"The Political Plea"
Bishop Cleland K. Nelson
At the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Sunday Evening, October 19, 1913
Reverend George Frazier Miller,
Rector of St. Augustine's Church, Brooklyn
Sunday Morning, October 26, 1913
Published by Subscription
[Transcriber’s note: “More than a thousand negroes (with hundreds of whites among them), coming from Brooklyn and as far as the Oranges, attended a service, held last night in the Cathedral, in behalf of the Episcopal Church’s work among negroes under the auspices of the American Church Institute for Negros.” New York Times Oct. 20, 1913. This “Reply” is in response to Addresses delivered at that meeting.]
A Reply to "The Political Idea"
"Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, the Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore, whatsoever, they bid you observe, that observe and do, but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not."—Matt. XXIII. 1, 2, 3.
Our Lord, just previous to this injunction, had been in controversy with the Pharisees who sent out their disciples with the Herodians to entrap Him in His talk.
After confounding them and putting them to flight, fearing lest His own disciples should have a misapprehension of the Pharisees' office, or hold their position in contempt, He charged them and the multitude according to the phraseology of the text.
Officials must be respected for their office' sake, though their conduct in office be condemned.
Our intelligence has been insulted, and our sensibilities severely shocked, by the utterances on last Sunday evening, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, of Bishop Cleland K. Nelson of Atlanta, and Bishop Thomas P. Gailor of Tennessee.
Bishop Nelson says that the conclusion of anyone, studying the problem as he has done, is one of three alternatives—(a) utter detestation; (b) the Southern Christian man's position; or (c) utter failure to understand the black man.
We are not concerned with which of these conclusions the Bishop has reached, but we are very much concerned with, and exercised by, his interpretation of the "Southern Christian man's position" to the North where he comes, not as a prelate of God's Church, preaching hope and love, but as an emissary of a clearly defined and completely determined propaganda of disfranchisement, segregation and subserviency.
 When Bishop Nelson says that "a nation's blunder has been committed in the bestowal of the franchise—an immeasurable wrong was done in the gift of the ballot to a people unprepared for citizenship;" and Bishop Gailor says: "we are all aware of the strange, unprecedented condition which has been created by the sudden enfranchisement of several millions of black people who were utterly unprepared to exercise the right of suffrage with intelligence and sufficiency," we reply that they are both guilty of what the logician calls the petitio principii—they assume the thing that demands proof.
But allowing what they say for the sake of the argument, we are quite willing to match the intelligence, wisdom, and integrity of Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stephens against those of Bishop Gailor, Bishop Nelson, or any of their class. Think of the phrases: "Unprepared for citizenship" and "utterly unprepared to exercise the right of franchise with intelligence and sufficiency!" Who shall set up the criterion of absolute or perfect preparedness for the exercise of the franchise? Surely not the Bourbon of the South, for he holds that only those are fit to vote who vote his way. But wisdom is justified of her children—in this new regime, the black man increased in numbers, intelligence, wealth and in all the complex relations of American civilization, as will be shown later. A natural sequence of the ballot is the school-house; everywhere the ballot has gone, the schoolhouse has followed; and where the vote has been taken away, the school house has been abandoned, or its term of service miserably reduced; the responsibility of citizenship insures the preparation for its intelligent use.
Bishop Nelson is illogical, again, in his parallel of the American freedman and the one emancipated from Egyptian bondage.
The cases are not analogous: the Hebrews were a homogeneous people with a leadership whose interest had been tried and proved; the abolition of American slavery made the black man an element, or an integral part, of a heterogeneous people in the midst of whom he necessarily contended against greed, prejudice and oppression. In this sudden transition from chattel to man, he needed most the ballot.
The ballot, in a republican form of government, is the citizens' indispensable armor, his weapon of offense and of defense, [4/5] and the man who possesses it not is in a hopeless plight before the strong arm of his fellows.
Bishop Nelson charges us that we need many things much more than we do the vote. That declaration is somewhat amusing as it takes me back to the preparatory school, when I, with my fellows, discussed such questions as which is the most damaging wind, water or fire?
Which does a man need more—air or water?
If his life be a duration of six hours, or a day, his greater need is air: but suppose a man's life is a span of three score years and ten, of sufficient length to permit him, if he have the ability or opportunity, to make a definite, positive, and permanent contribution to the general enlightenment or to the march of civilization?
Which will be his greater need?
