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Full text of "The Johns Hopkins University studies in historical and political science"

PUBLIC LfBRARY 

FORT WAYNE & ALLEN CO., ^NO, 



GEN^ALC. 




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ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 




3 1833 01742 1113 



GENEALOGYl 
1973.006 
|J62 
.11 



JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES 



IN 



Historical and Political Science 

HERBERT B. ADAMS, Editor 



History is past Politics and Politics present History— 2<Veeman 



VOLUME XI 



LABOR, SLAYEET, AND 

' SELF-GOVERNMEI^T 






BALTIMORE 

The Johns Hopkins Pkess 

1893 



C'OPYKIGHT, 1S93, BY THE JOHNS HOPKINS PKESS. 



THE FBIEDENWALD CO., PRINTERS, 
BALTIMORE. 



"1J839 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

I. The Social Condition of Labor. By Dr. E. R. L. 

Gould, 9 

II. The World's Eepresentative Assemblies of To- 
day : a Study in Comparative Legislation. By 
Professor Edmund K. Alden, .... 51 

III-IV. The Negro in the District of Columbia. By Ed- 
ward Ingle, 99 

V-VI. Church and State in North Carolina. By Pro- 
fessor Stephen B, Weeks, 209 

VII-VIII. The Condition of the Western Farmer as illus- 
trated by the Economic History of a Nebraska 
Township. By Arthur Fisher Bentley, . . 285 

IX-X. History of Slavery in Connecticut. By Dr. B. C. 

Steiner, 377 

XI-XII. Local Government in the South and the South- 
west. By Professor Edward W. Bemis and 

others, 459 

Popular Election of United States Senators. By 
John Haynes, 547 



The Social Condition of Labor 



JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES 



IN 



Historical and Political Science 

HERBERT B. ADAMS, Editor 



History is past Politics and Politics present History.— F?ee»ian 



ELEVENTH SERIES 



The Social Condition of Labor 



By E, R. L. GOULD, Ph. D. 

Resident Lecturer on Social Science and Statistics, Johns Hopkins University 



baltimore 
The Johns Hopkins Press 

PUBLISHED MONTHLY 

Jaiiaary, 1S93. 



Copyright, 1893, bt The Johns Hopkins Pkkss. 



THE FEIEDENWALD CO., PRINTERS, 
BALTIMOKK. 



PREFACE 



It is strange that in an age when social questions chal- 
lenge so largely the tlioughts of men, little attention is paid 
to fact in comparison with dogma. We ought not to con- 
sider it a disparagement of theoretical principles to say that 
they have been pushed too far, the natural result being a 
threefold grouping of society: scholars preaching philo- 
sophical beatitudes, radical divisions caring for little else 
save immediate material ends, while between them lies the 
great conserving body, by no means unsympathetic, but very 
often inactive from having no clear conceptions of what 
ought to be done. By no means socialistic in my ways of 
thinking, I nevertheless feel that before prescribing ideals it 
behooves us first to know whetiier the environment is 
adjusted to their possible realization. 

Neither dogmatists nor agitators have any love for the 
statistician, for the simple reason that he disturbs the dream 
of the one and the occupation of the other. But I believe 
thoroughly that it is he who can find the key to most of 
the social problems of labor. His methods are the surest, 
as he devotes himself to the diagnosis of separate com- 
plaints instead of manufacturing universal cures. 

The United States Department of Labor, under the able 
direction of the Honorable Carroll D. Wright, may fairly 
claim the honor of having in its sixth and seventh annual 
reports presented a grouping of facts in a fuller, more 
scientific and more useful way than has ever been done 
before in relation to the social-economic position of indus- 
trial labor. As one who took so large a part in the carry- 
ing out of this work, I have attempted in the follomng 
pages to analyze the principal facts, and to compare results 



6 Preface. [6 

with the essential features of a moderately conceived social 
ideal. My chief aim has been to see comparatively how 
an ambitious, intelligent, well-living laboring class fares in 
economic competition. This question is a crucial one, for 
if a high standard of life begets superior force, intelligence 
and skill, these latter can be depended upon to perpetuate 
themselves, and their exercise to react alike to the benefit of 
employer and employed. 

The present paper, dealing as it does with questions of 
such broad international interest, has been presented to the 
"Academic des Sciences Morales et Politiques," and is pub- 
lished simultaneously in tlie transactions of that body, in 
" La Reforme Sociale," the " Jahrbiicher fiir National- 
oekonomie und Statistik," the " Contemporary Review," and 
the Johns Hopkins University Studies. The subject-matter 
has reference to the allied industries of coal, iron and steel. 
I hope soon to be able to follow it up with a study, on similar 
lines, of the textile branches of manufacture. The inquiry 
itself being somewhat of a novelty in Europe, a rather 
long introduction was necessary to explain its character and 
objects. While its omission would not have been felt by 
American readers, its incorporation did not seem out of 
place, in order that the scope and methods of the inves- 
tigation might be thoroughly understood. 

Johns Hopkins University, 

Baltimorf, Deceviber, 1892. 



CONTENTS. 



/. Introduction : 

(1) Absence of reliable information concerning the conditions 

of labor and industry in both the United States and 
Europe 9 

(2) In 1888 the Department of Labor requested by Congress 

to make a detailed investigation concerning the cost of 
living of laborers and the cost of production of staple 
articles of production in the United States and Europe. 9 

(3) A scientific basis for tariff legislation, based on the com- 

parative cost of production, first proposed a number of 
j^ears previously by Mr. Carroll D. Wright, the present 
Commissioner of Labor 10 

(4) The investigation by the Department of Labor was 

thoroughly non-partisan. The facts demanded by both 
parties 10-12 

(5) The first report includes the industries of Coal, Iron, 

Steel, etc., in the United States, Great Britain, France, 
Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg, and to a lesser 

extent, Italy and Spain 13 

A second report, not yet published, will deal with the 
textile industries in a similar way 13 

(6) Success of the investigation. Its character and scope — 13-14 

The Condition of Laborers in the United States and European 
Countries as shown by Family Budgets. 

/. A Consideration of Family Budgets by Industries and Nation- 
alities : 

1. Table I: Bituminous Coal Mining :— Family Budgets of 

Receipts and Expenditures 15 

Textual analysis of table 14-17 

2. Table II : Bituminous Coal Mining : — Average of Budgets 

of Groups composed of Five Miners each 18 

Textual analysis of table 17 

3. Table III : Bar Iron Manufacture : — Family Budgets of 

Receipts and Expenditures 19 

Textual analysis of table 20-21 

4. Table IV : Bar Iron Manufacture : — Average of Budgets of 

Groups composed of Five Puddlers each 22 

Textual analysis of table 21 

5. Table V : Steel Manufacture :— Family Budgets of Receipts 

and Expenditures 23 

//. A Comparison of Conditions in the United States and Europe: 
1. Table VI : The totals for the United States and Europe 

compared by industries 25 



8 Contents. [8 

Textual analysis of table — To what extent has a fair social 
standard of comfort been realized, as shown by : — 

[a] The support of the family by the unaided efforts of the 

husband 24-28 

[b] The expenditure for food. Prices of food in Europe 

and America compared 28-30 

[c] The expenditure for drink. Its proportion and relation 

to expenditure for rent 30 

[d] Savings : The true economic significance of savings 30-32 

///. A Consideration of the Foregoing as relating to a Normal 
Family : 

1. Definition of a normal family 32 

2. Table VII : Recapitulation of Budgets for Normal Families 

by Industries 32 

Analysis of table : 32 

IV. A Gonvparison of the Condition of Laborers by Nationalities 
in tJieir Native Country and in the United States : 

1. Table VIII : All Industries : — Family Budgets by Nation- 
alities in their Native Country and in the United States. 34 

Textual analysis of table 33-38 

The standard of comfort of the Native American surpassed 
by that of the Americanized Briton and German, but 
itself surpasses that of other nationalities 33 

The American standard quickly assumed by the trans- 
planted foreigners employed in these industries 35-36 

The Poles, Bohemians, Italians, etc., when drafted into 
industries, no exception to this rule 37-38 

The Cost of Production of Coal, Iron and Steel in the United 
States and Europe. 

1. The results of the investigation 38 

2. Table IX : Bessemer Pig Iron Manufacture.— Relation be- 

tween the earnings of workingmen, the labor cost and the 
total cost of production 39 

3. Table X : Bar Iron Manufacture. — Relation between the 

earnings of workingmen, the labor cost and the total cost 
of production 40 

4. Table XI: Steel Rails Manufacture.— Relation between the 

earnings of workingmen, the labor cost and the total cost 
of production 41 

5. Concluding Remarks 41-42 

A high labor cost not a necessary sequence of a high rate of 

wages.— The explanation : good w^ages are translated into 
better nourishment, greater strength, skill and efficiency : 
the American laborer himself largely the creator of his 
wages, through the standard of life which he has adopted. 
Industrial supremacy to those who earn the most and live 
the best 42 



THE SOCIAL CONDITION OF LABOR. 



For many years there have been, so far as the general 
public is concerned, both in Europe and America, exagger- 
ated ideas of the industrial conditions prevailing on the two 
continents. In the absence of reliable statistics, interested 
parties have been able to tell harrowing tales alike of the 
plutocratic American manufacturer and the European 
" pauper laborer " and be believed. 

Though thinking men have long been weary of exag- 
gerated statements, and private investigators have sought 
to learn the tmth, the field of comparative industrial sta- 
tistics is so vast, as well as so difficult to exploit at first 
hand, that results have necessarily been few. The meager- 
ness of exact knowledge, always recognized, was never, 
perhaps, more keenly felt than when in 1888 the Ways and 
Means Committee of the United States House of Represen- 
tatives undertook the revision of the tarifif. The effect of 
this was that Congress requested the Department of Labor, 
an organ of government whose functions are solely scien- 
tific, to investigate comprehensively and on a comparative 
basis the salient facts of industrial competition. The com- 
mission given, to quote the text was "to ascertain at as 
early a date as possible, and whenever industrial changes 
shall make it essential, the cost of producing articles at the 
time dutiable in the United States, in leading countries 
where such articles are produced, by fully specified units 
of production, and under a classification showing the differ- 
ent elements of cost or approximate cost of such articles 
of production, including the wages paid in such industries 
per day, week, month or year, or by the piece, and hours 



10 The Social Condition of Labor. [10 

employed per day, and the comparative cost of living and 
kind of living." One need hardly remark ■ that no other 
legislature has ever assigned to any agency the task of 
peering so deeply into the innermost recesses of industrial 
life. 

Mr. Carroll D. Wright, the Commissioner of Labor, 
some years ago wrote a pamphlet upon the scientific bases 
of tariff legislation, in which he developed the thesis that, 
admitting the protective principle, a tariff, to be fair and 
just to all parties, must be based upon the comparative cost 
of production in competing countries. This idea was not 
foreign to the tastes of Mr. Mills and his associates on the 
'Ways and Means Committee, and so it happily came about 
that the author of the plan was entrusted with its develop- 
ment. 

As there has been much misunderstanding in relation 
to this inquiry of the Department of Labor, I may be par- 
doned for offering a few words of explanation. In the first 
place, it was not at all a partisan expedient. The House 
of Representatives, by a unanimous vote-, and the Senate 
nearly with unanimity, asked that it be made, the majority 
in each branch of the legislature at that time being com- 
posed of different political parties. Neither was it animated 
by a sense of hostility to European industrial interests. 
Extravagant ideas had so long prevailed that there could be 
no harm in making the real truth known. Furthermore, 
reciprocal favors would be bestowed, since from the results 
each nation would learn its own industrial situation as well 
as the conditions under which it must compete. Thirdly, 
the inquiry would at least indicate whether the American 
tariff was laid solely in the interests of labor, and whether 
the manufacturer did not himself gain thereby. Lastly, 
and most important in the eyes of all who care less for 
individual advantage than for the welfare of the whole, it 
would dcnionstrate the comparative utility, purely from the 
economic standpoint, of laborers earning high or low wages, 
and maintaininsf different standards of life. 



11] The Social Condition of Labor. 11 

I cannot insist too strongly upon the scientific aims and 
non-partisaii character of the investigation. Absolutely no 
other motive than the desire to knov\r the facts dominated 
alike those who instigated and those who carried out 
the work. If the European manufacturer averred that he 
was the victim of unjust discrimination, he ought to be 
only too glad of an opportunity to expose the truth. To 
the American claiming that he was handicapped by the 
payment of higher waees. tli^t-o ' ' 

EEBATA. 
Unes,o.n,.3a„d.3. on pagenofVo,XI,No., (Gould's 

Social Condition of Labor) should read as follo»s . 

The workingman, so long told that the 

taHl^^i^r;^^ ror hi™, would he glad to -n iHt »e. 

really so. The interests of economic science 

prosperity and social justice would all he served 

^^ viio»_n.jseQ. 

Let me remark, in passing, that a tariff based strictly 
upon comparative costs of production is not considered, 
especially b} business men, an available scheme. It is 
evident that not only is it impossible to find a unit of com- 
parison between articles made of the same material but 
different in pattern, texture and weight, but also the costs 
of plain units of manufacture will vary according to fluc- 
tuations in the price of labor and of comm.odities. This 
is perfectly true, and was clearly understood by all who 
furthered the inquiry. It was never designed to erect 
either a fixed or sliding scale of tariff duties on all or a 
part of the articles scheduled. General industrial conditions, 
not special trade necessities, were the subjects of considera- 
tion. The social and economic welfare of the American 
laborer was the object most at heart, since the inquiry 
sought for facts to guide the legislator in his distribution 
of social justice. There was never a thought of being 
useful to the customs service in its control of invoices. I 



10 The Social Condition of Labor. [10 

employed per day, and the comparative cost of living and 
kind of living,-' One need hardly remark ' that no other 
legislature has ever assigned to any agency the task of 
peering so deeply into the innermost recesses of indu:;trial 
life. 

Mr. Carroll D, Wright, the Commissioner of Labor, 

some years ago wrote a pamphlet upon the scientific bases 

of tarifif legislation, in which he developed the thesis that, 

* * ■' - — .+--f^To nrinrinle. a tariff, to be fair and 



place, it was not at an a. pan.10.^. ^ 

of Representatives, by a unanimous vote^ and the Senate 
nearly with unanimity, asked that it be made, the majority 
in each branch of the legislature at that time being com- 
posed of different political parties. Neither was it animated 
by a sense of hostility to European industrial interests. 
Extravagant ideas had so long prevailed that there could be 
no harm in making the real truth known. Furthermore, 
reciprocal favors would be bestowed, since from the results 
each nation would learn its own industrial situation as well 
as the conditions under which it must compete. Thirdly, 
the inquiry would at least indicate whether the American 
tariff was laid solely in the interests of labor, and whether 
tlie manufacturer did not himself gain thereby. Lastly, 
and most important in the eyes of all who care less for 
individual advantage than for the w^elfare of the whole, it 
would demonstrate the comparative utility, purely from the 
economic standpoint, of laborers earning high or low wages, 
and maintaining: different standards of life. 



11] The Social Condition of Labor. 11 

I cannot insist too strong!}^ upon the scientific ainis and 
non-partisan character of the investigation. Absolutely no 
otlier motive than the desire to know the facts dominated 
alike those who instigated and those who carried out 
the work. If the European manufacturer averred that he 
was the victim of unjust discrimination, he ought to be 
only too glad of an opportunity to expose the truth. To 
the American claiming that he was handicapped by the 
payment of higher wages, there could exist no motive for 
concealment. The workingman, so long told that the 
really so. The interests of economic science, industrial 
really so. The interests of economic science, indur.trial 
prosperity and social justice would all be ser/ed. The 
character and attainments of the Commissioner of Labor 
and his principal associates offered a guarantee that the 
work would be impartially done, and the practice of the 
Department in so presenting information that its source 
cannot be recognized made sure that industrial or trade 
secrets would not be disclosed. 

Let me remark, in passing, that a tariff based strictly 
upon comparative costs of production is not considered, 
especially b}- business men, an available scheme. It is 
evident that not only is it impossible to find a unit of com- 
parison between articles made of the same material but 
different in pattern, texture and weight, but also the costs 
of plain units of manufacture will vary according to fluc- 
tuations in the price of labor and of comm.odities. This 
is perfectly true, and was clearly understood by all who 
furthered the inquiry. It was never designed to erect 
either a fixed or sliding scale of tariff duties on all or a 
part of the articles scheduled. General industrial conditions, 
not special trade necessities, were the subjects of considera- 
tion. The social and economic welfare of the American 
laborer was the object most at heart, since the inquiry 
sought for facts to guide the legislator in his distribution 
of social justice. There was never a thought of being 
useful to the customs service in its control of invoices. I 



12 The Social Condition of Labor. [12 

mention this to clear up a misconception which unfortu- 
nately gained credence on some parts of the Continent 
through the medium of newspapers which took absolutely 
no pains to verify their suspicions. Though this step mili- 
tated against the success of the work, it nevertheless caused 
an injustice to the country concerned, since in some 
instances the facts could only be obtained from places 
which I am morally convinced did not represent the most 
favorable conditions. For so unfortunate an incident, mis- 
conceived patriotism and mistaken zeal are alone respon- 
sible. 

In the latter part of 1888 a commission of six officials 
of the Department of Labor, over whom I had the honor 
to preside, commenced investigations in Em-ope. The 
field of operations was naturally the principal manufactur- 
ing countries, — Great Britain, France, Belgium, Germany 
and Switzerland, and in a lesser degree Luxembourg, 
Italy and Spain. Only the important industries of coal, iron, 
steel and glass and cotton, woolen, silk and linen textiles 
were included. Simple and standard units of manufacture, 
as for example a ton of steel rails of the same size and 
yards of cloths uniform in organization, texture and weight, 
which are made the world over, and about whose production 
trade secrets no longer exist, were the objects of inquiry. 
The greatest care was taken to secure homogeneity in the 
units, as otherwise a comparison of costs of production 
Vv'ould be misleading and valueless. 

As may readily be judged, it was not an easy matter to 
conduct the investigation, especially in Europe. American 
manufacturers have been so often approached by statistical 
agencies that they were naturally freer to respond. But 
in Europe, where the statistics of labor and industry have 
been far less developed, one could not, in the nature of 
things, expect a very general willingness to com.municate 
to foreigners information of so confidential a character. 
In the midst of the work the McKinley tarifif was 
imposed, a contingency which was entirely unforeseen at the 



13] The Social Condition of Lahor. 13 

outset, aggravating- the natural difficulties of the situation 
and becoming the root of much misunderstanding. I have 
already pointed out that there was absolutely no relation 
between the McKinley bill and our inquiry. Let me say, 
further, that no information whatever in regard to the 
textile industries was communicated from Europe before 
the measure became a law. The Com.missioner of Labor, 
at the request of the Senate Finance Committee, did make 
a preliminary report upon the cost of production of iron 
and steel, but, as is well known, the tariff on the most of 
such articles was either left untouched or was reduced. 
Nevertheless the idea got abroad in some quarters that 
ours was a spy service in the interest of the McKinley 
bill. 

In this connection it is a great pleasure for me to rec- 
ognize the fair-mindedness of "Le Temps." M. Francis 
de Pressense, as soon as the report came to his ears, 
addressed me a letter, stating that he would be glad to 
know the real objects of our mission. The salient parts 
of my reply were published, and the utility of such inquiries, 
not only to the United States, but to Europe, was com- 
mended by this enlightened journal. 

It is obvious that if the results of such an investigation 
are to be of any use, the hearty cooperation of a sufficient 
number of manufacturers must be enlisted. The Depart- 
ment of Labor may claim that such a condition has been 
fairly complied with. In regard to the first group of in- 
dustries, coal, iron and steel, with which the only volume 
now published deals, the Commissioner states that cost of 
production returns were received from 454 American and 
164 European establishments. Budgets of cost of living 
were secured from 2490 workmen employed in these in- 
dustries in America and 770 in Europe, while the wages 
of several thousand laborers, at least one-third of whom 
were European, were tabulated. So liberal were the 
responses from the two continents! Really representative 
facts were obtained for all important branches of these 



14 The Social Condition of Labor. [14 

industries, except from the American producers of steel rails, 
who, with one single exception, refused to state their cost 
of production. 

There can be no caviling as to the accuracy of the facts 
themselves. Statements on cost of production and tabu- 
lations of workmen's wages were taken directly from the 
account books and pay-rolls of the different establishments. 
The budgets of family income and expetises were gathered 
with all the care that that delicate and difficult branch of 
statistical work demands. Without entering too much into 
details, one may say that in those cases where the laborers 
did not keep books or deal at a cooperative store, we 
were often accompanied to the houses by a retired postman 
or policeman or some other person who was well ac- 
quainted with all the families and enjoyed their confidence. 
The tabulation of wages from the pay-rolls of the manu- 
facturer gave a control over the statements of the work- 
man as to his earnings, and it will be generally recognized 
by all who have themselves made personal investigations of 
this character, that if the truth is told about earnings, at 
least an honest attempt will be made to speak truly of 
expenses. The schedules of questions were so constructed 
that it was not difficult to detect, especially after a little 
experience, any material inaccuracy. 

With the understanding that the statistical bases have 
been broad enough in design and sufficiently thorough in 
execution, let us pass on to the results. These I shall pre- 
sent chiefly in the form of tabular statements, making only 
such textual observations as seem necessary to elucidate 
the figures. 

The number of families to whom the subsequent facts 
relate is first given. Next follows the average size of the 
family, the parents being included. The American family 
is the smallest; the English, Belgian, and German following 
in the order named. Proprietorship of homes is much 
more common in America than in Europe. The next 
column, taken in conjunction with the second, discloses a 



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16 The Social Condition of Labor. [16 

curious fact. The size of the habitation is in inverse pro- 
portion to the number in the family. 

Not only are the total earnings of the family highest in 
America, but the contribution of the husband thereto is 
both absolutely and relatively larger than elsewhere. 
There is not, however, so great a difference in the pro- 
portions, the Englishman being nearly equal, the Belgian 
9 per cent, and the German I2 per cent, less. 

A large share of the American's outgo is for rent. Here 
again both absolutely and relatively he occupies first place. 
For food his total expense is not quite so great as for his 
British confrere, but passes the Belgian and the German, 
who have much larger families. But he is able to nourish 
his family better on a far smaller proportion of his total 
expenses, viz., 45 per cent., as against 59 per cent, and 52 
per cent, respectively. 

As regards clothing. Great Britain presents the most 
favorable conditions. If we assume that reasonable neces- 
sities were fully complied with, but no extravagances 
indulged, then the American is most poorly off. He must 
spend 40 per cent, more to clothe a family of two fewer 
individuals than the German, for example. It must be 
remembered that there is not the same disparity in the price 
of clothing used by the workingman in the two continents 
as there is in that worn by the richer classes. The reason 
is that the former is largely of home manufacture and made 
up by the iwcated denizens of New York's miserable tene- 
ments. The clothes for the rich man are still generally 
imported and made into garments by trade-union labor. 

The American coal-laborer spends more on books and 
newspapers than his Eiu-opean fellow-workers, and less for 
alcoholic beverages than any except the German. In both 
of these respects is he in particularly marked contrast with 
the Belgian. Finally, in comparing expenses with revenue, 
we find the American less provident than any of the others. 
He puts aside 4^ per cent, of his income to the German 5J 
per cent., the Englishman y^ per cent., and the Belgian 13 
per cent. 



17] The Social Condition of Labor. 17 

The foregoing table refers to all classes of workmen in 
the coal industry. It may happen that there is a larger 
proportion of what may be called skilled laborers, /. e. fore- 
men, miners, enginemen, masons, etc., in some cases than 
in others. This is actually true, the proportion of such 
labor being 80 per cent, amongst the American families 
represented, 50 per cent, the English, 66 per cent, the Ger- 
man and 90 per cent, the Belgian. Some allowance must 
be made for this fact, though the influence is not so great 
as might appear at first sight. 

The general truth of the above statistics is strikingly 
verified by the following table, vvhich displays the average 
cost of living of five miners in each country. The selec- 
tions were made from those earning the highest wages in 
their respective countries. No very important divergence 
from results previously mentioned is manifest. 

A comparison of the earnings of coal-miners in America 
by nationalities offers some curious and, perhaps to many, 
unexpected results. The average income of 114 miners 
of American birth was $381.14 per annum. Forty-four 
British miners at home earned on the average $402.78 
annually, while 183 miners of British origin in the United 
States received $410.46 each. The figures for 11 German 
miners are $265.03 at home, and for 50 in the United 
States $444.83. The American coal-miner on his own soil 
is clearly at a disadvantage with British and German fellow- 
workmen, and even gets less than the British in their own 
island. To the German the change is especially marked. 
The figures, be it remembered, are for the heads of families, 
and do not in all, perhaps in the majority of cases, repre- 
sent the total income of the family. 

In addition to the foregoing facts, if we consider the 
further questions of hours of daily labor, sliding-scale pay- 
ments and stability of organization, one must feel con- 
vinced that the British miner at home is the best off. 
Obser\-ation as well as statistics have led me to this conclu- 
sion. 







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20 The Social Condition of Labor. [20 

Turning now to the manufacture of bar-iron, we have in 
Table III statistics on similar lines to those in Table I. 

Here, too, the average family is smaller in the United 
States than in any of the continental countries, and it is 
also better housed. Astonishing as it may seem, the size 
of the habitation varies again in an inverse ratio to the 
size of the family. Great Britain is not far behind the 
United States, while France, Belgium and Germany follow 
in the order named. The latter has the poorest accom- 
modation for the largest family. The husband in the 
United States earned yV^hs of the total income, and thus 
fulfilled that highest of social requirements of being able to 
support the family by his unaided elTort. British heads of 
families are nearly in the same condition, but in all 
the other countries such a contingency seems impossible 
for the average workman in the bar-iron industry. In 
Belgium, for example, only f ths came from the husband's 
wages. The rent column offers no important deviation. 
But it must be acknowledged that the American was 
obliged to spend far too large a proportion here. The 
American family appears to be better nourished than the 
others on a smaller relative expenditure. The amounts 
spent under this head in the different countries, taken 
together with the size of the families, and a table of prices 
of food which follows later, offer serious ground for 
reflection, especially to Continental statesmen. 

The figures for clothing seem to show an advantage for 
the British iron-worker, though the American has not spent 
a very much larger proportion. The American again 
leads the list in expenditure for books and newspapers. He 
spends more for drink in this case than any except the 
Frenchman, though proportionally his outgo is the 
smallest of all, — 3.7 per cent, to 4.4 per cent, to 5.1 per 
cent., to 5.2 per cent, and 11.7 per cent, respectively. 
Remark, in passing, an exceedingly unfortunate showing 
in the three continental countries. The Frenchman spent 
4 per cent, more for liquor than for house-rent, while in 



21] Tlie Social Condition of Labor. 21 

the case of Belgians and Germans the proportion of expen- 
diture was abnormally high. 

Naturally with a so much larger income the per cent. 
of earnings saved is greater in the case of the American. 
Next comes the Frenchman, then the Englishman and the 
Belgian. In Germany a majority of families were unable 
to make ends meet. I am far from saying that this rep- 
resents the average condition in that country. The locality 
whence these budgets were gathered is not industrially the 
best placed. More representative districts would have been 
chosen had not shortsighted views intervened to prevent 
the collection of data. 

The proportion of skilled to ordinary labor amongst the 
families represented was highest in Germany, 69 per cent., 
next in France 6y per cent., next in Belgium 60 per cent., 
then in America 57 per cent., and finally Great Britain with 
51 per cent. A study of the figures cannot scientifically 
be made without considering this fact, for naturally the higher 
the proportion of skilled labor the more favorable should 
the economic situation appear. However, the range of 
variation is not sufficient to vitiate the results, which are 
only confirmed by the following table, where homogeneity 
is secured. Groups of five puddlers belonging to the dif- 
ferent countries have been chosen quite at random, and their 
incomes and expenses averaged. 

The general conditions amongst steel-workers appear 
to be, broadly speaking, similar to those prevailing in the 
iron industry, only the American has not as great an advan- 
tage in the matter of earnings as before. This is probably 
due to the larger use of mechanical processes, which enables 
the manufacturer in the United States to dispense in a 
greater desrree with skilled labor. 







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24 The Social Condition of Labor. [24 

The proportion of skilled labor in the total from whom 
the above budgets were obtained is almost uniform in the 
three countries, viz., 40 per cent, in the United States and 
Great Britain and 43 per cent, in Germany. 

Having considered the social-economic position of 
workers in the coal, iron and steel industries in several 
countries, let us now by proper combination ascertain the 
average conditions prevailing on the two continents. Table 
VI is an attempt to do this. 

Broadly speaking, coal-mining presents the smallest 
and the manufacture of iron the greatest contrasts. Added 
to this table is one interesting element, viz., the proportion 
of families who subscribed to newspapers and bought books, 
and who drank liquor or smoked tobacco. For books and 
newspapers the proportion in America except for workers 
in coal mines is uniformly the highest, but as regards the 
use of liquor the lowest, save in the case of blast-furnace 
employes. A smaller number of families in Europe used 
tobacco. 

Forsaking for the moment the role of the statistician, and 
taking up that of the social philosopher, let us examine 
closely how nearly in these returns a moderately conceived 
social standard has been complied with. The fundamental 
condition of such a standard is that the earnings of the hus- 
band alone should be sufBcient to support the family. The 
wife ought never to be called away from the household if 
she have children. The desertion by mothers of the home 
for the factory is, I am convinced, a fundamental factor in 
modem social discontent. How can the needs of the hus- 
band be met and a proper moral instruction be given to 
the children under such circumstances? The public school 
can educate intellectually, but only indirectly morally. In 
the home the character is foniied, in the home the citizen 
is made, and there can be no proper homes whence mothers 
have been withdrawn. One may well wonder what this 
wholesale employment of women in industry Avill lead to 
in the course of a generation or so. It is difificult to see 



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Number. 



Proportion. 



Families entire- 
ly maintained 
by Earnings of 
Husband. 



If- J—- 

«0 05 



Total Earnings of Family. 



Earnings of Husband. 



CB05 
^'00 



Proportion of Earnings of 
Husband to Total Earnings 



«DI-> 

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Amount. 



Proportion. 



Amount. 



oco 



Proportion. 



Amount. 



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Proportion. 



Proportion 
Buying. 



Amount. 



Proportion. 






Proportion 
Using. 



Amount. 



Proportion. 



S"0 



Proportion 
C sing. 



Amount. 



tOl-' 

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Proportion. 



Total Expenditure. 



Amount. 



Proportion. 



Surplus. 



P o 

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26 The Social Condition of Labor. [26 

how young girls who never had any domestic training, and 
early went to work in factories, are going to make either 
acceptable hoiiseiuivcs or good mothers. It is not very 
reassuring to note that in the United States alone, and 
there only in two <:ases, viz., bar-iron and steel manufacture, 
was it possible for the husband unaided to support his 
family. In these instances, too, the margins are so small 
as to cause one to refrain from congratulation. If we 
further inquire how often the husband actually did 
support his family without help, we find the highest pro- 
portion in any industry to be 69 per cent. 

Any one who has had an opportunity to leani the real 
life of European laborers understands how much more 
thoroughly is there developed the sentiment of family soli- 
darity. The children remain longer with their parents than 
in America and contribute more to the general support. 
Not only are the absolute earnings of the husband smaller 
in Europe than in America, but the percentage of his con- 
tribution to the total income is also less. A failure to 
realize this fact is at the bottom of much misconception 
in the United States regarding the true condition of the 
European laborer. The family, not the individual, is the 
unit of society. Hence it is quite false to say, as political 
"pauper labor" conjurors are so fond of doing, that low 
wages to the husband must necessarily mean a correspond- 
ingly low standard of life to the family. The otherwise 
certain consequences of low earnings are in practice largely 
mitigated by the relatively higher economic contributions 
from other members of the family. While such a practice 
involves a regrettable loss of social opportunities, it permits 
the maintenance of the family on a higher plane than would 
first appear to those who judge merely from current rates 
of wages and take no account of national customs. 

The figures before us thoroughly justify the point of 
view I have been endeavoring to present. The average 
annual wages of workers in coal mines were 18 per cent, 
higher in America than in Europe, but the total earnings 



27] The Social Condition of Labor. 27 

of the family were but 13 per cent. more. So for the manu- 
facture of pig-iron, bar-iron and steel the respective figures 
are 46 per cent, for the husband and 33 per cent, for the 
family, 107 per cent, for the husband and yy per cent, for 
the family, 31 per cent, for the husband and 25 per cent, 
for the family higher in the New World, Such are the 
average conditions prevailing in Europe and America, but 
if we seek for the facts in relation to each separate nidustry 
under consideration we find the practice to be everywhere 
the same. For coal-workers the variations in earnings 
are for the individual 13 per cent, and for the family 11 
per cent, more in the United States than in Great Britain, 
41 per cent, more for the individual and but 29 per cent, 
more for the family than in Belgium, 66 per cent, more for 
the individual and 46 per cent, more for the family than in 
Germany. The manufacture of iron presents even more 
striking contrasts. The American individual workman 
gains 59 per cent, and his family 51 per cent, more than 
the British, 11 1 per cent, and 69 per cent, respectively 
greater than the French, 227 per cent, and 118 per cent, 
respectively more than the Belgian and 186 per cent, and 178 
per cent, respectively higher than the German, The steel 
industry, so far as the returns we are considering go, pre- 
sents the only exception to what I believe is a universal 
law. But this is unimportant, and easily accounted for by 
the caveat I have previously interposed as to the not quite 
representative conditions prevailing in the locality whence 
the statistics for German steel-workers were derived. The 
individual workman in America is, economically speaking, 
19 per cent, better off while his family is 13 per cent, better 
off than in Great Britain; the individual 149 per cent, and 
the family 165 per cent, better off than in Germany. 

From a comparative point of view the facts we have just 
been considering are of very great interest. But in their 
social aspect they represent at best a negative virtue. The 
greater collective effort which it is necessary to put forth 
in Europe to secure a good standard of life must be at the 



28 The Social Condition of Labor. [28 

expense, always intellectual, often physical, and sometimes 
also moral, of one or more of the individuals. Perhaps it 
is a rude awakening to many to learn that the true eco- 
nomic basis of a proper social existence is so generally 
wanting. Only in the United States, and there but for two 
of the six great divisions of coal-mining and iron and steel 
manufacturing, does it obtain. Let there be no mistake 
about this matter. I do not maintain that there are no 
families within these industries which are not kept solely 
by the economic efforts of the husband. To be sure, there 
are thousands of such, and they may be found in all coun- 
tries. The lesson to be learned from the figures is that 
when all occupations, skilled and unskilled, are grouped 
together within each specific industry, the average condi- 
tions fall far short of the ideal. 

A second element in a just social standard for an indus- 
trial laborer is food. We see from the double column 
wherein the figures are portrayed that in practically every 
instance the largest absolute but the smallest relative sum 
falls to the American. Does this mean that the family of 
the workingman in America is better nourished than 
abroad? I believe it does, and principally for two reasons. 
The family in the United States is smaller, and therefore 
with the largest sum of money spent the amount per capita 
is considerably greater. But does higher expenditure mean 
more food? We may answer affirmatively, because a 
greater quantity of the principal articles in a workingman's 
menu can be had for an ecjual amount of money in the 
New World. The Department was careful to collect infor- 
mation concerning the price of food concurrently with the 
budgets. From data furnished by the wives of working- 
men, which authority should be accepted as indisputable, 
we are able to make a statement of comparative prices. 

The price of bread does not show much difference except 
in France and Germany. But the kind and quality of 
flour used is by no means the same, so that to obtain an 
equal amount of nourishment a much larger sum must be 



29] The Social Condition of Lahor, 29 

spent in the Continental countries than in Great Britain and 
the United States. The average prices of the meats which 
find their way to the workingman's table, without reference 
to kind, figure out 23 per cent, more in Germany, 47 per 
cent, more in Belgium, 50 per cent, more in Great Britain 
and 52 per cent, more in France than in the United 
States. Potatoes cost 3 per cent, more in Great Britain, 
19 per cent, more in France than in the United States, 
but 30 per cent, and 50 per cent, respectively less in Bel- 
gium and Germany. Butter is 4 per cent, dearer in Great 
Britain, 9 per cent, dearer in Belgium, 22 per cent, dearer 
in Germany and 35 per cent, dearer in France than in the 
United States. Sugar in England is only half the price 
it was in the United States before 1890, but the same article 
is 19 per cent, more in Germany, 51 per cent, more in 
Belgium and 84 per cent, more in France. Cofifee costs 
13 per cent, more in Belgium, 19 per cent, more in Ger- 
many, 40 per cent, more in Great Britain and 67 per cent, 
more in France than in the United States. Lard and eggs 
form no exception to the general rule. It is impossible to 
escape the conclusion that with the prevailing prices of 
provisions so preponderatingly in favor of the American 
laborer, and seeing that his family is smaller, his larger 
absolute expenditure means unquestionably that he and his 
kind are better nourished. The encouraging part of it all 
is that the family is able thus to maintain itself at a smaller 
relative sacrifice. I am glad to say that my own experience 
accords perfectly with this statistical demonstration. 

Right here I cannot refrain from adding further testi- 
mony as the result of personal observation. The statement 
so often circulated in America that meat is the rarest of 
luxuries to the European industrial laborer is an absurd 
falsehood. The casual worker has, we all know, a hard 
enough time of it every\vhere, but it is not from his exi- 
gencies that we must fix a general standard. I am wQvy 
sure that the American nourishes himself and his family 
better, at a smaller relative cost than any European. But 



30 The Social Condition of Liibor. [30 

I am no less positive that those who suj^pose industrial 
laborers abroad to subsist generally on pauper's fare are 
most thoroughly mistaken. 

The columns in which expenditure for alcoholic drinks 
are exposed present facts for serious reflection. National 
pride will no doubt be flattered to learn that American 
families spend the smallest sums for this purpose. Not 
only so, but there must also be a smaller per capita con- 
sumption, since the prices of alcoholic drinks are higher in 
the New World. Still this is only a partial satisfaction. 
If Vx^e conceive that the American spends too much, the 
European, to whom the struggle for existence is keener, 
wastes more. It is a matter of grave public concern to 
learn that every year in that part of the labor world where 
the hardiest workers are found, tlie publican receives three- 
fifths as much as the landlord. In France and Belgium, I 
am sorry to say, the quota is higher still. 

I have noticed in the course of personal investigations a 
curious relation between expenditures for rent and alcoholic 
drinks. The economies which are necessary to indulge the 
appetite for spirits are almost invariably practised on the 
house accommodation. The figures in all the tables pre- 
sented generally corroborate this point of view. Who does 
not wish that the European laborer would flee the gin-cup, 
and with the resulting savings add two more rooms to his 
home, as he could then do? 

No doubt I should be held guilty by a certain class of 
economists if I passed by in silence the columns which 
show the comparative family surplus. Without depreciat- 
ing in the least the virtue of saving, one cannot but feel 
that it has been elevated into an importance far beyond 
its due. Not only is it inapplicable to all conditions, but 
when offered as a panacea for every social ill it is very apt 
to nauseate. How can a workingman, with a large family 
and restricted income, the creature of commercial vicissi- 
tudes and fluctuations of trade, create a fund large enough 
upon which to draw in times of emergency? We have seen 



31] Tlw Social Condition of Labor. 31 

that in the average instance he cannot alone give support. 
So if a surphis is to be built up it must be at the expense 
of some of the children. The savings shown in the various 
tables are quite respectable. Provided they could go on 
growing from year to year, they would constitute an ample 
insurance fund against want. But experience shows that 
periods of strikes, shut-downs, illness or misfortune soon 
dissipate the little pile. 

We must never consider wages apart from thrift and a 
standard of living. Where economic gains are small, sav- 
ings mean a relatively low plane of social existence. A 
parsimonious people are never progressive, neither are they, 
as a rule, industrially efficient. It is the man with many 
wants — not luxurious fancies, but real legitimate wants — 
who works hard to satisfy his aspirations, and* he it 
is who is worth hiring. Let economists still teach the 
utility, even the necessity, of saving, but let the sociologist 
as firmly insist that so far to practise economy as to pre- 
vent in this 19th century a corresponding advance in civi- 
lization of the working with the other classes is morally 
inequitable, and industrially bad policy. I am not sorry 
that the American does not save more. Neither am I 
sure but that if many working-class communities I have 
visited on the Continent were socially more ambitious there 
would not be less danger from radical theories. One of 
the most intelligent manufacturers I ever met told me 
a few years ago he would be only too glad to pay higher 
wages to his work-people provided they would spend the 
excess legitimately and not hoard it. He knew that in 
the end he should gain thereby, since the ministering to 
new wants only begets others. He had tried over and over 
again to induce the best of his weavers to take three looms 
instead of two as in their fathers' time, but without success. 
A few years later I met this same gentleman again. In the 
meantime the foreman of the weaving department had died 
and a new one been appointed on the express condition 
that he would gradually insist on three looms per weaver in 
every case where possible. The result ^id not belie my 



32 



The Social Condition of Labor, 



[32 



friend's expectations. Both he and his work-people had 
profited by the change. 

So far we have dealt with families as one finds them 
without reference to the number or ages of the children 
or any dependent members. Let us now seek a more 
scientific unit of comparison. We can do this by establish- 
ing what the Commissioner of Labor has been pleased to 
call the "normal family." Disregarding those with more 
than five children or with children older than fifteen years, 
or having dependent or other persons in the house, we get 
a number of similar units rather than groups of individuals. 
Table VII presents the salient facts for this class of fam- 
ilies, and in its almost unvarying uniformity with the pre- 
ceding tables gives striking confirmation to the accuracy of 
their results. 

Table VIL 



NORMAL FAMILIES. 
Recapitulation of Family Budgets by Industries. 



COTTNTRY 

AND 

Industry. 



1. Coal Miniim 
United States 
Europe 

2. Pi(i Iron. 
United States 
Europe 

3. Bar Iron. 
United States 
Europe 

4. Steel Ma7iu- 

facture. 
United States 
Europe 



Fam- 
ilies. 



153 4 

85 4.' 



3914 
4914.3 



286 3.8 
HI 4.3 



a . 

ei o 
^5 



$446 10 
381 5G 



513 79 
382 49 



635 28 
370 73 



555 50 
475 30 



Annual Expenditure. 



Rent. 



$54 42 
43 89 



63 91 
37 39 



96 73 
41 57 



80 05 16.3 
45 64 10.2 



Food. 



$181 04 
190 11 



202 47 
184 53 



338 11 
167 11 



319 87 
334 91 



41.7 
53.5 



41.3 

49.7 



41.6 
46.3 



44.7 
53.6 



Clothing. 



$76 24 
49 11 



17.5 
13.5 



86 80 17.7 
64 45 17.4 



83 96 14.6 
63 07' 17.4 



75 06 
72 03 



15.3 
15.7 






$122 67 
79 01 



135 53 
84 64 



153 55 
49 68 



116 74 
93 53 






$434 37 
363 12 



490 70 
371 01 



572 34 
361 43 



491 72 
446 30 



$1173 
19 44 



23 09 
11 48 



53 94 
9 39 



63 78 
28 92 



2.6 
5.1 



4.5 
3.0 



8.5 
3.5 



11.0 

6.1 



The normal family is composed of the two parents and from one to five children 
less than 14 years old. . 



33] The Social Condition of Labor. 33 

Hitherto we have been considering standards of Hving 
for coal, iron and steel workers in different countries. To 
a certain extent nationality has also been involved. The 
figures for the United States do not refer to Americans 
alone, since, as every one knows, a large proportion of the 
laborers are immigrants from the Old World. It is quite 
fair, I think, to call the standard of life practised in the 
United States the American, since the native-bom work- 
man created it, and fixed the price of his labor at a point 
where he could live up to it. But we must not for a 
moment suppose that he alone now-a-days maintains it. In 
this he is equaled and sometimes surpassed by the best 
class of immigrants who find work in mining and metal- 
lurgy, viz., the British and Germans. Other nationalities 
have not as yet come up to the mark. Table VIII, which 
contains the necessary details to verify the above remarks, 
is, to my mind, the most interesting of all. 

There are facts herein presented which furnish a severe 
blow to Chauvinism. The average workman in the allied 
industries of American birth earns less than the Briton or 
the Gennan, though he is ahead of other nationalities. 
In the relative size of his contribution to the family sup- 
port, he only gives place to the German, whose habits in 
this respect have undergone a marked change since liis 
transplanting in the New World. The proportion of cases 
in which the husband actually supported the family are 
fewer, the total earnings of the family are less, the house 
accommodation is slightly inferior, a smaller per capita 
expenditure appears for food and clothing for the native 
American than for the Americanized Briton and German. 
In other words, in all important respects, except the con- 
sumption of alcoholic drinks, these latter seem to be living 
on a higher level. As regards the other nationalities, the 
American conserves his leadership, though the expatriated 
Frenchman is not far behind. 

This revelation will surprise many, yet if the statistics 
before us mean anything at all they teach the lessons we 



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35] TJie Social Condition of Labor. 35 

have outlined. In analyzing them closely one can only find 
two factors which may have had an influence in determining 
the result. The first is that amongst the budgets included 
in the returns, those for the laborers employed in making 
merchant iron and steel, where the highest wages are paid, 
present a slight proportion in favor of workmen of foreign 
birth, viz., 422 to 384. This is so little that we may neg- 
lect it. More important is the second, which shows that 
tlie proportion of budgets drawn from the Southern States, 
where social-economic conditions are probably not quite so 
favorable, is much larger for native than for foreign-bom 
workingmen, or 403 to 46. One can hardly say that the 
foreigners having outnumbered the natives in the States of 
New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois, where the 
highest wages are generally supposed to be paid, in the 
ratio of 1135 to 802, matters much, because a portion of 
the majority is composed of Bohemians, Hungarians, 
Italians and Poles, whose earnings and expenses fall far 
short of the American's. Personally it does not seem to 
me that there is sufficient in all of the disturbing factors to 
cast doubt upon the substantially representative character 
of the figures. Neither do I see any ground for regret. 
May not a well-to-do citizen generously applaud the en- 
hanced prosperity of his neighbor? 

But there is one consideration which we must not over- 
look. The American may not always equal the naturalized 
European in physical power, but he greatly surpasses him 
in nerve force. Consequently we most often find him 
following those occupations where ingenuity, finesse and 
skill count for more than the exercise of patience or strength. 
It is a fact of common experience in the United States that, 
in a machine-shop, for example, three-fourtlis of the fitters 
will be foreign-born, while amongst the machinists seventy- 
five per cent, wnll be native Americans. We must beware, 
therefore, of hasty conclusions to the efifect that in all 
branches of manufacture the native is being distanced by 
the alien. 

The juxtaposition of figures portraying the social- 



36 The Social Conditio?i of Labor. [36 

economic status of workmen of different nationalities in 
the country of their birth and the land of their adoption 
furnishes lessons of even higher interest. From this we 
are able to learn the social efifect of economic betterment. 
The Briton, already accustomed to a fair standard of life, 
now exerts his energies anew and earns nearly one-third 
more than in his native isle. In fewer instances has he 
called upon his family to assist him. Much more often 
does he become the owner of his dwelling, which also has 
improved in character. With a slightly larger family, the 
/>er capita expenditure for food has considerably increase i, 
leaving no doubt as to better nourishment. It does not 
appear that quite the same proportion read books and news- 
papers or drink liquor as before. In the latter respect a 
notable reform takes place, the relative expenditure declin- 
ing from 5 per cent, to 3| per cent. Savings, as one 
would naturally expect, also increase. 

One curious fact we may note in passing. Under the 
caption Briton are included English, Scotch, Welsh and 
Irish. Looking at each division of the same folk separ- 
ately in their own coimtry, they rank in point of earn- 
ings and standard of life first the Scotch, secondly the 
English, thirdly the Welsh, fourthly the Irish. In America 
the order is changed : the Scotchman retains the supremacy, 
but next comes the Irishman, then the Welshman, and 
finally the Englishman. 

The number of returns from Frenchmen, it must be 
acknowledged, are not sufficient upon which to base hard 
and fast conclusions. To anticipate a general criticism 
which may be offered as to the relatively small number 
of families in comparison with the whole working popula- 
tion, let me say that one must bear in mind two things: 
In the first place, the industries of which we are writing 
are not found in many dififerent parts of the same country 
in Europe. Secondly, it does not need many budgets from 
the same neighborhood to typify the average standard of 
living in that locality. The validity of conclusions does 
not in this case repose so much upon numbers as in many 
other branches of social inquiry. 



37] The Social Condition of Labor. 37 

It is not very probable that the Frenchman forms an 
exception to the general rule. The earnings of the hus- 
band increase one-half and of the whole family nearly a 
third. Not half as many fathers sought the assistance of 
their children as before. Dwellings of a higher class, better 
nourishment, improved intellectual conditions and far 
greater sobriety are equally evident. Finally, the French- 
man in the New World thinks less of saving than of self- 
improvement. 

Too few Belgians were found in America to make a 
reliable comparison of their manner of living in the two 
continents. Most probably they have done pretty much 
as their neighbors, the French and the Germans. 

A veritable revolution has been wrought in the habits 
of the German. In a higher degree than any other he 
becomes the proprietor of his abode. The dwelling itself 
is doubly as good as it was. Three-fourths of the fathers 
entirely support their families, and their quota has now been 
raised to nine-tenths of the total revenue. The fathers 
earn 125 per cent, and the whole family 84 per cent, more 
than in the Old World. Rent and clothing, as in the case 
of the Frenchman and the Briton, are had on less advan- 
tageous terms, exceptions which have already engaged our 
attention. Judging from the figures alone, the nourish- 
ment should be over 50 per cent, more than before. More 
read, but fewer drink and smoke, though the sums of money 
spent have increased absolutely as well as in proportion. 
The German, too, seems to utilize his opportunities for 
saving better than any other nationality, putting aside 
annually a respectable share of his income. 

" Other nationalities," in Table VIII, include a very few 
Austrians, Belgians, Scandinavians and Swiss (29 in all), 
but principally Italians, Hungarians, Bohemians and Poles. 
Comparison of their budgets of incomes and expenses, 
with those of the Americans, British, French and Germans, 
shows them to be living on a lower level. Collectively in all 
crucial tests they do not measure up to the standard. More 
than half of them receive help from their children or 
wives to maintain the family. The house is very much 



38 The Social Condition of Labor. [38 

mferior, the per capita outlay for food and clothing con- 
siderably less, while that for liquor is appreciably greater. 
Only about one-half spend anj^thing for books and news- 
papers. The large proportion of wages saved suggests 
that as yet economy is more highly esteemed than social 
betterment. Still no one can deny that there has been a 
vast improvement in comparison with their previous con- 
dition of life. 

With no other showing should Americans be so well 
pleased as with the last. The immigration problem centers 
around this group of nationalities. The industrial Briton 
has, broadly speaking, been reared under wholesome social 
conditions. Few Frenchmen come to the United States at 
all. The German is the quickest of all to adopt American 
ways. The Scandinavians go most largely to the West to 
engage in agriculture. The Hungarians, Italians, Bohe- 
mians and Poles, who throng our gates, give most concern. 
Experience has shown that, left to herd together in large 
cities, they are slow to change their ways. It is therefore 
with no ordinary satisfaction we note that, drafted ofif into 
industry, their advance is much more rapid. Up to the 
present there seems no ground to fear that such newcomers 
have wielded a depressing influence. There seems rather 
reason for congratulation in the fact that instead of their 
having lowered the American standard of living, the Ameri- 
can standard of life has been raising them. 

Having bestowed so much attention upon the social 
results of the inquiry, a briefer space must be allotted to its 
economic aspects. Speaking generally of these, we may 
say that the cost of production of a similar unit of pig-iron, 
merchant iron or steel, is greater in the United States than 
in the principal foreign covmtries, that rates of wages are 
also higher, but that the labor cost of mamifacture is not 
correspondingly more. 

The production of pig-iron offers an apparent exception 
to the last statement. Table IX, wherein are contained 
the average figures for 15 American, 4 English and 2 Bel- 
gian Bessemer blast-furnaces, shows a maintenance of the 



39] 



Tlw Social Condition of Labor. 



39 



proportions between average daily wages and labor cost 
of manufacture. The exception is easily explained by the 
fact that in this industry day wages, not piece wages, pre- 
vail. Familiarity with labor conditions on the two con- 
tinents teaches that a minimum daily wage is always much 
higher in America than elsewhere. One may fix the scale 
at one dollar and twenty-five cents in the United States, 
to three shillings and sixpence ($0.87) in England, three 
francs ($0.60) in France, two and a half francs ($0.50) in 
Belgium, and two marks ($0.50) in Germany. But when- 
ever quantity instead of time is the unit of payment, the 
proportion in fa^'or of the New World is not nearly so 
marked. The manufacture of pig-iron is also an industry 
where mechanical contrivances cannot be utilized to dis- 
place whatever highly paid labor exists and therefore reduce 
labor cost, in the same way as in the production of merchant 
iron and steel. 

Table IX. 

BESSEMER PIG IRON. 

Relation between the Earnings of Workmen, the 
Labor Cost and the Total Cost of Production. 

( Unit, One Ton of 2240 LU.) 





Daily Earnings of. 


Cost of Product'n— one ton. 













=5c 


Labor. 


Materials. 


General 
Expenses. 


















Country. 








^u% 




O+i 








4-1 


tC M 




a 

g 




i 


3 urt 







+2 

a 



a 


SO 


-t5 

a 
a 


a 


4j) a} 

a© 


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< 









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^ ^m 




m 


® 










Ph 


W 


Ph 


<^% 


< 


f^H 


< 


PhH 


< 


FUH 


H 


United States. . . 


$2 59 


$2 04 


$135 


$152 


$139 


9.04 


$13 25 86.21 


$0 73 


4.75 


$15 37 


Great Britain... 


1 58 


1 21 


94 


73 


67 


6.48 


9 18 88.87 


48 


4.65 


10 33 




1 13 


1 24 


71 


65 


47 


4 35 


9 9191.67 


43 


3.98 


10 81 















These figures are an average of 15 American, 4 Englisli and 2 Belgian 
establishments. 



40 



The Social Condition of Labor 



[40 



For the purpose of comparing wages with labor cost, and 
the latter to the total cost of production, I have combined 
in Table X the figures from four important establishments, 
making the same product and operating under conditions 
as similar as possible. 

Table X. 

BAR IRON MANUFACTURE. 

Relation between the Earnings of Workmen, the 
Labor Cost and the Total Cost op Production. 

{Unit, One Ton of 2240 Lhs.) 



Country. 



United States 
Great Britain. 

France 

Belgium 



Daily Earnings of 


Labor Cost. 






>> -s" 










— ® 










fir a 




o^ 






01 Om 


^ 


aP 


1 






o 

< 


go 

<D O 


$5 05 


$4 29 


$2 44 


$3 43 


10.57 


2 05 


2 36 


1 25 


3 03 


13.44 


1 67 


1 78 


83 


3 38 


14.67 


1 68 


1 30 


64 


2 10 


8.70 



Total Cost 

OF 

Production, 



$32 44 
24 35 

23 04 

24 13 



The wages of such skilled workmen as heaters and 
rollers are twice as great as in Great Britain, and nearly 
threefold higher than in France and Belgium. The average 
wage to all classes of laborers in the establishments is also 
twice as great as in Great Britain, three times as high as 
in France, and four times larger than in Belgium. Com- 
pare these figures with the labor cost of a similar unit of 
manufacture and we find quite different proportions. It is 
only a trifle more than in France, where daily wages are 
about one-third as high, one-eighth dearer than in Great 
Britain, with wages only half as large, and fifty-four per 
cent, greater than in Belgium, where wages are down to 
one-fourth. 



41] 



Tlie Social Condition of Labor. 



41 



In the manufacture of steel rails the same general law 
is evident. With the average wage of the establishment 
40 per cent, greater than in England, the lal^or cost is 
only 10 per cent. more. In comparison with the continent 
of Europe, wages are 90 per cent, and labor cost but 50 
per cent, higher. 

Table XI. 

MANUFACTURE OF STEEL RAILS. 

Relation between the Earnings of Workmen, the 
Labor Cost and the Total Cost of Production. 

( Unit, One Ton of 2240 Lbs.) 





Daitjt 


Cost of Production per Ton. 






Eabnings of 
























Labor. 


Materials. 


Fuel. 


Expen- 








>, -g 








ses. 


OS 


Country. 








-l-s 


d 



■p 


d 



-tj 


d 






d 







^ 






a 


u 


a 


^^ 


ti 


u 




u 


J ^ 




® 






3 





3 




3 




s 




So 













a 





0. 





M 









© 





>^'S 


a 


9, 


a 


y 


s 





a 


a 


o« 




n 

$4 50 


M 


•<^f^\ 


< 


^ 


< 


(^ 


< 

$0 70 


3.83 


< 

$145 


5.85 


irt 


United States. 


$5 25 


$3 06 


$154 


6.21 


$3111 


85.13 


$34 80 


Great Britain. 


3 66 


3 05 


1 45 


1 37 


7.36 


16 40 


88.30 


45 


2.43 


37 


3.02 


18 59 


Continent of 
Europe. 


1 45 


1 55 


1 08 


1 04 


5.33 


17 67 


90.37 


40 


3.06 


46 


2.34 


19 57 



Notes.— These figures are taken directly from the books of three large 
establishments, well equipped and operating under the best conditions. 

The terminal dates of the periods to which these figures relate are as 
follows : 

United States, 15 to 37 July, 1889. 

Great Britain, April 1 to September 39, 1888. 

Continent of Europe, January 13 to April 6, 1889. 

The rails manufactured have nearly the same weight per yard. 

We mixst also note that for bar-iron tlie proportion of 
the labor cost to the total cost is less in the United States 
than in Great Britain and France, and for steel rails less 
than in England. 

What inferences are we to draw from the foregoing 
statistics? Unmistakably this, that higher daily wages in 
America do not mean a correspondingly enhanced labor 



42 The Social Condition of Labor. [42 

cost to the manufacturer. But why so? Some say because 
of the more perfect mechanical agencies put into the hands 
of tlie workmen in American rolling-mills. There is reason 
in this answer if we take the average conditions, but it 
does not represent the whole truth. Moreover, it cannot be 
used in a comparison between England and the United 
States, since in the former country mechanical processes 
have been perfected almost to the same degree as in the 
latter. Particularly will the explanation fail in the present 
case, since the three establishments chosen are nearly alike 
in equipment and occupy a very high rank in their respec- 
tive countries. If applicable to steel-making, it should 
equally hold true of bar-iron, but statistics give it here even 
less probability. 

The real explanation I believe to be that greater physical 
force, as the result of better nourishment, in combination 
with superior intelligence and skill, make the workingman 
in the United States more efficient. His determination to 
maintain a high standard of life causes him to put forth 
greater effort, and this reacts to the benefit of the employer 
as well as to his own. We should give the principal credit 
of the higher wages in America neither to the manufacturer, 
the tariff, nor any other agency, but the workingman him- 
self, who will not labor for less than will enable him to 
live on a high social plane. That he can carry out his 
policy with but little disadvantage to his employer in eco- 
nomic competition teaches a lesson of far-reaching import- 
ance. Instead of a' Ricardian regime, where the wages of 
labor become barely sufficient to permit a sustentation of 
effort and a reproduction of kind, it looks as if ere long 
the world's industrial supremacy would pass to those who 
earn the most and live the best. 



II 



THE WORLD'S REPRESENTATIVE 
ASSEMBLIES OF TO-DAY 



JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES 

IN 

Historical and Political Science 

HERBERT B. ADAMS, Editor 



History is past Politics and Politics present History.— Freeman 



ELEVENTH SERIES 



II 

THE WORLD'S REPRESENTATIVE 
ASSEMBLIES OF TO-DAY 

A Study in Comparative Legislation 

By EDMUND K. ALDEN 



baltimore 
The Johns Hopkins Press 

PUBLISHED MONTHLY 

February, 1893 



COPTKIGHT, 1893, BY THE JOHNS HOPKINS PKESS. 



THE FKIEDENWALD CO., PRINTERS, 
BAI/riMORE. 



PREFACE. 

A few words on the arrangement of the matter in the fol- 
lowing monograph may not be irrelevant. The placing of 
the Table of Assemblies at the end is intended to facilitate 
reference. Such a table was also necessary to illustrate tlie 
preceding statements, as the prescribed limits precluded a 
seriatim treatment of the different legislative bodies. The 
same limitations of space have necessarily excluded much 
that would enhance the value and interest of such a table, 
as, for example, the minutiae of qualifications for electors 
and members. 

The statements made are based in all cases on the latest 
available sources. As information on some topics has been 
tendered to me personally, I take this opportunity of express- 
ing my thanks to those who have in this way contributed 

to the work. 

EDMUND K. ALDEN. 

Packer Collegiate Institute, 

Brooklyn, N. Y., Jamiary 3, 1893. 



SYNOPSIS. 

Limits of the Subject.— General Division into Congresses and 

Parliaments. — Nomenclature. 
Comments on the Electorate : 

Its Relation to the Population ; Direct and Indirect Election. 
On the Composition of the Houses : 

Unicameral and Bicameral Systems. 

Qualifications of Members. 

Size of the Chambers. 

Relative Importance of the Houses. 

Distribution of Members. 

Apportionment. 

Terms of Service. 

Re-election. 
On the Powers of Legislative Bodies : 

The Initiative in Legislation. 

Relations to the Executive. 

Constitutional Restrictions. 
On Procedure : 

Officers. 

Rules. 

Committees. 

Various Forms. 
On Parliamentary Manners. 
On Personality of Members. 
On Local Assemblies. 
On the Referendum and the Initiative. 
Recapitulation. 
Table of the Larger Representative Assemblies. 



THE WOELD'S REPRESENTATIVE 
ASSEMBLIES OF TO-DAY. 

A STUDY IN COMPARATIVE LEGISLATION. 



The great development of popular government has led to 
diversified and exhaustive studies on the subject. Historical 
literature has been enriched by countless manuals of politics 
and by treatises of profound learning on the theory and 
practice of ruling. But we look almost in vain for an 
apergu or bird's-eye view of all the legislative bodies of the 
present. The plan of this monograph is foreshadowed in 
its title; it does not claim to trace the genesis and evolution 
of existing assemblies, nor — deeply interesting and informing 
as the task would be — can the labor of a detailed analysis 
and commentary on all modem legislatures fall within its 
scope. It seeks rather to set in array the principal phe- 
nomena of such assemblies, and from the data furnished to 
draw the more striking and essential lessons. 

An accepted classification of legislatures is that of Con- 
gresses and Parliaments, whose fundamental distinction lies 
in the presence in a Parliament of an executive or ministry 
chosen wholly or mainly from its own numbers. The Old 
World is the home of the Parliament, as the New World is 
of the Congress. The Parliament is the older form, for, 
as Sir Henry Maine says, "The American Constitution is 
distinctively English,'" and again, "There is no doubt that 
the modern popular government of our day is of purely 
English origin."' The example of the British Parliament 
was followed by France, Spain, Portugal, and the Nether- 
lands, in the great constitution-forming epoch after the fall 

'Maine, Popular Oovernment, 11. '^ lb. 8. 



10 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [52 

of Napoleon, and more tardily by Italy, Germany, Austria- 
Hungary, and others; and it is the prevalent form in Great 
Britain's leading colonies. While she furnished the standard 
type for parliamentary government, her stalwart offspring 
supplied the model for Congresses. 

The guiding principle is that the administration — the 
"government" — must be in sympathy, politically, with the 
popular house. This is the case both in lands with an 
aristocratic upper house, and in countries like France, where 
the political complexion of the Senate no longer affects the 
administration.^ 

Marked deviations from the English type occur. In 
France, for instance, ministerial responsibility is, to insular 
views, in a more embryonic stage; the successor of a de- 
feated ministry frequently contains prominent members of 
its predecessor, and depends for support partly on the 
adherents of this ministry. The alignment of party groups 
in the Parliaments of the Continent, their combinations 
and readjustments, seem more erratic than political changes 
in the British bodies. So recent is the regime of the 
Reichstag in Germany that the significance of an adverse 
majority vote is ill defined. But there is a family resem- 
blance discernible as we follow the proceedings of the 
European bodies, except in countries with a burlesque popu- 
lar government.^ 

When we consider the United States Congress we are, 
in more senses than one, in another world. That authori- 
tative writer on " Congressional Government," Prof. W^ood- 
row Wilson, says: "The parliamentary debates are inter- 
esting, and ours are not. . . In the British House of Com- 
mons the functions of our Standing Committees are all 
concentrated in the hands of the Ministry. Every important 
discussion is an arraignment of the Ministry by the Oppo- 



' Burgess, Political Science, II., 26. 

^The present rule in Bulgaria is happily characterized by F. 
Hopkinson Smith as a government of opera bouffe. 



53] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 11 

sition. And every important vote is a party defeat and a 
party triumph."' 

On the other hand we may set the opinion of an equally 
close observer: "1 must not be understood as advocating 
the European plan as preferable for this country. The 
evils that inevitably flow from any fundamental change in 
the institutions of a country are apt to be much more 
serious than the evils which the change is intended to re- 
move. Political government is like a plant; a little water- 
ing and pruning do very well for it, but the less its roots 
are fooled with the better. In the American system of 
government the independence of the executive department, 
with reference to the legislative, is fundamental, and on the 
whole it is eminently desirable."^ 

The nomenclature presents some interesting features. 
Congress is the name in the New World ;^ Senate is the 
word for the upper chamber, House of Representatives or 
Chamber of Representatives for the lower. In the separate 
States of the Union, Legislature or General Assembly is 
the usual term for the whole body; but the two old States 
of Massachusetts and New Hampshire still preserve the 
name of General Court, while a few Western States have a 
Legislative Assembly. The States unanimously call their 
upper house the Senate; the lower body is generally termed 
House of Representatives; but New York and a few West- 
ern States speak of their Assembly, New Jersey of the 
General Assembly, Maryland and the two Virginias of the 
House of Delegates. 

Abroad, Parliament, or some word equivalent to Diet, is 
commonly used for the law-making body, and the native 
names of Storthing, Cortes, Sobranje, Skupshtina, and Boule, 
are also encountered. The Portuguese House of Peers, the 
Prussian, Austrian, and British House of Lords, the Hun- 



' Wilson, Congressional Government, 94. 

^Fiske, Civil Government, 169. 

^But Parliament is used in Uruguay. 



12 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [54 

garian House of Magnates, proclaim their character; while 
for the lower house we find that Chamber of Deputies is 
a common form. 

The larger British colonies naturally copy the example 
of the mother country, as the Cape, Victorian, or Canadian 
Parliament; but we find that Legislative Council is the 
almost universal name for the upper house in British colo- 
nial bodies; the nomenclature of their lower houses is varied. 

In considering the important topic of the electorate of a 
country, we notice, first, the relation of this electorate to the 
whole population. Universal suffrage, it is needless to say, 
obtains in the United States, though Delaware still adheres 
to a tax qualification in State Senate elections. On the 
American continent universal suffrage, on the whole, pre- 
vails, but the exceptions are numerous. In Canada a 
property qualification exists. In Alexico the electorate 
comprises " all respectable male adults " — a somewhat elastic 
term. Costa Rica limits the suffrage to " those able to live 
respectably " — a rule that would, if strictly enforced, result, 
in many localities, in the establishment of a close oligarchy. 
Ecuador makes a religious test: Roman Catholic adults, 
able to read and write. Chili requires a property or income 
qualification. Brazil presents a novel feature, in that it 
disfranchises soldiers and members of certain monastic 
orders. The humor of a rather dry subject is furnished by 
Hayti, which enacts the requirement that her citizens should 
" have some vocation." 

Since the Act of 1884, the British electorate is increased 
to include about one-sixth of the population (one-fourth to 
nine-fortieths being about the normal ratio). Some peculiar 
restrictions are observed in the colonial bodies. For ex- 
ample, in the Victorian Parliament, while the lower house 
is elected by general suffrage, the Legislative Council is 
chosen by electors with a property qualification ; but clergy- 
men, lawyers, medical practitioners, army and navy officers, 
and graduates of a British university are electors ptr se, so 
that a premium is placed on learning. The same respect to 



55] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 13 

education is shown in Tasmania; in general the Australian 
colonies are fond of a property or income qualification, and 
this is true of several other British possessions. 

Those great bodies, the German Reichstag and French 
Chamber of Deputies, are chosen by general suffrage; but 
these cases are exceptional. Tlie restrictions are many and 
diversified. For the Portuguese lower house the require- 
ments are so comparatively insignificant that the electorate 
embraces one-fifth of the population; the stipulations in 
Italy limit the electorate for the lower house to one-tenth 
of the inhabitants, and attendance at the voting-urns in 
1892' was fifty per cent, of the electorate; in the Netherlands 
the ratio is one-fifteenth; in Spain, Denmark, Norway, and 
Sweden, about one-seventeenth. In the several German 
States the electorate for the local Landtags is restricted in 
less than half the number (including, however, Bavaria). 
For relics of the feudal system we must go to IMecklenburg, 
where no body exists to represent the people at large. 
Neither the Austrian and Hungarian bodies, nor the Land- 
tags of the crown lands, are chosen by general suffrage. 
Bulgaria and Greece — recent additions to the household of 
nations — allow manhood suffrage. Switzerland has general 
suffrage for its National Council, but the cantons dift'er con- 
siderably in electoral requirements regarding the cantonal 
legislatures. To relieve the tedium of these details, we may 
note an electoral provision in Montenegro, where half of the 
members of the nominal State Council are elected by citizens 
able to bear arms, — a provision which in that warlike little 
principality must include nearly everybody outside of 
cradles. 

While property and income qualifications are the common 
forms of restriction, various others are found. Japan dis- 
franchises priests; the Orange Free State draws the color 
line in its Volksraed; Italy favors learned men, as members 
of academies. Both Denmark and Norway exclude house- 

1 Nation, Dec. 8, 1892. 



14 The Representative AssemhUes of To-day. [56 

hold servants. The free cities of Germany are quite aris- 
tocratic in their provisions, and favor the taxpayers and 
merchants. Hungary exempts certain professional and 
learned classes — chemists, engineers, etc. — from the small 
income or real estate qualification, and extends this exemp- 
tion to an artisan having a single workman under him.^ 

Direct election is the preferred form, though there are 
some notable exceptions. These include Costa Rica, Peru, 
and some small German States; part of the Austrian 
Abgeordnetenhaus is chosen in this way, and so are, in 
part, the Austrian Landtags. Rumania, too, has electoral 
colleges. But perhaps tlie most noteworthy instance of 
indirect election is that for the Prussian Chamber of 
Deputies. The electors, in the first instance, are classed in 
three groups, favoring the highest payers of direct taxes, by 
an arrangement which somewhat reminds one of the old 
Roman centuries and classes. 

The bicameral system has met the approval of most of 
the leading political writers,^ and is realized in practice by 
the legislatures of the principal countries. Legislative bodies 
with a single chamber are common in cities, in departmental, 
provincial, and county councils. Many of the smaller Ameri- 
can cities and some of the larger' have a council of one 
chamber. But every* American State legislature has two 
houses. The unicameral bodies fall into three or four 
main groups: the Parliaments of the minor States of south- 
eastern Europe, Servia, Bulgaria, and Greece; the Con- 
gresses of the States of Central America, Nicaragua ex- 
cepted, compose another group; the Landtags of the 
Austrian crown lands are one-chambered, and so are nearly 
all the Diets of the minor German States, excepting those 
of the free cities. 



' Victor Tissot, Unknown Hun gary, I., 134. 
'^ Bagehot is a notable exception. 
^E. g., New York, San Francisco, Brooklyn. 
* Pennsylvania was formerly an exception. 



57] The Representative Assemhlies of To-day. 15 

A qualification of members is usually required, on the 
lines of age, as in the United States and generally, or of 
property, as is usually the case in Europe and the British 
possessions; or certain classes may be non-eHgible: Brazil 
objects to clergy, ministers of state, and military officers in 
its lower house. The French Senate rules out generals 
and admirals in active service. Victoria bars out clergy- 
men, and South Australia excludes both clergymen and 
judges. Italy also debars priests from its lower house. 
In the Portuguese Chamber, members, if they belong to the 
learned professions, are not subjected to the property quali- 
fication. Hungar}'- has a provision suggestive of reflection. 
It declares non-eligible members of financial societies hav- 
ing relations with the State, and administrators of subsi- 
dized railroads.^ The South African Republic (Transvaal), 
besides other qualifications, requires candidates for the 
Volksraed to be members of a Protestant church, — a stipu- 
lation which calls up to Americans a reminiscence of Puritan 
New England in colonial times. 

In the composition of the two houses, wherever there is 
a difference, the divergence is striking. If an age limit is 
required, that for the upper house is considerably greater. 
If property qualification is the test, the member of the upper 
house is rated far higher. So it is with length of residence 
and with length of terms of, service. Of the forty-four 
individual States of the American Union, only thirteen have 
equal terms for the two houses; the States frequently allot 
either four years for the Senate and two years for the lower 
house, or two years and one year respectively. Brazil, 
Sweden, and Hawaii, like the United States, give to the 
upper house thrice the term of service assigned to the lower. 

A comparison of the relative size of the two houses is 
interesting. The upper is, with hardly an exception, the 
smaller. In some cases — notably in Europe — the disparity 
is not great. The House of Lords numbers 559 and the 

'Cy. V. Tissot, Unknown Hungary, II., 134. 



16 The Representative Assemhlies of To-day. [58 

Commons 670; the two chambers of the Spanish Cortes are 
nearly equal, — not far from 400. The upper body in the 
Swedish and Italian Parliaments is not greatly inferior to 
the lower in point of numbers; and the Hungarian House 
of Magnates actually counts a few more than the popular 
branch ; while the new Japanese Parliament preserves almost 
a parity. But the ratio is generally large. In most of the 
American States the Senate is one-half to one-third the size 
of the popular body. In New York, Pennsylvania, and 
Georgia the ratio is i 14, in Massachusetts i : 6, in Vermont 
I : 8, in Connecticut i : 12, in New Hampshire 1:15, and 
in Delaware i : 22. Delaware has the smallest legislative 
body of the States, — a Senate of 9. 

On the question of size it would appear that when a cer- 
tain point — perhaps about 250 or 300 — is passed, the work- 
ing qualities of the legislature are impaired. The American 
House of Representatives has steadily grown, and its present 
number, 356, seems to many too large for a business body. 
The old States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecti- 
cut, and Vermont show the largest houses, and all reach or sur- 
pass 240. The largest State, New York, has a Senate of 
only 32 and a lower house of only 128. Turning to the 
Old World, we find in the House of Commons the largest 
legislative body, 670; but the French Chamber is not far 
behind with 584 members. The lower houses of all the 
great European powers are equal or far superior in numbers 
to our House at Washington. It is to be noted that repre- 
sentative bodies of a temporary character are still more 
unwieldy. Thus the national conventions have double the 
membership of both houses of Congress together. The 
annual convention of the Massachusetts Republicans has 
over 1000 members. Bulgaria has a Great Sobranje, con- 
vened on extraordinary occasions, and this is just twice the 
size of the Sobranje proper, and there is a similar extraor- 
dinary assembly in Servia. 

As to the relative importance of the houses, the close hold 
which, in a democratic age, the lower house has on the 



59] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 17 

people, the constitutional lead which it so generally main- 
tains in financial and revenue affairs give it an undoubted 
pre-eminence. In view of the great powers of the United 
States Senate in the matters of treaties and confirmations of 
appointments, one is tempted to consider it an exception to 
the rule. But it is the Chamber of Deputies whose pro- 
ceedings we follow, not the French Senate; the Austrian 
Abgeordnetenhaus, not the Herrenhaus. The House of 
Lords concerns us little compared with its mighty confrere. 
Says Sir Henry Maine on this point: "We are drifting 
towards ... a single Assembly; it will be a theoretically 
all-powerful Convention, governed by a practically all-power- 
ful secret Committee of Public Safety."' 

The United States Senate is by general consent^ one of 
the most powerful organizations in the world. Besides the 
privilege of initiating any bills except those for revenue, and 
of amending, concurring in or rejecting the House bills, it 
confirms or vetoes many of the most important appointments 
by the President, such as the nominees to diplomatic and 
consular missions, judges (including those of the Supreme 
Court), various notable officers in the civil service; nomi- 
nally, too, it confinns or rejects the members of the Cabinet, 
although this latter privilege is practically a dead letter, even 
when, as is often the case, the President and the Senate 
majority belong to antagonistic parties. In addition, the 
Senate's assent is necessary for the validity of all treaties. 
The " Upper House," by reason of its mode of election and 
smaller size, is less sensitive to changes of public opinion 
than the House of Representatives. 

The principles involved in the terms scnitin de liste and 
congressman-at-large call for some comment. The French 
system of voting for the half-dozen deputies of a depart- 
ment on a "general ticket" has, after some fluctuations, 
since 1889 been supplanted by the district method of 

'Maine, Popular Government, 126. 

^E. g., cf. Maine, Popular Government, 226. 



18 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [60 

scrutin (V arrondissement. A few cases of scrutin de liste 
occur elsewhere. On the contrasting policies of choosing 
representatives at large or by districts, or rather of exacting 
or not exacting a residence in the district represented, we 
may quote Bryce. In an address at the Johns Hopkins 
Historical Seminary' he earnestly expressed the view — after- 
wards elaborated in his "American Commonwealth " — that 
the practice of restricting candidates to residents of the dis- 
trict is a cardinal error of the American system. It can 
readily be seen how this arrangement frequently keeps 
well-equipped lawmakers out of the Congress or Legislature. 
On the other hand, as the representative is supposed to serve 
primarily a district, and not the State or nation, it may well 
be urged that he should have that familiarity with the dis- 
trict's needs which residence alone could give. So strong is 
the American prejudice on the matter that instances of non- 
residence in the district very rarely occur; when an outside 
candidate appears, the cry of " carpet-bagger " is likely to be 
raised, and with effect." 

Where, as in an upper house, members are chosen with- 
out regard to districts, some respect to geographical dis- 
tribution is often shown. To refer again to an American 
example: if one United States Senator from a given State 
is identified through residence or interests with the northern 
or western part of that State, the other will be taken from 
the southern or eastern portion. This principle is indeed 
often violated, and has little hold in some States; but in 
Maryland one of the Senators is invariably chosen from the 
Eastern Shore, — a region which contains one-fifth of the 
population of that commonwealth. 

An attempt to realize a just apportionment is now made 
in the British House of Commons. No borough with a 
population under 10,000 has a representative. Boroughs 

' 1883. 

"^B. g., in the Sixth Massachusetts District, 1890 and 1892, Everett 
vs. Lodge. 



61] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 19 

of between 10,000 and 50,000 have one each; of between 
50,000 and 165,000 two each. Boroughs of over 165,000 
have one additional member for each 50,000 to 60,000. 

The apportionment in France, in the Chamber of 
Deputies, is reasonably equitable, in the ratio of i : 70,000 
inhabitants. In the German Reichstag it is very unequal: 
some members represent less than 12,000 inhabitants; others, 
over 160,000. No attempt at apportionment is made in the 
Landtags of the Austrian crown lands. 

We may say in general that attempts to realize a fair 
apportionment for the lower chamber at least are in vogue, 
and the ratio of a member to the number of inhabitants is 
generally least in the least populous countries. Thus the 
United States shows the large ratio of i : 173,000; Italy, 
I : 57,000; France, i 170,000; while Paraguay has i : 6000, 
and Uruguay i : 3000. 

As the States of the American Union vary greatly in 
population, the disproportionate representation of the minor 
States — notable even at the adoption of the Constitution — 
has become excessive. In Nevada 21,000 persons are rep- 
resented by a United States Senator; in New York nearly 
3,000,000, a ratio of i : 140; these are the extremes. In 
Wyoming and Idaho a Senator's constituency is 30,000 to 
40,000; in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois it is 2,000,000 
to 3,000,000. 

Each representative has a constituency of approximately 
173,000 persons. This theoretical attempt at comparative 
equality of representation is in practice considerably modi- 
fied; yet the distribution is fairer than that in the British 
House of Commons, in the lower houses of many Conti- 
nental countries, and in the Assemblies of many of the 
individual States. Several causes combine to retard the 
approach to an ideal apportionment. Three States have a 
population far less than the standard of representation, yet 
each is entitled to a member. In others the arrangement 
into districts is unequal, or it becomes so through the un- 
equal development of different sections. In some States, 



20 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [62 

for local reasons, nearly the whole electorate takes part in 
choosing a Congressman ; in others perhaps one-half or less 
than one-half of the voters exercise their rights. Moreover, 
the system of gerrymandering often works unjustly, separ- 
ating, for political purposes, regions contiguous and related 
in interests. 

I quote a few cases of disproportionate representation in 
Congressional districts:' Population of the Second Cali- 
fomian District, 150,571; of the Sixth, 315,094. Connecti- 
cut showed in the Third District 121,792; in the Second, 
248,582. Minnesota showed 171,271 in the First, and 
414,635 in the Fourth. Coming nearer home, in New 
York the Sixth' District had 107,844, and the Thirteenth' 
had 312,404. The evil has no local home. The Third 
Pennsylvania District had 129,764, and the next, the Fourth, 
had 309.r:86. 

The distribution of seats in State legislatures is frequently 
ruieven. New York presents some instances of this; in 
Wisconsin, by a recent gerrymander (reversed, however, by 
the Supreme Court), while the basis of population for a 
n) ember in the Assembly is 16,868, four districts exhibit 
these figures: 6823, 7923, 16,868 and 25,143.* But the 
most glaring cases of rotten boroughs occiu* in New Eng- 
land, in Vermont," and notably in Connecticut; in this 
unfortunate State, to quote from a recent publicist," there 
would be found in the lower house " one town with a popu- 
lation of 86,045 equalized with another town having a popu- 
lation of but 431; and as to the State Senate, a district 
which at the Presidential election of 1888 cast 17,649 votes 
equalized with another district casting but 2585 votes." We 
are reminded of Old Sarum. 



' Congressional Directory, 1891. 

- In New York City. "^Ibid. 

•* New York Evening Post, Dec. 1891. 

*H. White, Fortnightly Review, 32 : 506. 

« The Nation, Dec. 17, 1891. 



63] The Representative AssemhUes of To-day. 21 

There are in the upper house some instances of attempted 
apportionment with a view to population. But where the 
federal system of government prevails, the individuality of 
the component parts has been jealously guarded. Compare 
the equal representation of the States in the Senate, in the 
American Union, with that of the Cantons in the Swiss 
Council of States. 

Few bodies have longer terms of existence than six years. 
The model furnished by the United States Senate was 
followed by some countries further south, though the Argen- 
tine Republic and Brazil elect Senators for the extraor- 
dinarily long term of nine years. This is also the term of 
the First Chamber in the Netherlands. A maximum limit 
(infrequently reached) within which time the Chamber may 
be dissolved, of seven, five years, etc., is seen in the House 
of Commons/ Italian Chamber, and many others. In gen- 
eral, our Eastern and older States cling to short terms; the 
newer and Western States prescribe longer periods. The 
term in the Senate is frequently double that of the lower 
house in the States. Four and two years respectively is the 
combination now in use in twenty-seven out of the forty- 
four States. One State — Mississippi — assigns four years 
to each house. 

No generalization can be made involving a comparison 
of short or long terms of service and political freedom or 
repression in the respective countries. 

In regard to re-election of members, the best examples of 
long service are to be found in the House of Commons. 
Instances of ten and fifteen years' service are common; 
twenty or thirty years are not rare. Gladstone's case is often 
quoted; a continuous service — except a short Intermission 
in 1846-47 — from December, 1832, to the present time; but 
remarkable as that is, it does not greatly exceed some other 
records.^ The parliamentary careers of Continental leaders 



' Of twenty -three Parliaraents in this century, only three have 
passed the six-year limit. 
'^ E.g., Palmerston, Russell. 



22 Tlie Representative AssemUies of To-day. [64 

are frequently long. The prominent men in the Assemblies 
of France, Spain, and Italy, for example, have been re-elected 
again and again. In the United States Senate re-election is 
common. Not a few Senators are a second time re-elected, 
and there are some instances of service like the uninterrupted 
thirty years of Benton, the twenty-three years of Sumner, 
or the twenty-eight years of Sherman. Of seventy-six Sena- 
tors in the Fifty-second Congress (omitting those from the 
six newly-admitted States') forty have passed their first term. 
It has been often stated that the South honors her delegates 
by re-election more frequently than the North, but an ana- 
lysis of the Fifty-second Congress shows that the percentages 
of the two sections do not vary greatly. 

A fair majority of representatives are usually re-elected. 
A few attain a service of five or six terms, and the dean of 
the body can generally look back upon over twenty years 
of continuous life in the popular branch. Too often personal 
reasons, party exigencies, or a mistaken devotion to the 
sacred cause of rotation interfere. 

In the smaller field of local American bodies, long tenure 
of office not seldom prevails, and New York can boast that 
the late Republican leader' of the Assembly had been 
for twenty-two years elected to that body, and had been six 
times Speaker. Against this we may set a small town in an 
adjoining county of Connecticut, where nearly every import- 
ant citizen belonging to the dominant party had served in 
the legislature; or we may instance a certain district iiv 
Massachusetts, where four small towns furnish in rotation 
a representative ; we can easily count up seven citizens from 
a single part of one of these towns who have in this way 
illustrated the great principle of rotation in ofifice. 

The initiative in legislation, in so far as revenue matters 
are concerned, has been conferred, with substantial unanimity, 



' North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, 
Wyoming. 
^ James W. Husted. 



65] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 23 

on the lower branch. This house stands the nearest to the 
people. And of all questions, those which affect the pocket- 
book may be called the most vital to the citizens at large. 
In the Spanish Cortes, however, either house may take the 
initiative. Familiar instances of the primacy of the lower 
branch in this respect are the American House of Represent- 
atives, the House of Commons, the Danish Folkething, and 
the Portuguese Chamber. The Bundesrath, essentially a 
diplomatic body, and hardly furnishing a real parallel to 
other senates or conclaves of peers, is an apparent exception 
to the general rule ; it originates bills, has an oversight of the 
administration, and possesses important confirming powers. 
Fourteen of its fifty-eight votes can negative a constitutional 
amendment. The restrictions laid on the upper house are 
exemplified in some constitutions. For instance, in the 
Netherlands, it cannot amend the bills of the lower body, 
but must accept or reject them in toto. The British House 
of Lords cannot amend a money bill, neither can the Cana- 
dian Senate. The upper house of the Prussian Landtag 
cannot amend the budget. 

The relations to the executive show great divergence. 
Countries of the English type display the ministerial respon- 
sibility well developed. On the Continent generally the con- 
nection is somewhat slighter. In Sweden and Norway it 
is undefined. Affairs in Germany may be said to be in a 
somewhat anomalous position. To be sure, the German 
Constitution " creates no ministry responsible to the legis- 
lature." ^ But the system of government seems to be in a 
transition stage between the one-man rule of quasi abso- 
lutism under constitutional forms, and the liberal regime of 
modern times. There is no ministerial responsibility in 
Switzerland. Between the Anglo-Continental system and the 
Congressional plan there is, as was remarked above, a world- 
wide difference. 

'Burgess, Political Science, II., 26. 



24 * The Representative Assemhlies of To-day. [66 

The sovereign of a monarchy or the president of a 
repubhc still has, with few exceptions, some share — often 
considerable — in legislation.' The German emperor has vast 
power; the other European constitutional sovereigns gen- 
erally less. The king of Sweden has an absolute veto in 
Sweden, and promulgates various laws, though in his office 
as king of Norway he has a suspensive veto only, and pos- 
sesses some temporary powers when the Storthing is not 
sitting. 

The restrictions placed on national governments by diff- 
erent constitutions are well illustrated in the United States 
and Canada. In the latter the Dominion Parliament has all 
powers not expressly conferred on the Provinces. The 
American States retain all powers not definitely bestowed 
on the Federal Congress. The wide field of legislation 
occupied by the Parliament at London is well contrasted 
with the narrower scope of our Congress. " Consider the 
most important subjects of legislation in England during 
the present century, the subjects which make up almost the 
entire constitutional history of England for eighty years. 
These subjects are: 'Catholic emancipation, parliamentary 
reform, the abolition of slavery, the amendment of the poor- 
laws, the reform of municipal corporations, the repeal of 
the corn laws, the admission of Jews to Parliament, the dis- 
establishment of the Irish Church, the alteration of the 
Irish land laws, the establishment of national education, the 
introduction of the ballot, and the reform of the criminal 
law.' In the United States only two of these twelve great 
subjects could be dealt with by the Federal government, 
(repeal of the corn laws and the abolition of slavery). All 
the other questions enumerated would have to be dealt with 
by our State governments."' Important undertakings are 
now often authorized by private bills' in die British Parlia- 
ment. 



' The President of Honduras has the absolute veto. 

' Fiske, Civil Government, 177. 

' S. Walpole, T7ie Electorate and the Legislature, 132. 



67] The Representative Assemhlies of To-day. 25 

As another instance of differing powers, the national legis- 
lature can — in Mexico for instance — determine the condi- 
tions of suffrage; in Germany, Canada, and Switzerland, it 
attends to details only;' and in tlie United states this matter 
is left to the separate States. 

The centralized tendencies of the French system are too 
well known to require comment, although the provisions of 
the Constitution are, comparatively, neither numerous nor 
complex.^ Our Congress plays a lesser part in legislation 
touching individual liberty, as that matter is provided for in 
the Constitution. In such powerful States as France, Ger- 
many, and Great Britain, legislation has a far greater share 
in establishing such civil liberty as exists.^ 

The Federal Assembly of Switzerland has elective and 
judicial powers. The House of Lords is a judicial body in 
impeachment matters, as is the American Senate; and the 
Storthing is also a high court of impeachment, in which the 
Lagthing and Odelsthing have parts analogous to those of 
our houses of Congress. The Bundesrath acts as a court 
in certain cases. The French National Assembly has the 
important duty of electing the President of the Republic, 
while the Swiss Federal Assembly chooses the entire executive 
(Federal Council). 

The provinces covered respectively by organic law and 
statute law are loosely defined in many countries, Switzer- 
land* for instance. Some recent State constitutions introduce 
provisions that older State constitutions have left to the dis- 
cretion of the legislatures.' 

Every parliamentary body has, of course, a presiding 
officer and such functionaries as clerks or secretaries, and 
doorkeepers, messengers or intermediaries between the diff- 
erent branches of government, and various attendants. The 



'B. Moses, Federal Government in Switzerland, 99. 

» Wilson, State, 200. 

^Burgess, Political Science, I., 182, etc. 

* McCracken, Federal Government in Switzerland. 

^Fiske, Civil Government, 194. 



26 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [68 

Speaker — as he is usually styled in Anglo-Saxon countries, 
the President, to use his ordinary title elsewhere — is a per- 
sonage of great importance. But in Great Britain his func- 
tions are those of a presiding officer principally, and this is 
usually the case. But British or colonial speakers, presidents 
of chambers of deputies, sink into comparative insignificance 
beside the American Speaker. This august personage has 
become in importance the second in the country. Member 
and a chief leader of the party in control of the House of 
Representatives, he appoints the committees which shape all 
legislation. Through the make-up of these committees he 
promotes or retards policies and measures of great moment. 
Interpreting with much latitude his functions as presiding 
officer, he recognizes on the floor those whom he selects. 
An interesting contrast is furnished between republican 
United States and monarchical Spain. In the former a new 
member, or one having no especial prominence, may for a 
session vainly try, though endowed with extraordinary lung- 
power, to "catch the Speaker's eye"; in the latter any mem- 
ber can hand his name in advance to the Speaker, who 
assigns to him a turn on the floor.' The vast appointive 
power of the Speaker is possessed on a smaller scale by the 
Speakers of the State legislatures. 

The rules of the American House are much more compli- 
cated than those of the Senate. Indeed, so intricate are the 
House rules that one or two sessions must ordinarily be 
passed before a member is fairly well equipped for the busi- 
ness. As members not unfrequently serve but a term or 
two, this complexity of rules must have marked results on 
legislation. Certain days are set apart for particular branches 
of legislation, as in the House of Representatives, Monday 
for new bills on the roll call of the States, Friday for private 
bills, etc.;' in the House of Commons, for example, Mondays, 
Thursdays and Fridays are reserved for government orders, 
Tuesdays for notices of motions. 



1 Cf. e. g., H. M. Field, Old Spain and New, 107. 
'^Wilson, Congressional Government, 73, 



69] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 27 

Intercourse between the chambers is conducted with less 
state than formerly. In cases of disagreement between the 
two houses, conference committees arrange a compromise; 
on this point a curious and perhaps praiseworthy provision 
exists in Austria : " if a disagreement irise between the cham- 
bers (of the Reichsrath) upon a question of finance or of 
militarv' recruitment, the lowest figures or numbers are to 
be considered adopted." ^ 

To facilitate legislation and check useless talking and 
obstruction, recourse is had to various devices. In tlie 
United States the previous question is used. Closure has 
been practiced in recent years in England as well as on the 
Continent, though one important British colony has not 
followed in the maternal footsteps." A radical change in 
this respect was effected by the 51st Congress, in 1890, 
which adopted a new set of rules; the leading point of this 
celebrated code was the following : " The names of mem- 
bers (sullficient to make a quorum) in the hall of the House 
who do not vote shall be noted by the Clerk and recorded 
in the journal, and reported to the Speaker with the names 
of the members voting, and be counted and announced in 
determining the presence of a quorum to do business.''"* 

As already hinted, committee government reaches its 
greatest development in the United States. There is a pecu- 
liar arrangement in France. The Senate has nine bureaux, 
and the Chamber has eleven. These select the committee- 
men monthly by lot. These committees are named: those 
on leave, petitions, parliamentary initiative, and local inter- 
ests, and they consider propositions of private members; but 
financial matters are considered in the Senate by a special 
standing committee of eighteen members, the Finance Com- 
mittee, and in the Chamber by a like body of thirty-three, 

^Wilson, State, 347. 

'^ No closure in the Dominion Parliament ; Bourinot, J. H. TT. 
Studies, 7th series, 572. 
'5l8t Congress. Rules, XV., 3. 



28 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [70 

the Budget Committee." The German Reichstag has no 
standing committees/ but the Bundesrath has twelve. In 
Norway the Lagthing, comprising one-fourth of the Stor- 
thing, is itself a sort of revising committee. In Sweden 
there is a peculiar feature in the existence of a joint com- 
mittee of the houses on legislation. 

The Dominion Parliament has important committees on 
private bills, public accounts, agriculture and colonization. 
It has one colossal committee of i6o members on railways. 
These committees are appointed by a bureau called the com- 
mittee of selection." 

This feature of a committee of selection is taken from the 
British House of Commons. That committee appoints the 
select committees, alone or in conjunction with the House, 
or the House alone may appoint them in some cases.^ The 
Committee of Selection is itself appointed by the House." 
The House has two standing committees on trade and legal 
affairs; on financial matters there are two committees of the 
whole House: the Committee of Supply — on the estimates — 
and the Committee of Ways and Means. In the Lords, the 
committees of the whole House, according to a recent 
reviewer, are the poorest, while the select committees do the 
best work. 

Let us now take a glance at the elaborate committee 
organization of Congress. In the House of the 52nd Con- 
gress" there were forty-three standing and eight select. The 
membership ranges from 15 in the more important, like 
Ways and Means, to 7 (in the Committee on Expenditure in 
the Department of Agriculture). Far at the head of all in 
significance now stands the Ways and Means, appointment 
to which is regarded as nearly equivalent to the chairmanship 



• Wilson, State. 

"^Ibid, 262. 

^ Bourinot, J. H. U. Studies, 7th series, 565, 569. 

■•S. Walpole, Electorate and the Legislature, 115. 

"•Ibid. 

'' 1891-93. 



71] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 29 

of an ordinary committee, while its chairman is sometimes 
afifectedly styled the " Premier," from an erroneous analogy 
with the Chancellor of the Exchequer or First Lord of the 
Treasury. Among those of next consequence may be named, 
Appropriations, Judiciary, Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 
Rivers and Harbors, Elections, Banks and Currency, Coinage, 
Weights and Measures, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Military 
Affairs, Naval Affairs, Merchant Marine and Fisheries. 

The Senate had forty-three standing and eleven select 
committees. The number of members on a committee 
ranges from eleven in the most important to three in the 
minor committees. Appropriations and Finance head the 
list, and then come Commerce, Foreign Relations, Judiciar}-^, 
Interstate Commerce, Military Affairs, Naval Affairs, Privi- 
leges and Elections, Public Lands, Rules, and Fisheries, 
among the more important. The nature of the select com- 
mittees may be inferred from such titles as. Transportation 
of Meat Products, Committee to Establish a University of 
the United States, Quadro-Centennial, Nicaraguan Claims, 
and Committee on President's Message Transmitting Report 
of Pacific Railway Commission. 

To illustrate the character of the committee in a State 
body, let us take the make-up of the New York Legislature 
for 1891. There were 34 Senate Committees, of which the 
chief were: Finance, Judiciary, Railroads, Cities, Commerce 
and Navigation, Canals, Insurance, Taxation and Retrench- 
ment, Miscellaneous Corporations. As illustrations of com- 
mittees of a local nature, we may name those on Manufacture 
of Salt, and Game-Laws. The average membership of 
important committees was 7, on others 3, In the Assembly, 
Ways and Means, Judiciary, General Laws, Revision, Codes, 
Tax and Retrenchment, Canals, Affairs of Cities, Railroads, 
Commerce and Navigation, Insurance, Banks, and Excise 
head the list; while Soldiers' Home, Fisheries and Game 
and Indian Affairs serve to illustrate lines of legislation on 
distinctively local subjects. The membership of Assembly 
Committees was 11 or 9. Attention is called to the cor- 



30 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [72 

respondence in names of the leading committees in the 
upper and lower houses and those in the two houses of Con- 
gress. 

Now, to illustrate the use of committees in a local 
legislative body, let us take Brockton, Massachusetts, a 
manufacturing city of about 27,000 inhabitants, which grad- 
uated from the town meeting and selectmen form of adminis- 
tration some eleven years ago. There is' a board of 7 alder- 
men, one from each ward, and a board of 21 common council- 
men, 3 from each ward. They are elected annually and 
receive no pay; the aldermen hold meetings weekly, the com- 
mon councilmen ordinarily once in two weeks. There are 
twelve joint standing committees, with an average member- 
ship of 5, of which we may mention as specially important 
those on finance, claims, accounts, public property, water, 
fuel and street lights, fire, highways, sewerage and drainage. 
There are two standing committees of the common council on 
elections and returns, and on enrolled ordinances, and these 
also give name to two of the seven standing committees of 
aldermen; the remaining five are entrusted with police, 
licenses, health, state aid, and buildings. A tendency to 
elaboration of committee organization is observable generally 
in the United States. Even the new State of Washington 
finds necessary 38 standing committees in its Senate,' and 43 
in its House." 

The phenomenon of a permanent committee between two 
sessions is observed in the Bundesrath with its eight com- 
missions, and on a smaller scale in Uruguay, where a com- 
mittee of Parliament sits from July to February in the place 
of the main body. 

Sessions are annual, as is usually the case with Congress; 
or there are sessions at intervals through the year, as in 
Europe; or, as in nearly all the American States, the sessions 
?re biennial; only five States, viz. New York, Massachusetts, 

' Brockton City Oovernment, 1889. 

^ More than one to each of the 35 members. 

^ Legislative Manual of Washington, 1891-92. 



73] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 31 

Rhode Island, New Jersey, and South Carohna, retain annual 
sessions, and those of Ohio are virtually annual. 

The opening and closing of sessions take place with more 
or less of pomp and ceremony, with accompaniments of 
speeches from the throne and presidential messages, with 
important announcements, with unusual concourse of visi- 
tors, and frequent hurry and rush of measures, in the closing 
hours. The German Chancellor in his opening address to 
the Reichstag stands like a statue in full armor, leaning on 
his sword. In the Diet of Croatia and Slavonia the cere- 
monies of opening and closing are still " performed with a 
pomp and parade worthy of the Aliddle Ages.'" 

On the subject of parliamentary manners, an American, 
fresh from contemplation of proceedings in Congress or a 
State legislature, is inclined to think that turbulence is often 
the order of the day. The solemn carrying of the mace 
through the National House of Representatives is, however, 
a rare occurrence. Careful attention to the business of the 
house is uncommon in both branches of Congress, where 
members may be observed reading, writing or telling stories, 
and an orator sometimes speaks to a corporal's guard, while 
the vast majority fly to the cloak rooms.' With this habit 
we may compare the practice in the British House of Com- 
mons of " scraping down " a long-winded speaker. An 
inspection of the records two generations ago shows an 
advance. Imagine such a scene occurring now, even in 
a passionate debate, as took place in Jackson's time, between 
Randolph of Roanoke and a rough fighter from Connecticut, 
when personal allusions on mutual bodily infirmities were 
interchanged in language that cannot be reported, apparently 
without reprimand. But parliamentary good manners and 
orderliness are still far below the ideal. In the British House 
of Commons bear-garden scenes took place when Gladstone 
was assailed in 1885. One orator used the unrebuked 



' Victor Tissot, Unknown Hungary, I,, 117. 

^E. g., a Senator, well equipped on his theme, recently read his 
carefully prepared address to an audience of one. 



32 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [74 

euphemism " You are a liar." ' The Saturday Review, surely 
no unfriendly critic on home matters, thus declares: "The 
House of Commons hardly comes up any longer to the 
recognized standard of a debate in Washington."^ In the 
Italian Chamber of Deputies " the violent remarks of the 
Socialist leader, Signor Cipriani, who was frequently called 
to order, led to so great an uproar that the presiding officer 
was obliged to suspend the sitting."^ Similar occurrences 
happened in the French Chamber of Deputies in the winter 
of 1891-92; ''Unbridled license prevails,"' says one writer. 
In a recent session of the lower house of the Austrian 
Reichsrath the word traitor was used and was followed by 
a scene of indescribable tumult; a crowd of Czechs sur- 
rounded the orator, threatening physical violence, and the 
presiding officer was forced to close the sitting.^ 

It is pleasant to note the testimony of observers in the 
other direction. Thus an habitual attendant remarks that 
" many years have passed since a member (of the Dominion 
House of Commons) has been named and censured."^ The 
courtesy and order in the Spanish Cortes have attracted 
favorable attention. All State legislatures are not bear- 
gardens. And we may believe that such scenes as those 
above described are sporadic. 

The personality of members is an important matter. And 
we have now to consider the vocations and the general grade 
of intelligence and ability. In this country lawyers lead; 
bankers, merchants, manufacturers, business men in general, 
farmers, and a sprinkling of doctors, professors, and clergy- 
men is found. But the latter classes are rarely seen in 
Congress, The 52nd Congress had only one or two exam- 
ples of the "scholar in politics." Local conditions may 

' Fortnightly Review, 45 : 264. 

"^Saturday Review, March 4, 1882. 

3N. Y. Herald dispatch, Dec. 6, 1891. 

* In 1889. 

^N. Y. Tribune, Nov. 19, 1892. 

«Bourinot, in J. H. U. Studies, 7th series, 572. 



75] The Representative Asscnihlics of To-day. 33 

bring certain occupations to the front; as the farmers in many 
State legislatures. On the other hand, a great city's con- 
tingent to the legislature and the municipal body may 
present peculiar features. Witness the annual records of that 
Doomsday Book, the " Directory for Voters," published by 
the Reform Club of New York; in these ominous analyses 
the statements " liquor-dealer," " no ostensible business but 
politics," " practical politician," " lawyer of the lowest type," 
follow one another with tiresome regularity. 

We may quote here a remark of an American publicist: 
"There is no country where so little respect is paid to 
acquirements, preparation, training in the arts of legislation 
and government. Lawyers are generally preferred for such 
offices, it is true, but this is not because they are learned in 
the law, but because their vocation has given them readiness 
of speech";^ against this, we may set the recent prejudice 
against lawyers evinced by the Populists in Kansas. 

The House of Commons is still recruited very largely from 
men of the leisure class. Younger sons of peers, lords by 
courtesy, knights, large land-owners, still figure prominently 
on the roll. But successful bankers, merchants and manu- 
facturers are numerous. The " scholar in politics " is more 
largely represented than in the United States. Here as else- 
where the tendency manifested by men of the masses to be 
led by men of the classes, may recall to the student of general 
history the austere figure of Pericles, the hero of the demos, 
those blue-blooded aristocratic tribunes Tiberius Gracchus 
and Drusus, Mirabeau, and many others. The mass of the 
temporal peers is composed of scions of families who have 
appeared for ages in lists of the nobility or landed gentry. 
But the ranks are steadily recruited from new blood ; a novits 
homo, a successful general, brewer, or poet, bureaucratic 
administrator, or treasury bench dignitary may look with 
some confidence to the time when he shall be gazetted to 
a viscountship or barony, 

'H. White, Fortnightly Review, 1879. 



34 The Representative Assemblies of Today. [76 

The aristocratic persomiel of the British Parliament is, 
naturally, not so marked in her colonial assemblies. The 
Parliament of Victoria contains a fair sprinkling of men 
from the ranks.' In a body of the composition of the House 
of Lords, absenteeism is common, and sneers at " hereditary 
legislators" and "drunken lords" or "sporting lords" are 
only too well founded. The regular business is in fact 
usually transacted by thirty or forty members. Yet it is 
shown that about three-fourths of the lords speak or vote 
each session. Journalists are popular candidates in France. 
In the same country a man of letters or a savant, a distin- 
guished novelist, poet, historian or scholar has an ambition — - 
often satisfied — to crown his career by election to the 
National Assembly. To a great degree the members of the 
lower house of the Spanish Cortes are educated men of 
position; and a recent cabinet in this monarchy, with its 
traditions of grandees and a proud nobility, did not contain 
a man with a title." In Germany the ^' learned element " is 
probably present in fuller force than elsewhere. The Frank- 
fort Parliament of 1848 was, as is well known, described as 
an assemblage of professors; and the same tendency is still 
visible to a less extent. 

The average ability of legislators is a far more difficult 
problem. Flings at the United States Senate as a club of 
millionaires are common; and it must be said that there 
seems no immediate prospect of a return to the epoch of 
Webster, Clay and Calhoun; and it is undoubtedly true that 
a rich man, of slender equipment for legislative duties, can 
often reach this branch of Congress. But, it is urged, these 
Senators cannot be men of light calibre; amidst the fiercest 
competition they have forced their way to the front. The 
standard in State legislatures does not seem to be improving, 
if we may judge from recent indications. 



' Fortnightly Review, 1879. 

*H. M. Field, Old Spain and New, 107. 



77] The Representative Assemhlics of To-day. 35 

In local boards of aldermen and councilmen, the quality 
of a city's law-givers depends apparently on the size of the 
municipality, the indifference of a large mass of good citizens 
to their political duties, and the growth of rings. Bold 
indeed would be the man who would assert that New York 
City had not as large a proportion of virtuous and enlight- 
ened citizens as a small city in — let us say — Massachusetts. 
And bolder still would be the man who would institute a 
comparison between tlieir respective city councils. 

