles offshore to the northward and westward of Little Bonny, in the track of any vessel bound for the West Indies. The night was dark with occasional rain squalls, when the heavens would open and the water come down in a flood. Anxiously we all watched for daylight, which comes under the equator with a suddenness very different from the prolonged twilight of higher latitudes. At the first glimmer in the east every eye was strained on the horizon, all eager, all anxious to be the first to sight anything within our vision. The darkness soon gave way to gray morn. Day was dawning, when suddenly a Krooman by my side seized my hand and, without saying a word, pointed inshore. I looked, but could see nothing. All eyes were focused in that direction, and in a few minutes the faint outline of a vessel appeared against the sky. She was some miles inshore of us, and as the day brightened we made her out to be a brigantine (an uncommon rig in those days), standing across our bows, with all studding sails set on the starboard side, indeed everything that could pull, including water sails and save-all. We were on the same tack heading to the northward. We set everything that would draw, and kept off two points, bringing the wind abeam so as to head her off.

The breeze was light and off the land. We had not yet been seen against the darker western horizon, but we knew it could only be a few minutes longer before their sharp eyes would make us out. Soon we saw the studding sails and all kites come down by the run and her yards braced up sharp on the same tack as ours. We also hauled by the wind. At sunrise she was four points on our weather bow, distant about four miles. We soon perceived that she could outsail our brig and if the wind held would escape. Gradually she drew away from us until she was hull down. Our only hope now was that the land breeze would cease and the sea breeze come in. As the sun rose we gladly noticed the wind lessening, until at eleven o'clock it was calm. Not a breath ruffled the surface of the sea; the sun's rays in the zenith were reflected as from a mirror; the waters seemed like molten lead.

I know of nothing more depressing than a calm in the tropics,—a raging sun overhead, around an endless expanse of dead sea, and a feeling of utter helplessness that is overpowering. What if this should last? what a fate! The Rime of the Ancient Mariner comes to our mind. Come storm and tempest, come hurricanes and blizzards, anything but an endless stagnation. For some hours we watched earnestly the horizon to the westward, looking for the first dark break on the smooth sea. Not a cloud was in the heavens. The brig appeared to be leaving us either by towing or by sweeps; only her topgallant sail was above the horizon. It looked as if the sea breeze would desert us. It usually came in about one o'clock, but that hour and another had passed and yet we watched for the first change. Without a breeze our chances of overhauling the stranger were gone. Only a white speck like the wing of a gull now marked her whereabouts on the edge of the horizon, and in another hour she would be invisible even from the masthead.

When we were about to despair, our head Krooman drew the captain's attention to the westward and said the breeze was coming. We saw no signs of it, but his quick eye had noticed light feathery clouds rising to the westward, a sure indication of the coming breeze. Soon we could see the glassy surface ruffled at different points as the breeze danced over it, coming on like an advancing line of skirmishers; and as we felt its first gentle movement on our parched faces, it was welcome indeed, putting new life into all of us. The crew needed no encouragement to spring to their work. As the little brig felt the breeze and gathered steerageway, she was headed for the chase, bringing the wind on her starboard quarter. In less than five minutes all the studding sails that would draw were set, as well as everything that would pull. The best quartermaster was sent to the wheel, with orders to keep the chase directly over the weather end of the spritsail yard. The captain ordered the sails wet, an expedient I never had much faith in, unless the sails are very old. But as if to recompense us for the delay, the breeze came in strong and steady. Our one hope now was to follow it up close, and to carry it within gunshot of the brig, for if she caught it before we were within range she would certainly escape. All hands were piped to quarters, and the long eighteen-pounder on the forecastle was loaded with a full service charge; on this piece we relied to cripple the chase. We were now rapidly raising her, and I was sent aloft on the fore topsail yard, with a good glass to watch her movements. Her hull was in sight and she was still becalmed, though her head was pointed in the right direction, and everything was set to catch the coming breeze. She carried a boat on each side at the davits like a man-of-war, and I reported that I could make out men securing them. They had been towing her, and only stopped when they saw us drawing near.

Anxiously we watched the breeze on the water as it narrowed the sheen between us, and we were yet two miles or more distant when she first felt the breeze. As she did so we hoisted the English blue ensign,—for the fleet at this time was under a Rear Admiral of the Blue,—and fired a weather gun, but no response was made. Fortunately the wind continued to freshen and the Porpoise was doing wonderfully well. We were rapidly closing the distance between us. We fired another gun, but no attention was paid to it. I noticed from the movements of the crew of the brig that they were getting ready for some manoeuvre, and reported to the captain. He divined at once what the manoeuvre would be, and ordered the braces be led along, hands by the studding-sail halyards and tacks, and everything ready to haul by the wind. We felt certain now of the character of our friend, and the men were already calculating the amount of their prize money. We were now within range, and must clip her wings if possible.

The first lieutenant was ordered to open fire with the eighteen-pounder. Carefully the gun was laid, and as the order "fire" was given, down came our English flag, and the stop of the Stars and Stripes was broken at the gaff. The first shot touched the water abeam of the chase and ricochetted ahead of her. She showed the Spanish flag. The captain of the gun was ordered to elevate a little more and try again. The second shot let daylight through her fore topsail, but the third was wide again.

Then the sharp, quick order of the captain, "Fore topsail yard there, come down on deck, sir!" brought me down on the run. "Have both cutters cleared away and ready for lowering," were my orders as I reached the quarter-deck. Practice from the bow chasers continued, but the smoke that drifted ahead of us interfered with the accuracy of the firing, and no vital part was touched, though a number of shots went through her sails. The captain in the main rigging never took his eye from the Spaniard, evidently expecting that as a fox when hard pressed doubles on the hounds, the chase would attempt the same thing. And he was not disappointed, for when we had come within easy range of her, the smoke hid her from view for a few minutes, and as it dispersed the first glimpse showed the captain that her studding sails had all gone, and that she had hauled by the wind, standing across our weather bow. Her captain had lost no time in taking in his studding sails; halyards, tacks, and sheets had all been cut together and dropped overboard.

It was a bold and well-executed manoeuvre, and we could not help admiring the skill with which she was handled. However, we had been prepared for this move. "Ease down your helm." "Lower away. Haul down the studding sails." "Ease away the weather braces. Brace up." "Trim down the head sheets," were the orders which followed in rapid succession, and were as quickly executed. The Spaniard was now broad on our lee bow, distant not more than half a mile, but as she felt the wind which we brought down she fairly spun through the water, exposing her bright copper. She was both head-reaching and outsailing us; in half an hour she would have been right ahead of us, and in an hour the sun would be down. It was now or never. We could bring nothing to bear except the gun on the forecastle. Fortunately it continued smooth, and we were no longer troubled with smoke. Shot after shot went hissing through the air after her; a number tore through the sails or rigging, but not a spar was touched nor an important rope cut. We could see some of her crew aloft reeving and stopping braces and ready to repair any damage done, working as coolly under fire as old man-of-war's men. But while we were looking, down came the gaff of her mainsail, and the gaff-topsail fell all adrift; a lucky shot had cut her peak halyards. Our crew cheered with a will. "Well done, Hobson; try it again!" called the captain to the boatswain's mate, who was captain of the gun.

After the next shot, the topgallant yard swayed for a few minutes and fell forward. The order was given to cease firing; she was at our mercy. We were rapidly nearing the chase, when she backed her topsail. We kept off, and when within easy range of the carronades "hove to" to windward. Lieutenant Bukett was ordered to board her in the first cutter and take charge. I followed in the second cutter, with orders to bring the captain on board with his papers. A few strokes sent us alongside of a brig about our tonnage, but with a low rail and a flush deck. The crew, some eighteen or twenty fine-looking seamen, were forward eagerly discussing the situation of affairs. The captain was aft with his two officers, talking to Lieutenant Bukett. He was fair, with light hair curling all over his head, beard cut short, about forty years of age, well set up, with a frame like a Roman wrestler, evidently a tough customer in a rough-and-ready scrimmage.

He spoke fairly good English, and was violently denouncing the outrage done to his flag; his government would demand instant satisfaction for firing upon a legitimate trader on the high seas. I have the lieutenant Captain Thompson's orders, to bring the captain and his papers on board at once. His harangue was cut short by orders to get on board my boat. He swore with a terrible oath that he would never leave his vessel. "Come on board, men," said I, and twenty of our crew were on deck in a jiffy. I stationed my coxswain, Parker, at the cabin companion way with orders to allow no one to pass. "Now," said Lieutenant Bukett to the Spaniard, "I will take you on board in irons unless you go quietly." He hesitated a moment, then said he would come as soon as he had gone below to bring up his papers. "No, never mind your papers; I will find them," said the lieutenant, for he saw the devil in the Spaniard's eyes, and knew he meant mischief. Our captive made one bound for the companion way, however, and seizing Parker by the throat hurled him into the water ways as if he had been a rag baby. But fortunately he slipped on a small grating and fell on his knees, and before he could recover himself two of our men threw themselves upon him.

I closed the companion way. The struggle was desperate for a few minutes, for the Spaniard seemed possessed of the furies, and his efforts were almost superhuman. Twice he threw the men from him across the deck, but they were reinforced by Parker, who, smarting under his discomfiture, rushed in, determined to down him. I was anxious to end it with my pistol, but Lieutenant Bukett would not consent. The Spaniard's officers and men made some demonstration to assist, but they were quickly disposed of: his two mates were put in irons and the crew driven forward. Struggling, fighting, every limb and every muscle at work, the captain was overpowered; a piece of the signal halyards brought his hands together, and handcuffs were slipped on his wrists. Only then he succumbed, and begged Lieutenant Bukett to blow out his brains, for he had been treated like a pirate.

Without doubt if he had reached the cabin he would have blown up the vessel, for in a locker over the transom were two open kegs of powder. I led him to my boat, assisted him in, and returned to the Porpoise. As soon as the Spaniard reached the deck the captain ordered his irons removed, and expressed his regret that it had been necessary to use force. The prisoner only bowed and said nothing. The captain asked him what his cargo consisted of. He replied, "About four hundred blacks bound to the Brazils."

I was then ordered to return to the brig, bring on board her crew, leaving only the cook and steward, and to take charge of the prize as Lieutenant Bukett, our first lieutenant, was not yet wholly recovered from an attack of African fever. The crew of twenty men, when brought on board, consisted of Spaniards, Greeks, Malays, Arabs, white and black, but had not one Anglo-Saxon. They were ironed in pairs and put under guard.

From the time we first got on board we had heard moans, cries, and rumblings coming from below, and as soon as the captain and crew were removed, the hatches had been taken off, when there arose a hot blast as from a charnel house, sickening and overpowering. In the hold were three or four hundred human beings, gasping, struggling for breath, dying; their bodies, limbs, faces, all expressing terrible suffering. In their agonizing fight for life, some had torn or wounded themselves or their neighbors dreadfully; some were stiffened in the most unnatural positions. As soon as I knew the condition of things I sent the boat back for the doctor and some whiskey. It returned bringing Captain Thompson, and for an hour or more we were all hard at work lifting and helping the poor creatures on deck, where they were laid out in rows. A little water and stimulant revived most of them; some, however, were dead or too far gone to be resuscitated. The doctor worked earnestly over each one, but seventeen were beyond human skill. As fast as he pronounced them dead they were quickly dropped overboard.

Night closed in with our decks covered so thickly with the ebony bodies that with difficulty we could move about; fortunately they were as quiet as so many snakes. In the meantime the first officer, Mr. Block, was sending up a new topgallant yard, reeving new rigging, repairing the sails, and getting everything ataunto aloft. The Kroomen were busy washing out and fumigating the hold, getting ready for our cargo again. It would have been a very anxious night, except that I felt relieved by the presence of the brig which kept within hail. Soon after daybreak Captain Thompson came on board again, and we made a count of the captives as they were sent below; 188 men and boys, and 166 women and girls. Seeing everything snug and in order the captain returned to the brig, giving me final orders to proceed with all possible dispatch to Monrovia, Liberia, land the negroes, then sail for Porto Praya, Cape de Verde Islands, and report to the commodore. As the brig hauled to the wind and stood to the southward and eastward I dipped my colors, when her crew jumped into the rigging and gave us three cheers, which we returned.

As she drew away from us I began to realize my position and responsibility: a young midshipman, yet in my teens, commanding a prize, with three hundred and fifty prisoners on board, two or three weeks' sail from port, with only a small crew. From the first I kept all hands aft except two men on the lookout, and the weather was so warm that we could all sleep on deck. I also ordered the men never to lay aside their pistols or cutlasses, except when working aloft, but my chief reliance was in my knowledge of the negro,—of his patient, docile disposition. Born and bred a slave he never thought of any other condition, and he accepted the situation without a murmur. I had never heard of blacks rising or attempting to gain their freedom on board a slaver.

My charges were all of a deep black; from fifteen to twenty-five years of age, and, with a few exceptions, nude, unless copper or brass rings on their ankles or necklaces of cowries can be described as articles of dress. All were slashed, or had the scars of branding on their foreheads and cheeks; these marks were the distinguishing features of different tribes or families. The men's hair had been cut short, and their heads looked in some cases as if they had been shaven. The women, on the contrary, wore their hair "a la pompadour;" the coarse kinky locks were sometimes a foot or more above their heads, and trained square or round like a boxwood bush. Their features were of the pronounced African type, but, notwithstanding this disfigurement, were not unpleasing in appearance. The figures of all were very good, straight, well developed, some of the young men having bodies that would have graced a Mercury or an Apollo. Their hands were small, showing no evidences of work, only the cruel marks of shackles. These in some cases had worn deep furrows on their wrists or ankles.

They were obedient to all orders as far as they understood them, and would, I believe, have jumped overboard if told to do so. I forbade the men to treat them harshly or cruelly. I had the sick separated from the others, and allowed them to remain on deck all the time, and in this way I partly gained their confidence. I was anxious to learn their story. Fortunately one of the Kroomen found among the prisoners a native of a tribe living near the coast, and with him as interpreter was able to make himself understood. After a good deal of questioning I learned that most of them were from a long distance in the interior, some having been one and some two moons on the way, traveling partly by land and partly by river until they reached the coast. They had been sold by their kings or by their parents to the Arab trader for firearms or for rum. Once at the depots near the coast, they were sold by the Arabs or other traders to the slave captains for from twenty-five to fifty dollars a head. In the Brazils or West Indies they were worth from two to five hundred dollars. This wide margin, of course, attracted unscrupulous and greedy adventurers, who if they succeeded in running a few cargoes would enrich themselves.

Our daily routine was simple. At six in the morning the rope netting over the main hatch which admitted light and air was taken off, and twenty-five of each sex were brought up, and seated in two circles, one on each side of the deck. A large pan of boiled paddy was then placed in the centre by the cook and all went to work with their hands. A few minutes sufficed to dispose of every grain; then one of the Kroomen gave each of them a cup of water from a bucket. For half an hour after the meal they had the liberty of the deck, except the poop, for exercise, to wash and to sun themselves; for sunshine to a negro is meat and drink. At the end of this time they were sent below and another fifty brought up, and so on until all had been fed and watered. Paddy or rice was the staple article of food. At dinner boiled yams were given with the rice. Our passengers were quartered on a flying deck extending from the foremast to a point twenty feet abaft the main hatch from which came light and air. The height was about five feet; the men had one side and the women the other. Of course there was no furnishing of any kind, but all lay prone upon the bare deck in rows.

Every morning after breakfast the Kroomen would rig the force pump, screw on the hose and drench them all, washing out thoroughly between decks. They appeared to enjoy this, and it was cooling, for be it remembered we were close under the equator, the thermometer dancing about 90 deg. As the water was sluiced over them they would rub and scrub each other. Only the girls would try not to get their hair wet, for they were at all times particular about their headdress. It may be that this was the only part of their toilet that gave them any concern.

The winds were baffling and light, so we made but slow progress. Fortunately frequent rains, with sometimes a genuine tropical downpour or cloud-burst, gave us an opportunity of replenishing our water casks, and by spreading the awnings we were able to get a good supply. I found on inspection that there were at least thirty days' provisions on board, so on this score and that of water I felt easy. I lived on deck, seldom using the cabin, which was a veritable arsenal, with racks of muskets and cutlasses on two sides, many more than the captain needed to arm his crew, evidently intended for barter. Two or three prints of his favorite saints, ornamented with sharks' teeth, hung on one bulkhead. A well-thrummed mandolin and a number of French novels proved him to be a musical and literary fellow, who could probably play a bolero while making a troublesome slave walk a plank. I found also some choice vintages from the Douro and Bordeaux snugly stowed in his spirit locker, which proved good medicines for some of our captives, who required stimulants. Several of the girls were much reduced, refused nearly all food, and were only kept alive by a little wine and water. Two finally died of mere inanition. Their death did not in the least affect their fellows, who appeared perfectly indifferent and callous to all their surroundings, showing not the least sympathy or desire to help or wait on one another.

The fifth day after parting from the brig we encountered a tropical storm. The sun rose red and angry, and owing to the great refraction appeared three times its natural size. It climbed lazily to the zenith, and at noon we were shadowless. The sky was as calm as a vault, and the surface of the water was like burnished steel. The heat became so stifling that even the Africans were gasping for breath, and we envied them their freedom from all impediments. The least exertion was irksome, and attended with extreme lassitude. During the afternoon thin cirri clouds, flying very high, spread out over the western heavens like a fan. As the day lengthened they thickened to resemble the scales of a fish, bringing to mind the old saying, "A mackerel sky and a mare's tail," etc. The signs were all unmistakable, and even the gulls recognized a change, and, screaming, sought shelter on our spars. Mr. Block was ordered to send down all the light yards and sails; to take in and furl everything, using storm gaskets, except on the fore and main storm staysails; to lash everything on deck; to batten down the hatches, except one square of the main; see all the shifting boards in place, so that our living cargo would not be thrown to leeward higgledy-piggledy, and to take four or five of the worst cases of the sick into the cabin and lay them on the floor.

The sun disappeared behind a mountainous mass of leaden-colored clouds which rose rapidly in the southern and western quarters. To the eastward, also, the signs were threatening. Night came on suddenly as it does in the tropics. Soon the darkness enveloped us, a palpable veil. A noise like the march of a mighty host was heard, which proved to be the approach of a tropical flood, heralded by drops as large as marbles. It churned the still waters into a phosphorescent foam which rendered the darkness only more oppressive. The rain came down as it can come only in the Bight of Benin. The avalanche cooled us, reducing the temperature ten or fifteen degrees, giving us new life, and relieving our fevered blood. I told Mr. Block to throw back the tarpaulin over the main hatch and let our dusky friends get some benefit of it. In half an hour the rain ceased, but it was as calm and ominous as ever.

I knew this was but the forerunner of something worse to follow, and we had not long to wait, for suddenly a blinding flash of lightning darted through the gloom from east to west, followed by one in the opposite direction. Without intermission, one blaze after another and thunder crashing until our eyes were blinded and our ears deafened, a thousand times ten thousand pieces of artillery thundered away. We seemed utterly helpless and insignificant. "How wonderful are Thy works," came to my mind. Still no wind; the brig lay helpless.

Suddenly, as a slap in the face, the wind struck us,—on the starboard quarter, fortunately. "Hard-a-starboard." "Hanl aft port fore staysail sheet," I called. But before she could gather way she was thrown down by the wind like a reed. She was "coming to" instead of "going off," and I tried to get the main storm staysail down but could not make myself heard. She was lying on her broadside. Luckily the water was smooth as yet. The main staysail shot out of the boltropes with a report like a twelve-pounder, and this eased her so that if the fore staysail would only hold she would go off. For a few minutes all we could do was to hold on, our lee rail in the water; but the plucky little brig rallied a little, her head went off inch by inch, and as she gathered way she righted, and catching the wind on our quarter we were off like a shot out of a gun. I knew we were too near the vortex of the disturbance for the wind to hang long in one quarter, so watched anxiously for a change. The sea rose rapidly while we were running to the northward on her course, and after a lull of a few minutes the wind opened from the eastward, butt end foremost, a change of eight points. Nothing was to be done but heave to, and this in a cross sea where pitch, weather roll, lee lurch, followed one another in such earnest that it was a wonder her masts were not switched out of her.

I passed an anxious night, most concerned about the poor creatures under hatches, whose sufferings must have been terrible. To prevent their suffocating I kept two men at the main hatch with orders to lift one corner of the tarpaulin whenever possible, even if some water did go below. Toward morning the wind and the sea went down rapidly, and as the sun rose it chased the clouds off, giving us the promise of a fine day. When the cook brought me a cup of coffee, I do not know that I ever enjoyed anything more. Hatches off, I jumped down into the hold to look after my prisoners. Battered and bruised they lay around in heaps. Only the shifting boards had kept them from being beaten into an indistinguishable mass. As fast as possible they were sent on deck, and the sun's rays, with a few buckets of water that were thrown over them, accomplished wonders in bringing them to life and starting them to care for their sore limbs and bruises.

One boy, when I motioned for him to go on deck, pointed quietly to his leg, and upon examination I found a fracture just above the knee. Swelling had already commenced. I had seen limbs set, and had some rough idea how it should be done. So while getting some splints of keg staves and bandages ready, I kept a stream of water pouring on the fracture, and then ordered two men to pull the limb in place, and it took all their strength. That done I put on the splints and wrapped the bandages tightly. Three weeks later I landed him in a fair way of recovery.

Gradually I allowed a larger number of the blacks to remain on deck, a privilege which they greatly enjoyed. To lie basking in the sun like saurians, half sleeping, half waking, appeared to satisfy all their wishes. They were perfectly docile and obedient, and not by word, gesture, or look did they express any dissatisfaction with orders given them. But again for any little acts of kindness they expressed no kind of appreciation or gratitude. Physically they were men and women, but otherwise as far removed from the Anglo-Saxon as the oyster from the baboon, or the mole from the horse.

On the fourteenth day from parting with the brig we made the palms on Cape Mesurado, the entrance to Monrovia Harbor. A light sea breath wafted us to the anchorage, a mile from the town, and when the anchor dropped from the bows and the chain ran through the hawse pipe, it was sweet music to my ears; for the strain had been great, and I felt years older than when I parted from my messmates. A great responsibility seemed lifted from my shoulders, and I enjoyed a long and refreshing sleep for the first time in a fortnight. At nine the next morning I went on shore and reported to the authorities, the officials of Liberia, of which Monrovia is the capital.

This part of the African coast had been selected by the United States government as the home of emancipated slaves; for prior to the abolition excitement which culminated in the war, numbers of slaves in the South had been manumitted by their masters with the understanding that they should be deported to Liberia, and the Colonization Society, an influential body, comprising some of the leading men, like Madison, Webster, and Clay, had assisted in the same work. The passages of the negroes were paid; each family was given a tract of land and sufficient means to build a house. Several thousand had been sent out, most of whom had settled at Monrovia, and a few at other places on the coast. They had made no impression on the natives. On the contrary, many of them had intermarried with the natives, and the off-spring of these unions had lost the use of the English tongue, and had even gone back to the life and customs of their ancestors, sans clothing, sans habitations, and worship of a fetich.

Of course there were some notable exceptions, especially President Roberts, who proved himself a safe and prudent ruler, taking into consideration his surroundings and the material with which he had to work. The form of government was modeled after that of the United States, but it was top-heavy. Honorables, colonels, and judges were thicker than in Georgia. Only privates were scarce; for nothing delights a negro more than a little show or a gaudy uniform. On landing I was met by a dark mulatto, dressed in a straw hat, blue tail coat, silver epaulettes, linen trousers, with bare feet, and a heavy cavalry sabre hanging by his side. With him were three or four others in the same rig, except the epaulettes. He introduced himself as Colonel Harrison, chief of police. I asked to be directed to the custom house.

The collector proved to be an old negro from Raleigh, N. C., gray as a badger, spectacled, with manners of Lord Grandison and language of Mrs. Malaprop. I reported my arrival, and asked permission to land my cargo as soon as possible. He replied that in a matter of so much importance, devolving questions of momentous interest, it would be obligatory on him to consult the Secretary of the Treasury. I said I trusted he would so facilitate affairs that I might at an early hour disembarrass myself of my involuntary prisoners. I returned on board, and the day passed without any answer. The next morning I determined to go at once to headquarters and find out the cause of the delay by calling on the President.

He received me without any formality. I made my case as strong as possible, and pressed for an immediate answer. In reply he assured me he would consult with other members of his cabinet, and give me a final answer the next morning. That evening I dined with him en famille, and recognized some old Virginia dishes on the table. The next morning I waited impatiently for his decision, having made up my mind however, if it was unfavorable, to land my poor captives, be the consequences what they might.

About eleven o'clock a boat came off with an officer in full uniform, who introduced himself as Colonel Royal, bearer of dispatches from his Excellency the President. He handed me a letter couched in diplomatic language, as long as some of his brother presidents' messages on this side of the Atlantic. I had hardly patience to read it. The gist of it was, I might not land the captives at Monrovia, but might land them at Grand Bassa, about a hundred and fifty miles to the eastward; that Colonel Royal would accompany me with orders to the governor there to receive them. This was something I had not anticipated, and outside of my instructions. However, I thought it best to comply with the wishes of the government of our only colony.

Getting under way we stood to the southward and eastward, taking advantage of the light land and sea breeze, keeping the coast close aboard. The colonel had come on board without any impediments, and I wondered if he intended to make the voyage in his cocked hat, epaulettes, sword, etc. But soon after we had started he disappeared and emerged from the cabin bareheaded, barefooted, and without clothing except a blue dungaree shirt and trousers. Like a provident negro, having stowed away all his trappings, he appeared as a roustabout on a Western steamer. But he had not laid aside with his toggery any of his important and consequential airs. He ran foul of Mr. Block, who called him Mr. Cuffy, and ordered him to give him a pull with the main sheet. The colonel complained to me that he was not addressed by his name or title, and that he was not treated as a representative of his government should be. I reprimanded Mr. Block, and told him to give the visitor all his title. "All right, sir, but the colonel must keep off the weather side of the deck," growled the officer. The cook, the crew, and even the Kroomen, all took their cue from the first officer, and the colonel's lot was made most unhappy.

On the third day we reached Grand Bassa, and anchored off the beach about two miles, along which the surf was breaking so high that any attempt to land would be hazardous. Toward evening it moderated, and a canoe with three naked natives came off. One I found could speak a little English. I told him to say to the governor that I would come on shore in the morning and see him, and land my cargo at the same time.

The next morning at sunrise we were boarded by a party of natives headed by one wearing a black hat half covered with a tarnished silver band, an old navy frock coat, much too small, between the buttons of which his well-oiled skin showed clearly. A pair of blue flannel trousers completed his outfit. An interpreter introduced him as King George of Grand Bassa. With him were about a dozen followers, each one wearing a different sort of garment—and seldom more than a single one—representing old uniforms of many countries. Two coats I noticed were buttoned up the back.

The king began by saying that he was and always had been a friend of the Americans; that he was a big man, had plenty of men and five wives, etc. While he was speaking, a white-bearded old colored gentleman came over the gangway, dressed in a linen roundabout and trousers, with a wide-brimmed straw hat. At the same time Colonel Royal came up from the cabin in grande tenue and introduced us to the Hon. Mr. Marshall, governor of Bassa, formerly of Kentucky.

In a few minutes he explained the situation. With a few settlers he was located at this place, on the frontier of the colony, and they were there on sufferance only from the natives. I told him Colonel Royal would explain my mission to him and the king. The colonel, bowing low to the king, the governor, and myself, and bringing his sword down with a thud on the deck, drew from between the bursting buttons of his coat the formidable document I had seen at Monrovia, and with most impressive voice and gesture commenced to read it. The king listened for a few minutes, and then interrupted him. I asked the interpreter what he said. He replied, "King say he fool nigger; if he comes on shore he give him to Voodoo women." Then turning his back he walked forward. The colonel dropped his paper, and drawing his sword, in the most dramatic manner claimed protection in the name of the government, declaring that he had been insulted. I told him to keep cool, since he was certainly safe as long as he was on board my ship. He grumbled and muttered terrible things, but subsided gradually like the departing thunder of a summer storm.

I arranged the landing of the passengers with Governor Marshall, whom I found a sensible, clear-headed old man, ready to cooperate in every way. But he suggested that I had better consult the king before doing anything. I did so, and he at once said they could not land. I told the interpreter to say they would be landed at once and put under the protection of the governor; that if the king or his people hurt them or ran them off I would report it to our commodore, who would certainly punish him severely. Finding me determined, he began to temporize, and asked that the landing be put off until the next day, that he might consult with his head people, for if I sent them on shore before he had done so they would kill them. "If that is the case," I replied, "I will hold you on board as a hostage for their good behavior." This threat surprised him, and he changed his tactics. After a little powwow with some of his followers, he said that if I would give him fifty muskets, twenty pounds of powder, the colonel's sword, and some red cloth for his wives, I might land them. I replied that I had not a musket to spare nor an ounce of powder, that the colonel was a high officer of his government, and that he of course would not give up his uniform. Fortunately the colonel had retired to the cabin and did not hear this modest demand, or he would have been as much outraged as if his sable Majesty had asked for him to be served "roti a l'Ashantee." However, I told the king I would send his wives some cloth and buttons. He grunted his approval but returned again to the charge, and asked that he might choose a few of the captives for his own use, before landing. "Certainly not," I answered, "neither on board nor on shore," and added that he would be held accountable for their good treatment as free men and women. He left thoroughly disappointed and bent on mischief.

In the meantime Mr. Block had made all preparations for landing, and had the boats lowered and ranged alongside, with sufficient rice to last the blacks a week or ten days. The men and boys were sent first. When they were called up from the hold and ordered into the boats not one of them moved. They evidently divined what had been going on and dreaded leaving the vessel, though our Kroomen tried to explain that they would be safe and free on shore. The explanation was without effect, however, and they refused to move. The could only understand that they were changing masters, and they preferred the present ones. Sending three or four men down, I told them to pass up the negroes one at a time. Only a passive resistance was offered, such as one often sees exhibited by cattle being loaded on the cars or on a steamer, and were silent, not uttering a word of complaint. By noon the men were all on shore, and then we began with the girls. They were more demonstrative than the men, and by their looks and gestures begged not to be taken out of the vessel. I was much moved, for it was a painful duty, and I had become interested in these beings, so utterly helpless, so childlike in their dependence on those around them. And I could not help thinking what their fate would be, thrown upon the shore hundreds of miles from their homes, and among a people strange to them in language.

Even Mr. Block was deeply stirred. "He had not shipped," he said, "for such work." I went to my cabin and left him in charge. In the course of an hour he reported, "All ashore, sir." I told him to have the gig manned and I would go on shore with Colonel Royal, and get a receipt from Governor Marshall for my late cargo. The colonel declined to accompany me, alleging sickness and requesting me to get the necessary papers signed. No doubt he felt safer on board than within reach of King George.

We landed through the surf on a sandy beach, on which the waves of the Atlantic were fretting. Near by was a thick grove of cocoanut trees, under which in groups of four and five were those who had just been landed. They were seated on the ground, their heads resting on their knees, in a position of utter abnegation, surrounded by three or four hundred chattering savages of all ages, headed by the king. With the exception of him and a few of his head men, the clothing of the company would not have covered a rag baby. They were no doubt discussing the appearance of the strangers and making their selections.

I found the governor's house and the houses of the few settlers some distance back on a slight elevation. The governor was comfortably, though plainly situated, with a large family around him. He gave me a receipt for the number of blacks landed, but said it would be impossible for him to prevent the natives from taking and enslaving them. I agreed with him, and said he must repeat to the king what I had told him. Then bidding him good-by I returned on board, sad and weary as one often feels after being relieved of a great burden. At the same time I wondered whether the fate of these people would have been any worse if the captain of the slaver had succeeded in landing them in the Brazils or the West Indies. Sierra Leone being a crown colony, the English could land all their captives there and provide for them until they were able to work for themselves. In this respect they had a great advantage over us.

Getting under way, I proceeded to Monrovia to land Colonel Royal, and then to Porto Praya, our squadron's headquarters. There I found Commodore Gregory in the flagship corvette Portsmouth, and reported to him. Soon after the Porpoise came in, and I joined my old craft, giving up my command of the captured slaver rather reluctantly.


