By John Saillant
Born in Connecticut, Lemuel Haynes used to be first an indentured servant, then a soldier within the Continental military, and, in 1785, an ordained congregational minister. Haynes's writings represent the fullest list of a black man's faith, social idea, and competition to slavery within the late-18th and early-19th century. Drawing on either released and infrequent unpublished resources, John Saillant the following bargains the 1st complete learn of Haynes and his notion.
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Extra info for Black Puritan, Black Republican: The Life and Thought of Lemuel Haynes, 1753-1833 (Religion in America)
98 The Old Testament, properly understood, was against slavery. No one can, Haynes insisted, be denied freedom or “Communion” because of race, appearance, or an Old Testament curse. ”100 By contrast, Islamic jurists had earlier fortiﬁed the “curse of Ham” by arguing that the “peculiarity” of the “children of Ham” was a characteristic of all unbelievers. In the words of a sixteenth-century jurist, “Any unbeliever among the children of Ham, or anyone else, may be possessed [as a slave] if he remains attached to his original unbelief.
Paul’s teachings authorized Christians to seek the highest holy states when they can be reasonably and ethically realized. The middle states—here, for Haynes, one’s enslavement—were merely a compromise, sometimes made unavoidable by the world. Christian slaves therefore were to try their best to be free by the “Lawfull” measures available. The persistence of slavery in nominally Christian times meant to black commentators that a corrupt or even false religion held sway. ”105 It was obvious that slaves were to seek freedom as fully as possible within the laws of their society as well as strive to further Christianity by ridding it of the proslavery dross of the past.
It seems virtually undeniable that as Haynes imagined the feelings of slaves, he was fathoming his own experience as a black indentured servant; he was addressing not only enslaved Americans but also free blacks, indentured or not, who were oppressed though not chattel slaves. His sense of blackness was articulated in a drive to unearth historical and theological meanings pertinent to the situation of blacks in the New World, yet unimagined by their white contemporaries. In other writings Haynes cast himself as a representative African American, so it seems appropriate to follow him here into the idea that he was expressing a suﬀering partly his own, but one far beyond his own, too.
Black Puritan, Black Republican: The Life and Thought of Lemuel Haynes, 1753-1833 (Religion in America) by John Saillant