In England the popular conception is undoubtedly ex- 
pressed by the saying when a talented Commoner has been 
translated to the Lords, that " he has been kicked upstairs." 
At a modern election (1870), according to a late publicist,^ 
"a few Liberals of recognized ability stood for Parliament 
and failed, with a single exception in Scotland, because being 
men of limited means they could only afford to contest con- 
stituencies where the influence of great landlords predomi- 
nated." And Hare points out that the decrease of rotten 
boroughs has caused fewer young men of marked ability to 
enter public life.^ The days have nearly passed when a Pitt, 
Palmerston, or Gladstone can hold important offices or rise 
to prominence almost immediately after quitting the school 
or university. It has been observed that political scholars 
generally do better work outside of Parliament, as witness 
Bentham, Grote, Fonblanque, and Harrison. 

A careful observer of Canadian affairs says: "The 
(Canadian) House of Commons comprises many of the ablest 
men of the country, trained in law and politics."'' On the 
Continent it is supposed that the average ability and char- 
acter of the elected bodies is quite high; and this would 
seem to be true in those countries where a large amount of 
self-government has been intelligently practiced. The 
French Senate, it is stated, will not suffer in comparison 
with the Chamber of Deputies.* The turbulence noted in 



' Fortnightly Review, 1879. ^ Thomas Hare, Representatives. 

3 Bourinot, J. H. U. Studies, 7th series, 561. 
^Burgess, Political Science, II., 112. 



36 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [78 

some of these Continental bodies may be racial, rather than 
a criterion of character. Sir Charles Dilke, than whom there 
are few more attentive observers of Continental politics, 
makes this unfavorable comment : " There is a little eccen- 
tricity in Italian politics, shown by the occasional return of 
swindlers, libellers, lunatics and murderers to sit at Monte- 
citorio."' Exceptions do not make the rule. The Hun- 
garians are natural politicians; "A candidate (for the Hun- 
garian Reichstag) rarely spends less than iSoo to warm his 
seat, and £8000 have been spent."' The Spaniards crave a 
seat in the Coites, and pay liberally for the privilege. 

We next consider briefly the subject of local representa- 
tive assemblies. Passing over the familiar State and Terri- 
torial legislatures and municipal councils of this country, 
we find that in Spanish America local self-government is 
theoretically generally provided for. Each State in Mexico 
has a legislature, popularly elected, as has Venezuela, whose 
government is quite decentralized. Less liberal is the local 
government of Colombia and Bolivia. Chili has popularly 
elected departmental municipalities. Peru has a partial pro- 
vision in this respect, with its Municipal Councils elected by 
provincial colleges, and Costa Rica has cantonal municipal 
government.' In government as elsewhere, no two things 
are often farther apart than theory and practice, and th^ 
government of Guatemala, which enjoys universal suffrage, 
is stated by a late exhaustive writer on her present condition, 
to be "republican in name only."* The large and progres- 
sive republics of Brazil and the Argentine Confederation 
have State legislatures. 

Local legislative bodies now exist in England and Wales, 
since the creation of the County Councils in 1888. For these 
purposes there is a division into 60 administrative counties, 
61 county boroughs, and London, in all 122 districts. Coun- 



' Dilke, Present Position of European Politics, 230. 
'^Tissot, Unknown Hungary, II., 136. 
U. B. Calvo, Gosta Rica, 161. 
*W. T. Brigham, Guatemala, 321. 



79] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 37 

cillors are elected by popular vote for a term of three years. 
In turn the councillors elect aldermen who serve for six years, 
one-half retiring every three years. The councils are, how- 
ever, subordinate to the Local Government Board of the 
central government. They legislate on the management of 
bridges, rates, hiring money, Parliamentary registration and 
polling districts; they manage certain asylums and reforma- 
tory schools, license halls for dancing, supervise the salaries 
of certain ofBcers, etc. Except in London, they control the 
police, conjointly, however, with the justices of the peace. 
County Councils in Scotland, similar in most respects, were 
created in 1889. Ireland has no popular government in the 
counties. 

The municipal corporations of England have councils, 
elected by rate-payers, whose term is three years ; one-third of 
the councillors retire every year. These bodies possess 
wider powers than the county councils and have, in par- 
ticular, a fuller control of police. The councillors elect the 
aldermen and mayor. The County Council for London is 
an important body of 128 members; the City of London has 
a close board of 25 aldermen. Popular municipal govern- 
ment in Scotland exists; in Ireland some of the towns are 
partially self-governing. The city government of such large 
British cities as Glasgow and Birmingham has attracted wide 
and favorable comment. 

Canada has provincial Parliaments with large local powers. 
These Parliaments have two chambers, as in Quebec and 
the Maritime Provinces, or one chamber, as in Ontario, 
Manitoba and British Columbia. The North-West Terri- 
tories have a Legislative Assembly, mostly elected. The 
local bodies in the small British colonies are partly elected, 
partly nominated. Local self-government in Australia is 
rather restricted. New Zealand has popularly elected county 
councils, and elsewhere there is popular government to a cer- 
tain extent. The Cape, however, has quite a system of bodies 
below its Parliament, divisional councils, partially elected city 
councils, and Village Management Boards. In the largest pos- 



38 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [80 

session of all, British India, the local government principle has 
been recently introduced to some extent, though Home Rule 
for the country at large is jealously denied. The larger Indian 
towns, and many of the smaller, now possess committees, a 
majority of whose members are chosen by the rate-payers, 
and the experiment, according to a recent political writer,' 
was working quite satisfactorily in the Central Provinces. 

France gives to its outlying possessions what Great Britain 
denies — representation in the National Assembly. Algeria 
contributes 6 deputies, and the colonies lo. Each French 
department has an elected conseil general, having little 
powers, and the elected conseils d' arrondis seine nts are also 
of minor importance. Each commune possesses, through 
choice by universal suffrage, a municipal council, whose 
powers it is the object of the Radicals to greatly increase. 
Algeria, besides representation at Paris, as above mentioned, 
has a Superior Council, which votes a budget, elected by 
provincial councils for the three provinces. 

Each province in Spain has an annual parliament {Dispu- 
tacion Provincial), and the communes have elected councils 
{Aywitainiejttos) of 5 to 39 Regidores. Italy has also pro- 
vincial parliaments and communal councils, and the com- 
munal electorate is somewhat less restricted than the elec- 
torate for Chamber of Deputies. A peculiarity in the 
Belgian provincial councils is the standing committee of 6 
members, which attends to local finances in the intervals 
between the 15 days' sessions of the full council." Com- 
munal councils, too, exist, but the electorate is restricted in 
all the bodies. In the Netherlands, Provincial States, elected 
for six years, legislate for the provinces and choose the upper 
house. Permanent committees, called Deputed States, form 
the executive. Communes have elected councils. The cen- 
tral government keeps a close connection with these local 
assemblies. Local self-government is not so extensive in 

• Fortnigldly Review, 18S3, 45 : 243. 

"^ Cf. the committee of the Bundesrath, mentioned above. 



81] TJie Representative Assemblies of To-day. 39 

Norway as in Sweden, although the former is considered to 
be the more democratic country. Both have town and com- 
munal councils, and Sweden has provincial councils. 

Great diversity exists in Germany in the powers of the 
local bodies, and there is no uniform system. There are 
town and city councils, diets of the circles {Krcise), and 
provincial landtags of the Prussian provinces; the last, 
highest in importance of territory and population, have 
limited powers. All tlie Swiss cantons have representative 
assemblies, except Uri, Unterwalden, Glarus, and Appen- 
zell, which furnish — in their Landesgemeinden — familiar 
instances of pure democracy.^ The Landtags of Austria- 
Hungary may be regarded as local bodies, and some of 
them {e. g. the Bohemian diet) as, in a sense, national bodies. 
Their composition is described in the table. Just as in some 
parts of Spanish America we often find liberal provisions on 
paper, and indififerent performances, so in Servia we observe 
local assemblies for counties, municipalities and communes. 

Legislative Assemblies in Russia may be dismissed with 
almost the brevity of the celebrated chapter on the " Snakes 
of Ireland." Householders of the viirs compose the com- 
munal assemblies, and delegates of the mii's compose the 
cantonal assemblies. The district and provincial Zemstvos 
have certain powers, as have the municipal bodies; but 
centralizing tendencies have been still further developed by 
the changes of 1889 and 1890. Finland has a Parliament 
which meets every few years. It has restricted powers, and 
is formed from the four estates of nobles, clergy, burghers, 
and peasants. The local self-government of the Russian 
Baltic provinces, which had been largely in the hands of the 
German nobility, has been nearly abolished by changes of 
1888-89. 

While establishing for herself an entirely new National 
Parliament, Japan has also provided for prefectural {i. e. pro- 

' See the interesting description of the proceedings of the Appen- 
zell Landesgemeinde in Baj'^ard Taylor, Byioays of Europe. 



40 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [82 

vincial or departmental) and city assemblies, with restricted 
powers. But she has joined the commonwealth of consti- 
tutional nations too recently to allow of any deductions on 
her parliamentary government. 

No treatment of representative bodies would be complete 
without a reference to the growth of the referendum and 
initiative.' These principles can be given in no better way 
than in the language of the Swiss Federal Constitution: 
" Federal laws shall be submitted for acceptance or rejection 
by the people, if the demand is made by 30,000 voters, or by 
8 cantons. The same principle applies to federal resolu- 
tions which have a general application, and which are not 
of an urgent nature."'' This is in federal legislation. All 
the cantons, except Fribourg, now have the referendum in 
cantonal legislation. It may be compulsory, or facultative, 
that is, contingent on certain requirements. But the initia- 
tive goes further. To quote again from the same instru- 
ment: "The Popular Initiative may be used when 50,000 
Swiss voters present a petition for the enactment, the aboli- 
tion, or the alteration of certain articles of the Federal Con- 
stitution." " Petitions may be presented in the form of 
general suggestions, or of- unfinished bills."' Seventeen 
cantons have the initiative.* And the system just perfected 
in the canton of Ticino is considered particularly noteworthy. 

Belgium is agitating the matter. There are indications of 
an increase of interest in the United States, as was evinced 
by a plank in the platform of the Populist party. Cali- 
fornia recently" called for a popular vote partaking of the 

' " It would be rash to say that we ought to adopt the Swiss meth- 
ods without modification, or that they would be applicable to all 
parts in the present state of the Union, but they are worthy of 
careful consideration."— J. M. Vincent, State and Federal Govern- 
ment in Switzerland, 129. 

'^ Swiss Constitution, Art. 89. 

^ Swiss Co7istitntion, Art. 121. 

*In 1891. 

* November, 1892. 



83] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 41 

nature of "initiative," asking- that its legislature should be 
" instructed " on the question of choosing United States 
Senators by popular vole, and the " initiative " of the people 
declared in favor of this innovation. So eminent -a publicist 
as Mr. Dicey has lately advocated the introduction of the 
referendum idea in Great Britain." The results produced by 
a general introduction of these principles would be certainly 
momentous; perhaps, as some think, they would lead to the 
abolition of an upper chamber, perhaps to a more direct 
popular interest in matters of government. And, possibly, 
the methods which apparently work so well in a small 
country like Switzerland, would prove impracticable if 
adopted by the Great Powers. 

Recapitulating the results of our rapid survey, we observe 
the great development of the responsible ministry principle,, 
and the inter-dependence of the executive and legislative. 
We note a few cases — like the Storthing — where some judi- 
cial functions are taken by the assembly, thus controverting 
the dictum of Montesquieu, " Lorsque la puissance legis- 
lative est reunie a la puissance executrice, il n'y a point de 
liberte." ' 

We see a prevailing tendency to bicameral assemblies, 
confirming the saying of Lieber, " it is a truly popular prin- 
ciple to insist on the protection of a legislature divided into 
two houses."' We mark the strongly exclusive character 
of the upper houses in Europe, and the insistence on prop- 
erty qualification, prevalent even in Anglo-Saxon offshoots 
from the home country. • 

We consider the privileges extended in many places to 
professional men, and the restrictions frequently placed on 
priests, and sometimes on government officials. But no 
survey can fail to disclose the fact that some of the regions 
where laws are most liberal for electors and candidates, are 



' E. Dicey, Contemporary Review, April, 1890. 
'^Esprit des Lois, p. 143. 
^Lieber, Civil Liberty, 194. 



42 The Representative AssemUies of To-day. [84 

among the least shining examples of self-government. Cer- 
tain South American republics, Bulgaria, and Hayti, have 
— so to speak — an excellent legislative plant, but we will not 
look for political salvation to come from Caracas, Sofia, 
or Port-au-Prince. 

A consideration of the intricate details of the existing 
legislative bodies, with the changes occurring thick and fast 
before our eyes as we write, would be an inviting but vastly 
perplexing field of research. It might well demand the most 
painstaking observation of minutiae and the broadest his- 
toric grasp. 



85] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 43 

TABLE 

OF THE LARGER REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLIES: COMPRISING THOSE ABOVE THE 

RANK OF PROVINCIAL, DEPARTMENTAL, COUNTY, OR CANTONAL BODIES ; 

AND GIVING THE MEMBERSHIP, TERMS, AND REMARKS ON THE 

QUALIFICATIONS AND ELECTORATE. 



COUNTRY. 


UPPER HOUSE. 


LOWER HOUSE. 


ELECTORATE. 


United States. 
Congress. 

Maine. 
Legislature. 


Senate 88, 6 yrs, 30 
yrs of age. 

Senate 31, 1 yr. 


House of Represen- 
tatives 356, 2 yrs, 25 
yrs of age. 

H. R. 151, 1 yr. 


Universal suffrage. 


New Hampshire. 
General Court. 


S. 24, 1 yr. 


H. R. 359,* 1 yr. 




Vermont. 
General Assembly. 


S. 30, 2 yrs. 


H. R. 241, 2 yrs. 




Massachusetts. 
General Court. 


S. 40, 1 yr. 


H. R. 240, 1 yr. 




Rhode Island. 
General Assembly. 


S. 37, 1 yr. 


H. R. 72, 1 yr. 




Connecticut. 
General Assembly. 


S. 21, 1 yr. 


H. R. 252, 1 yr. 




New York. 
Legislature. 


S. 32, 2 yrs. 


Assembly 128, 1 yr. 




New Jersey. 
Legislature. 

Pennsylvania. 
General Assembly. 


S. 21, 1 yr. 
S. 50, 4 yrs. 


General Assembly 60, 
lyr. 

H. R. 201, 2 yrs. 




Delaware. 
General Assembly. 


S. 9, 4 yrs. 


H. R. 201, 3 yrs. 




Maryland. 
General Assembly. 


S. 26, 4 yrs. 


H. Delegates 84, 2 yrs. 




Virginia. 
General Assembly. 

West Virginia. 
Legislature. 


S. 43, 4 yrs. 
S. 24, 4 yrs. 


H. Delegates 132, 2 
yrs. 

H. Delegates 65, 2 yrs. 




North Carolina. 
General Assembly. 


S. 50, 2 yrs. 


H. R. 120, 2 yrs. 




South Carolina. 
General Assembly. 


S. 32, 4 yrs. 


H. R. 124, 2 yrs. 





* In 1892. 



44 The Representative AssemMies of To-day. [86 



COUNTRY. 



Georgia. 

General Assemblj^ 

Florida. 
Legislature. 

Alabama. 
General Assembly. 

Mississippi. 

Leg-islature. 

Louisiana. 
General Assembly. 

Texas 
Legislature. 

Arkansas. 
General Assembly. 

Tennessee. 
General Assembly. 

Kentucky. 
Legislature. 

Ohio. 

General Assembly. 

Indiana. 
General Assembly. 

Illinois. 

General Assembly. 

Michigan. 
Legislature, 

Wisconsin. 
Legislature. 

Minnesota. 
Legislature. 

Iowa. 
General Assembly. 

Missouri. 
General Assembly. 

Kansas. 
Legislature. 

Nebraska. 
Legislature. 



UPPER HOUSE. 



S. 44, 4 yrs. 

S. 24, 4 yrs. 

S. 33, 4 yrs. 

S. 40, 4 yrs. 

S. 36, 4 yrs. 

S. 33, 4 yrs. 

S. 31, 4 yrs. 

S. 33, 3 yrs. 

S. 38, 4 yrs. 

S. 37, 3 yrs. 

S. 50, 4 yrs. 

S. 53, 4 yrs. 
S. 33, 3 yrs. 
S. 33, 2 yrs. 
S. 54, 3 yrs. 
S. 50, 4 yrs. 
S. 34, 4 yrs. 
S. 25, 2 yrs. 
S. 30, 2 yrs. 



LOWER HOUSE. 



H. R. 175, 3 yrs. 

Assembly 53, 3 yrs. 

H. R. 100, 3 yrs. 

H. R. 130, 4 yrs. 

H. R. 98, 2 yrs. 

H. R. 115, 2 yrs. 

H. R. 89, 2 yrs. 

H. R. 99, 3 yrs. 

H. R. 100, 3 yrs. 

H. R. Ill, 3 yrs. 

H. R. 98, 2 yrs. 

H. R. 156, 2 yrs. 

H. R. 100, 2 yrs. 
Assembly 100, 1 yr. 
H. R. 114, 1 yr. 
H. R. 100, 3 yrs. 
H. R. 138, 2 yrs. 
H. R. 75, 1 yr. 
H. R. 84, 2 yrs. 



ELECTORATE. 



87] The Representative Assemblies of To-day. 45 



COUNTRY. 



South Dakota. 

Leg. Assembly. 

North Dakota. 
Leg. Assembly. 

Montana. 

Leg. Assembly. 

Idaho. 

Legislature. 

Wyoming. 
Legislature. 

Colorado. 

General Assembly. 

Nevada. 
Legislature. 

California. 

Legislature. 

Oregon. 
Leg. Assembly. 

Washington. 
Legislature. 

New Mexico. 
Legislature. 

Utah. 
General Assembly. 

Arizona. 

Legislature. 

Oklahoma. 
Legislature. 

Mexico. 
Congress. 

Guatemala. 
Nat. Assembly. 
One chamber. 

Honduras. 

Congress. 
One chamber. 



UPPER HOUSE. 



S. 45, 4 yrs. 

S. 30, 4 yrs. 

S. 16, 4 yrs. 

S. 18, 4 yrs. 

S. 16, 4 yrs. 

S. 26, 4 yrs. 

S. 18, 4 yrs. 

S. 40, 4 yrs. 

S. 30, 4 yrs. 

S. 35, 4 yrs. 

Council 12, 2 yrs. 

Council 12, 2 yrs. 

Council 12, 2 yrs. 

Council 13, 2 yrs. 

Sen. 56, 2 yrs. 30 
yrs old, and prop- 
erty qual. 

52, 4 yrs. 
37, 4 yrs. 



LOWER HOUSE. 



H. R. 124, 2 yrs. 
H. R. 62, 2 yrs. 
H. R. 55, 2 yrs. 
H. R. 36, 2 yrs. 
H. R. 33, 2 yrs. 
H. R. 49, 2 yrs. 
Assembly 36, 2 yrs. 
Assembly 80, 2 yrs. 
H. R. 60, 2 yrs. 
H. R. TO, 2 yrs. 
H. R. 24, 2 yrs. 
H. R. 24, 2 yrs. 
H. R. 24, 2 yrs. 

H. R. 26, 3 yrs.* 

House Rep. 227, 2 yrs. 
Property qual. 



ELECTORATE. 



All respectable 
adults. 



Universal suffrage. 



Manhood suffrage. 



* Universal suffrage is the rule throughout the States, in the sense that no prop- 
erty qualiflcation or restrictive tax qualification is required (except in Delaware as 
above noted, and except for the nominal payment of a poll-tax in many States). 
Rhode Island was the last to abolish property qualification (in 1888). Various restric- 
tions exist relating to illiteracy and length of residence, and criminals, idiots, and 
lunatics are excluded, as elsewhere. 



46 The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [88 



COUNTRY. 



Salvador. 
Congress. 
One chamber. 

Nicaragua. 
Congress. 

Costa Eica. 
Chamber Rep. 
One chamber. 

Colombia. 

Congress. 



Venezuela. 
Congress. 

Ecuador. 

Congress. 

Peru. 
Congress. 

Bolivia. 

Congress. 

Chili. 

Congress. 

Argentine Confed- 
eration. 
Congress. 

Uruguay. 
Parliament. 

Paraguay. 

Congress. 

Brazil. 

Congress. 



Hayti. 

Nat. Assembly. 

Santo Domingo. 
Congress. 
One chamber. 

Great Britain. 
Parliament. 



UPPER HOUSE. LOWER HOUSE. 



70, 1 yr. 



Sen. 18, 6 yrs. 
26, 4 yrs. 

Sen. 37, 6 yrs (also 
6 members nom- 
inated by the 
president.) 

Sen. 24, 4 yrs. 
Sen. 33, 4 yrs. 



Sen. ca. 40, 6 yrs. 
35 yrs old, proper- 
erty qual. 

Sen. 16, 4 yrs. 

Sen. 43, 6 yrs. 
Large property 
qual. 

Sen. 30, 9 yrs. 30 
yrs old. Income 
qual. 



Sen. 19, 6 yrs. 
Sen. ca. 30, 4 yrs. 



Sen. 63, 9 yrs. 35 
yrs old. 



Sen. 30, 6 yrs, nom- 
inated by the H. 
R. 



23, 3 yrs. 



House of Lords 
559, include hered 
itary peers, bish- 
ops, 38 Irish peers 
elected for life, 16 
Scottish peers 
elected for one 
Parliament. 



House Rep. 21, 4 yrs. 



House Rep. 66, 4 yrs. 



House Rep. 52, 4 yrs. 

Chamber Dep. ca. 33, 
3 yrs. 

House Rep. ca. 80, 
6 yrs, property qual. 



Cham. Dep. 64, 4 yrs. 

Chamber Dep. 126. 
3 yrs. Property qual. 



House Dep. 86, 4 yrs. 
25 yrs. old. 



House Rep. 53, 8 yrs. 

Chamber Dep. ca. 55, 
4 yrs. 

Deputies 203, 3 yrs. 
Non-eligible ai"e : 
clergy, state minis- 
ters, commanders. 

House Rep. 50, 5 yrs. 



House of Commons 

670, 7 yrs. 31 years old. 
Exclude clergymen 
of English, Scottish, 
Rom. Oath, church, 
and peers. 



ELECTORATE. 



General suffrage. 



Universal suffrage. 



Those able to live 
respectably. 

Universal suffrage. 



Universal suffrage. 

Roman Catholic 
adults, literate. 

Indirect election. 



Universal suffrage- 
Property or income 
qual. 



General suffrage. 



Literate. 
Universal suffrage* 



Exclude illiterates, 
soldiers, members 
of certain monastic 
orders, etc. 

Citizens having 
some vocation. 



Restricted. 



Exclude : govern- 
ment contractors, 
returning officers, 
sheriffs (also non-el- 
igible for House of 
Commons). Limited 
property or income 
qual. 



* Bourgade, Paraguay. 



89] The Representative Assemhlies of To-day. 



47 



COUNTRY. 



Canada. 
Pai'liament. 

New South Wales- 
Parliament. 

Victoria. 
Parliament. 

South Australia. 
Parliament. 

Queensland. 
Parliament. 

West Australia. 
Legislature. 

Tasmania. 
Parliament. 

New Zealand. 
Gen. Assembly. 

Cape Colony. 
Parliament. 

France. 

Nat. Assembly. 



Spain. 

Cortes. 



Portugal. 
Cortes. 



Italy. 
Parliament, 



Belgium. 

Chambers. 



Netherlands. 
States- General. 



Denmark. 
Rigsdag. 



UPPER HOUSE. 



Sen. 80, life; 30 yrs 
old, large proper- 
ty qual. 

Leg. Council, 67, 
life, nominated. 

Leg. Council 48, 6 
yrs. large prop- 
erty qual. 

Leg. Council 24, 
3 yrs, property 
qual. 

Leg. Council 40, 
life, nominated. 

Leg. Council 15, 
nominated, prop- 
erty qual. 

Leg. Council 18, 
6 yrs. 

Leg. Council 41, 
life, nominated. 

Leg. Council 23, 7 
yrs, property 
qual. 

Senate 300, 9 yrs. 
Election indi- 
rect. 75 elected 
for life. 

Senate ca. 360, ex- 
offlcio, hei'edita- 
ry, nominated for 
life or elected by 
restricted bodies. 

House of Peers 
ca. 162, heredit- 
ary, appointed 
for lite, or indi- 
rectly elected. 

Senate 335, nomi- 
nated for life, and 
princes. 



Senate 69, 8 yrs, 40 
yrs old, tax qual. 

First Chamber 50, 
9 yrs, property 
or high official 
qual. 

Landsthing 66, (12 
nominated for 
life, 54 elected re- 
stricted. 8 yrs.) 



LOWER HOUSE. 



House of Commons 
315, 5 yrs. 

Leg. Assembly 141, 3 
yrs. 

Leg. Assembly 95, 3 
yrs, exclude clergy- 
men. 

House of Assem. 54, 3 
yrs, exclude clergy- 
men and judges. 

Leg. Assembly 72, 5 
yrs. 

Assembly 30, 4 yrs, 
property qual. 

House of Assembly 
36, 3 yrs. 



House Rep. 74, 3 yrs. 



House of Assembly 
76, 5 yrs. 



Chamber Dep. 584, 4 
yrs, 25 yrs old. 



Chamber Dep. 431, 5 
yrs. 



Chamber Dep. 173, 4 
yrs, property qual. 
or learned profes- 
sion. 



Chamber Dep. 508, 5 
yrs, 30 yrs old, ex- 
clude priests, gov- 
ernment officials. 

Chamber Rep. 138, 4 
yrs, 25 yrs old. 

Second Chamber 100, 
4 yrs, 30 yrs old. 



Folkething 103, 3 yrs, 
25 yrs old. 



ELECTORATE. 



Property or income 
qual. 



Property qual. 
Universal suffrage. 

General suffrage. 



General suffrage, 
plural votes. 

Property qual. 



Property or income 
qual. 



Property qual. 



Property or income 
qual. 



Universal suffrage. 



Universal suffrage. 
25 yrs old. 



Small income qual. 
or heads of fam- 
ilies. 



Small tax qual. or 
class qual. 



Tax qual. 



23 yrs old, tax qual. 



30 yrs old and per- 
sonal qual. 



48 The Representative AssemhUes of To-day. [90 



COUNTRY. 


UPPER HOUSE. 


LOWER HOUSE. 


ELECTORATE. 


Norway. 








Storthing 3 yrs. 114 


Lagthing. oiie- 


Odel'sthing, three- 


25 yrs old, property. 


members, '60 yrs old, 


I'ourth of the 


fourths of the Stor- 


income, or class 
qual. 


qual. of electorate. 


Storthing. 


thing. 


Sweden. 


First Chamber 


Second Chamber 228, 


Property or tax 


Parliament. 


147, 9 yrs, 35 yrs 
old, property or 
income qual. 


3 yrs, 25 yrs old, and 
qual. of electorate. 


qual. 


Germany. 


Bundesrath 58, ap- 


Reichstag 397, 5 yrs. 


Universal suffrage. 




pointed by the 




25 yrs old. 




federal state gov- 








ernments tor 








each session. 






Prussia. 


Herrenhaus,*her- 


Chamber Dep. 433, 5 


Indirect election, 


Landtag. 


editary and life 


yrs, 30 yrs old, tax 


those eligible for 




peers, nominated 


qual. 


municipal elector- 




and elected by re- 




ate, 3 classes, ar- 




stricted bodies. 




ranged by direct 
tax-payers. 


Bavaria. 


Cham, of Reichs- 


Chamber Rep. 159, 6 




Landtag. 


rathe 71, heredita- 


yrs, 30 yrs old, tax 


25 yrs, tax qual. 




ry and life. 


qual. 




WiJRTEMBERG. 


Stand esherren ca. 


House Dep. 93, 6 yrs. 


63 Dep. chosen by 


Landsstiinde. 


30, hereditary or 




citizens, others by 




nominated. 




orders or ex-offlcio. 


Baden. 


Upper Chamber 


Second Chamber 63, 


Election indirect. 


Landtag. 


ca. 30-40, princes, 
hereditary, ex-offi- 
cio, nominated or 
elected by nobili- 
ty. 


4 yrs. 


Exclude paupers. 


Saxony. 


Upper Cham. ca. 


Lower Chamber 80, 6 


Tax or property 


Landtag. 


50, hereditary. 


yrs. 


qual. 




nominated, ex- 
offlcio, or elected 
by restricted 

classes. 

m . 







Minor German States : Hamburg, Bremen, and Liibeck have aristocratic Senates, 
and houses of Burgesses, the two former with restricted electorate. Mecklenburg- 
Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz have a feudal Laudtag. Hesse and Saxe-Coburg- 
Gotha have Landtags of two houses, the others Landtags of a single house. Elect- 
orate is restricted by tax or other qualifications, or, as in Saxe- Weimar, where all the 
citizens have the franchise, they elect but pai't of the chamber. The single cham- 
bers vary in size from Reuss elder line (13) to Brunswick (46). 



Austria-Hungary. 
Delegations 130. 



Austria. 
Cislcithan part of 
the monarchy. 
Reichsrath. 



60 from the Cisleithan Reichsrath, 60 from the Transleithan 
Reichstag, (20 from each of the Upper Houses, 40 from the 
Lower). Term 1 yr. 



Herrenhaus 213, 
Nobles, prelates, 
nominated life 
members. 



Abgeordneten-Haus 
353, 6 yrs. 



Election direct and 
indirect, 24 yrs old, 
property or indi- 
vidual qual. 



*310 members, in 1889. 



91] The Representative AssemUies of To-day. 49 



COUNTRY. 


UPPER HOUSE. 


LOWER HOUSE. 


ELECTORATE. 


Hungary. 
Tiansleitban pai-t 
of the monarchy. 
Reichstag. 


House of Mag- 
nates 456, hered- 
itary, life, pre- 
lates, dignitaries, 
delegates. 


House Rep. 453, 5 yrs. 


20 yrs old. income, 
individual or small 
tax qual. 


Crown Lands of 

Austria. 


Unicameral Landtags, term 6 yrs ; composed of large land- 
owners, prelates, etc., and representatives of towns, com- 
munes and guilds. Electorate restricted to large land- 
own"i-s, members of guilds, direct tax-payers. Number of 
members in Landtags : 

Lower Austria 73, Moravia 100, Istria 33, 
Upper Austria 50, BukowinaSl, Vorarlberg 21, 
Carinthia 37, Dalmatia 43, Bohemia 343, 
1 GOrz and 1 ^<, Salzburg 26, Silesia 31, 
1 Gradiska f ""' Styria 63, Galicia 151. 
Tyrol 68, Carniola 37, 


Rumania. 
Assembly. 


Sen. 120, 8 yrs, 40 
yrs old, income 
qual., (8 bishops 
included). 


Chamber Dep. 183, 4 
yrs, 25 yrs old. 


Indirect election. 
Tax qual. 


Servia. 
Skupshtina. 
One chamber. 

Bulgaria. 

Sobranje. 
One chamber. 

Greece. 
Boule. 
One chamber. 


cd. 200 (?) (in part having university de- 
grees). 30 yrs old. Term 3 yrs. 

250 for Bulgaria proper, and ca. 100 for 
Eastern Rumelia. 3 yrs. 

150, 4 yrs. 


Indirect election. 
Tax qual. 

Manhood suffrage. 
Manhood suffrage. 


Switzerland. 
Federal Assembly. 


Council of States 
44, 3 yrs. 


National Council 147, 
3 yrs, exclude clergy- 
men. 


Universal suffrage. 



Swiss Cantons have representative Great Councils; but Uri, Unterwalden, 
Glarus, and Appenzell have assemblies of all the citizens (Landesgemeinden). 



Montenegro. 
Leg. Council. One 
body. 

Andorra. 
Council. One body. 


8 members ; 4 nominated, 4 elected. 
34, 4 yrs. 


Arms-bearing pop- 
ulation. 

Heads of families. 


Finland. 
Parliament. 


4 estates : nobles, clergy, burghers, peasants. Convoked ca. 
once in 4 or 5 yrs. 


Egypt. 


Leg. Council. 


Gen. Assembly. j 


Orange Free State. 
Volksraed. 
One chamber. 

South' African 
Republic. 


56, 4 yrs. 
Property qual. 

First Volksraed 
of 24. 4 yrs. Re- 
-tricted for aliens. 


Second "Volksraed* 
of 24, 4 yrs. Re- 
stricted for aliens 


Property qual. of 
whites. 



* Constitutional Amendment of 1890. 



50 



The Representative Assemblies of To-day. [92 



COUNTRY. 



Japan. 
Parliament. 



Hawaii. 

Legislature. 



UPPER HOUSE. 



House of Peers 
ca. 300. Nobles 
elected by their 
orders, members 
elected by large 
tax-payers, nomi- 
inated members. 
Term 7 yrs or 
life. 



House of Nobles 
24, 6 yrs. 



LOWER HOUSE. 



House Rep. 300, 4 yrs. 
Exclude various 
officials, priests, mil- 
itary and naval 
officers. 30 yrs old. 



House Rep. 34, 2 yrs. 



ELECTORATE. 



25 yrs old, tax qual. 



Educational qual. 
and prop. qual. for 
House of Nobles. 



* Prior to the revolution of January, 1893, 



III-IV 

THE NEGRO IN THE DISTRICT 
OF COLUMBIA. 



" The best African population, the wisest, the most enlig'htened that exists 
in the world, exists in the District of Columbia." — TJnited States Senator 
J. T. Morgan. 

"The Negro race is a living, not a dead, race, alive in the several respects 
of industry, acquisitiveness, education and religious aspiration." — Rev. Dr. 
Alexander Crummell. 

"The better disposed class of the Negroes has signally vindicated the 
capacity for civilization within the limitations of personal and race impedi- 
ments and in the use it has made of its opportunities."— Rev. A. D. Mayo. 

" I would entreat all who are working to solve this strange race problem— the 
hardest any nation ever had to solve— not to get section against section. 
North against South or South against North, or Afro-Americans against 
either, but to try by careful training of the young by giving them sound 
education— above all, teaching the trades and handicrafts of all kinds— by 
showing them the great future there is before the Afro-Amei'ican people,, to 
proclaim that racial misunderstanding should be forgotten, and that though 
there never will be, never can be, never ought to be a mingling of the races, 
yet each, side by side, can do much to build up this great land, of which both 
races are equally citizens."— Archdeacon Francis J. Clay Moran. 



JOHNS HOPKmS UNIVERSITY STUDIES 



IX 



Historical and Political Science 

HERBERT B. ADAMS, Editor 



History is past Politics and Politics present History.— Freeman 



ELEVENTH SERIES 



III-IV 



THE NEGRO IN THE DISTRICT 
OF COLUMBIA 

By EDWARD INGLE, A. B. 

Washington, D. C. 



baltimore 
The Johns Hopkins Press 

PUBLISHED ^';ONTHL¥ 

March-April, 1893 



Copyright, 1893, bt The Johns Hopkins Press. 



THE FRIEDENWALD CO., PRINTERS, 
BAI-TIMORE. 



CONTENTS. 

I. Introduction. 

II. The Basis of Operations. 

III. Applying the Lever. 

IV. Striving for Equality. 

V. An Experiment in Suffrage. 

VI. A Generation Afterward. 



THE NEGRO IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBU. 



INTRODUCTION. 

To determine the position which the negroes of the 
United States are to occupy toward the civiUzation of this 
country is a problem which should engage the sober, serious 
efforts of all those who desire good government and the 
stability of society. The solution of that problem is not to 
be had in ignoring facts about the race, or in hopes that 
the negroes will return to the homes of their forefathers. 
They have been in this country for two centimes and a 
half, they have been influenced more or less by their sur- 
roundings, they have formed attachments to the soil which 
may not easily be eradicated, and, as modem migration is 
not toward the East, they are likely to remain in the 
United States. They will either degenerate or advance 
toward the goal for which the white race is striving; but 
whatever their tendency, its developments and its results can- 
not fail to affect the white race, upon whom will largely 
depend the outcome. 

The basis for a proper treatment of the subject is to be 
had only in the calm, impersonal, scientific sifting of the 
evidence on both sides of the slave question in all parts of 
the country, which is hardly possible, perhaps, for this 
generation; and In the honest, unprejudiced and equally 
scientific consideration of facts about the condition — social, 
moral, political, and religious — of the negroes of to-day. 
Truths may be revealed which may be distasteful, but they 
must be told if the best interests of this country are to be 
subserved; and when by earnest and unbiased workers in 
every section of the country the mass of testimony has been 



8 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [100 

gathered and classified, the man will probably have been 
born who will be able to review it in a brief which will find 
support in united public opinion. 

Probably no field for the study of some of the many 
phases of this great problem presents better opportunities 
than those to be had in the District of Columbia, the seat 
of the general government. This territory, inhabited largely 
by an urban or suburban population, has always been a 
kind of experimental station, from law-making to rain- 
making, for the country; and the fact that there was fore- 
shadowed much of the special legislation for the negro 
which has been embodied in the last three amendments of 
the Constitution, and that the life there presents many 
remarkable features and many extremes in various lines of 
human activity, makes the study interesting and instructive 
for the investigator. The manifestations of the character 
of the negro population in the District, which confront the 
stranger on every hand, were the incentives to the work 
which has resulted in the following pages, and the aim 
throughout has been to examine whatever material was 
available among official documents, the files of newspapers 
or in other publications, for the purpose of discovering the 
sources of conditions as they exist to-day, and by personal 
observation and inquiry among those best qualified to speak, 
to present those conditions in a light removed from mere 
theory or personal opinion. 

No attempt has been made to deal with the subject of 
slavery except as reference had to be made to it in deter- 
mining the standpoint of observation. What may be 
termed the treatment of the forensic and legislative side of 
that question has been written by Miss Mary Tremain, of 
the University of Nebraska, in her monograph entitled 
" Slavery in the District of Columbia " ; but in connection 
with this should be read the able and conscientious work, 
"The Negro in Maryland," by Dr. Jeffrey R. Brackett, of 
the Johns Hopkins University, and its supplement, " Notes 
on the Progress of the Colored People of Maryland Since 



101] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 9 

the War." A like Virginia treatment is yet to come. A 
most valuable contribution to the literature of the ante- 
bellum and reconstruction periods is the " Special Report 
of the Commissioner of Education on the Condition and 
Improvement of Public Schools in the District of Columbia," 
submitted to the Senate, June, 1868, and to the House, 
with additions, June 13, 1871. This volume, which was 
printed in 1871, contains, beside the results of a census 
taken in the fall of 1867 by Dr. Franklin Hough, a minute 
history of the schools for the colored population in the 
District, prepared by M. B. Goodwin, which has furnished 
njany facts for portions of this monograph, and a compila- 
tion showing the legal status of the negro in the country at 
large in respect to education in 1867. 

Other material has been gathered from the Congressional 
Globe, the Congressional Record, the reports of the com- 
mittees who investigated District affairs while it was a Ter- 
ritory, acts of the legislative assembly, reports of the 
Bureau of Education, public school reports, and reports of 
the District Commissioners, with which are bound the 
valuable statistics furnished by the Superintendent of Police, 
by the chief clerk of the department, Air. Richard Sylvester, 
by the Health Ofificer, and other branches of municipal 
government. The census reports also contain some ma- 
terial, but it is chiefly of a general character, though it may 
be that the census, with the reports of the Commissioner of 
Education, will hereafter deal with the subject more mi- 
nutely and furnish the basis for the true treatment of the 
problem, the solution of which is so important for both the 
whites and the negroes. 

This study is the result of nearly eighteen months' inves- 
tigation at the odd intervals of leisure in active newspaper 
work, and whatever links may be missing or wrong deduc- 
tions made must not be attributed to the lack of a desire to 
present all necessary facts and to form an unprejudiced 
judgment. 

■Washinqton, D. C, January 18, 1893. 



I. 

THE BASIS OF OPERATIONS. 

In the spring and summer of 1862 three commissioners, 
appointed under an Act of Congress, were engaged at 
Washington in a task which was at the same time novel and 
significant. Compromises of eighty years had given place 
to force, and while the armies of two great sections 
were debating on the field of battle the questions involved 
in slavery, that question was being settled for the seat of the 
nation's government on a peaceable and equitable basis. 
It was the turning-point in the career of the negro popu- 
lation of the District of Columbia; it meant freedom and 
hope for them, and grave doubt and anxiety for the white 
race, who, confronted with radically changed conditions, 
could not readily grasp the problems presented to them. 
Slavery was passing, and in its disappearance were born 
social, economic, and political questions which to-day, after 
a generation has passed, are still not settled to the satis- 
faction of all persons concerned. 

• To determine the causes of this state of affairs a general 
idea of the character of the colored race in the District 
must be had, and this may not be gained by comparing 
their life of 1893 with that of i860 without some knowledge 
of what they were before the war and of the additions to 
the population during the past thirty years. Slavery, though 
it furnished the text for many a practical or rhetorical effort 
in Congress during the early half of the century, cannot be 
said to have been a cherished favorite of the people of the 
District, and it is likely that it would have died a natural 
death long before it was legally executed had the people 
been left to follow their inclinations, uninfluenced by the 
reflections at the capital of the contending sentiments of 
extremists in both sections of the country, or by the fears 



103] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 11 

excited by such a movement as the Nat Turner uprising in 
Virginia. This would be apparent, if other evidence was 
lacking in a study of the statistics of population from 1810 
to i860. In tlie former year, w^hen the District included 
the tract ceded by Virginia, the total population was 14,093, 
of whom 10,066 were whites, 783 free negroes, and 3,244 
slaves; in the latter year, in a total population of 75,080, 
there were 60,764 whites, 11,131 free negroes, and 3185 
slaves. The white population had increased more than five 
himdred per cent., the free negroes more than thirteen 
hundred per cent, while the slaves had decreased about one- 
per cent, and three-quarters. Though the increase of the 
white population had been pretty regular, the greatest 
advance having been made after 1846, when Alexandria was 
ceded back to Virginia, and after 1850, when the slave trade 
was forbidden in the District, while the number of free 
negroes had increased steadily, the period between 1830 and 
1850 showing the greatest ratio of increase, but that fol- 
lowing 1850 showing a tendency for the increase to be 
checked, tlie number of slaves, which rose to 4520 in 1820 
and again to 3687 in 1850, had decreased by 502 in 
ten years and by 59 in sixty years. In 1810 the slaves con- 
stituted 22.97 per cent, of the population of the District; 
in i860 they were but 4.25 per cent, of it. However, the 
laws which formed what was known as the " black code," 
and which were the embodiments of the negro code of Mary- 
land and Virginia existing in February, 1801, and the sub- 
sequent ordinances of the municipalities within the District 
and the modifications of Congress, had effect not only upon 
the bondsmen, but upon the free negroes. Though there 
are instances of extreme harshness in the execution of them, 
and though no one would tolerate them for a moment to- 
day, the position which both the slaves and the free negroes 
as classes occupied at the outbreak of the war demonstrates 
not only that they had shown a wonderful fortitude and 
developed traits of thrift and enterprise in the face of the 
menacing code, but that that code had possessed for the 



12 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [104 

majority of them, except in the most important matters of 
education and restriction of personal liberty, the character 
rather of a menace than of a system of rigorous, unrelenting 
practice. 

Slavery has been abolished, and no persons would be 
more opposed to its restoration in this country than those 
who felt its burdens the most; but it had two sides. As 
the field-hand was a comparatively small element in slavery 
as it existed in the District, the system there presented 
what may be termed its more favorable side, and though 
the slaves may have been restricted in their means of 
acquiring book learning, they were assisted toward acquir- 
ing this weapon of education by the whites in Sunday 
worship and about the house, especially before the terrors of 
1 83 1 which did much to estrange the two races; and in the 
daily life in the cities they, with their nimble wits, acquired 
a practical education which may not be had in the mere 
learning to read and write. On the other hand the free 
negroes, who were representatives of a superior element of 
their race and were destined to be a powerful leaven for their 
fellows, had many advantages in the beginning. " Many of 
them," says one writer who possessed excellent opportu- 
nities to study them, "were favorite family servants, who 
came here with congressmen from the South and with the 
families of other public officers, and who by long and faith- 
ful service had secured, by gift, purchase or otherwise, their 
freedom. Others were superior mechanics, house servants, 
and enterprising in various callings, who obtained their free- 
dom by their own persevering industry. Some, also, had 
received their freedom before coming to this city."' Ben- 
jamin Banneker, the negro astronomer, assisting in sur- 
veying the District in 1791; Sophia Browning buying her 
husband's freedom for $400 from the proceeds of her 
market garden, and being in turn purchased by him ; Alethia 
Tanner purchasing her own freedom in 1810 for $1400, and 



'Special Report, Commissioner of Education, p. 195. 



105] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 13 

that of her sister Laurena Cook and five children in 1826; 
John F. Cook, one of those children, a shoemaker by trade, 
learning the rudiments of education while a messenger in 
the Treasury Department, and closing a useful life, in spite 
of persecution at the hands of a mob, as a minister and 
educator among his people, and leaving sons to carry on 
his work, — are but some of the examples of the spirit dis- 
played by the free negroes. Before the date of the Nat 
Turner outbreak there are evidences that the relations of 
the two races in the District were of more trustfulness and 
consequently of greater friendliness than afterward; but, as 
one of the descendants of a negro who probably suffered 
most through the feeling against his race fomented by that 
event, writes, "The darkness that had gathered about him 
presented an opportunity for the exhibition of a character 
which, under ordinary circumstances, might never have been 
seen. The withdrawal of the friendly mite which had been 
occasionally given and the friendly word aroused a spirit of 
determination, self-reliance, and irrepressible energy that 
instantly foreshadowed eventual success."^ There are also 
evidences that the mite and the friendly word were not 
entirely absent in the subsequent years, and the sentiments 
of the whites toward the negroes in spite of the " black 
code," and the ability of the negroes to make good even 
their slight advantages, are proved by their possession, at the 
outbreak of the war, of $650,000 in real estate and the 
support of their own schools and churches. 

Such was in brief the condition of the negroes of the 
District when war, following the election of a President 
whose views on the question of slavery were well defined, 
rendered it expedient and practicable for the experiment of 
emancipation to be made in the District. At the outset of 
the second session of the Thirty-seventh Congress, in De- 
cember, 1861, Senator Wilson, whose name will always be 
associated with those of Grimes, Sumner, and others in 

'Public Schools of the District, 1874-75, p. 91. 



14 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [106 

connection with the efforts on behalf of the negroes of the 
District and of the country at large, introduced into the 
Senate a resolution providing that the Committee on the 
District of Columbia should take into consideration all 
measures relating to fugitives from service and all laws 
relating to negroes in the District, with a view to abolishing 
slavery in the District. 

This he followed later with a bill to abolish slavery, and 
a bill to annul the " black code." The Senator was 
determined to push matters, and his speech of March, 
1862, was an impassioned arraignment of the system which 
he and others would abolish. The question was debated at 
great length, and finally the bill abolishing slavery, pass- 
ing the Senate April 3 and the House April 11, was signed 
by President Lincoln, April 16, 1862, the free negroes and 
those who had been placed on the straight road to freedom 
uniting in their churches in thanksgiving for the act.^ The 
act provided that " all persons held to service or labor 
within the District of Columbia by reason of African 
descent are hereby discharged and freed of and from all 
claim to such service or labor, and from and after the 
passage of this act neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, 
except for crime, whereof the party shall be duly convicted, 
shall hereafter exist in said District." A sum of money not 
exceeding $1,000,000 was appropriated to compensate 
owners loyal to the government for their former slaves, it 
being provided that the average price for each slave should 
not exceed $300, and the compensation was not to extend 
to those persons who were disloyal to the government or 
who should bring slaves into the District after the passage 
of the act. Kidnapping was declared a felony, the punish- 
ment being placed at from five to twenty years' imprison- 
ment. One point of additional interest about the act was 
the appropriation of $100,000 to aid in the colonization of 
free persons, including those liberated, "as may desire to 



' Special Report, Commissioner of Education, 1871, p. 319. 



107] The Negro in the District of Columbia- 15 

emigrate to Hayti or Liberia or to such country beyond the 
limits of the United States as the President may determine." 
Both compensation and colonization, the principles which 
had prevailed in earlier schemes for emancipation, were still 
recognized, and the extreme war measure was not yet 
announced. In tliat it differed in a marked degree from the 
measures leading to the Thirteenth Amendment submitted 
February i, 1865, and ratified in the following December, 
and the interests of slaveholders loyal to the government 
were still protected. As late as July 17, 1862, in an act "to 
suppress insurrection," etc., it was ordered that the slaves 
of those in arms against the United States were to be 
declared captives of war, and that all slaves " being within 
any place occupied by rebel forces and afterwards occupied 
by the forces of the United States shall be deemed captives 
of war and shall be forever free of their servitude and not 
again held as slaves." The act also provided that no slave 
escaping to free soil should be delivered unless the person 
claiming him should be able to prove his loyalty to the 
government, and that the President should be authorized to 
provide for the transportation of slaves freed under it or to 
use them in any way he thought proper to bring the war to 
a close. Even in his warning of September 22, 1862, Mr. 
Lincoln clung to the idea of the earlier emancipation, and 
when the South had refused to heed either the bribes of 
pecuniary relief or the threats, his emancipation proclamation 
of January i, 1863, was declared by him to be "a fit and 
necessary war measure," and it was to have efifect only in 
the territory actually occupied by the Confederate forces, 
tlie document expressly defining them as follows: 
"Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. 
Bernard, Plaquemines, Jeflferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. 
James, Ascension, Assumption, Terra Bonne, La Fourche, 
Ste. Marie, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New 
Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South 
Carolina. North Carolina, and Virginia (excepting the forty- 
eight counties designated as West Virginia and also the 



16 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [108 

counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth 
City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the 
cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, and which excepted parts 
are for the present left precisely as if this proclamation were 
not issued "). 

But while these war measures were being advanced, 
the disenthralment of the three thousand slaves or 
more in the District was finding its complement in the 
careful daily sessions of the three commissioners, Daniel R. 
Goodloe, Horatio King, and J. M. Brodhead, who had been 
appointed under the act of April i6 to arrange for the 
compensation of the owners. They began their inquest 
April 28, and at the outset were confronted with the fact 
that they could depend upon no person in Washington to 
appraise the slaves. " There are few persons," they said, 
" especially in a community like Washington, where slavery 
has been for many years an interest of comparatively trifling 
importance, who possess the knowledge and discrimination 
as to the value of slaves which are necessary to a just 
apportionment of compensation under the law." It was, 
they claimed, difficult to assign value to slaves, and consul- 
tation with an experienced dealer in slaves, Mr. B. M. 
Campbell, of Baltimore, led to the conclusion that " Slaves 
in fact cannot be said to have had a current saleable value 
since the commencement of the war; while their intrinsic 
value on the i6th day of April, as determined by the un- 
diminished value of the products of the soil and the un- 
diminished wages of labor, was not less than formerly. 
Indeed, in both these respects it was greater, since there has 
been a constant rise of prices, both of labor and products." 
Campbell, too, had ceased to purchase slaves since May, 
1861, as " all communication with the South was then cut 
ofif." He, however, gave the commissioners some figures of 
his purchases between February 2 and May 18 of that 
year. Of thirty-seven slaves whom he had handled, the 
majority of them being in the prime of life, and four being 
children, the average cost had been $636.75. Other diffi- 



109] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 17 

culties in the way of reaching a just average were found in 
the varying character of the slaves. The chief support of 
some famiUes had been derived from hiring out their slaves, 
while in other cases expenses had been reduced by employ- 
ing: die slaves at home. Some slaves were held for a term 
of years or for the life of the owner, some were securities 
for the payment of debts, and in some instances there 
existed an agreement between the slaves and their owners 
that emancipation was to be given upon the payment of a 
certain sum. The commissioners finally adopted the plan 
of classifying the slaves " according to their value before 
the commencement of the war, and reducing these classes to 
the average compensation allowed by law." According 
to their report the whole number of petitions under the 
original act was 966, of which 909 were granted, 36 were 
rejected entirely, and 21 were rejected in part; Under an 
additional act of July 12, 1862, whereby slaves were per- 
mitted to file their own schedules, and the right of negroes 
to testify was emphasized, 161 petitions were presented, of 
which 139 were granted and 22 were rejected. Later, 
thirteen claims for twenty-eight slaves, filed by persons who 
had been prevented from one cause or another from avail- 
ing themselves of the provisions of the act of April, were 
allowed, the sum involved being $7212.50, and the total 
amount of compensation being kept within the million 
dollars. The largest amount paid to any one person was 
$17,771.85 for his sixty-nine slaves, and the smallest sum 
allowed for any slave was $21.90 for a male infant. 

It is noticeable that in some cases the beneficiaries under 
the act were negroes, one man receiving $2168.10 for ten 
slaves, another $832.20 for two, another $43.80 for one, and 
another $547.50 for one, while from the $4073.40 placed to 
the credit of the Sisters of the Visitation of Georgetown, 
$298.75 were deducted, as that amount had been paid to 
the Sisters by Ignatius Tilghman toward the purchase of the 
freedom of his family. The claims for two free-bom 
negroes were not allowed, and some of the slaves were too 
feeble by reason of advanced years to be of any value. 



18 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [110 

Mr. Campbell was of great assistance to the commissioners 
in estimating the value of the slaves, and it is related that 
his last resort, when very great difficulties were presented, 
was an examination of the negroes' teeth. The commis- 
sioners, as well as the government, were greatly aided also 
by Mr. W. R. Woodward, upon whom much of the clerical 
work fell. They had some curious experiences during their 
labors. For instance, one man brought before them could 
not give any idea of his age beyond the statement that 
" during General Washington's war he could catch a horse 
and feed him"; and when questioned as to the value of his 
services, indicated that he could plow in one day half as 
much as an able-bodied man. A case was presented of a 
slave whose former owner had died, willing his slaves to 
his wife for her lifetime, and after her death they were to 
be freed and were to inherit his Maryland farm. Some 
owners were slow to take advantage of the act, being under 
the impression that their sentiments regarding the war 
would debar them; but they were assured that they were 
really beneficiaries, provided they had committed no overt 
act against the government. Revelations were made of 
attempts to evade the law by the removal of slaves into ter- 
ritory not affected by it, and it was shown that one man 
had transported all his slaves ten days before the act became 
a reality, to his farm which lay partly in Maryland and 
partly in the- District, and had housed them in a tenement 
built beyond the District line, to which their daily food was 
sent by members of the family from the dwelling within the 
District. Such cases as these led to the supplementary act 
of July 12, 1862, which provided that "all persons held to 
service or labor under the laws of any State and who at 
any time since the sixteenth of April Anno Domini 1862, 
by the consent of the persons to whom such service and 
labor is claimed to be owing, have been actually employed 
within the District of Columbia, or who shall be hereafter 
thus employed, are hereby declared free and forever released 



Ill] The Negro in the District of Colmnbia. 19 

from such service, anything in the laws of the United States 
or any State to the contrary notwithstanding.'" 

Upon the passage of the emancipatory act some slaves 
left the homes of their former owners to take places else- 
where, some left the District to find work, but others 
remained to mingle with the thousands of n\en who had 
been born free or wlio had become. so without the legal 
intervention of the government or the exercise of a right 
founded upon might. 

Presently, though, they were joined by otliers of their race, 
who had not enjoyed either the comparative advantages of 
bondage in a city where population was denser, and conse- 
quently where a gaining of practical knowledge was easier, 
or the opportunities of free negroes, though hedged in by 
restrictions arising from the presence of a slave element. 
The safeguards against migration from Maryland and Vir- 
ginia, which had been asked of Congress, had not been pro- 
vided, and the hegira from those two States to the negroes' 
Land of Canaan had begun. It continued for many years, 
the greatest number of negroes arriving as fugitives, or con- 
trabands, before 1867, and another large inflation of this 
portion of the population occurring between 1870 and 1874. 
A comparison of the populations in two decades shows not 
only the marvelous rapidity with which the negroes flocked 
to the capital, but also that the fears of 1862 of citizens of 
the District were not unfounded. Between i860 and 1870 
the population of the District increased from 75,080, of 
whom 14,316 were negro, to 131,700, of whom 43,404 
were negro; and between 1870 and 1880 the population 
increased to 177,624, of whom 59,596 were negro. Of the 
negroes in the District in 1870 but 13,448 were natives of 
the District, while 16,785 had come from Virginia and 
West Virginia and 11,720 from Maryland; and of the negro 
population of 1880, Virginia had furnished 19,913 and 



'The details of this remarkable transaction are given in full in 
the report of the Commissioners, Executive Documents, No. 42, 
Thirty-Eighth Congress, 1st session. 



20 The Negro i?i the District of Columbia. [112 

Maryland 12,245, — the natives of the District numbering 

24,775- 

Midway between i860 and 1874 a most thorough census 
of the District was made under the auspices of the Bureau 
of Education, and the figures appearing in the report of that 
work are full of suggestiveness. The white population was 
then 88,327, and the negroes numbered 38,663, an increase 
of 24,347 in seven years; this increase being largely due to 
the horde of negroes from the near-by States, whose oppor- 
tunities for acquiring a knowledge of any occupation save 
that of manual labor of the simplest form had been limited. 
The following table will show the situation at a glance. It 
is formed upon statistics collected by Dr. Franklin B. 
Hough, though it does not include by any means every one 
of the interesting details made public by him.' 

White. Negro. 

Population 88,327 38,663 

Owners of Real Estate 6,485 1,399 

Renters of Real Estate 8,895 4,595 

Voters 13,294 6,648 

Married couples 14,147 5,509 

Children of school age 21,447 10,246 

Children in public schools 5,349 450 

Children in private schools 5,352 232 

Unable to read, over 15 years 1,812 11,025 

Unable to write, over 15 years 2,150 12,615 

In government service 12,690 822 

In personal service 2,122 3,647 

In trade and finance 2,052 98 

Owning and working land 440 245 

In arts and mechanics 4,503 577 

Laborers, etc 2,460 3,956 

Churches 43 14 

From the figures in this table, particularly those relating 
to illiteracy, may be obtained some idea of the character of 
the population which was to evolve into the people who 
constitute one-third of the inhabitants of the District to-day. 



' Special Report, Commissioner of Education, pp. 38-48. 



113] The Negro in the District of Columbia^ 21 

The community in which they had found a home was 
divided in its sentiments toward the negroes, as it included 
those who had found at Washington a field for a thorough 
test of their ideas of philanthropy, those whose sentiments 
against the negroes had been intensified by their helplessness 
in the face of the legislation, which they believed was likely 
to inure only to the disadvantage of the capital, and those 
who cared neither for the whites nor for the negroes except 
as possibilities for the furtherance or blocking of their 
designs. The swarms of adventurers who flocked to Wash- 
ington in the closing years of the war and later, belonging 
to the class of whites which found its most congenial 
home there, were not of a character likely to benefit the 
mass of ignorance, which found little sympathy among the 
older residents. Even the negroes themselves had their dis- 
tinctions, not always well defined, perhaps, but yet capable 
of being classed broadly as of those who had been free 
before the war, those who had been liberated in 1862, and 
those who had entered the District as fugitives or as con- 
trabands of Avar. 

To deal with these diverse elements so as to make them 
of value to the communit}^ instead of causing them to be- 
come drawbacks, was a problem requiring all the tact, 
wisdom and judgment of statesmanship. To its solution, 
however, were too frequently brought partisanship and enthu- 
siasm lacking reason or experience; and when the move- 
ments of the past generation are calmly reviewed, the only 
conclusion is that of astonishment that the negroes, in spite 
of dissensions among themselves, neglect or hostility on the 
part of some of the whites, and short-sighted efiforts in their 
behalf by would-be friends, have reached the advanced posi- 
tion in which some are able to maintain themselves to-day. 



11. 

APPLYING THE LEVER. 

If the negroes in the District before the war can be said 
to have been remarkable in any respect, they were so in 
their desire for education; but in this they received com- 
paratively little encouragement from the authorities. Indeed, 
the expansion of population consequent upon the war was 
necessary to make the white public school system of the 
capital an important factor in municipal life. Although the 
movement for the public instruction of children had begun 
in 1805 by trustees, with Thomas Jefiferson as their presi- 
dent, many causes contributed to its unpopularity, as shown 
in 1840 in the attendance of 776 children upon private 
schools and but 213 upon public ones, and in the expendi- 
ture of but $257,721.74 for the system during the eight 
years immediately preceding the war. Whatever benefits 
were to be derived from the system, though, were not 
extended to the free negroes, and at the outset they were 
obliged to depend mostly upon their own resources for 
acquiring knowledge, supplemented by the efiforts of earnest 
men and women, who labored principally in the Sunday 
schools, where provision was made for negro children. 
With an energy surprising, when viewed against the back- 
ground of their antecedents, the negroes detemiined to 
gratify their thirst for knowledge, and within a few months 
after the first two public school-houses had been built the 
first school for negroes was opened in 1807. 

It was built by three men, recently emerged from slaver}-, — 
George Bell, Nicholas Franklin, and Moses Liverpool, and 
was taught by a white man named Lowe. Odiers were 
started later, the occasional admission of a negro to a white 
private school not apparently meeting the requirements of 
the case; an attempt at a free school was even made, and 



115] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 23 

after the line of demarcation between the whites and negroes 
had been for die first time sharply drawn in the Sunday 
schools, the number of private schools for negroes increased 
and their scope widened, until, at the outbreak of the war, 
when the negro population of school age was 3172, it is 
estimated that 1200 were in the schools. Though white 
teachers at first were the principal teachers, intelligent negro 
men and women gradually took their places, until the 
instruction by the whites was limited to such schools as 
that of Father Vanlomen, in Georgetown. Their schools 
ranged from the mere primary ones to those in which the 
higher branches, French and music, were taught, and the 
prospectus of one of the latter displays the spirit which 
animated such undertakings. "The object of this academy," 
wrote Arabella C. Jones in her prospectus in 1852, "is of 
great importance, particularly to those who are devoid of 
schools in their vicinity, and also to society at large. Here 
the poor are educated gratuitously, the orphans clothed, 
educated and a good trade given them. Females in this 
age are naturally destined to become either mothers of 
families or household servants. As mothers, is it not neces- 
sary that they should be skilled in habits of industr}' and 
modesty, in order to transmit it to posterity? As domestics, 
should they not be tutored to the virtues of honesty, integ- 
rity and sobriety? Last, though not least, many of our 
citizens of color are emigrating to Liberia, and it is neces- 
sa.ry, as well-wishers of our race, that our children be well 
educated, in order to impart their knowledge to the illit- 
erate." 

This was originally quoted by M. B. Goodwin, who 
has preserved for the future student the story of the labors 
of the founders of the negroes' educational system at the 
capita! and of such pioneers as William Costin, Louise 
Parke Costin, Henry Smothers, John F. Cook, Myrtilla 
Miner, Arabella Jones, Mary Wormley, Alexander Hays, 
John H. Fleet, Charles H. Middleton, and others, who in 
spite of hardships, drawbacks and at times persecution of 



24 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [116 

one shade or another, struggled persistently toward the light, 
and justified the conclusion that '' it is worthy of observa- 
tion, also, that in no case has a colored school ever failed 
for the want of scholars. The parents were always glad to 
send their children, and the children were always ready to 
go, even when too poor to be decently fed or clothed. 
When a school failed it was for want of money, and not for 
want of appreciation of the benefits of education."^ 

This eagerness was marked when, in 1862, emancipation 
of the slaves was followed by the first step taken 
toward the real emancipation of the class of which the 
slaves formed a small proportion. The question of the 
public support of schools for the negroes had been mooted 
in 1848 and 1858, but had never reached any definite shape 
until coincidentally with the debates on the freeing of the 
slaves were considered measures for the education of their 
race, and within a little more than a month after the act of 
emancipation of April 16, 1862, its fit complement was had 
in the acts initiating a public school system for the negroes. 
This movement was remarkable in more respects than one. 
In the first place it was not bom of legislative sentiment 
alone, for, upon the development of opposition, energetic 
negroes, including some who were at the time interested in 
private schools, went to the trouble of collecting statistics 
proving that their demands were reasonable; the most 
striking fact evolved, perhaps, being that to which Senator 
Grimes alluded on April 29, that the negroes were paying 
$3600 taxes upon $650,ocxd worth of real estate, and that 
they were sharing the tax of ten cents on every $100 
devoted to the support of white schools exclusively. Another 
curious feature was the enactment of a school law for the 
county section of the District one day in advance of that 
for the cities of Washington and Georgetown, inasmuch as 
an effort to establish a white public school system in the 
county in 1856 had proved ineffective because it was not 

' Special Report, Commissioner of Education, 1871, p. 222. 



117] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 25 

ratified at an election in which women were allowed to vote 
and in which they cast their ballots generally with the 
opposition. The act of May 20, 1862, provided for a tax of 
one-eighth of one per cent, upon the property of negroes 
outside the cities for the support of schools for their 
children; and that of May 21, 1862, ordered that ten per 
cent, of the tax levied in the two cities upon negro property 
should be devoted to negro public schools. In tlie county 
the funds w'ere to be under the control of seven trustees 
for all the schools, and in the cities under the control of 
the trustees of the white schools. Both acts proved ineffec- 
tive, even though, to set at rest all apprehension about the 
disposition of the separate fund in the cities, three trustees 
for the negro schools in Washington and Georgetown were 
appointed by the Secretary of the Interior under an act of 
July II, 1862; and in 1864 another act became the funda- 
niental law for the whole District. This provided that the 
authorities should set apart each year from all the funds 
received for educational purposes " such proportionate part 
thereof as the number of colored children between the ages 
of six and seventeen years in the respective cities bear to 
the whole number thereof, for the purpose of establishing 
and sustaining public schools in said cities for the education 
of colored children," and a similar arrangement was made 
for the county schools. In the two years following the 
original act for the cities but $736.86 had been credited to 
the separate school fund, and it was not until March, 1864, 
that the first public school for negroes w^as opened in a 
negro church, and not until the next year that the first 
building for school purposes only was occupied. The local 
authorities still construing the act in a manner different 
from the advocates of the negroes, Congress, by act of 
July 23, 1866, ruled that the act of 1864 should be so con- 
strued " as to require the cities of Washington and George- 
town to pay over to the trustees of the colored schools of 
said cities such a proportionate part of all moneys received 
or expended for school or educational purposes in said 



26 The Negro in the District of Cohmihia. [118 

cities, including the cost of sites, buildings, improvements, 
furniture, books, and all other expenditures on account of 
schools, as the colored children, between the ages of six and 
seventeen years in the respective cities, bear to the whole 
number of children, white and colored, between the same 
ages; that the money shall be considered due and payable 
to said trustees on the first day of October of each year; 
and if not then paid over to them, interest at the rate of ten 
per centum per annum on the amount unpaid may be de- 
manded and collected." It was also arranged that contri- 
butions from persons disposed to aid in the education of 
the negro should be kept distinct from the general school 
fund. 

While as late as November, 1867, the trustees of the negro 
schools were complaining that they had been hampered by 
the refusal of the corporation of Washington to execute the 
acts of Congress relating to the schools, affairs in the county 
had progressed much more smoothly, especially after an 
appropriation by Congress, on July 28, 1866, of $10,000 to 
purchase sites and erect the necessary buildings; and the 
negroes' schools fared as well as the whites', an estimate of 
expenditures from 1864 to 1870 showing that the former 
had received $43,057.73 and the latter $50,721.91, and the 
former class of pupils having really the better accommoda- 
tions. 

During the earlier years of the war, when the migration 
to the capital of contrabands and refugees began, efforts 
were made to reach them in schools. The first school 
devoted exclusively to slave children was opened in the 
county in August, 1861, by a negro woman, but the next 
year the American Tract Society began its work among the 
contrabands, and its example was followed by the American 
Tract Society of Boston, the American Missionary Society, 
the Pennsylvania Freedmen's Relief Association, Volunteer 
Teachers' Association, the Philadelphia Friends' Freedmen's 
Relief Association, the African Civilization Society, the 
Reformed Presbyterian Mission, the Old School Presby- 



119] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 27 

terian JMission, the New York Freedmen's Relief Associa- 
tion, the New England Freedmen's Aid Commission, the 
New England Freedmen's Aid Society, the New England 
Friends' Mission, the Washington Christian Union, the 
Universalists of Maine, and others. Their work was carried 
on in the basements of negro churches, in temporary bar- 
racks and other makeshifts, and extended to men, women 
anci children. At first there were dissensions, which, how- 
ever, were removed, and finally through the efforts of A. E. 
Newton, who was, in 1867, appointed superintendent of the 
negro public schools by the trustees, the cooperation of all 
the interests was secured and the way was paved for the 
public schools continuing the work of the relief societies, 
when all but one withdrew their aid in 1868. Great aid was 
given at this period by the Freedmen's Bureau, which, not 
limiting its assistance to schools for primary instruction, did 
much toward the establishing of Howard University, which 
was incorporated March 2, 1867, and in which no distinction 
was made on account of race, color or sex, though it had 
originally been intended for the education of negro men 
alone.' 

Some of these schools were open by day and some by 
night, the total number of day schools in May, 1864, includ- 
ing one public school, being 12, with 23 teachers and 1200 
pupils, and in 1867 being 62, with 80 teachers and 4228 
pupils, the trustees of the public schools at that time con- 
trolling 5 schools, with 7 teachers and 450 pupils, and the 
total sum received from the North between 1863 and 1867 
amounting to $135,000. At this time the extremes of the 
negro race were represented in the schools, and while in one 
private institution in 1868, of fifty pupils, 16 were taking 
music lessons, two years before Miss Susan Walker had 
been subjected to indignities in the conduct of her school 
which will bear comparison with the violence of " a set of 



* Wayland Seminary, an institution still influential, was organized 
during this period. 



28 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [120 

ragamuffins" of 1835, tlie annoyances of negro children 
from white youths at a subsequent period, and the treatment 
of some of those connected with Howard University in 
its earlier history. The chronicler tells it in this simple 
language: "December i the school was opened in one 
of the barrack buildings, and soon Miss Walker had 
under training, six hours a day, about 70 scholars, mostly 
women, who were taught various kinds of plain sewing, she 
preparing the work for them, cutting the garments, etc., in 
the evening. As these women could not afiford to take the 
time even for instruction, unless receiving some remunera- 
tion, Miss Walker adopted the plan of paying them pro- 
portionately from the articles of clothing made. In Sep- 
tember of the next year, 1866, a regiment of cavalr}^ took 
up its quarters near her school, causing her great annoy- 
ance and much anxiety, as well as disturbing the school 
work. The officer in command gave her assurance of the 
fullest protection, but the soldiers finally broke into the 
school-house and destroyed or took away private property 
and private papers, — a summary way of declaring their creed 
on the subject of educating contrabands."' 

The conferring of the suffrage upon the negroes and the 
accession to the mayoralty, in June, 1868, of one of their 
particular friends, was followed by further agitation in Con- 
gress for their schools, and in the summer of that year the 
Senate, under a misunderstanding of the wishes of the 
negroes, passed a bill abolishing the offices of separate 
trustees, and the matter being forgotten in the lapse of 
several months, the same measure was passed by the House 
in February, 1869. Immediately the negroes were aroused, 
and. they flocked to their old rallying points, the churches, 
and set forth their wishes in strong resolutions. They 
feared that the removal of negro trustees would bring about 
the same condition of affairs as had made the act of July 
II, 1862, a necessity, and that the existence of the schools 

' Special Report, Commissioner of Education, 1871, p. 242. 



121] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 29 

would depend upon local politics alone. There was some 
little hesitation about taking this stand, because some 
thought that the negroes might be considered as opposing 
Congress; but the final resolutions looked to a change in 
the whole system, which was thought to reflect distinctions 
in race and color. In view of the position of the negroes 
of the two cities, President Johnson vetoed the measiu"e, and 
called the attention of Congress to the statement that the 
trustees for the negro schools, two of whom were negroes, 
had given satisfaction to their constituency, and therefore 
he saw no reason for transferring their duties to others. It 
was at this time, when the negroes had begun to be promi- 
nent in the police and fire departments of the city and in 
other phases of municipal life, that the question of mixed 
schools was incontinently agitated, culminating in a debate 
in Congress in the early spring of 1871, in which the effort 
was unsuccessfully made to remove all restrictions on 
account of color from all the public schools, and which also 
produced the statement in the Senate that for eighteen 
months or two years the board of trustees for the negro 
schools had been in a controversy among themselves, 
"fighting constantly at their meetings," the latter clause 
not meaning, of course, that they had come to blows.' 

Under the territorial government which followed this 
debate, some modifications were made in the administration 
of the negro schools. Under an act of the Legislative 
Assembly of March 3, 1873, George F. T. Cook, who had 
been chosen in 1868 superintendent for the negro schools 
and who still occupies that position, was appointed super- 
intendent by the Governor, and his report began to appear 
with that of the superintendent of the white schools, the 
trustees were increased in number to nine, and the acts of 
Assembly laying a tax for education, instead of specially 
designating the amounts for the two systems, read "for the 
support of public schools, including colored schools," though 



'Congressional Globe, 1871, pp. 1054-1061. 



30 Tlie Negro in the District of Columhia. [122 

in expending the funds the proportion of white and negro 
pupils to the whole school population appears to have 
remained as a basis. The abolition of the experiment in 
1874 produced other changes. At that time there were 
more than forty school trustees for four different systems of 
schools, — twenty for the white schools of Washington, live 
for the white schools of Georgetown, nine for the negro 
schools of Washington and Georgetown, and seven for the 
white and negro schools of the county. The three Commis- 
sioners of tlie District appointed by the President consoli- 
dated these boards in August, 1874, into one board of 
fifteen members, increased, however, in the next month to 
nineteen, to the great benefit of the schools resulting from a 
uniformity of supervision, discipline, text-books and methods 
of instruction, there being some slight modifications to suit 
peculiar conditions; and while the white superintendent 
was given oversight of all the white schools and the negro 
schools of the county, the negro schools of the two cities 
remained uxider their own superintendent. The same admin- 
istration continued when the form of government for the 
District crystallized in 1878 into its existing form ; but since 
July 15, 1882, the board of trustees has been composed of 
but nine members, three of them being negroes; and from 
one of seven divisions in 1879, the growth of the negro 
school had, by February, 1891, made necessary three divi- 
sions, with a supervising principal in each, the eighth divi- 
sion having been created in the session of 1882-83. 

During the thirt}^ years from the time when Congress 
first took a hand in the negro school alTairs, they have 
advanced almost as rapidly as the white schools in points 
of attendance, administration and methods of instruction. 
Though the first teacher of a negro public school in the 
District was a negro woman, with a white woman as an 
assistant, the problem about the proper kind of teachers was 
at first similar to that presented in the negro private 
schools before the war. In the first ten years of the system 
the teachers were in a great degree white women from the 



123] The Negro in the District of Cohnnhia. 31 

North; but the change from white teachers to negro was 
begun in the sixties, in 1869 the fifty schools being equally 
divided among them. At that time but eighteen of the 
negro teachers were natives of the District/ At present all 
negro schools have teachers of the negro race. The 
schools originally of a primary character gradually enlarged 
their field; between 1871 and 1875 there was a preparatory 
course advanced beyond the grammar schools, and in 1876 
the colored High School graduated its first pupils, and has 
since sent its graduates to Cornell, Howard, Harvard uni- 
versities, the University of Michigan and Oberlin College; 
while the Normal School, which began operations a few 
years later, has furnished material for teachers of the local 
schools. The teachers of reconstruction times had realized 
the necessity for some sort of manual training among their 
pupils, and this idea was later incorporated in the public 
school system and in the institutions for higher education. 
Drawing was introduced into the public schools in 1875, 
and the establishing in 1880 by Mrs. Woodbury of the 
First Mission School for cooking, with the subsequent 
organization at Washington of the National Industrial Asso- 
ciation, gave an impetus to this most important branch of 
teaching. In 1883 industrial training became a part of the 

' A curious commentary upon the situation at this time is had in 
the circular of the trustees, issued in September, 1869. They said : 
" It is our determination to elevate the character of the schools by 
insisting on a high standard of qualifications in the teachers. This 
can be done only by employing the best teachers that our money 
will procure irrespective of color. While we think it right to give 
preference in our schools to colored teachers, their qualifications 
being equal , yet we deem it a violation of our.ofBcial oath to employ 
inferior teachers when superior ones can be had for the same 
money. It is no discredit to admit that the number of colored 
teachers, at least in this District, who can compete successfully 
with those of the hitherto more favored class, especially those from 
the Northern States, is at present small. When our young men 
and women shall have enjoyed equal advantages for a sufficient 
length of time, we may expect this will be changed." Special 
Report, Commissioner of Education, p. 257. 



32 The Negro in the District of ColumUa. [124 

curriculum of Howard University, and the demands of this 
branch of instruction have so increased that a separate 
building is now devoted to it for the pupils of the prepara- 
tory and normal departments. The outfit includes a car- 
penter shop, tin shop, bookbindery, tailor and shoe shops, 
kitchen, and printing office, from which is Issued monthly 
The Howard Standard. The other departments of the insti- 
tution, which in 1892 had 562 pupils, are theological, medi- 
cal, law, and collegiate, the students being confined to no 
race, sex or color, but including whites, negroes, West 
Indians, and coming from such extremes as Africa and 
Japan.' 

Manual training was introduced into the High School in 
1886, where also at present the boys have the advantage of 
a military drill, and instruction in physical culture is given 
in the primary and grammar grades. The system of manual 
training as extended through the different grades embraces 
drawing, clay modeling, paper cutting, cooking, carpentry, 
turning and metal work, and it has not only been of great 
advantage to the pupils, but the results have demonstrated 
the capabilities of the negro race in this direction to the 
satisfaction of those who have watched its growth.' 

The schools which, with the assistance of the relief soci- 
eties, had pupils of three generations at once, have evolved 
into a system devoted entirely to children, and from one 
school, with forty pupils in 1864, the negro schools have 



' An account of the history of industrial training at Howard Uni- 
versity, by Prof. W. P. Mitchell, is given on pp. 330, 331 of Part II 
of the publication just issued by the Bureau of Education on 
" Industrial and Manual Training in Public Schools." 

^Isaac Edwards Clarke, in commenting on their exhibition, said : 
"The step from the condition of their original African barbarian 
ancestors to the present development of these children of American 
freedom is a long one, and one the study of which, of interest to 
all students of ethnology, must be of surpassing interest to those 
who hope for the progress of all mankind. How much of this 
evolution is to be attributed to the result of the two centuries of 
training and association of these native Africans and their children 



125] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 33 

increased to more than two hundred schools, with 14,490 
pupils, while the attendance upon private schools has de- 
creased from 1200 to about 650, with 410 in parochial 
schools. The trustees, though, have failed to be entirely 
satisfied about the work which is being done for the educa- 
tion of the negroes, and the president of the board in 1891 
wrote as follows on this point: 

"The seventh and eighth divisions embracing the colored 
schools of the city have been a subject of serious thought 
with the whole board of trustees. The question has been 
asked by the best class of colored citizens and by others 
who feel a deep interest in the success of their schools, *Are 
we getting the best results obtainable for the expenditure of 
means?' From the best information that I, as the president 
of the board of trustees, have been able to obtain, I am 
clearly of the opinion that we do not. I have been visited 
by and have consulted with the most intelligent and edu- 
cated of the colored citizens, with whom it has been a subject 
of anxious thought ' What,' say they, ' shall we do to 
improve our schools? We know that we are not obtaining 
the best results ; we are not abreast of the white schools, nor 
do we yet expect to be; but we are too far behind them, and 
such should not be the case.' We have intelligent, earnest 
men in the board of trustees, representing more nearly the 
colored schools, who give their time and personal super- 
vision to the schools of their respective divisions. Yet the 
work is not what it should be. There must be a reason for 
it. Some of the supervising principals and teachers of 

with their white masters under the hard conditions of slavery, and 
how much is solely due to the inspiring influence of freedom during 
the past quarter of a century, is a problem in equity, for the relative 
proportion of credit due to each were not easy justly to apportion. 
It may not be denied, however, that the average slave of 1860 was, 
in all that makes the civilization of a race possible, far in advance 
of his savage kin in Africa. If in nothing else he was advantaged, 
he had in the acquisition of English as his native language, gained 
a priceless possession, a master-key to all knowledge." Industrial 
and Manual Training in Public Schools, pp. 248-249. 



34 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [126 

colored schools are men fully capable by both education and 
culture to lift these schools to a higher standard than they 
have yet attained. But there seems to be a something 
somewhere that prevents it. What is it? I submit this 
question to the consideration of tlie Commissioners of the 
District." 

As far back as 1873 the trustees, recognizing that hu- 
manity as well as public interests demanded that provision 
should be made for educating those who had been given the 
responsibilities of citizenship, discovered that the work of 
the schools was hampered by home influences, the parents 
being unable to discipline their children properly or to 
supplement the studies at school with home instruction; 
and in spite of nearly twenty years of labor, somewhat similar 
conditions were the subject of comment by the superinten- 
dent of the negro schools in 1891. This opinion was to the 
effect that dilBculty in training the children to the correct 
use of language was due to " the large and constantly oppos- 
ing forces of the home and its association." And to the 
absence of a cultured home, which is not the growth of a 
generation, is traced the disproportionate amount of illit- 
eracy among the negroes in spite of the equipment of their 
public schools, the conduct of night schools during certain 
months, the gradual introduction of free books in the dif- 
ferent grades, the gathering of libraries in the different 
schools, aggregating 3000 volumes, through the individual 
efforts of teachers and pupils, and the general results which 
should be expected from additions each year to the com- 
munity of graduates of the high school. At times the school 
authorities squint toward compulsory education, which is 
permitted under the act of 1864; but this has never been 
executed because the attendance upon both tlie white and 
negro schools has been fully equal to the provisions for it, 
and since the two systems have been operating with as little 
friction as possible, the number of negroes in the schools has 
been in the same proportion to their portion of the popu- 
lation of school age as the attendance upon the white 



127] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 



35 



schools has been to white children between the ages of 6 
and 17 years/ 

In the report of the Commissioner of Education for 1886 
the fact was noted that while the attendance upon the white 
schools was maintained in all the grades, that upon the negro 
schools diminished as the grades ascended. This gives the 
clue to a partial explanation of the failure of the negro 
population to be benefited by the system equally with the 
whites, and behind it is the bed-rock reason, — the poverty 
of parents and the necessity for many of the children to aid 
in some way in supporting the family preventing tliem from 
pursuing the whole course and even from remaining in 
school during a year at a time. Figures of the police census 
of June, 1892, throw a flood of light upon this situation. 
In that year the white population was 173,610, of whom 
36,272 were of school age, 30,085 of whom were at school 
and 2948 were earning wages. But the negro population, 
84,821, furnished a school population of 18,726, with 13,041 



' The following table is a good basis for a comparison of the sta- 
tistics of white and negro schools since 1880. In the white schools' 
statistics are included the negro pupils in the county schools, their 
number being as 1 to 23 of the whites, and the Normal School is 
omitted from the negro statistics. 



&0 

a . 


Pupils. 


Teacheks. 


"Oeo 

a® 


White. 


Negro. 


Total. 


White. 


Negro. 


Total. 


1880 


18,378 


8,061 


26,439 


306 


128 


434 


1881 


19,153 


8,146 


27,299 


327 


134 


461 


1882 


19,031 


8,289 


27,320 


342 


143 


485 


1883 


19,836 


8,710 


28,546 


358 


147 


505 


1884 


21,221 


9,167 


30,388 


371 


154 


525 


1885 


21,267 


9,598 


30,865 


393 


162 


555 


1886 


22,198 


10,138 


32,336 


421 


174 


595 


1887 


23,073 


10,345 


33,418 


438 


182 


620 


1888 


23,810 


11,040 


34,850 


466 


188 


654 


1889 


24,594 


11,170 


35,764 


496 


197 


693 


1890 


25,468 


11,438 


36,906 


534 


211 


745 


1891 


26,354 


12,132 


38,386 


569 


226 


795 


1892 


30,085 


13,041 


43,126 


612 


283 


895 



36 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [128 

at school and 2870 earning wages. The fluctuations in 
attendance, though, seem to be lessening each year, and the 
advance in material welfare of the population indicated 
thereby may so extend as to place the attendance through 
the whole system on a plane with that in the white schools. 

Lack of culture and wealth among the great body of the 
negro population may account in part for the inability of 
the negro children as a class to be equal in literacy to white 
children of the same age; but another drawback may be 
found in the teachers. More than once have the trustees 
made a point of commending the attainments and capabilities 
of the present superintendent, and in 1879 they had this to 
say in commenting upon the satisfactory condition of the 
negro schools: 

"Nor can it occasion surprise that such should be the 
case to those who have acquainted themselves with the 
extraordinary ability and unremitting zeal exhibited by the 
superintendent of the colored schools in the administration of 
the afifairs of his peculiar department. To properly appre- 
ciate the high order of talent and the degree of industry 
which have characterized the performance of his official 
duties, it is to be borne in mind that his task, because of the 
former anomalous relations of the colored schools to the 
rest of the system, has, from its inception, been eminently 
creative and largely dependent for its successful accomplish- 
ment upon the resources of his unaided genius. To his 
personal efforts is to be attributed the rapid advance made, 
in recent years, by that department of our public schools 
and its entire harmony with the general scheme of instruc- 
tion.'" 

These qualities of the superintendent are his rightly by 
inheritance, and they are manifest in the comprehensive 
reports which he furnishes each year. He early realized the 
advantages to be derived from the opportunities for local 
training of the teachers for the local schools of their own 
color, but has not been backward in criticising imperfections 

1 Public School Report, 1878-79, p. 17. 



129] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 37 

in the Normal School results. A negro critic of his race, 
at a recent meeting, made this statement: " Make a colored 
girl a school-teacher, and when she draws her first month's 
salary she refuses to speak to other girls." This was an 
exaggerated statement of a germ of truth which finds par- 
tial confirmation in the report of 1889 o^ the principal of 
the Normal School. Her observation was that young negro 
girls too frequently chose teaching as a profession without 
due regard to its importance, and that their disappoint- 
ment about obtaining positions, resulting in their passion 
getting the better of their judgment, did not tend to " the 
moral elevation of either pupils or school." On this same 
line the superintendent, believing that the average product 
of the Normal School is good, has had occasion to observe 
in 1890 that the graduates lacked experience, and more or 
less " that more pronounced personal and moral character 
whose growth is conditioned by maturer years, and which, 
in itself, presents an embodiment of those virtues whose 
silent influences in the school-room contribute so largely to 
the proper bent of youthful character."' 

These defects in the teaching class, however, are counter- 
acted in part by the enthusiasm of individuals, and in criti- 
cising existing conditions it must be remembered that hardly 
a generation has passed since the means of any public 
education were given the negro race in the District, and 
that the history of the race in this country before that time 
reveals very little of the mode of life which would be likely 
to produce either a teaching or a learning class; but the 
spectacle of elderly persons in the night schools, of news- 
boys seeking at odd moments to acquire at Howard Uni- 
versity the rudiments of an industrial training, and of pupils 
in the other schools bringing their breakfast to school in 
order to be prompt in attendance, not only indicates that the 
race has lost none of the eagerness for learning which char- 
acterized it in antebellum days, but also is full of promise 
of greater development of the schools in the future. 

' District Commissioners' Reports, 1889, p. 979; 1890, p. 972; 1891, 
p. 910. 



III. 

STRIVING FOR EQUALITY. 

Under the old regime, free negroes in the District were 
affected not only indirectly by the laws referring to their 
kinsmen slaves, but also by special municipal legislation 
directed against themselves. The nine or ten o'clock curfew, 
though evaded at times, the provision in Georgetown 
against assemblages, though not rigidly enforced, the pro- 
hibition in Alexandria of separate places of worship, the 
hardships of registry and of the presentation of satisfactory 
evidence of freedom, and the limitation of license to engage 
in business, reflecting the feeling of citizens against migra- 
tion into the District of free negroes, were some of the 
evidences of the inequality before the law of negroes with 
whites, and were drawbacks to the possibility of negroes 
attaining the semblance of mental or material equality with 
the dominant race. 

The wholesale emancipation of the slaves had not in itself 
tended to benefit them materially, nor had it been of value 
to those who had previously been free, for the old restric- 
tions, bom of the custom of centuries or of the exigencies 
of particular occasion, were still in force. The slave had 
become free, but neither he nor his brother had become a 
freeman either in the strict sense of the word or before the 
law. 

It was the purpose, though, of the negroes' advocates to 
correct, as far as possible by law, the remarkable fallacy 
of American institutions that all men are by nature equal, 
and in addition to making the slaves free, to make them and 
their fellows freemen. Senator Wilson had aimed at this 
in his bill of February, 1862, to abolish the black code. 
He was ceaseless in his activity, and finally found a shorter 
route to his desire, in the amendment which very appropri- 



131] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 39 

ately he had added to the bill of Senator Grimes, providing 
for education of tlie negroes, which became a law May 21, 
1862, and which provided tliat all negroes in the District 
should be amenable to the same laws and ordinances as 
whites, that they should be tried for any offenses in the same 
manner as whites, and that upon conviction they should be 
liable to the same punishment, and all laws inconsistent with 
the act were repealed. So much was accomplished, in a 
few words, toward relieving the negro of tlie inequalities in 
case of his arrest; but it was only a beginning. As the 
admission of negro testimony had been varying, it was neces- 
sary to define and expand it more thoroughly than had been 
done in the emancipatory act, which in that particular case 
permitted the testimony of free or slave negroes; and 
accordingly, to Mr. Wilson's bill of July 12 was appended 
Mr. Sumner's motion that "in all judicial proceedings in 
the District of Columbia there shall be no exclusion of any 
witness on account of color," the principle which a few years 
later was extended to the federal courts of the country. 
The right to serve as jurors was not conferred until the 
passage of the omnibus bill of rights of March, 1869, which 
also gave the negroes the right to hold office, a complement 
to the right of suffrage given them several months j^re- 
viously. 

But these were not all the measures urged upon Congress 
for the particular class who had become in more senses 
than one the proteges of the government. The tendency to 
distinguish against them in public conveyances, which has 
in more recent years found practical application in some 
quarters in separate cars for negroes, was manifest at that 
day. But the supports of this tendency were one by one 
cut away. The Washington and Alexandria Railroad Com- 
pany, wishing to extend its line into the District, came 
before Congress for an enlargement of its charter, and this 
enabled the Senate to amend the bill, which became law, 
March 3, 1863, so that no distinction against negroes should 
be made in the cars. In the meantime the far-seeing capi- 



40 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [132 

talist, recognizing the advantages of obtaining valuable fran- 
chises on easy terms, had begun to operate street cars in the 
city, and the Washington and Georgetown Company, which 
was chartered in 1862, in deference to prevailing sentiments 
of the whites and the demands of negroes, had provided 
separate cars for the latter. This was one of the distinctions 
which Mr. Sumner would abolish, and he saw his chance 
for a beginning when the Metropolitan Railroad Company 
came forward for a charter. This was granted July i, 1864, 
but it carried with it a provision that in operating the road 
there should be no regulation excluding any persons from 
any car on accouat of color. This was the wedge upon 
which he labored for a few more months, and although his 
efforts were unsuccessful when he first attempted to apply 
the same rule to the Washington and Georgetown Rail- 
road, he was victorious in his second essay, and when the 
Metropolitan charter was amended March 3, 1865, it had a 
rider inserted applying the non-exclusion principle to every 
other railroad in the District. 

The culmination of this legislation was the municipal act 
of June 10, 1869, which prohibited distinction on account of 
color in places of public amusement, hotels and similar quasi 
public resorts, and it must be said that by that time the 
impression seemed to prevail among the negroes, particu- 
larly those who had not been inhabitants of the District for 
many years, that if any distinction was shown it was against 
the whites. 

There is no doubt that both parties in Congress had their 
extremists, and on a careful reading of some of the debates 
one is forced to the conclusion that while, on the one hand, 
if such a thing had been possible, some would have passed 
a law changing the color of the skin of the negroes to 
white, on the other hand would have been found others 
willing to enact a law that the special advocates of the 
negroes should change their complexion to black. The 
negroes may have been unanimous in their desire for such 
special legislation, but that the leaders were at times mis- 



133] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 41 

taken in their zeal is apparent from the incident of 1868-69, 
regarding the pubhc schools trustees, and the debate on tlie 
separate street cars showed that even among those who were 
specially friendly toward the negroes was not always a 
thorough understanding as to the most expedient course of 
action. Again, in 1871, the radical efforts for equality 
found expression in the bill providing that "no distinction 
on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude 
shall be made in the admission of pupils to any of the 
schools under the control of the Board of Education, or in 
the mode of education or treatment of pupils in such 
schools." The debate on this bill, which was introduced too 
late to become of value, as the change in the form of gov- 
ernment for the District was about to be made, illustrated 
the extremes of opinion on the subject, and proceeded far 
enough to effect the elision of the idea of mixed schools by 
an amendment substituting for the words " the admission of 
pupils" the words "in providing the means for the educa- 
tion of pupils." 

Since that time the real struggle for equality has been 
continued. When upon the District were conferred the 
rights of territorial government, much of the time of Con- 
gress had been devoted to legislation affecting the negroes, 
with the result that according to law they had equal rights 
with whites at the polls, in the courts, in the street cars, 
in places of public amusement and entertainment; the 
provision for the instruction of their young by the govern- 
ment was upon the same basis as that for the white children, 
and in one institution, the protege of the Freedman's Bureau, 
was absolutely no distinction of race, sex or color. This 
condition of affairs was advantageous for them, but yet con- 
tained an element of disadvantage. The theory of the legis- 
lation in their behalf may have been perfect. It may have 
seemed only logical, in accordance with the accepted prin- 
ciple underlying American institutions, to clothe the new 
element in American life with all the rights and privileges 
hitherto enjoyed exclusively by the whites. But an appar- 



42 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [134 

ently logical conclusion may easily be demolished when it 
is discovered that the premises are wrong. Just as the 
original idea of immigration to this country', eminently 
proper at the time, has been perverted to such a degree that 
the welfare and happiness of great cities, if not of the whole 
country, are threatened until it is recognized that under 
existing circumstances the idea has an element of radical 
wrong- in it; so, while the changed conditions of negro life 
at the capital might justify every act protecting them in 
their civil rights, the same act twenty-five or thirty years age 
may have been most unwise and evil in its tendency. 

The safest legislation, the legislation most likely to benefit 
the greater number in a civilized community, is that which 
incorporates the sentiments of that community, and not 
those of persons who reason that because a law works no 
ill in one section of the country' it will be beneficial in every 
other section no matter how the economic and sociological 
conditions may differ. A premature law, that is, a law 
forced upon a people instead of springing from them, may 
not always be pernicious in its effects, but it is a dangerous 
experiment. That the equalizing before the law of the 
negroes with the whites in the District did not result in 
greater disaster than the outgrowth of the experiment in 
suffrage, is due not only to the comparatively well disposed 
nature of the new population in spite of their previous dis- 
advantages, but also to the fact that influence of the weight 
of government at the capital, with its many ramifications, 
was a tremendous power against action, had the desire been 
formulated by any mass of citizens to bring the law into 
disrepute. At the same time the imposition by Congress of 
such legislation upon the community against the wishes of 
the native white portion of it, who knew from experience 
and long association the character of their negro neighbors, 
did not inspire them to aid the negroes in their evolution, 
and served also to harden the distinctions in personal rela- 
tions which had been drawn as soon as the negroes had 
ceased to be a comparatively insignificant element in the life 
of the capital. 



135] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 43 

In the early days at Washington the two races had been 
nearer each other in various ways than they were in i860. 
Their separation before the war cannot be said to have been 
due primarily to the difference of color or to prejudice aris- 
ing therefrom, though it may have been hastened thereby. 
The transfer of the colored people from tlieir quarters in 
the white churches and Sunday schools to their own edifices 
was not solely the result of the alarm of the whites after 
1 83 1, but was according to a natural tendency of the 
negroes, just as of any other class in a city, to associate more 
and more with those who were bound to them by a com- 
munity of race, social and material interests, when unusual 
influences do not prevail. The same principle has obtained 
since the war among the mass of negroes, though seeming 
contradictions, which may be explained by the presence of 
a mixed population in the District, have been made at 
times and exist at present. The failure of a negro to obtain 
admission to the law department of a white institution has 
not interfered with his subsequent appointment as a special 
attorney under the District government. The controversy 
over his application for admission to the law school was 
paralleled by that which arose over the pioneer attempt of a 
negro to become a member of the local typographical union. 
He, however, was ultimately successful, and his example was 
followed by others of his race, while to-day the barbers' 
assembly, in which no line is drawn, has a negro as 
its executive. It is also stated that when several years 
ago the white printers upon one of the papers at the 
capital went on a strike, the members of the colored washer- 
women's union did what they could to aid them by practi- 
cally boycotting in their small way some of the tradesmen 
who patronized the newspaper. 

There is probably less distinction between the races among 
some bodies of organized labor than in any other of the 
many relations of life. In the professions the lines seem to 
be strictly drawn, as a rule, and this may be illustrated by an 
incident of quite recent date. For some years negroes have 



,44 The i^fegro in the District of Columbia. [136 

at intervals attempted to become members of the Medical 
Society of the District. They have been unsuccessful. The 
latest candidate of prominence was Dr. Forman J. Shadd, a 
light-complexioned negro, bom in the District, a graduate 
of Howard University, house surgeon at the Freedman's 
Hospital and lecturer on medical jurisprudence. In the 
spring of 1891 the members of the Medical Society received 
the following anonymous message on postal cards: 

"Dr. F. J. Shadd, resident physician at the Freedman's 
Hospital, is a candidate for membership in the Medical 
Society. The election will occur Wednesday, April i. 
Dr. Shadd is well and favorably known as a man and a 
physician. Indirectly he has furnished much interesting 
material for the Society. It will be a just and manly act to 
elect him. His friends are urged to be present." 

On some of the postal cards was added in lead pencil the 
single word " colored," and this in part was the reason for 
an imusually large attendance of the members at the meet- 
ing, which was expected to be stormy, but the full pro- 
ceedings of which were protected by its secret session. 
Nineteen persons were presented for membership, and of 
these eleven were admitted. With one exception the names 
of all those whose applications were refused were placed on 
the list below that of Dr. Shadd. Five were graduates of 
Howard University, and the vote on their application 
ranged from 16 to 29 in favor of them to 23 to 37 against 
them. One of the members explained afterward that the 
failure of the other Howard graduates to enter was due to 
a feeling that at the next election their votes would be given 
for Dr. Shadd. Commenting on the result. Dr. Shadd said: 
"The result is not unexpected. Several years ago two 
other colored men were voted down by the Society, which is 
a sort of close corporation. I did think, though, that the 
question of admission would depend upon a man's merit and 
attainments, and not upon his color. Yes, I shall keep on 
applying until I am elected a member. I know nothing 
about the anonymous postal card." The matter did not 



137] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 45 

really end there, but came before Congress in April, 1892, 
when tlie District Committee of the Senate was instructed 
to investigate into the truth of the report that the Medical 
Society discriminated against colored physicians or phy- 
sicians who had been or might be teachers in Howard Uni- 
versity.' Dr. Thos. G. Smith, the corresponding secretary 
of the Society, and Dr. Charles B. Purvis, the physician at 
the Freedman's Hospital, were heard by a sub-committee. 
From the report of the committee it is learned that Dr. 
Smith said frankly " that the color line was drawn tacitly in 
the Medical Society, and that no colored man can be 
elected a member. This result was not reached by any for- 
mal action in respect to color, but simply resulted from the 
fact that when the name of a colored man was up the indi- 
vidual members exercised their privilege of voting against 
him, as they would vote against a white man who might, for 
any reason, be objectionable to them. 

" Dr. Smith said that the Society could not and did 
not attempt to keep colored men from practising the pro- 
fession of medicine, but did keep them from the meetings 
at which papers were read and medical matters discussed in 
a semi-social manner. The fear was that the presence of 
colored members would introduce discord in the meetings, 
and that so many members, especially among the older ones, 
would withdraw that the Society would be broken up. 
Objection was also made to both white and colored 
graduates of the Howard University Medical School, because 
they attended a school where the fees were lower than at 
other schools in the District. 

"Dr. Purvis testified that some twenty years ago he and 
Dr. Augusta applied for membership in the Medical Society. 
There was a favorable report by the censors on their appli- 
cations, but the vote against them was overwhelming. Since 
then Dr. Cook and Dr. Francis, both colored graduates of 
the Medical School of Michigan University, had been re- 

^ Senate Eeport No. 1050, 52nd Congress, Ist Session. 



46 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [138 

jected by the Society, as also had Dr. Shadd, a reputable 
colored physician. 

" Inside the Society, Dr. Purvis continued, there is an asso- 
ciation, or committee, to regulate the ethics of the profes- 
sion. No colored man can belong to this association. The 
Medical Society licenses the colored physician, but refuses 
to allow him to become a member of the licensing body. 
As for the question of Howard University fees, said Dr. 
Purvis, that school was not chartered for the use of colored 
pupils, and the majority of the first class were whites, the 
fees being the same as those in other schools. As the 
number of colored students increased the fees were reduced, 
and the other schools have also reduced their fees. 

" Dr. Reybum, Dr. Lamb, and Dr. Joseph Tabor Johnson 
were members of the Society before they became Howard 
professors. After they went into the faculty they had to 
withdraw from it. Subsequently Drs. Reybum and John- 
son left Howard and identified themselves with the medical 
department of Georgetown University, and again became 
members of the Society. Within a year Drs. Graham and 
Hood, however, have been admitted to the Society not- 
withstanding their connection with Howard University, but 
Dr. Perry, a member of the Howard faculty, has been 
rejected. 

'' Dr. Purvis claimed that the leading physicians in Wash- 
ington favor Howard, but that the younger men are averse 
to the institution. He himself consults with Drs. Lincoln, 
Ford Thompson, and others of equal standing; and the 
leading medical society of Baltimore admits colored grad- 
uates of Howard University." 

The committee on June 22 found these facts, and in 
submitting their report made this comment only: "Your 
committee are fully satisfied, from the testimony of both 
sides to the controversy, that the Medical Society of the 
District of Columbia does not admit to membership colored 
physicians, however reputable or well qualified they may 
be, and that as regards teachers in the medical school of 



139] The Negro in the District of Cohimbia. 47 

Howard University it appears that in some cases they are 
admitted and in others rejected." 

This episode is recalled to illustrate the point to which a 
broad interpretation of equal civil rights may be carried, and 
to direct attention to the tendency to confuse equality of 
civil rights with that of social rights. It may be said, 
broadly speaking, that the letter of the law passed before 
1870 is observed. At different times during the past twenty 
years or more well-known negroes have been accommodated 
in the hotels of Washington without causing a stampede of 
white guests; the street car lines and steam railroads in the 
District offer equal accommodations to all, and if there is 
disorder on the late cars, particularly on Saturday nights, 
it is not so much due to the color of the occupants as to 
bad whiskey, which makes no discrimination in its effects 
on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude. 

In July, 1833, Joseph Jefferson, father of the present Rip 
Van Winkle, was joint lessee with a Mr. Mackenzie of the 
Washington Theater, and together they addressed an appeal 
to the city fathers asking relief from a great burden that 
oppressed them most heavily. The appeal stated : " There is 
at present a law in force which authorizes the constables of 
the city to arrest the colored people if on the street after 
nine o'clock without a pass. A great proportion of our 
audience consists of persons of this caste, and they are con- 
sequently deterred from giving us that support that they 
would otherwise do."^ The lessees estimated that the law 
meant a loss of $10 nightly, and as they paid a tax of $6 a 
night they asked for some modification of it While it is 
hardly likely that any of the managers of Washington 
theaters would send a similar petition to the District officials 
should another early retiring law for the negroes be 
enforced at this day, the proportion of the negroes in the 
city able to pay for theater privileges is not such as to lead 
to any desire on the part of managers to evade the law 

'Special Report, Department of Education, 1871, p. 316. 



4:8 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [140 

flagrantly. Indeed, in one theater, where the performances 
are such as to appeal most strongly to that element known 
as the gallery gods, it is not unusual for the black gods to 
be in the great majority. 

In the courts there is no distinction; negroes serve on 
juries in civil as well as in criminal cases, the counsel for 
the defense in a murder trial pays the same tribute to the 
intelligence and integrity of the negro juror as he pays to 
the inherent qualities of the white ones, and the acquitted 
man shakes the hands of all twelve of them with equal 
gratitude and cordiality. If a negro attorney is at times 
rebuked by the judge it is not on account of his color but 
because of his choler. 

Ofhce-holding by negroes cannot be considered wholly as 
a local question, but what has been conceded to them at 
Washington is of interest in connection with the question 
of equality. This must also be viewed in a comparative 
light. The population of the United States by the census 
of 1890 was 62,622,250, of whom 30,554,370 were females, 
and 7,470,040 are of African descent. The total number of 
employes of the government at Washington is 23,144, of 
whom 6105 are females, and between 2500 and 3000 negroes, 
and these figures show that the percentage of negroes of 
the country holding office in Washington does not diflfer 
materially from the percentage of whites on the same basis. 
Taking the Interior Department, the branch of the govern- 
ment employing the greatest number of persons in Washing- 
ton, as a fair example of the whole system as far as the general 
government is concerned, it is found that of a total of 6120 
employes in 1891 the negroes numbered 337, while in the 
departments of the District government of a total of not 
more than 3000 employes in the summer of 1892 1431 were 
negroes. In the general government the negro employes 
ranged from Recorder of the District, which has been given 
to one of their race under Democratic and Republican 
administrations since the appointment of Douglass, through 
clerks, school-teachers and other vocations to charwomen 



141] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 49 

and janitors; and in the Interior Department, where the 
estimate was made, the list included 74 clerks, 38 copyists, i 
typewriter, 2 transcribers, 12 computers, i assistant examiner, 
53 messengers, 11 skilled laborers, 74 laborers, 5 firemen, i 
janitor, 15 watchmen, 5 packers, i painter, 3 receivers, 2 
attendants, and 34 charwomen, and of the total nimiber of 
negroes thus employed 103 were citizens of the District 
when appointed. Though the greater portion of these 
employes come under the head of unskilled labor, these 
figures indicate that the negro has been equitably treated 
in the distribution of offices, unless the contention be raised 
that they should have been appointea solely because they 
were negroes/ 

Because of the confusion of civil or public rights with 
those of a personal or private nature, certain elements of the 



'In August, 1892, the disposition of the negroes employed under 
the District Government was as follows : 1 assistant assessor, 5 
clerks, 1 food inspector, 1 superintendent of public schools, 283 
teachers, 1 custodian of books, 9 police privates, 5 members of the 
fire department, 15 messengers, 981 laborers, 18 drivers, 72 janitors, 
2 assistant superintendents and 7 foremen of street and alley clean- 
ing, 2 cooks, 3 nurses, 18 owners of horses and carts, 5 miscellan- 
eous. The most lucrative position in the District held by a negro 
has probably been that of Recorder of Deeds. This has recently 
been changed from a fee office to a salaried one. Statistics pub- 
lished recently by a negro who had collected them, show, in addi- 
tion to those already given, 5 negroes employed at the Executive 
Mansion, 53 by the Superintendent of Public Grounds and Buildings, 
4 United States consuls, 5 messengers and 7 laborers in the State 
Department, 3 collectors of customs, 331 other employes of the 
Treasury Department, including 1 auditor and 1 chief of division ; 
354 in the Interior Department, 173 in the War Department, 41 in 
the Navy Department, 8 in the Department of Justice, 70 in the 
PostoflBce Department, 37 in the Agricultural Department, 29 by the 
Smithsonian Institution, 204 by the Public Printer, 67 at the Capitol, 
including 1 librarian ; 19 in the office of Recorder of Deeds and 68 in 
the Washington City postoffice. The employment of negroes in tbe 
higher positions, such as ministers to Liberia and Haiti, just as in 
the lower ones, is rather a gauge of the political influence of the 
race than anything else, except where appointments have been 
made to the classified service. 



