BRITISH ATTITUDES TO THE,NEGRO, 1850-1870 by DOUGLAS ALEXANDER LORIMER B.A., University of British Columbia, 1964 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in the Department of History We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March, 1972 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e fo r re fe rence and Study. I f u r t h e r agree that permiss ion fo r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s fo r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h.i>s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s fo r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be a l lowed wi thout my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada ABSTRACT This dissertation seeks to explain the rise of r a c i a l antipathy toward the Negro among mid-Victorian Englishmen. In the f i r s t half of the nineteenth century, Englishmen responded enthusiastically to the appeals of missionary promoters and abolitionists on behalf of sinning savages and suffering slaves. Black residents and visitors in Britain encountered l i t t l e r a c i a l prejudice. During the 1850s and 1860s, English opinions about the Negro changed. An increasing number of commentators rejected sentimental appeals on behalf of black slaves and sinners, and began to assert that Negroes were inherently inferior and should be perpetually subservient to whites. This change in opinion also influenced behaviour. From the 1860s onwards, blacks in Britain more frequently faced discrimination. Contrary to common assumptions, this transition in racial attitudes in the mid-Victorian period was neither a product of the pressing demands of British imperial rule, nor a result of the growth of s c i e n t i f i c racism. It was rather a consequence of changes within the social and p o l i t i c a l temper of English society i t s e l f . Remote from rac i a l tensions overseas and rarely encountering blacks in Britain, the mid-Victorians perceived the Negro through the verbal descrip-tions of writers and lecturers. As a consequence, they founded their concep-tions about the black man more upon their own experience within English society than upon the distant r e a l i t i e s of Africa or the New World. Even when they did encounter blacks in Britain, Englishmen responded to the social attributes rather than to the physical characteristics of these dark strangers. During the 1860s, when respectable mid-Victorians started to redefine the attributes of gentility, they also adopted a new arrogant attitude toward well-educated blacks in Britain. The s c i e n t i f i c racists attempted to catch hold of this i i new mood, but their theories failed to meet the c r i t i c a l tests of respected scientists, and their eccentricites undermined their attempts to achieve popu-lar influence. Scientific racism was less important as a cause of the rise of racialism than as an expression of underlying p o l i t i c a l and social stresses. P o l i t i c a l events not s c i e n t i f i c developments attracted popular attentions. When they considered the Negro in the American C i v i l War and in the Jamaica Insurrection of 1865, the mid-Victorians found that their own p o l i t i c a l and social divisions stood i n the way of any consensus about the nature of the black man. The extensive discussion of the Negro Question merely reinforced existing social and p o l i t i c a l attitudes, and more significantly, revealed how far those attitudes had changed. Respectable mid-Victorians assumed social inequalities to be part of the natural order, and therefore they had no qualms of conscience about accepting inequalities of race. They also believed that through self-help and industry an individual could surmount these inequalities and improve his social standing. Missionary spokesmen and abolitionists assumed that these avenues for self-improvement were open to blacks as well as whites, but i n -creasingly in the mid-Victorian period, commentators asserted that blacks were incapable of such self-elevation. This change in attitude coincided with an alteration in the outlook of a new ascendant and influential group within mid-Victorian society. By the 1850s and 1860s, ind u s t r i a l i s t s , manufacturers and professional men had established themselves in wealth and p o l i t i c a l i n -fluence. They now sought the social prestige of the gentry, and began to put less faith in the efficacy of self-improvement. Cultivating the habits of g e n t i l i t y , members of this new upper middle class became more exclusive in outlook, and sought to bolster their sense of social superiority by viewing themselves as a superior race. This small but influential minority found i i i that their desire for gentle status was partly satisfied by a new vision of the Negro as the perpetual, biological inferior of their own superior, almost aristocratic, Anglo-Saxon race. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Abbreviations v Acknowlegdments v i Cb. I Introduction 1 Ch. II Racial Discrimination in Britain: The Black 17 Experience, 1600-1900 Ch. I l l Black Gentlemen and the Mid-Victorians 51 Ch. IV Mid-Victorian Philanthropy and the Stereotype of 86 the Negro Ch. V The Popular Stereotype of the Negro and Mid-Victorian 107 Racialism Ch. VI Mid-Victorian Attitudes to Race and Class Differences 128 Ch. VII Mid-Victorian Gentlemen, 'Nigger-Philanthropy', and the 153 Growth of Racialism Ch. VIII Mid-Victorian Science and Race: From Monogenesis vs. 189 Polygenesis to Evolution and Social Darwinism Ch. IX Scientific Racism and Mid-Victorian Racial Attitudes 229 Ch. X English Opinion on the Negro in the American C i v i l War 256 Ch. XI Governor Eyre, the Negro and the Honour of England 306 Ch. XII Conclusion 347 Bibliography 352 Appendix 390 V ABBREVIATIONS AHR American Historical Review AR . Anthropological Review ASL Anthropological Society of London ASP Anti-Slavery Papers, Rhodes House, Oxford BM Add MSS British Museum Additional Manuscripts CMS Church Missionary Society DNB Dictionary of National Biography ESL Ethnological Society of London JASL Journal of the Anthropological Society of London JESL Journal of the Ethnological Society of London J. Negro H. Journal of Negro History OED Oxford English Dictionary Pari. Deb. Parliamentary Debates P.P. Parliamentary Papers SPG Society for the Propagation of the Gospel TESL Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London VS Victorian Studies v i ACKNOWLEDGMENTS During the course of my research, I have accumulated a great debt to a great many people. I am grateful for the financial assistance of H.R. Macmillan, the University of British Columbia, and the Canada Council whose awards enabled me to spend three enjoyable years in the United Kingdom. While there I received help and advice of many individuals. I am particularly thankful for the assistance given by the archivists and librarians of the following institutions: the British Museum, the Church Missionary Society, Dr. William's Library, Imperial College of Science and Technology, the Institute of Historical Research, the Public Record of Office, Rhodes House, Oxford, the Royal Anthropological Institute, and University College. Over the years, I have accumulated a very large indebtedness to the members of the history department of the University of British Columbia who have led, cajoled and prodded me through my undergraduate and graduate studies. I thank them for their help, advice and inspiration. I am especially grateful for the patience, criticism and advice of Dr. James Winter, my thesis super-visor, for without his guidance and encouragement this dissertation would never have reached completion. 