Black Puritan, Black Republican: The Life and Thought of Lemuel Haynes, 1753-1833

By John Saillant | Go to book overview

Introduction

Lemuel Haynes's religious faith and social views are better documented than those of any African American born before the luminaries of the mid-nineteenth century. Born in 1753, Haynes began producing mature compositions in the mid-1770s, years in which he served as a minuteman, member of a militia, and soldier in the War of Independence. Most of his early works were published only posthumously. From 1792 to 1820, he published a number of essays and sermons, along with occasional poems and hymns dating from the mid-1770s to 1821. He died in 1833. His biographer printed several of Haynes's previously unpublished sermons in 1837, and modern editions of still other previously unknown works have appeared since 1980. This study treats some autograph manuscripts that have never been published (modern transcriptions of Haynes's works, including the ones given in this study, aim for verisimilitude and alter his spelling and punctuation only rarely).

In early African American studies, in which black-authored texts of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are rare, Haynes's writings are invaluable. Unfortunately, Haynes's life is less well documented than his mind and heart. Inheriting a name from neither mother nor father, he was separated from parental care soon after his birth in West Hartford, Connecticut. He matured as an indentured servant in Granville, Massachusetts, served several brief stints during the American Revolution, and became a minister. He was assigned in 1788 to a Congregational church in Rutland, Vermont, a town in a frontier region beset by chronic problems in attracting qualified ministers. He proved to be more than qualified, leading revivals and becoming a leading controversialist. Most of his publications were initially delivered as sermons or speeches in Rutland. Virtually everything that can be known about his life derives from the writings of white Americans who were intent, after his death, on portraying him as an early saint of antebellum abolitionism. Using

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Black Puritan, Black Republican: The Life and Thought of Lemuel Haynes, 1753-1833
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents *
  • Chronology of Lemuel Haynes's Life xi
  • Black Puritan, Black Republican *
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - A Further Liberty in 1776 9
  • 2 - Republicanism Black and White 47
  • 3 - The Divine Providence of Slavery and Freedom 83
  • 4 - Making and Breaking the Revolutionary Covenant 117
  • 5 - American Genesis, American Captivity 152
  • Notes 189
  • Index 229
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