Page images
PDF
EPUB

sas, and Louisiana and Alabama, we have of the obligations of the convention to im. no information.

part the Gospel to the negroes, and their “ 2. The Methodist Episcopal Church.- determination to do so by every means in This branch of the church of Christ, has their power. The convention recomadvanced beyond all others in direct and mended both pastors and private members well sustained efforts in the colored field. to engage in the work immediately and It is the only denomination which fur- efficiently. We feel assured that the exnishes statistical information respecting its ample of this convention will be followed colored membership and missionary efforts by the conventions of the other states. for that class of our population. The At the late convention in Augusta, Georpresent number of colored communicants gia, made up of delegates from all the can not be less than 160,000 in the slave. slave-holding states, for the purpose of holding states. Besides the attention paid separating from the northern portion ofthat by the traveling and local preachers to church, very special mention was made of the negroes in their regular ministrations, the negroes in the South, as a field for there are between 80 and 90 missionaries missionary labor, and claiming the attento them, who have under their charge tion of the church in its new organization. over 18,000 church members, and 100,- This augurs well for the negroes in the 000 attendants on their services. Over Baptist church, South. 1,000 negroes are in connection with the "4. The Presbyterian Church.-The Methodist church in Texas. The South movement in this church, in favor of the Carolina Conference has sixteen missions religious instruction of the negroes, for the to the negroes; the Georgia Conference- last ten years, has been gradual, and for twelve; Tennessee-five; Alabama- two years past, rapid and extensive : more seven; Memphis-nine; Arkansas-one; so than in any previous years within our Mississippi--seven;

North Carolina- recollection : and, as a consequence, mintwo; Virginia-two. The catechising of isters and churches are doing more than the children and youth is a prominent part ever towards the evangelization of this of their labor. Dr. Capers' catechism, people. We have not space to set down prepared expressly for the purpose, is ex- at large the notices of labor among the netensively used; 4,380 children are cate. groes, in the narratives on the state of rechised in the missions of the S. C. Con- ligion of the presbyteries and synods, and ference, and the expense of those missions the General Assembly: nor the resoluis over $11,000, annually.

tions and recommendations of presbyteries “3. The Baptist Church.We regret and synods on the subject. We notice a that we can not furnish any general in- growing interest and increasing efforts in formation of the feeling and efforts of this Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, denomination. The proportion of colored South Carolina, North Carolina, and Vir: to white members is greater in this church ginia, and Kentucky, and Tennessee. In than it is in the Methodist, although the all these states there are numbers of minisMethodist inay have in the aggregate a ters who devote a considerable portion of greater number. By a late return, the their time to the negroes, some acting alestimate of meinbers is 700,000; of this most as missionaries; while the number of number we set down one seventh as col. missionaries is increasing. We know of ored, that is, 100,000. There are many very many presbyteries in different parts of ministers who devote part of their time to the states just mentioned, every member of the negroes : we do not know the number

which is more or less engaged in the work. of missionaries exclusively devoted to There are three grand features which the them. Some associations are actively en- Presbyterian Church is endeavoring to gaged in the work. There are more col- make prominent in the religious instrucored licensed preachers and more colored tion of the negroes : first-10 unite the churches regularly organized, of this de- masters and servants in one charge, that nomination, than any, or all the other de- each class may receive its just proportion nominations put together. The Sunbury of ministerial labor : sccoud--to establish Association, for example, on the sea-board in all the churches Sabbath schools, and of Georgia, employs iwo wbite missiona- classes of instruction for children and ries to the negroes; has 4,444 colored 10 495 youth especially, and for adults also ; white members : seven colored churches; and to encourage such schools privately four ordained colored ministers; and one in households : and, third-to open the or more licensed to preach. Of the field as fast, and as far as possible, lo mis. 60,000 members in the state of Georgia, sionaries duly qualified and employed.” 45,000 are negroes.

