Page images

in the proportion of 33 to each 10,000 of the negro population. Thus it appears that the proportion of negroes was nearly four times as great as for the whites of native extraction. It should be added, however, that the commitments of negroes are for petty offenses in much greater proportion than among the whites.

PAUPERISM. In respect to pauperism, the investigations of the census have been confined to paupers maintained in almshouses and have not been extended to those persons receiving outdoor relief, either permanent or temporary. The number of white paupers of native extraction in almshouses was found to be in the proportion of 8 to every 10,000 whites of native extraction, while the negro paupers were in the same proportion. Lest these figures should mislead, however, it must be added to this statement that in the South but little provision is made in the form of almshouses for the relief of the poor, this provision being confined almost entirely to the northern part of the country, a fact which in itself explains the sinall proportion of the negro paupers in almshouses. On the other hand, it is a matter of common knowledge to any resident of a Southern city that the negroes form a disproportionately large element of the recipients of outdoor charity.

ILLITERACY AND EDUCATION. Of the progress of the negro race in education, the statistics are by no means as full and comprehensive as is desirable. Such as we possess, however, go to indicate a remarkably rapid progress of the race in the elements of education. During the prevalence of slavery this race was kept in ignorance. Indeed, generally, throughout the South it was held as a crime to teach the negroes to read and write, and naturally when they became freemen only a trifling proportion of them were acquainted with these elements of education. In 1870, five years after they became free, the records of the census show that only two-tenths of all the negroes over 10 years of age in the country could write. Ten years later the proportion had increased to three-tenths of the whole number, and in 1890, only a generation after they were emancipated, not less than 43 out of every 100 negroes, of 10 years of age and over, were able to read and write. These figures show a remarkably rapid progress in elementary education.

In 1860 the number of negroes who were enrolled in the schools of the South was absolutely trifling. Since the abolition of slavery the number has increased with the greatest rapidity. This is shown in the following table, which relates only to the inhabitants of former slave States. The first column shows the proportion which the number of white children enrolled in the public schools bore to the white population, and the second column the proportion which the number of negro children in the public schools bore to the total negro population of these States.

[blocks in formation]

It is seen from the above table that in 1870 the white pupils constituted 13.5 per cent of the white population, and that in 20 years this proportion increased to nearly 22 per cent. On the other hand, the negro school children constituted in 1870 only 3 per cent of all negroes, but that in 20 years it has increased to nearly 19 per cent of all negroes. The proportion of negro school children increased at a far more rapid rate than that of the white school children, and in 1890 had nearly reached it.

The following table shows the proportion of such enrollment to population in 1890 in each of these states:

Per cent of school enrollment to population in 1890.







District of Columbia.
West Virginia
North Carolina.
South Carolina

19. 12
15. 24
21. 59
25. 58
19. 79
19. 49
24. 37

16. 38
16. 69
17. 61
19. 20
16. 46
15. 51


22. 27
26. 49
22. 40
27, 71
13. 43
21. 06
19. 98
23. 24

20. 40 23. 58 17. 10 24. 60

8. 82 22. 21 19. 22 21. 76


PLATE VII.—Conjugal condition of the negro element.

An examination of this table shows that in the District of Columbia, North Carolina, and Texas the proportional enrollment of negroes was greater than that of the whites, while in other States it was less.

The following table shows the rate of increase in the enrollment in each of these States from 1880 to 1890:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

From this table it appears that in all excepting four States, namely, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas, the enrollment of negro children in the public schools has increased more rapidly than that of the whites.

Summing up this article in a paragraph, the following conclusions may be stated : The negroes, while increasing rapidly in this country, are diminishing in numbers relative to the whites. They are moving southward from the border States into those of the south Atlantic and the Gulf. They prefer rural life rather than urban life. The proportion of criminals among the negroes is much greater than among the whites, and that of paupers is at least as great. In the matter of education, the number of negro attendants at school is far behind the number of whites, but is gaining rapidly upon that race.

Only one generation has elapsed since the slaves were freed. To raise a people from slavery to civilization is a matter, not of years, but of many generations. The progress which the race has made in this generation in industry, morality, and education is a source of the highest gratification to all friends of the race, to all excepting those who expected a miraculous conversion.


