gladly avail himself of an opportunity to regain his freedom; but the prophets have been disappointed.”
General John B. Gordon
, United States
Senator from Georgia
, who used to own several plantations and a great many slaves, in his testimony before the Ku-Klux Investigating Committee
, in July, 1871, spoke in the strongest terms of the good conduct of the Southern
negroes during and after the war. He said that “they have behaved so well since the war that the remark is not uncommon in Georgia
, that no race, relieved from servitude under such circumstances as they were, would have behaved so well.”
As for their conduct during the war, when he was asked about that, General Gordon
Well, sir, I had occasion to refer just now to a little speech which I made at Montgomery, Alabama
, where General Clanton
He and I both struck on that train of thought.
I went so far as to say that the citizens of the South
owed it to the negroes to educate them.
One of the things which I mentioned, and which General Clanton
also mentioned, was the behavior of the negroes during the war; the fact that when almost the entire white male population, old enough to bear arms, was in the army, and large plantations were left to be managed by the women and children, not a single insurrection had occurred, not a life had been taken; and that, too, when the Federal
armies were marching through the country with freedom, as it was understood, upon their banners.
Scarcely an outrage occurred, on the part of the negroes, at that time. * * * The negroes were aware that the contest would decide whether they were to be slaves or freemen.
I told my slaves of it at the beginning of the war. I think that the negroes generally understood that if the South
should be whipped freedom would be the result.
The negroes, in fact, as General Gordon
said, were happy because they were treated kindly and had few cares.
They were attached to their masters, with whom they had been associated all their lives, being naturally an amiable, good-tempered race, with very strong local attachments, and very affectionate to their kinsmen and those they were used to look up to. They have an ardent clan-sense, and the master used to be revered as the head of the sept.
This was the case everywhere, except on the large coast plantations, where the negroes seldom saw a white man, were brutalized, of low intelligence, speaking a language of their own, scarcely to be understood by the whites.
These negroes, like those of Cuba
, were only half naturalized and had many of their old barbarian African
habits and instincts; but elsewhere the case was different.
As General Gordon
In the upper part of the State, where I was raised, the negro children and the white children have been in the habit of playing together.
My companions, when I was being raised, were the negro boys that my father owned.
We played marbles, rode oxen, went fishing, and broke colts together; a part of my fun was to play with those colored boys.
The negro girls-those who were raised about the housewere