The Life, Experience, and Gospel Labours of the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen.
To Which is Annexed the Rise and Progress of
the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
Containing a Narrative of the Yellow Fever in the Year of Our Lord 1793:
With an Address to the People of Colour in the United States:
Allen, Richard, 1760-1831 (Snippet)
February, 1786, I came to Philadelphia. Preaching was given out for me at five o’clock in the morning at St. George’s Church. I strove to preach as well as I could, but it was a great cross to me; but the Lord was with me. We had a good time, and several souls were awakened, and were earnestly seeking redemption in the blood of Christ. I thought I would stop in Philadelphia a week or two. I preached at different places in the city. My labour was much blessed. I soon saw a large field open in seeking and instructing my African brethren, who had been a long forgotten people and few of them attended public worship. I preached in the commons, in Southwark, Northern Liberties, and wherever I could find an opening. I frequently preached twice a day, at 5 o’clock in the morning and in the evening, and it was not uncommon for me to preach from four to five times a day. I established prayer meetings; I raised a society in 1786 of forty-two members. I saw the necessity of erecting a place of worship for the coloured people. I proposed it to the most respectable people of colour in this city; but here I met with opposition. I had but three coloured brethren that united with me in erecting a place of worship–the Rev. Absalom Jones, William White, and Dorus Ginnings. These united with me as soon as it became public and known by the elder who was stationed in the city. The Rev. C– B– opposed the plan, and would not submit to any argument we could raise; but he was shortly removed from the charge. The Rev Mr. W– took the charge, and the Rev L– G– . Mr. W– was much opposed to an African church, and used very degrading and insulting language to us, to try and prevent us from going on. We all belonging to St. George’s church–Rev. Absalom Jones, William White and Dorus
Ginnings. We felt ourselves much cramped; but my dear Lord was with us, and we believed, if it was his will, the work would go on, and that we would be able to succeed in building the house of the Lord. We established prayer meetings and meetings of exhortation, and the Lord blessed our endeavours, and many souls were awakened; but the elder soon forbid us holding any such meetings; but we viewed the forlorn state of our coloured brethren, and that they were destitute of a place of worship. They were considered as a nuisance.
A number of us usually attended St. George’s Church in Fourth street; and when the coloured people began to get numerous in attending the church, they moved us from the seats we usually sat on, and placed us around the wall, and on Sabbath morning we went to church and the sexton stood at the door, and told us to go in the gallery. He told us to go, and we would see where to sit. We expected to take the seats over the ones we formerly occupied below, not knowing any better. We took those seats. Meeting had begun, and they were nearly done singing, and just as we got to the seats, the elder said, “let us pray.” We had not been long upon our knees before I heard considerable scuffling and low talking. I raised my head up and saw one of the trustees, H– M–, having hold of the Rev. Absalom Jones, pulling him up off of his knees, and saying, “You must get up–you must not kneel here.” Mr. Jones replied, “wait until prayer is over.” Mr. H– M– said “no, you must get up now, or I will call for aid and I force you away.” Mr. Jones said, “wait until prayer is over, and I will get up and trouble you no more.” With that he beckoned to one of the other trustees, Mr. L– S– to come to his assistance. He came, and went to William White to pull him up. By this time prayer was over, and we all went out of the church in a body, and they were no more plagued with us in the church. This raised a great excitement and inquiry among the citizens, in so much that I believe they were ashamed of their conduct. But my dear Lord was with us, and we were filled with fresh vigour to get a house erected to worship God in. Seeing our forlorn and distressed situation, many of the hearts of our citizens were moved to urge us forward; notwithstanding
we had subscribed largely towards finishing St. George’s Church, in building the gallery and laying new floors, and just as the house was made comfortable, we were turned out from enjoying the comforts of worshiping therein. We then hired a store room, and held worship by ourselves.
