|CHAPTER X. -- AFFLICTION--REMOVAL TO WORCESTER--RETURN SOUTH -- --MEETING OF OLD FRIENDS--THE NORTHERN LIFE -- --OLD MASTERS IN THE NORTH--HOUSE- -- HOLDER.|
|LETTER FROM REV. V. A. COOPER, -- Superintendent Of Home For Little Wanderers, Boston, Mass .|
Two hundred years of human bondage! From generation to generation the vast system of tyranny, oppressing every faculty of mind and capability of moral nature, transmitting its baneful influence from parent to child, and then, by its injustice, dishonesty, and utter disregard of all the most sacred relationships of life, stifling the earliest instincts and smothering the first breathings of the innate personality which distinguishes the race created in God's image, the wonder of wonders is that there was anything left of the nobility of a true manhood and womanhood in a single member of the oppressed and ravished race at the end of two hundred years. Whatever happened at the Fall of Adam and Eve, the strength of brain and heart that could withstand such treatment and retain in itself the fibre and life of noble aspirations, strength to stand for justice, truth, virtue, and courage of conviction, must have had something left in it both God-like and sublime. Such characters there were all through the South.
Betty Veney was one of them. The story of her life speaks nobly for herself, sublimely for human nature, grandly for her race. Amid dishonesty she was honest, amid injustice she had the soul of honor, amid corruption she was pure, amid persecutions dauntless and patient. I see her industrious, beautiful, heroically suffering life, against the white man's lecherous greed, against slavery's oppression, as a natural development amid rank and noxious weeds fed and watered by the grace of God, as lilies are which lie in virgin purity on the bosom of fetid waters in dank swamps.
We can never undo the past wrong; but wherever a colored hand, worn out with honest labor, which has never been required, is stretched out palm up in the midst of Christian plenty, its silent appeal is more pathetic than any language. It seems to come from the body of the race, to bear in its lines the sad story, not of one person, but of the millions buried and forgotten in their unmarked graves. It would be the simplest act of justice to pension all the remaining slaves. The cotton-fields and rice-swamps of the South would seem then to be yielding the peaceable fruits of righteousness. It would then appear to all mankind that our religion had awakened our seared Christian conscience to the sense of the wrongs done this people.
Dear Aunt Betty! Her race is nearly run. Her sun goes down the sky. How broad the chart from horizon to horizon! Long years of trouble, toil, self-sacrifice, and suffering! May thy sunset be the sun-rising of a cloudless day, where justice shall compensate thee and thine, and thy independent free spirit, equal to the angels', enjoy forever the freedom of the sons of God!Your former pastor and wife, V. A. and Elizabeth Cooper .