For an answer, we refer to the Bishop of Atlanta. If the Bishop contemplates the black man as a citizen in a form of government like the democracy of the United States of America, we tell him that his greatest need is the ballot: furthermore, we regard it as a positive offense and a travesty of hospitality for the Bishop to come into this free country where the ballot is liberally used by all men, and essay the discord he aimed to engender, which is decidedly foreign to the life and spirit of this community.
Despite the thrust of Bishop Gailor at "the host of untrained children set to work operating the delicate machinery of government with results disastrous and exasperating," we say that nothing in the political realm of South Carolina, in the reconstruction period and the palmy days of carpet-bag government equaled in adroitness, villainy, shamelessness and murderous determination these latter days of graft, blackmail, treachery and persecution that disgrace beyond comparison the City and State of New York, Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania.
Who are they that operate the delicate machinery of government in New York? Are they the men trained in the science of Political Economy, the men who have dealt with the large questions of international law, the men of large commercial concerns, of science, letters, or finance? No, it is a hoodlum element controlled by a boss ignorant and unscrupulous. We invite those Bishops to consider the Rosenthal murder in all its ramifications, [5/6] then tell us about people in New York "set to work operating the delicate machinery of government." Let them review the shot-gun policy of the South, ballot-box stuffing, the intimidation, the testimony of Benjamin Tillman that the shotgun is more effective than the ballot in carrying elections, and reflect upon the cause and the effect of Bleaseism, in South Carolina today, then tell us about the barbarians set to work operating the delicate machinery of government.
What is the test of fitness to vote?
In this congregation there are Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Progressives, and, may be Prohibitionists. Shall any one group say that the others are unfit to vote? What then is the test of fitness? The only test is an intelligent and reasonable statement of the ground of one's political attitude or affiliation. And I venture the assertion that not half the voters in the City of New York could assign a ground intelligent and reasonable for their allegiance. What does the rank and file of the Southern Democracy know about the questions of State, or the rank and file anywhere, for that matter? Not a whit more than the generalty of black men.
They vote as partisans for the men "on the ticket" irrespective of all things else.
The great amendments that come before the people in the course of referendum, for ratification or defeat, they know nothing about and care nothing for. Statistics show this. The percentage of those voting on the amendments is almost infinitesimal in comparison with the whole number of voters. They care nothing about measures; they do not even vote for men; they "vote the ticket." For many years after the bestowal of the franchise, the black race almost to a man, voted the Republican ticket, and it was with a large degree of intelligence that they so voted. They started with the assumption that all the political benefits received were through the good will and fostering care of the Republican party, and concluded that it was in the line of self-preservation and every advantage to trust themselves to that party's guidance. Whether the assumption or premise above mentioned be true, or not, lies without the pale of enquiry or concern of this discourse—it is simply claimed here that their reasoning was in harmony with every detail of Aristotelian [6/7] demand applied to syllogistic procedure. And that is in advance of the average New Yorker fifty years removed from the giving of the franchise to the black man.
"I distinctly charge," says Bishop Nelson, "that when freedom and franchise were given the negro, he then became the ward of the nation, as he was no longer either a chattel, or an acceptable relation of any kind in the land where he lived."
Very well. How did the new ward deport himself in the changed relation and altered condition?
Sydney Andrews, a Northern man, went South immediately after the war to study the condition; he mingled freely with white men and with black men to get the mental frame, as well as the physical state of things.
The whites told him that the blacks were so demoralized by their new found freedom, that they were running into license; some said their condition was so dire that they were seeking their former masters and were begging again to be received into their care, protection and oversight. But those whites were talking about black men in the abstract. You may think of a tree, or a horse, in the abstract—the general characteristics of the horse may present themselves to your mental vision; but bear in mind, there is no such thing as an abstract tree or an abstract horse—every horse has an individual and definite existence. So with a man. Though Mr. Andrews heard of numbers of blacks who were seeking a restoration to the condition of bondmen, no one definite individual man, possessing a local habitation and a name, either indicated by another, or personally met, was willing to be received into bondage.
He met numbers upon the roads with their worldly possessions upon their backs, making their way from the upper part of the state to Charleston—for Charleston was then the centre of all interests Carolinian. He questioned them—all were going to Charleston—to work; at what they did not know; for whom they did not know; but their minds were bent upon work. [* South Since the War.]
Professor Andre Tridon, a friend of some of us, a Parisian, recently returned from a tour of investigation in the South. He wanted to see the black man, this slothful black man who, he had heard, would not work.
 Well, he told me that this black man who "would not work" was the only man he saw working.
Here is proof that this ward of the nation began, immediately after the declaration of freedom, to make provision for his own maintenance.
