Josiah Priest

Josiah Priest, Bible Defence of Slavery, 6th edition
(1853 reprint, Detroit, MI: Negro History Press)

This page contains many of the quotes from that book. We know the book was widely read and accepted. One author writes about Priest: His "works on contemporary America were for a short time widely read. . ." [Forrest G. Wood, The Arrogance of Faith: Christianity and Race in America from the Colonial Era to the Twentieth Century (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), pg. 89.]

The following is the last section of Priest’s book:


[From the Richmond Examiner]

The plain and inevitable deduction is this: that the Negro is a totally distinct race from the Caucasian; that the Negro is the connecting link between man and the brute creation, that the Negro race is designed by nature to be subordinate to and dependent upon the white or superior races: that the Negro race is the result of a different act of the Creator from that which originated the Caucasian, and is, consequently, beyond the scope of those abstract axioms which declare that all races are of one blood and have equal rights natural, social, and political. (p 4)

Letter to Mr. W.S. Brown thanking him for receipt of Bible Defense dated Charleston, June 16, 1851.

I have thoroughly examined the book, and regard it as one of the best productions which has ever appeared in defence of the South. Edwin Heriot Ed. Of the Southern Home Journal (no page number)

Further recommendations follow from The Monroe Democrat and Senator Jas. E. Harrison, of Mississippi.

The Frontspiece has a virtual thesis after the title

Bible Defence of Slavery; or the Origin, History, and Fortunes of the Negro Race, as deduced from history, both sacred and profane, their natural relations—moral, mental, and physical—to the other races of mankind, compared and illustrated—their future destiny predicted, etc. To which is added A Plan of National colonization, adequate to the entire Removal of The Free Blacks, and all that may hereafter become free, In A Manner Harmonizing with the Peace and Well-being of both Races. By Rev. W.S. Brown, M.D., of Glasgow, Ky. Published by Rev. W.S. Brown, M.D., 1853]


Of this one [Adam] blood, God made the two other bloods, as we have shown on the first pages of this work. Into these two [white and black] new bloods God infused, or created, two secreting principles; one depositing between the outer and secondary skin of the body of one of these men a white mucus, causing the skin of that man to be white, and between the outer and inner skin of the other a black mucus, causing that man to be black. (162)

From that [Acts 27:26] scripture, therefore, as we deem, the equality of the Negro race with the white race is not made out; as the color, formation, woolly, hair, thick skull, pointed posteriors, large foot, pouting lips, wide and flatted nose, low forehead, hollow and compressed temples, narrow monkey shaped waist, wide chest, angular shaped legs, were not, and could not have been, the direct and natural propagation of Adam’s blood. (163)

Thus God has seen fit to do in the creation of the two races of men, the Negroes and the whites; one is degraded by natural tendencies, with a curse or a judicial decree to announce it, and the other with a blessing, equally judicial, both being dictated by the Holy Ghost from the lips of Noah. (p 164)

We repeat: Their [free blacks] presence is a universal evil, destructive alike to the peace, morality, safety, and prosperity of every community in which they are to be found, whether existing in a free or a slave State. In this respect, they are upon the same footing as the red man of the forest; but being of a race naturally inferior, their existence in our midst is more to be deprecated than would be that of the Indian. (492)

The great scheme of the American Colonization Society, is the only means by which this evil [free black population] ever can be eradicated from our land. . . . It may become necessary to select some other destination than the colony of Liberia, or to require the government thereof to be administered by a functionary chosen by a congress of nations. But let what changes may come in that respect, colonization, a complete and perfect separation of the two races, is the only true policy. (497)

As to the famous passage found in the Constitution of the United States, which reads, that it was held by the powers of that constitution, that all men are born “free and equal,” we have not a thought that any allusion was had, by that phraseology, to Negro slavery, more than to men in the moon. (348)

Should we allow that Cain’s mark which was set upon him by the Divine power, was that of a black skin, this would not prove that it was derived from Adam’s veins, but from a curse rather.

The mark, however, as held by the Jews, was not any affection of the skin of Cain, but an affection of the nerves, by which means he became a paralytic, or trembler; . . .If that mark was a black sink, yet this could not affect the children of Cain, unless, together with that mark, his nature and constitution was also changed, so that his race could partake with him of that curse. But were we to allow this, so as to make out the being of negroes before the flood, yet they could not be the progenitors of the present negroes of the earth, as all Cain’s race, with all the other races were lost in the flood. On this account, we are the more confirmed in the belief, that the first negro of the earth was Ham, a son of Noah, and that Cain and his people, were no more negroes or black men than Adam was. (161)