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real condition of the “domestic institution" in the South, previous to Russell's tour through the Southern States, led to as many vexatious mistakes in politics. The dependence of the Southerners on the recognition of England and the breaking of the blockade, led to great relaxation on their part in their preparations for war and for self-sustenance. There is no doubt that our government has by the adoption of such policy been wise for the time, it is still questionable if it will prove so for the future. To have had a positive ally in the South would, perhaps, when the turn of Canada comes, have been found to have been of more avail than to have at the end of the war, whichever way it goes, do ally at all on the continent of America. The price of that alliance might for a moment have been fearful to contemplate, but great nations should be prepared for great emergencies. Neutrality, which is at once wisdom and justice on the continent of Europe, is scarcely so where we have ourselves such interests at stake as a famishing population and a brokendown trade ; with the north-east provinces, Canada, British Columbia, the West Indies, and other important possessions, all as it were in abeyance.
Our author's next place of residence was at a Mr. Quence's, a Baptist minister, dwelling at Milbank, in Caroline county. Baptists were not in favour with “ Miss Jones," and Mr. Quence was not the best specimen of his class, so she was not quite as happy as she had been at the W.s, yet had she nothing to complain of in the way of kind, hospitable, courteous, and even generous treatment. “Miss Jones," a young person of decidedly good education and excellent abilities, and whom we especially sympathise with in her ardent love of nature and her exquisite appreciation of the goodness of all God's works, is manifestly one of a class most difficult to please. Her yearnings for letters, for change of circumstances, and during the blockade for extricating herself from every new position she became placed in, although, save a sad attack of sickness in Florida, and some privations from the blockade, everything that could be desired in a pecuniary point of view, as well as in respect to the most kind and considerate treatment, become at times very trying to the reader. There were at Milbank the usual “aunts," and "uncles," and troublesome “ Topsies,” but not, however, either so tidy, obliging, or numerous as at Forest Rill:
Our pleasantest walk at Milbank was down to a mill from which the place was named. A beautiful piece of water lay in a picturesque hollow, leading down to which a winding road opened suddenly upon the mill itself, and a very neat, pretty cabin, occupied by Uncle Junius, the miller, and Aunt Ony, his wife. Our Baptist minister combined the business of farmer and miller with his pastoral duties. He employed an overseer to manage his farm, but kept a faithful surveillance over his servants and profits. Uncle Junius came to the house every evening regularly, just as we had assembled in the parlour for family worship ; and opening the door and inserting bis grey and yellow bead (nothing but the head was ever visible), summed up the business of the day, which his master duly entered upon a book : “Muster Brown, two bushel - Corn. Muster Black, five bushel - Wheat. Muster Green, one sack-Flour. Miss Molly White, three bushel - Corn." These entries answered the double purpose of a check upon the products of the farm, and the amount of Junius's daily labour. Sometimes the report was varied by a message from somebody concerning an order on the miller, or some requisite repairs, which after
being made known, a surly “Go now," was followed by the retreat of the grey head, and the closing of the door. Uncle Junius was so fair, or rather
yellow," besides being quite good-looking, as to be easily mistaken for a white man. He was an intelligent and trustworthy negro, and, I used to think, deserving of a little more urbanity and sympathy than that gruff “Go now" testified. It did not seem a very likely method of securing the affection of the servant, but I never discovered that Junius felt sensitive on the subject. Mrs. Quence did not ever turn her head and eyes from the contemplation of the blazing pine stems, nor seem at all conscious whether Junius's head was admitting the cold draught or not. Perhaps she pursued the same course as the Misses Smith and their “ first circles" did, never to take any notice of the servants; but I had seen many other people whom I should have placed rather in front of these “first circles," who always gave a kind and encouraging “How'dy" to the negroes, particularly the out-door servants, who were not so often visible at the house.
All slaveholders are not like the W.s-Shelbys in the country and even at Mr. Quence's some new features in the “institution” presented theniselves to an inquiring observer. Here are the results of a little conversation with Aunt Ony:
Little Molly I knew, and her son Pinto, also, whose chief business was to drive the waggons and attend to the stables. This youth was by a former marriage, and I asked Ony if she bad any more children.
"Oh yes, mistis ; Rose, what you see a milkin' de cows t'other night, she's my darter."
"Is she married ?"
“No'm, she ain't 'zactly had no husband. Phil, he dat 'tends de tan-yard down thar, her children b’longs to him."
“But that's not right, Aunt Ony. Does Amelia (Phil's wife) know about tbat?”
"Ye’es, mistis ; I tell ye she an' Rose gits to quarrellin' mightily when they meet. Rose 'd have Phil any day, an' Phil 'd have her, but Aunt Mealy won't give bim up."
“No, of course not-it would not be right; he's her husband.”
“No, mistis, 'tis not right; I 'clar I don't think it is right. Do you, mam "
“No, Aunt Ony, it is a great pity that such things happen. What do Mr. and Mrs. Quence say to such things ?”