The critical reader of the story called The Wife of his Youth, which appeared in these pages two years ago, must have noticed uncommon traits in what was altogether a remarkable piece of work. The first was the novelty of the material; for the writer dealt not only with people who were not white, but with people who were not black enough to contrast grotesquely with white people,—who in fact were of that near approach to the ordinary American in race and color which leaves, at the last degree, every one but the connoisseur in doubt whether they are Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-African. Quite as striking as this novelty of the material was the author's thorough mastery of it, and his unerring knowledge of the life he had chosen in its peculiar racial characteristics. But above all, the story was notable for the passionless handling of a phase of our common life which is tense with potential tragedy; for the attitude, almost ironical, in which the artist observes the play of contesting emotions in the drama under his eyes; and for his apparently reluctant, apparently helpless consent to let the spectator know his real feeling in the matter. Any one accustomed to study methods in fiction, to distinguish between good and bad art, to feel the joy which the delicate skill possible only from a love of truth can give, must have known a high pleasure in the quiet self-restraint of the performance; and such a reader would probably have decided that the social situation in the piece was studied wholly from the outside, by an observer with special opportunities for knowing it, who was, as it were, surprised into final sympathy.

Now, however, it is known that the author of this story is of negro blood,—diluted, indeed, in such measure that if he did not admit this descent few would imagine it, but still quite of that middle world which lies next, though wholly outside, our own. Since his first story appeared he has contributed several others to these pages, and he now makes a showing palpable to criticism in a volume called The Wife of his Youth, and Other Stories of the Color Line; a volume of Southern sketches called The Conjure Woman; and a short life of Frederick Douglass, in the Beacon Series of biographies. The last is a simple, solid, straight piece of work, not remarkable above many other biographical studies by people entirely white, and yet important as the work of a man not entirely white treating of a great man of his inalienable race. But the volumes of fiction ARE remarkable above many, above most short stories by people entirely white, and would be worthy of unusual notice if they were not the work of a man not entirely white.

It is not from their racial interest that we could first wish to speak of them, though that must have a very great and very just claim upon the critic. It is much more simply and directly, as works of art, that they make their appeal, and we must allow the force of this quite independently of the other interest. Yet it cannot always be allowed. There are times in each of the stories of the first volume when the simplicity lapses, and the effect is as of a weak and uninstructed touch. There are other times when the attitude, severely impartial and studiously aloof, accuses itself of a little pompousness. There are still other times when the literature is a little too ornate for beauty, and the diction is journalistic, reporteristic. But it is right to add that these are the exceptional times, and that for far the greatest part Mr. Chesnutt seems to know quite as well what he wants to do in a given case as Maupassant, or Tourguenief, or Mr. James, or Miss Jewett, or Miss Wilkins, in other given cases, and has done it with an art of kindred quiet and force. He belongs, in other words, to the good school, the only school, all aberrations from nature being so much truancy and anarchy. He sees his people very clearly, very justly, and he shows them as he sees them, leaving the reader to divine the depth of his feeling for them. He touches all the stops, and with equal delicacy in stories of real tragedy and comedy and pathos, so that it would be hard to say which is the finest in such admirably rendered effects as The Web of Circumstance, The Bouquet, and Uncle Wellington's Wives. In some others the comedy degenerates into satire, with a look in the reader's direction which the author's friend must deplore.

As these stories are of our own time and country, and as there is not a swashbuckler of the seventeenth century, or a sentimentalist of this, or a princess of an imaginary kingdom, in any of them, they will possibly not reach half a million readers in six months, but in twelve months possibly more readers will remember them than if they had reached the half million. They are new and fresh and strong, as life always is, and fable never is; and the stories of The Conjure Woman have a wild, indigenous poetry, the creation of sincere and original imagination, which is imparted with a tender humorousness and a very artistic reticence. As far as his race is concerned, or his sixteenth part of a race, it does not greatly matter whether Mr. Chesnutt invented their motives, or found them, as he feigns, among his distant cousins of the Southern cabins. In either case, the wonder of their beauty is the same; and whatever is primitive and sylvan or campestral in the reader's heart is touched by the spells thrown on the simple black lives in these enchanting tales. Character, the most precious thing in fiction, is as faithfully portrayed against the poetic background as in the setting of the Stories of the Color Line.

Yet these stories, after all, are Mr. Chesnutt's most important work, whether we consider them merely as realistic fiction, apart from their author, or as studies of that middle world of which he is naturally and voluntarily a citizen. We had known the nethermost world of the grotesque and comical negro and the terrible and tragic negro through the white observer on the outside, and black character in its lyrical moods we had known from such an inside witness as Mr. Paul Dunbar; but it had remained for Mr. Chesnutt to acquaint us with those regions where the paler shades dwell as hopelessly, with relation to ourselves, as the blackest negro. He has not shown the dwellers there as very different from ourselves. They have within their own circles the same social ambitions and prejudices; they intrigue and truckle and crawl, and are snobs, like ourselves, both of the snobs that snub and the snobs that are snubbed. We may choose to think them droll in their parody of pure white society, but perhaps it would be wiser to recognize that they are like us because they are of our blood by more than a half, or three quarters, or nine tenths. It is not, in such cases, their negro blood that characterizes them; but it is their negro blood that excludes them, and that will imaginably fortify them and exalt them. Bound in that sad solidarity from which there is no hope of entrance into polite white society for them, they may create a civilization of their own, which need not lack the highest quality. They need not be ashamed of the race from which they have sprung, and whose exile they share; for in many of the arts it has already shown, during a single generation of freedom, gifts which slavery apparently only obscured. With Mr. Booker Washington the first American orator of our time, fresh upon the time of Frederick Douglass; with Mr. Dunbar among the truest of our poets; with Mr. Tanner, a black American, among the only three Americans from whom the French government ever bought a picture, Mr. Chesnutt may well be willing to own his color.

But that is his personal affair. Our own more universal interest in him arises from the more than promise he has given in a department of literature where Americans hold the foremost place. In this there is, happily, no color line; and if he has it in him to go forward on the way which he has traced for himself, to be true to life as he has known it, to deny himself the glories of the cheap success which awaits the charlatan in fiction, one of the places at the top is open to him. He has sounded a fresh note, boldly, not blatantly, and he has won the ear of the more intelligent public.



It is too late in the day to discuss whether it would have been better had the Negro never been brought into the Southern States. If his presence here has been beneficial, or is ever to prove so, the price of the benefit has already been dearly paid for. He was the occasion of the deadliest and most expensive war in modern times. In the next place, his presence has corrupted politics and has limited statesmanship to a mere question of race supremacy. Great problems concerning the political, industrial, and moral life of the people have been subordinated or overshadowed, so that, while important strides have been made elsewhere in the investigation of social conditions and in the administration of State and municipal affairs, in civil-service reform, in the management of penal and charitable institutions, and in the field of education, the South has lagged behind.

On the charts of illiteracy and crime the South is represented by an immense black spot. Such are a few items of the account. It will require millions more of dollars and generations more of earnest work before the total cost is met of bringing the black man to this side of the globe. But the debt has been incurred and must be liquidated.

The welfare of the Negro is bound up with that of the white man in many important particulars:

First, the low standard of living among the blacks keeps down the wages of all classes of whites. So long as the Negroes are content to live in miserable huts, wear rags, and subsist upon hog fat and cow-pease, so long must the wages of white people in the same kind of work be pressed toward the same level. The higher we raise the standard of living among the Negroes, the higher will be the wages of the white people in the same occupations. The low standard of the Negroes is the result of low productive power. The less intelligent and skilled the Negroes are, the less they can produce, whether working for themselves or others, and hence, the less will be the total wealth of the country.

But it may be asked, When the standard of living of the Negroes is raised, will not wages go up, and will not that be a drawback? Certainly wages will go up, because the income of all classes will be increased. High wages generally indicate high productive power and general wealth, while low wages indicate the opposite. Only benefits can arise from better wages.

In the next place, the Negro's propensity to crime tends to excite the criminal tendencies of the white man. The South enjoys the distinction of having the highest percentage of crime in all the civilized world, and the reason is that the crimes of the one race provoke counter-crimes in the other.

The physical well-being of the one race has such a conspicuous influence upon that of the other that the subject requires no elaboration. The uncleanliness of person and habits of the Negroes in their homes and in the homes of their employers tends to propagate diseases, and thus impairs the health and increases the death-rate of the whole population.

Again, the lack of refinement in intellect, manners, and dress among the Negroes is an obstacle to the cultivated life of the whites. Ignorance and the absence of taste and self-respect in servants result in badly kept homes and yards, destruction of furniture and ware, ill-prepared food, poor table service, and a general lowering of the standard of living. Furthermore, the corrupt, coarse, and vulgar language of the Negroes is largely responsible for the jumbled and distorted English spoken by many of the Southern whites.

Seeing that the degradation of the Negro is an impediment to the progress and civilization of the white man, how may we effect an improvement in his condition?

First, municipalities should give more attention to the streets and alleys that traverse Negro settlements. In almost every town in the South there are settlements, known by such names as "New Africa," "Haiti," "Log Town," "Smoky Hollow," or "Snow Hill," exclusively inhabited by Negroes. These settlements are often outside the corporate limits. The houses are built along narrow, crooked, and dirty lanes, and the community is without sanitary regulations or oversight. These quarters should be brought under municipal control, the lanes widened into streets and cleaned, and provision made to guard against the opening of similar ones in the future.

In the next place, property-owners should build better houses for the Negroes to live in. The weakness in the civilization of the Negroes is most pronounced in their family life. But improvement in this respect is not possible without an improvement in the character and the comforts of the houses they live in. Bad houses breed bad people and bad neighborhoods. There is no more distinctive form of crime than the building and renting of houses unfit for human habitation.

Scarcely second in importance to improvements in house architecture is the need among Negroes of more time to spend with their families. Employers of Negro labor should be less exacting in the number of hours required for a day's work. Many domestic servants now work from six in the morning until nine and ten o'clock at night. The Southern habit of keeping open shopping-places until late at night encourages late suppers, retains cooks, butlers, and nurses until bedtime, and robs them of all home life. If the merchants would close their shops at six o'clock, as is the custom in the North, the welfare of both races would be greatly promoted.

Again, a revolution is needed in the character of the Negro's religion. At present it is too largely an affair of the emotions. He needs to be taught that the religious life is something to grow into by the perfection of personality, and not to be jumped into or sweated into at camp-meetings. The theological seminaries and the graduate preachers should assume the task of grafting upon the religion of the Negro that much sanity at least.

A reform is as much needed in the methods and aims of Negro education. Up to the present Negro education has shared with that of the white man the fault of being top-heavy. Colleges and universities have developed out of proportion to, and at the expense of, common schools. Then, the kind of education afforded the Negro has not been fitted to his capacities and needs. He has been made to pursue courses of study parallel to those prescribed for the whites, as though the individuals of both races had to fill the same positions in life. Much of the Negro's education has had nothing to do with his real life-work. It has only made him discontented and disinclined to unfold his arms. The survival of the Negroes in the race for existence depends upon their retaining possession of the few bread-winning occupations now open to them. But instead of better qualifying themselves for these occupations they have been poring over dead languages and working problems in mathematics. In the meantime the Chinaman and the steam-laundry have abolished the Negro's wash-tub, trained white "tonsorial artists" have taken away his barber's chair, and skilled painters and plasterers and mechanics have taken away his paint-brushes and tool-chests. Every year the number of occupations open to him becomes fewer because of his lack of progress in them. Unless a radical change takes place in the scope of his education, so that he may learn better how to do his work, a tide of white immigration will set in and force him out of his last stronghold, domestic service, and limit his sphere to the farm.

All primary schools for the Negroes should be equipped for industrial training in such work as sewing, cooking, laundering, carpentry, and house-cleaning, and, in rural districts, in elementary agriculture.

Secondary schools should add to the literary courses a more advanced course in industrial training, so as to approach as nearly as possible the objects and methods of the Tuskegee and Hampton Industrial and Normal Schools. Too much cannot be said in behalf of the revolution in the life of the Negro which the work of these schools promises and, in part, has already wrought. The writer is fully aware that education has a value aside from and above its bread-winning results, and he would not dissuade the Negro from seeking the highest culture that he may be capable of; but it is folly for him to wing his way through the higher realms of the intellect without some acquaintance with the requirements and duties of life.

Changes are needed in the methods of Negro education as well as in its scope. Educators should take into account, more than they have yet done, the differences in the mental characteristics of the two races. It is a well-established fact that, while the lower races possess marked capacity to deal with simple, concrete ideas, they lack power of generalization, and soon fatigue in the realm of the abstract. It is also well known that the inferior races, being deficient in generalization, which is a subjective process, are absorbed almost entirely in the things that are objective. They have strong and alert eyesight, and are susceptible to impressions through the medium of the eye to an extent that is impossible to any of the white races. This fact is evidenced in the great number of pictures found in the homes of the Negroes. In default of anything better, they will paper their walls with advertisements of the theater and the circus, and even with pictures from vicious newspapers. They delight in street pageantry, fancy costumes, theatrical performances, and similar spectacles. Factories employing Negroes generally find it necessary to suspend operations on "circus day." They love stories of adventure and any fiction that gives play to their imaginations. All their tastes lie in the realm of the objective and the concrete.

Hence, in the school-room stress should be laid on those studies that appeal to the eye and the imagination. Lessons should be given in sketching, painting, drawing, and casting. Reprints of the popular works of art should be placed before the Negroes, that their love for art may be gratified and their taste cultivated at the same time. Fancy needlework, dress-making, and home decorations should also have an important place. These studies, while not contributing directly to bread-winning, have a refining and softening influence upon character, and inspire efforts to make the home more attractive. The more interest we can make the Negro take in his personal appearance and in the comforts of his home, the more we shall strengthen and promote his family life and raise the level of his civilization.

The literary education of the Negro should consist of carefully selected poems and novels that appeal to his imagination and produce clear images upon his mind, excluding such literature as is in the nature of psychological or moral research. Recitations and dialogues should be more generally and more frequently required. In history emphasis should be given to what is picturesque, dramatic, and biographical.

Coming to the political phase of the Negro problem, there is a general agreement among white men that the Southern States cannot keep pace with the progress of the world as long as they are menaced by Negro domination, and that, therefore, it is necessary to eliminate the Negro vote from politics. When the Negroes become intelligent factors in society, when they become thrifty and accumulate wealth, they will find the way to larger exercise of citizenship. They can never sit upon juries to pass upon life and property until they are property-owners themselves, and they can never hold the reins of government by reason of mere superiority of numbers. Before they can take on larger political responsibilities they must demonstrate their ability to meet them.

The Negroes will never be allowed to control State governments so long as they vote at every election upon the basis of color, without regard whatever to political issues or private convictions. If the Negroes would divide their votes according to their individual opinions, as the lamented Charles Price, one of their best leaders, advised, there would be no danger of Negro domination and no objection to their holding offices which they might be competent to fill. But as there is no present prospect of their voting upon any other basis than that of color, the white people are forced to accept the situation and protect themselves accordingly. Years of bitter and costly experience have demonstrated over and over again that Negro rule is not only incompetent and corrupt, but a menace to civilization. Some people imagine that there is something anomalous, peculiar, or local in the race prejudice that binds all Negroes together; but this clan spirit is a characteristic of all savage and semi-civilized peoples.

It should be well understood by this time that no foreign race inhabiting this country and acting together politically can dominate the native whites. To permit an inferior race, holding less than one tenth of the property of the community, to take the reins of government in its hands, by reason of mere numerical strength, would be to renounce civilization. Our national government, in making laws for Hawaii, has carefully provided for white supremacy by an educational qualification for suffrage that excludes the semi-civilized natives. No sane man, let us hope, would think of placing Manila under the control of a government of the Philippine Islands based upon universal suffrage. Yet the problem in the South and the problem in the Philippines and in Hawaii differ only in degree.

The only proper safeguard against Negro rule in States where the blacks outnumber or approximate in number the whites lies in constitutional provisions establishing an educational test for suffrage applicable to black and white alike. If the suffrage is not thus limited it is necessary for the whites to resort to technicalities and ballot laws, to bribery or intimidation. To set up an educational test with a "grandfather clause," making the test apply for a certain time to the blacks only, seems to an outsider unnecessary, arbitrary, and unjust. The reason for such a clause arises from the belief that no constitutional amendment could ever carry if it immediately disfranchised the illiterate whites, as many property-holding whites belong to that class. But the writer does not believe in the principle nor in the necessity for a "grandfather clause." If constitutional amendments were to be submitted in North Carolina and Virginia applying the educational test to both races alike after 1908, the question would be lifted above the level of party gain, and would receive the support of white men of all parties and the approbation of the moral sentiment of the American people. A white man who would disfranchise a Negro because of his color or for mere party advantage is himself unworthy of the suffrage. With the suffrage question adjusted upon an educational basis the Negroes would have the power to work out their political emancipation, the white people having made education necessary and provided the means for attaining it.

When the question of Negro domination is settled the path of progress of both races will be very much cleared. Race conflicts will then be less frequent and race feeling less bitter. With more friendly relations growing up, and with more concentration of energy on the part of the Negroes in industrial lines, the opportunities for them will be widened and the task of finding industrial adjustment in the struggle for life made easier. The wisest and best leaders among the Negroes, such as Booker Washington and the late Charles Price, have tried to turn the attention of the Negroes from politics to the more profitable pursuits of industry, and if the professional politician would cease inspiring the Negroes to seek salvation in political domination over the whites, the race issue would soon cease to exist.

The field is broad enough in the South for both races to attain all that is possible to them. In spite of the periodic political conflicts and occasional local riots and acts of individual violence, the relations between the races, in respect to nine tenths of the population, are very friendly. The general condition has been too often judged by the acts of a small minority. The Southern people understand the Negroes, and feel a real fondness for those that are thrifty and well behaved. When fairly treated the Negro has a strong affection for his employer. He seldom forgets a kindness, and is quick to forget a wrong. If he does not stay long at one place, it is not that he dislikes his employer so much as that he has a restless temperament and craves change. His disposition is full of mirth and sunshine, and not a little of the fine flavor of Southern wit and humor is due to his influence. His nature is plastic, and while he is easily molded into a monster, he is also capable of a high degree of culture. Many Negroes are thoroughly honest, notwithstanding their bad environment and hereditary disposition to steal. Negro servants are trusted with the keys to households to an extent that, probably, is not the case among domestics elsewhere in the civilized world.

It is strange that two races working side by side should possess so many opposite traits of character. The white man has strong will and convictions and is set in his ways. He lives an indoor, monotonous life, restrains himself like a Puritan, and is inclined to melancholy. The prevalence of Populism throughout the South is nothing but the outcome of this morbid tendency. Farmers and merchants are entirely absorbed in their business, and the women, especially the married women, contrast with the women of France, Germany, and even England, in their indoor life and disinclination to mingle with the world outside. Public parks and public concerts, such as are found in Europe, which call out husband, wife, and children for a few hours of rest and communion with their friends, are almost unknown in the South. The few entertainments that receive sanction generally exclude all but the well-to-do by the cost of admission. The life of the poor in town and country is bleak and bare to the last degree.

Contrasting with this tendency is the free-and-easy life of the blacks. The burdens of the present and the future weigh lightly upon their shoulders. They love all the worldly amusements; in their homes they are free entertainers, and in their fondness for conversation and love of street life they are equal to the French or Italians.

May we not hope that the conflict of these two opposite races is working out some advantages to both, and that the final result will justify all that the conflict has cost?


In addition to the problem of educating eight million negroes in our Southern States and ingrafting them into American citizenship, we now have the additional responsibility, either directly or indirectly, of educating and elevating about eight hundred thousand others of African descent in Cuba and Porto Rico, to say nothing of the white people of these islands, many of whom are in a condition about as deplorable as that of the negroes. We have, however, one advantage in approaching the question of the education of our new neighbors.

The experience that we have passed through in the Southern States during the last thirty years in the education of my race, whose history and needs are not very different from the history and needs of the Cubans and Porto Ricans, will prove most valuable in elevating the blacks of the West Indian Islands. To tell what has already been accomplished in the South under most difficult circumstances is to tell what may be done in Cuba and Porto Rico.

To this end let me tell a story.

In what is known as the black belt of the South—that is, where the negroes outnumber the whites—there lived before the Civil War a white man who owned some two hundred slaves, and was prosperous. At the close of the war he found his fortune gone, except that which was represented in land, of which he owned several thousand acres. Of the two hundred slaves a large proportion decided, after their freedom, to continue on the plantation of their former owner.

Some years after the war a young black boy, who seemed to have "rained down," was discovered on the plantation by Mr. S——-, the owner. In daily rides through the plantation Mr. S——- saw this boy sitting by the roadside, and his condition awakened his pity, for, from want of care, he was covered from head to foot with sores, and Mr. S——- soon grew into the habit of tossing him a nickel or a dime as he rode by. In some way this boy heard of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama, and of the advantages which it offered poor but deserving colored men and women to secure an education through their own labor while taking the course of study. This boy, whose name was William, made known to the plantation hands his wish to go to the Tuskegee school. By each one "chipping in," and through the efforts of the boy himself, a few decent pieces of clothing were secured, and a little money, but not enough to pay his railroad fare, so the boy resolved to walk to Tuskegee, a distance of about one hundred and fifty miles. Strange to say, he made the long distance with an expenditure of only twenty cents in cash. He frankly told every one with whom he came in contact where he was going and what he was seeking. Both white and colored people along the route gave him food and a place to sleep free of cost, and even the usually exacting ferrymen were so impressed with the young negro's desire for an education that, except in one case, he was given free ferriage across the creeks and rivers.

One can easily imagine his appearance when he first arrived at Tuskegee, with his blistered feet and small white bundle, which contained all the clothing he possessed.

On being shown into my office his first words were: "I's come. S'pose you been lookin' for me, but I didn't come on de railroad." Looking up the records, it was found that this young man had been given permission to come several months ago, but the correspondence had long since been forgotten.

After being sent to the bath-room and provided with a tooth-brush,—for the tooth-brush at Tuskegee is the emblem of civilization,—William was assigned to a room, and was given work on the school farm of fourteen hundred acres, seven hundred of which are cultivated by student labor. During his first year at Tuskegee William worked on the farm during the day, where he soon learned to take a deep interest in all that the school was doing to teach the students the best and most improved methods of farming, and studied for two hours at night in the class-room after his hard day's work was over. At first he seemed drowsy and dull in the night-school, and would now and then fall asleep while trying to study; but he did not grow discouraged. The new machinery that he was compelled to use on the farm interested him because it taught him that the farm work could be stripped of much of the old-time drudgery and toil, and seemed to awaken his sleeping intellect. Soon he began asking the farm-instructors such questions as where the Jersey and Holstein cattle came from, and why they produced more milk and butter than the common long-tailed and long-horned cows that he had seen at home.

His night-school teachers found that he ceased to sleep in school, and began asking questions about his lessons, and was soon able to calculate the number of square yards in an acre and to tell the number of peach-trees required to plant an acre of land. After he had been at Tuskegee two or three months the farm-manager came into my office on a cold, rainy day, and said that William was virtually barefooted, the soles of his shoes having separated from the uppers, though William had fastened them together as best he could with bits of wire. In this condition the farm-instructor found him plowing without a word of complaint. A pair of second-hand shoes was secured for him, and he was soon very happy.

I will not take this part of the story further except to say that at the end of his first year at Tuskegee this young man, having made a start in his books, and having saved a small sum of money above the cost of his board, which was credited to his account, entered the next year our regular day-classes, though still dividing his time between the class-room and work on the farm.

Toward the end of the year he found himself in need of money with which to buy books, clothing, etc., and so wrote a carefully worded letter to Mr. S——-, the white man on whose plantation he had lived, and who had been, in slavery, the owner of his mother.

In the letter he told Mr. S——- how he got to Tuskegee, what he was doing, and what his needs were, and asked Mr. S——- to lend him fifteen dollars. Before receiving this letter Mr. S——- had not thought once about the boy during his two years' absence; in fact, did not know that he had left the plantation.

Mr. S——- was a good deal shocked, as well as amused, over such a request from such a source. The letter went to the wastebasket without being answered. A few weeks later William sent a second letter, in which he took it for granted that the first letter had not been received. The second letter shared the same fate as the first. A third letter reached Mr. S——- in a few weeks, making the same request. In answer to the third letter Mr. S——- told me that, moved by some impulse which he himself never understood, he sent William the fifteen dollars.

Two or three years passed, and Mr. S——- had about forgotten William and the fifteen dollars; but one morning while sitting upon his porch a bright young colored man walked up and introduced himself as William, the boy to whom he used to toss small pieces of money, and the one to whom he had sent fifteen dollars.

William paid Mr. S——- the fifteen dollars with interest, which he had earned while teaching school after leaving Tuskegee.

This simple experience with this young colored man made a new and different person of Mr. S——-, so far as the negro was concerned.

He began to think. He thought of the long past, but he thought most of the future, and of his duty toward the hundreds of colored people on his plantation and in his community. After careful thought he asked William Edwards to open a school on his plantation in a vacant log cabin. That was seven years ago. On this same plantation at Snow Hill, Wilcox county, Alabama, a county where, according to the last census, there are twenty-four thousand colored people and about six thousand whites, there is now a school with two hundred pupils, five teachers from Tuskegee, and three school buildings. The school has forty acres of land. In addition to the text-book lessons, the boys are taught farming and carpentry, and the girls sewing and general house-keeping, and the school is now in the act of starting a blacksmith and wheelwright department. This school owes its existence almost wholly to Mr. S——-, who gave to the trustees the forty acres of land, and has contributed liberally to the building fund, as well as to the pay of the teachers. Gifts from a few friends in the North have been received, and the colored people have given their labor and small sums in cash. When the people cannot find money to give, they have often given corn, chickens, and eggs. The school has grown so popular that almost every leading white man in the community is willing to make a small gift toward its maintenance.

In addition to the work done directly in the school for the children, the teachers in the Snow Hill school have organized a kind of university extension movement. The farmers are organized into conferences, which hold meetings each month. In these meetings they are taught better methods of agriculture, how to buy land, how to economize and keep out of debt, how to stop mortgaging, how to build school-houses and dwelling-houses with more than one room, how to bring about a higher moral and religious standing, and are warned against buying cheap jewelry, snuff, and whisky.

No one is a more interested visitor at these meetings than Mr. S——-himself. The matter does not end in mere talk and advice. The women teachers go right into the cabins of the people and show them how to keep them clean, how to dust, sweep, and cook.

When William Edwards left this community a few years ago for the Tuskegee school, he left the larger proportion in debt, mortgaging their crops every year for the food on which to live. Most of them were living on rented land in small one-room log cabins, and attempting to pay an enormous rate of interest on the value of their food advances. As one old colored man expressed it, "I ain't got but six feet of land, and I is got to die to git dat." The little school taught in a cabin lasted only three or four months in the year. The religion was largely a matter of the emotions, with almost no practical ideas of morality. It was the white man for himself and the negro for himself, each in too many cases trying to take advantage of the other. The situation was pretty well described by a black man who said to me: "I tells you how we votes. We always watches de white man, and we keeps watchin' de white man. De nearer it gits to 'lection-time de more we watches de white man. We keeps watchin' de white man till we find out which way he gwine to vote; den we votes 'zactly de odder way. Den we knows we is right."

Now how changed is all at Snow Hill, and how it is gradually changing each year! Instead of the hopelessness and dejection that were there a few years ago, there are now light and buoyancy in the countenances and movements of the people. The negroes are getting out of debt and buying land, ceasing to mortgage their crops, building houses with two or three rooms, and a higher moral and religious standard has been established.

Last May, on the day that the school had its closing exercises, there were present, besides the hundreds of colored-people, about fifty of the leading white men and women of the county, and these white people seemed as much interested in the work of the school as the people of my own race.

Only a few years ago in the State of Alabama the law in reference to the education of the negro read as follows: "Any person or persons who shall attempt to teach any free person of color or slave to spell, read, or write shall, upon conviction thereof by indictment, be fined in a sum not less than two hundred and fifty dollars nor more than five hundred dollars."

Within half a dozen years I have heard Dr. J. L. M. Curry, a brave, honest ex-Confederate officer, in addressing both the Alabama and Georgia State legislatures, say to those bodies in the most emphatic manner that it was as much the duty of the State to educate the negro children as the white children, and in each case Dr. Curry's words were cheered.

Here at Snow Hill is the foundation for the solution of the legal and political difficulties that exist in the South, and the improvement of the industrial condition of the negro in Cuba and Porto Rico. This solution will not come all at once, but gradually. The foundation must exist in the commercial and industrial development of the people of my race in the South and in the West Indian Islands.

The most intelligent whites are beginning to realize that they cannot go much higher than they lift the negro at the same time. When a black man owns and cultivates the best farm to be found in his county he will have the confidence and respect of most of the white people in that county. When a black man is the largest taxpayer in his community his white neighbor will not object very long to his voting, and having that vote honestly counted. Even now a black man who has five hundred dollars to lend has no trouble in finding a white man who is willing to borrow his money. The negro who is a large stockholder in a railroad company will always be treated with justice on that railroad.

Many of the most intelligent colored people are learning that while there are many bad white men in the South, there are Southern whites who have the highest interests of the negro just as closely at heart as have any other people in any part of the country. Many of the negroes are learning that it is folly not to cultivate in every honorable way the friendship of the white man who is their next-door neighbor.

To describe the work being done in connection with the public schools by graduates of Tuskegee and other institutions in the South, at such places as Mount Meigs, under Miss Cornelia Bowen; Denmark, South Carolina; Abbeville and Newville, Alabama; Christiansburg, Virginia, and numbers of other places in the Gulf States, would be only to repeat in a larger or smaller degree what I have said of Snow Hill.

Not very long after the last national election I visited a town in the South, to speak at a meeting which had for its object the raising of money to complete the school-house. The audience was about equally divided between white men and women and black men and women. When the time for the collection came it was intensely satisfactory to observe that the white side of the audience was just as eager to make its small contributions as were the members of my own race. But I was anxious to see how the late election had been conducted in that community. I soon found out that the Republican party, composed almost wholly of the black people, was represented by an election officer in the person of one of the best-educated colored men in the town, that both the Democratic and Populist parties were equally well represented, and that there was no suspicion of unfairness.

But I wished to go a little deeper, and I soon found that one of the leading stores in this community was owned by a colored man; that a cotton-gin was owned by a colored man; that the sawmill was owned by another colored man. Colored men had mortgages on white men's crops, and vice versa, and colored people not only owned land, but in several cases were renting land to white men. Black men were in debt to white men, and white men were in debt to black men. In a word, the industrial and commercial relations of the races were interwoven just as if all had been of one race.

An object-lesson in civilization is more potent in compelling people to act right than a law compelling them to do so. Some years ago a colored woman who had graduated at Tuskegee began her life-work in a Southern community where the force of white public sentiment was opposed to the starting of what was termed a "nigger school." At first this girl was tempted to abuse her white sister, but she remembered that perhaps the white woman had been taught from her earliest childhood, through reading and conversation, that education was not good for the negro, that it would result only in trouble to the community, and that no amount of abuse could change this prejudice.

After a while this colored teacher was married to an educated colored man, and they built a little cottage, which, in connection with her husband's farm, was a model. One morning one of the white women who had been most intense in her feelings was passing this cottage, and her attention was attracted to the colored woman who was at work in her beautiful flower-garden. A conversation took place concerning the flowers. At another time this same white woman was so attracted by this flower-garden that she came inside the yard, and from the yard she went into the sitting-room and examined the books and papers.

This acquaintance has now ripened and broadened, so that to-day there are few people in that community more highly respected than this colored family. What did it all? This object-lesson. No one could explain that away. One such object-lesson in every community in the South is more powerful than all the laws Congress can pass in the direction of bringing about right relations between blacks and whites.

A few months ago an agricultural county fair, the first ever held in that county, was organized and held at Calhoun, Alabama, by the teachers in the Calhoun School, which is an offshoot of the Hampton Institute. Both the colored people and numbers of white visitors were astonished at the creditable exhibits made by the colored people. Most of these white people saw the school work at Calhoun for the first time. Perhaps no amount of abstract talk or advice could have brought them to this school, but the best hog, the largest pumpkin, or the most valuable bale of cotton possessed a common interest, and it has been a comparatively easy thing to extend their interest from the best hog to the work being done in the school-room. Further, this fair convinced these white people, as almost nothing else could have done, that education was making the negroes better citizens rather than worse; that the people were not being educated away from themselves, but with their elevation the conditions about them were being lifted in a manner that possessed an interest and value for both races.

It was after speaking, not long ago, to the colored people at such a county fair in North Carolina that I was asked the next morning to speak to the white students at their college, who gave me as hearty a greeting as I have ever received at Northern colleges.

But such forces as I have described—forces that are gradually regenerating the entire South and will regenerate Cuba and Porto Rico—are not started and kept in motion without a central plant—a power-house, where the power is generated. I cannot describe all these places of power. Perhaps the whole South and the whole country are most indebted to the Hampton Institute in Virginia. Then there is Fisk University at Nashville, Tennessee; Talladega College at Talladega, Alabama; Spelman Seminary, Atlanta University, and Atlanta Baptist College at Atlanta; Biddle University in North Carolina; Claflin University at Orangeburg, South Carolina; and Knoxville College at Knoxville, Tennessee. Some of these do a different grade of work, but one much needed.