1 Chapter I: Introduction The subjects of this thesis are white not black. Victorian attitudes to race were as much a product of developments in the white world of England as a result of encounters with the black man in the Empire. It is commonly assumed that the growth of racialism in the nineteenth century was a product of the pressing needs of imperial rule.''" In order to ju s t i f y B r i t i s h control over various indigenous peoples, the Victorians, so i t is argued, developed the ideology of the c i v i l i z i n g mission and the white man's burden which at one blow sanctified British imperialism and reduced the i n -digenous populations to perpetual subservience. This interpretation raises certain d i f f i c u l t i e s . It relies upon the assumption that the B r i t i s h were sufficiently aware of the needs of Empire to respond in an appropriate manner. During the 1850s and 1860s, the decades in which this growth in racialism originated, the Empire simply did not have sufficient hold over the attentions 2 of the British public to produce in them a new and pervasive racist ideology. The misconception arises in part from the nature of the h i s t o r i c a l evidence. Colonial and overseas adventurers duly recorded their observations in memoirs, narratives, periodical articles and press reports, and thereby communicated their responses to English readers, secure and comfortable in the familiar armchair of club or parlour. From these published sources, i t would appear that the insular Englishman absorbed the racial attitudes of his country-man overseas, but did l i t t l e to reshape those impressions to f i t his own pre-3 conceptions and outlook. By looking at the rac i a l attitudes of Englishmen securely at home and untouched by personal experience of the Empire, this thesis hopes to show that domestic as well as imperial influences shaped Vic-torian ra c i a l attitudes, and that those attitudes were not simply a result of a xenophobic aversion to black skins, but a product of the disposition of white minds. For the study of attitudes, a "race" is best described not as a biologically defined group, but as "a group that is socially defined but on 4 basis of physical c r i t e r i a " . This definition implies that a social group has to have physical distinctions that are readily perceived in order to be defined as a "race". Many mid-Victorian commentators claimed to be able to distinguish not only highly visible features such as skin colour, but also supposed differences in head shape and size, and to be able to infer from these traits intellectual and psychological characteristics. Therefore, they were quite certain they could perceive the unique features of Anglo-Saxons, Celts, especially the Irish, Jews and various European nationalities, as well as distinguish between 'white' and 'coloured' races. When refearing to the 'Negro', therefore, we have in mind mid-Victorian conceptions of Africans and their New World descendants, and not some s c i e n t i f i c a l l y defined entity. A clear distinction should also be drawn between ethnocentrism and racialism. Pierre L. van den Berghe suggests that most cultures have been ethnocentric, but not necessarily racist. The term 'racist' i s limited to those societies which see themselves superior by reason of their biological inheritance."* In the f i r s t half of the nineteenth century, spokesmen upon the rac i a l question adopted an ethnocentric viewpoint. They compared alien cultures to their own, and judged foreigners to be inferior i f they failed to match British standards. Rarely finding strangers who passed this test, mis-sionary activists and abolitionists attempted to convert these foreigners to a B r i t i s h , and therefore a c i v i l i z e d way of l i f e . After the mid-century, and especially from the 1860s onwards, Bri t i s h spokesmen adopted a more openly r a c i a l i s t stance: they placed foreigners into ra c i a l categories and judged them to be perpetually inferior by reason of their biological inheritance. Conversely, i t was assumed that the English were members of the Anglo-Saxon race, and were superior, due to their inherited physical, i n t e l l e c t u a l and emotional make-up. In this new r a c i a l i s t vision, the ethnocentric hope of c i v i l i z i n g the world in conformity to British standards seemed to be the naive fantasy of an aged, sentimental, and now senile generation.^ In this tran-si t i o n from ethnocentrism to racialism changes within English society were at least as important as conflicts within the Empire. The Victorians freely expressed their dislike and suspicion of foreigners. Catholics and Jews were an alien element in Anglo-Saxon, Prot-estant Britain. In the insular world of the nineteenth century, 'Niggers began at Calais', and i f Englishmen were forced to choose, they claimed to prefer fairer northern Europeans to southern ones, and these lighter-skinned Mediterranean peoples to the'lesser breeds without the law'. "Nigger", which usually referred to someone of African ancestry, was applied with i n -creasing frequency in the mid-nineteenth century to anyone with a complexion darker than an Anglo-Saxon shade of whiteness.^ Charles Lamb, in his Essays of E l i a , f i r s t published in 1820, remarked that he only imperfectly sympa-thized with blacks. In the Negro countenance you w i l l often meet with strong traits of benignity. I have f e l t yearnings of tenderness towards some of these faces—rather masks—that have looked out kindly upon one in casual encounters in the streets and highways. I love what Fuller beautifully c a l l s — t h e s e "images of God in ebony". I should not like to associate with them--to share my meals and my good-nights with them— because they are black.8 In the same essay, Lamb observed that he was "abundle of prejudices", and that he f e l t both attracted and repelled by Scotsmen, Jews and Quakers, as well as Negroes. The widespread dislike of strangers, and contempt for dark-complexioned persons in particular, derived more from xenophobia and ethnocentrism than from prejudice. Social scientists use the term 'prejudice' i n a specific sense, and clearly distinguish behaviour motivated by prejudice from expressions of xenophobia or ethnocentrism. Michael Banton defines prejudice as "an 9 emotional and rigidly hostile disposition, towards members of a given group". Prejudice is thus a product of the psychological needs of the prejudiced individual. It cannot in i t s e l f explain discriminatory behaviour. An i n -dividual may practice rac i a l discrimination not from prejudice, but from conformity to social conventions."^ With these considerations in mind, Banton draws a distinction between prejudice and antipathy, "a predisposition un-favourable to a particular group resulting from ignorance, conflict of interests or some other objective cause".