MEMORIAL SKETCII OF JOHN F. SLATER. John Fox Slater, of Norwich, Conn., who gave a generous fund to promote the education of tho freedmen, was a quiet, thoughtful, well-trained man of business, who rose by industry, sagacity, and prudence to the possession of a fortune. His chief occupation through life was the manufacturing of cotton and woolen goods in Connecticut and Rhode Island. In recent years, as his means increased, he was interested in many enterprises, some of them established in New York and others in the West. He was a close observer of the social, political, and religious progress of the conntry, and a frequent, unostentations contributor to benevolent undertakings, especially such as were brought to his attention in the town where he resided and in the church which he attended. From all positions which made him conspicnous ho was inclined to withdraw himself, and he probably nnderrated the influence which he might have exerted by the more public expression of his opinions; but whenever be did participate in public affairs he showed the same independenco, sagacity, and resolution which marked the conduct of his business. Under these circumstances the story of his life is simply that of a private citizen who was faithful to the responsibilities which devolved upon him, and who gradually acquired the means to contribute liberally toward the welfare of others. Notwithstanding the well-known unwillingness of Mr. Slater to attract the attention of the public, those who are concerned in the administration of his trust desire to put on record the characteristics of his long and useful life.

For three generations the Slater family has been engaged, either in England or the United States, in the improvement of cotton manufactures. Their English home was at Belper, Derbyshire, where William Slater, a man of considerable property, the grandfather of John F. Slater, resided more than a hundred years ago, until his death in 1782. At Belper and at Milford, not far from Belper, Jedediah Strutt was engaged as a partner of Sir Richard Arkwright, in the business of cotton spinning, then just becoming one of the great branches of industry in England.

Samuel Slater, fifth son of William Slater, was apprenticed to Mr. Strutt, and near the close of his service was for some years general overseer of the mill at Milford. Having completed his engageinent he came to this country in 1789, and brought with

him such an accurate knowledge of the business of cotton spinning, that without any written or printed descriptions, without diagrams or inodels, he was able to introduce the entire series of machines and processes of the Arkright cotton manufacture in as perfect a form as it then existed in England. He soon came into relations with Moses Brown, of Providence, and through him with his son-in-law and his kinsman, William Almy and Smith Brown. With the persons last named he formed the partnership of Almy, Brown & Slater. For this firm Samuel Slater devised machinery and established a mill for the manufacture of cotton, at Pawtucket, R. I., in the year 1790, but as this proved an inadequate enterprise, he constructed a larger mill at the same place in 1793.

A few years later, about 1804, at the invitation of his brother Samuel, John Slater, a younger son of William, came from England and joined his brother in Rhode Island. The village of Slatersville, on a branch of the river Blackstone, was projected in 1806, and here until the present time the Slaters have continued the manufacture of cotton goods.

John F. Slater, son of John and nephew of Samuel, was born in the village just named, in the town of Smithfield, R. I., March 4, 1815, and received a good education in the academies of Plainfield, in Connecticut, and of Wrentham and Wilbraham, in Massachusetts. At the age of 17 (in connection with Samuel Collier) ho began to manage his father's woolen mill at Hopeville, in Griswold, Conn., and there he remained until he became of age. In 1836 he took full charge of this factory, and also of a cotton mill at Jewett City, another village of the same town, where he made his home. Six years later he removed to Norwich, with which Jewett City was then connected by railway. Here he married, May 13, 1844, a daughter of Amos H. Hubbard, and here his six children were born. Only two of them, the eldest and the youngest, a daughter and a son, survived the period of infancy, and of these the son alone is living. Norwich continued to be Mr. Slater's home until he died there, at the beginning of his seventieth year, May 7, 1884.

Before his last great gift, Mr. Slater made generous contributions to religious and educational enterprises. He was one

of the original corporators of the Norwich Free Academy, to which he gave at different times more than $15,000. To the construction of the Park Congregational Church, which he attended, he gave the sum of $33,000, and subsequently a fund of $10,000, the income of which is to keep the edifice in repair. At the time of his death he was engaged in building a public library in Jewett City, which will soon be completed, at a cost of $16,000. His private benefactions and his contributions to benevolent societies were also numerous. During the war his sympathies were heartily with the Union, and he was a large purchaser of the Government bonds when others doubted their security.

Some years before his death, Mr. Slater formed the purpose of devoting a large sum of money to the education of the freedmen. It is believed that this humane project occurred to him, without suggestion from any other mind, in view of the apprehensions which all thoughtful persons felt, when, after the war, the duties of citizenship were suddenly imposed upon millions of emancipated slaves. Certainly, when he began to speak freely of his intentions, he had decided upon the amount of his gift and its scope. These were not open questions. He knew exactly what he wished to do. It was not to bestow charity upon the destitute, nor to encourage a few exceptional individuals; it was not to build churches, schoolhouses, asylums, or colleges; it was not to establish one strong institution as a personal monument; it was, on the other hand, to help the people of the South in solving the great problem which had been forced upon them, how to train, in various places and under differing circumstances, those who have long been dependent, for the duties belonging to them now that they are free. This purpose was fixed. In respect to the best mode of organizing a trust, Mr. Slater sought counsel of many experienced persons-of the managers of the Peabody educational fund in regard to their work; of lawyers and those who had been in official life, with respect to questions of law and legislation; of ministers, teachers, and others who have been familiar with charitable and educational trusts, or who were particularly well informed in respect to the condition of the freedmen at the South. The results of all these consultations, which were continued during a period of several years, were at length reduced to a satisfactory form, and were embodied in a charter granted to a board of trustees by the State of New York, in the spring of 1882, and in a carefully thought-ont and carefully written letter, addressed to those who were selected to administer the trust.

