Browsing "Southern Culture Laid Bare"

Britain, Slavery and Emancipation

As did George Washington before him, President Jefferson Davis in early 1865 agreed to the enlistment of 300,000 emancipated Africans into the army of the Confederate States. Recognizing that the Constitution he held office under limited federal authority and that he had no power regarding the institution, Davis correctly saw emancipation the purview of those who could – and did – free Africans for military service.

Britain, Slavery and Emancipation

“If the institution of African slavery gained first a foothold, then an entrenched position, the greed of the British crown was largely responsible. As early as 1726, the planters of Virginia became alarmed at the growth of the Negro population and imposed a tax on slave importations. Britain’s Royal African Company interfered and had the law repealed. South Carolina restricted slave imports in 1760 only to be rebuked by London. In 1712 the Pennsylvania legislature moved to curb the increase in Africans, but the law was annulled by the Crown.

Briain’s Queen Anne, who personally held a quarter of the stock of the Royal African Company, the chartered organization which monopolized the slave trade, ordered it to provide New York and New Jersey with Africans and directed the governors of these colonies to give it full support.

Thomas Jefferson charged the British crown with forcing African slavery on the colonies; James Madison asserted that England had checkmated every attempt by Virginia “to put a stop to this infernal traffic”; Bancroft taxed Britain with “steadily rejecting every colonial restriction on the slave trade and instructing the governors, on pain of removal, not to give even a temporary assent to such laws.” In the words of the rabidly anti-Southern historian and politician, Henry Wilson: “British avarice planted slavery in America; British legislation sanctioned and maintained it; British statesmen sustained and guarded it.”

Virginian George Washington, at first opposed permitting Africans, whether slave or free, to serve in the American armed forces. Later, expediency and Alexander Hamilton’s powers of persuasion made him change his mind.”

(The Negro in American Civilization. Nathaniel Weyl. Public Affairs Press, 1960; pp. 25-26)

 

 

Plantation Life in the Old South

Plantation Life in the Old South

“A visit to the ‘Quarters,’ or homes of the slaves, was one of the most interesting features of the plantation. A regular little village with streets of shaded trees, it contained well-built cabins which are separate from the Mansion some distance. Ample fireplaces were in each house and patches for garden, a hen house and a pig pen belonged to each householder.

A house was set aside in the Quarters as a hospital for the slaves, and here the sick received attention from the mistress herself, though the family doctor was called in when necessary. When the women were in childbirth it was their mistress who daily visited them with broth and other nourishments from her own table. The large number of children under ten years of age on the plantation attested to the care of their health by their owners.

The average servant was allowed three full sets of clothes annually, with plenty of wool and cotton for as many socks as needed.

A wedding in ‘de quarters’ was a great event and the festivities attendant were superintended by “Ole Marster and Ole Missus.” The groom was often attired in the old frock coat of the planter, and the bride was happy in a satin dress from the wardrobe of young ‘Mistus.’

Corn shuckin’ was one of the red-letter days of the plantation when darkies were invited from miles around, and the air resounded with songs of the slaves. Hog-killing was another gala time on the plantation, looked forward to be the darkies as well as the young folks from the ‘Great House.’ Possum hunting was a sport in which both white and colored engaged, and when a fine large animal (well-fatted on persimmons) was caught – it was eaten with great relish.”

(Plantation Life in the Old South, Lucy London Anderson. The Southern Magazine, Vol. II, No. 11, May 1936, excerpt pp. 9-10)

A Great Evil to the Cause of Human Liberty Itself

A Great Evil to the Cause of Human Liberty Itself

“We must remember that by 1860 a “Cold War” had been in progress between the North and the South for some thirty years. There were political and ideological extremists on both sides. If Southern leaders were determined that the US Constitution would be followed to the letter or they would withdraw, Northern extremists were just as determined to dominate the South and force it to remain in the 1789 federation.