50 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [142 

negro population place themselves in a position which is 
not commended by those of either race, who are really well- 
wishers for the progress of the negroes and who recognize 
that there are certain relations of life which cannot be regu- 
lated by law, even should a law to regulate them be passed 
in that lack of wisdom which has sometimes entered into a 
consideration of the relative status of the two races. At 
times the feeling that the law does not meet the demands of 
their race has led some of the negroes of the capital to set 
forth their grievances in public meetings or in interviews, 
which are reported in the daily papers with or without com- 
ment. This feeling cannot be thoroughly appreciated by 
any one save the individual possessed by it, for, as one of 
the negro thinkers has pointed out, neither critics nor 
champions of the negro have been entirely " acquainted with 
the life they wished to delineate, and through sheer 
ignorance ofttimes, as well as from design, have not been 
able to * put themselves in his place.' "^ The nearest 
approach the student may have to this place is to listen to 
those who speak from that standpoint. 

Upon several occasions opportunity to do this has been 
given, and the grievances of the negroes have been filed by 
them as well as answered by them. In December, 1891, a 
special meeting was held to effect some organization to 
obliterate color prejudices. One speaker said that if a colored 
person was arrested by a policeman he was treated entirely 
differently from a white person ; he was clubbed by a police- 
man without any justification; that the great difference in 
the vital statistics among the colored and the whites was due 
to the fact that the colored people were forced to live in 
unhealthy houses in alleys, for which a higher percentage of 
rent was charged than for the palaces of the rich, and it was 
known that no respectable colored person could rent a 
house on certain streets on account of the combinations 
against them of real estate agents and owners. Another 

' Mrs. Annie J. Cooper in a speech delivered April 5, 1892. 



143J The Negro in the District of Columbia. 51 

declared that the purpose of the organization was to carry 
on an agitation and cooperation in patronizing those pro- 
fessional and business men and tliose stores where their 
race was recognized in the employment of clerks and sales- 
men. A third speaker pointed out that it mattered not how 
skilled the colored doctor might be, on account of prejudice 
he could not enter the bedchambers of the white people as 
the white doctor could enter those of the colored people. 
He had, however, discovered an establishment in the city 
where a colored salesman was employed by the white pro- 
prietor, and he would not advise his hearers to give their 
trade exclusively to places run by colored people, though 
he thought one of the best things they could do was to 
encourage colored people who undertook business enter- 
prises of their own when they found such men responsible 
and reliable. This speech led to that of another man, who 
reasoned that if the colored people had a few more stores 
of their own they would be in a better position. White 
people, he thought, were ahead of them in the matter of 
employing colored people in order to get colored trade, and 
he concluded with tlie statement that the people of the 
colored race who have money never had anything to do 
with these meetings; he wanted the colored men who had 
money to try the colored people, and thought it was time 
not only to ask the white man to take in the negro, but 
also to ask the negro to take himself in, and they should 
show to the world that they believed what they preached by 
practising it. Just before adjournment the last speaker, 
who thought the whole plan out of joint, argued that if 
they were to interfere with the white man who discriminated 
against them they should do the same thing by the black 
man who acted in the same manner. 

The proceedings of this meeting did not, of course, meet 
with the approval even of all present, much less of the com- 
munity of negroes at large, and at a subsequent meeting, 
from the incoherency of purpose displayed, were derived 
•certain statements as illustrative of the sentiments of those 



52 2%e Negro in the District of Columbia. [144 

assembled. One individual contended that the affair had 
been started to give some one a chance to gouge money 
out of the trusting; another said that he saw more preju- 
dices among colored people of the District than between 
whites and blacks ; another, that a business man must invest 
his money where it would bring the best returns, and 
colored capitalists did not propose to have the rabble who 
could not earn money dictate how they should spend it; 
while another knew black business men who had made their 
money ofi their own race and then invested the proceeds in 
a gilded palace for white people. 

Shortly after these meetings, which failed of accomplish- 
ing anything, as might have been expected from the pro- 
ceedings themselves, another mass meeting was called to 
protest against the killing of a young negro by a police- 
man, and to emphasize the feeling among a certain class of 
negroes that the police were extra harsh in their treatment 
of offenders of their race. The excitement ran high for 
several days, but the policeman was ultimately acquitted in 
the Criminal Court of the murder of the negro. The feeling 
was not eradicated, though, and found expression again a 
few months later in an attack upon the superintendent of 
police upon the ground that he was biased and prejudiced 
against the negroes. He had, however, suspended the 
policeman until his acquittal, and then restored him to the 
force, and these facts were brought out again in the con- 
troversy at the time, which was punctured quite cleverly by 
a negro lawyer, who wrote: 

" But the question recurs that this is a Republican admin- 
istration and that a good Republican ought to have the office 
of chief of police. To this I would say in behalf of the 
colored people that this is true as a general statement, but 
that in this particular case Maj. Moore represents that large 
and controlling element of white citizens to whom the 
colored people look for employment and whose sympathy 
and help the colored people need and want. They want it 
in the way of a public sentiment that will encourage higher 
grades of employment, the establishment of training schools 



145] The Negro iri the District of Columbia. 53 

for old and young, friendly advice as to conduct at home 
and abroad, the repression of the liquor traffic, the encour- 
agement of those who are doing the best they can, the visit- 
ing of the sick, the furnishing of work for the idle. In view 
of these considerations and of his established fitness for the 
place, leave Maj. Moore where he is and encourage him 
to go forward and fill to the utmost the opportunities for 
good of his position and of his class." 

When it is borne in mind that the indignation meeting 
was held but a short time before the meeting of the Repub- 
lican Convention in the District, and that the revival of the 
agitation occurred in the waning days of a national cam- 
paign, the wisdom of the lawyer's observation is apparent. 
There is reason to believe, though, that a negro prisoner 
is treated at times with undue harshness, but this is not 
because of a desire to discriminate against the race by those 
at the head of the police department, but rather to the 
stupidity or lack of self-control on the part of an officer, 
not sufficient, though, to counteract his general value as a 
preserver of the peace. For instance, not long ago a 
respectable-looking colored boy was arrested on Sunday for 
carrying a shotgun along the street. The Assistant District 
Attorney refused to make out a charge against him of 
carrying concealed weapons, but the policeman who had 
arrested him secured a fine against him in another division 
of the police court under an old law for carrying a gun 
"with the apparent intention of hvmting on the Sabbath." 
It should be remembered, though, before passing from this 
topic, that there are sections in Washington where a police- 
man carries his life in his hands, and the utmost severity 
is necessary to enforce respect for his office and his uniform 
on the part of the criminal classes, of which the negroes are 
an unequal proportion, constituting one-third of the popu- 
lation and contributing more than one-half to the number 
of arrests.* 

^TTie Washington Post, Dec. 1, 9, 22, 25, 1891. The Evening Star, 
Nov. 29, 30, Dec. 1, 9, 22, 1891, Aug., 1892. Washington Post, Mar. 
12, 15, 16, 17, 20,1891. 



54 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [146 

In the spring of 1891, Congress having failed to appro- 
priate sufficient money to meet the expenses of the National 
Guard of the District, Gen. Albert Ordway, commanding, 
issued, on March 9, an order that the four companies of 
negro militia, forming two battalions, be mustered out. 
Not many years before that a similar failure on the part of 
Congress had resulted in companies being cut off, and the 
second episode brought out not only the protests of the 
militia affected by the order and their friends, but also the 
politicians, who saw at once another instance of the color 
line, and for several days the controversy raged. A protest 
of negro citizens was presented to the President, to whom 
Gen. Ordway had explained that the matter was a financial 
one, and that so far from having any feeling in the matter 
he would himself make as large a contribution toward main- 
taining a colored battalion which would include the four 
companies, as any other individual, and he would, if neces- 
sary, pledge the rental of the armory for a year. The con- 
ference with the President resulted in a change from the 
plan of disbanding the companies to one of consolidating 
them, which had, indeed, been contemplated previously, and 
another example was given of the equitable treatment of the 
negroes, supported by public sentiment. The two opinions 
on the subject may be had in the words of the commanding 
general, and of one of the committee which conferred with 
him. The former said : " I am glad the difficulty has been 
arranged and that the colored companies can still be kept in 
the National Guard. I hope the consolidation will be 
effected harmoniously, if it is decided on, and that all the 
necessary public help will be forthcoming. I have not 
drawn the color line at all in this matter, and the reasons for 
my action were purely military ones, as will appear to any 
one who looks into the matter." The latter said: "When 
the order disbanding the colored militia was issued, the 
impression made upon the public mind, and in which we 
shared, was that race and color, and not politics, was the 
cause of it. In reply to this, Gen. Ordway frankly ad- 



147] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 55 

mitted that whatever his motives may have been, his order, 
under the circumstances, was susceptible of that construc- 
tion." The consolidation took place, and nothing more of 
friction came to the surface until some indefinite fears were 
expressed that tlie participation of the militia of both colors 
in a Thanksgiving sham battle might result in some 
unpleasantness, and the injury of one colored soldier was 
attributed privately to race feeling. 

Occasionally the controversy over discrimination takes a 
grotesque form, as in the case of the embryo bathing beach 
on the Potomac; and to a complaint that negroes were 
given a separate place from the whites, the superintendent 
replied : " I have allotted to the colored folks more area per 
capita than to the whites, but the whiles have not complained 
... it is my aim to make the beach a popular bathing place, 
and everybody knows that can never be if the two races are 
forced to mingle. The Creator marked the races with 
different colors, and I do not ask why; I take them as they 
are, and with a desire to benefit both I shall not try to 
obliterate the mark. White folks will not be permitted to 
occupy the colored premises, nor colored folks the white 
premises. This seems to me the only practicable solution 
of the question, and I think the commissioners are sus- 
tained both by law and public opinion in maintaining the 
distinction the same as in the schools." While another 
correspondent wrote : " The black boy has the same privi- 
lege as the white. The beach is the same, as are the dress- 
ing-rooms, and I am quite sure both have the same privi- 
lege of bathing if they choose, and the white boy is not 
indignant that he has to bathe alone, for which reason I can- 
not see why his colored friend should be, they being on 
exactly the same footing with regard to privileges and restric- 
tions and being held to be upon an equality." 

In brief this is a review of the contention of the negroes 
for equal rights in the District. It is presented in as 
impartial spirit as possible, and no better commentary on 
the status of the negro as to civil rights is had than in the 



56 The Negro in the District of Gohnnhia. [148 

experiences during the recent encampment of the Grand 
Army of the Republic in Washington. When the enterpris- 
ing citizens were striving to bring the encampment to that 
city, certain negroes bestirred themselves against the plan. 
One of the spokesmen said, in referring to the Grand Army : 

" It dare not bring its next encampment to this city, when 
it is a fact that quite a number of those who signed the 
call to bring it here make bold to say that in their places 
of business no negro could or would be accommodated, and 
two of the signers have made the public statement that 
they wished no negroes would ever again enter their stores. 
We shall appeal to the moral sense, the loyal sense of the 
eminent men of the country, as well as the rank and file, 
not to encamp here on these grounds, and for other solid 
reasons, which we will make good by correspondence 
between now and then and in a public meeting in Detroit 
the first night of the encampment." 

" We have no idea," said another, " of allowing the 
encampment to be held here, and already a hall has been 
secured in Detroit in which we shall hold meetings and 
fight every claim set forth by Washington. There are more 
than the colored Grand Army men opposed to this thing, 
and they intend to fight it to the bitter end. If it is not 
already a political matter, it will be made one before it is 
over." 

The Grand Army came, however, and in its great parade 
two negroes were on the stafif of the chief marshal of the 
citizens' escort, a collection of negro school children on 
one stand sang the same songs as the collection of white 
children on another, the same public provision was made 
for the comfort of the negro veterans as for the white ones, 
and in spite of the fact that the occasion presented unpre- 
cedented opportunities for the politician, but one case of 
alleged violation of civil rights was made. A negro of New 
York charged against the proprietor of a first-class restau- 
rant that his color had prevented his being served in the 
establishment. The proprietor testified that his orders had 



149] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 57 

been to serve all Grand Army men, white or black, the 
floor-walker gave his version of the incident, and in three 
minutes the jury gave a verdict of not guilty/ 

It must not be inferred from this summary of the question 
that in such places as first-class saloons, restaurants, hotels 
or other public resorts tlie negro customer would be as 
welcome a visitor as the white one, however equal the money 
of the two races might be in other places of bargain and 
sale; but this latent spirit of discrimination would be found 
to exist in a proprietor no matter what his color, provided 
the great mass of his customers were white. This is but 
an outcropping of that feeling, recognized by the sober- 
minded of both races, that however equitably the civil rights 
of the negroes may be observed, the line is drawn when the 
question of equal social privileges is raised; but even in 
that case where personal preferences govern, as in the case 
of public resorts, where the law oflfers protection, the sensible 
negro perceives the wisdom of remaining where his com- 
pany is desired instead of attempting to force himself upon 
those who prefer the association of the whites alone. 

The public schools are an illustration of the feeling that 
on social lines the line must be defined between the two 
races, and the willingness that in public education the 
negroes shall enjoy privileges similar to those of the whites, 
while what might be a great lever toward the attainment of 
social equality is to be avoided, but emphasizes the feeling 
which finds expression in church relations and the inter- 
course of the private home. Whether the negroes were 
originally forced from the white churches, whether they 
willingly retired, or whether there was a medium between 
these extremes, it is doubtful whether the great majority of 
the negroes would avail themselves of the full privileges of 
the white churches should such be offered them, for it is 
noteworthy that the negro followers of two faiths, the 
Catholic and the Congregationalist, which seem to draw no 



' Washington Post, July 5, '91 , Sept, 29, '92. 



58 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [150 

color line in their sanctuaries, have since the war and their 
enjoyment of equality under the law, organized separate con- 
gregations of their own; and it is also interesting to note 
that in the only Catholic church erected for the negroes 
particularly, whites and negroes are found worshiping 
together under tlie ministrations of white priests who are 
served by negro acolytes. In some of the white churches of 
other faiths a few negroes are numbered among the congre- 
gation, but they occupy the back seats or the gallery, as 
they have been accustomed to do since long before the war 
and emancipation; and the advent of a negro in responsible 
official station in the body of a church near the pew of the 
President of the United States creates as much unfavorable 
comment from some of the whites as that aroused among 
some of the negroes when one of their number preferred to 
attend a white Congregationalist church instead of lending 
his influence to a congregation of his own color. The only 
Presbyterian church in the District for negroes had its 
origin before the war, while the only Lutheran congregation 
of negroes and the Episcopal congregation of negroes, with 
a negro rector, and the Episcopal missions for them in 
charge of white clergymen, are growths of the post-bellum 
period; but the reason for the comparative scarcity of negro 
congregations of these faiths is not due to a slackening of 
the line of demarcation, but rather to a failure of their 
methods of worship to attract the negro. 

It was the opposition to social equality, too, which 
resulted in the organization of the Colored Yoimg Men's 
Christian Association. In the preliminary meetings, while 
one element attacked the white organization on the ground 
that as it claimed to be a Christian association it should 
admit to its membership any Christian, no matter what his 
color, another explained that while those upon whom the 
existing association depended for its support objected to the 
admission of negroes, it would second any eflforts of the 
new body for the welfare of the negroes. In another non- 
sectarian organization, the Woman's Christian Temperance 



151] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 59 

Union, a different spirit prevails. Some of its members are 
negroes, and they have rendered efficient service among the 
members of their race. They participate in tlie meetings of 
the Union, and at its receptions are on an equaUty v^ith 
everybody else present. Another organization of a some- 
what philanthropic character, Wimodaughsis, the name being 
formed of the first two or three letters of the words wives, 
mothers, daughters, sisters, had not been in operation a year 
before the color question was raised, with the result of the 
resignation of the secretary, who considered herself the 
founder. The trouble was precipitated by the entrance into 
the classes of the institution of a negro woman, a teacher 
in the public schools. The resigning secretary gave her 
views as follows : 

"The idea of the Wimodaughsis is not only that of a 
business corporation, but it is a social organization. We 
have pleasant rooms here where members can come in even- 
ings and read and amuse themselves. Every Thursday 
evening we have social entertainments and once or twice 
refreshments. It was by presenting this social feature that 
I was able to bring so many of my friends, a large number 
of them being Southern ladies, to subscribe for stock in the 
organization. You can see that if negroes were admitted 
the social features would be destroyed. At the Thursday 
evening entertainments gentlemen are admitted. If colored 
women were allowed to be members, why there is nothing 
to prevent them bringing colored men to the entertainments. 
I feel that I have been treated outrageously, and in this 
belief I am sustained by not only the Southern lady stock- 
holders, but by the ladies further North who are not woman- 
suffragists. The trouble all lies with the woman-suffragists, 
who, to be true to their doctrine of equality, must advocate 
the admission of negroes." 

The position of the majority of the board of directors, 
who favored the admission of negro women to the privi- 
leges of the Wimodaughsis, was that it was a business cor- 
poration, and as there was nothing in the charter limiting 



60 Ths Negro in the District of Gotumhia. [152 

the membership to any class or race, any woman who sub- 
scribed for stock was entitled to the privileges of the club, 
and any one who paid her tuition must be given that for 
which she had paid; that it was an incorporated body to 
which the provisions of the civil rights amendment applied 
just as strictly as to any other public institution. They 
denied that it was a social organization, but claimed that it 
was a club for the education of women. The result of the 
controversy was in favor of the element which the ex-sec- 
retary considered as representative of woman-suffragists; 
and the organization continued its work, and at subsequent 
events of distinctively social character, negroes were present 
and moved about as freely as anybody else. 

Aside from such organizations and those of a political 
complexion, the color line in society is drawn almost as dis- 
tinctly in Washington as in Richmond or Baltimore. Even 
in the posts of the Union veteran associations it has been 
found expedient to separate the races, though in the general 
organizations of men and the auxiliary of the women no 
such distinction is raised, and at their public meetings have 
been a liberal proportion of negro men and women. Per- 
haps a negro official or ex-official may be present at a 
White House function, and thus supply material for inflaming 
at a later date personal animosity against a presidential 
candidate; perhaps in an organization of citizens intended 
for the general welfare the negroes may have representa- 
tion; of twelve hundred and eighty-nine marriages in a 
year, of which 341 are among colored people, there may 
be cases of miscegenation, as was the case in 1891, with 
similar acts in previous years ;^ perhaps a former mayor of 
Washington may entertain at his home negroes at a recep- 
tion in honor of the Methodist Ecumenical Conference, to 
which negroes were delegates ; perhaps two or three negroes 
may be present at a reception by the citizens of Washington 



'Of three such cases in 1889 there were two white grooms and 
negro brides and one negro groom and white bride. 



153] The Negro in the District of Cohimbia. 61 

to the Grand Army of the RepubHc, or by some pubUc 
character at other times; — but such incidents among the 
thousands of events in the composite and conglomerate 
society found at the nation's capital do not demonstrate that 
there is any real lessening of social restrictions. The com- 
plaint about these distinctions is not always directed against 
the whites, for the negroes feel that they have social limita- 
tions among their own race. Speaking generally, the white 
woman who marries a negro must find her chief social 
pleasures among his associates, if he does not lose by such 
a marriage some of their respect and sympathy; and the 
organization of a Colored Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion, instead of being a protest against caste, as one negro 
styled it, may be a half-conscious testimony to race pride. 
One of the leaders of the negroes, who has frequently made 
the capital the pulpit for his utterances to the country, had 
this to say about the Ecumenical Conference: 

" Nothing has done more to drive away the prejudice 
that exists against the colored race than this conference of 
educated Christian gentlemen. This was evidenced by what 
I saw a few days ago in the elegant residence of ex-Mayor 
Emery, of this city. Among the elegantly dressed people 
in that house I saw the colored people moving freely about, 
not crouching as if they had no right to be there. The 
blackest of them moved about as though they had always 
been used to it. It was an illustration of the universal 
brotherhood of man and that human equality which could 
not be brought about anywhere as it has been at this con- 
ference. * 

" Our American brethren fought a little shy of us, but 
our English, Scotch, and Canadian brothers took us by the 
hand as if they could never let go. We have often heard 
the doctrine of human equality preached, but in this case we 
had it exemplified. I felt proud of the dignity, the decorum, 
the gentlemanly bearing displayed by our brethren in con- 
nection with this new revelation of American society. The 
great demon that must be cast out of the American mind is 



62 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [154 

prejudice, the assumption of inferiority on account of the 
black man's color. This demon of prejudice has never been 
more authoritatively ordered to come out of Washington 
than by this conference. The example will not be lost. If 
after these English brethren have gone the Americans 
attempt any proscription, we will inform on them at the 
next conference." 

Though what he termed "the demon of prejudice" has 
failed to obey such orders, his remarks are an example of 
one view held by some negroes at the capital, which has 
been expressed in another way in the statement that "the 
colored race in fifty years will have sufficiently advanced in 
intelligence to break down a majority of the barriers now 
existing between them and the white people." The other 
view, which it is believed is held by the majority of the 
negroes who have given serious thought to the subject, is 
that of a member of a political organization in which a dis- 
cussion of the color line was had. As for social equality, 
he said he did not want it. All he wanted — all any sensible 
colored man wanted — was equal rights under the law. He 
did not believe in social equality. There might be members 
of the association whom he would object to have visiting his 
wife and family. Each man must be a judge of such things. 
No colored man of sense would ask for social equality. 
This was but a blunt way of giving vent to the sentiment 
which was expressed in a meeting of a literary society. 

"The matter of social equality," said the speaker, "will 
be, and ought to be, left to individual preferences. Although 
we have been accusal of it, we are not contending for this 
sort of recognition from our white friends, because we 
recognize the right of the party doing the entertaining and 
paying the bills to select the guests, and because we find 
among ourselves all of the purely social that we have any 
need for. We do not practise unrestricted equality among 
ourselves and ought not to. We invite whom we desire; 
they accept or refuse, as they desire. There never will be 
any friction between the races on this score. We under- 



155] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 63 

stand and practise the same customs, distinctions and pref- 
erences which white people follow. This is not what we are 
contending for. We are not objecting because we are 
excluded from the social whirl. It is by a dexterous jug- 
gling with this idea of association with colored people in 
a purely social sense, an idea so repugnant to white people 
generally as just explained, that some persons unfriendly to 
us endeavor to raise the dust of color prejudice so thick that 
our white friends who are disposed to accord us justice can- 
not see their way clear to do it. We can take care of our- 
selves in a purely social way. But when their prejudices 
make them set up invidious distinctions and discriminations 
in public licensed dining halls, hotels and places of amuse- 
ment, make them want to exclude us from tlie avenues of 
remunerative employments, the commercial world, and make 
them deny to the most cultured and aspiring among us 
admission to their best professional schools, schools of art, 
their professional, scientific and literar}^ associations, we 
think it a hardship which we, as loyal American citizens, 
ought not to be compelled to endure." 

The exceptions to the general rule regarding personal 
equality only define the rule more sharply, and no more 
prove or indicate a change of sentiment than did the ride 
of Charles Sumner and Henry W. Longfellow in a car set 
apart for negroes back in the sixties show that the great 
mass of the white population of the District favored a 
removal of those cars. 



V. 

AN EXPERIMENT IN SUFFRAGE. 

Had the legislation in behalf of the negroes in the District 
stopped short at provision for their education and civil 
rights under the law, and had those provisions been fulfilled 
in a conservative seconding of the radical spirit which 
dictated them, one chapter of life at the national capital 
would have remained unwritten, and the District of Columbia 
would probably not present now, in a government ostensibly 
of the people, by the people and for the people, the appear- 
ance of a political eunuch. Though later events may have 
demonstrated that the extension of the suffrage to the 
negroes was unwise at the time, and disastrous in its effects 
in after-years, a careful study of the events following the 
passage of what is known as the bill of rights for the District, 
with the manoeuvres preceding it, is not only instructive 
when compared with movements in other sections of the 
country, but furnishes food for careful consideration by 
those who, from a sentimental or practical standpoint, would 
devise some form of local self-government for the seat of the 
national government. 

The dream of the participation of negroes in the politics 
of the District, which was enunciated as early as 1849, 
seemed at that time the veriest figment. Eighteen years 
later the dream became a realit}', with effects which were 
immediate, pronounced and, in a measure, permanent. 

Following the various acts in the negroes' behalf in the 
early years of the war, the agitation for granting them the full 
privileges of citizenship had reached such a stage in 1865 
that a special election was held, in December of that year, 
in Washington and Georgetown to determine the will of 
the white voters on the subject. The poll was a large one, 
and showed that the voters were almost unanimously opposed 



157] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 65 

to the scheme, tlie resuhs being, for negro suffrage, Wash- 
ington, 35 voters, Georgetown, i ; against negro suffrage, 
Washington, 6556 voters, Georgetown, 813. This sentiment 
as voiced at tlie polls was emphasized a few days later in 
a letter by Mayor Richard Wallach, of Washington, who 
had been mayor of that city since August, 1861, during all 
the exciting days of the war, and whose position in public 
and private life justified his judgment of the prevailing 
wishes of the voters of his community. He wrote, under 
date of January 6, 1866: "No others in addition to this 
minority of thirty-five are to be found in the community who 
favor the extension of the right of suffrage to the class and 
in the manner proposed, excepting those who have already 
memorialized the Senate in its favor and who, with but little 
association, less sympathy and no community of interests or 
affinity with the citizens of Washington, receive here from 
the general government temporary employment and having 
at the national capital residence limited only to the presiden- 
tial term and invariably exercising the elective franchise 
elsewhere." Mayor Wallach's position was one of argu- 
ment, but to argument was added threats, one newspaper 
of that time boldly insinuating about the negroes that, 
" should they go to the polls to deposit their ballots, the 
probabilities are that they would not all return to their 
homes." 

But Congress, and especially those members of the Senate 
who had become the special advocates of the negroes, had 
before them the petition of "twenty-five hundred colored 
citizens of the District " ; they had, in a sense, come to regard 
that special legislation for the District as inaugurating the 
policy which was to be pursued toward the rest of the 
coimtry, and, in the face of the opposition of the representa- 
tives at the polls of the white population, in spite of the fact 
that in nine States distinctively loyal and represented in the 
Congress, namely, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, 
Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the right of 
suffrage was limited to white males, and in others there 



66 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [158 

being a property or educational qualification, the Senate 
set about conferring the franchise upon all men in the Dis- 
trict who had resided in it a year, "without distinction of 
race or color." 

The debate, however, was on, and it was continued for 
several months, marked by all the bitterness of opposition 
on the one hand, and the pugnacity of views on the other, 
which had characterized similar discussions since the negro 
question had become congressional property. Quotations 
from Scripture, appeals to physiology were of no avail. 
The wise amendment offered by Senator Dixon, of Con- 
necticut, providing for a qualification of intelligence, was 
lost, as was also that of Senator Cowan, of Pennsylvania, to 
strike out the word " male " from the act, though this propo- 
sition, which was at first considereda joke, precipitated a pro- 
longed debate, which will all be repeated in all likelihood 
before the enfranchisement of women. On December 13, 1866, 
the bill was passed by the Senate, and on tlie next day the 
House acted favorably upon it. It had, however, not yet 
become effective and received a temporary check when it 
was returned, on January 5, 1867, with the veto of President 
Johnson. His message on the subject was a lengthy one, 
but after he had reviewed the special election of 1865, he 
went to the heart of the matter in tliese words, in referring 
to the new voters who would be created should the bill 
become a statute: 

■' Possessing these advantages but a limited time, the 
greater number, perhaps, having entered the District of 
Columbia during the later years of the war, or since its 
termination, one may well pause to enquire whether after so 
brief a probation they are, as a class, capable of an intelligent 
exercise of the right of suffrage and qualified to discharge 
the duties of official position. * * * Clotiied with the elec- 
tive franchise, their numbers, already largely in excess of 
the demand for labor, would soon be increased by an influx 
from the adjoining States. Drawn from fields where employ- 
ment is abundant, they would in vain seek it here, and so add 



159] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 67 

to the embarrassment already experienced from the large 
class of idle persons congregated in the District. Hardly yet 
capable of forming correct judgments upon the important 
questions that often make tlie issues of a political contest, 
they could readily be made subservient to the purposes of 
designing persons * * * It is within their power to come into 
the District in such numbers as to have the supreme control 
of the white race and to govern them by their own officers, 
and by the exercise of all the municipal authority, among 
the rest, of the power of taxation over ' property in which 
they have no interest."' 

Congress was not to be restrained by such reasoning, but, 
on January 8, passed the bill over the veto, and the right of 
franchise was conferred upon the representatives of more 
than 30,000 persons, the majority of whom were but five or 
six years removed from the life on a plantation. This was 
less than seven months after the fourteenth amendment had 
been proposed and more than eighteen months before it 
became a part of the Constitution by ratification. It was 
nearly two years before the fifteenth amendment was pro- 
posed, but it was soon followed by the civil rights bill of 
the District. This provided that the word "white" where- 
ever it occurred in the laws relating to the District of Co- 
lumbia, or in the charter or ordinances of the cities of 
Washington or Georgetown, and operated as a limitation 
on the right of any elector of the District to hold any office, 
or to be selected and to serve as a juror, was to be repealed. 
Passed in July, 1867, and again in December of that year, 
it failed to become a law through President Johnson's not 
signing it, but on March 18, 1869, it received the signa- 
ture of President Grant, and the sweeping legislation for 
the political benefit of the negroes reached its culmination. 

Effects of this were instantaneous almost, and in April, 
1869, Congress was asked to change the form of government. 
The agitation to this end was continued during the terms of 

1 Veto Messages, 1792-1886, p. 324. 



08 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [160 

service of Mayors Sayles J. Bowen and M. G. Emer}\ On the 
floor of Congress the new class of full-fledged citizens were 
reckoned among the elements contributing to make the 
government of the capital " the worst government in the 
United States," and, indeed, one speaker stated as his opinion 
that " now the truth is that there are reasons why a muni- 
cipal government for this District, elected by universal 
suffrage, should be a worse government for the District 
than the municipal government of other cities, if that be 
possible." It was a curious form of government, to say 
the least, and when, in spite of objections of municipal 
authorities, and a '' reform " movement, it was changed 
by act approved February 21, 1871, to a territorial form, 
it was thought that the people and Congress would have 
some measure of relief. Escaping from Scylla, however, 
the District seemed to have dashed against Charybdis, 
for within less than a year after the inauguration of 
the territorial government, which included a governor, 
a council and a board of public works appointed by the 
President, a House of Delegates, and a delegate to Con- 
gress elected by the people, an investigation of its aft'airs 
was demanded of Congress and granted, A special commit- 
tee sat for ninety days, beginning January 22, 1872, and 
devoted their time to a study of documents and the hearing 
of testimony regarding the conduct of elections and the man- 
aging of the finances of the corporation, notably the $4,000,- 
000 loan which by an election held in November, 1871, had 
been authorized for the use of the board of public works. 
The investigation was useful not only in illustrating the 
character of elections under universal male suffrage, but 
also in indicating what would be the result of the system 
under the peculiar conditions prevailing in the District. 
Witnesses told of the absence from the polls of tickets 
against the loan, of negroes marching to the polls or camp- 
ing in their vicinity for hours, and of some reputable citizens 
remaining away from the polls entirely. One witness, for 
instance, said: 



161] The Negro in the District of Columhia- 69 

" On the Republican side we would have our meetings in 
each precinct the evening prior to election, and in some 
instances we would go to the polls in bodies and sleep there 
till morning, to await the opening of the polls, because it 
would sometimes take a man two hours before he could get 
at the window to deposit his vote." ^ One body of men, 
who were then organized, included 7 whites out of 86 voters, 
and it is really not surprising to read the statement of the 
memorialists praying for an investigation, that " the 
minority, appalled by the perception that five voters who 
had nothing might surely be counted on to tax the property 
of the sixth," made no efforts at the polls. 

In November, 1867, the number of voters in the District 
were 13,294 white, 6648 negro; in April, 1871, of the 
28,502 votes registered, 26,306 were cast at the election of a 
delegate to Congress; in November of the same year, of 
the 28,529 voters registered, 17,757 were white and 10,772 
negro. The vote in that month, on tlie $4,000,000 loan, 
was 14,760 for and 121 3 against,, while, at the same time, 
17,750 votes were cast for the District house of delegates.' 
As there is nothing in evidence to show that the negroes 
were backward in exercising their new rights, it is fair to 
presume tliat there was much truth in the words of the 
memorialists. The testimony of one witness is so enlight- 
ening that it should be read in this connection. Rev. J. W. 
Green, a negro divine, was before the committee, and this 
was the dialogue: 

" State your name, residence and occupation." 

" J. W. Green ; I reside in Washington ; am a minister of 
the Gospel." 

"Were you present at a meeting on the 12th of October, 
1 87 1, in the seventeenth district, held at Island Hall?" 

" I was." 



' Investigation into the Affairs of the District, 1872, p. 274. 
* Investigation, etc., 1872, pp. 442-443, 493. Cf. Investigation, 
etc., 1874, p. viii. 



70 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [162 

" Where Colonel Perry Carson was chairman and Joseph 
Williams was elected secretary pro tem.?" 

"Yes, Sir." 

" Is that a truthful report of what occurred at that meet- 
ing?" (Question objected to.) 

" State what occurred at that meeting." 

" I was present at that meeting called by F. A. Boswell, 
the chairman of the Republican club of that district. Mr. 
Boswell left after calling the meeting, and went to Massa- 
chusetts. The meeting went on, and Perry Carson was a 
vice-president and called the meeting to order. Mr. Williams 
was elected secretary pro tem. Carson stated the object of 
the meeting, when Williams got up and stated the call for 
the meeting, and then said that he himself advocated the 
four million dollar loan, or words to that amount; and that 
he was sorry it was not ten million instead of four. The 
report in the paper (the Citizen) is substantially correct." 

Objection being made to the witness stating what he him- 
self said, as he was not connected with the government, so 
much of the proceedings of the meeting were then read as 
included what Mr. Williams said, as follows: 

"Joseph Williams arose and said that he only hoped it 
was for $10,000,000 instead of $4,000,000, for the laborers 
would at least get the drippings. If the loan was defeated, 
the laborers would be thrown out of employment and their 
families would suffer. Some people alleged against him that 
he was a contractor. He thanked God that he had brains 
enough to be a contractor, and that he was not dependent 
on office for his support. All he wished was contracts, and 
he would fill them rightly. He expected to transmit his 
brains to his children and all the children around him. He 
had brains enough for the whole seventeenth district. * * * 
He always paid his laborers, and if he made money in his 
contracts, he did it on the square, and he defied any one to 
catch him tripping * * * Whoever, said he, shall vote against 
the loan must take the consequences. He was interested 
in the loan, and if any man voted against it and came to him 
for work, he would tell him go starve." 



163] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 71 

This suggestive extract having been read, the examination 
of Green was continued. He was asked: 

" Do you know whether the colored men were intimi- 
dated at the polls?" 

" I do not know," he replied, " whether they were directly 
at the polls, but they were before they went there." 

" By whom?" 

" By threats made in public speeches, in like manner to 
this one read." 

" By contractors or men in the city government?" 

" I cannot say, but I think so." 

"Do you know whether any member of the District gov- 
ernment made any such threats?" 

" I would not say but I think I could be prepared tc 
answer that question." 

"Were voters brought up to the polls in bodies?" 

" No, Sir, they came up two abreast." 

" Did they go up in considerable numbers at one time, 
under leaders?" 

" There were attempts made several times, but the police 
prevented it." 

"Was there any arrangement made beforehand that they 
should vote in a certain way?" 

" I do not know." 

" Did they have leaders to supply them with tickets?" 

" The tickets were placed in the hands of various persons, 
who dealt them out on the morning of the election. I was 
chairman, and dealt out tickets and saw that they were dis- 
tributed properly." 

"Were the tickets for and against the loan of dififerent 
colors?" 

" I did not interfere with that election at all. I think four 
were placed in my hands. I voted for the delegate and kept 
the other three. I don't know how voters were brought up 
at the last election. I was speaking of the common custom. 
I didn't bother my head with the last election; I simply 
voted and passed along. I don't recollect about the color of 
tickets." 



72 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [164 

"At the elections here, are the colored men in the habit 
of voting for men upon their own preferences and judg- 
ment?" 

"Many are not; they depend upon others more than the 
white voters generally, because tliey are uneducated. Men 
of my own color will deceive their color as well as 
white men. White men can deceive them better, because 
they are educated." 

" Who edited the paper when Mr. Williams' speech was 
reported?" 

" I do not recollect. I heard the speech, and so far as 
read it is substantially correct." 

" Did you oppose the loan?" 

" Yes, Sir." 

" Did you make speeches against it?" 

"Yes, Sir." 

" Did you vote at all on it yourself?" 

" No, Sir." 

" Do you know any one who was influenced, either by 
money or intimidation, to vote for the loan?" 

" I do not, personally." 

" Do you know of the use of any money?" 

" No, Sir." 

"Was money offered to you?" 

" No, Sir. I informed them that no man must offer me 
money." 

" You have been a leader among your people on election 
days?" 

" I have always taken an interest among our people, to 
instruct them, as they are mieducated, and tried to see that 
no advantage was taken of them." 

" When you spoke of distributing votes, you did not 
allude to the last election?" 

" No, Sir. I have opposed some of the men of my own 
color, and have been abused by them because I expressed 
my sentiments against certain men. There seemed to be 
more interest in the last election, generally, than usual." 



165] Tlie Negro in tfie District of Columbia' 73 

" More in the loan tlian in electing a delegate to Con- 



gress 



?" 



" I suppose some did; the loan brought in a different class; 
some interested for money, and some for politics." 

" Do you know of money being used in either elections?" 

" Yes, Sir." 

" Was any treating done at the other elections ?" 

" Considerable." 

" Have you been in the employ of Mr. Albert Grant?" 

" No, Sir." 

" Did you vote on the loan on either side?" 

" No, Sir. I think there were tickets at the polls against 
the loan in the morning." 

" For whom did you vote for delegate?" 

" Mr. Boswell. I did not know whether he was in favor 
of the loan or not." 

" How long before the last election was the meeting at 
which Mr. Williams made the speech which has been 
referred to?" 

"The election was on the 21st of November; the meeting 
was on the 12th of October." 

" What proportion of the people of your district are labor- 
ing men?" 

"A large portion of them; mostly colored men. Many 
of them have been in the habit of laboring on the streets." 

" Do you know whether colored men were imported from 
Maryland or Virginia, outside?" 

"Yes, Sir; men were brought in from Maryland, who 
worked on Seventh Street, inside of the boundary; and men 
were brought from Alexandria to work on the canal." 

"Did they vote?" 

" I do not know rightly whether they did or not." 

"Were many brought in?" 

" There were on Seventh Street. I saw fifteen out of 
eighteen that were brought from Alexandria." 

" Were they brought here to work or vote, or both ?" 

" I do not know ; but I know they were residents of Alex- 
andria." 



74 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [166 

" Did you have any conversation with any of them about 
voting?" i 

" No, Sir." 

" Did you see any of them vote at the polls?" 

" No, Sir. It was before election." 

" Have you any knowledge of intoxicating liquors being 
dealt out at polling places?" 

"I did not see it; only its effects." 

"Do you know that it has been threatened that, if the 
Democrats were successful, they would restore slavery?" 

" I have heard that frequently, and have had to fight it, 
and tried to instruct them to know better than to believe 
such a thing." ^ 

Comment is almost unnecessary upon this array of state- 
ments and inferences, which were a fair exemplification of 
the position occupied by the negroes in the politics of the 
time. But the exhibit is the more significant because the 
elections not only placed men of color in the Legislative 
Assembly, where they had the ultimate power of taxation, 
but also because this particular election opened, as it were, 
the bunghole of the treasury, through which the money of 
the people flowed in ever-increasing volume, instead of per- 
colating moderately and unvaryingly through the legitimate 
spigot. It was told in the investigation how some of the 
funds of the District were used, the telling of this, perhaps, 
explaining, in part, the comparative unanimity of those able 
to read among those who appeared at the polls. At that 
time, when the population of the District did not exceed 
135,000, of whom not more than 90,000 were white, fifteen 
newspapers enjoyed either a substantial or a more or less 
precarious existence. In the first ten months of its opera- 
tions, the government felt called upon to distribute among 
all these papers, for advertising and printing, $101,221.79, 
and from January 31, 1872, to April i, 1874, $88,803.53, a 
total of $190,025.32 in three years; this total not including 

'Investigation, etc., 1872, pp. 372-374. 



167] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 75 

the accounts of the fire department and tlie various school 
boards. The expenditure in tlie first ten months, according 
to the statements of the government, though the minority 
of the investigating committee estimated it at $143,635.62, 
was but $11,813.36 less than tlie total amount spent under 
the administration of the last two mayors, a period of three 
years, and that sum, $112,035.15, included the cost of bind- 
ing the official documents. Granted that the change of 
government necessitated extra advertising, even the majority 
of the committee acknowledged that some of it was unneces- 
sary, and within a few weeks after the investigation closed 
without action against the authorities, the Legislative As- 
sembly, on June 20, passed an act regulating the municipal 
advertising, by which the expense in that line was some- 
what reduced, though William E. Chandler had explained 
the situation in these words: 

" It was difficult to give the advertising to one newspaper 
without giving it to all, and with that generosity which 
public olificials usually show to the newspaper press, the 
papers of the District were allowed to print all the govern- 
ment advertising, without any attempts to make sharp bar- 
gains with them. Complaints of this character, 'too great 
expenditure of money for printing and advertising,' are 
always made against every municipal, State or national 
administration, and while such expenditures cannot always 
be justified, the ofTenses may well be treated as venial and not 
deserving of severe reprehension."* 



^Appended to Investigation, etc., 1872, p. 19. On this point the 
minority report had the following (p. xvii) : "The seventh charge 
is that ' an unparalleled profligacy in advertising has been exhibited 
in the employment of fifteen newspapers, bearing an ominous 
resemblance to subsidizing the press of the District.' This charge 
is fully proven, the amount thus expended reaching the enormous 
sum of $143,635.62 ; and the recklessness and profligacy of the 
District government and board of public works in regard to this 
charge is fully admitted by the majority. It was attempted on the 
part of the District government to justify this large expenditure 
for advertising and printing on the ground that its use brought the 



76 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [168 

The investigation ended in what was considered a vindi- 
cation of the municipal administration, though the minority 
report to Congress voiced the opinion of some, that some 
change should be made by which greater power over the 
officers should be enjoyed by the people. But the proposi- 
tion then advanced, to make all the officers elective, except 
the governor, would hardly have met the united support of 
the opposition, as with them it was not so much a question 
of the people having a voice in the conduct of their affairs, 
as of some people not having a voice, inasmuch as they were 
not qualified to exercise their new-gained privileges intel- 
ligently. 

Results of the first investigation did not cause the opposi- 
tion to relax their efforts, which culminated in another invest- 
igation in 1874. At the first session of the forty-third Con- 
gress, several petitions were presented by citizens of the 
District, asking that a joint select committee should be 
appointed to examine into the affairs of the District govern- 
ment. The committee was appointed and, after organization, 
on February" 11, and the arrangement of certain preliminaries, 
commenced taking testimony, on March 5, and continued 
its sessions for that purpose daily until May 28th. 

The committee's task was to inquire whether unlawful 
contracts had been made for public improvements, the actual 
cost of the improvements, the amount agreed to be paid for 



newspapers to the support of the loan, and the unity of sentiment of 
the people as expressed through the press had a material influence 
on the value of the bonds in the market, and yet we have the 
sworn statement of every newspaper proprietor in the District that 
the amount received from advertising and printing had no influence 
whatever upon their action, which clearly establishes the fact that 
the large expenditure above named, or the greater portion of it, 
was utterly thrown away, and was simply taking that sum from the 
pockets of the tax-payers and giving it to the press ; not for the 
purpose of subsidizing it, for that is sufficiently disproved by the 
sworn statements of the proprietors themselves, but simply from a 
high regard entertained by the District government for the news- 
paper press." 



169] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 11 

them; whether unlawful assessments and taxes had been 
levied; whether correct measurements of work had been 
made; the existing debt on its account, and what, if any, 
portion of such indebtedness was created on account of 
Government property and might be paid out of the United 
States treasury; and to report such amendments to the 
organic acts as might be necessary to protect further tlie 
rightr of citizens, or to regulate the handling of moneys. 

Governor Shepherd, who had succeeded Governor Cooke 
as the executive of the District, in answer to the petitioners 
had submitted a memorial arraigning the other memorialists, 
reviewing briefly tlie afifairs of government under the terri- 
torial system, and, while disclaiming all purpose to evade 
any reasonable and proper investigation, asking whether, 
under all the circumstances, it would be fair and just to the 
pe(iple of the country and of the District, and to himself and 
his associates, to enter upon an inquest without some probable 
cause shown of the truth of the charges made. He stated 
that, in addition to the report of tlie former investigation, 
" completely vindicating the District authorities," " every 
charge of unlawful exercise of power by the District authori- 
ties now complained of has been presented to the courts of 
the District, and in every instance the District authorities 
have been sustained; that at every election, of which there 
have been several, the people of the District have sustained 
its officers by large majorities; that notwithstanding attacks 
through the public press and the utmost efforts of the fac- 
tionists of tlie District already alluded to, which for malevo- 
lence, unscrupulousness and want of truth have been unpar- 
alleled, still your memorialist believes that the officers thus 
assailed have not forfeited the respect of the public at large 
or the citizens of the District, but would be fully vindicated 
before your honorable body if their voices could be heard. 
Your memorialist denies that the opposition, now demanding 
a third or fourth investigation, are law-abiding citizens or 
are seeking the good of the District; but says their whole 
purpose is either to overthrow the present form of govern- 



78 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [170 

ment or to cause the removal of officers whose appointment 
they cannot themselves dictate."^ 

Mr. Shepherd was heard again and at length in the inves- 
tigation, in which the utmost latitude seems to have been 
allowed in the examination of witnesses and the admission 
of testimony, and at its conclusion the report to Congress, 
made June i6, was signed by all the committee, — Senators 
William B. Allison, Allen G. Thurman, William M. Stewart, 
Representatives Jeremiah M. Wilson, Jay A. Hubbell, 
Lyman K. Bass, Hugh A. Jewett, and Robert Hamilton, 
who were unanimous in the recommendations to Congress. 

The greater part of the examination was devoted to the 
board of public works, which was claimed by counsel for 
the defense to be not subordinate to the mimicipal body 
corporate, and which it was alleged had levied special assess- 
ments under express authority of the legislative assembly 
and not independently of it. Counsel also contended that 
the board had not usurped authority, that its construction 
of the organic act under which it had conducted operations 
had been sanctioned repeatedly by judgments of the courts, 
that Congress had from time to time made appropriations 
for payment of the work, and that the indebtedness of the 
board of public works was no portion of the indebtedness of 
the municipality of the District of Columbia, 

The investigating committee, after weighing all the evi- 
dence, found that while they could join in the general 
expressions of gratification at tlie improved condition of the 
national capital, they were compelled to condemn the 
methods by which the sudden transformation had been 
efifected. They considered that the board had adopted an 
erroneous method, vicious in its results, of awarding con- 
tracts without open competition, with the attendant increased 
cost for improvements and tlie opening of the way to favor- 
itism in letting contracts and of brokerage in the same. 
They found that in three years the funded indebtedness of 

'Investigation, etc., 1874, p. 11. 



171] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 79 

the District had increased from $4,350,189.91 to $9,902,- 
251.18, and tliat tlie total burden upon the property of the 
District was $20,716,008.07, while the assets represented by 
all forms of taxation was $6,726,360.04, and tlie District 
treasury was practically exhausted in all its departments. 
As illustrative of the financial methods of the administration, 
the committee's report may be quoted verbatim as follows: 
" The act creating the board limited the total debt of the 
District of Columbia to 5 per cent, upon the assessed value 
of property within the District, the intent of which was to 
limit the actual debt of the District to that sum. The 
board, however, construed the various provisions of the 
organic act as placing them and their transactions without 
the pale of this limitation, endeavoring, at the same time, to 
keep within the letter of the law, while violating its spirit; 
and to this end the legislative assembly, from time to time, 
passed acts which were simply devised for the purpose of 
raising money with which to pay previously incurred obli- 
gations, and continue the improvements by creating tem- 
porary obligations upon the property of individuals in the 
District. Thus we find that after exhausting the $4,000,000 
loan, authorized by the act of July 10, 1871, in the improve- 
ment of streets and the building of sewers, an act of the 
legislative assembly was passed authorizing the issuance of 
$2,000,000 of what were called ' certificates of indebtedness,' 
the payment of which was secured by a pledge of the assess- 
ments upon property adjacent to the improvements. Again, 
after exhausting this device for the payment of contractors, 
the legislative assembly, by an act, divided the cities of 
Washington and Georgetown into sewerage districts, and 
levied a tax upon the various sewerage districts, varying in 
rate from 5 to 20 mills upon the square foot, although at 
the time this act was passed nearly one-half of the entire 
sewerage system was completed as contemplated by what 
was known as the comprehensive plan, submitted to the 
legislature in 1871, as a basis of the $4,000,000 loan, which 
expressly included a system of sewerage. By this device 



80 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [172 

$2,120,000 were added to the assets of the board of public 
works, and were disbursed to contractors, except about 
the sum of $500,000 thereof. Various other acts were 
passed of a similar character, involving smaller sums, and 
by this system of credit upon credit, or rather debt upon 
defbt, the board continued its vast operations, the result of 
which has been to create a debt for which the board of 
public works and the District, in one form or another, are 
liable, and when added to the other floating indebtedness of 
the District, together with the funded indebtedness, aggre- 
gates not less than $18,000,000 instead of $10,000,000, as 
limited by the act of Congress of May 8, 1872."' 

With this view of the situation, with the fact before them 
of an exhausted treasury and a largely expanded debt upon 
the people of the District, and in spite of the enhancement 
of the capital as a place of residence and the essential 
improvements which were attempted in a brief space of 
time when years should have been occupied for their com- 
pletion, the committee, without precluding the idea that there 
should be some form of representative government in the 
District, recommended the abolition of the executive, the 
secretary of the District, the legislative assembly, the board 
of public works, and the office of delegate in Congress, and 
the appointment of a commission to manage the District 
affairs until Congress should have time to frame a proper 
form of government; for the committee had arrived unani- 
mously at the conclusion "' that the existing form of govern- 
ment is a failure ; that it is too cumbrous and too expensive ; 
that the powers and relations of its several departments are 
so ill-defined that limitations intended by Congress to apply 
to the whole government are construed to limit but one of 
its departments; that it is wanting in sufficient safeguard 
against maladministration and the creation of indebtedness; 
that the system of taxation it allows opens a door to great 
inequality and injustice, and is wholly insufficient to secure 

'Investigation, etc., 1874, pp. xii, viii, xiii, xxviii. 



173] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 81 

the prompt collection of taxes; and that no remedy short 
of its abolition and the substitution of a simpler, more 
restricted and economical government will sufHce."' 

Four days after the presentation of the committee's report 
its recommendation was adopted in an act of Congress end- 
ing the short life of the territorial government, and appoint- 
ing a commission of three persons to administer affairs. At 
the same time provision was made under which the present 
form of government by three commissioners was established 
July I, 1878. 

An experiment had been tried in negro suffrage and it 
had failed, and failed in such a manner as to tinge with 
prophecy the words of Johnson in his veto message. Men 
fresh from the plantation, where they had had absolutely no 
schooling in the duties of citizenship, men without any 
interest of associations or property in the welfare of the 
District beyond the fact that they expected to make a living 
there, had been at one stroke clothed with powers equal not 
only to those of their race who in spite of " the black code " 
had by urban life been placed far in advance of the field 
hand, but also to those of the white race, who, having 
enjoyed for centuries all the elevating gifts which usually are 
evolved from education and wealth, were best qualified to 
realize what would most conduce to the welfare of the 
community. This latter class, it may be argued, had not 
always displayed the wisdom which they should have pos- 
sessed, but this may be explained to some extent. There 
are gradations among the whites just as there are among 
the negroes, and there are few municipal governments in 
which the element, which naturally should be expected to 
lead in public afifairs, are moved to do little beside holding 
mass meetings before elections and indignation meetings 
afterward, in the meantime neglecting the most important 
work of elections, — organizing the voters and seeing that 
all the votes are cast. But the white people of Washington, 

'Investigation, etc., 1874, pp. viii, xv, xxviii, xxix. 



82 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [174 

even had they been united poUtically or had community of 
interests, had done little in seventy-odd years to raise Wash- 
ington much beyond the grade of a village, and the munici- 
pal governments were far from perfection. 

Just as in the case of the negroes, there were three 
distinct classes of whites in the community, — tlie conserva- 
tive element of education, wealth or refinement, the employes 
of the government, and a mixed aggregation of the elements 
which had made the Snow riot in 1835 and other overt 
acts against the negroes a possibility, the flotsam and jetsam 
of the armies, the hangers-on to politicians, and the adven- 
turers of various sorts which had for years infested the capi- 
tal. The extremes of the white race were as far removed 
from each other in affinity as was the white race from the 
negroes in color. Even before the extension of the suffrage 
the whites were divided politically, and afterward they did 
not unite their forces on public questions or at the polls as 
did most negroes. The reputable part of the community, 
even had they been of one mind about the suffrage, were 
powerless in the face of the determination of ruling spirits 
in Congress to push the special legislation for the negro to 
its utmost; and while it may be an easy matter now to 
point out that this or that should have been done, it is easy 
to understand with what despair the opposition saw the 
horde of ignorance turned loose upon the polls. It was a 
shock to their inherited and developed ideas to see the 
negroes acting as policemen and firemen or occupying 
positions in the local government, the legitimate fruits of a 
suffrage at a time when the theory that to the victors belong 
the spoils had unlimited sway. But it was not that which 
appalled them. Their great fear was based upon the fact 
that the negroes holding the balance of power, if not actually 
controlling affairs, were the real arbiters of the expenses of 
government and of the taxation of which they bore but a 
slight part, and they dreaded the results of such a rule, and 
this fear was not unreasonable when the situation is ex- 
plained. For instance, in 1870 Washington, in a group of 



175] The Negro in the District of Columbia- 83 

the first twenty cities of the country, occupied the twelfth 
place in population. Of this the negroes constituted 32.46 
per cent., — the largest among the twenty cities, New Orleans 
being next, with 26.35 P^^" ^^"t. At the same time, of 37.71 
per cent, of persons engaged in all classes of occupation 
in Washington, 23.90 per cent., the largest percentage in the 
twenty cities, were engaged in callings which cannot be said 
to add directly to the wealth of a city; while the percentage 
of those engaged in agriculture, manufactures and trade was 
much below that of the other cities. The preponderance of 
the non-productive elements was due to the incoming of the 
negroes, largely, though the presence of officeholders had 
not a Httle to do with it. At the same time, out of a popu- 
lation of 38,726 negroes in Washington and Georgetown, 
it was estimated there were 23,843 above 10 years old who 
could not write and a large proportion of them unable to 
read. 

But the views of the whites regarding the suffrage were 
not harmonious by any means. While such a man as George 
W. Riggs was willing to say, " I think that the majority of 
voters here are incapable of self-government," and would 
have a government by a commission, another such as 
Walter S. Cox, favoring bodies elected by taxpayers, 
asserted that he did not intend to discriminate against colored 
voters, and added, " I should be for allowing all to vote 
who were obliged to share in the burdens of government. 
I know," continued he, "a great many colored people in 
Georgetown who are as competent to vote as the white 
people of the same class." He considered them generally 
orderly and industrious, although he had no doubt 
that a great many of those who had recently arrived in the 
District from the surrounding counties were too ignorant to 
be properly qualified to vote. " If I had my way," he said, 
" I would make both property and intelligence qualifications 
for all voters."^ 

'Investigation, etc., 1872, pp. 692, 701. 



84 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [176 

Though these opinions vai-ied as to the remedy for the 
existing evils, they practically coincided as to the influences 
which demanded a change, and their echoes are heard when- 
ever the agitation for local self-government finds utterance 
in the halls of national legislation. As recently as the 
winter of 1890 the Senate, while discussing a resolution 
referring to the Commissioners of the District, was given 
a review of the question of negro suffrage by some of those 
who had done so much to bring local government to an end 
by their recommendations, and by others whose memories 
reached back to that time/ The text of the review was 
given by Mr. Ingalls, who said : " The experiment of popular 
suffrage was tried here for a number of years, the experi- 
ment of a representative local government was tried here, 
and after many years of experience it was deliberately 
abolished by the concurrence, and I think the unanimous 
concurrence, of both houses of Congress acting in their 
constitutional capacity as the rulers of this District, and 
with the approbation of all the people of the District except 
those men who wanted to be in local office. . . The subject 
was considered from alpha to omega, and the investigation 
resulted in the unanimous conclusion that under the con- 
ditions which existed here it was wise that Congress should 
resume the function it had abdicated." 

Mr. Stewart, of similar mind, alluding to the right of 
suffrage for which Mr. Blair had pleaded, said that he had 
seen it at the capital, " when it was in the hands of the people, 
and they were called upon to elect a vast number of officers, 
and they made worse mistakes here than elsewhere. 
Perhaps the condition was peculiar at the time. There had 
been a large addition to the voters of people imaccustomed 
to exercise the right of franchise, but they showed the same 
incapacity here that they do everywhere to select the large 
number required of them." 

' Congressional Record, Dec. 1890, pp. 171-77. 



177] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 85 

Mr. Morgan then undertook to review ihe matter, and 
phrased his opinion thus: "That local government became 
corrupt and abominable and disgraceful, an eyesore, a 
rebuke, a disastrous commentary upon civil government. 
It was called tlie ' feather-duster legislature,' and it had 
about it so many ludicrous phases, and it was so the sub- 
ject of general reprobation and ridicule, that it could not be 
tolerated any longer. It was abolished by an act of Con- 
gress, and the pendulum swung to the other extremity." 
He asked Mr. Allison what was the leading circumstance 
that caused this entire change, and the Senator from Iowa, 
who had been a member of the second investigating com- 
mittee, in reply said that there had been a great many cir- 
cumstances, though he thought the chief thing was that 
there was an enormous debt of the District and of the cities 
of Washington and Georgetown. He did not know pre- 
cisely what the Senator from Alabama had in his mind in 
asking for the chief motive on the part of the investigating 
committee for changing the government, but he added that 
"it was absolutely necessary to destroy every existing gov- 
ernment here in order to have a settlement of the situation 
at that time." This action was characterized by Mr. Morgan 
as similar to the method of stamping out disease among 
cattle by slaughtering every animal which should be in any 
way likely to be affected. 

"To bum down the bam to get rid of the rats," inter- 
jected Mr. Ingalls. 

"Yes," retorted Mr. Morgan; "to bum down the bam 
to get rid of the rats, and that is what was done in this case, 
the rats being the negro population and the bam being the 
govemment of the District of Columbia, 'the feather-duster 
legislature.' " 

"That is the Senator's inference and not mine," was 
Ingalls's comment. 

" It was so palpable," said Mr. Morgan, " that the Sena- 
tor from Kansas had expressed what was in the mind of the 
Senator from Iowa that I could not refrain from applying 



86 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [178 

the allusion of the Senator from Kansas to the Senator from 
Iowa." 

Continuing, he contended that there had been no occasion 
for depriving every white man in the District of his right to 
vote, but that all the bad material in the electoral power 
should have been extirpated, and he added some statements 
which seem largely borne out not only by the facts elicited 
in 1872 but by the traditions still current in Washington. 
" Now, the historical fact," he said, " is simply this, that 
the negroes came into this District from Virginia and Mary- 
land and from other places; I know dozens of them here 
now who flocked in from Alabama in that period of time. 
The invitation being a very urgent one to them, they came 
in here and they took possession of a certain part of the 
political power of this District; that is to say, they did not 
take possession of it, for they were incapable of doing that; 
but their masters and owners, the owners of their consciences, 
having stronger bonds upon them than their masters had 
ever had upon their persons while they were in slavery, 
took them and put them as a factor, a political power and 
agency, into the administration of the afifairs of the District 
of Columbia, and there was but one way to get out, so Con- 
gress thought, so this able committee thought, and that was 
to deny the right of suffrage entirely to every human being 
in the District and have every office here controlled by 
appointment instead of by election. Thereupon in the face 
of this influx of negro population from the surrounding 
States, the Senate and the House of Representatives, in order 
to preserve property rights and the decency of administra- 
tion in the central government of the United States here 
around the very footwalls of the Capitol, found it necessary 
to disfranchise every man in the District of Columbia, no 
matter what his reputation or character might have been or 
his holdings in property, in order thereby to get rid of this 
load of negro suffrage that was flooded in upon them. 
That is the true statement. History cannot be reversed. 
No man can misunderstand it." 



179] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 87 

The blame for the condition of affairs reflected in this 
debate cannot be placed entirely upon the negroes. It is 
not surprising that they should have tlironged to the polls 
at the • first opportunity to do so. They had been a 
political question ever since the compromise of 1787, and 
during the conditions resulting logically from that compro- 
mise they had been induced to regard the government as 
their particular patron and the party in power as their 
savior. When that party, after a debate which could not 
have failed to arouse their deepest interest even as it per- 
colated to them through hearsay, placed the ballot in their 
hands, it was the most natural thing in the world for them 
to seek to exercise their newly-acquired privileges; and as 
the act of Congress tended to increase the antagonism to 
them of those who from a political standpoint would have 
been wise in obtaining control of the new voters, if that had 
l^een possible, it was not strange that the new citizens, par- 
ticularly those who were latest from the plantation and most 
deeply submerged in the consequent ignorance, should have 
become the dupes and tools of those among the whites or 
of their own race who in all modem politics thrive upon 
the lack of intelligence of their followers, or should have 
come under the malign influence of the adventurers who 
thronged to the capital towards the close of the war and in 
the following years. 

There were, indeed, in political afifiliation with this com- 
bination of greed and ignorance, men who, because of the 
historic position which their party had assumed, felt obliged 
from policy or principle to place themselves in line with the 
newly enfranchised; but however reputable they may have 
been they could do little had they desired to stem the cur- 
rent which was carrying the local government to ruin. 

At the same time no one is now inclined to doubt that 
much of the grandeur and beauty of the national capital 
is the outcome of the activity of the board of public works, 
which was made effective by the votes of this very element 
in which there was so much danger. The first investigation 



88 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [180 

had revealed the causes of the condition of the District 
exposed to the second, Vv'hich the committee considered 
" chargeable to the attempt early made by the authorities 
placed over it to inaugurate a comprehensive and costly 
system of improvements to be completed in a brief space of 
time, which ought to have required for its completion 
several years."^ One line in every report of the Commis- 
sioners of the District is a reminder of the times between 
1867 and 1874, and in spite of the exhibit made eighteen 
years afterward in the symmetry and beauty which appear 
on the surface at Washington, it is difficult for the unpreju- 
diced mind to reach any conclusion but that the experiment, 
which ended in the loss of suffrage for all, was untimely, and 
that its expense may be best measured in the financial con- 
dition of the government at the capital when it ceased to be 
a territor)\ 

'Investigation, etc., 1874, p. viii. 



VL 
A GENERATION AFTERWARD. 

Under ordinary circumstances twenty-five or thirty years 
form a very narrow period in the Hfe of any race upon 
which to base a criterion of it. A generation after the 
battle of Hastings, after the French Revolution, or after the 
events of 1776 in this country, would contribute but little to 
the total of the advancement of the races which were affected 
respectively by such changes. Since the war, though, the 
history of this country has been one of wonderful progress 
in many directions, as well as of retrogression in others, for 
the white race, and the same may be said of the negro race. 
At the capital the conditions of the two races have been as 
similar as the strong arm of the national government could 
make them, and there consequently is presented an excellent 
field for forming an estimate of the negro's achievements or 
failures. This may be done only by comparison, remem- 
brance being had at the same time that the preparation of 
slavery for the stniggle of negroes on equal lines with whites 
represents but a small fraction of the centuries through which 
Anglo-Saxon civilization has reached its present stage, and 
also that the advantages and opportunities suddenly con- 
ferred upon the negroes were those, which were the natural 
heritage of white Americans and which had been of gradual 
growth, preparation keeping pace with attainment 

In modem times, when among civilized races physical 
force has become of secondary consideration, the weapons 
of evolution are wealth, education, and suffrage. The last 
has been eliminated from the question in the District, the 
opportunities for education by the State are equal for both 
races, and the government lends its aid to such an institution 
as Howard University for the higher education of the 
negroes. Because the capital city has assumed the character 



90 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [182 

of a place for residence rather than for any other purpose 
beyond the phases of departmental and congressional life, 
there have been but few means there for acquiring wealth 
legitimately except in the execution of contracts until the 
territorial government ended, in the ownership of real estate 
or in the various lines of retail trade. The aggregate 
wealth of the negroes, therefore, represents in large measure 
the enhancement in the value of their real estate and the 
improvements upon it. In i86i, of the $54,000,000 assessed 
valuation, about $650,000 represented property of negroes, 
and their churches were worth $75,000. Of the $153,307,541 
assessed valuation in 1890, they owned at the least $8,000,- 
000 as far as may be estimated, and one of their churches 
alone is valued at much more than the whole wealth of that 
kind thirty years ago. 

Owners of real estate range from the humble workman 
who cannot read or write, who holds his property by gift or 
purchase in days before the war or immediately subsequent 
to it, to the capitalist who is in a position to employ a white 
agent to attend to his property. The complaint that agents 
have combined to prevent negroes, on account of their 
color, from renting dwellings in certain localities must have 
been based, if entirely true, upon action in recent years, if 
one may judge by the results of a stroll in nearly any 
section of the capital. For police purposes tlie District is 
divided into nine precincts, and the figures of the last census 
show^ that in five of these the proportion of negroes to 
whites is beyond that of the whole number in the District 
to the entire population. The exceptions are in the first 
and sixth precincts and in the seventh, which include the 
oldest portion of Washington and Georgetown, and in the 
ninth, which comprises much of the recently developed 
section of Capitol Hill, or the northeastern part of the city. 
That of the 30,000 population in 317 alleys the majority are 
negroes is explained by their poverty. There may be a 
combination, but it is not because dealers in property do 
not regard the negro's money as good as the white's. The 



183] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 91 

desire to own a home, as shown as early as 1867, when 
one-fifth of the owners of real estate in the city were 
negroes, is a mark of the stability of purpose of some of 
the race, and its maintenance is a monument of thrift and 
industry most marked perhaps among- the elements repre- 
senting the old ante-bellum slaves and free negroes, but by 
no means confined to them. 

The experience with the Freedman's Bank, remembered 
in sorrow by many a negro, may perhaps be the reason why 
the negroes have preferred to do business with established 
banking houses of the whites, and make some provision for 
their families by joining the Odd Fellows, organized before 
the war, or the many beneficial societies which their race 
has produced. Undeterred, though, by this apparent disad- 
vantage, a number of negroes organized in October, 1888, a 
savings bank with an authorized capital stock of $50,000, of 
which $32,000 have been paid up. During the first year 
$117,000 were deposited in this bank, and in 1892 the 
deposits amounted to more than $317,276. In a statement 
recently issued the fact was announced "that the bank has 
steadily grown in popular favor and public confidence is 
evidenced by the class of men who have lately become its 
patrons, and by the fact that different charitable and social 
organizations as well as business enterprises are making this 
bank their place of deposit." Private bankers also do busi- 
ness. Though at least one establishment controlled by white 
men has employed a negro as a salesman, there is a tendency 
among some of the negroes to branch out into lines of 
trade for themselves, and they would doubtless be successful 
if they could secure the hearty cooperation of their own 
race. The lack of this may be found to be the fault of both 
parties to the undertaking. They have, however, engaged 
in many other lines of business beside running barber shops 
or cobbling, and among them may be found dry goods 
merchants, contractors, grocerymen, real estate men, and 
dealers in the market, the last including the comfortable- 
Icoking proprietor of a stall within the market building and 



92 The Negro in the District of Coliimhia. [184 

the vendor of herbs and garden " sass " on the outside, an 
excellent type of the survival of the suburban negro of 
thirty years ago. Recently some of them have started a 
house-cleaning bureau, and tliey announce that this bureau 
" has selected with great care and pains an efficient corps of 
able-bodied workmen, and is prepared to make monthly or 
yearly contracts to clean new and old houses, wash windows, 
take up and put down carpets, scrub floors, wash paints, or 
do any other work required about a house. Special arrange- 
n:ents will be made for sweeping and dusting office rooms 
in public buildings, and for furnishing boys to run errands, 
either by the hour, day, or week." 

Not a few of the race have increased their means by care- 
ful investment, some by money earned by them and saved 
with prudence, by inherited propeity or by a due appre- 
ciation of the friendly aid extended them became possessors 
of hotel properties, which are used by the whites, and 
one of these, which was long famous as a first-class hostelry, 
particularly for people of wealth and refinement, was the 
result of the life work of a man who started most modestly 
and whose later reputation as a caterer is still remembered 
by some of the older inhabitants. 

This accumulation of wealth in some sort or another has 
resulted in a class of negroes competent to enjoy many of 
the refinements and comforts which have made the respect- 
able middle class of whites in this country the conservative 
element in the community, and the mimetic powers of the 
negroes have made the gradations in their society similar 
to those of the whites, though complexities are added by a 
survival of the feelings generated in slavery and by the 
influx from all parts of the country of educated negroes who 
have obtained employment in the several departments of the 
general government. They have their clubs, from the 
fashionable resort fitted with the usual conveniences of such 
resorts, where great men of the race, including Pete Jack- 
son or a foreign minister, are specially entertained, to the 
obscure places devoted to gambling; and though the Bethel 



185J The Negro in the District of Columbia. 93 

Literary- Society, now in its twelfth year, is not only an 
influential power, socially and educationally, the beneficial 
societies or similar organizations appeal strongly to the great 
majority of tlie negroes. The social extremes are wide 
apart and present sharp contrasts. At one time a church 
may be thronged with a dignified congregation, displaying 
gowns of the most approved fashion, the work, perhaps, of 
negro seamstresses, some of whom are among the best in 
the city, to witness the marriage of a daughter of a man who 
has made his money by shrewdness and enterprise, to a 
member of the younger generation who has had to depend 
upon brain and perseverance to make his mark. The 
bridal costume is a real gown, the diamonds are real, and 
the number of the carriages as they carry tlie guests to the 
reception is as distinctively matrimonial as if their occupants 
were whites. Let a perambulatory piano strike up a lively 
air in any part of the town almost, and it is soon setting the 
pace for two or three or more negro girls of fourteen years 
or younger, who tickle the fancy of passers-by or the crowd 
which collects by their gyrations, their flings and shuffles, 
which would put a Lottie Collins to the blush. Let a band 
of music, good, bad or indifferent, sound its notes on any 
highway, and immediately it is surrounded by a mass of 
half-grown men and women, frequently in rags, their heads 
and bodies swaying in time with every note, particularly of 
the bass drum or of the trombone, which seems to appeal 
peculiarly to their hearts, slipping, sliding, executing im- 
promptu waltzes, laughing and shouting. They appear so 
suddenly that they may be said to spring almost from the 
asphalt, and it is a debatable point whether the community 
would suffer should one of the musicians become a Pied 
Piper and lead the throng into the bowels of the earth, 
never to appear again. 

It is unfortunate for the negro that outride of the pro- 
fessions about the only vocations paying salaries or wages 
in Washington open to anybody are those of clerks, sales- 
men, offlceholders, laborers or servants of one kind or 



94 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [186 

another. The practical exclusion of negroes from the first 
two classes is due to a preference of white people for whites, 
as well as to the presence of a number of white men and 
women sufficient to meet the demand for sucli services, and 
the willingness of a former mayor of Washington to hold a 
subordinate position in a department or of an ex-clerk in 
the treasury to be a street-car conductor is a manifestation 
of the ups and downs of political life in Washington, which 
hedge out the negro from other lines of competition and 
livelihood. The development of industrial training in the 
public schools, while theoretically an excellent idea, practi- 
cally seems to lose its value partly if the pupils intend to 
become artisans and mechanics, at the same time remaining 
in the District; for there is a limit to their employment just 
as there is a limit to the number of negro doctors, lawyers, 
teachers, officeholders, and ministers who may find profitable 
employment. Washington is not a manufactiu^ing city in 
the strict sense of the term, though there has been an 
increase of industries in the past ten or twelve years. 
The census of 1890 deals witli 115 of them, employing 
23,477 hands in 2300 establishments and paying $14,638,790 
wages. The important industries were brick and tile- 
making, carriage and wagon factories, flour and grist mills, 
foundry and machine shops, lumber mills, employing a total 
of 2393 hands; lithographing and engraving, printing and 
publishing, with 3724 hands; bottling establishments, malt 
liquor breweries, 328 hands; and confectioneries, 349 hands. 
The situation of negro men in this respect, lamentable as it 
may be, is even better than that of the women. The prin- 
cipal of the Normal School at one time expressed the 
belief that the young girls of her race were peculiarly situ- 
ated in that " they have no avenue open to them in this 
city by which a livelihood can be obtained outside of the 
school-room and menial positions"; and it is interesting to 
compare that statement, which has a tone of regret about it, 
with that of Arabella Jones, in 1852, who realized that in 
that age females were naturally destined to become mothers 



187] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 95 

or household servants, and that for either position some 
education was necessary. But the question arises whether 
an education which carries pupils to a point where their 
legitimately acquired ambition has but limited means of 
gratification is not only harmful for the individuals, but a 
possible source of danger to the community. May it not 
also be the case that, as so frequently happens with others, 
the negro has mistaken the means of education for educa- 
tion itself, and thought that the training of the memory 
would develop the faculties of judgment and reason? 

The secular education ofifered by the public school is 
after all preparatory for real culture, which must be had by 
the intercourse of everyday life in the family, in associates, 
in trade or business, and, in the church relations. In the 
District their churches have been the centers in which many 
of the movements of the negroes have been formulated, and 
from their pulpits have frequently been sent the battle-cry 
for the race whether in the District or for the coimtry at 
large, and there, too, have their quasi-leaders uttered the 
sentiments designed for use in the national political arena. 
Their churches have also been the places for a cultivation 
of their social instincts, and although in recent years some of 
the race have built a hall especially for their meetings, the 
mass still abide by their historic rendezvous. The simple 
structures, about a dozen in number in 1861, have in- 
creased in pretentiousness and number nearly ninety, ranging 
from the small building in a neighborhood inhabited by the 
lowliest of the race, to the more costly ones in modem style 
and of substantial architecture in the vicinity of the fashion- 
able residence sections of the city. Some of the pastors are 
men of marked ability as preachers, and their congregations 
are large and enthusiastic. The negroes appear to cherish 
the forms of religion which appeal to their heart and 
emotions rather than those which require more exercise of 
the mind, — excepting the Catholic, on the one hand, and the 
Congregationalist on the other; and though the bush meet- 
ing is losing its hold upon the more cultivated of the city 



96 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [188 

folks, it still has an attraction for those in city or 
country who have not drifted from the traditions of slavery. 
The statistics of some of the churches well illustrate this 
condition. The Baptist body has 13 white churches and 42 
negro ones, the Methodists of all stripes 23 white and 36 
negro, the Episcopalians 24 white and 3 negro, the Presby- 
terians 18 white and i negro, the Lutherans 12 white and i 
negro. The remarkable contradiction in the situation of the 
Catholic body, which has but one negro church, and of the 
Congregationalists, whose churches are about equally 
divided between the two races, has been mentioned pre- 
viously. The efforts of earnest workers among the negroes 
to reach those who may be of influence hereafter has resulted 
in the organization of a Young lyien's Christian Association 
and the occupation of a building in a once notorious locality, 
the character of which has been materially changed by the 
personal endeavor of the pastor of a Congregationalist 
church; within a few weeks a young negro, devoted to 
missionary work among his people, has spent much of his 
time in the establishment of a home for the unfortunate 
negro women for whom no other provision of the kind 
exists in the District; and these movements, like that of 
negro women connected with the Woman's Christian Tem- 
perance Association, are evidence that the highly flavored 
rhetoric of the pulpit and the exultation of the pews asso- 
ciated with many of the churches of twenty years or more 
ago are giving place to the more practical expressions of 
religion, which may be increased by the non-sectarian union 
of the preachers who hold their meetings in the hall of their 
Young Men's Christian Association.* 

The newspaper, generally regarded as a great educational 
factor, has not attained a great growth as an undertaking by 
negroes. This has been due not always to lack of capa- 
bilities on the part of the editors, or to the tendency to 

' The Protestant Episcopal Church, in its preparatory school for 
negro clergymen at King Hall, seems to be nearing a solution of 
the church question as far as that body is concerned. 



189] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 97 

indulge in personalities and political debates not of an edify- 
ing character. The newspaper readers of the race have gen- 
erally preferred to confine their support to the papers pub- 
lished by die whites because more is given for their money; 
their own publishers have thereby missed so much of that 
support or part of it, and it is not surprising tliat two 
weekly publications represent at present the secular press of 
the negroes at the capital. 

To their religion, to the refining influences of wealth and 
education, and to the example of the more favored of the 
race, the negroes have been obliged to look for guidance and 
assistance in the development of their morality. 

Early in the vears of their emancipation Congress took 
steps to remedy whatever defects in the bases of morality 
among the negroes had been bequeathed by the extinct 
system. The act of July 25, 1866, provided that all negroes 
in the District who, previous to the act of April, 1862, had 
agreed to occupy the relation of husband and wife, and who 
were living together as such, or recognizing the relation as 
still existing, whether the rites of marriage had been cele- 
brated between them, should be regarded as husband and 
wife and should be entitled to all the rights and privileges 
and subject to all the duties and obligations of the relation 
just as if they had been married according to law. All 
their children, whether born before or after the passage of 
the act, were to be deemed legitimate were the parents 
still living together. If the mother had died or the parents 
had ceased to live together for any other cause, all children 
of the woman recognized by the man as his should be legiti- 
mate. This provision may have been efficacious in settling 
relations for the forming of which abundant opportunity had 
been presented in the swarming of the new population from 
the fields, but was really no deterrent for those who fol- 
lowed in poverty and ignorance their natural instincts, care- 
less in their thought for the morrow, and living in a style 
which was of a character to dull the sense of personal 
purit}^ even among individuals of a more advanced tv^pe. 



98 The Negro in the District of Colwnhia. [190 

Their poverty and accessions to them of ignorance from 
near-by regions have been a great incubus upon the negroes 
as a whole. It is estimated that in 1867, of 32,000 negroes 
in the District one-half were destitute, and the removal of 
contraband families five years before from the camps in the 
city to a point across the river was the origin of a negro 
orphan asylum, — nearly fifty children being left with no 
parents to claim them. It was part of the task of the 
Freedman's Bureau to relieve this distress, and on March 
16, 1867, Congress appropriated in one lump $15,000 for the 
relief of the freedmen in the District or of destitute negroes 
under direction of the Bureau. There was at the same 
time considerable destitution among a class of whites, and 
it was even charged that some of the funds designed for the 
negroes had gone in this direction. Their destitution has not 
been remedied to any great extent, and of the 16,000 persons 
in the District now who are believed to be without visible 
means of support the great majority are negroes. The extent 
of pauperism is shown in the number of negroes who eke out 
a livelihood from their pickings on the dumps, and by such 
a picture as was presented in April, 1891, when in one room 
of a one-story shanty were found one day a dead infant, 
and five grown persons and six children suffering from the 
influenza which prevailed at that time. The police have 
probably the best machinery in the District for unearthing 
poverty and misery and for aiding in applying relief, but 
though the cases of sickness and destitution reported by 
them as sent to the hospitals show that the whites have been 
in a majority in recent years — i89i,for instance, furnishing 
1440 white cases and 11 32 negro ones — the report of the 
health office reports show another phase of the question, the 
physicians to the poor in the same year treating 4641 whites 
and 8597 negroes, and of the total of 17,048 surgical and 
medical cases receiving aid from the seven dispensaries 
receiving District aid 12,033 being negroes. The total num- 
ber of cases treated by the physicians to the poor between 
1883 and 1 891 was 45,410 whites and 93,970 negroes. 



191] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 99 

While the death rate for botli races has decreased in the 
past sixteen years, tlie larger rate of the two has been and 
is among the negroes, — in 1891 it being 32.68 for tlie 
negroes and 18.27 for the whites. The death rate among 
the negroes is largely increased by infant mortality, and this 
the health officer attributed in 1889 to a great extent to the 
location of negroes in the alleys and unhealthy parts of the 
city, and this was due to their poverty, which, however, is 
not such as makes them willing to go to the almshouse, 
apparently, as in 1890 of the 273 inmates received but 98 
were negroes, and in 1891 of 182 inmates 81 were negroes. 
Various means have been adopted to meet this emergency 
of poverty, one of the latest being the National Association 
for Destitute Colored Women and Children. The hospitals 
which admit both races render efficient service, a good idea 
of this being given by the report of the Freedmen's Hos- 
pital, which deals with charity cases, and to which were 
admitted in 1892, of a total of 2539 patients, 1970 negroes. 

It is not surprising that the conditions bom of poverty 
have contributed largely to the development of immorality 
and crime in spite of the influences of church life, but when 
the statistics in these fields are examined other causes must 
explain the figures, startling in some respects.' In thirteen 
years the number of legitimate white births has increased 
from 2068 in 1879 to 2440 in 1891, and the illegitimates 
from 49 to 73 ; while the number of legitimate negro births 
has decreased from 1400 in 1879 to 1371 in 1891, and the 
number of illegitimates has increased from 299 to 460 in the 
same years. The respective populations have increased in 
about the same proportion, the negroes remaining about 
one-third of the total. The per cent, of illegitimacy to total 
births has decreased from 12.5 to 12.3, the per cent, of ille- 
gitimacy to total illegitimacy by color has decreased for the 

'The following tables, derived from the Report of the Health 
OflBcer of Washington, will prove interesting for the student of 
this phase of the question, some of the figures of population being 
approximate : 



100 l^he Negro in the District of Columbia. [192 









By Color and Legitimacy. 




White. 


Negro. 




Births, 


Still-births. 


Births. 


Still-births. 




6 


6 


® 


6 


<jj 


S 


i 


i 










Oj 




oi 








<g 








S 


S 


03 


a 

•r1 


OS 

S 


a 


a 


a 
























u 


A 




-M 


be 


±^ 


31) 


i^ 


be 


+j 


bo 




■g 


^H 


Sii 


V 


bo 


V 


bo 


® 


b!) 


X> 








<o 




<I> 




0) 








>* 


n 


oo 


J 


^ 


>A 


'-' 


ij 


1— 1 


w4 


'-' 


1879 


3,816 


395 


2,068 


49 


112 


18 


1,400 


299 


171 


94 


1880 


4,095 


358 


2,241 


56 


105 


14 


1,456 


342 


159 


80 


1881 


3,595 


370 


1,961 


53 


125 


16 


1,274 


307 


143 


86 


1882 


3,391 


351 


1,747 


53 


124 


16 


1,277 


314 


146 


65 


1883 


3,116 


362 


1,631 


53 


136 


18 


1,132 


300 


139 


69 


1884 


3,224 


351 


1,684 


63 


123 


9 


1,196 


281 


141 


78 


1885 


3,334 


391 


1,805 


56 


154 


25 


1,136 


337 


127 


85 


1886 


3,516 


406 


1,916 


65 


149 


15 


1,184 


351 


138 


104 


1887 


3,728 


406 


2,022 


70 


127 


22 


1,288 


348 


146 


111 


1888 


3,670 


458 


1,964 


71 


156 


26 


1,262 


373 


155 


121 


1889 


4,001 


443 


2,098 


78 


137 


20 


1,397 


428 


163 


123 


1890 


4,070 


474 


2,171 


75 


172 


11 


1,341 


483 


181 


110 


1891 


4,344 


440 


2,440 


73 


154 


18 


1,371 


460 


157 


111 



Percentages may be studied in this table : 



















Per cent of 








B^ 


Per cent of 


Per cent of 


white 


llegiti- 








illegitimacy 


illegitimacy 


mates to white 




Population. 




to total 


to total ille- 


births, and 








«« 


births, by 


gitimacy. 


negro i 


llegiti- 








=^ 


color. 


by color. 


mates to negro 


Year. 






q-. as 










births. 








p 




















6 




6 


d 


6 


d 




White. 


Negro. 


u 


2 


& 


2 


Si 


3 


fe 








Ph 


^ 


'^ 


^ 


!z; 


^ 


!?: 


1879 


115,247 


57,130 


12.5 


1.31 


7.83 


14.0 


86.0 


2.32 


17.60 


1880 


118,236 


59,402 


12.0 


1.38 


8.35 


14.0 


86.0 


2.43 


19.02 


1881 


121,300 


61,760 


12.9 


1.47 


8.54 


14.8 


85.2 


2.63 


19.42 


1882 


124,441 


64,212 


12.3 


1.60 


9.26 


14.4 


85.6 


2.09 


19.73 


1883 


126,300 


65,680 


14.1 


1.74 


9.63 


15.0 


85.0 


3.14 


20.95 


1884 


130,700 


69,300 


13.4 


2.00 


8.70 


18.3 


81.7 


3.60 


19.02 


1885 


132,700 


69,300 


15.0 


1.68 


10.18 


14.3 


85.7 


3.00 


22.88 


1886 


136,000 


69,300 


15.2 


1.85 


9.98 


15.6 


84.4 


3.28 


22.86 


1887 


140,000 


70,000 


14.8 


1.83 


9.33 


16.7 


83.3 


3.34 


21.27 


1888 


145,635 


72,522 


16.1 


1.93 


10.16 


16.0 


84.0 


3.49 


22.18 


1889 


149,000 


74,000 


12.7 


1.95 


10.70 


15.4 


84.6 


3.59 


23.45 


1890 


154,352 


75,600 


13.7 


1.84 


11.90 


13.4 


86.6 


3.34 


26.50 


1891 


170,000 


80,00i; 


12.3 


1.68 


10.70 


13.7 


86.3 


2.90 


25.12 



193] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 101 

whites and increased for the negroes, while the per cent, of 
white illegitimates to white births has increased from 2,32 in 
1879 to 2.90 in 1 891, the highest per cent in that period 
having been 3.59 in 1889, and the per cent, of negro ille- 
gitimates to negro births has increased from 17.60 in 1879 
to 25.12 in 1891, the last figure having been exceeded most 
in 1890, when the per cent was 26.50. Of course, the 
statistics of illegitimacy do not include all cases, as the 
finding of 98 dead infants in 1888, 71 in 1889, 69 in 1890, 
75 in 1891, and 97 in 1892, and the reports of abandoned 
infants prove. These amounted in 1888 to 5 negro and i 
white, in 1889 to 8 negro and 2 white, in 1890 to 3 negro, 
in 1 891 to I white and 3 negro, and in 1892 to 19 negro and 
I white. This condition of affairs is attributed to the prac- 
tical absence of any penalty for seduction or adultery beyond 
tliat relating to girls under 16 years of age, and of provision 
compelling the father to support his illegitimate child, and 
the abandonment of infants to die or fall into the hands of 
the police has been traced to servant girls who were unable 
to keep their children with them while at work, and the 
cases of still-birth are said to have been due to heavy lifting 
and overwork, particularly among negro women. 

The general statements about immorality may be applied 
to those relating to crime.' In 1877 the negroes furnished 



* The statistics of crime for fifteen years may be studied in the 
following table : 





Population. 


Arrests. 


Tear. 












White. 


Negro. 


White. 


Negro. 


1877 


109,505 


52,870 


7,523 


5,460 


1879 


115,247 


57,130 


8,485 


4,125 


1880 


118,23fi 


59,402 


7,914 


3,644 


1885 


136,271 


67,388 


13,189 


10,036 


1887 


140,000 


70.000 


10,819 


9,156 


1888 


145,635 


72,522 


10,572 


9,958 


1889 


149,000 


74,000 


10,719 


10,431 


1890 


154,352 


75,600 


11,764 


12,608 


1891 


170,000 


80,000 


11,546 


13,620 


1892 


173,610 


84,821 


12,415 


14,251 



102 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [194 

42 per cent, of the whole number of arrests, and in 1892 
they furnished 53 per cent, and while between those years 
the negro population has increased 62 per cent., the number 
of their arrests has increased 161 per cent., the proportion 
of the negro population to the white remaining relatively 
the same. INIore minute study of the statistics of the occu- 
pations of those arrested shows that those which are monopo- 
lized by the negroes furnish the largest number, — the arrests 
in 1877 being 3905 laborers and 788 servants, and in 1892 
being 9068 laborers and 1856 servants, while those having 
no occupation were 270 in 1877 and 1021 in 1892. Com- 
menting on this in 1890, the superintendent of police said 
that "the meanest of all crimes, petty pilferings and thefts, 
constitute the most frequent annoyance to the citizen, house- 
wife, hotel-keeper and stranger here. Dishonest servants 
are in a great measure responsible. The sneak, of whom 
there are so many, belongs to that class of loafers who play 
' crap ■ and hang about low-down groggeries and resorts 
during the day and steal under cover of darkness." Of the 
greater criminal cases, while the whites have furnished 
the greater proportion of arrests for forgery, embezzle- 
ment, and false pretense, the negroes are in the majoritv' 
of those arrested for crimes of violence. Nine whites 
were charged with murder in 1888 and 10 negroes, in 
1889 5 whites and 14 negroes, in 1890 12 whites and 
7 negroes, in 1891 i white and 6 negroes, and 1892 showed 
a marked exception, 12 arrests on this charge being of 
whites and 5 of negroes. The negroes in the workhouse 
preponderate.* For this disproportion of negro arrests the 
superintendent of police, in his report for 1891, believes the 
neglected state of the negro child and youth is responsible 
to a great extent "This is evidenced," he says, "by the 
fact that out of 228 cases where petit larceny was charged, 
192 were against colored children under 16 years of age, 
and out of 330 charges for the same alleged commissions, 
260 of the accused were between 18 and 21 years of age. 
On the other hand, while the colored youth take to theft. 



195] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 103 

the white youth takes to drink. Out of 12 cases of intoxi- 
cation where the persons were under 16 years of age, 7 
were white and 5 colored; 104 out of 185, where the persons 
were between 18 and 21, were white; while the whites over 
21 years were extreme, representing 2769 cases in a total of 
3440. A strange feature in this matter is found in the fact 
that, while the white breaker of the peace is disorderly gen- 
erally when under the influence of liquor, the colored rep- 
resentative creates disturbances without the invigorating 
influence of drink." 

The superintendent of the negro schools in 1890 seemed 
to realize the same facts, and he deduces from a report of 
the preceding year that the offenses committed by the negro 
youth were such " as the school-room, in its greater removal 
from opportunity, would have largely furnished a pre- 
ventive," and adds that " it is but a reasonable inference 
that, as a rule, the first step to the causes leading to these 
arrests is idleness, and that in its continuance the step to 
the greater and more aggravated offenses, which the remain- 
ing cases of arrests embrace, becomes not only easier, but 
more and more probable. The school-room, to the" extent 
it discourages idleness in the employment it affords, may 
contribute to the diminution of crime; but there must be 
recognized other and graver causes for it — causes that are 
wholly beyond its pale. After leaving it, conditions, imposed 
through inability to earn a livelihood, may force to the 
street, and thus very measurably shorten the distance to the 
prison." 

This theory seems to be sustained by the figures of illit- 
eracy of those arrested in recent years, for in 1877 of those 
arrested 8707 could read and write and 4276 could not, and 
in 1892 20,587 could read and write, while 6079 could not, 
an increase over 1891 of 206, and over 1890 of 2362, inter- 
vening years showing similar variation. 

As long as comparisons of immorality and crime may be 
made with the whites it cannot be said that these phases of 
life are peculiar to the negroes, and their environments are 



104 The Negro in the District of Columhia. [190 

such as to assist them materially in whatever inclination 
they have to imitation. In the case of immorality alone the 
great majority of the mulattoes are innocent memorials of 
the disgraceful example in vice set the negroes by members 
of the white race before and since the war, and the presence 
of great armies at or near the capital during the war could 
not be regarded, as a general rule, as likely to furnish 
recruits from an ignorant and poverty-stricken race to the 
ranks of personal purity. Statistics on this subject are com- 
paratively scarce, and may be partly explained by immigra- 
tion. In 1807, of the 494 free negroes, 215 were mulattoes, 
but no distinction was made among the 1004 slaves; the 
census of i860 showed 4500 mulattoes among 11,131 free 
negroes, and 933 mulattoes among 3185 slaves, a total of 
5433 mulattoes in a negro population of 14,316. Of 
43,000 negroes in 1870 it is estimated that 8032 were 
mulattoes, showing a decided proportionate decrease, and 
the census of 1890 shows 55,736 pure blacks and 19,836 
negroes of mixed blood, of whom 1126 were quadroons and 
721 octoroons. This is an increase over 1870. Some 
notion of the relation of the mulattoes to crime in the 
District is also given in the last census. There is no peni- 
tentiary in the District, but in the Reform School in 1890 
were 68 whites, 119 negroes, of whom 82 were mulattoes; of 
paupers in the almshouse, 10 were white, 211 negroes, of 
whom 37 were mulattoes; and of inmates of the jail 19 were 
white, 169 were negroes, of whom 42 were mulattoes. 
This classification, though, Mr. Frederick H. Wines, the 
expert who prepared the special reports on this subject, 
thinks may not be exact. 

While poverty, their previous existence without law as a 
rule, and the examples before them have doubtless con- 
tributed much to the active agencies against a great number 
of the negroes' progress to the plane occupied by the thrifty, 
educated and conservative middle class, other drawbacks 
have existed in the want of solidarity among the negroes 
themselves; and while some may quote the saying that all 



197] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 105 

races of the earth have been created of one blood, they 
seem to lose sight of the advantage of recognizing that the 
members of the particular negro race have been created of 
one blood. This state of affairs is an effect in part of the 
war-time distinctions, but the obliteration of these has been 
delayed by politics if they have not indeed been increased. 
The withdrawal of the suffrage from residents of the District 
by no means ended political life there. On the contrar)-, 
politics of the practical sort, robbed of all disguises of public 
policy or patriotism which usually are supposed to be the 
real issues upon which many voters divide, has too fre- 
quently been revealed as the bald struggle for personal 
preferment. This has not been confined to party or race, and 
the rival factions of negroes in separate Republican con- 
ventions sending contesting delegates to a national conven- 
tion, but parallel rivalries among the Democrats with similar 
results, which, however, continue when preliminaries for 
inauguration ceremonies are to be arranged.^ The negroes 
have not been the entire body of the party in the District with 
which as a general rule they have affiliated, and some 
curious contrasts are presented. 

There are some negro Democrats, and a change of admin- 
istration is likely to swell their ranks, if present indications 
are of value. The difference between the whites and the 
negroes in this particular is that the former do not permit 
differences, bom of the heat of a campaign, to enter into 
their relations when a movement is started to benefit their 
community. Not so with the negro politicians, however. 
A study of the names prominent in their race's mass meet- 



' The restoration of the suffrage is frequently urged , and an organ- 
ized movement to that end has been started. Experience, though, 
is likely to change the signal-cry of no taxation without represen- 
tation, to that of no representation without taxation, should the 
citizens of the District be enfranchised, and it would not be sur- 
prising if at the capital the experiment were to be made of a suf- 
frage limited only by property or educational qualification, or by 
both. 



106 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [198 

ings or in undertakings expressive of their ambitions and 
aspirations will frequently reveal animosities of politics, caus- 
ing division of views about methods of material progress. A 
curious manifestation of this has been the dispute at times 
about the celebration of the District emancipation day, 
opposing political leaders marshaling their respective follow- 
ers about differing opinions, — one faction insisting upon a 
parade, another believing only in a mass meeting, at which 
the very sensible programme included a distribution of 
prizes to the young folks for the best specimens of brain- 
work and handicraft, and the excitement reaching such a 
pitch at one time that one of the orators not only expressed 
the opinion "that there are a great number of negroes in 
this city who are unfit to be free," but thought that if they 
continued " to follow brass bands and emancipation chariots 
and spend $5000 for one day's frolic or to demonstrate 
which is the biggest man," there could be little improvement 
in their condition. The climax was reached, perhaps, in 
1886, when it was determined to have two parades. The 
leaders of the rival factions sought to secure a promise from 
President Cleveland to review them, but they received the 
following suggestive letter at the hands of his private sec- 
retary: 

"Sir: It having come to the knowledge of the President, 
to his regret, that the differences which have existed among 
certain colored citizens of this city concerning the parade 
on Emancipation Day are not likely to be harmonized, and 
that two processions are contemplated, he directs me to 
inform you that he will not take sides in the quarrel, and 
therefore declines to accept either of the invitations to 
review the parade. If, however, he can be assured that the 
dififerences have been adjusted, I am quite sure that it would 
give him pleasure to accept a joint invitation to review one 
procession in which all shall amicably participate." 

The wise advice half revealed in this letter was not fol- 
lowed, for the two parades took place, with brass bands and 
" queens of love and beauty " for both. The speech of 



199] The Negro in the District of Columbia. 107 

1891 showed that politics alone did not contribute to the 
dissension, and additional evidence of this was given in a 
letter of a few years ago, in which the writer took the 
ground that invidious distinctions were made in a parade of 
negroes only, which with its incidentals was demoralizing to 
the youth. 

The same may be said about some of the other phases of 
agitation, for at a meeting in 1891, intended to assist the 
plan of the Educational and Relief Association of the Dis- 
trict, which had in six months raised more than $1500 for 
an institution of shelter and training for negro youths in 
destitute circumstances, a strong criticism was made of the 
absence of " men of means, of influei ce, of popularity, of 
name and fame," who should have been present, and though 
the association had, it was said, clothed and fed 225 chil- 
dren and placed 155 in the public schools, one of the 
speakers lamented the fact that so many seats in the church 
were vacant when a thousand persons should have been 
present. Just a year after that an opposite of this situation 
existed in a call issued for a lecture by a well known white 
leader of the negroes, the proceeds of which were to be 
devoted to the " Industrial Institute Association " and " The 
Children's Home." The men of influence, means and fame 
signed this call. It is one of the most unfortunate facts for 
the negroes in the District that there the "professional 
negro " has found his most congenial surroundings, and 
though the mass are beginning to appreciate the reason for 
his existence, they have not yet been able to loose them- 
selves entirely from that impediment to their more complete 
emancipation. The agitator of the platform and the poli- 
tician of the pulpit have not yet ceased to beguile their 
thousands or to scatter the seeds of disunion of a race. 
Some may be sincere in their utterances, but the complaints 
which rise now and then to the surface indicate that many 
negroes believe that others are not, and the more general 
such a sentiment becomes the better chance will the race 
have for harmonious development. 



108 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [200 

Lack of unity, the absence to a great degree of proper 
race pride, are the elements of weakness in the negroes, as 
shown by their history in the District. The two factors 
have no doubt been fostered by philanthropy, theoretical 
and practical, and by the preponderating use of the negroes 
as a campaign issue, which have led them to look to the 
white race rather than to themselves for advancement; but 
while dependence may aid an individual here and there, it 
is likely to hamper the real development of the mass, if it 
does not result in actual retrogression. The negro popula- 
tion at the capital is as complex as it is interesting. It 
embraces the pure African, the negro whose blood has 
been untainted since his family has been in this country, the 
mixture of negro, white and Indian, and the various grades 
of the mulatto, including the children or descendants of the 
white father and negro mother and the children of the white 
mother and negro father. The native free negro and freed- 
man, the whilom contraband, the educated or uneducated 
negro from many sections of the country have found their 
home there and form distinct types which are commingled 
in other classes based upon education, wealth or political 
influence. Dependence leased upon politics seems to be 
lessening in its intensity, and this change will tend to oblit- 
erate the distinctions and cross purposes which now exist, 
the discontent and petulance which crop out at the meet- 
ings intended to strengthen the negro's position, The want 
of harmony is deplored by members of the race who in 
public speaking seek to guide their fellows into right lines 
instead of using them merely as instruments for their self- 
aggrandizement; and one of the most significant, because 
truthful, expressions in this direction was that of a negro 
woman who spoke at a meeting on the first day of this year 
commemorative of the act of general emancipation thirty 
years before. 

" The achievements of which we boast," said she, " are not 
enough in any line to make it patent to the world that we are 
advancing. The individual, however learned, accomplished or 



201] The Negro in the District of Colwiibia. 109 

wealthy, must, in a large measure, follow the condition of 
his race. The whole is equal to the sum of its parts, and if 
ninety-nine of those parts are poverty, degradation and 
ignorance, the one-hundredth part counts as nothing toward 
changing the result as a whole. Of the many things which 
may be said to militate against our race, all of them might 
be condensed into one sentence : ' Lack of true racial pride.' 
Lack of unity follows almost as a matter of course. 

" Of no other race can it be so truly said that the hand of 
every . other race is raised against it, and its own hand is 
raised against itself. Other races are proud of their history 
and antecedents; we seem to wish to get as far from ours 
as possible; other races struggling for a foothold unite for 
that purpose and strengthen each other against the common 
enemy. Our race, alas! will not unite on either commercial 
or material grounds." 

Study of the history of one race which many centuries 
ago were in a condition similar to that of the negroes before 
the war, impresses one with the fact that in all their struggles 
they have been strengthened by pride of race, which is 
strictly maintained to-day. When they were contending 
against oppressive measures which have been but faintly 
mirrored in the history of the freedmen, their unity of blood 
kept them compact, and the same principle makes their 
race one of the most independent ones in America to-day. 
It will also be remembered that when this race had been 
led to the borders of the Promised Land, the man who had 
led them out of bondage and for forty years in the wilder- 
ness was taken from them. For this there may have been 
other reasons than the act in Zin. A settled race requires 
a different sort of leader from the ruler of a migratory 
body; and though the history of the negroes may never 
parallel that of the Hebrews, they may be prevented from 
enjoying the full fruits of the strivings of forty years or 
more by the fact that their Moses of one kind or another 
still is with them and essays to' apply past methods of 
leadership to present conditions, which show a change to a 
wonderful degree. 



110 The Negro in the District of Columbia. [202 

Sir John Lubbock tells of a plant which sprouts suddenly 
to some height and then by its own weight sinks to its 
original level, and progresses firmly and steadily by tendrils, 
which it sends in all directions. It may be that the negro 
in the District is destined to follow a similar course, and 
that those who have been given or who have gained by their 
own exertions advantages of the best sort and who have 
shown the possibilities of their race, will see the wisdom of 
reaching down to their less fortunate brethren and of encom- 
passing the whole body in a compact, healthy growth, bound 
together by the tendrils of education, refinement and 
material prosperity, which may be the great factor for the 
elevation of their race in the whole country. 



V-VI 



CHURCH AND STATE IN NORTH 
CAROLINA 



JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES 



IN 



Historical and Political Science 

HERBERT B. ADAMS, Editor 



History is past Politics and Politics present History.— Freeman 



ELEVENTH SERIES 
V-VI 



CHURCH AND STATE IN NORTH 
CAROLINA 



BY 



STEPHEN BEAUREGARD WEEKS, Ph.D., 

Professor of History and Political Science, 
Ti-inity College, North Carolina. 



baltimore 
The Johns Hopkins Press 

PUBLISHED MONTHLY 

May-June, 1893 



COPTKIGHT, 1S93, BY THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS. 



THE FRIEDENWALD CO., PEINTEKS, 
BALTIMORE. 



CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER I. 

Introduction. 

Summary of an earlier paper on "The Religious Development in 
the Province of North Carolina," 7. Purpose of the present paper, 8. 

CHAPTER II. 

Church and State under the Proprietors, 1711-1728. 

Influence of Acts of 1711 on the Colony, 9. They legalize dissent 
by reaffirming the Toleration Act, 9. The Toleration Act ; an "Act 
of Indulgence"; its value, 10. The first Church Acts met with re- 
bellion ; the latter fought along legal and technical lines, 11. The 
first Acts nominally repealed, but remain practically in force, 12. 
Vestrj' Act of 1715 ; parishes, vestrymen, oath, salary, tax, churches ; 
reception, 13. Drawback to the work of the S. P. G. in North 
Carolina in the character of their missionaries, Brett, Blair, Gerrard, 
Rainsford, Taylor, Newman, Blacknall, and Bailey, 15. Biographies 
of Urmatone, Gordon, and Adams, 16. Bad influence of the mis- 
sionaries on the people and on the development of the Colony, 22. 

CHAPTER III. 

Church and State under the Royal Government, 1728-1776. 

Burrington made Governor in 1730 ; his instructions, 23. The 
eighty-second section re-enacts the Schism Act, 23, Terms of the 
Schism Act, 1714-1718, 24. Exasperating character of this Act and 
its probable enforcement, 24. Efforts of Burrington for an Estab- 
lishment in 1731 and 1733, 26. The state of the Church and of the 
colony religiously, 27. Johnston made Governor in 1734 ; former 
instructions renewed, 27. His zeal for the Establishment leads him 
to misrepresent the Dissenters ; their numbers, and character of 
their work, 28. Vestry Act of 1741 ; parishes, vestrymen, oath, tax, 
29. Activity in ecclesiastical legislation ; special taxes, 30. The 
Act of 1741 probably of little effect, 31. Dobbs made Governor in 
1754 ; former instructions renewed, 32. The labors of Dobbs for the 
Establishment, 32. The ten years' fight over the Church laws, 32. 
This fight due to the contested right of presentation, 34. Evil in- 
fluence on the Establishment, 35. Encourages Dissenters ; their 
character in 1760, 36. Their method of fighting the Establishment, 
36. The Vestry Act of 1764 and its probable cause, 37. Tryon made 
Governor in 1765 ; his views of toleration, 38. Schism Act re- 
newed ; and enforced in New Bern, 1766 ; in Edenton, 1768 ; rumb- 



6 Contents. [208 

lings of discontent, 39. Martin made Governor in 1771 ; Church 
and Schism Acts renewed, 40. Schism Act enforced against Queen's 
Museum in 1773, 40. 

Marriage Acts, 1669, 1715, 1741 ; discussion of the latter, 42. The 
limitations sought for in the Clergy Bill of 1762, 43. The Marriage 
Act of 1766 ; its reception ; protests from Mecklenburg, Try on, 
Anson, Orange, and Rowan counties, 43. The Marriage Act and the 
War of the Regulation, 45. 

The inequality of Muster laws, 46. 

The Quakers and the Affirmation ; the case of Borden, 47. 

Summary : Little direct persecution ; note on the Baptists in New 
Bern, 48. Persecution indirect by (1) tithes, extent, by (2) Muster 
laws, in (3) the Marriage Acts, by (4) the Schism Act, 50. Both 
English and Colonial governments responsible, 52. 

CHAPTER IV. 

The Fall of the Establishment. 

