Imágenes de páginas

Liberia since they first went there in 1822. To-day, in the whole of Liberia, in a population, native and civilized, of fully 1,000,ooo, only 12, ooo can be said to be civilized.” Take our own continent, and a glance at the island of San Domingo shows a similar condition of affairs in that beautiful island, when left to the absolute control of the Negro race in its present system of evolution. I quote from Mr. Froude's book, The English in the West Indies. “St. Domingo, of which Hayti is the largest division, was the earliest island discovered by Columbus, and the finest in the Carribean Ocean. The Spaniards found there a million or two of mild and innocent Indians, whom they converted off the face of the earth—working them to death in their mines and plantations. They filled their places with blacks from Africa. They colonized; they built cities; they throve and prospered for nearly two hundred years, when Hayti was taken from them and made a French province. The French 1<ept it till the revolution. They built towns; they laid out farms and sugar fields; they planted coffee all over the island, where it now grows wild. Vast herds of cattle roamed over the mountains; splendid houses rose over the rich savannahs. The French church put out its strength; there were churches and preachers in every parish. So firm was the hold that they had gained, that Hayti, like Cuba, seemed to have been made a part of the old world, and as civilized as France herself. The revolution came, and the reign of liberty. The blacks took arms; they surprised the plantations; they made a clean sweep of the whole French population. The island being thus derelict, Spain and England both tried their hand to recover it, but failed, and a black nation, with a republican constitution, and a population perhaps of about one million and a half of pure blood Negroes, has since been in unchallenged possession, and has arrived at the condition which has been described to us by Sir Spencer St. John. “Morals in the technical sense they have none; but they cannot be said to sin, because they have no knowledge of a law. They are naked and not ashamed. They sin; but they sin only as animals, without shame, because there is no sense of doing wrong. In fact, those poor children of darkness have escaped the consequences of the fall, and must have come of another stock after all. Immorality is so universal that it almost ceases to be a fault . . . it is the rule. In spite of schools and missionaries, seventy per cent. of the children now born among them are illegitimate. Young people make experiment of one another before they will enter into any closer connection. So far they are no worse than our own English islands, where the custom is equally general; but behind the religiosity, there lies as active and alive the horrible revival of the West African superstitions; the serpent worship, and the child sacrifice, and the cannibalism. The facts are notorious. . . . A few years ago, persons guilty of these infamies were tried and punished; now they are left alone, because to prosecute and convict them would be to acknowledge the truth of the indictment. “The blacks as long as they were slaves were docile and partly civilized . . . but the effect of leaving the Negro nature to itself is apparent at last. There is no sign, not the slightest, that the generality of the race are improving either in intelligence or moral habits; all of the evidence is the other way. The generality are mere good-natured animals. The customs of Dahomey have not yet shown themselves in the English West Indies, and never can while the English authority is maintained ; but no custom of any kind will be found in a Negro hut or village from which his most sanguine friend can derive a hope that he is on the way to mending himself. Ninety years of Negro self-government have had their use in showing what it really means. The movement is backward, not forward.” I am sorry to make these quotations, but I am making in this address a plain statement of facts and am not dealing with sentiment. We are discussing the facts without regard to sentiment, and I believe that when the facts are well understood the intelligence and philanthrophy of the American people will not support a very large and intelligent class of people who believe that colonization is the settlement of this question. Mark you, I do not make this quotation for the purpose of showing that the Negro race cannot rise to a high degree of civilization. I believe that with the right guidance it will be one of the factors in the world’s affairs. Now arises the kindred question. If you do not colonize these people how will you save the country from their natural increase? Will they not overwhelm and become the dominant race, thus displacing the AngloSaxon civilization? This argument is often heard and often believed. Many people are of the opinion that the Negro from mere natural increase will become the dominant race factor in the South. The statistics do not bear out this fear of a great relative increase of the Negro. I do not believe that this danger threatens us. Further than this every indication points to the fact that the Gulf of Mexico will be an American sea, that we will practically have control of the islands of the Gulf of Mexico. This seems to me our ultimate destiny. Every condition of business foresight, commercial and military strategy, seems to point in that direction. Since the events of the last year I am more impressed by the suggestion that in addition to Cuba and Porto Rico we should have under our control Hayti and San Domingo. Many of the educated blacks of this country will then naturally turn to these islands where their labor in every sphere is at a premium, and where they can live better and easier and be more efficient than in any other part of the world, excepting Africa. Numbers of them in time will naturally go to the southern islands, where by reason of their natural condition they will be of vast use in the work of regenerating the rich islands of the southern seas. I further believe that the nations under the providence of God are working out in Africa the destiny of the African race. At the present state of his intelligence the Negro cannot, unaided and alone, contend with the difficulties of African settlement and colonization. He cannot plan by himself, but Africa is being developed under the immediate control of the white race, who are building railroads into those regions and who are supervising its evolution from barbarism and savagery to civilization. This is being done by nations powerful from a military and commercial standpoint, and who are able to afford the protection and pay the money to do the vast work. Here will be one of the great fields and one of the homes of the civilized African race. Not being forced or deported thousands of them will go back and assist the nations of the earth in the development of their people. The great nations which are at the present developing Africa will have need for exactly the people whom we are educating upon the American soil at this time, and I believe that many will find congenial work in developing the great African Continent. This does not militate against my view of en masse colonization. One is forced, the other is natural and symmetrical and comes when the people who are able to do the work are fit for the labor which is set before them. They will not be turned loose in the wilds of Africa, but will go there under the superior organizing ability

« AnteriorContinuar »