I hardly need point out that my young lieutenants did not have to teach the principles of courage to this woman's grandchildren.
I often asked myself why it was that, with this capacity of daring and endurance, they had not kept the land in a perpetual flame of insurrection; why, especially since the opening of the war, they had kept so still.
The answer was to be found in the peculiar temperament of the races, in their religious faith, and in the habit of patience that centuries had fortified.
The shrewder men all said substantially the same thing What was the use of insurrection, where everything was. against them?
They had no knowledge, no money, no arms, no drill, no organization,--above all, no mutual confidence.
It was the tradition among them that all insurrections were always betrayed by somebody.
They had no mountain passes to defend like the Maroons of Jamaica
, -no impenetrable swamps, like the Maroons of Surinam
Where they had these, even on a small scale, they had used them,--as in certain swamps round Savannah
and in the everglades of Florida
, where they united with the Indians, and would stand fire-so I was told by General Saxton
, who had fought them there — when the Indians would retreat.
It always seemed to me that, had I been a slave, my life would have been one long scheme of insurrection.
But I learned to respect the patient self-control of those who had waited till the course of events should open a better way. When it came they accepted it. Insurrection on their part would at once have divided the Northern
sentiment; and a large part of our army would have joined with the Southern
army to hunt them down.
By their waiting till we needed them, their freedom was secured.