[Footnote 1: Smyth, Works of Franklin, vol. vi., p. 222.]
[Footnote 2: Gregoire, La Litterature des Negres.]
[Footnote 3: Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed., 1871, p. 375.]
Would these professions of interest in the mental development of the blacks be translated into action? What these reformers would do to raise the standard of Negro education above the plane of rudimentary training incidental to religious instruction, was yet to be seen. Would they secure to Negroes the educational privileges guaranteed other elements of society? The answer, if not affirmative, was decidedly encouraging. The idea uppermost in the minds of these workers was that the people of color could and should be educated as other races of men.
In the lead of this movement were the antislavery agitators. Recognizing the Negroes’ need of preparation for citizenship, the abolitionists proclaimed as a common purpose of their organizations the education of the colored people with a view to developing in them self-respect, self-support, and usefulness in the community.
[Footnote 1: Smyth, Works of Benjamin Franklin, vol. x., p. 127; Torrey, Portraiture of Slavery, p. 21. See also constitution of almost any antislavery society organized during this period.]
The proposition to cultivate the minds of the slaves came as a happy solution of what had been a perplexing problem. Many Americans who considered slavery an evil had found no way out of the difficulty when the alternative was to turn loose upon society so many uncivilized men without the ability to discharge the duties of citizenship. Assured then that the efforts at emancipation would be tested by experience, a larger number of men advocated abolition. These leaders recommended gradual emancipation for States having a large slave population, that those designated for freedom might first be instructed in the value and meaning of liberty to render them comfortable in the use of it. The number of slaves in the States adopting