The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 402 pages of information about The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861.

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


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

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The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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