Politically the South felt she was being “frozen out” of a voice in the federal government. The Democratic party was split between opposing views of its Northern and Southern wings, and there appeared no way of resolving their differences. The Whig party was dying as an audible voice in government with no hope of recovery. The new Republican party was controlled by radical leaders who were bent upon winning an election with the surest way being the destruction of the South’s labor system of African bondage. This institution was already in its twilight years for in 1860 only 10 percent of Southerners owned slaves. Only one man in the South owned over 1000 slaves with 187,356 owning less than five Negro servants.

However, the great majority of Southerners felt that the Constitution gave no authority to Congress to interfere with a State’s internal labor system – North or South. But if slavery were to be legalized out of existence, there should be some way for the country as a whole to assume the responsibility for dissolving the institution without putting the burden or the stigma upon one section where slave-labor happened to form a basis of its economic system. The slave-labor system was essentially mass-production agriculture and New England mills hummed with the product of this labor system.

That said, the slave-labor system in the South did not arise because the Englishmen who settled Virginia were particularly committed to the enslavement of their fellow human beings. It arose for the same reason and at the same time that the transatlantic slave trade arose in New England – because it was profitable. Slavery came to the South for the same reason that cattle-raising came to Texas, cattle-slaughter to Chicago, the exploitation of Okies to California, and the exploitation of immigrants to Northern factory owners. It came because, in a new and vast land where everyone had come for opportunity. The soil and the climate of the American South were peculiarly adapted to the use of chattel labor imported from the hot climate of Africa.

From 1831 to 1861 Southerners were aroused to defense by the vindictiveness of the fanatics who were as callously indifferent to the means as they were irresponsible for the ends.

To Northern abolitionists, the emancipation of slaves achieved the goal of “freedom”; to all Southerners, four million black people in a society of five and a half million whites created an appalling problem. It was a problem that Lincoln, contrary to the myth of a logical progression toward human liberty, understood very well. He wrote on slavery: “I think no wise man has yet perceived how it could be at once eradicated without producing a great evil even to the cause of human liberty itself.”

(Martin County During the Civil War. James H. McCallum, M.D., Enterprise Publishing Co., 1971, pp. 4-6)

Mar 5, 2023 - Race and the North, Race and the South, Southern Culture Laid Bare    Comments Off on Indispensable Servant for Dr. Galt

Indispensable Servant for Dr. Galt

Raphael Semmes was captain of the Southern commerce raider Alabama, the first of its kind to be unleashed upon the shipping of a commercial nation. Under Captain Semmes she caused enormous financial loss to the northern business; his unconsummated plan for a raid into New York Harbor to destroy shipping at anchor was audacious in conception and nearly carried out.

Indispensable Servant for Dr. Galt

“On the second day after the capture of the Northern merchant ship Tonawanda, another merchant vessel Manchester of New York and bound for Liverpool was stopped and boarded. After disposing of the prizes I took on board one of the former’s passengers.

This was a likely negro lad named David of about seventeen years of age – a slave until he was twenty-one under the laws of his State, Delaware. He was on his way to Europe in company of his master. He necessarily came to me under the laws of war, and I brought him on board the Alabama where we were in want of good servants and sent him to wait on the ward-room mess.

The boy was a little alarmed at first, but when he saw kindly faces beaming upon him, and heard from his new masters and the servants of the mess, some words of encouragement, he became reassured and in the course of a few days was not only at home but congratulated himself on the exchange he had made.

He became, more especially, the servant of Dr. Galt and there at once arose, between the Virginia gentleman and the slave boy, that sympathy of master and servant, which our ruder people of the North find it so impossible to comprehend. David soon became to Galt as my own servant was to me – indispensable – and the former was really as free as the latter, except only in the circumstances that he could not change masters.

I caused his name to be entered on the books of the ship as one of our crew and allowed him the pay of his grade. In short, no difference was made between him and the white waiters of the mess. His condition was in every respect bettered; though, I doubt not, a howl went up over his capture by the pseudo-philanthropists of the North, who know as little about the negro and his nature as they do about the people of the South.”