At Tuskegee, Alabama, starting fifteen years ago in a little shanty with one teacher and thirty students, with no property, there has grown up an industrial and educational village where the ideas that I have referred to are put into the heads, hearts, and hands of an army of colored men and women, with the purpose of having them become centers of light and civilization in every part of the South. One visiting the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute to-day will find eight hundred and fifty students gathered from twenty-four States, with eighty-eight teachers and officers training these students in literary, religious, and industrial work.

Counting the students and the families of the instructors, the visitor will find a black village of about twelve hundred people. Instead of the old, worn-out plantation that was there fifteen years ago, there is a modern farm of seven hundred acres cultivated by student labor. There are Jersey and Holstein cows and Berkshire pigs, and the butter used is made by the most modern process.

Aside from the dozens of neat, comfortable cottages owned by individual teachers and other persons, who have settled in this village for the purpose of educating their children, he will find thirty-six buildings of various kinds and sizes, owned and built by the school, property valued at three hundred thousand dollars. Perhaps the most interesting thing in connection with these buildings is that, with the exception of three, they have been built by student labor. The friends of the school have furnished money to pay the teachers and for material.

When a building is to be erected, the teacher in charge of the mechanical and architectural drawing department gives to the class in drawing a general description of the building desired, and then there is a competition to see whose plan will be accepted. These same students in most cases help do the practical work of putting up the building—some at the sawmill, the brick-yard, or in the carpentry, brickmaking, plastering, painting, and tinsmithing departments. At the same time care is taken to see not only that the building goes up properly, but that the students, who are under intelligent instructors in their special branch, are taught at the same time the principles as well as the practical part of the trade.

The school has the building in the end, and the students have the knowledge of the trade. This same principle applies, whether in the laundry, where the washing for seven or eight hundred people is done, or in the sewing-room, where a large part of the clothing for this colony is made and repaired, or in the wheelwright and blacksmith departments, where all the wagons and buggies used by the school, besides a large number for the outside public, are manufactured, or in the printing-office, where a large part of the printing for the white and colored people in this region is done. Twenty-six different industries are here in constant operation.

When the student is through with his course of training he goes out feeling that it is just as honorable to labor with the hand as with the head, and instead of his having to look for a place, the place usually seeks him, because he has to give that which the South wants. One other thing should not be overlooked in our efforts to develop the black man. As bad as slavery was, almost every large plantation in the South during that time was, in a measure, an industrial school. It had its farming department, its blacksmith, wheelwright, brickmaking, carpentry, and sewing departments. Thus at the close of the war our people were in possession of all the common and skilled labor in the South. For nearly twenty years after the war we overlooked the value of the ante-bellum training, and no one was trained to replace these skilled men and women who were soon to pass away; and now, as skilled laborers from foreign countries, with not only educated hands but trained brains, begin to come into the South and take these positions once held by us, we are gradually waking up to the fact that we must compete with the white man in the industrial world if we would hold our own. No one understands his value in the labor world better than the old colored man. Recently, when a convention was held in the South by the white people for the purpose of inducing white settlers from the North and West to settle in the South, one of these colored men said to the president of the convention: "'Fore de Lord, boss, we's got as many white people down here now as we niggers can support."

The negro in the South has another advantage. While there is prejudice against him along certain lines,—in the matter of business in general, and the trades especially,—there is virtually no prejudice so far as the native Southern white man is concerned. White men and black men work at the same carpenter's bench and on the same brick wall. Sometimes the white man is the "boss," sometimes the black man is the boss.

Some one chaffed a colored man recently because, when he got through with a contract for building a house, he cleared just ten cents; but he said: "All right, boss; it was worth ten cents to be de boss of dem white men." If a Southern white man has a contract to let for the building of a house, he prefers the black contractor, because he has been used to doing business of this character with a negro rather than with a white man.

The negro will find his way up as a man just in proportion as he makes himself valuable, possesses something that a white man wants, can do something as well as, or better than, a white man.

I would not have my readers get the thought that the problem in the South is settled, that there is nothing else to be done; far from this. Long years of patient, hard work will be required for the betterment of the condition of the negro in the South, as well as for the betterment of the condition of the negro in the West Indies.

There are bright spots here and there that point the way. Perhaps the most that we have accomplished in the last thirty years is to show the North and the South how the fourteen slaves landed a few hundred years ago at Jamestown, Virginia,—now nearly eight millions of freemen in the South alone,—are to be made a safe and useful part of our democratic and Christian institutions.

The main thing that is now needed to bring about a solution of the difficulties in the South is money in large sums, to be used largely for Christian, technical, and industrial education.

For more than thirty years we have been trying to solve one of the most serious problems in the history of the world largely by passing around a hat in the North. Out of their poverty the Southern States have done well in assisting; many more millions are needed, and these millions will have to come before the question as to the negro in the South is settled.

There never was a greater opportunity for men of wealth to place a few million dollars where they could be used in lifting up and regenerating a whole race; and let it always be borne in mind that every dollar given for the proper education of the negro in the South is almost as much help to the Southern white man as to the negro himself. So long as the whites in the South are surrounded by a race that is, in a large measure, in ignorance and poverty, so long will this ignorance and poverty of the negro in a score of ways prevent the highest development of the white man.

The problem of lifting up the negro in Cuba and Porto Rico is an easier one in one respect, even if it proves more difficult in others. It will be less difficult, because there is the absence of that higher degree of race feeling which exists in many parts of the United States. Both the white Cuban and the white Spaniard have treated the people of African descent, in civil, political, military, and business matters, very much as they have treated others of their own race. Oppression has not cowed and unmanned the Cuban negro in certain respects as it has the American negro.

In only a few instances is the color-line drawn. How Americans will treat the negro Cuban, and what will be the tendency of American influences in the matter of the relation of the races, remains an interesting and open question. Certainly it will place this country in an awkward position to have gone to war to free a people from Spanish cruelty, and then as soon as it gets them within its power to treat a large proportion of the population worse than did even Spain herself, simply on account of color.

While in the matter of the relation of the races the problem before us in the West Indies is easier, in respect to the industrial, moral, and religious sides it is more difficult. The negroes on these islands are largely an agricultural people, and for this reason, in addition to a higher degree of mental and religious training, they need the same agricultural, mechanical, and domestic training that is fast helping the negroes in our Southern States. Industrial training will not only help them to the ownership of property, habits of thrift and economy, but the acquiring of these elements of strength will go further than anything else in improving the moral and religious condition of the masses, just as has been and is true of my people in the Southern States.

With the idea of getting the methods of industrial education pursued at Hampton and Tuskegee permanently and rightly started in Cuba and Porto Rico, a few of the most promising men and women from these islands have been brought to the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, and educated with the view of having them return and take the lead in affording industrial training on these islands, where the training can best be given to the masses.

The emphasis that I have placed upon an industrial education does not mean that the negro is to be excluded from the higher interests of life, but it does mean that in proportion as the negro gets the foundation,—the useful before the ornamental,—in the same proportion will he accelerate his progress in acquiring those elements which do not pertain so directly to the utilitarian.

Phillips Brooks once said, "One generation gathers the material, and the next builds the palaces." Very largely this must be the material-gathering generation of black people, but in due time the palaces will come if we are patient.

THE MARCH OF PROGRESS by Charles W. Chesnutt

The colored people of Patesville had at length gained the object they had for a long time been seeking—the appointment of a committee of themselves to manage the colored schools of the town. They had argued, with some show of reason, that they were most interested in the education of their own children, and in a position to know, better than any committee of white men could, what was best for their children's needs. The appointments had been made by the county commissioners during the latter part of the summer, and a week later a meeting was called for the purpose of electing a teacher to take charge of the grammar school at the beginning of the fall term.

The committee consisted of Frank Gillespie, or "Glaspy," a barber, who took an active part in local politics; Bob Cotten, a blacksmith, who owned several houses and was looked upon as a substantial citizen; and Abe Johnson, commonly called "Ole Abe" or "Uncle Abe," who had a large family, and drove a dray, and did odd jobs of hauling; he was also a class-leader in the Methodist church. The committee had been chosen from among a number of candidates—Gillespie on account of his political standing, Cotten as representing the solid element of the colored population, and Old Abe, with democratic impartiality, as likely to satisfy the humbler class of a humble people. While the choice had not pleased everybody,—for instance, some of the other applicants,—it was acquiesced in with general satisfaction. The first meeting of the new committee was of great public interest, partly by reason of its novelty, but chiefly because there were two candidates for the position of teacher of the grammar school.

The former teacher, Miss Henrietta Noble, had applied for the school. She had taught the colored children of Patesville for fifteen years. When the Freedmen's Bureau, after the military occupation of North Carolina, had called for volunteers to teach the children of the freedmen, Henrietta Nobel had offered her services. Brought up in a New England household by parents who taught her to fear God and love her fellow-men, she had seen her father's body brought home from a Southern battle-field and laid to rest in the village cemetery; and a short six months later she had buried her mother by his side. Henrietta had no brothers or sisters, and her nearest relatives were cousins living in the far West. The only human being in whom she felt any special personal interest was a certain captain in her father's regiment, who had paid her some attention. She had loved this man deeply, in a maidenly, modest way; but he had gone away without speaking, and had not since written. He had escaped the fate of many others, and at the close of the war was alive and well, stationed in some Southern garrison.

When her mother died, Henrietta had found herself possessed only of the house where she lived and the furniture it contained, neither being of much value, and she was thrown upon her own resources for a livelihood. She had a fair education and had read many good books. It was not easy to find employment such as she desired. She wrote to her Western cousins, and they advised her to come to them, as they thought they could do something for her if she were there. She had almost decided to accept their offer, when the demand arose for teachers in the South. Whether impelled by some strain of adventurous blood from a Pilgrim ancestry, or by a sensitive pride that shrank from dependence, or by some dim and unacknowledged hope that she might sometime, somewhere, somehow meet Captain Carey—whether from one of these motives or a combination of them all, joined to something of the missionary spirit, she decided to go South, and wrote to her cousins declining their friendly offer.

She had come to Patesville when the children were mostly a mob of dirty little beggars. She had distributed among them the cast-off clothing that came from their friends in the North; she had taught them to wash their faces and to comb their hair; and patiently, year after year, she had labored to instruct them in the rudiments of learning and the first principles of religion and morality. And she had not wrought in vain. Other agencies, it is true, had in time cooperated with her efforts, but any one who had watched the current of events must have been compelled to admit that the very fair progress of the colored people of Patesville in the fifteen years following emancipation had been due chiefly to the unselfish labors of Henrietta Noble, and that her nature did not belie her name.

Fifteen years is a long time. Miss Noble had never met Captain Carey; and when she learned later that he had married a Southern girl in the neighborhood of his post, she had shed her tears in secret and banished his image from her heart. She had lived a lonely life. The white people of the town, though they learned in time to respect her and to value her work, had never recognized her existence by more than the mere external courtesy shown by any community to one who lives in the midst of it. The situation was at first, of course, so strained that she did not expect sympathy from the white people; and later, when time had smoothed over some of the asperities of war, her work had so engaged her that she had not had time to pine over her social exclusion. Once or twice nature had asserted itself, and she had longed for her own kind, and had visited her New England home. But her circle of friends was broken up, and she did not find much pleasure in boarding-house life; and on her last visit to the North but one, she had felt so lonely that she had longed for the dark faces of her pupils, and had welcomed with pleasure the hour when her task should be resumed.

But for several reasons the school at Patesville was of more importance to Miss Noble at this particular time than it ever had been before. During the last few years her health had not been good. An affection of the heart similar to that from which her mother had died, while not interfering perceptibly with her work, had grown from bad to worse, aggravated by close application to her duties, until it had caused her grave alarm. She did not have perfect confidence in the skill of the Patesville physicians, and to obtain the best medical advice had gone to New York during the summer, remaining there a month under the treatment of an eminent specialist. This, of course, had been expensive and had absorbed the savings of years from a small salary; and when the time came for her to return to Patesville, she was reduced, after paying her traveling expenses, to her last ten-dollar note.

"It is very fortunate," the great man had said at her last visit, "that circumstances permit you to live in the South, for I am afraid you could not endure a Northern winter. You are getting along very well now, and if you will take care of yourself and avoid excitement, you will be better." He said to himself as she went away: "It's only a matter of time, but that is true about us all; and a wise physician does as much good by what he withholds as by what he tells."

Miss Noble had not anticipated any trouble about the school. When she went away the same committee of white men was in charge that had controlled the school since it had become part of the public-school system of the State on the withdrawal of support from the Freedmen's Bureau. While there had been no formal engagement made for the next year, when she had last seen the chairman before she went away, he had remarked that she was looking rather fagged out, had bidden her good-by, and had hoped to see her much improved when she returned. She had left her house in the care of the colored woman who lived with her and did her housework, assuming, of course, that she would take up her work again in the autumn.

She was much surprised at first, and later alarmed, to find a rival for her position as teacher of the grammar school. Many of her friends and pupils had called on her since her return, and she had met a number of the people at the colored Methodist church, where she taught in the Sunday-school. She had many friends and supporters, but she soon found out that her opponent had considerable strength. There had been a time when she would have withdrawn and left him a clear field, but at the present moment it was almost a matter of life and death to her—certainly the matter of earning a living—to secure the appointment.

The other candidate was a young man who in former years had been one of Miss Noble's brightest pupils. When he had finished his course in the grammar school, his parents, with considerable sacrifice, had sent him to a college for colored youth. He had studied diligently, had worked industriously during his vacations, sometimes at manual labor, sometimes teaching a country school, and in due time had been graduated from his college with honors. He had come home at the end of his school life, and was very naturally seeking the employment for which he had fitted himself. He was a "bright" mulatto, with straight hair, an intelligent face, and a well-set figure. He had acquired some of the marks of culture, wore a frock-coat and a high collar, parted his hair in the middle, and showed by his manner that he thought a good deal of himself. He was the popular candidate among the progressive element of his people, and rather confidently expected the appointment.

The meeting of the committee was held in the Methodist church, where, in fact, the grammar school was taught, for want of a separate school-house. After the preliminary steps to effect an organization, Mr. Gillespie, who had been elected chairman, took the floor.

"The principal business to be brought befo' the meet'n' this evenin'," he said, "is the selection of a teacher for our grammar school for the ensuin' year. Two candidates have filed applications, which, if there is no objection, I will read to the committee. The first is from Miss Noble, who has been the teacher ever since the grammar school was started."

He then read Miss Noble's letter, in which she called attention to her long years of service, to her need of the position, and to her affection for the pupils, and made formal application for the school for the next year. She did not, from motives of self-respect, make known the extremity of her need; nor did she mention the condition of her health, as it might have been used as an argument against her retention.

Mr. Gillespie then read the application of the other candidate, Andrew J. Williams. Mr. Williams set out in detail his qualifications for the position: his degree from Riddle University; his familiarity with the dead and living languages and the higher mathematics; his views of discipline; and a peroration in which he expressed the desire to devote himself to the elevation of his race and assist the march of progress through the medium of the Patesville grammar school. The letter was well written in a bold, round hand, with many flourishes, and looked very aggressive and overbearing as it lay on the table by the side of the sheet of small note-paper in Miss Noble's faint and somewhat cramped handwriting.

"You have heard the readin' of the applications," said the chairman. "Gentlemen, what is yo' pleasure?"

There being no immediate response, the chairman continued:

"As this is a matter of consid'able importance, involvin' not only the welfare of our schools, but the progress of our race, an' as our action is liable to be criticized, whatever we decide, perhaps we had better discuss the subjec' befo' we act. If nobody else has anything to obse've, I will make a few remarks."

Mr. Gillespie cleared his throat, and, assuming an oratorical attitude, proceeded:

"The time has come in the history of our people when we should stand together. In this age of organization the march of progress requires that we help ourselves, or be forever left behind. Ever since the war we have been sendin' our child'n to school an' educatin' 'em; an' now the time has come when they are leavin' the schools an' colleges, an' are ready to go to work. An' what are they goin' to do? The white people won't hire 'em as clerks in their sto's an' factories an' mills, an' we have no sto's or factories or mills of our own. They can't be lawyers or doctors yet, because we haven't got the money to send 'em to medical colleges an' law schools. We can't elect many of 'em to office, for various reasons. There's just two things they can find to do—to preach in our own pulpits, an' teach in our own schools. If it wasn't for that, they'd have to go on forever waitin' on white folks, like their fo'fathers have done, because they couldn't help it. If we expect our race to progress, we must educate our young men an' women. If we want to encourage 'em to get education, we must find 'em employment when they are educated. We have now an opportunity to do this in the case of our young friend an' fellow-citizen, Mr. Williams, whose eloquent an' fine-lookin' letter ought to make us feel proud of him an' of our race.

"Of co'se there are two sides to the question. We have got to consider the claims of Miss Noble. She has been with us a long time an' has done much good work for our people, an' we'll never forget her work an' frien'ship. But, after all, she has been paid for it; she has got her salary regularly an' for a long time, an' she has probably saved somethin', for we all know she hasn't lived high; an', for all we know, she may have had somethin' left her by her parents. An' then again, she's white, an' has got her own people to look after her; they've got all the money an' all the offices an' all the everythin',—all that they've made an' all that we've made for fo' hundred years,—an' they sho'ly would look out for her. If she don't get this school, there's probably a dozen others she can get at the North. An' another thing: she is gettin' rather feeble, an' it 'pears to me she's hardly able to stand teachin' so many child'n, an' a long rest might be the best thing in the world for her.

"Now, gentlemen, that's the situation. Shall we keep Miss Noble, or shall we stand by our own people? It seems to me there can hardly be but one answer. Self-preservation is the first law of nature. Are there any other remarks?"

Old Abe was moving restlessly in his seat. He did not say anything, however, and the chairman turned to the other member.

"Brother Cotten, what is yo' opinion of the question befo' the board?"

Mr. Cotten rose with the slowness and dignity becoming a substantial citizen, and observed:

"I think the remarks of the chairman have great weight. We all have nothin' but kind feelin's fer Miss Noble, an' I came here to-night somewhat undecided how to vote on this question. But after listenin' to the just an' forcible arguments of Brother Glaspy, it 'pears to me that, after all, the question befo' us is not a matter of feelin', but of business. As a business man, I am inclined to think Brother Glaspy is right. If we don't help ourselves when we get a chance, who is goin' to help us?"

"That bein' the case," said the chairman, "shall we proceed to a vote? All who favor the election of Brother Williams—"

At this point Old Abe, with much preliminary shuffling, stood up in his place and interrupted the speaker.

"Mr. Chuhman," he said, "I s'pose I has a right ter speak in dis meet'n? I S'POSE I is a member er dis committee?"

"Certainly, Brother Johnson, certainly; we shall be glad to hear from you."

"I s'pose I's got a right ter speak my min', ef I is po' an' black, an' don' weah as good clo's as some other members er de committee?"

"Most assuredly, Brother Johnson," answered the chairman, with a barber's suavity, "you have as much right to be heard as any one else. There was no intention of cuttin' you off."

"I s'pose," continued Abe, "dat a man wid fo'teen child'n kin be 'lowed ter hab somethin' ter say 'bout de schools er dis town?"

"I am sorry, Brother Johnson, that you should feel slighted, but there was no intention to igno' yo' rights. The committee will be please' to have you ventilate yo' views."

"Ef it's all be'n an' done reco'nized an' 'cided dat I's got de right ter be heared in dis meet'n', I'll say w'at I has ter say, an' it won't take me long ter say it. Ef I should try ter tell all de things dat Miss Noble has done fer de niggers er dis town, it'd take me till ter-morrer mawnin'. Fer fifteen long yeahs I has watched her incomin's an' her outgoin's. Her daddy was a Yankee kunnel, who died fighting fer ou' freedom. She come heah when we—yas, Mr. Chuhman, when you an' Br'er Cotten—was jes sot free, an' when none er us didn' have a rag ter ou' backs. She come heah, an' she tuk yo' child'n an' my child'n, an' she teached 'em sense an' manners an' religion an' book-l'arnin'. When she come heah we didn' hab no chu'ch. Who writ up No'th an' got a preacher sent to us, an' de fun's ter buil' dis same chu'ch-house we're settin' in ter-night? Who got de money f'm de Bureau to s'port de school? An' when dat was stop', who got de money f'm de Peabody Fun'? Talk about Miss Noble gittin' a sal'ry! Who paid dat sal'ry up ter five years ago? Not one dollah of it come outer ou' pockets!

"An' den, w'at did she git fer de yuther things she done? Who paid her fer de gals she kep' f'm throwin' deyse'ves away? Who paid fer de boys she kep' outer jail? I had a son dat seemed to hab made up his min' ter go straight ter hell. I made him go ter Sunday-school, an' somethin' dat woman said teched his heart, an' he behaved hisse'f, an' I ain' got no reason fer ter be 'shame' er 'im. An' I can 'member, Br'er Cotten, when you didn' own fo' houses an' a fahm. An' when yo' fus wife was sick, who sot by her bedside an' read de Good Book ter 'er, w'en dey wuzn' nobody else knowed how ter read it, an' comforted her on her way across de col', dahk ribber? An' dat ain' all I kin 'member, Mr. Chuhman! When yo' gal Fanny was a baby, an' sick, an' nobody knowed what was de matter wid 'er, who sent fer a doctor, an' paid 'im fer comin', an' who he'ped nuss dat chile, an' tol' yo' wife w'at ter do, an' save' dat chile's life, jes as sho' as de Lawd has save' my soul?

"An' now, aftuh fifteen yeahs o' slavin' fer us, who ain't got no claim on her, aftuh fifteen yeahs dat she has libbed 'mongs' us an' made herse'f one of us, an' endyoed havin' her own people look down on her, aftuh she has growed ole an' gray wukkin' fer us an' our child'n, we talk erbout turnin' 'er out like a' ole hoss ter die! It 'pears ter me some folks has po' mem'ries! Whar would we 'a' be'n ef her folks at de No'th hadn' 'membered us no bettuh? An' we hadn' done nothin', neither, fer dem to 'member us fer. De man dat kin fergit w'at Miss Noble has done fer dis town is unworthy de name er nigger! He oughter die an' make room fer some 'spectable dog!

"Br'er Glaspy says we got a' educated young man, an' we mus' gib him sump'n' ter do. Let him wait; ef I reads de signs right he won't hab ter wait long fer dis job. Let him teach in de primary schools, er in de country; an' ef he can't do dat, let 'im work awhile. It don't hahm a' educated man ter work a little; his fo'fathers has worked fer hund'eds of years, an' we's worked, an' we're heah yet, an' we're free, an' we's gettin' ou' own houses an' lots an' hosses an' cows—an' ou' educated young men. But don't let de fus thing we do as a committee be somethin' we ought ter be 'shamed of as long as we lib. I votes fer Miss Noble, fus, las', an' all de time!"

When Old Abe sat down the chairman's face bore a troubled look. He remembered how his baby girl, the first of his children that he could really call his own, that no master could hold a prior claim upon, lay dying in the arms of his distracted young wife, and how the thin, homely, and short-sighted white teacher had come like an angel into his cabin, and had brought back the little one from the verge of the grave. The child was a young woman now, and Gillespie had well-founded hopes of securing the superior young Williams for a son-in-law; and he realized with something of shame that this later ambition had so dazzled his eyes for a moment as to obscure the memory of earlier days.

Mr. Cotten, too, had not been unmoved, and there were tears in his eyes as he recalled how his first wife, Nancy, who had borne with him the privations of slavery, had passed away, with the teacher's hand in hers, before she had been able to enjoy the fruits of liberty. For they had loved one another much, and her death had been to them both a hard and bitter thing. And, as Old Abe spoke, he could remember, as distinctly as though they had been spoken but an hour before, the words of comfort that the teacher had whispered to Nancy in her dying hour and to him in his bereavement.

"On consideration, Mr. Chairman," he said, with an effort to hide a suspicious tremor in his voice and to speak with the dignity consistent with his character as a substantial citizen, "I wish to record my vote fer Miss Noble."

"The chair," said Gillespie, yielding gracefully to the majority, and greatly relieved that the responsibility of his candidate's defeat lay elsewhere, "will make the vote unanimous, and will appoint Brother Cotten and Brother Johnson a committee to step round the corner to Miss Noble's and notify her of her election."

The two committeemen put on their hats, and, accompanied by several people who had been waiting at the door to hear the result of the meeting, went around the corner to Miss Noble's house, a distance of a block or two away. The house was lighted, so they knew she had not gone to bed. They went in at the gate, and Cotten knocked at the door.

The colored maid opened it.

"Is Miss Noble home?" said Cotten.

"Yes; come in. She's waitin' ter hear from the committee."

The woman showed them into the parlor. Miss Noble rose from her seat by the table, where she had been reading, and came forward to meet them. They did not for a moment observe, as she took a step toward them, that her footsteps wavered. In her agitation she was scarcely aware of it herself.

"Miss Noble," announced Cotten, "we have come to let you know that you have be'n 'lected teacher of the grammar school fer the next year."

"Thank you; oh, thank you so much!" she said. "I am very glad. Mary"—she put her hand to her side suddenly and tottered—"Mary, will you—"

A spasm of pain contracted her face and cut short her speech. She would have fallen had Old Abe not caught her and, with Mary's help, laid her on a couch.

The remedies applied by Mary, and by the physician who was hastily summoned, proved unavailing. The teacher did not regain consciousness.

If it be given to those whose eyes have closed in death to linger regretfully for a while about their earthly tenement, or from some higher vantage-ground to look down upon it, then Henrietta Noble's tolerant spirit must have felt, mingling with its regret, a compensating thrill of pleasure; for not only those for whom she had labored sorrowed for her, but the people of her own race, many of whom, in the blindness of their pride, would not admit during her life that she served them also, saw so much clearer now that they took charge of her poor clay, and did it gentle reverence, and laid it tenderly away amid the dust of their own loved and honored dead.

TWO weeks after Miss Noble's funeral the other candidate took charge of the grammar school, which went on without any further obstacles to the march of progress.

THE FREEDMEN'S BUREAU by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois

The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line; the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea. It was a phase of this problem that caused the Civil War; and however much they who marched south and north in 1861 may have fixed on the technical points of union and local autonomy as a shibboleth, all nevertheless knew, as we know, that the question of Negro slavery was the deeper cause of the conflict. Curious it was, too, how this deeper question ever forced itself to the surface, despite effort and disclaimer. No sooner had Northern armies touched Southern soil than this old question, newly guised, sprang from the earth,—What shall be done with slaves? Peremptory military commands, this way and that, could not answer the query; the Emancipation Proclamation seemed but to broaden and intensify the difficulties; and so at last there arose in the South a government of men called the Freedmen's Bureau, which lasted, legally, from 1865 to 1872, but in a sense from 1861 to 1876, and which sought to settle the Negro problems in the United States of America.

It is the aim of this essay to study the Freedmen's Bureau,—the occasion of its rise, the character of its work, and its final success and failure,—not only as a part of American history, but above all as one of the most singular and interesting of the attempts made by a great nation to grapple with vast problems of race and social condition.

No sooner had the armies, east and west, penetrated Virginia and Tennessee than fugitive slaves appeared within their lines. They came at night, when the flickering camp fires of the blue hosts shone like vast unsteady stars along the black horizon: old men, and thin, with gray and tufted hair; women with frightened eyes, dragging whimpering, hungry children; men and girls, stalwart and gaunt,—a horde of starving vagabonds, homeless, helpless, and pitiable in their dark distress. Two methods of treating these newcomers seemed equally logical to opposite sorts of minds. Said some, "We have nothing to do with slaves." "Hereafter," commanded Halleck, "no slaves should be allowed to come into your lines at all; if any come without your knowledge, when owners call for them, deliver them." But others said, "We take grain and fowl; why not slaves?" Whereupon Fremont, as early as August, 1861, declared the slaves of Missouri rebels free. Such radical action was quickly countermanded, but at the same time the opposite policy could not be enforced; some of the black refugees declared themselves freemen, others showed their masters had deserted them, and still others were captured with forts and plantations. Evidently, too, slaves were a source of strength to the Confederacy, and were being used as laborers and producers. "They constitute a military resource," wrote the Secretary of War, late in 1861; "and being such, that they should not be turned over to the enemy is too plain to discuss." So the tone of the army chiefs changed, Congress forbade the rendition of fugitives, and Butler's "contrabands" were welcomed as military laborers. This complicated rather than solved the problem; for now the scattering fugitives became a steady stream, which flowed faster as the armies marched.

Then the long-headed man, with care-chiseled face, who sat in the White House, saw the inevitable, and emancipated the slaves of rebels on New Year's, 1863. A month later Congress called earnestly for the Negro soldiers whom the act of July, 1862, had half grudgingly allowed to enlist. Thus the barriers were leveled, and the deed was done. The stream of fugitives swelled to a flood, and anxious officers kept inquiring: "What must be done with slaves arriving almost daily? Am I to find food and shelter for women and children?"

It was a Pierce of Boston who pointed out the way, and thus became in a sense the founder of the Freedmen's Bureau. Being specially detailed from the ranks to care for the freedmen at Fortress Monroe, he afterward founded the celebrated Port Royal experiment and started the Freedmen's Aid Societies. Thus, under the timid Treasury officials and bold army officers, Pierce's plan widened and developed. At first, the able-bodied men were enlisted as soldiers or hired as laborers, the women and children were herded into central camps under guard, and "superintendents of contrabands" multiplied here and there. Centres of massed freedmen arose at Fortress Monroe, Va., Washington, D. C., Beaufort and Port Royal, S. C., New Orleans, La., Vicksburg and Corinth, Miss., Columbus, Ky., Cairo, Ill., and elsewhere, and the army chaplains found here new and fruitful fields.

Then came the Freedmen's Aid Societies, born of the touching appeals for relief and help from these centres of distress. There was the American Missionary Association, sprung from the Amistad, and now full grown for work, the various church organizations, the National Freedmen's Relief Association, the American Freedmen's Union, the Western Freedmen's Aid Commission,—in all fifty or more active organizations, which sent clothes, money, school-books, and teachers southward. All they did was needed, for the destitution of the freedmen was often reported as "too appalling for belief," and the situation was growing daily worse rather than better.

And daily, too, it seemed more plain that this was no ordinary matter of temporary relief, but a national crisis; for here loomed a labor problem of vast dimensions. Masses of Negroes stood idle, or, if they worked spasmodically, were never sure of pay; and if perchance they received pay, squandered the new thing thoughtlessly. In these and in other ways were camp life and the new liberty demoralizing the freedmen. The broader economic organization thus clearly demanded sprang up here and there as accident and local conditions determined. Here again Pierce's Port Royal plan of leased plantations and guided workmen pointed out the rough way. In Washington, the military governor, at the urgent appeal of the superintendent, opened confiscated estates to the cultivation of the fugitives, and there in the shadow of the dome gathered black farm villages. General Dix gave over estates to the freedmen of Fortress Monroe, and so on through the South. The government and the benevolent societies furnished the means of cultivation, and the Negro turned again slowly to work. The systems of control, thus started, rapidly grew, here and there, into strange little governments, like that of General Banks in Louisiana, with its 90,000 black subjects, its 50,000 guided laborers, and its annual budget of $100,000 and more. It made out 4000 pay rolls, registered all freedmen, inquired into grievances and redressed them, laid and collected taxes, and established a system of public schools. So too Colonel Eaton, the superintendent of Tennessee and Arkansas, ruled over 100,000, leased and cultivated 7000 acres of cotton land, and furnished food for 10,000 paupers. In South Carolina was General Saxton, with his deep interest in black folk. He succeeded Pierce and the Treasury officials, and sold forfeited estates, leased abandoned plantations, encouraged schools, and received from Sherman, after the terribly picturesque march to the sea, thousands of the wretched camp followers.

Three characteristic things one might have seen in Sherman's raid through Georgia, which threw the new situation in deep and shadowy relief: the Conqueror, the Conquered, and the Negro. Some see all significance in the grim front of the destroyer, and some in the bitter sufferers of the lost cause. But to me neither soldier nor fugitive speaks with so deep a meaning as that dark and human cloud that clung like remorse on the rear of those swift columns, swelling at times to half their size, almost engulfing and choking them. In vain were they ordered back, in vain were bridges hewn from beneath their feet; on they trudged and writhed and surged, until they rolled into Savannah, a starved and naked horde of tens of thousands. There too came the characteristic military remedy: "The islands from Charleston south, the abandoned ricefields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. John's River, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of Negroes now made free by act of war." So read the celebrated field order.