The beginning of the end ; Vestry Act of 1768 the last, 53. Gov. 
Martin's contrast of Churchmen and Presbyterians and argument 
for the better establishment of the Church, 53. Churchmen gener- 
ally faithful to the American cause, 54. Dissatisfaction with eccle- 
siastical laws highest in Mecklenburg, 54. Their instructions to 
delegates to Halifax Conventions of April and November, 1776, 55. 
The latter adopts a constitution and provides for religious freedom, 
56. 

CHAPTER V. 

Epilogue. 

The work of the Constitution completed by Acts of Assembly, 57. 
The absence of a guarantee of religious freedom in the Federal Con- 
stitution provokes much hostility in North Carolina, 58. Attacks of 
Abbot, Caldwell, Lenoir and Lancaster answered by Iredell, John- 
ston. Spencer and Spaight, 58. North Carolina neither " to ratify 
nor to reject," but to propose a Bill of Rights and amendments; 
adopts Constitution after amendments are proposed by Congress, 60. 
The thirty-second clause of the State Constitution of 1776, 61. Gas- 
ton's summary of the interpretation of this clause, 62. Probably 
aimed at but not enforced against Catholics, 63. Gaston's inter- 
pretation and action in 1833, 63. Convention of 1835 substitutes 
" Christian " for " Protestant," 64. 

Bibliographical Note, 65. 



CHURCH AND STATE IN NORTH CAROLINA, 

1711-1776. 

CHAPTER I. 

Introduction. 

In a former paper' the present writer pursued studies 
along two lines. First, he sought to show from external 
and internal evidence, from contemporary and later authori- 
ties, that the first settlements in North Carolina were made 
not by Quakers fleeing from religious intolerance in other 
colonies, but by men seeking for homes under better eco- 
nomic conditions. In the course of a few years, especially 
after the failure of Bacon's rebellion, tliese first settlers were 
reinforced by others seeking political freedom, which they 
found flourishing finely in the little colony by the Albe- 
marle. Before the end of the seventeenth century settlers 
were coming into the colony, possibly from religious motives, 
for Quakers were then coming from Ireland as well as from 
Pennsylvania, and Huguenots were making their settlement 
about Bath. 

The second part of the paper was an effort to arrive at 
the true relations between CJiiircli and State as developed 
in theory and practice by the Lords Proprietors. We saw 
that provision was made for a State Church in the charter 
granting Carolana to Sir Robert Heath in 1629. These 
provisions were re-enacted in the charters to the Lords Pro- 
prietors in 1663 and 1665. No effort was made, however, 
to put them into practice until 1701, when a vestry act 
was passed providing for an establishment. The fortunes 

' " The Eeligious Development in the Province of North Caro- 
lina," Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political 
Science, X., pp. 239-306, May-June, 1892. 



8 Church and State in North Carolina. [210 

and influence of this act were traced. The act passed late 
in 1704 or early in 1705 was examined and its relation to 
the " Gary Rebellion " considered. Dr. Hawks follows the 
example of the colonial leaders in disparaging the principles 
of Gary and his followers; with him they are rebels and 
indefensible. A more charitable view, that these men were 
struggling for political rights against the representatives of 
despotic power, has been recently advanced by Hon. Wil- 
liam L. Saunders and Captain Samuel A. Ashe, and has 
been adopted by Hon. Kemp P. Battle; but the writer 
believes that the "rebellion" stands for more than a politi- 
cal struggle. It was the uprising of a free people against 
the attempt of foreign and domestic foes to saddle on them 
a church establishment with which they had no sympathy, 
and he has treated it as such. He does not believe it pos- 
sible to explain the extent of the commotion on any other 
basis. 

The purpose of this paper is to continue the line of study 
already begun ; to trace further the relations between Church 
and State in North Carolina; to enquire if there was any 
persecution in North Carolina — if so, its character, when, 
where, by whom, and who were the sufferers; and to dis- 
cover whether the colonial or home government was respon- 
sible for the persecution. The writer will show that from 
1730 to 1773 the home and colonial governments enforced 
in North Carolina the atrocious Schism Act; that dissenting 
clergymen were denied for years the privilege of performing 
the marriage ceremony; that this was finally granted them 
only under burdensome restrictions; and that they were 
discriminated against in the enforcement of muster laws. 
He will also trace the evolution of that spirit of opposition 
to an Establishment which was to culminate in the Declara- 
tion of Rights and in the State Constitution of 1776, in the 
first amendment to the Federal Constitution in 1789, and 
in the final triumph of absolute religious freedom by the 
removal in 1835 of what seemed to be a ban placed on 
Roman Catholics Dy the State Constitution in 1776. 



CHAPTER II. 
Church and State under the Proprietors, 1711-1728. 

The acts passed by the Assembly of 171 1 in its efforts to 
settle the religious and political questions growing out of 
the troubles with the Dissenters came veiy near plunging the 
country into a real civil war, as we have already seen/ But 
this new rebellion was nipped by the Virginia troops sent in 
by Gov. Spotswood, and the laws of which the colonists 
were here complaining remained in force. 

There was, however, one bright spot in this dark cloud 
of usurpation and oppression. These acts put the Dis- 
senters of North Carolina on a legal basis. The colonists 
had grown tired of the uncertainties and sufferings attendant 
on the arbitrary will of the Proprietors, and boldly pro- 
claimed that "this province is annexed to and declared to 
be a member of the Crown of England." They enacted 
that the laws of England, "so far as they are compatible 
with our way of living and trade," were to be the laws of 
the province, and that "all such lav>rs made for the Estab- 
lishment of the Church and the laws made for granting 
indulgences to Protestant Dissenters" were to be a part of 
the law of the colony.* 

This was a great step forward. Before this time there 
had been no legal recognition of Dissenters at all. Pro- 
vision had been made in the charters for toleration, but 
how, when and under what circumstances it was to be 
exercised were matters to be left completely in the hands 
of the Lords Proprietors. How arbitrar}^ and capricious 
this recognition might be we have already seen. 



' Religious Development in the Province of North Carolina, 
pp. 59-62. 
^Col. Rec, I., 789,790. 



10 Church and State in JSforth Carolina. [212 

The Dissenters in North Carolina were now on the same 
footing as the Dissenters in England. Their position had 
been defined by the Toleration Act which had been passed 
on May 24, 1689. Its title is " An Act for Exempting their 
Majesty's Protestant Subjects dissenting from the Church of 
England from the Penalties of certaine Lawes.'" Under this 
act Protestant Dissenters were allowed to attend their own 
places of worship, and were protected by tlie law from dis- 
turbance, provided they took the oath of allegiance and 
supremacy and subscribed the declaration against transub- 
stantiation; but their congregations had to be duly regis- 
tered and the doors of their meeting-houses had to remain 
unlocked and unbarred. Their ministers had to subscribe 
to the doctrinal portions of the Anglican articles, except 
that Baptists were relieved from the section in regard to 
infant baptism, and the Quakers had only to affirm their 
adhesion to the government, to abjure transubstantiation, to 
profess faith in the Trinity and in the inspiration of the Bible." 

This act is technically described as an "Act of Indul- 
gence." It suspended in certain cases the operation of laws 
which still remained on the statute-book. It did not repeal 
these laws, and thus left the Dissenters more or less under 
the stigma of the law. They were still excluded from the 
universities; they could be married only by the Anglican 
ceremony, and the Corporation and Test acts prevented them 
from entering corporations and public offices without re- 
ceiving the sacrament according to the Anglican rite. This 
act was the high-water mark of toleration in the seventeenth 
century. Its grants were considered as favors, not as 

' William and Mary, Chap. 18, in Statutes of the Realm (1819), VI., 
74-76. 

* Cf. the act for Liberty of Conscience in Col. Rec, II., 884, where 
it is provided that "all Protestant dissenters within this govern- 
ment shall have their meetings . . . provided that the same be 
public and subject to such rules, regulations and restrictions as by 
the several acts of Parliament . . are made and provided." The 
Quaker was allowed to affirm. 



213] Church and State in North Carolina. 11 

riglits; it conferred a great practical advantage on tlie Dis- 
senters, but Lecky doubts if the cause of religious liberty 
received anything from the Revolution of 1688. William 
earnestly desired complete toleration, if not equality, among 
Protestants, but this policy was not feasible after the fear 
of a Catholic sovereign was removed. Measures to abolish 
the sacramental test or to make the reception of the sacra- 
ment in any Protestant form a sufficient test were introduced 
into Parliament and defeated.^ 

When the members of the Establishment in North Caro- 
lina drew nearer, in 1701 and 1704, to the model of the 
home government and undertook to force a development 
along these lines, the Dissenters tried the virtue of rebel- 
lion. It is clear that their government dc facto, 1707-10, 
was recognized by the Proprietors," but a new wave of 
loyalty suddenly swept them out of power in the latter year. 
From that time the Dissenters, in characteristic English 
fashion, submitted to the will of the majority, and began 
to fight their battles along legal and technical lines. Dur- 
ing the next sixty-six years North Carolina was not with- 
out discussion and agitation on ecclesiastical matters, and 
this discussion, culminating in the Mecklenburg instruc- 
tions of 1775 and 1776, and crystallizing in the Constitution 
adopted at Halifax in December, 1776, put North Carolina 
close to Virginia, the first political organization in the world 
to solve the problem of a free church in a free State, each 
independent of the other.' 

' Lecky, History of England in the Eighteenth Centiiry, I., 219-221. 

' If any are disposed to doubt this statement it is enough to invite 
them to read the Colonial Records carefully. The Collections of the 
South Carolina Historical Society, I., 181, inform us that the Proprie- 
tors appointed Emmanuel Lowe, one of the rebel leaders, secretary of 
the province on Nov. 30, 1710. He does not seem to have accepted, 
so Jan. 31, 1711, his son, Neville Lowe, was appointed to the same 
office (Hid., L,160). Cf. also my paper on John Archdale and some 
of his Descendants, in Magazine of American History for Feb., 1893. 

^ Mr. William Wirt Henry (Papers Amer. Hist. Association, II., 23- 
30) claims this honor for Virginia. He bases this claim on the six- 



12 Church and State in North Carolina. [214 

The rebellion of Gary, moreover, had not been able to solve 
the question of tithes. We have the clearest testimony that 
the vestrymen found great difificulty in collecting church dues, 
and we know that the earlier church acts were repealed by 
the Proprietors; but in spite of these hindrances the Church- 
men managed to keep some sort of an ecclesiastical law in 
existence. At no time within this period were the Dissenters 
quiet or regardless of their own interests ; but from all the ac- 
counts we have of the religious inclinations of the colonists, a 
majority of them were of the Church of England. They 
had been reared within its communion; they were, therefore, 
naturally inclined toward it, and might be ready for that 
reason to connive at the efforts of their more zealous par- 
tizans. We are led to this conclusion from statements in 
the records. In 1704 Dr. Blair was promised £30 per 
annum " as the law provides " ;^ the next year Gerrard was 



teenth section of the Bill of Rights adoptedby the Virginia Conven- 
tion, June 12, 1776. This section was the work of Patrick Henry. 
Dr. Charles J. Stills replies in the next volume of the Pajoers (III., 
205-211) that a Bill of Rights is not a law. and it was not until 1785 
that Jefferson's bill establishing religious freedom was passed. 
There was still religious intolerance in Virginia in October, 1776, 
when Jefferson began his labors of reform, and this did not come to 
an end until 1799. Pennsylvania put the religious liberty clause 
into her constitution in 1776. Mr. Henry replies {Ibid., III., 457 et 
seq.) that the Bill of Rights was a law and was so interpreted by the 
Virginia Court of Appeals. The trouble was that the Virginia legis- 
lature failed to recognize it. Madison seems to have represented 
the general opinion, cf. what he says in discussing the proposed 
Bill of Rights to the Federal Constitution (Elliot's Debates, III., 
330, ed. 1836) : "Is a Bill of Rights a security for religion? Would 
the Bill of Rights, in this State, exempt the people from paying 
for the support of one particular sect, if such sect were established 
bylaw?" 

The thirty-second clause of the North Carolina Constitution : 
*' That no person, who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of 
the Protestant religion . . shall be capable of holding any office," 
etc., will be discussed in Chapter V. 

' Col. Rec, I., 597. 



215] Church and State in North Carolina. 13 

promised the same sum '' which tlie law directs " ;' and in 
1708 Adams writes that each precinct by "act of Assembly" 
allows each minister £30.' The Proprietors had disallowed 
the law of 1701, and that of 1704 was evidently repealed; 
but in spite of all this tlie Churchmen managed to derive 
the same benefit from the law as if it had still continued in 
force. Urmstone tells us furtlier that the Assembly had 
a way of reafitirming at the beginning of each session all 
acts of the preceding Assembly which they desired, and this 
obviated the trouble arising from any interference with their 
plans by the Lords Proprietors." 

The first one of the church acts to come down to us is 
the Vestry Act of 1715/ This was no doubt in some 
respects similar to the acts of 1701, 1704 and 171 1, but how 
far they were alike we do not know. By it the right of Dis- 
senters to exist is recognized; but the preamble beginning, 
*' This province of North Carolina being a member of the 
Kingdom of Great Britain; and the Church of England 
being appointed by the charter from the crown to be the 
only Established Church to have public encouragement in 
it," etc., indicates clearly enough that the right to dissent 
was not yet recognized as natural and inalienable. 

The act divided the province into nine parishes, and ves- 
trymen were appointed in each. Provisions w^ere made for 
them to meet and organize, and an oath was required wherein 
each declared that it was unlawful to take up arms against 
the king "upon any pretext whatever,"' and that he would 

' Col. Rec, I., 616. ^ iMd., I., 682. UMd., II., 22i. 

* Cf. text in Col. Eec, II., 207 et seq. 

' The Corporation Act (1661-1828) required all magistrates and 
municipal officers to take the sacrament according to the Church of 
England, to aVijure the Covenant, and to take an oath declaring it 
illegal to bear arms against the King. In an act passed in North 
'Carolina in 1715, public officers were required to take and subscribe 
"the several oaths" required in Great Britain under a penalty of 
£20 (Col. Rec, II., 885). The effort was evidenth' made to enforce 
in North Carolina the English laws in their severity, and this clause 
of the vestry act is a proof of it. 



14 Church and State in North Carolina. [216 

" not apugn the liturgy of the Churcli of England as is by 
law established." Every vestryman who refused to sub- 
scribe to this ironclad declaration of the divine right of kings 
was fined £3, "if such person is not a known and publick 
Dissenter from the Church of England." Each vestry 
was empowered to employ "a person of a sober life and 
conversation to be clerk," to employ a minister in each pre- 
cinct for not less than £50, "and that in the raising thereof 
and all other parish charges, the whole do not exceed live 
shillings per poll on all taxable persons in the parish." The 
churchwardens and vestrymen were given power to pur- 
chase a glebe, build a church and one or more chapels in 
each precinct, and "to raise and levy money by the poll," 
under penalty of double distress in case of refusal or neglect 
of payment. 

This was the last act relating to the establishment of the 
Church passed during the Proprietary regime.' It re- 
mained in force until 1741, when it was superseded by a new 
and fuller provision. We have no means of learning the 
amount of disturbance and confusion created by it; the 
records are silent on this point, for the Dissenters have 
few representatives in its pages. The Dissenters were the 
men of action, not of talk; but we can get side-lights now 
and then as to its effects. Quakers exhort each other faith- 
fully to keep up their " testimony against the anti-Christian 
yoke of tithes," and the continual and bitter quarrels which 
Urmstone was always waging against his vestries, and the 
heartless abuse he pours out upon the colonists in general, 
indicate that the tithe law brought him very little gain. 
The vestrymen were empowered by law to distrain in 
case of refusal, but this seems to have been seldom resorted 
to. They no doubt fully appreciated the feeling which had 
raised such deep opposition to former church acts, and cared 
less for the howls and curses of the blasphemous missionary ' 



' In 1720 an Additional Act to the Vestry Act was passed, but has 
not come down to us. Cf. Swann's Revisal, 43, ed. 1752. 



217] Church and iState in North Carolina. 15 

than for tlie hatred aiid contempt of their neighbors and 
kinsmen. Laws are hard to enforce in any country when 
the moral sentiment of the whole people does not sustain 
them, and Col. Byrd bears involuntary witness to the free- 
dom and independence of North Carolina when he sneer- 
ingly remarks that these people pay tribute neither to God 
nor to Caesar. Why should the Proprietors expect willing 
tribute from a province which they valued only as a source 
of revenue? Why should Churchmen pay to the support of 
a ministry when they were given such men as Urmstone, 
and why should Dissenters pay to the support of any church 
save their own? 

The Establishment and the Society for the Propagation of 
tlie Gospel had begun their work in North Carolina almost 
simultaneously; they had been of mutual assistance to each 
other; this assistance might have been many-fold greater had 
the character of the missionaries of the S. P. G. beein better. 
Never, perhaps, did the average standard of devotion, purity 
and piety fall lower than it did in the case of these men. 
They were worse than the people whom they came to in- 
struct. Their presence did harm to the cause of religion 
and moralit}\ Some were weak men, others were positively 
vicious. A few biographies will be sufficient to establish 
the truth of these assertions. 

The first of these missionaries was Daniel Brett, who 
turned out in six months to be a scoundrel.^ Dr. Blair 
came next. He was pious, but faint-hearted, and in six 
months was gone.^ Henr}^ Gerrard was not sent out by the 
Society, but his -career was in eminent keeping with that of 
the average missionary, for in a few months after his appoint- 
ment the vestry record that they have heard of "several 
debauched practices which (if true) tends highly to the dis- 
honor of Almighty God and the scandal of the church.'" 
Rev. Giles Rainsford came out in 171 2, and Rev. Ebenezer 



> Cf. Religious Development, 34, 35. ^ Ibid., 42, 43. 

sCol.Rec, I., 680. 



16 Church and State in North Carolina. [218 

Taylor in 171 7. These men were pious and upright in 
conduct, but weak and vacillating in disposition. They 
served the colony only a few years, and Newman, who 
came out in 1722, died within a few months. We must 
add to this list the names of Blacknall, a knave of superior 
rank, and Bailey, a drunkard,' who were the last to appear 
in the colony under the Proprietary regime. 

These men seem bad enough, but they sink into insig- 
nificance when compared with John Urmstone, whose pres- 
ence, Dr. Hawks very frankly and very justly remarks, 
" did more to retard the spread of Christianity and the 
growth of the Church of England in Carolina than any and 
all other causes combined."^ This worthy was a native of 
Lancashire,'' and was born in 1662.^ He had received a 
liberal education, perhaps a university one; he had had the 
benefit of long travels, and knew something of French and 
Italian,^ he is perhaps the same as the " Mr. Urmstone " 
who was chaplain to the English factory at Archangel in 
1703, and who became a corresponding member of the 
Si P. C. K.* From the letters of Urmstone no one would 
ever charge him with having any of the spirit and meekness 
of Christ. He was unamiable and quarrelsome, he was 
haughty in disposition and ready to presume on the dignity 
of his sacred office. He had taken orders, no doubt, as 
too many of the clergy of that day had done, simply that 
he might live like a gentleman. He came to North Caro- 
lina not from a sense of duty to his divine Master, but with 
the hope and expectation of gain, for he complains in the 
most open and avowed manner that he and his predecessors 
had been laden with " calumnies, reproach and scandalous 
falsehoods instead of wealth."' He doubtless expected to 



' The vestry of Bath writes to the Society in very high terms of 
Bailey. 

2 History of North Carolina, II., 353. 

3 Col. Hec, II., 249. * IMd., II., 372. ^ Ibid., II., 432. 

^ McClure, A Chapter in English Church History, Journal of S. 
P. C. K., pp. 262, 263. ^ Col. Rec, II., 1 26. 



219] Church and State in North Carolina. 17 

find well-ordered parishes, good churches, a people sub- 
servient to tithes and fat livings for missionaries, as he would 
have found in some of tlie West Indies; instead he found 
a scattered population living under tlie vampire-like do- 
minion of the Proprietors, who cared more for quit-rents 
than for souls. Whatever progress had been made toward 
financial independence had been made in spite of bad gov- 
ernments and by honest toil; as a rule the people were poor; 
many of them were Dissenters, and the colony was just emerg- 
ing from disturbances bordering on civil war due largely to 
the fixing of an Establishment. They paid scant respect 
then to the new clerg}'man from across tlie water, who soon 
showed that his own life was more immoral than tlie lives 
of the men whom he came to teach in religious things. 
The biting tongue of the missionary was unloosed in the 
first letter to the Society that has been preserved, and this 
may be taken as a fair sample of the voluminous corres- 
pondence that was to follow during the next ten dark and 
gloomy years from his heartless and imsympathetic pen. He 
is introduced to us with what was in that land of plenty a 
lie upon his lips : " Since my arrival here I . . . am at last 
together with my family in manifest danger of perishing for 
want of food, we have lived many a day only on a dry 
crust and a draught of salt water out of the sound."* And 
thus with almost every letter this suffering missionary was 
on the point of being laid in the tomb from sheer starva- 
tion;^ yet he alone of all the missionaries who came to 
North Carolina was able to buy a plantation,' to bring white 
female servants with him from England, to buy English 
servants in Carolina, and buy negroes there;* to send to 



' Urmstone's first letter to the S. P. G. is dated Juh'- 7, 1711 (Col. 
Rec, I., 763). From this we gather that he had then been in the 
province about a year ; but the vestry book of St. Paul's parish 
shows that he was an incumbent of that parish in 1708 ; cf. Perry, 
Amer. Epis. Ch., I., 636. 

2 Col. Rec, I., 850 ; II., 77, 116, 130, 131, 176, 218, 248, 279. 

3 lUd., I., 764. " lUd., II., 127. 



18 Church and State in North Carolina. [220 

Guinea for negroes ;' to buy canoes for his work, and to hire 
overseers for his slaves." We may rest assured that no other 
missionary was able to furnish his farm with stock, with 
tools and agricultural implements;' but all these things John 
Urmstone, the starving missionary, could afford. He not 
unfrequently closes his letters to the Society by an urgent 
request that his bills be allowed, which was not always 
done, and that they ship forthwith various and sundry- 
articles of English goods, among them '" Sugar the best 
sort — INIolasses and Rum of each a barrel, the best pale or 
slack dried 'Malt, a hogshead, with hops together with 
spices, condiments and cider proportionable."' Then the 
pious and godly missionary goes on to inform the Society 
for the Propagation of the Gospel that " the three former 
are as precious here as gold of Arabia; with them I can buy 
provisions." 

It would be tiresome to follow this scapegoat through the 
mazes of a voluminous correspondence extending over ten 
years, the burden of which is always complaint against the 
people, not so much for any lack of religion, but because 
of a manifest unwillingness to pay him his dues. Urmstone 
missed his calling; he constantly complains that he has no 
English goods with which to trade; had these been fur- 
nished him, had he come out to Carolina as a merchant 
instead of a missionary, from all appearances and from his 
own testimony he would have grown very wealthy, and in 
consequence, instead of abuse he would have written home 
most flattering accounts of the country on which he had 
been able to prey. Unfortunately for the colony, during the 
greater part of his residence Urmstone was the only clergy- 
m.an of the English Church in it. He resided in Chowan, 
but seems to have visited all sections. He left North Caro- 
lina suddenly in March, 1721.° The cause of Christianity 

>Col.Rec.,II., 260. UMd.,U.,12&. ^IMd.,l.,7CA. * Ibid., U., 128. 

^ Col. Rec, II., 430. Anderson, History of Colonial Church, finds 
him later in Philadelphia. In July, 1721, he was in London (Col. 
Rec, II., 431). 



221] Church and State in North Carolina. 19 

had been the gainer had he never set foot within her bor- 
ders. He never had a good word for the province, nor its 
people, nor did they have respect for him. Gov. Hyde says 
that his troubles were owing purely " to himself and his 
unfortunate temper."^ Rainsford said that "a lazy distem- 
per had seized him."' Gov. Eden expresses the hope that 
nothing Urmstone might have to say in his own defense 
would make any impression, and some of his parishioners 
said that he was "a very unfit missionary. . .his life is so 
wicked and scandalous, notorious drunkard and swearing 
and lewdness is also what he is occupied of.'" Urmstone 
confesses himself that he administered the sacrament but 
twice in five years, and the court records show that he was 
punished for drunkenness and profanity.* The wickedness 
of his life is only equaled by the malignity of his hate 
and the acrimonious bitterness of his speech toward those 
whom he dislikes, and his total unfitness for his sacred 
ofifice, his utter want of Christian charity, is shown when he 
calls the colony " a hell of a hole," and declares that he had 
rather be " Vicar to the Bear Garden than Bishop of North 
Carolina."' 

After such a repulsive and sickening picture as this, it is 
a relief and a pleasure to say that there were some men 
among these missionaries who would do honor to Chris- 
tianity in any age or country. These men were James 
Adams and William Gordon. They were sent out by the 
S. P. G., and arrived in North Carolina in April, 1708,' after 
the colony had been without a minister of the Establishment 
for two years. Mr. Gordon took charge of the precincts of 
Chowan and Perquimans.' In Chowan the church sadly 
needed repairs. The people were ignorant, "there being 
few that can read and few^er write " ; but to the minister they 



' Col. Rec, I., 849. « IMd., I., 858. » Ibid., II., 430, 431. 

* Hawks, II., 127 ; Col. Rec, II., 401. 

5 Col. Rec, II., 374. « Ibid., I., 677. ' Ibid., I., 680, 712. 



20 Church and State in North Carolina, [222 

seemed well inclined both in public and in private, " many 
of them being ready to embrace (as far as tliey could) all 
opportunities of being instructed."' This precinct was very 
large, but the missionary went into every part of it, bap- 
tizing nearly a hundted children, distributed some tracts and 
" gave some books for the use of scholars." In Perquimans 
he found a compact little church, " built with more care and 
expense, and better contrived than that in Chowan," but as 
yet unfinished. Here the Quakers were numerous and their 
attacks furious. He found it necessary to preach against 
them, but was as moderate as was possible in his 
expressions and free from harsh reflections. He was also 
able to show them some favors through his knowledge 
of medicine. These means were more successful than the 
" rougher methods which it seems had been formerly used 
with them"; for they "not only became very civil, but 
respectful to me in their way," and many times entertained 
him at their houses with " much freedom and kindness." 
The Quakers, no doubt, had been strangers to such things 
as politeness or kindness from the churchmen, and were won 
by it at once. In Perquimans Gordon found that even the 
vestry were "very ignorant, loose in their lives and uncon- 
cerned as to religion. . .their ill example and the want of 
ministers and good books have occasioned many who were 
better disposed, through ignorance, to join with the Quakers ; 
being willing to embrace anything that looks like religion, 
rather than have none at all . . . some having told me they 
owned their first departing from tlie church to the ill example 
and imprudent behavior of their ministers."^ 

On account of the disturbed state of the province, due to 
the " Gary rebellion," Gordon found it expedient to return 
to England after four months.^ He bore with him the 
testimony that he had been "universally approved"; that 
his "sweetness of disposition and spotless conversation" 
and his "practical way of preaching" had "prevailed even 

» Col. Rec, I., 712 et seq. ^ Ibid., I., 685. 



223j Church and State in North Carolina. 21 

with the very enemies of the church [Quakers] to be silent 
at his deserved applause."^ 

Adams was now alone, but he did not become discour- 
aged. He settled in Pasquotank, which then included Cam- 
den, and besides this took care of Currituck.^ There was 
no church in Pasquotank, but after his coming the people 
at once resolved " to build a church and two chapels of 
ease,"^ He labored faithfully for two years, although suffer- 
ing " a world of miser\' and trouble, both in body and 
mind."^ He was exemplary in life and blameless in conver- 
sation,^ and thus kept the Dissenters, who were now in the 
ascendant in civil matters, from making capital out of his 
shortcomings, as had been done in the case of previous min- 
isters. His work was blessed of God; he had the pleasure 
of celebrating the sacrament on several occasions, and ad- 
ministered baptism to nearly three hundred persons. His 
flock was steadily increasing, but they had not given him 
enough since his coming to pay for his " diet and lodging."* 
This treatment was disheartening and undeserved, but he 
labored on for a while longer. At last he realized that he must 
seek a lighter field of labor, where the Church was better 
organized and where the difBculties did not seem so insur- 
mountable as in North Carolina. The vestries of the 
churches in Pasquotank and Chowan bore witness that he 
had been a faithful man and had "behaved himself in all 
respects as a messenger of the mild Jesus,"^ and seem to 
have been deeply moved at his departure. His last letter 
comes to us dated "Va., 4 Sept., 1710." He now prays the 
honorable Society to change his mission to South Carolina, 
" where I doubt not but, by God's assistance, I shall be able 
to do more good " f but the work of the self-sacrificing and 
sufifering missionary was ended, and the Master soon called 
him to his eternal home. 



' Col. Rec. I., 685. * Ibid., I., 681. ^ jj^^^^ j.^ ggl. 

* Ibid., I., 734. 5 fiid., I., 729, 730. « Ibid., I., 721. 

' Ibid., I., 729. 8 Ibid., I., 733, 734. 



22 Church and State in North Carolina. [224 

Adams was the most respectable and the most successful 
missionary sent to North Carolina by the S. P. G., but he 
arrived in troublesome times. Party contests were at their 
highest, the Dissenters were in possession of the govern- 
ment, and although a church law was in existence/ the 
churchmen could collect little under its provisions. Their 
private contributions were not large, and the result was that 
the missionary received but little for his labors. The 
churchmen w^ere " a numerous and considerable body of 
people," but all the evidence of the records goes to show 
that at this period in the struggle there was little religion 
among them. 

The wickedness and carelessness of the people was in- 
duced in part, no doubt, by the badness of the missionaries. 
It is due to the manhood and character of the early settlers 
of the State that so much good has since come from such 
evil examples. Had the S. P. G. sent to North Carolina 
more men like Gordon and Adams, men with strong moral 
character, sound common sense, strong will power, and not 
entirely selfish, the results of their labors might have been 
far different; as it Avas, the chief fruit was civil dissensions 
and bloodshed, culminating in foisting on the colony an 
Establishment which was to be a constant source of annoy- 
ance and which is directly responsible for a large share of 
the backwardness of the State in education and intellectual 
pursuits. These missionaries did not have that enthusiasm 
for humanity which characterized the work of the apostles 
of Methodism. It was necessary for them to give up all, 
including almost even the necessities of life, for the sake of 
the cause. This they could not do. They still looked and 
hoped for good quarters and abundant supplies, and to 
obtain these relied on State aid. This aid made them less 
self-respecting and less self-reliant; at the same time it failed 
to accomplish the purpose for which it had been provided, 
and succeeded only in irritating the Dissenters. 

'Col. Rec, I., 682. 



CHAPTER III. 

Church and State under the Royal Government, 
1728-1776. 

In 1730 George Burrington became the first royal gov- 
ernor of North Carolina. His instmctions in regard to the 
Church are voluminous and indicate a purpose to provide 
for an Establishment. North Carolina, along with the other 
American provinces, had already been put under the eccle- 
siastical control of the Bishop of London. Burrington had 
the right of collation/ and was instructed to " permit a 
liberty of conscience to all persons (except papists) so as 
they be contented with a quiet and peaceable enjoyment of 
the same, not giving offence or scandal to the government." 
He was directed to see that the '• book of common prayer 
as by law established " be read each Sunday and holiday, 
and " the blessed sacrament administered according to the 
rites of the Church of England." He was to see to it that 
" a competent maintenance be assigned to the minister of 
each orthodox church " ; that " a convenient house be built 
at the common charge for each minister," and that there be 
" a competent proportion of land assigned him for a glebe 
and exercise of his industry." The governor was not to 
prefer any minister to any benefice Avithout a certificate 
from the Bishop of London " of his being conformable to 
the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England and 
of good life and conversation." No minister was to preach 
or to administer the sacrament in any " orthodox church " 
" without being in due orders." 

The requirement imposed by the eighty-second section of 
these instructions is fearful in its deliberate atrocity: "And 
we do further direct that no schoolmaster be henceforth per- 

> Col. Rec, III., 70. 



24 Church and State in North Carolina. [226 

mitted to come from this kingdom aiid to keep school in 
that our said province without the Hcense of the Lord 
Bishop of London, and that no other person now there or 
that shall come from other parts shall -be admitted to keep 
school in North Carolina without your license first ob- 
tained."' 

This clause of Burrington's instructions reproduced the 
essential features of the English Schism Act. This act had 
been passed in 1714 to supplement the Occasional Con- 
formity Bill which was intended to exclude Dissenters from 
all positions of power, dignity or profit. The Schism Act 
was to crush their seminaries and deprive them of the means 
of educating their children. Lecky" characterizes it as one 
of the most tyrannical measures of the century. It pro- 
vided that no one, under pain of three months' imprison- 
ment, should keep either a public or a private school, or 
should even act as tutor or usher, unless he had obtained a 
license from the Bishop, had engaged to conform to the 
Anglican liturgy^, and had received the sacrament in some 
Anglican church within the year. To prevent occasional 
conformity it was provided that a teacher so qualified who 
attended any other form of worship was to suffer the full 
term of imprisonment and to be forever incapacitated from 
acting as tutor or schoolmaster. The facility with which 
this act was passed shows the danger religious liberty was 
in during the closing years of Queen Anne. This act and 
the Occasional Conformity Bill were repealed in January, 
1718. 

This repeal only makes its re-enactment for the colony 
the more exasperating. School-teachers were few enough 
in North Carolina during the whole period of its colonial 
existence. Of those who did appear, some, no doubt, were 
Dissenters; but with fiendish atrocity the English govern- 
ment closes to them the avenue to greatest usefulness. 



' Instructions to Burrington, §§ 74-84, Col. Rec, III., 110, 111. 
' History of England in Eighteenth Century, I., 103-5. 



227] Church and State in North Carolina. 25 

This is the greeting which the royal government sends out 
to the daughter rejoicing in her recent escape from the rule 
of the Proprietors. This was the precious heritage with 
which the first royal governor comes out to meet tlie sub- 
jects who had twenty years before boldly tlirown off the 
rule of the Proprietors and claimed the King's protection. 
It seemed that the new government was to be worse tlian 
the old, for the royal government now took the lead in eccle- 
siastical legislation and had, unfortunately, a large following 
in the colony. 

Burrington, when he asked the provincial Assembly to 
make such laws as were necessary for him to carry out the 
royal instructions in relation to the Establishment of the 
Church/ does not include the Schism Act in his list; nor 
does he mention it in the resume of his work in his letter 
to the Duke of Newcastle, July, 1731." This absence of all 
mention might indicate one of two things: either tliat he 
did not dare to undertake to enforce the Schism Act, and 
therefore completely ignored this part of his instructions, or 
(2) that there was no occasion to enforce it because of the 
non-appearance of Dissenting schoolmasters. But there 
was certainly no reason for him to bring the matter before 
the Assembly; no provincial law was necessary; the execu- 
tion was in his own hands. The records are silent in regard 
to any attempts to enforce its provisions, but we have no 
reason for expecting such reference. That there were few 
schoolmasters of any kind we know well enough, and that 
the most of these were the missionaries of the S. P. G., and 
would, therefore, have the license, we know from Brickell.^ 

If we judge from the experience of the New Bern 
Academy in 1766, of the Edenton Academy in 1768, and of 
Queen's IMuseum in 1773, the Schism Act was enforced in 
1 73 1, provided a case came up. If it was not enforced it 



' Col. Rec, III., 257, 286. ^ j^i^^ ^o, 

^ Natural History of North Carolina, 35, quoted in Smith's History 
of Education in North Carolina, 16. 



26 Church and State in North Carolina. [228 

was because Burrington knew the temper of the people too 
well. It is just about this time he writes that " they are 
neither to be cajoled or outwitted, whenever a governor 
attempts to effect anything by these means he will lose his 
labor and show his ignorance." " The inhabitants of North 
Carolina," he says, '' are not industrious, but subtle and 
crafty to admiration." They always behaved insolently to 
their governors ; " some they have imprisoned, drove others 
out of the country, at other times set up two or three sup- 
ported by men under arms. All the governors that ever 
were in this province lived in fear of the people (except 
myself) and dreaded their assemblies.'" We can read clearly 
enough in this glowing tribute to the North Carolina 
democracy that spirit of fear which Burrington denies. And 
this wholesome fear no doubt went far in mitigating the 
harshness of the original instructions. 

Burrington found the Assembly little inclined to pass the 
laws necessary for him to carry out the instructions in re- 
gard to Church affairs. When he asked that this be done, 
the Assembly replied that it had been provided for by an 
earlier vestry act.^ He obtained nothing of the Assembly 
of 1 73 1, and wrote home that he could not "observe much 
sense of religion am.ong them."' His request was renewed 



> Col. Eec, III., 338. 

* Col. Eec, III., 295. Reference was had here to an act passed 
in November, 1729, for regulating vestries and for the better inspect- 
ing the vestrymen and churchwardens' accounts. The text has 
not been preserved, but it seems to have been intended as a supple- 
ment to the act of 1715. A similar request to the Assembly of 1733 
elicited the rejjly that they thought the act of 1729, which was then 
under the consideration of the King, looked to the establishing of 
vestries, building of churches, purchasing of glebes and providing 
for the clergy. (III., 552, 571.) Burrington replies to this that if 
he understood the intended law of 1729, the "true meaning of it 
is that none of those good things should be effected" (600). There 
was considerable discussion as to the validity of this law, as it was 
passed just at the time of transition from Proprietors to King. 
(175, 176.) 

3 Col. Rec, III., 152,339. 



229] Church and iStatc in North Carolina. 27 

of the Assembly' of 1733, but this was equally dismclined to 
follow in the path marked out by the English government, 
and returned Burrington the same indefinite answer. 

We do not know that any further effort was made by 
Burrington toward an Establishment. His poor success 
would indicate that the Dissenting element was large and 
powerful enough in the Assembly to prevent the enactment 
of extensive Church acts. The Church received certain 
fines,' and there was a poll tax of five shillings, but as this 
could be paid in " bill money," little more than enough was 
collected to pay the readers who officiated on Sunday' and 
the occasional clergyman who came out from Virginia to 
preach before the Assembly.* The Established Church had 
sunk ver>' low; there was no regular clergyman in the 
province/ and those who had been there gave offense by 
their vicious lives.* We must conclude that from the stand- 
point of the Establishment the state of the colony was 
deplorable: no "orthodox clergy," no certain support from 
the colony, this still more uncertain in the collecting, and a 
numerous and aggressive body of Presbyterians, Anabap- 
tists, and Quakers," who all knew how to make the best of 
their opportunity. 

Gabriel Johnston became governor of North Carolina in 
1734, and the instructions sent to Burrington, including the 
church acts and the Schism Act, were renewed for his 
successor.^ 

Gov. Johnston was zealous for the Church. He takes 
care to remind the Assembly that the instructions for Estab- 
lishing the clergy were already on their books.'' He writes 
feelingly and eloquently in regard to " the deplorable and 
almost total want of divine worship throughout the pro- 
vince."'" He had it ''much at heart to obtain a legal Estab- 
lishment of a competent maintenance,"" and we find that 



1 Col. Rec, III., 541, 564. * Ibid., HI., 159. ^ jj^^,^ jii_^ 152. 

* Ibid., 298, 584. ^ Ibid., III., 152, 394, 429. ' Ibid., III., 429. 

' i"5i(i., III., 48, 394, 429. ^ Ibid., 111., 498. ^ Ibid., lY., 122. 
" Ibid., IV., 227. " Ibid., lY., 264. 



28 Church and State in North Carolina. [230 

the Assembly courteously laments "■ the want of Publick 
Divine worship," but does noticing. The governor, bursting, 
with anger because of its indifference, dissolves it (March, 

1737)-' 

His zeal even leads him to gloze and hide the true state 
of affairs to help the Establishment. In his address to the 
Assembly in 1739 he says: "The establishment of the pubHc 
worship of Almighty God, as it is the great foundation of 
the happiness of society, and without which you cannot 
expect His protection, deserves your earliest care. That 
in such a wide extended province as this is, inhabited by 
British subjects, by persons professing themselves Christians, 
there should be but two places where divine service is regu- 
larly performed is really scandalous. It is a reproach pecu- 
liar to this part of His Majesty's dominions which you 
ought to remove without loss of time."' 

In this address Gov. Johnston ignores entirely the Dis- 
senters and their work. These were neither insignificant in 
numbers nor in the character of the work done. Burrington 
wrote in 1732 and 1733 that the Quakers had four meeting- 
houses and were " considerable for their numbers and sub- 
stance; the regularity of their lives, hospitality to strangers, 
and kind offices to new settlers inducing many to be of their 
persuasion."' Presbyterians were now beginning their mi- 
grations to the province, and we know that they established 
churches almost from the first.* Baptists had been in the col- 
ony as early as 1695. They were then, as now, energetic and 
aggressive, and a competent authority has recently said 



. ' Col. Rec, IV., 214. « IMd., IV., 357. 

^ Ibid., III., ?>39, 430. 

* Dr. Blair tells us as early as 1704 that he found a sect " some- 
thing; like Presbyterians" (Col. Rec, I., 602), and Adams (1709) 
found a few in Pasquotank "who now constantly join with us in 
our service " {Ibid., I., 720). Other missionaries mention them also. 
These were English and were no doubt few in numbers. The 
migration of the Scotch and Scotch-Irish Presbyterians began about 
1730. 



231] Church and State in North Carolina. 29 

that "from 1727 to 1755 the Baptists of North CaroHna 
were the most prosperous body of Baptist Christians in the 
world.'" 

The object of the Governor was accomplished, however; 
the Council and the House of Burgesses make haste to 
answer his Excellency that they thought " the establishment 
of the worship of Almighty God in this province merits our 
chiefest care. We shall therefore apply ourselves to con- 
sider tlie most proper methods, to make fartlier provision 
for the maintaining of an orthodox clergy among us."" In 
1 741 an act for "Establishing the Church, for appointing 
Parishes, and the method of electing Vestries, and for direct- 
ing the Settlement of Parish Accounts," was passed. Under 
its provisions the province was divided into sixteen parishes. 
The inhabitants of each were to choose their own vestry, who 
were to subscribe to a declaration not to oppose the liturgy 
of the Church of England as by law established, under 
penalty of £3, unless a known Dissenter. The vestry 
could raise money not exceeding five shillings proclamation, 



' Dr. William H. Whitsitt, of Louisville, Ky., in hi? address at 
Wake Forest College, June, 1888. Knight, History of General Bap- 
tists, says there were individual Baptists in North Carolina as early 
as 1690. Morgan Edwards puts the date 1695, and this has heen 
adopted by Benedict and Sprague. We find no mention of them in 
the records until 1714, when John Urmstone said that there were 
two Anabaptists among his vestrymen (Col. Rec, II., 131, 304). 
It is usually said that the first Baptist church was organized in 
Perquimans county in 1727 by Paul Palmer, a native of Maryland, 
who was in North Carolina as early as 1720, when he was indicted 
for theft and abduction, but acquitted {Ibid., II., 406, 409, 410, 411, 
415, 471). In 1729 his church had thirty-two members, consisting 
chiefly of those who had been members of a Baptist church at Bur- 
leigh in Virginia (Sprague, Annals, VI., xiii). But Dr. Whitsitt 
reverses this and suggests that Palmer was attracted to North 
Carolina because there were a good many Baptists there already, and 
that the Baptists of lower Virginia were derived from those of North 
Carolina, for the latter, 1727-1755, were prosperous, aggressive and 
flourishing, the former few and weak. 

2 Col. Rec, IV., 358. 



30 Church and State in North Carolina. [232 

per poll, under penalty of distress and sale of goods; they had 
power to build churches, purchase land for glebes, erect 
suitable buildings thereon and keep them in repair. They 
were to employ a minister " qualified according to the eccle- 
siastical laws of England," at not less than £50 a year, and 
had power to dismiss him for cause. All former ecclesias- 
tical acts were repealed/ 

There seems to have been considerable activity about 
this time in ecclesiastical legislation. A bill for an "Act 
for Liberty of Conscience " was presented to the Legislature 
of 1740,' but failed in passage, as it does not appear in 
Swann's Revisal. Whether it was a virtual re-enactment of 
the Liberty of Conscience Act of 171 5 we do not know, but 
its defeat seems to have had a purpose, as we shall see in the 
case of Borden, the Quaker. 

As the regular poll of five shillings was not enough for 
erecting houses of worship, the commissioners of certain 
towns were allowed by private acts to lay a special tax for 
the use of that parish in completing churches already begun. 
This was done in New Bern, Edenton, and Wilmington. 
For the New Bern church the tax was is. 6d. on the 
tithable for two years, and persons not paying were to for- 
feit 4s., besides costs. Sums subscribed were considered 
promissory notes, and in 1751 the sherififs of Johnston and 
Craven were given power to levy by warrant on those who 
had not paid this tax.^ 



■ Swann, Eevisal of the Laws, 156 et seq., ed. 1752. It will be 
noticed that this act is, with transpositions and verbal alterations, 
the same as the act of 1715 except that the iron-clad recognition of 
the divine right of kings is no longer inserted, indicating growth 
along democratic lines, and that the minister is subject to the vestry. 
The case of the poor was also put into the hands of the vestry, and 
funds for their support came from the general levy for church pur- 
poses. For the civil functions of the parish in colonial North Caro- 
lina, ef. Howard, Local Constitutional History of the United States, I., 
129-134. 

2 Col. Rec, IV., 514. 

^ Swann's Revisal, 108, 111, 346, 348, ed. 1752 ; Davis's Revisal, II., 
121, 133, ed. 1765. As was a usual thing in those days, we find that 



233] Vhiirch and IStatc in North Carolina. 31 

The act of 1741 was the only general church act passed 
during- Johnston's administration. It levied only a poll tax, 
the most unjust and burdensome of all taxes, but from 
the efforts to secure another law we may feel sure that it 
gave little satisfaction even to the Churchmen. Their at- 
tempts were renewed wath the Assembly which met in Sep- 
tember, 1 74 1, but Moir says he soon discovered that 
'' nothing was to be done for a proper encouragement of 
an established ministry.'" Garzia says they w-ould pay him 
only £2,2 I OS., the least allowed by " a new^ law.'" Moir 
who is only outgrowled by Urmstone, says that his salar}' 
is very ill paid and that "the essential branch of the consti- 
tution of this province is "to do as little justice as possible to 
creditors."' Besides, he was paid in rated commodities of 
which he could not dispose. In 1746 the secretary of the 
S. P. G. writes Gov. Johnston in regard to the encourage- 
ment that can be given if more missionaries are sent out;* 
but ]\Ioir saw no hope.^ He says many had turned Baptists 
for want of clerg}^men, while others were "much inclined to 
encourage missionaries, and often complain of their being 
pestered w^ith sermons of Baptist teachers, whom I always 
found to be as grossly ignorant as those they pretend to 
teach."" 

Johnston exerted himself steadily in the interests of the 
Establishment. In his address to the Assembly in 1749 he 
points out the "want of a sufficient provision for maintain- 
ing the public service,"' and urges that this be remedied. 
A bill for establishing the Church, erecting schools, etc., 
was introduced in 1752,' but failed. It may be that the 
school clause was attached as a rider to secure the votes of 
Dissenters, but if so, the scheme did not work. 



the churches at Wilmington and Brunswick were finally finished 
by the aid of a lottery. (Col. Eec, VI., 507, 508, 511; cf. also Davis, 
Revisal of 1765, II., 213.) 

' Col. Eec, IV., 603. - Ibid., 604, 606. ' Ibid., IV., 754. 

* Ibid., IV., 794. » Ibid., IV., 791. « Ibid., IV., 878. 

■> Ibid., IV., 1009, 1027. * Ibid., IV., 1321, 1322, 1337, etc. 



32 Ghurch and State in North Carolina. [234 

The death of Johnston in 1752 had no effect on the 
estabhshment of the Church. He was succeeded by Arthur 
Dobbs. The instructions of Dobbs were sent over in 1754/ 
It is interesting to compare the steady and stubborn oppo- 
sition to an Estabhshment as manifested by the Dissenters, 
with the thoughts and desires of the authorities at home. 
In 1730 they had instructed Burrington to enforce the 
infamous Schism Act, a leading cause for the backward 
state of the province in education. In 1733 these instruc- 
tions were renewed to Johnston. After twenty years of 
conflict with the colonists the home authorities are no wiser 
than before, and in 1754 renew their old instructions, includ- 
ing the Schism Act. It is evident that the home govern- 
ment was doing all in its power to restrict the growth, devel- 
opment and liberty of the colony; but if they expected the 
Dissenters there to be behind those in England they found 
themselves mistaken. 

Dobbs began work for the Establishment at once. In 
his message to the Assembly of 1754 he recommends the 
providing a proper fund to support a sufficient number of 
learned, pious clergymen, who were to reside in the pro- 
vince. They were to be accommodated with houses, glebes 
and parish clerks, " to enable them to instruct the inhabi- 
tants and the rising generation in the principles of true 
religion and virtue."" An act to this effect was passed by 
this Assembly, but was repealed by proclarnation,'' although 
Dobbs writes that he thought it for the interest of both 
king and colonists "to get so good an establishment imme- 
diately fixed, considering the number of sectaries who are 
against all establishments, and the danger of their increasing 
if we don't fix a parochial clergy."* 

This was but the beginning of a triangular fight between 
Dissenters, democratic Churchmen, and supporters of 
the rights of the Crown. The ecclesiastical history of the 
next ten years is of interest chiefly because of the stubborn 



» Col. Rec, v., 1136, 1137. ^ Ibid., V., 213, 216. 

3 Davis's Revisal, II., 34, ed. 1765. * Col. Eec, V., 332. 



235] Church and State in North Carolina. 33 

resistance to the enforcement of church laws by the Dis- 
senters, the stubborn determination of the Churchmen to 
have an estabhshment with the right of presentation and 
the steady opposition of the Crown to both parties. In 1755 
a proposition to ptu-chase glebes met with failure.' The 
next year a recommendation for the support of clergy had 
the same fate.^ In 1758 an act making better provision for 
the clergy was passed. It was repealed and included in the 
more comprehensive law of i ^62.^ An act making provision 
for an orthodox clergy was passed in 1760 and repealed.* 
The same year a vestry act was made, proved unsatisfactory, 
and was repealed; an act allowing separate parishes to elect 
vestries was passed, but it depended on the general vestry act, 
and so fell through.' The same was the case in 1761.'' We 
must conclude that whatever legal allowance there may have 
been remained practically useless for lack of officers to collect 
it.^ 



' Col. Rec, v., 527. * IMd., V., 660, 662. 

' Davis's Revisal, II., 142, ed. 1765. * Ibid., 182. 

5 Davis's Revisal, II., 211, ed. 1765. ^ Ibid., II., 224. 

' Col. Rec, VI., 57, 234, 977 ; Davis's Revisal, 182, ed. 1765. It is 
worthy of remark that the salaries given these missionaries were 
doubtless superior to what the same class of men received in 
England. In 1754 the salary was £50, proclamation, equal to £30 
sterling. In 1756 }t was fixed at £80. In 1762 it reached the high- 
water mark, £133 6s. 8d., worth £75 to £82 sterling. It remained 
at this figure, which in 1767 was worth £60 to £65 sterling. (Col. 
Rec, VII., 493 ; cf. note to The Beligioiis Development in the Province 
of North Carolina, 38. Adam Smith says that in 1776, £40 was 
reckoned very good pay for a curate.) But it is probable that they 
did not receive all collected for them under the law, for it was 
sometimes found hecessary to appropriate the funds that had been 
set aside for school and church purposes to pay the costs of the 
French and Indian war. {Cf. Col. Rec, V., 573 ; VI., 150, 153. Cf. 
also Smith's History of Education in North Carolina, 40.) McConnell, 
History of American Episcopal Chiirch, says that while the colonial leg- 
islatures could not disestablish the Church, they could and did pass 
such laws as made it more than useless. But as the Legislature of 
North Carolina, prior to 1701, had, by ignoring, prevented an Estab- 
lishment, we may conclude that they might have continued the 
same policy to 1776 had they desired. 



34 Chill di and iState in JSortli (Jarolina. [236 

In 1762 it was found that there was not sufficient mainte- 
nance for the clergy, and a new bill was passed. Under this 
law the minister was to receive a salary of £133 6s. 8d., 
proclamation money. He was to have in addition regular 
fees for marrying, publishing banns, and granting certifi- 
cates, and for funeral sermons; he could demand and receive 
these perquisites, if he had not neglected or refused to per- 
form the service, although another had actually officiated. 
The law made provisions for a glebe, and suitable houses 
were to be erected thereon; the sole right of presentation 
remained in the vestry, and a minister might be removed 
for cause by the Governor, with the advice of the Council.' 

This act seems to have been repealed at once by procla- 
mation; for missionary Reed writes in June, 1763, that 
" the clergy are still destitute of any legal provision or 
encouragement";'' and Governor Tiyon recommends in 
1765 the re-enactment of the law of 1762, without the objec- 
tionable clause relating to presentation, which was done.' 

The central cause for all this trouble was the right of 
presentation to livings. The authorities in England were 
zealous for the supremacy of the Church and the Crown, 
and wished to retain it, while the democratic temper of the 
colonial Churchmen made tliem equally determined to secure 
it for the vestry, and caused them to clog their bills "with 
objections incompatible with the rights of the Crown and 
the ecclesiastical jurisdiction."* They excluded the Bishop 
from examining and correcting abuses, and the right of 
appeal was taken from the CroAvn. " After all these pro- 
visions," writes the Bishop of London in regard to the Act 
of 1754, "what becomes of the king's supremacy or the 
bishop's jurisdiction?"' He thought this mtidel of govern- 
ment might have come from the Presbyterians and Inde- 
pendents of New England. He was astonished to see 



' Davis's Revisal, II., 279, ed. 1765. '^ Col. Rec, VI., 990, 999. 

3 Davis's Revisal, 338, ed. 1773. 

* Col. Rec, VI., 10, 81, 223 ; VII., 103. « JMd., VI., 10. 



237] Church and State in North Carolina. 35 

such a statute in the laws of North Carohna, " where con- 
formity is so strongly insisted on " that each vestryman is 
compelled to subscribe to the same declaration as is re- 
quired of clergymen in England/ 

So keen was this jealousy on the part of the home gov- 
ernment that tlie Rev. Alexander Stewart, missionar}^ at 
Bath, writes in 1760 that within the last six years four acts 
for electing vestries and supporting the clergy had been 
passed only to be repealed by the authorities at home 
because unsatisfactor}^ To prevent the Church law that 
was enacted in 1760 from being repealed by proclamation, 
it was necessary to divide the clauses relating to vestr}' and 
clergy, and to pass them separately.' These were then re- 
ferred to the Bishop of London. It was not enough for 
him that the vestrymen should take the oath of abjuration 
and subscribe the Test Act. The declaration required, a 
simple promise not to oppose the Church of England as 
by law established, he correctly claimed, might have been 
taken with equal propriety by Presbyterian, Anabaptist, In- 
dependent, Quaker, Jew, or pagan. The bishop demanded 
that the vestry be required to subscribe to the declaration of 
conformity laid down by the vestiy act of 1755.' He ob- 
jected that there was no means provided for the minister 
to recover dues in case of refusal of payment, and the 
section in regard to the removal of the minister, he said, 
tended to take away "the little remains of ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction, if any is left in that province." The law was 
repealed.* 

These squabbles had a very baleful influence on the for- 
tunes of the Establishment. It was difificult to get a church 



' Col. Rec, VI., 12 ; cf also IX., 83, where the same language is 
used with reference to a law then before the Bishop for examina- 
tion. This law also took the presentation from the Crown and put 
the government into the hands of the vestry. 

- Col. Rec, VI., 242. 

^ This act was passed at the Dec. -Jan. meeting, 1754-55. 

■» Col. Rec, VI., 714, 721, 722, 723 ; VII., 224. 



36 Church and State in North Carolina. [238 

law at all, and when such as could be secured were repealed 
by proclamation, the colonial clergy were left without re- 
sources. In 1758 they felt it necessary to petition the Leg- 
islature for better support/ In 1762 Dobbs writes that their 
number is diminishing;' in 1764 there were but six orthodox 
clergymen in the province, "four of which are pious";' and 
to this lack of " an orthodox and pious clergy " the Assem- 
bly of 1758 ascribes much of the great immorality and 
profanity in the lives and manners of many of the people.* 

Not only was the jealousy of the home government to be 
m.et by the Churchmen, but also the aggressive attacks of the 
Dissenters who wanted no establishment at all. Between 
these two antagonists the way of the colonial Churchman 
was hard, and the life of an ecclesiastical law hung by a 
slender thread. Further, the Establishment became rela- 
tively weaker as population increased, for nearly all of this 
incoming population was made up of Dissenters.' In 1760 
we have a summary of dissent from the Rev. James Reed: 
" Great number of Dissenters of all denominations came 
and settled amongst us from New England particularly, 
Anabaptists, Methodists, Quakers, and Presbyterians; the 
Anabaptists are obstinate, illiterate, and grossly ignorant; 
the Methodists ignorant, censorious and uncharitable; the 
Quakers rigid; but the Presbyterians are pretty moderate, 
except here and there a bigot or rigid Calvinist. As for 
Papists, I cannot learn there are above nine or ten in the 
whole county. I have estimated the number of infidels 
and heathens to be about one thousand.'" 

In the next year we find him complaining that the spe- 
cial study and endeavor of these Dissenters was to render 



' Col. Eec, v., 1062, 1063, 1067. ' Ibid., VI., 709. 

3 Ibid., VI., 1027. * Ibid., V., 1095. 

^ Moir thought that this "inundation of sectaries" was due 
largely to the lack of proper vestry acts, since the generality of 
the inhabitants were "much inclined to the offices of our church." 
(Col. Rec, VI., 995.) 

' Col. Rec, VI., 265. 



239] Church and State in North Carolina. 37 

tlie ministers aiid liturgy of the Church of England as 
odious as possible, that they and tlieir doctrines might meet 
with a better reception.' This seems to have been the case, 
for they took advantage of the technicalities of the acts to 
become vestrymen, and thus succeeded in making the laws 
null and void. They combined to elect only such vestries 
as would be favorable to their interests.' These vestrymen 
performed ineu* civil duties and calmly ignored their eccle- 
siastical functions, and this they could do under their oath. 
In Rowan county they refused to qualify, and obstructed 
business.^ Dobbs could not get a vestry to lay a tax for 
building purposes;* others threatened to dock the minister 
if he ever absented himself,^ and the steady purpose of all 
vestries was to make the minister dependent on themselves.* 
They so hindered in various ways the raising of money that 
Dobbs thought it necessary to propose that clergymen be 
paid out of the common funds of the colony.'' 

This is probably the best way to explain and apologize for 
the vestry act of 1764, the severest of all the acts against the 
Dissenters, and which has as the only feature to redeem it 
from total infamy tlie exasperating circumstances in which 
the colonial Churchmen found themselves. The church acts 
were so displeasing that many electors refrained from going 
to the polls, and so took no part in the elections. To stop 
this practice the act provided that all qualified electors 
(except Quakers) should appear and vote for vestrymen, or 
incur a fine of twenty shillings, proclamation. In times past 
manv of the vestry had neglected or refused to qualify. 



' Col. Rec, VI., 595. "- Ibid., VII., 241. 

3 Col. Rec, VIII., 202, 217, 218, 221, 503. Mr. Drage, the Episco- 
pal minister, had a hard time in Rowan. The persons on the list 
returned for vestrymen declared that "they would not qualify, 
that the}' had thus kept the church out for years, and hoped to do 
so perpetually, with much impudence and impertinent threats. . . . 
They said it was their opinion every one ought to pay their own 
clersj', and what the law required was a constraint." 

•* Ibid., VI., 33. 5 /5j^^ VI., 563. " Ibid., VI., 715. 

■< Ibid., v., 870 ; cf. also VI., 990. 



38 Church and State in Isiorth Carolina. [240 

They were now required to subscribe a declai'ation not to 
oppose the doctrine, disciphne and Hturgy of the Church 
of England as by law established; and a vestryman-elect 
refusing to qualify, "if he be a known Dissenter from the 
Church of England," was to forfeit £3. The vestry were to lay 
a poll of ten shillings or less for building churches, paying 
the salary of ministers, clerks and vestries, purchasing glebes 
and erecting suitable houses thereon, encouraging schools 
and maintaining the poor, and this tax could be collected 
by distress.' This act was to last for five years. It made 
the minister a member of the vestry, v/hich had not been 
the case formerly and had caused much dissatisfaction. 
We have little comment on this law, but we can judge from 
the character of the complaints that have come down to us 
that it was regarded with the bitterest hostility. 

William Tryon succeeded to the work left unfinished by 
Dobbs. In 1765 he recommends the re-enactment of the 
law of 1762, without its objectionable clause, and adds: "If 
I have pointed out any consequences that are likely to attend 
the continuance of the neglect of our religion, I hope no 
persons of a different persuasion will imagine I am an enemy 
to toleration. I profess myself a warm advocate for it in 
the fullest sense of his Majesty's indulgence, yet I must 
inform them I never heard of toleration in any country 
made use of as an argument to exempt Dissenters from 
bearing their share of the support of the established re- 
ligion."^ Tryon professes himself in the beginning a strong 
supporter of the orthodox church, and well he might be, 
for in his instructions sent over in 1765 the sections relating 
to the Church and the infamous Schism Act are again 
renewed.* 



• Davis's Eevisal, II., 315, ed. 1765; cf. also ed. 1773, 434. The 
act of 1764 was changed in 1768 so as to inchide all persons under 
the penalty for refusal to qualify as vestrymen and was re-enacted 
for five years. 

»Col. Rec, VII., 43. 

» Ibid., VII., 137. The Schism Act is ^106 of Dobbs' instructions. 



241] Church and State in North Carolina. 39 

But the mere statement of the Schism Act was not all. 
W'e have seen what a difficult thing it was to procure school 
advantages of any sort under the royal government. At 
last a school-house was finished in New Bern. In 1766 
]\Ir. Reed writes that "it is a large and decent edifice for 
such a young countr}', forty-five feet in length and thirty 
in breadth, and has already cost upwards of i300, this cur- 
rency."' There was now to be a struggle for the enforce- 
ment of the Schis'm Act. The upper house insisted that a 
clause excluding all Dissenters from teaching in the school 
be inserted.' The Churchmen won in the struggle, and the 
Schism Act was enforced in North Carolina in 1766.' 

Two years later the battle was fought again over the 
Edenton Academy. The lower house w^as democratic and 
liberal in its tendency. The Council was the opposite, and 
addresses them: "We observe that }'ou have deled the fol- 
lowing clause, viz. ' Provided also that no person shall be 
admitted to be master of the said school, but who is of the 
Established Church of England and who at the recommen- 
dation of the trustees or directors or the mai'oritv of them 



' Col. Rec, YII., 241. • ^ lUd., YII., 316, 392. 

' While we have no direct testimony as to the influence of this 
act on the patronage of the school, we know that a considerable 
proportion of the pupils of Dr. Caldwell's school came from this 
section of the province; cf. Smith. History of Education in North 
Carolina, 41, quoting Caruthers' Caldwell, 30. After studying the 
explanation and defense made of this act by the writers in Church 
History in North Carolina, 171, 176-179, I am unable to see it in any 
other light than that given above. The New Bern school, if started 
on the church basis, became a public institution by accepting 
the duty on rum. The school at Edenton i ad no public aid, but 
could not get a charter without this clause ; and Queen's Museum could 
not get one with the clause, because it was Presbyterian in senti- 
ment, and such a charter would add "encouragement to toleration." 
Were these three acts independent of the former history of the 
colony it might be possible to explain them, but they are all in 
direct accord with the instructions of Governor Tryon, and these 
instructions had been unchanged since 1730. Hence we naturally 
conclude that they were a part of a deliberate polic}'. 



40 Church and State in North Carolina. [242 

shall be duly licensed by the governor or commander-in- 
chief for the time being.' Which clause we propose stet- 
ing!'^ The Commons objected and prayed that the bill be 
passed as it left them.' They won, and the bill was vetoed 
by the governor, " not esteeming the words ' with the appro- 
bation of his Excellency the governor or commander-in- 
chief for the time being ' " as equivalent to the restrictions 
quoted above.' The school got no charter until 1770 and 
then with the restrictive clause inserted." 

We need not be surprised, then, when we find that North 
Carolina hated the Establishment and all it implied. We 
can understand the meaning of the words when Tryon 
writes that the people were '^ uneasy under the provisions 
of the clergy bill,"' that the citizens of Pitt seemed "as 
jealous of any restraint put on their consciences" as they 
had recently shown themselves of that put on their prop- 
erty,' and that the men of Mecklenburg thought an Estab- 
lishment " as oppressive as the Stamp Act."^ This was but 
the prelude to that drama of which the last scenes were to be 
enacted at Guilford Court House and Yorktown. 

But not even all these rumblings of discontent serA'-ed to 
warn the infatuated British government of the folly of its 
course. In 1771 they renew in their instructions to Gov- 
ernor Martin the clause relative to the Schism Act.^ It is 
very probable that in the formal instructions to a colonial 
governor, renewed at uncertain intervals, some of the 
phases of these laws should escape the attention of the 
authorities, but they were none the less real and burdensome 
to the citizens of North Carolina, as they were soon to 
discover to their cost. 

In 1 771 the Assembly chartered Queen's Museum in 
Charlotte, an institution for higher education, of which 

' Col. Rec, VII., 598. - Ibid., VII., 600. ' Ibid., VIII., 6. 

* Davis's Revisal, 478, ed. 1773. 

^ Col. Rec, VIII., 14. ' Ibid., VII., 261. 

■' Rev. Andrew Morton to S. P. G., Col. Rec, VII., 253. 

«Col. Rec, VIII., 514. 



243] Church and (State in Notth Carolina. 41 

Governor Tryon says the necessity was obvious. The pro- 
moters of the movement yielded so far as to provide that 
the president should be of the Established Church and 
licensed by the governor, but the fellows, trustees and 
tutors would be, for the most part, Presbyterians. On tliis 
question the Board of Trade whites the King that **' from the 
prevalency of the Presbyterian persuasion within the county 
of JMecklenburg we may venture to conclude that this Col- 
lege. . .will, in effect, operate as a seminary for the educa- 
tion and instruction of youth in the principles of the Pres- 
byterian Church. Sensible as we are of the wisdom of that 
tolerating spirit, which generally prevails throughout your 
Majesty's dominions ... still we think it our duty to submit 
to your Majesty, whether it may be advisable for your 
Majesty to add encouragement to toleration by giving the 
royal assent to an establishment, which in its consequences 
promises with great and permanent advantages to a sect of 
Dissenters from the Established Church who have already 
extended themselves over that province in very considerable 
numbers."^ The recommendation of the Board of Trade 
was accepted and the King repealed the charter of Queen's 
Museum in 1773.^ 

This is the third time, at least, that the Schism Act was 
enforced in North Carolina after its repeal in England. 
There was less freedom of education in North Carolina in 
1773 than in 1673; a more rigid conformity was required in 
the province than in England. This was injustice and intol- 
erance, persecution and tyranny. The history of colonial 
North Carolina is a continual struggle against a govern- 
ment which sought to repress all aspirations whether politi- 
cal, religious or intellectual; for her the War of Indepen- 
dence was not a Revolution only; it brought with it a 
Reformation, and made possible a Renaissance. 



' Col. Rec, IX., 250. 

- Ibid., IX., 596, 665; cf. Davis's Revisal, 455, 501, ed. 1773; cf. 
also Dr. Smith' s History of Education in North Carolina, 32, 33. 



4:2 Church and State in North Carolina. [244= 

But the enforcement of the Schism Act was not all with 
which the soul of the Dissenter was vexed. In no way 
was the petty meanness of an Establishment brought out 
more clearly than in the regulations concerning marriages. 

An act of 1669 had made marriage a civil contract, for 
lack of clergy/ By the vestry act of 171 5 magistrates were 
empowered to perform the ceremony " in such parishes 
where no minister shall be resident."' In 1741 a special 
marriage act was passed. By this act the performance of 
the marriage ceremony was confined to clergymen of the 
Church of England, and, for want of such, to magistrates; 
and the minister serving the cure of any parish was to 
have the marriage fee whether performing the ceremony 
or not, "if he do not neglect or refuse to do the service 
thereof." This was the formal re-enactment of a clause of 
the vestry act of 171 5. There is no recognition of the 
rights of Dissenters in this law, unless we can call the clause 
forbidding them to marry whites to negroes and Indians a 
recognition.^ It is true that in this, as in the former cases, 
the Assembly did not undertake to give this right to the 
clergy, but simply recognized it as resting on prescription. 
But they might have granted this right to Dissenters as 
they proposed doing in the act of 1770. The Quakers 
seem to have been allowed to marry after their owti 
fashion from the first, and why not allow this right to Pres- 
byterians and Baptists?'' But by this act their preachers 



' Col. Rec, I., 184. Fisher, History of Christian Church, 437, 
shows that the Puritans had early solemnized marriage as a civil 
contract only. But on top of this Doyle can say, The English in 
America, I., 453, that tlie acts of 1663, of which this was one, tended 
to make North Carolina " an Alsatia for ready and profligate adven- 
turers." What should the people have done since they had no 
ministers — forbidden marriage and produced concubinage ? 

^ Col. Rec, II,, 212. ^ Swann's Revisal, 127-130, ed. 1752. 

* Gf. Church History in North Carolina, 68, 89. The Quakers had 
been organized now for sixty-five years, and there were certainly 
dissenting preachers in the colony. Besides, this law refers not 
only to the year 1741 but equally to the next twenty-five. 



245] Church and IStute in North Carolina. 43 

were debarred from performing the ceremony even among 
their own flocks. They were thus put to. grave inconveni- 
ence, and the law of 1766 recites that tlie Presbyterians 
refused to consider themselves as bound by its provisions. 
This law made dissent burdensome and humiliating; it put 
a premium on confonnity; it was religious persecution. 

The next feature of the marriage question was developed 
during the discussion of the clergy bill of 1762. The gov- 
ernor and Council tried to force on the lower house a clause 
by which it was enacted that "no Dissenting minister of 
any denomination whatsoever shall presume on any pre- 
tence to marry any person, under the penalty of forfeiting 
£50." The law does not seem to have been successful/ but 
it is a clear statement of the tendency of the act of 1741, 
and shows the position of a certain element in the province. 

There was no new marriage act between 1741 and 1766. 
The former had sought to prevent all Dissenters from cele- 
brating the rite; but the Presbyterians did not consider 
themselves as coming under its provisions, and had joined 
couples without either license or publication. By the act of 
1766 these marriages were legalized, and it was made lav^^ful 
for any Presb}'terian minister "regularly called to any con- 
gregation " to celebrate the rites of matrimony " in their 
usual and accustomed manner, under the same regulations 
and restrictions as any lawful magistrate." These marriages 
were always to be by license, and the minister of the Church 
of England was to have the marriage fee in all cases, unless 
he refused to perform the same." 



J Col. Rec, VI., 881, 952, 954. 

^ Davis's Revisal, 350, ed. 1773. It was proposed (Col. Rec, VII., 
411) to limit this law to three years, which was not done. It pro- 
vided for no Dissenters except Presbyterians. But it seems that the 
original intention was to cover the case of all Dissenters. The 
second section probably read "dissenting or of the dissenting Pres- 
byterian clergy.'^ The clause in italics was stricken out and the 
phrase "dissenting or Presbyterian clergy" took its place, thus 
excluding all Dissenters except Presbyterians. {Ibid., VII., 329, 3?.l, 
411.) That this is the proper interpretation is evident from the 



44 Church and State in North Carolina. [246 

This law showed no favor to Dissenters other than Pres- 
byterians. They got no recognition at all, and were, accord- 
ing to Tryon's fashion of looking at things, " enemies to 
society and a scandal to common sense.'" We are to under- 
stand, moreover, that the Presbyterians were not thus favored 
out of any sense of justice and right, but because, as Governor 
Tryon writes, under the circumstances it could not " be of any 
real prejudice to the Established Church, especially as the 
marriage fee is reserved to the ministers of the parish.'" 

The law was liked little by the Presbyterians. It made 
no provisions for their missionaries who were laboring on 
the outskirts of the province but not in regular congrega- 
tions. Those of Mecklenburg considered themselves 
"highly injured and aggrieved" by this law, "the preamble 
whereof scandalizes the Presbyterian clergy."' The Presby- 
terians of Tryon county were " much aggrieved " by this 
act. It took from them a privilege " which a million of our 
fellow-professors in America now enjoy. . .neither was it 
ever taken from Dissenters in America until it was taken 
from us by this act, of which we now complain."* The 
people of Anson petitioned against it,° and tlie manly pro- 
test from the inhabitants of Orange and Rowan claims that 
the right of " dissenting ministers " to perform the marriage 
ceremony after their own fashion was " a privilege they 
were debarred of in no other part of his Majesty's do- 
minions; and as we humbly conceive a privilege they stand 
entitled to by the Act of Toleration, and, in fine, a privilege 



phrase "Presbyterian or dissenting clergy" in one section, and 
as an equivalent of it in the next "Dessenting or Presbyterian 
Cbrgy." The protests mentioned later indicate the same thing. 
This act remained in force until April, 1778. Cf. Laws of 1778, 
chap. 7. 

' Ou7' Living and Our Dead, III., 633. Cf. also Col. Saunders in 
Prefatory Notes to Col. Rec, VIII., xlv. 

« Col. Rec, VII., 432. 

^ Cf. their petition for its repeal in Col. Rec, X., 1015. 

^ Col. Rec, VIII., SOh. ' Ibid., VIII., 78. 



247] Church and State in North Carolina. 45 

granted even to the very Catholics in Ireland and the Prot- 
estants in France."' 

The Churchmen could not wholly resist the pressure 
against tliis law. In December, 1770, an act was passed, 
but with a suspending clause, allowing Presbyterian min- 
isters the right to celebrate marriage by publication of 
banns or by license, zvithout " the payment of fees to the 
inciunbent of the parish."' It is interesting to note with 
what Satanic disregard of the rights of man the leaders in 
the Establishment can write. Says Reed : " The bill was 
pushed by the dissenting interest, and [because of] tlie dan- 
gerous situation of the province from such a formidable 
number of malcontents [Regulators], the governor acted 
with the greatest prudence in passing the bill with a sus- 
pending clause. . . . Should this act receive the royal assent 
it would be a fatal stroke to the Church of England, but 
as the insurrection is entirely quelled, I flatter myself with 
hopes that the act will meet with a repulse."^ Again the 
Board of Trade writes that this regulation appears to act as 
"a bounty to the tolerated religion"; they add their petition 
for its disallowance,* and his Majesty graciously listens to 
the advice of his councilors, and his subjects in the wilds 
of Carolina were left without remedy. Not until the Revo- 
lution and the Constitution of 1776 had swept away the 
Establishment did the dissenting clergy have the legal right 
to perform the marriage ceremony.'' 

But the ills under which the colony suffered were not 
borne in silence, for the petition from Rowan and Orange, 
which I have just quoted, was presented to Governor Tryon 



» Col. Eec, VIII.. 82. 

''Act in Col. Eec, IX., 7 ; cf. Davis's Eevisal, 480, ed. 1773 ; cf. also 
Col. Eec, VIII., 297, 300, 322, where a committee on the laws 
argues strongly in favor of its passage. 

3 Col. Eec, IX., 6. *IMd., IX., 7, 248, 251, 284, 366. 

* This was secured by the act of 1778, where "all regular ministers 
of the Gospel of every denomination " were so authorized ; cf. 
Iredell's Eevisal, 354. 



46 Church and State in North Carolina. [248 

by Herman Husband, the leader of the Regulators." It 
embodied the grievances against which those counties were 
complaining-. The lack of religious liberty occupies a 
conspicuous place in the complaints of the inhabitants of 
Tryon, Rowan, and Orange counties, and the fight at 
Alamance, on the sixteenth of May, 1771, the first pitched 
battle of the Revolution, was not a struggle for civil lib- 
erty only; it was equally a struggle for religious liberty. 
The beginnings of the Establishment in North Carolina 
were marked by the "Gary Rebellion"; the struggles 
against it were continuous, and the close of its career fol- 
lows hard on the War of the Regulation and the battle of 
Alamance.' 

Again, the injustice of an Establishment was shown in 
the laws relating to mustering, and in this all Dissenters 
were concerned. The clergy of the Church of England 
had been exempted from this duty as early as 1746 at least; 
but not until 1764 were Presbyterian ministers, and then 
only those who were " regularly called to any congrega- 
tion," exempted from service.* As early as 1755 an attempt 



' Swain, War of Kegulation, in Norlli Carolina University Magazine, 
IX. (1859-60), 339. 

* The writer does not claim that the lack of religious freedom was 
more than one of a number of causes of the War of the Regulation. 
But he cannot agree with the hostile attitude assumed toward the 
Regulators by Colonel A. M. "Waddell in his A Colonial Officer and 
His Times, 130 et seq. Governor Tryon is reported to have said" that 
the Regulators were a faction of Quakers and Baptists who were 
trying to overturn the Church of England. All the Baptist historians, 
Morgan Edwards, History of North Carolina Baptists, George W. 
Purify, History of Sandy Creek Association, R. I. Devin, History of 
Orassy Creek Clmrcli, have taken pains to disclaim participation in 
this movement by their coreligionists, and to condemn the few 
Baptists who were engaged m the movement as if it were a heinous 
crime; but this is unnecessary, for the Baptists do not seem to have 
done much for religious liberty in North Carolina. Religious free- 
dom was represented in the earlier half of the struggle by the 
Quakers, and in the later half by the Presbyterians. 

3 Swann's Revisal, 215. Davis's Revisal, 310, ed. 1765. 



249] Church and State in North Carolina. 47 

had been made to get a law exempting Quakers, but it 
was opposed by the Council, who offered to substitute in 
place of the regular equipment of the soldier that of the 
pioneer, — axe, spade, shovel or hoe.^ This failed to be- 
come law; but by the terms of a special act passed in 1770 
for five years the Quakers were released from attendance 
on general or private musters, provided that they were 
regularly listed and served in the regular militia in case of 
insurrection or invasion.^ There seems to have been no 
general law of exemption for ministers. Presbyterians and 
Quakers were favored by special enactment, while Baptists 
were simply ignored. 

The Quakers met with trouble in another way bearing on 
our subject. This was the question of the affirmation. 
Under the North Carolina act of 171 5 every Quaker who 
was " required upon any lawful occasion to take an oath 
in any case" was permitted to make his affirmation instead.' 
It seems this was intended to meet all conditions, for the 
preamble recites that the oath was to be taken in " courts of 
justice a/i'/ otJicr place sP We have no record of conflict 
under this law, but it would seem that the defeat of the 
liberty of conscience act in 1741 indicated a change in 
public opinion for the worse; and while there is nothing in 
the records of the Quakers to indicate that they were to 
be sing-led out, we have one case of persecution which 
comes under this rubric. In 1747 William Borden appears 
as a member of the Assembly duly elected from the county 



1 Col. Rec, v., 269, 291, 506, 538. 

* Davis's Eevisal, 455, eH. 1773; c/. also the acknowledgment of 
the Quakers in Col. Rec, IX., 176. Because of their peculiar views 
the Quakers suffered about as much from military fines as from 
tithes. In the Revolution this became heavier. In 1778 they paid 
£1213:9:2 in military fines, in 1779 it, amounted to £2153:5:10, and in 
1780 to £841:15:7, "good money, silver dollars at eight shillings." 
The writer does not think that the injustice came in here in requir- 
ing Quakers to bear arms, but in the fact that their preachers were 
not exempted from this duty, as the clergymen of the Establishment 
were. ^ Col. Rec, II., 884. 



48 Church and State in North Carolina. [250 

of Carteret. He informed the authorities that he was a 
Quaker and " therefore desired his solemn affirmation might 
be taken," which he evidently expected to be done. This 
affirmation a committee of the Council appointed to qualify 
the members of the lower house refused to receive, and a 
new election for a successor to Borden was ordered.' 

We may summarize the work done so far by saying that 
in 1776, by a slow and laborious process, some recognition 
of Dissenters had been wrung from the Churchmen. This 
recognition was confined to Presbyterians and Quakers; 
while the Baptists, although strong and vigorous, were 
entirely unrecognized.'' 

There was little direct persecution in North Carolina. 
There was no opportunity for it under the existing laws, 
and the Dissenters were aggressive and powerful. The 
manuscript records of the Friends show perfectly conclusively 
that while they suffered distraint for tithes and military 
levies, they were not imprisoned. They suffered no bodily 
violence. We have found no case, save that of Borden, 
where they were deprived of office because of religious 
views. But Dissenters were not prominent as officeholders 
during the royal period. They seem to have reached no 
higher than the lower house of the Assembly. They Avere, 
perhaps, never in the Council, and we may be certain that 
no Dissenter could have been appointed to the governor- 
ship, as had been done under the Proprietors. There was 
more religious liberty at the beginning than at the close of 
the colonial life of North Carolina, but there is no well 
authenticated case of bodily persecution in our annals, unless 
we count the imprisonment of the Quakers who refused to 



» Col. Rec, IV., 855-857. 

* There were Methodists in the province as early as 1760 (Col. 
Rec, VI., 264, 565, 594, 1047, 1060 ; VIT., 97, 102), but they had not 
yet been differentiated from the Established Church ; cf. The History 
of Methodism in North Carolina in the Eighteenth Century, now in 
preparation by Mr. Robert H. Willis. 



251] Church and State in North Carolina. 49 

bear arms in 1680 as such, and this seems to have been more 
poHtical than reHgious in its character.* 

The persecution in North CaroHna was indirect; men 
were not put in jail, but they were harassed and subjected 
to injury and loss in other ways. 

(i) They were required to pay tithes, and thus help to 
support a clergy other than their own. The fact that these 
laws were passed by natives of North Carolina, rather than 
by the British government, does not relieve the odium of 



' This brings us to the much-disputed case of the Baptists in New 
Bern. On June 20, 1740, we find a " sect of dissenting people called 
Babtists" petitioning for the liberty to build a house of worship, 
"they desiring to preach among themselves." The petitioners were 
duly examined before the court and acknowledged "all the articles 
of the Church of England except part of the 27th and 36." The 
matter was referred. When it came up in the afternoon, parties 
" made oath to several misdemeanors committed by the s*^ Peti- 
tioners contrary to & in contempt of the laws now in force. Upon 
which it was ordered by this court the s'^ Petitioners be bound by 
Recognizance for their appearance at the next court of assize and 
Goale delivery to be held at this Town then & there to answer to 
such things as they shall be charged with and in the meantime be 
of Good behavior to all his Majesties Liege People." John James, 
William Fulsher, Francis Ayers, Lemuel Harvey, Nicholas Purify 
and John Brooks forthwith appeared and gave bond, dividing the 
securities among tfiemselves. The petition came up again in Septem- 
ber and was granted. This much is clear and nothing more. But 
about 1879 Rev. John T. Albritton made the statement that 
Baptists had been whipped in New Bern. It was denied. He 
asked the editor of the JYew Bern Journal to look the matter up. 
This was done, and, Sept. 6, 1883, the Journal printed an editorial 
in which it is stated that when Baptists applied in 1741 for the 
privilege of building a church, which they could do under the 
Toleration Act (this act required that the meeting-houses of Dis- 
senters be registered. The Presbyterians of Rowan registered theirs 
(Col. Rec, VIII., 227, 507), and in 1758 the Quakers concluded to 
have theirs registered), they were not only refused the privilege, 
but were whipped, bound over to keep the peace, required to give 
bond for good behavior and to take the Test Oath. 

After many efforts I have been unable to get a copy of this 
editorial in any form. There are persons living who claim to have 



50 Church and State in North Carolina. [252 

the laws. They were none the less oppressive for that 
reason/ It is difficult for us to tell how extensive and bur- 
densome these tithes were; but that is of small moment, as 
a matter of principle was involved rather than one of 
pounds, shillings and pence. We may, perhaps, take the 
Friends as representing the general success of the tithe law. 
Prior to 1700 they had ordered that a true account of suf- 
ferings for truth's sake be kept. This was renewed in 1723 
and again in 1756. In 1726 Friends in Perquimans com- 
plain of unlawful distraint, and report the case to the Meet- 
ing for Sufferings in London. In 1755 a committee was 



seen the original record which is now lost, but they cannot be 
induced to publish what they know, nor have I been able to get so 
much as a written statement that is definite and tangible. The 
advocates of persecution content themselves with vague assertions, 
and the photographs made by the Baptists of the Craven county 
records prove nothing whatever as to persecution. Dr. Vass, who 
was on the ground, looked the matter up very carefully not long 
after the time the Journal did and could find no indication of 
whipping. Cf. the account given in his History of the Presbyterian 
Church in Neio Bern, N. C, 81-84. 

Since the above was in type, two articles on this subject by Rev. 
Dr. C. Durham appeared in the Biblical Recorder for March 29 and 
April 5, 1893. The Journal editorial is quoted ; a tradition in regard 
to this persecution has come down to our day ; the records, which 
had been previously photographed, are printed, but no new material 
is produced. It is claimed that the record "has, seemingly by 
design, been mutilated," but they were intact when Dr. Vass exam- 
ined them and he could find no evidence. Dr. Durham promises 
a third article. Cf. also Church History in North Carolina, 61. 

1 Dr. Cheshire, Church History in North Carolina, 88, 89, calls atten- 
tion to the fact that these clergymen were not paid by the British 
government as has been claimed. It is incomprehensible how such 
an egregious blunder should arise. But I cannot agree with him 
when he says that " there was practically no discontent among the 
people," or that it was never felt " to be a popular grievance, nor had 
it created prejudice against the Church among the people of the 
Revolutionary period" (p. 253). I think the quotations I have 
made from the records will show that these statements are not 
exact. 



253] Church and State in North Carolina. 51 

appointed whose duty it was " to take the opportunity with 
some of tlie vestry so as to inform themselves on what 
account the levies are laid, before the time of the same, in 
order to prevent tiie like hereafter." Sufferings in 1756, 
chiefly for the maintenance " of an hireling priest," iio 14s. 
5d.; two years later it was £14 17s. 6d., for same cause. The 
next year there was " a shortness in some Friends in respect 
to a compliance with tlie payment of the demand to support 
a hireling ministry. Friends are recommended to be more 
careful, diligent, watchful." Sufferings, 1759, £85 and over; 
1760, £23; 1761, "Friends have had no sufferings this year, 
part we believe is owing in a great measure to the modera- 
tion of the officers." No sufferings in 1762, nor in 1765; 
1768, fines reported amounted to £5 4s., "being for priests' 
wages and repairing of tlieir houses called churches." In 
1772, no suffering, except 30s., "church rates so-called"; 
none in 1773 or 1774.^ 

The amount of tithes collected here is ridiculously small. 
The whole amount for half a century would hardly support 
two clergymen decently for a year; but in this small sum 
was wrapped the whole principle of liberty of conscience. 

(2) They suffered under muster laws, where a distinction 
was made in favor of the clergymen of the Church of Eng- 
land and against dissenting ministers. 

(3) Presbyterian ministers were not allowed to perform 
the marriage ceremony until 1766. Even then the fee went 
to the minister of the Church of England. Other Dis- 
senters, Quakers excepted, were not allowed this right 
before 1776. 

(4) The most infamous section of all, the continued re- 
enactment and enforcement of the Schism Act, which had 
been repealed in England in 171 8. This act exasperated 
the Dissenters, throttled the few sickly schools that had 
begun to rise in the province, put a premium on the Estab- 



1 Manuscript Records of Friends' Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly 
Meetings in North Carolina. 



52 Church and State in North Carolina. [254 

lishment and on ignorance, separated the different denomi- 
nations from each other, hindered free political discussion 
by keeping men ignorant of political matters, and is directly- 
responsible for the large percentage of ignorance and for 
the backwardness in intellectual life so characteristic of the 
State to-day/ 

For this state of affairs we must hold both the English 
and colonial governments responsible. The initiative was 
taken by the home government. It was sanctioned and 
carried to its literal fulfilment by a powerful set in the 
colony. Illiberal ecclesiastical acts could have been easily 
made a dead letter, if not repealed, had the colonists op- 
posed them, since these colonists were not at a loss for 
expedients to circumvent the British authorities. 



' Strangely enough, Dr. Charles Lee Smith, in his excellent His- 
tory of Education in Worth Carolina, has entirely failed to recognize 
the importance of the Schism Act in its relation to education ; cf. 
32, 41, 42. 



CHAPTER IV. 

The Fall of the Establishment. 

As tlie days of the Revolution drew nearer, the Established 
Church grew relatively weaker. The struggle against the 
increasing number and power of the Dissenters was con- 
tinued, but tlie State support on which its clergymen 
depended often failed them. This fact will explain and 
mollify many of their harsh criticisms of the colonists; but 
tlie support failed through no fault of the colonial Church- 
men. They did what they could; the spirit of the age was 
against them. 

With the end of the seventh decade ecclesiastical legisla- 
tion ceased. The Vestry Act of 1768 is the last law in 
North Carolina seeking to perpetuate an endowed Church 
at the expense of other denominations. From 1770 the 
entries in the records in regard to Church affairs become 
fewer; as times became more troublesome the mouths of the 
missionaries, who were mostly Tories, were gradually 
stopped. The Vestry Act of 1768 expired by limitation in 
1773, and the law amending and further continuing it, 
passed in 1774, related solely to the poor.^ The Establish- 
ment was dead. 

But the Establishment threatened for the time to make a 
breach in the ranks of the patriots. '' Distinctions and ani- 
mosities," writes Governor Martin in 1774, "have imme- 
morially prevailed in this country between the people of the 
Established Church and the Presbyterians on the score of 
the difference of their unessential modes of church govern- 
ment and the same spirit of division has entered into, or 

1 Col. Rec, IX., 1014. 



54 Church and State in North Carolina. [256 

been transferred, to most other concernments; at present 
there is no less apparent schism between their politics than 
in matters appertaining to religion, and while loyalty, mod- 
eration and respect to government seem to distinguish the 
generality of the members of the Church of England, I am 
sincerely sorry to find they are by no means the characters 
of the Presbyterians at large." " If my opinion is right," 
he adds, " I submit to your lordship's wisdom the expe- 
diency of giving greater encouragement to the Establish- 
m.ent of the Church of England in a political view with 
respect to religion."^ 

This recommendation of Governor Martin was the dying 
wail of the Establishment. But it was uttered in vain. The 
great majority of the Churchmen remained faithful to the 
cause of the colonies, and the Establishment simply dis- 
appears from the history of North Carolina. A majority of 
its ministers remained faithful to the home government and 
were deprived of their cures. They returned to England, 
and the Episcopal Church received a set-back from which it 
did not recover for a generation. Others threw in their 
lot with the colonists and became useful citizens of the 
infant State.'' The correspondence of the S. P. G. disap- 
pears. Its work, whether good or bad, had been done, and 
it passed from politics into history. The Dissenters had 
kept up a manly fight; for three-quarters of a century they 
had struggled for the rights of man. The struggle was 
now rising to its flood, and on the crest of the receding 
waves of royalty went the Establishment with all it means. 

Dissatisfaction seems to have reached, if possible, a higher 
height in Mecklenburg than elsewhere. These people were 



^ Col. Rec, IX., 1086. Governor Martin was writing from New 
York, but it is evident that he did not intend his remarks to apply 
to that province alone. Further, he expresses his desire that the 
clergy of North Carolina be put on a better footing, since religion 
helps to maintain " order and good government." We know wbat 
" good government" meant with him. 

^ Rev. Charles E. Taylor was a chaplain to the Provincial Congress, 
Col. Rec, X., 140, 169. 



257] Church and State in North Carolina. 55 

mostly Scotch-Irish and had been Dissenters for genera- 
tions before coming- to America. This county, which was 
to become soon the " Hornet's Nest " of the Revolution, in- 
structed its delegates in September, 1775, to oppose in tlie 
Congress that was to meet in Halifax in April, 1776, "any 
particular church or set of clergymen being invested with 
power to decree rites and ceremonies and to decide in con- 
troversies of faith to be submitted to under the influence of 
penal laws." They were to oppose also " the establishment 
of any mode of worship to be supported to the opposition 
of the rights of conscience."^ 

But this convention was busy making preparation for war, 
and did nothing. The instructions to the delegates to the 
Halifax Convention of November, 1776, are still more clear- 
cut and positive in their position. They are in the hand- 
writing of Waightstill Avery, a representative of the best 
Puritan blood of New England. Sections twenty and 
twenty-one of these instructions sum up the cause for which 
the Dissenters had carried on their long war: 

"That in all times hereafter no professing Christian of 
any denomination whatever shall be compelled to pay any 
tax or duty towards the support of the clergy or worship of 
any other denomination. 

" That all professing Christians shall enjoy the free and 
undisturbed exercise of religion, and may worship God 
according to their consciences without restraint except 
idolatrous worshipers." 

After the adoption of the constitution and form of gov- 
ernment, the delegates were instructed to " endeavor to have 



' Col. Rec, X., 241. This paper was the work of Dr. Ephraim. 
Brevard and will compare favorably with any State paper in Amer- 
ica. The liberality of the man is indicated by the fact that in 
naming a basis for their " Religion of the State," the Presbyterians 
put the 39 Articles, excluding the 37th and those suspended by the 
Toleration Act, on a level with the Westminster Confession. Cf. 
Foote's Sketches of North Carolina, 68-76. 



56 Church and State in North Carolina. [258 

all vestry laws and marriage acts heretofore in force totally 
and forever abolished."'' 

These instructions had immediate effect. A clause was 
inserted in ihe Declaration of Rights recognizing " the 
natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God 
according to the dictates of their own consciences." But 
this was not all. They inserted a section in their constitu- 
tion: 

" XXXIV. That there shall be no Establishment of any 
one religious Church or Denomination in this State in Pref- 
erence to any other, neither shall any person, on any pre- 
tence whatsoever, be compelled to attend any place of wor- 
ship contrary to his own Faith or Judgment, or be obliged 
to pay for the purchase of any Glebe, or the building of 
any House of Worship, or for the maintenance of any Min- 
ister or Ministry, contrary to what he believes right, or has 
voluntarily and personally engaged to perform, but all per- 
sons shall be at Liberty to exercise their own mode of Wor- 
ship. Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be con- 
strued to exempt Preachers of treasonable and seditious 
Discourses, from legal trial and Punishment."* 

The divorce of Church and State was complete. 

' Col. Rec, X., 87Qd. According to these instructions, Atheists 
were to be excluded from holding ofRce, and its UberaUty is marred 
by the exckision of Unitarians and Catholics also. 

^ This Convention met at Halifax on November 12, 1776, and 
adjourned December 23. 



CHAPTER V. 

Epilogue. 

Little more remains to be said on the history of Church 
and State in North Carolina. In 1774 the Assembly now 
calling itself a Provincial Congress, took charge of and con- 
trolled the government; but there is nothing in the proceed- 
ings of tliese Congresses disturbing the status q?co . There 
were five Provincial Congresses. The first met in Newbem 
in August, 1774. The fiftli met in Plalifax in November, 
1776. This Congress adopted, on December 17, the Bill 
of Rights, and on the next day a Stale Constitution. These 
instruments contained the j)rovisions for religious freedom 
which have been already mentioned. It now only re- 
mained for the laws of the new State to be brought into 
conformity with her new Constitution. The Established 
Church fell with its adoption. An ordinance was passed 
securing to the different churches such glebes, lands and 
tenements as they already possessed. Marriage was put on 
a new footing in 1778^ by a law giving the privilege of per- 
forming the ceremony to all ministers alike. The terms of 
the afiimiation for Quakers, Moravians, IMennonites, and 
Dunkards were fixed.^ The law in regard to the care of the 



' Laws of 1778, ch. 7, Iredell's Revisal, 354. 

' Laws of 1779, chap. 10, Iredell's Revisal, 369 ; cf. also Laws of 
1780, ch. 13, ibid., 400, and Laws of 1784, ch. 29, ibid., 505. 

The Quakers were not willing to take the oath of allegiance (Laws 
of 1777, ch. 10), and say in a petition to the Assembly that the set- 
ting up and pulling down of governments and kings is God's work 
and that they " cannot be active either for or against any power 
that is permitted or set over us." They hoped the State would con- 
sider their principles a much stronger security than anj' test (Yearly 
Meeting Records). In 1778 it was decided to labor with those who 
took the "aflBrmation of allegiance or fidelity," in love and tender- 
ness ; if they remained stubborn they were not to be considered 



58 Church and State in North Carolina. [260 

orphan children of Quakers, passed in 1762, was repealed/ 
and with this repeal ecclesiastical laws disappear from our 
history. 

But there was still another stage in the separation. 
There was no guarantee of religious freedom in the Federal 
Constitution as proposed to the States in 1787. The ab- 
sence of this guarantee provoked so much criticism in no 
other State as in North Carolina. The leaders in this attack 
were the Rev. Henry Abbot, of Camden county, a Bap- 
tist minister, who had been a member of the second Halifax 
Convention in 1776, and who is said to have been the author 
of the clause of the Bill of Rights declaring for religious 
freedom,^ Rev. David Caldwell, representative from Guilford, 
the most distinguished Presbyterian divine in the State, and 
Gen. William Lenoir, one of th heroes of y6. 

Abbot said some were afraid that under this new consti- 
tution they might be deprived of the privilege of worship- 
active members. The next year they considered the matter again 
and concluded that they could not " consistently take any test 
while things remain unsettled and still to be determined by militia 
force." (Quarterly and Yearly Meeting Records.) 
» Laws of 1784, ch. 29, Iredell, 505. 

^ Abbot was a member of the committee on tbe Bill of Rights and 
Constitution ; tradition ascribes to him the nineteenth clause of the 
former. This claim is evidently founded on a passage in Burkitt 
and Read's Goncise History of the Kehukee BcqMst Association (pp. 107- 
109), where the author remarks, "to him we owe our thanks, in a 
measure, for the security of some of our religious rigJits." This 
statement was repeated by Biggs in his continuation to Burkitt (pp. 
87-89), and has been amplified by later writers. Burkitt was a con- 
temporary and an acquaintance of Abbot, and we may assume that 
the statement is substantially correct. Abbot was the son of John 
Abbot, Canon of St. Paul's. While still young he ran away, came 
to America and settled in that part of Pasquotank county which is 
now Camden. He taught school until his conversion, when he be- 
came an itinerant Baptist preacher. He acted in this capacity for 
a few years, and in 1764 or 1765 took charge of Shiloh church in 
Camden county. He was a man of much public spirit and had 
been a member of tlie Halifax Convention of April, 1776, as well as 
of the second convention in November. He died in May, 1791. 



261] Church and State in North Carolina. 59 

ing God according to their conscience. Would their lib- 
erties be secure, or would the general government make 
laws infringing these liberties? It was feared that the 
authority which had the treaty-making power might enter 
into an engagement to adopt the Roman Catholic religion, 
which would prevent the people from worshiping God ac- 
cording to their own consciences. If there is to be an 
Establishment, what shall be its form? As there are no 
religious tests, pagans, deists and Mahometans might obtain 
office, and senators and representatives might all be pagans. 
By whom were men to swear? — by Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, 
Proserpine [sic], or Pluto ?^ 

To these arguments, James Iredell, later a Justice of the 
Supreme Court of the United States, replied. He recog- 
nized the evils of religious persecutions. The purpose of 
the convention was to establish a general religious liberty. 
Congress has no authority to interfere in the establishment 
of any religion whatsoever; if there is a religious test, how 
is it possible to exclude any set of men without taking 
away that principle of religious freedom which we ourselves 
so warmly contend for? He had just seen in a pamphlet 
that the Pope of Rome might become president;^ there was 
no provision against such an emergency, nor was there one 
against one of the kings of Europe; one would be as 
rational and judicious as the other. 

Gov. Samuel Johnston said a Jew, a Mahometan or a 
pagan could get office only in one of two ways: either the 
American people would have to lay aside the Christian 
religion altogether, or such persons would have to acquire 
confidence and esteem by good conduct and the practice 
of virtue. 



' Elliot, Delates, I., 277, saj'S the clause abolishing religious tests 
passed "unanimously in the affirmative," but Madison reports 
that North Carolina voted against it: cf. Schaff, Church and State in 
United States, in Papers American Historical Association, II., 403. 

^ Schaff, Ihid., 407, says this remark was made by a delegate from 
North Carolina in the Convention of 1787. I have not been able to 
fix the authorship of the pamphlet to which Iredell refers. 



60 Church and State in North Carolina. [262 

Dr. Caldwell thought the absence of the test was an 
invitation to Jews and pagans of every kind, and that these 
might endanger the character of the United States. 

Judge Samuel Spencer replied that he was in favor of 
religious liberty in particular; no one particular religion 
should be established; religious tests have been the founda- 
tion of persecution in all countries ; they keep good men out 
of office, not bad ones ; is it reasonable to suppose that men 
would be chosen without regard to tlieir characters? 

Gen. Lenoir said that there was no provision against 
infrmgement of the rights of conscience; that ecclesiastical 
courts might be established which would be destructive to 
our citizens ; these courts might make any establishment they 
thought proper. 

Mr. R. D. Spaight denied that the power to establish 
ecclesiastical courts was given to Congress. 

Mr. William Lancaster said tliat a test would secure 
religion, and that religious liberty ought to be provided for. 
" But let us remember that we iorrn a government for 
millions not yet in existence. I have not the art of divina- 
tion. In the course of four or five hundred years I do 
not know how it will work. This is most certain, that 
Papists may occupy that chair, and Mahometans may take 
it. I see nothing against it."^ 

The Federalists, under the leadership of Iredell, Davie, 
Maclaine, Johnston, and Spaight, made a gallant fight for 
the adoption of the Constitution; but the lack of a Bill of 
Rights, and a guarantee of religious freedom, and the strong 
centralizing tendency of the instrument were too much for 
them, and the Convention resolved "neither to ratify nor 
to reject the Constitution," but " that a declaration of rights, 
asserting and securing from encroachment the great prin- 
ciples of civil and religious liberty, and the unalienable rights 
of the people, together with amendments to the most am- 
biguous and exceptionable parts of the said Constitution of 
government, ought to be laid before Congress and the con- 

' Discussion in Elliot's Debates, 2d edition, vol. 4, pp. 191-215. 



263] Church and State in North Carolina. 61 

vention of the States that shall or may be called for the pur- 
pose of amending the said Constitution, for their considera- 
tion, previous to the ratification of the Constitution afore- 
said on the part of the State of North Carolina," 

In accord with this program, a declaration of rights, con- 
sisting of twenty articles, the last of which declares for " an 
equal, natural and unalienable right to tlie free exercise of 
religion according to the dictates of conscience," and 
twenty-six amendments to the Constitution itself were 
recommended to the States for adoption.' 

North Carolina was therefore unrepresented in the extra 
session of the first Congress. This session took up the 
question of amendments, and twelve were proposed to the 
States. One of tliese, now standing a? the first, provided 
that " Congress shall make no law respecting an establish- 
ment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." 
These amendments covered the vital principles for which 
North Carolina had been striving. It became evident that 
they would be adopted, for the same features had been 
emphasized by Virginia, New Hampshire, and New York, 
and North Carolina adopted the Federal Constitution with- 
out debate in convention at Fayetteville, November 21, 
1789. 

There remains but one thing more. The thirty-second 
section of the Constitution of 1776 read: "That no person 
who shall deny the Being of God, or the truth of the Prot- 
estant religion, or the divine authority either of the Old or 
New Testament, or shall hold religious principles incom- 
patible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be 
capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in 
the civil department within this State."' 



^ This declaration of rights is the same as that adopted by Vir- 
ginia in June of the same year. The Virginia amendments were 
twenty in number. North Carolina adopted these and added six 
others. 

* This section has been accredited to Rev. David Caldwell (Foote, 
Sketches of North Carolina, 240). It was opposed by Governor 



62 Church and State in North CaroliTia. [264 

It was never possible to arrive at any uniformity of 
belief as to the parties intended. Judge Gaston summarized 
the state of belief in his great debate in the Convention of 
1835 ^s follows: "One [of the previous speakers] informs 
us that it excludes nobody — that it cannot be interpreted to 
exclude anybody — that, for want of a tribunal to enforce 
and expound it, the entire provision is a dead letter, as if 
it had never been embodied in the instrument. Another 
thinks that it clearly excludes atheists and such deists as 
make a parade of their infidelity, by proclaiming the Holy 
Scriptures to be false. A third believes that it disqualifies 
atheists, deists, and Jews — for that the latter necessarily 
deny the divine authority of the New Testament, and 
deists deny the divine authority both of the New and Old 
Testament. A fourth supposes that these are excluded, anH 
that it was intended also to exclude Catholics, but that the 
language is not sufficiently explicit to warrant a judicial expo- 
sition to that effect. A fifth holds that it was not only 
intended to exclude, but, by a legal construction, does 
exclude them. A sixth is satisfied that Quakers, Men- 
nonites, and Dunkards are disqualified, because their doc- 
trine, that arms cannot lawfully be used in defense of the 
country, is subversive of its very freedom and repugnant to 
its safety. Some think it will be a matter of fact for a jury 
to determine — others, a matter of law, for a court, to pro- 
nounce what religious principles are incompatible with the 
freedom and safety of the State — ^while not a few are inclined 



Johnston: "Unfortunately, one of the members from the back 
country introduced a test, by which every person, before he should 
be admitted to a share in the Legislature, should swear that he be- 
lieved in the Holy Trinity, and that the Scriptures of the Old Testa- 
ment was written by divine inspiration. This was carried after a 
very warm debate, and has blown up such a flame, that everything 
is in danger of being thrown into confusion." (McRee's X^/(6 and 
Correspondence of James Iredell, I., 339.) 



265] Church and State in North Carolina. 63 

to hold that the Legislature may, in this respect, define what 
the Constitution has left vague and uncertain.'" 

The clause had probably been aimed at Roman Catholics. 
But it had never been interpreted against them. Thomas 
Burke, who "publicly professed and openly avowed the 
Catholic faith," had been a member of the Continental Con- 
gress from North Carolina, and in 1781 had been elected 
governor of the State. Judge Toomer said that this clause 
was a declaration of principles, not a proscription of indi- 
viduals; that infidels and Jews had been members of each 
branch of the General Assembly;' that votaries of the 
Romish Church had filled tlie highest executive, legislative 
and judicial stations in the State; that the construction of 
the section had been settled by the decisions of every 
department of the government and that this had been 
accepted by the people.* Mr. Fisher said all offices had 
been filled by Catholics from governor down to constable.* 

The most distinguished oi these Catholics was William 
Gaston, one of the best and purest men whom North Caro- 
lina has produced. He had been a member of the State 
Senate, he was Speaker of the House of Commons, he was 
a representative in Congress; but his right to hold these 
oflEices had never been questioned. In 1833 he was chosen 



' Debates of Convention o/1835, 270, 271. It was on this occasion 
that Judge Gaston made his famous address in defense of the 
Catholic Church, Debates, pp. 264-305, which did much, no doubt, 
to move the Convention toward a more liberal view ; but his 
historical references are sometimes warped and even untrue. In 
1823, during the " AYestern Convention," Henry "W. Harrington 
moved that this clause be stricken out. It was discussed favorably, 
but was withdrawn as foreign to a " Western Convention." Ibid., 
275. 

^ Judge Gaston instances the case of Jacob Henry, a Jew, who was 
in the House of Commons in 1808 from Carteret. The clause did 
not exclude these classes from legislative offices, but only from civil. 
They could make, but could neither execute nor interpret the laws! 