"Oh, dey giv 'm a good talkin' to, both on 'em. But Phil he won't allow he's wrong. He'd marry Rose if Mealy 'd let bim, but she ain't willin' to give him up."
“Rose and Pinto are not at all alike; I should not have taken them for brother and sister.”
“No, mistis, my first husband was a merlatter man, pretty nigh wbite, an' my second husban' was mighty black-whew! rale black nigger; den Junius, he's a yaller man agin'.”
“What! you have been married three times? You are quite lucky, Aunt Ony, to bave two handsome men, nearly white, too !"
"Eh-eh-eh-e-e-e," laughed Aunt Ony. “ Ye-e-e-s, mistis, I gits 'em. I know how to git 'em."
“Indeed! and how is that?"
"I 'hāves myself like a lady, den I gits 'em. I don't do like some o' dem nigger gals. I allis 'bāves myself jes right. Dat's the way I gits 'em."
Returning to Richmond, the following interesting conversation ensued at the boarding-house :
“What do you think of our domestic institutions by this time, Miss Jones ?” said old Mr. Tyler, at the dinner-table.
“I wish our own working classes were as well provided for and protected as your slaves, Mr. Tyler. It is almost provoking to witness their grinning faces and light-hearted indifference at this season of anxiety and alarm, which is causing so much suffering to the white class.”
“ Yes, madam, they are the last to suffer, always. Look here," banding me a slip of newspaper, “ almost daily we read of these things.”
The paragraph stated that "another family of free negroes, at Charleston, had applied to be sold into slavery in order to avoid the hardships consequent on the panic, and depression in business."
“ They know that they are sure of a home, and plenty to eat, with a master to protect them," continued Mr. Tyler.
To judge by an anecdote related by the Baptist minister, the negroes were afraid of their would-be protectors, the Yankees—at all events, at the commencement of hostilities. A Mr. Talbot had to hurry away from his plantation to join his regiment. Before starting, he hurriedly assembled his servants together, and addressed them in the following words :
“Now, my people, I must go and help to drive away these Yankees, who are coming here to rob us, and to destroy our houses, and perhaps to kill us, or carry us off. But they are good friends of yours, so you need not be at all afraid. The Yankees are very kind to negroes, and will do you no harm at all. If they come here while I am gone, and want you to go with them, you can go if you like, any of you ; because I cannot take you all with me, and perhaps they will be able to take better care of you than I shall, if they burn my house down, for we have no home in Richmond, and no other plantation to live on. So you must stay here and take care of the place, and do the best you can until I come back." Captain Talbot was absent several days, and on his return found the place just as he had left it. The house was locked up, but everything wore the appearance of order, only not a creature was to be seen. He walked all over the farm, and not a soul could be found. He felt quite sure that all the negroes had not run away, although it was possible some few might have done so. Most of the cabins were locked up, and the dogs were chained to their kennels, yelping and whining with hunger. He shouted, and whistled, and was proceeding to some more distant cabins, when he perceived a negro peeping from behind a tree on the outskirts of the woods. The man perceiving his master ran forward, exclaiming, “ Halloo, mast'r, here's I.”
“Why, Jim, what are you doing there? Where are all the people ?"
“Oh, massa, massa, we'd like to have starved, we darn't put our heads out of dem woods; fear'd de Yankees 'd cotch us." “Why, I told you the Yankees wouldn't hurt you, didn't I ?"
“Yes, massa ; but we couldn't 'suade de wimmin to stay when you was a gone; said they afeard Yankees cotch 'em.”
Every man, woman, and child had fled to the woods to hide, and there had remained until the return of the master. There was no persuading the people, no arguing with them; the master was gone, and all self-dependence vanished with him.
It had become plain from the outset that it was not sympathy with the negro, but the loss of the best states of the ci-devant Union, that was galling and goading on the North to this fearful war. One could
not, the author says, be blind to the ardour which fired the Southerners to fight for their beloved country with their life's blood :
Such courage and fortitude compelled one's admiration. During the previous winter had not thousands of white people been supported by charitable contributions in all the large towns of the South, while the slaves were untouched by public calamities? Did we not read at that very time of our own English poor being limited in their labours on account of the probability of reduced importations of cotton? While the so-called slaves were fattening on good food, and parading to their Sunday meetings, in such an astonishing display of flounces, feathers, and shirt collars, that it was almost impossible to recognise the “ Aunts” and “Uncles" of one's every-day acquaintance, were not the legislators of my own honoured England experimentalising on how little it was possible for a man to live upon? What could one argue when these comparisons were made between free labour in our boasted England, and “ slavery with plenty ?" "Your terms of labour are to get as much as possible out of a man, for the least possible payment; you pay him for what he does, and if he is sick or maimed his payment ceases. Thus capital taxes labour to the utmost: with us capital protects labour. The most selfish man would argue thus: this is my labourer; he is sick; I lose his assistance; send for a doctor to cure him quickly ; he is valuable to me. Selfishness alone secures aid to the enfeebled slave. But we have other ties, and stronger ones in caring for our own. 'Slave' is a mere political term, and while you engage a labourer by an hour, a day, or a year, and pay him so long as he is useful to you, we engage our people for life, and support them when they are no longer useful to us. Our servants enjoy more privileges and indulgences than any other labouring class in the world."