All these experiments, orders, and systems were bound to attract and perplex the government and the nation. Directly after the Emancipation Proclamation, Representative Eliot had introduced a bill creating a Bureau of Emancipation, but it was never reported. The following June, a committee of inquiry, appointed by the Secretary of War, reported in favor of a temporary bureau for the "improvement, protection, and employment of refugee freedmen," on much the same lines as were afterward followed. Petitions came in to President Lincoln from distinguished citizens and organizations, strongly urging a comprehensive and unified plan of dealing with the freedmen, under a bureau which should be "charged with the study of plans and execution of measures for easily guiding, and in every way judiciously and humanely aiding, the passage of our emancipated and yet to be emancipated blacks from the old condition of forced labor to their new state of voluntary industry."

Some half-hearted steps were early taken by the government to put both freedmen and abandoned estates under the supervision of the Treasury officials. Laws of 1863 and 1864 directed them to take charge of and lease abandoned lands for periods not exceeding twelve months, and to "provide in such leases or otherwise for the employment and general welfare" of the freedmen. Most of the army officers looked upon this as a welcome relief from perplexing "Negro affairs;" but the Treasury hesitated and blundered, and although it leased large quantities of land and employed many Negroes, especially along the Mississippi, yet it left the virtual control of the laborers and their relations to their neighbors in the hands of the army.

In March, 1864, Congress at last turned its attention to the subject, and the House passed a bill, by a majority of two, establishing a Bureau for Freedmen in the War Department. Senator Sumner, who had charge of the bill in the Senate, argued that freedmen and abandoned lands ought to be under the same department, and reported a substitute for the House bill, attaching the Bureau to the Treasury Department. This bill passed, but too late for action in the House. The debate wandered over the whole policy of the administration and the general question of slavery, without touching very closely the specific merits of the measure in hand.

Meantime the election took place, and the administration, returning from the country with a vote of renewed confidence, addressed itself to the matter more seriously. A conference between the houses agreed upon a carefully drawn measure which contained the chief provisions of Charles Sumner's bill, but made the proposed organization a department independent of both the War and Treasury officials. The bill was conservative, giving the new department "general superintendence of all freedmen." It was to "establish regulations" for them, protect them, lease them lands, adjust their wages, and appear in civil and military courts as their "next friend." There were many limitations attached to the powers thus granted, and the organization was made permanent. Nevertheless, the Senate defeated the bill, and a new conference committee was appointed. This committee reported a new bill, February 28, which was whirled through just as the session closed, and which became the act of 1865 establishing in the War Department a "Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands."

This last compromise was a hasty bit of legislation, vague and uncertain in outline. A Bureau was created, "to continue during the present War of Rebellion, and for one year thereafter," to which was given "the supervision and management of all abandoned lands, and the control of all subjects relating to refugees and freedmen," under "such rules and regulations as may be presented by the head of the Bureau and approved by the President." A commissioner, appointed by the President and Senate, was to control the Bureau, with an office force not exceeding ten clerks. The President might also appoint commissioners in the seceded states, and to all these offices military officials might be detailed at regular pay. The Secretary of War could issue rations, clothing, and fuel to the destitute, and all abandoned property was placed in the hands of the Bureau for eventual lease and sale to ex-slaves in forty-acre parcels.

Thus did the United States government definitely assume charge of the emancipated Negro as the ward of the nation. It was a tremendous undertaking. Here, at a stroke of the pen, was erected a government of millions of men,—and not ordinary men, either, but black men emasculated by a peculiarly complete system of slavery, centuries old; and now, suddenly, violently, they come into a new birthright, at a time of war and passion, in the midst of the stricken, embittered population of their former masters. Any man might well have hesitated to assume charge of such a work, with vast responsibilities, indefinite powers, and limited resources. Probably no one but a soldier would have answered such a call promptly; and indeed no one but a soldier could be called, for Congress had appropriated no money for salaries and expenses.

Less than a month after the weary emancipator passed to his rest, his successor assigned Major General Oliver O. Howard to duty as commissioner of the new Bureau. He was a Maine man, then only thirty-five years of age. He had marched with Sherman to the sea, had fought well at Gettysburg, and had but a year before been assigned to the command of the Department of Tennessee. An honest and sincere men, with rather too much faith in human nature, little aptitude for systematic business and intricate detail, he was nevertheless conservative, hard-working, and, above all, acquainted at first-hand with much of the work before him. And of that work it has been truly said, "No approximately correct history of civilization can ever be written which does not throw out in bold relief, as one of the great landmarks of political and social progress, the organization and administration of the Freedmen's Bureau."

On May 12, 1865, Howard was appointed, and he assumed the duties of his office promptly on the 15th, and began examining the field of work. A curious mess he looked upon: little despotisms, communistic experiments, slavery, peonage, business speculations, organized charity, unorganized almsgiving,—all reeling on under the guise of helping the freedman, and all enshrined in the smoke and blood of war and the cursing and silence of angry men. On May 19 the new government—for a government it really was—issued its constitution; commissioners were to be appointed in each of the seceded states, who were to take charge of "all subjects relating to refugees and freedmen," and all relief and rations were to be given by their consent alone. The Bureau invited continued cooperation with benevolent societies, and declared, "It will be the object of all commissioners to introduce practicable systems of compensated labor," and to establish schools. Forthwith nine assistant commissioners were appointed. They were to hasten to their fields of work; seek gradually to close relief establishments, and make the destitute self-supporting; act as courts of law where there were no courts, or where Negroes were not recognized in them as free; establish the institution of marriage among ex-slaves, and keep records; see that freedmen were free to choose their employers, and help in making fair contracts for them; and finally, the circular said, "Simple good faith, for which we hope on all hands for those concerned in the passing away of slavery, will especially relieve the assistant commissioners in the discharge of their duties toward the freedmen, as well as promote the general welfare."

No sooner was the work thus started, and the general system and local organization in some measure begun, than two grave difficulties appeared which changed largely the theory and outcome of Bureau work. First, there were the abandoned lands of the South. It had long been the more or less definitely expressed theory of the North that all the chief problems of emancipation might be settled by establishing the slaves on the forfeited lands of their masters,—a sort of poetic justice, said some. But this poetry done into solemn prose meant either wholesale confiscation of private property in the South, or vast appropriations. Now Congress had not appropriated a cent, and no sooner did the proclamations of general amnesty appear than the 800,000 acres of abandoned lands in the hands of the Freedmen's Bureau melted quickly away. The second difficulty lay in perfecting the local organization of the Bureau throughout the wide field of work. Making a new machine and sending out officials of duly ascertained fitness for a great work of social reform is no child's task; but this task was even harder, for a new central organization had to be fitted on a heterogeneous and confused but already existing system of relief and control of ex-slaves; and the agents available for this work must be sought for in an army still busy with war operations,—men in the very nature of the case ill fitted for delicate social work,—or among the questionable camp followers of an invading host. Thus, after a year's work, vigorously as it was pushed, the problem looked even more difficult to grasp and solve than at the beginning. Nevertheless, three things that year's work did, well worth the doing: it relieved a vast amount of physical suffering; it transported 7000 fugitives from congested centres back to the farm; and, best of all, it inaugurated the crusade of the New England schoolma'am.

The annals of this Ninth Crusade are yet to be written, the tale of a mission that seemed to our age far more quixotic than the quest of St. Louis seemed to his. Behind the mists of ruin and rapine waved the calico dresses of women who dared, and after the hoarse mouthings of the field guns rang the rhythm of the alphabet. Rich and poor they were, serious and curious. Bereaved now of a father, now of a brother, now of more than these, they came seeking a life work in planting New England schoolhouses among the white and black of the South. They did their work well. In that first year they taught 100,000 souls, and more.

Evidently, Congress must soon legislate again on the hastily organized Bureau, which had so quickly grown into wide significance and vast possibilities. An institution such as that was well-nigh as difficult to end as to begin. Early in 1866 Congress took up the matter, when Senator Trumbull, of Illinois, introduced a bill to extend the Bureau and enlarge its powers. This measure received, at the hands of Congress, far more thorough discussion and attention than its predecessor. The war cloud had thinned enough to allow a clearer conception of the work of emancipation. The champions of the bill argued that the strengthening of the Freedmen's Bureau was still a military necessity; that it was needed for the proper carrying out of the Thirteenth Amendment, and was a work of sheer justice to the ex-slave, at a trifling cost to the government. The opponents of the measure declared that the war was over, and the necessity for war measures past; that the Bureau, by reason of its extraordinary powers, was clearly unconstitutional in time of peace, and was destined to irritate the South and pauperize the freedmen, at a final cost of possibly hundreds of millions. Two of these arguments were unanswered, and indeed unanswerable: the one that the extraordinary powers of the Bureau threatened the civil rights of all citizens; and the other that the government must have power to do what manifestly must be done, and that present abandonment of the freedmen meant their practical enslavement. The bill which finally passed enlarged and made permanent the Freedmen's Bureau. It was promptly vetoed by President Johnson, as "unconstitutional," "unnecessary," and "extrajudicial," and failed of passage over the veto. Meantime, however, the breach between Congress and the President began to broaden, and a modified form of the lost bill was finally passed over the President's second veto, July 16.

The act of 1866 gave the Freedmen's Bureau its final form,—the form by which it will be known to posterity and judged of men. It extended the existence of the Bureau to July, 1868; it authorized additional assistant commissioners, the retention of army officers mustered out of regular service, the sale of certain forfeited lands to freedmen on nominal terms, the sale of Confederate public property for Negro schools, and a wider field of judicial interpretation and cognizance. The government of the un-reconstructed South was thus put very largely in the hands of the Freedmen's Bureau, especially as in many cases the departmental military commander was now made also assistant commissioner. It was thus that the Freedmen's Bureau became a full-fledged government of men. It made laws, executed them and interpreted them; it laid and collected taxes, defined and punished crime, maintained and used military force, and dictated such measures as it thought necessary and proper for the accomplishment of its varied ends. Naturally, all these powers were not exercised continuously nor to their fullest extent; and yet, as General Howard has said, "scarcely any subject that has to be legislated upon in civil society failed, at one time or another, to demand the action of this singular Bureau."

To understand and criticise intelligently so vast a work, one must not forget an instant the drift of things in the later sixties: Lee had surrendered, Lincoln was dead, and Johnson and Congress were at loggerheads; the Thirteenth Amendment was adopted, the Fourteenth pending, and the Fifteenth declared in force in 1870. Guerrilla raiding, the ever present flickering after-flame of war, was spending its force against the Negroes, and all the Southern land was awakening as from some wild dream to poverty and social revolution. In a time of perfect calm, amid willing neighbors and streaming wealth, the social uplifting of 4,000,000 slaves to an assured and self-sustaining place in the body politic and economic would have been an herculean task; but when to the inherent difficulties of so delicate and nice a social operation were added the spite and hate of conflict, the Hell of War; when suspicion and cruelty were rife, and gaunt Hunger wept beside Bereavement,—in such a case, the work of any instrument of social regeneration was in large part foredoomed to failure. The very name of the Bureau stood for a thing in the South which for two centuries and better men had refused even to argue,—that life amid free Negroes was simply unthinkable, the maddest of experiments. The agents which the Bureau could command varied all the way from unselfish philanthropists to narrow-minded busybodies and thieves; and even though it be true that the average was far better than the worst, it was the one fly that helped to spoil the ointment. Then, amid all this crouched the freed slave, bewildered between friend and foe. He had emerged from slavery: not the worst slavery in the world, not a slavery that made all life unbearable,—rather, a slavery that had here and there much of kindliness, fidelity, and happiness,—but withal slavery, which, so far as human aspiration and desert were concerned, classed the black man and the ox together. And the Negro knew full well that, whatever their deeper convictions may have been, Southern men had fought with desperate energy to perpetuate this slavery, under which the black masses, with half-articulate thought, had writhed and shivered. They welcomed freedom with a cry. They fled to the friends that had freed them. They shrank from the master who still strove for their chains. So the cleft between the white and black South grew. Idle to say it never should have been; it was as inevitable as its results were pitiable. Curiously incongruous elements were left arrayed against each other: the North, the government, the carpetbagger, and the slave, here; and there, all the South that was white, whether gentleman or vagabond, honest man or rascal, lawless murderer or martyr to duty.

Thus it is doubly difficult to write of this period calmly, so intense was the feeling, so mighty the human passions, that swayed and blinded men. Amid it all two figures ever stand to typify that day to coming men: the one a gray-haired gentleman, whose fathers had quit themselves like men, whose sons lay in nameless graves, who bowed to the evil of slavery because its abolition boded untold ill to all; who stood at last, in the evening of life, a blighted, ruined form, with hate in his eyes. And the other, a form hovering dark and mother-like, her awful face black with the mists of centuries, had aforetime bent in love over her white master's cradle, rocked his sons and daughters to sleep, and closed in death the sunken eyes of his wife to the world; ay, too, had laid herself low to his lust and borne a tawny man child to the world, only to see her dark boy's limbs scattered to the winds by midnight marauders riding after Damned Niggers. These were the saddest sights of that woeful day; and no man clasped the hands of these two passing figures of the present-past; but hating they went to their long home, and hating their children's children live to-day.

Here, then, was the field of work for the Freedmen's Bureau; and since, with some hesitation, it was continued by the act of 1868 till 1869, let us look upon four years of its work as a whole. There were, in 1868, 900 Bureau officials scattered from Washington to Texas, ruling, directly and indirectly, many millions of men. And the deeds of these rulers fall mainly under seven heads,—the relief of physical suffering, the overseeing of the beginnings of free labor, the buying and selling of land, the establishment of schools, the paying of bounties, the administration of justice, and the financiering of all these activities. Up to June, 1869, over half a million patients had been treated by Bureau physicians and surgeons, and sixty hospitals and asylums had been in operation. In fifty months of work 21,000,000 free rations were distributed at a cost of over $4,000,000,—beginning at the rate of 30,000 rations a day in 1865, and discontinuing in 1869. Next came the difficult question of labor. First, 30,000 black men were transported from the refuges and relief stations back to the farms, back to the critical trial of a new way of working. Plain, simple instructions went out from Washington,—the freedom of laborers to choose employers, no fixed rates of wages, no peonage or forced labor. So far so good; but where local agents differed toto coelo in capacity and character, where the personnel was continually changing, the outcome was varied. The largest element of success lay in the fact that the majority of the freedmen were willing, often eager, to work. So contracts were written,—50,000 in a single state,—laborers advised, wages guaranteed, and employers supplied. In truth, the organization became a vast labor bureau; not perfect, indeed,—notably defective here and there,—but on the whole, considering the situation, successful beyond the dreams of thoughtful men. The two great obstacles which confronted the officers at every turn were the tyrant and the idler: the slaveholder, who believed slavery was right, and was determined to perpetuate it under another name; and the freedman, who regarded freedom as perpetual rest. These were the Devil and the Deep Sea.

In the work of establishing the Negroes as peasant proprietors the Bureau was severely handicapped, as I have shown. Nevertheless, something was done. Abandoned lands were leased so long as they remained in the hands of the Bureau, and a total revenue of $400,000 derived from black tenants. Some other lands to which the nation had gained title were sold, and public lands were opened for the settlement of the few blacks who had tools and capital. The vision of landowning, however, the righteous and reasonable ambition for forty acres and a mule which filled the freedmen's dreams, was doomed in most cases to disappointment. And those men of marvelous hind-sight, who to-day are seeking to preach the Negro back to the soil, know well, or ought to know, that it was here, in 1865, that the finest opportunity of binding the black peasant to the soil was lost. Yet, with help and striving, the Negro gained some land, and by 1874, in the one state of Georgia, owned near 350,000 acres.

The greatest success of the Freedmen's Bureau lay in the planting of the free school among Negroes, and the idea of free elementary education among all classes in the South. It not only called the schoolmistress through the benevolent agencies, and built them schoolhouses, but it helped discover and support such apostles of human development as Edmund Ware, Erastus Cravath, and Samuel Armstrong. State superintendents of education were appointed, and by 1870 150,000 children were in school. The opposition to Negro education was bitter in the South, for the South believed an educated Negro to be a dangerous Negro. And the South was not wholly wrong; for education among all kinds of men always has had, and always will have, an element of danger and revolution, of dissatisfaction and discontent. Nevertheless, men strive to know. It was some inkling of this paradox, even in the unquiet days of the Bureau, that allayed an opposition to human training, which still to-day lies smouldering, but not flaming. Fisk, Atlanta, Howard, and Hampton were founded in these days, and nearly $6,000,000 was expended in five years for educational work, $750,000 of which came from the freedmen themselves.

Such contributions, together with the buying of land and various other enterprises, showed that the ex-slave was handling some free capital already. The chief initial source of this was labor in the army, and his pay and bounty as a soldier. Payments to Negro soldiers were at first complicated by the ignorance of the recipients, and the fact that the quotas of colored regiments from Northern states were largely filled by recruits from the South, unknown to their fellow soldiers. Consequently, payments were accompanied by such frauds that Congress, by joint resolution in 1867, put the whole matter in the hands of the Freedmen's Bureau. In two years $6,000,000 was thus distributed to 5000 claimants, and in the end the sum exceeded $8,000,000. Even in this system, fraud was frequent; but still the work put needed capital in the hands of practical paupers, and some, at least, was well spent.

The most perplexing and least successful part of the Bureau's work lay in the exercise of its judicial functions. In a distracted land where slavery had hardly fallen, to keep the strong from wanton abuse of the weak, and the weak from gloating insolently over the half-shorn strength of the strong, was a thankless, hopeless task. The former masters of the land were peremptorily ordered about, seized and imprisoned, and punished over and again, with scant courtesy from army officers. The former slaves were intimidated, beaten, raped, and butchered by angry and revengeful men. Bureau courts tended to become centres simply for punishing whites, while the regular civil courts tended to become solely institutions for perpetuating the slavery of blacks. Almost every law and method ingenuity could devise was employed by the legislatures to reduce the Negroes to serfdom,—to make them the slaves of the state, if not of individual owners; while the Bureau officials too often were found striving to put the "bottom rail on top," and give the freedmen a power and independence which they could not yet use. It is all well enough for us of another generation to wax wise with advice to those who bore the burden in the heat of the day. It is full easy now to see that the man who lost home, fortune, and family at a stroke, and saw his land ruled by "mules and niggers," was really benefited by the passing of slavery. It is not difficult now to say to the young freedman, cheated and cuffed about, who has seen his father's head beaten to a jelly and his own mother namelessly assaulted, that the meek shall inherit the earth. Above all, nothing is more convenient than to heap on the Freedmen's Bureau all the evils of that evil day, and damn it utterly for every mistake and blunder that was made.

All this is easy, but it is neither sensible nor just. Some one had blundered, but that was long before Oliver Howard was born; there was criminal aggression and heedless neglect, but without some system of control there would have been far more than there was. Had that control been from within, the Negro would have been reenslaved, to all intents and purposes. Coming as the control did from without, perfect men and methods would have bettered all things; and even with imperfect agents and questionable methods, the work accomplished was not undeserving of much commendation. The regular Bureau court consisted of one representative of the employer, one of the Negro, and one of the Bureau. If the Bureau could have maintained a perfectly judicial attitude, this arrangement would have been ideal, and must in time have gained confidence; but the nature of its other activities and the character of its personnel prejudiced the Bureau in favor of the black litigants, and led without doubt to much injustice and annoyance. On the other hand, to leave the Negro in the hands of Southern courts was impossible.

What the Freedmen's Bureau cost the nation is difficult to determine accurately. Its methods of bookkeeping were not good, and the whole system of its work and records partook of the hurry and turmoil of the time. General Howard himself disbursed some $15,000,000 during his incumbency; but this includes the bounties paid colored soldiers, which perhaps should not be counted as an expense of the Bureau. In bounties, prize money, and all other expenses, the Bureau disbursed over $20,000,000 before all of its departments were finally closed. To this ought to be added the large expenses of the various departments of Negro affairs before 1865; but these are hardly extricable from war expenditures, nor can we estimate with any accuracy the contributions of benevolent societies during all these years.

Such was the work of the Freedmen's Bureau. To sum it up in brief, we may say: it set going a system of free labor; it established the black peasant proprietor; it secured the recognition of black freemen before courts of law; it founded the free public school in the South. On the other hand, it failed to establish good will between ex-masters and freedmen; to guard its work wholly from paternalistic methods that discouraged self-reliance; to make Negroes landholders in any considerable numbers. Its successes were the result of hard work, supplemented by the aid of philanthropists and the eager striving of black men. Its failures were the result of bad local agents, inherent difficulties of the work, and national neglect. The Freedmen's Bureau expired by limitation in 1869, save its educational and bounty departments. The educational work came to an end in 1872, and General Howard's connection with the Bureau ceased at that time. The work of paying bounties was transferred to the adjutant general's office, where it was continued three or four years longer.

Such an institution, from its wide powers, great responsibilities, large control of moneys, and generally conspicuous position, was naturally open to repeated and bitter attacks. It sustained a searching congressional investigation at the instance of Fernando Wood in 1870. It was, with blunt discourtesy, transferred from Howard's control, in his absence, to the supervision of Secretary of War Belknap in 1872, on the Secretary's recommendation. Finally, in consequence of grave intimations of wrongdoing made by the Secretary and his subordinates, General Howard was court-martialed in 1874. In each of these trials, and in other attacks, the commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau was exonerated from any willful misdoing, and his work heartily commended. Nevertheless, many unpleasant things were brought to light: the methods of transacting the business of the Bureau were faulty; several cases of defalcation among officials in the field were proven, and further frauds hinted at; there were some business transactions which savored of dangerous speculation, if not dishonesty; and, above all, the smirch of the Freedmen's Bank, which, while legally distinct from, was morally and practically a part of the Bureau, will ever blacken the record of this great institution. Not even ten additional years of slavery could have done as much to throttle the thrift of the freedmen as the mismanagement and bankruptcy of the savings bank chartered by the nation for their especial aid. Yet it is but fair to say that the perfect honesty of purpose and unselfish devotion of General Howard have passed untarnished through the fire of criticism. Not so with all his subordinates, although in the case of the great majority of these there were shown bravery and devotion to duty, even though sometimes linked to narrowness and incompetency.

The most bitter attacks on the Freedmen's Bureau were aimed not so much at its conduct or policy under the law as at the necessity for any such organization at all. Such attacks came naturally from the border states and the South, and they were summed up by Senator Davis, of Kentucky, when he moved to entitle the act of 1866 a bill "to promote strife and conflict between the white and black races... by a grant of unconstitutional power." The argument was of tremendous strength, but its very strength was its weakness. For, argued the plain common sense of the nation, if it is unconstitutional, unpracticable, and futile for the nation to stand guardian over its helpless wards, then there is left but one alternative: to make those wards their own guardians by arming them with the ballot. The alternative offered the nation then was not between full and restricted Negro suffrage; else every sensible man, black and white, would easily have chosen the latter. It was rather a choice between suffrage and slavery, after endless blood and gold had flowed to sweep human bondage away. Not a single Southern legislature stood ready to admit a Negro, under any conditions, to the polls; not a single Southern legislature believed free Negro labor was possible without a system of restrictions that took all its freedom away; there was scarcely a white man in the South who did not honestly regard emancipation as a crime, and its practical nullification as a duty. In such a situation, the granting of the ballot to the black man was a necessity, the very least a guilty nation could grant a wronged race. Had the opposition to government guardianship of Negroes been less bitter, and the attachment to the slave system less strong, the social seer can well imagine a far better policy: a permanent Freedmen's Bureau, with a national system of Negro schools; a carefully supervised employment and labor office; a system of impartial protection before the regular courts; and such institutions for social betterment as savings banks, land and building associations, and social settlements. All this vast expenditure of money and brains might have formed a great school of prospective citizenship, and solved in a way we have not yet solved the most perplexing and persistent of the Negro problems.

That such an institution was unthinkable in 1870 was due in part to certain acts of the Freedmen's Bureau itself. It came to regard its work as merely temporary, and Negro suffrage as a final answer to all present perplexities. The political ambition of many of its agents and proteges led it far afield into questionable activities, until the South, nursing its own deep prejudices, came easily to ignore all the good deeds of the Bureau, and hate its very name with perfect hatred. So the Freedmen's Bureau died, and its child was the Fifteenth Amendment.

The passing of a great human institution before its work is done, like the untimely passing of a single soul, but leaves a legacy of striving for other men. The legacy of the Freedmen's Bureau is the heavy heritage of this generation. Today, when new and vaster problems are destined to strain every fibre of the national mind and soul, would it not be well to count this legacy honestly and carefully? For this much all men know: despite compromise, struggle, war, and struggle, the Negro is not free. In the backwoods of the Gulf states, for miles and miles, he may not leave the plantation of his birth; in well-nigh the whole rural South the black farmers are peons, bound by law and custom to an economic slavery, from which the only escape is death or the penitentiary. In the most cultured sections and cities of the South the Negroes are a segregated servile caste, with restricted rights and privileges. Before the courts, both in law and custom, they stand on a different and peculiar basis. Taxation without representation is the rule of their political life. And the result of all this is, and in nature must have been, lawlessness and crime. That is the large legacy of the Freedmen's Bureau, the work it did not do because it could not.

I have seen a land right merry with the sun; where children sing, and rolling hills lie like passioned women, wanton with harvest. And there in the King's Highway sat and sits a figure, veiled and bowed, by which the traveler's footsteps hasten as they go. On the tainted air broods fear. Three centuries' thought has been the raising and unveiling of that bowed human heart, and now, behold, my fellows, a century new for the duty and the deed. The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.


From the shimmering swirl of waters where many, many thoughts ago the slave-ship first saw the square tower of Jamestown have flowed down to our day three streams of thinking: one from the larger world here and over-seas, saying, the multiplying of human wants in culture lands calls for the world-wide co-operation of men in satisfying them. Hence arises a new human unity, pulling the ends of earth nearer, and all men, black, yellow, and white. The larger humanity strives to feel in this contact of living nations and sleeping hordes a thrill of new life in the world, crying, If the contact of Life and Sleep be Death, shame on such Life. To be sure, behind this thought lurks the afterthought of force and dominion,—the making of brown men to delve when the temptation of beads and red calico cloys.

The second thought streaming from the death-ship and the curving river is the thought of the older South: the sincere and passionate belief that somewhere between men and cattle God created a tertium quid, and called it a Negro,—a clownish, simple creature, at times even lovable within its limitations, but straitly foreordained to walk within the Veil. To be sure, behind the thought lurks the afterthought,—some of them with favoring chance might become men, but in sheer self-defense we dare not let them, and build about them walls so high, and hang between them and the light a veil so thick, that they shall not even think of breaking through.

And last of all there trickles down that third and darker thought, the thought of the things themselves, the confused half-conscious mutter of men who are black and whitened, crying Liberty, Freedom, Opportunity—vouchsafe to us, O boastful World, the chance of living men! To be sure, behind the thought lurks the afterthought: suppose, after all, the World is right and we are less than men? Suppose this mad impulse within is all wrong, some mock mirage from the untrue?

So here we stand among thoughts of human unity, even through conquest and slavery; the inferiority of black men, even if forced by fraud; a shriek in the night for the freedom of men who themselves are not yet sure of their right to demand it. This is the tangle of thought and afterthought wherein we are called to solve the problem of training men for life.

Behind all its curiousness, so attractive alike to sage and dilettante, lie its dim dangers, throwing across us shadows at once grotesque and awful. Plain it is to us that what the world seeks through desert and wild we have within our threshold;—a stalwart laboring force, suited to the semi-tropics; if, deaf to the voice of the Zeitgeist, we refuse to use and develop these men, we risk poverty and loss. If, on the other hand, seized by the brutal afterthought, we debauch the race thus caught in our talons, selfishly sucking their blood and brains in the future as in the past, what shall save us from national decadence? Only that saner selfishness which, Education teaches men, can find the rights of all in the whirl of work.

Again, we may decry the color prejudice of the South, yet it remains a heavy fact. Such curious kinks of the human mind exist and must be reckoned with soberly. They cannot be laughed away, nor always successfully stormed at, nor easily abolished by act of legislature. And yet they cannot be encouraged by being let alone. They must be recognized as facts, but unpleasant facts; things that stand in the way of civilization and religion and common decency. They can be met in but one way: by the breadth and broadening of human reason, by catholicity of taste and culture. And so, too, the native ambition and aspiration of men, even though they be black, backward, and ungraceful, must not lightly be dealt with. To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires; to flout their striving idly is to welcome a harvest of brutish crime and shameless lethargy in our very laps. The guiding of thought and the deft coordination of deed is at once the path of honor and humanity.

And so, in this great question of reconciling three vast and partially contradictory streams of thought, the one panacea of Education leaps to the lips of all; such human training as will best use the labor of all men without enslaving or brutalizing; such training as will give us poise to encourage the prejudices that bulwark society, and stamp out those that in sheer barbarity deafen us to the wail of prisoned souls within the Veil, and the mounting fury of shackled men.

But when we have vaguely said Education will set this tangle straight, what have we uttered but a truism? Training for life teaches living; but what training for the profitable living together of black men and white? Two hundred years ago our task would have seemed easier. Then Dr. Johnson blandly assured us that education was needed solely for the embellishments of life, and was useless for ordinary vermin. To-day we have climbed to heights where we would open at least the outer courts of knowledge to all, display its treasures to many, and select the few to whom its mystery of Truth is revealed, not wholly by truth or the accidents of the stock market, but at least in part according to deftness and aim, talent and character. This programme, however, we are sorely puzzled in carrying out through that part of the land where the blight of slavery fell hardest, and where we are dealing with two backward peoples. To make here in human education that ever necessary combination of the permanent and the contingent—of the ideal and the practical in workable equilibrium—has been there, as it ever must be in every age and place, a matter of infinite experiment and frequent mistakes.

In rough approximation we may point out four varying decades of work in Southern education since the Civil War. From the close of the war until 1876 was the period of uncertain groping and temporary relief. There were army schools, mission schools, and schools of the Freedmen's Bureau in chaotic disarrangement, seeking system and cooperation. Then followed ten years of constructive definite effort toward the building of complete school systems in the South. Normal schools and colleges were founded for the freedmen, and teachers trained there to man the public schools. There was the inevitable tendency of war to underestimate the prejudice of the master and the ignorance of the slave, and all seemed clear sailing out of the wreckage of the storm. Meantime, starting in this decade yet especially developing from 1885 to 1895, began the industrial revolution of the South. The land saw glimpses of a new destiny and the stirring of new ideals. The educational system striving to complete itself saw new obstacles and a field of work ever broader and deeper. The Negro colleges, hurriedly founded, were inadequately equipped, illogically distributed, and of varying efficiency and grade; the normal and high schools were doing little more than common school work, and the common schools were training but a third of the children who ought to be in them, and training these too often poorly. At the same time the white South, by reason of its sudden conversion from the slavery ideal, by so much the more became set and strengthened in its racial prejudice, and crystallized it into harsh law and harsher custom; while the marvelous pushing forward of the poor white daily threatened to take even bread and butter from the mouths of the heavily handicapped sons of the freedmen. In the midst, then, of the larger problem of Negro education sprang up the more practical question of work, the inevitable economic quandary that faces a people in the transition from slavery to freedom, and especially those who make that change amid hate and prejudice, lawlessness and ruthless competition.

The industrial school springing to notice in this decade, but coming to full recognition in the decade beginning with 1895, was the proffered answer to this combined educational and economic crisis, and an answer of singular wisdom and timeliness. From the very first in nearly all the schools some attention had been given to training in handiwork, but now was this training first raised to a dignity that brought it in direct touch with the South's magnificent industrial development, and given an emphasis which reminded black folk that before the Temple of Knowledge swing the Gates of Toil.

Yet after all they are but gates, and when turning our eyes from the temporary and the contingent in the Negro problem to the broader question of the permanent uplifting and civilization of black men in America, we have a right to inquire, as this enthusiasm for material advancement mounts to its height, if after all the industrial school is the final and sufficient answer in the training of the Negro race; and to ask gently, but in all sincerity, the ever recurring query of the ages, Is not life more than meat, and the body more than raiment? And men ask this to-day all the more eagerly because of sinister signs in recent educational movements. The tendency is here born of slavery and quickened to renewed life by the crazy imperialism of the day, to regard human beings as among the material resources of a land to be trained with an eye single to future dividends. Race prejudices, which keep brown and black men in their "places," we are coming to regard as useful allies with such a theory, no matter how much they may dull the ambition and sicken the hearts of struggling human beings. And above all, we daily hear that an education that encourages aspiration, that sets the loftiest of ideals and seeks as an end culture and character than bread-winning, is the privilege of white men and the danger and delusion of black.