3 Ibid., 314, 319. 

* Ibid., 327. Cf. also a summary of these by Martin I. J. Griffin, 
in American Catholic Historical Researches, July, 1890, pp. 129-133. 



64 Church and State in North Carolina. [266 

a Justice of the Supreme Court by the Legislature. In a 
letter to Thomas P. Devereux he explains how he can bold 
office under this clause: The Constitution is based on the 
general principles of civil and religious liberty; therefore all 
citizens are competent to take and to hold office who are not 
clearly disqualified; it was in the power of the people to 
create penal incapacity, but persons must be unequivocally 
debarred before this can take effect; the only part of the 
Constitvition that can be so interpreted is the thirty-second 
section; it is possible that some of the framers intended to 
exclude Catholics; but what is the Protestant religion? We 
have no establishment to determine the truth of that religion 
and pronounce on schism and heresy; this establishment is 
forbidden by the Constitution; the Constitution has not 
defined the Protestant religion, has not excluded Catholics 
or any other denomination eo nomine^ and is therefore 
inefficient and unmeaning. Is a belief in the Catliolic a 
denial of the truth of the doctrines of Protestants? Again, 
test laws and disqualifying enactments were familiar to 
England and her colonies; if this old system of proscription 
had been intended, can it be doubted that the intent would 
have been unequivocally manifested? Judge Gaston con- 
cluded that he was not disqualified and that he had "no 
right by any over-nice scruples to be instrumental in practi- 
cally interpolating into that mstrument an odious provision 
which it does not contain."^ 

Judge Gaston had assumed his seat on the supreme 
bench, and there had been no complaint; but it was thought 
best to amend the section when the matter came up for 
settlement in the constitutional convention. The debate on 
the section was long, but almost wholly in favor of amend- 
ment,' the opposition argument being based largely on the 



1 North Carolina Umversity Magazine, VII. (N. S. 1887-88), 61-63 ; 
included in his Convention speech. 

^ The printed debates make a volume of 424 pages, octavo, of 
which this section takes up pp. 213-332. 



267] Church and State in North Carolina. 65 

fact that it was already dead. It was determined to sub- 
stitute the word " Christian " for " Protestant," and thus, in 
the eloquent words of Judge Gaston, was the carcass of this 
last remnant of religious persecution interred, " lest its pes- 
tilential effluvia should poison the atmosphere of Freedom." 

Bibliographical Note. 

A number of books and monographs have been pub- 
lished on the history of the Baptists, Episcopalians, Luth- 
erans, Methodists, Moravians, and Presbyterians in North 
Carolina, but the authors have in most cases confined 
themselves to the growth and development and the inner 
life of the denomination. Little attention has been given 
to their relations to other denominations or to the State. 

The question of Church and State has been discussed 
from the Presbyterian standpoint by Rev. E. W. Caruthers, 
in his Li/c of Rev. David Caldzvell, D. D. (Greensboro, 
1842) ; by Rev. L. C. Vass, in his History of the Presbyter- 
ian Church in Neiv Bern, North C«r<?/m« (Richmond, 1886), 
who gives a resume of ecclesiastical affairs in eastern 
North Carolina ; and from the Episcopal view by Rev. 
Joseph Blount Cheshire, in Church History in North Carolina 
(Wilmington, 1892). The principal materials used in this 
paper were Tlie Colonial Records of North Carolina (10 vols., 
Raleigh, 1886-1890), the Laws of North Carolina (Revisals 
of 1752, 1765, 1773, 1791), Elliofs Debates (Washington, 
1836), the Debates of the Convention ^/i835 (Raleigh, 1836), 
and the manuscript records of the Monthly, Quarterly and 
Yearly Meetings of the Friends, now in the care of Josiah 
Nicholson, Esq., Belvidere, North Carolina, and of Prof. 
J. W. Woody, Guilford College, North Carolina. 



[Notes supplementary to the Johns Hopkins University 

Studies in Historical and Political Science, 1893, No. 1.] 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION. 

By WILLIAM T. HARRIS, LL. D. 

U. S. Commissioner of Education. 



A course of five lectures on the Philosophy of Education was given to 
those members of the University who are engaged in teaching or who 
expect to become teachers, by William T. Harris, LL. D., Commissioner of 
Education, January 7-14, 1893. An abstract of the principal topics dis- 
cussed is here given. 

The following list of books is suggested as useful for reference in connec- 
tion with the course : 

1. Rosenkranz : Paedagogik als System (English Translation, D. AppUton & Co., New 
York). Third part, treating of the suhstantial contents of the national education — its 
sacred books, and the idea that the nation stands for in the history of the world. (Lec- 
ture 1.) 

2. Karl Schmidt: Geschichte der Paedagogik; gives a much fuller statement of the 
details of the culture systems of the several nations. (Lecture 1.) 

3. R. H. Quick ; Educational Reformers. (Lectures 2, 3, i, and 5.) 

4. Pestalozzi : Lienhard und Gertrud. {English Translation, Boston.) (Lecture 3.) 

5. Herbart ; Lehrbuch zur Psychologie. (English translation. New York). (Lecture 3.) 

6. Rousseau : Emile. (Lecture 4.) 

7. Herbert Spencer ; Essay on Mucation. (Lecture 5.) 

Lectuke I. — January 1th, 1893. 

THE LITERATURE OF EDUCATION. 

The first and most important of all educational literature is that showing 
the ideals of a people — the literature on which they are brought up — gen- 
erally the sacred books which reveal what the people regard as divine ; 
consequently what is the highest ideal to be realized. China, for example, 
has Confucius and Mencius, showing the family as the type of the social 
whole. These writings furnish the contents of the mind of the Chinese — 
minute observances of etiquette ; how to behave towards one's elders and 
superiors in rank; towards one's inferiors or juniors; towards one's equals. 
Chinese schools are almost exclusively devoted to filling the memory of the 
pupil with the ethical maxims of these sacred books, so that the mind shall 
be full of family etiquette. The aim of Chinese education was to teach the 
young how to behave ; that of the Persians, how to ride, shoot, and speak 
the truth — a faculty not much thought of by the Hindus. The Persian 

1 



2 The Philosophy of Education. [270 

differs from the Buddhist in that the latter wishes to get rid of the world, 
while the former attempts to conquer the real. The Phoenicians, again, fur- 
nish a contrast to Chinese education. Their object was to wean the child 
from the family ; whereas the Chinese endeavor to educate the young so 
that they will become submerged in the family. The Phoenicians aimed 
to create a love of adventuz-e. Their children were educated in myths. The 
stories in Homer's " Odyssey '' must have been derived from the tales of 
the Phoenician sailors, which were calculated to engender a hunger and 
thirst for adventure, so that the young Phoenician would gladly get on 
board ship and go to the ends of the world in the interests of trade. The 
Greeks were imbued with the new world-principle of a spiritual and beau- 
tiful individuality. They thought more of the games which they practised 
in the evenings on the village green than of the tasks by which they earned 
their bread. They learned history and geography from the second book of 
Homer's "Iliad." They thought not of commercial education, like the 
Phoenicians, but of that heroic individual who furnished a beautiful ideal. 
Later on, Greek education became more scientific and more reflective. The 
Roman concentrated his whole mind on the will. He went beyond the 
circle of his city, and studied to cause even foreigners to live under the 
same laws with himself. Freedom meant more to him than to any of the 
Asiatic nations. It meant the power of the individual to hold, alienate, and 
devise property. Tliis was an enormous step upward in educational pro- 
gress. Hitherto, property could only be held by the family. Contract is 
the supreme idea of the Roman. He even carries it into his religion. Thus 
he prays to one of his deities to help him in some extremity or to give him 
his desire, and he promises, in turn, to build the god a temple. The Roman 
wants to conquer all peoples and to make them free under the law. But 
the greatest educational lesson is derived from the Hebrew people. They 
teach the personality of the Divine apart from Nature. This Divine Per- 
son creates Nature in order that He shall have something to recognize 
Him. The Divine Being does not efface man simply, but is the embodiment 
of goodness and righteousness — the righteousness that breathes the spirit of 
loving kindness, holding his creatures responsible only in so far as they know 
the right, and returning their deeds upon them. Art education ranked 
first in the Greek mind, for he woishipped the beautiful. Then came 
science and philosophy. From the Greeks we get these elements of our 
educational curriculum. From the Romans we get the principle of organi- 
zation. Whetlier or not a person is educated reflectingly into civilization, 
he finds himself in the great network of usages that go to make up civili- 
zation. Education is meant to give one an insight into the genesis of these 
things, so that he can detect an element of each in^the tlireads of his civili- 
zation. Ninety-nine out of a hundred people in every civilized nation are 
automata, careful to walk in the prescribed paths, careful to follow prescribed 
custom. This is the result of substantial education, which, scientifically 
defined, is the subsumption of the individual under his species. The other 



271] The Philosophy of Education. S 

educational principle is the emancipation from this subsumption. This is 
subordinate, and yet, in our time, we lay more stress upon it than the other. 
Look at the French Revolution. What a prodigious emancipation that 
was. It was predicted by Rousseau ; but those who read him only super- 
ficially, without first studying his genesis, will find that their minds are 
poisoned by his doctrine of the supremacy of nature. Comenius taught 
the emancipation of the individual from the printed page. Spencer says 
that the modern school system is all wrong, and has a tendenc_y to get away 
from science and cause students to waste time over the dead languages. 
Emancipation has now become the important side of the educational ques- 
tion. But the student of advanced education must first avail himself of the 
wisdom of the race, and learn how not to be limited by it. He cannot pro- 
gress unless he is a free man, for he must not be so much subsumed that he 
cannot investigate scientifically, and with safety to himself, all problems 
that present themselves. 

Lecture II. — Saturday, January 14:th, 1893. 

PROBLEMS PECULIAR TO AMERICAN EDUCATION, 

There are two kinds of education. The first may be called substantial edu- 
cation — tlie education by means of the memory ; the education which gives 
to the individual, methods and habits and the fundamentals of knowledge. 
It is this education which the child begins to receive from its birth. This 
sort of education is education by anthoritj' — that is, the individual accepts 
the authority of the teacher for the truth of what he is told, and does not 
question it or seek to obtain insight into the reason for its being so. It 
is this education by authority — the education of the past — that the 
modern or second kind of education seeks to supersede. This second kind 
may be called individual or scientific education ; it is the education of insight 
as opposed to that of authority. When this kind of education is acquired, 
it frees the individual from the authority of the other. Under the system 
of education by authority when told, for instance, that the sum of three 
angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, this will be blindly be- 
lieved only as long as authority sanctions this belief; but when an insight 
into the reason for this geometrical truth is obtained, no change of authority 
is able to make the individual doubt. But there is this danger in the system 
of education by insight, if begun too early, that the individual tends to 
become so self-conceited with what he considers knowledge gotten by his 
own personal thought and research, that he drifts toward empty agnosticism 
with the casting overboard of all authority. It is, therefore, necessary that 
this excessive conceit of self which this modern scientific method of education 
fosters, be lessened by building on the safe foundations of what has been 
described as the education of authority. The problems of the reform move- 
ment centre, therefore, on the proper method of replacing this authoritative 
or passive method of education by education through self-activity. 



4 The Philosophy of Education. [272 

There is another problem — that of the method of study. Germany 
advises us to teach by oral methods, by giving pieces of information and 
insight orally by word of mouth. But the American educators have blun- 
dered upon what may be defended as the correct method, namely, the text- 
book method. It was merely the outcome of an unconscious trend. The 
method is of course liable to very serious abuse, but the good points greatly 
outweigh the bad. It has the advantage of making one independent of his 
teacher ; you can take your book wherever you please. You cannot do that 
with the great lecturer, neither can you question him as you can the book, 
nor can you select the time for hearing the great teacher talk as you can for 
reading the book. And it is true that nearly all the great teachers have 
embodied their ideas in books. The greatest danger of text-book education 
is verbatim, parrot-like recitation ; but even then from the poorest text-book 
a great deal of knowledge can be gleaned. Then there is the alertness which 
in any large class will necessarily be engendered by an intelligent under- 
standing and criticism of the results arrived at by different pupils in discus- 
sing a certain piece of work given in his own words. And then there is the 
advantage to be found in the fact that with the text-book the child can be 
busy by itself. Lastly, there is the problem of discipline. There should be 
very little corporal punishment ; the milder forms of restraint should be 
used. The child that is brought up accustomed to the rod loses his self- 
respect, and may become the man who must have police surveillance. 
Silence, punctuality, regularity and industry are fundamental parts of a 
"substantial education" as much as the critical study of mathematics, liter- 
ature, science and history is a part of the " education of insight." These 
two kinds of education, that of authority and that of self-activity, should be 
made complementary. 

Lecture III. — January 21si, 1893. 

OPPOSITION BETWEEN PESTALOZZI AND HERBART AS 
EDUCATIONAL LEADERS. 

Pestalozzi laid great stress on sense-perception as the foundation of all 
school education. Herbart lays stress on the elaboration of sense-perception 
or rather upon the mental reaction against the impressions made on our 
senses. Thought goes bnck of the object to understand and explain its 
origin, how it became to be what it is, what purpose it is to serve. Thought 
sees objects in the perspective of their history. It studies causes and pur- 
poses. Thus thought is not as the disciples of Pestalozzi hold, a continued 
and elevated sort of sense-perception, but rather a reaction against it. It 
is a discovery of the subordinate jilace held by objects in the world ; they 
are seen to be mere steps in a process of manifestation — the manifestation 
of causal energies. A new perception is received into the mind by adjust- 
ing it to our previous knowledge ; we explain it in terms of the old ; we 
classify it, identify it ; reconcile what is strange and unfamiliar in it with 



273] The Philosophy of Education. 5 

previous ex[)erlence; we interpret the object and comprehend it ; we trans- 
hite the unknown into the known. This process of adjusting, explaining, 
classifying, identifying, reconciling, interpreting and translating, is called 
apperception. We must not only perceive, but we must apperceive ; not 
only see and hear, but digest or assimilate what we hear and see. Herbart's 
" apperception " is far more important for education than Pestalozzi's " per- 
ception." At first the memory was the chief fiiculty cultivated in educa- 
tion ; then Pestalozzi reformed it by making the culture of sense-perception 
the chief aim: now with Herbart the chief aim would be apperception or 
the mental digestion of what is received by perception or memory. Illus- 
trations of the power of apperception to strengthen perception : Cuvier 
could reconstruct the entire skeleton from a single bone ; Agassiz the entire 
fish from one of its scales ; Winckelman the entire statue from a fragment 
of the face; Lyell could see its history in a pebble; Asa Gray the history 
of a tree by a glance. Apperception adds to the perceived object its process 
of becoming. Noir^ has illustrated apperception by showing the two series 
of ideas called up by the perception of a piece of bread. First the regres- 
sive series — dough, flour, rye ; and the processes — baking, kneading, grind- 
ing, threshing, harvesting, planting, &c. Each one of these has collateral 
series, as for example, planting has plowing, plow, oxen, yoke, furrow, 
harrowing, sowing seeds, covering it, etc. The second series is progressive 
— bread suggests its uses and functions; food, eating, digesting, organic 
tissue, life, nourishing strength, supply of heat, bodily labor, &c. The 
course of study in schools must be arranged so as to prepare the mind for 
quick apperception of what is studied. The Pestalozzian makes form, 
number, and language the elements of all knowledge. He unfortunately 
omits causal ideas, which are the chief factors of apperception ; we build 
our series on causalty. Accidental association satisfies only the simple- 
minded and empty-headed. 

Lecture IV". — January 2Sih, 1893. 

ROUSSEAU AND THE RETURN TO NATURE. 
REVOLUTIONARY PROTEST. 

The time of Louis XIV : the nobles attracted to Court and to a life of 
gayety, neglecting their estates and wasting the fruits of toil in riotous 
living ; the laborers deprived of the advantage of the directive power of the 
nobility fail in power of production. The French Revolution is the result. 
Rousseau its prophet ; he proclaims a return to nature. " Nature," a word 
of ambiguous meaning; human nature versus physical nature; human 
history the revelation of man's nature ; it is realized in institutions and not 
by man as an isolated individual. Nature in time and space is under the 
dominion of necessity, everything constrained to be what it is by outside 
forces. Human nature is an ideal, and when realized it has the form of 



6 The Philosophy of Education. [274 

freedom and self-determination, each man a law unto himself and each one 
engaged in helping every other one, for by this each one helps himself. 
Rousseau appealed to nature in everything. What we call civilization was 
to him a mere artificial form. His plea was to be natural, come back to the 
point where nature leaves you. Rousseau came from Switzerland to France, 
and at an opportune time for him ; for there was a great ferment of ideas 
at this epoch. He was struggling along in Paris, barely securing a liveli- 
hood, when there came the offer from the Academy of Dijon of a prize for 
an essay on the progress of the arts and sciences, whether it has tended 
towards the purification of morals and manners. The negative side sug- 
gested itself more forcibly to him, as he was better fitted for it by his mode 
of living and morals, and by his literary style, and he found himself at once 
a "censor of civilization." This essay was soon followed (1752) by one 
on the origin of the inequality among men. The great tension produced by 
the artificiality of the civilization of the Court life of the time had caused 
men to become anxious to get back to a simplicity of living, and Chateau- 
briand painted the charms of the forest life of the Indians. In this reaction 
the meaning of civilization is ignored. Man emancipates himself from 
drudgery and compels nature by the forces of his intellect to feed and clothe 
him. The "Social Contract" followed (1762) this with an attack on the 
authority of the State; and in the same year his Emile undermined the 
School and the Church ; and so he attacked all the social institutions one 
after another — the family, civil society, the Church and State. He pro- 
posed to sweep all away by summoning them before the bar of his individual 
judgment and condemning all. In the opening paragraph of his Emile he 
declares that everything which comes from nature is good, while everything 
degenerates in the hands of man. The antithesis of civilization is sav- 
agery, and Voltaire wittily exposed the fallacy of Rousseau's teaching in 
his letter accepting the book. He said — " never has anyone employed so 
much genius to make us into beasts. When one reads your book he is 
seized at once with a desire to go down on all fours." External authority 
is a perennial necessity for man in his immaturity. An appeal to nature 
is always a piece of jugglery with words. In mere nature we have matter 
and force. Everything inorganic is made by some external influence. But 
organic nature is the opposite of inorganic. The plant has the power of 
assimilation, and the animal the further powers of locomotion and feeling, 
or ability to select or choose its surroundings. In man this is still further 
increased by recollection and memory, by which the mind makes over its 
impressions. To do his duty properly he must look to higher things, and 
in ethical ideas the human becomes transcendental. The moral man acts 
as though the sole being in the world is humanity. No natural instinct is 
admitted as having validity against the moral law. If we adopt the doc- 
trines of material nature and yield to our feelings and impulses, we remain 
animals. But if we take nature in the sense of our ideal, divine possibility, 
and realize it by education, we attain to human nature properly so-called. 



275] The Philosophy of Education. 7 

which is not something given us without eflfort, but only the product of 
culture. 

Lecture V. — February 4:th, 1893. 

HERBERT SPENCER AND WHAT KNO'WLEDGE IS OF 
MOST WORTH. 

In Herbert Spencer, the return to nature means the study of natural 
science, and this becomes the great thing. But natural science is only the 
instrument with which we conquer nature. Everybody becomes filled with 
the idea of progress by it, for we see that nature as it is, existing in time 
and space, is conquered by inventions and made to serve man. There was 
never a more unscientific book made than Spencer's essay on education ; for 
while he praises science, he does not apply it to a study of education as it 
is and has been. To do this he ought to study the genesis of the course of 
study and explain its functions. The unscientific person takes things as 
they are, and cares not for their origin. To study things from a scientific 
standpoint means to take an inventory of them — to find the process in which 
they are being produced ; to connect them with other things ; to see things 
in their causal process. He does not understand the system of education as 
it exists, because he does not know the educational value of its branches. 
The education he proposes for us is for the purpose of complete living ; but 
what is Spencer's definition of this complete living ? Spencer does not take 
education as the genesis of man's spiritual life, but merely as something 
useful for showing how to care for the body and perform the lower social 
functions as the tool of life, the instrument by which life is preserved. Now 
suppose the definition of complete living to be, to elevate each individual 
so that he can take advantage of the life and experience of his race. Then 
he would find complete living to involve the initiation into the civilizations 
of the past that furnish the elements out of which our own civilization is 
formed. Spencer thinks that the first business of the child is to know 
physiology ; the next is the selection of a vocation or trade, which leads to 
training for citizenship ; and last of all he puts relaxation and amusement, 
in which he includes literature and art. Now, Aristotle characterized man 
as the symbol-making animal. Human nature has to be expressed by sym- 
bols. The poets of a people first paint the ideal, which makes civilization 
possible. Literature furnishes the most essential branch of education, so far 
as its function is to help the child into civilization. Man sits in the theatre 
of the world (as Plato tells us) and sees the shadows of men and events 
thrown on the curtain before him. Behind him and out of his sight is the 
Great Leader, who is making these shadows. From them he draws his 
ideals, but ideals are potentialities, not realities. Self-activity, the freedom 
of the soul, is made possible by the institutions of society, the family, 
civil society. State and Church. We must not confound the mere school 
with these other great institutions of civilization. In the family are learned 



8 The Philosophy of Education. [276 

the mother tongue, habits, and nurture. Civil society teaches him his voca- 
tion ; the State, his duties as citizen ; and the Church shows him his place 
in the divine plan of the universe. Spencer calls education the subject 
which involves all other subjects, and the one in which they should all 
culminate. But some one has better said that school education is the giving 
to man the possession of the instrumentalities of intelligence. By his school 
education he does not attain all education, but he gets the tools of thought 
by which to master the wisdom of the race. There are, then, three epochs 
of school education — elementary, secondary and higher. The first or ele- 
mentary stage is the opening of the five windows of the soul. (1) Arith- 
metic is the foundation of our knowledge of nature, by which we measure 
and count all things inorganic. When its first principles are mastered the 
child begins to want to combine the organic with the inorganic, and then 
we come to another window (2), that of elementary geography. The dis- 
tribution of animal and plant life is learned, and the child begins to peep 
into the organization of things, the growth of plants, and the formation of 
the continents and the earth. Thirdly, he learns to read and write, and gets 
a glimpse into literature. The original colloquial vocabulary learned at 
home, variously estimated at from 300 or 400 to 3,000 or 4,000 words, deals 
only with commonplace things. But the school takes this colloquial vocab- 
ulary as a key and opens up the great reservoir of literature in books, initia- 
ting him into a higher class of words, expressive of fine shades of feeling and 
thought. Thus, to his own vocabulary are added those of great writers, who 
have seen nature from a different point of view, and presented their thoughts 
in gems of literary style. Literature lifts up the pupil into the realms 
of human nature and discloses the motives which govern the actions of 
men. Yet Spencer puts this last in his course of study. After learning all 
science has to give, after learning one's trade and the care of his body, he 
would then, if there is leisure, permit literature and art. But literature is 
the greatest educator we have. It has made possible newspapers and peri- 
odicals and books, with pictures of human life and of the motives governing 
our actions. The fourth window of the soul is grammar, wherein we have 
a glimpse of the logical structure of the intellect as revealed in language. 
The fifth window is history (that of his own country), wherein he sees 
revealed the aspirations of his countrymen, his own nature, written out in 
colossal letters ; and these five studies should make the elementary educa- 
tion of the student. The secondary education takes up human learning and 
continues it along the same lines, namely : 1, inorganic nature; 2, organic 
nature; 3, literature (the heart); 4, grammar and logic (the intellect); 
and 5, history (the will). Algebra deals with general numbers, while Arith- 
metic has definite numbers to operate with. Geometry and physics con- 
tinue inorganic nature, while natural history continues the study already 
commenced in geography. Then come Greek and Latin, and here is opened 
up a great field of study into the embryology of our civilization. In the 
dead languages we have the three great threads running through the his- 



277] The Philosophy of Education, 9 

tory of human progress. The Greek, with its literature and aesthetic art 
and its philosophy, showing the higher forms of human freedom in contrast 
with the Egyptian, which showed only the struggle for freedom and never 
the man separated from the animal and the inorganic world. The Roman, 
with the continual gaze upon the will of man, seeks the true forms of con- 
tracts and treaties and corporations, whereby one man may combine with 
another, and it essays the conquering of men and reducing them to obedi- 
ence to civil law, not only external conquest but internal conquest as well. 
The Hebrew thread is the religious one, which we recognize in the celebra- 
tion of worship one day each week and in the various holy days. We 
acknowledge this the most essential thread of our civilization. So, with 
the secondary education we begin to get the embryology of our forms of 
life. The higher or collegiate education is the comparative step of educa- 
tion. Each branch is studied in the light of all the others. Natural science 
and sociology are investigated ; logic and mental philosophy ; ethics and 
rhetoric ; as well as the philosophy of history and of literature, and the 
comparative sciences, which furnish the light for the whole method of 
higher education. The first, or elementary education, then, is but super- 
ficial, a mere inventory ; the secondary insists on some reflection on what 
has been learned; and the third, or higher education, is the unity and 
comparison of all that has been learned, so that each is explained by the 
whole. Give the child possession of the embryology of civilization, and 
his insight into the evolution of civilization is insured. Educators have 
adopted the course of study as it exists, led by an unconscious or blind 
impulse. Herbert Spencer should have investigated and discovered its 
purpose, which is a far deeper one than he has thought out when he advo- 
cates its overthrow for the sake of knowledge that leads to direct self- 
preservation. 



VII-VIII 



m CiDITli OF m WESIEM FiElR 



JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES 

IN 

HiSTOEICAL AND POLITICAL SCIENCE 
HERBERT B. ADAMS, Editor 



History is past Politics and Politics present History. — Freeman 



ELEVENTH SERIES 



VII-VIII 



IHE COIDlIli OF THE WESTERI FiMEIi 



AS ILLUSTEATED BY 



THE ECONOMIC HISTORY OF A 
NEBRASKA TOWNSHIP 



BY 

ARTHUR F. BENTLEY, A. B. 

Johns Hopkins University 



baltimore 
The Johns Hopkins Press 

PUBLISHED MONTHLY 

July-August, 1893 



COPTKIQHT, 1893, BY TH^ JOHNS HOPKINS PKESS. 



THE FBIEDKNWALD CO., PRINTEBS, 
BALTIMORE. 



CONTENTS. 



I. Introduction 7 

II. Colonization and History : 

Colonization of Nebraska 11 

Settlement of Hall County 20 

Economic History of Harrison Township : 

Description of the Township 24 

Settlement " " 25 

Conditions of Colonization 27 

Financial Condition of Settlers in First Years .32 

Changes in Ownership by Years, — Table 1 33 

Purchases and Sales of Different Classes of Lands, 

—Table II. . . 37 

Causes of Settlers leaving, — Table III 39 

Land Values 43 

Renting 44 

Credit 44 

Taxation 46 

Markets, Prices, and Freight Rates 48 

III. Present Economic Condition of the Farmers of Harrison 

Township : 

A. The Land and its Ownership 53 

a. The Lands considered 53 

b. Quality of the Lands 54 

c. Ownership of the Lands 55 

B. Condition of Resident Owners 58 

a. Chattel Mortgages 59 

6. Real Estate Mortgages 60 

1. General Statement 61 

2. Debt on ' " Government, " " Railroad ' ' and 

" School " Lands 62 

3. Debt of Residents and Non-residents .... 63 

4. Debt and Acquisition of Lands 66 

5. Debt and Quality of Lands 70 

c. Improvements on Land 72 

IV. Conclusion : 

Summary of Present Status of Farmer 76 

Discussion of Economic Iniluences seen at work in 

Harrison Township 78 

V. Appendices : 

A. Land Laws and Technical Expressions 88 

B. Comparison of the Figures shown in this Paper 
with those of Census of 1890 91 



THE CONDITION OF THE WESTERN FARMER 

AS ILLUSTBATED BY THE 

ECONOMIC HISTOKY OF A i^EBEASKA 
TOWNSHIP. 



I.— INTRODUCTION. 

The study on which this paper is based was suggested by 
the desire of the writer to obtain some actual knowledge of 
the true economic condition of the farmers in the western 
states. The farmers' movement, culminating in its attempt to 
change the policy of the government in many important par- 
ticulars, had for its raison d'etre the depressed financial con- 
dition of the agricultural classes. Against this position, the 
other political parties urged that the financial depression 
affected all classes alike, and that in no way did farmers have 
greater difficulty in attaining prosperity than persons in other 
lines of activity. Realizing the worthlessness of the isolated 
examples cited for proof, as well by one side as by the other, 
the author undertook the present investigation. 

Two ways lie open to one desiring to find an answer to such 
a question as that set before us. Either many and varied 
statistics for the whole region under consideration may be 
collected and examined, or a study in miniature may be made 
of some little district which can fairly lay claim to being 
t}'pical of the whole region. For the first method, the pres- 
ent United States census furnishes masses of figures, the use 
of which is of great value. Nevertheless there are certain 
grave difficulties connected with this method, not the least 
of which is the continual danger of wide-reaching misinter- 
pretation, growing out of some little fault or error at the 
start. The study of a small district, 'on the other hand, while 



8 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [286 

avoiding these greater dangers, is only of value if it can be 
shown that the district chosen is really representative, so that 
what is true of its inhabitants can fairly be predicated in gen- 
eral of the inhabitants of all that region about which knowl- 
edge is sought. It is this last form of study which has been 
adopted in this monograph, with the hope that it may, if 
nothing more, supplement the facts shown by other and more 
pretentious investigations. 

The local causes at the basis of the farmers' movement 
differ greatly between the South and the West, as between 
other parts of the country, so that in any study these various 
sections would need to be kept distinct; and it is to the West 
alone, and to that part of the West whose main agricultural 
development has taken place within the last twenty-five or 
thirty years, that any conclusions drawn in this paper may be 
applied. The district chosen for consideration is Harrison 
township, in Hall county, Nebraska. Harrison is not only a 
political subdivision, but also a congressional survey town- 
ship, and so contains just thirty-six square miles. This 
paper relates almost entirely to that small area, and to the 
conditions which have directly affected it; only enough pre- 
liminary matter is inserted to show clearly the relations of 
the district with the state in which it lies and the group of 
states of which it forms a part. 

In weighing the reasons which are now to be given as 
indicative of the representative character of the district se- 
lected, it must be kept in mind that often the " average case " 
is not the real representative one. The true "type" is 
sometimes very different from the bare mathematical average. 
For example, in such a study as the present one, the crucial 
point is not alone such a question as whether the average 
amount of mortgages owed by residents of the town is the 
same as the average owed in the state as a whole. To dis- 
cern a truly typical district, we must go much further than 
that and take into consideration the many influencing con- 
ditions: in short, we must strike a careful balance between 
these conditions. 



287] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 9 

The following reasons may be instanced among those 
which have led to the selection of Harrison township for 
study, and which give weight to the claim that it is truly 
typical of large portions of our western agricultural states. 
The township was settled during the time when the immi- 
gration to Nebraska was at its height. It does not lie in the 
older settled regions along the Missouri river, nor is it in the 
dry and very recently settled lands in the western part of the 
state. Its lands are of an average fertility, certainly not better 
than the average of good Nebraska uplands. The district 
has never been subject to any serious detrimental influences 
not common to, or paralleled in, large stretches of territory. 
Another point which makes it a fair choice for study is that it 
is entirely agricultural. There are no towns within its limits 
to disturb in any way the market price of its farms, by giving 
them a value for other than agricultural purposes. Never- 
theless the market facilities of the township are good, inas- 
much as a railway station can be found within from one to 
four miles of each of its corners, so that no portion of the 
town is more than six or seven miles distant from a ship- 
ping point. No railroads pass through the town or nearer 
it than the stations referred to. Again, it will be found that 
the figures obtained agree, if rightly interpreted, with such 
analogous figures for the whole state as the census of 1890 
has as yet made kno\^^l.^ Another confirmatory circum- 
stance is the marked way in which the yearly changes in the 
number of resident owners, as shown in Table I, can be ex- 
plained by references to the agricultural conditions prevail- 
ing in the various years. 

In comparison with a statistical investigation on a large 
scale, this form of study has advantage in that we get from 
it a better knowledge of the real life of the farmer. Where 
the figures are on a very large scale, all sense of the actual 
economic life of the individual is lost, and that sense, it may 
well seem, is the true object of inquiry and the one from 

^ See Appendix B. 



10 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [288 

which the most benefit can be derived. Again, the detailed 
study gives us the best opportunity to investigate the local 
causes of changes in financial condition. The causes which 
would tend to produce depression among agriculturalists fall 
in general into two classes : those due to the general economic 
condition of society, and those more directly connected with 
tlie local conditions of agriculture. The first class of causes 
is entirely without the scope of our inquiries, but in seeking 
the facts of the present status of the farmers, we obtain natur- 
ally, and in the same process, knowledge of the local condi- 
tions and of their effects during the years which the study 
covers. 

The materials for the study were gathered during the sum- 
mer of 1892. For the historical part of the paper, the var- 
ious collections of materials for Nebraska history were used, 
as were also the documents, speeches, and manuscripts in the 
possession of the Nebraska State Historical Society. As a 
basis for the study of the township proper, the records of the 
United States Land Office at Grand Island, Nebraska, of 
the Union Pacific Railway Land Office at Omaha, and of the 
office of the County Clerk of Hall county, were exploited. 
The personal information as to former residents was col- 
lected from old settlers in the township, mainly by personal 
interviews at their homes. 



II.— COLONIZATION AND HISTORY. 
Colonization of Nebraska. 

The beginnings of the occupation of Nebraska by white 
men are, as would naturally be expected, to be found, not 
among agriculturalists, but among traders and trappers. As 
early as 1810 the American Fur Company had established a 
station on the Missouri river, in what is now known as 
Sarpy county; and for many years it had sole possession of 
tlie trade of vast stretches of territory. The United States 
government guarded with great jealousy the rights of the 
native Indian tribes, — Sioux, Poncas, Otoes, Missouris, and 
Omalias — and until 1854, when the lands were formally 
thrown open to settlers, no white man was allowed to reside 
on Nebraska territory without a special permit from the 
Secretary of War. Traces are evident of one or two such 
permits during 1852, and by the close of 1853 some seven 
or eight cabins, occupied \vith the consent of the govern- 
ment, could have been found at various points along the 
shore of the Missouri. 

As it became evident that the territory of Nebraska would 
soon be organized and its lands thrown open to settlement, 
speculators and adventurers began to gather in the western 
part of Iowa, more especially at Council Bluffs and other 
river cities. In the first months of 1854 a few of the more 
impatient ventured across the river and laid out for themselves 
squatters' claims, but they rarely remained longer than the 
day or two required to blaze the boundaries of their chosen 
pieces of land. During March, 1854, treaties were concluded 
with the Omahas and Otoes by which these tribes gave up 
their rights to vast tracts of land; and at length, on the 24th 
of June, the President, after authorization by the act of Con- 
gress creating the territories of Nebraska and Kansas, for- 
mally declared the removal of all restrictions as to residence. 



12 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [290 

And now followed a great rush by the waiting emigrants for 
the best claims all along the river, although the land had not 
yet been formally opened for pre-emptions. In order to pro- 
tect the squatter rights, and later the pre-emption rights, 
clubs, or claim associations were founded in the various 
river counties, and " club law," dealing out summary punish- 
ment to claim-jumpers and others of their ilk, became the 
order of the day.' Before the close of 1854 several towns 
had been projected, among them Omaha, Florence, Platts- 
mouth, and Nebraska City, the opening of the latter having 
been celebrated " on the spot," July 4th, 1854. 

The air was full of speculation, and the early activities of 
the settlers were directed mainly to the advancement of their 
civic interests, or in other words, to the sale of comer lots. 
At first agriculture was very little thought of, the new-comers 
looking upon themselves for the most part as transients, and 
Nebraska as their abiding place only until the happy day 
when they would have finished the accumulation of small 
fortunes, for enjoyment in their eastern homes. In fact, 
there seems to have been a pretty general belief that the new 
territory was very ill adapted for farming, and that whatever 
else it might become, it would at least never be a great agri- 
cultural state. Even after the lapse of five or six years farm- 
ing was a matter of very minor importance, as can be seen 
from the figures of the census of i860. In this year the popu- 
lation of Nebraska was 28,841, but only 3982 of these were 
reported as engaged in farming; and even of these latter the 
greater number were only nominally farmers, so that, on the 
authority of Senator Paddock," the area of regularly honestly 
cultivated land probably did not at the outside exceed more 
than 500,000 acres for the whole territory.' But with the rap- 



^ See Transactions Nebraska State Historical Sociey, Vol. II, liere 
and there. Also Jesse Maey's Institutional Beginnings in a West- 
em State, Johns Hopkins University Studies, Vol. H., No. 7. 

''Address before the State Board of Agriculture, Lincoln, Neb., 
Sept. 26, 1878. 

' The census of 1860, however, reported 118,789 improved acres 
and 512,425 imimproved acres in farms; but its figures are undoubt- 
edly too large. 



291] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 13 

idly increasing security of person and property, and tlie per- 
ception of tlie real value and fertility of the soil, this state of 
affairs quickly changed; speculators gave way to settlers, and 
tlie border line of cultivation advanced rapidly toward the 
west. This progress and its conditions will now briefly be 
Considered. 

As we have noticed, the first emigrants to Nebraska had 
no better title to their chosen lands tlian squatters' rights, 
and they had to combine and often make use of force to 
secure peaceful possession. As this was prior to the time of 
the homestead acts,^ the emigrants had to rely mainly on the 
pre-emption acts for acquiring lands, and it was not until 
1859 that a general public sale was ordered. The progress 
of settlement was greatly retarded by the number of specu- 
lative claims that had been staked out as soon as entrance to 
, the territory had become a possibility ; for a new-comer would 
soon find himself forced to go eight or ten miles back from 
the river, or pay some speculator an exorbitant price for the 
opportunity to settle on the better situated piece of land 
which the latter had in his clutches. As a result a large 
amount of land remained unimproved in the midst of the 
newly opened farms, and permanent damage was done the 
country. 

During the early part of the fifties there could be found 
here and there along the overland trail to the coast, so-called 
" ranches " kept by pioneers, typical border characters, whose 
greatest pleasures were incident to their remoteness from 
civilized life. At these ranches, the wearied wagoner could 
rest himself and renew his store of provisions if he so desired, 
or could perhaps have necessary repairing done to his wagons. 
But as these ranchmen had no thought of permanent resi- 
dence — ^the very nature of their occupation, in fact, limiting 
their activity to the period prior to the introduction of rail- 
ways, — and as they paid practically no attention to farming, 
it would not be proper, in summing up the advance of settle- 

* See Appendix A. 



14: The Condition of the Western Farmer. [292 

merits from the point of view of agriculture, to iuQlude them 
as early residents; so, when the term "first settler" of any 
county is used, it will mean the first actual farmer who 
entered upon permanent possession. 

In probably all the counties along the Missouri, except 
those on the northern boundary of the state, quite a numiber 
of inhabitants could have been found by the close of the year 
1854; but owing to the character of the people and the con- 
ditions of life in a frontier state, almost no farming can have 
been attempted before 1856 or 1857. Meanwhile the set- 
tlers began to push backward from the river, though the 
advance was quite slow. Indian scares were frequent, though 
the real danger was comparatively slight. Moreover, an idea 
that had gained wide currency was that beyond the Salt Creek, 
a stream some fifty miles west of the Missouri, the land was 
utterly uninhabitable; that in fact the little stream marked 
the beginning of the Great American Desert. But the exper- 
ience of an adventurer here and there proving this view fal- 
lacious, settlements extended, so that we are safe in saying 
that, with one possible exception, every county within eighty 
miles of the Missouri had by i860 a few, at least, actual 
settlers living within its borders. 

The early settlers followed naturally the course of the little 
rivers in eastern Nebraska, partly for the sake of the easy 
water suppl}^, partly for the shelter of the timber along the 
banks, and partly also on account of the easy means of com- 
munication thus offered. So also when settlers ventured 
further into the interior of the state, the first claims were 
placed upon the banks of the streams, while the intervening 
country was passed over. Almost the whole state of Ne- 
braska is an alternation of valleys and uplands, and almost 
invariably the latter were entered upon only after the former 
had been pretty thoroughly occupied. The same thing is 
to be observed with reference to the Platte river, for at a 
very early day settlements had followed it upwards for quite 
a distance. It is to be noticed that they followed the river in 
preference to the old emigrant trail across the country. The 



293] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 15 

route of early overland emigrants had not lain along tlie 
river, owing to the great curves which the course of the Platte 
follows, but had run some distance to the soutli in a more 
nearly straight line, and had only begun to follow the Platte 
at Fort Kearney, about a hundred and seventy-five miles 
from the Missouri. In fact this trail seems to have had no 
influence on the course of settlement at all, for, in illustration, 
one of the counties through which it passed before reaching 
P^ort Kearney seems to have received absolutely no settlers 
between the time of the early ranches and the comparatively 
late date 1866, though this county itself lay immediately 
south of the Platte. Of the counties along the Platte, by 
1856 there were settlements in Sarpy, Cass, Douglas, Saun- 
ders, Dodge, Colfax, and Platte counties, reaching out over 
100 miles, and the following year Nance, Merrick, and Hall 
were invaded. In 1858 Buffalo county, too, had settlers. 
This brings us to the neighborhood of Fort Kearney, but 
beyond this point even the advantages of the neighboring 
river did not attract settlers for a number of years, owing 
mainly to the idea, of which we have seen illustrations before, 
that the limit of good agricultural land had been reached and 
that further west dependence could only be put upon stock- 
raising. The greatly augmented danger from Indians to 
the west of Fort Kearney had also its effect in hindering the 
advance of population. In fact, it was only after the build- 
ing of the Union Pacific Railroad that any inhabitants but 
the ranchmen along the overland trail could be found in all 
that stretch of hundreds of miles between the immediate 
neighborhood of Fort Kearney and the Rocky Mountains; 
and not until 1872 was the first farming, even in the western 
part of Buffalo county, attempted. 

And here a word may be said about the settlements in the 
western part of the state, and that subject be then permanently 
dropped; for nothing can be gained from it that will be of 
interest in our further investigations. With the exception 
of the comparatively rare river valleys, the western third of 
the state is sandy, and is in parts composed to a large extent 



16 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [294 

of sand-hills; and so it has been much better fitted for grazing 
purposes than for agriculture. Consequently agricultural 
settlements, the only kind with which we are concerned, 
date back in many cases only five or six years. The sparse 
populations have had great difficulty in withstanding the 
partial failures of crops to which they have repeatedly been 
subjected; and their term of occupation has been so short, 
and the real nature of their lands is yet so imperfectly known, 
that a discussion of them would teach us very little of value. 

To return now with more of detail to the region of the east- 
em Platte, we notice that nearly all the settlements along its 
banks, with the exception of those near the Missouri river, 
were on the northern side.^ The reason for this is to be 
found in the difference of the lay of the land on the two 
banks. The bluffs on the south border directly on the river 
for long distances, and in consequence, the first settler, with 
the whole land before him to choose from, turned to the 
north where the rich bottom lands stretch back from five to 
twenty miles before reaching the bluffs. To these bottom 
lands the settlements were very largely confined for many 
years, and in very many cases it was not .until several years 
after the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad that the 
back lands in these counties were entered upon at all. It 
has been shown before that much the same <!onditions 
affected the settlement of the bottom lands of the small 
streams in the whole eastern part of the state. 

During the decade i860 to 1870 settlements in the 
eastern counties became much thicker and there was a grad- 
ual pushing westward all over the state. In 1870 the rate of 
settlements seems to have been greatly accelerated again, 
several new counties being entered upon, and the back lands 
of the Platte River coi^ ities being to a considerable extent 
taken. For several years this rate was kept up and then 
settlers were forced, in order to get any land at all, to enter 

^ Of the counties previously enumerated, Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, 
Colfax, Platte, Nance, Merrick, part of Hall, and Buffalo, lay to the 
north. 



295] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 17 

the more sandy lands in the western part of the state, which 
have already briefly been spoken of. 

In order to get a better idea of the way in which these set- 
tlements progressed, an outline of the development in one or 
two counties may be given. 

Seward county lies immediately west of Lancaster county, 
in which is situated the capital of the state, and is some sixty 
miles west of the Missouri. The first arrivals were in 1859, 
when some disappointed gold-seekers on their way back to 
the " states " determined to stop in Nebraska and try their 
luck there. They established ranches, but did not do farming 
at this time. The next comers established ranches in '62, 
and in '63 a few more appear. The next year immigration 
started out xtvy briskly ; but soon a great Indian scare drove 
most of the settlers out of the county to safer parts on the 
Missouri, and at the election in the fall only seven votes 
were polled. Prior to 1867 the most of the settlements had 
been made in the southern part of the county, but now the 
location of the state capital at Lincoln, only a few miles away, 
gave a great impulse to immigration, and by the close of the 
spring of '68 a large proportion of the government land in 
the county had been taken. In 1870 the school census 
for Seward county showed 782 children of school age, while 
the total number of inhabitants was 2953, and there were 
some 24,000 acres of land under cultivation. The county 
may then be called settled, and it proceeded in its growth 
with the various ups and downs incident to agriculture. Be- 
tween 1865 and 1875 the assessed value of property increased 
from $29,000 odd to $1,597,000; and by 1879 it is said that 
one-third of the acreage was actually under cultivation, while 
the population had increased to over 11,000. 

Taking up now Adams county, which lies in the third tier 
of counties west of Seward, we find a very dififerent course. 
Though it is now one of the richest and most populous 
counties in the state, before the spring of 1870 Adams county 
had not even had a ranch of any description ^vithin its bor- 
ders. Two facts may be mentioned which indicate the causes 



18 The Condition of the Weste^^n Farmer. [296 

of the failure to colonize at an earlier date. First, the lands 
lay at some little distance south of the Platte river, and so 
were out of the direct course of the earliest settlements; and 
second, the region was in too great proximity to the favorite 
hunting grounds of the Sioux Indians. In March of 1870 
two typical plainsmen took claims which they held for about 
three years, but then gave them up to get further away from 
the settlements, which were becoming too thick to suit them. 
The same year saw still other settlers, and in the spring of 
'71 a party of Englishmen came in and took claims in the 
county. By the fall of this year there was a voting popula- 
tion of twenty-nine. From this time on the rate of settle- 
ment was so rapid that by the census of 1880 the county had 
a population of 10,235. 

The life of tlie early settlers of Nebraska, though full of 
hardships, had its pleasant aspects, and probably was much 
easier than that of the settlers of many of the states. For 
one thing, the pioneer stage was everywhere very short, and 
the discomforts attendant thereon proportionately reduced. 
This may be attributed, from a local point of view, to two 
things: first, to the absence of forest lands, this doing away 
with the necessity of the clearing process, so that the lands 
as they lay could be brought into cultivation with a com- 
paratively small outlay of time and money; and second, to 
the uniform fertility of the lands, this allowing settlers' farms 
to lie contiguous for many miles, thus giving the benefits 
of easy mutual assistance. Of course the existence of a 
great mass of emigrants ready to flow into whatever region 
ofifers them the greatest advantages is a necessary prelim- 
inary to such a rapid settlement of any particular state. An- 
other influence that may be mentioned, of very great im- 
portance for Nebraska, was the railroad building in the state, 
especially betv^^een 1866 and 1870 or '"^2. 

The early settlers along the Missouri had the advantage of 
being near their base of supplies, for Iowa was already quite 
well settled, and, as we have seen, owing to the intensely 
speculative activity of the time, merchants J?nd towns had 



297] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 19 

actually preceded farmers in the possession of the land. But 
those whose claims were further inland not only felt the dis- 
advantage of their location in the ditiiculty of laying in their 
supplies and selling their produce, but also in the retarding 
of the speed with which they could bring their lands under 
cultivation. For instance, the farmer at a distance from the 
river was greatly delayed by the always recurring necessity 
of having his plow resharpened, a thing which, owing to 
his situation, he could not easily and quickly accomplish by 
turning it over to a mechanic; he was compelled to stop his 
plowing entirely while he awkwardly performed the work, or 
else to travel a long distance in order to get it perhaps very 
little better done. 

The price of clothing was during the early days very high, 
and the settler had often to content himself with garments 
made of skins. Overcoats, when the settlers w^ere so fortu- 
nate as to possess them, were more likely than not such as 
had been originally made for the United States army but 
had been condemned and rejected by the government. 
These, shipped out to the prairies, brought very high figures. 
The question of food is of more interest. Com bread and 
" r>'e hominy " formed the staples, eked out often by wild 
fruits. Melons grew in great abundance and were a source 
of refreshment and often of great profit to the pioneer. 
Game was frequently obtainable — antelope, the wild goose, 
the prairie chicken and the quail. After the first year the 
settler's pig or two and his few chickens would have so 
increased that he could depend on them to quite an extent 
for animal food. Money was very scarce at first, but later 
comers usually brought with them a little coin, for which 
they would purchase from the older settlers farm produce 
for use while getting under way, thus putting the money in 
circulation, and giving the first comers the opportunity to 
procure needed articles which previously lack of coin had 
put beyond their reach. 

Whatever the early settler had in the way of provisions he 
was liable to be called on at anv time to share with some 



20 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [298 

still more needy home-seeker who happened to pass his way. 
To such, lodging and a meal could not be refused, though to 
give them required an appreciable sacrifice, and rarely was it 
that any payment was tendered in return. The pioneer was 
hotel-keeper and distributer of alms to all the world that 
came his way. This, needless to say, was often a serious 
drain. 

The amount of land granted to the railroad companies in 
Nebraska before July ist, 1880, was 6409,376 acres, and this 
fact made considerable difference in the settlements after 1864 
and '66, the time when the first grants went into effect. For, 
although the railroads offered their lands at low rates and on 
long time, the settler, if he was qualified, naturally preferred 
to enter government land which cost him nothing, and this 
led to a less thick but probably more widely extended popula- 
tion than would have otherwise been the case. In fact there 
is, in many cases, even yet a marked difference between the 
number and the condition of settlers on the two classes of 
lands.^ 

Settlement of Hall County. 

Hall county, within the limits of which most of the mater- 
ial for this paper has been gathered, is one of those counties 
lying along the Platte river, which, as we have seen, were in 
course of settlement at a comparatively early date. The 
Union Pacific Railroad runs through it, and the eastern bor- 
der of the county is some one hundred and fifty miles from the 
Missouri river by rail, or perhaps twenty-five miles less than 
that by a direct line. Somewhere near its southern comer 
the several channels of the Platte enter the county, rtmning 
through it in a northeasterly direction, and passing out of the 
county near the center of its eastern boundary line. The dis- 
tance between the north and south channels of the river 
varies in this county from two and a half to four and a half 
miles. Along the south bank of the river are bluffs, and from 
them a rich table-land stretches off to the south. 

1 See Part III. 



299] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 21 

To the north, nearly parallel with the river, and separat- 
ing the valley of the Platte from that of the Loup, another 
chain of low and rather sandy hills runs through the county, 
and the level countr)- between these hills and the blufifs to 
the south of the river may properly be called the valley of the 
Platte, though a mile or two north of its north channel there 
is a slight rise that divides what are known as the " first bot- 
tom " and " second bottom " lands. 

It was in early July, 1857, that the first settlers reached 
the county, the party consisting of thirty-seven persons. 
They came under the auspices of a company controlled by 
the Washington banking house of Chubbs Bros, and Bar- 
rows, their object being not so much agriculture as the found- 
ing of a town, to which the company thought — so much were 
they under the influence of the speculative fever of the time — 
that they could secure the removal of the capital of the United 
States in the near future." Unfortunately for the hopes of 
the projectors of the enterprise, the banking house went 
down under the pressure of the panic of the following year, 
and the national capital was permitted to remain undisturbed 
at Washington. The immigrants, immediately upon arrival, 
staked out claims and put up several log-houses. Only 
about fifty acres of land were broken the first year, when the 
approach of winter compelled the cessation of work. The 
winter was passed under ver}^ great trials, owing to the dis- 
tance from supplies and the impassableness of the roads, so 
that at times even actual starvation was feared. In the spring 
came fresh supplies, and with them renewed ability to labor; 
and the work of preparing the soil for cultivation progressed 
rapidly. In July of 1858 there arrived a new band of some 
twenty persons. Thus far the settlers were almost entirely 
Germans, only about five Americans having cast their lot 
with the colony. The land on which they settled lay on 

^ At this time tlie United States survey had not been extended 
beyond Columbus, nor were there any settlements west of that 
point. 



22 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [300 

the " first bottom '" of the Platte. During the first year or 
so the struggle to get established was very severe, and had 
it not been for the supplies of provisions forwarded by the 
original town company, the attempt at colonization might 
have been a failure. But in the fall of 1859 the colonists 
obtained a contract for supplying the government at Fort 
Kearney, some forty miles distant, with two thousand bushels 
of corn at $2 a bushel, and this helped the colony in great 
measure to become self-supporting. Besides this, many of 
the settlers were able, in the intervals of their activity, to 
obtain employment at the fort, thus adding to their incomes. 
About this time, trade with the emigrants to the gold mines 
in Colorado and other western territories became very profit- 
able for the settlers; a good cabbage-head would bring as 
high as fifty cents, and a watermelon a dollar. In addition 
the emigrants would often have lame cattle and young calves 
which they were very glad to sell to the settlers at low prices ; 
and as such stock could very easily be brought back into 
good condition, the profit in the transaction was great. 

During 1858 a number of Mormon farms had been opened 
along Wood river at a distance of ten or twelve miles from 
the original settlement; but these unwelcome residents soon 
concluded to move further west and join the remainder of 
their brethren in Utah. The part of the county south of 
the Platte received its first settlers in i860, when a family 
by the name of Martin started a cattle-ranch there, but the 
greater danger^ from the Indians kept settlers away and 
greatly retarded the development of this region. In the 
northern part of the county new-comers slowly but steadily 
appeared during the following years and settled down to 
farming. In i860 there were 116 residents in the county. 
But colonization soon received quite a serious setback from 
the withdrawal ' of almost all the United States troops in 



^ See p. 21 above. 

- At tMs time the Sioux claimed all the western part of Nebraska 
south of the Platte as their himting grounds and were very vigilant 
in avenging all intrusion, whether by other redskins or by whites. 



301] Tlie Condition of the Western Farmer. 23 

tlie territory on account of tlie necessities of the Civil 
War, This left the colonists almost entirely unprotected, 
and as a result tlie Indians became very much bolder 
and threatened to drive all the whites out of the country. 
In fact, almost all the settlers in the Platte valley fled beyond 
the Missouri; but at two or three points, one of which was 
the settlement in question, fortifications w^ere erected and so 
firm a stand was maintained that no heavy damage was suf- 
fered. In Hall county there were several massacres at un- 
protected farm-houses, but on the whole comparatively little 
harm was done. When the Civil War was over the work of 
settlement went on again apace. The building of the Union 
Pacific Railroad, which was finished through this part of the 
country in 1866, made immigration much easier, and only 
with its completion did the first settlers venture off the river 
bottoms. But the building of the railroad was by nd means 
an unmixed blessing for the cause of colonization, for the 
contractors ruthlessly destroyed all the natural timber along 
the Platte and other streams; and this timber, little enough 
at the start, was very sorely missed, and has only been re- 
placed by careful labor for many years in protecting the 
regrowth and in planting anew. By 1870, Hall county's pop- 
ulation had increased to 1057, of whom about two-thirds 
were male; and 5870 acres had been brought under cultiva- 
tion. Up to this time all the immigrants without exception 
had located their claims near the river on the " first bottom " 
lands. The first settler to locate on the " second bottom " 
lands did so in the fall of 1870, and the following year a num- 
ber of claims were located in that part of the county. The 
oldest settlers looked with anything but hopeful eyes on 
these attempts to farm the uplands. In fact, most felt sure 
that agriculture on such lands was an impossibility, and they 
predicted that the attempts could result in nothing but failure. 
The writer is credibly informed by one of the oldest settlers 
that year after year the weather was so dry that on the 
" second bottom " lands the grass was, by the middle of July, 
in a fit condition for prairie fires, nor could it after that time 



24 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [302 

be used for pasturage except on the very banks of the small 
streams. But this condition has been materially changed 
by the settlement of the country and the increase of timber. 
How little justification in fact these early predictions had will 
be seen with the progress of this paper. 

All the land thus far occupied had been " government 
land,"' and, indeed, before 1870 there had been only three 
sales of "railroad land" in the county. During 1872, how- 
ever, practically all the available "government land" in the 
county was entered, and though after that time here and there 
an entry on an abandoned piece of land was made, neverthe- 
less one who wished thereafter to settle in Hall county had to 
depend either on " railroad land " or on purchasing from 
older settlers. Since then the county has continuously in- 
creased in population and has had its fair share of prosperity. 
It has suffered from the grasshoppers, felt the impetus of years 
of good crops and the discouragement of years of crop failure, 
and has come out, it must be owned, with its fair share of 
mortgages. The population was, according to the census of 
1890, 16,513, of whom"8454 were residents of city or villages, 
the remaining 8059 being residents of farms. With this we 
can dismiss the consideration of the county as such; for all 
that is important in the economic history of the farming 
classes after this time will be brought out as fully as possible 
in the following more detailed account treating of Harrison 
township. 

Economic History of Harrison Township. 

The boundaries of Harrison Township (or Precinct, as it 
was called before the county adopted township organization) 
coincide exactly with those of the congressional township 
known as township eleven, range eleven, west of the sixth 
principal meridian, and thus it contains very nearly thirty-six 



^ For this and other terms used in a rather teclinical sense through- 
out tliis paper, as well as for a brief account of the ways in which 
a settler could acquire title to the different classes of lands we are 
to consider, see Appendix A. 



303] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 25 

square miles. Its southeast corner is, as nearly as may be, the 
geographical center of Hall county. The main channel of 
the Platte river lies, at its nearest point, about five miles 
distant, while the northwestern corner of the township is 
some thirteen or fourteen miles distant from the river. The 
lands are what we have designated in this paper as " second 
bottom " lands. The surface is very slightly undulating, so 
slightly indeed that one who was not a close observer might 
call it an almost perfect level. Through the northwestern 
quarter of the town runs a small stream, Prairie Creek, and 
there is one other streamlet which contains running water 
only at certain times of the year. The fertility of the land is, 
on the whole, of a very high grade; this matter, however, 
will receive more careful attention hereafter. 

The first settlement in Hall county, on that part of the 
" second bottom " lands which is drained by Prairie Creek, 
had been made in the year 1871, but it was not until 1872 that 
a claim of any sort was taken within the limits of Harrison 
township. By the end of that year, however, entries of some 
kind had been made on all of the government land therein. 
The first entry was in the latter part of March, when two pre- 
emptions were filed on quarter sections in the southeastern 
part of the township. In April nine entries were made, most 
of them homesteads, near the two claims taken in March; 
two, however, were pre-emptions, placed in the western part of 
the town by ranchers who hoped, while controlling under their 
own claims but a few hundred acres, to be able to have the 
use of many thousands of acres of unclaimed land around 
them for grazing their cattle. Needless to say, the rapidity 
of settlement surprised these men so greatly that they gave 
up their claims in disgust and moved farther away. In May 
there were six entries; in June, eleven; in July, six; in 
August, twelve; in September, nineteen; in October, three; 
and in November, two. This includes, it must be remem- 
bered, only the first entry on each tract of ground, the total 
number of such entries being seventy; and as the government 
land originally available for entry consisted of sixty-four 



26 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [304 

quarter-sections, the average number of acres taken on each 
entry was 146.3. 

Of these original entries, fourteen were pre-emptions, forty- 
seven were homesteads, and nine were soldiers' homestead 
declaratory statements, intended to mature in due time into 
homesteads proper, — all but four, in fact, doing so. It is 
proper, then, to say that there were fourteen pre-emptions as 
against fifty-six homesteads; that is, four-fifths of all entries 
were homesteads. This shows, at least, the relative estima- 
tion in which the two ways of taking land were held. It 
might at first sight seem that the taking of a homestead indi- 
cated that the settler came with the intention of residing 
permanently, but did not have sufficient means to purchase 
the land he desired, even at the very low prices demanded by 
the government; thus it would follow that four-fifths of the 
entries were made by settlers who were lacking the means 
necessary for pre-emption. But such a conclusion must be 
looked at with caution, for in considering the individual cases 
we find that here and there a well-to-do " speculator "^ took 
a homestead, while on the contrary a pre-emption was occa- 
sionally taken by one whose possessions were as nearly nil as 
they well could be, and whose hopes for paying up on a pre- 
emption must have been based entirely on some wild notion 
of fabulous crops in the first years. Of the fourteen pre-emp- 
tions mentioned above, only one was paid up, that one being 
one of the two taken by the ranchmen Avhom we have spoken 
of before. Three men relinquished their pre-emptions to 
take homesteads on the same land, and four relinquished in 
order to take timber-claims on the same land; the remaining 
four gave up their holdings in the township altogether and 



* The term " speculator," as used liere and at other places in this 
paper, always refers to residents. It includes both those who took 
government land and resided thereon just long enough to " pi'ove 
up," and those who, coming later and purchasing land from the 
railroad company or from other settlers, had a speculation as their 
prime motive, but who really made their living out of the farms for 
one or more years, while waiting for an opportunity to sell at a 
profit. 



305] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 27 

moved away. This relinquishment of pre-emptions occurred 
almost entirely in the fall of '74, when the time given by law 
for " proving up " had expired, and the holders found them- 
selves unable to pay the amounts required to complete their 
title under the pre-emption laws. It must be remembered 
that this land being within the Union Pacific ten-mile limit, 
pre-emptors were obliged to pay the government the double 
minimum price, $2.50 per acre. 

Facts given in Appendix A will show how it sometimes 
happened tliat several entries were made upon the same tract 
of land. To illustrate the number sometimes so made, we 
may take the case of the northwest quarter of section 
eighteen in this township, on which ten entries were made, 
the first in '72 and the last in '82. 

The last entry made on government land in the township 
was in February, 1884. In all 159 entries had been made, of 
which ninety-seven were homesteads, fourteen soldiers' home- 
stead declaratory statements, twenty-five pre-emptions, and 
twenty-three timber claims. 

We have noticed above the number of entries made on 
land in the various months. By referring to these figures it 
will be evident that the number of entries in August and 
September, 1872, formed nearly half of the total number in 
that year. Now, many of those who made entries at this 
time did not actually enter into possession of the land until 
the following spring, and, evidently, those who took pos- 
session in the fall could do little more than get some kind of 
habitation in readiness, and a very little, if any, breaking 
done, before winter set in and put a stop to work. So their 
first year saw, practically, no farming undertaken. 

Those not familiar with the subject sometimes think of 
the conditions of colonization under our present land laws as 
having been of such a character that the empty-handed settler 
could, through the mediation of the government, soon be- 
come the possessor of a well-equipped farm. But a very little 
reflection shows us that the gift of the soil is by no means 
all that is needed as the foundation for a farm. To convert 



$5o.oo 
500.00 
200.00 
150.00 
100.00 $1000.00 



28 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [306 

the raw prairie into a habitable and income-producing farm 
is not an easy task, and quite a little capital is needed to do it 
satisfactorily. Prof. Rodney Welch makes the following 
estimate of the necessary expenses: 

Registering, etc 

Horses and implements . 
Furniture, small stock, etc. . 
House (sod), stables and seed 
Breaking forty acres sod 

To this must be added the cost of sustenance for self and 
family during the year, or perhaps two years, which inter- 
vened before regular crops could be raised. The country 
being new, little work could be found by which the income 
could be helped out. It would be perfectly safe to say that 
the ordinary immigrant had very much less means than the 
amount mentioned, and was much hindered in his work by 
his lack of sufficient capital. Those who came out to their 
claims with practically no capital were usually forced to leave 
before much time had passed, though here and there a pros- 
perous farmer is to be found who started out with not even a 
team with which to plow his land. 

There were several things which tended to lighten the bur- 
dens of the settlers. One of these which helped them in 
many cases was their previous ser\ice in the army, for a very 
large proportion of the settlers had taken part in the Civil 
War. The amount of time spent in the army is deducted 
from the five years' residence on the land which is otherwise 
required of the "homesteader" before he can acquire title 
to his " claim." Besides this advantage, a pension gave to 
many the wherewithal on which to live until they could raise 
their first good crops. Much trouble and some expense was 
saved the settlers of Harrison township by the fact that they 
were located so near the government land ofifice. The fact, 
too, that they were within a few miles' distance of lands that 
had been under cultivation for ten or fifteen years had a very 

1 The Fonim, Vol. VIII., No. 5. 



307] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 29 

important influence; for the new settler could, in conse- 
quence, find near at hand tlie grain and other supplies which 
he needed during his first year's residence until he could 
raise crops for himself; and as the cost of transportation of 
such commodities was avoided, the amount which he would 
have to expend for support in these years was much less than 
would othenvise have been the case. 

Another tiling of ver}^ great importance, in many cases, was 
the simultaneous settlement of former neighbors or acquaint- 
ances in one locality, for they could render many mutual ser- 
vices which the lone settler was precluded, to a great extent, 
from receiving. Especially was this true when several 
brothers or a father and his sons came together and took 
" claims " side by side ; and where the father had well-grown 
minor sons whose continuous services he could require, his 
possibility for prosperity was still more enhanced. 

There were certain hardships to which the first settlers on 
the prairies were peculiarly liable, one of the most dreaded 
being the prairie fires, which, during some seasons of the year, 
frequently threatened certain destruction of house and home 
as well as crops. Another thing which caused much suffer- 
ing and loss in the early times — one that has repeatedly been 
brought to the writer's notice — was the fact of residence at 
long distance from a physician. The disadvantage in this 
was twofold: first, the inability to get medical attendance 
promptly, and secondly, the great cost of it when obtained; 
a heavy bill was speedily incurred and bore a discouragingly 
large proportion to the scanty cash income during the first 
years of settlement. 

But by all means the greatest hindrance during the early 
years, and one that afifected all settlers alike, was the grass- 
hopper pest. Though the harm done by these insects will be 
considered in detail when we come to examine the financial 
history of the settlers year by year, yet the grasshoppers were 
such an important economic factor in Nebraska that a brief 
sketch of their history there seems advisable. The calopte7ii 
spreti, or "mountain locusts," were first seen in small num- 



30 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [308 

bers in 1862; again in '64 and '65, and in '66 and '68 they 
were seen, but did little harm. In '69 in certain sections, 
as in Hall county, they destroyed the whole crop. The habit 
of the insects is to soar high in the air in immense swarms, 
and from time to time to pounce down on a field, often strip- 
ping it bare of all vegetation before continuing tlieir flight 
The grain most commonly devoured was com. After '69 
the pests were not seen in central Nebraska till '73, and 
though in this year many families suffered very severe 
losses, yet the average crop for the whole state was fair, and 
prices of grain were not greatly raised. Hall county was 
fortunate enough to escape them almost entirely at this time. 
In the last days of July and the first of August, '74, they suc- 
ceeded in devouring almost all the growing corn, and those 
settlers on the frontier whose " sod corn '" had been their 
sole crop, and those farther east who had concentrated almost 
all their labor on that one crop, were sometimes reduced to a 
condition of absolute want. The years '75 and '76 saw the 
return of the " hoppers," as the settlers familiarly called them, 
but in neither year was the destruction so great as before. 

It will be well to discuss in this place the standard of living 
of the early settler and its relation to his possibility of finan- 
cial progress. It is true the early settler possessed very little 
property, but on the other hand his needs were few. A sod 
house gave him shelter, and after the first year his farm mr- 
nished him most of the food he required. The standard of 
living was practically the same for all the settlers, so that with 
the purchase of a little clothing and a few groceries, one 
could live comfortably, as the times went, on a very small 
outlay of cash. True, it was a hard life to live, but as a better 
was well-nigh impossible, and as there was always bright 
hope of improvement in the future, the settler was content. 
Rivalry being so largely lacking, the forces which would tend 
to raise the standard of living were very weak, and all the in- 

' Sod crops are raised on prairie which has only just been 
broken. They are usually very light and easily destroyed by a 
bad season. 



309] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 31 

centives were for the farmer to invest upon his farm any sur- 
pkis he might have, instead of consuming it in a less directly- 
productive manner. The great difficulty of getting credit 
at the time furthered such investment, for capital was sorely 
needed upon the farms, and practically the only way for the 
farmer to put it there was by carefully avoiding all expendi- 
tures for living that were not absolutely necessary, and so 
saving the necessary amount, or what part of it he could. 
This form of investment, in turn, gave a certain degree of 
prosperity ; and it may well be that the man who could main- 
tain his footing under the circumstances which we have 
described, would not be able to prevent loss at the present 
day, when the conditions are so different; for a much higher 
standard of living must to-day be maintained, and it is now 
comparatively easy to fall into the habit of borrowing until 
all hope of retrieving one's fortunes is gone. This difference 
may to some extent account for the fact, which we shall see 
later, that fewer of the farmers were ruined in the early years 
by what we may call the prevalent agricultural conditions, 
than have, in recent years, failed in a similar manner. 

The matters that we have mentioned present some of the 
salient features of the economic conditions that surroimded 
the first settlers. Bearing these facts in mind, let us now 
proceed to consider with more or less detail the financial con- 
dition of the farmers during the first few years after the set- 
tlement of the township w^as begun; and from that we can 
pass to a more hasty sketch of the changes from year to 
year until the present time. 

Tlie number who took claims or bought railroad land dur- 
ing 1872, and who followed up the taking of their claims by 
actual residence, was sixty-one; but probably many of these 
were only nominally residents until the follo\\'ing year. In 
1873 the number of residents increased to seventy-three, 
thirteen new men coming in and one man leaving. Of the 
newcomers nine entered government land; three contracted 
for the purchase of railroad land, and one purchased his 
land of a non-resident holder of railroad contracts. The 



32 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [310 

assessment rolls for '73 show no one in this township 
taxed as the owner of land, but twenty-two persons were 
assessed as the owners of personal property. During this 
year none but " sod crops " were raised, and, fortunately, 
the grasshoppers, so bad throughout the state as a whole, 
did scarcely any damage to the crops in Harrison township, 
so that the farmers were permitted to gather in whatever 
grain the newly opened soil could furnish. The one man 
who left during this year is said to have been a gambler 
and speculator who had come to the country with some 
vague idea of making a fortune in the immediate future, 
but who soon tired of even his nominal residence on a farm 
and sought more agreeable fields. 

Though the grasshoppers did considerable damage in the 
state as a whole during 1873, ^^ we have seen, yet their rav- 
ages were not so great as to cause very high prices for grain 
in the spring of the following year; nor was immigration to 
the part of the state which we are considering materially 
hindered thereby. In fact, in 1874 the number of arrivals in 
the township was larger than in 1873. Seventeen new settlers 
came, of whom nine entered upon government land, five on 
railroad land, and three purchased of older settlers. In this 
year we find taxes levied for the first time on real property; 
while thirty-eight persons were taxed on personal property. 
Owing to the grasshoppers and severe hot winds, the crops 
this year were very much damaged, the corn being wholly 
lost, and the small grains yielding less than one-half of an 
average crop. In consequence many persons were left 
entirely without means of support except such as they could 
obtain from the relief associations. 

During 1874, five men gave up their holdings in Harrison 
township. Two of these were speculators ; one lost his farm 
through legal complications consequent on mortgaging his 
personal property too often; a fourth, having no capital, had 
made no improvements on the land on which he was nomi- 
nally resident, and had gained his support by working for 
neighbors, and, although he left as poor as he well could be. 



311] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 33 

he caiinot be said to have failed in farming. The fiftli had 
completed his title to a homestead before selling, having been 
able to do this by taking advantage of tlie special privileges 
in time, etc., that the law gave to former soldiers. He had 
poor health and lacked in energy; the bad crops quickly dis- 
couraged him, so tliat he lost confidence in the country and 
its resources. Having an opportunity to do so, he willingly 
sold his farm and returned to his native state of Michigan to 
work in the more healthful pineries. Thus far, therefore, 
we find only one man whose departure can in any sense be 
said to have been caused, or even accelerated, by unfavorable 
conditions of soil or climate. 

During 1875 prices of grain went higher than ever, owing 
to the crop failure of the preceding year, com being sold at 
over $1 a bushel; and this affected the new settler in that in 
most cases he was compelled to buy grain for his own use. 
The bad years seem finally to have had their eflfect on immi- 
gration, for in 1875 no new settlers entered the township, 
while five either sold out or abandoned tl\eir claims and left 
the country. More than this, if we can place any dependence 
on the tax lists, there were this year but twenty-two persons 
in the township owning taxable personal property; although 
the number of persons to whom real estate was assessed had 
increased from one to thirteen. 

Without considering the following years in such detail, 
it can be seen by reference to Table I. in what way the num- 
ber of resident farmers owning their land^ has changed. 

* For the purpose of this paper all claimants or contractors will 
be treated as owners; and in Table I. the acquisition of claims under 
the land laws, or the making of a conti'act for the purchase of rail- 
road lands, is included with the actual purchases under the head of 
" purchasing," while the alienation of the settlers' interests, either 
by abandonment or relinquishment of claims, or by assignment or 
cancellation of railroad contracts, is included under the head of 
" seUiQg." It must be remembered that especially during the past 
few years the number of rented farms has constantly increased, 
and that the table does not show the total number of cultivated 
farms, but includes only those which have been cultivated by resi- 
dent owners. It is perhaps needless to add that the figures refer 
to heads of families, not to individuals, in residence. 



34 



The Condition of the Western Farmer. [312 



The first two columns show the changes in ownership 
occurring each year among resident owners; the third 
column, the number at the close of each year who had ever 
been resident owners and still owned the land. After deduct- 
ing the number shown in the fourth column as moving away 
without selling, we have left in the fifth column the number of 
owners, at the end of each year, who were actually occupying 
their own farms.^ 

I.— RESIDENT OWNERS. 





Resident during part or all of term of 
ownership. 


Moved 

out of 

Township 

(still hold 

title). 


Total 
owners in 




Number 
Purchasing. 


Number 
Selling. 


Total 
Owning. 


actual 
residence. 


1872 
3 
4 
5 


61 
13 

17 




1 
5 
5 


61 
73 

85 
80 


3 


61 
73 

85 

77 


6 

7 

8 

9 

80 


2 
5 
9 
20 
9 


8 
7 
4 
10 
5 


74 
72 
77 
87 
91 


1 
1 

1 


71 
68 

72 
83 
85 


1 
2 
3 
4 
5 


1 
7 
7 
15 
4 


3 
6 

1 
9 
3 


89 

90 

96 

102 

103 


1 


83 
83 
89 
95 
96 


6 
7 
8 
8 
90 


3 
4 
4 
3 
3 


5 
5 
3 

7 
4 


101 

100 

101 

97 

96 


1 
1 


94 
93 
93 

89 

87 


1 
2 


1 
2 


9 
6 


88 
84 


1 


78 
74 




190 


106 


84 


10 


74 



* In this connection, tlie following table, indicating the average 
length of time during which resident owners have retained title to 
the land which they occupied, may be of interest: 

DURATION OF OWNERSHIP BY RESIDENTS. 





On 

Government 

Land. 


Ou 

Railroad 

Land. 


Purchasers from 
other than Rail- 
road Companies. 


Average for 
all Residents. 


Men who have 
sold 


7.4 years 


7.5 years 


6.0 years 


7.0 years 


Men who still 
own 


17.8 years 


14.6 years 


7. 6 years 


12.0 years 



313] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 35 

We observe that the number of such owners increased 
rapidly until '74, at which time there were more o^vners in 
residence than there are now; that it then decreased almost 
as rapidly, owing to the successive crop failures, until 'yy. 
With '78 began a new rise in the number of such inhabitants, 
which progressed steadily, though with a slight break in '81, 
until '85, when the number of resident owners reached its 
highest point. For three years longer the number remained 
almost stationary, but by '89 it had begun to fall again, until 
now there are hardly more owners in residence than in '73. 

We are able to trace a very close connection between the 
number of resident owners in the various years and the 
climatic and crop conditions/ The number of such owners 
increased on the wave of immigration until 1875, but a 
complete cessation of settlement was caused in that year 
by the grasshopper pest of the preceding seasons, and, in 
fact, the same cause was at the basis of the continued 
decrease in the number of resident owners, which lasted 
through ^yy. The crop of 1876, wherever it was not destroyed 
by grasshoppers, and the crop of ^yy throughout the whole 
state were exceptionally good; and with the good crops 
came a renewed immigration to the state. Moreover, 
by 1878 the chances to take government land were pretty 
thoroughly exhausted, except in those parts of the state in 



^ The connection is so close as to do much to justify the claim 
that Harrison township is reaUy typical of large sections of coun- 
try. It will be at once seen that unfavorable general conditions, 
such as grasshoppers or drouth, have within a year or so after 
their occurrence almost completely stopped immigration, and that 
they also drive settlers out of ilie township; that unfavorable local 
conditions, such as hail, have not hindered immigration— for they 
are looked on rather as accidents than as properties of the coun- 
try—but that they have often caused the failure and departure of 
former resident owners. We may add that unfavorable conditions, 
whether local or general, cause emigration from the township in 
tAvo ways: first, by completely discouraging the farmer with his 
prospects, in which case the full effect may not be seen for several 
years; or, second, by inflicting on some already heavily burdened 
settler such a severe loss of crops that further struggle for pros- 
perity becomes at once impossible. 



36 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [314 

which the sandy soil or the roughness of the land was a 
drawback, or in which it seemed that without irrigation 
success in agriculture would be very doubtful. This indi- 
cates another reason why the number of settlers in the 
township should so greatly increase at this time, the immi- 
grants often turning back from the frontier and preferring 
to purchase railroad lands in tried parts of the state near 
the means of transportation, rather than to take from the 
government free land the value of which was very uncer- 
tain. We must here remember the fact, indicated in another 
plac^, that the settler who took government land really 
needed almost the same amount of capital in order to bring 
his " claim " well under cultivation as was required by the 
purchaser of railroad land on long time. In 1878 the crops 
throughout the state were very good, but hail caused almost 
total destruction of grain over at least half of Harrison 
township; and here we can observe the effect of unfavorable 
local conditions; for the number of newcomers in '79 was 
not at all affected by the losses of the previous year, being 
in fact greater than in any other year since 1872; but the 
number of removals was affected, being in 1879 much 
greater than the average. The temporary cessation of im- 
migration during 1881 must be laid to the severe drouth of 
1880 and the consequent crop failure. During the next five 
or six years crops were heavy and prices were good, and in 
connection with this we notice the steady increase in the 
number of resident owners. The decrease in the number of 
such owners in late years must partly be attributed to the 
removal of prosperous farmers and partly to the removal 
of those who had met with failure — ^just in what propor- 
tion will better be seen at a later stage of this paper when 
we have more data before our consideration. 

Table 11.^ contains the number of purchases or entries, 
and of sales of lands in the township during the various 



^In this table, for the sake of simplicity, purchasers of school 
lands are included imder the third subhead. 



315] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 



37 



years, and is to a certain extent supplementary to the pre- 
ceding table. It gives, however, in addition, data for dis- 
covering the causes which led to the taking of land in dif- 
ferent ways at different times. Separate columns show the 
number of those settlers of each year who are still resident 
o^^^lers, and those who have since sold and moved away. 

II. — Purchases and entries made each year, ivith number of 
such purchases and claims since sold or relinquished, and 
number still retained by original purchaser or claimant. 



.13 . 


On Government Land. 


On Railroad Land. 


Purchased of other 
than Railroad 
1 Company. 


3-13 
O u 

u o 


No. of 

entries 

each 

year. 


Have 

since 

sold or 

relin- 

quish'd 


Still 
hold. 


No. of 
pur- 

chas'rs 
each 
year. 


Have 

since 
sold. 


Still 
hold. 


No. of 
pur- 

chas'rs 
each 
year. 


Have 

since 
sold. 


Still 
hold. 


1872 
3 
4 
5 


57 
9 
9 


40 

8 

7 


17 
1 
2 


4 
3 
5 


1 
2 

4 


3 
1 

1 


1 
3 


1 
2 


1 


6 

7 

8 

9 

80 


1 
3 
2 
2 


1 
2 
1 
1 


1 
1 
1 


1 
1 

7 

15 

3 


1 
1 
3 

7 


4 
8 
3 


1 

3 
6 


1 

3 
3 


3 


1 
2 
3 
4 
5 


1 
2 




1 
2 








7 

7 

13 

4 


3 
4 
4 
2 


4 
3 

9 
2 


6 
7 
8 
9 
90 














3 
4 
4 
3 
3 


2 
2 


1 
2 
4 
3 
3 


1 
2 














1 

2 




1 
2 




86 


60 


26 


39 


19 


20 


65 


27 


38 



Now, remembering the fact that those listed as entering 
government lands in the later years — say from '75 to '85 — 
had, to quite an extent, the character of purchasers, it is evi- 
dent that the taking of government land, as such, was almost 



38 Tlie Condition of the Western Farmer. [316 

exclusively the characteristic of the first three years of set- 
tlement. This will be still clearer when we consider the fact 
that several of those who appear as taking railroad land 
during these years, also owned government land which ad- 
joined their new tracts, though just outside the limits of the 
township. The others who bought railroad land during 
these first three years did so, we may presume, either on 
account of the exceptionally good quality of the particular 
piece of land chosen, or for the purpose of being near 
friends, or because it seemed better to the individual settler 
to have the advantages of residence in a settlement a few 
years old, than to go out upon the still newer frontier. The 
largest number of settlements on railroad land occurred in 
'78 and '79, immediately after the effects of a renewed period 
of good crops had begun to be felt; between a half and two- 
thirds of all the purchases of such lands being made in these 
two years. During these years several homesteads and pre- 
emption entries were made on odd-numbered sections, it be- 
ing thought that the railroad title thereto had been forfeited; 
but soon the United States Supreme Court decided that 
the claim of the railroad company was still good, and these 
entries of course came to nought. Since that time the great 
majority of settlers have been obliged to buy their lands of 
former individual owners. 

Let us now briefly consider the various causes for selling 
or surrendering claims. From Table III. can be seen in the 
first column the number of owners who left owing to causes 
which can be classed together as " Prevalent agricultural 
conditions." All who left the country after unsuccessful 
attempts at farming, and whose troubles cannot be traced 
to some definite cause which would have afifected them in like 
manner if occurring in one of the older states, are put in this 
column. We have already seen that by 1874 there had been 
only one man to be so classified. In the other columns are 
put those who left owing, as nearly as can be ascertained, to 
the causes enumerated. It has been a matter of the greatest 
difficulty to ascertain with exactness what were the reasons in 



317] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 



39 



each case which caused the individuals to leave, and often 
there is a plurality of causes, preventing easy classification. 
But each case has been considered carefully and the results 
are approximately correct. 

III.— CAUSES FOR SELLING OR SURRENDERING CLAIMS. 





1.— Owing to 
prevalent 

agricultural 
conditions. 


Il.-Saies by 
those who had 
bought in hopes 
of an advance. 


III.— Failure to 

improve or 

cultivate the 

land. 


-a 
® 

o o o 

l.2| 
1-1 


s 

1 
> 


o 

O h 
O i^ 


1- o 


o 

B ai 01 


1 
§ 


1872 
3 
4 
5 


1 


1 
2 


1 
3 




2 






1 
5 
5 


6 
7 
8 
9 
80 


1 
1 

2 

1 

2 

2 

3 
1 

14 


4 
2 

1 

1 

1 

2 


1 
1 

3 

1 




1 

1 


1 

2 

1 
3 

1 




1 

4 


8 
7 
4 
10 
5 


1 
2 
3 
4 
5 




1 

2 

2 

1 
1 
1 


1 
1 

2 


1 
1 


3 
6 

1 
9 
3 


6 

7 

8 

9 

90 


2 

1 

2 
19 




1 


1 


1 
3 


2 
3 

3 


5 
5 
3 

7 
4 


1 
2 




2 

1 


2 






2 
2 

18 


9 
6 




9 


16 


7 


16 


7 


106 



Column I. — In regard to those in the first column, it 
wll be noticed first that the great majority of the cases 
occur in comparatively late years. This is something of a 
surprise, as one would naturally expect to find the con- 
ditions of the early settlement less favorable for permanence 
of residence than those prevailing later.^ One thing which 



^ The only advantage wMch the settlers of Harrison townhip had 
over the settlers In most other parts of the state consisted in their 
nearness to tlie older settled district on the river bottom, the influ- 
ence of which has already been discussed. 



40 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [318 

may have had its influence on this fact is the low standard 
of living which prevailed during the early years and which 
we have discussed above. 

The first man here listed leaving in '74 would probably 
have stayed had his health been better and his energy con- 
sequently greater. The next one, in '76, was a hard worker, 
though with very small capital; after repeated crop failures 
he became so discouraged that he gave up his land and 
moved away. The case occurring the following year is 
almost exactly similar, except that a general tendency toward 
shiftlessness plays quite a large part in the failure to raise 
good crops. Of those leaving in '82, one had really left his 
claim a few years before under circumstances similar to the 
second case named above, but did not sell until this year; 
the other had come in '79 with a small capital of, say $500, 
and had begun to open up a piece of railroad land, but find- 
ing that he could not meet his payments, he moved back to 
his old home to resume work at his trade and allowed his 
contracts to be canceled. The case of '84 was similar to 
the first one of '82. Of the two who thus lost their farms 
in '88, one was an original settler on government land, who 
kept steadily running behind till he was forced to sell his 
farm to pay his debts ; the other had settled on railroad land 
in '78, and what ^\^th poor management and bad crops got 
into such a financial condition that he was forced to sell 
and had practically nothing left. The six cases remaining 
in this column, who left during '90, '91 and '92, were, with 
one exception, all purchasers from other individuals. No 
doubt the serious drouth of 1890 had much to do with 
accelerating their ruin. One of these had too little capital to 
enable him to pay up for his farm, and so had to give it up ; 
he is now a renter in the same precinct; the second and third 
were at start moderately well ofif, but ran through every- 
thing and are now renters; the fourth was still better oflf at 
the start, but got into debt to everybody and so lost his land ; 
the fifth, after twelve years' residence on and cultivation of 
an eighty-acre fann, found himself considerably behind- 



319] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 41 

hand and sold out to move farther west, where free govern- 
ment land was to be had; the sixth and last started with a 
comparatively large capital, say $4000, and in six years had 
gotten rid of it all. 

We note, tlien, that the settlers leaving in this general con- 
dition of impoverishment in the early years did so mainly 
because tlieir continual loss of crops had thoroughly dis- 
couraged them with the prospects of the country, if, indeed, 
it had not made their further attempts at farming absolutely 
impossible; that there then follow several who had to give 
up because of unwise attempts to bring under cultivation 
railroad or other land with too small capital; and that lastly 
we have a class of men, mainly later purchasers, who fail and 
lose their farms owing to economic conditions, the cause of 
which is not apparent on the surface. 

Column II. — This column includes all speculators, as the 
term is described on page 26, note. We see that about half of 
the men whose prime purpose in farm residence was specula- 
tive, and who have since sold, had sold within the first five 
years. Of those who entered government land with this 
object in early years, most sold their land quickly; two or 
three have only recently sold, while a few still own. The 
remainder of those listed as selling in recent years belong 
to the class of comparatively late purchasers, as previously 
described. 

Column III. — ^Those who did little or nothing on their 
land. These men came with the intention of farming, but 
owing to lack of capital, or attracted by opportunities to 
make good wages at other trades or occupations, they left 
after short residences. It is seen that all such cases occurred 
in the early years of settlement. 

Column IV. — Those who left owing to complications 
other than those arising from their attempts at farming. 
Among such troubles may be mentioned becoming entan- 
gled in civil lawsuits; becoming surety for and having to 
pay the debts of another; speculating in cattle; committing 
crimes or misdemeanors, etc. Such cases occurred with 



42 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [320 

great regularity, and it is evident were not dependent, to 
any extent, upon the characteristics of the special year or 
period. 

Column V. — Here are included all those who died while 
resident owners of land witliin the township. 

Column VI. — Those who, after a more or less successful' 
career in Harrison, moved to better farms, or farms that 
suited them better. Most of these went to other parts of 
the county or to other counties in Nebraska where they 
could get larger tracts of land, or could be near relatives or 
friends; often the wife's desire to be near her relatives was 
the cause of moving. A few moved back to their old homes 
further east, mainly Ohio or Iowa. 

Column VII. — Those who moved to cheaper farms. Part 
of them left because they recognized that their original cap- 
ital was insufficient to initiate and carry on the farming of 
the land which they had ; part of them because of failing for- 
tunes which they hoped to retrieve by a fresh start somewhere 
else. Some of these went further west and took homesteads 
from the government. 

Column VIII. — Those who have removed to towns or 
villages. Under this head are included the few whose capital 
was such that they could live comfortably on the income to be 
derived from its judicious investment; also those who have 
entered upon business as small merchants or saloon-keepers ; 
or who have preferred the opportunities offered them by 
residence in towns to pursue trades with which they were 
conversant, where they could at the same time find pleas- 
anter social life and better education for their children. In 
all cases they are men who can be ranked as having been 
fairly successful farmers. As would be expected, they are 
almost all found toward the close of the period \ve are now 
considering. 



^ This term must be understood as used in comparison with the 
careers of the other farmers of tlie township. Just what the meas- 
ure of success was will be discussed in the Concluding Remarks. 



321] The Condition of the ^^estern Farmer. 43 

What we learn from the facts in these latter columns simply 
confirms our former ideas of the condition prevailing in the 
various years. We need only add to the summary given 
above the remark that farming in this township seems to 
have been at its best in the middle part of the period that 
has elapsed since colonization began. After the drawbacks 
attending the first settlement were past, the prosperity of 
the settlers was at its highest point, and in the later years, 
while the older settlers have in the main increased their 
wealdi, but at a much slower rate than before, yet those who 
have come in as purchasers from the older settlers have, 
almost without exception, fallen behind rather than gained 
in their net wealth. 

Land Values, 

When Harrison township was first settled, land in limited 
quantities could be purchased from the government by actual 
setders for $2.50 an acre. At the same time the Union 
Pacific Railroad was asking $4 an acre for its lands. As the 
government land was all so quickly taken, and as sales were 
made by the railroad company at its own prices, we can con- 
sider the actual value of the lands from 1872 to 1874 to have 
been about $4 an acre. During the two or three years fol- 
lowing 1874 there was absolutely no sale for farming land, but 
after immigration began again in 1878, the railroad price may 
be considered as indicative of the actual marketable value of 
the lands. In '78 and '79, $5 and $6 per acre were the cur- 
rent prices. From 1880 to 1884 land of the average quality 
brought from $6 to $8 per acre. These were the prices, of 
course, for unimproved land sold on long time and easy 
terms. A settler who wished to sell for cash would get very 
much less, unless the improvements represented a substan- 
tial sum. With the exception of two or three years prior to 
1 891 or '92, land has, since 1880, steadily increased in value, 
though usually it has been of rather slow sale, because owners 
have habitually asked prices for it above what purchasers 
were willing to pay. At the present time, land with good 



44 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [322 

average improvements will sell with comparative readiness 
for about $25 an acre, though owners often claim that they 
would refuse any offer of less than $30 to $35 an acre. 

Renting of Farming Lands. 

Until quite recently the usual rent of farming land has been 
one-third of the produce, and there has always been plenty of 
land to be obtained upon such terms. But within the last 
two or three years the demand for farms has very greatly in- 
creased, and there has been a corresponding increase in the 
rent. Owners are beginning to ask for their farms either 
two-fifths of the produce, or a cash rent of from $1.50 to 
$2.25 for each acre of plow-land. In 1892 about four-fifths of 
the rented land was rented on shares, and the remainder for 
cash. In the same year, of the farms rented, about two-thirds 
were rented to tenants who resided on the lands; while the 
remaining one-third was rented to neighbors. 

Credit. 

There are in general four ways in which the farmers have 
made use of the capital of others. These are, first, by obtain- 
ing credit with the retail dealers with whom they trade; sec- 
ond, by borrowing with real estate security; third, by borrow- 
ing with chattel security (and this includes most of the debt 
on agricultural implements, for the part of the price of such 
implements which is not paid in cash is usually secured by 
mortgage on the machinery itself) ; and fourth, by borrowing 
with unsecured promissory note or with personal security. 
The first method is relatively unimportant, as the total 
amount of credit so obtained has necessarily been quite small. 
Let us then pass to the consideration of the three other forms. 

When the township was settled, money could only be bor- 
rowed on chattel security, and was very difficult to obtain 
even at the high rates then offered and demanded; for capi- 
talists were few, and the condition of the borrower was such 
as to warrant only the smallest line of credit. Moreover, the 
insecurity of the loan made the interest required very high. 



323] Tlie Condition of tJie Western Farmer. 45 

But in time real estate became of importance as security. 
The agent of the first company that loaned money upon real 
estate in this part of Nebraska appeared about 1875, and 
twelve per cent was the rate of interest demanded, with a 
bonus of from ten per cent to twenty-five per cent for com- 
mission. The rates have gradually lowered; in 1880 they 
were eight per cent interest and two per cent commission; 
then seven and two; later, seven and one; and now the 
current rate is six and one, while a certain large life 
insurance company will make all good loans of over 
$2000 that are desired at six per cent without commission. 
But for a long time the chattel mortgage held its o^vn 
and was the form of security regularly in use for borrow- 
ing money; even tlie most well-to-do did not hesitate to 
allow such mortgages to appear on record against them. 
This has changed to a certain extent, however, and real 
estate or personal security is coming to be given in pref- 
erence by the more prosperous farmers. Chattel mortgages 
are still frequently given by cattle-feeders as security for their 
extra purchases of stock for winter feeding, but even in this 
line of business they are less common than formerly. The 
amount of money now borrowed on personal security, or 
simply on individual note, is not large, for only the more 
prosperous can so borrow, and they are just those who want 
to and who do borrow the least. I was allowed to examine 
the books of a bank that does perhaps the greater part of the 
business of this township, and found only an insignificant 
amount of this last variety of paper. 

Those few settlers who were able to borrow of a father or 
of other relatives in the eastern states had a very great ad- 
vantage, especially in the first years of residence, as in trying 
times they could count on aid without having to pay the 
exorbitant interest charged by local lenders. Many were the 
occasions for borrowing in the early days; but most of the 
debt was incurred either to provide sustenance during a year 
of lost crops, or to make improvements, or to settle an 
unpaid balance of purchase money. 



46 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [324 

It will be necessary later to discuss in detail the use of 
credit in its relation to agricultural prosperity; but two gen- 
eral incentives to mortgaging may be here mentioned, the 
influence of which has been felt throughout a great part of 
the history of the township, but especially during the earlier 
days. The first incentive grew out of the appreciation in the 
price of land, the farmer being led into realizing this in ad- 
vance by means of mortgaging; as fast as he could increase 
his loan he would do so, and use the sum obtained sometimes 
to make good deficiencies and losses, or for current expendi- 
ture, and sometimes for investment, whether legitimate or 
speculative, upon his farm. The second incentive lay in the 
fact of the relatively large returns of crop in proportion to 
the cost of the land. In the early days the farmer's profits 
were very high in proportion to the amount of capital em- 
ployed, whenever his crops were at all good; and this often 
led him to purchase and cultivate more land than he was able 
to manage; then if bad crops, which he had not counted on, 
came, he would become hopelessly involved in debt. It is 
true the farmer may often have suffered from excessive inter- 
est and grasping creditors; but it was less frequently the av- 
arice of the lender that got him into trouble than the fact that 
he was too sanguine and too prone to believe that he could 
safely go in debt, on the assumption that crops and prices in 
the future would equal those in the present. 

Taxation. 

The direct taxes which have been levied on the farmers of 
the township since the first year of settlement consist of state 
taxes, county taxes, and school taxes.^ Since 1884, at which 
time the present township organization went into effect, there 
have been, in addition, township taxes. Table IV. shows the 
rate in mills of the taxes levied for state and county purposes 
in each year since 1872, the county tax being classified 
according to its expenditure. The table gives also the town- 

^ During the first five years, that is from 1872 to 1876, there was 
also a road tax of $4 for every quarter section of land. This tax is 
not included in the tables wliich are to follow. 



325] The Condition of the Westeim Farmer. 



47 



ship taxes and the assessed valuation in the township since 
1884. No table can be given for the rate of levy of school 
taxes, because the school district boundaries are constantly 
changing and have no reference to the township boundaries. 
However, from the amount of such tax collected within the 
to^^'nship, we can say that the rate averages about ten mills. 
Putting all these taxes together, we find the average rate per 
annum to be about thirty-three mills on the dollar of assessed 
valuation. 

IV.— RATES OF TAXATION. 





State 
Tax 1 




County Tax. 




Township Tax. 


Township 




mills. ] 




mills 






mi 


lis. 


assessment 






ti 

c S 



6. 




DO 

1 




^-1 







'6 


6 
bo 

2 


3 





1872 


5.750 


3. 




1.5 




10.50 




3 


6 250 


6. 


7.50 




1.5 




15. 












4 


6.250 


6. 


5.25 


6. 


1. 




18.25 












5 


7.350 


6. 


.50 




3. 


3.75 


10.25 












6 


7.850 


6. 


3. 




.25 


13.25 




7 


6.125 


8. 


2. 




4.5 


.50 


15. 












8 


6.375 


6. 


.50 




5. 


.50 


12. 












9 


5.750' 


5.5 


3.50 




8.5 


.50 


18. 












80 


4.000 


6.5 


6. 


2.5 


2.5 




17.50 












1 


5.750 


8.5 


3.50 




5. 




17. 




2 


5.000 


8. 


4. 




8. 


2. 


17. 












5^ 


6.875 
7.875 


5. 

7. 


4. 
3. 




3. 
8. 




12. 
13. 


1.5 










4 


2. 


2.5 


6. 


^64,349 


5 


7.850 


8. 


2. 




4. 




14. 


2. 
2. 


2. 


2. 


6. 


85,818 


6 


7.975 


8. 


2. 




4. 


1. 


15. 


2. 


2. 


6. 


101.065 


7 


8.125 


8.6 


2. 


4. 


.40 


15. 


1. 


1. 


1. 


3. 


87,723 


8 


8.0001 


8.4 


4. 


2.2 


.40 


15. 


1. 


2. 


1. 


4. 


91.111 


9 


7.0181 


8.2 


2.70 






.50 


11.40 


1.5 


2. 


.5 


4. 


97,548 


90 


6.893 


9. 


3.90 


1.5 




2.10 


16.50 


1.5 


2. 


.5 


4. 


94.945 


1 


6.875 


8.3 


3.30 


2.5 




.90 


15. 


1.5 


2. 


.5 


4. 


95,195 


2 7.1251 


8.5 


3. 






.50 


12. 


2. 


2. 


1. 


5. 


97.752 



The assessments, however, are very low. During the first 
few years after the settlement of the township, we find real 
estate assessed usually at $2.50 per acre. In 1880 the as- 
sessed valuation was $2.87 for unimproved land and $3.41 
for improved land. Since then the average for improved 
land in the township has been about $3-/5 per acre, the assess- 



48 TJie Condition of the Western Farmer. [326 

ment having only once gone above $4. The valuation of the 
unimproved land has changed little for many years, the range 
being from $2.74 to $3.08 per acre. To indicate the valua- 
tion of personal property, the following rates, copied from the 
assessor's book for 1892, will be of interest: Fat cattle, $5 
to $7; steers, $4; thoroughbred bulls, $10; heifers, cows and 
young steers, $2 to $4; calves and yearling heifers and fat 
sheep, $1 ; lambs, 50 cents; hogs, per 100 lbs., 75 cents; horses 
and mules and all other personal property at one-fourth the 
cash value. It may be added, that though there seems to be 
no particular method of determining what is and what is not 
improved land, yet on the whole, in late years, all quarter- 
quarter sections which do not contain buildings have been 
listed as unimproved, no matter whether they were under 
regular cultivation or not. Since 1886, less than one-fifth of 
the land on the average has been assessed as improved, 
though during the three years '84, '85 and '86, from one-half 
to two-thirds of the land was so assessed. In 1892 the aver- 
age quarter section was assessed for about $500, or an eighth 
of its real value, and probably the proportion of the value of 
personal property assessed was not more than that; so that, 
the tax rate being about thirty-six mills, the real tax levied 
was less than half a cent on the dollar of true valuation. 

Markets, Prices, and Freight Rates. 

During the years 1872 and '73 all the agricultural produce 
of Hall county could be readily sold to the new settlers, at 
prices so high as to make shipments to outside markets un- 
profitable. During the three following years it was necessary 
to bring grain into the country rather than ship it out, on ac- 
count of the successive crop failures caused by grasshoppers 
and drouth ; but with 'yy a period of fairly good crops began, 
and during most of the time from then until '84 the markets 
in the western part of Nebraska, and in the Black Hills and 
other near regions in which settlement was just beginning, 
gave better prices for com and oats than could be realized by 
shipping them to eastern grain centers. Between '85 and '87 



327] Tl\e Condition of the Western Fanner. 



49 



the activity in railroad building in states to the west gave rise 
to good markets for com, and quite high prices prevailed. 
From 1877 to 1883, Chicago was by far the best market for 
wheat, but since 1883 the local mills have competed with it 
and absorbed a good share of the crop. Since 1887 it has 
been necessary to ship most of the grain to eastern markets, 
or sometimes to the South, and this is especially the case 
w^hen crops are heavy. While therefore during a great part 
of the period we are considering the prices obtained for grain 
have been somewhat better than could be obtained by ship- 
ments to the eastern markets, yet since 1877 the price of 
wheat has been to a great extent afifected by the net price to 
be obtained by shipping to Chicago, and since 1887 the Chi- 
cago prices have had a by no means inconsiderable effect on 
the selling price of all grains. It is unfortunately impossible 



v.— AVERAGE CHICAGO PRICES OF CORN, WHEAT, 
AND OATS.' 





Corn " No. 2." 


Wheat "No. 3" Spring. 


Oats "No. 3." 




cts. per bushel. 


cts. per bushel. 


cts. per bushel. 


72 


34.3 


111.5 


26.1 


3 


33.3 


103.9 


25.6 


4 


59.3 


97.6 


41.7 


5 


54.8 


88.9 


41. 


6 


40. 


92.6 


28.3 


7 


43.7 


131.5 


29.5 


8 


36.9 


95.2 


22.3 


9 


35.6 


99.6 


26.8 


80 


37.7 


105.7 


29.8 


1 


50. 


114.8 


37.8 


2 


67.5 


116.6 


43.6 


3 


53.8 


101.7 


34.5 


4 


51.6 


83. 


29.1 


5 


43. 


83.9 


29. 


6 


37. 


76.6 


27.6 


7 


39.5 


75.6 


26. 


8 


46.8 


90. 


28.6 


9 


34. 


85.5 


23.2 


90 


39.3 


89.2 


30.9 


1 


58.4 


96.6 


39.1 



' For fuller tables see " Statistical Information Pertaining to Chi- 
cago Markets." Howard, Bartels & Co., Cliicago, 



50 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [328 

to obtain records showing the prices which grains have 
brought in the local markets, but Table V. gives the average 
prices for corn and wheat and oats in Chicago for each year 
since 1872. 

In attempting to estimate, on the basis of the preceding 
table of prices, the profits which the farmer has been able to 
make on his grain, we should next have to take into account 
the cost of raising the grain and the cost of transporting it to 
market; and though we shall be unable to discuss this mat- 
ter in detail here, a few facts bearing on the subject may not 
be out of place. 

The cost of raising corn in Nebraska has been investigated 
by the Nebraska Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, 
and in its report for 1891-92 the estimates of some six or 
seven hundred farmers are given, which make the average 
cost of the production of corn per acre to be $6.40, and there- 
fore, figuring forty bushels of corn to the acre, the cost per 
bushel Avould be 16 cents. The method of this estimate is, 
however, faulty, in that the cost of husking and cribbing is 
estimated by the acre and not by the bushel, as it should 
be, and thus the size of the crop is entangled from the start 
with the cost per acre. Leaving out these items of husking 
and cribbing, the average cost per acre shown by the report is 
$4.90. From this latter figure, the cost per bushel should be 
estimated according to the size of the crop, and then an 
addition made to cover cost of husking and cribbing. More- 
over, the figures given in the report do not include cost of 
hauling to market, which is for the farmers of Harrison town- 
ship from one to two cents a bushel. The cost to the farmers 
we are considering of com delivered by them at the market- 
place cannot be estimated under from eighteen to twenty 
cents per bushel for a fairly good year, that is when the crop 
averages from thirty-five to forty bushels to the acre. 

The report of the Bureau indicates that the cost of raising 
corn in the eastern counties is greater than in the western 
counties of the state. The reasons suggested for this are 
that the item of interest on the investment in the land in the 



329] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 



51 



newer counties is less than in the older ones, as is also the 
amount of cultivating which it is found necessary to give the 
land. Analogy with this conclusion would suggest that the 
cost of raising com in Harrison was less in earlier days than 
now, and therefore, though the freight rates were much higher 
then than at present, yet the price which the farmer had to 
realize for his corn in order to make a profit from it \vas less 
than now. 

As to freight rates on grain. Table VI. will show all the 
changes since 1880-83 iri the rates between Grand Island and 
Omaha, and between Grand Island and Chicago. A com- 
parison made between the figures in the table itself will show 
how large the local rates have been as compared with 
through rates.^ A comparison" of the rates here given with 
the Chicago prices of grain as seen in Table V. will show 
how much of the value of the product is absorbed in finding 
a market for it. If further deduction is made from the 
Chicago price for the commissions of two middlemen, we 
\x\\\ begin to appreciate the position and feelings of the 
farmer w^ho said that when he bought his farm he thousfht 



VI.— FREIGHT RATES (in cts. per cwt.). 
Grand Island to Omaha (150 miles). Grand Island to Chicago (650 miles). 



Date effective. 


Corn. 


Wheat 


Oats. 


Date effective. 


Corn. 


Wheat 


Oats. 


Jan. 1, '83 . . 


18 


19+ 


18 


Jan. 7, '80 . . 


32 


45 


32 


Apr. 16, '83 . 


15 


16i 


15 


Sept. 15. '82 . 


38 


43 


38 


Jan. 10, '84 . 


18 


19* 


18 


Apr. 5, '87 . 


34 


39 


34 


Mch. 1, "84 . 


17 


19* 


17 


Nov. 1, '87 . 


25 


30 


25 


Aug. 25. '84 . 


20 


20 


20 


Mch. 21. '90 . 


22+ 


30 


25 


Apr. 5, '87 . 


10 


16 


10 


Oct. 22, '90 . 


22 


26 


22 


Nov. 1, '87 . 


10 


12 


10 


Jan. 15, '91 . 


23 


28 


25 


Mch. 7, '88 . 


9i 


111 


9i 










Dec. 15, '88 . 


10 


12 


10 











' It must, however, be remembered that the through rates are not 
strictly to be found by adding the local Nebraska rates to the 
Omaha-Chicago rates, there being usually some deduction for 
through traffic. 

-In making comparisons with the preceding table, figure wheat 
at 60 lbs. per bushel, oats at 33 lbs., and corn (shelled) at 56 lbs. 



52 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [330 

he was really going to own the land, but that he soon dis- 
covered that he only held it on an uncertain tenure from the 
railroad companies. It will be noticed that the proportion 
of the market price which is paid for freight is mucli higher 
f or « corn and oats than for wheat, and in the former grains 
often runs over one-third of the total price. 