“ Doubts and fears" having at length invalided the author, it was by mutual agreement that she left the Quences once more for Richmond, and where the impossibility of getting out of the country entailed a trip to Yorktown and the camps—the narrative of which constitutes one of the most interesting chapters in the works--and ultimately the entering upon a new engagement at Warrenton College. Nothing could be more agreeable than the sojourn at this latter place, notwithstanding the privations entailed by the war. Professors, ladies, and pupils were all alike courteous and kind, there was very little work, and offers were made of an increase of salary to induce our author to stay, but the temptation of better society in the family of the Governor of Florida was too great, and change of quarters once more ensued.
The Miltone, a rather numerous progeny, were as smiling, amiable, and obliging as were all other Southerners, but the talents, manners, disposition, and character of this pretty family were, we are told, wholly untrained and undeveloped. They and their negroes were in some respects of congenial temperaments :
For a time I laboured bard to establish some system of order and tidiness, but in spite of blockade and scarcity, torn, worn, scribbled books, broken slates and lost pencils were of every-day occurrence. A great long row of books that I had arranged on the old piano, was one morning missing entirely ; no one knew what had become of them, no one had touched them or seen them, but they were gone!
“I bet a dollar that Jim” (a negro boy) “has carried them off into the woods," said Jobnny.
“Why should he do that ?"
“Oh, just for mischief. I left my violin here one evening, and the next day it was gone. A long time afterwards, when I was hunting in the woods, I found it smashed up under the trees; and I know Jim broke it up, just for mischief." Thus the row of books vanished, their loss borne amiably and unconcernedly, without an effort to recover them.
The author's negress attendant-Jane-is described as being uglier and more stupid than even Barnes of Milbank. Never, she declares, did she see such a hideous picture of sullen, dogged stupidity. She had never yet witnessed the infliction of corporeal punishment on the negroes of the South ; but the sullen obstinacy of this Jane, and of another Arcadian negress with the ill-merited name of Flora, tried her temper so much that she was tempted to try the effects of summary chastisement; with what beneficial results we must leave her to relate in her own words :
She never would bring in firewood before a storm came on, and after keeping one waiting shivering in the sudden change of temperature, she invariably brought in three wet, straight logs, which she lay in a compact bundle on the andirons, with a few ignited pine-wood chips, spread half a foot below on the bricks. Of course, by the time she got down stairs the fire was out, and call as I might I could not induce her to bring any more. One of the young ladies, or her mistress, on hearing my voice, made her come back, which she never would do at my summons. Time after time I showed her how to lay the logs loosely, with the pine chips between them; but no, always just the same three wet, straight pieces compactly placed. Mrs. Milton thanked me more for doing my own scolding, than for troubling her to do it, and had even said, “Why don't you cuff her, Miss Jones ?” I “cuff” a negro!
The incorrigible chattel was, however, so very aggravating and stubborn one day about those three wet, straight, unignitable logs, while she persisted in burning up all the little dry pieces of pine-wood, without arriving any nearer at a fire, that I thought I would try the effect of cuffing, and I got my hand quite ready, doubled my fist up, and began to study where the "cuff” could be applied most effectually. Then I moved a little so as to aim very straight, and while she remained sprawling there, playing with the chips in a most provoking manner, I gave her two great blows, just as hard as ever I could, upon her shoulder. I had so little physical strength just then that the exertion put me dreadfully out of breath, and I do not believe she would have known what touched her, if she had not turned round and caught sight of my hand still doubled up. It seemed to dawn upon her mind that she had been struck, and getting up and fixing her black eyes on me with a terrible scowl, holding up her arm, as if to defend herself from a pugilist, she growled out in her underground voice, “My missus never hooped (whipped) me." Of the two, I was by far the more terrified, and the more injured; but still kept my eyes on her as one would on a wild animal. I did not know whether she was going to strike me, and she certainly thought I was going to renew the “cuffing," the first having been scarcely perceptible ; but it was much too fatiguing a process, and I said, " Why don't you do right without obliging me to do so ?"
"My missus never hooped me.e-e," was repeated, with the eyes still frowning at me.
The result was that my “ cuffing" was wholly ineffectual. The negro was more dogged, stolid, and stubborn than ever; and I found that it would be best to let her alone until she had quite forgotten the insult offered her, and then to seize the first opportunity of healing the wound, and henceforth try to “overcome evil with good."
That girl, in spite of her temper, respected herself, and was really unhappy, from loneliness and want of sympathy.
Some time afterwards, when very warm weather had brought on the summer tornadoes, my second case of corporeal discipline occurred.