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Daily Reading for March 14 • James Theodore Holly, Bishop of Haiti, and of the Dominican Republic, 1911 (transferred)

Notwithstanding the remarkable progress of philanthropic ideas and humanitarian feelings, during the last half century, among almost every nation and people throughout the habitable globe; yet the great mass of the Caucasian race still deem the negro as entirely destitute of those qualities, on which they selfishly predicate their own superiority. And we may add to this overwhelming class that cherish such self-complacent ideas of themselves, to the great prejudice of the negro, a large quota also of that small portion of the white race, who profess to believe the truths, “That God is no respecter of persons”; and that “He has made of one blood, all the nations that dwell upon the face of the earth” . . . because too many of those pseudo-humanitarians have lurking in their heart of hearts, a secret infidelity in regard to the real equality of the black man, which is ever ready to manifest its concealed sting, when the full and unequivocal recognition of the negro, in all respects, is pressed home upon their hearts. . . . This sentiment unnerves their hands and palsies their tongue; and no pen is wielded or voice heard, among that race of men, which fearlessly and boldly places the negro side by side with the white man, as his equal in all respects. But to the contrary, every thing is done by the enemies of the negro race to vilify and debase them. And the result is, that many of the race themselves, are almost persuaded that they are a brood of inferior beings. . . .

These recollections are to be found in the history of the heroic events of the Revolution of Hayti. This revolution is one of the noblest, grandest, and most justifiable outbursts against tyrannical oppression that is recorded on the pages of the world’s history. A race of almost dehumanized men—made so by an oppressive slavery of three centuries—arose from their slumber of ages, and redressed their own unparalleled wrongs with a terrible hand in the name of God and humanity. In this terrible struggle for liberty, the Lord of Hosts directed their arms to be the instruments of His judgment on their oppressors, as the recompense of His violated law of love between man and his fellow, which these tyrants of the new world had been guilty of, in the centuries of blood, wrong, and oppression, which they had perpetrated on the negro race in that isle of the Caribbean Sea.

But aside from this great providential and religious view of this great movement, that we are always bound to seek for, in all human affairs, to see how they square with the mind of God, more especially if they relate to the destinies of nations and people;—the Haytian Revolution is also the grandest political event of this or any other age. In weighty causes, and wondrous and momentous features, it surpasses the American revolution, in an incomparable degree. The revolution of this country was only the revolt of a people already comparatively free, independent, and highly enlightened. Their greatest grievance was the imposition of three pence per pound tax on tea, by the mother country, without their consent. But the Haytian revolution was a revolt of an uneducated and menial class of slaves, against their tyrannical oppressors, who not only imposed an absolute tax on their unrequited labor, but also usurped their very bodies; and who would have been prompted by the brazen infidelity of the age then rampant, to dispute with the Almighty, the possession of the souls of these poor creatures, could such brazen effrontery have been of any avail, to have wrung more ill-gotten gain out of their victims to add to their worldly goods. . . .

Never before, in all the annals of the world’s history, did a nation of abject and chattel slaves arise in the terrific might of their resuscitated manhood, and regenerate, redeem, and disenthrall themselves: by taking their station at one gigantic bound, as an independent nation, among the sovereignties of the world.

From A Vindication of the Capacity of the Negro Race for Self-Government and Civilized Progress, as Demonstrated by Historical Events of the Haytian Revolution by James Theodore Holly, in a lecture given in New Haven, Connecticut on August 1, 1857 (New Haven, Conn.: William H. Stanley, 1857).

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