The Alabama state convention of Baptists, at its meeting in We quote also the conclusion of Tuscaloosa, Nov. 1844, took up the subject the report. of the religious instruction of ihe negroes, with much solemnity and zeal. A com- Conclusion. The committee have mittee on the religious instruction of the now complied with the wishes of the negroes, presented resolutions, expressive meeting. Their report might have been

much more extended and much more mi. Jones. They both contain many nute in its detail, but they did not think it necessary. Brevity is desirable, and it important facts, valuable sugges. was sought.

tions, and earnest exhortations, on “The letters which have been address. the general subject of the religious ed to this meeting from the states of South instruction of the slaves; and manCarolina avd Georgia, breathe a spirit of ifest in their author, Mr. Jones, a true devotion to the cause, from the spirit of the world, and they re- high degree of true benevolence veal an amount of individual and long con- and self-denial. The tenth report tinued activity which has affected us with contains a history of the religious ters from other states, (which might have instruction of the slaves in the coun. been multiplied,) that ihere exisis much ty, from the first settlement of the of the same devotion and activity in them. county to the formation of the AsWe feel confident that if the voices of all sociation ; and also of “ the formathe friends of the religious instruction of the negroes could be heard, even as fully, tion of the Association, and of the from every slave-holding state, as has been progress of the work to the pres. from South Carolina, and the amount of ent hour.” It is on this account a their labors told, their voices would be as

document specially valuable. We the sound of many waters, and their mul. titude and their labors would exceed our

quote the following brief summary most sanguine expectations.

of the second part of this history. " In looking back for fifteen years, we rejoice with gratitude at the progress which

(1st. This Association has been in er. the work has made. The truth is not to istence fourteen years : and with the ex. be disguised. The leaven hid in three ception of three years, putting the whole measures of meal has been silently and time of my absence from the county topowerfully pervading the mass. 'From gether, in active operation near elecen Maryland to Texas, and from the Atlan- years. tic to the Ohio, the subject is spoken of;

“During this time it has accomplished the great duty is urged and acknowledged; much. Through its missionary, it has and feeling lives in action. What is pe- furnished to the negroes of the fifteenth culiarly a subject of gratitude is, that all district, embracing a population of over denominations of Christians are entering four thousand, regular preaching on the the field. It is wide enough for all. It

Sabbath at stations, so conveniently situa. lies at our own doors, and God in his provi- ted, as to bring the Gospel very nearly in dence and holy word, has laid the duty reach of all who chose to avail ihemselves upon us to cultivate it.

We can antici. of the privilege of hearing it."Tenth pate nothing but bis displeasure, if we Ann. Rep., p. 36. neglect it. Indeed, we look upon the religious instruction of the negroes, as the This seems to us a stronger state: great duty, and in the truest and best ment as to "regular preaching," sense, the fixed, the settled policy of the than the reported facts warrant. South. We believe God has so moved (and The ninth annual report says rewill continue so to move) upon the understandings and consciences of our Chris. specting preaching, our regular tian citizens, and so opened the door of stations at Newport, Midway, Sun. access to the negroes, and so demonstrated by his blessing his regard for the work, bury, and Pleasant Grove, have that we can never go back. The flood been supplied with preaching in the has fairly set in. Difficulties and obstruc- proportion of one Sabbath in three, tions we may encounter, but the stream

with the exception of Sunbury, will rise higher and bigher, and flow with a current that must sweep every thing

which, in consequence of the greataway before it. The work must go on. er destitution of the people around Let us look humbly and believingly to the that station, has been supplied once sustaining grace, wisdom and power of the in two weeks. You will perceive great God and our Redeemer, and all will be well."

that this is a greater amount of

preaching and of instruction than The two annual reports of the the negroes have ever before enjoyLiberty County Association, give ed in any one year, owing to the an account of the labor performed fact that the Rev. Mr. Law has deunder its direction, which has been voted one half of his time to this chiefly the missionary labor of Mr. work.” We think that preaching

[ocr errors]

one Sabbath in three, at four sta- inations of which they are members, tions, to a population of four thou have an interest in the subject. And sand scattered over a county, can this interest, once awakened, will hardly be called a supply of regu- not be permitted by Christian men lar preaching on the Sabbath. We to die or decrease. The Liberty call such a supply scanty, and such County Association deserve especial regular preaching rather irregular. credit. Their actual labor and its But we proceed with our quotation. results within their own county are

"It has established and kept in opera- of less importance than the influence tion three, and for a part of the time four of their example, their correspondlarge Sabbath schools for children and ence, and their publications, on the youth, in the instruction of which, adults, whole South. We assure the Chris. also, in considerable numbers have shared.

