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in this way.
(We find the following pages in Fraser's Magazine. it would be very proper to commune earnestly Are they by Mr. Carlyle? They will be a grief to many with one another, and discourse together on the of his admirers in this region, and yet they, and others, leading elements of our great Problem, which (if others indeed there be !) will think it desirable to read whatever the sage may write.]
surely is one of the greatest. With this view
the council has decided, both that the Negro OCCASIONAL DISCOURSE ON THE NEGRO
Question, as lying at the bottom, was to be the QUESTION.
first handled, and if possible the first settled ; and The following occasional discourse, delivered then so, what was of much more questionable by we know not whom, and of date seemingly wisdom, that—that, in short, I was to be speaker above a year back, may perhaps be welcome to on the occasion. An honorable duty; yet, as I here and there a speculative reader. It comes to said, a painful one !— Well, you shall hear what us—no speaker named, no time or place assigned, I have to say on the matter ; and you will not in no commentary of any sort given in the hand- the least like it. writing of the so-called “Doctor," properly West-Indian affairs, as we all know, and some “ Absconded Reporter," Dr. Phelim M'Quirk, of us know to our cost, are in a rather troublous whose singular powers of reporting, and also condition this good while. In regard to West whose debts, extravagances, and sorrowful insidi- Indian affairs, however, Lord John Russell is able ous finance-operations, now winded up by a sudden to comfort us with one fact, indisputable where so disappearance, to the grief of many poor trades- many are dubious, That the negroes are all very people, are making too much noise in the police happy and doing well. A fact very comfortable offices at present! Of M'Quirk's composition we indeed. West Indian whites, it is admitted, are by no means suppose it to be ; but from M'Quirk, far enough froin happy ; West Indian colonies as the last traceable source, it comes to us ;- not unlike sinking wholly into ruin : at home too, offered, in fact, by his respectable unfortunate the British whites are rather badly off; several Jandlady, desirous to make up part of her losses millions of them hanging on the verge of con
tinual famine ; and, in single towns, many thouTo absconded reporters who bilk their lodg- sands of them very sore put to it, at this time, not ings, we have of course no account to give : but to live “ well,” or as a man should, in any sense if the Speaker be of any eminence or substantiality, temporal or spiritual, but to live at all :-these, and feel himself aggrieved by the transaction, let again, are uncomfortable facts; and they are exhim understand that such, and such only, is our tremely extensive and important ones. But, thank connection with him or his affairs. As the colo- Heaven, our interesting black population-equalnial and negro question is still alive, and likely to ling almost in number of heads one of the ridings grow livelier for some time, we have accepted the of Yorkshire, and in worth (in quantity of intelarticle, at a cheap market-rate ; and give it pub- lect, faculty, docility, energy, and available licity, without in the least committing ourselves to human valor and value) perhaps one of the streets the strange doctrines and notions shadowed forth of Seven Dials—are all doing remarkably well. in it. Doctrines and notions which, we rather “ Sweet blighted lilies,”—as the American suspect, are pretty much in a “minority of one,” epitaph on the nigger child has it—sweet blighted in the present era of the world! Here, sure lilies, they are holding up their heads again! enough, are peculiar views of the rights of ne- How pleasant, in the universal bankruptcy abroad, groes ; involving, it is probable, peculiar ditto of and dim dreary stagnancy at home, as if for innumerable other rights, duties, expectations, England too there remained nothing but to supwrongs and disappointments, much argued of, by press Chartist riots, banish united Irishmen, vote logic and by grape-shot, in these emancipated the supplies, and wait with arms crossed till black epochs of the human mind !-Silence now, how- anarchy and social death devoured us also, as it ever ; and let the Speaker himself enter. has done the others; how pleasant to have always