^ In the h i s t o r i c a l development of raci a l attitudes, prejudice may explain the behaviour of specific individuals; xeno-phobia, ethnocentrism, or antipathy produced from some objective cause more correctly describe the more flexible and broadly based attitudes of larger 12 social and cultural groupings. In the nineteenth century, the black intruder into the Englishman's world faced no traditional or institutional bars against his presence, and yet as the century advanced Negro residents and visitors faced increasing 13 h o s t i l i t y and more frequent discrimination. This transition from the xeno-phobia (a fear of, or aversion from strangers) of the earliest contacts in the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, to an increased r a c i a l antipathy in the late nineteenth century was not simply a result of the growth in the number of prejudiced individuals, but a consequence of a change in the accepted social conventions about conduct toward blacks. In looking at this change in mid-Victorian attitudes toward blacks, this study w i l l do more than describe opinions. It w i l l assess attitudes 'and explain the growth of racialism in the middle decades of the nineteeth century. The concept of 'attitude' incorporates not only opinions about a specific ob-ject, but also includes the emotional response to that object, and suggests a predisposition to act upon those thoughts and feelings.1"^* Mid-nineteenth 5 century publications recorded opinions about Negroes, but rarely indicated the emotional responses or behaviour of mid-Victorians toward blacks. Remote from the inter-racial contacts of the Empire and rarely meeting Negroes in Britain, mid-Victorians perceived the physical characteristics of the Negro largely through the verbal descriptions of lecturers and writers. Many of these spokesmen had travelled or resided in Africa or the multi-racial societies of the New World, and their recorded opinions are not a reliable guide to the attitudes of Englishmen in general. In order to assess these attitudes, recorded opinions about the Negro must be weighed against mid-Victorian be-haviour toward blacks. Opinions in themselves are dangerous and d i f f i c u l t to handle. They are often less important for the ideas they convey than for the purpose they serve. For example, Rev. John Cunningham in a sermon in Exeter Hall in 1848, identified Africans with the curse of Ham, not to prove that blacks should be slaves, but to prove the prophetic power of the Scriptures. Here, Cunningham used slavery to vindicate the Bible, not Holy Writ to justify slavery."^ Incon-sistencies in opinion also make generalizations suspect. Among Members of Parliament in the 1860s, John Arthur Roebuck expressed the most thorough social Darwinian view of rac i a l conflict. In New Zealand he declared, "the English-man would destroy the Maori, and the sooner the Maori was destroyed the better". Yet in 1863, Roebuck took up the case of A. Fitzjames, a black Trinidadian lawyer educated at Middle Temple. The Governor of Sierra Leone had dismissed Fitzjames from his post of Acting Chief Justice, and Roebuck called for an inquiry into the i n c i d e n t . ^ Opinions, and the attitudes they express, can only be understood when placed in their context of time and place. In 1861, Palmerston, who had spent a lifetime directing British policy against the slave trade, and who was then treading a delicate path between North and South in the American C i v i l War, read Livingstone's description of Victoria F a l l s , and wrote to Lord John Russell, his Foreign Secretary: "What a Triumph for the Nigger 18 over the Yankee to have a waterfall so much finer than Niagara". Palmerston had l i t t l e use for democratic Americans, and spent a great deal of time por-ing over reports on the slave trade, but i t would be dangerous to infer that he preferred "Niggers" to "Yankees". Opinions , then, were often inconsistent, and were frequently the inflated expressions of national pride. In order to reduce the problem of inferring attitudes from opinion, this study, where possible, uses manuscript rather than published sources. This use of manuscript materials provides at least a part i a l solution to the problem of interpreting attitudes from pub-lications self-consciously composed for a select readership, and certainly unpublished sources have helped put mid-Victorian opinions about the Negro in their proper perspective. In their correspondence, Englishmen rarely ex-pressed the violent racist invective included in some mid-Victorian newspapers. It would appear from this contrast, that the press, indulging in sensational-ism to arouse readers' interest, gives an exaggerated, distorted view of mid-Victorian r a c i a l attitudes. Manuscript sources also have their limitations. Abolitionists rarely discuss slavery or the Negro in their letters, for their correspondents tend to be people of a similar persuasion and therefore they share common, though invariably unstated, assumptions. Manuscript materials have been helpful in adding to and confirming the published accounts of black residents and visitors in Britain, in revealing the abolitionists' struggle against the decline of their reputation and support, in assessing the attitudes of established scien-ti s t s toward the exponents of s c i e n t i f i c racism, and in gaining an impression of the attitudes of politicians and other observers during the discussion of the Negro in the American C i v i l War and the Jamaica Insurrection. Published sources in themselves are of interest of course, both be-cause they recorded opinions and influenced mid-Victorian thinking. I have attempted to survey a f a i r l y wide range of anti-slavery, missionary and scien-t i f i c periodicals, as well as daily and weekly newspapers, and the more learned reviews. In this survey, I have also tried to weigh religious and p o l i t i c a l a f f i l i a t i o n , circulation and social background of readership in the assessment of opinion and in the placing of that opinion within the context of mid-Vic-torian England. I have relied upon secondary materials for an understanding of social and intellectual developments within English society, and where possible, I have attempted to substantiate these generalizations by observa-tions made by the mid-Victorians themselves. By necessity a study of this kind relies upon a great variety of sources, and since these materials cannot be handled by a quantitative method, they provide only an 'impressionistic' glance at mid-Victorian attitudes. Social scientists, f u l l y aware of this limitation upon the h i s t o r i c a l approach to the subject, have called for further studies in the history of race rela-19 tions. Hopefully, this h i s t o r i c a l study w i l l at least challenge some common misconceptions about mid-Victorian attitudes toward the Negro. The mid-Victorians debated the 'Negro Question' at considerable length, because they saw i t as a test case of rac i a l theories and ideas. As a result of the anti-slavery movement, nineteenth century Englishmen had a well-defined stereotype of the black man, and from the contrast of black and white, they assumed that Africans and their New World descendants were at the opposite ends of the rac i a l spectrum from the pale-skinned natives of the British Isles. Victorians looked upon the Negro as the photographic negative of the Anglo-Saxon, and seemed to get a clearer perception of their own supposed rac i a l u-niqueness in the inverted image of the black man. In the mid-nineteenth century, English spokesmen incorporated a l l black men into the single category of the 'Negro'. They made no precise dis-8 tinction between differing populations in Africa, or between Africans and Afro-Americans. At least u n t i l 1870, the mid-Victorians took a greater interest in slavery and race relations in the New World than in African a f f a i r s , and therefore their stereotyped image of the Negro relied less upon the association