The Freedman's Savings Bank was opened in 1865, and closed in 1874. During the nine years of its operation the deposits from more than 61,000 persons, scattered through all the Southern States from Maryland to Louisiana, amounted to more than $56,000,000.
"The South has spent in the last forty years," says Bishop Gailor,"$166,000,000 on the education of the black man, and his progress has justified the outlay."
We are glad to receive this word of commendation truly earned; but we wish to say that while that large amount seems to be an exemplification of Southern philanthropy and magnanimity, it does not approximate the amount of money that the colored people of the South have paid into the coffers of their respective States as taxes levied upon their realty; and the school tax paid by the blacks has not gone in full for their own education.
"But," says the Bishop, "the moral progress of the negro has not been at all in proportion to his progress in book learning, and in ability to acquire property." And the Bishop of Atlanta says: "He needs, he still needs, to be fitted for citizenship. He needs a vitalizing religion. He needs an appreciation of character even above intelligence."
Bishop Gailor speaks here like a novice in the affairs of human experience. The growth of character in any person, or people, is decidedly slow; and in comparison with the acquisition of knowledge—especially when the mind is brought in contact with a new sphere of science, arts, or letters—the rate of character development is almost unappreciable. Thrust suddenly into a new environment of facts, the mind seizes and quickly appropriates those facts to itself, and the rate of acquisition decreases with the length of application.
The professor in any science, or profession, may be far in advance of his student in the knowledge of the branches pursued; but while both are increasing learning, the rate of the student's increase is far in excess of that of his preceptor.
 A young man knowing little of physiology and nothing of the therapeutic art, may, after a course of four years, go forth as a doctor of medicine—a man learned in medical science, fully authorized to treat the bodies of men, while his old preceptor, still his superior in their profession, may have acquired but little more knowledge of their subject than that he formerly possessed.
The increase of a child's vocabulary between the ages of three and eight is almost a hundred per cent, beyond that of a man between the ages of forty-five and fifty.
The colored children, immediately after emancipation, were taken from a sadly benighted condition and brought into a surrounding of light and learning.
Benjamin Kidd in his Social Evolution, demonstrated the fact that children of the backward races in contact with European and American civilization make the same progress in school as the white children, and, in some cases, excel them—vide chapter: Evolution not Primarily Intellectual.
Can Bishop Gailor tell us of any people in the world's history, possessing advantages in trade, and in letters, whose moral development has been in proportion to their progress in book learning and in ability to acquire property? But maybe we do not know what the Bishop means by "proportion."
And we should like to ask Bishop Nelson how does he expect a man to appreciate character without intelligence? I mean not book-learning—but to say that it is only as one comes to understand, or feel sensible of, the dignity of human life, its majesty, worth, and inviolability, that he will conduct himself consciously to preserve its integrity.
But why do men attack the black man so much on the moral side?
They do not harp quite so much now upon his laziness and his ignorance.
It is because statistics reliably and systematically gathered by trained sociologists, authorized by governmental power to do the work, and definitely catalogued, belie those charges.
But that matter of morality is so elusive! Particular charges may be proved or disproved, but when it comes to the question of morality as an abstract quality characterizing the souls of a [9/10] people, though the accuser have no proof, the accusation is so unsusceptible of disproof that the maligner feels pretty secure in making whatever charges or assertions may subserve his end.
Bishop Cheshire of North Carolina, speaking in Brooklyn about three years ago, said that the oft repeated charge that the colored people divorced morality from religion, was unjust, and branded the phrase as twaddle inasmuh as the religious ideals of all people are higher than their moral life.
The Bishop was eminently correct for the Christ of God was the only man whose life squared with his ideals, and those who claim that their moral life is on a plane with their loftiest conceptions of religion are men without religious aims at all. If true religion brings anything to a sincere and earnest soul, it brings a consciousness of imperfection, and a sense of utter dependence upon a higher power.
"Divorce religion from morality" seems a most erudite phrase in the estimation of several of our Bishops. A favorite expression it is with the Bishop of Atlanta, and the Bishop of East Carolina: even the good Bishop of Newark caught the "learned phrase," and employed it before the Church Congress in Brooklyn—with good effect we trust.
Bishop Gailor charges up the large death rate of the colored people to their immorality—fifty percent of the children born in Richmond, die within a year, he says; and there are 105 per cent more deaths among the colored people than the white from tuberculosis where that disease is rife.