this fact to fall back upon : Our beautiful black My Philanthropic Friends,—It is my painful darlings are at last happy; with little labor excepe duty to address some words to you, this evening, to the teeth, which surely, in those excellent horseon the Rights of Negroes. Taking, as we hope jaws of theirs, will not fail ! we do, an extensive survey of social affairs, Exeter Hall, my philanthropic friends, has had which we find all in a state of the frightfullest its way in this matter. The twenty millions, a embroilment, and, as it were, of inextricable final mere tritle despatched with a single dash of the bankruptcy, just at present ; and being desirous to pen, are paid ; and, far over the sea, we have a adjust ourselves in that huge upbreak, and unut- few black persons rendered extremely “ free” interable welter of tumbling ruins, and to see well deed. Sitting yonder with their beautiful muzthat our grand proposed Association of Associa- zles up to the ears in pumpkins, imbibing sweet tions, the UNIVERSAL ABOLITION-OF-Pain Asso- pulps and juices; the grinder and incisor teeth CIATION, which is meant to be the consummate ready for every new work, and the pumpkins golden flower and summary of modern Philan- cheap as grass in those rich climates ; while the thropisms all in one, do not issue as a universal sugar-crops rot round them uncut, because labor “Sluggard-and-Scoundrel Protection Society,"— cannot be hired, so cheap are the pumpkins ;—and at we have judged that, before constituting ourselves,home we are but required to rasp from the breakfast
loaves of our own English laborers some slight | hour a day, (such is the calculation,) can supply “ differential sugar-duties,” and lend a poor half- himself, by aid of sun and soil, with as much million, or a few more millions, now and then, to pumpkin as will suffice, he is likely to be a little keep that beautiful state of matters going on. A stiff to raise into hard work! Supply and destate of matters lovely to contemplate, in these mand, which, science says, should be brought to emancipated epochs of the human mind; which bear on hiin, have an uphill task of it with such a has earned us not only the praises of Exeter Hall, man. Strong sun supplies itself gratis, rich soil, and loud, long-eared hallelujahs of laudatory psalm- in those unpeopled or half-peopled regions, almost ody from the friends of freedom everywhere, but gratis ; these are his supply; and half an hour a lasting favor (it is hoped) from the Heavenly Pow- day, directed upon these, will produce pumpkin ers themselves ;—which may, at least, justly which is his “ demand." The fortunate black appeal to the Heavenly Powers, and ask them, if man, very swiftly does he settle his account with. ever, in terrestrial procedure, they saw the match supply and demand ;—not so swiftly the less forof it? Certainly in the past history of the human tunate white man of these tropical localities. He species it has no parallel ; nor, one hopes, will it himself cannot work, and his black neighbor, have in the future.
rich in pumpkin, is in no haste to help him. Sunk Sunk in deep froth-oceans of “ Benevolence,” to the ears in pumpkin, imbibing saccharine juices, “Fraternity," * Emancipation-principle," "Chris- and much at his ease in the creation, he can listen tian Philanthropy," and other most amiable-look- to the less fortunate white man's “ demand," and ing, but most baseless, and in the end baleful and take his own time in supplying it. Higher wages, all-bewildering jargon-sad product of a sceptical massa ; higher, for your cane-crop cannot wait ; eighteenth century, and of poor human hearts left still higher-till no conceivable opulence of canedestitute of any earnest guidance, and disbelieving crop will cover such wages ! In Demerara, as I that there ever was any, Christian or heathen, and read in the blue book of last year, the cane-crop, reduced to believe in rosepink sentimentalism far and wide, stands rotting ; the fortunate black alone, and to cultivate the same under its Chris-gentlemen, strong in their pumpkins, having all tian, anti-Christian, broad-brimmed, Brutus-head- struck till the demand” rise a little. Sweet, ed, and other forms—has not the human species blighted lilies, now getting up their heads again! gone strange roads during that period ? and poor Science, however, has a remedy still. Since Exeter Hall, cultivating the broad-brimmed form the demand is so pressing, and the supply so inadof Christian sentimentalism, and long talking and equate, (equal in fact to nothing in some places, bleating and braying in that strain, has it not as appears,) increase the supply ; bring more worked out results ? Our West India legislatings, blacks into the labor-market, then will the rate with their spoutings, anti-spoutings, and intermi- fall, says science. Not the least