of Africans with nakedness and savagery than upon the identification of blacks with New World slavery and plantation labour. During the 1850s and 1860s, a reaction set in against the sentimental caricature of the abolitionists, and a more derogatory stereotype of the Negro became more prevalent. This change occurred before the exploits of explorers and the search for colonies quick-ened an interest in the African continent. In 1866, for example, The Daily Telegraph commented that while the heroics of English explorers merited the highest praise, the continent of Africa was a "bore": No one can be really much interested in a black wilderness, inhabited by foul, fe t i d , fetish-worshipping, loathsome, and lu s t f u l barbarians.... To The Daily Telegraph, this unrelenting monotony of savagery and f i l t h — dotted, by the way, with "sixpennyworth of rum and water" and "Obeah-men" re-turned to Africa from the Caribbean—meant, "the African...has rendered even 20 heroism uninteresting, and the Nile prosaic". The mid-Victorians, familiar with descriptions of "Quashee" in the West Indies, thought explorers in Africa had l i t t l e to t e l l them about the Negro. In i t s pursuit of mid-Victorian ra c i a l attitudes, this thesis w i l l show a similar inclination to weigh New World experience over the renewed interest in Africa. This interest i n the Negro in the Americas was largely a result of the evangelical and humanitarian attack on slavery in the early nineteenth century. The success of the anti-slavery movement further strengthened i t s appeal, u n t i l mid-Victorians of a l l p o l i t i c a l persuasions looked back upon i t as one of the brightest chapters in their history. The movement had acted as an influential pressure group upon parliamentary opinion in the 1830s, but by 9 the late 1840s, i t had lost much of i t s effectiveness. Nonetheless, the pro-tective role the British adopted toward the Negro continued to be a respected, and for a great many people, an important part of their moral and c i v i l i z i n g mission in the world. By the 1850s and 1860s, a new and aggressively racist movement, in the guise of the young science of anthropology, challenged the tradition of British protective benevolence toward the black man. The old and, as many thought, dead question of the nature and status of the Negro was revived, and applied to the new issues of the mid-century. The continued economic decline of the West Indies apparently proved the incapacity of blacks for freedom and added to the growing disdain for the sentimental abolitionists. At the same time, the slave c r i s i s in America and ra c i a l conflicts in the West Indies focused Bri t i s h attentions upon the Negro. The American C i v i l War created deep and revealing divisions in opinion through a l l levels of British society, and put in question the sincerity of British denunciations of slavery. From 1865-1868, the controversy over Governor Eyre and the Jamaica Insurrection s p l i t the Victorian in t e l l i g e n t s i a , and raised in dramatic form the question of the due and proper limits of authority, at a time when the ruling classes in Britain were themselves considering the extension of the franchise to the lower orders. The 1850s and 1860s saw a change in English attitudes to race from the humanitarian and ethnocentric response of the early nineteenth century to the racialism of the 21 imperialist era at the close of the Victorian age. The social climate of mid-Victorian England played as large a part as experiences in the Empire i n effecting this transition i n ra c i a l attitudes. Victorian commentators on race, whether scientists, journalists, travellers, missionaries, philanthropists or politicians, were limited not only by their ethnocentric outlook, but also by the assuptions and values of their social background. Most of these observers were men from the ranks of respect-10 able society, and saw the question of race from the viewpoint of Victorian 22 gentlemen. In an age when Disraeli could speak of two nations and mean a people of one nationality but divided by p o l i t i c a l power, wealth, social posi-tion, and levels of c i v i l i z a t i o n , the question of authority and the place of the c i v i l i z i n g mission applied not only to the rule of white British over subject coloured peoples, but also to the government of the wealthy over the poor in Britain i t s e l f . The nineteenth century discussion of the r a c i a l question rested upon values and assumptions moulded by this hierarchial social order. The question 'does a black man equal a white man' had l i t t l e meaning in an age when few thought a l l white men deserved equal treatment. Few mid-Victorians espoused egalitarian principles, but they did believe that the individual through industry, self-help, and education could improve his social standing. They asserted that these avenues for self-im-provement were open to a l l individuals, blacks as well as whites. The belief in self-improvement applied less readily to groups than to individuals. When considering the "Negro race", mid-Victorian commentators lost sight of individual diversity and simply assumed a l l blacks were inferior to a l l whites. Their assumptions about the characteristics of the Negro race made them less willing to recognize the a b i l i t i e s of individual blacks, and some suggested that even "a self-improved Negro" could not become a gentleman. An increasing number of spokesmen in the mid-nineteenth century asserted that gentlemen by definition were white, and that a black or brown skin, irrespective of an individual's wealth, learning or manner, marked that individual as a member of the inferior orders. The transition from ethnocentrism to racialism occurred when a white skin became an essential mark of a gentleman. This change in rac i a l attitudes occurred not in response to the needs of the Empire, but as a consequence of new attitudes toward social status emerg-ing within English society. During the middle decades of the nineteenth century 11 men from the respectable ranks of business, industry and the professions began increasingly to emulate the gentry. By customary usage, a 'gentleman' was a man of independent means, usually a landowner with at least some trace of noble lineage. By the 1850s and 1860s, social leaders in urban communities, busi-nessmen, indus t r i a l i s t s , and professional men, also came to look upon themselves as 'gentlemen', and sought to liv e by the chivalrous ideal of independence, integrity, s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e , courage, s e l f - s a c r i f i c e , courtesy, and responsi-b i l i t y . By their habits, i f not by their breeding, these men hoped to be rec-ognized as gentlemen. The aspirants for gentle status had 'arrived' once they 23 gained the acceptance of those whose status they had emulated. The ambigu-i t i e s in the definition of a 'gentleman' intensified rather than lessened the quest for gentility. This competition for social standing made the ambitious anxious to exclude individuals of questionable status. A new generation of English gentlemen, preoccupied with securing their own standing, found a new prestige as members of the Anglo-Saxon race, the aristocrats of man's racial varieties. In this new vision, only Anglo-Saxons could be gentlemen. The new generation of aspirants for gentility rejected the older, ethnocentric dream of converting the world to British ways, and adopted a more rig i d