(Memoirs of Service Afloat. Raphael Semmes, LSU Press, 1996, original 1868. pp. 464-465)

Feb 12, 2023 - Costs of War, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Devotion to Their Homes and Country

Devotion to Their Homes and Country

“As they walked through Fort Gregg and the surrounding Petersburg trenches following the evacuation of Southern forces in early April 1865, advancing Northern troops could not fail to notice the young beardless faces or the grey hair of many fallen defenders.

Major Washington Roebling of Pennsylvania wrote:

“Old men with silver locks lay dead, side by side with mere boys of thirteen or fourteen. It almost makes one sorry to have to fight against a people who show such devotion for their homes and their country.”

(Civil War Times, Vol. XLIV, No. 6, January 2006)

Feb 3, 2023 - Antebellum Realities, New England History, Northern Culture Laid Bare, Race and the North, Race and the South, Southern Culture Laid Bare    Comments Off on Riding Connecticut’s ‘Jim Crow’ Railroad in 1852

Riding Connecticut’s ‘Jim Crow’ Railroad in 1852

Riding Connecticut’s “Jim Crow” Railroad in 1852

“We recently noticed the statement of an occurrence on a Connecticut railroad, where a lady from the South, travelling with her child and its colored nurse, were surprised at an order to the latter to get out of the lady’s car and take her place in the ‘n****r’ car.

The Southern lady remonstrated, informed the conductor that she had paid full fare for her servant, who was there simply as a servant, and would trouble no one. She said she could not be separated from her child in such a place and was unable from habit to take proper care of her – but all was to no avail.

‘That n****r must go out or I shall put her out’ said the conductor, so the lady had no choice but to seat herself with her child and servant in the ‘Jim Crow’ car, paying double price for it! The traveler said such treatment would not be endured in Carolina or Mississippi.” The Boston Investigator.

(Source: American Historical Newspaper Database – 1850-1860)

The Americans of 1860

An honest appraisal of events leading up to the national convulsion of 1860-1865 begins with understanding the American mind of that era. The literature is clear that Northerners rid themselves of slaves in their midst by selling them southward and did not want the black man among them – but restricted to the South. Northern workingmen too feared black freedmen coming northward seeking employment at wages less than that which white men would accept. But war came and the black man solved Lincoln’s dwindling enlistment problem as refugee freedmen were put in the ranks; white veterans were showered with generous bounties after 1863 to reenlist and eventually muster out – if they lived – rather wealthy men.

The Americans of 1860

“There is no evidence to show that the American people of 1860, not only those living in slaveholding States, but also the vast majority of Americans living in the former slaveholding States of the north and others, thought the Negro capable of skipping over the tendencies which the white man had derived from thousands of years of his well-developed civilization, and passing with or without a few years training, from the mental condition and inheritance of barbarians and slaves into full equality with the free citizens of a self-governing republic, whose laws, traditions, habits and customs were totally alien, far more alien than those of the Japanese and Chinese.

The Americans of that day did not feel that a mere statute law permitting the Negro to equal the white man in autonomous government could enable him to do so. The slave system was considered fundamentally not as a matter of morals, of right and wrong, but merely as an economic arrangement which was essentially the outgrowth of an inequality and difference in inheritance between the average white and black man.

It is safe to say that all of the Southerners and most of the Northerners knew that the Negroes were not a race resembling angels in ability, to pass from one extreme to the other without passing through the middle.

Therefore, it cannot be said that there was a basic antagonism between the Northern and Southern people in regard to the slavery question in the Southern States. If there was any real vital difference between the North and South, it was on what constituted a sectional control of the federal government. And Northerners in 1860 failed to realize that the Republican party of 1860 answered perfectly to Washington’s definition of a geographical party against the formation of which he solemnly warned his fellow-countrymen in his Farewell Address.”

