Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/356

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

were foiled ? Was slavery the flail wherewith to beat down freedom? Was the real problem to put freedom "in course of ultimate extinction?"


"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

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