Physical likeness to his great Antagonist Abraham Lincoln, they were born in adjoining Kentucky counties-both were of Welsh parentage; both fought in the Black Hawk War.
By T. C. DeLEON.
On the anniversary of the great Southern leader's death, at New Orleans, Dec. 6, 1889, and at the ending of the centennial year of his birth—it is fitting that the remnant of the people he wrought and struggled for should teach their children what manner of man he really was. And it is with regret that some of us see the year closing and the loving and practical suggestion of Mrs. Cornelia Branch Stone, U. D. C., unfulfilled and almost unheeded. Engaged, at the opening centenary year of Jefferson Davis, upon a somewhat important work of Confederate chronicle, 1 was absolutely amazed at the dense and very generous ignorance of polite and well-bred people of the South regarding the most patent details of the Southern President's career. In one of his piquante and meaty addresses Hon. Champ Clark, of Missouri, paralleled the manner in which noted Northerners and Southerners were treated in the histories, cyclopedias and biographical dictionaries of the last half century. He instanced among many that Robert Toombs—an important national factor on both sides of the supposititious ‘line’ of Mason and Dixon—received a quarter-column comment and William H. Seward three columns; that Abraham Lincoln in several books averaged five columns, while Jefferson Davis—soldier, Senator, Cabinet minister and leader of a new nation—has one column.  In his premise the brilliant and well-equipped Missourian was exceptionally correct; but his deduction from it seems scarcely tenable: that the disproportion was the fault of the North. Mr. Clark left an important factor out of his calculation: that the histories and fact books have almost invariably been left to Northern men to write; that they, naturally and properly, write for the Northern schools, libraries and public. To all three of these the details of Southern prowess and of Southern progress were as antipathetic, where not absolutely terra incognito. These Northern writers merely gave the Northern readers what was most to their taste. No public caterer, knowing that the vast bulk of his patrons doted on pumpkin pies, would insist upon offering them imported plum pudding. But the South had her skilled cooks, and plums for their cooking galore. Should not Congressman Clark lay the blame at our own proper door? We boast, and with good show of justice, that we have scholars, writers and teachers in the South unexcelled on the planet; that we have more universities in many States than can be profitably and effectively conducted, and that their alumni embrace great and world-acknowledged scholars. Why do these men—who write theology, science, philosophy, fiction and poetry—not write history as well? Why do not the universities, colleges, schools and school boards which they control use books that bear false witness of any kind—against their neighbors? Why do they not sprinkle the Southern historical Sahara with at least a passing shower of historical facts? Doubtless Southern-built histories and geographies of Southern actions and biographies would sell rapidly and become universal Southern textbooks; and that would pay the writers ‘for revenue only’ far better and more lasting than the most interesting romance. There is a certain servility in the Southern acceptance of Northern product, material, mental and moral; and that acceptance is not new, but harks back to the days when the South—vaunting that, while only the tail, she wagged the national dog—got all her books, periodicals, fashions and most of her bibulants from the North. That the then differing systems of the two halves of—the Union may have condoned, if not necessitated.  But, in this twentieth century, of wireless telegrams, inhuman phonographs and mental searchlights, the almost universal ignorance of the most fecund, and most unique, epoch in national history, is at least inexcusable! It was cause for sorrow that the gentle, but determined head of the U. D. C. found need for her proclamation, urging the Chapters to promote the knowledge of Davis and Lee. It was cause for shame, that in a long centennial twelvemonth, the small molehill of vis inertiate was never surmounted by the foot of action; and that its closing days see the schoolboys and girls of the South, reading of the executive of Confederate laws, and of the leaders of Southern armies, from books bearing an imprint far from their own.