THE FREE NEGRO
NOT so wide was the gulf between Lazarus and Dives as that which yawned between the whites of every class and the negroes; the one, however poor and powerless, was a member of the ruling element of society, with all the potentialities of freemen; the negro belonged to a servile race, and the best that even the free negro could hope was an inferior, imperfect, and unstable status. No legal distinctions were made between the quick negro and the stupid, the coal-black and the mulatto, the son of a planter and the son of a field-hand.
Yet there were many varieties of character, of capacity, and even of race among the negroes. Most of them were descended from the tribes of the west coast of Africa; but members of many inferior tribes reached the coast. On the same plantation could be found Guinea negroes, very black and uncouth; brown or bronze races, almost European in feature; a few individuals of the "copper color" type; and an occasional Arab. None of the African races persisted in America, their language almost en-