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THE

NEW ENGLANDER.

No. CLXXVIII.

JANUARY, 1884.

ARTICLE I.—THE U. S. SUPREME COURT AND THE

CIVIL RIGHTS ACT.

The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States at the October term, 1883, adverse to the constitutionality of sections one and two of the Civil Rights Act of 1875, while quietly acquiesced in by the people in general, has created no small agitation among our colored citizens. They have held numerous meetings in the larger cities to express their sorrow and indignation, and at these meetings have been present many of their old-time friends, who were connected with the antislavery cause. For then, as now, an indignant protest was made, in the name of God and humanity, against caste, whether in India or America. Some, who were not in that renowned conflict, but have come upon the stage in the years since the war, have mistakenly said, that the old abolitionists warred only for the overthrow of slavery, and that their opinions and advice on the subject of the rights of the free colored people should now have little weight, when uttered against VOL. VII.

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men.

the extreme views which are occasionally presented by colored

But in that conflict caste and slavery were equally opposed, on the platform and in the pulpit, by resolutions adopted in anti-slavery conventions and by articles in the newspapers, through tracts and through books. Especially was there a continual quotation of the indignant words of James in the second chapter of his epistle, to condemn the unchristian prejudice against those of African blood, which made distinctions insulting to them in the very house of God, and at the Lord's own table! Slavery was at a distance, in the southern States; but caste was all around them, and they could not and did not forbear to rebuke it. The writer may be allowed, in illustration, to refer to his own experience on this very point. His direct and practical protest against caste began, in his college and theological seminary days, at the Presbyterian church, in New York city, which he was accustomed to attend. He often went and sat with the colored people in the seats to which they were confined in one end of the gallery, to express his sympathy with them, and to rebuke their exclusion from other parts of the house. While he was a pastor in Hartford, Connecticut, in the year 1847, he learned that no minister in the city had exchanged pulpit services with Rev. Dr. Pennington, of the colored Congregational church-a very black brother, as regarded the skin, but who was held in high esteem for his modesty and excellent good sense, and on whom, when he went abroad to a reform convention in London, the University of Göttingen, in Germany, on the recommendation of friends, bestowed the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. So the writer arranged an exchange with him, and the congregation were astonished one Sunday, to see Dr. Pennington's dark face in the pulpit ; a fact which led some of them indignantly to leave the house. A little later, in the annual election of Moderator of the Hartford Central Association of Ministers, he voted alone, on the first ballot, for Dr. Pennington; but there being no choice, and Dr. Bushnell coming to his aid on the second ballot, a majority was induced to vote in Dr. P.'s favor. Two young theologues, who appeared before the body at that meeting to be licensed to preach, were astounded to have the examination conducted, and their licenses finally signed by a

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