bad condition, until at last the negroes organized to retaliate, caught the ringleader, took him into the woods, and shot him. Since then, there has been peace, and the region is comparatively safe."

Such are the conditions, as to temper and circumstance, under which the problem of self-government has to be met in large portions of the South. And these are aggravated by the inevitable results of a war in which property and mastery have perished in one ruin. When the boast is made, that, in spite of all the waste and cost and havoc of war, the signs of wealth and luxury are more abundant than ever, the answer of political economy is plain, that abundance here must be made up by compulsory thrift, that is, extreme destitution, somewhere else. Waste and wealth do not naturally go together; and the gains of war are dearly balanced by its penury and loss. It needs no statistics to tell the inevitable misery that has fallen upon wide regions of the South,a misery how bitterly aggravated by that wide sweep of desolation which marked the track of the Georgia and Carolina campaign! Already we hear the horrible story of literal starvation prevailing in extensive districts. And but for the return of peace in season to secure the late planting of foodcrops, the tale of wretchedness must have equalled the too familiar stories of Ireland and Hindostan. In Georgia it has been estimated, that, in round numbers, five-sixths of the entire property of the State, exclusive of land and slaves, has perished in the war. * We have no calculations, in equal

* In actual figures thus:

Slaves (462.198, by the census of 1860)


Money and solvent debts
Capital in manufactures

Shipping and tonnage

Household furniture.

Land (average per acre $4.43)
Bank capital


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Property saved.


1,000,000. 631,732 2,125,045


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Property lost. $271,620,405 13,531,687








See a valuable sermon, by the Rev. Charles Lowe, in the "Christian Register" for June 10, 1865.

detail, for other portions of the South; but the state of things here shown must stand for the general result in all.

No doubt this present desolation will be compensated by a larger and a healthier growth in coming years, as immigration has its perfect work, and the conditions of free labor come to be established. But, for the present, it stands not merely for so much actual destruction and poverty, but for the smothered resentment, the bitterness of heart, the hopelessness, the sullen despair, which are apt to follow all great strokes of loss, especially loss by human violence, and in the re-action from eager hope and desperate endeavor.* And it greatly imbit ters and complicates the task our Government has to meet.

It is impossible to think without a certain misgiving and dread of the prospects of the emancipated race, at the mercy, as practically they must be, of men who will be apt to recognize so much only of their change of state, that it has dissolved the old order without founding any new. Hints we have had of the vindictive hostility their old masters will be

*What war must be when brought to one's own home and neighborhood is told in such little homely incidents as these, which must have grown too familiar, written by an eye-witness, who was also a soldier in the ranks :

"On the piazza about the poor-house, sat the inmates, -a bowed old man amid a group of squalid children, barefooted, bareheaded, anxious, weeping. He was the grandparent. The father was in the rebel army, somewhere: the mother sat rocking, with an infant in her arms, thin and sickly. The house and the yard were full of straggling soldiers. The garden had been rifled of every vegetable which could be eaten, and what was left was trampled down. The cow in the wretched shed had been shot, a little meat cut from the carcass, and the rest left to waste. The guns of the men were cracking about the yard, and every fowl was being killed. A number of men were coming out of the door with haversacks full of meal. The whole substance of these poor people was being devoured. As I came up, a drunken soldier had just torn the brooch away which the woman with the child in her arms wore at her neck, -a cheap thing, which, however, had attracted his drunken greed; and (I can hardly bear to write the terribly ruffianly thing) he was rudely taking from one of her ears the earring, making the blood flow in his heedless brutality. I rushed upon him, and saved her further pain; and, the officer in command of the guard being close at hand, we had the fellow arrested. We tried to restore order; but, while we were there, flames burst out from the barn, which speedily caught the house: and the guard passed on, leaving the old man, the woman, and the company of little children, shelterless and foodless, looking in tears upon their blazing home. My heart bled for them so! Yet I could do nothing. We were pursuing the enemy. Duty forced me forward." - The Thinking Bayonet, p. 161.