The characteristics of this gist were its Christian spirit, its patriotism, its munificence, and its freedom from all secondary purposes or hampering conditions. In broad and general terms, the donor indicated the object wbich he had in view; the details of management he left to others, confident that their collective wisdom and the experience they must acquire would devise better modes of procedure, as the years go on, than any individual could propose in advance.

On the 18th of May, 1882, Mr. Slater met the board of trustees in the city of New York and transferred to them the sum of $1,000,000, a little more than half of it

[ocr errors]

being already invested, and the remainder being cash, to be invested at the discretion of the board. On that occasion the trustees addressed him a letter acknowledging his generosity, and they invited him always to attend their meetings; but he never met with them again, and declined to guide in any way their subsequent action.

The gift of Mr. Slater was acknowledged by expressions of gratitude from every part of the country, and especially from those who were watcbing with anxiety the future of the blacks. The echoes of gratitude came also from distant lands. Henceforward, in the annals of Christian philanthropy, the name of John F. Slater will be honored among those who have given wisely, freely, and in their lifetime, to enlighten the ignorant and to lift up the depressed.


[By Rev. Dr. S. H. Howe, pastor of the Park Church, Norwich, Conn.] Mr. John Fox Slater, founder of the fund that bears his name, was born in Rhode Island, March 4, 1815. His family came a generation before from England, and was identified with'manufacturing interests in the countries both of its birth and its adoption. He who was to be associated in the public mind with industrial education among one of the races on the continent was born to the inheritance of a namo which has held high eminence for its relation to industrial progress. One of his near relatives has been called the “father of American manufactures." Family tradition and family prominence along these lines early determined for him the career of a manufacturer, by which he laid the foundations of the fortune which he ultimately amassed. He early developed rare business aptitudes, as was evidenced by the intrustment to him

of one of the mills of his father at the age of 17. From this early period he continued in the career of a manufacturer until his death, maintaining and enlarging the plant covered by his sole ownership not only, but also identified with other large manufacturing corporations as shareholder and director. Starting from tho solid foundation of a good academical education, he found in business lise a training and discipline which fitted him to grapple, with the hand of a master, with the largest questions in business and finance, and to achieve success where others failed. He had large experience in business life, and developed rare powers for the grasp of its intricate problems. His business successes were not due to the chances of trade, or the fluctuations of values, or to the daring and the ventures of speculation, but were the fruit of the sagacious and alert use of the opportunities which were in his own as in other men's reach. He possessed profound insight and exhaustive knowledge of affairs and men, with mental grasp and business training, some have believed, sufficient to have wisely controlled the financial interests of a nation. His judgment and counsel were sought by great corporations in the management of enterprises and industries which represented large investments and a vast outla y of capital. It is not strange that his ventures were so largely successful, and that his failures and losses were exceptional and rare.

Then his sagacity in business, which amounted to genius, was allied to honorable methods and to inflexible business integrity. Few men have had an aversion so severe and uncompromising to unfairness and to doubtful practices. His opportunities for speculation were many, but he carefully held himself aloof from all but the legitimate channels of trade. He gathered fortune by honorable methods-a fact of some significance to those who handle his munificent trust, and a significant fact to those who are helped to manhood and culture by it. The hands which created this noble foundation were clean hands.

Mr. Slater, as may be inferred from what has been said, was a man of wide intelligence, peculiarly receptive and hospitable to truth. To his strong Puritan sense of right and devotion to principle, he added that larger interest in the world and the age in which he lived, which gives scope and breadth to thought, and defends against mere local and provincial sympathies. And yet he was a public-spirited citizen in his adopted city, jealous of its good name, generous toward its charities. Toward his country he was patriotic and loyal, interested in its politics and its legislation.

He was a man of strong, pronounced personality; of fine fiber and of genuine manliness-a gentleman by instinct and training and habit; reserved and selfrespecting, though genuinely sympathetic toward and accessible to all classes of men. He was sensitive concerning and deeply averse to that adulation which goes after great fortune for its own sake. It is the testimony of a friend who saw him most frequently through a long period of years and shared his confidence in a larger sense than others that in all his intercourse with him he had not heard a sentence that suggested the pride of fortune. He wished to be estimated for what he was and not for what he possessed. And this rule governed him in the estimate which he placed upon others. He was modest and unostentatious to the last degree. While

ED 95- 45*

« PreviousContinue »