Snippet Notes on Virginia; Thomas Jefferson
To emancipate all slaves born after passing the act. The bill reported by the revisors does not itself contain this proposition; but an amendment containing it was prepared, to be offered to the legislature whenever the bill should be taken up, and further directing, that they should continue with their parents to a certain age, then be brought up, at the public expence, to tillage, arts or sciences, according to their geniusses, till the females should be eighteen, and the males twenty-one years of age, when they should be colonized to such place as the circumstances of the time should render most proper, sending them out with arms, implements of houshold and of the handicraft arts, feeds, pairs of the useful domestic animals, &c. to declare them a free and independant people, and extend to them our alliance and protection, till they shall have acquired strength; and to send vessels at the same time to other parts of the world for an equal number of white inhabitants; to induce whom to migrate hither, proper encouragements were to be proposed. It will probably be asked, Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expence of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race. — To these objections, which are political, may be added others, which are physical and moral. The first difference which strikes us is that of colour. Whether the black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the skin and scarf-skin, or in the scarf-skin itself; whether it proceeds from the colour of the blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature, and is as real as if its seat and cause were better known to us. And is this difference of no importance? Is it not the foundation of a greater or less share of beauty in the two races? Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less suffusions of colour in the one, preferable to that eternal monotony, which reigns in the countenances, that immoveable veil of black which covers all the emotions of the other race? Add to these, flowing hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, their own judgment in favour of the whites, declared by their preference of them, as uniformly as is the preference of the Oranootan for the black women over those of his own species.
The circumstance of superior beauty, is thought worthy attention in the propagation of our horses, dogs, and other domestic animals; why not in that of man? Besides those of colour, figure, and hair, there are other physical distinctions proving a difference of race. They have less hair on the face and body. They secrete less by the kidnies, and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odour. This greater degree of transpiration renders them more tolerant of heat, and less so of cold, than the whites. Perhaps too a difference of structure in the pulmonary apparatus, which a late ingenious (* 1) experimentalist has discovered to be the principal regulator of animal heat, may have disabled them from extricating, in the act of inspiration, so much of that fluid from the outer air, or obliged them in expiration, to part with more of it. They seem to require less sleep. A black, after hard labour through the day, will be induced by the slightest amusements to sit up till midnight, or later, though knowing he must be out with the first dawn of the morning. They are at least as brave, and more adventuresome. But this may perhaps proceed from a want of forethought, which prevents their seeing a danger till it be present. When present, they do not go through it with more coolness or steadiness than the whites. They are more ardent after their female: but love seems with them to be more an eager desire, than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation. Their griefs are transient. Those numberless afflictions, which render it doubtful whether heaven has given life to us in mercy or in wrath, are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them. In general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection.
To this must be ascribed their disposition to sleep when abstracted from their diversions, and unemployed in labour. An animal whose body is at rest, and who does not reflect, must be disposed to sleep of course. Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me, that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous. It would be unfair to follow them to Africa for this investigation. We will consider them here, on the same stage with the whites, and where the facts are not apocryphal on which a judgment is to be formed. It will be right to make great allowances for the difference of condition, of education, of conversation, of the sphere in which they move. Many millions of them have been brought to, and born in America. Most of them indeed have been confined to tillage, to their own homes, and their own society: yet many have been so situated, that they might have availed themselves of the conversation of their masters; many have been brought up to the handicraft arts, and from that circumstance have always been associated with the whites. Some have been liberally educated, and all have lived in countries where the arts and sciences are cultivated to a considerable degree, and have had before their eyes samples of the best works from abroad. The Indians, with no advantages of this kind, will often carve figures on their pipes not destitute of design and merit. They will crayon out an animal, a plant, or a country, so as to prove the existence of a germ in their minds which only wants cultivation. They astonish you with strokes of the most sublime oratory; such as prove their reason and sentiment strong, their imagination glowing and elevated. But never yet could I find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration; never see even an elementary trait of painting or sculpture.
