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after the example of our original ancestors, endeavour, if possible, to excuse it.
But is the assertion, by which the cruel oppressors of a part of the human race attempt to justify their conduct, supported by any proper and satisfactory evidence? Have they, in fact, proved, that the African negroes are a species of beings inferior to the human? No; and I do not hesitate to add, they never can prove it. As a strong presumption that the hypothesis is false, the abettors of it are not agreed among themselves. While many talk of a lower order of beings, others speak of an inferior kind of men. An inferior kind of men! How many kinds of men are there? The advocates of this wild opinion. do not advert, that it is attended with a long train of consequences, and big with a variety of absurdities, from which they themselves cannot but recoil. It subverts the whole fabric of revealed religion. To admit it, is at once to reject revelation. This revelation, as contained in the sacred books, Jewish and Christian, both as it respects the evils in which mankind are unhappily involv ed, and the means by which their recovery is accomplished, goes, from first to last, on the supposition, that the various nations and numerous individuals of the human form, are all the chil
dren of one common father, and members of one undivided family. Are not the black inhabitants of Africa, as well as the white inhabitants of Europe, brothers, and entitled to that salvation which is common to men of every clime, and every complexion? In the history of the apostolic age, we have an authentic and circumstantial account of the conversion of a native of Ethiopia, a person of high rank in that country. Do not the Ethiopians belong to the tawny race? Is not this necessarily implied in the question, Can the Ethiopian change his skin? What! a race of beings, half men, half brutes, partakers of that salvation of which Jesus, the Son of God, is the author!
But, as we are opposed by a number, who do not admit the authority of revelation, we shall meet them on their own ground. The question recurs, Has it been, can it be, proved by any convincing evidence, that the African negroes are a species of creatures inferior to the human? Proof, indeed, has been attempted. Various evidences have been adduced; but, to every unprepossessed person, they are unsatisfactory. They may be reduced to two classes; evidences taken from the external form, features, and colour of the negroes; and evidences drawn from their mental faculties.
of men? Are there to be found, even in the same quarter of the world, human beings of different kinds? Has not the grand sentiment, that all the nations and individvals, who inhabit the various continents and islands of the earth, are the descendants of one common original father, the joint suffrage of revelation and reason? This is the constant and uniform doctrine of revelation. Does reason, in this instance, contradict revelation? It confirms, rather than contradicts, revelation. It assists us in discovering and accounting for the diversity of colours, in the fullest consistency with the cardinal truth, that men, of all countries and of all complexions, are beings of the same species, and children of one common parent. The natural cause of this great diversity has been found out, and ascertained, by a variety of anatomical experiments, which have put it beyond a possibility of doubt. It is not my intention, were my abilities equal to the undertaking, to enter into nice physiological disquisitions on this curious subject. This task has been performed by different gentlemen of learning and ingenuity, to whose writings I refer the curious part of my readers. Nothing can be more apparent, than that colour varies according to the latitude and climate of a country. The nearer the equator, the complexion is the darker;
nearer the pole, the whiter. How dark the inhabitants of the southern parts even of Europe; and how fair the inhabitants of the northern! Can any man be at a loss, on inspection, to distinguish between a Norwegian and an Italian? Are the inhabitants of Norway and Italy two different species of beings; or a superior and an inferior kind of men? How absurd the supposition! The argument of our opponents, in short, is thisThe descendants of Adam, by whom the earth was peopled at first; and the posterity of the three sons of Noah, by whom it was peopled a second time, must, even in the remotest parts of the earth, and to the most distant ages of time, continue to be of the same complexion, with one another, and with their original pregenitors; if of a different complexion, they cannot be their progeny. What is the inevitable consequence of this reasoning? It is this—Neither the black inhabitants of Africa, nor the white inhabitants of Europe, are the descendants either of Adam or of Noah, but a species of beings, or of men, whose original ancestor is totally unknown. That both Adam and Noah resided in the middle parts of Asia, is an opinion universally entertained, and supported by the highest degree of moral certainty. Is the colour of the inhabitants of the middle countries of Asia, the same with that of the Africans, or the
Europeans? No. The Asiatics, in colour, differ both from the Africans and the Europeans. The fact is, the seal of colour in the human body is wisely adapted to the climates in which the several nations of mankind respectively live. This is only one of the ten thousand instances, in which the unsearchable wisdom, and the unbounded goodness, of the almighty Creator, are conspicuous in every part of his vast universe. The effects of climate, on men and on irrational animals, even on vegetables, in higher and lower latitudes, are, in various instances, obvious to every observer, and merit the attention of every person that investigates the works of Deity. The same animal which, in high latitudes and cold climates, is clothed with wool, is, within the torrid zone, covered with hair. In the temperate and the frigid zones, men's heads are covered with hair; near to the equator, with wool. But are the men, who inhabit the torrid zone, of a different species from those who dwell in the temperate and the frigid?
As for the argument, which the sticklers for African slavery draw from the pretended inferiority of the mental faculties of the negroes, it is altogether unnecessary for me to prosecute it to any great length. It is supported by no shadow