Rollin, Frank [Frances] A.
|CHAPTER XXVII -- A NEWFIELD|
Mr. Editor: This is my sixth article on the subject of the "Prospects of the Freemen of Hilton Head" Island, which
After what has been adduced in proof of their susceptibility, adaptation, and propensity for the vocations of the domestic and social relations of our civilization, what are their prospects? for that now must be the leading question, and give more concern to the philanthropist, true statesman, and Christian, than anything relating to their Fitness or innate adaptation, since that I hold to be admitted, and no longer a question --at least with the intelligent inquirer
What should be the prospects? Will not the same labor that was performed by a slave be in requisition still? Cannot he do the same work as a freedman that he once did as a slave? Are the products of slave labor preferable to free? or are the products of free labor. less valuable than slave? Will not rice and cotton be in a great demand after emancipation as before it? or will these commodities cease to be used, because they cease to be produced by the labor of slaves? All these are questions pertinent, if not potent, to the important inquiry under consideration-- the prospects of the freemen of Hilton Head.
Certainly these things will be required, in demand, and labor quite as plentiful; but not one half of the Negroes can be induced to work, as was proven in the West Indies, and is apparent from the comparative number who now seek their old vocations to those formerly did the same work
Grant this,-- which is true--and is in an objectionable feature, or does it impair the prospects of the freedman? By no means; but, on the contrary, it enhances his prospects and elevates his manhood. Here, as in the case of West India emancipation, before emancipation took place every available person-- male and female-- from seven years ago to decrepit old age (as field hands) was put into the held to labor
For example, take one case to illustrate the whole. Before liberated, Juba had a wife and eight children, from even to thirty years of age, every one of whom was at labor in the field
As slaves, people have no choice of pursuit or vocation, but must follow that which is chosen by the master. Slaves, like freemen, have different taste and desires many doing that which is repugnant to their choice. As slaves, they were compelled to subserve the interests of the master regardless of them selves; as freemen, as should be expected and be understood, many changes would take place in the labor and pursuits of the people. Some who were field hands, among the young men and women of ninth age, seek employment at other pursuits, and choose for themselves various trades-- vocations adapted to their tastes
Will this charged to the worthlessness of the negro, and made an argument against his elevation? Truth stands defendant in the pathway of errors,