surprising part nable jangle and babble ; our twenty millions down of our West Indian policy is this recipe of “ imon the nail for blacks of our own ; thirty gradual migration ;” of keeping down the labor-market in millions more, and many brave British lives to those islands by importing new Africans to labor boot, in watching blacks of other people's ; and and live there. If the Africans that are already now, at last, our ruined sugar-estates, differential there could be made to lay down their pumpkins sugar-duties, “ immigration loan,” and beautiful and labor for their living, there are already Africans blacks sitting there up to the ears in pumpkins, enough. If the new Africans, after laboring a and doleful whites sitting here without potatoes to little, take to pumpkins like the others, what remeat ; never, till now, I think, did the sun look edy is there? To bring in new and ever new down on such a jumble of human nonsenses ;-of Africans, say you, till pumpkins themselves grow which, with the two hot nights of the Missing- dear; till the country is crowded with Africans ; Despatch Debate,* God grant that the measure and black men there, like white men here, are might now at last be full! But no, it is not yet forced by hunger to labor for their living? That full; we have a long way to travel back, and ter- will be a consummation. To have“ emancipated" rible flounderings to make, and in fact an immense the West Indies into a Black Ireland—"free," Joud of nonsense to dislodge from our poor heads, indeed, but an Ireland, and black! The worid and manifold cobwebs to rend from our poor eyes, may yet see prodigies, and reality be stranger than before we get into the road again, and can begin a nightmare dream. to act as serious men that have work to do in this Our own white or sallow Ireland, slutlishly Universe, and no longer as windy sentimentalists, starving from age to age on its act-of-parliament that merely have speeches to deliver and despatches " freedom,” was hitherto the flower of mismanageto write. Oh Heaven, in West-Indian matters, ment among the nations; but what will this be to and in all manner of matters, it is so with us—a Negro Ireland, with pumpkins themselves fallen the more is the sorrow !
scarce like potatoes ? Imagination cannot fathom The West Indies, it appears, are short of labor; such an object ; the belly of Chaos never held the as indeed is very conceivable in those circum- like. The human mind, in its wide wanderings, stances. Where a black man, by working half an has not dreampt yet of such a "freedom” as that
* Does any reader now remember it? A cloudy remi- will be. Towards that, if Exeter Hall and sciniscence of some such thing, and of noise in the news-ence of supply and demand are to continue our papers upon it, remains with us—fast hastening to aboli- guides in the matter, we are daily travelling, and iion for every man.
even struggling, with loans of half a million and, be; but has an indisputable and perpetual right such-like, lo accelerate ourselves.
to be compelled, by the real proprietors of said Truly, my philanthropic friends, Exeter Hall land, to do competent work for his living. This philanthropy is wonderful ; and the social science is the everlasting duty of all men, black or white, -not a “gay science," but a rueful—which finds who are born into this world. To do competent the secret of this universe in " supply and de- work, to Jabor honestly according to the ability mand," and reduces the duty of human governors given them ; for that, and for no other purpose, to that of letting men alone, is also wonderful. was each one of us sent into this world ; and woe
gay science,” I should say, like some we is to every man who, by friend or by fue, is prehave heard of; no, a dreary, desolate, and in- vented from fulfilling this the end of his being. deed quite abject and distressing one ; what we That is the “unhappy” lot; lot equally unhappy might call, by way of eminence, the dismal sci-cannot otherwise be provided for man. Whatsoence. These iwo, Exeter Hall Philanthropy and ever prohibits or prevents a man from this his sathe Dismal Science, led by any sacred cause of black cred appointment to labor while he lives on earth emancipation, or the like, to fall in love and make -hal, I say, is the man's deadliest enemy; and a wedding of it-will give birth to progenies and all men are called upon to do what is in their prodigies ; dark, extensive moon-calves, unname- power or opportunity towards delivering him from able abortions, wide-coiled monstrosities, such as it. If it be his own indolence that prevents and the world has not seen hitherto !
