#GIA14: Racial Conversation as Performance Art
23 hours ago
Marriage Extraordinary! MARRIED, In Scott County, on the 8th inst. By the Rev. ------*, Mr. THOMAS W. SCOTT, a white man, to Miss ADELINE J. JOHNSON, a mulatto girl, and reputed, or acknowledged, daughter of the Honorable Richard M. Johnson, one of the Representatives of the state of Kentucky in the Congress of the United States!
A few days after Mr. Scott became the happy husband of the FAIR and lovely Adeline, he was presented by her father, the “good Colonel,” with a fine tract of land, known as the “Blue Spring farm,” for which a deed has been regularly made and entered of record in the office of the Clerk of the Scott County Court. The deed runs, “to Thomas W. Scott and Adeline J. Scott, his wife, jointly, their heirs,” &c.
This is the second time that the moral feelings of that portion of the people of Scott county who possess such feelings, have been shocked and outraged by the marriage of a mulatto daughter of Col. Johnson to a white man, if a man, who will so far degrade himself; who will make himself an object of scorn and destation to every person that has the least regard for decency, for a little property; can be considered a white man. About two years and a half ago, a Mr. DANIEL PENCE, married IMOGENE, Colonel Johnson’s eldest daughter; and, as has more recently been the case with Mr. Scott, was soon after rewarded for his degradation, by being put in possession of a large farm and a number of slaves to cultivate it.
How long will the people of Scott County – of Kentucky – permit such palpable violations of the laws of their state to be commited with impunity! How long will the moral and religious part of the community suffer such indecent and shocking example to be set for their sons and the rising generation, before they put their veto upon them? – before they consign to private life at least, if not to infamy, those who encourage such violations of the laws both of God and of man? The laws of Kentucky forbid, under heavy penalties, a white man’s marrying a negro or mulatto, or living with one in the character of man and wife. Why should Pence and Scott not be held amenable to the laws? What are the Grand Jury of Scott about? … Will they suffer Pence and Scott to go unpunished because they have become the sons-in-law of Col. Johnson? – We hope not. We hope to see the supremacy of the laws of the country maintained, although persons high in office should be made to feel their weight.
* The Rev. Thomas Henderson, Principal of the Choctaw Academy, is said to have performed the marriage ceremony between Mr. Scott and Miss Adeline. We incline to doubt his having done so; for we have a higher opinion of Mr. Henderson than to believe he would be guilty of such an outrage against public opinion and the laws of his country.
HARRIET BEECHER STOWE: The vision attributed to Uncle Tom introduces quite a curious chapter of psychology with regard to the negro race, and indicates a peculiarity which goes far to show how very different they are from the white race.
They are possessed of a nervous organization peculiarly susceptible and impressible. Their sensations and impressions are very vivid, and their fancy and imagination lively. In this respect the race has an oriental character, and betrays its tropical origin. Like the Hebrews of old and the oriental nations of the present, they give vent to their emotions with the utmost vivacity of expression, and their whole bodily system sympathizes with the movements of their minds.
When in distress, they actually lift up their voices to weep, and “cry with an exceeding bitter cry.” When alarmed, they are often paralyzed, and rendered entirely helpless.
Their religious exercises are all colored by this sensitive and exceedingly vivacious temperament. Like oriental nations, they incline much to outward expressions, violent gesticulations, and agitating movements of the body. Sometimes, in their religious meetings, they will spring from the floor many times in succession, with a violence and rapidity which is perfectly astonishing.
They will laugh, weep, embrace each other convulsively, and sometimes become entirely paralyzed and cataleptic. A clergyman from the North once remonstrated with a Southern clergyman for permitting such extravagances among his flock. The reply of the Southern minister was, in effect, this:
“Sir, I am satisfied that the races are so essentially different that they cannot be regulated by the same rules. I at first felt as you do; and, though I saw that genuine conversions did take place, with all this outward manifestation, I was still so much annoyed by it as to forbid it among my negroes, till I was satisfied that the repression of it was a serious hindrance to real religious feeling; and then I became certain that all men cannot be regulated in their religious exercises by one model. I am assured that conversions produced with these accessories are quite as apt to be genuine, and to be as influential over the heart and life, as those produced in any other way.”
The fact is that the Anglo-Saxon race – cool, logical, and practical – have yet to learn the doctrine of toleration for the peculiarities of other races; and perhaps it was with a foresight of their peculiar character, and dominant position in the earth, that God gave the Bible to them in the fervent language and with the glowing imagery of the more susceptible and passionate oriental races.