(The Peaceable Americans of 1860-1861: A Study in Public Opinion. Mary Scrugham, Columbia University, 1921, pp. 57-60)

The Timeworn Stereotype of the South

In the following paper historian Frank L. Owsley refutes the claim that the North fought the war to preserve democratic government in America. He asserted that on the surface the South sought to establish its independence while the North fought to deny this desire. Owsley wrote that by early 1861 the Southern people “felt it both abhorrent and dangerous to continue to live under the same government with the people of the North. And so profound was this feeling among the bulk of the Southern population that they were prepared to fight a long and devastation war to accomplish a separation. On the other hand, the North was willing to fight a war to retain their fellow citizens under the same government with themselves.”

The Timeworn Stereotype of the South

“The Civil War was not a struggle on the part of the South to destroy free government and personal liberty, nor on the part of the North to preserve them.

Looked at from the present perspective of the worldwide attempt of totalitarians to erase free governments and nations living under such governments from the face of the earth, the timeworn stereotype that the South was attempting the destruction of free government and the North was fighting to preserve it, seems very unrealistic and downright silly.

Indeed, both Northern and Southern people in 1861 were alike profoundly attached to the principles of free government which is substantiated by period newspapers, diaries, letters and speeches give irrefutable evidence in support of this assertion. Their ideology was democratic and identical.

By 1860 the northeastern section of the United States had already assumed its modern outlines of a capitalist-industrial society where the means of production were owned by a relatively few. That is to say that New England and the middle States were fast becoming in essence a plutocracy with the lower classes dependent upon those who owned the tools of production.

Turning to the South, which was primarily agricultural, we find the situation completely contradictory to what has usually been assumed. The so-called slave-oligarchy of the South owned scarcely any of the land outside the black belt and only about 25 percent of the land inside the black belt. Actually, the basic means of production in the black belt and in the South as a whole was well-distributed among all classes of the population. The overwhelming majority of Southern families in 1860 owned their farms and livestock; about 90 percent of the slaveholders and about 70 percent of the non-slaveholders owned the land on which they farmed.

And it is important to note that the bulk of slaveholders were small farmers and not oligarchs – the majority of whom owned from one to four slaves and less than three hundred acres of land.

Thus, unlike the industrial population of the East, the overwhelming majority of white families in the South, owned the means of production. In other words, the average Southerner like the average Westerner possessed economic independence and held on strongly to its democratic ideology and sound economic foundation of a free government.”

(The Fundamental Cause of the Civil War, Frank L. Owsley. Journal of Southern History, Vol. 7, No. 1, February 1941. pp. 5-6)

Oct 20, 2022 - Foreign Viewpoints, Historical Accuracy, Immigration, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Foreigners Serving the Confederacy

Foreigners Serving the Confederacy

The following is historian Dwight Dumond’s book review of Ella Lonn’s “Foreigners in the Confederacy found in the North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, January 1941. pp. 85-86.

Foreigners in the Confederacy. By Ella Lonn. (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. 1940.

“This record of the services rendered to the Confederate States of America by foreigners and by foreign-born citizens will take rank as one of the foremost contributions to the mounting volume of revisionist literature in that field of American history. In it we have presented, for the first time, an adequate appraisal of the importance of a large segment of the Southern population. It might not be too much to say that, for the first time, we have been told of its existence; and the telling has shattered some venerable traditions.

Foreign immigration into the United States during the two decades preceding the Civil War did not go entirely to the free states. In 1860 the foreign-born in Mobile constituted twenty- five per cent of the white population, in Charleston thirty per cent, in Savannah thirty-three per cent, in New Orleans forty per cent, in Memphis forty-two per cent. There were 3,263 Irish in Charleston, 3,100 in Savannah, 4,100 in Memphis. In New Orleans there were 24,398 Irish, 19,752 Germans, and 10,564 French. There were 43,464 Irish and 88,487 Germans in Arkansas. Ten per cent of the people in Texas were born under a foreign flag. Many races were represented among the 250,000 foreign-born in the Confederate States with Irish, German, French, and English predominating. They were slave- holding planters, merchants, professional men, skilled craftsmen, and unskilled workers.

