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

By John Saillant | Go to book overview

3
The Divine Providence of
Slavery and Freedom

Lemuel Haynes's politics were republican and his religion was Calvinist— a common pairing in late-eighteenth-century New England. Haynes early encountered American Calvinism in the New Divinity theology, becoming one of its staunchest defenders and exploring its antislavery and problack dimensions. The New Divinity ministers were ardently committed to the patriot cause in the War of Independence, since republican political principles struck the New Divinity ministers as God's moral law articulated in a polity. 1 Some New Divinity ministers served as soldiers' chaplains in the war, and several, like Joseph Bellamy and Samuel Hopkins, lost sons or brothers in service. 2 Members of the New Divinity school were among the first Americans to publish against the slave trade and slavery, yet they were also among the first to propose the expatriation of freedmen and freedwomen to Africa. Haynes defended the New Divinity against its antagonists, but he resisted its expatriationist impulses. Within the New Divinity, Haynes offered a black man's view of the way that a godly, republican society was to be forged in America. Sin was a great concern of the New Divinity, which was as much a theodicy as a theology, and Haynes offered one of America's most penetrating analyses of the sins of a racially inegalitarian society. The New Divinity theodicy resurfaced in an attenuated form in the 1830s, for example, in William Lloyd Garrison's comments on God's overruling power, but no one in the antebellum abolitionist movement grappled with the sin of slaveholding in the way Haynes had. 3

In the midst of the American Revolution, probably about the time of his own service, Haynes felt a calling to the ministry. His neighbors in Granville, Massachusetts, soon came to regard the young black man as “one raised up of God for more than common usefulness” because of his “uncommon gifts

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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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