III.— PRESENT ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE 
FARMERS OF HARRISON TOWNSHIP. 

A. The Land and its Ownership. 

a. The Lands Considered. 

We are now to take up the more direct study of the pres- 
ent economic condition of the farmers in Harrison township. 
In this connection there must be borne in mind what has 
already been said, in recounting the reasons for selecting this 
township for the field of our investigations, in regard to the 
character of its lands. Heretofore mention has frequently 
been made of Harrison township in a way that would 
imply that detailed study would be confined solely to the 
land in it; and for most of the matters studied, such a 
statement would be true. But in many of the tables it has 
been found necessary to include also certain additional acres 
bordering on the township. We have to consider, in ad- 
dition to all the lands in the to^^-nship, all those pieces 
of land bordering on it w^hich form component parts of 
farms, the remainder of which lies in Harrison township. 
These lands could not be omitted because it w^ould not 
be just to consider a farmer's position with reference to 
only part of the farm which he had under cultivation, 
and, moreover, because very commonly mortgages are ex- 
tant covering both land in and land out of the towTiship, 
and to properly distribute the burden between the differ- 
ent parts of a farm so mortgaged w^ould hardly be possi- 
ble. But these added pieces of land are considered only 
with reference to present owners; and so only in such tables 
as those containing mortgage statistics and those concern- 
ing the size of farms. The former ow^ners, if any, of the 
added tracts are in no case considered. Table VII. gives the 



54 



The Condition of the Western Farmer. [332 



total acreage of government, railroad, and school lands in 
regard to which our investigations will be made/ 

VII.— ACREAGE OF VARIOUS CLASSES OF LANDS. 





In Harrison 
township proper. 


In added lands. 


Total. 


Government land. 


10,240 


520 


10,760 


Railroad land. 


11,520 


820 


11,840 


School land. 


1,280 


160 


1,440 




23,040 


1,000 


24,040 



T). The Quality of the Lands. 

Through the kindness of a mortgage company doing 
business in Hall county, the writer has been enabled to obtain 
the ratings which this company makes of the quality cf 
the lands in Harrison township, ratings which we may feel 
confident are as nearly correct as it is possible to get them. 
The ratings are on the scale of lo, which number repre- 
sents the very best land obtainable in the county, and they 
grade from that point down. Land represented by 7 would 
be of a very poor quality. Taking the average grade for 
each quarter section, we find in Harrison township eighty- 
two quarters ranked as 10; twenty-nine ranked as 9 or 
9 + ; twenty-seven ranked as 8 or 8 +; and six ranked as 7 
or 7+ The best land is found along the southern and 
western borders of the town. In fact tliere is hardly any 
land in the two rows of sections along the southern and 
the two along the western border which is not rated at 
10. In the northeastern part of the township the land is 
poorer, a little of it being very poor, and it is here tliat 



^ In order to avoid complication, each congi-essional section of 
land is treated as if it contained exactly 640 acres, though in those 
sections which lie long the northern and western bomidaries of the 
township, the tnie size varies from 631.42 acres to 647.70 acres. 
These differences offset each other, and the totals given La the 
table vary only very slightly from the total true acreage of the 
township. 



i 



333] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 



55 



the small amount of land in the township which is not 
under cultivation lies. Alth6ug"h the cultivators of poor 
land are at a very great comparative disadvantage, still 
this northeastern quarter contains one or two of the most 
prosperous farmers in the whole township; their prosperity 
being due, however, directly to their own thrift. None but 
a very good manager can succeed on this poorer land. 

As has been implied, the northeastern part of the township 
was less rapidly brought tmder cultivation than the other 
portions, and year by year the soil there requires the appli- 
cation of a greater amount of labor. It is to be reniarked 
that the Germans are much more numerous in this part of 
the township than in any other. . Among the seventy-four 
resident owners in the town, twenty are German, and of 
these, eleven, or fifty-five per cent, reside in the northeastern 
quarter. In no part of the township is the land perfectly 
regular as to quality or depth of the soil. Even on the best 
farms there may be found occasionally small patches of poor 
land. The writer thinks especially of one farm on which 
the soil in one corner is seven or eight feet deep and of the 
best quality, while in the opposite corner the sand subsoil 
crops out. 

c. The Ownership of the Lands. 
We have next to consider the ownership of the lands we 
have been describing. Table^ VIII. shows the total number 

VIII.— SCHEDULE OF OWNERS. 





Never 
Resident. 


Once 
Resident, 
now Non- 
Resident. 

106 


Now- 
Resident. 


Total. 


Have sold. 


188 




294 


Still own. 


51 


10 


74 


135 




239 


116 


74 


429 



^ We must note that there are certaia names which appear on the 
records but which are not mcluded in these tables. For instance, 
"Where several members of one family successively held title to a 



56 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [334 

of persons Avho have at any time owned land within the 
township, and classifies them in two \vays: first, according 
to their present status — whether they have sold or still own; 
and second, according to residence — whether they now reside 
upon the land, or have never resided upon it, or have 
formerly resided upon it but are at present non-resident. 
We see that there have been one hundred and ninety owners 
in all who have at one time or another resided in the town- 
ship, of whom seventy-four are still resident; and that the 
total number of owners of land in the township at present 
is one hundred and thirty-five. Table IX. still further 
subdivides the owners, first classified as to residence, into 
those who took government land, those who purchased from 
the railroad company, and those who purchased from other 
owners. Next the present owners of farms are classified 
according as they reside in the township, in the county but 
outside the township,^ or outside the county. We see that 
about fift3^-five per cent of the present owners reside upon 
their own farms.' 

Of the resident owners twenty-seven per cent, as has been 
seen, are Germans, the remainder being mainly Americans, 
with some few Irish and others. The states which have con- 
tributed the most settlers are Iowa and Ohio, though nearly 
all tlie states in a due easterly direction have furnished their 
shares. 



tract of land of wliich tlie real farming was, during all that period, 
carried on by the same person, the title of the land has been con- 
sidered as remaining continuously in the name of the head of the 
family; for our unit here is the family rather than the individual. 
Nineteen names have been omitted under these conditions. 

^ It may be intei'esting to show the character of those owners 
who reside outside of Harrison township but within Hall county. 
Of the thirty-four so classified, seventeen have never been engaged 
in farming, five moved from the township to enter upon other 
occupations than farming, four are owners each of several fanns 
which they oversee, though they do not personally engage in farm- 
ing, and the remaining eight are farmers hving upon farms which 
they own in other parts of the county. 

= Attention is called to the fact, shown in Parti., that the numbers 
of this class have greatly declined in recent years. 



335] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 



57 



IX.— INCLUDES ALL OWNERS WHO HAVE AT ANY TIME 
BEEN RESIDENTS. 





On Govern- 
ment land. 


Purchased 
from K. R. 


Purchased 

from other 

owners. 


Total. 


Still own and 
resident. 


18 


19 


37 


74 


Still own, now 
non-resident. 


8 


1 


1 


10 


Have sold. 


60 


19 


27 


106 




86 


39 


65 


190 



X.— PRESENT OWNERS. 



Residents of township, 

Non-residents of township but residents of county: 
Formerly resident in township, . . 5 
Never '• " . . 39 

Non-residents of county: 

Formerly resident in township, ... 5 
Never ■• '' ... 23 



74 
34 

135 



Turn now from the personal side of the question to the 
acreage possessed by the various classes of present owners. 
Table XI. shows the acreage of land held by each of the 
three classes of owners, and also the number of acres farmed 
by owners, farmed by tenants, and still uncultivated. We 
find that over half of the land is farmed by owners, and that 
only about seven per cent is still uncultivated. The per- 
centage of aci-es owned by residents is almost exactly the 
same as the percentage of owners who are residents. The 
average size of a resident's holding of land is about one 
hundred and seventy-five acres. The owner who resides 
in some other part of the county has on the average a some- 
what larger holding than this, while the owner non-resident 
of the county has, in general, a smaller holding; the figures 
being one htmdred and ninety and one hundred and seventy 
acres respectively. 



58 



Tlie Condition of tJie Western Farmer. [336 



XI.— ACREAGE HELD BY VARIOUS CLASSES OF PRESENT 

OWNERS. 



Owned by 


Farmed 
by owner 


Farmed 
by tenant 


Not 

farmed 

(hay land) 


Totals 


Average 
size of 
farms 


Residents of 
township. 


11,920 


1,040 





12,960 


175.14 


Non-residents of 

township but 

residents of county. 


1,040 


4,520 


920 


6,480 


190.59 


Non-residents of 
county. 





3,800 


800 


4,600 


170.37 




12,960 


9,360 


1,720 


24,040 





Per cent of acres farmed by owner, 53.91 

" " •' tenant 38.94 

" " not farmed 7.15 

Per cent of acres owned by residents of township, . 53.91 

" " •• county, . . 26.96 

" " " non-residents of county, 19.13 

B. Condition of Resident Owners. 

Under this heading will be considered the debt of the 
residents of the township, whether secured by real estate or 
chattel mortgage, together with the improvements which 
are on their lands. The attempt may later be made to see in 
how far the debt is represented by improvements, and in 
how far it means that the owners of the encumbered land 
are losing in wealth. We may assume that, in general and 
under normal conditions, a moderate debt incurred for the 
purpose of bringing the farm under better cultivation, and 
for acquiring machinery and protecting it after it has been 
acquired, is a sign of progress rather than of deterioration. 
And we may assume this here even though the facts brought 
out later in this paper tend to show that, under the special 
circumstances we have been considering, a debt incurred 
even for what we may call legitimate purposes has been a 
hindrance and not a help. 



337] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 59 

a. Chattel 3Iort(/af)es. 

Lc+ us consider first the chattel mortgages against resi- 
dents of Harrison township.' Table XII. shows the total of 
unreleased mortgages on file to be $23,932.22, but on account 
of a duplicate entry, one mortgage for $1000 must be 
deducted from this- to get the true amount of such debts 
shown by the books. After these figures were obtained, 
every mortgagor and mortgagee, as far as possible, was 
asked as to the state of the debt in which he was interested, 
and it became evident that almost two-thirds of the chattel 
mortgages appearing on record as still due had really been 
paid. The exact figures are given in the table. In attempt- 
ing to get at the real amount of debt owed in the township 

XII.— CHATTEL MORTGAGES. 

Total unreleased Chattel Mortgages on file. 103, §23,932.22 

Less duplicate entry, 1. 1,000.00 

102, $22,932.22 

INVESTIGATION OF TRUE STATUS OF MORTGAGES. 

Mortgages investigated, 88, $21,910.50 

Unable to investigate 14, 1,021.72 

Of investigated Mortgages 

Really paid, but not canceled, 54, $11,991. 40 

Partial payments, 2 ,178.00 $14,169.40 

Still unpaid, 34 $7,741.10 

Per cent of investigated Chattel Mortgages still due, 35i 
" '• " '■ really paid, 64| 

Taking these percentages of all Chattel Mortgages, we have: 

Total amount still unpaid $8,102.07 

really paid, 14,830.15 

$22,933.22 

Amount secured both by Real Estate and Chattel 
Mortgage, and included elsewhere under the 
head of Real Estate Mortgages, .... $1,475.00 

Net Chattel Mortgage debt of the Township, . $6,627.07 

^ The figures presented here are those as shown by tlie books of 
the county clerk of Hall county on the first of September, 1892, 
and include all mortgages filed since September 1, 1887. Mort- 
gages filed . before that time are invalid, being outlawed by the 
statute of limitations. 



60 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [338 

a further deduction has to be made for debts secured both 
by real estate and by chattel mortgages, which debts being 
included in the lists of real estate mortgages should not be 
again reckoned here. Making the necessary deductions, the 
actual total of unpaid chattel mortgages against owners of 
land in the township is brought down to $6627.07. 

Out of the seventy-four resident owning farmers, only 
twenty-seven owe any money on chattel mortgage, and of 
these twenty-seven, sixteen had ninety-one unreleased mort- 
gages against them. This very uneven distribution shows 
that the chattel mortgage has now come to be rather a mark 
of poor success. An important bearing of the facts here 
stated is in refutation of the argument based on the increase 
of chattel mortgages which is very often adduced to prove 
that western farmers are sinking ever deeper into financial 
difficulties. Whatever may be the real truth about the con- 
clusion, the argument certainly is far from right. As long as 
farmers are too negligent or too careless about their own per- 
sonal standing before the community, to place on file the 
releases of the mortgages v/hich they have paid, just so long 
we can expect nothing else than that the total amount of such 
mortgages on record will show an enormous apparent in- 
crease from year to year. 

1). Real Estate Mortgages.^ 

The bulk of the debt owed by farmers is secured by mort- 
gages upon their farms, given in the main to resident agents 



^ The following figures are b.ased on the records in the office of 
the county clerk of Hall county; those for 1892 include no instru- 
ments filed later than September 1st. Only mortgages evidently 
given to secure the piincipal of a debt are included in the totals, 
and no interest due on this debt is regarded. It is very common 
for the farmer in his dealings with a loan company to execute a 
second mortgage in favor of the company to secure the payment of 
its commission, which is usually about one per cent. As these com- 
mission mortgages are really of the nature of interest, none of them 
are here included, though their total would be qmte a considerable 
sum. 



339] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 61 

of large eastern loaning companies;' and it is due to the size 
of this debt, and the debtor's consequent liability of losing 
his homestead if poor management or bad luck prevent him 
from meeting his payments as they fall due, that much of 
the recent wide-spread discontent has arisen. The tables to 
be given will include, first, a general statement of the debt; 
second, an analysis of it based on the character of the land, 
whether originally government, railroad, or school land; 
third, an analysis with reference to residents and non-resi- 
dents ; fourth, an analysis of the debt owed by residents with 
regard to the source from which they derived their title to 
the land; and fifth, the connection will be traced between 
the debt and the quality of the lands mortgaged. 

I. Table XIII. shows the number and per cent of farms 
mortgaged, and also the number and per cent of acres mort- 
gaged. It then gives the face value of the mortgages as 
they stand in the office of the county clerk; but in order to 
allow for partial payments which have undoubtedly to some 
extent been made, and which it was not possible to inves- 
tigate directly, a deduction of 5.21 per cent is made, since 
it has been shown by the census of 1890 that that per cent 
is the average proportion of partial payments on real estate 
mortgages for the State of Nebraska. With the total amount 
of debt thus calculated, we find the average indebtedness on 
each acre mortgaged to be $8.78, and the average debt per 
fann to be $1517.32. Now it w^ould not be safe to estimate 
the average value of these farms, even when well improved, 
above, say, $25 an acre, so w^e can see what a large propor- 
tion on the average the debt on the mortgaged farms bears 



^ Seventy-six per cent of the mortgages were given to loaning 
companies; twelve per cent were given to persons of whom the 
land was purchased, and twelve per cent to other persons or cor- 
porations. As to the residence of the mortgagees, seventy-nine per 
cent of the mortgages are o"v^^led by persons or corporations non- 
resident of Hall coimty; seventeen per cent are owned by residents 
of the comity, while the remainder, four per cent, have owners 
whose residence is uhknoT\Ti. Xone of the mortgages are owned 
by residents of the township. 



62 The Condition of tlie Western Farmer. [340 

to their total value, being in fact considerably over one- 
third. With interest to pay on such a sum, and with the 
final payment to provide for, it is no wonder that the years 
of partial failure, always liable to occur in agriculture, become 
doubly discouraging to any but the most energetic farmer. 



XIII.— REAL ESTATE MORTGAGES. 



Total number of farms mortgaged, 
Per cent, of farms mortgaged, . . . 
Total number of acres mortgaged, . . 
Per cent, of acres mortgaged, , , , . 
Face value of mortgages on record,' 
Less 5.21 per cent, for partial payments. 
Estimated true value of debt, .... 
Av. debt against each mortgaged acre, 
"■ " " mortgagor, . . 

" " " acre in township, 

" '' " owner in township. 



91. 
67.41 

15,720. 
65,39 

S145,665.42 

.$7,589.17 

3138,076.25 

$8.78 

$1,517.32 

$5.74 

51,022.79 



2, We have already seen in Table VII. that in the district 
which we are considering there are 10,760 acres of land to 
which the title has come directly from the government; 
11,840 acres which have been acquired through the Union 
Pacific Railway, and 1440 acres obtained from the State 
school lands. Table XIV. will show the relative amount 
of debt which these dififerent classes of land now bear. 



^ One mortgage, on record, for $50,000, covering 600 acres in the 
township, has been omitted for the following reasons: It covers, 
besides the GOO acres in the township, also 3280 acres in other 
parts of the coimty. It was given by a non-resident corporation in 
the course of a speculative investment in lands. The 600 acres 
mortgaged is school land, to which the corporation mentioned holds 
only contracts of sale from the State, and there is a prior debt of 
$3780 to the State on the land, which latter debt is included in the 
tables. The whole transaction is entirely foreign to the general 
character of land ownership and indebtedness in the township. 
In short, since the part of the mortgage attributable to this land 
is really the impaid purchase money of the Inst sale of the land, 
the matter is treated just as if the sale had not taken place and the 
laud was still in the hands of its last owner. 



341] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 



63 



These figures may be hastily passed over, for they prove little 
except that the three classes of land have been subjected 
to the same influences, as m trading, to such an extent tliat 
there is no great difference at present in the average amount 
to which they are mortgaged. It is shown, however, that 
tlie proportion of acres of lands derived directly from the 
government, which have been mortgaged, is not yet so 
large as that of land derived through the railroad company. 
The variation in the debt per acre on the school lands is 
due to the fact that in most cases the debt is not borrowed 
money, but simply the unpaid remainder of the purchase 
money. 

XIV.— REAL ESTATE MORTGAGES ON GOVERNMENT, 
RAILROAD AND SCHOOL LANDS. 





Government 
land. 


Raih'oad land. 


School land. 


Total aci'eage. 
Acres under mortgage, . . 
Acres clear. 


10,760 
6.400 
4 360 


11,840 
8,040 
3,800 


1,440 
1,280 
160' 








Amount of mortgages. . . 


$58,549.16 


.f71.701.23 


$7,825.86 


Av. debt on each acre of each 
class in township, . . . 

Av. debt for each mortgaged 
acre of each class, . . . 


$5.44 
9.15 


$6.06 

8.92 


$5.43 
6.11 


Per cent, of acres mortgaged. 


59.48 


67.91 





* This 160 acres has not yet been sold by the State. 



3. The real estate mortgages are next to be classified into 
those upon lands owned by residents and those on lands 
owned by non-residents, with a view to seeing whether the 
actual burden of the former class is greater or less than the 
average burden for the whole class of present owners as 
shown previously. Table XV. shows the general figures 
as to the distribution of all farms and of mortgaged farms, 
and of all acres and of mortgaged acres, between residents 
and non-residents. It shows also the amount of debt owed 
bv each of these classes. 



64 



The Condition of the Western Farmer. [342 



XV.— MORTGAGES ON LANDS OWNED BY RESIDENTS AND 
BY NON-RESIDENTS. 





Owners 
Eesident. 


Owners 
Non-resident. 


Per cent of 

owners 

resident. 


For all farms, 

For mortgaged farms, . . 


74 
57 


61 
34 


54.81 
62.64 



For all acres, . . . 
For mortgaged acres, 



Acres owned 
by residents. 



12,960 
9.320 



Acres owned 
by non- 
residents. 



11,080 
6,400 



Per cent 
acres owned 
by residents. 



53.91 
59.29 



Amount after deducting 5.21 
per cent for partial pay- 
ments, 



Debt of 
residents. 



$75,281.85 



Debt of 
non-residents, 



$62,794.40 



Per cent of 

debt owed by 

residents. 



54.52 



In comparing the figures in this table, we see that while 
about seventy-seven per cent of the residents have their 
farms mortgaged, only about fifty-five per cent of the non- 
residents are similarly encumbered. Again, the residents, 
owning 53.91 per cent of all the acres, owe almost exactly 
the same proportion (54.52 per cent) of the debt. Confining 
ourselves to persons holding mortgaged property alone, we 
find that residents own 59.29 per cent of all the mortgaged 
acres, but they owe a somewhat less proportion of the debt, 
viz. 54.52 per cent. From the next table (XVI.) we see the 
average size of mortgages and the average debt per acre 
for each of these classes. Table XIII. has shown us that the 
average debt against each mortgaged owner in the township 
is $1517.32, but we see here that the average debt against 
each mortgaged resident is only $1320.73, while that against 
each mortgaged non-resident is $1846.90. Similarly, the 
average debt on each mortgaged acre in the township is 
$8.78, while that on each mortgaged acre belonging to resi- 
dents is $8.08, and that on each such acre belonging to non- 
residents is $9.81. The averages, based on the same distinc- 
tion, for all residents in the township, whether mortgaged 
or not mortgaged, are also subjoined. 



343] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 



G5 



XVI.— AVERAGE SIZE OF MORTGAGES AND AVERAGE 
DEBT PER ACRE. 





Average size of mortg'ges 


Average debt per acre. 




Residents. 


Non- 
residents. 


Residents. 


Non- 
residents. 


For all owners in town- 
ship, 

For mortgaged owners 
only 


$1,017.33 
1.320.73 


$1,029.41 
1,846.90 


|o.81 
8.08 


$5.67 
9.81 



Thus far our figures have tended to indicate that the 
average debt of owners in actual residence is not quite so 
heavy as that of the class of farm owners as a whole. But 
we can widen our point of view a little, and attribute the 
debt to residents or non-residents, not according to the class 
in which the land under its present ownership falls, but ac- 
cording to the class to which the land belonged at the time 
when the debt was incurred. For instance, a farmer in 
actual residence may have found himself compelled to put 
a mortgage on his home, and he may then, some time later, 
have sold either for his own profit or compelled by neces- 
sity; or he may have moved off his farm wdthout selling. 
In these cases, the purchaser, if any, often stands ready at 
any time to pay the mortgage, but of course cannot do so 
until it is due without considerable loss. Now if we should 
divide the debt into two classes, according as it was in- 
curred by residents or by non-residents, such cases as those 
above would fall in the former class, though in the tables 
we have given they of course came among the debts of 
non-residents. Table XVII. shows the debt incurred by 
residents and that incurred by non-residents, and we find 
that 68.75 psr cent of the debt was incurred by the former 
class, upon 70.99 per cent of all the mortgaged acres. But 
we still find that the average debt per mortgaged acre for 
residents is considerably lower than that for non-residents, 
as is also the case wnth the average size of the mortgage. 
But if we now compare the average debt per acre on all 
acres for residents with that for non-residents, we find the 
former to be about forty per cent larger than the latter, the 



66 



The Condition of the Western Farmer. [344 



figures being $6.41 as against $4.67. The conclusion is 
that wliile over two-thirds of the debt has been incurred by 
residents, and a much larger percentage of residents' land is 
under mortgage than of non-residents', still the debt per acre 
which the mortgaged residents have incurred upon their 
lands is slightly less than the debt similarly incurred by 
mortgaged non-residents. 



XVII.— DEBT INCURRED BY RESIDENTS AND BY NON- 
RESIDENTS. 



Incurred by 

residents, . 
Incurred by 
non-residents, 



Acreage. 



Sh aj bjo 
oj a> cs 
,^ ^ be 

OS u 

'^ a 



11,160 



a o S 

ga| 



70.99 



Debt. 



94,928.16 



0,—. 



68.75 



4,560 29.01 43,148.09 31.25 862.96 1876. 4.67 9.46 



Average size of 
mortgage. 



fi=£ 



1,116. 



O cS 



P^ ej 



1396, 



Average 

debt 
per acre. 



o o 



6.41 



-< 0) 
P b£ 

8.51 



4. Our next tables deal with the debt of residents still 
more largely from a personal point of view. They distrib- 
ute it into divisions according as the borrower was a taker 
of government land, a purchaser of land from the railroad 
company, or a purchaser from some other former owner; 
purchasers of school land are included, for the sake of sim- 
plicity, under this last division. Table XVIII. shows the 
number of owners both with mortgaged and with unmort- 
gaged lands in each of these three classes, and gives the 
number of acres each class possesses, and tlie totals of its 
debts. It also gives the average size of farms, the average 
debt per man and the average debt per acre for each of 
these classes. Class "A," composed of those who took 
their original lands from the government, is divided into 
two sub-classes according as the farmers have borrowed 
money on their original homesteads, or still have them free 
from debt; and those who have their original homes still 
unencumbered are divided further into those who owe no 



345] The Condition of ihe Western Farmer. 



67 



money whatever upon land, and those who owe monev 
only upon additional lands recently purchased. A foot-note 
gives the facts about the mortgages which have been exe- 
cuted by the men of this last subdivision. 

XVIIL— REAL ESTATE MORTGAGES OWED BY RESI- 
DENTS, WITH REFERENCE TO THE MODE OF 
ACQUISITION OF THE LANDS.^ 



A. SETTLED OX GOV- 
ERNMENT LAND. 

a. Original home un- 
mortgaged : 

1. No mortgage on 
any land, .... 
■ 3. Additional lands 
only mortgaged,^ . 

b. Original home mort- 
gaged, 

B. SETTLED ON RAIL- 
ROAD LAND. 

a. Lands unmortgaged, 

b. Lauds mortgaged, 

C. PURCHAS'RS OF LAND 
FROM INDIVIDUALS. 

a. Lands unmortgaged, 

b. Lands mortgaged, 







p 


Acres. 


s 




9 


1,680 


5 


1,280 


4 


640 


3 


720 


16 


3,000 


4 


440 


33 

74 


5,200 


12,960 



Amount of 
debt. 



$8,950.00 
3,300.00 

23,400.00 

48,769.61 



),419.61 



Aver- 
age 
size of 
farm, 
acres. 



186.66 
256.00 
160.00 



240.00 
187.50 



110.00 
157.57 



175.14 



Average 

debt per 

man. 



$790.00 
825.00 

1,462.50 

1.477.87 



$1,073.21 



A\er- 

age 

debt 

per 

acre. 



$3.09 
5.16 



7.80 



9.38 



S6.13 



These figures are very striking from almost every point 
of view. First, we observe that half of all the settlers on 
government land have their lands entirely free from mort- 
gage, while only four have mortgages upon their original 
homes; in the case of those who have mortgages upon their 
additional lands, the average debt per acre is very low, being 
only $3.09. Of those who have their original homes mort- 



^ In this table the percentage of partial payments has not been 
deducted, as the figures are used only for comparison, and by omit- 
ting this deduction the matter is much simplified. 

^ The mortgages against these five men cover 480 acres of their 
lands, and, the total amount of their debt being $3950, the average 
amoimt they owe on each mortgaged acre is $8.23. 



68 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [346 

gaged, two came in among the last of those who took gov- 
ernment land; two have very small mortgages; moreover, the 
average debt per acre on the property of these is itself quite 
low, being $5.16. Then again we notice that the size of the 
farms among these settlers averages larger than among 
either of the other classes; the homes of those, especially, 
who have additional lands which they have mortgaged are 
much larger than those of any of the others. Not one of 
these settlers on government land who has a mortgage to 
take care of can be said to be at all seriously embarrassed 
by it, and some of them are, despite their mortgages, as 
well ofif as any men in the township. 

Take up next the settlers on railroad land and what a 
difference ! There are only three of them without mortgage, 
as against sixteen holding mortgaged farms, and the aver- 
age debt per acre on those lands which are mortgaged is 
$7.80, or half again as much as the average debt borne by 
those settlers on government land who have their original 
homes mortgaged. Following the analogy of class " A," 
we would expect to find the mortgaged farms larger than 
those which are clear, and we shall find this to be the case 
in class " C " ; but in class " B," the unmortgaged farms are 
considerably larger on the average than the mortgaged; 
this points to something exceptional in these particular 
cases and in investigating the cases in detail we find this 
indication borne out in fact. Of the three purchasers of 
railroad land who have their lands unmortgaged, two are 
brothers who had been farmers in Germany, and who, com- 
ing to America with considerable property, were able not 
only to buy and pay for comparatively large farms, but to 
put considerable money in bank — certainly a very excep- 
tional state of afifairs with the ordinary settler on a Nebraska 
farm. The third case is that of a man who bought railroad 
land at an early date and farmed it for a number of years, 
but on the death of his wife drifted away into other employ- 
ments. Having made the final payments on his land, and 
having inherited more land in the immediate neighborhood, 



347] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 69 

he has now come back with a new wife, once more to try his 
hick at farming. 

When we come to purchasers, we find only four unmort- 
gaged farms, as against thirty-three mortgaged ones. The 
average size of the farms is ver}^ much smaller, being only 
one hundred and ten acres for the unmortgaged and about 
one hundred and fifty-seven acres for the mortgaged. The 
average debt per acre is higher than in either of the other 
classes ; in fact, so much higher that, despite the comparative 
smallness of the farms, the average debt per farm is higher 
than elsewhere. 

It has already been remarked that none of the settlers on 
government land are in poor circumstances, while among 
tlieir ranks the great majority of the most prosperous farmers 
are to be found. Of the settlers on railroad land, nearly 
all would be included if they were as a class described as 
quite heavily mortgaged, but with debts not so great as to 
make it seem probable that any of them will be unable to 
extricate tliemselves ^\^th time. The only case here to be 
ranked among those whose future prospects are doubtful 
is that of a man w^hose agricultural experience has been very 
limited, and as he seems to have almost no capital, and 
labors under still other disadvantages, it is doubtful how 
long he will be able to hold out. But now, when we turn 
from the purchasers of land from the railroad company to 
class " C," the purchasers from other owners, we find as 
marked a change in conditions as we noticed in passing 
from class "A" to class "B." The mortgages are heavier, 
the well-to-do are comparatively rare, and there are many 
persons in very poor circumstances. In fact, there are quite 
a number with whom it seems to be only a question of time, 
and a short time at that, when they will have to give up their 
holdings. One is almost tempted to draw the moral that 
tlie would-be purchaser, at least the one whose means are 
not sufficient to pay entirely for his farm and then tide him 
over all subsequent periods of hard times, had almost better 
throw his monev awav than invest it in farming operations 



70 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [348 

in Nebraska, at the current prices of land and under the 
present agricuhural conditions; unless, indeed, he be pos- 
sessed of unusual energy and ability/ 

5. Our last analysis of the real estate mortgage debt will 
consist in drawing a comparison between the size of the 
mortgages and the fertility of the lands mortgaged, showing 
what a very great disadvantage the possession of relatively 
poor land is to a farmer. These figures are not given for 
the whole district which we have heretofore been consider- 
ing, but only for the thirty-six square miles included within 
the township proper.^ Table XIX. shows the amount of 
the debt on all the lands of the four different grades described 
on page 54. As it refers to both residents and non-residents 
it is naturally rather vague, but we see from it in general 
the fact that the mortgages on the poorer lands tend to be 
larger than those on the better lands, and that, in the main, 
a larger percentage of the poorer lands is under mortgage. 

Table XX. contains the same statistics, but limited en- 
tirely to residents. We see that the average debt per acre 
for all land of each class decreases steadily with the rise to 
better grades of land; also the percentage of the land which 
is under mortgage is much less for the better land than for 
the poorer. All of the land of grade seven owned by resi- 



^ This statement, it is tnie, is at variance with the eager demand 
that exists ia certain quarters for really desirable farming land. 
Why this great demand may exist and yet the position taken in the 
text be true, will be touched upon in a later place. 

^ The omission of the outside lands is made necessaiy because the 
writer has not at hand any ratings for the fertility of the lands not 
within the township proper. The estimates have been made by 
using quarter sections of land as a basis, not, as in the preceding 
tables, by considering the individual man as a basis and referring 
all his debt to all his property. Consequently the totals will differ 
in some respects from those preceding. The total debt for each 
quarter section, whether it is to be paid by one or more persons, 
and whether aU or only part of the area is encumbered, is attributed 
to the quarter section as a whole, and so to tlie appropriate grade 
of land. Thus only those quarter sections come under the heading 
immortgaged which have no encumbrance upon any portions of 
them. 



349] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 



71 



dents is under mortgage, while less than two-thirds of the 
land of grade ten is encumbered. Similarly we find a de- 
crease in the average debt per acre for mortgaged acres as 
we ascend to better grades of land, though here there is a 
slight break in the case of grade nine, which has a lower 
average debt per acre than grade ten. We infer, in general, 
from these facts, that the lot of the settler on the best land 
is disproportionately better than that of the man on poor 
land. If it were a mere question of how much one could 
borrow, the resident of good land would of course be able 
to incur the heavier debt. Both the farmer of good and the 
farmer of poor land started on a level, or, if the latter was a 
comparatively recent purchaser, he acquired his farm at a 
lower price and consequently started with a smaller debt or 
outlay of purchase money, but he has now fallen very far 
behind in almost ever\^ case. So decidedly is this true that 
one might almost infer that the ordinary man had better pay 
twenty-five dollars an acre or more for a good farm than take 
the poor one as a gift, if he has any regard whatever for his 
probable condition after a number of years of farming. 



XIX. AITD XX.— MORTGAGES AND FERTILITY. 







Area in acres. 


Amount of 
debt. 


Debt per acre. 


Perc'tage 
of lands of 


land. 


Unmort- 
gaged. 


Part mort- 
gaged. 


For all 
acres. 


For 
m'tg'g'd 
acres, 


each 

quality 

mortgag'd 


-a 
a 

1 


r 

7 

8 

9 

10 


160 
1.760 
1,280 
4,000 


800 
2.560 
3,360 
9,120 


$8,301.81 
22,560.67 
25,782.67 
81,870.27 


$8.65 
5.22 
5.56 
6.24 


$10.38 
8.81 
7.67 
8.98 


88.33 
59,26 
72.41 
69.51 


a 
o 

a 

© 
M 
1 

W* 
M 


r 

7 

8 

9 

10 

L 


240 

480 

2,880 


560 

1.120 
1,480 
5,280 


$6,035.14 
10,035.14 
12,000.00 
44,949.33 


$10.78 
7.38 
6.12 
5.51 


$10.78 
8.96 
8.11 
8.51 


100.00 
82.35 
75.51 
64.71 



72 The Condition of the Western Fanner. [350 

c. Improvements on Land in Harrison Toivnship. 

In accordance with the plan of this part of the paper, the 
next thing to consider is the value of improvements on the 
various farms, and under the head of improvements we in- 
clude here buildings, fences, fruit trees, if any, draining, etc., 
but not the cost of breaking the land, that being a necessary 
preliminary for all the land before it goes into cultivation. 
Table XXI. gives a map' of the township proper, with figures 
representing the estimated value of improvements on each 
tract of farming land. An asterisk means that the land 
has no improvements upon it in the sense above, though 
it may be broken and under regular cultivation either by an 
owner non-resident of the township or by a renter. The 
figures given are for values in dollars at the present day, not 
for cost of construction, and are of course estimates based 
partly on examination of the buildings themselves and partly 
on the statement of the occupant or some one of his neighbors. 
Owing to the scanty opportunities for learning the facts, the 
figures can by no means be considered as exact, and many 
errors have no doubt crept in; but an effort was made to 
approximate actual values as nearly as might be, and the 
figures given are thought in the main to be sufficiently 
accurate for the purposes of this paper. Table XXII. gives 
a similar outline map showing the mortgages on the same 
tracts of land. Here a circle represents unincumbered 
land. This table is introduced here for purposes of compar- 
ison, in preference to bringing it in under the heading of 
real estate mortgages previously considered. By turning 
from one table to the other we can readily see how nearly 
the mortgage on any one tract of land corresponds to the 
amount expended on it for improvements. The letters " G," 



^ In tMs and the following map the heavy lines indicate section 
boundaries, and serve at the same time as the limiting lines of 
farms. Whenever one farm includes land on each side of the sec- 
tion boundary, the heavy line is replaced by a dotted line, to indi- 
cate that fact. The light solid lines are in all cases the limiting 
lines of farms. 



351] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 73 

" R," and " P " are inserted, (but only on those tracts of land 
on which owners are in actual residence), to indicate whether 
the owner of the tract has been classed respectively as a settler 
on government land (G), a purchaser from the railroad 
company (R), or a purchaser from a former individual owner 
(P). In running through the cases we see that it is the last 
of these classes whose mortgages are to the least extent rep- 
resented by improvements, while at the other extreme the 
comparatively few settlers .on government land whose places 
are encumbered have ample improvements to show for their 
debts in all except perhaps two cases. This conclusion agrees 
very closely with that arrived at when considering mortgages 
alone with reference to the kinds of land originally settled 
upon. 



XXI. -ESTIMATED VALUE OF IMPROVEMENTS ON LANDS IN HARRISON 
TOWNSHIP, NEBRASKA. 



* 


100 


1000 


1500 


800 


i 


600 


300 


800 : 


4000 


1500 


600 1 


50 
* 
800 


3000 


* 


300-400 


300 


500 


100-150 


* 


1200 


* 


* 


* 


i 


700 


1200 


1200 


700 


i 


* 


* 


200 


200 


2000 


* 


* 


700 


* 


* 


1500 


* 


* 


1800-2000 


200 


* 


§ 


1000 


o 


700 


* 


500 


r 


500 






1200 
* 


* 
* 


* 




700 


1000 




400 
50 


1 




500 


* 


400 


250-300 


400-500 


400 


* 


i 


* 


700 


* 
* 


^ 


TOO 


700 


* 


150-200 


50 


* 
* 


300 
200 


300 


* 


500 


300 


250-300 


1000 


700 


1000 


1200- 
1400 


400-500 


250-300 


100 


200-300 


* 


900 


400-500 


1200 


* 1 * 


400 


900 


X 


o 

s 


500 


800-1000 


400 


200 


50 


1000 


200 


1100 


800 


500-600 


* 


* 


200-300 


2000 


700 


* 500 


500-600 


1200 


600 


300-400 


400-500 


TOO 


* 


* 


1200 


800-900 


300 


1000 


750 


150 


* 


200 


* 250-300 

* 


1000 


* 


500 


* 


lOOOJ 1000 


800 


son 


« 


* 


300 


500 


* 






J 




^^ 




800 






200 


100 




1 






1 



XXII.— MORTGAGES ON LANDS IN HARRISON TOWNSHIP, NEBRASKA. 



o 


o 

G 


o 
P 


700 
P 


700 
G 


g 600 

CO P 


o 

R 


2000 




2500 
P 


1200 
R 


2000 
R 


1500 


o 

G 


o 


1600 


300 
P 


3500 


1600 


o 


5070 
P 


o 


o 


o 

800 
R 


800 
P 


CO 


2983 


1100 
P 


R ° 


o 


o 





1500 


1843 


1000 
R 


o 


o 


o 


1000 


o 


o 
R 


o 


1600 


3000 
R 


o 


950 


600 


o 


1 


2V00 
P 





o 


P 


1008 




o 


4000 


o 


l'>nft 


1200 
R 


1000 
R 




1008 
P 








700 


750 750 
P I^ 


2500 
P 


o 


1008 


o 


P 


o 


1200 
R 


o 
o 


= 


2000 


1900 
P 


700 


1500 
P 


1750 
1750 


3200 


° G 


1000 
G 





1800 
P 


1900 
P 


1600 


3000 ■ 


2000 


1000 
R 


o 

G 


G 


1100 
G 


800 


o 


o 


o 


500 
G 


3400 
P 


3439 


500 j 571 


o 

G 


o 


O p 


o 




500 
P 


1400 
G 


2000 


250 R 


800 R 


600 R 





700 P 


1800 
P 


3150 


733 


350 


° 


1100 
P 


o 

G 


o 

G 


o 

G 


2000 
P 


300 P 


o 


1050 P 


200 P 


o 


867 ' ° 


o 

G 


1467 
P 


1400 
P 


1000 P 


o 

G 


3663 


700 


3000 


37 


30 






1000 


800 


3000 


800 


433 

333 


° G 





1500 


o 


2700 


600 


o 

p 


o 


I 




° G 


I 


> 


900 P 


o 


F 






zi 



IV.— CONCLUSION. 

It remains now to summarize briefly the facts shown 
respecting the condition of the farmers in Harrison township 
since its settlement, with a view to learning something of the 
various economic influences that during that time have been 
operative upon western agriculture, as far as they may be 
exemplified in this township. As will be seen, our data permit 
us to examine only such influences as can be seen plainly at 
work in individual cases. Matters like the burden of indirect 
taxes, or the effect of changes in the value of the circulating 
medium, which can be observed only on the wide scale, are 
here excluded. 

We have had before us a class of farrners owning lands of 
steadily increasing value. Of those who are still residents, 
about half got their lands either as gifts from the govern- 
ment, or on very easy terms from the Union Pacific Railway 
Company; the remainder purchased their farms from other 
owners than the railway company, at prices ranging from 
seven or eight dollars an acre in earlier times to twenty-five 
or thirty dollars in late years ; in most cases these paid a good 
part of the purchase money in cash. The farmers of this 
township have on the average a little over a quarter section 
of land each, and usually from 125 to 135 acres in a quarter 
section is plow-land. A large proportion of the farms are 
mortgaged, and the debt on such as are mortgaged is on the 
average something over one-third the actual value of the 
farms. When a tract of land is once encumbered, the ten- 
dency is often for the mortgage on it to increase in size as 
the rise in the value of the security makes a larger loan possi- 
ble. The mortgages on lands obtained from the govern- 
ment or the railway company are in general lighter than those 
on lands purchased from individual owners, and the condi- 
tion of the farmers owning such lands is correspondingly 



355] The Coiulition of the Western Farmer. 77 

more prosperous. This we find natural to a certain extent, 
inasmuch as purchasers are very rarely able to pay in full at 
the time of purchase, and so usually start out encumbered by 
a mortgage debt; but the frequent increase in the size of mort- 
gages thus incurred, and the corresponding unprosperous 
condition of those who are to pay them, is indicative of the 
fact that in yery many instances the real burden of a mort- 
gage has been much greater than one would infer from the 
mere knowledge of its amount. 

We must note, however, that there is among the residents 
of the township, as nearly as can be judged, a comparative 
freedom from floating debt. The chattel mortgage debt, of 
which the sum-total is comparatively small, is confined mainly 
to those most heavily burdened with debt on real estate, and 
can be interpreted in general as emphatic evidence of the 
poor financial condition of the least prosperous farmers.^ 
The appreciation in the value of lands furnishes us the clue 
to the lack of floating debt among the more prosperous 
farmers ; for w^henever any amount of such debt has accumu- 
lated, the farmer, unless his land is already mortgaged to the 
maximum, is usually able to augment his loan on the basis of 
the increased value of the land, and, with the funds thus 
obtained, to pay ofif his smaller debts. This expedient is 
usually resorted to ; for the rate of interest on the real estate 
loan is considerably less than that on smaller loans with other 
security, and there is in addition an advantage in being free 
from the annoyance of having continually to provide for the 
satisfaction of small debts coming due at frequently recur- 
ring intervals. As to improvements on land, our tables have 
indicated that these are much better on the farms of settlers on 
government land than on the farms of other classes, and tliat 
it is mainly on the farms of the later purchasers that the debt is 
not represented by improvements. We note that the number 
of resident owners has greatly decreased in late years, and also 

^ However, in a more recently settled townsliip, or In a township 
where the farmers were in the habit of buying cattle on a large 
scale to feed, on credit, this rule would not hold. 



78 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [356 

that the number of farmers faiHng in comparatively late years 
from what seemed unavoidable causes directly connected with 
their farming operations, has been larger than at any other 
period in the history of the township. The drought of 1890 
had undoubtedly very much to do with this fact, but a cause 
is also to be found in the temporary cessation of increase in 
land value in the years just prior to 1890 or '91, and the con- 
sequent inability of the debtors to increase their loans so as to 
make good past deficiencies with the proceeds. 

With the knowledge now arrived at of the condition of the 
farming classes, let us pass in review the various economic 
influences which have affected them so far as these influences 
are exhibited by the material collected in this monograph. 
What is said about these forces must be understood to apply 
to the farmers of normal ability, who have at their service an 
average amount of capital. Unusual shiftlessness or misfor- 
tunes may have accelerated the failure of some, and unusual 
ability may have given positive prosperity to others, but such 
elements we may for the time leave to a certain extent out of 
consideration. It seems sufificiently evident from Part II. of 
this paper that over and above those who have failed owing 
to personal causes, there are men whose ruin or financial 
embarrassment has had behind it causes which cannot be so 
localized; and their lack of success has been described as due 
to prevalent agricultural conditions, a phrase which we are 
now to analyze. 

However, of the conditions possibly unfavorable to the 
farmer, we evidently have no data here from which to exam- 
ine those which may be connected with the whole economy of 
our industrial society, such as indirect taxes, changes in the 
value of money, the modern distributive process, and perhaps 
also the influence on prices of the greatly increased produc- 
tion from the recently opened prairie states. Other matters, 
however, of a less wide-reaching character we are in a posi- 
tion fairly to examine. 

From our account of the farmers' condition, it is clear that 
the central fact is the rise in the value of land. For it is this 
rise that has given the opportunity for the continued increase 



357] TJie Condition of the Western Farmer. 79 

of mortgage debt; and even a temporary cessation in it has 
been followed by an increased number of failures among the 
farmers. We may almost infer that in many cases the greater 
part of the wealth that the farmer of average ability now has 
must be attributed to this rise in value; for very often the 
value of the improvements and personal property is covered 
by the mortgage debt, and this means that the amount of 
profits which have been realized and invested upon the farm 
has been very small. Indeed, in many cases the present 
farmer's equity in his land would be little or nothing were it 
not for this rise in value, while he would have been unable 
without it to obtain the means to reach even as advanced a 
system of cultivation as is in vogue at present. It must be 
admitted, however, that this conclusion will hold good only 
for the farmer of average ability. A man of poor personal 
habits, or one who is shiftless in his management, will dissi- 
pate the increment in the value of his land as fast as he can 
make use of it as security for new loans. On the other hand, 
a skilful, energetic, economical farmer, who knows how to 
avail himself of every advantage, will probably be able, with 
average good luck, to pay off in time even a heavy debt 
incurred in the purchase of his farm. But even with these 
qualifications, should fortune not favor him he may fail mis- 
erably; for he is dependent on credit, and credit, though it fur- 
nishes wings to the man fit to use them, so long as the wind 
of fortune is fair, becomes a dead weight to drag down the 
less able, or even the competent when fortune fails. If there 
were space to consider the individual cases of the farmers in 
Harrison township, we should find a few young men whose 
ability has been such as to enable them thus to overcome the 
hindrance of heavy debt at the start and become in the end 
prosperous farmers. 

Probably the only other persons besides these exception- 
ally able ones who have succeeded in making considerable 
profits and saving any part of them are those farmers who 
received their land in early times from the government. 
These, having a clear start, were enabled in most cases to 
avoid the burden of heavy debt, and consequently, in a year 



80 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [358 

of good crops, they could at once invest their profits perma- 
nently on their farms. 

It may well seem that these statements in regard to the 
frequent unprofitableness of farming operations are not in 
harmony with such facts as that the market price of land is at 
present increasing rapidly, and that there is now a more eager 
demand for good agricultural land than has obtained for a 
number of years; and again that land is now being eagerly 
sought by renters who are willing to pay a larger proportion 
of the produce for rent than ever before, and who will in 
some cases even pay a quite high cash rent. It might be 
said that in order to occasion such a demand for lands to 
purchase and to rent, farming must be very profitable, or at 
least that the chances of high profits in it must be very good, 
and this would not agree with our preceding inferences. At- 
tention should, however, be directed to one or two influences 
of importance which, apart from the profitableness of the 
investment, might create a high demand for land. 

In the first place, although the available free government 
land has been practically exhausted, yet the tradition of cheap 
farms easily obtainable still lingers in the minds of the 
people, and so the home-seeker still turns his thoughts toward 
the West, where prices of land are really low in comparison 
with those current further east. But the conditions make it 
necessary for him to resort to new methods of acquiring the 
desired land. If he has some little capital he will probably 
try to purchase as large a farm as possible with what means 
he has at his disposal for the first cash payment; then, giving 
a mortgage for the balance of the purchase money, he will 
trust to Providence for the ability to meet the debt when it 
comes due. If the newcomer has not money enough to pur- 
chase land in any way, he will seek for a farm to rent with the 
hope that he may before long become an owner himself. In 
these facts we see a prominent reason why the demand for 
land may have increased without regard to the income pro- 
duced by it, until its selling price, and as well its rental, have 
become much higher than the income really warrants. The 
possibility of such influences having their effect upon the 



359] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 81 

demand for land is made greater by one of the characteristics 
of investment in farming operations, which may be specially 
mentioned; this is tlie slowness with which the true rate of 
agricultural profits can be estimated, owing to the great var- 
iations from year to year in the size of the crops and in the 
prices at which farm products will sell. 

A special case of this migration of home-seekers to the 
newer western states is exemplified on a considerable scale 
by the large parties of farmers who at the present time 
(March, 1893) are leaving Illinois for Nebraska, the Dacotas, 
and neighboring states. As the value of land in such 
states as Illinois increases, the younger generation finds it 
constantly growing harder to acquire farm homes of their 
own. Consequently it often happens that the owner of a 
small farm sells it, perhaps to a non-resident landowner, and 
moves with his sons further west, where the proceeds from 
the old farm will purchase enough land for both father and 
sons. 

But again, a cause for the increased demand for farming 
lands may be sought in the deeper relations underlying all 
industrial society. Farming may be an uncertain means of 
getting a living, and yet it, or the ideas of it current in the 
eastern states, may seem to many a laborer so much better 
than his existing lot, or may actually be such an improvement 
upon it, that he is only too glad to seek to better himself by 
means of it; and thus he helps to swell the already over- 
crowded ranks of agriculturalists, and so raises the price of 
their primary necessity — the land. 

Though the special peculiarities in the character of the 
income derived from farming operations should by no means 
be left out of account in considering the status of the farmers, 
yet a brief mention of these peculiarities must suffice here. 
In the first place, the irregularity in the amount of the 
income from year to year has very important effects. Though 
even the tenant farmer may almost always feel confident that 
a sufficient supply of food is assured him, no matter how poor 
the crop, still every farmer is liable to have his year's profits 



82 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [360 

totally wiped out, or even to suffer quite a heavy loss if the 
season should be very bad; for the margin between the 
normal net income and the sum of the living expenses and the 
interest on the investment is often very narrow. Thus while 
a well-to-do farmer may be able to recuperate in succeeding 
years from a heavy loss of crops, yet such a blow may be too 
great for one who is poorer or deeply indebted, and may 
effect his ruin before he has time to attempt to repair his 
losses. The effects of bad management in wiping out this 
margin of profit are very similar to those of bad seasons, and 
when poor management and poor crops are "found in con- 
junction, there is little hope for the farmer. 

T^ should be remarked, however, that while the crop failure 
of 1890 ruined many farmers who were already heavily 
encumbered with debt, still in some cases indirect results of a 
very different kind can be traced. For many of those farmers 
whose affairs were in moderately good condition and who 
had sufBcient energy to cause them at once to set to work to 
recover their lost ground, have really profited by their 
experience. They have become much more conservative, and 
are less inclined to enter upon speculative transactions, 
especially where they would have to make use of credit. Con- 
sequently they will soon be in better position to resist heavy 
losses, should such again befall them. 

Next, in regard to direct taxes, it has been seen that these 
are by no means so high as seriously to affect the farmer's 
prosperity, being probably in no case above four or five mills 
on the dollar of true valuation. 

Freight rates have played a more important role, especially 
since of late years it has become necessary to ship large 
amounts of surplus products to distant markets; and they 
often absorb a large part of the gross price for which the 
product sells. Whether the responsibility for this deduction 
from the farmer's receipts lies with railroad companies which 
charge excessive rates, or with the conditions which make 
necessary the shipment of grain for such great distances, 
must be decided from other evidence than that which we have 
gathered. 



361] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 83 

The influence of the use, and more especially of tlie abuse, 
of credit will require a more extended treatment, for it is by 
no means a simple matter and needs to be looked at from 
several points of view. In the first place, the mere borrowing 
of money cannot be said to be in itself a harmful thing. 
Credit has a tendency to multiply as well the opportunities 
for gain of the man who makes use of it, as to make greater 
his dangers of loss; but it is only rarely that it can be called 
the direct cause of either gain or loss. ]\lerely to say that 
the farmer pays too high interest for his money is in no way 
an explanation of his financial difficulties; for the rate of 
interest is adjusted by a competition acting with comparative 
freedom, and we must go back of it to consider the earning 
power of the material things in which the borrowed money is 
invested. 

The economic significance of a mortgage debt depends 
partly on the previous financial condition of the debtor, but 
perhaps to a still greater extent on what is the corresponding 
item on the opposite side of his balance-sheet As to this 
latter, we must consider whether there stands back of the 
debt an asset, the liquidation of a loss in the past, or a present 
personal expenditure. If the money is borrowed for either 
of the last two purposes, then the debt will be a dead weight, 
to be provided for from other sources. If the item offsetting 
it in the accounts is an asset, then one must consider further 
whether it has the actual present value of the debt; for in so 
far as it has not, the debt will be a drag, just as in the cases 
above. If the asset does actually have a value equal to the 
debt, then we must examine first whether it is likely to appre- 
ciate or depreciate, and second whether it is income-produc- 
ing or not. If income-producing, then such income must be 
investigated as to its amount, as to the regularity with which 
it accrues, and the probability of its permanence. 

Applying these principles, we shall be able to see ^vhy a 
mortgage bearing seven per cent interest, that represents in 
part a payment for high-priced land, in part a new house, and 
in part losses or expenses in excess of income, may perhaps 
be more burdensome to the farmer of to-dav than a small 



84 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [362 

loan at three per cent a month given by an early settler who 
had practically no means to obtain the funds to begin cultiva- 
tion or even to make the first payment on cheap land. For 
the early settler could reasonably expect to make and save 
both principal and interest out of a single crop, while the 
variable income of the farmer to-day may often fall so low as 
to fail to yield sufficient surplus to pay the interest on that part 
of the debt which is represented by income-producing assets, 
much less on the remainder of it. 

In the region which we are considering, capitalization of 
all agricultural property is too high (it has been previously 
maintained that the basis of capitalization is not so much 
income as a demand arising from other causes), and from this 
two results follow: first, that the rate of income from land is 
low compared to that from other investments, and second, 
that the marginal amount of money that can be borrowed on 
the land is high in just the proportion that the capitalization 
is high. Now under these circumstances let a farmer pay 
the rate of interest which is current in the money markets, 
and if the debt is large or long-continued, the tendency is for 
him steadily to lose. It must of course be remembered that 
agriculture is a highly uncertain occupation, so that a suc- 
cession of good crops may entirely overcome this normal 
loss, or a succession of poor ones may greatly increase it. 

What we have thus far said of the use of credit has been of 
such general application as to apply to all borrowers alike, 
but it will now be necessary to show how borrowing becomes 
a much greater evil to certain classes of farmers than to 
others. It is a fact often commented upon that the small entre- 
pi^eneur who is out of debt takes pride in his condition and 
usually avoids investments or speculations which would make 
the use of credit necessary to him, while one who has once 
become heavily encumbered becomes callous to the incon- 
veniences caused by his indebtedness, and often does not 
hesitate to plunge deeper if possible; moreover, the latter will 
become reckless in his speculations, because if he is successful 
the gain is his, and if he loses, much of tlie loss falls on his 



363] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 85 

creditors. Now, as has before been pointed out, an excep- 
tionally energetic man can sometimes attain prosperity even 
though he starts out with a heavy debt incurred for purchase 
money, and if he meets with good fortune he can gradually 
free himself from his burden. But under the prevailing con- 
ditions, the man of just ordinary ability, who is owing a heavy 
debt, will be more likely than not to allow it to grow contin- 
ually larger; and not only will the efifect of the debt be seen 
in making more grievous the ill effects of losses or misfor- 
tunes, but when a man's credit is exhausted or badly strained 
he will often be unable to avail himself of opportunities 
which he would otherwise have had to make profits, as for 
instance when he is forced to sell his grain at a low price 
when, had he been able to wait on the markets, he could have 
realized a much larger sum. 

Perhaps the efifect of his debt on a heavily mortgaged man 
may be summed up by saying that in order to use the money 
profitably, the borrower must be a man of normal ability; if 
his qualities are exceptionally good he may profit greatly by 
his loan; but if they are under 'the average, or if fortune 
should go against him, his debt will almost surely operate to 
increase his troubles. Any man who undertakes farming in 
Nebraska at the present day requires, in order to be as- 
sured of success, at least three things, — ^first, that he have 
some little capital, second, that he possess good business 
qualifications, and third, that he escape any extraordinary 
misfortunes. If he lack any one of these, or is seriously defi- 
cient in it, his success will be much retarded, if not rendered 
entirely impossible. And though the same statement would 
probably be true of almost any business enterprise, yet it 
seems clear from the facts that it applies with especial 
emphasis to the western agriculturalists of the present time. 

Thus far what has been said in discussing the various 
economic influences at work has been said mainly from the 
point of view of the unsuccessful farmers. The term unsuc- 
cessful must not only be taken to include those who have 
failed completely owing to causes of a general nature or of 



86 Tlie Condition of the Western Fanner. [364 

nature not clearly personal (for these latter causes have been 
excluded from our consideration), but it also includes the 
many who are still strug-gling for success, though badly 
embarrassed by debt. In brief, it comprises all those who have 
to a greater or less extent fallen short of the measure of suc- 
cess which their efforts seemed to deserve. Nor should it be 
forgotten that to the men classed as successful the same con- 
ditions have applied as to the unsuccessful, though not with 
equal results; for the successful ones are those whose energy 
or business ability or external advantages have been so great 
as to enable them to overcome in some degree, at least, all 
the unfavorable influences. 

And now let us see what this measure of success is which 
the more successful in the township have attained. The 
largest landowner among them has 480 acres of land, while 
only four or five, all told, own over 240 acres apiece. Of 
those who have more than one quarter section of land, the 
great majority have had some exceptional advantage, such 
as a capital greater than the average, when they first came to 
the country, or external help of some kind, as land or money 
received by inheritance, or they have been men of excep- 
tional thrift. In no case can the improvements be called 
more than comfortable, and it is rare to find an exception- 
ally good house without noticing that the outbuildings have 
to some extent been sacrificed to it, or ■vice versa. In few 
cases will the income from his farm support the owner after 
he has retired from active life. To the writer it seems that 
the condition of the successful farmers more strongly indi- 
cates the disadvantages under which they have labored than 
the condition of the more or less unsuccessful ones. For 
here we see good business men who have carefully labored 
for many years, and who come now toward the close 
of their active careers, feeling fortunate if their farms are 
unencumbered and their property sufficient to support them 
in their old age, while they live with their descendants who 
have taken their places in the active operations of agricul- 
ture. It is true these men have had little inherited wealth 



365] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 87 

behind them, but they are among the men who have helped to 
build up a new country, and who, it would seem, should have 
as much share in the prosperity of the new territory they 
have helped to open, as those who cast their lot with the 
towns and cities. 

The farmer who has once become fairly well equipped, 
and who is not burdened with a heavy debt, has, it is true, 
certain advantages which make his lot in some ways quite 
desirable. If not in debt, he feels sure of a comfortable living 
even in poor years, and a small deficit is easily tided over. 
Moreover, he is in a position to make advantageous use from 
time to time of a small line of credit for temporary purposes; 
and, being able to get money at very low rates, may some- 
times be able to make very profitable investments. 

As compared with the pioneer farmer of twenty years ago, 
the farmer of to-day requires a much larger capital, and in 
consequence the cost of production of the grain that he raises 
is higher. Not only is it found necessary to give the land 
slightly more cultivating, but also there must be figured into 
the cost the interest on the investment in the land, which was 
ver\^ small in the early days, but is of considerable importance 
now. Then the standard of living, by which each family 
gauges its expenditure, is much higher than formerly, and 
the enforced economies of the pioneer period cannot be prac- 
ticed, and indeed ought not to be demanded or expected. 
The markets are no better to-day than before. In short, if 
the farmer of to-day expects to achieve the same success as 
the pioneer achieved, he must, except where good fortune 
and the possession of unusual personal qualities are com- 
bined, have capital in sufficient amount to offset the free land 
and the low cost of living of the pioneer period. 



v.— APPENDICES. 
A. Land Laws and Technical Expressions. 

In order to avoid the necessity of frequent digressions 
throughout the text to explain the ownership of the land at 
the time settlement began, and the ways in which the settler 
could acquire title' to farming lands, it has been thought best 
to gather all those matters, together with some related ones, 
into an appendix, to which reference could be made from the 
body of the paper. 

When the lands now included within the borders of the 
state of Nebraska passed out of the hands of the Indians and 
into the possession of the Federal government, the latter 
proceeded to have land surveyed as fast as tlie rate of settle- 
ment seemed to warrant. Without going into the details of 
this survey, it may be said that the main subdivisions created 
were townships, each six miles square; that the townships 
were divided into sections of approximately one square mile 
each ; and these in their turn into quarter and quarter-quarter 
sections. The disposition of the land by the government 
was on the basis of these last subdivisions. The survey was 
completed in Hall county in July and August, 1866, and in 
1869 a U. S. land ofhice was established at Grand Island, the 
county seat.^ 

The federal government gave to the state of Nebraska 
sections sixteen and thirty-six in every township for a school 
endowment; it also gave to the Union Pacific Railroad, as to 
the other roads built in the earlier days, a land grant consist- 
ing of all the alternate sections for ten miles on each side of 
the railroad track. As Harrison township lies within this 
" ten mile limit," all of the odd-numbered sections within the 



^ For a concise account of tliis and the following matters, see 
Sato's History of the Land Question in the U. S., Johns Hopkins 
University Studies, Vol. IV., Nos. 7-9. 



367] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 89 

town were the property of the railroad at the time our inter- 
est in the land begins, and since the two sections sixteen and 
thirty-six belonged to the state, there were only sixteen 
square miles in the township subject to entry under the fed- 
eral laws. We have so frequently to make use of this class- 
ification of the lands that the classes are referred to respec- 
tively as " railroad land," " school land," and " government 
land." 

There were various ways in which the settler could acquire 
lands on w^hich to begin his farming operations. If he desired 
to take government land, he had during most of the time 
choice of pre-emption, homestead, or timber-claim The pre- 
emptor had to improve his land and actually reside upon it; 
he was allowed thirty-three months in which to make final 
proof in compliance \vith the law, and pay the $2.50 an acre 
which the government charged him for the land. The 
" homesteader " had to reside on his land for five years 
before he could make final proof and gain full title. But he 
was allowed, if he so desired, to " commute his entry " after 
six months residence, by paying the full legal price for the 
land. This latter provision meant practically that his home- 
stead was changed into a pre-emption. A timber-culture 
entry gave the claimant title to the land after eight years, on 
condition that he plant on it and keep in good condition a 
certain number of acres in timber. 

In 1872 one could pre-empt one hundred and sixty acres 
of land within the township, or could homestead eighty acres. 
By the act of March 3, 1873, he could take in addition one 
hundred and sixty acres as a timber claim. Two years later, 
the soldiers' additional homestead act of March 3, 1875, gave 
former soldiers the right to homestead one hundred and 
sixty acres, which right was extended to all persons capable 
of taking land at all, on July i, 1879. 

If, owing to arrival in later years or for any other reason, 
the settler wished to purchase railroad land, he had to pay for 
it in most cases from four to six dollars an acre, but was 
given long time, usually ten years, the principal to be paid 
up in yearly instalments. 



90 The Condition of the Western Fanner. [368 

School land was for a long time leased by the state, but 
has in comparatively recent years been sold to lessees on the 
appraisement of residents of the county, most of it at seven 
dollars an acre. 

The state still holds unsold one quarter section within the 
township. The general government retains the title to three 
pieces of land, containing in all three hundred and twenty 
acres; this fact being due to the delay of the occupants in 
complying with the conditions required as a preliminary to 
the transfer of the legal title. 

Certain technical terms that are used in this connection 
throughout the paper perhaps stand in need of explanation. 
An " entry " is the settlement upon government land in one 
of the three methods described above. " Proving up " is the 
expression commonly used for completing the proof that the 
government requirements have been fulfilled. It is a neces- 
sary preliminary to the transfer of title to the settler. A 
" soldiers' declaratory statement " is a paper stating that the 
signer had been a soldier and intends to make a regular 
entry for a designated piece of land. It is one of the few 
entries that can be made by proxy, and serves as a bar to other 
entries upon the land for six months after it has been filed. 

In early years settlers now and then abandoned their 
claims; the land would then simply lie open for a new entry 
by the first person who chose to take it. If an occupant sold 
his claim before having acquired full title, he would enter a 
formal "relinquishment" on the records of the land office, 
and the purchaser would then make a new entry for the land. 
In order to avoid taxation, or sometimes for other reasons, 
it was not uncommon w^hen the time for " proving up " had 
almost expired, for a settler to have his own claim canceled 
by relinquishment. His right as to the kind of entry which 
he had before made was now exhausted, but he could imme- 
diately make a new entry of some other kind, and thus retain 
his interest in the land. He could thus continue till he had 
exhausted his rights under the land laws, which up to '79 
allowed the settler to take in the aggregate 400 acres, and 



3G9] The Condition of the Western Farmer. 91 

after that date 480 acres. One or more of these causes will 
explain the fact, frequently observed, of several successive 
entries upon the same tract of land. 

The progress of the paper shows the importance of 
classifying- all the settlers into those who took land from the 
government, those who purchased of the railroad company, 
and those who purchased of other former owners. It has 
not been found necessary to make further classification of 
those who took government land, according to the kind of 
claim which they chose, because no pre-emptions taken by 
resident farmers were paid up, and whether a home- 
stead or a timber claim was taken the land was equally a gift 
from the government to the taker. The reason why a dis- 
tinction is drawn between purchasers from the railroad com- 
pany and other purchasers is because of the difference of the 
terms of sale in the two cases. For the sake of simplicity 
the few purchasers of school land are, except when given a 
special heading, included under the third class above, z. e., 
the purchasers from other than the railroad company. 

There are included under the name of takers of govern- 
ment land all those who made entries direct from the govern- 
ment, even though they had paid former holders to relinquish 
claim upon the lands in order that they, the newcomers, 
might take it; and this plan is adopted because the newcomer 
had to carry out all the government requirements just as if 
he were one of the earliest settlers. On the other hand, those 
who bought from other settlers contracts for the sale of rail- 
road land are included wath the purchasers from fonner 
owners rather than with the purchasers from the railroad 
company, because the burden to which they subjected them- 
selves was exactly the same as it would have been if they had 
purchased lands to which the title was already complete. 

B. Comparison of the Figures of this Paper with 

THOSE SHOWN BY THE CeNSUS OF 189O. 

The United States Census figures for the state of Nebraska 
show that of all taxed acres, 58.13 per cent were mortgaged; 



92 The Condition of the Western Farmer. [370 

that the average amount of debt in force per assessed acre 
was $3.74, and per mortgaged acre was $6.43 ; that the aver- 
age value of an acre (estimated) was $14.45, ^^^ that the 
total amount of the mortgages represented 44.47 per cent of 
the total value of the acres mortgaged ; also that the average 
amount of debt to each mortgage in force against acres was 
$844. Now these figures formed the average of the mort- 
gages in both the older settled and the very recently settled 
portions of the state. Since the average value of an acre is 
as low as it is, we may conclude that the number of mort- 
gages from newer parts of the state was comparatively very 
large. 

The figures brought out in this paper showing the per- 
centage of acres which are mortgaged and the percentage of 
the value of mortgaged acres represented by the debt in force 
against them, are very nearly the same as those shown by 
the census, but corresponding to the fact that in the present 
study the value of the land per acre is much higher than in 
the census figures, we find that the average debt per farm 
and the average debt per acre are in almost the same propor- 
tion higher. These facts help to show the relationship which 
exists between the facts shown in this paper and the average 
facts for the state as a whole. 



IX-X 



JOHNS HOPKINS DNIVERSITY STUDIES 

IN 

Historical and Political Science 

HERBERT B. ADAMS, Editor 



History is past Politics and Politics present History. — Freeman 



ELEVENTH SERIES 



IX-X 



HISIOEI OF SUfil II COIECIICIIT 



BY 



BERNARD C. STEINER, Ph. D. 



baltimore 
The Johns Hopkins Press 

PUBLISHED MONTHLY 

September-October, 1893 



COPTKIGHT, 1R93, BY The Johns Hopkins Pkess. 



THE FKIEDENWALD CO., PRINTERS, 
BALTIMOEE. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Introduction 7 

PeriodI.— 1636-1774.— Indian Slavery 9 

Colonial Legislation on Slavery 11 

Trials Concerning Slaves in Colonial Days 17 

Social Condition of Slaves in Colonial Times 20 

Period II.— 1774-1869.— Slaves in the Revolution 24 

Opinions of the Forefathers on Slavery 28 

State Legislation on Slavery 30 

Cases Adjudicated in the Higher Courts with Reference to 

Slavery 37 

Miss Prudence Crandall and her School 45 

Nancy Jackson vs. Bulloch 52 

The Negroes on the '• Amistad " 56 

Growth of the Anti-Slavery Spirit 68 

Social Condition of Slaves 78 

Appendix 83 



HISTORY OF SLAVERY IN CONNECTICUT. 



INTRODUCTION. 

Few questions have been more interesting to the American 
people than slavery, and the number of works which have 
appeared upon the subject has been proportional to tlie 
interest aroused. The slavery of negroes has been discussed 
from almost every point of view, and yet the influence of 
slavery upon individual States of the Union and its different 
history and characteristics in the several States have not 
received the attention they deserve. There have been two 
able works dealing with this branch of the subject, tracing 
thoroughly the coiu*se of the institution of slavery in the two 
States of Massachusetts and Maryland.'' As Massachusetts 
was the first State of the original number to free her slaves, 
and as Maryland was a typical Border State, these mono- 
graphs, apart from their accuracy and completeness, have 
been valuable contributions to the study of slaver}^ in the 
separate States, but they stand almost alone. 

It has been the intention of the writer to take up the history 
of slavery in his native State — Connecticut. The develop- 
ment of slavery and the conditions surrounding it there were 
not greatly different from those existing in the larger State 
immediately to the north, yet there were certain phases of 
the " peculiar institution " in Connecticut which yield a 

^ I allude to Dr. Geo. Moore's " Notes on Slavery in Massachu- 
setts " and Dr. J. R. Brackett's ''Negro in Maryland." Tremain's 
" Slavery in the Distiict of Columbia," in Univ. of Neb. Studies, and 
Ingle's "Negro in the District of Columbia, "in J. H. U. Studies, are 
noteworthy. See also Morgan's brief account of '' Slavery in New- 
York " in the Am. Hist. Ass. Papers. I might add Ed. Bettle, 
" Notices of Negro Slavery as Connected with Pennsylvania," Vol. 
I., p. 365 fC., Penn. Hist. Soc. Memou-s. 



8 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [378 

noteworthy return to the student/ Though the formal aboli- 
tion of slavery in Connecticut did not take place until 1848, 
there had been practically very few slaves in the State since 
1800, and the treatment of the slave had been always compar- 
atively mild and lenient. In the history of the opinion of the 
people in regard to slavery, we shall find two fairly well 
marked-ofif periods, under each of which we shall treat separ- 
ately the legal, political, and social aspects of slavery. The 
first of these periods extends from the settlement of the col- 
ony until the passage of the Non-importation Act of 1774, 
and is characterized by a general acquiescence in the exist- 
ence of slavery and a somewhat harsh slave code. 

The second period, extending from 1774 to 1 861, is marked 
by the diminution and extinction of slavery. It might be 
divided into two subdivisions. The first subdivision extends 
from October, 1774, to the rise of the Abolitionists, about 
1830, and is characterized by the gradual emancipation of the 
slaves and amelioration of their condition. 

In the second subdivision, lasting from about 1830 till the 
Civil War, we find the formal abolition of slavery and the 
rise of the slavery question as a political issue, culminating in 
the resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act, and ending in the 
Act of 1857. The period closes with the acceptance of the 
Fifteenth Amendment in 1869. 

^ The autlioi* regrets that he was unable to consult Dr. Wm. C. 
Fowler's "Historical Status of the Negro in Connecticut" until 
these pages were passing through the press. Any new matter 
therein contained has been embodied in foot-notes, as far as possi- 
ble. The labor and research Dr. Fowler bestowed on his paper 
make it very valuable. It appeared in Dawson's Historical Maga- 
zine for 1874. Vol. XXHI... pp. 13-18, 81-85, 148-153, 360-266. 



PERIOD L— 1636-1774. 
Indian Slavery. 

In Connecticut, as in many other States, the first slaves 
were not of African race, but were aborigines, taken in battle 
and sold as slaves, in the same manner as the Anglo- 
Saxon forefathers of the early settlers had sold the captives 
of their spear, over a millennium before. After the fierce and 
bloody Pequod War, the colonists found on their hands a 
number of captive Indians, whose disposition formed a press- 
ing question. It did not take long to decide it. To the 
shame of the conquerors, " Ye prisoners were devided, some 
to those of tlie River [Connecticut] and the rest to us" of 
Massachusetts." Of those taken by the latter, they sent " the 
male children to Bermudas, by Mr. William Pierce, and the 
women and maid children are disposed about in the towns. 
There have now been slain and taken, in all, about 700." 
Connecticut's disposition of her share was, doubtless, much 
the same as that described above. In the same spirit, the 
Articles of Confederation of the United New England Colo- 
nies, in which both Connecticut and New Haven were 
included, when drawn up on May 19, 1643, provided that 
" the whole advantage of the warr (if it please God to bless 
their Endeavours), whether it be in lands, goods, or persons, 
shall be proportionally divided among the said Confederates."' 

The Articles of Confederation also provided "that, if any 
servant run away from his master into any of these confed- 
erated jurisdictions, that, in such case, upon certificate of one 
magistrate in the jurisdiction of which tlie said servant fled, 
or upon other due proof, the said servant shall be delivered, 
either to his master or any other, that pursues and brings 
such certificate or proof." This was the first fugitive slave 
law in force in Connecticut. 

^ Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., Series IV.. Vol. in., p. 360. 
■^Plymouth Col. Rec, Vol. IX., p. 4. 



10 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [380 

Since it was found that certain Indian villages harbored 
fugitive Indians, the Confederation, on Sept. 5, 1646, decided 
that such villages might be raided and the inhabitants carried 
off, women and children being spared as much as possible, 
and added, to its eternal shame, that "because it will be 
chargeable keeping Indians in prison and, if they should 
escape, they are liable to prove more insolent and dangerous 
after, it was thought fit that upon such seizure . . . the magis- 
trates of the jurisdiction deliver up the Indians seized to the 
party or parties endamaged, either to serve or to be shipped 
out and exchanged for negroes, as the cause will justly bear."^ 
The Connecticut Code of 1646, following this resolve in its 
language, recognizes Indian and negro slavery." 

The Confederation, in 1646, took active part in endeavor- 
ing to make Gov. Kieft of New Netherlands return " an 
Tndian captive liable to publicke punishment fled from her 
master at Hartford " and " entertained in your house at Hart- 
ford and, though required by the magistrate," she was " under 
the hands of your agent there denyed, and was said to have 
been either marryed or abused by one of your men." " Such 
a servant," they say, " is parte of her master's estate and a 
more considerable part than a beast; our children will not 
longe be secure if this be suffered." This last sentence clearly 
shows the outcropping of the patriarchal idea. Kieft refused 
to give her up, and said, "as concerns the Barbarian hand- 
made," it is " apprehended by some, that she is no slave, but 
a freewoman, because she w^as neither taken in war, nor 
bought with price, but was in former time placed with me by 
her parents for education."' By the Inter-Colonial Treaty of 
Sept. 19, 1650, the provision of the Articles of Confederation, 
in regard to fugitives, was extended to include the intercourse 
of the New Englanders and the Dutch.* King Philip's War 
again threw many Indian captives into the settlers' hands and, 

1 Hazard, II., p. 63. 

^ Title " Indians." Conn. Rec, I., 531. Not in Revision of 1715. 

■^ Plymouth Records, IX., 6, 64, 190. 

^Hurd. " Law of Treedom and Bondage in the IT. S.," I., 269. 



381] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 11 

on May lo, 1677/ the General Court decreed, " for the 
prevention of those Indians running away, tliat are disposed 
in service by the Authority, that are of the enemie and 
have , submitted to mercy, such Indians, if they be taken, 
shall be in the power of his master to dispose of him, as a 
captive by transportation out of the country." The syntax 
of the enactment is confused, its cruelty is clear. 

The number of Indian slaves seems to have gradually de- 
creased from death, intermarriage with negroes, and emanci- 
pation, though as late as May i, 1690, Gov. Leisler of New 
York met with the Commissioners of Massachusetts, Plym- 
outh, and Connecticut, and they all covenanted that in the 
contemplated Indian war, " all plunder and captives (if any 
happen) shall be divided to the officers and soldiers, accord- 
ing to the custom of War."' 

Though the colonists entertained no doubt of their right to 
sell Indian captives, better Puritan nature revolted against the 
idea of perpetual hereditary slavery, and, as early as 1722, 
we find doubts expressed as to the status of the child of an 
Indian slave.* 

Dr. Fowler states that Indian slaves were not considered 
as valuable as negroes. 

Further remarks as to legislation in regard to Indian 
slaves wall be found in a subsequent section. 

Colonial Legislation on Slavery. 

The earliest law on any of Connecticut's statute-books in 
regard to slavery is a quotation from Exodus xxi. 16, placed 
tenth among the Capital Laws of Connecticut, on Dec. i, 
1642, " If any man stealeth a man or mankind, he shall be 
put to death." This, however, was understood, of course, 
only to include in its protection persons of white race. 

When or how negro slavery was introduced into Connecti- 
cut, we have no records to show. " It was never directly 

' Conn. Col. Rec, 11., 308. 

2N. Y. Doc. Hist, n., pp. 134, 157. 

3 Ti-umbull's " Connecticut," Vol. I., p. 417. Fowler, p. 152. 



12 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [382 

established by statute," says the editor of the Revision of the 
State's Laws in 1821/ "but has been indirectly sanctioned 
by various statutes and frequently recognized by courts, so 
that it may be said to have been established by law."^ Few 
slaves were imported at first, and, on May 17, 1660, we find 
the first reference to negroes in the Connecticut Records/" 
Then the distrust of bondmen and the fear of treachery in 
slaves, nearly always shown by masters, is revealed in the 
General Court's order " that neither Indian nor negar servants 
shall be required to train, watch, or ward in the Colony."* 

The number of negroes was " few," not above thirty, only 
two of whom were christened, in 1680,° and not until ten 
years later had they sufficiently increased so as to call the atten- 
tion of the legislators to their regulation. Connecticut began 
her black code in October, 1690,° by passing several meas- 
ures, providing that a " negro, mulatto, or Indian servant " 
found wandering out of the bounds of the town to which 
he belonged, without a ticket or pass from an Assistant, 
or Justice of the Peace, or his owner, shall be accounted 
a runaway and may be seized by any one finding him, 
brought before the next authority and returned to his master, 
who must pay the charges. Even a ferryman, transporting 
a slave without a pass, was liable to a penalty of twenty shil- 
lings for each ofifense.^ A free negro without a pass must 
pay the costs if stopped and brought before a magistrate. 
The last two laws were repealed in October, 1797.^ 
The next statute, save one, referring to slaves was passed 

^ Probably Swift, author of the well-known " System." 

2 Revision of 1821, Title 93, See. 7, note. 

^ Dr. Fowler ("Hist. Status," p. 12) says negro slaves were in 
New Haven Colony in 1644. 

*Conn. Col. Rec, I., 349. 

5 They came sometimes three and four a year from Barbadoes. 
Conn. Col. Rec, in., p. 298. Answer to Queiles. 

« Conn. Col. Rec, IV., p. 40. Revision of 1808, Title CL., Ch. I., 
Sees. 1-4. 

' This amount was later changed to $3.34. 

sHurd. II., p. 42. 



383] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 13 

in 1703/ This shows clearly the survival in colonial days of 
the potestas of the pater familias coming down from the 
absolute dominion of the house-father in ancient times. It 
prohibits any " licensed innkeeper, victualler, taverner, or 
retailer of strong drink " from " suffering any one's sons, 
apprentices, servants, or negroes to sit drinking in his house, 
or have any manner of drink there, without special order from 
parents or masters." 

Slaves seem now, for some time, to be repressed by laws 
continually growing harsher. In May, 1708/ the General 
Court, taking into consideration that " divers rude and evil- 
minded persons, for the sake of filthy lucre, do receive prop- 
erty stolen by slaves," and desiring to prevent this and to better 
govern the slaves, decreed that any one buying or receiving 
from slaves property without an order from their masters, must 
return the property and double its value in addition, or, if he 
has disposed of tlie original property, treble its value, and, 
if he will not do this, he is to be whipped with not over twenty 
stripes. The slaves caught in theft were to be whipped with 
not over thirty stripes, whether the receivers of the goods 
from them were found or not. Further, " whereas negro and 
mulatto servants or slaves' are become nurnerous in some 
parts of this Colonic and are ver}^ apt to be turbulent and 
often quarrelling with white people to the great disturbance 
of the peace," it is enacted that a negro disturbing the 
peace or offering to strike a white person, is to be subject 
to a penalty of not over thirty stripes. 

In spite of these harsher laws, emancipation was becoming 
somewhat common, and the Colony feared that it Avould have 
to support negroes whose years of usefulness had been spent 
in work for their masters, and who were manumitted by them, 

^ Conn. Col. Rec., IV., 438. A penalty of 10 shillings was to be 
imposed for a breacli of this act. It does not seem to have been 
included in any of the revisions of the statutes. 

-Conn. Col. Rec, v., p. 52. This was in force in 1808. Title CL., 
Ch. I., Sec. 5. 

^ Revision of 1750, p. 229. 



14 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [384 

when old and helpless. To prevent this, in May, 1702/ the 
legislature provided that slaves, set free and coming to want, 
must be relieved by the owners, their heirs, executors, or 
administrators. To this act a second one was added in 171 1, 
providing that if the owners or their representatives refused 
to maintain such emancipated slaves, it should be the duty 
of the selectmen of the various towns to do so, and then to 
sue the owners, or their representatives, for the expense' 
incurred. 

The terrible war between the South Carolinians and the 
Tuscaroras, ending with the overthrow of the latter, left a 
large number of Indian prisoners in the hands of the Caro- 
linians, who shipped them as slaves to the other colonies. 
This importation of vengeful, warlike savages alarmed the 
people of Connecticut and led to the first steps towards pro- 
hibition of the slave trade. The Governor and Council met 
on July 8, 171 5, and considering the fact that several have 
brought into the colony Carolina Indians, " which have 
committed many cruel and bloody outrages " there, and may 
draw off " our Indians," if their importation be continued, and 
so " much mischief " may follow, they decided to prohibit 
importation of Indian slaves, until the meeting of the As- 
sembly, and to require each ship entering port with Indians 
on board to give bond of £50 to transport them from the 
colony in twenty days. Further, Indians brought into the 
colony hereafter are to be " kept in strictest custody," con- 
fined and "prevented from communicating with other In- 
dians," unless owner give the same bond as above to remove 
them from Connecticut in twenty days.^ 

The next October, the General Court, copying a Massa- 
chusetts Act of 1 712, made the prohibition of bringing in 
Indian slaves permanent, since " divers conspiracies, out- 
rages, barbarities, murders, burglaries, thefts, and other no- 

^ Conn. Col. Rec, IV., 375. A similar act to the same purpose was 
passed in May, 1703. Conn. Col. Rec, IV., 408. See p. 32. 

2 Conn. Col. Rec, V., 233. The whole was in the reyision of 1S08, 
Title CL., Ch. I., Sec. 11. 

3 Conn. Col. Rec, V., 516. 



385] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 15 

torious crimes at sundry times and, especially of late, have 
been perpetrated by Indians and other slaves, . . . being of 
a malicious and vengeful spirit, rude and insolent in their 
behaviour, and very ungovernable, the overgreat number of 
which, considering the different circumstances in this Colony 
from the plantations in the islands and our having consider- 
able numbers of Indians, natives of our countr}', . . . may 
be of pernicious consequence."^ The legislature decreed the 
forfeiture of all Indians hereafter imported, and the payment 
of a fine of £50 by shipmaster or other persons bringing 
Indians. 

The preamble quoted above shows that this measure was 
not prompted by affection for the slaves, but by fear of them ; 
but it was the beginning of the end — the first law restricting 
slaveholders' rights in Connecticut, to be followed by one and 
another of the same restrictive kind, until all men who trod 
the soil of the State were free. 

The next law on the records was passed in May, 1723, and 
provided that a slave out of doors after 9 P. M., without 
order from master or mistress, might be secured and brought 
before a Justice of the Peace by any citizen and, if found 
guilty, should receive not over ten stripes, unless the master 
were willing to pay a fine of ten shillings^ to release him. 
Any one who should receive such a slave must, on conviction, 
pay a like fine, half to the town and half to the informer. 

The black code was completed by the act of May, 1730, 
declaring that a slave speaking such words as would be 
actionable in a free person, should be whipped, on conviction, 
with not over forty stripes and sold for the costs, unless the 
master were willing to pay them. However, there was a ray 
of justice in the provision of the law that the slave might 
make the same pleas and oflfer the same evidence as a free 
person.^ 

^ Conn. Col. Rec, V., 534. Fee of 2s. 6d. for registering slave, 
which must he done in twenty-four bovirs after arrival. The slave 
must be taken away within a month. 

^Amoimt to be paid later changed to .$1.67. Conn. Col. Rec, VI., 
391. Repealed by Ch. IV., Oct. 1797. 

3 Conn. Col. Rec. VII., 290. In Revision of 1750. p. 40. 



16 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [386 

From this time on, the more engrossing subjects of the 
struggle between the French and the colonists, and the 
growth of material prosperity seem to have thrust aside the 
topic of slavery from the legislative halls. For forty-four 
years we find few more laws.' It is true, however, that at 
the General Assembly in 1738, "it was inquired — ^whether 
the infant slaves of Christian masters may be baptized in 
the right of their masters, they solemnly promising to train 
them in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord; and 
whether it is the duty of such masters to offer such children 
and thus religiously to promise," To the great credit of 
the colonists, both these questions were answered affirma- 
tively, and thus the devout Christians of Connecticut, pre- 
serving the solidarity of the family, unconsciously went back 
to the early Aryan custom, that the God of the house-father 
should be worshiped by all under his sway. The growth 
of free ideas,^ the coming of the Revolution, the increase of 
the slaves, " injurious," it was thought, to the poor and " in- 
convenient" — for the best motives are apt to be mixed of 
good and evil — led, in October, 1774, to the (^nactment of the 
law that " no Indian, negro, or mulatto slave shall at any time 
hereafter^ be brought or imported into this State," by sea 
or land, from any place or places whatsoever, to be disposed 
of, left, or sold within the State," and any offender against 
this law should pay iioo.° So the State set herself as reso- 
lutely against the slave trade, as she was destined to do later 
against slavery itself. 



^ In 1727 it was enacted that masters and mistresses of Indian 
chUdren were to use their utmost endeavors to teach them to read 
Eughsh, and to instruct them in the Clrristian faith. Reprint of 
1737, p. 339. Hurd, I., p. 272. 

* Conn. Col. Kec, XIV., 155. May, 1773, " Negro's memorial post- 
poned to October." Nothing more of it. 

sConn. Col. Rec, XIV., 329. 

•*Note the early use of the word. 

^ Later the sum was fixed at $334. By act of October, 1798, such 
prosecutions must be begun in three years. Revision of 1808, Title 
CI., Ch. in. By Revision of 1821, Title 93, Sec. 5, fine put at $350. 



387] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 17 

A good review of the legal condition of the slave in these 
days is given by Judge Reeves,^ who, " lest the slavery, which 
prevailed in this State, be forgotten," mentioned " some 
things that show that slavery here was very far from being 
of the absolute rigid kind. The master had no control over 
the life of his slave. If he killed him, he was liable to the 
same ptmishment, as if he killed a freeman. The master 
was as liable to be sued by the slave, in an action for beating, 
and wounding, or for immoderate chastisement, as he would 
be if he had thus treated an apprentice. A slave was capa- 
ble of holding property in character of devisee or legatee. 
If the master should take away such property, his slave 
would be entitled to an action against him by his prochmi 
ami. From the whole, we see that slaves had the same right 
of life and property as apprentices, and that the diflference 
betwixt them was this, an apprentice is a servant for time 
and the slave is a servant for life."^ 

Trials concerning Slaves in Colonial Days. 

I have been able to obtain but few recorded cases in which 
the question of freedom or slavery came up in the courts 

^ Law of Baron and Femme, pp. 340-1. Reeves says, " If a slave 
married a free woman, with the consent of his master, he was eman- 
cipated ; for his master had suffered him to contract a relation 
inconsistent with a state of slavery." Dane's Abridgment, II., p. 
313, says, "In Connecticut the slave was, by statute, specially for- 
bidden to contract." Vide Hurd, II., p. 42. 

2 In the Code of 1650, under the title, " Masters, Sojourners, Ser- 
vants," the last named are forbidden, under penalty, to trade with- 
out permission of their masters, and provision is made for their 
recapture by pubUc authority if they run away. Refractory ser- 
vants are to be pimished by extension of their tune of service. 
The lawmakers, probably, had in mind the class known as Indented 
servants, or redemptioners, in formulating this act. (Conn. Rec, I., 
539.) In the Revision of 1715, title " Debts," it was provided that a 
debtor without estate " shall satisfy the debt by service, if the 
creditor shaU require it, in which case he shall not be disposed in 
service to any but of the English nation," to prevent the sale of 
the debtor to the French in Canada. Delinquents tmder a penal 
law were, by an act of 1725, to be disposed of at service to any 
inhabitant of the Colony " to defray the Costs." (Reprint 1737, p. 
314.) 



18 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [388 

during this first period. In the end of 1702 or beginning 
of 1703, a slave, Abda, belonging to Capt. Thomas Richards 
of Hartford, escaped from his master and was succored by 
Capt Joseph Wadsworth of Hartford, who, on Feb. 12th, 
1703, opposed the constable in executing a writ of arrest on 
Abda. This early fugitive slave case was brought before the 
Governor and Council on Feb. 25.^ They recommended 
the County Court to examine the case. Apparently Abda 
brought an action on the case against Mr. Richards, as a 
counter suit, claiming damages of £20 from his master, " for 
his unjust holding and detaining the said Abda in his service 
as his bondsman, for the space of one year past." The ver- 
dict was for ii2 damages, "thereby virtually establishing 
Abda's right to freedom," which he, a mulatto, seems to have 
claimed largely on account of his white blood.^ 

Mr. Richards pressed the case further and, in May, 1704, 
obtained from the General Court an order to have a hearing 
before it in October, on his petition concerning Abda.^ At 
that time the case was brought up and the fugitive was re- 
turned to his master, as Gov. Saltonstall said, " according to 
the laws and constant practice of this Colony and all other 
plantations (as well as by the civil law) such persons as are 
born of negro bondwomen are themselves in like condition, 
i. e. born in servitude.^ Nor can there be any precedent in 
this Government, or any of Her Majesty's plantations, pro- 
duced to the contrary and, though the law of this Colony 
doth not say that such persons as are born of negro woman 
and supposed to be mulattoes shall be slaves (which was 
needless, because of the constant practice by which they are 
held as such), yet it saith expressly that no man shall put 
away or make free his negro or mulatto slave, etc., which 



^ Conn. Ck)l. Rec, XV., 548. 

^ Moore's " Notes on Slavery," p. 112, quoting J. H. I'rumbiill in 
Conn. Courant, Nov. 9, 1850. Fowler, " Hist. Status," pp. 14-16. 

3 Conn. Col. Rec, rv., 478. Papers in Miscellaneous, n., pp. 10-21. 

* This f oUovdng as a precedent the Roman Law maxim, " Partus 
sequitur ventrem," at this early day in New England is noteworthy. 



389] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 19 

undeniably shows and declares an approbation of such ser- 
vitude, and that mulattoes may be held as slaves within this 
government."' 

A later fugitive slave' we find advertised for in the 
New York Mercury on July 28, 1760, and the adver- 
tisement has many little touches which go to show how 
slaves lived and were treated. " Run away from Abraham 
Davenport of Stamford in Conn., the 4th of June instant, a 
]\Iulatto Man Slave named Vanhall, aged 31 years, about 
5 feet 4 or 5 inches high, very swarthy; has a small Head 
and Face, a large Mouth, and has an odd Action with his 
Head, when talking with any Person ; has very long Arms 
and large Hands for a Person of his size and has an old 
Countenance for one of his Age; his Hair, like others of 
his kind was but lately cut off; was brought up to the Farm- 
ing business, is a lively active Fellow and pretends to under- 
stand the Violin. Had on, when he went away, a Felt Hat, 
a Grey Cut Wig, a light homespun Flannel lappelled Vest, 
which had been lined with fine old Cotton and Linnen 
Ticken, Doeskin Breeches, he took several pairs of Stock- 
ings and one or two pairs of Shoes, a Violin and a small 
Hatchet, &c., and 'tis probable he might change his Cloaths. 
Whoever takes up and secures said Alulatto, so that his 
Master may have him again, shall receive £5. Reward, and 
reasonable charges paid." 

Late in Colonial times,' we find Hagar, a New London 
negress, appearing before the Governor and Council and 
pleading that she and her children were lawfully freed by 
her former master, James Rogers, and so her refusal to yield 
herself as a slave to James Rogers, Jr., his grandson, was 
justified. The decision was that she should give bond to 
prove her freedom at the next County Court and be secured 
from molestation in the meanwhile. 

^ Moore. Notes on Slavery, pp. 24-25, quoting J. H. Trumbull's 
" Hist. Notes," etc., No. VI. 
"Am. Hist. Mag., XIII., p. 498. Vide Fowler, " Hist. Status," p. 148. 
3 Conn. Col. Rec., XV., p. 582. 



20 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [390 

Social Condition of Slaves in Colonial Times. 

On this topic comparatively little can be found. Each 
large^ village had its negro corner in the Meeting House 
gallery and in the graveyard. In the larger towns, such 
as Norwich, New Haven, Hartford, and New London, there 
were several hundred negroes. They were for the most 
part indulgently treated and admitted, at least in many places, 
into the local churches as fellow-members with the white 
population.^ They must, however, occupy their allotted 
gallery seats, which in Torrington were boarded up so that 
the .negroes could see no one and be seen by none. If 
they attempted to sit elsewhere, or refused to go to church 
if made to sit there, excommunication was apt to follow.^ 

Among early negro slaves recorded in Connecticut are 
some belonging to John Pantry of Hartford in 1653, and one 
Cyrus, belonging to Henry Wolcott, Jr., of Windsor, and 
rated at £30 in his inventory.* Miss Caulkins states that 
early in the eighteenth century slaves were worth from 60 shill- 
ings to £30, and that later the best were valued as high as ii 00. 
She instances the purchase of a negro boy by Rev. William 
Hart of Saybrook in 1749 for £290, Old Tenor, about equal 
to £60 in coin." In 1708, and probably the same state of 
things continued later, we learn the negroes mostly came 
from " neighboring governments, save some times half a 
dozen a year from the West Indies " ; but " none ever im- 
ported by the Royal African Company or separate traders."" 

^ In 1726 Suffield voted Rev. Mr. Devotion £20 towards purchas- 
ing negroes. Trumbull's "Hartford Coimty," 11., p. 406. 

"^E. g. Phebe, colored sei-vant of Joel Thrall, joined Torrington 
Church, 1756. Orcutt's " Torrington,'.' p. 211. 

3 Jacob Prince, a free negro, was so excommunicated in Goshen. 
Orcutt's " Torrington," p. 218. 

4 1680, slaves sold at £22. Conn. Col. Rec, in., 298. 

Stiles, "Ancient Windsor," p. 489, notices an early deed of sale, 
dated 1694, from a Eostonian to a Windsor man, for a negro. 
Twenty-one negroes died in. South Windsor from 1736 to 1768, of 
which number eleven belonged to the Wolcott family, 

5 Hist, of Norwich, p. 328. Vide Fowler, " Hist. Status," p. 148. 

6 Conn. Col. Rec, XV., 557. 



391] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 21 

For the most part, only one or two negroes were owned by 
any person. In some parts of the State, as at Waterbury," 
we find it customary for the clergymen to have two slaves, 
a man and a woman. Occasionally, however, more were 
owned by a wealthy man, as in the case of Capt. John Per- 
kins of Hanover Society,* Norwich, who lefc fifteen slaves 
by his will in 1761. The slaves were generally kindly treated 
and were docile, though we hear of tlie death of a man in 
1773 from lockjaw, caused by a bite in the thumb by a young 
slave he was chastising.' The majority, however, could show 
much more amicable relations. For example, Mingo,* in 
Waterbury, who, about 1730, when a boy, was hired out by 
his master to drive a plow, later to work with a team and, 
1764, at his master's death, was allowed to choose which son 
he would live with. He chose to live with the one who kept 
the old homestead and remained there until he began keep- 
ing a tavern, when he left and went to another son's. He 
had a family, and left considerable property at his death in 
1800. Indeed, as early as 1707, we have evidence of the 
possession of property by a negro, for, in October of that 
year, Lieut. John Hawley, administrator to the estate of 
John Negro, was granted power by the General Court to 
sell iio worth of his land, it appearing from the Fairfield 
County Probate Records that he owed that amount more 
than his moveables would pay.° 

Towards the close of tliis period, the reasonableness and 
justice of holding slaves began to be questioned and eman- 

' Bronson's " Waterbiiry," 321. ^CanlMns' " Norwicli," p. 328. 

' Caul kins' "Norwich," p. 329. Godfrey Malbone of Brooklyn 
owned 50 or 60 slaves. Fowler, p. 16. 

^The first negro there. Bronson's " Waterbury," p. 321. He also 
refers to Parson Scovil's Dick, brought from Africa when a boy 
and sold several times, with the understanding he could return 
when he pleased. He left some property at his death in 1835, aged 
90. Also to I. "Woodruff of Westbury, who owned an Indian woman 
till her death in 1774. In Wintonbury (Bloomfleld) there were 
probably not over a dozen slaves in all in colonial times. In Bristol 
a few of the farms were cultivated by slave labor, and one family 
owned three negroes. Trumbull's " Plartford Coimty," H., pp. 35, 51. 

5 Conn. Col. Rec, VI., 35. 



22 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [392 

cipations, " from a conscientious regard to justice," begin to 
appear. One man in Norwich not only freed three slaves, 
but, " as a compensation for their services, leased them a 
very valuable farm on very moderate rate."^ That section 
of the State seems to have been considerably stirred on 
this question, and in the Norwich Packet^ July 7, 1774, we 
find an anti-slavery appeal of sufficient vigor to warrant quo- 
tation in full: 

" To all you who call yourselves Sons of Liberty in 
America, Greeting: 

" My Friends, We know in some good measure the in- 
estimable value of liberty, But were we once deprived of 
her she would then appear much more valuable than she 
now appears. We also see her, standing as it were, tiptoe 
on the highest bough ready for flight. Why is she depart- 
ing? What is it disturbs her repose? Surely, some foul 
monster of hideous shape and hateful, kind, opposite in its 
nature to hers, with all its frightful appearances and proper- 
ties, iron hands and leaden feet, formed to gripe and crush, 
hath intruded itself into her peaceful habitation and ejected 
her. Surely this must be the case, for we know oppositions 
can not dwell together. Is it not time, high time to search 
for this Achan? this disturber of Israel? High time, I say, 
to examine for the cause of those dark and gloomy appear- 
ances that cast a shade over our glory, and is not this it? 
Are we not guilty of the same crime we impute to others? 
Of the same facts, that we say are unjust, cruel, arbitrary, 
despotic, and without law in others? Paul argued in this 
manner — ' Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not 
thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost 
thou steal? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through 
breaking the law dishonorest thou God?' And may we 
not use the same mode of argument and say — ^We that de- 
clare, and that with much warmth and zeal, it is unjust, cruel, 
barbarous, unconstitutional, and without law to enslave, do 
tve enslave? Yes, verily we do! A black cloud witncsseth 

^ CauUdns' " Norwich," p. 329. 



393] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 23 

against us and our ozvn moiitJis condemn ns! How prepos- 
terous our conduct ! How vain and hypocritical our pre- 
tences! Can we expect to be free, so long as we are deter- 
mined to enslave? (Signed) Honesty."^ 

Before we turn from Colonial times," the fact is worthy 
of note that, though " redemptioners " were not common 
in Connecticut, white men were often bound out to service 
for a term of years, as in other colonies. We find 
in 1670 a man sold to the Barbadoes for four years as a 
slave, for " notorious stealing," " breaking up and robbing 
of " two mills and living " in a renegade manner in the wil- 
derness." In 1756, a town pauper in Waterbury,^ for steal- 
ing, was whipped and bound out to the plaintiff, as a ser- 
vant, till the sum stolen and the costs be paid by his work, 
and the law on the statute-books was that " all single per- 
sons, who lived an idle and riotous life," might be bound out 
to service to pay the costs of prosecution. 

' The emancipation of slaves is not looked on by Dr. Fowler as 
greatly contributing to their welfare. He quotes an essay published 
in 1793 by Noah "Webster, Jr. : "• Nor does the restoration to freedom 
correct the depravity of their hearts. Born and bred beneath the 
frowns of power, neglected and despised in youth, they abandon 
themselves to ill company and low vicious pleasures, till tbeir habits 
are formed ; when manumission, instead of destroying their habits 
and repressing their corrupt inclinations, serves to afford the more 
numerous opportunities of indulging both. Thus an act of strict 
justice to the slave, very often, renders him a more worthless mem- 
ber of society." " Hist. Status of the Negro," p. 149. 

^ Dr. Fowler, "Hist. Status," pp. 12-13, calls attention to the fact 
that Louis Berbice, from Dutch Guiana, killed by his master, Gys- 
bert Opdyck, commissary at the Dutch fort in Hartford, in Nov., 
1639, was probably the first negro in Conn. He gives a list of the 
early owners of negroes and notes that in 1717, the Lower House 
passed a bill prohibiting negroes purchasing land, or living in fam- 
ilies of their own. without liberty from the town. 

^ Bronson's Waterbury, p. 831. 



PERIOD IL— 1 774-1869. 
Slaves in the Revolution.' 

The subject of using negi-oes in the army first came be- 
fore the General Assembly in May, 1777, when a committee 
was appointed "to take^ into consideration the state and 
condition of the negro and mulatto slaves in this State, and 
what may be done for their emancipation." I would hazard 
a guess that this committee was appointed in consequence 
of a resolution of the town of Enfield, on March 31, 1777, 
appointing a committee of tliree to prefer a memorial to 
the Assembly, to "pray' that the Negroes in this State be 
released from tlieir Slavery and Bondage." The Assembly's 
committee, of which Hon. Matthew Griswold was chairman, 
reported a recommendation that the effective negro and 
mulatto slaves be allowed to enlist with the Continental bat- 

' Connecticut Committee of Safety. 

Monday, September 4, 1775. 

At a meeting of the committee On information, by letter, from 
Major Latimer, " that one of the Vessels lately taken by Captain 
Wallace, of the Rose, man-of-war, &c., at Stonington, was by stress 
of weather drove back to New-London, with one white man, a petty 
officer, and three negroes on board, and were in his custody, and 
asking directions how to dispose of them, &c. And by other infor- 
mation it appears that two of the negroes belong to Deputy Gov- 
ernour Cooke, of Rhode-Island, and were lately seized and robbed 
from htm, with and on board a vessel, by said Wallace, and that the 
other belonged to one Captain Collins. And, on consideration, 

Voted and Ordered, That the Major give information to the owner 
of the vessel, and, on his request, deUver her up to htm, and send 
the white man to the jail at Windham, and the three negroes to the 
care of. and to be employed for the present by, Captain Niles, at Nor- 
wich, who is fixing out a small Armed Vessel, &c.. until the Gov- 
emour shall advise Deputy Govemour Cooke of the matter, that 
they may, on proper notice, be returned to their owners."— Am. 
Arch., IV., III., p. 672. 

'■' Livermore, " Historical Research," p. 11.3. 

^Trumbull's "Hartford County," II., p. 151. 



395] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 25 

talions now raising in this State, under tlie following regu- 
lations and restrictions: viz., that all such negro and mulatto 
slaves as can procure, either by bounty, hire, or in any other 
way, such a sum to be paid to their masters, as such negro 
and mulatto shall be judged to be reasonably worth by the 
selectman of the town where such negro or mulatto be- 
longs, shall be allowed to enlist into eitlier of said battalions, 
and shall thereupon be, de facto ^ free and emancipated ; and 
that the master of such negro or mulatto shall be exempted 
from the support and maintenance of such negro or mulatto, 
in case " he " shall hereafter become unable to support and 
maintain himself." Further, if a slave desire to enlist for 
the war, he may be appraised by the selectmen and his mas- 
ter may receive the bounty and half the slave's annual wages 
until the appraised sum be equaled. The Upper House 
rejected this report. 

At that session, however, an act was passed that any two 
men, "who should procure an able bodied soldier," should 
be exempted from the draft, during the continuance of the 
substitute's enlistment. " Of recruits," writes Dr. J. H. 
Trumbull, " and draughted men thus furnished, neither the 
selectmen nor commanding officers questioned the color, 
or the civil status; white and black, bond and free, if able 
bodied, went on the roll together, accepted as the represen- 
tatives or substitutes of their employers." 

In October, 1777,^ the Assembly passed an act similar to 
the one proposed in May. It authorized the selectmen, on 
application from a master of a slave, to inquire "into tlie 
age, abilities, circumstances, and character" of the slave, 
and, being satisfied " that it was likely to be consistent with 
his real advantage, and that it was probable that he would 
be able to support himself, and is of good and peaceable 
life and conversation," they could free the master from all 
liability for support of his freedman. This offered an addi- 
tional inducement to masters to free slaves to make up the 

' Revision of 1808, Title CL., Ch. I., Sec. 12. Vide Stiles' "Anc. 
Windsor," I., p. 491. 



26 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [396 

town's quota of men, and Dr. Trumbull says " some hun- 
dreds of black slaves and free men enlisted." The rolls of 
the companies show no distinction of color. The surnames 
Liberty, Freeman, Freedom are frequently found.^ In Weth- 
ersfield, on the blank leaves of the book of town votes, 
among records of emancipation from motives of humanity, 
or for money, we find record of John Wright and Luke 
Fortune freeing their slave Abner Andrew, on May 20, 1777, 
to be their substitute in the army. Other certificates free 
slaves on condition of " enlisting in the Continental Army 
in Col. Wallis' Regiment" and "and after the customary 
three years service," and, as late as 1780, Caesar was manu- 
mitted by David Griswold there, on " condition of enlistment 
and faithfully serving out the time of enlistment," which was 
three years.^ 

David Humphreys commanded a company entirely com- 
posed of negroes, their roster shoving fifty-six names,' first 
of which is Jack Arabas, of whom we shall hear again. It 
was said Humphreys nobly volunteered to command tlie 
company, when others refused, and continued its captain 
until peace was declared. The company was in Meigs' 
(later Butler's) regiment of the Connecticut Line. 

At Fort Griswold, when Col. Ledyard was murdered, a 
negro soldier named Lambert avenged his death by thrust- 
ing a bayonet through the British officer who slew his 
superior, and then fell a martyr, pierced by thirty-three bay- 
onet wounds.* 

"As to the ef^.ciency of the service they rendered," says 
Dr. J. H. Trumbull," " I can say nothing from the records, 

^ Livermore's " Historical Researcli," p. 115. 