While disease results from certain forms of immorality, Bishop Gailor, in fixing the cause of the large death rate among the colored people, with inexcusable simplicity ignores the most potent factor in the case, the largest differential element between the life of the white and the black man—the latter's economic condition with its far-reaching consequences—poor surroundings, inability to command the time and close attention of physician and nurse, want of hygeian conditions varying even to squalor, want of nutritious food, remedial supplies, and numerous other adverse circumstances.
But we here remind Bishop Gailor that the birth rate of the colored people is greater than that of the white—and without the aid of emigration the "fast dying black man" has increased 150 per cent [10/11] in the fifty years of his freedom. We wish the Bishop had enlightened us on the race suicide of the white man.
"Like all childish races," says he, "the black people are prone to imitate the vices of those they have been taught to admire, and even their teachers seem to put mere mental development and acquisition of property above moral character."
True indeed, the black man has imitated all the vices of the white man, but does any one suppose that his imitation stops there? Has he not imitated his virtues also? They only would deny this whose wish is the father of their thought, or whose power of observation has been obscured by the spirit of injustice, refusing to see the facts of life from a disinterested point of view.
The black man has often been held up to ridicule or contempt, as an imitator. This is a sad reflection upon the intelligence of those who regard him in such light. The power of imitation is one of the strongest elements in a people's character. It is another name for "adaptability."
The tree that does not snap, but bends with the wind and lifts its head skyward, upon the cessation of the storm is the fittest, and the fittest survives. The torrid heat of the equatorial belt is the black man's habitat—there only might he flourish like a green bay tree and spread abroad like a cedar in Libanus!
But no, we say, if the white Peary may plow his frozen way to the Northern pole, the black Henson "can endure the winter's cold as well as he." The black man adjusts himself to any clime and absorbs the genius of any civilization—his imitativeness has resisted the power of every civilization encountered—the civilization before whose march the Maori in New Zealand, the aborigines of Australia, the Polynesians in the Pacific, and the Red Men of America, have wasted away like the dew before a scorching sun.
Do the leaders of this people lay less stress upon character than on wealth or knowledge? If the reference is to Mr. Washington, the answer is that he stresses the material side of life with good reason.
I have never, as you know, been a disciple of Mr. Washington, but it is not well to give even your enemy a basket to carry water in: not to say that he is my enemy, or that I am his. But Mr. Washington is the principal of an industrial school, and, [11/12] as such, it well becomes him to lay the emphasis upon the side of life with which he is immediately concerned. Bishop Nelson can scarcely expect all the leaders of the colored people to confine themselves to the subject of morals.
Life has its diversified interests, and the race's leaders are multitudinous.
The leaders are variously classified, according to the viewpoint of the observers, and are at times arranged as the "intellectuals" and the "industrials:" and the basis of the combat between these contending forces is in the stress laid upon one kind of education at the other's expense, and the influence brought to bear in drawing off revenue from one to the other.
But there are many men of the race entitled to be styled leaders, who while believing in the advantages and value of the liberal, and the vocational education, emphasize neither, but devote their energies to the establishment of another feature of life regarded by them as of supreme importance—the moral and the spiritual.
Would the Bishop have all the leaders limit their interests to the matter of being good?
We deplore, on Bishop Gailor's account, as well as our own, his impugning the integrity of the race's leaders and ministers.
His citation of a general consensus at an Atlanta University Conference, touching the general immortality of the colored ministry is not convincing. He said that out of two hundred delegates, thirty-seven only professed belief in the worthiness of such ministers.
Enquiry of Mr. Du Bois evinced the fact that such an expression of confidence, or its want, proceeded from the delegates of a single county. This overwhelming contrary testimony coming from the delegates of a single county—as if by preconcerted action—is fraught with grave suspicion. It is not difficult amongst the class of people of whom Bishop Gailor speaks to find a group of men so cowed, as to do, or say, anything they may deem pleasing to the dominant class.
Subserviency is an ever ready actor!
Wholesale charges are easy to make and difficult to disprove. Though we dislike besmearing the name of anyone harmless to us for the sake of refuting the Bishop's charge, yet if it come to [12/13] the discrediting of specific leadership in the two races, we are prepared to name man for man with anyone who would defend the Bishop's side.
The great masses of the colored people have large and abiding confidence in the leadership of their own, as the growth of their religious organizations will attest; the multiplication of schools and colleges, and business concerns amongst them: and if we come to the political world—perhaps the truth of the matter is expressed more exactly by stating the proposition negatively—the confidence of the colored people in their leaders is by no means less than that of the whites in theirs.
