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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/535

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and partly because of the circumstances of their origin, the people of the Southern highlands formed a curiously separated class. They retained the quality of their English stock, as they had brought it with them—an independence, a carelessness as to life, and a humor for quarreling with those who were set above them whenever their liberties or their license seemed to be threatened. Even their customs and utensils held with curious adhesion to the usages of earlier centuries. Thus, in 1878, I found, in a secluded valley of south-western Virginia, men hunting squirrels and rabbits with the old English short bow. These were not the contrivances of boys or of to-day, but were made and strung and the arrows hefted in the ancient manner. The men, one of them old, were admirably skilled in their use; they assured me that, like their fathers before them, they had ever used the bow and arrow for small game, reserving the costly ammunition of the rifle for deer and bear. These hill folk were, in a passive but obdurate manner, opposed to slavery, and even more to negroes. There are still many counties in this district where a negro has never dwelt. In some parts of it I have had people gather from twenty miles away to stare at my black camp servants, as the folk of central Africa are said to do at a white man.

At the outbreak of the civil war the Appalachian upland was still thinly peopled; it was, however, fitted to maintain a population of some millions. If the Confederacy had won its independence, its plantation districts, with a relatively small voting population, would soon have had to settle an account with the people of the hills. As it was, the existence of this folk in a great ridge of country extending from the Northern States to within two hundred miles of the Gulf of Mexico was an element of weakness which went far to give success to the Federal arms. It kept Kentucky from seceding, prevented the region of West Virginia from being of any value to the rebellion, and weakened its control in several other States. In all, somewhere near one hundred thousand recruits came to the Federal army from this part of the South. It is not improbable that to this folk we may attribute the failure of the great revolt. That they turned thus against the people of their own States to cast in their lot with those who were strangers to them shows their feelings toward the institution of slavery; it indicated where they would have stood if the Confederacy had been established.

It is not easy to picture the condition of the negro population in 1860. There is a common notion that it was consciously and bitterly suffering from its subjugation—ready to rise in arms against its oppressors. This view was indeed shared by the South-