l y r a c i a l i s t outlook. In order to assess the forces behind this change from ethnocentrism to racialism, and in order to limit the d i f f i c u l t i e s in inferring attitudes from opinions, i t is necessary to gain some impression of the feelings and behaviour of Englishmen upon meeting blacks. Chapters II and HI w i l l look at the experience of Negroes in Britain, their observations about the Victorians, and the comments of Englishmen about these black residents and v i s i t o r s . Once this assessment of Victorian behaviour is established, a more accurate appraisal of opinion i s possible. Chapters IV and V w i l l look at the stereotype of the Negro given c i r -culation by philanthropic and popular sources of opinion, and w i l l assess the 12 role of a popular, derogatory stereotype upon mid-Victorian r a c i a l attitudes. In spite of efforts to get at popular views of the Negro, the bulk of source material remains the reports of the articulate minority who committed their views to print. These representative mid-Victorians came largely from the respectable ranks of society. Their social background, as well as changes within the domestic society, shaped their perception of racial distinctions and race relations. The inter-relationship between mid-Victorian social attitudes and the perception of racial characteristics w i l l be examined in Chapter VI, and the forces of change within English society and their influence upon the decline in humanitarian interest in the Negro w i l l be studied in Chapter VII. Changes within the domestic social environment also had an influence upon s c i e n t i f i c ideas of race. It has often been suggested that mid-Victorian science encouraged the growth of a new racist ideology and therefore was one of the most potent forces behind the growth of racialism. Chapter VIII w i l l study the growth of s c i e n t i f i c racist thought and assess i t s impact upon mid-Victorian science. Chapter IX w i l l look at the influence of the English social environment upon the ideas of the s c i e n t i f i c racists and upon the reception of their ideas by educated mid-Victorians. The s c i e n t i f i c discussion of race involved a select minority of mid-nineteenth century Englishmen. The issue of race seemed remote from the im-mediate concerns of the mid-Victorian public, and therefore the racial question more frequently intruded upon their consciousness when events abroad proved sensational enough to command attention. The most extensive discussion of the Negro took place in the p o l i t i c a l forum, and thus p o l i t i c a l controversies gave the clearest display of differences in mid-Victorian opinions about the black man. From an examination of English reactions to the Negro in the American C i v i l War, in Chapter X, and the Governor Eyre Controversy, 1865-1868, in Chapter XI, something can be learned of the differences in mid-Victorian r a c i a l attitude This study also provides a gauge of the influence of domestic p o l i t i c a l and social values in shaping differences of opinion and in prompting changes in raci a l attitudes. From this study, then, i t is hoped something can be learned about the nature of mid-Victorian racial attitudes, and about the forces within English society which lay behind the growth of a more strident racialism dur ing the 1850s and 1860s. The f i r s t task is to gain a measure of Victorian behaviour by looking at the experience of blacks in Britain. 14 T. Shibutani and K.M. Kwan, Ethnic Stratification: A Comparative Approach, New York, Macmillan, 1965, 242-43; Michael Banton, Pace Relations, London, Tavistock, 1967, 45-50: Louis L. Snyder, Race. A History of Modern Ethnic Theories, New York, Longmans Green, 1939, 210; J.W. Burrows, Evolution and Society, London, Cambridge, 1966, 75-76; Kenneth L i t t l e , "Race and Society", in Race and Science, UNESCO, Columbia, 1961, 93-94; Oliver Cromwell Cox, Caste, Class and Race, New York, Monthly Review Press, 1959, 483-84; Isacque Graeber, "An Examination of Theories of Race Prejudice", Social Research, XX (1953), 273. 2 W.P. Morrell, British Colonial Policy in the Mid-Victorian Age, London, Oxford, 1969, 40-41, argues that a change in opinion in favour of expansion of Empire occurred 1870-1872. 3 See particularly, Christine Bolt, Victorian Attitudes to Race, London, Routledge Kegan Paul, 1971. Two other studies, Philip D. Curtin, The Image of Africa, British Ideas and Action, 1780-1850, London, Macmillan, 1965, and H. Alan C. Cairns, Prelude to Imperialism, British Reactions to Central African Society, 1840-1890, London, Routledge Kegan Paul, 1965, deal more exp l i c i t l y with British venturers in Africa and their reactions, but do not infer from these observers the attitudes of Englishmen at home. H.S. Deighton, "History and the Study of Race Relations", Race, I (1959), 15-25, argues that a clear distinction must be maintained between attitudes in the colonies and those moulded in the metropolitan setting. 4 Pierre L. van den Berghe, Race and Racism: A Comparative Perspective, New York, John Wiley, 1967, 9. 5Ibid. , 12. ^1 have followed M. Banton, Race Relations, 7-8, in distinguishing 'racism' and 'racialism': 'racism' refering to the ideology of r a c i a l supremacy; 'racialism', a less precise term, referring to the more generalized assumption and practice of racial supremacy and discrimination. The latter term is preferred in discussing mid-Victorian racial attitudes, because, apart from the s c i e n t i f i c racists, few spokesmen had a set of doctrines about race which could be called a systematic ideology. It should be noted that there i s some ambiguity in the use of these terms because of differences between American and British terminology. In American usage, 'racism' describes both the ideology of r a c i a l supremacy and the less formalized assumptions of r a c i a l superiority and the practice of discrimination. ^Philip D. Curtin, "'Scientific' Racism and the Bri t i s h Theory of Empire", Journ. of Historical Soc. Nigeria, II (1960), 43. The word "Nigger" carried the more general connotation of "Wog", which did not develop u n t i l the late 19th century in reference to Indian clerks, (Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, London, Routledge Kegan Paul, I, 5th ed., 1961). Both Maoris and Indians were referred to as "Niggers": Pari. Deb., 3rd ser., CLXXIX (Apr. 26, 1864), 1641, and CLXXV (May 30, 1864), 793-94; (W.H. Russell), "The Sahib and the Nigger", The Times, (Oct. 20, 1858), lOa-b; and leader (Oct. 20, 1858), 8c-d; Aborigines' Friend and Colonial Intelligencer, I (Sept.-Dec. 1858), 486-90, and n.s., II (July-Dec. 1859), 67-74; The Anti- Slavery Reporter, 3rd ser., VI (1858), 263-64. 15 g Charles Lamb, "Imperfect Sympathies", Essays of E l i a , London, Everyman, 1954, 73. 9 M. Banton, White and Coloured, London, Jonathan Cape, 1959, 31; and Banton, Race R e l a t i o n s , 8: George E. Simpson and J . M i l t o n Y i n g e r , Race and C u l t u r a l M i n o r i t i e s , New York, Harper and Row, 3rd ed., 1965, 82-83; Bruno B e t t l e h e i m and M o r r i s J a n o w i t z , S o c i a l Change and P r e j u d i c e , i n c l u d i n g the Dynamics of P r e j u d i c e , Glencoe, Free P r e s s , 1964, passim.; James M a r t i n , The Tol e r a n t P e r s o n a l i t y , D e t r o i t , Wayne S t a t e , 1964, passim. ^ S h i b u t a n i and Kwan, op. c i t . , 92-93: van den Berghe, op. c i t . , 20-21. "'""''Banton, White and Coloured, .31. 