24 APRIL 1880, Page 18


SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL, starting with the self-evident proposi- tion that a man cannot be said to have seen the world until he has visited both hemispheres, and made himself master not only of the social condition of Europe and Western Asia, and of the long existent civilisation of China, but also of the latest de- velopments of a very different kind of civilisation on the other side of the Atlantic,—made it his business to visit America and to try to gain as much general information as possible respecting that country, devoting his attention, however, in an especial manner, as the title of his book indi- eates, to the present relations of the black and white races to each other, while he also took much interest in studying the modes of cultivation and handling of cotton, and comparing them with his Indian and Egyptian experience. His book is divided into two portions, the first made up, with additions, of his speeches to the Kirkcaldy Burghs and the re- print of his article in the Fortnightly ; and the second, of a series of extracts from a journal merely kept, as he tells us, as an aide mgmoire, and now thrown into shape for publication. As a literary production, we cannot say that the work is much to be commended. It is written in a. careless, inelegant manner, and it is at the same time heavy and unattractive, the writer not being possessed of much descriptive power, and failing to carry his reader pleasantly along with In fact, during the perusal of the first part of the book, one feels as if one were listening to a hurried address, in which the object was to run over as much ground as possible in the shortest space of time. One thing, however, is evident,—Sir George Campbell has seen America, its people, and its customs, through an extremely rose-coloured medium. It is not, of course, surprising that he should admire the country, but he also praises most of its institutions; and as to the people, he places them in point of energy and enterprise above the average Briton, and actually admits their equality with the average Scotchman. In his opening chapter, "A Bird's-Eye View of the United States," the author deplores our ignorance of the Americans, and the coldness which we show towards those amongst them who visit this country. He con- tends that almost every one of our popular writers has caricatured them, and accuses Anthony Trollope in particular of being exceedingly unfair. Of course, Trollope went strongly against the emancipation of the slaves, and in that matter, at all events, was exceedingly to blame. Sir George Campbell spent a good deal of his time in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia, giving special attention to the condition of things in the Southern States ; and the first point which seems to have struck him is the astonishing advance made by the blacks, since means of education have been afforded to them, in ideas of law and property and order. What it took the white serfs of European countries hundreds of years to learn, the negroes have acquired in, perhaps, a dozen ; and although this advance is ascribable to the thoroughness of the measures adopted in America on their behalf, it is clear that such results could not have been attainable, had there been in the black races that decided deficiency of intellectual capacity with which the enemies of emancipation have been wont to credit them. Sir George Campbell's investigation into the capacity of the negro seems to have led him to the conclu- sion that it is to some extent less, but not greatly less, than that of the white man ; and this is a point which it is very .difficult to determine, since it is not easy to compare people who are not educated together. The short time, too, which has elapsed since emancipation took place renders a judgment from results scarcely fair. It seems, however, that negroes are not remarkable for energy and force under difficulties, neither are -they adapted for responsibility. The black man is an excellent • White and Black. By Sir George Campbell, M.P. London Chatto and Winding.

labourer or artisan, but he is deficient in accuracy, and in factories which employ black labour seldom rises to the higher posts. For instance, he cannot, it is said, be trusted to work engines or to weigh goods and to make up packages. A successful negro merchant or shopkeeper seems to be unheard of. " I have scarcely found," says the author, " a negro who has risen in the mercantile world higher than an apple-stall in a market." On the other hand, as preachers and as politicians, they do attain to a fair share of success. We will give here, in Sir George Campbell's own words, his estimate of the negro as a hired workman. He says :-

"There is a general concurrence of opinion, and not of opinion only, but of the most practical experience, that the blacks make admir- able labourers, when they are under efficient supervision. On public works and all undertakings carried on under professional superintend- ence, nothing can be better or more effective than their labour. They are, physically, exceedingly fine men ; they stand any climate and any weather, and are quite ready to do a good day's work for a moderate day's pay, provided it is regularly and fairly paid. I beard of no case in which, when such work has been offered to them, they have pre- ferred to squat down in idleness ; that allegation against the negro character seems to me quite disproved by experience. The worst said is that they cannot always be depended on, and sometimes after labouring for a time, will go off for a time. There may be cases in which, work not being readily available, and little assistance or guidance forthcoming, they have sunk into a somewhat degraded condition, but such cases are quite rare and exceptional. I came across none, though I have heard it asserted that there are such. On small farms where black men work in small numbers, in company with and under the immediate control of their employers, they do exceedingly well ; also, when they work on their own account, they do very well. It is only where they are employed in large numbers, under insufficient supervision, as on very large farms, that they are apt to take it easy and idle away their time, as is the case with most such races."