Having discussed the geographical distribution of the several racial groups in her first chapter, Miss Lonn then traces their relationship to every aspect of the intersectional conflict. There is an excellent chapter on their divergent and changing attitudes toward slavery and secession; there are long accounts of the prominent military and civil officials under the Confederacy; and there is a chapter on military companies of foreign-born and one on foreign-born adventurers. The array of such prominent men is imposing – cabinet members Benjamin, Memminger, and Mallory; diplomats and special commissioners Henry Hotze, Father John Bannon, Reverend Patrick N. Lynch, and John A. Quintero; officers Patrick R. Cleburne, Prince de Polignac, Heros von Borcke, and a host of others; and entire companies of French, Polish, Italian, Spanish, and Irish troops, including the famous German Fusiliers of Charleston, the Emerald Guards of Mobile, and the Louisiana Zouaves.

Finally, there are three outstanding chapters dealing with the contributions of the foreign-born in special fields of military service such as engineering, secret service, ordnance, and medicine; with foreigners of distinction as teachers in schools and colleges, as businessmen, and as manufacturers; and with Confederate legislation and diplomatic conversations respecting foreigners in particular reference to citizenship and conscription.

It is a remarkable book, excellently documented, containing a splendid bibliography, and, considering the enormous quantity of facts and statistics presented, written with a pleasing style that excites admiration.

DWIGHT L. DUMOND

Oct 17, 2022 - Indians and the West, Race and the South, Southern Culture Laid Bare    Comments Off on Florida Indians and Bushwhackers

Florida Indians and Bushwhackers

The Seminole tribe of Indians is said to have originated in the 1750’s as a clan of Georgia Creeks separated from the main tribe and moved southward. They indeed held slaves as documented by Minnie Moore Wilson (Seminoles of Florida, 1910) who wrote of a Seminole chief told a traveling white abolitionist that though the white man’s slave was free, “the Injun esta lusta (negro) belong to Injun – now you go.”

Florida Indians and Bushwhackers

“Many plantation owners in Georgia and South Carolina lost slaves who escaped to the wilds of Florida and the frequent cross-border Seminole raids on plantations often killed entire families and carried off more slaves. This would eventually push the American government toward military solutions and the annexation of Florida.

The Seminole tribe initially acquired black slaves as gifts from the British after 1763 or were purchased by them in imitation of Europeans and held in “a type of democratic vassalage” to the tribe. Though not considered the equals of the Seminole and living in separate settlements, black runaways were trained to hunt, fish and fight against white settlers who lived on Seminole land.  After the tribe’s defeat in 1839, many of these “black Seminoles” accompanied the tribe to resettlement in the West. Interestingly, the name “Seminole” itself translates to “seceder” or “runaway” from the Creek nation, which occurred in 1750 under Chief Secoffee.

Only twenty-two years later the resettled Seminoles fought bravely against Northern soldiers in three Seminole Mounted Volunteer regiments of the Trans-Mississippi Department, led by Major John Jumper, whose Seminole name was “Hemha Micco.” Seminoles also fought alongside the victorious Florida and Georgia forces at the Ocean Pond (Olustee) battle on February 20, 1864.

One Northern soldier wrote a New York friend just after the engagement:

“The most desperate enemy that we have to contend with here is the Florida Indians in roving bands of bushwhackers [who] occasionally steal upon our picket lines under cover of night . . . Many Redskins are sharpshooters. During the recent battle, they took themselves to the tree-tops and picked off many of the officers of the Colored Troops.”

(Key West’s Civil War: Rather Unsafe for a Southern Man to Live Here.” John Bernhard Thuersam, Shotwell Publishing, 2022, pg. 143)

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