Especially has criticism been directed against the former educational efforts to aid the Negro. In the four periods I have mentioned, we find first boundless, planless enthusiasm and sacrifice; then the preparation of teachers for a vast public school system; then the launching and expansion of that school system amid increasing difficulties; and finally the training of workmen for the new and growing industries. This development has been sharply ridiculed as a logical anomaly and flat reversal of nature. Soothly we have been told that first industrial and manual training should have taught the Negro to work, then simple schools should have taught him to read and write, and finally, after years, high and normal schools could have completed the system, as intelligence and wealth demanded.

That a system logically so complete was historically impossible, it needs but a little thought to prove. Progress in human affairs is more often a pull than a push, surging forward of the exceptional man, and the lifting of his duller brethren slowly and painfully to his vantage ground. Thus it was no accident that gave birth to universities centuries before the common schools, that made fair Harvard the first flower of our wilderness. So in the South: the mass of the freedmen at the end of the war lacked the intelligence so necessary to modern workingmen. They must first have the common school to teach them to read, write, and cipher. The white teachers who flocked South went to establish such a common school system. They had no idea of founding colleges; they themselves at first would have laughed at the idea. But they faced, as all men since them have faced, that central paradox of the South, the social separation of the races. Then it was the sudden volcanic rupture of nearly all relations between black and white, in work and government and family life. Since then a new adjustment of relations in economic and political affairs has grown up,—an adjustment subtle and difficult to grasp, yet singularly ingenious, which leaves still that frightful chasm at the color line across which men pass at their peril. Thus, then and now, there stand in the South two separate worlds; and separate not simply in the higher realms of social intercourse, but also in church and school, on railway and street car, in hotels and theatres, in streets and city sections, in books and newspapers, in asylums and jails, in hospitals and graveyards. There is still enough of contact for large economic and group cooperation, but the separation is so thorough and deep, that it absolutely precludes for the present between the races anything like that sympathetic and effective group training and leadership of the one by the other, such as the American Negro and all backward peoples must have for effectual progress.

This the missionaries of '68 soon saw; and if effective industrial and trade schools were impractical before the establishment of a common school system, just as certainly no adequate common schools could be founded until there were teachers to teach them. Southern whites would not teach them; Northern whites in sufficient numbers could not be had. If the Negro was to learn, he must teach himself, and the most effective help that could be given him was the establishment of schools to train Negro teachers. This conclusion was slowly but surely reached by every student of the situation until simultaneously, in widely separated regions, without consultation or systematic plan, there arose a series of institutions designed to furnish teachers for the untaught. Above the sneers of critics at the obvious defects of this procedure must ever stand its one crushing rejoinder: in a single generation they put thirty thousand black teachers in the South; they wiped out the illiteracy of the majority of the black people of the land, and they made Tuskegee possible.

Such higher training schools tended naturally to deepen broader development: at first they were common and grammar schools, then some became high schools. And finally, by 1900, some thirty-four had one year or more of studies of college grade. This development was reached with different degrees of speed in different institutions: Hampton is still a high school, while Fisk University started her college in 1871, and Spelman Seminary about 1896. In all cases the aim was identical: to maintain the standards of the lower training by giving teachers and leaders the best practicable training; and above all to furnish the black world with adequate standards of human culture and lofty ideals of life. It was not enough that the teachers of teachers should be trained in technical normal methods; they must also, so far as possible, be broad-minded, cultured men and women, to scatter civilization among a people whose ignorance was not simply of letters, but of life itself.

It can thus be seen that the work of education in the South began with higher institutions of training, which threw off as their foliage common schools, and later industrial schools, and at the same time strove to shoot their roots ever deeper toward college and university training. That this was an inevitable and necessary development, sooner or later, goes without saying; but there has been, and still is, a question in many minds if the natural growth was not forced, and if the higher training was not either overdone or done with cheap and unsound methods. Among white Southerners this feeling is widespread and positive. A prominent Southern journal voiced this in a recent editorial:

"The experiment that has been made to give the colored students classical training has not been satisfactory. Even though many were able to pursue the course, most of them did so in a parrot-like way, learning what was taught, but not seeming to appropriate the truth and import of their instruction, and graduating without sensible aim or valuable occupation for their future. The whole scheme has proved a waste of time, efforts, and the money of the state."

While most far-minded men would recognize this as extreme and overdrawn, still without doubt many are asking, Are there a sufficient number of Negroes ready for college training to warrant the undertaking? Are not too many students prematurely forced into this work? Does it not have the effect of dissatisfying the young Negro with his environment? And do these graduates succeed in real life? Such natural questions cannot be evaded, nor on the other hand must a nation naturally skeptical as to Negro ability assume an unfavorable answer without careful inquiry and patient openness to conviction. We must not forget that most Americans answer all queries regarding the Negro a priori, and that the least that human courtesy can do is to listen to evidence.

The advocates of the higher education of the Negro would be the last to deny the incompleteness and glaring defects of the present system: too many institutions have attempted to do college work, the work in some cases has not been thoroughly done, and quantity rather than quality has sometimes been sought. But all this can be said of higher education throughout the land: it is the almost inevitable incident of educational growth, and leaves the deeper question of the legitimate demand for the higher training of Negroes untouched. And this latter question can be settled in but one way—by a first-hand study of the facts. If we leave out of view all institutions which have not actually graduated students from a course higher than that of a New England high school, even though they be called colleges; if then we take the thirty-four remaining institutions, we may clear up many misapprehensions by asking searchingly, What kind of institutions are they, what do they teach, and what sort of men do they graduate?

And first we may say that this type of college, including Atlanta, Fisk and Howard, Wilberforce and Lincoln, Biddle, Shaw, and the rest, is peculiar, almost unique. Through the shining trees that whisper before me as I write, I catch glimpses of a boulder of New England granite, covering a grave, which graduates of Atlanta University have placed there:—


This was the gift of New England to the freed Negro: not alms, but a friend; not cash, but character. It was not and is not money these seething millions want, but love and sympathy, the pulse of hearts beating with red blood; a gift which to-day only their own kindred and race can bring to the masses, but which once saintly souls brought to their favored children in the crusade of the sixties, that finest thing in American history, and one of the few things untainted by sordid greed and cheap vainglory. The teachers in these institutions came not to keep the Negroes in their place, but to raise them out of their places where the filth of slavery had wallowed them. The colleges they founded were social settlements; homes where the best of the sons of the freedmen came in close and sympathetic touch with the best traditions of New England. They lived and ate together, studies and worked, hoped and harkened in the dawning light. In actual formal content their curriculum was doubtless old-fashioned, but in educational power it was supreme, for it was the contact of living souls.

From such schools about two thousand Negroes have gone forth with the bachelor's degree. The number in itself is enough to put at rest the argument that too large a proportion of Negroes are receiving higher training. If the ratio to population of all Negro students throughout the land, in both college and secondary training, be counted, Commissioner Harris assures us "it must be increased to five times its present average" to equal the average of the land.

Fifty years ago the ability of Negro students in any appreciable numbers to master a modern college course would have been difficult to prove. To-day it is proved by the fact that four hundred Negroes, many of whom have been reported as brilliant students, have received the bachelor's degree from Harvard, Yale, Oberlin, and seventy other leading colleges. Here we have, then, nearly twenty-five hundred Negro graduates, of whom the crucial query must be made. How far did their training fit them for life? It is of course extremely difficult to collect satisfactory data on such a point,—difficult to reach the men, to get trustworthy testimony, and to gauge that testimony by any generally acceptable criterion of success. In 1900, the Conference at Atlanta University undertook to study these graduates, and published the results. First they sought to know what these graduates were doing, and succeeded in getting answers from nearly two thirds of the living. The direct testimony was in almost all cases corroborated by the reports of the colleges where they graduated, so that in the main the reports were worthy of credence. Fifty-three per cent of these graduates were teachers,—presidents of institutions, heads of normal schools, principals of city school systems, and the like. Seventeen per cent were clergymen; another seventeen per cent were in the professions, chiefly as physicians. Over six per cent were merchants, farmers, and artisans, and four per cent were in the government civil service. Granting even that a considerable proportion of the third unheard from are unsuccessful, this is a record of usefulness. Personally I know many hundreds of these graduates and have corresponded with more than a thousand; through others I have followed carefully the life-work of scores; I have taught some of them and some of the pupils whom they have taught, lived in homes which they have builded, and looked at life through their eyes. Comparing them as a class with my fellow students in New England and in Europe, I cannot hesitate in saying that nowhere have I met men and women with a broader spirit of helpfulness, with deeper devotion to their life-work, or with more consecrated determination to succeed in the face of bitter difficulties than among Negro college-bred men. They have, to be sure, their proportion of ne'er-do-weels, their pedants and lettered fools, but they have a surprisingly small proportion of them; they have not that culture of manner which we instinctively associate with university men, forgetting that in reality it is the heritage from cultured homes, and that no people a generation removed from slavery can escape a certain unpleasant rawness and gaucherie, despite the best of training.

With all their larger vision and deeper sensibility, these men have usually been conservative, careful leaders. They have seldom been agitators, have withstood the temptation to head the mob, and have worked steadily and faithfully in a thousand communities in the South. As teachers they have given the South a commendable system of city schools and large numbers of private normal schools and academies. Colored college-bred men have worked side by side with white college graduates at Hampton; almost from the beginning the backbone of Tuskegee's teaching force has been formed of graduates from Fisk and Atlanta. And to-day the institute is filled with college graduates, from the energetic wife of the principal down to the teacher of agriculture, including nearly half of the executive council and a majority of the heads of departments. In the professions, college men are slowly but surely leavening the Negro church, are healing and preventing the devastations of disease, and beginning to furnish legal protection for the liberty and property of the toiling masses. All this is needful work. Who would do it if Negroes did not? How could Negroes do it if they were not trained carefully for it? If white people need colleges to furnish teachers, ministers, lawyers, and doctors, do black people need nothing of the sort?

If it be true that there are an appreciable number of Negro youth in the land capable by character and talent to receive that higher training, the end of which is culture, and if the two and a half thousand who have had something of this training in the past have in the main proved themselves useful to their race and generation, the question then comes, What place in the future development of the South might the Negro college and college-bred man to occupy? That the present social separation and acute race sensitiveness must eventually yield to the influences of culture as the South grows civilized is clear. But such transformation calls for singular wisdom and patience. If, while the healing of this vast sore is progressing, the races are to live for many years side by side, united in economic effort, obeying a common government, sensitive to mutual thought and feeling, yet subtly and silently separate in many matters of deeper human intimacy—if this unusual and dangerous development is to progress amid peace and order, mutual respect and growing intelligence, it will call for social surgery at once the delicatest and nicest in modern history. It will demand broad-minded, upright men both white and black, and in its final accomplishment American civilization will triumph. So far as white men are concerned, this fact is to-day being recognized in the South, and a happy renaissance of university education seems imminent. But the very voices that cry Hail! to this good work are, strange to relate, largely silent or antagonistic to the higher education of the Negro.

Strange to relate! for this is certain, no secure civilization can be built in the South with the Negro as an ignorant, turbulent proletariat. Suppose we seek to remedy this by making them laborers and nothing more: they are not fools, they have tasted of the Tree of Life, and they will not cease to think, will not cease attempting to read the riddle of the world. By taking away their best equipped teachers and leaders, by slamming the door of opportunity in the faces of their bolder and brighter minds, will you make them satisfied with their lot? or will you not rather transfer their leading from the hands of men taught to think to the hands of untrained demagogues? We ought not to forget that despite the pressure of poverty, and despite the active discouragement and even ridicule of friends, the demand for higher training steadily increases among Negro youth: there were, in the years from 1875 to 1880, twenty-two Negro graduates from Northern colleges; from 1885 to 1895 there were forty-three, and from 1895 to 1900, nearly 100 graduates. From Southern Negro colleges there were, in the same three periods, 143, 413, and over 500 graduates. Here, then, is the plain thirst for training; by refusing to give this Talented Tenth the key to knowledge can any sane man imagine that they will lightly lay aside their yearning and contentedly become hewers of wood and drawers of water?

No. The dangerously clear logic of the Negro's position will more and more loudly assert itself in that day when increasing wealth and more intricate social organization preclude the South from being, as it so largely is, simply an armed camp for intimidating black folk. Such waste of energy cannot be spared if the South is to catch up with civilization. And as the black third of the land grows in thrift and skill, unless skillfully guided in its larger philosophy, it must more and more brood over the red past and the creeping, crooked present, until it grasps a gospel of revolt and revenge and throws its new-found energies athwart the current of advance. Even to-day the masses of the Negroes see all too clearly the anomalies of their position and the moral crookedness of yours. You may marshal strong indictments against them, but their counter-cries, lacking though they be in formal logic, have burning truths within them which you may not wholly ignore, O Southern Gentlemen! If you deplore their presence here, they ask, Who brought us? When you shriek, Deliver us from the vision of intermarriage, they answer, that legal marriage is infinitely better than systematic concubinage and prostitution. And if in just fury you accuse their vagabonds of violating women, they also in fury quite as just may wail: the rape which your gentlemen have done against helpless black women in defiance of your own laws is written on the foreheads of two millions of mulattoes, and written in ineffaceable blood. And finally, when you fasten crime upon this race as its peculiar trait, they answer that slavery was the arch-crime, and lynching and lawlessness its twin abortion; that color and race are not crimes, and yet they it is which in this land receive most unceasing condemnation, North, East, South, and West.

I will not say such arguments are wholly justified—I will not insist that there is no other side to the shield; but I do say that of the nine millions of Negroes in this nation, there is scarcely one out of the cradle to whom these arguments do not daily present themselves in the guise of terrible truth. I insist that the question of the future is how best to keep these millions from brooding over the wrongs of the past and the difficulties of the present, so that all their energies may be bent toward a cheerful striving and cooperation with their white neighbors toward a larger, juster, and fuller future. That one wise method of doing this lies in the closer knitting of the Negro to the great industrial possibilities of the South is a great truth. And this the common schools and the manual training and trade schools are working to accomplish. But these alone are not enough. The foundations of knowledge in this race, as in others, must be sunk deep in the college and university if we would build a solid, permanent structure. Internal problems of social advance must inevitably come,—problems of work and wages, of families and homes, of morals and the true valuing of the things of life; and all these and other inevitable problems of civilization the Negro must meet and solve largely for himself, by reason of his isolation; and can there be any possible solution other than by study and thought and an appeal to the rich experience of the past? Is there not, with such a group and in such a crisis, infinitely more danger to be apprehended from half-trained minds and shallow thinking than from over-education and over-refinement? Surely we have wit enough to found a Negro college so manned and equipped as to steer successfully between the dilettante and the fool. We shall hardly induce black men to believe that if their bellies be full it matters little about their brains. They already dimly perceive that the paths of peace winding between honest toil and dignified manhood call for the guidance of skilled thinkers, the loving, reverent comradeship between the black lowly and black men emancipated by training and culture.

The function of the Negro college then is clear: it must maintain the standards of popular education, it must seek the social regeneration of the Negro, and it must help in the solution of problems of race contact and cooperation. And finally, beyond all this, it must develop men. Above our modern socialism, and out of the worship of the mass, must persist and evolve that higher individualism which the centres of culture protect; there must come a loftier respect for the sovereign human soul that seeks to know itself and the world about it; that seeks a freedom for expansion and self-development; that will love and hate and labor in its own way, untrammeled alike by old and new. Such souls aforetime have inspired and guided worlds, and if we be not wholly bewitched by our Rhine-gold, they shall again. Herein the longing of black men must have respect: the rich and bitter depth of their experience, the unknown treasures of their inner life, the strange rendings of nature they have seen, may give the world new points of view and make their loving, living, and doing precious to all human hearts. And to themselves in these the days that try their souls the chance to soar in the dim blue air above the smoke is to their finer spirits boon and guerdon for what they lose on earth by being black.

I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm in arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out the caves of Evening that swing between the strong-limbed earth and the tracery of the stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the Veil. Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America? Is this the life you long to change into the dull red hideousness of Georgia? Are you so afraid lest peering from this high Pisgah, between Philistine and Amalekite, we sight the Promised Land?


The political, educational, social, and economic evolution through which the South passed during, say, the first fifteen or twenty years after the close of the civil war furnishes one of the most interesting periods that any country has passed through.

A large share of the thought and activity of the white South, of the black South, and of that section of the North especially interested in my race, was directed during the years of the Reconstruction period toward politics, or toward matters bearing upon what were termed civil or social rights. The work of education was rather slow, and covered a large section of the South; still I think I am justified in saying that in the public mind the Negro's relation to politics overshadowed nearly every other interest. The education of the race was conducted quietly, and attracted comparatively little attention, just as is true at the present time. The appointment of one Negro postmaster at a third or fourth rate post office will be given wider publicity through the daily press than the founding of a school, or some important discovery in science.

With reference to the black man's political relation to the state and Federal governments, I think I am safe in saying that for many years after the civil war there were sharp and antagonistic views between the North and the South, as well as between the white South and the black South. At practically every point where there was a political question to be decided in the South the blacks would array themselves on one side and the whites on the other. I remember that very soon after I began teaching school in Alabama an old colored man came to me just prior to an election. He said: "You can read de newspapers and most of us can't, but dar is one thing dat we knows dat you don't, and dat is how to vote down here; and we wants you to vote as we does." He added: "I tell you how we does. We watches de white man; we keeps watching de white man; de nearer it gits to election time de more we watches de white man. We watches him till we finds out which way he gwine to vote. After we finds out which way he gwine to vote, den we votes exactly de other way; den we knows we 's right."

Stories on the other side might be given showing that a certain class of white people, both at the polls and in the Legislatures, voted just as unreasonably in opposing politically what they thought the Negro or the North wanted, no matter how much benefit might ensue from a contrary action. Unfortunately such antagonism did not end with matters political, but in many cases affected the relation of the races in nearly every walk of life. Aside from political strife, there was naturally deep feeling between the North and the South on account of the war. On nearly every question growing out of the war, which was debated in Congress, or in political campaigns, there was the keenest difference and often the deepest feeling. There was almost no question of even a semi-political nature, or having a remote connection with the Negro, upon which there was not sharp and often bitter division between the North and South. It is needless to say that in many cases the Negro was the sufferer. He was being ground between the upper and nether millstones. Even to this day it is well-nigh impossible, largely by reason of the force of habit, in certain states to prevent state and even local campaigns from being centred in some form upon the black man. In states like Mississippi, for example, where the Negro ceased nearly a score of years ago, by operation of law, to be a determining factor in politics, he forms in some way the principal fuel for campaign discussion at nearly every election. The sad feature of this is, that it prevents the presentation before the masses of the people of matters pertaining to local and state improvement, and to great national issues like finance, tariff, or foreign policies. It prevents the masses from receiving the broad and helpful education which every political campaign should furnish, and, what is equally unfortunate, it prevents the youth from seeing and hearing on the platform the great political leaders of the two national parties. During a national campaign few of the great Democratic leaders debate national questions in the South, because it is felt that the old antagonism to the Negro politically will keep the South voting one way. Few of the great Republican leaders appear on Southern platforms, because they feel that nothing will be gained.

One of the saddest instances of this situation that has come within my knowledge occurred some years ago in a certain Southern state where a white friend of mine was making the race for Congress on the Democratic ticket in a district that was overwhelmingly Democratic. I speak of this man as my friend, because there was no personal favor in reason which he would have refused me. He was equally friendly to the race, and was generous in giving for its education, and in helping individuals to buy land. His campaign took him into one of the "white" counties, where there were few colored people, and where the whites were unusually ignorant. I was surprised one morning to read in the daily papers of a bitter attack he had made on the Negro while speaking in this county. The next time I saw him I informed him of my surprise. He replied that he was ashamed of what he had said, and that he did not himself believe much that he had stated, but gave as a reason for his action that he had found himself before an audience which had heard little for thirty years in the way of political discussion that did not bear upon the Negro, and that he therefore knew it was almost impossible to interest them in any other subject.

But this is somewhat aside from my purpose, which is, I repeat, to make plain that in all political matters there was for years after the war no meeting ground of agreement for the two races, or for the North and South. Upon the question of the Negro's civil rights, as embodied in what was called the Civil Rights Bill, there was almost the same sharp line of division between the races, and, in theory at least, between the Northern and Southern whites,—largely because the former were supposed to be giving the blacks social recognition, and encouraging intermingling between the races. The white teachers, who came from the North to work in missionary schools, received for years little recognition or encouragement from the rank and file of their own race. The lines were so sharply drawn that in cities where native Southern white women taught Negro children in the public schools, they would have no dealings with Northern white women who, perhaps, taught Negro children from the same family in a missionary school.

I want to call attention here to a phase of Reconstruction policy which is often overlooked. All now agree that there was much in Reconstruction which was unwise and unfortunate. However we may regard that policy, and much as we may regret mistakes, the fact is too often overlooked that it was during the Reconstruction period that a public school system for the education of all the people of the South was first established in most of the states. Much that was done by those in charge of Reconstruction legislation has been overturned, but the public school system still remains. True, it has been modified and improved, but the system remains, and is every day growing in popularity and strength.

As to the difference of opinion between the North and the South regarding Negro education, I find that many people, especially in the North, have a wrong conception of the attitude of the Southern white people. It is and has been very generally thought that what is termed "higher education" of the Negro has been from the first opposed by the white South. This opinion is far from being correct. I remember that, in 1891, when I began the work of establishing the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, practically all of the white people who talked to me on the subject took it for granted that instruction in the Greek, Latin, and modern languages would be one of the main features of our curriculum. I heard no one oppose what he thought our course of study was to embrace. In fact, there are many white people in the South at the present time who do not know that instruction in the dead languages is not given at the Tuskegee Institute. In further proof of what I have stated, if one will go through the catalogue of the schools maintained by the states for Negro people, and managed by Southern white people, he will find in almost every case that instruction in the higher branches is given with the consent and approval of white officials. This was true as far back as 1880. It is not unusual to meet at this time Southern white people who are as emphatic in their belief in the value of classical education as a certain element of colored people themselves. In matters relating to civil and political rights, the breach was broad, and without apparent hope of being bridged; even in the matter of religion, practically all of the denominations had split on the subject of the Negro, though I should add that there is now, and always has been, a closer touch and more cooperation in matters of religion between the white and colored people in the South than is generally known. But the breach between the white churches in the South and North remains.

In matters of education the difference was much less sharp. The truth is that a large element in the South had little faith in the efficacy of the higher or any other kind of education of the Negro. They were indifferent, but did not openly oppose; on the other hand, there has always been a potent element of white people in all of the Southern states who have stood out openly and bravely for the education of all the people, regardless of race. This element has thus far been successful in shaping and leading public opinion, and I think that it will continue to do so more and more. This statement must not be taken to mean that there is as yet an equitable division of the school funds, raised by common taxation, between the two races in many sections of the South, though the Southern states deserve much credit for what has been done. In discussing the small amount of direct taxes the Negro pays, the fact that he pays tremendous indirect taxes is often overlooked.

I wish, however, to emphasize the fact that while there was either open antagonism or indifference in the directions I have named, it was the introduction of industrial training into the Negro's education that seemed to furnish the first basis for anything like united and sympathetic interest and action between the two races in the South and between the whites in the North and those in the South. Aside from its direct benefit to the black race, industrial education has furnished a basis for mutual faith and cooperation, which has meant more to the South, and to the work of education, than has been realized.

This was, at the least, something in the way of construction. Many people, I think, fail to appreciate the difference between the problems now before us and those that existed previous to the civil war. Slavery presented a problem of destruction; freedom presents a problem of construction.

From its first inception the white people of the South had faith in the theory of industrial education, because they had noted, what was not unnatural, that a large element of the colored people at first interpreted freedom to mean freedom from work with the hands. They naturally had not learned to appreciate the fact that they had been WORKED, and that one of the great lessons for freemen to learn is to WORK. They had not learned the vast difference between WORKING and BEING WORKED. The white people saw in the movement to teach the Negro youth the dignity, beauty, and civilizing power of all honorable labor with the hands something that would lead the Negro into his new life of freedom gradually and sensibly, and prevent his going from one extreme of life to the other too suddenly. Furthermore, industrial education appealed directly to the individual and community interest of the white people. They saw at once that intelligence coupled with skill would add wealth to the community and to the state, in which both races would have an added share. Crude labor in the days of slavery, they believed, could be handled and made in a degree profitable, but ignorant and unskilled labor in a state of freedom could not be made so. Practically every white man in the South was interested in agricultural or in mechanical or in some form of manual labor; every white man was interested in all that related to the home life,—the cooking and serving of food, laundering, dairying, poultry-raising, and housekeeping in general. There was no family whose interest in intelligent and skillful nursing was not now and then quickened by the presence of a trained nurse. As already stated, there was general appreciation of the fact that the industrial education of the black people had direct, vital, and practical bearing upon the life of each white family in the South; while there was no such appreciation of the results of mere literary training. If a black man became a lawyer, a doctor, a minister, or an ordinary teacher, his professional duties would not ordinarily bring him in touch with the life of the white portion of the community, but rather confine him almost exclusively to his own race. While purely literary or professional education was not opposed by the white population, it was something in which they found little or no interest, beyond a confused hope that it would result in producing a higher and a better type of Negro manhood. The minute it was seen that through industrial education the Negro youth was not only studying chemistry, but also how to apply the knowledge of chemistry to the enrichment of the soil, or to cooking, or to dairying, and that the student was being taught not only geometry and physics, but their application to blacksmithing, brickmaking, farming, and what not, then there began to appear for the first time a common bond between the two races and cooperation between North and South.

One of the most interesting and valuable instances of the kind that I know of is presented in the case of Mr. George W. Carver, one of our instructors in agriculture at Tuskegee Institute. For some time it has been his custom to prepare articles containing information concerning the conditions of local crops, and warning the farmers against the ravages of certain insects and diseases. The local white papers are always glad to publish these articles, and they are read by white and colored farmers.

Some months ago a white land-holder in Montgomery County asked Mr. Carver to go through his farm with him for the purpose of inspecting it. While doing so Mr. Carver discovered traces of what he thought was a valuable mineral deposit, used in making a certain kind of paint. The interests of the land-owner and the agricultural instructor at once became mutual. Specimens of the deposits were taken to the laboratories of the Tuskegee Institute and analyzed by Mr. Carver. In due time the land-owner received a report of the analysis, together with a statement showing the commercial value and application of the mineral. I shall not go through the whole interesting story, except to say that a stock company, composed of some of the best white people in Alabama, has been organized, and is now preparing to build a factory for the purpose of putting their product on the market. I hardly need to add that Mr. Carver has been freely consulted at every step, and his services generously recognized in the organization of the concern. When the company was being formed the following testimonial, among others, was embodied in the printed copy of the circular:—

"George W. Carver, Director of the Department of Agriculture, Tuskegee, Alabama, says:—

"'The pigment is an ochreous clay. Its value as a paint is due to the presence of ferric oxide, of which it contains more than any of the French, Australian, American, Irish, or Welsh ochres. Ferric oxides have long been recognized as the essential constituents of such paints as Venetian red, Turkish red, oxide red, Indian red, and scarlet. They are most desirable, being quite permanent when exposed to light and air. As a stain they are most valuable.'"

In further proof of what I wish to emphasize, I think I am safe in saying that the work of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, under the late General S. C. Armstrong, was the first to receive any kind of recognition and hearty sympathy from the Southern white people, and General Armstrong was perhaps the first Northern educator of Negroes who won the confidence and cooperation of the white South. The effects of General Armstrong's introduction of industrial education at Hampton, and its extension to the Tuskegee Institute in the far South, are now actively and helpfully apparent in the splendid work being accomplished for the whole South by the Southern Education Board, with Mr. Robert C. Ogden at its head, and by the General Education Board, with Mr. William H. Baldwin, Jr., as its president. Without the introduction of manual training it is doubtful whether such work as is now being wrought through these two boards for both races in the South could have been possible within a quarter of a century to come. Later on in the history of our country it will be recognized and appreciated that the far-reaching and statesman-like efforts of these two boards for general education in the South, under the guidance of the two gentlemen named, and with the cooperation and assistance of such men as Mr. George Foster Peabody, Dr. Wallace Buttrick, Mr. John D. Rockefeller, of the North, and Mr. Edgar Gardner Murphy, Chancellor Hill, Dr. Alderman, Dr. McIver, Dr. Dabney, and others of the South, will have furnished the material for one of the brightest and most encouraging chapters in the history of our country. The fact that we have reached the point where men and women who were so far apart twenty years ago can meet in the South and discuss freely from the same platform questions relating to the industrial, educational, political, moral, and religious development of the two races marks a great step in advance. It is true that as yet the Negro has not been invited to share in these discussions.

Aside from the reasons I have given showing why the South favored industrial education, coupled with intellectual and moral training, many of the whites saw, for example, that the Negroes who were master carpenters and contractors, under the guidance of their owners, could become still greater factors in the development of the South if their children were not suddenly removed from the atmosphere and occupations of their fathers, and if they could be taught to use the thing in hand as a foundation for higher growth. Many of the white people were wise enough to see that such education would enable some of the Negro youths to become more skillful carpenters and contractors, and that if they laid an economic foundation in this way in their generation, they would be laying a foundation for a more abstract education of their children in the future.

Again, a large element of people at the South favored manual training for the Negro because they were wise enough to see that the South was largely free from the restrictive influences of the Northern trades unions, and that such organizations would secure little hold in the South so long as the Negro kept abreast in intelligence and skill with the same class of people elsewhere. Many realized that the South would be tying itself to a body of death if it did not help the Negro up. In this connection I want to call attention to the fact that the official records show that within one year about one million foreigners came into the United States. Notwithstanding this number, practically none went into the Southern states; to be more exact, the records show that in 1892 only 2278 all told went into the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. One ship sometimes brings as many to New York. Various reasons are given to explain why these foreigners systematically avoid the South. One is that the climate is so hot; and another is that they do not like the restrictions thrown about the ballot; and still another is the presence of the Negro is so large numbers. Whatever the true reason is, the fact remains that foreigners avoid the South, and the South is more and more realizing that it cannot keep pace with the progress being made in other parts of the country if a third of its population is ignorant and without skill.

The South must frankly face this truth, that for a long period it must depend upon the black man to do for it what the foreigner is now doing for the great West. If, by reason of his skill and knowledge, one man in Iowa learns to produce as much corn in a season as four men can produce in Alabama, it requires little reasoning to see that Alabama will buy most of her corn from Iowa.

Another interesting result of the introduction of industrial education for the Negro has been its influence upon the white people of the South, and, I believe, upon the whites of the North as well. This phase of it has proved of interest in making hand training a conciliatory element between the races.

In 1883 I was delivering an address on industrial education before the colored State Teachers' Association of one of our Southern states. When I had finished, some of the teachers began to ask the State Superintendent of Education, who was on the programme, some questions about the subject. He politely but firmly stopped the questions by stating that he knew absolutely nothing about industrial training, and had never heard it discussed before. At that time there was no such education being given at any white institution in that state. With one or two exceptions this case will illustrate what was true of all the Southern states. A careful investigation of the subject will show that it was not until after industrial education was started among the colored people, and its value proved, that it was taken up by the Southern white people.

Manual training or industrial and technical schools for the whites have, for the most part, been established under state auspices, and are at this time chiefly maintained by the states. An investigation would also show that in securing money from the state legislatures for the purpose of introducing hand work, one of the main arguments used was the existence and success of industrial training among the Negroes. It was often argued that the white boys and girls would be left behind unless they had the opportunities for securing the same kind of training that was being given the colored people. Although it is, I think, not generally known, it is a fact that since the idea of industrial or technical education for white people took root within the last few years, much more money is spent annually for such education for the whites than for the colored people. Any one who has not looked into the subject will be surprised to find how thorough and high grade the work is. Take, for example, the state of Georgia, and it will be found that several times as much is being spent at the Industrial College for white girls at Milledgeville, and at the technical school for whites at Atlanta, as is being spent in the whole state for the industrial education of Negro youths. I have met no Southern white educators who have not been generous in their praise of the Negro schools for taking the initiative in hand training. This fact has again served to create in matters relating to education a bond of sympathy between the two races in the South. Referring again to the influence of industrial training for the Negro in education, in the Northern states I find, while writing this article, the following announcement in the advertisement of what is perhaps the most high-priced and exclusive girls' seminary in Massachusetts:—

"In planning a system of education for young ladies, with the view of fitting them for the greatest usefulness in life, the idea was conceived of supplementing the purely intellectual work by a practical training in the art of home management and its related subjects.

"It was the first school of high literary grade to introduce courses in Domestic Science into the regular curriculum.