It is satisfactory to find that a common negro labourer can generally earn about 2s. a day, which makes his rate of wages about six or eight times greater than that of the Indian coolie, while his food is very little dearer. Were the black man thrifty, he might easily get into a good position ; but as a general rule, he appears—at all events, while working for others—to spend his money as fast as he earns it.

Where, however, as in South Carolina, there are land-owning negroes, they appear to do exceedingly well. In that State, a good deal of land on the Coast has been cut up into ten and twenty-acre lots, and sold to the blacks on reasonable terms; and these blacks have not been slow in showing that they fully understand the principle of self-help, making both ends meet by occasional labour at the ports and on the great phos- phate beds, cultivating their own cotton, making comfortable homes for themselves, and laying by money, in order to buy farms for their sons. Many proprietors in South Carolina and elsewhere, wise enough to see that a fixed black population in their vicinity would be of immense service in affording them occasional labour, have given the negroes facilities for the acquisition of land, and live on excellent terms with them. Sir George Campbell came to the conclusion that while good and thrifty men, who have shown a capa- city for independence, and bad ones, who prefer idleness and thieving to work, are alike in the minority, the greater number of blacks are of the class that do well under favourable circum- stances, and will settle down into an excellent peasantry. Even in Beaufort County, "the black paradise," where black pro- prietors have been earliest settled, and black rule has been the most complete and lasted the longest, he found the relations between the two races extremely pleasant and peaceable. He found black and white farmers side by side, and sometimes white farmers with black tenants, and the usual propor- tion of white traders, teachers, &c., all living together in the most friendly manner. In fact, it is very clear that, as he states, neither race can do without the other ; and the true policy is for the dominant one to make the best of the excellent population which is furnished to it by the other, and by giving increased facilities to the negroes for making them- selves small landowners, render them a fixed and useful element in American society. It follows, too, that the blacks would do better to renounce the idea of emigrating to Liberia, or of founding for themselves a State in which educated coloured men shall own no superior, since they can, if they choose it, do infinitely better for themselves by remaining where they are, and making use of the advantages which are attainable in


Caste separation is, however, exceedingly marked. Black and white are prohibited from intermarrying, and a kind of social ostracism undoubtedly prevails. The whites assert their superiority, and the blacks withdraw themselves very much from collision with them. Still, that this is very much matter of habit, is evident from the fact that in the present day the humblest black travels in tram-cars on terms of perfect equality with the proudest white, no malice or incivility being exhibited on either side, although in schools and churches there is no intermixture ; still, it is possible that time may change this. As to the idea of the blacks dying out, Sir George Campbell will not entertain it for a moment. He contends that they will multiply, on the contrary, with great rapidity, especially as there are portions of America where the white man cannot live, but which are admirably suited to the negroes ; and he does not see why the black difficulty in America should not be well settled by the retention of an industrious, progressive coloured popula- tion, which would contribute very much to the wealth and greatness of the country. In the journal we see many examples of the successful employment of black labour, in particular that of the estate of General W—, in Virginia. We cannot, how- ever, dwell longer upon the subject, nor can we go into some other portions of the book which are worth comment ; suffice it to say that Sir George Campbell has dealt with a great many of the multitudinous " burning questions " that occupy American politicians, and that he would willingly see something like the American State Legislatures introduced into this country,—as he would also like to see an elevated railway running down Oxford. Street, Piccadilly, and some of our great thoroughfares, in imitation of that one in New York, which seems to be so convenient and so successful.