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  --  EDITORIAL CAREER.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER VII.

Rollin, Frank [Frances] A.
Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany



AFTER a brilliant and useful editorial career, Delany dissolved his connection with the North Star on the 1st of June, 1849. An incident in connection with this is related, which seems appropriate here, as illustrating his earnestness in behalf of the paper, though personally disinterested.

On his leaving the North Star, he was solicited, through correspondence from Ohio, to take charge of a paper in the interest of the colored people of that state. This he declined; and after setting forth his reasons why but one newspaper as an organ of the colored people could be sustained at that time, he said, "Let that one be the North Star, with Frederick Douglass at the head."

We next find him returning to his home at Pittsburg, not for the purpose of resting upon the laurels so fairly won, but rather for recuperating his forces for the field of toil again. Here he resumed his favorite study of medicine, and, upon the strength of the preceptorship of his former instructors, Drs. Joseph P. Gazzan and Francies J. Lemoyne, he was received into the medical department of Harvard College, having been previously refused admission on application, to

the Pennsylvania University, Jefferson College, and the medical colleges of Albany and Geneva, N.Y.

After leaving Harvard, he traveled westward, and lectured on physiological subjects--the comparative anatomical and physical conformation of the cranium of the Caucasian and negro races,--besides giving class lectures. These he rendered successful. While his arguments on these subjects were in strict conformity to acknowledged scientific principles, they are also marked by his peculiar and original theories. For instance, he argues on this subject that the pigment which makes the complexion of the European, the Africans' being concentrated rouge, which is black. This he urges by illustrations considered scientifically true. He maintains that these truths will yet be acknowledged by writers on physiology.

On his return to Pittsburg, after the completion of his lecturing tour, he entered upon the duties of a physician, for which his native benevolence and scientific ardor eminently qualified him. Here he was known as a successful practitioner. His skillful treatment of the cholera, which prevailed to some extent in Pittsburgh in 1854, is still remembered.

It is worthy of interest, in view of the pro-slavery spirit which brooded over every locality, to record that while there, on the occasion of the establishment of a municipal and private charity, he was selected, with other physicians, as one of the sub-committee of advisers and referees to whom applications were made by white and colored persons to enjoy its provisions.


This demonstration of courtesy on the part of the municipal authorities of Pittsburgh towards one of its citizens belonging to an unpopular race was that certainly an evidence of liberality hardly to be expected at that time.

He still took part in all movements relative to the advancement of his people. He held in most of these a prominent position; his long experience and life devolution to the cause of progress insured him this always.

He published a call for a national emigration convention, and, it finding favor, there assembled at Cleveland, Ohio, August, 1854, many of the eminent colored men of the northern and western states, to discuss the question of emigration. At best, emigration found but little encouragement among the people of the free states, and could hardly be called popular at the South.

Knowing the aversion in held by the colored people of the country to colonization in any form, it was a matter of surprise to note the course taken by this convention. An importance was attached to this movement, so unprecedented as to constitute it a remarkable feature in their political history.

At this convention he was made president pro tem., to organize, and afterwards chairman of the business committee. Before this body he read an address, entitled "The Destiny of the Colored Race in America,"This production won for its author praise for its literary merit as well as for its concise and able views on the principles of government. *

(*) This paper will be found on p.327.

Of the national board of commissioners he was made president, and the Rev. James Theodore Holley, an

Episcopal clergyman of New Haven, was sent to Hayti on a mission, which was satisfactorily effected.

While he presided, a correspondence was opened with many foreign countries, including at West India Islands, proposing an intercontinental and provincial convention. Among those whose advice was solicited in this new movement was Sir Edward Jordon, of Jamaica, who, while commending the propositions and measures very highly, as a stride of statesmanship, discouraged it as a policy, lest it should give alarm to her majesty's government, and, consequently, offense. Major Delany, in speaking of Sir Edward Jordon's objection, says, "The force and cause of this objection could not then be understood; but since the terrible ordeal through which the poor people of Jamaica have recently passed, under the infamous Governor Eyre, resulting in the disfranchisement of the blacks, the course of Sir Edward Jordon can now be easily comprehended. Sir Edward Jordon, premier of Jamaica for so many years, it would now appear could not have been premier under Governor Eyre, with the power of creating measures, or enforcing polices of government, but only as a passive minister of state, with title and position, but neither authority nor power, apparently but the recipient and echo of those under whom he was called to act. Mr. Edward Jordon the representative and champion of the rights of his race, as a prisoner in Jamaica, thirty-three years ago, thundering his defiance at his opponents through his prison bars, it is much to be feared has forgotten his race as Sir Edward Jordon, Commander of the Bath, and prime minister of the colony."

Such is the interpretation he placed upon the disapproval

of Sir Edward Jordon. Happily, a change has been brought about, tending to the political advancement of the colored people, which has counteracted the necessity of such movements as were proper in the past struggle, while a portion remained enslaved.

The Rev. Mr. Holley later established a colony in Hayti, carrying thither the wealth of his splendid talents and high moral worth to add, to the building up of the fortunes of his race on that island, made holy by the blood of her dusky martyred heroes.


  --  EDITORIAL CAREER.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER VII.