In music they are more generally gifted than the whites with accurate ears for tune and time, and they have been found capable of imagining a small catch (* 2). Whether they will be equal to the composition of a more extensive run of melody, or of complicated harmony, is yet to be proved. Misery is often the parent of the most affecting touches in poetry. — Among the blacks is misery enough, God knows, but no poetry. Love is the peculiar ;oestrum of the poet. Their love is ardent, but it kindles the senses only, not the imagination. Religion indeed has produced a Phyllis Whately; but it could not produce a poet. The compositions published under her name are below the dignity of criticism. The heroes of the Dunciad are to her, as Hercules to the author of that poem. Ignatius Sancho has approached nearer to merit in composition; yet his letters do more honour to the heart than the head. They breathe the purest effusions of friendship and general philanthropy, and shew how great a degree of the latter may be compounded with strong religious zeal. He is often happy in the turn of his compliments, and his stile is easy and familiar, except when he affects a Shandean fabrication of words. But his imagination is wild and extravagant, escapes incessantly from every restraint of reason and taste, and, in the course of its vagaries, leaves a tract of thought as incoherent and eccentric, as is the course of a meteor through the sky. His subjects should often have led him to a process of sober reasoning: yet we find him always substituting sentiment for demonstration.
Upon the whole, though we admit him to the first place among those of his own colour who have presented themselves to the public judgment, yet when we compare him with the writers of the race among whom he lived, and particularly with the epistolary class, in which he has taken his own stand, we are compelled to enroll him at the bottom of the column. This criticism supposes the letters published under his name to be genuine, and to have received amendment from no other hand; points which would not be of easy investigation. The improvement of the blacks in body and mind, in the first instance of their mixture with the whites, has been observed by every one, and proves that their inferiority is not the effect merely of their condition of life. We know that among the Romans, about the Augustan age especially, the condition of their slaves was much more deplorable than that of the blacks on the continent of America. The two sexes were confined in separate apartments, because to raise a child cost the master more than to buy one. Cato, for a very restricted indulgence to his slaves in this particular, (* 3) took from them a certain price. But in this country the slaves multiply as fast as the free inhabitants. Their situation and manners place the commerce between the two sexes almost without restraint. — The same Cato, on a principle of ;oeconomy, always sold his sick and superannuated slaves.
Completing the Source Analysis Table
Richard Allen and Notes on Virginia Snippets
Your Source Analysis Table should be TYPED into the Word document (table) that is provided on Blackboard. If you have any questions about downloading the file or any other aspect of filling out the SAT, please email me.
Consider the questions below when filling in the cells. Do not use quotations; fill in the table in your own words.
* Who are they?
* Are they Christians? Males? How are women involved?
* What region are they in? What year did the events take place?
Role or place in Source:
* What are the actions of the individuals singled out?
* How do you feel about these actions?
* Can you see another viewpoint to that is different to what you think that is balanced?
* What can be implied from both readings?
* What is taking place during the time that both works were written?
Completing the Response Paper
This response paper is the first one which you will write in this course that will be a formal essay. In your essay, you will answer this question:
Are both documents motivated by the desire to create separation between black people and white people or is there another motivation?
Your paper will have at least three paragraphs. Feel free to write a fourth paragraph if it helps better answer the question. I have laid out the specifications for each one below:
Introduction: In the first one, you will introduce your reader to the topic at hand by discussing how significant race was in shaping American culture after the American Revolution. You may want to on gradual emancipation, what is written regarding black people in the Constitution, and the general trend of separation after the War of Independence. The paragraph should close with a thesis statement, which is a one-sentence answer to the question that the essay answers. Minimum length for this paragraph should be five sentences.
Plantation Slavery/Physiognomy Background: In your second paragraph, you will explain what a reader needs to know about the pervasive or prevalence of racial slavery in the American colonies leading up to the period after the American Revolution. Here, you need to explain why separation would be necessary after the War. It needs to be clear that race was extremely important during the era in which these men drafted these documents. Minimum length: four sentences.
Answering the Question: In your third paragraph and any additional ones that you see as necessary, you will answer the main question concerning the motives behind these two documents. This paragraph and any subsequent ones should be at least five sentences in length each and begin with a topic sentence that, not only summarizes the point of the paragraph, but also ties the paragraph back to the thesis statement.
On this essay, you will not include a concluding paragraph as you usually would for a formal essay.
Your paper must be typed, double-spaced, with your name at the top of the first page. Each of your paragraphs must follow these rules:
• Except for the introductory paragraph, it must begin with a topic sentence that follows the specifications above.
• Except for the introductory paragraph, it must follow the evidence sandwich approach to tie the evidence to the topic sentence.
• It must be written entirely in your own words. USE NO QUOTATIONS.
• Every sentence should relate to the topic sentence.
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