"The results were so gratifying as to lead to the equipment of Experiment Hall, a special building, fitted for the purpose of studying the principles of Applied Housekeeping. Here the girls do the actual work of cooking, marketing, arranging menus, and attend to all the affairs of a well-arranged household.

"Courses are arranged also in sewing, dressmaking, and millinery; they are conducted on a similarly practical basis, and equip the student with a thorough knowledge of the subject."

A dozen years ago I do not believe that any such announcement would have been made.

Beginning with the year 1877, the Negro in the South lost practically all political control; that is to say, as early as 1885 the Negro scarcely had any members of his race in the national Congress or state legislatures, and long before this date had ceased to hold state offices. This was true, notwithstanding the protests and fervent oratory of such strong race leaders as Frederick Douglass, B. K. Bruce, John R. Lynch, P. B. S. Pinchback, and John M. Langston, with a host of others. When Frederick Douglass, the greatest man that the race has produced, died in 1895, it is safe to say that the Negro in the Southern states, with here and there a few exceptions, had practically no political control or political influence, except in sending delegates to national conventions, or in holding a few Federal positions by appointment. It became evident to many of the wise Negroes that the race would have to depend for its success in the future less upon political agitations and the opportunity of holding office, and more upon something more tangible and substantial. It was at this period in the Negro's development, when the distance between the races was greatest, and the spirit and ambition of the colored people most depressed, that the idea of industrial or business development was introduced and began to be made prominent. It did not take the more level-headed members of the race long to see that while the Negro in the South was surrounded by many difficulties, there was practically no line drawn and little race discrimination in the world of commerce, banking, storekeeping, manufacturing, and the skilled trades, and in agriculture, and that in this lay his great opportunity. They understood that, while the whites might object to a Negro's being a postmaster, they would not object to his being the president of a bank, and in the latter occupation they would give him assistance and encouragement. The colored people were quick to see that while the negro would not be invited as a rule to attend the white man's prayer-meeting, he would be invited every time to attend the stockholders' meeting of a business concern in which he had an interest and that he could buy property in practically any portion of the South where the white man could buy it. The white citizens were all the more willing to encourage the Negro in this economic or industrial development, because they saw that the prosperity of the Negro meant also the prosperity of the white man. They saw, too, that when a Negro became the owner of a home and was a taxpayer, having a regular trade or other occupation, he at once became a conservative and safe citizen and voter; one who would consider the interests of his whole community before casting his ballot; and, further, one whose ballot could not be purchased.

One case in point is that of the twenty-eight teachers at our school in Tuskegee who applied for life-voting certificates under the new constitution of Alabama, not one was refused registration; and if I may be forgiven a personal reference, in my own case, the Board of Registers were kind enough to send me a special request to the effect that they wished me not to fail to register as a life voter. I do not wish to convey the impression that all worthy colored people have been registered in Alabama, because there have been many inexcusable and unlawful omissions; but, with few exceptions, the 2700 who have been registered represent the best Negroes in the state.

Though in some parts of the country he is now misunderstood, I believe that the time is going to come when matters can be weighed soberly, and when the whole people are going to see that president Roosevelt is, and has been from the first, in line with this policy,—that of encouraging the colored people who by industry and economy have won their way into the confidence and respect of their neighbors. Both before and since he became President I have had many conversations with him, and at all times I have found him enthusiastic over the plan that I have described.

The growth of the race in industrial and business directions within the last few years cannot perhaps be better illustrated than by the fact that what is now the largest secular national organization among the colored people is the National Negro Business League. This organization brings together annually hundreds of men and women who have worked their way up from the bottom to the point where they are now in some cases bankers, merchants, manufacturers, planters, etc. The sight of this body of men and women would surprise a large part of American citizens who do not really know the better side of the Negro's life.

It ought to be stated frankly here that at first, and for several years after the introduction of industrial training at such educational centres as Hampton and Tuskegee, there was opposition from colored people, and from portions of those Northern white people engaged in educational and missionary work among the colored people in the South. Most of those who manifested such opposition were actuated by the highest and most honest motives. From the first the rank and file of the blacks were quick to see the advantages of industrial training, as is shown by the fact that industrial schools have always been overcrowded. Opposition to industrial training was based largely on the old and narrow ground that it was something that the Southern white people favored, and therefore must be against the interests of the Negro. Again, others opposed it because they feared that it meant the abandonment of all political privileges, and the higher or classical education of the race. They feared that the final outcome would be the materialization of the Negro, and the smothering of his spiritual and aesthetic nature. Others felt that industrial education had for its object the limitation of the Negro's development, and the branding him for all time as a special hand-working class.

Now that enough time has elapsed for those who opposed it to see that it meant none of these things, opposition, except from a very few of the colored people living in Boston and Washington, has ceased, and this system has the enthusiastic support of the Negroes and of most of the whites who formerly opposed it. All are beginning to see that it was never meant that ALL Negro youths should secure industrial education, any more than it is meant that ALL white youths should pass through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or the Amherst Agricultural College, to the exclusion of such training as is given at Harvard, Yale, or Dartmouth; but that in a peculiar sense a large proportion of the Negro youths needed to have that education which would enable them to secure an economic foundation, without which no people can succeed in any of the higher walks of life.

It is because of the fact that the Tuskegee Institute began at the bottom, with work in the soil, in wood, in iron, in leather, that it has now developed to the point where it is able to furnish employment as teachers to twenty-eight Negro graduates of the best colleges in the country. This is about three times as many Negro college graduates as any other institution in the United States for the education of colored people employs, the total number of officers and instructors at Tuskegee being about one hundred and ten.

Those who once opposed this see now that while the Negro youth who becomes skilled in agriculture and a successful farmer may not be able himself to pass through a purely literary college, he is laying the foundation for his children and grandchildren to do it if desirable. Industrial education in this generation is contributing in the highest degree to make what is called higher education a success. It is now realized that in so far as the race has intelligent and skillful producers, the greater will be the success of the minister, lawyer, doctor, and teacher. Opposition has melted away, too, because all men now see that it will take a long time to "materialize" a race, millions of which hold neither houses nor railroads, nor bank stocks, nor factories, nor coal and gold mines.

Another reason for the growth of a better understanding of the objects and influence of industrial training is the fact, as before stated, that it has been taken up with such interest and activity by the Southern whites, and that it has been established at such universities as Cornell in the East, and in practically all of the state colleges of the great West.

It is now seen that the result of such education will be to help the black man to make for himself an independent place in our great American life. It was largely the poverty of the Negro that made him the prey of designing politicians immediately after the war; and wherever poverty and lack of industry exist to-day, one does not find in him that deep spiritual life which the race must in the future possess in a higher degree.

To those who still express the fear that perhaps too much stress is put upon industrial education for the Negro I would add that I should emphasize the same kind of training for any people, whether black or white, in the same stage of development as the masses of the colored people.

For a number of years this country has looked to Germany for much in the way of education, and a large number of our brightest men and women are sent there each year. The official reports show that in Saxony, Germany, alone, there are 287 industrial schools, or one such school to every 14,641 people. This is true of a people who have back of them centuries of wealth and culture. In the South I am safe in saying that there is not more than one effective industrial school for every 400,000 colored people.

A recent dispatch from Germany says that the German Emperor has had a kitchen fitted up in the palace for the single purpose of having his daughter taught cooking. If all classes and nationalities, who are in most cases thousands of years ahead of the Negro in the arts of civilization, continue their interest in industrial training, I cannot understand how any reasonable person can object to such education for a large part of a people who are in the poverty-stricken condition that is true of a large element of my race, especially when such hand training is combined, as it should be, with the best education of head and heart.

THE NEGRO IN THE REGULAR ARMY by Oswald Garrison Villard

When the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment stormed Fort Wagner July 18, 1863, only to be driven back with the loss of its colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, and many of its rank and file, it established for all time the fact that the colored soldier would fight and fight well. This had already been demonstrated in Louisiana by colored regiments under the command of General Godfrey Weitzel in the attack upon Port Hudson on May 27 of the same year. On that occasion regiments composed for the greater part of raw recruits, plantation hands with centuries of servitude under the lash behind them, stormed trenches and dashed upon cold steel in the hands of their former masters and oppressors. After that there was no more talk in the portion of the country of the "natural cowardice" of the negro. But the heroic qualities of Colonel Shaw, his social prominence and that of his officers, and the comparative nearness of their battlefield to the North, attracted greater and more lasting attention to the daring and bravery of their exploit, until it finally became fixed in many minds as the first real baptism of fire of colored American soldiers.

After Wagner the recruiting of colored regiments, originally opposed by both North and South, went on apace, particularly under the Federal government, which organized no less than one hundred and fifty-four, designated as "United States Colored Troops." Colonel Shaw's raising of a colored regiment aroused quite as much comment in the North because of the race prejudice it defied, as because of the novelty of the new organization. General Weitzel tendered his resignation the instant General B. F. Butler assigned black soldiers to his brigade, and was with difficulty induced to serve on. His change of mind was a wise one, and not only because these colored soldiers covered him with glory at Port Hudson. It was his good fortune to be the central figure in one of the dramatic incidents of a war that must ever rank among the most thrilling and tragic the world has seen. The black cavalrymen who rode into Richmond, the first of the Northern troops to enter the Southern capital, went in waving their sabres and crying to the negroes on the sidewalks, "We have come to set you free!" They were from the division of Godfrey Weitzel, and American history has no more stirring moment.

In the South, notwithstanding the raising in 1861 of a colored Confederate regiment by Governor Moore of Louisiana (a magnificent body of educated colored men which afterwards became the First Louisiana National Guards of General Weitzel's brigade and the first colored regiment in the Federal Army), the feeling against negro troops was insurmountable until the last days of the struggle. Then no straw could be overlooked. When, in December, 1863, Major-General Patrick R. Cleburne, who commanded a division of Hardee's Corps of the Confederate Army of the Tennessee, sent in a paper in which the employment of the slaves as soldiers of the South was vigorously advocated, Jefferson Davis indorsed it with the statement, "I deem it inexpedient at this time to give publicity to this paper, and request that it be suppressed." General Cleburne urged that "freedom within a reasonable time" be granted to every slave remaining true to the Confederacy, and was moved to this action by the valor of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, saying, "If they [the negroes] can be made to face and fight bravely against their former masters, how much more probable is it that with the allurement of a higher reward, and led by those masters, they would submit to discipline and face dangers?"

With the ending of the civil war the regular army of the United States was reorganized upon a peace footing by an act of Congress dated July 28, 1866. In just recognition of the bravery of the colored volunteers six regiments, the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry and the Thirty-eighth, Thirty-ninth, Fortieth, and Forth-first Infantry, were designated as colored regiments. When the army was again reduced in 1869, the Thirty-eighth and Forty-first became the Twenty-fourth Infantry, and the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth became the Twenty-fifth. This left four colored regiments in the regular army as it was constituted from 1870 until 1901. There has never been a colored artillery organization in the regular service.

To these new regiments came a motley mixture of veterans of volunteer organizations, newly released slaves, and some freedmen of several years' standing but without military experience. They were eager to learn, and soon showed the same traits which distinguish the black regiments to-day,—loyalty to their officers and to their colors, sobriety and courage, and a notable pride in the efficiency of their corps. But if ever officers had to "father and mother" their soldiers they were the company officers of these regiments. The captains in particular had to be bankers, secretaries, advisers, and judges for their men. As Lieutenant Grote Hutcheson has stated it, "The men knew nothing, and the non-commissioned officers but little more. From the very circumstances of their preceding life it could not be otherwise. They had no independence, no self-reliance, not a thought except for the present, and were filled with superstition." Yet the officers were determined to prove the wisdom of the experiment. To do this they were forced to give their own attention to the minutest details of military administration, and to act as non-commissioned officers. The total lack of education among the men necessitated an enormous amount of writing by the officers. In the Ninth Cavalry only one man was found able to write well enough to be sergeant-major, and not for several years was it possible to obtain troop clerks. When the Tenth Cavalry was being recruited an officer was sent to Philadelphia with the express purpose of picking up educated colored men for the non-commissioned positions. Difficult as the tasks of the officers thus were, most of them felt well repaid for their unusual labors by the affectionate regard in which they were held by their soldiers, and by the never-failing good humor with which the latter went about their duties.

As the years passed the character of the colored soldiers naturally changed. In place of the war veterans, and of the men whose chains of servitude had just been struck off, came young men from the North and East with more education and more self-reliance. They depended less upon their officers, both in the barracks and in the field, yet they reverenced and cared for them as much as did their predecessors. Their greatest faults then as now were gambling and quarreling. On the other hand, the negro regiments speedily became favorably known because of greater sobriety and of fewer desertions than among the white soldiers. It was the Ninth Cavalry which a few years ago astonished the army by reporting not a single desertion in twelve months, an unheard-of and perhaps undreamed-of record. In all that goes to make a good soldier, in drill, fidelity, and smartness, the negro regular from the first took front rank.

Nor was there ever any lack of the fighting quality which had gratified the nation at Fort Wagner, or at Fort Blakely, Ala., where the Seventy-third Colored Infantry, under Colonel Henry C. Merriam, stormed the enemy's works, in advance of orders, in one of the last actions of the war. It soon fell to the lot of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry to prove that the negroes could do as well under fire in the Indian wars as they had when fighting for the freedom of their race. While the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry had merely garrison work to do, the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry scouted for years against hostile Indians in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas, always acquitting themselves honorably. In September, 1868, a little over two years after their organization, three troops of the Ninth Cavalry did well in an action against Indians at Horsehead Hills, Texas. When General George A. Forsyth and his detachment of fifty scouts were surrounded and "corralled" by seven hundred Indians on an island in the Republican River, it was the troop of Captain Louis H. Carpenter, of the Tenth Cavalry, which first came to their rescue. Similarly when Major T. T. Thornburg's command was nearly wiped out by Utes in 1879, it was Captain F. S. Dodge's Troop D of the Ninth which succeeded in reaching it in time, losing all its horses in so doing. This regiment alone took part in sixty Indian fights between 1868 and 1890, during which time it lost three officers and twenty-seven men killed, and had three officers and thirty-four men wounded. The Tenth Cavalry's casualties were also heavy during this same period, and it fought for many years over a most difficult country in New Mexico and Arizona, taking a conspicuous part in running to earth Geronimo's and Victoria's bands of Apaches.

On one of these campaigns Lieutenant Powhatan H. Clarke gave effective proof of the affection which the officers of colored regiments have for their men. In the fight in the Pineto Mountains with a portion of Geronimo's forces this young Southerner risked his life to save a colored sergeant who had fallen wounded in an open space where both he and his rescuer were easy marks for the Apaches. For this gallant act Lieutenant Clarke rightly received a medal of honor. The Twenty-fourth Infantry, on the other hand, has contributed a striking instance of the devotion of colored soldiers to their officers. When Major Joseph W. Wham, paymaster, was attacked by robbers on May 11, 1889, his colored escort fought with such gallantry that every one of the soldiers was awarded a medal of honor or a certificate of merit. Some of them stood their ground although badly wounded, notably Sergeant Benjamin Brown, who continued to fight and to encourage his men until shot through both arms. In a fight against Apaches in the Cuchilo Negro Mountains of New Mexico on August 16, 1881, Moses Williams, First Sergeant of Troop I, Ninth Cavalry, displayed such gallantry that he was given a medal of honor by common consent. When the only officer with the detachment, Lieutenant Gustavus Valois, had his horse shot under him, and was cut off from his men, Sergeant Williams promptly rallied the detachment, and conducted the right flank in a running fight for several hours with such coolness, bravery, and unflinching devotion to duty that he undoubtedly saved the lives of at least three comrades. His action in standing by and rescuing Lieutenant Valois was the more noteworthy because he and his men were subjected, in an exposed position, to a heavy fire from a large number of Indians. For splendid gallantry against Indians, while serving as sergeant of Troop K, Ninth Cavalry, on May 14, 1880, and August 12, 1881, George Jordan was also given a medal of honor. Five of the medal of honor men now in the service are colored soldiers, while fifteen others have "certificates of merit" also awarded for conspicuous deeds of bravery.

It was not until the battle of Santiago, however, that the bulk of the American people realized that the standing army comprised regiments composed wholly of black men. Up to that time only one company of colored soldiers had served at a post east of the Mississippi. Even Major, later Brigadier-General, Guy V. Henry's gallop to the rescue of the Seventh Cavalry on December 30, 1890, with four troops of the Ninth Cavalry, attracted but little attention. This feat was the more remarkable because Major Henry's command had just completed a march of more than one hundred miles in twenty-four hours. But in the battle at Santiago, the four colored regiments won praise from all sides, particularly for their advance upon Kettle Hill, in which the Rough Riders also figured. From the very beginning of the movement of the army after its landing, the negro troops were in the front of the fighting, and contributed largely to the successful result. Although they suffered heavy losses, especially in officers, the men fought with the same gallantry they had displayed on the plains, as is attested by the honors awarded. In every company there were instances of personal gallantry. The first sergeants especially lived up to the responsibilities placed upon them. The color sergeant of the Tenth Cavalry, Adam Houston, bore to the front not only his own flags, but those of the Third Cavalry when the latter's color sergeant was shot down. In several emergencies where troops or companies lost their white officers, the senior sergeants took command and handled their men in a faultless manner, notably in the Tenth Cavalry.

Indeed, the conduct of these men has done much to dispel the old belief that colored soldiers will fight only when they have efficient white officers. This may well have been true at one period of the civil war when the colored race as a whole had never even had the responsibilities attaching to free men. It is growing less and less true as time passes and better educated men enter the ranks. In recognition of their achievements at Santiago a number of these black non-commissioned officers were made commissioned officers in several of the so-called "immune" regiments of United States Volunteers raised in July, 1898. None of these organizations were in service long enough to become really efficient, and a few were never properly disciplined. Nevertheless, a majority of the officers promoted from the colored regulars bore themselves well under exceedingly trying circumstances. Some of them, and a number of regular sergeants and corporals who had succeeded to their former places, were made lieutenants and captains in the Forty-eighth and Forty-ninth Volunteer Infantry, which served in the Philippines for two years, and to which we shall recur later.

At Santiago the characteristic cheerfulness of the negro soldiers was as striking as their bravery. In his little book called The Nth Foot In War, Lieutenant M. B. Stewart says of them:—

"The negro troops were in a high good humor. They had made the charge of the day; they had fought with a dash and vigor which forever established their reputation as fighters, and which would carry them down in the pages of history. To have heard them that night no one would have ever thought that they had lived for twelve mortal hours under a galling fire. They were laughing and joking over the events of the day, in the same manner they would have done had they been returning from a picnic.

"'Golly,' laughed a six-foot sergeant, 'dere was music in de air sho' nuff. Dat lead was flying around in sheets, I tell you. I seen a buzzard flying around in front of our line, and I says to myself, "Buzzard, you is in a mighty dangerous position. You better git out uf dat, 'cause dey ain't room out dar for a muskeeter."' Another remarked, 'Say, did you see dat man Brown; pity dat man been killed. He'd a been a corporal, sho.'

"In the utter exhaustion of the moment all race and social distinctions were forgotten. Officers lay down among their men and slept like logs. The negro troops sought out soft places along the sides of the road and lay down with their white comrades. There was a little commotion among the latter, and an officer was heard to yell: 'Here, you man, take your feet off my stomach. Well, I'll be damned if it ain't a nigger. Get out, you black rascal.' As the commotion subsided, the negro was heard to remark, 'Well, if dat ain't de mos' particler man I ever see.'"

Characteristic also is a story of the negro cavalryman who, returning to the rear, said to some troops anxious to get to the front: "Dat's all right, gemmen; don't git in a sweat; dere's lots of it lef' for you. You wants to look out for dese yere sharpshooters, for dey is mighty careless with dere weapons, and dey is specially careless when dey is officers aroun'."

As soon as the army settled down in the trenches before Santiago, smuggled musical instruments—guitars, banjos, mouth organs, and what not—appeared among the negro troops as if by magic, and they were ever in use. It was at once a scene of cheerfulness and gayety, and the officers had their usual trouble in making the men go to sleep instead of spending the night in talking, singing, and gaming. In the peaceful camp of the Third Alabama, in that state, the scenes were similar. There was always "a steady hum of laughter and talk, dance, song, shout, and the twang of musical instruments." It was "a scene full of life and fun, of jostling, scuffling, and racing, of clown performances and cake-walks, of impromptu minstrelsy, speech-making, and preaching, of deviling, guying, and fighting, both real and mimic." The colonel found great difficulty in getting men to work alone. Two would volunteer for any service. "Colonel," said a visitor to the camp, "your sentinels are sociable fellows. I saw No. 5 over at the end of his beat entertaining No. 6 with some fancy manual of arms. Afterwards, with equal amiability, No. 6 executed a most artistic cake-walk for his friend." It must be remembered here that this colonel's men were typical Southern negroes, literate and illiterate, and all new to military life.

In addition to the Forty-eighth and Forty-ninth Volunteers, the four regular colored regiments have served in the Philippines. Here the work was particularly trying and the temptations to misconduct many. The Filipino women were especially attractive to the men because of their color, and it is on record that several soldiers were tempted from their allegiance to the United States. Two of these, whose sympathy and liking for the Filipinos overcame their judgment, paid the full penalty of desertion, being hanged by their former comrades. Both belonged to the Ninth Cavalry. On the other hand, in a remarkable order issued by General A. S. Burt in relinquishing command of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, on April 17, 1902, on his promotion to brigadier-general, he was able to quote the Inspector-General of the army as saying: "The Twenty-fifth Infantry is the best regiment I have seen in the Philippines." General Burt praised highly the excellent conduct of the enlisted men while in the Archipelago, which proved to his mind that the American negroes are "as law-abiding as any race in the world."

Three of General Burt's sergeants, Russell, McBryar, and Hoffman, were promoted to the Forty-eighth and Forty-ninth Volunteers, and served, as lieutenants, for several months with their old regiment, the Twenty-fifth, until the arrival of their new regiments in Manila. During this time they were frequently under fire. General Burt bore high testimony to their soldierly bearing, their capacity and ability, and expressed great regret when he was forced to let them go. McBryar had won a medal of honor for gallantry against Indians in Arizona in 1890. In the Forty-ninth Volunteers, Company L, composed wholly of colored men, and commanded by Captain Edward L. Baker, a colored veteran of Santiago, who had served for seventeen years in the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry and in the Tenth "Immunes," made a wonderful record. According to a statement which was widely published at the time and never denied, this company had on its rolls during a period of twelve months one hundred and six men who were fit for duty at all times and never lost a day on account of sickness. No white company remotely approached this record. More extraordinary still is the fact that during this same period not one of these men ever went before a court-martial. This is surely a striking illustration of what can be done by colored officers. It is noticeable, too, that neither the officers nor the men of any colored regiment have figured in the charges and counter-charges arising out of the use of the water-torture, except one man who at the time of his offense was not with his regiment. The Forty-ninth Volunteers was a very unhappy regiment during its brief life, but its troubles were largely due to its white officers. One of these, a major, was dismissed for misconduct, and his place was filled by the senior captain, a colored man. Several other white officers and one colored captain got into serious trouble, the last being dismissed. The Forty-eighth was, on the contrary, a contented organization in which the colored officers were treated in a kindly and courteous manner by their white associates and superiors. The two regiments afford a striking illustration of Napoleon's saying, "There are no such things as poor regiments,—only poor colonels."

The negro regiment unquestionably calls for different treatment from that which would be accorded to white troops, just as the Indian troops of King Edward's army require different handling from that called for in the case of the King's Royal Rifles. Yet as fighting machines, the Indian soldiers may be the equals if not the superiors of the Englishmen. Major Robert L. Bullard, Twenty-eighth United States Infantry who commanded the colored Third Alabama Volunteers, already referred to, during the war with Spain, discusses in a remarkable paper published in the United Service Magazine for July, 1901, the differences between negro and white soldiers. They are so great, he says, as to require the military commander to treat the negro as a different species. He must fit his methods of instruction and discipline to the characteristics of the race. Major Bullard adds that "mistakes, injustices, and failures would result from his making the same rules and methods apply to the two races without regard to how far apart set by nature or separated by evolution." But Major Bullard would unquestionably concede that these differences in no way require a treatment of the negro soldier which implies that he is an inferior being and which ever impresses upon him his inferiority. Yet this seems to have been the case in the Forty-ninth United States Volunteers.

In the regular army, as well as in the volunteers, officers have frequently appealed with success to the negroes' pride of race, and have urged them on to greater efficiency and better behavior by reminding them that they have the honor of their people in their hands. To such appeals there is ever a prompt response. One of the most effective ways of disciplining an offender is by holding him up to the ridicule of his fellows. The desire of the colored soldiers to amuse and to be amused gives the officers an easy way of obtaining a hold upon them and their affections. The regimental rifle team, the baseball nine, the minstrel troupe, and the regimental band offer positions of importance for which the competition is much keener than in the white regiments. There is also a friendly rivalry between companies, which is much missed elsewhere in the service. The negroes are natural horsemen and riders. It is a pleasure to them to take care of their mounts, and a matter of pride to keep their animals in good condition. Personally they are clean and neat, and they take the greatest possible pride in their uniforms. In no white regiment is there a similar feeling. With the negroes the canteen question is of comparatively slight importance, not only because the men can be more easily amused within their barracks, but because their appetite for drink is by no means as strong as that of the white men. Their sociability is astonishing. They would rather sit up and tell stories and crack jokes than go to bed, no matter how hard the day has been.

The dark sides are, that the negro soldiers easily turn merited punishment into martyrdom, that their gambling propensities are almost beyond control, that their habit of carrying concealed weapons is incurable, and that there is danger of serious fighting when they fall out with one another. Frequent failure to act honorably toward a comrade in some trifling matter is apt to cause scuffling and fighting until the men are well disciplined. Women are another cause of quarrels, and are at all times a potent temptation to misconduct and neglect of duty. It is very difficult to impress upon the men the value of government property, and duty which requires memorizing of orders is always the most difficult to teach. For the study of guard duty manuals or of tactics they have no natural aptitude. The non-commissioned officers are of very great importance, and in the regulars they are looked up to and obeyed implicitly, much more so than is the case with white troops. It is necessary, however, for the officers to back up the sergeants and corporals very vigorously, even when they are slightly in the wrong. Then colored men are more easily "rattled" by poor officers than are their white comrades. There was a striking instance of this two or three years ago when a newly appointed and wholly untrained white officer lost his head at a post in Texas. His black subordinates, largely recruits, followed suit, and in carrying out his hysterical orders imperiled many lives in the neighboring town. Selections for service with colored troops should therefore be most carefully made. Major Bullard declares that the officer of negro troops "must not only be an officer and a gentleman, but he must be considerate, patient, laborious, self-sacrificing, a man of affairs, and he must have knowledge and wisdom in a great lot of things not really military."

If the position of a white officer is a difficult one, that of the colored officer is still more so. He has not the self-assumed superiority of the white man, naturally feels that he is on trial, and must worry himself incessantly about his relations to his white comrades of the shoulder straps. While the United States Navy has hitherto been closed to negroes who aspire to be officers, the army has pursued a wiser and more just policy. The contrast between the two services is really remarkable. On almost every war vessel white and black sailors sleep and live together in crowded quarters without protest or friction. But the negro naval officer is kept out of the service by hook or by crook for the avowed reason that the cramped quarters of the wardroom would make association with him intolerable. In the army, on the other hand, the experiment of mixed regiments has never been tried. A good colored soldier can nevertheless obtain a commission by going through West Point, or by rising from the ranks, or by being appointed directly from civil life.

Since the foundation of the Military Academy there have been eighteen colored boys appointed to West Point, of whom fifteen failed in their preliminary examinations, or were discharged after entering because of deficiency in studies. Three were graduated and commissioned as second lieutenants of cavalry, Henry Ossian Flipper, John Hanks Alexander, and Charles Young. Of these, Lieutenant Flipper was dismissed June 30, 1882, for "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman." The other two proved themselves excellent officers, notably Young, who is at this writing a captain, and a most efficient one, in the Ninth Cavalry, with which he recently served in the Philippines. Lieutenant Alexander died suddenly in 1894. In announcing his death in a regimental order his colonel spoke of him in terms of high praise, and did not use the customary stereotyped phrases of regret. His fellow white officers all had good words for him. There never was more striking testimony to the discipline and spirit of fairness at West Point than was afforded by the sight of Cadet Charles Young, who is of very dark complexion, commanding white cadets. Nothing else has impressed foreign visitors at West Point half so much.

An equally remarkable happening, and one which speaks even more for the democratic spirit in the army, was the commissioning in 1901 of Sergeant-Major Benjamin O. Davis, Ninth Cavalry, and of Corporal John E. Green, Twenty-fourth Infantry. Both these men were examined by boards of white officers, who might easily have excluded them because of color prejudice, in which case there would have been no appeal from their findings. Lieutenant Davis's former troop commander, a West Pointer, openly rejoiced at his success, and predicted that he would make an excellent officer. These are the first two colored men to rise from the ranks, but there will be many more if the same admirable spirit of fair play continues to rule in the army and is not altered by outside prejudice. It was thought that there would be a severe strain upon discipline when a colored officer rose to the rank of captain and to the command of white officers. But in Captain Young's case his white subordinates seem to have realized that it is the position and rank that they are compelled to salute and obey, and not the individual. This principle is at the bottom of all discipline. Only too frequently do subordinates throughout the army have to remind themselves of this when obeying men for whose social qualities and character they have neither regard nor respect. During the war with Spain Captain Young commanded a negro battalion from Ohio, which was pronounced the best drilled organization in the large army assembled at Camp Alger near Washington. In addition to these officers, Captain John R. Lynch, formerly a Congressman from Mississippi, and four colored chaplains represent their race on the commissioned rolls of the army. All of these men are doing well. One colored chaplain was dismissed for drunkenness in 1894. Beyond this their record is unblemished.

Despite the fairness shown in these appointments, there has been considerable very just criticism of the War Department for its failure to appoint to the regulars any of the colored officers who did well in the Forty-eighth and Forty-ninth Volunteers. Every colonel of volunteers was allowed to designate for examination for appointment to the regular army the best officers in his regiment. Hundreds of white officers were selected in this way, but not a single colored officer was given an examination,—not even Lieutenant McBryar, with his medal of honor, or Captain Baker. Similarly fault has been found with Secretary Root because no new colored regiments were established under the law of February 2, 1901, increasing the army by five regiments of infantry, five of cavalry, and a large number of companies of artillery. The excuse most often heard is that the negroes already have sufficient representation in comparison with the percentage of negroes to white persons within the borders of the United States. But the sterling characteristics of the colored soldiers, their loyalty to the service as shown by the statistics of desertion, and, above all, their splendid service in Cuba, should have entitled them to additional organizations. To say the least, the decision of the War Department smacks considerably of ingratitude. Nevertheless, the negro regiments have come to stay, both in the regulars and in the volunteers. The hostilities of the last five years have dispelled any doubt which may have existed upon this point.

BAXTER'S PROCRUSTES by Charles W. Chesnutt

Baxter's Procrustes is one of the publications of the Bodleian Club. The Bodleian Club is composed of gentlemen of culture, who are interested in books and book-collecting. It was named, very obviously, after the famous library of the same name, and not only became in our city a sort of shrine for local worshipers of fine bindings and rare editions, but was visited occasionally by pilgrims from afar. The Bodleian has entertained Mark Twain, Joseph Jefferson, and other literary and histrionic celebrities. It possesses quite a collection of personal mementos of distinguished authors, among them a paperweight which once belonged to Goethe, a lead pencil used by Emerson, an autograph letter of Matthew Arnold, and a chip from a tree felled by Mr. Gladstone. Its library contains a number of rare books, including a fine collection on chess, of which game several of the members are enthusiastic devotees.

The activities of the club are not, however, confined entirely to books. We have a very handsome clubhouse, and much taste and discrimination have been exercised in its adornment. There are many good paintings, including portraits of the various presidents of the club, which adorn the entrance hall. After books, perhaps the most distinctive feature of the club is our collection of pipes. In a large rack in the smoking-room—really a superfluity, since smoking is permitted all over the house—is as complete an assortment of pipes as perhaps exists in the civilized world. Indeed, it is an unwritten rule of the club that no one is eligible for membership who cannot produce a new variety of pipe, which is filed with his application for membership, and, if he passes, deposited with the club collection, he, however, retaining the title in himself. Once a year, upon the anniversary of the death of Sir Walter Raleigh, who it will be remembered, first introduced tobacco into England, the full membership of the club, as a rule, turns out. A large supply of the very best smoking mixture is laid in. At nine o'clock sharp each member takes his pipe from the rack, fills it with tobacco, and then the whole club, with the president at the head, all smoking furiously, march in solemn procession from room to room, upstairs and downstairs, making the tour of the clubhouse and returning to the smoking-room. The president then delivers an address, and each member is called upon to say something, either by way of a quotation or an original sentiment, in praise of the virtues of nicotine. This ceremony—facetiously known as "hitting the pipe"—being thus concluded, the membership pipes are carefully cleaned out and replaced in the club rack.

