[Volume 1, Page 514]

CHAPTER 15 | Document 5

Benjamin Franklin to John Waring

17 Dec. 1763Papers 10:395--96

Being but just return'd home from a Tour thro' the northern Colonies, that has employ'd the whole Summer, my Time at present is so taken up that I cannot now write fully in answer to the Letters I have receiv'd from you, but purpose to do it shortly. This is chiefly to acquaint you, that I have visited the Negro School here in Company with the Revd. Mr. Sturgeon and some others; and had the Children thoroughly examin'd. They appear'd all to have made considerable Progress in Reading for the Time they had respectively been in the School, and most of them answer'd readily and well the Questions of the Catechism; they behav'd very orderly, showd a proper Respect and ready Obedience to the Mistress, and seem'd very attentive to, and a good deal affected by, a serious Exhortation with which Mr. Sturgeon concluded our Visit. I was on the whole much pleas'd, and from what I then saw, have conceiv'd a higher Opinion of the natural Capacities of the black Race, than I had ever before entertained. Their Apprehension seems as quick, their Memory as strong, and their Docility in every Respect equal to that of white Children. You will wonder perhaps that I should ever doubt it, and I will not undertake to justify all my Prejudices, nor to account for them.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 15, Document 5
The University of Chicago Press

The Papers of Benjamin Franklin. Edited by Leonard W. Labaree et al. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959--.