". It has maintained inquiry meetings tian brethren, of whatever name, for the aid of those who were in spiritual who are engaged in this humane and darkness or distress, and some hundreds benevolent work, of our sympathy have been assisted by them.

and “ It has pursued a system of plantation

We commend them

prayers. meetings, essential to ihe perfection of the to the sympathy and prayers of all work. These meetings have upheld reli- who love our Lord Jesus Christ and gion on the plantations, impressed the the souls for whom he died. careless, restrained the vicious, promoted the observance of the Lord's day, and in

Having given this general outline duced the attendance of old and young at of these labors, we invite distinct the house of God.

attention to several points. "It has published eight annual reports 1. This work of giving religious and three addresses which have been cir. culated throughout the United States, and

instruction to the slaves has made, conducted through its missionary, an ex- during the last ten or fifteen years, tensive correspondence.

a gradual and gratifying progress. Members of the Association, with a few brief interruptions, have kept in operation the statements which we quoted in our

This may be seen by comparing for the summer, year by year, at the summer retreats, three Sabbath schools for last number, in the review of Gov. adults and children, numbering in the Hammond's letters, from the address whole from two hundred and thirty 10 two hundred and filly attendants. Mem. of the Presbyterian Synod of Ken. bers also have made efforts to instruct their tucky in 1831, the report of the own people on their plantations, by means Presbyterian Synod of South Caro. of evening prayers and schools.''_ Tenth

lina and Georgia in 1834, and the Ann. Rep., pp. 36, 7.

essay

of Rev. Č. C. Jones. See pp. We heartily rejoice in the indica- 584, 5, 6.

6. In 1834 the Synod of tions which these documents furnish, South Carolina and Georgia testify that Christians of all denominations Thus: “ In the vast field extending are beginning to awake to the im- from an entire state beyond the Poperative and dreadfully neglected tomac to the Sabine river, and from duty of evangelizing their fellow. the Atlantic to the Ohio, there are, men, in their own communities, 10 the best of our knowledge, not whom the slave system has sunk twelve men exclusively devoted to the into acknowledged heathenism. The instruction of the negroes.” Now, fact of a Convention, like that in the Methodist Episcopal church Charleston, gathered from all Chris. alone has between eighty and nine. tian denominations, freely reporting ty missionaries to the negroes, on facis, discussing measures, and pub- that same field. In 1834, the Sy. lishing to the slaveholding communi. nod, to which we have referred, ties their conclusions and their ex. "venture the assertion that, of the hortations, is full of encouragement. whole number of ministers in the It is an evidence that the gentlemen slaveholding states, but a very small convened, and, to some extent, ihe portion pay any attention to them communities and Christian denom- (the negroes).” But now, accordVol. IV.

7

ing to the report of the Charleston cates the utility of free discussion, Convention, the ecclesiastical bodies and condemns lack of faith in the and authorities of the various Chris- salutary efficacy of out-spoken truth. tian denominations pay especial re- We need not remind our readers gard to the subject of their religious of the frequency, during the last instruction.

ten or fifteen years, of observations Mr. Jones says that when he be like these : “Better let the South gan his work in December, 1832, alone. This anti-slavery discussion as missionary of the Liberty County at the North has a disastrous effect Association, “ there were no prece. on the southern mind. It greatly dents in our country, to which I aggravates the already intolerable could look for encouragement and condition of the slaves. It is putting instruction.” The report of the back for years the amelioration and Charleston Convention testifies, di- removal of slavery. Especially does rectly and emphatically, to this fact it prevent the religious instruction of of progress.

" The movement in the slaves, and shut them from the this church, (the Presbyterian,) in fountain of life.” So frequent, so favor of the religious instruction of loud, and from so influential sources, the negroes, for the last ten years, has were these assertions, that, at one been gradual, and for two years time, they commanded, not unipast rapid and extensive." " In versal, but quite general, assent. looking back for fifteen years, we With mortification we acknowledge rejoice with gratitude at the progress that, at one period, we were among which the work has made. ... those who assented, and lost our What is peculiarly a subject of grat. faith in truth, even when fairly spoitude is, that all denominations of ken; though our assent was ever Christians are entering the field.” very reluctant and rather suspicious. The President of the Liberty Coun. We remember, that about half a ty Association, speaking of the work dozen years since, we asked a very in that county, says: “Thus has this intelligent and candid clergyman, work been for years gradually ad- a native and resident of the South, vancing. . . . Turning our eyes though educated at the North, whethbackwards some ten years, and con- er the anti-slavery discussion at the trasting the then existing state of North had done more harm than things among this class of people good at the South ?-whether it had with what it now is, who is not aggravated the unhappy condition of sensible of a great and important the slaves ? And we well remember change in their moral and religious the joy with which we heard his an. character?" This progress, in swer, which was virtually this : " It work second to none other in its in- has done more good than harm. It fluence to ameliorate and improve has on the whole benefited the the condition of the slaves, this slaves. Some, who were not strong. progress, so positively and amply ly predisposed to the amelioration evinced, is worthy of our gratitude of their condition, particularly by and joy. It also proves,