As I have said, however, the raison d'etre of the club, and the feature upon which its fame chiefly rests, is its collection of rare books, and of these by far the most interesting are its own publications. Even its catalogues are works of art, published in numbered editions, and sought by libraries and book-collectors. Early in its history it began the occasional publication of books which should meet the club standard,—books in which emphasis should be laid upon the qualities that make a book valuable in the eyes of collectors. Of these, age could not, of course, be imparted, but in the matter of fine and curious bindings, of hand-made linen papers, of uncut or deckle edges, of wide margins and limited editions, the club could control its own publications. The matter of contents was, it must be confessed, a less important consideration. At first it was felt by the publishing committee that nothing but the finest products of the human mind should be selected for enshrinement in the beautiful volumes which the club should issue. The length of the work was an important consideration,—long things were not compatible with wide margins and graceful slenderness. For instance, we brought out Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, an essay by Emerson, and another by Thoreau. Our Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was Heron-Allen's translation of the original MS in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, which, though less poetical than FitzGerald's, was not so common. Several years ago we began to publish the works of our own members. Bascom's Essay on Pipes was a very creditable performance. It was published in a limited edition of one hundred copies, and since it had not previously appeared elsewhere and was copyrighted by the club, it was sufficiently rare to be valuable for that reason. The second publication of local origin was Baxter's Procrustes.

I have omitted to say that once or twice a year, at a meeting of which notice has been given, an auction is held at the Bodleian. The members of the club send in their duplicate copies, or books they for any reason wish to dispose of, which are auctioned off to the highest bidder. At these sales, which are well attended, the club's publications have of recent years formed the leading feature. Three years ago, number three of Bascom's Essay on Pipes sold for fifteen dollars;—the original cost of publication was one dollar and seventy-five cents. Later in the evening an uncut copy of the same brought thirty dollars. At the next auction the price of the cut copy was run up to twenty-five dollars, while the uncut copy was knocked down at seventy-five dollars. The club had always appreciated the value of uncut copies, but this financial indorsement enhanced their desirability immensely. This rise in the Essay on Pipes was not without a sympathetic effect upon all the club publications. The Emerson essay rose from three dollars to seventeen, and the Thoreau, being by an author less widely read, and, by his own confession commercially unsuccessful, brought a somewhat higher figure. The prices, thus inflated, were not permitted to come down appreciably. Since every member of the club possessed one or more of these valuable editions, they were all manifestly interested in keeping up the price. The publication, however, which brought the highest prices, and, but for the sober second thought, might have wrecked the whole system, was Baxter's Procrustes.

Baxter was, perhaps, the most scholarly member of the club. A graduate of Harvard, he had traveled extensively, had read widely, and while not so enthusiastic a collector as some of us, possessed as fine a private library as any man of his age in the city. He was about thirty-five when he joined the club, and apparently some bitter experience—some disappointment in love or ambition—had left its mark upon his character. With light, curly hair, fair complexion, and gray eyes, one would have expected Baxter to be genial of temper, with a tendency toward wordiness of speech. But though he had occasional flashes of humor, his ordinary demeanor was characterized by a mild cynicism, which, with his gloomy pessimistic philosophy, so foreign to the temperament that should accompany his physical type, could only be accounted for upon the hypothesis of some secret sorrow such as I have suggested. What it might be no one knew. He had means and social position, and was an uncommonly handsome man. The fact that he remained unmarried at thirty-five furnished some support for the theory of a disappointment in love, though this the several intimates of Baxter who belonged to the club were not able to verify.

It had occurred to me, in a vague way, that perhaps Baxter might be an unsuccessful author. That he was a poet we knew very well, and typewritten copies of his verses had occasionally circulated among us. But Baxter had always expressed such a profound contempt for modern literature, had always spoken in terms of such unmeasured pity for the slaves of the pen, who were dependent upon the whim of an undiscriminating public for recognition and a livelihood, that no one of us had ever suspected him of aspirations toward publication, until, as I have said, it occurred to me one day that Baxter's attitude with regard to publication might be viewed in the light of effect as well as of cause—that his scorn of publicity might as easily arise from failure to achieve it, as his never having published might be due to his preconceived disdain of the vulgar popularity which one must share with the pugilist or balloonist of the hour.

The notion of publishing Baxter's Procrustes did not emanate from Baxter,—I must do him the justice to say this. But he had spoken to several of the fellows about the theme of his poem, until the notion that Baxter was at work upon something fine had become pretty well disseminated throughout our membership. He would occasionally read brief passages to a small coterie of friends in the sitting-room or library,—never more than ten lines at once, or to more than five people at a time,—and these excerpts gave at least a few of us a pretty fair idea of the motive and scope of the poem. As I, for one, gathered, it was quite along the line of Baxter's philosophy. Society was the Procrustes which, like the Greek bandit of old, caught every man born into the world, and endeavored to fit him to some preconceived standard, generally to the one for which he was least adapted. The world was full of men and women who were merely square pegs in round holes, and vice versa. Most marriages were unhappy because the contracting parties were not properly mated. Religion was mostly superstition, science for the most part sciolism, popular education merely a means of forcing the stupid and repressing the bright, so that all the youth of the rising generation might conform to the same dull, dead level of democratic mediocrity. Life would soon become so monotonously uniform and so uniformly monotonous as to be scarce worth the living.

It was Smith, I think, who first proposed that the club publish Baxter's Procrustes. The poet himself did not seem enthusiastic when the subject was broached; he demurred for some little time, protesting that the poem was not worthy of publication. But when it was proposed that the edition be limited to fifty copies he agreed to consider the proposition. When I suggested, having in mind my secret theory of Baxter's failure in authorship, that the edition would at least be in the hands of friends, that it would be difficult for a hostile critic to secure a copy, and that if it should not achieve success from a literary point of view, the extent of the failure would be limited to the size of the edition, Baxter was visibly impressed. When the literary committee at length decided to request formally of Baxter the privilege of publishing his Procrustes, he consented, with evident reluctance, upon condition that he should supervise the printing, binding, and delivery of the books, merely submitting to the committee, in advance, the manuscript, and taking their views in regard to the bookmaking.

The manuscript was duly presented to the literary committee. Baxter having expressed the desire that the poem be not read aloud at a meeting of the club, as was the custom, since he wished it to be given to the world clad in suitable garb, the committee went even farther. Having entire confidence in Baxter's taste and scholarship, they, with great delicacy, refrained from even reading the manuscript, contenting themselves with Baxter's statement of the general theme and the topics grouped under it. The details of the bookmaking, however, were gone into thoroughly. The paper was to be of hand-made linen, from the Kelmscott Mills; the type black-letter, with rubricated initials. The cover, which was Baxter's own selection, was to be of dark green morocco, with a cap-and-bells border in red inlays, and doublures of maroon morocco with a blind-tooled design. Baxter was authorized to contract with the printer and superintend the publication. The whole edition of fifty numbered copies was to be disposed of at auction, in advance, to the highest bidder, only one copy to each, the proceeds to be devoted to paying for the printing and binding, the remainder, if any, to go into the club treasury, and Baxter himself to receive one copy by way of remuneration. Baxter was inclined to protest at this, on the ground that his copy would probably be worth more than the royalties on the edition, at the usual ten per cent, would amount to, but was finally prevailed upon to accept an author's copy.

While the Procrustes was under consideration, some one read, at one of our meetings, a note from some magazine, which stated that a sealed copy of a new translation of Campanella's Sonnets, published by the Grolier Club, had been sold for three hundred dollars. This impressed the members greatly. It was a novel idea. A new work might thus be enshrined in a sort of holy of holies, which, if the collector so desired, could be forever sacred from the profanation of any vulgar or unappreciative eye. The possessor of such a treasure could enjoy it by the eye of imagination, having at the same time the exaltation of grasping what was for others the unattainable. The literary committee were so impressed with this idea that they presented it to Baxter in regard to the Procrustes. Baxter making no objection, the subscribers who might wish their copies delivered sealed were directed to notify the author. I sent in my name. A fine book, after all, was an investment, and if there was any way of enhancing its rarity, and therefore its value, I was quite willing to enjoy such an advantage.

When the Procrustes was ready for distribution, each subscriber received his copy by mail, in a neat pasteboard box. Each number was wrapped in a thin and transparent but very strong paper through which the cover design and tooling were clearly visible. The number of the copy was indorsed upon the wrapper, the folds of which were securely fastened at each end with sealing-wax, upon which was impressed, as a guaranty of its inviolateness, the monogram of the club.

At the next meeting of the Bodleian, a great deal was said about the Procrustes, and it was unanimously agreed that no finer specimen of bookmaking had ever been published by the club. By a curious coincidence, no one had brought his copy with him, and the two club copies had not yet been received from the binder, who, Baxter had reported was retaining them for some extra fine work. Upon resolution, offered by a member who had not subscribed for the volume, a committee of three was appointed to review the Procrustes at the next literary meeting of the club. Of this committee it was my doubtful fortune to constitute one.

In pursuance of my duty in the premises, it of course became necessary for me to read the Procrustes. In all probability I should have cut my own copy for this purpose, had not one of the club auctions intervened between my appointment and the date set for the discussion of the Procrustes. At this meeting a copy of the book, still sealed, was offered for sale, and bought by a non-subscriber for the unprecedented price of one hundred and fifty dollars. After this a proper regard for my own interests would not permit me to spoil my copy by opening it, and I was therefore compelled to procure my information concerning the poem from some other source. As I had no desire to appear mercenary, I said nothing about my own copy, and made no attempt to borrow. I did, however, casually remark to Baxter that I should like to look at his copy of the proof sheets, since I wished to make some extended quotations for my review, and would rather not trust my copy to a typist for that purpose. Baxter assured me, with every evidence of regret, that he had considered them of so little importance that he had thrown them into the fire. This indifference of Baxter to literary values struck me as just a little overdone. The proof sheets of Hamlet, corrected in Shakespeare's own hand, would be well-nigh priceless.

At the next meeting of the club I observed that Thompson and Davis, who were with me on the reviewing committee, very soon brought up the question of the Procrustes in conversation in the smoking-room, and seemed anxious to get from the members their views concerning Baxter's production, I supposed upon the theory that the appreciation of any book review would depend more or less upon the degree to which it reflected the opinion of those to whom the review should be presented. I presumed, of course, that Thompson and Davis had each read the book,—they were among the subscribers,—and I was desirous of getting their point of view.

"What do you think," I inquired, "of the passage on Social Systems?" I have forgotten to say that the poem was in blank verse, and divided into parts, each with an appropriate title.

"Well," replied Davis, it seemed to me a little cautiously, "it is not exactly Spencerian, although it squints at the Spencerian view, with a slight deflection toward Hegelianism. I should consider it an harmonious fusion of the best views of all the modern philosophers, with a strong Baxterian flavor."

"Yes," said Thompson, "the charm of the chapter lies in this very quality. The style is an emanation from Baxter's own intellect,—he has written himself into the poem. By knowing Baxter we are able to appreciate the book, and after having read the book we feel that we are so much the more intimately acquainted with Baxter,—the real Baxter."

Baxter had come in during this colloquy, and was standing by the fireplace smoking a pipe. I was not exactly sure whether the faint smile which marked his face was a token of pleasure or cynicism; it was Baxterian, however, and I had already learned that Baxter's opinions upon any subject were not to be gathered always from his facial expression. For instance, when the club porter's crippled child died Baxter remarked, it seemed to me unfeelingly, that the poor little devil was doubtless better off, and that the porter himself had certainly been relieved of a burden; and only a week later the porter told me in confidence that Baxter had paid for an expensive operation, undertaken in the hope of prolonging the child's life. I therefore drew no conclusions from Baxter's somewhat enigmatical smile. He left the room at this point in the conversation, somewhat to my relief.

"By the way, Jones," said Davis, addressing me, "are you impressed by Baxter's views on Degeneration?"

Having often heard Baxter express himself upon the general downward tendency of modern civilization, I felt safe in discussing his views in a broad and general manner.

"I think," I replied, "that they are in harmony with those of Schopenhauer, without his bitterness; with those of Nordau, without his flippancy. His materialism is Haeckel's, presented with something of the charm of Omar Khayyam."

"Yes," chimed in Davis, "it answers the strenuous demand of our day,—dissatisfaction with an unjustified optimism,—and voices for us the courage of human philosophy facing the unknown."

I had a vague recollection of having read something like this somewhere, but so much has been written, that one can scarcely discuss any subject of importance without unconsciously borrowing, now and then, the thoughts or the language of others. Quotation, like imitation, is a superior grade of flattery.

"The Procrustes," said Thompson, to whom the metrical review had been apportioned, "is couched in sonorous lines, of haunting melody and charm; and yet so closely inter-related as to be scarcely quotable with justice to the author. To be appreciated the poem should be read as a whole,—I shall say as much in my review. What shall you say of the letter-press?" he concluded, addressing me. I was supposed to discuss the technical excellence of the volume from the connoisseur's viewpoint.

"The setting," I replied judicially, "is worthy of the gem. The dark green cover, elaborately tooled, the old English lettering, the heavy linen paper, mark this as one of our very choicest publications. The letter-press is of course De Vinne's best,—there is nothing better on this side of the Atlantic. The text is a beautiful, slender stream, meandering gracefully through a wide meadow of margin."

For some reason I left the room for a minute. As I stepped into the hall, I almost ran into Baxter, who was standing near the door, facing a hunting print of a somewhat humorous character, hung upon the wall, and smiling with an immensely pleased expression.

"What a ridiculous scene!" he remarked. "Look at that fat old squire on that tall hunter! I'll wager dollars to doughnuts that he won't get over the first fence!"

It was a very good bluff, but did not deceive me. Under his mask of unconcern, Baxter was anxious to learn what we thought of his poem, and had stationed himself in the hall that he might overhear our discussion without embarrassing us by his presence. He had covered up his delight at our appreciation by this simulated interest in the hunting print.

When the night came for the review of the Procrustes there was a large attendance of members, and several visitors, among them a young English cousin of one of the members, on his first visit to the United States; some of us had met him at other clubs, and in society, and had found him a very jolly boy, with a youthful exuberance of spirits and a naive ignorance of things American that made his views refreshing and, at times, amusing.

The critical essays were well considered, if a trifle vague. Baxter received credit for poetic skill of a high order.

"Our brother Baxter," said Thompson, "should no longer bury his talent in a napkin. This gem, of course, belongs to the club, but the same brain from which issued this exquisite emanation can produce others to inspire and charm an appreciative world."

"The author's view of life," said Davis, "as expressed in these beautiful lines, will help us to fit our shoulders for the heavy burden of life, by bringing to our realization those profound truths of philosophy which find hope in despair and pleasure in pain. When he shall see fit to give to the wider world, in fuller form, the thoughts of which we have been vouchsafed this foretaste, let us hope that some little ray of his fame may rest upon the Bodleian, from which can never be taken away the proud privilege of saying that he was one of its members."

I then pointed out the beauties of the volume as a piece of bookmaking. I knew, from conversation with the publication committee, the style of type and rubrication, and could see the cover through the wrapper of my sealed copy. The dark green morocco, I said, in summing up, typified the author's serious view of life, as a thing to be endured as patiently as might be. The cap-and-bells border was significant of the shams by which the optimist sought to delude himself into the view that life was a desirable thing. The intricate blind-tooling of the doublure shadowed forth the blind fate which left us in ignorance of our future and our past, or of even what the day itself might bring forth. The black-letter type, with rubricated initials, signified a philosophic pessimism enlightened by the conviction that in duty one might find, after all, an excuse for life and a hope for humanity. Applying this test to the club, this work, which might be said to represent all that the Bodleian stood for, was in itself sufficient to justify the club's existence. If the Bodleian had done nothing else, if it should do nothing more, it had produced a masterpiece.

There was a sealed copy of the Procrustes, belonging, I believe, to one of the committee, lying on the table by which I stood, and I had picked it up and held it in my hand for a moment, to emphasize one of my periods, but had laid it down immediately. I noted, as I sat down, that young Hunkin, our English visitor, who sat on the other side of the table, had picked up the volume and was examining it with interest. When the last review was read, and the generous applause had subsided, there were cries for Baxter.

"Baxter! Baxter! Author! Author!"

Baxter had been sitting over in a corner during the reading of the reviews, and had succeeded remarkably well, it seemed to me, in concealing, under his mask of cynical indifference, the exultation which I was sure he must feel. But this outburst of enthusiasm was too much even for Baxter, and it was clear that he was struggling with strong emotion when he rose to speak.

"Gentlemen, and fellow members of the Bodleian, it gives me unaffected pleasure—sincere pleasure—some day you may know how much pleasure—I cannot trust myself to say it now—to see the evident care with which your committee have read my poor verses, and the responsive sympathy with which my friends have entered into my views of life and conduct. I thank you again, and again, and when I say that I am too full for utterance,—I'm sure you will excuse me from saying any more."

Baxter took his seat, and the applause had begun again when it was broken by a sudden exclamation.

"By Jove!" exclaimed our English visitor, who still sat behind the table, "what an extraordinary book!"

Every one gathered around him.

"You see," he exclaimed; holding up the volume, "you fellows said so much about the bally book that I wanted to see what it was like; so I untied the ribbon, and cut the leaves with the paper knife lying here, and found—and found that there wasn't a single line in it, don't you know!"

Blank consternation followed this announcement, which proved only too true. Every one knew instinctively, without further investigation, that the club had been badly sold. In the resulting confusion Baxter escaped, but later was waited upon by a committee, to whom he made the rather lame excuse that he had always regarded uncut and sealed books as tommy-rot, and that he had merely been curious to see how far the thing could go; and that the result had justified his belief that a book with nothing in it was just as useful to a book-collector as one embodying a work of genius. He offered to pay all the bills for the sham Procrustes, or to replace the blank copies with the real thing, as we might choose. Of course, after such an insult, the club did not care for the poem. He was permitted to pay the expense, however, and it was more than hinted to him that his resignation from the club would be favorably acted upon. He never sent it in, and, as he went to Europe shortly afterwards, the affair had time to blow over.

In our first disgust at Baxter's duplicity, most of us cut our copies of the Procrustes, some of us mailed them to Baxter with cutting notes, and others threw them into the fire. A few wiser spirits held on to theirs, and this fact leaking out, it began to dawn upon the minds of the real collectors among us that the volume was something unique in the way of a publication.

"Baxter," said our president one evening to a select few of us who sat around the fireplace, "was wiser than we knew, or than he perhaps appreciated. His Procrustes, from the collector's point of view, is entirely logical, and might be considered as the acme of bookmaking. To the true collector, a book is a work of art, of which the contents are no more important than the words of an opera. Fine binding is a desideratum, and, for its cost, that of the Procrustes could not be improved upon. The paper is above criticism. The true collector loves wide margins, and the Procrustes, being all margin, merely touches the vanishing point of the perspective. The smaller the edition, the greater the collector's eagerness to acquire a copy. There are but six uncut copies left, I am told, of the Procrustes, and three sealed copies, of one of which I am the fortunate possessor."

After this deliverance, it is not surprising that, at our next auction, a sealed copy of Baxter's Procrustes was knocked down, after spirited bidding, for two hundred and fifty dollars, the highest price ever brought by a single volume published by the club.


"And, instead of going to the Congress of the United States and saying there is no distinction made in Mississippi, because of color or previous condition of servitude, tell the truth, and say this: 'We tried for many years to live in Mississippi, and share sovereignty and dominion with the Negro, and we saw our institutions crumbling.... We rose in the majesty and highest type of Anglo-Saxon manhood, and took the reins of government out of the hands of the carpet-bagger and the Negro, and, so help us God, from now on we will never share any sovereignty or dominion with him again.'"—Governor JAMES K. VARDAMAN, Mississippi, 1904.

During the past decade, newspaper and magazine articles galore, and not a few books, have been written on what is called the "Race Problem," the problem caused by the presence in this country of some ten millions of black and variously-shaded colored people known as Negroes. But, strange as it may sound, the writer has no hesitation in saying that at this date there appears to be no clear conception anywhere, on the part of most people, as to just what the essential problem is which confronts the white inhabitants of the country because they have for fellow-citizens (nominally) ten million Negroes. Ask the average man, ask even the average editor or professor anywhere, what the race problem is, the heart of it; why, in this land with its millions of foreigners of all nationalities, THE race problem of problems should be caused by ten million Negroes, not foreigners but native to the soil through several generations; and in all probability you will get some such answer as this:—

"The Negroes, as a rule, are very ignorant, are very lazy, are very brutal, are very criminal. But a little way removed from savagery, they are incapable of adopting the white man's moral code, of assimilating the white man's moral sentiments, of striving toward the white man's moral ideals. They are creatures of brutal, untamed instincts, and uncontrolled feral passions, which give frequent expression of themselves in crimes of horrible ferocity. They are, in brief, an uncivilized, semi-savage people, living in a civilization to which they are unequal, partaking to a limited degree of its benefits, performing in no degree its duties. Because they are spatially in a civilization to which they are morally and intellectually repugnant, they cannot but be as a foreign irritant to the body social. The problem is, How shall the body social adjust itself, daily, hourly, to this irritant; how feel at ease and safe in spite of it? How shall the white inhabitants of the land, with their centuries of inherited superiority, conserve their civilization and carry it forward to a yet higher plane, hampered by ten million black inhabitants of the same land with their centuries of inherited inferiority?"

To the foregoing answer, this might now and again be added, or advanced independently in reply to our question: "Personal aversion on the part of the white person for the Negro; personal aversion accounted for by nothing the individual Negro is, or is not, intellectually and morally; accounted for by the fact, simply, that he is a Negro, that he has a black or colored skin, that he is different, of another kind."

Now, certainly, there are very few average men or philosophers, to whom the answer given to our question would not seem to state, or at any rate fairly indicate, the race problem in its essence. But, however few they be, I do not hesitate to align myself with them as one who does not believe that the essential race problem as it exists in the South (whatever it be in the North) is stated, or even fairly indicated, in the foregoing answer. In Northern and Western communities, where he is outnumbered by many thousands of white people, the Negro may be accounted a problem, because he is lazy, or ignorant, or brutal, or criminal, or all these things together; or because he is black and different. But in Southern communities, where the Negro is not outnumbered by many thousands of white people, the race problem, essentially, and in its most acute form, is something distinct from his laziness or ignorance, or brutality, or criminality, or all-round intellectual and moral inferiority to the white man. That problem as the South knows and deals with it would exist, as certainly as it does to-day, if there were no shadow of excuse for the conviction that the Negro is more lazy, or more ignorant, or more criminal, or more brutal, or more anything else he ought not to be, or less anything else he ought to be, than other men. In other words, let it be supposed that the average Negro is as a matter of fact the equal, morally and intellectually, of the average white man of the same class, and the race problem declines to vanish, declines to budge. We shall see why, presently. The statements just made demand immediate justification. For they are doubtless surprising to a degree, and to some readers may prove startling.

I proceed to justify them as briefly as possible, asking the reader to bear in mind that very much more might be said along this line than I allow myself space to say.


That the Negro is not a problem because he is lazy, because he declines to work, is evidenced by the patent fact that in virtually every Southern community he is sought as a laborer in fields, mills, mines, and that in very many Southern communities the vexing problem for employers is not too many, but too few Negroes. In certain agricultural sections, notably in the Louisiana sugar district, quite a number of Italians ("Dagoes") are employed. The reason is not dissatisfaction with Negro labor, but simply that there is not enough of it to meet the requirements of the large plantations. There is, perhaps, not one of these plantations on which any able-bodied Negro could not get employment for the asking; and as a rule, the Negroes are given, not the work which demands the lowest, but that which demands the highest, efficiency: they are the ploughmen, the teamsters, the foremen. If any one doubts that Negroes are wanted as laborers in Southern communities, very much wanted, let him go to any such community and attempt to inveigle a few dozen of the laziest away. He will be likely to take his life in his hands, after the usual warning is disregarded!


The small politician's trump-card, played early and late, and in all seasons, that the Negro is a black shadow over the Southland because of his excessive criminality, serves well the politician's purpose,—it wins his game; but only because the game is played and won on a board where fictions, not facts, are dominant. Nothing is easier than to offer so-called proofs of the contention that the Negro's tendency to crime is something peculiar to his race; there are the jail and penitentiary and gallows statistics, for instance. But surely it should not be difficult for these so-called proofs to present themselves in their true light to any one who takes the trouble to consider two weighty and conspicuous facts: this, first, that the Negroes occupy everywhere in this country the lowest social and industrial plane, the plane which everywhere else supplies the jail, the penitentiary, the gallows, with the greatest number of their victims; and secondly this, that in the section of the country where these penal statistics are gathered, all the machinery of justice is in the hands of white men.

No Negro is a sheriff, or judge, or justice of the peace, or grand or petit juryman, or member of a pardoning board. Charged with crime, again and again, the black man must go to jail; he is unable to give bond; he is defended, not by the ablest, but by the poorest lawyers, often by an unwilling appointee of the court; he lacks the benefit of that personal appeal to judge and jury, so often enjoyed by other defendants, which would make them WANT to believe him innocent until proven guilty; he faces, on the contrary, a judge and jury who hold him in some measure of contempt as a man, regardless of his guilt or innocence. He is without means, except occasionally, to fight his case through appeals to higher courts, and errors sleep in many a record that on review would upset the verdict. In the light of such considerations, it would seem impossible that criminal statistics should not bear hard upon the Negro race, even supposing it to be a fact that that race of all races in the world is the LEAST criminal.

Let it be admitted without question that in most Southern communities the crimes and misdemeanors of the Negroes exceed those committed by an equal number of white people, and we have admitted nothing that at all explains or accounts for the race problem. For is it not equally true that in every other community the doers of society's rough work, the recipients of its meagrest rewards, are chargeable, relatively, with the greatest number of crimes and misdemeanors? Is it not true, as well in Massachusetts and Connecticut as in Louisiana and Mississippi, that the vast majority of those occupying prison cells are members of the social lowest class? that the vast majority condemned, after trial, to hard labor with their hands were accustomed to such labor before their judicial condemnation? Nothing is more preposterous than the idea that the race problem means more Negroes hanged, more Negroes imprisoned, more Negroes in mines and chain-gangs, than white people! If the Negro did not furnish the great bulk of the grist for the grinding of our penal machinery in the Southern states, he would constitute the racial miracle of this and all ages!

My own conviction is, and I speak with the experience of forty years' residence in Southern states, that the Negro is not more given to crimes and misdemeanors than the laboring population of any other section of the country. But be this as it may, it is abundantly certain that no race of people anywhere are more easily controlled than the Negroes by the guardians of law and order; and there are none anywhere so easily punished for disobedience to the statutes and mandates of their economic superiors. Courts and juries may be sometimes subject to just criticism for undue leniency toward white defendants; but that courts and juries are ever subject to just criticism for undue leniency in dealing with black defendants is the sheerest nonsense.

The frequent charge that the Negro's worst crimes partake of a brutality that is peculiarly racial, is not supported by facts. I need not enlarge upon this statement further than to say that the Negro's worst crimes, with all their shocking accompaniments, are, not seldom, but often, duplicated by white men. Let any one who doubts the statement observe for one week the criminal statistics of any cosmopolitan newspaper, and he will have his doubt removed.

Assuredly we do not hit upon the essence of the race problem in the Negro's propensity to crime!


Do we hit upon it in his ignorance, in the fact that an immense number of the black people are illiterate, not knowing the first from the last letter of the alphabet? Hardly. For, almost to a man, the people who most parade and most rail at the race problem in private conversation, on the political platform, and in the pages of newspapers, books, and periodicals, are disposed rather to lament, than to assist, the passing of the Negro's ignorance. Ex-Governor Vardaman, of Mississippi, used the following language in a message to the legislature of that state, January, 1906:—

"The startling facts revealed by the census show that those [Negroes] who can read and write are more criminal than the illiterate, which is true of no other element of our population.. .. The state for many years, at great expense to the tax-payers, has maintained a system of Negro education which has produced disappointing results, and I am opposed to the perpetuation of this system. My own idea is, that the character of education for the Negro ought to be changed. If, after forty years of earnest effort, and the expenditure of fabulous sums to educate his head, we have only succeeded in making a criminal of him and impairing his usefulness and efficiency as a laborer, wisdom would suggest that we make another experiment and see if we cannot improve him by educating his hand and his heart.... Slavery is the only process by which he has ever been partially civilized. God Almighty created the Negro for a menial, he is essentially a servant."

This is the reply of an ex-governor of one of our blackest states to those who contend that the negro is a problem, a "burden carried by the white people of the South," because of his ignorance and consequent inefficiency; and that the lightening of the burden depends upon more money spent, more earnest efforts made, for the schooling of the black people. According to this ex-governor, and there are thousands who agree with him in and out of Mississippi, the race problem is heightened, rather than mitigated, by all attempts to increase the negro's intellectual efficiency. The more ignorant he is, the less burdensome he is to the white man, provided his heart be good, and his hands skillful enough to do the service of a menial. Nothing but slavery ever partially civilized him, nothing but slavery continued in some form can civilize him further!


If we listen vainly for the heart-throb of the race problem in the Negro's laziness, and criminality, and brutality, and ignorance, and inefficiency, do we detect it with clearness and certainty in the personal aversion felt by the white people for the black people, aversion which the white people can no more help feeling than the black people can help exciting? Is this the real trouble, the real burden, the real tragedy and sorrow of our white population in those sections of the country where the Negroes are many,—that they are compelled to dwell face to face, day by day, with an inferior, degraded population, repulsive to their finer sensibilities, obnoxious to them in countless ways inexplicable? Facts are far from furnishing an affirmative answer. However pronounced may be the feeling of personal aversion toward the Negroes in Northern communities, where they are few, or known at long range, or casually, there is no such thing in Southern communities as personal aversion for the Negro pronounced enough to be responsible for anything resembling a problem. How could there be in the South, where from infancy we have all been as familiar with black faces as with white; where many of us fell asleep in the laps of black mammies, and had for playmates Ephrom, Izik, Zeke, black mammy's grandchildren; where most of us have had our meals prepared by black cooks, and been waited on by black house-servants and dining-room servants, and ridden in carriages and buggies with black hostlers? We are so used to the black people in the South, their mere personal presence is so far from being responsible for our race problem, that the South would not seem Southern without them, as it would not without its crape myrtles, and live-oaks, and magnolias, its cotton and its sugar-cane!

It is very easy to go astray in regard to the matter of personal aversion toward the members of alien races, to magnify greatly the reality and importance of it. What seems race-aversion is frequently something else, namely, revulsion aroused by the presence of the strange, the unusual, the uncanny, the not-understood. Such revulsion is aroused, not only by the members of alien races, alien and unfamiliar, but as certainly by strange animals of not more terrifying appearance than the well-loved cow and horse; and it would be aroused as really and as painfully, doubtless, by the sudden proximity of one of Milton's archangels. It was not necessarily race-aversion which made Emerson, and may have made many another Concord philosopher, uncomfortable in the presence of a Negro, any more than it is race-aversion which makes the Fifth Avenue boy run from the gentle farmyard cow; any more than it is race-aversion which would make me uncomfortable in the presence of Li Hung Chang. The Negro, simply, it may be, was a mystery to Emerson, as the farmyard cow is a mystery to the Fifth Avenue boy, as the Chinaman is a mystery to me.

The Negro is NOT a mystery to people whom he has nursed and waited on, whose language he has spoken, whose ways, good and bad, he has copied for generations; and his personal presence does not render them uncomfortable, not, at any rate, uncomfortable enough to beget the sense of a burden or a problem.

It may be very difficult for Northern readers, to whom the Negro is in reality a stranger, a foreigner, to appreciate fully the force of what has just been said; but appreciated by them it must be, or they can never hope to realize the innermost meaning of the race problem in the South.

So much for what the race problem is not. Let me without further delay state what it is. The foundation of it, true or false, is the white man's conviction that the Negro as a race, and as an individual, is his inferior: not human in the sense that he is human, not entitled to the exercise of human rights in the sense that he is entitled to the exercise of them. The problem itself, the essence of it, the heart of it, is the white man's determination to make good this conviction, coupled with constant anxiety lest, by some means, he should fail to make it good. The race problem, in other words, is NOT that the Negro is what he is in relation to the white man, the white man's inferior; but this, rather: How to keep him what he is in relation to the white man; how to prevent his ever achieving or becoming that which would justify the belief on his part, or on the part of other people, that he and the white man stand on common human ground.