2Am. Hist. Mag., XXI., 422. Tiaimbiai's " Hartford County," II., 
475. 

^ WUliams' " Hist, of Negro Race ia America," I., 361. 

•' Wilson, " Rise and Fall of the Slave Power," I., p. 19. 

5 Livermore's " Historical Research," p. 115. Lib Quy, native 
Afilcan, was a trusty Continental soldier from Norwich in 17S0 
and '81 (Caiilkins' "Norwich," p. 331). Oliver Mitchell, a negro 
Revolutionary soldier, died of a fit in his boat, March, 1840, in 
which he had been to Haitford to draw his pension (Stiles' "Ancient 
Wmdsor," I., p. 489). 



397] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 27 

save what is to be gleaned from scattered files. ... So far 
as my acquaintance extends, almost every family has its 
traditions of the good and faithful service of a black servant 
or slave, who was killed in battle or served through the war 
and came home to tell stories of hard fighting and draw his 
pension. In my own town — not a large one — I remember 
five such pensioners, three of whom I believe had been slaves, 
and were in fact slaves to the day of tlieir death; for (and 
this explains the uniform action of the General Assembly 
on petitions for emancipation) neither the towns nor the 
State were inclined to exonerate the master, at a time when 
slavery was becoming unprofitable, from the obligation to 
provide for the old age of his slave." 

An interesting Revolutionary case is that of the slaves of 
Col. William Browne of Salem, A'lass., a Tory, whose large 
farm in Lyme was confiscated. It was leased for a term 
of years with nine slaves, who petitioned for liberty in 1779, 
through Benjamin Huntington, administrator on confiscated 
estates. The lessee offered to consent to their freedom 
without requiring a diminution in the rent. Mr. Huntington 
drew up their petition to the Assembly,^ stating that they, 
" all friends to America, but slaves lately belonging to Col. 
Wm. Browne," who " fled from his native country to his 
master. King George, where he now lives like a poor slave," 
" though they have flat noses, crooked shins, and other 
queemess of make, peculiar to Africans, are yet of the human 
race, free-bom in our country, taken from thence by man- 
stealers, and sold in this country, as cattle in the market, 
without the least act of our own to forfeit liberty; but we 
hope our good mistress, t/ie free State of Connecticut, en- 
gaged in a war with tyranny, will not sell honest Whigs 
and friends of the freedom and independence of America, 
as we are, to raise cash to support the war: because the 
Whigs ought to be free and the Tories should be sold." 
They offer, if set free, to get security to indemnify the State 

' Great Prince, Little Prince, Luke, Caesar, Prue and lier three 
children. LiveiTaore, " Historical Research," p. 116. 



28 History of Slavery in Connecticut [398 

in case of their coming to want ; but, though the Lower 
House was favorable, the Upper one refused to grant the 
petition. 

Opinions of the Forefathers on Slavery. 

One of the earHest in Connecticut to come out boldly 
against slavery was Rev. Levi Hart of Preston, who, on 
Sept. 20, 1774, at Famiington, preached a sermon at the 
meeting of "the Corporation of Freemen," in which he 
condemned the slave trade and severely criticized slave- 
holding." 

Dr. William Gordon of Roxbury, Mass., though living 
out of Connecticut, became interested in the abolition of 
slavery there and sent a plan for its gradual extermination 
to the "Independent Chronicle" of Nov. 14, 1776, which is 
very severe on slaveholders and paints the deathbed of one 
of them.^ 

In the Constitutional Convention' of 1787 we have full 
expression of the views of Roger Sherman and Oliver Ells- 
worth, two of Connecticut's three delegates. The former 
said "that the abolition of slavery seemed to be going on 
in the United States and that the good sense of the several 
States would probably by degrees complete it."^ He re- 
garded the slave trade as iniquitous; but, the point of rep- 
resentation having been settled after much difffculty and 
deliberation,' he did not think himself bound to make oppo- 
sition." He objected, however, to the tax on imported slaves, 
as implying that slaves were property, and that the tax im- 
posed was too small to prevent importation.^ He thouglit 
that, " as the States were now possessed of the right to im- 
port slaves, as the public good did not require it to be taken 

^ Trumbull's " Memorial History of Hartford Co.," H., p. 192. 

2 Moore, "Notes on Slavery in Mass.," p. 177. 

3 Connecticut voted for Jefferson's ordinance of 1784. 

^Livermore, "Historic Research," p. 51. 

6 Madison Papers, V., 391 (EUiot). 

«Wilson, "Rise and Fall," p. 51. 



399] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 29 

from them, and as it was expedient to have as few objections 
as possible to the proposed scheme of government, it would 
be best to leave the matter as we find it.'" He said, when 
Baldwin of Georgia, a man of Connecticut birth, stated his 
State would not confederate unless allowed to import, that 
it was better to let the Southern States import slaves' than 
to lose those States, if they made that a sine qua no?i. He 
thought it would be the duty of the General Government' 
to exercise the power of prohibiting importation, if it were 
given it. He preferred not to use the word slaves in the 
Constitution, and saw no' more propriety in the public reiz- 
ing and surrendering a slave than a horse. Ellsworth said, 
" Let every State import what it pleases. The morality or 
wisdom of slavery are considerations belonging to the States. 
What enriches a part enriches the whole, and the States are 
the best judges of their particular interests. The old Con- 
federation had not meddled with this point, and he did not 
see any greater necessity for bringing it into the policy of the 
new one." He had* "never owned a slave and could not 
judge of the effects of slavery on character." He said, how- 
ever, that, if it was " to be considered in a moral light, we 
ought to go further and free those already in the country. 
As slaves also multiply so fast in Virginia and Maryland, it is 
cheaper to raise than import them, whilst in the sickly rice 
swamps, foreign supplies are necessary. If we go no fur- 
ther than is urged, we shall be unjust towards South Caro- 
lina and Georgia. Let us not intermeddle. As population 
increases, poor laborers will be so plenty as to render slaves 
useless. Provision is already made in Connecticut for abol- 
ishing it, and the abolition has already taken place in Massa- 
chusetts. As to the dangers of insurrections from foreign 
influence, that will become a motive to kind treatment of 
the slaves.'" 

^ livermore, p. 56. ^ Livermore, p. 60. 

2 Elliot, v., pp. 457-461 and 471. Connecticut voted to extend 
the open period from 1800 to 1808. 

■» Livermore, p. 57. 

6 In 17S7, Connecticut voted in the Constitutional Convention for 
tlie three-fiftlis compromise. 



30 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [400 

Mistaken in many respects as these men were, they un- 
doubtedly represented the current opinion of their time. 

We find a contrary opinion in the resolves of the Danburj^ 
Town Meeting on December 12, 1774, that, " It is with singu- 
lar pleasure, we notice the second article of the Association, 
in which it is agreed to import no more Negro slaves, as we 
cannot but think it a palpable absurdity, so loudly to com- 
plain of attempts to enslave us, while we are actually enslaving 
others, and that we have great reason to apprehend the en- 
slaving the Africans is one of the crying sins of our land, for 
which Heaven is now chastising us. We notice also with 
pleasure the late Act of our General Assembly, imposing a 
fine of i 1 00 on any one, who shall import a Negro Slave into 
this Colony. We could also wish that something further 
might be done for the relief of such, as are now in a state of 
slavery in the Colony," and such as may hereafter be bom of 
parents in that unhappy condition." 

State Legislation on Slavery. 

The growth of free ideas went on apace, after tlie State 
became independent. In 1780, a bill for gradual emanci- 
pation passed the Upper House, was continued until the 
next session and then, apparently, set aside. It provided 
that no Indian or colored child, then living and under seven 
years of age, nor any bom afterwards, should be held as a 
slave beyond the age of twenty-eight.^ In 1784, however, 
the measure was passed and emancipation was begun. The 
Legislature enacted that, " Whereas sound public policy re- 
quires tliat the abolition of slavery should be effected, as 
soon as may be consistent with the rights of individuals 
and the public safety and welfare," no negro or mulatto, 
bom after March i, 1784, should be held as a slave after 
reaching the age of twenty-five." This regard for the exist- 

^ Am. Arcli., IV., I., pp. 1038. 

-Jameson, "Essays in Const. Hist.," p. 296 (Brackett, " Status of 
the Slave, 1775-1789 "). 

^Revision of 1808, Title CL., Ch. I., Sec. 13. Fowler, "Hist. 
Status," p. 85, shows that this really made slaves in the same con- 



401] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 31 

ing rights of property was shown by the gradual aboHtion 
of slavery in Connecticut/ the holding of slaves not being 
absolutely forbidden until 1848, when any one to be a slave 
must have been sixty-four years old. 

In October, 1788, a bill was passed, forbidding any inhabi- 
tant of Connecticut to receive on his vessel " any inhabitants 
of Africa as slaves," under penalty of $1,667 ^^^ the use of the 
vessel and $167 additional for each slave carried.' Half of 
this fine was to go to the plaintiff and half to the State; but, 
by the act of October, 1798,'' prosecutions must begin in three 
years. Furthermore, insurance on ships used in the slave 
trade, or on slaves carried, is to be void. We have seen the 
importation of slaves forbidden in this act: the exportation 
" of any free negro, Indian, or mulatto, or person entitled to 
freedom at twenty-five," inhabitants of Connecticut, was to be 
punished by a fine of $334 levied on any who should, as prin- 
cipal or accessor}^ " kidnap, decoy, or forcibly carr}^ away " 
such persons from the State. "Any friend of the inhabitant " 
carried off may prosecute and receive " fit damages," and must 
give bond to use such rightly for " the injured inhabitant,"* 
or family. This prohibition was not to prevent persons remov- 
ing from the State from taking their slaves with them, nor 
to prevent persons living in Connecticut from sending their 
slaves out of tlie State, on ordinary and necessary business. 
This sale of slaves out of the State was soon stopped, for, 
in May, 1792, the law was so changed that the taking a slave 
from the State, or assistance therein, was punishable with a 

dition as apprentices, and claims the law was passed partly through 
economical reasons, as there were more laborers than employment. 

^ In October, 17SS, owners must tile certificate of birth of each 
slave within six months thereof, or pay $7 for each month's delay, 
half to complainant and half to poor of town. October, 1789, the 
latter half was to go to the State. Revision of ISOS, Title CL., Ch. 
v., Sec. 5, and Ch. VI. 

« Revision of ISOS, Title CL., Ch. V., Sec. 1. Penalty changed to 
$170 and $1700 by Revision of 1821, Title 93. Sec. 7. Penalty was 
originally £1000. Root's Reports, I., xsxi. 

3 Revision of 1808, Title CI., Ch. in. 

4 Revision of 1808, Title CL., Ch. V., Sees. 3-4. Penalty changed 
to $350 in Revision of 1821, Sec. 6. 



32 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [402 

like fine of $334, half of which should go to the plaintiff and 
half to the State. Notes, bonds, or mortgages given in 
payment for slaves thus sold out of the State were to be 
void. The same exemptions as to persons removing from 
the State or sending their slaves out temporarily, were made 
as in the former law.^ 

At the same session of the Assembly, the age of the slave 
at manumission was limited to the period between twenty- 
five and forty-five years, and the certificate given at eman- 
cipation by the selectmen was ordered to be recorded in the 
Town Records,^ This somewhat reactionary act, modifying 
the law of 1702, designed to regulate the giving of freedom, 
was followed in five years by one still further limiting the 
bounds of slavery; for in May, 1797, it was enacted that no 
negro or mulatto bom after August, 1797, should be a slave, 
after reaching the age of twenty-one.^ 

Here the laws with regard to slavery remained without 
essential change for many years. Not until 1833 do we find 
another important act passed in regard to slavery, and then, 
under the influence of the outcry against Miss Prudence 
Crandall, the Legislature put on the statute-book the most 
shameful law we meet in our study.* It stated that, " whereas 
attempts have been made to establish literary institutions in 
this State, for the instruction of colored persons belonging 
to other States and countries, which would tend to the great 
increase of the colored population of the State and thereby 
to the injury of the people," any person establishing such a 
school without the consent in writing of the selectmen and 
civil authority of the town, should pay a fine of $100 to 
the State Treasurer for the first ofifense and double for each 

^ Revision of ISOS, Title CL., Ch. VI.. Sees. 1, 2, 8. 

2 Revision of ISOS, Title CL., Ch. II. Free negroes could vote 
untU the Constitution of 1S18 restricted the suffrage to white males. 

^Revision of 1808. Title CL., Ch. HL 

"May 24, 1833. Act of 1S33, Ch. Sec. 1. Sec. 2 provided that 
a colored person not an inhabitant of Connecticut, residing in a 
town for education, might be removed as any other alien. Sec. 3 
provided that the evidence of such colored person is both admissi- 
ble and compulsory against the teacher. 



403] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 33 

succeeding one, the fines increasing in geometrical pro- 
gression. The law was not destined to be a blot upon any of 
the States' codes, but was repealed in 1838 by tlie Legislature, 
under tlie leadership of Francis Gillette,^ a young represen- 
tative from Hartford, who was afterwards United States 
Senator. That same Legislature passed resolutions against 
the annexation of Texas, the slave trade in the District of 
Columbia, and in favor of the right of petition. Nay more, 
that same year was passed the " Act for the Fulfilment of 
the Obligations of this State imposed by the Constitution 
of the United States in regard to persons held to service or 
labor in one State and escaping into another, and to secure 
the right of trial by jury in the cases herein mentioned."' 
Prof. W. C. Fowler called this law a " nullification "' of the 
United States Act of 1793, which provided that the owner 
or his attorney could take the fugitive slave before any 
magistrate of the county, city, or town wherein the arrest 
might be made, and, on proof by oral testimony or affidavit, 
taken before and certified to by a magistrate of any State 
or Territory, the magistrate must give a certificate, which 
should be sufficient warrant for removing the slave from the 
State. 

Let us see now how Connecticut fulfilled her obligations, 
in this early personal liberty law. Instead of following the 
provisions of the United States law, she enacted that the 
captured fugitive should be brought before the county or 
cit}^ court on a writ of habeas corpus^ and no magistrate not 
having the power to issue that writ should give the claimant 
any warrant or certificate, under penalty of $500. When 
he arrived at court, the claimant must pay all fees in advance 
and must, "by affidavit, set forth minutely" the ground of 

' Wilson, " Else and Fall of the Slave Power," I., 372. The Legis- 
lature, however, by a vote of 165 to 33, rejected a constitutional 
amendment allowing negroes the suffrage. Niles' Reg., Vol. 54, p. 
193. In 1842 the State again protested against the annexation of 
Texas. Niles' Reg., Vol. 62, p. 140. 

2 Revision of 1838, Title 97, Ch. II. 

3 Local Law in Mass. and Conn., p. 98. 



34 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [404 

his claim to the slave's services, the time of the slave's es- 
cape, and the place where the slave then was, or was be- 
lieved to be. The judge was next to allow necessary time 
for further proof and, meantime, commit the fugitive to the 
custody of the sheriff. The questions of fact were to be tried 
by a jury, on which no one was to sit " who believes there 
is not, constitutionally or legally, a slave in the land," in 
this showing the early distrust of the Abolitionists. If the 
claimant does not prove the claim, he is liable to the pay- 
ment of costs and damages; if he does prove it, he may 
take the slave from the State, but must, "without unneces- 
sary delay," take him by the " direct route " to his home. 
In the same act, the law against transporting slaves from 
the State, save as above, is made universal and the penalty 
for its violation fixed at $500, to go to any one prosecuting. 
Any fugitive arrested, contrary to the act, may have a writ 
of habeas corpus sued out by his next friend ; and, as an after- 
thought, at the very end, we read that nothing in this act 
shall extend to the United States Courts. 

As the feeling grew more bitter, even this law was felt to 
be too much of a yielding in principle and, in 1844,^ the 
Legislature decided that no Judge, Justice of the Peace, or 
other officer should issue a warrant " for the arrest or de- 
tention of any person escaping into this State, claimed to 
be fugitive from labor or service as a slave," or grant a 
certificate to the claimant. Such papers, if issued, are to be 
void, but, as before, the people soothed their consciences 
with the belief they were fulfilling their obligations, by say- 
ing " nothing herein shall interfere with United States offi- 
cers."" 

In 1847,^ ^y ^ great majority, the State rejected a proposal 

^ Compilation of 1854, Title 51, Sec. 5. The preamble stated that 
" it has been decided by the Supreme Court of the United States 
since " 1838 " that both the duty and the power of legislation on 
that subject pertains exclusively to the National government." 

2 In 1845 the Legislature of Connecticut protested against the 
admission of Texas as a Slave State. Niles' Reg., Vol. 69, p. 246. 

^ The vote was, for. 5.353 ; against, 19.148. Over half the legal 
voters did not vote. Niles' Reg., Vol. 73, Nov. 6, 1847. Fowler, p. 152. 



405] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 35 

to allow colored men the ballot, but the next year' it decreed, 
what was already almost accomplished by tlie action of 
former laws, " that no person shall hereafter be held in 
slavery in this State," that emancipated slaves must be sup- 
ported by their masters," and that no slave shall be brought 
into Connecticut. Thus Connecticut became in law a Free 
State, as she long had been in fact. When the fugitive slave 
law of 1850 was passed, the rising tide of indignation swept 
over Connecticut. Here and there some resisted the tor- 
rent and organized Union Saving Meetings, like the one 
the famous Rev. N. W. Taylor addressed at New Haven, 
deprecating agitation, counseling obedience, declaring tliat 
he had not been able to discover that the article in the Con- 
stitution for the rendition of fugitives was " contrary to the 
law of nature, to the law of nations, or the law of God," and 
claiming that it was " lawful to deliver up fugitives for the 
high, the great, the momentous interests of the Southern 
States."^ But the majority sympathized rather with Gov. H. 
B. Harrison, when he introduced his " personal liberty bill " 
in the Senate of 1854," and " avowed his belief that it would 
render the fugitive slave law inoperative in Connecticut." 
The Hon. Henry C. Deming, in opposing the bill, said, 
though it was "nicely drawn," he thought it conflicted in 
spirit with the United States Constitution, as it undoubtedly 
did, and that "it was not in equity and justice deserved by 
our Southern brethren, if they behave pretty well." The 
advocates of the bill used no such mild terms. The Hon. 
John Boyd, late Secretary of State, said " desperate diseases 
require desperate remedies." He had "some faith in the 
homoeopathic remedy that like requires like," and, as he be- 
lieved " the exigencies of the time " demanded it, he thanked 
Mr. Harrison for introducing the bill. He added, " if Shy- 

^ CompHation of 1854, Title 51, Sees. 1 and 2. Vide Conn. Repts., 
n., 355. 

- Remember all such must have been over sixty-four years of age. 

^Wilson, " Rise and FaU of the Slave Power," II., 318. 

■•Fowler, " Local Law in Mass. and Conn.," pp. 98-99. It was 
introduced about June 25. 



36 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [406 

lock claims his pound of flesh, he must be careful not to 
take any of the blood." Judge Sanford saw in the bill " new 
and important principles, which he believed were entirely 
constitutional and would be so decided by the Supreme 
Court." Ex-Gov. Wm. S. Miner could not find a " single 
line, sentence, or word " unconstitutional in the bill. Judge 
Sanford spoke again and again, using such language as this : 
that he thought the South had driven this matter so fast that 
it had " driven us back to our reserved rights, if we had any." 
He would occupy the last inch the Constitution left them, 
come square up to the line, but not one step over. He 
would oppose the fugitive slave law by any means in his 
power within the limits of the Constitution. He said, with 
great clearness, dignity, and force, that the bill was consti- 
tutional, that the emergencies of the times demanded such 
a law; he portrayed the odious features of the fugitive slave 
law and said the slave-catcher was the most despicable of 
men. At the same time a bill was introduced, which, how- 
ever, did not pass, prohibiting the use of any court-house, 
jail, or other public building for the trial or confinement 
of fugitive slaves. To this, Mr. Boyd proposed an amend- 
ment that a building used for such a purpose should " be 
rased to the foundation and remain a perpetual ruin." Even 
the excited Senate had good sense enough to vote this frantic 
proposition down. 

The law as passed, entitled "An Act for the Defense of 
Liberty in this State," provided that " any person, who shall 
falsely and maliciously pretend that any free person is a 
slave, intending to remove him from Connecticut, shall pay 
a fine of $5000 and be imprisoned five years in the State 
Prison." In trials, two credible persons, or equivalent evi- 
dence, were required to prove the defendant a slave, and 
depositions were not to be received as evidence. Witnesses 
falsely representing free persons as slaves are to receive the 
pimishment mentioned above, and, with the intention to sat- 
isfy their consciences that they were not violating United 
States law, the legislators added that any person hindering 



407] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 37 

an officer from the arrest of a fugitive, or aiding an accused 
person to escape, was to be imprisoned one year in State's 
prison. The last section of the bill contained an interesting 
reminder of colonial customs, in providing that the act 
should not cover the case of apprentices. 

Though slavery is still found as a title in the Revision^ of 
1866, the last act on the subject was passed in 1857, ^^^ 
with that the statutor}^ history of slavery in Connecticut may 
well be ended. At that time it was enacted that " any person 
held to service as a slave in any other State or country," and 
not being a fugitive from another of the United States, " com- 
ing into this State, or being therein, shall forthwith become 
and be free." 

Cases Adjudicated in the Higher Courts with 
Reference to Slavery. 

The question as to the manumission of slaves by service 
in the Continental Army with the master's consent, was de- 
cided in the case of Jack Arabas versus Ivers? Ivers, the 
master, permitted Arabas to enlist in the army. He served 
through the war and was discharged at its end, when Ivers 
again claimed him. He fled to the eastward, was overtaken 
and brought back to New Haven, where he was put in the 
jail for safekeeping. He sued out a " habeas corpus " and 
the c urt granted it, " upon the ground that he was a free 
man, absolutely manumitted from his master by enlisting 
and serving in the army." It was a fine idea, that he who 
helped to free his country could not be a slave. 

The only other case in the Connecticut reports as to manu- 
mission is Geer versus Himtingtofi^ where the plaintiff 
claimed a negro as his slave by a bill of sale from his former 
mistress, while the defendant claimed that the mistress had 
told him he should be servant to no one but her and should 
be free at the age of twenty-five. As he had passed that 

* Title LVIII., Sees. 1-6. -Root's Reports, I., p. 92, 1784. 
3 Root's Reports, II., 364. 



38 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [408 

age before he left her service, the court held him to have been 
freed, by a liberal interpretation of her promise. 

The only case I have found tried in Connecticut in regard 
to the Slave Trade, save the famous Amistad case, to be 
treated later, is that of the United States versus Jolm Smith.' 
It was an action to recover double tlie value of Smith's 
interest in over one hundred negro slaves, transported 
in the brig Heroine, of which he was sole owner and 
master, from Africa to Havana, and there sold, contrary to 
the Act of Congress of May lo, 1800. The Heroine was 
in Africa between Dec. i, 1805 and April i, 1806, and, arriv- 
ing at Havana before June i. Smith sold the slaves before 
the end of that month for not less than $10,000, so action 
was brought for $20,000. One of the crew was offered 
as a witness by the government; but Smith's attorney ob- 
jected to this testimony on the ground that it would incrimi- 
nate the man and subject him to a fine of not over $2000 and 
two years imprisonment, according to the above-mentioned 
Act of Congress. The government said they had entered a 
nolle prosequi in his case and it was too late to institute 
another proceeding against him. The defense pleaded that 
the witness had fled from justice and that in such case the 
statute of limitations would not hold. Further, he might be 
excused from testifying, as he was unwilling; but the judge 
ruled that a witness could not plead his wrong-doing as a 
defense and must testify. However, there was a verdict for 
the defendant, as the judge charged the jury that the offense 
was completed when the vessel arrived at Havana, not when 
the slaves were sold, and the prosecution, though begun 
within the prescribed period, two years, of the latter date, 
was not within two years of the former. 

The most frequent cause of negroes appearing in cases 
before the Supreme Court was the law of settlement. When 
negroes became infirm and were penniless, it was an import- 
ant question who should support them, and from this several 

^ Day's Reports, IV., p. 121. U. S. Circuit Court, Hartford, Sept., 
1809. Fowler's ''Hist. Status," i^p. 16-18, has interesting facts on 
slave trade in Conn. 



409] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 39 

cases arose. The first of these/ Wilson ct al. vs. Hinkley et 
al., in the Tolland County Court, was a case of an appeal from 
a judgment of a Justice of the Peace. In this court, Hinkley 
and others, selectmen of the town of Tolland, sued the 
selectmen of the town of Coventry for support of Amy 
Caesar and her children. This Amy, daughter of an Indian 
woman, was bom in Tolland, and lived with a citizen of that 
town as servant till eighteen years of age. Then she was set 
at liberty and, after four years more in Tolland, married Tim- 
othy Caesar, also a child of an Indian woman and slave to a 
citizen of Mansfield, where they lived nine months. Thence 
they removed to Coventry, Timothy being granted permission 
to do so by his master. There they lived eighteen months, 
since which time Amy and her children had apparently lived 
in Tolland. Tolland's claim for reimbursement was resisted 
by Coventry, which said the former masters of Amy and 
Timothy should support them. The court decided that 
Timothy, " being bom of a free woman, a native of the land, 
was not a slave," applying apparently the old civil law 
maxim. " Nor " was he " a servant bound for time, nor an 
apprentice under age, nor under disability to g"ain settlement 
by commorancy " ; therefore, by residence in Coventry over a 
year he had gained settlement for himself and wife, and, as 
she was never a " slave or servant bought for time," Coventry 
must pay the expense of her support. 

The next case was also one in which the same town of 
Tolland was interested; Ebenezer Kingsbury vs. Tolland^' 
Joseph Kingsbury, of Norwich, bought two native Africans, 
Cufif and Phyllis, as " servants for life," and gave them to his 
wife. She died, December, 1773, freeing them. In 1776, 
with the consent of Ebenezer Kingsbury, their former m.is- 
tress's sole executor, they removed to Tolland and, after liv- 
ing there nine years, came to want and were supported by the 
town. The town brought suit against Kingsbury and won 
in the County Court; but in the Court of Appeals lost its 
case, on the technicality that he was sued personally and not 

^ Kirby Eeports, 202. « Root's Reports, February, 1796. 



40 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [410 

as executor. The court, however, in an obiter dictum, inti- 
mated the personal representatives and next of kin were liable, 
if sued as such, for the support of freed slaves, if there were 
sufficient assets. 

A third case was Bolton vs. Haddam^ by which was deter- 
mined that a slave was domiciled with his master and, if manu- 
mitted in any way, continued an inhabitant of the same town 
as before, unless he became legally settled elsewhere. 

Twenty years now pass before we find another such case; 
then, November, 1817, was decided the case of Windsor vs. 
Hartford^ This rather important case regarded the resi- 
dence of a negress, Fanny Libbet, and her two illegitimate 
children. Fanny, herself illegitimate, was born in Hartford 
in 1785 and, at the age of three, was given by her master to 
his son in Wethersfield. There she lived until twenty-five 
years of age, when her term of service by law expired. Her 
mother had been sold to a citizen of Windsor in 1795 and 
was emancipated by him in 1801. Fanny went to her mother 
as soon as she could, and there her two children were born. 
Windsor supported them for a while and then sued Hartford, 
on the ground that Fanny, born after March i, 1784, was 
never a slave and so took her settlement from her birthplace, 
Hartford. The court so decided, stating that " she is to be 
considered as a free person and never was a slave," an im- 
portant interpretation of the act of 1784. Her residence in 
Wethersfield was that of an apprentice, and she had never 
gained settlement in Windsor. As she never had been a 
slave, her former master was not liable to her support. 

Soon after was tried tlie case of the Town of Columbia vs. 
Williams et alium. A citizen of Groton had left a slave, 
Adam, who had, after his master's decease, removed to 
Columbia and there became a town charge. The town sued 
the heirs of Williams, and they claimed that the suit was 
improperly brought, that Groton ought have been sued, as 
Adam had a settlement with his master there, which town 



^ Root's Reports, II., p. 517. February, 1797. Tolland County. 

2 Conn. Reports, II., p. 355. 

^'Conn. Reports, III., 467, October 28, 1820. 



411] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 41 

could then have recovered from them. As it was admitted 
that Adam had never been manumitted, the court sustained 
the claims of the defendants, and the town, on this point, 
lost its case and a new trial was ordered, which seems never 
to have come off. 

Flora,' slave of Elisha Pitkin, gave rise to two cases. Ptt- 
kin ct al. vs. Pitkin et al., the first, was brought by the exec- 
utors of Elisha Pitkin against certain of his heirs. He exe- 
cuted a deed of gift of all his real estate to the plaintiffs and 
defendants in 1816, but kept it in his possession until his 
death, three years later. When he died, he bequeathed his' 
remaining property by testament to the plaintiffs and certain 
of the defendants, to be equally divided among them, they 
being enjoined to take care of Flora and bear the expense 
equally, or to have the executors reserve sufficient estate for 
her support. The executors claimed they paid " large sums " 
for her support, supposing there was sufficient estate; but, at 
final settlement, found not enough was left outside of the real 
estate conveyed by deed. This they ask the court to order 
sold, sufficiently to provide for Flora's support. The defend- 
ants demurred, and their demurrer being sustained, tlie plain- 
tiffs carry the case to the higher court. The plaintiffs con- 
tended that, " where there is service for life there must be 
support for life," and, therefore, the support of the slave was 
a charge upon the estate, that Mr. Pitkin's intention was to 
have her supported, that it was the duty of the executors to 
support her, and they were consequently not volunteers and 
had a superior equit}" to that of the defendants, and that the 
court should decide the case according to its equities. The 
defendants said ]\Ir. Pitkin did not charge Flora's support on 
the real estate, that the executors were volunteers, having 
nothing to do with the real estate, and that, if the land should 
be liable, it should be so decided in a probate, not in a chan- 
cery court. The court decided in favor of the defendants, 

^Conn. Reports, VH., p. 315, June, 1829, and VIH., 392, June, 
1831. 
2 Probably not all, though of this I am not absolutely sure. 



42 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [412 

on this last contention, and on the ground that it could not 
foresee what sums mig-hf be needed for her support, and 
hence could not determine on the quantity of land to be sold. 
Having lost their case, the executors seem to have given 
up trying to support Flora and to have endeavored to throw 
the expense on the town of East Hartford, which sued them in 
1 83 1, alleging that it had supported Flora three years. The 
defendants demurred that the selectmen were not obliged to 
support her, and as volunteers they cannot recover, for " the 
duty of support rests on the master alone," and he is only 
liable to the town for the support of emancipated slaves. 
" Slavery is not founded in reason and justice, like the rela- 
tions of husband and wife." Thirdly, as the supplies were 
not furnished in Elisha Pitkin's lifetime, the defendants 
should be sued as owners, not executors. The prosecution, 
on the other hand, asserted that the relation of master and 
slave is recognized by statute law ; during the continuance of 
this relation the master is liable for support of slave, which 
slave if unemancipated remains part of the estate; that a needy 
slave must be relieved by the town in which is his settlement, 
for which relief recovery is to be had at law. Judge Daggett, 
in his majority opinion, confined himself to the obligation of 
the selectinen for her support. He said the only cases where 
the town would have to support a slave were when both 
master and slave were paupers, or a slave emancipated in 
accordance with the act of 1792 should become such. In this 
suit neither was the fact, and the town was a volunteer and 
could no more recover than if it had supported a wife or child 
of a man of means. Chief Justice Hosmer agreed with this 
reasoning, from which Judge Peters dissented, though he 
agreed with the decision. He said, " The relation of master 
and servant, or qualified slavery, has existed in Connecticut 
from time immemorial and has been tolerated (not sanc- 
tioned) by the legislature. But absolute slavery, where the 
master has unlimited power over the life of the slave, has 
never been permitted in this State." He continued. Flora 
at Mr. Pitkin's death, not being specially devised, vested as a 



413] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 43 

chattel in the executors. "They alone could sell her; they 
became her masters and she their slave, and they alone were 
to maintain her." He thought, however, she ought to be 
maintained by the town as a vagrant, when the town could 
recover by implied promise'; basing his decision for the 
defendants, on the technicality that, " when an executor cov- 
enants or promises, he binds himself personally and not the 
heirs or estate of the testator, tlierefore they should not have 
been sued as executors, but as persons." 

Judge Williams filed a dissenting opinion, in which Judge 
Bissell concurred. He placed the chief importance on the 
implied promise, stating, " that slavery has existed in this 
State cannot be denied, and a few solitary cases still exist, to 
attest to tlie melancholy truth. . .The man who had a right 
to all the time and services and even offspring of his un- 
happy slave, must, of course, be bound to maintain him." 
Executors are liable for debts arising after death of the tes- 
tator, " where the demand arises from an obligation existing 
upon the testator in his life." Such an obligation was the 
support of this slave, which, as personal property, vested in 
the executors. He thought that it was not necessary to sue 
them personally, that the omis probandi rested on them, that 
there were no assets. The town was not a volunteer, for 
" the woman must be relieved by the town where she was, or 
starve." He quoted a statute providing that " all poor and 
impotent persons," without estate or relatives, " shall be pro- 
vided for and supported by the town." The town cannot 
wait to hunt up the persons legally liable, before rendering 
aid. " The owner of the slave is primarily liable, and it is 
only his neglect of duty which makes the defendants liable 
at all, and it is admitted that, in consequence of that neglect, 
the defendants would be responsible to any individtial -who 
supplied the necessities of the slave," and the judge then said 
he saw no reason why the town also should not recover. 
His opinion, leaving the interpretation of the statutes and 
basing itself on abstract considerations, stated that, " by the 
principles of natural justice they are bound to refund, and I 



44 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [414 

am not satisfied that any technical rule of law can be inter- 
posed to prevent it." 

The opinions in this case seemed important enough to 
devote some space to it. The next case' we note is that of 
Colchester vs. Lyme, for support of Jenny. She had be- 
longed to a citizen of Lyme until fifty-six years of age, when 
she was emancipated and went to live in Colchester. Com- 
ing to want, the town sued her old residence for her support, 
claiming that, as she was over forty-five when emancipated, 
the liability of her master to support her continued, and, 
" while the liability of the master to support the slave remains, 
the incapacity of the slave to acquire a new settlement re- 
mains also." This the defense denied, and the court decided 
in their favor. The opinion stated : " If she had been white, 
or never a slave, she would have had a settlement in Col- 
chester. Does the fact she was once a slave alter matters? 
There was nothing in the statute (of 1777) which in the least 
impaired the right of the master to give entire freedom to his 
slave at any time." The want of a certificate only continued 
the master's liability to support the slave. " By relinquish- 
ing all claims to service and obedience," he " efifectually 
emancipated her, and thus she became std juris and entitled 
to all the rights and privileges of other free citizens of the 
State, among which the right of acquiring a new place 
of settlement was the most important. . . . The town where 
the eamancipated slave belongs or has a settlement, is the 
town empowered by statute to recover from the master or 
his heirs,... and if Colchester is such a town, then Col- 
chester only can recover from the former master or his 
representatives."^ 

The last case of the kind is Nezv Haven vs. Huntington, 
decided as late as 1852, in which it was adjudged that the 
settlement of a free woman in Connecticut is not superseded 
by marriage with a slave of another State, nor by his subse- 
quent emancipation, imless the laws of the other State (which 

^ Conn. Reports, Xin., p. 274, July, 1839. 

'Guilford vs. Oxford, Conn. Eeports, IX., 321, is a siiit for the 
support of an illegitimate free mulatto. 



415] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 45 

in this case was New York) so provide, and her settlement is 
communicated both to legitimate and illegitimate children 
boni in Connecticut after the marriage/ 

Considerable attention has been given to these cases, as 
they illustrate important principles of the laws of the State and 
show how the judges interpreted those laws. 

Miss Prudence Crandall and her School. 

In the autumn of 1831/ Miss Crandall, a Quakeress, resid- 
ing in the southern part of Canterbury, opened a girls' school 
in that town. She had taught at Plainfield successfully, and 
moved to Canterbury, at the request of some prominent 
citizens, buying a house on the Green. Her school was a 
success from the outset, until she received as pupil a colored 
girl, Sarah Harris, about seventeen years of age, the daugh- 
ter of a respectable man who owned a small farm near the 
centre. The girl was a member of the village church, and 
had been at the district school, in the same class as some of 
Miss Crandall's pupils. She now wished "to get a little 
more learning — enough to teach colored children." Pre- 
vious to this admission to the school, Miss Crandall had 
employed as a servant a " nice colored girl," Marcia, who 
was afterward married to Charles Harris, the brother of 
Sarah. Young Harris took Garrison's " Liberator " and 
loaned it to Marcia, who used frequently to show the paper 
to Miss Crandall. " Having been taught from early child- 
hood the sin of slavery," as she wrote in 1869, "my sympa- 
thies were greatly aroused," and so Miss Crandall agreed to 
receive Sarah Harris as a day scholar. " By this act," she 
continued, in the same letter, " I gave great offense. The 
wife of an Episcopalian clergyman, who lived in the village, 
told me that, if I continued that colored girl in my school, it 

^ Conn. Reports, XXII. 

1 The cMef authorities are Lamed's " Hist. Windham Co.," "Vol. 
II., Book IX., Chap. HI., pp. 491 sq.; S. J. May. "Recollections of 
the Antl-slaveiy Conflict," pp. 47-71, which Wilson, "Rise and 
FaU," I., pp. 240-245, and Wimams, " Hist. Negro Race," 11., pp. 149- 
156, almost entirely followed; Crandall vs. Conn., Conn. Reports. 



46 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [416 

could not be sustained. I replied to her ' that it might sifik, 
then, for I should not turn her out: I very soon found that 
some of my school would not return, if the colored girl was 
retained. Under the circumstances, I made up my mind 
that, if it were possible, I would teach colored girls exclu- 
sively." Now, though Miss Crandall was undoubtedly 
shamefully treated by the people of the town, they neverthe- 
less had just ground of complaint from the course she pur- 
sued. Because some of her patrons were offended at the 
entrance of one colored girl into her school, she determined 
to give up teaching white girls entirely, and to bring a 
number of colored children into the most aristocratic part of 
the town, while the people who had received her most kindly 
and had consented to act as visitors to her school were not 
regarded. She consulted leading Abolitionists in New 
York and Boston, but no one in the town, whose interests 
were most immediately concerned in the opening of such a 
school. Some irritation might therefore have been expected, 
but the conduct of the townspeople went beyond all bounds 
and was thoroughly disgraceful. Miss Crandall's conduct, 
on the other hand, apart from her initial lack of consideration 
for the judgment of those around her, was consistent, cour- 
ageous, and praiseworthy. 

When she announced her purpose to open a school for 
•' young ladies and little misses of color," dismay seized all. A 
committee of four of the chief men of the village visited her 
to remonstrate with her, and, on her proving obdurate, a 
town meeting was called for March 9, 1833, ^o meet in tlie 
Congregational Meeting-house. Miss Crandall had not 
shown a conciliating spirit. When Esquire Frost had 
labored to convince her of the impropriety of her step " in a 
most kind and affecting inanner," and "hinted at danger 
from these leveling opinions " and from intermarriage of 
whites and blacks, Miss Crandall at once replied, " Moses 
had a black wife." She asked Rev. Samuel J. May, pastor of 
the Unitarian Church in Brooklyn, George W. Benson, the 
President, and Arnold Buffum, Agent of the New England 



417] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 47 

Anti-Slavery Society, to present her cause at the town 
meeting. Judge Rufus Adams offered the following reso- 
lutions : " Whereas, it hath been publicly announced that a 
school is to be opened in this town on the first Monday of 
April next, using the language of the advertisement, ' for 
young ladies and little misses of color,' or in other words 
for the people of color, the obvious tendency of which would 
be to collect, within tlie town of Canterbury, large numbers 
of persons from other States, whose characters and habits 
might be various and unknown to us, thereby rendering 
insecure the persons, property, and reputations of our citi- 
zens. Under such circumstances, our silence might be con- 
strued into an approbation of the project. Thereupon: 

" Resolved, that the locality of a school for the people of 
color, at any place within the limits of this town, for tlie 
admission of persons of foreign jurisdiction, meets with our 
unqualified disapprobation, and it is to be understood that 
the inhabitants of Canterbury protest against it in the most 
earnest manner. 

" Resolved, that a committee be now appointed, to be com- 
posed of the civil authority and selectmen, who shall make 
known to the person contemplating the establishment of said 
school, the sentiments and objections entertained by this 
meeting, in reference to said school, pointing out to her the 
injurious eflfects and incalculable evils resulting from such 
an establishment within this town, and persuade her to aban- 
don the project." 

The Hon. Andrew T. Judson, a Democratic politician, later 
Congressman and United States District Judge, who resided 
next to Miss Crandall, and who had been horrified at the 
prospect of having a school of negro girls as his neighbor, 
addressed the meeting " in a tone of bitter and relentless 
hostility " to Miss Crandall. After him, Rev. Mr. May and 
Mr. Buffum presented a letter from Miss Crandall to the 
Moderator, asking that they might be heard in her behalf. 
Judson and others at once interposed and prevented their 
speaking. They had intended to propose that, if the town 



48 History of Slavery in Connecticut [418 

would repay Miss Crandall the cost of her house and give 
her time to remove, she would open her school in some more 
retired part of the town or vicinity. Doubtless this would 
not have been satisfactory to the people, but that does not 
excuse the lack of courtesy on the part of the people in 
refusing to hear what Miss Crandall's agents had to propose. 
The resolutions were passed, but nothing deterred the fear- 
less woman. She opened her school with from ten to twenty 
girls as pupils.^ This still more enraged the townspeople, 
and, at a second town meeting, it was resolved: "That the 
establishment or re7idezvous, falsely denominated a school, 
was designed by its projectors, as the theatre, as the place to 
promulgate their disgusting doctrines of amalgamation and 
their pernicious sentiments of subverting the Union. Their 
pupils were to have been congregated here from all quarters, 
under the false pretense of educating them; but really to 
SCATTER FIREBRANDS, arrozus, and death among brethren of 
our own blood." A committee of ten was appointed to draw 
up and circulate a petition to the General Assembly, " depre- 
cating the evil consequences of bringing from other States 
and other towns, people of color for any purpose, and more 
especially for the purpose of disseminating the principles and 
doctrines opposed to the benevolent colonizing system." 
Other towns were asked to prefer "petitions for the same 
laudable object." The people had completely lost their 
heads and were mad with rage and fear. As a result of this 
petition, the shameful act of May 24, 1833, before referred to, 
was passed. 

The conduct of the people of Canterbury was even more 
indefensible than their words. They hunted up an obsolete 
vagrant law, providing that the selectmen might warn any 
non-inhabitant of the State to depart, demanding $1.67 for 
each week they should thereafter stay, and, if the fine were 
not paid, or the person were still in the town after ten days, 
he should be whipped on the bare body, with not over ten 

^ Pupils came from PliiladelpMa, New York, Providence, and 
Boston, says May. 



419] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 49 

stripes. An endeavor was made to put this law in force 
against Miss Crandall's pupils, and one of tliem, Ann Eliza 
Hammond, a girl of seventeen, from Providence, was arrested. 
Rev. Mr. May and other residents of Brooklyn gave bonds 
for $10,000, so the attempt was given up. 

The lawless treatment of the school and scholars was 
worse than the legal one. The stage-driver refused to carry 
the pupils to the school, the neighbors refused to give Miss 
Crandall a pail of water, though they knew their sons had 
filled her well with stable refuse the night before. Boys fol- 
lowed the school with horns and hootings on the streets, and 
stones and rotten eggs were tlirown at Miss Crandall's win- 
dows. A systematic policy of boycotting and intimidation 
was carried out. The village stores were closed against the 
school. Men went to Miss Crandall's father, a mild and 
peaceable Quaker living in the southern part of the town, 
and told him, "when lawyers, courts and jurors are leagued 
against you, it will be easy to raise a mob and tear down your 
house." He was terrified and wished his daughter to yield, 
but she boldly refused. He petitioned the Legislature against 
the passage of the act of May 24, 1833, but in vain. The 
sentiment of men from other towns w^as that they would not 
want a negro school on their common. 

After the passage of the act, two leading citizens told him 
" your daughter will be taken up the same way as for steal- 
ing a horse or for burglary. Her property will not be taken, 
but she will be put in jail, not having the liberty of the yard. 
There is no mercy to be shown about it." 

A few days later, IMessrs. May and George W. Benson 
visited I\Iiss Crandall, to advise wth her as to the fine and 
imprisonment provided by the act as penalty for teaching 
colored children not residing in the State. As Wilson puts 
it. the result of their conference was a determination to leave 
her in the hands " of those with whom the hideous act orig- 
inated." 

On June 27, 1833, Miss Crandall \\^s arrested, brought 
before a Justice of the Peace and committed for trial before 



50 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [420 

the County Court in August. Mr. May and her friends were 
told that she was in the sheriff's hands and would be put in 
jail unless bonds were given. They resolved not to do so, 
but to force the framers of the statute to give bonds them- 
selves or commit her to jail. The sheriff and jailer saw this 
would be a disgrace and lingered; but her friends were firni, 
and Miss Crandall spent the night in a cell which had last 
been occupied by a condemned murderer. The next morn- 
ing bonds were given, by whom it does not appear; but the 
fact of her incarceration caused a revulsion of popular feel- 
ing in her favor. Mr. Arthur Tappan wrote at once to Mr. 
May, indorsing his conduct, authorizing him to spare no 
reasonable cost in defense at his expense and to employ the 
ablest counsel. 

The Hon. Wm. W. Ellsworth, Calvin Goddard, and Henry 
Strong were retained and prepared to argue that the laws 
were unconstitutional. Mr. Tappan took such interest in the 
case that he left his business to have a personal interview 
with Miss Crandall and Mr. May. To the latter he said, 
" The cause of the whole oppressed race of our country is to 
be much affected by the decision of this question. You are 
almost helpless without the press. You must issue a paper, 
publish it largely, send it to all persons whom you know in 
the country and State, and to all the principal newspapers of 
the country. Many will subscribe for it and contribute 
largely to its support, and I will pay whatever it may cost." 
Mr. May took the advice and started the " Unionist," with 
Charles C. Burleigh, of Plainfield, as editor. 

On August 23, the case of T/ie State versus Crandall was 
tried at Brooklyn, before Judge Joseph Eaton; Messrs. A. T. 
Judson, Jonathan Welch, Esq., and J. Bulkley appearing as 
counsel for the State. Mr. Judson denied that negroes were 
citizens in States where they were not enfranchised, and 
asked why men should be educated who could not be free- 
men. The defense claimed that the law conflicted with the 
clause of the United States Constitution allov^ng to citizens 
of one State equal rights in others. The judge charged 



421] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 51 

the jury that the law was constitutional, but the jury disa- 
greed, standing- seven for conviction and five for acquittal. 

The prosecution did not wait for a new trial in December, 
but went before the Connecticut Superior Court. Judge 
Daggett presided over the October Session. According to 
Mr. JMay, he was known to be an advocate of the new law, and 
in the course of an elaborate opinion said, " it would be a 
perversion of the terms and the well known rule of construc- 
tion to say that slaves, free-blacks, or Indians were citizens 
within the meaning of the Constitution." The jury gave a 
verdict against Miss Crandall and her counsel appealed to 
the Court of Errors. It heard the case on July 22,' 1834, 
and reversed the previous decision, on the ground of " in- 
sufificiency of information, "and that there was no allegation 
that the school was set up without a license, and so left the 
constitutional question unsettled. 

Meantime the school had been continued, W. H. Burleigh 
and his sister and Miss Crandall's sister Almira assisting in 
the work.' They even had at times a sort of exhibition of the 
pupils' progress. The opposition to the school in Canter- 
bury did not diminish; the trustees of the Congregational 
church refused to let Miss Crandall and her pupils worship 
there. The Friends Meeting at Black Hill and the Baptist 
church at Packerville, both a few miles off, received them, 
but were almost the only ones to show kindness. Even the 
physicians of the place refused to attend Miss Crandall's 
household. After the opponents failed in the courts, they 
resorted more than before to violent means. Early in Sep- 
tember an attempt was made to bum her house, and her 
enemies went so far as to arrest a colored man she had 
employed to do some work for her, and to claim she had 
the fire started to excite sympathy. A still more dastardly 
attack was made on the building on September 9, by a body 
of men, who at night broke all the windows and doers with 

\1. T. .Tudson and C. F. Cleaveland for State, W. W. Ellsworth 
and Calvin Goddard for Miss Crandall. 
Larned, II., p. 499. 



52 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [422 

clubs and crowbars. The house was left nearly uninhabit- 
able. Miss Crandall's friends all advised her to give up the 
school, and she did so, sending the twenty girls then compos- 
ing it to their homes. Mr. May said when he gave the 
advice to yield, the words blistered his lips and his bosom 
glowed with indignation. " I felt ashamed of Connecticut," 
he wrote in his Memoirs, " ashamed of my State, ashamed of 
my country, ashamed of my color." 

Miss Crandall was soon after married to Mr. Calvin 
Philleo and left Canterbury. The town, feeling obliged to 
justify its conduct, spread upon its records the following 
resolve: "That the Government of the United States, the 
nation with all its institutions, of right belong to the white 
men, who now possess them, . . .tliat our appeal to the 
Legislature of our own State, in a case of such peculiar 
mischief, was not only due to ourselves, but to the obliga- 
tions devolving upon us under the Constitution. To have 
been silent would have been participating in the wrongs 
intended We rejoice that the appeal was not in vain." 

Here ends the wretched story. But its results were far- 
reaching. As Lamed, the historian of Windham County, well 
writes, if Miss Crandall did not succeed in educating negro 
girls, she did in altering the opinions of that part of Con- 
necticut, which became the strongest anti-slavery part of the 
State. 

Nancy Jackson vs. Bulloch. 

This celebrated case, interpreting the acts of 1774 and 1784 
and practically ending slavery in Connecticut, deserves 
especial notice. In this case, the Supreme Court of the State, 
by a bare majority, decided that the statutes just mentioned 
" were designed to terminate slavery in Connecticut and that 
they are sufficient for that purpose. The act of 1774 aimed a 
blow at the increase of slaves, that of 1784 struck at the 
existence of slavery. The former was intended to weaken 
the system ; the latter to destroy it. The former lopped ofif a 
limb from the trunk; the latter struck a deadly blow at the 



423] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 53 

root, and ever since it has withered and decayed, and, with 
the exception of here and there a dying Hnib, slavery has 
disappeared from our State and will in a short time be known 
only in our history, unless indeed it is to revive and flourish, 
by the construction we shall now give to the statutes. To us 
it appears as if there was nothing in the intent of the Legisla- 
ture, or in the words of the act, which requires such a con- 
struction.'" 

The facts of the case were as follows: J. S. Bulloch, a 
citizen of Georgia, owned a slave, Nancy Jackson, bom in 
Georgia in 1813. In June, 1835, he came to Connecticut and 
settled at Hartford, to live there temporarily while his children 
were being educated. 

Since that time Naincy had been residing with Bulloch's 
family in Hartford, while he had only spent the summer in 
Connecticut, returning to Georgia for the winter. Nancy, 
through her next friend, brought an action for unjust confine- 
ment against Bulloch, and, a writ of Habeas Corpus being 
sued out, the case was heard in June, 1837. Chief Justice 
Williams, in giving the opinion of the Court, went over the 
whole law of slavery, and this makes the decision more val- 
uable. He took the broad ground " that every human being 
has a right to liberty, as well as to life and property, and to 
enjoy the fruit of his own labor; that slavery is contrary to 
the principles of natural right and to the great law of love; 
that it is founded on injustice and fraud and can be supported 
only by the provisions of positive law, are positions which it 
is not necessary to prove." The defendant admitted that 
slavery w^as local and must be governed by State law, and 
that neither the fugitive slave clause nor any other clause 
of the United States Constitution applies to this case; there- 
fore he can have no higher claims than an inhabitant of a 
foreign State. " It cannot be denied that in this State we 
have not been entirely free from the evil of slavery.... A 
small remnant still remains to remind us of the fact... 
How or when it was introduced into this State we are not 

' Coim. Reports, XII., p. 38. 



54 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [424 

informed. ... It probably crept in silently, until it became 
sanctioned by custom or usage." He went on to state that 
if it depended entirely on that fact, it might be enquired 
whether the custom was " reasonable," but for a century 
slavery has been somewhat recognized by statute and thus has 
received the implied sanction of the Legislature. He then 
takes up the claims of the plaintiff's counsel that the slaves 
are freed by the first article of the Bill of Rights, which states 
that all men are equal in rights "when they form a social 
compact." This, says the Judge, does not apply, as slaves 
would not be parties to a social corhpact, and the article is not 
as broad as the famous Massachusetts one. Another article 
of the Bill of Rights states, "the people shall be secure in 
their persons, houses, papers, and possessions from unreason- 
able searches and seizures"; but the usage of "people" in 
the United States Constitution proved, according to the 
court, that the word here need not include slaves. A third 
article in the Bill of Rights provided that " no person shall be 
arrested, detained, or punished, except in cases clearly war- 
ranted by law." But was this detention warranted by the 
law? This is to be answered by examination of the statutes; 
that of 1774 prohibited the importation of slaves into Con- 
necticut, that of 1784 provided that all born "in the State" 
after March i of that year should be free at the age of twenty- 
five. This last law, Swift thought,' " has laid the foundation 
for the gradual abolition of slavery; for, as the children of 
slaves are born free, being servants only until twenty-five 
years of age, the consequence is that as soon as the slaves 
now in being shall have become extinct, slavery will cease, 
as the importation of slaves in future is prohibited ... As 
slavery is gradually diminishing and will in a short time 
be extinguished, there being but few slaves in the State, it 
will be unnecessar}^, in this place, to make any remarks upon 
a subject that has so long engrossed the attention of tlie 
humane and benevolent part of mankind in the present age." 
These words are quoted approvingly and the statement is 

' Swift's System, I., 220. 



425] History of SJavery in Connecticut. 55 

made that, unless there is some defect in the acts, there has 
been no real slavery in Connecticut since 1784. The acts 
were passed, not to interfere with vested rights, but to prevent 
the increase of evils which would result from the competi- 
tion of slave labor " with the labor of poor whites, tending to 
reduce the price of their work and prevent their employment, 
and to bring the free laborer, in some measure, into the 
ranks with slaves." The Court decided that, though the law 
of 1 774 did not prevent a master transporting a slave through 
the State, it did prevent him from keeping her there, and that 
a slave may be " left," " although the owner does not intend 
to reside permanently himself, or to suffer such slave perma- 
nently to remain here." On the construction of this word 
"left," and on tht post-nati argument from the act of 1784, 
the Court declared Nancy free. As to the words " bom 
within this State," in the act of 1784, the Court held "within 
this State " surplusage, stating, as a reason, that the Legisla- 
ture could not legislate for any other State. At any rate it is 
certain that foreigners could claim no more rights than 
natives, and as natives can only hold persons as slaves under 
twenty-five years of age, citizens of other States could do no 
more. 

The dissenting judges laid stress on the words "in this 
State" in the act of 1784, and claimed that "left," in the act 
of 1774, meant to desert, abandon, withdraw, or depart from, 
that mere length of stay does not matter, as long as the animus 
revertendi remains. They state, however, they are glad their 
interpretation does not consign the woman to slavery ; though 
they " maintain that the State of Connecticut, from time 
immemorial, has been, and to a certain extent now is, a slave- 
holding State." 

This case showed clearly that the judiciary of the State 
would lean to the side of freedom whenever possible, and 
virtually made Connecticut a free State by its liberal con- 
struction of the laws, though the formal removal of the State 
from the slaveholding column was not to take place for 
some ten years more. 



56 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [426 

The Negroes on the "Amistad." 

In August, 1839,^ the people of Connecticut, New York 
and Rhode Island were excited by tidings of a suspicious 
craft, thought to be a pirate. It was a long, low, black 
schooner, manned by negroes, and orders were issued to the 
United States steamer Fulton and several revenue cutters to 
chase her. On August 26, 1839, the United States brig 
Washington was sounding off Culloden Point, lying between 
Gardner's and Montauk Points. While there, a vessel was 
noticed lying off the shore and a boat passing between her 
and the shore, where a number of persons were with carts and 
horses. Lieut. Gedney, commanding the Washington, sent 
a boat to investigate, and when the vessel was boarded she 
proved to be manned by negroes, of whom about twenty 
were on board, together with two white men, who came for- 
ward and claimed protection.^ The story was soon told. 
The vessel was a slaver, the Amistad, which had brought 
African slaves kidnapped in April, from Lemboko, in the 
Mendi country, near Liberia. Jose Ruiz bought forty-nine 
of them and Pedro Montes took four more. These they 
re-embarked on the Amistad at Havana on June 27, 1839, 
and sailed for Guanajah, Porto Principe. It will be remem- 
bered that the slave trade was prohibited by Spain and the 
Africans so introduced ought still to be free. The trade was, 
however, carried on surreptitiously to a large extent, and 
those thus taken to Cuba were called " Bozals," in distinc- 
tion from the " Ladrinos,"' or native slaves. The ship's 

^ This account is chiefly drawn from WUson, " Rise and Fall of 
the Slave Power," Vol. I., pp. 456-466; J. Q. Adams' Diaiy; Niles' 
Register; WUliams, "Bist. of Negro Race," n., p. 93; Barber, 
Jno. W., "A History of the Amistad Captives. . .with Biograph- 
ical Sketches of each of the sm'viving Africans, also an account of 
the trials had on their case, etc.," New Haven, 1840; S. E. Bald- 
win, "The Captives of the Amistad," N. H. Col. Hist. Papers, IV., 
pp. 397-404. 

2 Niles' Reg.. Vol. 57. pp. 1. 28. 29. 

3A false translation of this word in a pubhc document caused 
great trouble. NUes' Reg., Vol. 59, p. 301. 



427] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 57 

papers falsely referred to them as " ladrinos," legal slaves. 
The captain of the ship was Ramon Ferrers, and the crew 
seems to have consisted of t\vo men and a cook, besides a 
negro cabin-boy. On the fifth night out from Havana the 
slaves rose, under the leadership of Joseph Cinquez or 
Cingue, attacked and slew the captain and cook with knives 
such as were used to cut sugar-cane, and, according to one 
story, slew the two men in the crew. The cabin-boy, 
Antonio, however, said in court tliat the men lowered a 
small boat and escaped. Ruiz and Montes were bound and 
kept alive to navigate the ship. The negroes tried to return to 
Africa and had the vessel steered eastward by the sun during 
the day, while by night the white men steered to the north- 
west, hoping to fall in with a man-of-war or to reach some 
country. After boxing for four days in Bahamas Channel, 
they steered for St. Andrew Island, near New Providence; 
thence to Green Key, where the blacks laid in a supply of 
water; thence for New Providence, where the negroes would 
not suffer the vessel to enter port, but anchored off the coast 
every night. The whites were treated with some severity, 
and with the constant fear of death staring them in the face, 
tlieir lot must have been most unenviable. Montes, too, was 
suflfering from two wounds in the head and arm. The ship was 
three days off Long Island, to the eastward of New Provi- 
dence, and then two months on the ocean, during which time 
they were boarded several times by vessels, once by an 
American schooner from Kingston, which remained along- 
side for twenty-four hours and traded with the negroes, find- 
ing they had plenty of money. This was the Spaniards' 
story, to which they added that they were always sent below 
in such cases. Our admiration for Cinquez rises when we 
consider that, for this long period, he managed to continue 
his ascendancy over his comrades, especially considering how 
difficult were the circumstances of the case. On August 20, 
near New York harbor, a pilot-boat met the Amistad and 
furnished the negroes apples, and when, shortly after, a second 
one met them, they suspected the whites had taken them to a 



58 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [428 

strange land and refused to let the pilot board her, while they 
exhibited such anger towards the Spaniards that they feared 
for their lives more than ever. On the 24th, off Montauk 
Light, the Spaniards tried to run the vessel aground, but 
failed, and the tide drifted it on, until they anchored where 
they were found. After anchoring, about twenty of the 
negroes went on shore for water and three of them bought 
dogs from some of the inhabitants. The news quickly 
spread. Capt. Green, who came up, according to his report, 
induced the negroes to promise to give him the ship. They 
desired him to take them to Sierra Leone. Just then 
appeared Lieut. Gedney and took possession of the vessel and 
of the negroes. Before Cinquez would suffer himself to be 
taken he leapt overboard and loosed from his waist into the 
water 300 doubloons which he had taken from the captain. 
The Africans taken were forty-four in number,^ the rest hav- 
ing died. Of this number, three were girls, the rest men. 
Cinquez, the leader, was described as about twenty-five or 
twenty-six years of age, five feet eight inches in height, erect 
in figure, well built, and very active. His countenance was 
unusually intelligent; he possessed uncommon decision and 
coolness, and a composure indicative of much courage. Lieut. 
Gedney took the Amistad with all on board to New London, 
where a judicial investigation was held on August 29, on 
board the Washington, before the United States District 
Judge A. T. Judson, whom we have already seen in the Cran- 
dall trouble. As a result of this examination the Africans 
were taken to the New Haven jail on Sept. i, and on the 14th 
were removed to Hartford, save one left behind on account of 
sickness. The case now became very complicated. Ruiz and 
Montes claimed the Africans as their slaves and preferred 
charges of murder against them. The Africans claimed free- 
dom and, through their friends, preferred charges of assault 
and battery and of false imprisonment against Ruiz and 

^ Niles' Reg., Vol. 57, p. 48 and 50. They were shown in Hai-tford 
at 1214 cents admission. Wild stories were spread that one of them 
was a cannibal. 



429] History of Slaveri/ in Connecticut. 59 

Montes. Lieut. Gedney claimed salvage on vessel, cargo and 
slaves. Capt. Green and the Long Islanders had a counter 
claim for the same. The owners of the cargo in Havana 
claimed it, and the Spanish minister, " forgetful of his country's 
laws," demanded not only that it, but also that tlie blacks be 
given up under the treaty of 1795, that the negroes might be 
tried in Cuba, and maintained that if they should be tried, con- 
victed and executed in Connecticut, the effect would not be as 
good as if done in Cuba. The District Attorney, Holabird, 
claimed that the Africans should be held subject to the Pres- 
ident's orders, to be taken back to Africa, according to the 
Act of 18 1 9, and that, as the Government of Spain had 
claimed them, they should be kept until the pleasure of the 
United States be known. Holabird was thoroughly subser- 
vient to the slavery interest and wrote to the Secretary of 
State asking if there were not treaty stipulations which would 
authorize " our government " to deliver them up to Spain, and 
if so, " whether it would be done before our court sits," as he 
did not wish them tried there. The Secretan^ of State knew 
there was no such treaty, and if there were, as Wilson well 
says, the President could not supersede criminal warrants, but 
he instructed the District Attorney " to take care that no 
proceedings of your Circuit Court, or any other judicial 
tribunal, place the vessel, cargo, or slaves (' a gratuitous 
assumption,' remarks Wilson) beyond the control of the Fed- 
eral Executive." While the demands of Calderon, the Span- 
ish minister, were supported by the pro-slavery press, the 
anti-slavery men in New York City appointed a committee, 
composed of S. S. Jocelyn, Joshua Leavitt, and Lewis Tappan, 
to solicit funds, employ counsel, and see that the interests of 
the Africans were carefully cared for. As a result, Seth P. 
Staples and Theodore Sedgwick, Jr., of New York, were 
employed as counsel and wrote to President Van Buren 
denying that these Africans were slaves, contending that, in 
rising against the whites, they only obeyed the dictates of 
self-defense, and praying that their case should not be 
decided "in the recesses of the Cabinet, where these un- 



60 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [430 

friended men can have no counsel and can produce no proof; 
but in the halls of Justice, with the safeguards she throws 
around the unfriended and oppressed." The letter was turned 
over to Felix Grundy, the Attorney General, a violent oppo- 
nent of emancipation, and one who favored surrender to Spain. 
He replied he could see no " legal principle upon which the 
government would be justified in going into an investigation 
for the purpose of ascertaining the facts set forth in the 
papers clearing the vessel from one Spanish port to another " 
as evidence as to whether the negroes were slaves or not. 
He thought, as the Africans were charged with violation of 
Spain's laws, they should be surrendered; so that, if guilty, 
" they might not escape punishment," and that, to fulfil treaty 
obligations, the President should issue an order, directing 
the marshal to deliver the vessel and cargo to such persons 
as Calderon should designate. This Van Buren could not do, 
as there was no extradition treaty with Spain, which fact 
Grundy ought to have known. On Sept. 17th, the United 
States Circuit Court met in Hartford, Judge Thompson pre- 
siding, and on the i8th a writ of Habeas Corpus was applied 
for by the two lawyers mentioned and Roger S. Baldwin of 
New Haven, in behalf of the three girls, who were only de- 
tained as witnesses. On the 21st instant, the same writ was 
applied for in behalf of the rest of the Africans. Judge Thomp- 
son overruled the claim of Lieut. Gedney and Capt. Green for 
salvage, but refused to grant habeas corpus to any, though 
ample security were offered, on the ground that the case 
would first come regularly before the District Court, and the 
District Court having jurisdiction is bound to provide neces- 
saries for the Africans, until their status is determined. ]\Ir. 
Staples claimed the case should be tried in New York; but 
the judge decided that, as the ship was taken on the high 
seas, i. e., beyond low water-mark, the suit should be tried 
where the vessel was first brought to land. He also decided 
the Africans should not be held for murder on the high seas.* 
On Oct. 19th, the District Court met, heard testimony, and 



' Full text of decision in Niles' Reg., Vol. 57, pp. 73-75. 



431] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 61 

adjourned to meet in New Haven, Jan. 7th, 1840/ On Nov. 
26th, 1839, De Argaiz, the new Spanish minister, wrote to tlie 
Secretary of State, denying tlie right of the United States 
courts to take cognizance of the case, and complained that 
til rough their delay, public vengeance had not been satisfied, 
for Spain " does not demand the delivery of slaves but of 
assassins." From this high moral tone, he descended in 
another letter to ask tliat, on the release of the negroes by the 
court, the President should order the transportation of the 
negroes to Cuba in a government vessel. The assurance of 
this request was not resented by the President. On the con- 
trary, he ordered such a vessel to be ready to take the negroes, 
if released, to Cuba and deliver them to the Captain General 
of the island. This vessel, the Grampus, was stationed ofi 
New Haven, three days after the court assembled, ostensibly 
to give the negroes " opportunity to prove their freedom." 
Before the court even assembled, Lieuts. Gedney and Meade 
of the Washington were ordered to be ready to go to Cuba 
with the negroes at the United Sta^-es' expense, " for the pur- 
pose of affording their testimony in any proceedings that may 
be ordered by the authorities of Cuba in the matter." This 
shameful pre-judgment of the case and eager desire to be sub- 
servient to the slavery interest is most disgraceful to Van 
Buren's administration. On Jan. 7th, 1840, the District 
Court met, and the counsel for tlie Africans offered such con- 
clusive testimony that the negroes were native Africans and 
not Spanish subjects, that Judge Judson said the point was 
clearly proved. Gedney° claimed one-third of the vessel and 
cargo as salvage, which was given him by the Court; but his 
claim for salvage on the negroes was refused by the Court, 
as the negroes could not be sold, there being no law to per- 
mit this to be done. Green said he did not wish salvage on 
flesh, but, if the negroes were slaves, he wanted his share. 



^ FuU text of proceedings in Niles' Reg., Vol. 57, pp. 222. 22.3. 

2 The Spanish owners unsuccessfully tried to prevent his getting 
salvage, on the gi'ound that, as a United States officer, what he did 
was in the line of his duty and should have no pay. 



62 History of Slavery in Comecticut. [432 

The Court speedily dismissed his claini and decided that only 
Antonio, the cabin-^boy, should be given up to Spain, and that 
the rest should be transported to Africa. This decision was 
made by a strong Democrat and a man in nowise friendly to 
negroes, as was shown in the Canterbury affair, and is so the 
more notewortliy/ The District Attorney, by order of the 
Secretary of State, appealed the case and, in his zeal, sent a 
messenger to Washington to have a clerical mistake in the 
President's warrant corrected, that the negroes might be held. 
In returning the warrant, Mr. Forsyth, the Secretary of State, 
wrote, " I have to state, by direction of the President, that if 
the decision of the court is such as is anticipated, the order 
of the President is to be carried into execution, unless an 
appeal shall actually have been interposed. You are not to 
take it for granted that it will be interposed." That is, if the 
counsel for the Africans did not at once appeal, these were to 
be hurried on the Grampus and taken to Cuba. On the very 
day* the court assembled, Van Buren sent directions to tlie 
Marshal for this purpose, and so " flagitious and barefaced 
was deemed this order," says Wilson, that some of Van 
Buren's friends said later that it was issued without his 
knowledge, by his " sanguine and not over-scrupulous Sec- 
retary." Justice Thompson affirmed the decision of the 
District Court pro forma, and left the whole matter to be 
decided by the United States Supreme Court on an appeal. 
The committee appointed to care for the Africans now pre- 
pared for the last appeal, without stint of time or money, 
and to the four' lawyers already employed added John 
Quincy Adams, with " his great learning and forensic ability, 
his commanding position and well-earned reputation." As 
early as Sept. 23d, 1839, we read in the diary of the " old 
man eloquent," " Mr. Francis Jackson brought me a letter 
from Mr. Ellis Gray Loring, requesting my opinion upon the 
knotty questions involved in the case of the Spanish ship 

^ NUes' Reg., Vol. 57, pp. 336, 3.52, 384. 

^April 29, 1840, at New Haven. Mies' Reg., Vol. 58, p. 160. 

3 Mr. Kimberley made the fourth. 



4:33] Histonj of Slavery in Connecticut. 03 

Amistacl. . . . I desired Mr. J. to say that I felt some deli- 
cacy about answering his letter, until Judge Thompson's 
opinion shall be published and until the final decision of the 
Government in the whole case." Meantime he asked Jack- 
son to look up the records. Soon after, on Oct. ist, we read/ 
" that which now absorbs a great part of my time and all my 
good feelings is the case of fifty-three African negroes, taken 
at sea off JNIontauk Point by Lieut. Gedney."' He gives a 
summary of tlie case up to that date and, on the next day, 
having thrown himself into the case with all his accustomed 
zeal and energy, he writes that he has examined all the 
authorities. " Here is an enormous consumption of time, 
only to perplex myself with a multitude of questions upon 
which I cannot yet make up opinions, for which I am willing 
to be responsible."^ We hear no more of the case for some 
time. On Feb. loth, 1840, he offered a resolution calling 
upon the President* for papers concerning the Amistad and, 
on May 25th, offered a resolution denouncing the detention 
and imprisonment of tlie Africans, which was read but not 
received." His interest in the case continued, and on Oct. 
27th, Ellis Gray Loring and Lewis Tappan called on this 
dauntless advocate of the right of petition and entreated him° 
to act as assistant counsel for the Africans at the January 
term of the Supreme Court. He writes : " I endeavored to 
excuse myself upon the plea of my age and inefficiency, of 
tlie excessive burden of my duties.. . .But they urged me 
so much and represented the case of those unfortunate men 
as so critical, it being a case of life and death, that I yielded 
and told them that, if by the blessing of God my health and 
strength should permit, I would argue the case before the 
Supreme Court, and I implore the mercy of Almighty God 
so to control my temper, to enlighten my soul, and to give 
me utterance, that I may prove myself in every respect equal 
to the task."' 

^ Diary, X., 132. ^ Diary, X., 133. -Diaiy, X., 135. 

^Diaiy, X., 215. Niles' Reg., Vol. 58, p. 59. 

5 Diary, X., 296. « Diary, X., 358. 

1 Diary, X., 360. Niles' 'Reg., Vol. 57, pp. 99, 105, 176. 



64 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [434 

A month later, Nov. 17th, he visited Gov. Baldwin in New 
Haven and saw the prisoners, thirty-six of whom were con- 
fined in one chamber, in size about 30 by 20 feet. All but 
one of the men seemed under thirty. Three of them tried to 
read to him from the New Testament, and one wrote a tol- 
erable hand. The chiefs, Cinquez and Grabow, had remark- 
able countenances, he thought. The people of New Haven, 
and especially the students in the Yale Divinity School, did 
not neglect the temporal or spiritual interests of the captives ; 
they fed and clothed them, studied their language, taught 
them to read and write, and instructed them in the truths of 
Christianity. 

During the following months' Mr. Adams busily prepared 
for the case, being assisted by Mr. Stephen Fox, the British 
minister. On Feb. 22d, the Amistad case came up before 
the august tribunal. On that day, Attorney-General Henry 
D. Gilpin spoke for the government and Gov. Baldwin for 
the captives, in a " sound and eloquent, but exceedingly mild 
and moderate argument,"' which he continued on the next 
day. 

On the 24th, John Quincy Adams rose' to speak before an 
audience that filled, but did not crowd, the court-room, and 
in which he remarked there were not many ladies. He wrote 
in his diary: "I had been deeply distressed and agitated till 
the moment when I rose, and then my spirit did not sink 
within me. With grateful heart for aid from above, though 
in humiliation for the weakness incident to the limits of my 
powers, I spoke for four hours and a half. . .The struc- 
ture of my argument. . .is perfectly simple and comprehen- 
sive ... admitting the steady and undeviating pursuit of 
one fundamental principle." Against him " an immense 
array of power — the Executive Administration, instigated by 
the minister of a foreign nation, has been brought to bear in 



^ Diarjr, X., 396, 399, 401. Niles' Reg., Vol. 57, p. 417, Vol. tS, p. 3. 
Calhoiin animadverts on Biitish interference on IMarcli 13, 1S40. 
Niles' Reg., Vol. 58, p. 140. 

2 Diary, X., 429. sDiaiy, X., 431. 



435] History of Slavery in Connecticut 65 

this case on tlie side of injustice I did not, I could not 

answer public expectation; but I have not yet utterly failed. 
God speed me to the end." On the 25th, he spoke for four 
and a half hours more, and on Alarcli ist, the Court having 
meantime been in adjournment on account of the sudden 
death of Mr. Justice Barbour, he spoke four hours more and 
finished his argument. On the next day Mr. Gilpin closed 
tlie case for the United States. Mr. Adams, in his argument, 
sternly condemned the National Government from tlie Presi- 
dent down.' He maintained that these Africans were torn 
from home and shipped against the laws of the United States 
and the laws of nations, that their passage on the Amistad 
was in law and fact a continuance of the original voyage, and 
that sixteen of the number had perished through the cruelty 
of Ruiz and Montes, on whose souls the ghosts of these slain 
must sit heavy through the closing hours of life. He anim- 
adverted severely on the conduct of the Secretary of State, 
saying that he ought instantly to have answered the Spanish 
minister that his demands were inadmissible and that the 
President had no power to do what w^as requested. He 
should have said that he could not deliver up the ship to the 
owner, for he was dead ; that the question depended upon the 
courts; that a declaration to the President that the courts had 
no power to try the case involved an offensive demand, and 
that the delivering the negroes by the President and sending 
them beyond the seas for trial was making the President " a 
constable, a catchpole." The Secretary of State had not 
asserted the rights of the nation against these extraordinary 
demands. " He has degraded the country in the face of the 
civilized world, not only by allowing these demands to 
remain unanswered, but by proceeding, I am obliged to say, 
throughout the whole transaction, as if the Executive were 
earnestly desirous to comply with every one of these 
demands." He said the Spanish minister persisted in his 
requests because "he was not told instantly, without the 
delay of an hour, that this government could never admit 

1 Diary, X., 435. 



66 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [436 

such claims, and would be offended if they were repeated, or 
any portion of them. Yet all these claims, monstrous, 
absurd, and inadmissible as they are, have been urged and 
repeated for eighteen months on our government, and an 
American Secretary of State evades answering them — evades 
it to such an extent that the Spanish minister reproaches 
him for not answering his arguments." In his scathing and 
relentless manner he next proceeded to attack Grundy's 
order, mentioned previously, and asking why it was not acted 
upon, he cried jut, " Why did not the President send an order 
at once to the marshal to seize these men and ship them 
beyond the seas, or deliver them to the Spanish minister? 
I am ashamed — I am ashamed of my country, that such an 
opinion should have been delivered by any public officer, 
especially by the legal counsellor of the Executive. I am 
ashamed to stand up before the nations of the earth with 
such an opinion recorded before us as official, and still more, 
adopted by a Cabinet which did not dare to do the deed." 
Such is a brief outline of his forcible address. 

A week later, March 9, Justice Stor};- gave the opinion of 
the court' that the Africans were kidnapped and unlawfully 
transported to Cuba, purchased by Ruiz and Montes with 
knowledge of the fact that they were free, and did not become 
pirates and robbers in taking the Amistad and trying to 
regain their country; that there was nothing in the treaty 
with Spain which justified a surrender, and that the United 
States had to respect the Africans' rights as much as those of 
the Spaniards. " Our opinion is that the decree of the 
Circuit Court affirming that of the District Court ought to 
be affirmed, except so far as it directs the negroes to be deliv- 
ered to the President to be transported to Africa, in pursuance 
of the Act of the 3d of March, 181 9, and as to this it ought 
to be reversed, and that the said negroes be declared to be free 
and be dismissed from the custody of the court and go with- 

' Text of decision in Niles' Reg., Vol. 60, p. 40 ff., vide Vol. 60, p. 
32. The influence of Great Britain was continuously thrown on the 
side of freedom. Niles' Reg., Vol. 59, p. 402. 



437] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 67 

out day." The battle was won. John Quincy Adams* wrote 
to LeAvis Tappan, "The captives are free. The part of the 
decree of the District Court which placed them at the dis- 
posal of the President of the United States to be sent to 
Africa, is removed. They are to be discharged from the 
custody of the marshal, free." 

A week later," on March 17, Mr. Adams asked Webster, 
the new Secretary of State, for a public ship to take the 
Africans home, as the court had taken from them " the vessel 
found in tlieir possession . . . and her cargo, their lawful 
prize of war." Webster, Adams writes in his diary, appeared 
startled at the idea that the Amistad and her cargo were the 
property of the Africans, but afterwards said he saw no 
objection to furnish them with a passage in a public ship and 
would speak of it to the Secretaiy of the Navy. He, how- 
ever, finally refused to grant the request.^ 

Lewis Tappan had been largely instrumental in their 
release. He left his business and traveled for weeks in their 
behalf, counseling with friends, getting money, and making 
arrangements to send them to Africa. He exhibited them 
throughout the North for an admission fee to raise money for 
their passage. After their release,* they were sent to Farm- 
ington, Connecticut, for instruction, and many of them learned 
to speak English and became Christians. Religious people 
throughout the country became interested in them, and when 
they went back to Africa on November 25, 1841, five mis- 
sionaries went with the thirty-five that survived." They 
landed at Sierra Leone on January 15, 1842, whence the 

^ Adams wrote on March 17, 1841, strenuously opposing many of 
the incidental positions taken by the lower courts. Text in full in 
NUes' Reg., Vol. 60, p. 116. 

''Diary, X., 446. The vessel was sold at New London in October, 
1840. The cargo was also sold, the whole bringing about $6000. 
NUes' Reg., Vol. 59, pp. 144, 318, 347. 

sNiles' Reg., Vol. 62, p. 144. 

^ Diary, X., 450. Niles' Reg., Vol. 60, p. 64; Vol. 62, pp. 17, 128, 
311. 

6 NUes' Reg., Vol. 62, pp. 96, 224. 



68 Histoty of Slavery in Connecticut. [438 

British Government assisted them home, and from this band 
of negroes in the Amistad sprung the Mendi Mission.^ 

In i8z^4, C. J. Ingersoll," Chairman of the Committee of 
Foreign Afifairs of the House of Representatives, reported a 
bill to pay $70,000 to the pretended owners of the Africans; 
but the burning words of Giddings and Adams secured the 
passage of a motion to lay on the table and prevented that 
national disgrace. As late as 1847, however, Polk, in his 
message, recommended an appropriation to the Spanish Gov- 
ernment to be distributed among the claimants/ 

Of the fift}'-three Africans on the Amistad when it left 
Cuba, nine died on the way, eight at New Haven, and one at 
Farmington, while Cinque and thirty-four others lived to 
return home.* 

Growth of the Anti-Slavery Spirit. 

The coming of the Revolution caused men to question the 
rightfulness of holding one's fellow-man in bondage, and the 
article in the Norwicli Packet and the resolutions of the 
Danbury town meeting, already quoted, clearly show this. 
The feeling spread. In 1778, the Wethersfield town records 
show a slave. Prince, manumitted, on his master's "being 
convinced' of the injustice of the general practice of the 
country in holding negro slaves, during life, without their 
consent." 

Many other such instances are doubtless hidden away 
in the manuscripts of the Town Clerks' offices, but the only 
other one I have come across is that of Abijah Holbrook, 



* On February 27, 1843, President Tyler recommended Congress, 
by a special message, to refund the salvage on the Amistad to the 
Spanish Government. Niles' Reg., Vol. 64, p. 66. 

* Adams issued an address to his constituents on this subject- con- 
cerning this. The text is in Niles' Reg., Vol. 68, p. 85. 

3NUes' Reg., Vol. 73, Dec. 11, 1847. 

*Niles' Reg., Vol. 60, pp. 206, 208, 400. The cabin-boy Antonio 
was to have been retm-ned to Cuba, but escaped. NUes' Reg., Vol. 
60, p. 96. 

5 Mag. of Am. Hist., XXI., 422. 



439] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 69 

who came from Massachusetts to Torrington in 1787, and 
in 1798 freed his slave, "then about 28 years old" and 
" desirous of being free, . . . being influenced by motives of 
humanity and benevolence, believing that all mankind by 
nature are entitled to equal liberty and freedom." His ne- 
groes, he said, " have served me with faithfulness and fidelity, 
and tliey being now in the prime and vigor of life, and appear 
to be well qualified, as to understanding and economy, to 
maintain and support themselves by their own industry, and 
they manifesting a great desire to be delivered from slavery 
and bondage,"* he grants their desire. Before that, however, 
an organized anti-slavery sentiment had arisen. In Feb- 
ruary, 1789, the Rhode Island'^ Anti-Slavery Society was 
founded, witli Jonathan Edwards the younger, pastor of a 
New Haven church, as one of the members. In Connecticut 
there were less than 30CXD slaves, yet " the strong pro-slavery 
feeling and conservative interest which obtained there opened 
a wide and important field for an Abolition Society," So, in 
1790, the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society' was formed, with 
President Ezra Stiles, of Yale College, as its president, and 
Simeon Baldwin as its secretary. 

The Society speedily showed great activity. On January 
7, 1 791, it issued a petition^ to Congress, which was referred 
to a special committee and never more heard of. 

In the petition,^ the Society, though "lately established," 
claims it has " become generally extensive through the State, 
and we fully believe embraces on this subject the sentiments of 
a large majority of the citizens. From a sober conviction of 
the unrighteousness of slavery, your petitioners have long 
beheld with grief a considerable number of our fellow-men 

^ Orcutt's " nut. of Tori-ington," p. 212. 

•^Wilson, " Rise and Fall," I., p. 26. 

sPoole, " Anti-Slavery Opinions before ISOO," p. 50. 

^Presented to Congress, Dec. 8, 1791. Wilson, " Rise and Fall," 
L, p. 67. 

5 Foimd in •' Memorials presented to Congress by Different So- 
cieties instituted for promoting the Abolition of Slavery." Thila., 
1792, pp. 7-11. 



70 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [440 

doomed to perpetual bondage, in a country which boasts of 
her freedom. . .The whole system of African slavery is 
unjust in its nature, impolitic in its principles, and in its con- 
sequences ruinous to the industry and enterprise of the 
citizens of these States." They pray that Congress should, 
by constitutional means, " prevent, as much as possible, the 
horrors of the slave-trade, . . . prohibit the citizens of the 
United States from carrying on the trade, . . . prohibit for- 
eigners from fitting out vessels.', .in the United States for 
transporting persons from Africa, . . . and alleviate the suflfer- 
ings of tiiose who are now in slavery, and check the further 
progress of this inhuman commerce." 

The same year^ in which this temperate appeal was written, 
Jonathan Edwards, Jr., speaking before the Connecticut 
Society, said, " Every man who cannot show that his negro 
hath by his voluntary conduct forfeited his liberty, is obliged 
immediately to manumit him." " To hold a man in a state of 
slavery who has a right to his liberty, is to be every day 
guilty of robbing him of his liberty, or of man-stealing, and 
is a greater sin in the sight of God than concubinage or for- 
nication." In these trenchant words, as Wilson truly 
remarks,^ "was clearly promulgated the duty of immediate 
emancipation, as distinctly as it has ever been enunciated. . . 
before or since." 

Though not so extreme as this, when a proposition for a 
duty on slaves was before the Congress of the United States, 
at about the same time, Roger Sherman objected to this 
being included in the general import bill, saying,^ " He could 
not reconcile himself to the insertion of human beings as a 
subject of import, among goods, wares, and merchandise." 
On this same subject, some years later, Roger Griswold spoke 

^ " Injustice .ind Impclicy of the Slave Trade and of the Slavery 
of the Africans, illustrated in a sermon before the Connecticut 
Society for the promotion of freedom and for the relief of persons 
tmlawfully holden in Bondage, at their annual meeting." By Jon- 
athan Edwards, D. D., New Haven, Sept. 15, 1791. 

^Wilson, "Rise and Fall," I., 27. 

2 Wilson, "Rise and FaU," I., p. 56. 



441] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 71 

against laying a tax on imported slaves,' though he was 
opposed to the slave-trade, lest it should seem the United 
States raised mone}' from commerce in slaves. The mass 
of the citizens of Connecticut at this time were evidently abo- 
litionists of a moderate type, believing, as did the Fathers of 
the Republic, that emancipation would come gradually. 
Meantime the movement towards liberty was growing, and 
\vhen the Anti-Slaver^' Societies became strong enough to 
hold their first Convention at Philadelphia, on January i, 
1794, the Connecticut Society was represented by Uriah 
Tracy. On the 8th of May of the same year," the day of the 
inauguration of the Governor, the Society' was entertained 
by an address at the Nortli (now Centre) Meeting House, 
delivered by Theodore Dwight, its secretary. His address 
was published, and it was probably from having seen or 
heard of it that Bishop Gregoire mentioned Dwight in the list 
of fifteen to whom he dedicated his " Literature of Negroes." 
In this list, it may be remarked, were the names of two other 
Connecticut men: Joel Barlow and Col. Humphreys. 

At the time of Dwight's address, there were Committees of 
Correspondence at Hartford,' and in New London, Windham 
and Tolland Counties. When the second Anti-Slavery Con- 
vention met at Philadelphia in 1795, Connecticut was repre- 
sented by Jonathan Edwards, Uriah Tracy, and Zephaniah 
Swift The first of these was made chairman of the com- 
mittee on business, and prepared an address to South Caro- 
lina,* appealing for " a numerous class of men, existing among 



^ In 1804. Wilson, " Rise and FaU," I., p. 87. 

=Poole, "Anti-Slavery Opinions before 1800," pp. 50. 80. "Ora- 
tion Spoken before tbe Conn. Society for tlie Promotion of Free- 
dom and the Relief of Persons imlawfnlly Held in Bondage, Con- 
vened at Hartford on the Sth Day of May. 1794, by Theodore 
Dwight." Hai-tford, 1794, pp. 24, Svo. At that time Chauucey 
Goodrich was vice-president and Ezekiel Williams assistant 
secretaiy. 

3 At Hartford the Committee consisted of Dr. Lemuel Hopkins, 
Theodore Dwight. Thomas Y. Seymour, and Ezekiel WilUams, Jr. 
Trumbull's " Memorial Hist, of Hartford Co.," Vol. I. 

^ Poole, "Anti-Slavery Opinions," pp. 28. 77. 



72 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [442 

you, deprived of their natural rights and forcibly held in bond- 
age." He called on the State to improve their condition and 
to educate them, and stated that by the slave-trade, of neces- 
sity, " the minds of our citizens are debased and their hearts 
hardened, by contemplating tliese people only through the 
medium of avarice or prejudice." 

The early anti-slavery feeling,^ however, gradually died 
away in Connecticut, as elsewhere, and was succeeded by the 
colonization idea, as advanced by the American Colonization 
Society, of which Dr. Leonard Bacon wrote, " It is not a 
missionary society, nor a society for the suppression of the 
slave-trade, nor a society for the improvement of the blacks, 
nor a society for the abolition of slavery; it is simply a society 
for the establishment of a colony on the coast of Africa." 
In the same line of thought, the New Haven Religions Intel- 
ligencer condemned measures calculated to bind the colored 
people to this country, by seeking to raise them to a level with 
the whites, whether by founding colleges or in any other 
way, " because it would divert attention and counteract and 
thwart the whole plan of colonization." It was this same 
spirit that aroused the opposition to Miss Crandall, and 
which opposed the attempt of a convention of free colored 
people in Philadelphia in 1831 to establish a collegiate school 
on the manual labor plan at New Haven. The idea of this 
convention was to raise $20,000 for this school, of which 
they stated $1000 was already offered, provided the rest 
should be subscribed. The reasons for their selecting New 
Haven were these: the site of the town was healthy and 
beautiful; the inhabitants friendly, pious, generous, and 
humane; the laws of Connecticut salutary and protected all 
without regard to complexion; the boarding there was cheap 
and the provisions good; the situation was as central as any 
that could be obtained with the same advantages ; the exten- 
sive West India trade of New Haven might induce many 
wealthy colored inhabitants of the West Indies to send their 



' Wilson, " Rise and Fall," I., p. 215. 



443] History of Slavcri/ in Connecticut. 73 

sons there for an education; and lastly, the literary and 
scientific character of New Haven renders it a desirable place 
to locate their college/ 

The plan was not looked upon with any pleasure in New 
Haven, and " created the most profound excitement and called 
forth the most determined resistance." The Mayor called 
a public meeting " to take into consideration a scheme said to 
be in progress for the establishment in this city of a college 
for the education of colored youth." At the meeting held 
September 8, 1831, resolutions were passed "that we will 
resist the establishment of the proposed college in this place 
by every lawful means," and, in the preamble, the citizens 
expressed their conviction that immediate emancipation and 
the founding of colleges for colored persons were unwar- 
rantable and dangerous interference with the internal con- 
cerns of the State, which ought to be discouraged. To these 
sentiments only one man, the Rev. Simeon S. Jocelyn, 
entered a protest. This opposition of the residents of New 
Haven rendered any attempt to carry out the convention's 
scheme futile. The party of the status quo ante was triumph- 
ant throughout the State ; but, as often when the hour is the 
darkest, the daylight was at hand. 

However, there had never been lack of men to protest 
against human slavery, and the halls of Congress had often 
heard bold sentiments from Connecticut men. In Novem- 
ber, 1797, when the Pennsylvania Quakers complained to 
Congress that slaves emancipated by Friends in North Car- 
olina had again been made slaves, Allen of Connecticut said 
he trusted the petition would not be rejected, as that would 
be disrespectful to a society revered by every man who sets 
value on virtue. In December, 1799, when the Southerners 
were raging on account of a petition from the negroes of 
Philadelphia for gradual emancipation, Edmond of Connec- 
ticut said they were acting with "inattention that passion 
alone could dictate." In the session of 1806-7, when South- 



' Williams, " Negro Race, "11. pp. 63.64. Fowler. '• Hist. Status."' 
p. 151. 



74 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [444 

erners sneered at the North's opposition to the slave-trade, 
Moseley of Connecticut said if any of his section were con- 
victed of being- in the slave trade, his constituents would thank 
the South for hanging them/ In January, 1818, when a bill 
to enforce the fugitive slave law was under debate, Williams 
of Connecticut opposed a clause permitting freemen to be 
dragged to another part of the country, saying, " In attempt- 
ing to guard the rights of property to one class of citizens, it 
was unjust that the rights of another class should be put in 
jeopardy." 

In 1833, however, the influence of those in favor of imme- 
diate abolition of slavery began to be felt in Connecticut, con- 
tending with the pro-slavery and colonization influences. In 
that year, the New Haven Anti-Slavery Society was founded, 
being one of the first societies'" based on the principle of imme- 
diate, unconditional abolition. It sent its greetings to the old 
Pennsylvania Abolition Society, and received from it a cordial 
response. Among the leading spirits of tlie Connecticut 
Society were two clergymen,^ Samuel J. May and Simeon S. 
Jocelyn, both of whom were prominent at the organization of 
the American Anti-Slavery Society in December, 1833. 

The feeling of the learned and powerful city of New Haven 
was further shown in the public meeting called by the Mayor 
and Council of the city to consider the report and resolutions 
of Charleston, S. C, held August 10, 1835, and sent to each 
incorporated city and town in the United States. Charles- 
ton's resolves were concerning " societies and individuals v/ho 
have circulated incendiary publications through some of the 
Southern States," and were violently against anti-slavery pub- 
lications. Henry S. Edwards acted as president of the New 
Haven meeting, and Noah Webster and David Daggett as 
vice-presidents. It passed resolutions condemning aboli- 
tionist publications, denouncing their being sent by mail, 

^ Wilson, " Rise and Fall," I., pp. 73, 77, 82, 96. 
^Wilson, " Rise and Fall," I., p. 25. 

''May was Vice-President. Wilson, " Rise and Fall," I., 250 and 
260. 



445] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 75 

quoting a report of a committee of Congress in 1790 that tliat 
body " have no authority to interfere in the emancipation of 
slaves, or in the treatment of them in the different States, it 
remaining with the several States alone to provide any regu- 
lations therein which humane and true policy may require." 
To this utterance of non-interference, they coupled anotlier 
quotation from a letter of Oliver Wolcott, Sr., to his son of 
the same name. " I wish that Congress would prefer the 
white people of this country to the black. After they have 
taken care of the former, they may amuse themselves with the 
other people."' 

Hartford held a similar meeting on Sept. 26, 1835, and, 
with Isaac Toucey as president and Elisha Phelps and Joseph 
Piatt as vice-presidents, affimied that '^ certain persons in the 
Middle and Eastern States have formed associations for the 
avowed purpose of effecting the abolition of slaver}^ in the 
other States, and in pursuance of said design, have established 
a press from which they issued several newspapers and peri- 
odicals devoted to the aforesaid objects and filled with the 
most inflammatory matter, whereby the confederacy is endan- 
gered." 

In that same year a negro woman,' who had fled from her 
master and lived in Hartford as a servant for several years, 
met a nephew of her former master on the streets of the city. 
He spoke kindly to her and told her his family had ceased to 
count her as their property, and that he had only friendly 
feelings for her. He continued that he had some clothing for 
her at the hotel where he was stopping, which he asked her to 

^Another resolution favored colonization in Africa. Fowler, 
" Local Law," pp. 96, 97. Full text in NUes' Reg., Vol. 49, p. 73. 
R. S. Baldwin opposed these resolutions. On the same page in 
NOes' Reg. is a letter copied from the IVIiddletown Admcafe. and 
written by Rev. Wilbur Fisli, first President of Wesley an Univer- 
sity, stating that though he wished "freedom to the slave," he 
would sign no petitions for aboUtion of slaveiy. as " the ultra- 
abohtionists, by their imprudent movements and ill-timed and iU- 
managed system of agitation have, as I think, removed all hope of 
success in any measure of this kind at the present time." 

^TrumbuU's " Hartford County," I., 609. 



76 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [446 

go with him and get. She incautiously went to his room on 
the third floor, when he locked the door to hold her prisoner. 
She rushed to the front window and leapt out, and, falling on 
an awning, escaped alive. Mr. Elisha Colt, in whose family- 
she served, raised a purse and bought her, that he might set 
her free. 

Another fugitive slave in Hartford was Rev. James Pen- 
nington, D. D., who, escaping when a boy, was educated abroad 
at Heidelberg. He became pastor of the Talcott St. Church 
in Hartford, and being fearful of capture after the passage of 
the fugitive slave law of 1850, induced Gen. Joseph R. Haw- 
ley, then a young lawyer in the office of John Hooker, Esq., 
to visit his former owner and buy him for Mr. Hooker. Mr. 
Hooker held the deed for a day, to erjoy the sensation of 
owning a doctor of divinity, and then emancipated him. 

In 1836' the Connecticut Society, urged on by the Crandall 
case, started the CJiristian Freeman at Hartford, with Wm. 
H. Burleigh as editor. In 1845, that paper was merged in 
the Charter Oak, whose office was mobbed by a Democratic 
mob during the Mexican War, on account of the outspoken 
character of its sentiments. The Charter Oak was merged in 
the Republican in later years, that in the Evening Press, and 
that in the well known Hartford Conrant^ 

Under the stimulus of the zeal of the leaders of this 
new movement, violent discussion and debate sprang up 
throughout the State.^ Amos A, Phelps, a brilliant and able 
speaker, a native of Farmington, took the matter up in that 
town, and the church in the town was nearly rent in twain 
from the violence of the parties.* What nearly happened in 
Farmington came to pass in Guilford, where the pastor 

^ The increased interest in the subject is shown by the number of 
pamphlets issued upon slavery in Connecticut about this time. 

2 Trumbull's " Hartford County," I., p. 609. 

3NUes' Reg., Vol. 56, p. 410, has a long letter from Roger M. 
Sherman, dated June 26, 1838, written to the National Anti-Slavery 
Society, in which, in dignified language, he states his opposition 
both to slavery and the methods of the aboUtionists. 

•'Trumbull's " Hartford County," II., p. 192. 



447] History of ISlavery in Connecticut. 77 

changed from the advocacy of colonization to that of aboli- 
tion, and caused such a bitter dissension that, though he 
eventually resigned and left the town, his followers, who con- 
stituted a minority in the old church, left and established an- 
otlier one, which remains separate to this day. In that town 
the use of the church was refused the local Anti-Slavery 
Society for its meetings, and in Norwich, which, on Oct. 14, 
1800, had directed its selectmen to instruct the town's repre- 
sentatives " to use their influence in obtaining a resolve . . . 
prohibiting the migration of negroes . . . from other States 
into this State," now the inhabitants in town meeting 
" Resolved that, as it is the duty of every good citizen to dis- 
countenance seditious or incendiary doctrines of every sort, 
we do deny entirely the use of the Town Hall, or of any other 
building belonging to the town, for any purpose connected 
in any way with the abolition of slavery.'"' 

Miss Abbey Kelley,' a Quakeress, who spoke against 
slavery, was denounced from the pulpits in Litchfield County 
as " that woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess to 
teach and seduce my servants " ; but she and others gathered 
so many adherents that in January, 1837, a meeting was held 
at Wolcottville to organize an anti-slavery societ)'-. The 
gathering had to be in a barn, as churches and other public 
places were closed. Even there a mob broke up the meeting, 
which adjourned to Torrington Church, where it continued 
two days. The Litchfield County Sociey^ so formed soon 
began holding monthly meetings in barns, sheds, and groves, 
and propagating its tenets by lectures, tracts, etc. 

^ CaiilMns, " Norwlcli," p. 568. 

^Orcutt's "Torrington," pp. 212, 218. For tlie opposition an 
early anti-slavery advocate received in Washington, Litchfield 
County, see " The blaster of the Gunneiy," a memorial volmne to 
F. W. Gmm. 

s Roger S. MiUs of New Hai-tford was made president, Erastus 
Lyman of Goshen vice-president, with Gen. Daniel B. Brinsmade 
of Washington, Gen. Uriel Tuttle of Torrmgford, and Jonathan 
Coe of Winsted. Rev. R. M. Chipman of Harwinton was made 
secretary, and Dr. E. D. Hudson of Toningford treasurer. Tor- 
rington was the birthplace of John Brown of Ossawattomie and 
Harper's FeiTy fame. 



78 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [448 

From 1840 onward, the progress of anti-slavery sentiments 
in Connecticut was gradual.' In 1840 she cast 174 votes for 
Birney; in 1844 she gave him 1943; in 1848 Van Buren 
received 5005; in 1852 Hale obtained 3160. Then under the 
influence of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill the State rapidly moved 
towards abolitionism. In 1854 the Anti-Nebraska candidate 
for Governor polled 19,465 votes; in 1856 Fremont carried 
the State and received 42,715 votes, and Connecticut was 
placed' in the ranks of the Republican States for many years. 

Social Condition of Slaves. 

The slave showed the usual imitation of his white masters. 
We read of negro balls, negro governors, and negro training 
days. In religious afifairs they, for the most part, were of the 
Congregational faith; few became Baptists or Methodists, 
as at the South. The annual election of a negro Gov- 
ernor^ was a great event, and one, as far as I know, unique to 
Connecticut. It occurred as recently as 1820, and came off 
generally on the Saturday after election day. It was partici- 
pated in by all the negroes in the capital, and not only a 
governor, but also minor officers were chosen. They bor- 
rowed their masters' horses and trappings and had a grand 
parade after the election. " Provisions, decorations, fruits, 
and liquors were liberally " given them. " Great electioneer- 
ing prevailed, parties often ran high, stump harangues were 
made, and a vast deal of ceremony expended in counting the 
votes, proclaiming the result, and inducting the candidate 
into office, the whole too often terminating in a drunken 
frolic, if not a free fight," says one writer. Scaeva, in his 
" Sketches of Hartford in the Olden Time," adds other 



^ On Dec. 26, 1843, J. Q. Adams notes in his Diary that he pre- 
sented a petition from Connecticut for the abolition of slavery and 
the slave trade in the District of Colmnbia. Diary, XI.. 461. In 
1845 the AboUtion or Liberty nominated full State and Congres- 
sional tickets. Niles' Reg., Vol. 68, p. 23. 1841 is the earliest year 
in which I find an AboUtion State ticket. Niles, Reg., Vol. 62, p. 80. 

^CauUdns, "Norwich," pp. 330. Stiles, "Windsor," I., 490. 



449] History of Slavery in Connecticut. 79 

touches. The negroes, " of course, made their election to a 
large extent deputatively, as all could not be present, but 

uniformly yielded to it their assent The person they 

selected for the office was usually one of much note among 
themselves, of imposing presence, strength, firmness, and 
volubility, vyho was quick to decide, ready to command, and 
able to flog. If he was inclined to be arbitrary, belonged to a 
master of distinction, and was ready to pay freely for diver- 
sions — these were circumstances in his favor. Still it was 
necessary he should be an honest negro, and be, or appear to 
be, wise above his fellows." What his powers were was 
probably not well defined, but he most likely " settled all grave 
disputes in the last resort, questioned conduct, and imposed 
penalties and punishments sometimes for vice and miscon- 
duct." Such an officer is a remarkable instance of the 
negro's power of mimicry. In his election parade " a troop 
of blacks, sometimes one hundred in number, marching 
sometimes two and two on foot, sometimes mounted in true 
military style and dress on horseback, escorted him through 
the streets with drums beating, colors flying, and fifes, fiddles, 
clarionets, and every ' sonorous metal ' that could be found, 
' uttering martial sound.' After marching to their content, 
they would retire to some large room, which they would 
engage for the purpose of refreshments and deliberation." 

In Norwich," it would seem there was a special Governor 
for the negroes ; for the graveyard contains a stone : " In 
memory of Boston Trowtrow, Governor of the African tribe 
in this Town, who died 1772." After him ruled Sam Hunt- 
ingdon, slave of the Governor of the same name, and he is 
described as, " after his election, riding through the Town on 
one of his master's horses, adorned with painted gear, his 
aids on each side, a /a 7Uilitatn% himself puff\ng and swelling 
with pomposity, sitting bolt upright and moving with a slow 
majestic pace, as if the universe was looking on. When he 
mounted or dismounted his aids flew to his assistance, hold- 

' Caulkins, "Norwich," p. 330. Vide Fowler, "Hist. Status," p. 

81. 



80 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [450 

ing" his bridle, putting his feet into the stirrup, and bowing to 
the ground before him. The Great Mogul in a triumphal 
procession never assumed an air of more perfect self-import- 
ance than the negro Governor." 

Of negro trainings, Stiles in his " Ancient Windsor " tells 
amusing tales, and doubtless such occurred in many other 
towns where there were sufficient blacks. 

The Connecticut negroes, when freed, often left the State, 
and we have record that, when Massachusetts passed an act 
on March 26, 1788, that "Africans, not subjects of Morocco 
or citizens of one of the United States, are to be sent out of 
the State," there w'ere found nine negroes and twelve mulat- 
toes from Connecticut, though apparently not citizens of that 
State, as they were ordered to leave Massachusetts by a given 
day.^ We hear but little of fugitive slaves. Occasionally we 
come across advertisements in the old Connecticut papers 
for runaways, but these are but few and disappear as the 
years pass by.' Generally slaves were " most tenderly cared 
for" in the families of their masters until death, and were 
sold but seldom.^ Emancipations, beginning to be common 
just before the Revolution, increased more as time went on, 
and we frequently find applications on record to the select- 
men to free the masters from responsibility in case of eman- 
cipating slaves. 

It is said that at Torrington, when three men, joint owners 
of a female slave, in her old age hired her out to be cared for 
by a colored man, some indignation was raised. 

When emancipated, it is noticeable that the negroes, with 
their gregarious tendencies, left the country places and con- 
gregated in the larger towns.* For example, in Sufifield, 
where slaves were found as early as 1672, when Harry and 
Roco, Major Pynchon's negroes, helped build the first saw- 



^ Moore, " Notes on Slavery in Mass.," pp. 232-235. 
^Vide Mag. of Am. Hist., XV., 614. 
3 Mag. of Am. Hist., XV., 614. N. H. Gazette, 1787. 
4 Mag. of Am. Hist., XXI., 422. Caulkins, " Norwich," p. 330. 
Trumbull's " Hartford Coimty," II., p. 199. 



451] History of Slaceri/ in Connecticut. 81 

mill, and where before 1740 there were but few slaves, mostly 
owned by magistrates, parsons, and tavern-keepers, the num- 
ber of negroes was twenty-four in 1 756 ; thirty-seven in 1 774 ; 
fifty-three in 1782; twenty-eight in 1790; four in 1800. The 
last of these was manumitted in 181 2, and after a few years 
none were left in the town. They had been a social, happy 
race, some of whom had married there, and all of whom had 
been well cared for by their masters," but when freed they all 
drifted away to the cities, where they could have the society 
of others of their race. In the cities, special effort was made 
for the spiritual welfare of the negroes. In 181 5" the Second 
Church of Norwich, under the leadership of Chas. F. Har- 
rington, began a Sunday School for blacks, and later the Yale 
students in New Haven took up the same work in the Temple 
Street and Dixwell Avenue Schools, the latter of which is 
still maintained. 

In general, Connecticut has little to be ashamed of in her 
treatment of the negroes. She treated them kindly as slaves 
and freed them gradually, thus avoiding any violent convul- 
sion. Though opposed to abolitionism and interference with 
slavery in another State, until the aggressive character of the 
slaveholding power was clearly manifested, she then swimg 
into line with the rest of the Northern States to do away with 
it from the soil of the whole country. 

There is a steady and progressive development of the con- 
duct of the State towards slavery. Beginning with a survival 
of the idea that captives in war were slaves, as shown in the 
conduct towards the Pequods, Connecticut acquiesced thor- 
oughly in the principles of slaver}^ through all the Colonial 
period. Her treatment of the slaves was almost always kind 
and generous. A master, in true patriarchal style, regarded 
them as in truth a part of his family.' With the coming of die 

' Trumbull's "Hartford County," II., p. 406. Fowler, "Hist. 
Status," p. 149, says in Durham in 1774 there were 44 negroes, in 
1868 only 3. 

