On Banjos and Pianos

Warren Chase, The Gist of Spiritualism: Viewed Scientifically, Philosophically, Religiously, Politically, and Socially. In a course of five lectures, delivered in Washington, D. C., January, 1865. (Boston: William White, 1865): 82-84

Miscegenation, after the first and second step is taken, does not seem so repugnant to most people; and where slavery prevailed, and the wide social gulf was kept up between the races, the mixture was far more common on the part of the white man and black woman, than in society where no slavery existed.  It is a statistical fact that the slaves increased faster in proportion to their numbers, than the free blacks in the same or other states, no doubt partly forced by the policy of owners; and if a young female negro would refuse to have children by a black slave, she would not often refuse it from a free white man, and the children would be equally slaves, even if the children of the owner.  But as the institution of slavery is about to be forever abolished in our country, and soon in every other, we may look for the unobstructed laws of nature and competition to have their effect in our country, and if they do, the negro will slowly but surely disappear from among our posterity in the United States; but he may inhabit for ages, or forever, the tropical regions of America and Africa, where the Caucasian has no occasion or capacity to live.  Neither left to himself, nor in mixed society and social competition, can the negro hold his even end of the chain of being, or the line of progress.  He may be a good soldier, but he will not be a good statesman—I speak of the race and the rule, and not of the exceptions, which are hardly enough to prove it.  He may be a good farmer, but he will not be a good mechanic; he may be a good fiddler, but he will not master the piano; he may dance well, but he will not climb well; he may count the cattle, but he will not count the stars; he may go to market with a wagon, but he will not go to market with a cargo; he may measure the distance to the city, but he will not measure the distance to Mars; he may survey the farm, but he will not survey the heavens; he may make a banjo, but he will not make a chronometer; he may make a preacher, but he will not make a philosopher; he may get the strongest and hardest kind of religion, and have it badly, but he will never be a philosophical Christian, or a scientific Pantheist.  Give him his equal right to land and life, and let him run his race in this world, and find his home in the next.  There can be no reasonable doubt that he will gradually recede from the northern towards the southern portion of the Union, and gradually die out on the shores of the Gulf, nor persecuted by the superior Caucasian, but by immutable laws of nature, beaten in the competitive conflict and struggle for advancement.

In government and religion the negro cannot compete in the race with us, nor adopt the forms that are adapted to us.  In all conflicts of races in miscegenation or combat, the weaker goes to the wall, and the strength that compels it is intellect as well as arm.  We may, therefore, count the negro out in the future of America, and unless he retires to his own dominions, and maintains his own nationality, like the swarm of human beings on the Pacific coast of Asia, he will disappear as a distinct race, after the Indian and the Esquimaux.  Neither emancipation, colonization, Christianity, or Spiritualism will save him, though the latter will, no doubt, make room for him in the other world.


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