religious instruction, have withheld 2. That the very common assertion, their aid from measures adopted for that the anti-slavery discussion at that end. But the truly benevolent the North has rendered the condition have had their minds stirred up of the slaves worse than before, is to new exertion; and, indeed, the wholly gratuitous and groundless. whole South, sensitive to public opin

We invite distinct attention to this ion, have felt that the eye of the remark. We make it, not because world is upon them, and that they it vindicates this, or condemns that, are put upon their good behavior." class of men ; but because it vindi. Our unbelief in the beneficence of

a

northern discussion on this subject tion worthy of consideration—a ques. gladly fled, and has kept flying, till tion, the right answer to which may now it is quite out of sight, and we give wisdom for the future. Still, wonder at our former slowness of we fully admit the fact. We lament heart to believe. We rejoice in the the fact. We admit also that what. vindication of free anti-slavery dis- ever there has been of imprudence cussion, and in the condemnation of and error and wrath in the discuss. the common doubts and denials of ion, has done, not good, but harm. its beneficence, which the facts de. Yet we unhesitatingly assert that the clared in these southern reports un• northern anti-slavery discussion as equivocally furnish.

a whole, mingled as it may have We call distinct attention to the been with imprudence, and error, fact, which these southern brethren and wrath, has done good both at the state, that, the last ten or fifteen North and at the South ; and we years, the very years of the origin point, with grateful joy, to the facts and progress of the modern anti- which, by southern testimony, vinslavery discussion at the North, have dicate the assertion. been the years of the origin and grad- 3. While we hail with gratitude ual progress of organized and effic and pleasure the beginning of the cient efforts for the religious instruc- religious instruction of the slaves, tion of slaves. We call distinct at. we should remember that it is only tention to this fact, as a positive and a beginning ; that the great body unimpeachable denial of the asser- of the slaves are yet, virtually, tion, that the northern anti-slavery heathen. We should give our sym. discussion has made the condition pathy, and prayers, and, when prac. of the slaves worse than before. ticable, our efforts to their evanWe say to all conscientious doublers gelization, as to a work which is, of the utility of anti-slavery discuss. mainly, yet to be done. ion, Look at this fact; we say, es. On this point Mr. Jones observes pecially, to all ultra-conservative

“ While the duty of the religious inand lugubrious grumblers at anti

struction of the negroes is more distinctly slavery discussion, Look at this fact, and generally recognized in the South and throw away your unbelief in the

than it ever has been, and while a greater

amount of instruction is communicated force of truth. Have faith in truih,

than in any previous time in the history and in the God of truth. Believe of our country, and while we recognize in the beneficence of free discussion, with gratitude, a gradual advance in the and in the utility of truth out-spo.

whole country on the subject, yet let not

the friends of the cause abate their interken with kindness and fidelity. est or their efforts, but remember that

In saying this, we by no means compared with what ought to be done, and deny that there has been, in this as we trust in the good Providence of God, anti-slavery discussion, much of im.

is to be done, we are now seeing only the

day of small things--we are only seeing prudence, much of error, much of the cloud as large as a man's hand rising indiscriminate severity, much of the up from the sea. wrath that worketh not the righteous

There are immense districts of country ness of God. How much of this

in the southern states, in which no light

has penetrated on this subject, and ihe is to be ascribed to the ultra con- negroes are living and dying iv utter neg. servatives, who have denounced anti- lect and destitution of the means of grace. slavery discussion, who have seem

Their owners are little interested in the ed to lack anti-slavery feeling, and Gospel, hear it but seldom, and have yet

to learn that the spiritual interests of ihe have had more to say against abo. negroes are to be cared for. protected and litionists, than against slavery ; how cherished. They have yet to learn or at much is to be ascribed to that agen

least feel their own great responsibility to

God in this matter, and come up to the cy which makes men fanatics by

improvements in treatment, in labor and calling them fanatics, is a ques- in discipline which Christianity requires,

« PreviousContinue »