8 December 2005 - Thursday

The judgments of man and God

I ran across a scanned Confederate textbook today and thought I should share it. I'm quoting two portions here. Painful as the first quotation is, it's not exactly surprising; I recommend continuing through my second excerpt for the really interesting part.

The Geographical Reader, for the Dixie Children (Raleigh: Branson, Farrar & Co., Publishers, Biblical Recorder Print, 1863), by Mrs. M. B. Moore.

LESSON X: Races of Men

The men who inhabit the globe, are not all alike. Those in Europe and America are mostly white and are called the Caucasian race. This race is civilized, and is far above the others. They have schools and churches and live in fine style. They also generally have wise and good men for rulers, and a regular form of government. The women are treated with respect and tenderness, and in many cases their wish is law among their male friends.

2. There is a class of people who inhabit most of Asia which is of a yellow color. They are a quiet, plodding race, but when educated are sensible and shrewd. They have some books, and a regular form of government, but they are heathen; I mean by this that they worship images made of wood and stone. They do not know about Jesus. And yet they pray to those idols much oftener than we christians do to our Savior. This race is called the Mongolion. Missionaries have been sent to teach them about Jesus. When they every become converted, they hold fast their profession, and are not fickle like some races.

3. When the white people came to this country, they found a red or copper colored race. This people they named Indians, because they thought they had sailed west until they had come to India in Asia. They were tall, with long black hair, and high cheekbones. They went nearly naked, and were cruel, and warlike. They were good friends, but terrible enemies. They were governed by Chiefs, and had not books. The women performed most of the labor, and were called Squaws. This is called the American race. They now have books, schools and churches, and many of them learn about Jesus.

4. The African or negro race is found in Africa. They are slothful and vicious, but possess little cunning. They are very cruel to each other, and when they have want they sell their prisoners to the white people for slaves. They know nothing of Jesus, and the climate in Africa is so unhealthy that white men can scarcely go there to preach to them. The slaves who are found in America are in much better condition. They are better fed, better clothed, and better instructed than in their native country.

5. These people who are descendants of Ham the son of Noah; who was cursed because he did not treat his father with respect.--It was told him he should serve his brethren forever. That would seem a hard sentence but, it was probably done to show other children how wicked it was to treat their parents so. We can not tell how they came to be black, and have wool on their heads.

6. There is still another race called the Malay. They are black and have wool on their heads, but not like the African. They are very fierce and will die rather than be made slaves. They are also cunning and treacherous, and will have little dealings with white men. They eat the flesh of their enemies, and are called cannibals. They have killed several preachers who went away there to preach: but some of them have become christians.

7. Now, dear children, you have heard how miserable many of the human family are. If they knew about Jesus, they would be happy as you are. There are good men who are willing to go and teach them, but but they lack money to bear their expenses. Can not each of you give something to help send the gospel to the heathen.

That sort of thing was de rigueur, I suppose, in literature published "for the Dixie children" in 1863. But here's what took me by surprise:

Q. How do the Indians live?

A. By hunting and fishing.

Q. Where did they once live?

A. In all America.

Q. What has become of them?

A. The white people drove them away and took their lands.

Q. Are they all gone?

A. A few of them live in some places but do not seem much happy.

Q. Was it not wrong to drive them away and take their lands?

A. It was, and God will judge the white man for it.

Q. May not some of the wars we have had, have been such judgments?

A. Very likely.

| Posted by Wilson at 16:24 Central | TrackBack
| Report submitted to the Humanities Desk