But to meet the charge of the "grotesqueness" of the black man's religion we retort that religion without emotion is well nigh dead: feeling is of the very essence of religion, the man who contemplates God as a combination of attributes may carry his speculations far and wide, and reduce them to a philosophy of religion: but it is the man only whose emotions have their liberal play that will love God, and, in the love of God that constraineth him, will love his fellow men.
John Wesley saw that the essence of religion was sapped from the life of the church in his day: scholasticism had well nigh destroyed its life, leaving a shell of religion behind, when Wesley inspired of God went forth preaching a newness of life and love, and infused new life into the hardened shell again.
Had the church been alert to her opportunity, the great body of Methodists whose worship is marked by emotional expression might not have been lost from her fold today. Again the Bishop can scarcely intend a contrast in the worship of the white and the colored people of the church of which he is a chief pastor. If so, he would discover, were he to attend a service at St. Philip's, New York; St. Mark's, Charleston; St. Matthew's, Detroit; or St. Thomas', Chicago; as dignified and stately a form of worship as he ever beheld anywhere in the long course of his life.
Bishop Nelson says: "He [the black man] needs education, but not so much of the sort which some have been trying to give him—the arts and sciences, the classics, and Romance languages, music and theology."
 Think, for a moment, of the education some have been "trying to give him."
I have ceased to respect men on account of the schools from which they hail.
Men are to be esteemed according to their individual merit. The instructor in Hebrew in the theological school once said to my class: "Gentlemen, I have seen men here from the greatest colleges of the country—Yale, Harvard and Columbia, but the wonder has been not how they got out of those schools, but how they ever got in." I have met black men like the late William M. Lively speaking five modern languages, and reading with ease the Antigone of Sophocles, or the Satires of Juvenal; and Hubert Harrison with his wonderful grasp of history, theology, the social sciences and literature, charming ever, with his exquisite English, the marvel and idol of the Socialists, single taxers, and other philosophers in New York today, who put some of us college men to shame, but, to hear the Bishop talk, one might be inclined to think that he was graduated from Oxford or Cambridge, with post graduate work at Leipsic and Paris, but the fact is that were mention made of the college from which the Bishop came, I venture the assertion that but one person before me would recognize the town in which the said college is located.
In contemplating the intellectual side of the black man's life, we ask what would the Bishop of Atlanta do with Phyllis Wheatley, Benjamin Bannaker, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Alexander Crummell, Robert Brown Elliott, D. Augustus Straker, Henry O. Tanner, James Theodore Holly, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Will Marion Cooke, Mary Church Terrell, Kelly Miller, Burghardt Du Bois, Paul Lawrence Bunbar, William H. Ferris, the Grimke brothers, and T. McCants Stewart?
Would he put them on a farm or confine them to a brick kiln? And these are but types of an inexhaustible list.
"Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear."
Carlyle said: "That anyone should die ignorant who had a capacity for knowledge is a tragedy."
Would Bishop Nelson accept the responsibility of such a tragedy? We should like to think better of him, but tragedies are indigenous to the soil where the Bishop is at home.
 Bishop Nelson says, the black man needs "instruction in honor, righteousness, thrift, truth and purity, more than he needs the ballot, and above all, he needs a quickened and enlightened conscience, such as can be imparted to him in no other way but by the religion of Christ truly taught, truly received, and truly followed."
As the power and need of the ballot has already been considered, the relativity of these several needs may well be omitted here—we shall consider then the worth and demand of these abstract qualities in their absolute light, rather than in their comparative bearing.
The question then is: Do we, as a people need instruction in the virtues mentioned in the Bishop's address?
My answer is, unhesitatingly, yes! We are in deplorable and lamentable need of such instruction and guidance.
What, then, is our quarrel with the Bishop?
Why do we not then accept graciously all his characterizations and set ourselves unmurmuring to the humble learning of these primal needs?
The principle of our objection is this—as the logician says, speaking of a certain, fallacy: "Quod probat nimis, probat nihil."—what proves too much proves nothing. So the converse, what establishes too little may be an invidious comparison—and such is the case in point.
The truth in this case is exceptionable, on the principle, that to predicate of one to the detriment or condemnation of that one, that which is true of all, is slander and abuse.
Every child understands this principle.
Many of you are teachers—but go into your class rooms tomorrow and charge any one boy with an infraction of discipline wherein all the boys are participants, and he will soon inform you he is not the only one. Of course, the participation by others will not excuse him, but the singleness of the charge will brand you as partial and unjust.
