The Negro Race

New York Journal of Commerce, October 26, 1860

There are certain great facts in reference to the negro race from which there is no rational or logical escape. A morbid philanthropy may attempt to pervert them; but they stand out so clearly and distinctly on the records of science and history, that a sensible and unprejudiced man cannot deny them.

He who has studied the difference between the natural races and families of men, knows that a superior and an inferior race cannot continue to occupy the same territory on terms of equality. Either the inferior race will be enslaved, and in that condition increase and multiply, if treated with reasonable kindness,—or, in the attempt to compete with the superior race, be ultimately wiped out of existence by their greater skill and strength. We use the words races of men in a strictly ethnographical sense; and mean that kind of superiority of race which the Circassians and Anglo-Saxons manifest over the Indian, negro, Malay and Mongolian races. We do not recognize in the Norman and the Saxon,—the Gaul and the Oriental,—the Celt and the Russian,—any positive or absolute superiority of race, as compared with each other, for nature has marked no great or controlling differences in their physical and mental structure. But we can define, by means of physiological and anatomical science, the difference between the white man and the negro, or the Indian; and we know also, that neither the Indian nor the free negro can contend successfully against the white man, when they occupy the same soil and compete with each other. All history proves that the inferior race, in order to survive the aggressions and greater activity and energy of the superior race, must be brought to a condition of servitude, serfdom, or slavery.

These principles may not be in accordance with the belief of many who think they are guided by the purest spirit of philanthropy; and yet they are founded upon facts which are indisputable. And there is another natural law which applies to these races, particularly to the negro, and which is equally unsatisfactory to some who fear to meet the truth face to face. Negroes and whites cannot perpetuate a new race; the Divine laws are indestructible barriers against such unnatural experiments; and we have the direct testimony of acute and honest travelers in Central America and the West Indies, that the mongrel or hybrid races are incapable of perpetuating themselves, and have greatly deteriorated in mind and body. Anything, then, like equal social relations between the two races, is physically impossible.

We do not make these incontestable statements from any dislike to the negro, or from any partialities for the institution of slavery. But in these days, when distinguished statesmen, and public journals representing a powerful and vigorous party, are constantly teaching the people theories which inculcate violent and hostile opposition to an institution recognized by the Constitution and by the framers and fathers of this Republic, and promise, in substance, that an "irrepressible conflict" is to result in overwhelming humiliation and decadence of the South, it is time to grapple the question boldly, and not to dodge the pending issues, or to mince matters too much, or to confess that there is but one side to this irritating and dangerous slavery controversy. There are four million reasons in the South, clad in flesh and blood, against the wild political crusade now going forward, and which becomes more obstinate and reckless as it advances. If history and science tell the truth, the immediate, or unprepared, or hasty freedom of these slaves, will produce their extermination, accompanied by a train of events most horrible to contemplate.

And we advise, also, the professed philanthropist whose sympathies have got the better of his judgment, to reflect upon the great barriers which have been placed by nature between the whites and blacks, and that whatever may be the ultimate destiny of the latter, they are infinitely better off than if they had been born and bred in their native land. The records of travelers in Africa tell a sad but true tale of the negro race as it appears at home, and especially in Eastern Africa. The native African is an habitual drunkard, a thief, a liar, revengeful, licentious, groveling in his habits, almost destitute of natural affection, unprogressive in character, and in religion a devotee of the obscene mysteries of Fetichism. Moreover, the great bulk of the population is made up of masters and slaves. Indeed, slavery is almost universal. The principal occupation of the Africans, and the real object of almost all their wars, is the kidnapping of slaves; while the treatment and condition of negroes in our South, is benevolence itself compared with the cruel system which prevails in Africa. This is the picture drawn of the native African by disinterested and reliable travelers; and a more disagreeable one is not to be found in the history of barbarians. In truth, the negroes held in slavery in the United States, are much better off, physically and morally, than their ignorant and degraded brothers in Africa. Everybody knows this; and believes in his heart that the condition, prospects and character of the negro improve under the refining influences of civilized life. We may safely say, also, that scarcely a fraction of the people of the United States are in favor of now freeing the slave. Why then, in the face of the well-authenticated facts we have stated, do the abolitionists, fanatics, and many leaders of the Republican party, persist in their wild and reckless theories, whose development is dragging the Union to the verge of the precipice? To raise up the great African race from serfdom to a condition of advancement and civilization, or to place them in a position where every favor and liberty and right, social and political, shall be allowed them, just as it is allowed to the whites, is a possibility of which we may dream for coming ages. But in the present posture of affairs, and with our present knowledge of the insurmountable difficulties in the way of such an event, we know, first of all, that only those who own slaves can abolish slavery, and then, that every imprudent, or concealed, or violent opposition on the part of Northern men, does more injury than good, and impedes the advancement of genuine humanity.