prohibits him, then his own indolence is the eneIn fact, it will behove us of this English nation my he must be delivered from ; and the first to overhaul our West Indian procedure from top right" he has—poor indolent blockhead, black to bottom; and to ascertain a little better what it or white—is, that every unprohibited man, whatis that fact and nature demand of us, and what only soever wiser, more industrious person may be passExeter Hall wedded to the Dismal Science de ing that way, shall endeavor to " emancipate” him mands. To the former set of demands we will from his indolence, and by some wise means, as I endeavor, at our peril--and worse peril than our said, compel him to do the work he is fit for. purse's, at our soul's peril—to give all obedience. This is the eternal law of nature for a man, my To the latter we will very frequently demur; and beneficent Exeter Hall friends ; this, that he shall try if we cannot stop short where they contradict be permitted, encouraged, and, if need be, comthe former; and especially before arriving at the pelled to do what work the Maker of him has black throat of ruin, whither they appear to be intended by the making of him for this world. leading us. Alas, in many other provinces be- Not that he should eat pumpkin with never such sides the West Indian, that unhappy wedlock of felicity in the West India Islands is, or can be, the Philanthropic Liberalism and the Dismal Science blessedness of our black friend; but that he should has engendered such all-enveloping delusions, of do useful work ihere, according as the gists have the moon-call sort; and wronght huge woe for been bestowed on him for that. And his own us, and for the poor civilized world, in these days ! happiness, and that of others around him, will And sore will be the battle with said moon-calves; alone be possible by his and their getting into such and terrible the struggle to return out of our delu- a relation that this can be permitted him, and in sions, floating rapidly on which, not the West case of need that this can be compelled him. I Indies alone, but Europe generally, is nearing the beg you to understand this ; for you seem to have Niagara Falls. (Here various persons, in an ag- a little forgotten it, and there lie a thousand inferitated manner, with an air of indignation, left the ences in it, not quite useless for Exeter Hall, at room; especially one very tall gentleman in white present. The idle black man in the West Indies trousers, whose boots creaked much. The president, had not long since the right, and will again under in a resolved voice, with a look of official rigor, what better form, if it please Heaven, have the right ever his own private feelings might be, enjoined, “Si-(actually the first “ right of man” for an indolent lence! Silence !” The meeting again sat motionless. person) to be compelled to work as he was fit, and
My philanthropic friends, can you discern no to do the Maker's will, who had constructed him fixed headlands in this wide-weltering deluge of with such and such prefigurements of capability. benevolent twaddle and revolutionary grape-shot And I incessantly pray Heaven, all men, the that has burst forth on us; no sure bearings at whitest alike and the blackest, the richest and the all ? Fact and Nature, it seems to me, say a few poorest, in other regions of the world, had attained words to us, if happily we have still an ear for precisely the same right, the divine right of being fact and nature. Let us listen a little, and try. compelled (if “permitted” will not answer) to do
And first, with regard to the West Indies, it what work they are appointed for, and not to go may be laid down as a principle, which no elo- idle another minute, in a life so short! Alas, we quence in Exeter Hall, or Westminster Hall, or had then a perfect world! and the millennium, elsewhere, can invalidate or hide, except for a and true “ organization of labor,” and reign of short time only, that no black man, who will not complete blessedness, for all workers and men, work according to what ability the gods have had then arrived—which, in these our own poor given him for working, has the smallest right to districts of the planet, as we all lanient to know, eat pumpkin, or to any fraction of land that will it is very far from having yet done. grow pumpkin, however plentiful such land may Let me suggest another consideration withal, West India Islands, still full of waste fertility, them, they were as if not yet created their noble produce abundant pumpkins; pumpkins, however, elements of cinnamon, sugar, coffee, pepper
black you will please to observe, are not the sole requi- and gray, lying all asleep, waiting the white Ensite for human well-being. No; for a pig they chanter who should say 10 them, Awake! Till are the one thing needful--but for a man, they are the end of human history and the sounding of the only the first of several things needful. And trump of doom, they might have lain so, had now, as to the right of chief management in cul- Quashee and the like of him been the only artists tivating those West India lands ; as to the “ right in the game. Swamps, fever-jungles, man-eating of property" so called, and of doing what you Caribs, rattle-snakes, and reeking waste and putrelike with your own. The question is abstruse faction—this had been the produce of them under enough. Who it may be that has a right to the incompetent Caribal (what we call cannibal) raise pumpkins and other produce on those islands, possessors till that time; and Quashee knows, perhaps none can, except temporarily, decide. himself, whether ever he could have introduced The islands are good withal for pepper, for sugar, an improvement. Him, had he by a miraculous for sago, arrowroot, for coffee, perhaps for cinna- chance been wasted thither, the Caribals would mon and precious spices—things far nobler than have eaten, rolling him as a fat morsel under their pumpkins, and leading towards commerces, arts, tongue; for him, till the sounding of the trump politics, and social developments, which alone are of doom, the rattle-snakes and savageries would the nuble product, wheremen (and not pigs with have held on their way. It was not he, then ; it pumpkins) are the parties concerned ! Well, all was another than he ! Never by art of his could this fruit, too, fruit spicy and commercial, fruit one pumpkin have grown there to solace any huspiritual and celestial, so far beyond the merely man throat;. nothing but savagery and reeking pumpkinish and grossly terene, lies in the West putrefaction could have grown there.
