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.

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

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

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

Answer.  This objection seems to have little or no truth in it, with respect to the bulk of them.—­Their ignorance, indeed, about matters of religion, is not to be disputed;—­they are sunk in it to a sad and lamentable degree, which has been shown to be chiefly owing to the negligence of their owners.—­But that they are so stupid and unteachable, as that they cannot be brought to any competent knowledge in these matters, is false, and contrary to fact and experience.  In regard to their work, they learn it, and grow dexterous enough in a short time.  Many of them have learned trades and manufactures, which they perform well, and with sufficient ingenuity:—­whence it is plain they are not unteachable; do not want natural parts and capacities.—­Most masters and mistresses will complain of their art and cunning in contriving to deceive them.—­Is it reasonable to deny then they can learn what is good, when it is owned at the same time they can be so artful in what is bad?—­Their ignorance, therefore, if born in the country, must absolutely be the fault of their owners:—­and such as are brought here from Africa may, surely, be taught something of advantage to their own future state, as well as to work for their masters’ present gain.—­The difference plainly consists in this;—­that a good deal of pains is taken to shew them how to labour, and they are punished if they neglect it.—­This sort of instruction their owners take care to give them every day, and look well to it that it be duly followed.—­But no such pains are taken in the other case.—­They are generally left

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