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C. E. Seth to Frederick Douglass, March, 1848


Springfield, Mass.
March, 1848.

Friend Douglass:ー
On Sunday evening the 12th inst., Henry H. Garnet, delivered a lecture at the Town Hall, on the subject of "the Past and Present condition, and the future destiny of the colored race." He was favored with a respectable, intelligent and attentive audience. His lecture was a rich production of great effort and research. By his sound reasoning, substantiated by facts and testimonies, he wholly disposed of the ignorant and foolish idea, that the white man is mentally superior to the colored man, "in all cases and under all circumstances." He illustrated the fact, by quotations from Herodotus, regarding the Egyptians who where colored and had woolly hair, and proved to a demonstration, that the Anglo Saxons, borrowed their Arts, Sciences, &c., from that race. He referred to Solomon's beautiful Egyptian bride; and his song of devotion dedicated to his queen. He instanced from ancient history, the names of Terence, Cyprian, Hannibal, &c.; and a Toussaint L'Ouverture, Ogee, Dessaline, Christoph, Dumas, Placide, of modern date. The lecturer painted in glowing terms, the progress of the colored race, considering their present oppressed condition, their great exertions and perseverance notwithstanding the countless disadvantages and deprivations to which they are subjected, and urged them to press onward and upward, to regain that point of human greatness ー that high eminence, that has so distinguished and rendered the memory of those names illustrious. He spoke with much power and effect, of the early history of Slavery in the United States; of the landing of the 101 Puritans on dreary Plymouth rock, at the same period when a Dutch vessel landed 20 Africans at Jamestown. What an infamous coincidence! What discordant sounds! the notes of Liberty and the groans of Slavery simultaneously pealing on the air. He tore off the hellish mask of the Colonization Society; exposed its intrigues, and proved so as to convince even Mr. Clay, if he would but acknowledge the right of justice and the force of reason, that it is morally impossible for a society with principles so corrupt ever to succeed. He pictured the horrid means by which our progenitors had been stolen from their fatherland, and colonized into this country; the absurdity to attempt to colonize us back again to Africa. "If this is good for the colored man, is it not equally so for the white man?" The people of this country "of different natures, marvelously mixed," all would have to swell the tide of colonization. What a chaos! The colonization scheme, is nothing more nor less than prejudice "founded on injustice and perpetuated by folly," and hence it cannot succeed.
"There are some of our people," said the lecturer, " who cry out they have no countryーthey own no home." This he denounced as empty declamation. This is our count[r]y as much as it is that of any other race, both by birth and adoption; and it is a sickening complaint, that sometimes comes ringing in our ears, "We have no country ー we own no home!" Let us now rise by what moral means we may; throw off this spirit of despondency, and to a man, as far as it is our power, "agitate! agitate! agitate until the monster Slavery, is for ever annihilated, and our rights and immunities are guaranteed to us as citizens of this Republic." He also repudiated the party feuds and dissentions, too common among our people; said that some men have prostituted good talents for the purpose of kindling the fire of discord. Some who officiate at the temple, said to be dedicated to God, are idolaters to sectarianism; and some too, would draw a line of blood distinction and form factions upon the shallow basis of complexion. He was glad to know that the number of this class is small; and small as it is, he prayed that we may soon be able to write a cypher in its place. His remarks seemed to reach a Rev. Sir, who took from them inopportune issue, and "he hit what he aimed atーnothing."
I understood from Mr. Garnet, that it was his intention to publish his lecture soon. I trust he may. It is replete with facts and testimonies, of sterling worth, calculated to prove of inestimable benefit to the cause and advancement of humanity. He closed his discourse with the expression of a bright hope of the future destiny of the colored race. What fell from the lips of this eloquent orator, was enough to arouse and animate every oneーman and woman, to great exertions and action, to reach that pinnacle of human excellence waiting in store for us. Great men have come out of Egypt. Ethiopia shall yet stretch forth her hands, and produce "men on earth famous; in the grave illustrious; in the Heavens immortal!"
Yours for humanity.


Seth, C. E.




C. E. Seth to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: NS, 7 April 1848. Describes speech by Henry Highland Garnet.


This document was calendared in the published volume and has not been published in full before.


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