12 van den Berghe, op. c i t . , 20-21. 13 See Ch. I I and I I I below. 14 The concept of ' a t t i t u d e ' does not appear to be used by e i t h e r s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s or h i s t o r i a n s i n any p r e c i s e f a s h i o n . For attempts at d e f i n i t i o n which provide a rough workable guide: M i l t o n Roeack, " A t t i t u d e " , I n t e r n a t i o n a l Encyclopaedia of S o c i a l Science, New York, C r o w e l l , C o l l i e r , Macmillan, 1968, 457; G.W. A l l p o r t , " A t t i t u d e s i n the H i s t o r y of S o c i a l Psychology", T.M. Newcomb, "On the D e f i n i t i o n of A t t i t u d e " , J.B, Cooper and J.L. McGargh, " A t t i t u d e s as C o g n i t i v e S t r u c t u r e s " , i n A t t i t u d e , ed. Marie Jahoda and N e i l Warren, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1966, 15-39; W.D. Jordan, White over B l a c k , American A t t i t u d e s toward the Negro, 1550-1812, Chapel H i l l , North C a r o l i n a , 1 9 6 8 , v i i i . "^Rev. John Cunningham, God i n H i s t o r y , London, 1849, 60-61. 1 6 P a r l . Deb., 3rd s e r . , CLXV (Mar. 13, 1862), 1449. 1 7 P a r l . Deb., 3rd s e r . , CLXXVI ( J u l y 26, 1864), 2103; "Case of A. F i t z j a m e s " , P.P., XXXVIII (1863), 407. 18 Palmerston to R u s s e l l , Apr. 12, 1861, R u s s e l l Papers, PRO 30/22/21. 19 van den Berghe, op. c i t . , 149; Deighton, op. c i t . , 24-25.= 20 The D a i l y Telegraph, (Aug. 17, 1866), 4e-f; C u r t i n , Image of A f r i c a , v i - v i i , claims 1865 was the low po i n t i n B r i t i s h i n t e r e s t i n West A f r i c a during the 19th c entury, and notes that B r i t i s h stereotypes of A f r i c a n s were e s t a b l i s h e d by 1850 from experience i n West A f r i c a and New World S l a v e r y . H.A.C, C a i r n s , op. c i t . , 53, 76, and C. B o l t , op. c i t . , 133-34, 142-43, 209-11, on V i c t o r i a n conception of 'the Negro". A review of L i v i n g s t o n e ' s M i s s i o n a r y T r a v e l s and Researches i n South A f r i c a (1857), i n Westminster Rev., n.s., X I I I (Jan. 1858), 1-28, expressed s u r p r i s e at the m i s s i o n a r y - e x p l o r e r ' s d e s c r i p t i o n of the i n t e l l i g e n c e , c h a r a c t e r and d i v e r s i t y of p h y s i c a l f e a t u r e among A f r i c a n p o p u l a t i o n s . The reviewer's preconceptions had c l e a r l y been formed by the experience of s l a v e r y i n the New World. 2 L Mid-Victorian commentators were themselves aware of t h i s change: The A n t i - S l a v e ry Reporter, 3rd s e r . , XI (Mav 1863), 112; The Saturday Review, (Dec. 9, 1865), 726b. Richard D. Altick, "The Sociology of Authorship. The Social Origins, Education, and Occupations of 1,100 British Writers, 1800-1935", Bulletin of the New York Public Library, LXVI (June 1962), 389-404. '3 For the concept of gentility and the definition of a gentleman in the 1850s and 1860s see Geoffrey Best, Mid-Victorian Britain, 1851-1875, London Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971, 245-56; also W.L. Burn, The Age of Equipoise London, Unwin, 1968, 254-55, and F.M.L. Thompson, Landed Society in the Nineteenth Century, London, Routledge Kegan Paul, 1963, 16-17. For f u l l e r discussion of changes in mid-Victorian social attitudes, see Ch. VII below. 17 Chapter II: Racial Discrimination in Britain: The Black Experience, 1600-1900. For the mid-Victorians, the 'Negro Question' was a contentious, yet irrepressible issue. Negrophobe warred against Negrophile, and in this a c r i -monious atmosphere the combatants made exaggerated claims for and against Af-ricans and their New World descendants. The warring factions l e f t l i t t l e i n -dication of how closely their stated opinions coincided with their true f e e l -ings, or of how much their ideas influenced their behaviour. Fortunately, various blacks who visited or resided in the United Kingdom have l e f t a record of their observations and experiences. Through these black observers of the Br i t i s h , and from the comments of Englishmen about them, some empirical assess-ment can be made of the degree of racial discrimination in the United Kingdom and of the development of British r a c i a l attitudes from the eighteenth to the late nineteenth centuries. From the earliest contact with Africa in the mid-sixteenth century, Englishmen expressed ethnocentrically based dislike of the Negro's physical appearance. This aversion also assumed the character of a moral judgement, for English observers associated Africans with heathenism and natural bestiality. From this early period of contact increasing references appear to the older Judaic and medieval Christian association between the Negro and the curse of Ham. As contact with Africa increased, through the growing slave trade, Euro-pean observers corrected some of their earlier ethnocentric judgements, u n t i l in the eighteenth century, English writers incorporated the Negro into the lit e r a r y and philosophic cult of the noble savage."^ In origin and in i t s fu l l e s t development, this literary convention applied to the North American Indian, but from the appearance of Mrs. Behn's Oroonoko in 1688 to the full-flowering of the abolitionist movement in the late eighteenth century, English writers also depicted Africans as noble savages. Oroonoko's nobility derived more from his likeness to European standards than 18 from his African t r a i t s : His Face was not that of brown, rusty Black which most of that Nation are, but a perfect Ebony, or polish'd Jett. His Eyes were the most awful that cou'd be seen, and very piercing; the White of 'em being like Snow, as were his Teeth. His Nose was rising and Roman, instead of African and f l a t . His Mouth, the finest shap'd that could be seen; far from those great turn'd Lips, which are so natural to the rest of Negroes.2 English writers depicted the Negro hero, suitably Europeanized in physical appearance, as uncorrupted man, enjoying his natural freedoms and rights in his African home. In contrast, his brothers in the New World were slaves, and suffered from the opposite extreme in the complete loss of their liberty. The eight-eenth century never gave an adequate answer to the question of how the enslaved noble savage should react to his oppression. Literary taste may have tolerated an Oroonoko resisting his master's tyranny, but the aristocratic readership of the eighteenth century could not bear the thought of a massive slave insurrection. With the exception of the noble black hero, writers depicted the mass of slaves enduring the horrors and degradation of slavery without protest, and the dis-turbing implication remained that the ordinary Negro might be slavish rather than noble by nature. In their campaign against the slave trade and slavery, philanthro-pists made use of the noble savage convention, but by the 1820s and 1830s, the African, to English eyes, was less a noble savage, and more a child of nature, or a natural Christian who by his inherited temperament practised the virtues 3 of humility, patient suffering, and brotherly love. Accompanying this rising attack on slavery and energetic defence of the Negro, there emerged the f i r s t 4 attempts to provide a systematic, rationalized proof of black i n f e r i o r i t y . In spite of the i n i t i a l ethnocentric response of English travellers to tropical Africa, English attitudes to blacks from the sixteenth to the end of the eight-eenth centuries were not r i g i d , but changed as the outlook of English commen-19 tators altered. Racial attitudes in the Victorian period showed an equal capacity for change and development. The transformation from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century was a consequence not so much of experience in Africa, or of New World slavery, as a result of the changing outlook of Englishmen at home."' It was also a result of Increased contact with the black man, not in Africa or in the New World, but in England i t s e l f . Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were more Af-ricans in Europe than Europeans in Africa. The f i r s t blacks arrived in England at least as early as the sixteenth century, and the number of Negroes in Eng-land rose rapidly after 1660. Wealthy planters returning from the prosperous sugar colonies, brought with them the visible signs of their riches and power, their black slaves. Contemporary observers conjectured that there were as many as 30,000 black slaves in England in the mid-eighteenth century, but scholars have gen-erally accepted Lord Mansfield's more conservative estimate of 14-15,000 at the time of the Somersettcase in 1772. The majority of these were probably concentrated i n London, and in relation to the population of the city at that time, even 14,000 blacks constituted a sizeable and easily recognized minority group.7 West Indian planters retiring to the home country and anxious to re-tain their accustomed domestics imported most of the black servants into England. The planter aristocracy believed that the Negro's 'natural disposition' made him more obedient and trustworthy than his obstreperous English counterpart. In spite of this confidence in the a b i l i t i e s and temperament of their black servants, masters frequently complained of the drunkeness, lechery, and disloy-alty of this class of domestics. These complaints were in no way unique, for they were part of the perennial problem of the servant, and applied equally to black and white. In fact, in many cases, the Negro servant's black skin was a positive advantage; i t made him of special value to his owner. 20 Black slaves in England derived a special status from their striking appearance and exotic association as representative natural or uncorrupted men. Invariably named Pompey, the black page, dressed in the colourful s i l k s and turban of the East, became the pampered favourite i n many an aristocratic household. The Sackvilles f i r s t hired a Negro page in the early seventeenth century, and retained at least one of these black servants u n t i l the late eighteenth century. By that time, such Negro domestics had become so common that the family obtained a more original Chinese servant. The Duchess of Devonshire wrote to her mother: George Hanger has sent me a black boy, eleven years old and very honest, but the duke don't like me having a black, and yet I cannot bear the poor wretch being ill-used; i f you liked him instead of Michael I w i l l send him, and he w i l l make a cheap servant and you w i l l make a Christian of him and a good boy; i f you don't like him they say Lady Rockingham wants one.8 Pampered as household pets, these black servants fared reasonably well under the attentions of their aristocratic mistresses. Almost a l l received some ed-9 ucation, and a few gained extensive training in the' arts of gracious l i v i n g . Under the patronage of the Duchess of Queensbury, Soubise, a slave boy brought to England from St. Kitts, became a noted equestrian. Rumour had i t that the eccentric Duchess had even sent her black favourite to one of the universities. Whatever his education, Soubise soon gained a reputation as a man about town. Dressed after the latest fashion, he rode with the nobility in Hyde Park, dined in the best clubs, and enthusiastically followed the theatre. Through his interest i n drama, he gained the friendship of Garrick and the elder Sheridan. He delighted in reciting from Othello, played the v i o l i n , composed music, and sang operatic pieces. Although the gossips chatted disapprovingly of the Duchess's favouritism, this touch of notoriety only added to her ardent support of Soubise. Finally he alienated his patroness by denying his slave origin, claiming instead descent from the African aristocracy. Soubise then became a riding and fencing master. He found his colour an advantage, for his aristocratic pupils at Eton preferred him to their white i n s t r u c t o r s . ^ Under the patronage of the aristocracy, some blacks gained an access to the most fashionable circles of society, but even these privileged few re-mained aware of the hardship experienced by many of their brethren. Ignatius, Sancho, another liberated slave nurtured under the care of an aristocratic family, came to England from the West Indies at the age of two. Placed under the ownership of three maiden sisters of Greenwich, Sancho attracted the atten-tion of the Duke and Duchess of Mantagu. They brought him into their service and he continued to serve in that household for most of his l i f e . Corpulence forced him into retirement in 1773, and he then ran his own grocery store u n t i l his death in 1780. Sancho took a great interest in the arts and particularly in the theatre. He composed two plays, and published a treatise on The Theory of Music which he dedicated to the Princess Royal. In his extensive corre-spondence with his literary friends, who included Sterne, Sancho encouraged them to take up the cause of the oppressed Negro. Although he had many English friends and was ful l y Anglicized in his tastes and habits, he remained concerned about the suffering of his coloured brethren. In a letter to a fellow Negro, Sancho counselled: Look around upon the miserable fate of almost a l l of our unfortunate colour—superadded to ignorance,—see slavery, and the contempt of those very wretches who r o l l in affluence from our labours. Super-added to this woeful catalogue—hear the heart-racking abuse of the foolish vulgar.—You, S e, tread as cautiously as the strict e s t rectitude can guide ye—yet you must suffer from thi s — b u t armed with truth—honesty—and conscious integrity—you w i l l be sure of the plaudit and countenance of the good.H Even Sancho's favoured social position did not exempt him from insults against • his race. During the eighteenth century as a whole, a tolerant attitude to blacks was more in evidence than were prejudice or discrimination, for the experience of Soubise and Sancho was similar to that of other blacks taken 12 under the care of aristocratic patrons. 