That such is the heart of the problem should be made evident by this general consideration alone: namely, that everywhere in the South friction between the races is entirely absent so long as the Negro justifies the white man's opinion of him as an inferior; is grateful for privileges and lays no claim to RIGHTS. Let him seem content to be as the South insists he shall be, and not only is he not harshly treated, not abused, and never boycotted, but he is shown much kindness and generosity, and employment awaits him for the asking. Trouble brews when he begins to manifest those qualities, to reveal those tastes, to give vent to those ambitions, which are supposed to be characteristic exclusively of the higher human type, and which, unless restrained, would result in confounding the lower with the higher. The expression "Good Nigger" means everywhere in the South a real Negro, from the Southern standpoint, one who in no respect gets out of focus with that standpoint; the expression "Bad Nigger" means universally one who in some respect, not necessarily criminal, does get out of focus with it. So, stated differently, the race problem is the problem how to keep the Negro in focus with the traditional standpoint.

But we are very far from needing to rely upon any general consideration in support of the proposition advanced above. It is supported by evidences on every hand, waiting only the eye of recognition. Scarcely a day passes but something is said or done with this end in view, to emphasize, lest they forget, the conviction for both white man and Negro that the latter is and must remain an inferior. Let me instance a few such evidences.

Consider, first, the "Jim Crow" legislation in the manner of its enforcement. Such legislation is supposed to have for its object the separation of the races in trains, street-cars, etc., to save the white people from occasional contact with drunken, rowdy, ill-smelling Negroes, and to prevent personal encounters between the whites and blacks. How is this object attained in the street cars of Southern cities? Members of the different races occupy the same cars, separated only by absurdly inadequate little open-mesh wire screens, so tiny and light that a conductor can move them from one seat to another with the strength of his little finger. Needless to add, these screens would serve to obscure neither sound, sight, nor smell of drunken rowdies who sat behind them! In summer cars black and white passengers may be separated not even by a make-believe screen; they are simply required, respectively, to occupy certain seats in the front or the back end of the cars.

In Birmingham, Alabama, the front seats are assigned to Negroes in all closed cars, and the back seats in all open ones. Why the front seats in the one case, and the back seats in the other, it is not easy to understand in the light of the letter and alleged spirit of the Jim Crow law! The underlying purpose of the law is clearly not the separation of the races in space; for public sentiment does not insist upon its fulfillment to that end. The underlying purpose of it would seem to be the separation of the races in status. The doctrine of inequality would be attacked if white and black passengers rode in public conveyances on equal terms; therefore the Negro who rides in a public conveyance must do so, not as of undoubted right, but as with the white man's permission, subject to the white man's regulation. "This place you may occupy, that other you may not, because I am I and you are you, lest to you or me it should be obscured that I am I and you are you." Such is the real spirit of the Jim Crow laws.

Why is it that in every Southern city no Negro is allowed to witness a dramatic performance, or a baseball game, from a first-class seat? In every large city, there are hundreds of Negroes who would gladly pay for first-class seats at the theatre and the baseball game, were they permitted to. It can hardly be that permission is withheld because theatres and baseball games are so well attended by half the population that first-class seats could not be furnished for the other half. As a matter of fact, theatre-auditoriums and baseball grand-stands are seldom crowded; the rule is, not all first-class seats occupied, but many vacant. Surely as simple as moving from seat to seat a make-shift screen in a street-car, would it be to set apart a certain number of seats in the dress-circle of every theatre, and in the grand-stand of every baseball park, for Negro patrons. The reason why this is not done is perfectly obvious: it would be intolerable to the average Southern man or woman to sit through the hours of a theatrical performance or a baseball game on terms of equal accommodation with Negroes, even with a screen between. Negroes would look out of place, out of status, in the dress circle or the grand-stand; their place, signifying their status, is the peanut-gallery, or the bleachers. There, neither they nor others will be tempted to forget that as things are they must continue.

How shall we account for the "intense feeling" (to quote the language of the mayor or New Orleans) occasioned in that city one day, last July, when it was flashed over the wires that the first prize in the National Spelling Contest had been won by a Negro girl, in competition with white children from New Orleans and other Southern cities? The indignation of at least one of the leading New Orleans papers verged upon hysterics; the editor's rhetoric visited upon some foulest crime could hardly have been more inflamed than in denunciation of the fact that, on the far-away shore of Lake Erie, New Orleans white children had competed at a spelling bee with a Negro girl. The superintendent of the New Orleans schools was roundly denounced in many quarters for permitting his wards to compete with a Negro; and there were broad hints in "Letters from the People" to the papers that his resignation was in order.

Certainly in the days following the National Spelling Contest the race problem was in evidence, if it ever was, in New Orleans and the South! Did it show itself, then, as the problem of Negro crime, or brutality, or laziness? Assuredly not! Of the Negro's personal repulsiveness? By no means! There was no evidence of Negro criminality, or brutality, or laziness in the Negro child's victory; and every day in the South, in their games and otherwise, hundreds of white children of the best families are in closer personal contact with little Negroes than were the white children who took part in the Cleveland spelling bee. The "intense feeling" can be explained on one ground only: the Negro girl's victory was an affront to the tradition of the Negro's inferiority; it suggested—perhaps indicated—that, given equal opportunities, all Negroes are not necessarily the intellectual inferiors of all white people. What other explanation is rationally conceivable? If the race problem means in the South to its white inhabitants the burden and tragedy of having to dwell face to face with an intellectually and morally backward people, why should not the Negro girl's triumph have occasioned intense feeling of pleasure, rather than displeasure, by its suggestion that her race is not intellectually hopeless?

Consider further that while no Negro, no matter what his occupation, or personal refinement, or intellectual culture, or moral character, is allowed to travel in a Pullman car between state lines, or to enter as a guest a hotel patronized by white people, the blackest of Negro nurses and valets are given food and shelter in all first-class hotels, and occasion neither disgust, nor surprise in the Pullman cars. Here again the heart of the race problem is laid bare. The black nurse with a white baby in her arms, the black valet looking after the comfort of a white invalid, have the label of their inferiority conspicuously upon them; they understand themselves, and everybody understands them, to be servants, enjoying certain privileges for the sake of the person served. Almost anything, the Negro may do in the South, and anywhere he may go, provided the manner of his doing and his doing is that of an inferior. Such is the premium put upon his inferiority; such his inducement to maintain it.

The point here insisted on may be made clearer, if already it is not clear enough, by this consideration, that the man who would lose social caste for dining with an Irish street-sweeper might be congratulated for dining with an Irish educator; but President Roosevelt would scarcely have given greater offense by entertaining a Negro laborer at the White House than he gave by inviting to lunch there the Principal of Tuskegee Institute. The race problem being what it is, the status of any Negro is logically the status of every other. There are recognizable degrees of inferiority among Negroes themselves; some are vastly superior to others. But there is only one degree of inferiority separating the Negro from the white person, attached to all Negroes alike. The logic of the situation requires that to be any sort of black man is to be inferior to any sort of white man; and from this logic there is no departure in the South.

Inconsistent, perhaps, with what has been said may seem the defeat in the Louisiana Legislature (1908) of the anti-miscegenation bill, a measure designed to prohibit sexual cohabitation between white persons and Negroes; to be specific, between white men and Negro women. But there was no inconsistency whatever in the defeat of that bill. In all times and places, the status of that portion of the female population, Lecky's martyred "priestesses of humanity," whose existence men have demanded for the gratification of unlawful passion, has been that of social outcasts. They have no rights that they can insist upon; they are simply privileged to exist by society's permission, and may be any moment legislated out of their vocation. Hence the defeat of an anti-miscegenation measure by Southern legislators cannot be construed as a failure on their part to live up to their conviction of race-superiority. It must be construed, rather, as legislative unwillingness to restrict the white man's liberty; to dictate by statute the kind of social outcast which he may use as a mere means to the gratification of his passion. To concede to Negro women the status of a degraded and proscribed class, is not in any sense to overlook or obscure their racial inferiority, but on the contrary, it may be, to emphasize it. Precisely the same principle, in a word, compasses the defeat of an anti-miscegenation bill which would compass the defeat of a measure to prohibit Negro servants from occupying seats in Pullman cars.

At the risk of reiteration, I must in concluding this article take sharp issue with the view of a recent very able writer, who asks the question, "What, essentially, is the Race Problem?" and answers it thus: "The race problem is the problem of living with human beings who are not like us, whether they are in our estimation our 'superiors' or inferiors, whether they have kinky hair or pigtails, whether they are slant-eyed, hook-nosed, or thick-lipped. In its essence, it is the same problem, magnified, which besets every neighborhood, even every family."

I have contended so far, and I here repeat, that the race problem is essentially NOT what this writer declares it to be. It is emphatically not, in the South, "the problem of living with human beings who are not like us, whether they are in our estimation our superiors or inferiors." It may be, it probably is, that in the North, where the Negro is largely a stranger, a foreigner, very much to the same degree that the Chinese are strangers and foreigners in the South; and where, consequently, the Negro's personal repulsiveness is a much more significant force than it is in the South. Assuredly there would be no race problem, anywhere, were there no contact with others unlike ourselves! The unlikeness of the unlike is everywhere its indispensable foundation. But we get nowhither unless we carefully distinguish between the foundation of the problem and the problem itself. There is nothing in the unlikeness of the unlike that is necessarily problematical; it may be simply accepted and dealt with as a fact, like any other fact. The problem arises only when the people of one race are minded to adopt and act upon some policy more or less oppressive or repressive in dealing with the people of another race. In the absence of some such policy, there has never been a race problem since the world began. It is the existence of such a policy become traditional, and supported by immovable conviction, which constitutes the race problem of the Southern states.

There was an immensely tragic race problem distressing the South fifty years ago; but who will suggest that it was the problem of "living with human beings who are not like us?" The problem then was, clearly, how to make good a certain conviction concerning the unlike, how to maintain a certain policy in dealing with them. What else is it today? The problem, How to maintain the institution of chattel slavery, ceased to be at Appomattox; the problem, How to maintain the social, industrial, and civic inferiority of the descendants of chattel slaves, succeeded it, and is the race problem of the South at the present time. There is no other.

Whether the policy adopted by the white South, and supported, as I have said, by immovable conviction, is expedient or inexpedient, wise or unwise, righteous or unrighteous, these are questions which I have not sought to answer one way or another in this article. Perhaps they cannot be answered at all in our time. Certain is it, that their only real and satisfactory answer will be many years ahead of the present generation.

In the mean time, nothing could be more unwarranted, than to suppose that the race problem of one section of this country is peculiar to that section, because its white inhabitants are themselves in some sense peculiar; because they are peculiarly prejudiced, because they are peculiarly behind the hour which the high clock of civilization has struck. Remove the white inhabitants of the South, give their place to the white people of any other section of the United States, and, beyond a peradventure, the Southern race problem, as I have defined it, would continue to be—revealed, perhaps, in ways more perplexing, more intense and tragic.


In this paper I endeavor to lay down the fundamental principles which should govern the Negro franchise in a democracy, and to outline a practical programme for the immediate treatment of the problem.

As I see it, the question of Negro suffrage in the United States presents two distinct aspects:—

FIRST: the legal aspect.

SECOND: the practical aspect.

It will be admitted, I think, without argument, that all governments do and of a necessity must exercise the right to limit the number of people who are permitted to take part in the weighty responsibilities of the suffrage. Some governments allow only a few men to vote; in an absolute monarchy there is only one voter; other governments, as they become more democratic, permit a larger proportion of the people to vote.

Our own government is one of the freest in the world in the matter of suffrage; and yet we bar out, in most states, all women; we bar out Mongolians, no matter how intelligent; we bar out Indians, and all foreigners who have not passed through a certain probationary stage and have not acquired a certain small amount of education. We also declare—for an arbitrary limit must be placed somewhere—that no person under twenty-one years of age may exercise the right to vote, although some boys of eighteen are to-day better equipped to pass intelligently upon public questions than many grown men. We even place adult white men on probation until they have resided for a certain length of time, often as much as two years, in the state or the town where they wish to cast their ballots. Our registration and ballot laws eliminate hundreds of thousands of voters; and finally, we bar out everywhere the defective and criminal classes of our population. We do not realize, sometimes, I think, how limited the franchise really is, even in America. We forget that out of nearly ninety million people in the United States, fewer than fifteen million cast their votes for President in 1908—or about one in every six.

Thus the practice of a restricted suffrage is very deeply implanted in our system of government. It is everywhere recognized that even in a democracy lines must be drawn, and that the ballot, the precious instrument of government, must be hedged about with stringent regulations. The question is, where shall these lines be drawn in order that the best interests, not of any particular class, but of the whole nation, shall be served.

Upon this question, we, as free citizens, have the absolute right to agree or disagree with the present laws regulating suffrage; and if we want more people brought in as partakers in government, or some people who are already in, barred out, we have a right to organize, to agitate, to do our best to change the laws. Powerful organizations of women are now agitating for the right to vote; there is an organization which demands the suffrage for Chinese and Japanese who wish to become citizens. It is even conceivable that a society might be founded to lower the suffrage age-limit from twenty-one to nineteen years, thereby endowing a large number of young men with the privileges, and therefore the educational responsibilities, of political power. On the other hand, a large number of people, chiefly in our Southern States, earnestly believe that the right of the Negro to vote should be curtailed, or even abolished.

Thus we disagree, and government is the resultant of all these diverse views and forces. No one can say dogmatically how far democracy should go in distributing the enormously important powers of active government. Democracy is not a dogma; it is not even a dogma of free suffrage. Democracy is a life, a spirit, a growth. The primal necessity of any sort of government, democracy or otherwise, whether it be more unjust or less unjust toward special groups of its citizens, is to exist, to be a going concern, to maintain upon the whole a stable and peaceful administration of affairs. If a democracy cannot provide such stability, then the people go back to some form of oligarchy. Having secured a fair measure of stability, a democracy proceeds with caution toward the extension of the suffrage to more and more people—trying foreigners, trying women, trying Negroes.

And no one can prophesy how far a democracy will ultimately go in the matter of suffrage. We know only the tendency. We know that in the beginning, even in America, the right to vote was a very limited matter. In the early years, in New England, only church-members voted; then the franchise was extended to include property-owners; then it was enlarged to include all white adults; then to include Negroes; then, in several Western States, to include women.

Thus the line has been constantly advancing, but with many fluctuations, eddies, and back-currents—like any other stream of progress. At the present time the fundamental principles which underlie popular government, and especially the whole matter of popular suffrage, are much in the public mind. The tendency of government throughout the entire civilized world is strongly in the direction of placing more and more power in the hands of the people. In our own country we are enacting a remarkable group of laws providing for direct primaries in the nomination of public officials, for direct election of United States Senators, and for direct legislation by means of the initiative and referendum; and we are even going to the point, in many cities, of permitting the people to recall an elected official who is unsatisfactory. The principle of local option, which is nothing but that of direct government by the people, is being everywhere accepted. All these changes affect, fundamentally, the historic structure of our government, making it less republican and more democratic.

Still more important and far-reaching in its significance is the tendency of our government, especially our Federal Government, to regulate or to appropriate great groups of business enterprises formerly left wholly in private hands. More and more, private business is becoming public business.

Now, then, as the weight of responsibility upon the popular vote is increased, it becomes more and more important that the ballot should be jealously guarded and honestly exercised. In the last few years, therefore, a series of extraordinary new precautions have been adopted: the Australian ballot, more stringent registration systems, the stricter enforcement of naturalization laws to prevent the voting of crowds of unprepared foreigners, and the imposition by several states, rightly or wrongly, of educational and property tests. It becomes a more and more serious matter every year to be an American citizen, more of an honor, more of a duty.

At the close of the Civil War, in a time of intense idealistic emotion, some three-quarters of a million of Negroes, the mass of them densely ignorant and just out of slavery, with the iron of slavery still in their souls, were suddenly given the political rights of free citizens. A great many people, and not in the South alone, thought then, and still think, that it was a mistake to bestow the high powers and privileges of a wholly unrestricted ballot—a ballot which is the symbol of intelligent self-government—upon the Negro. Other people, of whom I am one, believe that it was a necessary concomitant of the revolution; it was itself a revolution, not a growth, and like every other revolution it has had its fearful reaction. Revolutions, indeed, change names, but they do not at once change human relationships. Mankind is reconstructed not by proclamations, or legislation, or military occupation, but by time, growth, education, religion, thought. At that time, then, the nation drove down the stakes of its idealism in government far beyond the point it was able to reach in the humdrum activities of everyday existence. A reaction was inevitable; it was inevitable and perfectly natural that there should be a widespread questioning as to whether all Negroes, or indeed any Negroes, should properly be admitted to full political fellowship. That questioning continues to this day.

Now, the essential principle established by the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution was not that all Negroes should necessarily be given an unrestricted access to the ballot; but that the right to vote should not be denied or abridged 'on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.' This amendment wiped out the color-line in politics so far as any written law could possibly do it.

Let me here express my profound conviction that the principle of political equality then laid down is a sound, valid, and absolutely essential principle in any free government; that restrictions upon the ballot, when necessary, should be made to apply equally to white and colored citizens; and that the Fifteenth Amendment ought not to be, and cannot be repealed. Moreover, I am convinced that the principle of political equality is more firmly established to-day in this country than it was forty years ago, when it had only Northern bayonets behind it. For now, however short the practice falls of reaching the legal standard, the principle is woven into the warp and woof of Southern life and Southern legislation. Many Southern white leaders of thought are to-day CONVINCED, not FORCED believers in the principle; and that is a great omen.

Limitations have come about, it is true, and were to be expected as the back-currents of the revolution. Laws providing for educational and property qualifications as a prerequisite to the exercise of the suffrage have been passed in all the Southern States, and have operated to exclude from the ballot large numbers of both white and colored citizens, who on account of ignorance or poverty are unable to meet the tests. These provisions, whatever the opinion entertained as to the wisdom of such laws, are well within the principle laid down by the Fifteenth Amendment. But several Southern States have gone a step further, and by means of the so-called 'grandfather laws,' have exempted certain ignorant white men from the necessity of meeting the educational and property tests. These unfair 'grandfather laws,' however, in some of the states adopting them, have now expired by limitation.

Let me then lay down this general proposition:—

Nowhere in the South to-day is the Negro cut off LEGALLY, as a Negro, from the ballot. Legally, to-day, any Negro who can meet the comparatively slight requirements as to education, or property, or both, can cast his ballot on a basis of equality with the white man. I have emphasized the word legally, for I know the PRACTICAL difficulties which confront the Negro votes in many parts of the South. The point I wish to make is that legally the Negro is essentially the political equal of the white man; but that practically, in the enforcement of the law, the legislative ideal is still pegged out far beyond the actual performance.

Now, then, if we are interested in the problem of democracy, we have two courses open to us. We may think the laws are unjust to the Negro, and incidentally to the 'poor white' man as well. If we do, we have a perfect right to agitate for changes; and we can do much to disclose, without heat, the actual facts regarding the complicated and vexatious legislative situation in the South, as regards the suffrage. Every change in the legislation upon this subject should, indeed, be jealously watched, that the principle of political equality between the races be not legally curtailed. The doctrine laid down in the Fifteenth Amendment must, at any hazard, be maintained.

But, personally,—and I am here voicing a profound conviction,—I think our emphasis at present should be laid upon the practical rather than upon the legal aspect of the problem; I think we should take advantage of the widely prevalent feeling in the South that the question of suffrage has been settled, legally, for some time to come: of the desire on the part of many Southern people, both white and colored, to turn aside from the discussion of the political status of the Negro.

In short, let us for the time being accept the laws as they are, and build upward from that point. Let us turn our attention to the practical task of finding out why it is that the laws we already have are not enforced, and how best to secure an honest vote for every Negro and equally for every 'poor white' man, who is able to meet the requirements, but who for one reason or another does not or cannot now exercise his rights. I include the disfranchised white man as well as the Negro, because I take it that we are interested, first of all, in democracy, and unless we can arouse the spirit of democracy, South and North, we can hope for justice neither for Negroes, nor for the poorer class of white men, nor for the women of the factories and shops, nor for the children of the cottonmills.

Taking up this side of the problem we shall discover two entirely distinct difficulties:—

First, we shall find many Negroes, and indeed hundreds of thousands of white men as well, who might vote, but who, through ignorance, or inability or unwillingness to pay the poll-taxes, or from mere lack of interest, disfranchise themselves.

The second difficulty is peculiar to the Negro. It consists in open or concealed intimidation on the part of the white men who control the election machinery. In many places in the South to-day no Negro, how well qualified, would dare to present himself for registration; when he does, he is rejected for some trivial or illegal reason.

Thus we have to meet a vast amount of apathy and ignorance and poverty on the one hand, and the threat of intimidation on the other.

First of all, for it is the chief injustice as between white and colored men with which we have to deal,—an injustice which the law already makes illegal and punishable,—how shall we meet the matter of intimidation? As I have already said, the door of the suffrage is everywhere legally open to the Negro, but a certain sort of Southerner bars the passage-way. He stands there and, law or no law, keeps out many Negroes who might vote; and he represents in most parts of the South the prevailing public opinion.

Shall we meet this situation by force? What force is available? Shall the North go down and fight the South? You and I know that the North to-day has no feeling but friendship for the South. More than that—and I say it with all seriousness, because it represents what I have heard wherever I have gone in the North to make inquiries regarding the Negro problem—the North, wrongly or rightly, is to-day more than half convinced that the South is right in imposing some measure of limitation upon the franchise. There is now, in short, no disposition anywhere in the North to interfere in internal affairs in the South—not even with the force of public opinion.

What other force, then, is to be invoked? Shall the Negro revolt? Shall he migrate? Shall he prosecute his case in the courts? The very asking of these questions suggests the inevitable reply.

We might as well, here and now, dismiss the idea of force, express or implied. There are times of last resort which call for force; but this is not such a time.

What other alternatives are there?

Accepting the laws as they are, then, there are two methods of procedure, neither sensational nor exciting. I have no quick cure to suggest, but only old and tried methods of commonplace growth.

The underlying causes of the trouble in the country being plainly ignorance and prejudice, we must meet ignorance and prejudice with their antidotes, education and association.

Every effort should be made to extend free education among both Negroes and white people. A great extension of education is now going forward in the South. The Negro is not by any means getting his full share; but, as certainly as sunshine makes things grow, education in the South will produce tolerance. That there is already such a growing tolerance no one who has talked with the leading white men in the South can doubt. The old fire-eating, Negro-baiting leaders of the Tillman-Vardaman type are swiftly passing away: a far better and broader group is coming into power.

In his last book, Mr. Edgar Gardner Murphy, of Alabama, expresses this new point of view when he says,—

'There is no question here as to the unrestricted admission [to the ballot] of the great masses of our ignorant and semi-ignorant blacks. I know no advocate of such admission. But the question is as to whether the individuals of the race, upon conditions or restrictions legally imposed and fairly administered, shall be admitted to adequate and increasing representation in the electorate. And as that question is more seriously and more generally considered, many of the leading publicists of the South, I am glad to say, are quietly resolved that the answer shall be in the affirmative.'

From an able Southern white man, a resident of New Orleans, I received recently a letter containing these words:—

'I believe we have reached the bottom, and a sort of quiescent period. I think it most likely that from now on there will be a gradual increase of the Negro vote. And I honestly believe that the less said about it, the surer the increase will be.'

Education—and by education I mean education of all sorts, industrial, professional, classical, in accordance with each man's talents—will not only produce breadth and tolerance, but will help to cure the apathy which now keeps so many thousands of both white men and Negroes from the polls: for it will show them that it is necessary for every man to exercise all the political rights within his reach. If he fails voluntarily to take advantage of the rights he already has, how shall he acquire more rights?

And as ignorance must be met by education, so prejudice must be met with its antidote, which is association. Democracy does not consist in mere voting, but in association, the spirit of common effort, of which the ballot is a mere visible expression. When we come to know one another we soon find that the points of likeness are much more numerous than the points of difference. And this human association for the common good, which is democracy, is difficult to bring about anywhere, whether among different classes of white people, or between white people and Negroes. As one of the leaders of the Negro race, Dr. Du Bois, has said,—

'Herein lies the tragedy of the age. Not that men are poor: all men know something of poverty. Not that men are wicked: who is good? Not that men are ignorant: what is truth? Nay, but that men know so little of each other.'

After the Atlanta riot I attended a number of conferences between leading white men and leading colored men. It is true those meetings bore evidence of awkwardness and embarrassment, for they were among the first of the sort to take place in the South, but they were none the less valuable. A white man told me after one of the meetings,—

'I did not know that there were any such sensible Negroes in the South.'

And a Negro told me that it was the first time in his life that he had ever heard a Southern white man reason in a friendly way with a Negro concerning their common difficulties.

More and more these associations of white and colored men, at certain points of contact, must and will come about. Already, in connection with various educational and business projects in the South, white and colored men meet on common grounds, and the way has been opened to a wider mutual understanding. And it is common enough now, where it was unheard of a few years ago, for both white men and Negroes to speak from the same platform in the South. I have attended a number of such meetings. Thus slowly—awkwardly, at first, for two centuries of prejudice are not immediately overcome—the white man and Negro will come to know one another, not merely as master and servant, but as co-workers. These things cannot be forced.

One reason why the white man and the Negro have not got together more rapidly in the South than they have, is because they have tried always to meet at the sorest points. When sensible people, who must live together whether or no, find that there are points at which they cannot agree, it is the part of wisdom to avoid these points, and to meet upon other and common interests. Upon no other terms, indeed, can a democracy exist, for in no imaginable future state will individuals cease to disagree with one another upon something less than half of all the problems of life.

'Here we all live together in a great country,' say the apostles of this view; 'let us all get together and develop it. Let the Negro do his best to educate himself, to own his own land, and to buy and sell with the white people in the fairest possible way.'

It is wonderful, indeed, how close together men who are stooping to a common task soon come.

Now, buying and selling, land ownership and common material pursuits, may not be the highest points of contact between man and man, but they are real points, and help to give men an idea of the worth of their fellows, white or black. How many times, in the South, I heard white men speak in high admiration of some Negro farmer who had been successful, or of some Negro blacksmith who was a worthy citizen, or of some Negro doctor who was a leader of his race.

It is curious, once a man (any man, white or black) learns to do his job well, how he finds himself in a democratic relationship with other men. I remember asking a prominent white citizen of a town in Central Georgia if he knew anything about Tuskegee. He said,—

'Yes: I had rather a curious experience last fall. I was building a hotel and couldn't get any one to do the plastering as I wanted it done. One day I saw two Negro plasterers at work in a new house that a friend of mine was building. I watched them for an hour. They seemed to know their trade. I invited them to come over and see me. They came, took the contract for my work, hired a white man to carry mortar at a dollar a day, and when they got through it was the best job of plastering in town. I found that they had learned their trade at Tuskegee. They averaged four dollars a day each in wages. We tried to get them to locate in our town, but they went back to school.'

When I was in Mississippi a prominent banker showed me his business letter-heads.

'Good job, isn't it?' he said. 'A Negro printer did it. He wrote to me asking if he might bid on my work. I replied that although I had known him a long time I couldn't give him the job merely because he was a Negro. He told me to forget his color, and said that if he couldn't do as good a job and do it as reasonably as any white man could, he didn't want it. I let him try, and now he does most of our printing.'

Out of such points of contact, then, encouraged by such wise leaders as Booker T. Washington, will grow an ever finer and finer spirit of association and of common and friendly knowledge. And that will inevitably lead to an extension upon the soundest possible basis of the Negro franchise. I know cases where white men have urged intelligent Negroes to come and cast their ballots, and have stood sponsor for them, out of genuine respect. As a result, to-day, the Negroes who vote in the South are, as a class, men of substance and intelligence, fully equal to the tasks of citizenship.

Thus, I have boundless confidence not only in the sense of the white men of the South, but in the innate capability of the Negro, and that once these two come really to know each other, not at sore points of contact, but as common workers for a common country, the question of suffrage will gradually solve itself along the lines of true democracy.

Another influence also will tend to change the status of the Negro as a voter. That is the pending break-up of the political solidarity of the South. All the signs point to a political realignment upon new issues in this country, both South and North. Old party names may even pass away. And that break-up, with the attendant struggle for votes, is certain to bring into politics thousands of Negroes and white men now disfranchised. The result of a real division on live issues has been shown in many local contests in the South, as in the fight against the saloons, when every qualified Negro voter, and every Negro who could qualify, was eagerly pushed forward by one side or the other. With such a division on new issues the Negro will tend to exercise more and more political power, dividing, not on the color line, but on the principles at stake.

Thus in spite of the difficulties which now confront the Negro, I cannot but look upon the situation in a spirit of optimism. I think sometimes we are tempted to set a higher value upon the ritual of a belief than upon the spirit which underlies it. The ballot is not democracy: it is merely the symbol or ritual of democracy, and it may be full of passionate social, yes, even religious significance, or it may be a mere empty and dangerous formalism. What we should look to, then, primarily, is not the shadow, but the substance of democracy in this country. Nor must we look for results too swiftly; our progress toward democracy is slow of growth and needs to be cultivated with patience and watered with faith.


SOJOURNER TRUTH, THE LIBYAN SIBYL by Harriet Beecher Stowe Atlantic Monthly 11 (April 1863): 473-481.

RECONSTRUCTION by Frederick Douglass Atlantic Monthly 18 (1866): 761-765.

AN APPEAL TO CONGRESS FOR IMPARTIAL SUFFRAGE by Frederick Douglas Atlantic Monthly 19 (Jan. 1867): 112-117.

THE NEGRO EXODUS by James B. Runnion Atlantic Monthly 44 (1879): 222-230.

MY ESCAPE FROM SLAVERY by Frederick Douglass The Century Illustrated Magazine 23, n.s. 1 (Nov. 1881): 125-131.

THE GOOPHERED GRAPEVINE by Charles W. Chesnutt Atlantic Monthly 60 (Aug. 1887): 254-260.

PO' SANDY by Charles W. Chesnutt Atlantic Monthly 61 (1888): 605-611.

DAVE'S NECKLISS by Charles W. Chesnutt Atlantic Monthly 64 (1889): 500-08.

THE AWAKENING OF THE NEGRO by Booker T. Washington Atlantic Monthly 78 (1896): 322-328.

THE STORY OF UNCLE TOM'S CABIN by Charles Dudley Warner Atlantic Monthly 78 (1896): 311-321.

STRIVINGS OF THE NEGRO PEOPLE by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois Atlantic Monthly 80 (1897): 194-198.

THE WIFE OF HIS YOUTH by Charles W. Chesnutt Atlantic Monthly 82 (1898): 55-61.

THE BOUQUET by Charles W. Chesnutt Atlantic Monthly 84 (1899): 648-654.

THE CASE OF THE NEGRO by Booker T. Washington Atlantic Monthly 84 (1899): 577-587.

HOT-FOOT HANNIBAL by Charles W. Chesnutt Atlantic Monthly 83 (1899): 49-56.

A NEGRO SCHOOLMASTER IN THE NEW SOUTH by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois Atlantic Monthly 83 (1899): 99-104.

THE CAPTURE OF A SLAVER by J. Taylor Wood Atlantic Monthly 86 (1900): 451-463.

MR. CHARLES W. CHESNUTT'S STORIES by W. D. Howells Atlantic Monthly 85 (1900): 699-701.

PATHS OF HOPE FOR THE NEGRO PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS OF A SOUTHERNER by Jerome Dowd Century Magazine 61.2 (Dec. 1900): 278-281.

SIGNS OF PROGRESS AMONG THE NEGROES by Booker T. Washington Century Magazine 59 (1900): 472-478.

THE MARCH OF PROGRESS by Charles W. Chesnutt Century Magazine 61.3 (Jan. 1901): 422-428.

THE FREEDMEN'S BUREAU by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois Atlantic Monthly 87 (1901): 354-365.

OF THE TRAINING OF BLACK MEN by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois Atlantic Monthly 90 (1902): 289-297.

THE FRUITS OF INDUSTRIAL TRAINING by Booker T. Washington Atlantic Monthly 92 (1903): 453-462.

THE NEGRO IN THE REGULAR ARMY by Oswald Garrison Villard Atlantic Monthly 91 (1903): 721-729.

BAXTER'S PROCRUSTES by Charles W. Chesnutt Atlantic Monthly 93 (1904): 823-830.

THE HEART OF THE RACE PROBLEM by Quincy Ewing Atlantic Monthly 103 (1909): 389-397.

NEGRO SUFFRAGE IN A DEMOCRACY by Ray Stannard Baker Atlantic Monthly 106 (1910): 612-619.

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