= Caulkins, "Norwich," p. 556. Fowler, "Hist. Status," p. 150, 
speaks of eight negro churches in the State in 1873. 

=5 Fowler, "Hist. Status," pp. 81-88, gives many interesting in- 
stances of this. 



82 History of Slavery in Connecticut. [452 

Revolution and the struggle of the Colonists for freedom, a 
feeling arose that it was not just to hold other men in bond- 
age, and as a result, importation of slaves was forbidden in 
1774. Negroes were allowed to fight side by side with the 
whites, and gradual emancipation was begun in 1784. The 
claims of the masters were, however, respected by saving their 
right to those they then held as slaves, and though manumis- 
sion was encouraged, the law put wise restrictions on the 
cruelty which would employ a man's best years in labor for 
another and leave him 'to be supported by public alms at last 
The case of Miss Prudence Crandall and of the Amistad 
proved effective reinforcements to the arguments of the 
Abolitionists, and the case of Jackson versus Bulloch showed 
that the courts were inclined towards the support of liberal 
interpretations of the anti-slavery laws. So when the formal 
abolition of slavery came in 1848, it found few to be afifected 
by its provisions. The movement against slavery went on. 
From abolishing slavery within its borders, the State went on 
to foilaid the seizure of a slave on its soil, and then gladly 
joined with the other Northern States in the great struggle 
which ended in the destruction of slavery throughout the 
United States.'' 

' In 1865, the question of negro suffrage was submitted to the 
voters and decided adversely by a vote of 27,217 to 33,489. In May, 
1869,' the legislature, by a party vote, adopted the Fifteenth Amend- 
ment to the United States Constitution. The vote in the Senate 
stood 12 to 5, in the House 126 to 104. Fowler, p. 266. 



APPENDIX. 

In addition to the works quoted in the body of the 
monograph, the following may be mentioned as a part of 
the bibliography of this subject: 

Bacon, Leonard. " Slavery discussed in Occasional Essays 
from 1833 to 1846." New York, 1846. 

Beecher, Catharine E. "An Essay on Slavery and Aboli- 
tionism." Philadelphia, 1837. 

Bozune, Rev. George. " Picture of Slavery in the United 
States." Middletown, 1834. 

Dickinson, James T. " Sermon delivered in the Second 
Congregational Church, Norwich, July 4, 1834, at the 
Request of the Anti-Slavery Society of Norwich and 
Vicinity." Norwich, 1834. 

Fisk, Wilbur. " Substance of an Address delivered before 
the Middletown Colonization Society at the Annual 
Meeting, July 4, 1835." Middletown, 1835. 

Porter, Jacob, translator. " The Well-spent Sou, or Bibles 
for the Poor Negro." New Haven, 1830. 

Stuart, Charles. " The West India Question, reprinted from 
the English Quarterly Magazine and Review of April, 
1832." New Haven, 1833. 

Tyler, E. R. " Slaveholding a Malum in Se or Incurably 
Sinful." (2 editions.) Hartford, 1839. 

" Fruits of Colonization — the Canterbury Persecution." 

1833- 

May, Samuel J. " The Right of Colored People to Educa- 
tion vindicated — Letters to Andrew T. Judson, Esq., 
and others in Canterbury, relative to Miss Crandall and 
her School for Colored Females." 1833. 

Van Bnren, Martin. Message, 1840 (Amistad). 

Baldwin, Roger S., and Adams, John Q. "Arguments before 
the United States Supreme Court in the Case of the 
African, Cinquez or Jinque." 



84 



History of Slavery in Connecticut. 



[454 



Slaves and Free 


Negroes in Connecticut. 




Slaves. Free Negroes 


1680, 


30, (Answers to Board of Trade), 


... 


1715, 


1,500, (Niles' Register, vol. 68, p. 310), 




1730, 


700, (Answers to Board of Trade), 




1756, 


3,634, (Fowler, " Hist. Status," p. 150), 




1762, 


4,590, (Stiles MSS.), 




1774, 


6,562, (Fowler, " Hist. Status," p. 150) 




1782, 


6,281, 




1790, 


2,759. (U. S. Census), 


2,801 


1800, 


951, 




5,330 


1810, 


310, 




6,453 


1820, 


97. 




7,844 


1830, 


25. 




8,047 


1840, 


17. 




8,105 


1850, 






7,693 


i860, 






8,627 


1870, 






9,668 


1880, 






11,547 


1890, 






12,302 


N. B. Ne 


groes on the A 


mistad not counted in 1840. 



XI-XII 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT 

IN THE 

SOUTH AND THE SOUTHWEST 
POPULAR ELECTION 

OF 

UNITED STATES SENATORS 



JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES 



IN 



Historical and Political Science 

HERBERT B. ADAMS, Editor 



History is past Politics and Politics present History.— Freeman 



ELEVENTH SERIES 
XI-XII 



LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN THE SOUTH AND 
THE SOUTHWEST 

By Prof. Edward W. Bemis, Ph. D. (J. H. U.), 

AND 

Students in Vanderhilt University 

POPULAR ELECTION OF U. S. SENATORS 

By John Haynes, 

Graduate Student in Johns HopMns University 



baltimore 
The Johns Hopkins Press 

PUBLISHED MONTHLV 

November-December, 1893 



COPTKIGHT, 1893, BY THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS. 



THE FBIEDENWALD CO., PRINTERS, 
BALTIMORE. 



CONTENTS. 



Introduction 7 

North Carolina 12 

Tennessee 24 

Louisiana 28 

Alabama 29 

Georgia 38 

Mississippi 47 

South Carolina 49 

Florida 50 

Texas 53 

Arkansas 64 

Kentucky 69 

Missouri 80 

Popular Election of U. S. Senators 95 

Index to Eleventh Volume 109 



LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN THE SOUTH AND 
THE SOUTHWEST. 



• INTRODUCTION. 

The following papers on local government in the South 
were undertaken by the writers when seniors or graduate 
students in my classes at Vanderbilt University, 1891-2. In 
all cases, save Missouri, it was possible for the investigator to 
take his own State or the State in which he had recently 
resided. 

It is believed that tlie recent growth here shown of local 
government in Kentucky, Texas, Mississippi, Florida, South 
Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, and Arkansas, will appear sig- 
nificant of greater changes in the future. There is confirma- 
tion of my statement of ten years ago : "As the New England 
town was built up about the church, so the Western and 
Southern town is centering its political activity about the 
school."' 

Wherever there is in any Southern State any consideration 
at all by the voters of local taxes for any local purpose, the 
purpose is almost sure to be the improvement of the public 
school. The rapid growth of the public school system in the 
South will certainly strengthen this beginning of local gov- 
ernment. Then we must observe the great number of small 
incorporated towns or villages in this section, where as few 
as 500 inhabitants in a hamlet often secure considerable rights 
of government in a municipal organization. 

It will be of great interest to the general reader or the 
student of political science to note the proof in North Caro- 



' Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political 
Science, Vol. L, No. 5. 



8 Local Government in South and Southwest. [460 

lina that it is impossible to force upon a State institutions of 
a higher type than the intelHgence, habits and prejudices of the 
average voter have prepared him to use. The failure of the 
town-meeting in North Carolina when introduced by a carpet- 
bag government teaches a valuable lesson. Even in that 
State, however, especially in its western part, where the per- 
centage of whites, and probably of intelligence, is higher than 
in the eastern part, there is, as I have discovered in traveling 
through it, a growing desire for a gradual abandonment of 
what is now the most complete system of State control and 
centralization of local government in this country. 

Whatever may have been the influence of early geographi- 
cal, religious and social conditions in diverting the South 
from a development of local government such as Jefiferson 
praised in New England and wanted in the South, I am con- 
vinced that its rapid growth now is prevented only by the 
presence of a large colored population that is considered as 
yet incapable of making wise use of democratic institutions. 

In Kentucky in 1890 there were only 14.4 colored to every 
85.6 white, and not a county in which the colored were in the 
majority. In Missouri there were only 5.7 colored persons 
to 94.3 white. In Tennessee there were 24.4 colored to 75.6 
white, and three counties had more colored than white. In 
Arkansas there were 27.4 colored to 72.6 white, and in the 
fourteen counties possessing a majority of colored out of 
seventy-eight counties of the State there were 72,104 white to 
154,618 colored. 

Texas, thanks in part to a systematic and determined effort 
in some portions of the State to keep out all colored people, 
had only 21.9 colored to 78.1 white, and in only fifteen coun- 
ties out of two hundred and forty do the colored predominate, 
with 126,368 to 82,310 whites. In twenty-nine counties, with 
8,848 whites, no colored are reported in the census. In eleven 
others, with 5,291 whites, there is only one colored person to 
a county. In one of these, as a resident informs me, there are 
numerous signboards with the inscription, " Mr. Darkey, don't 
let sundown find you in this county!" In twenty-seven other 



461] Local (jovernment in South and Southwest. 9 

counties of Texas there are 66,487 whites oiid oiil}' 2,462 
colored. In no one of these counties are there more than ten 
colored, while there are thirty-nine other counties in no one 
of which are there one hundred colored, but only an average 
of thirty-eight, while there are 149,702 whites, or an average 
of 1,465. Penally, in the forty-four remaining counties of 
Texas there are 572,684 whites to only 44,061 colored, a ratio 
of thirteen to one. 

In North Carolina there are 62.2 whites to 34.8 colored, and 
fifteen of the ninety-six counties have a majority of colored, 
the figures being 116,599 white to 170,113 colored. 

The western half of North Carolina, the eastern half of 
Kentucky, the eastern third of Tennessee, three-fourths of 
Texas, and nearly all of Missouri are undisturbed by the race 
question. As a result local government is advancing steadily 
in Missouri, Kentucky, and Texas, and seems to be kept back 
in North Carolina, and possibly Tennessee, by the different 
race conditions in the larger part of those States. The situa- 
tion has been more difficult in the other Southern States. 

In Florida there are only 57.5 whites to every 42.5 colored, 
and ten of the forty-five counties, embracing 43.8 per cent, of 
the entire population of the State, have 62,310 whites to 
104,654 colored. In Alabama, where there are 55.1 whites 
to 44.1 colored, there are twenty counties of the sixty-six in 
the State which have 157,655 whites to 406,087 colored; and 
in Georgia, with 46.7 per cent, colored, there are thirty-five of 
the eighty-four counties that have 199,006 white to 235,339 
colored. In making these latter computations, beginning 
wdth Florida, no county in any State is included where a ma- 
jority is not colored. 

In Louisiana 50.1 per cent, were colored. In thirty-three 
of the fifty-nine parishes, corresponding to the counties of 
other States, there were in 1890 only 174,349 whites to 376,- 
668 colored; while in Mississippi, with 57.6 per cent, colored, 
forty of the seventy-five counties had 258,096 whites to 606.- 
310 colored. These forty counties embrace sixty-seven per 
cent., or two-thirds of the population of the State. 



10 Local Government in South and Southwest. [462 

In South Carolina 60.7 per cent, were colored. In twenty- 
seven of the thirty-five counties the colored exceeded the 
whites, and in each of thirteen counties the colored were more 
than twice as numerous as the whites. 

Democratic institutions cannot be based upon an ignorant 
suffrage, as the fifteenth amendment vainly attempted. An 
unwritten chapter of American history will some time reveal 
the efifort of the late President Hayes and a majority of the 
dominant party in Congress, shortly after the war, to prevent 
the passage of the fifteenth amendment. Instead, there was 
desired a limitation of the suffrage among the blacks to those 
who could pass some educational test. Such a result of the 
war had been anticipated without ill-feeling by General Wade 
Hampton in his parting addresses to his soldiers, and would 
have been satisfactory to most of his fellow-officers of the 
Confederacy. Mr. Hayes, then just elected from Ohio to the 
lower house, secured the adoption of his views by nearly all 
the caucuses of the Republican Congressmen held by States. 
Then, if his account to the writer, in August, 1892, of his 
struggle was not wholly mistaken, he was forced to witness 
a complete overpowering of his wishes and those of the ma- 
jority by the impetuous eloquence and bitter partisanship of 
the older party leaders in the general congressional caucus 
that followed. Nowhere, as he put it, is a newly-elected 
member so unable, even when he is in a small majority, to 
successfully oppose older leadership, as in Congress. It 
seems that all the facts on this grave matter do not appear in 
Blaine's Tzventy Years in Congress. Out of the defeat of that 
liberal policy of Mr. Hayes have come sad results in all phases 
of Southern life; but with the gradual education of the South- 
ern youth in the rapidly rising schools, and the recent ten- 
dency to restrict the suffrage by direct or indirect educational 
tests, a growth of local government becomes more and more 
attractive to the Southern educators and leaders of public 
opinion. The result will be somewhat evident in the follow- 
ing pages, but much more so as time goes on. 

Some who have written short chapters in this monograph 
have not been able to investigate as fully as others ; though it 



463] Local Government in South and Southwest. 11 

has not been the object to write in such detail upon any 
State as was done in the earlier volumes of the Studies, when 
it was deemed wise to devote an entire monograph to a single 
State. Only salient features have here been touched upon. 
The papers are printed almost verbatim as written by their 
autliors, except as omission of details has been found neces- 
sar}^ Unfortunately the students who were to take Missis- 
sippi and Louisiana were forced to abandon the work when 
too late for substitutes to be found, while no one was secured 
for Florida; but the editor has written one or two brief para- 
graphs on each of these three States, merely to prevent their 
entire omission and to give a few such characteristics as 
appear in their latest legislation. South Carolina and Vir- 
ginia have been already treated in the Studies {South Carolina 
in Vol. I., No. 12, 1883, and Virginia in Vol. III., Nos. 2-3). 
But the interesting growth of local government in South 
Carolina since the appearance of Volume I. of the above 
Studies in 1883 has been briefly described. 

North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, 
and ]\Iississippi are first treated and in the above order, which 
roughly represents the present development of the power of 
local taxation, North Carolina having the least. None as yet 
possesses the power of local taxation save in incorporated 
towns, cities and special school districts. Then follow South 
Carolina, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, and IMissouri, 
in all of which all the school districts, and in the last two all 
of the townships, have powers of local taxation whose exercise 
is steadily increasing. 

This series of papers is published in the hope that the 
accounts here given of the development in so many Southern 
States, since 1880, of such local institutions as have long pre- 
vailed in the North and West, will serve to further knit to- 
gether all sections of our common country, and will stimulate 
the friends of local government in the South to persevere in 
a work already so well begim and so well calculated to secure 
better schools and better political institutions of every kind. 

Edward W. Bemis. 

University of Chicago, 
September. 1893. 



LOCAL GOVERNAIENT IN NORTH CAROLLNA. 

The old buccaneers are said to have buried, on the long, low 
sandy beaches of Carolina's coast, rich booty from many a 
gallant ship. On stormy nights, when the winds howl and the 
waves roll high, the dim outline of the treasure-hunter may be 
seen against the darkling clouds, as he searches for the 
hidden gold. But the sea and the moon are loyal to the 
buccaneers, and the treasure-hunter toils in vain. But while 
Carolina refuses to give up her mythical treasures of Spanish 
gold, there are hidden treasures within her bounds that are 
only awaiting the search-light of history to reveal their beauty 
and their worth. To the student of histor\^ she opens an 
inviting field. 

Perhaps no one trait of the early settlers of America was 
more prominent than their adaptability to their surroundings. 
In New England, the first inhabitants settled in tiny commu- 
nities around their favorite ministers, and were closely bound 
together by the ties of church and b}^ the necessity of present- 
ing a united front to their enemies, the Indians. Quite natur- 
ally the town became the unit of government, and the town- 
meeting became the center around which was developed that 
spirit of independence and love of self-government which has 
ever characterized the New Englanders. In the South, how- 
ever, especially in Virginia and the Carolinas, the early inhabi- 
tants came not so much for religious reasons as on account 
of a roving disposition and a desire of adventure and fortune. 
Instead of settling close together, they built their homes upon 
large plantations, oftentimes many miles apart, and connected 
only by the intricate channels of the streams that intersect 
this portion of the coast. These large estates, tilled by in- 
dentured white persons and by negro slaves, resembled in a 



465] xSortli Carolina. 13 

measure the manorial estates in England after the Nonnan 
Conquest, and we shall find that in the development of local 
self-government these lords followed very largely in the foot- 
steps of their generation in England, and did not go back to 
the town-meeting 6i their older ancestry, as did the inhabi- 
tants of New England. These large estates were not con- 
ducive to the development of mutual dependence. The mas- 
ter of each estate, surrounded by his broad acres, his tenants 
and his slaves, took scant time to think of, much less discuss, 
the petty subjects that were interesting the town-meetings of 
the North. As for himself, his opinions were convictions, and 
he gave little thought to the political education of the poorer 
classes of whites. Says Thomas Nelson Page : " He believed 
in a democracy, but understood that the absence of a titled 
aristocracy had to be supplied by a class more virtuous than 
he believed them to be. This class was, of course, that to 
which he belonged." Such a system was peculiarly adapted 
to the development of leaders, and the history of the Revolu- 
tion and the first half-century of our country- will show " such 
a group of consummate leaders as the world has seldom seen 
equaled." 

In the charter granted by Charles II. to Edward, Earl of 
Clarendon, and others, as true and absolute Lords Proprietors 
of Carolina, provision was made for the division of the terri- 
tory into counties, and for enacting laws and constitutions for 
the people of that province by and with the consent of the 
freemen or their delegates. While this charter contained the 
germ of representative government, it also contained an tgg 
that was soon to hatch out a brood of constitutional farces 
such as the world had never before seen. Under that pro- 
vision of the charter which granted the Lords Proprietors the 
right of making " laws and constitutions," the Earl of Shaftes- 
bury, the learned but visionary statesman, and John Locke, 
the profound philosopher, drew up that stupendous travesty 
on constitutional government, "The Fundamental Constitu- 
tions of Carolina." On Carolina's soil was the only continued 
attempt made to connect political power with hereditary 



14 Local Government m South and Southwest. [466 

wealth and to introduce into the wilds of America the effete 
system of feudalism as it existed in the England of the sev- 
enteenth century. While many of its provisions might appeal 
to the traditions and sentiments of the past, many of them 
were not only distasteful but absolutely detrimental to every 
interest of free government, and could only have originated 
in the brain of a visionary statesman or of a philosopher who 
had failed to bring his philosophy home to men's business 
and bosoms. Neither of these men had grasped tliat funda- 
mental principle of government that political institutions must 
be growths. They cannot spring, Minerva-like, full-armed 
from Jove's brain. Their development must be gradual and 
their growth steady. 

Under " The Fundamental Constitutions " the government 
of the province was vested in the hands of the eight Lords 
Proprietors, which body became not only an hereditary cor- 
poration but also a close corporation. The whole province 
was divided into counties, each county to consist of eight 
signiories, eight baronies, and four precincts.^ By this, divi- 
sion of the province into counties the process of making a 
nation by uniting the shires was reversed. The county, how- 
ever, resembled in some respects our modem circuit court 
district. The precinct was the real unit of division and cor- 
responded more nearly to the county in England. In fact, by 
act of the General Assembly in 1738, the precincts were altered 
to counties.^ Provision was made for a court in each pre- 
cinct, presided over by a steward and four justices of the pre- 
cinct. This court had jurisdiction over all criminal cases, 
except those punishable with death and those pertaining to 
the nobility, and over all civil cases whatsoever. From this 
precinct court appeal could be made to the county court, 
which consisted of one sheriff and four justices, one for each 
precinct. Besides these two courts, "in every signiory, 
barony, and manor, the respective lord shall have power, in his 

' Fundamental Constitutions, §3. 
2 Laws of N. C, 1738, c. 21, s. 1. 



467] North Carolina. 15 

own name, to hold leet-court there.'" Here we have the 
transition from the old English township with its "reeve," 
" beadle," and " tithing-man," to the " manor," with its lord's 
steward and bailiff; and as the manor had not entirely lost its 
self-government, so the " grand model " provided for a court- 
leet, an interesting though fragmentary survival of the town- 
meeting. In the county court and precinct court mentioned 
above we recognize the form of the old English county court 
or Court of Quarter Sessions, though the resemblance can be 
more readily traced later when the functions of both courts 
were united into one. And this '' Court of Pleas and Quarter 
Sessions," as it was afterwards called, remained in force until 
the Civil War, a mighty bulwark of the people's liberties. 

While a few of the provisions of the " grand model " might 
appeal to the traditions and sentiments of the past, the great 
majority of them were not only distasteful but absolutely det- 
rimental to every interest of free government. " Two-fifths 
of the land was to be perpetually annexed, one-fifth to the 
proprietors, the other to the hereditary nobility, leaving the 
remaining three-fifths among the people."' " There shall be 
just as many landgraves as there are counties, and twice as 
many caziques, and no more. These shall be the hereditary 
nobility of the province, and by right of their dignity be mem- 
bers of parliament."'' " In every signiory, barony, and manor, 
all the leet-men shall be under the jurisdiction of the respec- 
tive lords of the said signiory, barony, or manor, without 
appeal from him. Nor shall any leet-man or leet-woman 
have liberty to go off from the land of their particular lord 
and live anywhere else, without license obtained from their 
said lord, under hand and seal."* "All the children of leet- 
men shall be leet-men, and so to all generations."' In con- 
sequence of provisions like these we are not surprised to learn 
that this " grand model " was never put into practical opera- 
tion and that it finally died a natural death. Thus the first 



'Fundamental Constitutions, §16. ^ Ibid., §4. 'Ibid., §9. 

"Ibid., §22. 5 Ibid. ,§23. 



16 Local Government in South and iSouthicest. [468 

attempt to force ready-made institutions upon Carolina soil 
failed, presaging the fate of a similar attempt in her later 
histor}'. 

As we have intimated above, the first constitution con- 
tained the germ of representative government, but, unfortu- 
nately, what the course of proprietary legislation for the 
first fifty years after the settlement of the colony was, there 
are no accessible means of ascertaining." Consequently we 
can judge of this period only by the development the institu- 
tions had attained in 171 5, the date from which the records 
have been preserved; resting assured, however, that those 
sturdy planters along the Chowan were not slow to realize the 
powers and possibilities that lay in the court of Pleas and 
Quarter Sessions. It became the unit of local government 
in North Carolina and the center around which moved all 
that pertained directly to the people in the administration of 
government. Besides its administrative and civil duties it 
performed the following functions, which, in Massachusetts, 
would have been attended to by the people assembled in the 
annual town-meeting, or by their officers elected in town- 
meetings. It provided standard weights and measures, ap- 
pointed constables,' and levied taxes for all county purposes. 
It had the power of purchasing land and erecting houses 
thereon for county purposes. It established and discontinued 
ferries, roads, and bridges, and had complete supervision over 
them, regulating tolls of ferries, appointing overseers of the 
roads, and erecting bridges at the expense of the county. 
While in some respects this county court government may 
not compare favorably with the township government of the 
North, still we must not judge it too harshly. While the 
people of North Carolina did not have the privilege of meet- 
ing together annually and, in town-meeting, assembled, of leg- 

^ Laws of N. C, 1821, vol. I., preface v. 

''After 1833 the constables were elected in each Captain's district, 
a military division of the county that must contain a population of 
thirty -six men liable to perform military duty. Laws of N. C, 1831, 
c. VIII. 



469] :S^orth CaroUiia. 17 

islating upon all the minor points of interest in their several 
districts, still they had their familiar court days, on which it 
was a rare occasion when every community in the county was 
not represented. Here, under the kindly shade of the court- 
yard trees, the yeomanry and the landed proprietors niet on 
common ground and discussed politics, the price of cotton or 
perchance of turpentine, and various other questions of peren- 
nial interest. This was the forum of the farmers, the thought 
exchange of the people; and he would have been a poor jus- 
tice of the peace who could not have found out the prevailing 
sentiments of his fellow-citizens on local affairs, and a worse 
one, knowing that sentiment, had he failed to act accordingly. 
Again, the county court flourished before the days of the 
cheap politician. Then a public ofilice was a public trust, and 
then politics itself was reckoned a noble profession. The 
honor and integrity of the well-to-do farmers who, in most 
cases, constituted the county court, were unimpeached and 
unimpeachable. The system not only developed a self- 
respect in the members of the court, but, what was of more 
importance, it fostered and nurtured a spirit of confidence in 
the administration of the government among all classes of the 
people. 

The silent shifting of authority from King to Congress 
made but slight change in this institution. The disturbance 
occasioned by the transition was hardly perceptible. By the 
constitution of 1776 the Governor was vested with authority to 
appoint the justices of the peace for the several counties, on 
recommendation of the Representatives in the General As- 
sembly.' Some new duties devolved upon them, and their 
powers were somewhat increased from time to time. After 
1777 the county court was empowered to elect annually a 
trustee for the county, whose duty it should be to collect all 
moneys due the county. However, a majority of the jus- 
tices of the peace in any county might abolish the office of 
trustee, in which case the sherifif should perform all duties of 



' Constitution N. C, 1776. XXXIII. 



18 Local Government in South and Southwest. [470 

that officer. In 1846 the justices of tlie peace were authorized 
to elect wardens of the poor, who, heretofore, had been elected 
by the freeholders. Another duty that devolved upon the 
county court was the appointing of a patrol committee of 
three, whenever such precaution was deemed necessary, in 
each Captain's district in the county." 

But what of public schools? Unfortunately they play a 
nominal part in local afifairs prior to the years immediately 
preceding the Civil War. Although the constitution of 1777 
had resolved that schools should be established by the Legis- 
lature, " for the convenient instruction of youth," very little 
progress was made for many years. It was not until 1844 
that the counties were divided into school districts. The 
voters of these several school districts elected annually a 
school committee of three, who had power to purchase land 
for school purposes, to build school-houses, and to administer 
the meager appropriations received from the State " Literary 
Fund." This fund was distributed annually among the sev- 
eral counties of the State, and was supplemented by a tax 
levied by the court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, which was 
not to be less than one-half of the estimated amount to be 
received by the county from the " Literary Fund." However, 
"no county court shall tax any free person of color for the 
support and maintenance of common schools, and no person 
descended from negro ancestors to the fourth generation 
inclusive shall be taught in said schools."' 

Such in brief is a sketch of local government in North 
Carolina prior to the Civil War. Up to this time the growth 
and development of county government had progressed 
smoothly and quietly. But the shock of civil strife left the 
internal organs of government in a fearfully deranged condi- 

' Among other duties, the patrol was to visit the negro houses in 
their respective districts, as often as was deemed necessary, and to 
" inflict a punishment, not exceeding fifteen lashes, on all slaves 
they may find off their owner's plantations, without a proper permit 
or pass." Revised Code N. C, 1855, c. 83, s. 3. 

* Revised Code, 1855, c. 66, s. 33. 



471] Morth Carolina. 19 

tion. With the proud prestige of statehood gone, with her 
hopes bHghted and her prospects blackened, torn, mangled 
and bleeding, she lay an easy prey to the political vultures 
that swarmed upon her. Under the Reconstruction acts of 
Congress, a constitutional convention was called, and a con- 
stitution was framed and adopted in 1868. Again was the 
experiment tried of forcing a ready-made form of government 
on the people, and again was illustrated the principle that 
institutions must be growths. In this constitution, provision 
was made for the introduction of a system of local govern- 
ment resembling that which exists in Pennsylvania. Each 
county should elect biennially five commissioners. These 
commissioners had general supervision and control of the 
penal and charitable institutions, schools, roads, bridges, and 
levying of taxes, and were empowered to divide their respec- 
tive counties into districts. In each of these townships there 
were, biennially, to be elected a clerk and two justices of the 
peace, who, under the supervision of the county commis- 
sioners, were to have control of the taxes, roads and bridges 
of the township. Furthermore, the township was empowered 
to elect a township school committee of three persons. Theo- 
reticall}' these changes were along the right lines. It divided 
the counties into townships and gave them a species of local 
government much superior in theory, at least, to anything 
they had before. It gave the masses of voters privileges 
which hitherto they had not enjoyed. Again, it was no new, 
untried scheme of government; it had been in successful oper- 
ation in many of the Northern and Western States. Yet we 
shall not have to go far to find the reason that made it repug- 
nant to a majority of that class of people who had ruled the 
State for a hundred years. Besides bearing the odium of 
being fathered by the hated carpet-bag government, it struck, 
as they thought, at the foundation of free government, when 
it placed the property-owners of the whole eastern section of 
the State at the mercy of the recently enfranchised slaves, by 
turning over to them the whole machinery of county govern- 
ment. 



20 Local Government in South and Southwest. [472 

In 1875 th^ State government passed into the hands of the 
opposite political party, and the so-called " negro rule of the 
Reconstruction era " was over. Immediately a constitutional 
convention was called and a constitution was framed whose 
points of difference from the one it superseded were few but 
far-reaching. This constitution left the thirteen sections of 
Article VII., which pertained to municipal corporations, in- 
cluding county and township governments, intact, but added 
a fourteenth which gave the General Assembly " full power 
by statute to modify, change or abrogate any and all of the 
provisions of this section, and substitute others in their place, 
except sections seven, nine, and thirteen " (these sections 
limiting taxing and debt-making powers of municipal cor- 
porations).^ 

This section virtually threw the whole question of local 
government into the hands of the General Assembly elected 
soon after the ratification of the constitution. This leg- 
islature promptly availed itself of this section to do 
away with the existing local government by repealing all 
sections of Article VII. (save seven, nine, and thirteen). 
While the township itself was not destroyed, all its functions 
were taken from it. The right of electing the five commis- 
sioners and the school committee was taken away from the 
people. Under the new system the legislature appoints five 
justices of the peace in each township (but if there is an incor- 
porated town in a township it has six justices, and one addi- 
tional for every 1000 inhabitants) who hold office for six 
years. On the first Monday in June of every other year, they 
meet at the court-house and elect not more than five nor less 
than three commissioners. The board of county commis- 
sioners holds regular meetings on the first Monday in Decem- 
ber and June. Upon their shoulders rest the internal afifairs 
of the county; they look after the paupers of the county; 
they have supervision of jails, court-houses and other property 
of the county ; they hear and determine all petitions for open- 

" Constitution of 1876, Art. VII.. s. 14. 



473] North Carolina. 21 

ing or changing public roads; they build all bridges, provided 
said bridges do not cost over $500 each;' they establish poll- 
ing places and appoint judges of election for each precinct; 
they make out the jury list, and they have complete super- 
vision of the taxing machinery of the county. Annually the 
board of commissioners meets in session with the justices of 
the peace, and they perform such duties as devolve upon them 
jointly, e. g. they levy the necessary taxes for the county 
purposes; they purchase sites for and erect all county build- 
ings that require an appropriation of over $500, and they 
elect, every other year, the county board of education. 

Thus the people of the State, acting through a majority of 
their representatives, voluntarily surrendered their rights of 
local self-goveninient and inaugurated a plan that approaches 
dangerously near an oligarchical form of government. This 
overthrow of local self-government was acquiesced in by a 
majority of the dominant political party, to save the people of 
the eastern section of the State from negro domination. As 
the question is now an open one in politics, it does not come 
within the scope of this paper to say whether the sacrifice has 
been worth the ends aimed at or not. 

In the public school system, inaugurated in 1868 and modi- 
fied in 1876, we find the most pernicious effects of this cen- 
tralization of prwer in the hands of the dominant political 
party and the emasculation of local self-government. In the 
management of the public schools of the Northern and North- 
western States the people have taken a lively interest. Each 
county or township manages its own aflfairs, and has the right 
of increasing the regular appropriation for school purposes by 
local taxation, a most efifective bond in uniting the people to 
ti le schools. Unfortunately both of these features are lacking 
in the system in operation in North Carolina. In the revolt 
against the form of government instituted in 1868, the men 
who formed tlie Constitutional Convention of 1876 allowed 



' The county commissioners cannot appropriate over 8500 for any 
purpose without the concurrence of a majority of the justices of the 
peace of the countj'. 



22 Local Government in South and Southivest. [474 

the pendulum of local government to swing too far in the 
other direction. The school affairs of each county are in the 
hands of a county superintendent and a board of education. 
The board of education is elected by the board of county 
commissioners and the justices of the peace in joint session, 
and this board of education, in joint session with the board of 
county commissioners and justices of the peace, elects the 
county superintendent. This is the system, the wheel wdthin 
a wheel, by which the dominant political party keeps control 
of the management of the public schools in every county in 
the State. Every vestige of local self-government has been 
removed. The school districts do not even have the privilege 
of electing their committees; they are appointed for them 
by the county board of education.^ But as the public schools 
have suffered most from this system of centralization, it is 
more than probable that they will be the means by which the 
system will be entirely done away with or at least greatly 
modified. In 1889 ^^i effort was made to amend the code 
so as to allow the voters of any tOAvnship to vote a local 
tax upon themselves for the purpose of increasing their 
school fund; but unfortunately the law was so hampered 
and restricted that it has proved of no advantage to the rural 
districts. The State superintendent is still pressing upon the 
General Assembly the necessity of allowing any county or 
township to vote upon the question of taxing its citizens for 
school purposes.' These are straws which indicate the drift 
of opinion among the thinking classes. A change must 
come sooner or later. If it does not come in a political revo- 
lution — and we must remember that a single hostile legisla- 

' Other duties of the board are to lay off their respective counties 
into two sets of school districts, the one for the white childi'en and 
the other for the colored children. As the convenience of the two 
classes of residents must be consulted in laying off these districts, 
the two sets may or may not coincide. They apportion the county 
school fund among the districts, without discrimination in favor 
of or to the advantage of either race. 

"Report for 1889 and 1890. pp. xii and xlix. 



475] Islorth Carol hi a. 23 

ture can do away with the whole present mode of local gov- 
ernment — it will come when the people shall have acquired 
the right of increasing their school funds by local taxation. 
When once the barrier is broken citizens will not be slow to 
demand the other rights and privileges which they voluntarily 
surrendered in 1876. 

W. A. Webb. 

Note on North Carolina.' 

The Superintendent of Public Instruction of North Caro- 
lina, in his report for 1892, states that only fifteen cities in the 
State levy any special tax for schools. These cities embrace 
only 75,598 souls, or 4.6 per cent, of the population of the 
State. One reason given is that no vote can be had in any 
town relative to a special school tax without a petition of one- 
third of the freeholders ; and the tax, if voted, allows only ten 
cents on one hundred dollars of property and thirty cents on 
polls. Even this must be approved by special act of the leg- 
islature. 

The Superintendent strongly urges that the right to vote 
three times as much local tax as this be had in any township, 
city, town, or school district, on petition of any respectable 
number of freeholders. This entering wedge of local gov- 
ernment is thus urged in the Superintendent's report: 

" I know of no subject of taxation to which the people can 
be more safely trusted. If they vote taxes for schools, that 
fact means better schools, and consequently more safety to 
property and person as well as to our republican form of gov- 
ernment. If communities have an opportunity to vote taxes 
for schools, and fail to do it, and so have poor schools as 
compared with other communities that have voted taxes, they 
will readily see the reason. Under such a provision, the dif- 
ferent communities and neighborhoods would stimulate each 
other to better efforts, and much good would result." 

' By the Editor. 



11. 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN TENNESSEE. 

Tennessee was originally a part of North Carolina, and the 
laws and local institutions were changed very little when the 
people west of the Alleghanies set up a government for them- 
selves. In fact, there has been very little change since then/ 
The county and not the township system prevails. Every 
county is divided into civil districts, in each of which, unless it 
contain an incorporated town or city, there are elected two jus- 
tices of the peace and a constable, besides the three school 
commissioners mentioned below. The justices of the peace, 
in addition to the judicial functions usually attaching to their 
office, compose the county court. This court, which controls 
the affairs of the county, meets on the first Monday of each 
month. When so meeting it is called the Quorum Court, but 
is of little importance when compared with the Quarterly 
Court, which meets on the first Monday of January, April, 
July, and October. These four sessions of the county court 
are of the greatest importance and require the presence of the 
majority of the magistrates. The county court, at both its 
quarterly and monthly sessions, is presided over by the county 
judge, or, if there be no such officer elected in the county, the 
chairman of the county couil:. This officer is also the finan- 
cial agent of the county. 

The county court levies taxes, appropriates funds, controls 
public roads, looks after the poor of the county, builds 
bridges, jails, court-houses, and in other ways looks out for the 
welfare of the county. Within the limits fixed by statute tlie 
powers of this court are absolute. 

At the January tenn the Quarterly Court hears the reports 
of the county judge or chairman of the county court, also of 

' In consideration of the above fact this chapter is made very brief. 



477] Tennessee. 25 

the turnpike inspectors, jail inspectors, and the superintendent 
of pubHc schools. The commissioners of the poor also make 
their report and submit estimates for support of the poor, 
which the court appropriates in full or in part. This court 
elects the jail and turnpike inspectors, the commissioners of 
the poor, coroners, county surveyors, notaries public, and 
superintendent of public instruction. Road commissioners 
for each civil district are also appointed. 

Special questions frequently are brought before this court, 
such as the building of bridges, court-houses, or any other 
buildings for the use of the county. 

The powers of this court are restricted by die statutes. 
There are certain questions pertaining to the welfare of the 
people locally, concerning which the county court has no 
power to act, except by submitting the question to the people. 
For example, if a railroad were to ask for a subsidy the appli- 
cation would first come to the county court, which body 
would submit the question to the popular vote. Such ques- 
tions as this are the only ones that ever come before the 
people. 

The civil districts into which ever}' county is divided have 
no significance whatever so far as local government is con- 
cerned. They are convenient as voting districts. Each dis- 
trict has two magistrates and a constable. 

The civil district is also the school district. Three com- 
missioners are elected in each district who have charge of the 
schools in that district. They build school-houses and employ 
teachers. The length of the school term is determined by the 
amount of money on hand. The people have no voice what- 
ever in the control of the schools, except the influence of pub- 
lic sentiment. It must be said to the credit of the school 
commissioners — and not of the system — that the Avish of the 
majority of the people is in most cases followed by the com- 
missioners. It can be seen, though, at a glance that the people 
are helpless. The taxes levied for school purposes and the 
State fund are paid to the county treasurer, who prorates it to 
the several districts according to the scholastic population. 



26 Local Government in South and Southwest. [478 

The superintendent of public instruction is elected biennially 
by the county court, and the State superintendent of public 
instruction is appointed by the Governor. The school com- 
missioners manage the schools of the district. 

Where the people of a civil district so desire, they may con- 
tribute money to the school fund so as to continue the school 
throug'hout the year. This is frequently done. And in this 
we have some approach to local government, but no local 
tax can be voted. 

The county court controls the roads. A road commis- 
sioner is appointed by the court for each civil district in the 
county. This commissioner appoints the road overseers, and 
assigns those citizens subject to road duty to the several over- 
seers. 

In many Southern States there were introduced changes in 
the forms of local government just after the war, — in the days 
of the " carpet-bag rule." Such was not the case in Tennes- 
see. The people, having never known anything else, believe 
in the existing system. As a rule the men in office have per- 
formed faithfully the duties imposed on them and for the best 
interests of the people whom they have represented. And 
thus they have made in a measure successful a system which 
imder other circumstances might have been very burdensome. 

F. P. Turner. 

Note on Tennessee.' 

When another constitutional convention assembles in Ten- 
nessee (and the sentiment in favor of it is rapidly growing), 
it is very likely that the power of local taxation will be largely 
extended. The following quotation, especially the closing 
sentence, taken from the report for 1891 of the State Superin- 
tendent of Public Instruction, Hon. W. R. Garrett, will prove 
interesting: 

" Each county exercises county supervision through its 
superintendent, and is empowered through its county court 



' By the Editor. 



479] Tennessee. 27 

to supplement the revenues by a levy on polls, property and 
privileges, not to exceed the entire State tax for all purposes. 

" Each district exercises supervision and control through 
its directors, who are invested with large discretionary powers 
in the use of the school fund and in the management of the 
schools. In the law as originally enacted, the district was 
empowered to levy an additional tax either to increase the 
length of the school term or to extend the course of study. 
This portion of the law was pronounced unconstitutional by 
the courts and was subsequently repealed. The constitution 
of the State does not permit a subordinate civil district to 
levy a tax. This power is limited to the General Assembly, 
the county court, and the authorities of the municipal cor- 
poration. Thus one important link in the general plan of the 
school system was broken, and the power of providing for 
the introduction of the higher branches was lost to the dis- 
tricts. 

"In 1885 the General Assembly, at its extra session, re- 
paired this broken link as far as the constitution would permit, 
and took the only step in its power to provide for local taxa- 
tion. A law was passed empowering municipal corporations 
to levy additional taxes and to establish ' graded high schools.* 
This enactment was eminently wise and has led to important 
results. Graded high schools are now in efficient operation 
in all of the cities and in many of the towns . . . The successful 
operation of the corporation schools has produced the effect 
to make the country districts feel still more keenly the lack of 
the power of local taxation." 

The county taxes for schools 1890-91 were $1,375,563.01, 
the city taxes in the fourteen cities reporting were $279,- 
649.51, and the receipts from all other sources, chiefly from 
State taxes, amounted to $329,582.92. 



28 Local Government in South and Southwest. [480 

Note on Louisiana.' 

The material is not at hand for an account of the local gov- 
ernment of Louisiana, but the great and perhaps necessary 
centralization of power in the State government there is illus- 
trated in the school system. The parish boards of education, 
which correspond to the county boards of other States, are 
chosen by the board of education, and the latter, consisting of 
one member from each congressional district, is appointed by 
the Governor. The parish police jurors, corresponding to 
county commissioners elsewhere, may levy a parish tax, and 
incorporated towns have the powers, usual in this country, of 
town taxation. 

The Legislature in 1891 gave expression to the growing 
demand for self-government in Louisiana by submitting to 
the vote of the people a constitutional amendment giving to 
every school district as well as to every parish the power to 
levy a school tax on vote of a majority of the taxpayers. 
Unfortunately, however, the proposed amendment was so 
worded, apparently by mistake, as to limit the amount that the 
parishes might raise even more than it increased the oppor- 
tunities for a more local tax, and so was voted down by the 
friends of the schools. A more carefully worded amendment 
may, in good time, be submitted to the people. The State 
Superintendent, in his report for 1890-91, strongly urges 
local taxation for schools. 

' By the Editor. 



III. 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN ALABAMA. 

The State is divided into 68 counties, varying from four 
hundred to sixteen hundred square miles. The county is a 
body corporate, of which the county commissioners are trus- 
tees, and as such body corporate it can sue or be sued, buy, sell 
and own property and issue bonds. The county officers con- 
sist of a Judge of Probate, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Sheriff, 
Tax Collector, Tax Assessor, Treasurer, Coroner, County 
Superintendent of Education, and four Commissioners. All 
of these are elected by popular vote, except that in forty-five 
counties the County Superintendent of Education is appointed 
by the State Superintendent. In some counties the commis- 
sioners are elected from districts, in others from the county at 
large. 

The Probate Judge is, ex officio, president of the Court of 
County Commissioners, but has no vote except in case of a 
tie, which is very frequent on account of the number of the 
commissioners (4). This court has complete control of the 
affairs of the county, and its powers are specified in the code. 
It has original jurisdiction over the change, discontinuance, or 
establishment of (public) roads, bridges, causeways and 
ferries within the county.' Bridges are kept up by a special 
tax, or by moneys appropriated from the general fund. 
Roads are kept up in the following manner: Apportioners 
are appointed who class the roads and divide them into sec- 
tions, appoint overseers for each section, and assign to each a 
quota of hands. Every male over 18 and under 45 who is 
free from physical deformity is subject to not more than 10 
days' duty on the public roads each year. In the municipal 

' Code. S825. 



30 Local Government in South and Southwest. [482 

corporations a street tax is generally substituted for this ser- 
vice. When a new road is to be established, the court ap- 
points surveyors to select the route, whereupon the land is 
condemned, assessed, and paid for by the county. 
The county court has authority — 

1. To control the property of the county. 

2. To levy a general tax for general, and a special tax for 
special county purposes. 

3. To examine, settle and allow all accounts and claims 
chargeable against the county. 

4. To examine and audit the accounts of all officers hav- 
ing the care, management, collection or disbursement of 
county funds. 

5. To provide for the support of the poor. 

6. To punish for contempt. 

7. To exercise such other powers as are given to it. 

The State tax is the same all over the State, but the county 
tax varies in the different counties and in the same county 
from year to year, but the State and county tax together 
rarely exceed one per cent., and often fall below three-fifths 
of one per cent. Special taxes are not often levied, except to 
keep up bridges and pay interest on county bonds. 

In almost every county a poor-house has been provided. It 
is generally in charge of some person who receives a certain 
amount per month per capita for supporting and taking care 
of the poor. The house is often inferior and not always well 
kept, but is generally situated in the country, where fuel costs 
nothing and pure air is plentiful. 

This county court also has control of all stock-law ques- 
tions. A large portion of the State is woodland, and it is 
often found preferable to inclose the land devoted to agricul- 
ture and let stock run at large on the rest. The stock-law 
provides that the landowners of any section shall decide by 
ballot, voting by acres, whether they want to be compelled to 
fence their arable land or not. If the majority of acres are 
cast for stock-law, which means no fences, then, at the discre- 
tion of the commissioners, it is declared that stock cannot run 



483] Alabama. 31 

at large in that region except during certain months. In 
some sections of the State the stock-law obtains entirely, in 
others not at all, and between these two extremes bitter con- 
tests often occur. 

The county is subdivided by the commissioners' court into 
precincts or voting districts. These are merely divisions for 
political purposes and are not corporations at all. Each pre- 
cinct is allowed to elect two justices of the peace and a con- 
stable, who is the executive officer. Beyond this the pre- 
cincts can do nothing. They can tax themselves for nothing. 
Only the county commissioners can impose a tax, and that 
equally over the whole county, and only for county puqioses. 
Precincts are merely election districts, and the county com- 
missioners may provide one or two voting places in each as 
they think the convenience of the electors requires. The 
constitution gives the Governor power to appoint one notary 
public in each beat, who shall be ex officio justice of the 
peace. This was done in order that every beat, especially 
where the negroes predominate, might have at least one white 
justice. 

The classification of municipal corporations into city, town, 
and village is merely a distinction in name, there being 
no diflference at all in the government of the three. Every 
municipal corporation within the State is governed either by 
a special charter or by the general charter provided in the 
code. Only the smaller municipal corporations are governed 
by the charter provided by the code, the larger ones and a 
great many of the smaller ones having obtained special char- 
ters. We shall not attempt to discuss the latter class, but will 
consider only the former. In the charter provided by the 
code, the executive ofBcer is called the Intendant; in some of 
the special charters he is still called Intendant, in others. 
Mayor. 

The incorporation of towns of more than one hundred 
inhabitants is provided for by the code. If a petition signed 
by more than twenty adults be filed with the judge of probate, 
asking for the incorporation of a certain place, he must at 



32 Local Government in i:iouth and Southwest. [484 

once give notice and order an election to determine whether 
the majority wish the place incorporated or not. The vote is 
■* Corporation " or " No Corporation." If " Corporation " 
wins, the place is incorporated under the general charter pro- 
vided by the code. The executive of the corporation is the 
marshal, and the other officers are the intendant and five 
councilmen, who have power — 

To pass such laws and regulations as may be necessan,'- for 
their own government not contrary to law. 

To prevent and remove nuisances. 

To tax, license, regulate and restrain shows and amuse- 
ments. 

To restrain and prohibit disorderly houses, disorderly con- 
duct, gaming, and breaches of the peace. 

To establish watches and patrols. 

To license, regulate and restrain the selling of spirituous, 
malt and vinous liquors within the corporate limits. 

To establish and regulate markets. 

To license and regulate drays. 

To purchase, sell, and own real and personal property. 

To exercise such other powers as may be given them by 
law. 

The constitution provides that the State tax shall not 
exceed three-fourths of one per cent, and also prohibits coun- 
ties from levying a tax greater than one-half of one per cent., 
except for some special reason, as the erection of a court- 
house; and municipal corporations also have their tax rate 
limited to one-half of one per cent, (except Mobile, three- 
fourths of one per cent.) This applies to all municipal cor- 
porations, whether under the general or a special charter. 

A license on bar-rooms not exceeding $500 may be im- 
posed by municipal corporations, and a small license on other 
businesses, which money is to be expended in keeping up the 
corporation, and may be spent for schools, if the council so 
prefer. We do not attempt to say how many city councils 
expend this tax for the support of schools; our personal 
knowledge extends to only one; there may be others. Of 



485] Alahama. 33 

course in those towns tliat have public schools supported 
by the town funds, these licenses are expended for schools 
indirectly, since they go into the general fund from which the 
school fund is appropriated. 

The public school system of Alabama is under the con- 
trol of the State Superintendent, assisted by a county super- 
intendent in each county, township superintendents or trus- 
tees in each township, and the superintendents of the special 
school districts. 

Every township and every incorporated town or cit}- 
having 3000 inhabitants constitutes a separate school district, 
and each of them in all matters connected with public 
schools is under a township superintendent or trustees. Each 
township or other school district in its corporate capacity 
may hold real and personal property, and the business of cor- 
porations, in relation to public schools and school lands, is 
managed by the township or district superintendent. 

Under tliis provision townships may hold propert}^ but no 
special tax can be levied for the support of schools. In the 
Cullman (special) school districts as first organized an attempt 
was made to lev}^ a special tax for the support of schools, but 
the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. 

The money, then, for the support of schools (except in 
special school districts) must come from the State and from 
voluntar}^ contributions, usually in the form of tuition. The 
general school fund is, in round numbers, $650,000 per 
annum, — $350,000 from special legislative appropriation, 
$150,000 from interest on the sixteenth section fund and 
other sources, and $150,000 from a poll tax. Every male 
between 21 and 45 pays a poll tax of $1.50, w^iich is applied 
to the support of schools in the district and for the race to 
which he belongs. The remaining $500,000 is distributed 
over the State per capita, the distribution being based on a 
school census taken every two years by the district superin- 
tendents. In taking the census the superintendents count all 
the school children (between seven and twenty-one), whether 
they are enrolled on a school register or not, or whether the 
district has a school or not. 



34 Local Government in South and Southwest. [480 

The State Superintendent is general overseer of all the 
schools in the State, and is required to visit each county once 
a year if practicable. He apportions the State funds and 
keeps accounts with those who disburse them. He is re- 
quired to study the school systems of other States, and make 
such suggestions to the Governor or Legislature as he thinks 
best. He makes an annual report to the Governor. The 
county superintendent is elected in twenty-three counties and 
appointed by the State Superintendent in forty-five. He has 
general oversight of the public schools in the county. He 
disburses all the funds, except in special districts, and is 
responsible to the State Superintendent for all moneys sent to 
himself. His pay is $75 and two per cent, of all moneys paid 
out. 

The township superintendent is appointed by the county 
superintendent. Each township has a superintendent (except 
those counties which, by special act, have three trustees 
instead of a superintendent for each township, with identically 
the same powers and duties as a township superintendent), 
and he has immediate control of the public schools in his 
township. He receives no compensation, and his duties and 
powers as laid down in the code are as follows : 

He may establish one or more schools in each township for 
each race, the co-education of the races being prohibited by 
the constitution. He is required to call annually a meeting 
of the parents and guardians in his township and consult with 
them as to the number and location of schools, " with a view 
to subserve tlieir wishes, interests and convenience." In this 
way he is to determine the number and duration of schools, 
their location, and what per cent, of the public funds each is to 
receive. The township superintendent is not merely the 
executive officer of this meeting, but he has power to disre- 
gard its instructions altogether. Should the people dislike 
what he does, they have the right to appeal to the county 
superintendent. Such a meeting must be advertised for ten 
days by posted notices in at least three places, setting forth 
the business to be discussed at said meeting. If the parents 



487] Alabama. 35 

and gfiiardiaiis fail to attend such a meeting, as is gener- 
ally the case, the township superintendent performs such 
duties as, in such cases, are required of him. In locating 
public schools, township superintendents "■ shall have due 
regard to such communities as will supplement the general 
district fund," and as will provide houses. There are, out- 
side of the special school districts, very few schools sup- 
ported entirely by public funds, and the township having no 
power to tax itself, the " supplement " must come from pri- 
vate sources. The public fund is about $1.40 per capita per 
annum. This would not sustain the public schools more 
than a month if all of the children were to attend. But half of 
them rarely attend, and in a good many districts, especially 
where the negroes are numerous, svmimer schools, entirely 
public, are maintained at least three montlis. All the 
schools that amount to anything are private (except in spe- 
cial school districts). A community will employ a teacher 
and allow him to charge tuition, which varies from one to 
five dollars per month. The township superintendent will 
locate that school as one of the supplemented public schools, 
and set aside for it such amount of the public funds as is 
equal to the pro rata share of all the children who live near 
and are likely to attend that school. This money the teacher 
prorates among the children who attend school, and deducts 
each one's share from his tuition bill. It is generally the case 
that not more than one-half, frequently less than one-fourth, 
of the children of the commimity attend the school, and these 
funds reduce the tuition bills considerably. It is an unde- 
cided point whether a child who refuses to pay tuition can 
attend such a school. INTany think that he can. The ques- 
tion often comes up, but has never been decided, so far as I 
know. In small towns and villages little attention is paid to 
the public funds. In most places one, frequently two, good 
schools are kept for nine or ten months a year, and the public 
funds are so small that little is said of them. It is only in the 
countr\^ districts (and this is most of the State, over 75 per 
cent, of the people living there) that these funds are of much 



36 Local Government in South and Southwest. [488 

benefit. Then in the suminer and winter, rarely spring and 
autumn, schools of three months' duration depend entirely 
upon public funds. The teachers receive from twenty to 
tliirty-five dollars a month, and are generally young men or 
girls from eighteen to twenty-one who have nothing else to 
do during the summer or winter. In most rural districts the 
people are generally too poor to pay tuition, and this little 
schooling is all that their children receive. This is especially 
the case among the negroes. Many who are able to do so 
educate their children at tlie neighboring village school. 
This is expensive, as both board and tuition must be paid. It 
will be a long time yet before Alabama has a system of public 
schools that will meet all her wants. The chief drawback to 
the establishment of such a system is the presence of the 
negro and his legal equality with the whites. The nearest 
approach which we have to an adequate system is in the case 
of special school districts. 

Eighteen special school districts have been created by spe- 
cial act of the legislature. Most of these are co-extensive 
with the corporate limits of the towns or cities which they 
embrace. Mobile county and the Cullman districts, embrac- 
ing a large part of Cullman county, are the chief exceptions. 
Mobile county had a system of public schools at the time of 
the adoption of the present constitution, and in it this county 
is excepted from the control of the general school laws. 
While all these special districts are created by different acts 
of the legislature, they somewhat resemble each other. Each 
receives its share of the general school fimd, and is given 
power to set aside a fund from the general revenue of the 
town, which is identical v^ath the special school district, for the 
support of schools. In each district, separate schools for 
each race must be maintained. In some, a board of school 
commissioners is created; in others, the city council is made 
such a board. Schools, when co-extensive with the cit}'', are 
generally supported by moneys from the general fund, which 
is made up of taxes, licenses, and fines; in other districts, by 
special tax. The entire tax for all purposes in no city can 



489] Alabama. 37 

exceed one-half of one per cent., except in Mobile and Bir- 
mingham; in Mobile by permission of the constitution, in 
Birmingham by amendment to the constitution. The city 
public schools are very good and give general satisfaction. It 
is by the creation of special school districts that an improve- 
ment in the school system is most likely to come, and it will 
come first in districts having few negroes. 



W. F. Nix. 



Note on Alabama.' 



In " History of Education in Alabama "' it is estimated 
that the patrons of the public schools supplement the public 
funds by about one-third in order to secure better schools. 
This valuable monograph also shows that the constitution 
has greatly interfered, even in special school districts, with the 
growing efforts to supplement State school funds by local 
taxes. Probably this will be changed when Alabama holds 
another constitutional convention. 

Ten special school districts made returns to the State 
Superintendent of Public Education for 189 1-2. The returns 
for Mobile were incomplete. The other nine districts, with 
a total school enrolment of 3,718, and an average attendance 
of 2,576, appropriated $43,811.87 from local revenues to sup- 
plement State aid, tuition fees and other receipts of $11,553.40. 
Local government and taxation are less developed in Ala- 
bama than in most of the Southern States. 



' By the Editor. 

* Published by U. S. Bureau of Education, 1889. 



IV. 

THE LOCAL INSTITUTIONS OF GEORGIA. 

The peculiar considerations which led to the establishment 
of Georgia, the unprecedented charter under which it was 
founded, and the character of the people invited to its borders, 
all give to it a unique place among the original thirteen 
colonies. While the troubles of the early settlers with the 
Indians, by which the colony was well-nigh depopulated, the 
changes wrought by the Revolutionary and Civil wars, com- 
bined with the influence of her sister States, have done much 
to efface some deep marks of distinction, still we can trace 
with more or less certainty the influence of the early days 
upon her later history, literature and institutions. The 
threads of this influence are tangled, broken and sometimes 
lost, and yet a glance at Georgia's colonial government may 
not prove unprofitable in a study of her present local insti- 
tutions. 

The history of Georgia as a ward of the Trustees covers 
the twenty years between 1732 and 1752. Three motives led 
to the foundation of the colony: 

1. To afford an asylum for the indigent of Europe. 

2. To aid in the conversion of the Indians. 

3. To serve as a bulwark to South Carolina against the 
threatened invasion of the Spaniards from Florida. 

It was the first and second considerations which were most 
prominent in the minds of the Trustees. They allowed them- 
selves no salary, and carefully arranged the charter so that 
neither they nor their heirs could derive any benefit from the 
scheme. The historian Dr. Stevens says: "It was the first 
colony ever founded by charity. New England had been 
settled by Puritans who fled thither for conscience sake. New 
York by a company of merchants and adventurers in search 
of gain, Maryland by Papists retiring from Protestant intol- 



491] Georgia. 39 

erance, Virginia by ambitious cavaliers, Carolina by the 
scheming and visionary Shaftesbury, but Georgia was planted 
by the hand of benevolence and reared into being by the 
hands of disinterested charity." 

The primary scheme of government was simple enough. 
The following officers were appointed from among the emi- 
grants for the new town, Savannah: Three bailififs, two tithing- 
men, a recorder, two constables, and eight conservators of the 
peace. A court of judicature known as the "Town Court" 
was erected, in which all things happening or arising in the 
province were to be tried according to the laws of England 
and those established in Georgia. This court was composed 
of the three bailiffs and the recorder acting as clerk. Only 
freeholders were allowed to serve on the jury. The Town 
Court of Savannah had no connection with a higher, but was 
itself supreme. While Oglethorpe was in Savannah, the 
power of the bailififs was merged in him, but his residence was 
an intermittent one. The result which might have been 
expected to flow from the folly of conferring such civil and 
judicial powers upon the bailififs was not slow to appeal". 
Referring to this, one writer says: "Having never before 
held the stafif of ofifice, they became intoxicated with their 
elevation, and used their little brief authority like so many 
autocrats in miniature." 

This plan of government proving unsatisfactory, a com- 
mittee was appointed by the Trustees for remodeling the gov- 
ernment and establishing a constittftion to be administered by 
a president and several assistants. The province was accord- 
ingly divided into two counties. Savannah and Frederica. 
Over each was to be a president and four assistants, who were 
to constitute the civil and judicial tribunal of their respective 
departments. Oglethorpe was to exercise civil and military 
control over the entire colony, thus obviating the rivalries, 
jealousies and collisions which would have arisen between the 
two counties. Both counties united under one executive, the 
president and his assistants, to hold four courts each year in 
Savannah, 



40 Local Government in South and Soutkwest. [492 

An annual representative Assembly, to be held in Savannah, 
was provided for. This Assembly was to meet in Savannah 
at the most convenient time of the year, the meeting not to 
continue over a month. Every town, village or district 
where ten families were settled in the province was to be 
allowed one deputy, and where there were thirty families, two 
deputies; Savannah was to have four. The power to make 
laws being entirely in the hands of the Trustees, the Assembly 
could only act as an advisory body. Besides other informa- 
tion demanded of the deputy, was the unique requirement 
that " he deliver in writing an account of the mulberry trees 
(properly fenced) standing on each plantation in his district." 
The failure of Georgia to make a silk-raising State was cer- 
tainly not due to the lack of encouragement and even pres- 
sure on the part of both the Assembly and Trustees. After 
June, 1 75 1, no person was to be chosen as deputy who had 
not one hundred mulberry trees planted and properly fenced 
on every fifty acres of land he possessed, and after June 24, 
1753, no person who had not also at least one female in his 
family instructed in the art of reeling silk. 

There are four clearly defined periods in the development 
of the local institutions of Georgia, which might be con- 
sidered : 

1. As a ward of the Trustees. 

2. As a Royal Province. 

3. As a slave State from 1777 to the emancipation of the 
negro. 

4. From the adoption of the constitution of 1868 until the 
present time. 

Resisting the temptation of glancing at the institutions of 
each period as we have at those of the first, we shall hasten to 
the local government of to-day. 

The county is the unit of local government. Each county 
is divided into militia districts according to its territory and 
population. The largest counties have six representatives in 
the lower house, and the smallest counties, one. 



493] Georgia. 41 

The officers of the county are Ordinary, Treasurer, Sheriff, 
Tax Collector, Tax Receiver, Surveyor, and Clerk. These 
officers are elected by vote of the qualified voters of the 
county, and, with the exception of the ordinary, who is 
elected for four years, hold office for two years. According 
to the constitution of 1877 the county officers were made 
uniform throughout the State. 

The chief officer is the Ordinary. His position is one of 
much power and responsibility. Courts of Ordinary have 
the right to exercise original, exclusive, and general jurisdic- 
tion of the following nature : 

1 . Probate of wills. 

2. Granting and relieving letters testamentarv' and of ad- 
ministration. 

3. Controversies of executorship and administration. 

4. Sale and disposition of property of deceased persons. 

5. The appointment and removal of guardians, and in all 
controversies as to the right of guardians. 

6. All matters relating to deceased persons, idiots, and 
lunatics. 

When sitting for county purposes the Ordinary has origi- 
nal and exclusive jurisdiction over the following: 

1. In directing and controlling all the property of the 
county. 

2. In levying a tax for county purposes. 

3. In establishing, altering or abolishing all roads, bridges, 
or ferries. 

4. In estabhshing and changing election and militia dis- 
tricts. 

5. In supplying vacancies in county offices and in ordering 
elections to fill them. 

6. In settling all claims against the county. 

7. In auditing all accounts of officers having county 
moneys in charge. 

8. In making such rules and regulations for the support of 
the county poor, and for county police as are in accordance 
with the laws of the county. 



42 Local Government in Souih and Southwest. [494 

The above, though far from including all the powers of the 
Ordinary, will serve to give some idea of the extent of his 
authority. This concentration of power in the Ordinary 
forms the most distinctive and unique feature in the local 
government of the State. It is interesting to trace his title, 
so to speak, and see when so much authority was placed 
in his hands. The constitution of 1821 provided for the elec- 
tion in each county of five justices of the Inferior Court. In 
the code we find this provision, which is the first intimation 
of an Ordinary : " When the inferior court is sitting for ordi- 
nary purposes it shall be known only as sitting for ordinary 
purposes, and the clerk shall be known as clerk of the Ordi- 
nary." 

The court established according to the constitution of 1851 
is styled the Court of Ordinary and the incumbent as Ordi- 
nary. 

According to the constitution of 1865 the powers of the 
Court of Ordinary and Probate were invested in the Ordi- 
nary elected every four years and commissioned by the Gov- 
ernor. He was empowered to issue citations, grant tempor- 
ary letters of administration, and to grant marriage license. 
His powers were still, however, but a tithe of what they were 
to become. 

According to the constitution of 1868 the Inferior Court 
was abolished and most of the powers of the five justices 
were given to the Ordina^\^ Almost every legislature con- 
ferred new powers upon the Ordinary. He became more 
and more the center of all authority in the county. 

The Ordinar}^, we thus see, is an outgrow^th of the old coun- 
try justices, but a plant of very different kind. Several safe- 
guards have been thrown around the officer. After his elec- 
tion the Ordinary must be qualified by the judge of the Su- 
perior Court, he must give a bond of not less than one thou- 
sand dollars, and all his acts are open to the scrutiny of the 
grand jury. 

There is nothing about the other county offices that needs 
special mention. 



495] Georgia. 43 

The censors of the county are the grand jurors. All males 
above 21 and under 60, who are deemed upright and intelli- 
gent citizens, are qualified to act as grand jurors. It is the 
duty of the Ordinary, together with the clerk of tiie Superior 
Court and three commissioners appointed by the judge of the 
Superior Court, to meet at the court-house the first Monday 
in June biennially, to select jurors from the books of the tax 
collector and make out tickets with the names, thus selected, 
on them. These tickets are placed in a box with two separate 
departments numbered " one " and " two." This box is 
locked up and sealed by the judge, given over to the clerk, 
and the key is entrusted to the sheriff. The judge of the 
Superior Court, at the end of each term, causes to be drawn 
from number " one " in open court not less than eighteen nor 
more than thirty names to serve as grand jurors at the next 
term of court. All of these names are deposited in number 
"two." When all the names have been withdrawn from 
" one," the process is reversed. No name can be thrown 
out of the box unless the juror is dead, removed out of the 
county or otherwise disqualified by law. As the judge is 
appointed by the Governor, and the jury commissioners by the 
judge, it is possible for the jury to be confined to one politi- 
cal party, viz., tlie one represented by the Governor. The 
result has been to exclude the negro largely from jury ser- 
vice. The following are some of the duties of the men so 
carefully selected : 

From term to term of the Superior Court they are to in- 
spect and examine the offices, papers, books, and records of 
the Clerk of the Superior Court, Ordinary, and Treasurer. 
They are to examine the list of voters and to present any 
illegal voter for violation of the law. They are to inquire 
into and report on the financial condition of the county, to 
correct mistakes in Tax Receivers' returns, to present the 
Road Commissioners for neglect of duty, to select the County 
Board of Education, to inquire into the record of the pris- 
oners, and to examine and approve the reports of the county 
officers. 



44 Local Government in South and Southwest. [496 

There has been recently much legislation upon public 
roads. Whatever may be the perfection secured in the laws, 
the effect is not yet visible in the roads themselves. 

According to an act of 1818, the Ordinary is required to 
lay his county off into road districts and apportion the roads 
and hands so that the burden of road duties shall fall equally 
upon all. He is also to appoint biennially three commis- 
sioners for each district. It is the duty of these commis- 
sioners to appoint overseers for road hands in their district, to 
properly apportion the various roads and hands, and to fur- 
nish each overseer with a list of the roads and hands under 
his charge. They are to hold a court after the road-working 
to hear all cases of default or other violation of the road laws. 
It is their duty to inspect the public roads, bridges, and ferries 
within their districts, and to exercise a general supervision 
over the overseers in their district and to fine them for neglect 
of duty. A person appointed road commissioner is required 
to serve, and if he neglects his business he may be reported by 
a member of the grand jury and fined not less than fifty dol- 
lars. The only compensation is exemption from jury, patrol, 
militia and other road duties. 

When application is made for a new road or the alteration 
of an old one, the Ordinary appoints three commissioners to 
investigate the advisability of granting the request. If they 
recommend that it be granted, the Ordinary posts a notice of 
the application for 30 days, at the end of which time the road 
is granted, provided no objection is made. The code has 
provided since 181 8 that the public roads must be laid out the 
nearest and best way, but there is no way of enforcing the 
law and it has always remained a dead letter. 

All male inhabitants between the ages of sixteen and fifty 
are subject to road duty; exemptions are made in the case of 
licensed ministers, teachers and pupils in schools and colleges, 
public mills, ferries, etc, white persons in charge of railroad 
trains, officers of the county, State or United States, members 
of the County Board of Education and others. Tools or 
horses may be substituted for the labor of persons. The 



497] Georgia. 45 

result of so many exemptions is that road duties are rarely 
performed by the wealtliy or influential planters. 

The public schools of tlie State are in the hands of a State 
Board of Education composed of the Governor, Attorney- 
General, Secretary of State, Comptroller-General, and State 
School Commissioner. The latter olBcer is appointed by the 
Governor. 

Each county forms a school district, and is placed in charge 
of a County Board of Education. This county board is com- 
posed of five freeholders, appointed usually by the grand 
jury, but in some few counties secured by popular election. 

This board elects one of its own members as County School 
Commissioner. The compensation allowed the other mem- 
bers of the board is exemption from road, jury, and militia 
duties, but the commissioner may be given in addition such 
salary as the board may vote him, provided he is never paid 
more tlian $3.00 per day for time employed in the discharge 
of his official duties. 

The County School Commissioner must examine all appli- 
cants for license to teach. He is to serve as the medium of 
communication between the State School Commissioner and 
his subordinates. He is expected to visit each school in his 
county t\vice during the year, an expectation which, it may be 
remarked, is seldom, if ever, realized. The code also provides 
that he shall every four years take a complete census of the 
youths of his county, noting the number of white and colored 
children. He is also required to report annually to the grand 
jury, and to place his books before them for examination. 

Admission to tlie public schools of the State is gratuitous 
to all children between the ages of six and eighteen. White 
and colored children cannot attend the same school. 

The code still contains the somewhat curious provision 
that the school revenue shall be apportioned to each county 
upon the basis of the aggregate of youths between six and 
eighteen and all Confederate soldiers under thirty years old. 
The school fund consists of the poll tax; tax on liquors, 
shows and exhibitions; dividends upon railroad stocks 



46 Local Government in South and Southwest. [498 

owned by the State; all moneys received by the agricultural 
department for the inspection of fertilizers in excess of what 
is needed to defray the expenses of that department; the net 
amount arising from the hire of convicts, and such other 
funds as may be appropriated from tim.e to time by the legis- 
lature. 

It is provided that equal advantages shall be given so far 
as possible to both races, a provision which has been carefully 
observed, notwithstanding the fact that the whole management 
of educational matters has been almost entirely in the hands of 
the whites. 

According to an act of 1890, teachers' institutes have been 
established in eveiy county in the State. Every teacher is 
required to attend an institute for at least one week during 
the year. 

An act of Sept. 16, 1891, provides that a local tax to sup- 
plement the State school tax may be levied in any county 
where a county school system is not already in existence. 
After two successive juries have recommended this supple- 
mentary tax, the Ordinary orders an election, which is to be 
held under the same rules as the usual elections of the 
county. If two-thirds of the voters qualified to vote at this 
election declare for local taxation, the Ordinary notifies the 
County Board of Education, who in turn fix the rate of taxa- 
tion, which is not to exceed one-fourth of one per cent, of the 
taxable property of the county. 

Any county in which a county school system is already in 
existence, but where the funds, in the opinion of the County 
Board of Education, are insufficient, may obtain the benefits 
of this act by complying with the provisions. An incor- 
porated town or city in the county having a school system of 
its own sustained by local taxation is not allowed to vote in 
this election, and the property in the town, of course, is not 
subject to the county school tax. In counties where there is a 
registration law, two-thirds of the voters on the last registra- 
tion list must be secured, and in counties where there is no 
such law the same proportion of the citizens whose names 



499] Mississippi. 47 

appear upon tlie books of the Tax Collector as having paid 
their tax must vote for the local tax to carry the law. 

This provision that two-thirds of the qualified voters, in- 
stead of two-thirds of the qualified votes cast, should be neces- 
sary, the requiring the recommendation of two successive 
grand juries, most if not all of whom are freeholders, and 
finally giving the County Board of Education, all of whom 
are landowners, the right of fixing the rate, all show that local 
taxation for county schools is still in the hands of the prop- 
erty owners. This act of 1891 is, however, an important step 
forward in local government. 

F. S. Brockman. 

Note on Georgia.' 

A steadily increasing number of cities and incorporated 
towns are possessed of the right of local taxation for school 
purposes. Thirteen cities, three counties and ten incorpor- 
ated towns are thus reported by the State Superintendent in 
his report for 1890, while in another part of the same report 
he mentions the names of three other counties and eleven 
towms that have lately received from the legislature this privi- 
lege of local taxation for school purposes. During 1886- 
1890 inclusive this privilege was granted to twenty-two 
towns and three counties and has been acted upon by nearly 
all. 

Note on Mississippi.- 

The county governing body is composed of a member 
called a supervisor, chosen for four years from each one of 
five districts. In thirty-two enumerated counties where in 
1890 there were 512,276 blacks and only 207,323 whites, or 
71 blacks to every 29 whites, each supervisor must possess 
real estate worth $250. In the remaining fort}'-three counties 
which have 337,518 whites and 232,473 colored, or 59 whites 
to every 41 colored, the supervisor must possess $ioo worth 



' By the Editor. "By the Editor. 



48 Local Government in South and Southwest. [500 

of real estate. Each supervisor must also give bond equal to 
five per cent, of the previous year's taxes raised in the county 
for State and county purposes. The board of supervisors 
levies and disburses the county revenue and manages nearly 
all of the county affairs. 

There are only two important kinds of government within 
the county, — the special school district, and the incorporated 
municipality. Of the latter type are 19 cities of from 2,000 
to 13,500 inhabitants each, or a total of 85,490, and some of 
the 187 small cities and villages, of which the 116 making 
returns to the last census, and supposably the largest, had 
63,741 inhabitants, or an average of 550. Villages of under 
300 inhabitants can levy only a four-mill tax on the dollar. 
Those over 300 and under 5,000 can levy a six-mill tax for 
general expenses and as much more for general improve- 
ments. Places over 5,000 inhabitants can levy a twenty-mill 
tax for the tv^^o objects stated above, or for schools. There 
are four places in the State over 6,000 and with a total popu- 
lation of 40,756. 

The other type of local government below the county is the 
special school district. In these districts, of which there were 
43 in 1 891, 35 having been organized since 1888, there was an 
average attendance of 14,963 pupils in 1891, or 7.6 per cent, 
of the attendance of the entire State. 

Any place of over 750 inhabitants can become a special 
school district, in which case the mayor and aldermen select 
the trustees. These trustees control the school and must 
keep it open seven months a year, or three months more than 
is required in other parts of the State, but they cannot levy a 
tax exceeding three mills without the consent of a majority of 
the taxpayers of the municipality. 

In the rest of the State the County Superintendent of Edu- 
cation, who is appointed in most counties by the State Board 
of Education, but elected in a few instances, fixes the salaries 
of teachers and appoints them, following any recommenda- 
tions, if given, of the district trustees. The latter are elected 
annually by the school patrons, and must be able to read and 



501] South Carolina. 49 

write. The county school board, consisting of one from each 
of the five supervisors' districts, is appointed by the county 
superintendent, subject to the approval of the board of super- 
visors. This Board of Education, among other duties, defines 
boundaries and locates school-houses. 

Note on South Carolina.' 

As stated in the introduction, local government in Soutli 
Carolina was treated in another monograph in these His- 
torical Studies (Vol. L, No. 12), prepared in 1883 by Dr. B. 
J. Ramage. At that time, save in a few towns and cities, 
there was no important political subdivision of the county, 
and even the amount of tax for various purposes that the 
elective county commissioners could raise was fixed by the 
legislature. In school matters, the Governor appointed the 
State Board of Examiners. The latter appointed the county 
board of examiners, who in turn divided the county into 
school districts and appointed three trustees for each, but had 
no power of county taxation for schools. The nearest ap- 
proach to the town-meeting or referendum was in the power 
of these trustees to " call meetings of the people of the dis- 
trict for consultation in regard to the school interests thereof." 

On December 24, 1888, a great extension of local govern- 
ment in South Carolina was made by a law providing for 
local taxation for school purposes in. any school district so 
desiring. The conditions are, first, that a majority of the resi- 
dent freeholders must petition for it. Then the school trus- 
tees call a meeting of all who return $100 worth of real or 
personal property for taxation. This meeting elects a chair- 
man and secretary, and can levy a tax not exceeding two 
mills on the dollar and appropriate it "to such school pur- 
poses as a majority present shall see fit." The county treas- 
urer collects the tax, which is expended in the district; but 
"each taxpayer, when he pays any tax for school purposes 
voted under the provisions of this act, shall have the right to 



' By the Editor. 



50 Local Government in South and Southwest. [502 

designate to which school in his district he wishes the money 
paid by him to go," and the money must be so expended. If 
there is no such designation of the tax, the money is spent 
like the other funds of the district. 

I suppose the school meeting merely appropriates the tax 
levy for a certain class of expenses, such as teachers' salaries, 
school buildings, apparatus, etc., and then the taxpayer can 
designate further the school. This power would probably be 
much appreciated by the whites in a county like Beaufort, 
where there were in 1890 only 2,695 whites to 31,424 colored, 
or Berkely, where there were 7,687 whites to 47,741 colored 
persons, who were presumably much smaller taxpayers. 

This law is a strong entering wedge for local government. 
Many towns with limited powers of local government and 
some cities are yearly incoq^orated. 

Twenty-one of the thirty-five counties of the State report to 
the State Superintendent of Education for 189 1-2 that spe- 
cial, z. c. local, school taxes in their counties amounted to 
$575329.64, or 15.2 per cent, of the total receipts for school 
purposes. There have been created in the State since 1877, 
by special acts of the legislature, eighty-six special school 
districts, aside from the separate school districts provided for 
by the general law of 1888. Of these eighty-six, twenty-one 
have the right to levy a three-mill tax, four a four-mill tax, 
and five a five-mill tax. Nearly all the rest, like the separate 
districts, can levy a two-mill tax. 

Note on Florida.' 

The chief development of local government in Florida, as 
elsewhere, is connected with schools. By virtue of a law of 
June 8, 1889, it is provided that, on petition of one-fourth of 
the voters in any election district or town, a vote must be 
taken relative to the formation of a school district with three 
elective trustees therein. In any school district thus created 
the County Board of Education, when petitioned to do so, 



' By the Editor. 



503] Florida. :a 

and when it deems the action advisable, has an election in the 
district to determine the propriety of a special local tax for 
school purposes. At this election a majority of all those pay- 
ing real or personal taxes can vote a tax not exceeding three 
mills for school purposes. In districts where the trustees are 
not elected, tliose nominated by the patrons are usually ap- 
pointed. The patrons of a school often hold an election for 
the choice of a teacher when not appointed by the trustees. 
The County Board of Education, consisting of three mem- 
bers, who locate and maintain the schools and levy a tax of 
three to five mills, are nominated by the State Superintendent 
of Education and confimied by the State Board of Education, 
which is an elective body. 

The five county commissioners, who administer most of the 
affairs of the county, are appointed by the Governor and 
Senate, but the people elect the County Superintendent of 
Education and the assessor. In the election districts assistant 
assessors may be appointed by the county commissioners if 
the legislature so orders. 

Three hundred or more voters in a place are sufficient for 
incorporation as a city, and twenty-five male inhabitants like- 
wise are sufficient for an incorporated town. Both have a 
mayor and council, who have the power to pass ordinances 
and to levy a tax not exceeding one per cent, for schools, 
streets, the poor, infirm, insane, and for many other purposes. 
The tax for interest, water works and fire protection may 
exceed one per cent. About 130,000, or one-third of the 
population of the State, according to the census of 1890, lived 
in cities and villages. There were three of these places with 
from 11,750 to 18,080 inhabitants, twenty-three from 1,000 to 
5,600. and seventy-five from 54 to 1,000. The number of 
these small places enjoying local government — for a consid- 
erable proportion are incorporated — must be taken into 
account in considering the local government of the State. 



V. 

TEXAS. 

In the latter part of the year 1684 La Salle established the 
first European colony within the present limits of Texas. 
This colony lived only a short time. In 1686 Mexico took 
nominal military possession of the country, and five years 
later Don Domingo Teran was appointed Governor of Coa- 
huila and Texas, with instructions to establish agricultural 
colonies in the southern and most fertile sections of the terri- 
tory. This assumption of sovereignty by Mexico did not 
cause France to relinquish her claim to Texas, nor did France 
recognize the Spanish treaty of 1803 with the United States 
as binding, but continued a spasmodic controversy until the 
treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in 1848. The republic of 
Mexico prescribed military government for the new settle- 
ments as they were established, and this form of general and 
local government, which was in course of time widened and 
elaborated to suit the demands of the colonists, prevailed until 
1821, when the Mexican nation was declared "free and inde- 
pendent of the Spanish government and every other forever.'' 

Under the constitution of the United Mexican States, the 
provinces of Coahuila and Texas were made a State co- 
ordinate in internal administrative powers with the other con- 
stituent States of the confederation. The form of the State 
government was representative, popular and federal, and like 
the government of the United States was divided into three 
branches, namely, the legislative, executive, and the judicial. 
The government of the confederation was similar to that of 
the United States in that its powers were enumerated, giving 
to the States all powers and rights not expressly granted to 
the central government. The confederation was sovereign 



505] Texas. 53 

as to all proper international relations, while the States were 
sovereign as to general police powers and local taxation. A 
State constitution for Coahuila and Texas was framed at 
Saltillo, and proclaimed March ii, 1827, and in this constitu- 
tion it is declared that the " sovereignty of the State resides 
originally and essentially in the mass of individuals who 
compose it," the form and substance of such powers being 
defined and desigiiated by the constitution of the State. At 
the formation of this constitution the State was divided into 
three departments, namely, Bexar, Monclova, and Parras, and 
power was given Congress to alter and readjust this division 
to suit the advantages of the different sections. 

The State was divided into ayuntamientos, local subdivi- 
sions of State government, somewhat like our county at pres- 
ent, as to its functions of government. The ayuntamiento 
district was divided into electoral municipal assemblies, like 
our present election precinct, but more to suit the convenience 
of the scattered communities than in accordance with geo- 
graphical surveys. These primary juntas, or municipal as- 
semblies, were composed of all qualified voters residing within 
the specified limits. The elections \vere held on Sunday and 
the following Monday, the session lasting four hours each 
day. At these times electors were chosen to meet in con- 
junction with electors from other municipal assemblies and 
vote for members of Congress, the Governor, and other 
high officers of State. The ayuntamiento was a board of 
officers elected by means of electoral municipal assemblies to 
establish and direct police powers and regulations and gen- 
eral internal government for the towns and communities of 
the State. Congress could, upon proper application and suffi- 
cient demand shown, establish ayuntamientos, and in the 
enabling act would designate the number of officers, alcaldes 
or presidents, \vho had power to exercise both legislative and 
judicial functions somewhat like the mayor of some of our 
Southern cities. Syndics having powers similar to our mod- 
em city councillors, and aldermen similar to the modern 
Board of Public Works, were next in power to the alcaldes. 



54 Local Government in South and Southwest. [506 

The alcaldes were to be renewed 3^early, of the aldermen halt 
were renewed every year, and also the syndics, if there were 
more than two, but if only one, he was changed every year. 
Each ayuntamiento would make out annually a full report 
of its financial and industrial conditions and forward to the 
Chief of Department, who would report to the Governor or 
Congress, and the ayuntamiento would publish a copy of the 
same in a public place. The ayuntamiento was the local unit 
of taxation as well as of civil government. The tax lists were 
made out by the ayuntamiento, and the assessments were 
collected by agents of its own appointment. Ten per cent, of 
the tax was applied to the current expenses of the ayunta- 
miento, to pay the tax commissioners and other local func- 
tionaries, and the remainder went to the State. 

In 1836, we find the English and American colonists 
tired of Spanish and Catholic rule. By strong exertion they 
threw ofif Mexican allegiance, proclaimed their independence, 
and established a provisional government, which was super- 
seded, in a few months, by a permanent republic. The con- 
stitution of the republic was, to a large extent, a copy of the 
United States plan of individual statehood. The church was 
cut loose from political government; religious qualifications 
were no longer necessary for eligibility to the franchise and 
ofifice. The electoral system of voting was supplanted by the 
popular ballot. The Legislature was divided into two 
branches, a House of Representatives and a Senate, the mem- 
bers of both being elected by popular vote in districts deter- 
mined by due apportionment of the full population. The 
executive was elected by popular vote. The State was im- 
perfectly divided into counties, and in each county was estab- 
lished a county court and such justices' courts as Congress 
thought proper. In this change the strict form of Conti- 
nental government and the civil law sink beneath the greater 
liberality of the United States government and the English 
common law. In 1845 ^^^ Republic of Texas ceased to be 
an independent sovereignty, by being admitted as a State into 
the United States of America. The old constitution and 



507] Texas. 55 

laws of the republic needed only slight modifications to meet 
the requirements of the constitution and laws of the United 
States. 

At present the county is the distinctive unit of local self- 
g-ovemment. Some of the counties are still very large. The 
counties organized since 1879 contain not less than seven nor 
more than nine hundred square miles, and all counties that 
shall hereafter be formed out of unorganized territory of the 
State must conform to the same rule. 

The county organization and form of self-government may 
be outlined as follows: The county is divided into four pre- 
cincts, in each of which a commissioner is elected by popular 
vote every two years. These four commissioners, with the 
county judge, who is elected every two years by the popular 
vote of the county, constitute the county or commissioners' 
court. This court bears the same relation to the county as 
the Legislature does to the State, and for beneficial local insti- 
tutions it is by far the wisest and most important body. The 
county judge presides at the meetings and votes only in cases 
of a tie. He fills a vacancy of a commissioner's of^ce by 
appointment from the district left vacant. This court has 
power to fill any other county office left vacant. This court 
meets in regular session on the second Monday in February, 
May, August, and November of each year, and the county 
judge or any three commissioners may call a special session, 
which may continue until the business for which it Avas called 
is completed. A quorum — three commissioners and the 
county judge — may transact any business except to levy the 
county tax, when the full number must be present. To this 
court all petitions for the establishment of schools, roads, 
bridges, and other local public institutions must be addressed. 
The general supervision of all property belonging to the 
county, such as jails, court-houses, poor-houses and poor- 
farms, is vested in this body. For the erection and mainte- 
nance of any of these necessary count)' institutions, the com- 
missioners' court may levy and collect a tax upon any prop- 
erty within the county that is taxed by the State. The county 



56 Local Government in South and Southwest. [508 

tax cannot exceed one-half the State tax on any property, 
except for the purpose of erecting public buildings, and this 
right is continually subject to constitutional and legislative 
limitations. An instance of this exception is in building 
or completing a court-house, when a tax not exceeding fifty 
cents on the one hundred dollars' valuation may be levied. 
On the second Monday in June, the commissioners' court 
meets as a board of equalization, to receive all the assessment 
lists and books for inspection, equalization and approval. 
Here the local grievances of the individual citizen are exam- 
ined and redressed according to popular justice and law. The 
commissioners' court of any organized county has the full 
power of local legislation over any adjacent unorganized ter- 
ritory. 

The commissioners' court divides the county into eight pre- 
cincts, and elects a justice of the peace for each. In cities of 
eight thousand or more inhabitants two justices of the peace 
are elected and qualified. This court also has power to elect 
a County Superintendent of Education when necessary. It 
is the duty of the superintendent to visit the public schools, 
lecture to them, advise the teachers, and hold teachers' insti- 
tutes monthly. 

The court may elect a County Superintendent of Roads, or 
a superintendent for each precinct, and also overseers under 
each superintendent. The court in every case defines the 
road districts and apportions the hands under the overseers. 
The court must make a report of the financial condition of 
the county at each and every regular session, and this report 
must be published in some local newspaper or posted in four 
public places in the county. The county clerk makes and 
keeps a record of all proceedings of the commissioners' court. 

The sheriff executes all legal and legislative processes. He 
is collector of taxes in counties of less than ten thousand 
inhabitants. He may appoint deputies, but he is personally 
responsible for their official acts. In counties of less than 
eight thousand population, one officer may be elected to fill 
both offices of district and county clerk. A constable is 



509] Texas. 57 

elected for each justice precinct. He must execute and re- 
turn all processes handed him by any legal officer. Other 
county officers, whose duties are sufficiently defined by their 
titles, are assessor of taxes, collector of taxes (in counties of 
over ten thousand population), surveyor, animal and hide 
inspector, county attorney, county jury commissioners, and 
treasurer. 

Towns. 

A town or village containing two hundred inhabitants or 
less than one thousand may be incorporated as a town by at 
least twenty inhabitants of such town or village filing an appli- 
cation for incorporation in the office of the county judge, 
stating the name and the boundaries of the proposed town or 
village. If all the requisites of incorporation are fulfilled, tlie 
county judge orders an election, in which all qualified voters 
who reside and have resided within the limits of the proposed 
town or village for the six months next preceding may par- 
ticipate. A majority of the votes polled is sufficient for incor- 
poration. Within twenty days after the election the county 
judge makes a record in the commissioners' court of the 
incorporation. After this entry upon the county records the 
town or village " is a corporation having power to sue and be 
sued, plead and be impleaded, and to hold and dispose of real 
and personal property; provided such real property is situated 
within the limits of the corporation." The county judge tlien 
orders an election of a mayor, a marshal, and five aldermen. 
The jurisdiction of the mayor in civil and criminal cases is the 
same as that of a justice of the peace. He is the executive of 
the town ordinances and by-laws. The council, composed of 
the mayor and the five aldermen, may make by-laws not 
inconsistent with the constitution and laws of the State; may 
levy a tax not exceeding one-fourth of one per cent, on the 
one hundred dollars valuation. The marshal has the same 
official functions as a constable and, of course, other duties 
made necessary from the town ordinances and by-laws. He 
also assesses and collects the taxes. 



58 Local Government in South and Southwest. [510 

Cities of one thousand or more inhabitants may be chartered 
by general laws. Such charter gives express power to levy, 
assess and collect an annual tax to defray the current ex- 
penses of the city government; but such tax can never exceed 
for any one year one-fourth of one per cent. Cities may hold 
and dispose of real and personal property situated within or 
without the corporate limits. Cities of over ten thousand 
inhabitants may have their charters granted by special acts of 
the legislature, and may levy a tax on property taxed by the 
State within the city limits not exceeding two and one-half 
per cent. The cities having special charters must in all cases 
provide a tax sufficient to pay interest on all outstanding 
debts. 

The municipal government of the city consists of a city 
council composed of the mayor and two aldermen from each 
ward, a majority of whom constitute a quorum for the 
transaction of business, except at called meetings for the 
imposition of taxes, when two-thirds of a full board are 
required, unless otherwise specified. The other officers of 
the corporation are a treasurer, assessor and collector, a secre- 
tary, a city attorney, a marshal, and a city engineer, and such 
other officers and agents as the city council may from time to 
time direct. The above-named officers are elected by the 
qualified electors of the city, and hold their offices for two 
years and until the election and qualification of their succes- 
sors. It is so arranged that one alderman is to be elected 
from each ward every year. The city usually has its powers 
defined in its charter, and may generally exercise any needful 
internal police power within its limits, subject only to the limi- 
tations of the State constitution and laws. 

Schools. 

In 1829 provision was made for the establishment of a 
*' school of mutual instruction " in the capital of each depart- 
ment of State. The curriculum comprised " reading, writ- 
ing, arithmetic, the dogma of the Catholic religion, and all of 
Ackermann's catechisms of arts and sciences." Parents who 



511] Texas. 59 

were able to pay were charged fourteen and eighteen dollars 
per annum, according to the advancement of the pupil. The 
teachers were paid monthly fixed salaries, in advance. If the 
tuition, legacies and private donations were not a sufficient 
available fund, the municipal funds were subject to tlie delin- 
quency. Special but limited arrangements were made for 
educating some of tlie poor children at these schools. The 
parents who could afiford to educate their children were re- 
quired to do it, under moderate penalties. 

The Congress of Texas, after it became a republic, appro- 
priated seventeen tliousand seven hundred and twelve acres 
of land to each county for public school purposes, and to each 
new county the same amount was to be appropriated. This 
law still obtains in Texas. The county commissioners may 
rent the lands, adding the rental to the available county school 
fund, or they may sell the lands and invest the proceeds in 
United States bonds. State or county bonds, or in other secu- 
rities subject to restrictions provided by law, and the income 
from such investment is added to the available county school 
fund. It has recently been recommended by the Superin- 
tendent of Public Instruction that the proceeds from the 
county school lands be loaned to the county for the erection 
of school buildings, each district bonding its debt with reas- 
onable interest. 

The Perpetual School Fund consists of bonds, land, notes 
and cash, as follows: 

County bonds: $2,622,620; income, $170,000. 

State bonds: $2,048,800; income, $130,000. 

Railroad bonds: $1,763,317; income, $80,000. 

Land notes: $12,743,000; income, $775,000. 

Cash on hand: $500,000. 

The total amount of permanent school fund in 1890 was 
$19,600,000. The income from this fund is nominally about 
$1,157,000, but as much of the interest on the land notes is 
unpaid, the actual receipts in iSqo were about $885,000. 

The State available school fund comprises this income from 
the permanent school fund and one-fourth the revenue from 



60 Local Government in South and Southioest. [512 

the State occupation taxes, a poll tax of one dollar on every 
male inhabitant between twenty and sixty years of age, and 
an annual State tax not exceeding twenty cents on the one 
hundred dollars valuation. Then the county available school 
fund adds about half a million dollars, and local taxation adds 
another half million dollars. 

The State available fund is apportioned annually to the 
several counties, according to the scholastic population of 
each, for the maintenance of public free schools. The laws pur- 
porting to govern the public free schools of Texas declare 
that the available funds will be " sufficient to maintain and 
support the public free schools of this State for a period of 
not less than six months in each year." The reports of 1889- 
90 show that in the " district school " counties the average 
term per annum was only five months, and in the " com- 
munity " counties only 4.83 months. In the cities the aver- 
age term was 7.62 months. On the first Monday in October 
of 1884 sll but seventy-five of the two hundred and forty-five 
counties were divided into convenient school districts by the 
county courts, and these districts cannot be changed, except 
by a majority vote of the legal voters in all districts affected 
by such change. In each district three trustees are elected by 
the qualified State voters in such district, and these trustees 
form a body corporate, that is, they may contract, sue and be 
sued, plead and be impleaded in any court of the State having 
proper jurisdiction. Any district may, by a two-thirds ma- 
jority of the qualified property, tax-paying voters of the dis- 
trict, levy a tax not exceeding twenty cents on the one hun- 
dred dollars valuation of the taxable property of the district. 
Towns and cities constituting separate and distinct school 
districts are not limited to this amount, but are subject to such 
limitations as the respective municipal councils may prescribe. 

There is a simpler and more rudimentary system of public 
free schools for the thinly settled counties and unorganized 
territory. This is called the " Community System." Any 
number of bona fide residents in any one of these counties 
may petition the county judge for their pro rata of the avail- 



513] Tems. 61 

able annual school fund of the county. As the teaclier's 
salary' is based upon the number of pupils in the district or 
community, a small community is able to have a school for a 
few months in each year. If the attendance ever falls below 
thirty-three and one-third per cent, of the enrolment, the trus- 
tees must discontinue the school. The county judge appoints 
the three " community " trustees, and they have all the ordi- 
nary powers vested in the trustees of a regular school district, 
save that they do not constitute a body corporate, and, hence, 
have not the powers belonging to such a body. Districts, 
however, may be formed in any of the community counties 
by the citizens of any section of the county, but must not 
exceed four square miles in area. 

The State Board of Education is composed of the Gov- 
ernor, who is chairman of the board, the Secretary of State, 
the Comptroller, and the Superintendent of Public Instruc- 
tion, who is ex officio secretarv' of the board. This board 
makes the apportionments to the several counties and to the 
separate and distinct city and town school organizations. 

County School Officers. 

The County Commissioners' Court is the tribunal to which 
all petitions and grievances are referred that do not come 
within the jurisdiction of the board of trustees, such as peti- 
tions for a local tax to be added to the available school fund, 
or a special tax for the erection of school buildings. The 
county superintendent is an officer chosen at the discretion of 
the commissioners' court, and his duty^ is the general superin- 
tendence of all public free schools in the county. This gen- 
eral superintendence devolves upon the county judge when 
no distinctive officer is elected. 

In cities, or in towns that are constituted distinct school 
organizations, six trustees, if a majority of the legal voters 
consent, are elected, holding ofifice four years, three being 
elected every two years. The mayor and county judge are 
ex officio members of the board. If no trustees are elected 
■or provided for, the town or city council or board of aldermen 



62 Local (lOvernment hi ^outh and Southivest. [514 

exercise the powers that would have been vested in the trus- 
tees. The city school districts may issue bonds for the pur- 
pose of erecting school buildings, but the county districts can- 
not. In the districts or communities the " school fund may 
be used for erecting, furnishing and repairing school-houses," 
provided the district or community contribute an amount 
equal to one-third of the school fund for building, and pro- 
vided a site be donated. 

Villages and towns having two hundred inhabitants or 
more, may incorporate for school purposes alone, by the con- 
sent of a majority of the qualified voters living within the 
proposed district limits. For such a school organization five 
trustees are elected. It is a duty of the legislature to make 
provision for a six months' school term. There is a two-mill 
local tax allowed under the constitution which, if levied, 
would maintain good schools in the greater number of dis- 
tricts. 

In 1889-90 there were 9,065 public schools taught in the 
State. Of these, the number of graded schools, not including 
cities, was 307, and the number of ungraded schools, not 
including cities, was 8,649, ^^-d the number of high schools, 
not including cities, was 109. 

W. M. Sanderson. 

Note on Texas.' 

Twenty-six per cent, of the 2,235,523 inhabitants of Texas 
in 1890 lived in incorporated towns and cities. Four places 
contained from 23,000 to 38,067 each. Five had between 
10,000 and 14,575, ^nd twenty-four had between 3000 and 
8300 each, while 329 other places, some of them incorporated, 
had an average population of 750. 

The total receipts for school purposes in 1889-90 were 
$3,208,965.16. Of this, $377,147.28, or 1 1.8 per cent., came 
from local school taxes. The previous year it was 1 1.5 per cent. 
The State superintendent of education makes, in his report 

' By the Editor. 



515] Texas. 63 

for 1889 and 1890, a strong plea for more local taxation, 
declaring that " not one-tenth of the area of the State is cov- 
ered by local school tax," but adds that the area so taxing 
itself is rapidly growing, and that " the law framed in pursu- 
ance of the constitutional amendment of 1883, authorizing 
local taxation, throws many obstacles in the way of the levy 
of local taxes... The law, as it stands now on our statute 
books, is distinctly behind public sentiment in this State and 
ought to be amended." 



VI. 
LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN ARIOVNSAS. 

Arkansas has the County System. The counties are di- 
vided into townships. Each township elects one constable 
and one justice of the peace for every two hundred electors, 
but every township must have at least two justices of the 
peace. These townships have no direct control over their 
own local affairs, since there is no town-meeting- as in the 
New England States. 

The County Court has the real control of all the local 
affairs of each township, excepting schools and certain mat- 
ters under the control of the justices of the peace. Each 
county court has exclusive and original jurisdiction in all 
matters relating to roads, appointment of viewers and over- 
seers, also in all matters relating to bridges, ferries, paupers 
and vagrants; it fixes the place of holding elections, pur- 
chases property for and sells property of the county, pays 
out all money for county purposes, and has full control in all 
other things that may be necessar}^ to the internal improve- 
ment and local concerns of the county. This court, com- 
posed of the county judge, with a majority of the justices of 
the peace, meets annually on the first Monday in July, to levy 
taxes and make appropriations for county purposes. This 
court regularly meets four times a year, but the county judge, 
on giving ten days' notice, may hold special sessions. The 
people biennially elect a sheriff, who is ex officio tax collector, 
unless the legislature appoints a collector. The people also 
elect a tax assessor, coroner, treasurer, and sui-veyor, and in 
each township a constable. 

For roads the county court appoints overseers, who call 
out to work the roads all men between eighteen and forty-five 
years of age, for not more than five days a year. When a 



517] Arka7isas. 65 

bridge is to be built, the court appoints three viewers to locate 
the same and report plans. After the completion of the 
bridge by a contractor, the same three men, who are paid for 
the service $1.50 a day, decide whether the bridge is built 
according to the contract. Where there is a swamp, the 
county court may allow the building of a turnpike and the 
charging of such tolls by a private company as the court may 
direct. 

The result of all this is that Arkansas has bad roads, except 
in dry weather. No real effort is put forth to make the roads 
good. Their working is a sort of annual farce carried out 
under the solemn sanction of the law. Who could expect 
good roads from work of not more than five days in the year? 
Who could expect competent men to be willing to go as 
viewers and reviewers of bridges for the sum of one dollar 
and fifty cents per day? 

The county court provides for the poor and the criminal 
class, and, on petition of a majority of the taxpayers, can pur- 
chase a poor-farm and provide a house of correction. 

In 1836 Congress offered the State of Arkansas, just ad- 
mitted as a State, the i6th section of every township and 
seventy-two sections of land known as the Saline lands. 
These three land grants from the Federal government were 
accepted and form the basis of the free school system. 

In 1842 the legislature provided for the sale of the i6th 
section and for the election of trustees in each township. 
Schools were to be taught for at least four months in each 
year, and money was also appropriated to buy text-books. 
In 1867 the legislature levied a tax of twenty cents on the 
hundred dollars, and provided for a superintendent of public 
instruction, and also for a school commissioner in each county 
to examine applicants and grant licenses to teachers. No 
license had hitherto been required. The congressional town- 
ship was made the unit of the school district. Unless a school 
was taught at least three months, the district forfeited its por- 
tion of the school revenue belonging to the county; but 
schools were not free to all until 1868. At that time the 



66 Local Government in South and Southwest. [518 

State Board of Education was established, the school fund 
was increased, and it was decreed that all districts failing to 
have a school three months a year would forfeit their share 
of this fund. 

This was the beginning of the era of popular education in 
Arkansas. The prejudice against free schools gave way, and 
separate schools were provided for the whites and the blacks. 

In 1874 another constitutional convention was held, and the 
present system dates from that time. The State is divided 
into school districts, numbering 4,448 in 1892. 

In addition to a State levy for schools of two mills 'on 
every dollar of valuation and a poll tax of one dollar per 
capita, each of these districts may levy a tax not exceeding 
five mills. In 1892 nearly sixty-five per cent, of the districts 
levied this maximum tax, and over twenty per cent, levied 
from two and one-half to four and one-half mills, and 590 dis- 
tricts, or 13.3 per cent., levied no tax. When it is remem- 
bered that in 1889, according to the United States Depart- 
ment of Education, the average State and local tax levy for 
schools in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and New 
Jersey was only 4.39 mills, the total State and local tax of 
seven mills in Arkansas in 1892 is very creditable, although it 
only sufiEices to keep the country schools open about three 
months in the year. 

Of the entire school revenue of $1,096,269.51 in 1892, 
the State two-mill tax produced $341,621.38, the district 
tax $571,923.02, the poll tax $167,419.81, and other sources 
$15,305.30. These items are equivalent to 6.1 mills on the 
valuation. The State tax for normal and other schools, viz., 
the blind and deaf mute schools and the State University, 
adds over half a mill to this. 

In 1876, when the district tax was reported for the first 
time, it amounted to $88,000. In 1884 this had grown to 
$346,521.26, and in 1892, as stated above, to $571,923.02. 

The Superintendent of Public Instruction calls for a reform 
of the school district system, and suggests the township school 
system as a substitute. This idea has been endorsed by a 



519] Arkansas. 67 

majority of tlie county superintendents, but as yet no chanj^e 
has been made. 

A school district must contain at least thirty-five persons 
between tlie ages of six and twenty-one years. If a district 
be divided by the county court, in accordance with a petition 
from a majority of the citizens, both districts must contain 
this number. In towns or cities, when twenty voters peti- 
tion, an election is held, and the town or city, if it so votes, 
may become a single district, with six directors. The school 
directors, elected by the qualified voters of the district, hire 
tlie teachers, sign orders on the county treasury, purchase a 
site for the school-house and provide for the government 
of the school. 

The chief development of local government in the State is 
the annual school-meeting, which resembles the Massachu- 
setts town-meeting, though the powers are limited to school 
affairs. The directors must give notice fifteen days before 
tlie annual school-meeting, in which meeting all the qualified 
electors in each school district can talk and vote on ques- 
tions relating to the school. By vote they decide to levy or 
not to levy an extra school tax, not exceeding four mills on 
the dollar; whether or not there shall be a school, and how 
long it shall be taught; select a site for a school-house where 
necessary; decide whether a part of their school money shall 
go to build a school-house, when one is needed. At the first 
annual school-meeting they elect three directors, who are to 
serve one, two and three years respectively, and at each sub- 
sequent annual school-meeting they elect one director. 

Here is a germ which may one day develop into real local 
government. The people may be trained in this annual 
school-meeting to take such interest in managing their own 
local affairs, that in time each township may wish to control 
all its own affairs in a similar manner. However, if the people 
are moving in this direction, their progress is, like tliat of a 
sluggish stream, scarcely perceptible. 

B. W. DODSON. 



68 Local Government in South and Southwest. [520 

Note on Arkansas.' 

There were in 1892 nine cities which taxed themselves 
sufficiently to keep their schools open eight months, and sixty- 
one towns which, in a similar manner, kept theirs open nearly 
six months. A most interesting phase of local government 
in the South is presented by statements in the report for 1892 
of Mr. J. H. Shinn, State Superintendent of Public Instruc- 
tion. He says that though nine-tenths of the school tax is 
paid by the whites, it is, in most cases, distributed so as to give 
equal length of school to both races. " Colored men may be 
elected directors of schools, and are so elected and control the 
boards of twenty per cent, of the school districts in the State,, 
this being nearly the whole territory occupied by them . . . The 
following voluntary statement given by Jake Woods, a colored 
man in District No. 2, Pulaski county, is a fair sample of what 
the superintendent hears on all sides as he moves about over 
the State : ' We have three directors in No. 2, two negroes and 
one white man. We have no clashing whatever. There are 
38 white children and 549 colored children. We have six 
schools, each of which is kept open free for six months. 
The negroes have five of these schools and the whites one, 
The whites pay about all of the taxes, although our race is 
beginning to gather some property. The white man selects 
the white teacher and we select the colored teachers. We 
pay the white teacher $40 per month, and the same to a col- 
ored man who holds a first-grade license. My children are 
improving, and I am satisfied with the schools.' " 

' By the Editor. 



VII. 
LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN KENTUCKY. 

The history of Kentucky has determined the character of 
her local government, whether it should be of the County or 
of the Township. Previous to the year 1776, what is now 
Kentucky was a part of Fincastle Co., Va. In that year 
Kentucky Co., embracing the present State of Kentucky, was 
established, with Harrodsburg as the county seat. There, on 
Kentucky soil, was reinstituted the Southern County, with its 
Justices, Sheriiif, and Quarter Sessions, having the same 
powers and practices as in the older part of Virginia. In the 
year 1781 Kentucky County was divided into three, — Jeffer- 
son, Lincoln, and Fayette, separated from each other by the 
Kentucky and Green rivers. Again the Virginia county- 
machinery was established in each division, with the addition 
of an officer in charge of the county militia and having the 
rank of colonel.^ The work thus fairly begun was carried on 
to its legitimate end. Every division of the original counties 
saw a set of officers established in the new county corres- 
ponding in ever}^ particular to those in the old ones. More 
recently there have been some irregularities in the names of 
some of the officers, and in some few cases in the division of 
work among them. But in general the development has been 
very uniform, and the counties of Kentucky of the present, 
as would be expected, are governed much like those of Vir- 
ginia. 

The character of the government of a State is determined 
very largely by its constitution. Kentucky has had four 
constitutio