apt to make them feel; and it is no wonder, that, in their supplication to the Government at Washington, they represent their present condition as far less tolerable than the former bondage. We have already spoken, more than once, of the success which has attended the experiments at free labor and social order among the freedmen, where there have been tolerable fairness and good sense in the way they have been dealt with. They may be considered to have fully settled. the question as to the capacity of the black race for self-sup-port, and their general willingness to work; their capacity, also, for a good degree of local self-government. And, where they can remain unmolested by themselves, or under the immediate protection of the national power, as in the Seaisland plantations assigned to them by General Sherman, we imagine that the day of anxiety about them is past. But those so situated are a little margin of that broad, dark belt of population, a hundred thousand, perhaps, in all. And, for every one under these circumstances of safety, there must be at least twenty or thirty whose only hope lies in the better temper, the restored civil order, and the powerful hand of national authority. Even if political power were given to them at once without reserve, we might yet ask of what avail it would be to masses of men so densely ignorant, so slavishly timid, so abjectly superstitious, as they or most of them have always shown themselves in the presence of the master-race. We learned something four years ago of the respect paid to political forms and suffrage rights in those districts of the South. Even where white Unionists, whose rights of citizenship had never been challenged, were in a clear majority, as in Eastern Tennessee, we saw something of the tender mercies of their political opponents, - the hangings and houseburnings, and the reign of terror at the polls. And, if all political rights were granted, we apprehend that it would be with more of fear than hope, that the emancipated slaves would seek to protect their personal rights by voting in mass against their former masters, even if they should not, as Mr. Botts declares, vote in a mass at the bidding of their former masters. Whatever reasons of abstract justice, whatever con

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siderations of self-protection, may require that suffrage be given to blacks and whites on equal terms, it will be many years, we fear, before it can be looked to as any sensible relief to the dangers and uncertainties of the actual situation.

Yet the question is one which must be met; and circumstances have made it just now the most prominent one of all before the public mind. For ourselves, we have been content with asserting hitherto what seems the plain demand of justice and expediency alike, that all distinctions of color should be utterly unknown to the law; that, whatever condi tions of citizenship require to be laid down, they should be clear of the great wrong of conforming to lines of race and caste, clear of the deeper baseness of surrendering a popu lation more loyal, more industrious, more orderly, than the great majority of the whites, and not inferior in intelligence to large numbers of them, to the despotic control of those who have every evil passion to gratify in taking revenge upon them, and every evil motive for desiring to bring back on them the bitterness of their former bondage. The case before the average conscience of mankind, before the bar of common prudence, and especially as it appeals to the honor of our own Government and nation, seems perfectly clear. Yet there are some considerations not so plain, which we must take account of, if we would see what the real working conditions of it are.

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In the first place, by what tribunal shall the question be properly determined? To this question, the late action of the Administration touching North Carolina and Mississippi appears to answer: - The tribunal shall be the loyal white citizens of the States seeking restoration to their political rights.* Personally, as it is understood, the President and his advisers strongly desire that the decision shall be in favor

*The precise terms of the President's proclamation in inviting a convention of the loyalists of North Carolina are these: "No person shall be qualified as an elector, or shall be eligible as a member of such convention, unless he shall previously have taken and subscribed the oath of amnesty as set forth in the President's proclamation, May 29, 1865, and is a voter qualified as prescribed by the Constitution and Laws of the State of North Carolina in force immediately before the 20th day of May, 1861, the date of the so-called ordinance of secession."

of granting the suffrage to all duly qualified persons, blacks and whites alike. But they do not hold themselves competent to decide the question in advance. At least, the opportunity of deciding shall be left to the white loyal citizens first. If they determine it in the way which seems to us safest and best, it is plain how incomparably greater the moral value of the decision will be, than if it were forced on them preliminary to any action of their own. If they determine it by old prejudice and exclusion, at least the way is open to a reversal of the judgment. There can be no doubt, that the original right of the decision, by all our political precedents and theories, lies with the people of the States themselves, as defined in State organizations already existing. It is not by virtue of ordinary political justice, but (if at all) in virtue of a high necessity of State, that the nation may rightly overrule their judgment. That the nation may claim and exercise this right, we have not a moment's doubt. That it ought to exercise it at need, in a case like this, where such eminent jurisdiction may be the only thing to prevent intolerable injustice and infinite misrule, seems too plain to be easily disputed. But the action of the Government-in which all members of the Administration are understood to be agreed - is probably on the right and safe ground, that the interposition of the national will, to dictate or control, should be, not the previous condition, but the last resort.

And again: negro suffrage in the reconstructed States is advocated, as we understand it, on two grounds quite distinct, -as to which there should be some clearer explanation before a final verdict. That it is necessary, in order to secure, first, protection to the blacks themselves, and, next, loyalty and good order in the States, all its advocates are agreed. But there are some who defend it on the broad ground of universal suffrage as an abstract right; at any rate, as the highest political expediency. They claim that the ballot in a republic is the natural and the chief protection against class oppression, the right and only practicable way of giving every man the weight of his own personality, in ordaining the law under which every man must live. And they urge, besides,

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