The Curse; or, The Position in the World's History Occupied by the Race of Ham, “Chapter I. Vulgar Errors” & “Chapter II. ‘The Accursed Race of Ham’” [extrait]

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(1815-1888), Increase Niles Tarbox “The Curse; or, The Position in the World's History Occupied by the Race of Ham, “Chapter I. Vulgar Errors” & “Chapter II. ‘The Accursed Race of Ham’” [extrait]”, RelRace, item créé par Clément Mei, dernier accès le 14 Apr. 2024.
Contributeur Clément Mei
Sujet La malédiction des descendants de Cham et l’esclavage des « Africains » : une « erreur commune »
Description Reprenant le titre d’un ouvrage de l’auteur anglais Thomas Browne (1605-1682), l’auteur compte, parmi les « erreurs communes », un « ensemble d’idées et d’opinions » concernant l’esclavage. L’auteur affirme qu’en tant que tel, cet ensemble de conceptions serait dénué de tout fondement. En 1864, il serait d’après lui temps d’abandonner « ces fantasmes d’ancienne superstition ». D’après l’auteur, l’esclavage des « Africains », prétendument descendants de Cham, ne peut être justifié par l’évocation de la malédiction prononcée par Noah, étant donné qu’il ne reviendrait pas à l’Homme de mettre en œuvre une punition divine : « Lorsque Dieu entreprend de punir un peuple, il trouve le moyen de le faire sans intervention officielle de notre part. » (p.13)
Auteur Increase Niles Tarbox (1815-1888)
Date 1864
Éditeur American Tract Society, Boston
Langue en



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[…] But though the more gross superstitions of two hundred years ago have departed, there are many opinions still floating about among us, which would fairly come under the denomination of "vulgar errors." Handed down from father to son, accepted early in life, for the most part without thought or examination, they pass on from mind to mind and from age to age, and are seldom confronted by any searching scrutinizing eye. If Sir Thomas Browne could live again, and do for our age what he did so faithfully for his own; if he could collect and exhibit all the false notions and beliefs which haunt modern society, we might be astonished to find how much superstition and folly are still extant, in spite of common schools and newspapers.
On the general subject of slavery, there has come down to us, by inheritance from our fathers, a set of ideas and opinions, which in the unquestioning period of childhood we were easily made to believe, and which have been and are still firmly held by multitudes as undoubted truths, but which, when fairly confronted and examined, are found to be just like Sir Thomas Browne's "vulgar errors," without the slightest foundation in fact. They were first launched upon the world to serve as an anodyne for guilty consciences. They were caught up eagerly by men who needed the soothing influence thus afforded. They became matters of common talk, having as their groundwork 'everybody says so'. Passing thus from mouth to mouth, and having acquired such respectability as age can give, they stalk abroad with this halo of antiquity about them. There are thousands of men in our land, who, if you venture to disturb their faith in these old traditions, will start back instinctively as if you were trying to unsettle the foundations of everlasting truth.
But we have reached a period when it is time that we should be delivered from the power of these errors. Our minds need to be cleared of such illusions of the past, that we may rise up like men to meet the weighty responsibilities of the present. We need to look truth steadily in the face, and no longer suffer ourselves to be led about by these phantasms of old superstition.
CHAPTER II. “The Accursed Race of Ham.”
One of the opinions alluded to in the previous chapter as extensively current among us may be stated in a few words, somewhat as follows.
"Immediately after the flood, in consequence of the misconduct of Ham, one of the three sons of Noah, a curse was pronounced upon him and his descendants through all time ; whereby this portion of the race was to be of an inferior and servile order, was to furnish "hewers of wood and drawers of water" for the more favored children of Shem and Japheth. Consequently the race of Ham has always, as a matter of fact, been kept in this inferior place among the nations ; his children have always been servants and drudges for the rest of mankind ; and the African slaves in this country are descendants of Ham. From these premises the grand conclusion follows ; namely, that we the favored children of Japheth are justified in using the descendants of Ham as we do, because we are thus simply executing the purposes of God in the infliction of his curse."
We will not stop here to discuss the philosophy or the theology of the doctrine that, when God pronounces a curse upon an individual or a nation, this is itself our warrant for rushing in to abuse and maltreat on our own private account. When God undertakes to punish any people, he will find a way to do it without officious intermeddling on our part. Our rule of action towards our fellow-men is very clearly taught us. […]