“If David were on earth alive to-day and the ruler of an enlightened kingdom, he would be impeached forthwith, fined for adultery, imprisoned for bigamy, and hanged for murder. Yet while not measuring up to the standard of morality of to-day, he was the man after God’s own heart in his day and generation.
“If Abraham were here to-day he would be expelled from any church that had any regard for decency; and yet, he was the father of the faithful, for he walked according to the little light that struggled through the clouds and reached him.
“When slavery was introduced into America, it was the universal practice of mankind to enslave. Knowing how quick we all are to heed the universal voice of mankind, we should be lenient toward others who are thus tempted and fall.
“It has appeared strange to some that the Americans could fight for their own freedom from England and yet not think of those whom they then held in slavery. It should be remembered that the two kinds of slavery were by no means identical. The Americans fought for a theory and abstract principle. The negro did not even discern the points at issue; and the Anglo-Saxon naturally did not concern himself at that time with any one so gross as not to know anything of a principle for which he, (the Anglo-Saxon) was ready to offer up his life.
“Our President alluded to the fact that the negro was unpaid for all his years of toil. It is true that he was not paid in coin, but he received that from the Anglo-Saxons which far outweighs in value all the gold coin on earth. He received instruction in the arts of civilization, a knowledge of the English language, and a conception of the one true God and his Christ.
“While all of the other races of men were behind the ball of progress rolling it up the steep hill of time, the negro was asleep in the jungles of Africa. Newton dug for the law of gravitation; Herschel swept the starry sky in search of other worlds; Columbus stood upon the prow of the ship and braved the waves of the ocean and the fiercer ridicule of men; Martin Luther, single handed and alone, fought the Pope, the religious guide of the world; and all of this was done while the negro slept. After others had toiled so hard to give the bright light of civilization to the world, it was hardly to be expected that a race that slept while others worked could step up and at once enjoy all the fruits of others’ toil.
“Allow me to note this great fact; that by enslavement in America the negro has come into possession of the great English language. He is thus made heir to all the richest thoughts of earth. Had he retained his mother tongue, it would perhaps have been centuries untold before the masterpieces of earth were given him. As it is we can now enjoy the companionship of Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton, Bunyan, together with the favorite sons of other nations adopted into the English language, such as Dante, Hugo, Goethe, Dumas and hosts of others. Nor must we ever forget that it was the Anglo-Saxon who snatched from our idolatrous grasp the deaf images to which we prayed, and the Anglo-Saxon who pointed us to the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.