22 Even i n the s e n s i t i v e subject of sexual r e l a t i o n s between the races, the eighteenth century was apparently r e l a t i v e l y free of prejudice. In 1731, Gentleman's Magazine reported the marriage of Robert Widah, a black, s a i d to be a great o f f i c e r belonging to the Prince of Pawpaw i n A f r i c a , to Mrs. Johnson, an English woman. Members of both races acted as attendants i n the wedding 13 party. In the mid-eighteenth century a s t r i c t bar existed not against the marriage of blacks and whites, but against the miscegenous unions of I r i s h 14 Catholics and English Protestants. Only a few blacks i n eighteenth century England were of such note as to have t h e i r wedding announced i n Gentleman's Magazine, or to have t h e i r l i f e and l e t t e r s published, therefore the vast majority l e f t l i t t l e trace of t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l l i v e s and experiences, and remain as anonymous as t h e i r fellow English domestics and labourers. From the scraps of evidence that do e x i s t , i t would appear that black domestics mixed f r e e l y with t h e i r English colleagues. As the majority of black servants were men, they found t h e i r wives and consorts among English women, and no notable objections appeared to these i n t e r r a c i a l unions. The London mob, whose h a b i t u a l xenophobia was summed up i n the chant, "No Popes, no Jews, no Wooden Shoes", befriended black f u g i t i v e s , and f r e -quently harboured runaways from t h e i r pursuers. On the whole, blacks experienced a favourable reception i n eighteenth century England. Although they encoun-tered no extensive d i s c r i m i n a t i o n or prejudice, they d i d form t h e i r own s o c i a l groups. Drawn together by t h e i r common experience and by t h e i r p e c u l i a r l e g a l s t a t u s , they met for both s o c i a l purposes and for mutual p r o t e c t i o n against the laws enforcing slavery."''"' Mansfield's decision i n the Somerset Case of 1772 was commonly thought to have abolished slavery i n England, and thereby to have r a d i c a l l y a l t e r e d the l e g a l status of the Negro slaves. This i s a misconception. Mansfield merely declared that a servant could not be forced to leave the country against h i s 23 w i l l . Slavery was abolished outright in Scotland in 1788, but according to English law, slaves brought to England from the colonies enjoyed freedom only so long as they stayed within the country. If an immigrant black servant voluntarily returned to the slave colonies, he could be legally resold as a slave u n t i l slavery i t s e l f was abolished in 1833. As a consequence of these legal niceties, as well as the d i f f i c u l t i e s of enforcing them, the problem of rescuing and protecting fugitive slaves remained a d i f f i c u l t y in England well on into the nineteenth century."^ The Mansfield Decision, then, did not greatly alter the Negroes' legal status, nor did i t greatly affect their material condition. With the virtual cessation of the importation of slaves after the Somerset Case, the black domestics found their value increased. As result, they had l i t t l e d i f f i c u l t y securing employment. With a demand for their ser-vices and changes in the law, many blacks l e f t the service of their old masters and found work as wage earners. A considerable influx of black immigrants also occurred at this time, as a consequence of the American War of Independence. These new arrivals came as Loyalists, demobilized soldiers, or in the largest numbers as disbanded sailors. Finding themselves unemployed and unwanted in London, these destitute newcomers formed the "blackbirds" of St. Giles who appealed to Granville Sharp and other philanthropists for aid. These black poor were not the older servant class suffering from the effects of the Mans-fi e l d Decision as some supporters of slavery claimed at the time. The author-i t i e s and the hard-pressed philanthropists attempted to solve the problem by organizing an emigration scheme to Africa. Although in 1787, over 300 of the black poor were loaded into ships and sent to found the colony of Sierra Leone, this class of indigent continued in London, and as late as 1816 the authorities were s t i l l concerned about their presence in the metropolis."'"7 With the increase in the number of blacks and the problem of black 24 indigents, some criticisms of Negro immigrants began to appear. At the be-ginning of the nineteenth century, William Cobbett inveighed against the number of "debased Foreigners" in England, "distinguishing particularly, Jews, Negroes, and Hulattoes". Cobbett raised the loudest complaint not against the black poor, but against the elevation of some wealthier blacks into polite society: ...many, too many, of the rich, in the wildness, in the insolent caprice of their luxury, chose to regard them, as beings not only equal, but somewhat superior, to even the middling classes of the people.^ He observed that the admission of Negroes into the army "necessarily degrades the profession of the soldier", and that a "shocking" number of English women were prepared to accept not only black lovers, but much worse, black husbands. Amongst white women, this disregard of decency, this defiance of the dictates of nature, this foul, this beastly propensity i s , I say i t with sorrow and shame, peculiar to the English.19 Cobbett's prejudiced outbursts were the exception, not the rule. Hester Piozzi, 1741-1821, a friend of Dr. Johnson's and a devotee of literary a f f a i r s , thought the intermixture of the races in English society was "pre-paring us for the moment when we shall be made one fold under one Shepherd". Well! I am really haunted by black shadows. Men of colour in the rank of gentleman; a black lady, cover'd in finery, in the Pit at the Opera, and the tawny children playing in the Squares, ...afford ample proof of Hannah More and Mr. Wilberforce's success towards breaking down the wall of separation.20 In the new edition of her novel, Belinda, Maria Edgeworth, acting upon the advice of her father, deleted the marriage of Juba, the black servant, with Lucy, the white servant g i r l . .-..many people having been scandalised at the idea of a black man marrying a white woman; my father says that gentlemen have horrors upon this subject, and would draw conclusions very unfavourable to a female writer who appeared to recommend such unions; as I do not understand the subject, I trust to his better judgement.... ^ A Mr. Edgeworth's sensitivity to colour differences and to public reaction revealed more about his own feelings and his West Indian experience than about 25 the prevalent a t t i t u d e of the time. His daughter's innocence on the subject represented a more topical response. The B r i t i s h r eaction to colour differences at the end of the eighteenth century varied widely. No d e f i n i t e pattern of behaviour was esta b l i s h e d , and even those who expressed unfavourable views of the Negro d i d not n e c e s s a r i l y p r a c t i s e d i s c r i m i n a t i o n . Even slave traders did 22 not show disrespect for a black man of some standing. In eighteenth century England, r a c i a l l y prejudiced i n d i v i d u a l s un-doubtedly e x i s t e d , but on the whole, a l l l e v e l s of society were r e l a t i v e l y 23 free of antipathy to blacks. A f t e r 1790, occasional'outbursts of anti-Negro f e e l i n g increased, but these scattered incidents hardly c o n s t i t u t e d a s i g n i f i -cant change i n a t t i t u d e s . The l e v e l of r a c i a l antipathy probably followed the general trend of increased s o c i a l antagonism. The r i s i n g campaign against the slave trade produced a counter-offensive against the Negro, and at the same time, r e a c t i o n against the Revolution i n France and r a d i c a l a c t i v i s t s at home, led to a heightened awareness of the cleavages within E n g l i s h s o c i e t y . The H a i t i Rebellion of 1791 c r y s t a l l i z e d both these reactions. The su c c e s s f u l slave i n s u r r e c t i o n l e f t the West Indian plantocracy quaking, and t h e i r friends among p r i v i l e g e d c i r c l e s i n England f e l t the tremours. In the l a t e eigh
UBC Theses and Dissertations
British attitudes to the Negro, 1850-1870 Lorimer, Douglas Alexander 1972
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