Contraband — their Sad fate.
, so fertile in excuses for their outrages in this war, very readily invented the application of the term "contraband" to Southern slaves.
They determined to take the step of stealing these slaves from their owners, to whom the ancestors of these same Yankees sold the slaves aforesaid; and in order that the stealing might have somewhat the semblance of order and authority, they declared the slaves "contraband," and it was further declared unlawful to return them to their owners.
It is remarkable, however, that even after they are taken from their homes and their masters — after they are enjoying association and such freedom as they have among the Yankees
— they are still called "contraband." A cannon is "contraband of war" in its route to the enemy's ports; but if it is captured, and put in use by the captor, it is no longer contraband to him. The poor negro, however, has a different fate.
He is still a doomed "contraband." The name sticks to him as a term of derision, after he ceases to be, under the authority of such law as the Yankees
have for him, a "contraband." Yet this is not all: he continues in fact
and practice a "contraband." He is not allowed his promised equality.
His Yankee master denies him the privileges of freedom.
He subjects him to indignities and mental service, and if he adorns him with a uniform, and puts a gun in his hand, it is only that he may become a breastwork to shield the Yankees
from Confederate bullets; or to be the minister of some barbarities, which his ignorance of the usages of war, and his rude instincts and passions, very well fit him for.
We have seen enough in this war to know what a cruel, selfish, and malignant spirit it is that controls the people of the North
, in their measures relating to the negro.
They care nothing for him. They only use him to injure us, and thus gratify their malignity.
They have no mercy for him, and will throw him off to seek his home and livelihood as he may. They will then cry, "Lo, the poor negro!" as they cried "Lo, the poor Indian!" after they had robbed him of his rich domains, and sent him to the Western
forests, covered with sores and cursed with the vices of civilization!
The illustrations of the misery the Yankees
are bringing upon the hapless children of Africa
— those "American citizens of African
descent," as the hideous monster at the lead of the Federal Government
styles them in mockery — are of daily occurrence.
An instance just to hand is afforded in an order issued by A. W. Kelley
, Yankee Surgeon
and Health Officer at Natchez
, approved by Brig. Gen. Tuttle
, in command.
This order we published in the Dispatch
In this order the negroes are pronounced lazy and profligate, unused to caring for "themselves, thriftless for the present, improvident of the future." He adds: ‘"The most of them loaf idly about the streets and alleys, prowling in secret places, and lounge lazily in crowded hovels, which soon become dens of noisome filth, the hot-beds fit to engender and rapidly disseminate the most loathsome and malignant diseases."’
To remedy these evils what does the Yankee
surgeon, approved by the General
Why, in effect, to return the negro to his state of slavery.
Indeed, to subject him to rigors he had never known when under his lawful master's authority.
Every "contraband" (thus the order styles them,) is required immediately to hire himself or herself to a master, and to sojourn under that master's roof and nowhere else, the master or hirer being required to become responsible for the contraband he so employs.
It further declares that "no contraband will be allowed to hire any premises in this city for any purpose whatever;
and no other person shall be allowed to hire such premises for the purpose of evading this order, nor allowed to hire or harbor any contraband who cannot satisfy the health officer that he or she needs the service of said contraband in some legitimate employment." What amiable and humane administrators of law and police these Northern philanthropists are!
tells all and singular, in this notable order, that an attempt to evade
the order "will be punished "more severely than the direct
infraction of "it!" Of course, there could be no hesitation as to violation by evasion or open disobedience.
It is somewhat a departure from Yankee ethics, to denounce the sin of evasion
as greater than that of open violation.
of success by indirection, has generally elicited praise, where the folly of open resistance has ever provoked the censures of the wise Puritans.
But we like the bold discrimination of this Yankee surgeon; evasion is mean and contemptible, and deserving harsher punishment than direct opposition, which has at least the virtue of frankness.
If his principle of law were established in the land of the "saints," it would produce a world of inconvenience and trouble!
But of the poor negro, Kelley
does not dispose of even here.
He adds another article, which provides that "persons drawing rations from the United States Government are not supposed to need many hired servants.
The number needed by each family will be determined by the undersigned," namely, Kelley
The Government does not mean to feed idle negroes, that is clear!
Was there ever a more thorough ban
put upon the descendants of Ham
Well may the Yankee
call him "contraband." Literally does he fulfill the curse upon the descendants of Ham
: that they shall be the servants of servants.
What are the ill-fated people of Natchez
but Yankee servants, since they are subjected to domiciliary visits and the commands of Yankee officials as to how many servants they shall have and what other privileges they shall enjoy?
And the contraband are ordered to become the servants of these people, on pain of being driven out of the city and kept in prison bounds, in what a philanthropic correspondent of the Tribune
calls a "Krall"--a place to keep cattle.
This, on a small scale, illustrates the ultimate fate of the negro at the hands of the Yankees
All that cannot be made useful, will be driven forth to some place where the Yankees
will not be troubled with them; and that place must not be any place that is fertile — that has sweet waters and fine groves — for such place the Yankees
will never give up to the negro.
It must be some Siberia
, undesirable to the Saints!
The correspondent of the Tribunes,
no doubt very truly, says that, subjected to these crucifies, many negroes "who had kind masters resolved to return to slavery." "Whole families had lived together with their masters; but now they must be separated."-- "Lo, the poor negro!"