These plenIndia lands; and the ultimate" proprietorship" tiful pumpkins I say, therefore, are not his; no, of them-why, I suppose, it will vest in him who they are another's; they are his only under concan the best educe from them whatever of noble ditions—conditions which Exeter Hall, for the produce they were created fit for yielding. He, I present, has forgotten ; but which Nature and the compute, is the real “ Vicegerent of the Maker”'Eternal Powers have by no manner of means forthere ; in him, better and better chosen, and not gotten, but do at all moments keep in mind ; and, in another, is the property" vested by decree of at the right moment, will, with the due impresHeaven's chancery itself!
siveness, perhaps in rather a terrible manner, Up to this time it is the Saxon British mainly; bring again to our mind also ! they hitherto have cultivated with some manful- If Quashee will not honestly aid in bringing ness ; and when a manfuller class of cultivators, ont those sugars, cinnamons, and nobler products stronger, worthier to have such land, abler to of the West Indian Islands, for the benefit of all bring fruit from it, shall make their appearance, mankind, then I say neither will the powers perthey, doubt it not, by fortune of war and other mit Quashee 10 continue growing pumpkins there confused negotiation and vicissitude, will be de- for his own lazy benefit ; but will sheer him out, clared by Nature and Fact to be the worthier, and by and by, like a lazy gourd overshad
ing rich will become proprietors-perhaps also only for a ground ; him and all that partake with him-pertime. That is the law, I take it; ultimate, haps in a very terrible manner. For, under favor supreme, for all lands in all countries under this of Exeter Hall, the “ terrible manner" is not yet sky. The one perfect eternal proprietor is the quite extinct with the destinies in this universe; Maker who created them; the temporary better or nor will it quite cease, I apprehend, for sost sawworse proprietor is he whom the Maker has sent der or philanthropic stump-oratory now or henceon that inission ; he who the best hitherto can forth. No; the gods wish, besides pumpkins, educe from said lands the beneficent gifts the that spices and valuable products be grown in Maker endowed them with ; or, which is but an- their West Indies ; thus much they have declared other definition of the same person, he who leads in so making the West Indies :-infinitely more hitherto the manfullest life on that bit of soil, they wish, that manful industrious ren occupy doing better than another yet found can do, the their West Indies, not indolent two-legged cattle, Eternal Purpose and Supreme Will there. however “ happy' over their abundant pumpkins !
And now observe, my friends, it was not Black Both these things, we may be assured, the immorQuashee, or those he represents, that made those tal gods have decided upon, passed their eternal West India Islands what they are, or can by any act of parliament for; and both of them, though hypothesis be considered to have the right of grow- all terrestrial parliaments and entities oppose it ing pumpkins there. For countless ages, since to the death, shall be done. Quashee, if he will they first mounted oozy on the back of earth- not help in bringing out the spices, will get himquakes, from their dark bed in the ocean deeps, and self made a slave again, (which state will be a reeking saluted the tropical sun, and ever onwards little less ugly than his present one,) and with till the European white man first saw them some beneficent whip, since other methods avail not, three short centuries ago, those islands had pro- will be compelled to work. Or, alas, let him duced mere jungle, savagery, poison-reptiles, and look across to Haiti, and trace a far sterner prophswamp-malaria ; till the white European first saw ecy! Let him, by his ugliness, idleness, rebellion, banish all white men from the West Indies, sion and fated turn of the wheel—brought about and make it all one Haiti—with little or no sugar these present confusions. Fair towards Britain it growing, black Peter exterminating black Paul, will be, that Quashee give work for privilege tu and, where a garden of the Hesperides might be, grow pumpkins. Not a pumpkin, Quashee, not nothing but a tropical dog-kennel and pestiferous a square yard of soil, till you agree to do the jungle-does he think that will forever continue state so many days of service. Annually that pleasant to gods and men? I see men, the rose- soil will grow you pumpkins; but annually also pink cant all peeled away from them, land one without fail shall you, for the owner thereof, do day on those black coasts ; men sent by the laws your appointed days of labor. The state has of this universe, and the inexorable course of plenty of waste soil ; but the state will religiously things ; men hungry for gold, remorseless, fierce as give you none of it on other terms. The state old Buccaneers were ;—and a doom for Quashee wants sugar from these islands, and means to which I had rather not contemplate! The gods have it; wants virtuous industry in these islands, are long-suffering ; but the law from the begin- and must have it. The state demands of you ning was, He that will not work shall perish from such service as will bring these results, this latter the earth, and the patience of the gods has limits! result which includes all. Not a black Ireland,
Before the West Indies could grow a pumpkin by immigration, and boundless black supply for for any negro, how much European heroism had the demand ; not that-may the gods forbid !to spend itself in obscure battle ; to sink, in mor- but a regulated West Indies, with black working tal agony, before the jungles, the putrescences population in adequate numbers ; all “ happy," and waste savageries could become arable, and the if they find it possible ; and not entirely unbeaudevils be in some measure chained there! The tiful to gods and men, which latter result they West Indies grow pine-apples, and sweet fruits, must find possible! All " happy” enough ; that and spices; we hope they will one day grow is to say, all working according to the faculty beautiful heroic human lives too, which is surely they have got, making a little more divine this the ultimate object they were made for : beautiful earth which the gods have given them. Is there souls and brave; sages, poets, what not; making any other" happiness”-if it be not that of pigs the earth nobler round them, as their kindred from fattening daily to the slaughter? So will the of old have been doing ; true “splinters of the state speak by and by. old Harz Rock;" heroic white men, worthy to be Any poor idle black man, any idle white man, called old Saxons, browned with a mahogany tint rich or poor, is a mere eye-sorrow to the state ; a in those new climates and conditions. But under perpetual blister on the skin of the state. The the soil of Jamaica, before it could even produce state is taking measures, some of them rather spices or any pumpkin, the bones of many thou- extensive in Europe at this very time, and already, sand British men had to be laid. Brave Colonel as in Paris, Berlin, and elsewhere, rather tremenFortescue, brave Colonel Sedgwick, brave Colonel dous measures, to get its rich white men set to Brayne—the dust of many thousand strong old work ; for, alas, they also have long sat negroEnglish hearts lies there ; worn down swistly in like up to the ears in pumpkin, regardless of frightful travail, chaining the devils which were “ work," and of a world all going to waste for manifold. Heroic Blake contributed a bit of his their idleness ! Extensive measures, I say; and life to that Jamaica. A bit of the great Protec- already (as, in all European lands, this scandalous tor's own life lies there; beneath those pumpkins year of street-barricades and fugitive sham-kings lies a bit of the life that was Oliver Cromwell's. exhibits) tremendous measures ; for the thing is How the great Protector would have rejoiced to instant to be done. think that all this was to issue in growing pump- The thing must be done everywhere ; must is kins to keep Quashee in a comfortably idle condi- the word. Only it is so terribly difficult to do ; tion! No; that is not the ultimate issue ; not and will take generations yet, this of getting our that.
rich European white men set to work !" But The West Indian whites, so soon as this bewil- yours in the West Indies, my obscure black derment of philanthropic and other jargon abates friends, your work, and the getting of you set to from them, and their poor eyes get to discern a it, is a simple affair; and by diligence, the West little what the facts are and what the laws are, Indian legislatures, and royal governors, setting will strike into another course, I apprehend! I their faces fairly to the problem, will get it done. apprehend they will, as a preliminary, resolutely You are not “slaves " now ; nor do I wish, if it refuse to permit the black man any privilege what can be avoided, to see you slaves again : bui deever of pumpkins till he agree for work in return. cidedly you will have to be servants to those that Not a square inch of soil in those fruitful isles, are born wiser than you, that are born Jords of purchased by British blood, shall any black man you—servants to the whites, is they are (as what hold to grow pumpkins for him, except on terms mortal can doubt they are ?) born wiser than you. that are fair towards Britain. Fair ; see that That, you may depend on it, my obscure black they be not unfair, not towards ourselves, and still friends, is and was always the law of the world, more, not towards him. For injustice is forever for you and for all men : to be servants, the more accursed : and precisely our unfairness towards foolish of us to the more wise ; and only sorrow, the enslaved black man has—by inevitable revul- futility and disappointment will betide both, till