With the same chances and with the same treat­ment, I be­lieve that dis­tin­guished men would be pro­duced equal­ly from both races … But it does not fol­low that what can be done even­tu­al­ly can be done im­me­di­ate­ly, and the gulf which di­vides the colours is no ar­bi­trary prej­udice, but has been opened by the cen­turies of train­ing and dis­ci­pline which have giv­en us the start in the race. We set it down to slav­ery. It would be far truer to set it down to free­dom. The African blacks have been free enough for thou­sands, per­haps for tens of thou­sands of years, and it has been the ab­sence of re­straint which has pre­vent­ed them from be­com­ing civilised. Gen­er­ation has fol­lowed gen­er­ation, and the chil­dren are as like their fa­ther as the suc­ces­sive gen­er­ations of apes. The whites, it is like­ly enough, suc­ceed­ed one an­oth­er with the same sim­ilar­ity for a long se­ries of ages. It is now sup­posed that the hu­man race has been up­on the plan­et for a hun­dred thou­sand years at least, and the first traces of civil­isa­tion can­not be thrown back at farthest be­yond six thou­sand. Dur­ing all those ages mankind went on tread­ing in the same steps, cen­tu­ry af­ter cen­tu­ry mak­ing no more ad­vance than the birds and beasts. In Egypt or in In­dia or one knows not where, ac­ci­dent or nat­ural de­vel­op­ment quick­ened in­to life our moral and in­tel­lec­tu­al fac­ul­ties; and these fac­ul­ties have grown in­to what we now ex­pe­ri­ence, not in the free­dom in which the mod­ern takes de­light, but un­der the sharp rule of the strong over the weak, of the wise over the un­wise. Our own An­glo-Norman race has be­come ca­pa­ble of self-gov­ern­ment on­ly af­ter a thou­sand years of civ­il and spir­itu­al au­thor­ity. Eu­ro­pean gov­ern­ment, Eu­ro­pean in­struc­tion, con­tin­ued steadily till his nat­ural ten­den­cies are su­per­seded by a high­er in­stinct, may short­en the pro­ba­tion pe­ri­od of the ne­gro. In­di­vid­ual blacks of ex­cep­tion­al qual­ity, like Fred­er­ick Dou­glas in Amer­ica, or the Chief Jus­tice of Bar­ba­does, will avail them­selves of op­por­tu­ni­ties to rise, and the freest op­por­tu­ni­ties ought to be of­fered them. But it is as cer­tain as any fu­ture event can be that if we give the ne­groes as a body the po­lit­ical pow­ers which we claim for our­selves, they will use them on­ly to their own in­jury. They will slide back in­to their old con­di­tion, and the chance will be gone of lift­ing them to the lev­el to which we have no right to say that they are in­ca­pable of ris­ing.
—  James A. Froude, The English in the West Indies