The New York World in an editorial of Tuesday morning, the 21st instant, states the whole matter thus: "Bishop Gailor says the negro needs something 'that will make religion and morality identical.' 'If the negro ever finds it (is the comment) he should pass it along to the white races.'"
 According to the annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, for September, 1913, crime is greater among colored people than among white. In every one hundred thousand of the two groups, the criminals are 186 whites and 268 colored.
While this prima facie view shows a greater percentage of black criminals, let us remember that the standards of crime vary in the South, and some heinous offenses in a black man are excusable peculiarities in the white: and the most atrocious crime of which the black man can be guilty is that of impertinence.
Let us for a moment, turn our attention to some concrete considerations, and see what facts we can learn, and what deductions we might draw therefrom. The Federal Census for 1900 shows that the colored people were occupied in the following kinds of pursuits:
Domestic and Personal Service—1,317,859
Trade and Transportation—208,989
Manufacture and Mechanical Pursuits—275,116
Artists and Professional Men and Women—47,219
The colored population in continental United States was then 8,833,994; of that total, (according to Census bulletin, No. 8) 3,992,337 persons were occupied in gainful pursuits.
Nearly half the population at work!
In 1903, the Reverend S. D. McConnell, D. D., wrote a letter to the Brooklyn Eagle advocating a return of the black man to slavery, on the ground that he is lazy, shiftless, worthless, and would not work unless enforced by law.
Large numbers, similarly inimical, take the same position.
At many we are not surprised, because of their attitude, but Dr. McConnell is a man of broad learning, large intellect, keen penetration, and remarkable analytical instinct—and yet he spoke that kind of drivel.
Even if we had no figures at hand, we could tell Dr. McConnell on a priori grounds that ten million people could not live in a given community, as a distinct and separate element, without working.
Now let us take a comparative view of the colored man's [16/17] economic status at periods of fifty years apart. The figures for the year 1863 refer to the activities and holdings of such persons as were, at that period, known as free persons of color: the figures for the current year apply to the entirety of the colored population, all of whom are now free;
Homes Owned —1863, 9,000—1913, 550,000
Farms Operated—1863, 15,000—1913, 937,000
Business Conducted—1863, 2,000—1913, 40,000
Wealth Accumulated—1863, 20,000,000—1913, 700,000,000
Does not all this show thrift, resourcefulness, prudence, providence, appreciation of reserve force? The combination of these qualities means moral force: and moral stamina is the casual forerunner of such results.
The young man of the parable took his father's goods and went into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. An inevitable result of riotous living is the wasting of one's substance; but the black man instead, husbanded his substance. Yet these Bishops would universally brand him immoral!
Fortunately there is relief from the acrimony of Bishop Nelson—not all the Southern Bishops are of his way of feeling or thinking. Notable exceptions there are in men who see the black man in a different and better light: these exemplify the spirit of Christ towards all their fellowmen as far as their environment will permit.
Some of them feel their bondage and struggle for freedom. Such men are Bishop Cheshire, of North Carolina; Bishop Weed, of Florida; Bishop Gray, of Southern Florida; Bishop Bratton, of Mississippi; Bishop Kinsolving, of Texas; and Bishop Johnston, of West Texas.
In his last triennial report to the Board of Missions, Bishop Weed said: "It is impossible for anyone who is not in the midst of the work to appreciate its difficulties. The great trouble is to get the truth. It is so easy to be deceived. The colored people profess great devotion to me, and call me the Colored Bishop or the black Bishop, but they certainly wish I was not white. I cannot ride with them in the street cars or the railroad cars. [17/18] There is a line between us; they know it and feel it; I know it and feel it. I go into their houses and am treated with the utmost consideration, but there is a wall between us."
That is the expression of an imprisoned soul, conscious of its weight of bondage and earnestly desiring to be free.
What shall we do? Some have advised, in view of the Utterance of which we complain, that we leave the church.
We reply that no two Bishops constitute the church; her foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord, and this church Catholic in her history, and, Catholic in her usage, with her exalted liturgy and teaching power commands our love and devotion now, as ever before.
These two considerations are as foreign to each other as anything can be; and our allegiance to the church of the living God must not be broken, nor weakened by the utterance of men, however elevated in office or council, speaking irresponsibly, or in their individual capacity.
To Christ we must look—to our ascended Lord, who upon the heights of heaven cheered the struggling souls of God's redeemed, counseling them through the ministry of St. John the Divine, to constant labor and love with the gracious promise, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
The Interboro Press,
47 Rockwell Place, Brooklyn.