Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: "Prove it!" Edition

I have an old 'crow to pick with you' about my hero Rajah Brooke; and my spirit is stirred within me this morning by seeing that the press are keeping up the attack on him for the Borneo business. I say at once that I think he was utterly right and righteous. If I had been in his place I would have done the same. If it is to do again, I trust he will have courage to do it again. But, thank God, just because it is done it will not have to be done again. The truest benevolence is occasional severity. It is expedient that one man die for the people. One tribe exterminated, if need be, to save a whole continent. 'Sacrifice of human life?' Prove that it is human life. It is beast-life. These Dyaks have put on the image of the beast, and they must take the consequence. 'Value of life?' Oh, Ludlow, read history; look at the world, and see whether God values mere physical existence. Look at the millions who fall in war; the mere fact that savage races, though they breed like rabbits, never increase in number; and then, beware lest you reproach your Maker. Christ died for them? Yes, and He died for the whole creation as well--the whole world, Ludlow--for the sheep you eat, the million animalcules which the whale swallows at every gape. They shall all be hereafter delivered into the glorious liberty of the children of God; but, as yet, just consider the mere fact of beasts of prey, the countless destruction which has been going on for ages and ages, long before Adam's fall, and then consider. Physical death is no evil. It may be a blessing to the survivors. Else, why pestilence, famine, Cromwell and Perrot in Ireland, Charlemagne hanging 4000 Saxons over the Weser Bridge; did not God bless those horrible righteous judgments? Do you believe in the Old Testament? Surely then, say, what does that destruction of the Canaanites mean? If it was right, Rajah Brooke was right. If he be wrong, then Moses, Joshua, David, were wrong. No! I say. Because Christ's kingdom is a kingdom of peace; because the meek alone shall inherit the earth, therefore, you Malays and Dyaks of Sarawak, you are also enemies to peace. 'Your feet swift to shed blood, the poison of asps under your lips;' you who have been warned, reasoned with; who have seen, in the case of the surrounding nations, the strength and happiness which peace gives, and will not repent, but remain still murderers and beasts of prey. You are the enemies of Christ, the Prince of peace; you are beasts, all the more dangerous, because you have a semi-human cunning. I will, like David, 'hate you with a perfect hatred, even as though you were my enemies.' I will blast you out with grape and rockets, 'I will beast you as small as the dust before the wind.' You, 'the strange children that dissemble with me, shall fail,' and be exterminated, and be afraid out of your infernal river-forts, as the old Canaanites were out of their hill-castles. I say, honour to a man, who, amid all the floods of sentimental coward cant, which by some sudden revulsion may, and I fear will, become coward cruelty, dares act manfully on the broad sense of right, as Rajah Brooke is doing. Oh, Ludlow, recollect how before the '89, men were maundering about universal peace and philanthropy, too loving to hate God's enemies, too indulgent to punish sin.

—Charles Kingsley to J. M. Ludlow, December 1849, in Charles Kingsley: His Letters and Memoirs of His Life, volume 1, pp. 222-223. Referenced in Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism pp. 76-77

No comments: