previous next

Constitution and ‘the Constitution.’

Was it a symbol of this tumult, that in the year 1828, the ship of the line, Constitution, was surveyed and pronounced unseaworthy; her timbers decayed, and the estimated cost of repairs a sum far in excess of that expended for original construction? Patriots, not a few were prepared for out and out abolition; or (practically the same thing) for the sale at public auction of material, which for some other purpose than that of ‘Ironsides’ of liberty, might be worked up and made available. Then from a poetic throat rang out: ‘Ay, tear her tattered ensign down;’ and a poetic storm drove back the inroad of Goth and Vandal upon the physical emblem; upon the name of Constitution. How fared it with the reality; with that moral wall, built also as bulwark against the foe, of which the wooden wall was emblem? This also was exhibiting the weather stain of storm; and there were those who would exchange the old timbers of tradition for a new fabric, having more of the power of pageantry. The assaults were stayed. The ship of state was suffered to sail on; and upon sufferance sailed. Three decades would hardly pass before this ship would be given ‘to the god of storms’—with none to prevent; none to relent. No lyric storm would pour to countervail that crash. While the hysterical surface thus quivered, the tremble of the real earthquake beneath the surface was ignored.

The Rev. Nehemiah Adams (whose last act, before leaving Boston to seek softer skies for a sick daughter, had been to assist in framing the remonstrance of New England clergymen against the extension of slavery into Kansas and Nebraska) wrote: ‘The South was just on the eye of abolishing slavery. The abolitionists arose and put it back within its innermost entrenchments.’ As it was on December 11, 1845, an article appeared in the Richmond Whig advocating the abolition of slavery and saying that [319] but for the intemperance of Northern Fanatics, it would be effected.

New England and the negro.

In the house of them who felt so keenly their mission to call others to repentance, how fared it with the negro? There no Federal compact could run athwart benevolent intent. In the general laws of Massachusetts (compiled in accordance with a resolution of February 22, 1822) it is provided: ‘That no person being an African or negro, other than subjects of the emperor of Morocco’—(and certified citizens of other States) ‘shall tarry within the Commonweolth for a longer time than two months.’ In case of such prolonged stay, if after warning and failure to depart, ‘it shall be made to appear that the said person has thus continued within the Commonwealth, contrary to the tenor of this act, he or she shall be whipped, not exceeding ten stripes, and ordered to depart, and if he shall not so depart, the same process shall be had and inflicted, and so toties quoties.’ In March, 1788, this was one of the ‘perpetual laws of the Commonwealth.’ It passed out of existence (subsilentio), in the general repealing section of an act of March 29, 1834. When in his reply to Hayne, Webster said: ‘The past at least is secure;’ this was part of that past still under the lock and key of statute. Among the kindly affectioned slaves of my first recollections, remmebered by me with a kind affection, I am satisfied there was not one who wouid have sought, or could have found solace, in the hospitable hand extended from 1788 to 1834. They who bestowed this liberty of the lash became our angry judge. Liberty to be whipped at each recurring sessions of the peace; ‘and so toties quoties!’ What a ‘door of opportunity’ for the African—‘not a subject of the emporor of Morocco.’

When war raged for freedom, how was it then? In September, 1862, General Dix proposed to remove a number of ‘contrabands’ from Fortress Monroe to Massachusetts. To this Governor Andrew replied: ‘I do not concur in any way, or to any degree in the plan proposed.’ For, he explained, thereby you will be deprived ‘of the strength of hundreds of stout arms, which would be nerved with the desperation of men fighting for liberty.’ But the negro, despite all invocations to do so, had never offered [320] to fight for liberty; did not then offer. At that very time no negro had ever sat upon a jury; none trained in the militia of Massachusetts. Why should the negro be ambitious to die for Massachusetts? The war governor proceeds: ‘Contemplating, however, the possibility of such removal, permit me to say that the Northern States are of all places the worst possible to select for an asylum. * * * I would take the liberty of suggesting some Union foothold in the South.’ In this same month, the adjutant-general inquired of the army of the west: ‘What is to be done with this unfortunate race? * * * You cannot send them North. You all know the prejudices of the Northern States for receiving large numbers of the colored race. Some States have passed laws prohibiting them to come within their borders * * * Look along this river (the Mississipppi) and see the number of deserted plantations on its borders. These are the places for these freed men.’ Was ever altruism like unto this altruism?

Ever, as with the constancy of natural causes, exercised in some other man's house, on the banks of some far-off, ancient river. On these terms who would not be an altruist?

Curious Bit of history.

There is a curious historical event which the muse of history has disdained to notice. At Hilton Head, in March, 1862, it was proposed to organize out of certain loyal blacks, within easy reach, a patriotic negro brigade. But this reinforcement so little appreciated the intended honor that the vigilance of a strong picket of white soldiers was necessary to prevent the escape of the slave to his master. With their Enfield rifles and other military equipments, one-third of this nucleus did, in fact, decamp. General Hunter's force succeeded in recovering at least five of these fugitives from freedom. ‘Taken when fleeing toward the mainland, occupied by rebels, they were placed in irons and confined at the Rip Raps.’ Fugitives from freedom, encountering every peril to escape therefrom, by some fugitive freedom laws are pursued, overtaken, loaded with irons and threatened with worse if they make further efforts to free themselves from freedom. It may be, in cold iron outline, is imaged something of deeper import—‘the name of freedom graven on a heavier chain.’ [321]

“In the State where I live,” said John Sherman, on April 2, 1862 ‘we do not like negroes. We do not disguise our dislike. As my friend from Indiana (Mr. Wright) said yesterday, “The whole people of the Northwestern States, are, for reasons, whether correct or not, opposed to having many negroes among them, and that principle or prejudice has been engraved in the legislation of nearly all the Northwestern States.” ’

The Bill of Rights of Oregon (published by authority of an act approved February 25, 1901) prohibits the free negro, or mulatto, from coming within the State; from holding real estate, making contracts or maintaining suit therein; and provides for the punishment of persons who shall bring negroes and mulattoes into the State; harbor, or employ them. Lincoln was but an echo, when, in August, 1862, to a committee of negroes who sought guidance from him, he recommended Central America as the most charming home he could think of for them. For, he said; ‘on this broad continent, not a single man of your race is made the equal of a single man of ours. Go where you are treated the best, and the ban is still upon you.’ From an early period in Illinois there had existed a system of indenture and registration, whereby the services of negroes were bought and sold. At December term, 1828, it was held that ‘registered servants are goods and chattels and can be sold on execution.’ The system had a strong opponent in Edward Coles, who, in the words of Nicolay, ‘though a Virginian,’ waged relentless war against it, beginning his reform in his own slaves. Where are the paeans of praise to him? The paeans are reserved for another who begins and continues his reforms in some other man's house. On the 12th of February, 1853, an act was passed, making it a crime for a negro to come, or be brought, into the State, providing that any such negro who remained therein ten days should be fined fifty dollars, and in case of inability to pay the fine should be sold to any person who would pay the costs of the trial. The State constitution of 1848 directed the general assembly ‘to pass such laws as will effectually prohibit free persons of color from emigrating to or settling in this State, and to prevent the owners of slaves from bringing them into the State for the purpose of setting them free.’ The air north of the Ohio was too pure—for slaves? No—for free negroes—to breathe. [322]

In those days, where was the citizen of Illinois so renowned for the wish to put slavery ‘in the course of ultimate extinction?’ Where the thunders against the Black Code of Illinois? Herndon says: ‘The sentiment of the majority of Springfield tended in the opposite direction, and, thus environed, Lincoln lay down like a sleeping lion!’ The lion heart, the couer de lion of romance, is not one of profound slumber when danger is abroad, but of fearless onset on the foe against whatever odds. Surely there must have been as much ‘environment’ for Jefferson. The hero is brave in his own environment, not in some other man's far-off environment. Whether girt by friend or foes, the flame that warms his heart burns on his lip. He sees in the evil that is nearest the duty that is nearest. Here was the bill of attainder of a race. Who rose in Congress to call for an investigation? Who grew hysterical over that? ‘The misery before their eyes,’ said Randolph; ‘they cannot see—their philanthrophy acts only at a distance.’

In the Taylor and Cass campaign of 1848, Lincoln spoke in Boston. Herndon says: ‘Referring to the anti-slavery men, he said they were better treated in Massachusetts than in the West, and, turning to William S. Lincoln, of Worchester, who had lived in Illinois, he remarked, that “in the State they had recently killed one of them.” This allusion to Lovejoy's murder at Alton was thought by the Free Soilers to be heartless, and it was noted that Mr. Lincoln did not repeat it in other speeches.’ Had some Southern man in Boston made the same speech it would have been cited, as an instance of the ‘barbarism of slavery.’ As the case, in point of fact, stands, perhaps ‘expressive silence’ may be becoming.

Justice Taney's decision.

The press and pulpits of the North have joined to denounce Chief Justice Taney for deciding (as alleged) at December term, 1856, that ‘the negro had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.’ It is the kind of candor one would evince who should claim ‘the Bible says, “there is no God;” ’ because the Bible does say, ‘The fool hath said in his heart there is no God.’ What Taney did say was that at the time of the Declaration of Independence and when the constitution was adopted, such was [323] the case. He followed this by illustrations, demonstrations rather, from the laws of New England and other States, and it may be the demonstrations were irritations. What made them peculiarly offensive was the impossibility of refutation. The dictum of Taney was incontrovertibly true. This incorruptible jurist, ‘in early life manumitted all the slaves he inherited from his father. The old ones he supported by monthly allowances of money till they died.’ He differed by the distance which puts the poles asunder from them whose absorbing passion is to emancipate something which belongs to others; differed toto coelo from the philanthropy—feted, crowned, exultant—whose most conspicuous trait is omnipresence of self. He is in the roll of those great judges who have discharged the grandest of human duties; first with intrepid vision to ascertain the truth; then, with a moral courage that knows no danger to fearlessly announce it. For the supreme cause of justice he was not afraid nor ashamed to live and to die poor: ‘The worthiest kings have ever loved least state.’ But could he appear once more on this earth, and could the old tests of elevation of mind and manners, purity of life, conviction and the courage of conviction, be again invoked, then of all his defamers there could not be found one worthy to so much as stoop down to unloose the latchet of his shoe.

The era of low tariff.

In 1846 the economic battle had been won so completely that in 1857 tariff burdens were still further reduced; Massachusetts voting with Virginia to this end. The leaders of both parties then joined in enacting the lowest revenue tariff which had been known since 1820. The result was an era of prosperity, not for a part, but for the whole. Dogma was put to rout by the event. The fallacy of hostile views was transfixed by the result. The retort to the prophecy of evil was the superlative satire of fact. Experience had been the great expounder. From the end of the war with Mexico to the beginning of the war between the States, had it not been for the war waged by one-half of the States upon the domestic institutions of the other, the Union would have been in the happy state of having no annals; no financial, no economic issue; no broil with foreign parts; no anarchy at home. There is no pillow of rest for freedom.



In the decade between 1840 and 1850 the warder on the watch tower had been the great son. I had almost said the great soul, of South Carolina. In blistering speech, Calhoun had defined the bond which held the gathering host of pillage. He called it ‘the cohesive power of public plunder.’ The spoils system, he said, ‘must ultimately convert the whole body of office-holders into corrupt sycophants and supple instruments of power;’ and, again, ‘let us not deceive ourselves—the very essence of free government consists in considering public offices as public trusts.’ With what subtle analysis, ground fine in debate, he stripped naked the sophistries of senates: with what ‘iron worded proof’ he chained truth to truth. The high, the brave, the incorruptible, must make enemies; and the higher, the braver, the firmer, and more discerning the sense of duty, the more implacable the enmity. He, too, is entitled to be ‘loved for the enemies he made.’ The man whom corruption is powerless to corrupt shall he not be hateful to corruption? His moral force had matched itself, not in vain against the ‘corrupt squadron.’ It may be a day will come when the force of words, beautiful as wise, in the speech upon the force bill, will strike home to the scorner: ‘Does any man in his senses believe that this beautiful structure—this harmonious aggregation of States, produced by the joint consent of all—can be preserved by force? Its very introduction will be the certain destruction of the Federal Union. No, no, you cannot keep the States united in their constitutional Federal bonds by force. Force may indeed hold the parts together, but such union would be the bond between master and slave; a union of exaction on one side, of unqualified obedience upon the other.’ The event which changed his hope into despair was the war with Mexico. He saw in the victory of war the direct menace to the victory of peace; in the midst of vociferation for the ‘rights of man,’ he saw the rights of States undone; an impracticable freedom made the pretext for the destruction of a possible and extant one. ‘Every senator,’ he said, ‘knows that I was opposed to that war, but no one knows but myself the depth of that opposition. With my conception of its character and consequences, it was impossible for me to vote for it.’ The smoke is rolling away from the [325] senate chamber scene where this tall, vivid form, meet tabernacle of prophetic fire, towered in power and, in purity. The smoke is rolling away. But the grandeur which gave battle there, unconquered then, unconquerable now—cannot be rolled away.

The crisis came with the victory. The mere demonstration of the true general welfare the greater the storm which would overturn proof by force. As the fated bark glided on the smooth wave of success, louder and louder grew the roar of a cateract toward whose rage the irresistible torrent of the time was sweeping. All that had been won would be dashed to pieces in this fury. On May 9, 1828, Benton had said in the senate: ‘Before the revolution, it (the South) was the seat of wealth as well as of hospitality. * * * All this is reversed. * * * Virginia, the two Carolinas and Georgia may be said to defray three-fourths of the annual expense of supporting the Federal government; and of this great sum annually furnished by them, nothing, or next to nothing, is returned to them in the shape of government expenditures. That expenditure flows in an opposite direction, in one uniform, uninterrupted, and perennial stream.’ The prosperity of unequal taxes is welcome, as a rule, to them who live on the open site of the sign of inequality. Who are they to-day whose breasts so quake with terror at the thought of competition with the foreigners? Those into whose lap the fruit will fall by excluding competition; the same who underbid Europe for the delivery of steel products in South Africa; for viaducts joining Burma to South China; rails for the holy railway from Beirut to Medina; for industrial triumphs in the antipodes. These lusty exporters, with tears in their eyes, demand that their fellow citizens be restrained from dealing with the ‘man of sin’ abroad, with whom they themselves so lucratively deal. The foreigner receives preferential treatment under a tariff for the protection of the native. After enactment of laws called ‘patriotic’ to protect native toil against the ‘pauper labor’ of Europe, there is then brought in ship load after ship load of the aforesaid ‘pauper labor’ to do the work which, with such timely forethought, had been protected from such labor. It is a benevolence which, on the plea of raising wages, raises the price of all things bought with wages. Ah! those happy isles of the ‘protected’ in the midst of a sea of troubles (growing year by year more troublesome); [326] at this time breaking in wrathful agonies upon all the coasts of power!

Special privileges to a few, for the sake of the poor! Is not that like feeding the ravens for the sake of the doves? The man whose name is the synonym for treachery was much bent upon converting ointment into cash for the sake of the poor; ‘not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bore what was put therein.’ Samuel Johnson, had no such thorough paced sympathy with the doctrine, ‘Taxation no Tyranny,’ as have the citizens of commonwealths which in Johnson's day, rose in arms against the doctrine. But when was taxation ever tyranny to the tyrant? Importunate is the rush of patriots to clamor for the increase, to inveigh against the decrease of public burdens. ‘Can you expect us to live,’ they cry, ‘if the load is lifted?’ Never did Roman procurator more savagely protest against being curtailed of his spoil. Does this patronized pursuit of happiness for the sake of the patrons proceed from love of others or from the love of self, cruel as the grave? What is the Standard Oil monopoly against which is hurled such malediction? Simply a thoroughly perfected method to exterminate competition. A liberty of the strong against the weak wild beasts have that. Because they can rise no higher they are wild beasts. Predatory wealth has been built up by predatory laws.

Tax Eaters and tax-payers.

With a simple dignity befitting senates, on the 11th of January, 1861, Mr. R. M. T. Hunter, of Virginia, spoke as follows:

I have often heard Mr. Calhoun say that most of the conflicts in every government would be found at last to result in the contests between two parties, which he denominated the tax consuming and the tax-paying parties. The tax-consuming party, he said, was that which fed upon the revenues of the government, the spoils of office, the benefits of unequal class legislation. The tax-paying party was that which made the contributions to the government by which it was supported; and expected nothing in return but the general benefits of its protection and legislation. And he said, and said wisely, in my opinion, that whenever the tax-consuming party, as he called it, got possession of the [327] government, the people must decay and the government must either go to pieces or assume another and different form.

Now, sir, I say that the working of our present executive system is such as to produce a party of that description in the country, and give it the power of ruling our affairs. Place the predominant power in the government in such hands, and I say one of two things must certainly happen; the union will go to pieces in the collision which such a state of things would occasion, or else the government would eventuate in a despotism.

The danger signal was that the bond or union for the tax-consuming party was geographical. The dominion of the North would move on with the invariable sequence of the processes of nature. The natural result would be a government of the South by the North and for the North; a government under which the South would have no rights which the North would be bound to respect.

The old, old struggle.

Richard Henry Lee, in October, 1787, wrote to Edmund Randolph, ‘The representatives of the seven Northern States, as they have a majority, can by law create a most oppressive monopoly upon the five Southern States, whose circumstances and productions are essentially different; although not a single man of these voters is representative of, or amenable to, the people of the Southern States. Can such a set of men be, with the least semblance of truth, called representatives of those they make laws for?’ George Mason said: ‘A majority of interests will oppress the minority’ and refused to vote for the constitution in Federal or State convention.

The distinguished gentleman, late secretary of war, more lately still a successful candidate for the highest Federal office, in a speech at Kansas City some years ago, described the attitude of protectionists toward Philippine products as ‘the quintessence of selfishness.’ Class legislation may, in general, be so defined. But it is so, most abhorrently, when it operates to rally section against section, by making burden to one bounty to the other. Better way could not be devised for breeding a ruling class to which honest conditions must be intolerable. The same distinguished gentleman, in an address, delivered last July, at the courthouse [328] of Bath county, described the opposite of free government —abroad, he said, people saw in government ‘an entity different from themselves.’ When people feel that their government is their own, one for which they are responsible, that the administration of justice represents their own conviction of what is just; so long, said the speaker, ‘we can count on a continuance of free government.’ But why go abroad for the object lesson which on such continental scale, has been seen at home? The republican party, said Wendall Phillips, ‘is—a party of the North pledged against the South.’

In 1856, Rufus Choate, in contemplation of a government thus acquired by the North, wrote: ‘I turn my eyes from the consequences. To the fifteen States of the South that government will appear an alien government. It will appear worse. It will appear a hostile government.’ Was the government organized in 1861 ‘responsive to the will of the people,’ or responsive to the will of a North ‘pledged against the South?’ Was it unnatural for them against whom it was ‘pledged’ to see in it ‘an entity different from themselves; in a sense antagonistic to themselves;’ and to feel they could not ‘count on a continuance of free government’ if this became supreme? It was as if the word went forth, ‘That which moral force has wrung from us, by material force shall be reversed; persuasion having failed to win your voluntary vote, we must needs have corruption of coercion.’ The policy to procure this result had been championed as that of ‘a higher law than the constitution.’ A far higher law, coeval with man's aspiration to be free; not at variance with the constitution, but intended to be secured thereby; was the right of a free people to be free of alien rule. For a free people there can be but one ground for submission to such rule; that the ability to resist is lacking. Laws for one community imposed by another foreign in sympathy, opposed in interest, was not current with our forefathers as the idea of self-government.


As incident to the war of 1861, ‘and as a fit and necessary war measure,’ in September, 1862, was issued a paper which (with the sequel 100 days later) is called ‘proclamation of emancipation.’ [329] By this in portions of the country called rebellious, slaves were made free, unless by the 1st of January, 1863, said communities ceased to rebel. Slave ownership was to be the reward of loyalty; slave abolition the penalty of rebellion. This might be translated; ‘negroes shall continue to be slaves to their masters if only their masters will be slaves to us. Let us have in peace the jobs which are in sight and your slaves may reap in peace your harvests, taxed only by our tariffs. We will let you have your slaves if you will let us have your freedom.’ After this offer had been made and rejected, who had a right to say that the South was fighting for slavery, or Lincoln for freedom?

As in the South construed, the motive was not to free the slave but to enslave the free. The proclamation of September 22, 1862, states: ‘The executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons or any of them in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.’

In October, 1863, Lord Brougham (an abolitionist ab initio) referring to this proclamation, said: ‘Hollow we may well call it, for those who proclaimed emancipation confess that it was a measure of hostility to the whites and designed to produce slave insurrection from which the much enduring nature of the unhappy negro saved the country. My esteemed friend, the prelate, who exalts by his virtues the name of Wilberforce which he inherits, declared that the authors of the proclamation cared as little for the blacks' freedom as the whites'; and now they call for the extermination of one race to liberate the other.’

The late Henry Ward Beecher, descanting on the advantages of education, once drew an illustration from the war between North and South. ‘Southern leaders,’ he remarked, ‘are accustomed to say, “The North wore us out.” ’ He then added: ‘It is this lasting power which education gives.’ When on one side the last man so easily could be, in point of fact, was drawn and each gap in the ranks, as it was made, be filled only by closing up more closely; while the other, from the start, so easily was able to lose two and more for one; with a whole world in the rear from which to recruit each gap, the consequence derived partakes of the non sequitor. When Xerxes wore out by ‘attrition’ [330] the Spartans at Thermopylae, was that the lasting power of education in the victor? Or was a higher education for the storm of life evinced by those valiant arms which again and again hurled back numerical ascendency, and still hurling, while strength endured, fell finally where they fought? They who stand in the last ditch, to hold up the sinking standard of their faith, or fall with it; they who fall for their altars and their fires, can always send word to their country: ‘Here obedient to thy laws we fall.’ He who, in stout resistance to the odds against him, succumbs only to the last conqueror, has been schooled in the discipline and doctrine of life, is both hero and scholar. To conquer the difficult is the first command of education, and the second is like unto it — not to be dismayed by difficulty. Education is the strain of him who overcomes; or who, undaunted to the end, puts forth all that in him is to be not overcome; and so, if fall he must, falls unconquered. He has been faithful until death. If, as in the republic of which Plato dreamt, education is the growth out of selfishness into self—satisfaction, lack of education was not the serious deficiency.

By the endless attrition of endless numbers, and under the evertightening coil on coil of the anaconda stranglehold, the Souch was drawing to the end of her agonized strain; when Lincoln, in the second inaugural, likened by some to the prophecy of Isaiah —with, as he explained, ‘malice toward none, charity toward all’ —suggested a possible prolongation of the war, ‘until all the wealth piled up by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword. As it was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said: “The judgments of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.” ’ The epitome of Reconstruction was in these words. Mr. Labouchere said of an English statesman that he did not find fault with him for being found occasionally with an ace up his sleeve. What he did find fault with was the claim that the ace had been put there by the Providence of God.

Banded by Illinois.

In 1862 as part of the work of a constitutional convention held at Springfield, Illinois, were the following sections of Article [331] XVIII, of a proposed constitution: (1) No negro or mulatto shall migrate to or settle in this State after the adoption of this constitution. (2) No negro or mulatto shall have the right of suffrage or hold any office in this State. (3) The general assembly shall pass all laws necessary to carry into effect the provisions of this article.

In the convention the first was adopted by a vote of 59 to 7; the second by a vote of 42 to 18, and the last by a vote of 45 to 18. This article was submitted to a special vote of the people, each section was approved by a majority; the constitution itself was defeated by a majority of 16,051 votes; but the vote on article XVIII, was as follows: The first section was approved by a majority of 100,590 votes; the second by a majority of 176,291 votes, only 35,649 voting against it, and the final section was passed by a majority of 154,524 votes. Where was the lash for them who, under the Illinois act of 1853, reduced freedom to bondage, and by these provisions prohibited the negro all entrance into the State? The answer is obvious. What politics could reside in such intrusion? But did he who, in one decade, threw his mantle over the killing of Lovejoy, acquire in the next a right to corroborate his wrath by that of the Almighty? Nor had he not been of counsel for a Kentucky master, seeking to recover fugitive slaves? If slavery was malum per se, how did that master's sin surpass his own? Lincoln's biographer, Mr. Joseph H. Barrett, is much comforted to have such good proof, ‘after all that has been said to the contrary, that he had no objection to a good client with a bad cause.’ What! Philanthropy could turn coat for a fee! No man has a right to be indifferent to the transgression going on around him. But the transgression which concerns him most nearly is his own. For indifference here, he does not quite compound by ‘bloody instructions’ for the rest of mankind. Prophecy is relieved of much that were afflictive, when the prophets, instead of dwelling sadly on their own sins, confine their message to dwelling gratefully on the sins of others. They who were ‘of purer eyes than to behold iniquity,’ undoubtedly had no eyes for their own.

On June I, 1862, Colonel (afterwards General) Thomas Kirby Smith, of the Union army, wrote home, of ‘the spacious lawns and parks, and cultivated grounds kept trim and neat’ in Mississippi; [332] of the slaves in the fields, ‘running to the fences to see us pass, and to chaff with the men.’ On July 11th he wrote: ‘A man here with 1,000 or 1,500 acres is a prince. His slaves fare better than our working farmers.’ In the moral judgment of time, will not freedom to work in Mississippi sustain a contrast with freedom to be an outcast north of the Ohio? One more word from this officer and gentleman, bearing date July 28th: ‘Seventeen hundred people have left Memphis within three days, rather than take the oath of allegiance. Leaving, they have sacrificed estate, wealth, luxury.’ War meant this for the South. Self was annihilated. The annihilation of self was in death grapple with the coronation of self-moral with material power.

In the fascinating autobiography of Augustus Hare is narrated, Bayard mentioned a Southern lady, who, when the army of liberation approached, entrusted all her silver and jewels to her slaves, and they brought it back safely after the army had passed. In the trial fire of war the negro said: ‘I obey where I revere.’ Could consent of the governed be more authentically certified? Under similar conditions would philanthropy in the Philippines receive a vote of confidence like this? ‘Have seen,’ said John Randolph, ‘the dissolution of many friendships, such at least as were so called; but I have seen that of the master and slave endure, so long as there was a drop of the blood of the master to which the slave could cleave.’

Slavery at University.

Dr. A. B. Mayo, of Massachusetts, in the report of the bureau of education (1900-1901) writes: ‘Here in contact with a superior class, through a period of more than 200 years, this people underwent the most rapid and effectual transition from the depths of pagan barbarism to the threshold of a Christian civilization on record in the annals of mankind. The 250 years of slavery had, indeed, been in itself a great university and the history of the world may be challenged to present a spectacle so remarkable.’ In the report of 1895 the same writer stated: ‘It was found after emancipation that all the mechanical trades were represented among these people, a portion of whom were free and themselves slave-holders.’ In circular No. I, 1892, he [333] had reported ‘the condition was not one of special hardship; indeed it was favorable to the growth of the strongest attachments in the more favored household servants. For more than two centuries the American negro received the most effective drill ever given to a savage people.’ The world's great awkward quad demanded the drill master's accuracy. Southern slavery was the reform school of the negro. Much is published concerning the higher life of the emancipated; the general uplifting by them who are neighbors ‘to the man who fell among thieves,’ and whose homes had been ‘the asylum of the deeply wronged;’ morning hours devoted to ‘patriotism, temperance, kindness to animals, love of plant life and current events;’ the campus here, the campus there; ‘enclosed by the handsome iron fence;’ and, more important still, the endowment here, endowment there, ‘to warrant salaries sufficient to tempt the highest class of instructors.’ Against all this, I put the following from the New York Nation, of March 25, 1869:

We may well call attention of the philanthropist and Christian to Dr. Draper's estimate of the religious status of the Southern slave at the beginning of the war. He declares that, “through the benevolent influence of the white women of the South, and not through the ecclesiastical agency was the Christianization of the African race accomplished; a conversion which was neither superficial nor nominal, but universal and complete; and the annals of modern history offer no parallel success.” The paragraph divulges what might be termed the sumnum bonum of missionary achievement; a higher race sharing with a lower the moral ideas which give eminence to the higher. This can receive no lesser name than the hallowed name of an evangel. All other sources of enlightened conscience, of self-respecting growth, of conversion to higher standards are futilities in comparison. The fittest to survive used their higher power, not to destroy the unfit, but to make the less fit more fit. No ‘sounding brass’ resounded for these unobtrusive women. Self contemplation would seem to have been absent; only the religious truth of duty present. They asked none to read their gentle manners in the mirror of their Christian works; wrote no articles in magazines, besought not others to do so—to tell mankind how true, how beautiful, how good they were. Save in the sentence quoted, they have received no mention; a [334] not uncommon incident of the benevolence which is for the sake of helping others and not for the means of promoting self. They in their modesty illumine the text, which, though Jacobinical, is fine: ‘Perish our memory rather than our country.’ ‘Not unto us, not unto us,’ they said. They were doers of the word, unthinking of the praises of the world. As if they caught the purity of the sky to which their hearts were lifted, they “shed abroad a Saviour's love,” among the humble folk in whose dark plight (as from old England and New England they had been received) the ministries of these unrecorded women were as stars. The chastened sanctity of their toil rises before us as a beatitude of the discipline and duty of life. They are in the number of those great teachers who transfigure into beauty the inmost force and feeling of high calling, and by so doing, lift toward their likeness the ignorant and stumbling. Purified love of the highest shone in purified piety to the lowest. The slave had been civilized by Christianity, even if spared the curriculum of post graduate courses and aesthetical belles lettres. Never was a great trust so greatly discharged.

The conscience of the slave owner.

By old England and by New England a trusteeship for the inveterate savage had been imposed. The authority of white over black was a spiritual supremacy. A higher social consciousness had reclaimed the negro from a savage sociology; out of dark chaos had educed something of moral symmetry. The negro had been trained in the school of discipline. What is civilized man, as he exists to-day, but the pupil of all the adverse strokes of time? The negro felt himself subject to higher powers, to a government which was in sympathy with the governed. With what measure of sympathy it was meted out, with that measuse it was meted back by the slave in the stress of war. It was a high, not a low, ideal of supremacy which was loved, honored and obeyed. The sincerity of a common cause had been wrought into the heart and habit of a race. Not quite two years ago, hard by the plantations once owned by Patrick Henry and John Randolph, I could have pointed you to the home of one, whose former slaves, with a reverence [335] not assumed, but real, still addressed as ‘Mistis’ the venerable lady of the manor, who, like another queen, might have celebrated her reign of three score years over a loyalty which had never wavered, never faltered. A higher force had so far counteracted the lower as to convert the lower into sympathy with the higher. How does the higher accomplish this? By taking merit from the lower? No; but by imparting merit to the lower. The higher is such, not by what is taken, but by what is given. The slaves had been taught in the school and out of the book of good example. They were pupils of the ‘old masters.’ From them the slave had acquired that which is the secret of all growth; the trait of truly perceiving and then of truly revering a higher than himself. They had been taught the military lesson of well-disciplined duty; and taught so well that, when the master was fighting in the field, fidelity to discipline, devotion to duty, were unabated. Mrs. Morse Earle, herself a descendant of the pilgrims, writing of Boston at a time when this humane city was still a slave mart, says: ‘Negro children were advertised to be sold by the pound as other merchandise,’ citing proof. ‘We have,’ she adds, ‘a few records of worthy black servants who remind us of the faithful black house servants of old Southern families.’ ‘These are the men,’ said Wilson, of Massachusetts, of the freedmen after the war, ‘who have been elevated from chattelhood to manhood.’ Yes, but it was Massachusetts which sold them into chattelhood ‘by the pound.’ Virginia and her Southern sisters had elevated them to what Wilson esteemed ‘manhood.’ Not by Wilson, nor by them for whom he spoke, had the blind received sight. ‘Property in man,’ you say. Well, at least it was property impressed with a trust a trust which the vendor would not perform but which the vendee did perform so admirably as to raise ‘chattelhood’ to manhood. The social problem is to make authority that of real highest over real lowest. To this the name of slavery may be given. The reality of slavery is government of the highest over real lowest. To this they forced upon the South in the name of liberty. Of all the crimes committed in that name none surpass this. It said to the slave: ‘Be free;’ to the free: ‘Be slave.’ The philanthropy which emancipates to corrupt imposes a far more deadly yoke than the one it assumes to break. The dogma that all men are born, or are by nature, [336] ‘free and independent,’ may call for some revision, seeing that man is born, or is by nature, the most dependent of all the animals on earth; and rises to some intuition of freedom, if at all, only through the stern tuition of necessity.

The last arrow.

In the quiver of doom there remained undrawn one arrow which none doubted would go straight to the mark. On the 20th of September, 1865, Oliver P. Morton said at Richmond, Indiana: ‘Can you conceive that a body of ment white or black, who, as well as their ancestors have been in this condition (i. e., slavery) are qualified to be lifted immediately from their present state into the full exercise of political power? * * * The mere statement of that fact furnishes the answer to the question. To say that such men—and it is no fault of theirs; it is simply their misfortune and the crime of the nation—to say that such men, just emerging from this slavery, are qualified for the exercise of political powers is to make the strongest pro-slavery argument I ever heard. It is to pay the highest compliment to the institution of slavery. In what condition is Indiana to urge negro suffrage upon South Carolina or any other State? Let us consider the position we occupy. We have perhaps 25,000 colored people. Most of them are very intelligent and excellent citizens, well to do in the world, well qualified to exercise the right of suffrage. We not only exclude them from voting, we exclude them from our public schools,’ (What a pulpit from which to anathematize the South for not providing the negro with academies!) ‘and make it unlawful and criminal for them to come into the State. No negro who has come into Indiana since 1850 can make a valid contract. He cannot acquire title to a piece of land, because the law makes the deed void; and every man who gives him employment is liable to prosecution and fine. * * * With what face can Indiana go to congress and insist upon giving the right of suffrage to negroes in the South?’ With what face! O, Heavens, with what preternatural face! The face was equal to the fate, with the face of Morton in the lead. ‘The highest compliment, to the institution of slavery’ was offered; ‘the strongest pro-slavery argument ever heard’ by [337] Morton, was made by Morton. * * * ‘You cannot find,’ said the orator, ‘the most ardent anti-slavery man in Wayne county who will go and locate in a State that has a colored government.’ * * * ‘If you do this,’ he continued, ‘these States will remain permanently colored States. The white men who are now there will move away. They will not remain under such a dominion. In such case the colored States will be a balance of power in this country. * * * Finally, they will bring about a war of races.’

What has been the upshot of free government in Haiti? A cutlass in the hand of a babe. Within the past few years Mr. Charles Francis Adams has made known what was for himself ‘a reflex light from Africa.’ In the negro's native continent, he says, ‘the scales fell from my eyes. * * * We have actually wallowed in a bog of self-sufficient ignorance. * * * Upon the sheerest of delusions, due to pure ignorance, we built in reconstruction days as upon a foundation stone.’

Only the other day Viscount Morley, secretary of India, announced that democracy was as unsuited to Indian temperament as a Canadian fur coat to the Indian climate. Filipino students take first prizes at our law schools, but for the present, with due precaution for human rights, ‘benevolent assimilation’ can see no way to bestow the boom of self-government upon them. What then was the bestowal of the boon on the black race of the South? Was that malevolent assimilation? To the South was said: ‘It shall be your glory to make a pathway over the impassable.’ This which, in time of peace, the ‘free States’ of the North with such contumelious scorn had rejected for themselves-this, the South, when worn by ‘attrition to the bone,’ like Prussia after the battle of Jena, ‘a bleeding and lacerated mass,’ was blithely called on to perform.

How are we to explain votes for this enfranchisement on the part of States which, so long as their own interests only were involved so unreservedly had voted otherwise? It was a change sudden as that which, on the road to Damascus changed Saul into Paul. The fabalist Aesop——whose sententious wisdom outweighs whole ‘volumes vast’ called history just because the so-called fable condenses into single instances the experience of all. so as to be co-operant with all—tells of two men, let us call them and B, to whom Jupiter agreed to grant whatever wish they [338] might prefer, on the following terms: A was to have first wish, and whatever A received was to be doubled to B. A promptly wished for the loss of one eye. ‘Are our slaves,’ wrote Jefferson to John Adams, ‘to be presented with freedom and a dagger?’ The so-called freedom had been bestowed and the dagger had not been drawn.

The real reason.

D. H. Chamberlin, once reconstruction governor of South Carolina, could speak with authority. ‘Under all the avowed motives for this policy,’ he wrote (in the Atlantic Monthly of April, 1900), ‘lay a deeper cause than all others, the will and determination to secure party ascendancy and control at the South and in the nation by the negro vote. * * * Not one of them professed or cared to know more. * * Eyes were never blinder of facts; minds never more ruthlessly set upon a policy, than were Stevens and Morton on putting the white South under the heel of the black South. * * * Seventy-eight thousand colored votes were distinctly and of design pitted against forty-six thousand whites, who held all the property, education and public experience of the State. It is not less than shocking to think of such odds, such inevitable disaster. Yet it was deliberately planned and eagerly welcomed at Washington. * * * To this tide of folly and worse, President Grant persistently yielded. * * * Those who sat in the seats, nominally of justice, made traffic of their judicial powers. * * * No branch of the public service escaped the pollution.’ ‘No property in man!’ No; but justice is the stuff laid on the bargain counter; justice is bought and sold; the soul of the State made vendible and venal. The president who made Underwood a Federal judge did not carry love of justice to a fanatical extreme. Is not justice a human right? It is the one inalienable right of man. The great abolition was the abolition of justice. To put ‘the white South under the heel of the black South!’ Nothing devised by Weiler in his worst estate; nor by Alva; nor by Attila, promised such hideous doom, as the calculated cruelty of the design to make the black man in the South the white man's master.

“Have we,” inquired Frank Blair in the senate of the United [339] States on February 5, 1871, ‘a Federal union of free States.’ ‘We have not,’ he answed. ‘The senator (Morton) has gone somewhat into the history of the fifteenth amendment, the rightful adoption of which is controverted by his State in the concurrent resolutions passed by the legislature of Indiana.’ * * * In Kansas, in the election preceding, negro suffrage had been defeated by fifteen thousand majority. In the State of Ohio the majority against negro suffrage was fifty thousand. * * * In the State of Michigan the people refused to give suffrage to the negroes by a majority of thirty-four thousand. * * * The very gentlemen who claim that the ballot is necessary to protect the negro; who attach such immense importance to the ballot; when the ballot has been exercised by their own constituents, adverse to their wishes and party interests, disregard it, as if it were no more than waste paper. * * * The senator from Indiana well says “it is a political necessity to his party at this crisis.” Again on February 20, he asked, ‘what sort of power have they built up in the South by purifying the ballot down there?’ ‘You have put in power throughout that Southern country a class of men who have made plunder their business and sole pursuit. Your reconstructed State governments are organized conspiracies against the lives, liberties and property of the people. * * * The rotten edifices of corruption, built up in the South under your laws, were never erected by men who had any idea of purifying the ballot. It was done by men who intended by fraud to destroy the ballot.’ So spoke this Union soldier, who, in Missouri, was outspoken in opposition to slavery at a time when Lincoln deemed it impolitic to be explicit in Illinois. ‘An indestructible Union composed of indestructible States!’ But how can States which a president and congress can overthrow and reconstruct when and as they please, be ‘indestructible?’ Might not the phrase be paraphrased—‘an indestructible Union composed of States whose rights might be perpetuated!’ A consummation not unlike the forethought of the Irish agent, who, to build a wall of defence for the landlord's castle; pulled down the castle to provide stones for the wall. In order to secure the black man's rights the white man's must be taken from him. Was the negro, as Jefferson surmised, simply a flail in the hands of enemies of a republic to accomplish results which otherwise [340] were foiled? Was slavery the flail wherewith to beat down freedom? Was the real problem to put freedom ‘in course of ultimate extinction?’

Race War and millenium.

“Finally,” Morton has prophesied, ‘they will bring about a war of races.’ At a much earlier day Joshua Giddings is reported to have said: ‘I look forward to the day when I shall see the black man supplied with British bayonets and commanded by British officers, shall wage a war of extermination against the whites—when the master shall see his dwelling in flames and his hearth polluted; and though I may not mock at their calamity and laugh when their fear cometh, yet I shall hail it, as the dawn of a political millenium.1—A millenium of polluted hearths!’ In the dark history of hate is there a match for that?

Dark and dark of purpose was the ship which was freighted to rebuild the South. All the criminology which Beelzebub and his ardent princes could hoist aboard now weighed anchor to feast on the fair soul of a gallant race. Like the beasts, not so long ago, unloosed on the Phoenix Line steamship St. Andrew, were the ravenous now uncaged. The decks resounded. Every plank quivered. So came Reconstruction. It satisfied Gladstone's definition of the Bourbon rule in Naples—‘the negation of God, erected into a system.’ It was the essential atheism involved in the disbelief and disdain of a moral government of the world. It was a ‘higher law’ whereby the higher duties were insulted; whereby duty was made the ignoblest word in the language. It was ‘moral ideas’ without a fig leaf. As Poins said to Prince Hal, ‘The thieves had bound the honest men.’ It was anarchy tempered by piratical precautions. The one adequate image of it is that shape of horror which has become a paragraph in each day's paper. It was the rape of the highest by the lowest To Virginia went forth a command, not unlike that of St. Remigius at the baptism of Clovis: ‘Burn that thou hast adored, adore that thou hast burned.’ There was a past as well as present to be rifled. Every natural sentiment operated to confirm the affection of the former master for the former slave, who, by his [341] unabated reverence in the hour of trial, had refuted the accusations urged to justify ruin. The problem was to extinguish this kind feeling; to create antipathy in place of sympathy between the races; to mass race against race; to teach the negro to exchange all the higher qualities of a lower race for the lowest qualities of a higher race, that the tutors might walk over the course to offices of profit. The architects of this ruin, in their own behalf, lifted up the sacred refrain, ‘Forasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these!’ And what is it ye have done ‘unto the least of these?’ Made them part and parcel of the most predaceous, predatory gang the world ever saw. In the zeal to make odious what was called ‘treason,’ what was really brigandage was made honorable. ‘Let us have peace’ was the name; Reconstruction the reality. The message was: Weakness has no rights which power is bound to respect. It was the appeal to all that was low to put an end to all that was high.

‘The heart of the Southern woman.’

What men and women, bound together by a sacrament of blood and sorrow, then bore, has been hidden out of sight. The majesty of a broken life, which yet was master of the breaking pain, drew up in moral squares of battle. If force abounded, faith more abounded. There could be no better proof of the moral sceptre of the South than that it has held such sway in the heart of the Southern woman. She has built the monument to Hector, though as yet none to Andromache. A force of grandeur dared to ‘turn the battle to the gate.’ It must have been the feeling of this which caused Mr. Robert Y. Conrad to say of his stricken Commonwealth, with a son's emotion: ‘She is lovelier in her weeds and woe than in her queenliest days.’ Yet lovelier, with that divine face of sorrows, whose halo comes from suffering for the sins of others—without sin.

For them who stood beneath what seemed the blows of an almighty malice a voice out of thick darkness said, or seemed to say: ‘Flung as you are, by iron-hearted fate, into the vortex of this foulness, by beating back the baseness of the torrent which so blackly beats upon you, you may put on a finer strength.’ Every truth by which life is lifted stands as the meet-wand of the [342] struggle, the sorrow, the constancy demanded for it. You must be true to it before it becomes a truth for you; becomes your own. Supremacy which endures is fruit of struggle with agonies which wrestle against it. There is no alternative in this world, between the steady fight for higher things and the steady rot into lower. You who at Chancellorsville rolled in rout across the Rappahannock, like a scrool when it is rolled together, odds against you more than two to one, now, in this moral battle are welcomed to a victory of equal lustre. To ‘the quintessence of selfishness’ oppose, as your great captain did, the quintessence of heroism. A greater than your enemies has planted injustice like the sands of the sea around you that you may triumph over it. In your passion read the prophecy of your resurrection. In the crux of trial to be unconquered by the pang is to conquer. This is the image of the Divine. The heavens have decreed you worthy of it. Make of your humiliation a meritorious cross and passion. Endure it, ‘despising the shame.’

Payne again a leader.

Out of the injury of wounds whose marks he cherished as armorial bearings; out of wounds and prison, Payne returned to stand with worn strength and torn heart against more bitter battles. As he had fought bravely he as deeply mourned the cause which had gone down. The warrior scars upon him, the warrior soul within him, commissioned him to lead. He had returned to see the natural enemies of government in control of government. There loomed before him, and others in like case with him, the figure of a wrathful Nemesis, commissioned to smite hip and thigh the tradition of the past, and bury it face downward. A mother State, chastened by the sanctity of sorrow, held out her hand. There could be but one course for Payne. The word tergiversation was not in his lexicon. Apostacy was not his long suit. With a stern repression of that which admitted not of suppression; with a kind of mail-clad resolution; with an intrepid calm, through which one almost saw the gauntletted hand still resting on the sword hilt, he took his place in the conflict, where all that was lofty was at stake. He had the faith of courage, the courage of faith. Faith without courage is dead. [343] As a working theory, faith might be defined as fidelity to the law of our being. As is the depth of this faith, so is the sense of responsibility to acquit ourselves to it. So is the sense of remorse for dereliction from it. To maintain moral independence was now very nearly the whole duty of man. To influence others, Payne had what in his day had not ceased to be the winning forces of courage, courtesy and rectitude. In his own Northern Neck he was seen and heard, with cheering word, with manly hope, with conviction, with resolve. His State lay beneath the heel of corruption, more deadly than any of which George III. had cognizance. Her proud sic semper for him as the vow of his sponsors in baptism, claimed from him never a more supreme allegiance than when the figures on her shield had been reversed. When her misfortune was supreme his allegiance was supreme. Her proud honor had stood the Erenbreitstein of heroic hope. Might not that still stand — the lofty, battle-scared rock — to which hope might cling, when all around was falling? In later years it was said of him, ‘he lives in the past, out of place in this hustling scene, as Cato's republic in the dregs of Romulus.’ It may be there has come upon the stage a generation which feels competent to look down upon all that is here commended. Be it so. Yet just because his own foothold was so firmly planted in that past, with the greater firmness he looked through the bitterness of his own time to the resurrection of a better time. Fight on, brave heart; out of the dust and darkness of the well-fought field emerge, at last, the stars of heaven. The book of chivalry once more lay wide open; once more the altar rose. In the wreck of hope he dared to hope. In the life of her husband, Mrs. Jefferson Davis tells us his construction of his stewardship was very strict. His office had for him no perquisites. When she once sent a package by his messenger he said to her: ‘Patrick's services are for the war department; the horse and wagon are for government use. Employ another servant if your own are not adequate to your use.’ So once the trust for liberty was held. To-day we come across it as a quaint relic dug up from the Old Curiosity Shop of the past. It discloses a discrepancy between post and antebellum, which, in Carlylian phrase, is ‘significant of much.’


Gentlemen of the old South.

The hour had struck for the abasement of the like of this. In this forlorn extremity, beautiful once more was the hero's scorn of self; once more holding the hearts of followers by the spell of that beauty. As in camp the general sought to fare no better than his men, so it was in the ravages of peace. To Hampton, in his need, South Carolina offered the gift of a home. Great as was the need of him who had sacrificed wealth and home, the offer was declined. The people of Texas contributed a purse to enable Magruder to buy a plantation. The knightly answer came: ‘No, gentlemen, when I espoused the cause of the South, I embraced poverty and willingly accepted it.’ The trustees of Washington and Lee offered to their president a deed to the house he occupied. With appreciation it was declined. It was offered to his wife, and again declined. To his son and successor, for the third time, it was offered. With renewed appreciation for the third time it was declined. This was that old South, on the final passing of which we are from time to time felicitated. Answer might be made. ‘In that old South, power was sought for the eminence of which it was the witness; for the sincere “honor, love, obedience” which followed; and no longer follows. When power is sought because it puts money in the purse, it ceases to be a spiritual power. It becomes that for which it is sought, pursued, possessed—material power. That old South left record proof (nobler than proof of mail), that greatness is in the world not to get for nothing, but to give for nothing; that the sign manual of heroic love–the seal wherewith it is sealed—is sacrifice. Because of this spiritual source of power that old South knew how to follow truth and suffer for it. Because thereof, though forty years and more look back upon it, our hearts invincibly are held.’

This is the meed of greatness—falling overborne by numbers—to fall without loss of greatness; to be glorious in ruin; nay, to be glorified by ruin; because the greatness is deserved, the ruin undeserved. Robert Lee had shown the futility of a whole hostile world against that armor of proof called character. The enmities which would if they could humiliate become the apparel [345] of a finer dignity. A whole world's force breaks in vain against this; crouches at last before this.

And now if his Commonwealth, and others in like adversity, approach this pattern, may they not also break misfortune by being broken? I hold up the constancy of Payne as that of one who in this battle ‘firm did stand;’ along with others also firm. Once more he bore him as a knight; true to the tradition of his State; true to it in the beginning; true to it in the middle; true to it in the end. The moral battle now before him, was a handto-hand conflict with the constabulary of Satan and his posse; a fight against the rulers of darkness of this world. Out of chaos was to be created a habitable world. Law secures freedom by imposing limits upon license. ‘Higher law’ tore down those limits, so as to leave freedom no defense.

Beautiful is courage in response to duty. Sincere expression in word or work of a man's true spirit; his veritable essence fascinates. The condition of moral progress is moral courage. This moral force was the strength and charm of Payne. One felt that the physical man had been cast in a mould to match the intellectual and moral. In the grapple with evil at the bottom of the pit; in the duel in the dark between sincerity and semblance, calling every instant for that patience under strain which gives strength to the weakest, depth to the shallowest, his own profound conviction was his eloquent persuasion. All could see the purpose to put before other minds what was deepest in his own. The issue was—which is strongest, the contagion of baseness or the contagion of heroism? Beneath a quiet manner was felt his alert energy. The energy of worthy passions was hi, pathos. A force of heart and intellect spoke with a simplicity of sympathy and force which grasped hearts and intellects; spoke without dissimulation. Fealty to the highest that was in him was his faith. His enemies were the enemies of Virginia; his friends all who fought for her, wrought for her, suffered for her. The great heart of her past was for him a sacred heart, beating in him as his own. He had the reverence of the antique world for the lofty in deed and thought, the true in heart, the firm in will. This( indeed, was ingrained in him; part of the essential refinement of his nature; a spirit enveloping him like a fine ether. For what so refines as reverence; what so refined? He was true [346] soldier of the cause which pierced with wounds for us is pure and crowned with thorns for us is holy. His silver spurs, the gift of fair women to brave manhood, were torn from him as he lay insensible on the field of Williamsburg. Of the knighthood they were intended to adorn he could not be despoiled. There might be applied to him words spoken of an English statesman by Argyle—‘Firm as the rock, and clear as the crystal that adorns the rock.’ Perhaps I could not better draw the picture, in which all who knew him would perceive his portrait, than by giving as the pilot star of an impassioned life the sentiment of this verse:

To set the cause above renown,
     To love the game beyond the prize,
To honour while you strike him down,
     The foe that comes with fearless eyes;
To count the life of battle good,
     And dear the land that gave you birth,
And dearer yet the brotherhood
     That binds the brave of all the earth.

Without one Enslaved thought.

He was no demagogue, nor did he bow to that material wealth, which is the mimic counterfeit of greatness. He had not ‘flattered its rank breath.’ Yet had he so willed, the highest honors in his Commonwealth were within his grasp. General Fitz Lee and Major John W. Daniel bore testimony to this. To a friend he wrote: ‘My aversion to public life is genuine, and, I confess I exult in the freedom of speaking, thinking and acting without one enslaved thought.’ In this subordination of self to the cause more dear than self, he makes us feel anew the force and charm of those grand old types which flash on us from the age of chivalry. Not for office, not for renown, still less for his own pocket, but for herself, he loved and served Virginia. By the side of this all the trumpets of renown were as naught. The dearness of a cause which defeat could not dethrone, he characteristically uttered in a letter advocating the election of General Hunton to the senate: ‘You know,’ he wrote, ‘he was picked up at Gettysburg, at what the Yankees call the “high water [347] mark,” and brought away from the field in a bloody blanket. I would not make them a substitute for industry, energy, integrity and capacity; but where industry, energy, integrity and capacity exist, in my opinion a good Confederate record glorifies the whole.’

It is hard to be popular and pure; yet Payne was popular and he was pure. The fact survives for me as a memory and a monument; as a credible witness that the world, even the sordid, venal, rocking world of this time and land, still falls at the feet of him who will not swerve from calling and conviction, for a world. No man had warmer friends; no man was more deserving of them. Ingrained thoughtfulness of others, the natural courtesy of high breeding, was stamped upon him. He lived among us like an echo of the olden time. How true he was, how he tied to his heart the cause for which he fought, disdaining to desert the rent banner of his faith: holding aloft to the last the glorified symbol of his heart's devotion, that dying he might fall upon it, and be buried in it.

With the withdrawal of that ‘consent of the governed’ which bayonets procure, carpet bag government fell; as if consumed to ashes in the blaze of an Almighty scorn. The fabric of fraud and falsehood crumbled at a touch. The rubbish lies behind us; image of the facts of false appearance before firm reality. Constitutions of freedom worthy the name spring from hearts that will break rather than forsake them. They who mistake the hue and cry of the moment for the voice of ages, find it easy to put fanatical hyperbole into statutes; not so easy to obtain obedience thereto or respect therefor. Fiction will not do the work of fact.

Ernest Crosby, in his life of Garrison writes: ‘The slaves were finally freed, as a war measure to assist the armies in the field. The war was not desired to help emancipation, but emancipation to help the war. * * * The practical element in the union spirit was the desire to preserve the size of the country: it was devotion to the idea of bigness, and the belief that bigness is a matter of latitude and longitude. * * * Money was needed to pay the enormous expenses of destruction and the tariff began to grow, and behind it monopoly ensconced itself. * * * We [348] stabbed the South to the quick, and during all the years of reconstruction turned the dagger found in the festering wound.’

“By their fruits ye shall know them.” Where are the higher moral aims to which a crusade of ‘moral ideas’ and ‘higher law’ should summon? Territorial magnitude has supplanted compact as basis of union. The prevailing passion is that the committee on insurance of the American Bar Association has called ‘the riotous desire of bigness.’ A gigantic egotism; a supreme power cemented by bribes to the phalanx on which that power depends; a Federal force which was ordained for the protection of the citizen from power; perverted to one which exists for the plunder of the citizen by power; all the unclean progeny brought to the birth by the malign mother of predatory trusts; a civil liberty which is the crowned courtesan of all the appetites—are our present help in time of trouble.

A harvest of corruption.

The governor of Indiana, in his message of January 5, 1905, stated: ‘The statistics of political debauchery in this State for 1904, if it were possible to present them, would be nothing short of astounding. * * * In a single county, casting a little more than 5,000 votes, there were in the last campaign nearly 1,200 votes regularly listed as purchaseable, and $15,000 raised by assessments from candidates, and otherwise were spent in efforts to control the county.’ He called this ‘the pollution of the very fountain of republican government.’ The present secretary of state, shortly before his assumption of that office, described the second city in the land as governed by criminals. The question, with him was whether it was capable of honest self-government. It is a solecism to speak of freedom as ‘corrupt and contented;’ yet one might find vouchers for what is claimed to be such bestriding this western world, like a Colossus, from Philadelphia to San Francisco. A government of corruption by consent of the governed is that government of the people or government of them who buy the people? One who in the roll-call of statesmen, without excess of egotism, might answer ‘Here,’ McCall, of Massachusetts, is reported to have said, ‘The nation is about to devour the States.’ The consequence predicted would seem [349] now to be admitted. The States (if they are not already, are to be devoured by the Frankenstein of their own creation. Rulers who are isolated from the sympathies of the ruled, holding themselves splendidly aloof from the pain and problem of life, holding the breadth and depth of life around them as a foreign land, a land of aliens; they, the alien government, in common parlance irreverently entitled ‘government of the gang’ are not candidates for reverence. The riches of violated trust, how can any human being revere that? At the time of the disclosure under oath of the criminal use of the fund insured to ‘the fatherless and the widow;’ bought, as one might say with the heart's blood. Cardinal Gibbons (if correctly reported) was moved to lament what he termned ‘the putridity of private character.’ But this was illustration not exception.

The ‘criminal rich.’

So it comes to pass we have them, who from the official pinnacle are branded as ‘the criminal rich.’ Anarchy answereth to anarchy, lawlessness at the bottom to lawlessness at the top. The grand triumph of our universal suffrage would seem to be a rediscovery of the ways and means whereby banded capital can hurl as the abject instrument of power, a servile proteletariat. Benjamin Harrison was entitled to know whereof he spoke, when on the 22nd of February, 1898, referring to the speech: ‘A house divided against itself cannot stay half slave and half free,’ he gave as present paraphrase; ‘This country cannot stay half taxed and half free.’ This is the reality; the other has done yeoman service to accomplish the reality. This creates the ruling class, whose reason for existence is, in place of reciprocal welfare, to ordain a reciprocal rapine; of which the ultimate promise is the Asiatic system, whereunder the tax-payer shall have no rights which the tax consumer will be bound to respect. It is the old eternal conflict between government as a trust and government as a spoil. Magnitude has taken root as magnanimity. As conclusion of the whole matter, the Washington Post of August 14, 1906, has this to say: ‘Let us be frank about it. The day the people of the North responded to Abraham Lincoln's call for troops to coerce sovereign States, the republic died, and the nation was born.’


Purified or putrified suffrage.

Are these the fruits of a purified or of a putrified suffrage? Where is the moral regeneration for which such sacrifices of ravage and slaughter were laid upon the altar? Does a great movement for righteousness ‘win out’ in this fashion? Were moral ideas the expression of moral insincerities? Is is thus the ‘new birth of freedom’ is justified of her children; thus the thunderbolt purifies the sky? The authors of reconstruction have called down on themselves the beasts they turned loose to rend others. Retributions like those foretold by Hebrew prophets have followed with the force of fate. The tireless force of a universe takes a terrible revenge on them who pollute the altars of the highest with the selfishness of the lowest. In the issue, dark and deep, increasingly, darkening and deepening; between the toiling and spoiling classes, we already hear the rumble, a; of distant thunder; or it may be of volcanic insurgence against a rule which presents the antithesis of wealth to Commonwealth. There are signs of dissatisfaction with spoilation as a means of grace; a dumb consciousness of feeling rather than perception that the prosperity of plunder is the adversity of the plundered. The center of gravity has been shifted from moral to material power. As climax to a war for human rights, the one inalienable right, which seems secure is the right of Lazarus to be taxed for the table of Dives. What means this antithesis; this accumulation pari passu of material wealth and moral poverty; this material almightiness seated on the throne? It means that the South as the conservative force of the union was struck down by reconstruction. It means that war for the Union, and reconstruction in pursuance thereof, tore up by the roots the civilization of the South, and laid the axe to every best element in that of the North. It means that carpet bag government has come home to roost.

For the veneration of reality we have the idolatry of appearance; ‘the powers that be’ dethroned by the powers that seem. A moral system that has abolished reverence cannot be expected to receive it. Reverence has been lost in the battle of machinery. A greatness, strenuous for self (where the strenuous is so ready to slide into the sinuous), looks out upon the hollow worship of [351] a greatness as hollow. The stream of Reconstruction has not risen higher than the source. Self-aggrandizement and self-ostentation care little for others; are little cared for by others. If, as from time to time suggested, what is visible is only a bubble on the surface of a deeper putrefaction, we have simply the old, old story of a material progress whose price is moral decay. This swirling vortex of delirious cupidities, this welter of the sensual beatitudes, after all, is but a shining robe of rottenness, which differs in size chiefly from John Randolph's ‘rotten herring in the moonlight, which shines and stinks, and stinks and shines.’ The old question confronts you. Will you cling to your own birthright; or in the exigency of material desires swap for the mess of pottage. Be sons of your own sires; and in the future the cause for which your purest spirits yielded up the ghost will be numbered with the grand ‘Lost Causes,’ which conquer by crucifixion. Join your ardours to the opposite; and though you lay field to field, island to island, isthmus to archipelago, the history of the future, whenever the historian fearless and free shall come will be constrained to write: ‘Never was there a people which so purely worshipped bigness or was so wholly innocent of greatness.’ O, my fellow Virginians, for long absent from you, I am one of you; spurn from you these ideals; leave to the idolators their idols. To wallow in their worship is to break the sword of Lee.

Payne as a lawyer.

When the stress of Reconstruction had subsided, Payne gave his mind to law with a fair share of the concentration which had pervaded him in war. In the forum, as in the field, he maintained his cause frankly, firmly, fearlessly. As still later, he retired from general practice, it was his delight to draw abound him, in the circle of his home, his old companions in arms. His friends admired in him the sincerities of a strong, the sympathies of an ardent, nature; the poise of a masculine good sense; the ingrained frankness, the subtle graces of intuitive high breeding. Had his table talk been taken down, freshly as it was conceived, it would have borne comparison with more famous dialogue. It possessed that great charm of life and manners-sincerity and [352] simplicity. His discussion of a subject enchained attention by the spontaniety of the though and chastity of speech which clothed it—this lightened with a genial humor, at times a quiet wit, which could be both searching and severe. He was at ease with those around him because of his self-respect, and courteous because of his respect for others. He had to the last the strict habits of a man of business. Punctual to his appointments, exact in his accounting, he knew as well how to take care of himself as to defend others. To the last his counsel was sought, valued, followed. A gentleman's inexorable instinct never failed him on any field of daring or of grace. Take him, all in all, he was a fine type of that fine old Virginia gentleman who rose up in a grand unappeasable wrath on the day that Lincoln called for troops to conquer commonwealths.

At the last.

So life wore to a close; until at last to the sadness of many, on the 29th day of March, 1904, the spark flew upward. Standing not far from him when he breathed his last, I felt that I saw expire one who was, if not the last, then among the last of the knights. It was the close of a life founded on conviction. As he was sinking he was heard to mutter, ‘Fitz,’ as if calling to him by whose side he so often rode to mount the pale steed with him and once more at full gallop charge the enemy of all. The last trumpet had roused him to meet the last enemy in the spirit in which he met the first; with the same true friend, the same trusty sword by his side. And ah! so soon the one to whom he called did follow. Do two, who lived in sight of the same pattern, will strive together, like racers, for their goal? Was that, which so soon followed, the response? Have the old comrades clasped hands once more?

In what etherial dances
By what eternal streams?

Never will I forget the beautiful lament which thrilled the air as his body was borne into the little church at Warrenton A tender pathos quivered on the lips as of some vox humana which had wandered from the skies and to the skies returned. [353] From no doomed cathedral ever floated purer sorrow than from this choir nestled in the hills. A noble life's music, the music of his own life, rose with it and breathed from it. It was a requiem which swept with tears the eyes of warlike men. His Black Horse Troop—all that was left of them—followed him for the last time to his last rest. The flags of Virginia and the Confederacy, and his old gray coat, were wrapt about his bier like the Highland Plaids around Dundee. Over his open grave there bowed the genuine lament which a life of integrity and intrepidity commands. It was one more witness to the unfading lustre of the Spartan borne upon his shield. The Valhalla of the warlike is his home. The company of all true knights shall call him comrade. Each brave, each courteous, spirit will be there. If the pure in heart shall seeGod, he is face to face with his Maker.

It is then my privilege to be your medium to accept the portrait of this officer and gentleman, this jurist, this Virginian. It hasbeen painted for you by an artist of his own beloved Warrenton, one who knew and loved him; whose aim, in this, as in all other work, hase been to paint the truth. It has been presented to you by the companion of his courage and his heart. I accept it as the portrait of one who, in the words placed upon his tomb, was, in war and in peace, the soldier of Virginia's honor. I accept it as the portrait of one worthy to shine in the firmament of your renown. He is entitled to share the fame who was ever more than ready to share the fate of the bravest in the brunt.

1 ‘Cause of the War,’ by S. D. Carpenter, page 63.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (10)
Indiana (Indiana, United States) (7)
Illinois (Illinois, United States) (6)
New England (United States) (5)
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (4)
Warrenton (Virginia, United States) (2)
Mexico (Mexico, Mexico) (2)
Kansas (Kansas, United States) (2)
Williamsburg (Virginia, United States) (1)
United States (United States) (1)
Springfield (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Springfield (Illinois, United States) (1)
Smithville (Indiana, United States) (1)
San Francisco (California, United States) (1)
Preussen (1)
Patrick Henry (Virginia, United States) (1)
Oregon (Oregon, United States) (1)
Ohio (Ohio, United States) (1)
Nebraska (Nebraska, United States) (1)
Missouri (Missouri, United States) (1)
Milton (Missouri, United States) (1)
Michigan (Michigan, United States) (1)
Medina (Ohio, United States) (1)
Jena (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Hilton Head (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Haiti (Haiti) (1)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (1)
Fortress Monroe (Virginia, United States) (1)
Dundee, Yates County, New York (New York, United States) (1)
China (China) (1)
Chancellorsville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Central America (1)
Berytus (Lebanon) (1)
Bath County (Virginia, United States) (1)
Alton (Illinois, United States) (1)
Africa (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: