« 上一頁繼續 »
gentleman maliciously tell his tale, and election was a farce. Very few of the go on his way laughing. The result freedmen had any idea of what they was high excitement among the belles were doing, or even of how they ought of the Anglo-Saxon race, and much to do it. They would vote into the feminine chaffing of the Hon. Mr. post-office, or any hole they could find. Blank. What made the matter worse Some of them carried home their balwas, that on the day of the fair he had lots, greatly smitten with the red letaccepted an invitation to a young la- tering and the head of Lincoln, or supdies' reading - society, and then had posing that they could use them as withdrawn it, because of the invitation warrants for land. Others would give from the humble race which held fes- them to the first white man who offered tivity at the Bureau school-house. to take care of them. One old fellow
“What! going to disappoint us for said to me, 'Lord, marsr ! do for Lord's those people!” a fair patrician had said sake tell me what dis yere 's all about.' to him. “We ought to cut your ac- I explained to him that the election quaintance."
was to put the State back into the “My dear, I can't disappoint them," Union, and make it stay there in peace. he had replied, very wisely and nobly. 'Lord bless you, marsr! I'se might “When people whom God has placed glad to un'erstan' it,' he answered. so far beneath me ask for my pres- * I’se the only nigger in this yere disence, I must give it. It is like an trick now that knows what he's up invitation from the queen.
It is a
In my own district things were betThat had been comprehended and ter. A region of small farmers mainly, pardoned; but to call Jenny W the negroes had lived nearer to the handsomer than them all! The Hon. whites than on the great plantations Mr. Blank was bullied into making of the low country, and were proporexplanations.
tionately intelligent. The election in But this gossip was matter of laugh- Greenville was at least the soberest ter, without a shade of serious umbrage and most orderly that had ever been or jealousy, so secure is the Anglo- known there. Obedient to the instrucSaxon race in its social pre-eminence. tions of their judicious managers, the Between the mulattoes and negroes the freedmen voted quietly, and went immequestion is far different; the former are diately home, without the reproach of a already anxious to distinguish them- fight or a drunkard, and without even selves from the pure Africans; the a hurrah of triumph. Their little band latter are already sore under the su- of music turned out in the evening to periority thus asserted. Were the two serenade a favorite candidate, but a breeds more equally divided in num- word from him sent them home with bers, there would be such hostility silent trumpets, and the night was rebetween them as has been known in markable for tranquillity. Even the Hayti and Jamaica. The mixed race youngsters who sometimes rowdied in in our country is, however, so small, the streets seemed to be sensible of and its power of self-perpetuation so the propriety of unusual peace, and slight, that it will probably be absorbed went to bed early. Judging from what in the other. Meantime it holds more I saw that day, I should have halcyon than its share of intelligence, and of hopes for the political future of the those qualities which go to the acquisi- negro. tion of property.
My impression is, although I cannot With a Bureau officer who was sta- make decisive averment in the matter, tioned in the lowlands of South Caro- that a majority of the Greenville freedlina, I compared impressions as to the men had a sufficiently intelligent sense political qualifications and future of the of the purport of the election. The negro." In my district," he said, "the stupidest of them understood that he
was acting as agin de rebs,” and “for de the members of the debating-club broke freedom.” None of them voted into up in a panic, and endeavored to esthe post-office or into hollow trees. cape; a second pistol was fired, and a
But more delicate and complicated boy of fourteen, named Hunnicutt, the questions will some day arise than a son of a respectable citizen, fell dead. simple choice between slaveholding The ball entered the back of his head, rebellion and emancipating loyalty. showing that, when it struck him, he How then? It is an unveiled future; was flying shooting Niagara -- and after? I defy Then ensued an extraordinary drama any one to prophesy with certainty The negroes, unaware apparently that whether more good or harm will come they had done anything wrong, beliey. of this sudden enfranchisement of ig- ing, on the contrary, that they were renorant millions. For the present it establishing public order and enforcing works well, by contrast with what justice, commenced patrolling the neighmight have been ; we had but a choice borhood, entering every house, and of evils, and we have unquestionably arresting numbers of citizens. They taken the least. If it is not satisfac- marched in double file, pistol in belt tory to have manumitted ignoramuses and gun at the shoulder, keeping step voting on amendments to the Constitu- to the “hup, hup!” of a fellow called tion, it is better than to leave the South Lame Sam, who acted as drill-sergeant in the hands of unreconstructed rebels, and commander. By noon of the next led by traitorous old rats of politicians. day they had the country for miles But every good is purchased at the around in their power, and a majority expense of attendant evils, and this of the male whites under guard. What may demand more than we can con- they meant to do is uncertain ; probveniently pay for it.
ably they did not know themselves. There was a tragedy in my satrapy Their subsequent statement was that during the autumn of 1867. A meeting they wanted to find the disturber of of Union-Leaguers, composed chiefly their meeting, Smith, and also the murof negroes, but presided over by a derer of Hunnicutt, whom they asserted white man, was held one evening in an to be a “reb." inconsiderable hamlet near the south- On the arrival of a detachment from ern border of Pickens District. Ac- the United States garrison at Andercording to an absurd and illegal fashion son the whites were liberated, and the too common with such convocations, freedmen handed over to the civil auarmed sentinels were posted around thorities for trial before the next Disthe building, with orders to prevent trict Court. The Leaguers exhibited the approach of uninitiated persons. such a misguided loyalty to their order In a school-house not far distant the and each other, that it was impossible whites of the neighborhood had met in to fix a charge for murder on any one a debating-society.
person, or to establish grounds for an A low-down white named Smith ap- indictment of any sort against Bryce: proached the League rendezvous, Eighteen were found guilty of riot, and the sentinels declared, with threats of sentenced to imprisonment; eight of forcing an entrance ; as he stated, by homicide in the first degree, and sen. mistake. Either by him or by one of tenced to death. the negroes a pistol was fired; and Still no confessions; the convicted then arose a cry that a “reb” men would not believe that they would coming to break up the meeting. A be punished; they were sure that the voice within, said by some to be that of Yankees would save them, or that the the president, Bryce, ordered, “ Bring Leaguers would rescue them; they rethat man a prisoner, dead or alive." fused to point out either the instigator
The negroes rushed out; Smith fied, or the perpetrator of the murder. It hotly pursued, to the school - house; was not until the United States mar
shal of South Carolina assured them of an’ when I went to see him about it the fallacy of their hopes that they dis- arterward he said it was five. 'Pears missed them. Admissions were then like I can't git at the rights of the thing made; nearly all coincided in fixing nohow, an' they's jes tryin' to leave the fatal pistol - shot upon one; and me without anything to go upon.” that one was hung.
“My dear fellow, you should have This affair is mainly important as paid up when you were first warned. showing how easily the negroes can be The additions since then are charges led into folly and crime. Themselves for collection. The longer you put it a peaceful race, not disposed to rioting off, the more it will cost you. You had and murder, they were brought with- better settle with the sheriff without out trouble to both by the counsels of any further delay, or you may be sold the ignorant and pugnacious whites out." who became their leaders in the Loyal “Wal, 'pears like it's mighty hard on Leagues. Not three days after the us, an' we jes a startin'. I was turned Hunnicutt tragedy, a farmer from Pick off year befo' las' without a grain o' ens District called on me to obtain corn, an' no lan’. Boss, is they comin' permit for an armed meeting of Union on us every year for these yere taxes ?” men, and seemed quite dumbfoundered “I suppose so. How else are the when I not only refused the permit, laws to be kept up, and the poor old but assured him that, if he attempted to negroes to be supported ?” hold such a meeting, I would have him Exit freedman in a state of profound arrested. In justice to the Union men discouragement, looking as if he wished and the negroes, however, it must be there were no laws and no poor old remembered that they have been gov- negroes. erned by the mailed hand; and that, in The taxes were indeed heavy on laseeking to enforce their political ideas bor, especially as compared with wages. by steel and gunpowder, they are but Eight dollars a month, with rations and following the example of the high-toned lodging, was all that the best field hand gentlemen who formerly swayed the could earn in Greenville District; and South. On the whole, we must admit those freedmen who took land on shares that, although they have committed generally managed, by dint of unintellimore follies and crimes than were at gent cultivation and of laziness, to oball desirable, they have committed few- tain even less. I knew of able-bodied er than might reasonably have been ex- women who were working for nothing pected, considering the nature of their but their shelter, food, and two suits of political education. In their rule thus cheap cotton clothing per annum. far there has been less of the vigilance As a result of this wretched remucommittee than in that which preceded neration there was an exodus. During
the fall of 1866 probably a thousand At least one of the political privileges freed-people left my two districts of of the negroes is already a heavy bur- Pickens and Greenville to settle in den to them. Every day or two some Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tenragged fellow stepped into my office nessee. Only a few had the enterprise with the inquiry, “I wants to know ef or capital to go by themselves; the I've got to pay my taxes."
great majority were carried off by plant“Certainly,” I was bound to reply, ers and emigration agents. Those who for the general commanding had de- went to Florida contracted for twelve clared that the civil laws were in force, dollars a month, a cabin, a gardenand moreover I knew that the State patch, fuel, and weekly rations consistwas tottering for lack of money. ing of one peck of meal, two pounds of
“ But the sheriff, he 's put it up to bacon, and one pint of molasses ; but eight dollars now, an' when he first on reaching their destination, and seenamed it to me he said it was three, ing the richness of the land, they some
times flew from their bargains and se- selection ; and he may eventfully hold cured a new one, giving them one third a portion of this continent against the of the crop in place of wages, and in vigorous and terrible Caucasian race; creasing the quantity and quality of that portion being probably those lowtheir rations. The emigrants to Louis- lands where the white cannot or will iana and Arkansas went on the basis not labor. Meantime the negro's acof fifteen dollars a month, lodgings, quisition of property, and of those qualpatch, fuel, and food; and then kept ities which command the industry of their contracts if they pleased, or vio- others, will be slow. What better could lated them under the temptation of be expected of a serf so lately manumitthirty, forty, and even fifty dollars a ted ? month. The negroes having never When I first took post in Greenville, been taught the value of honesty by I used to tell the citizens that soon their experience, nor much of its beauty by finest houses would be in possession of precept, are frequently slippery. The blacks; but long before I left there I planters, pressingly in need of labor, had changed my opinion. Although were generally obliged to accede to land in profusion was knocked down their demands.
for a song on every monthly sale day, On the other hand, the emigration not more than three freedmen had puragents were accused of some sharp chased
any, and they not more than an practice, and particularly of leaving acre apiece. What little money they their emigrants at points whither they earned they seemed to be incapable of had not agreed to go. A freedman who applying to solid and lasting purpose; had contracted to work at Memphis they spent it for new clothes and other might be landed at Franklin in Louis- luxuries, or in supporting each other's iana without knowing the difference. idleness; they remained penniless, In short, the matter went on more or where an Irishman or German would less smoothly, with some good results thrive. Encumbered with debt as are and some evil. Labor was transferred many of the whites of Greenville, defiin considerable masses from where it cient as they may be in business faculty was not wanted to where it was. The and industry, they need not fear that beneficent effects of the migration were black faces will smile out of their parof course much diminished by the acci- lor windows. The barbarian and serf dental circumstances of the overflows does not so easily rise to be the emin Louisiana, and the fall in the value ployer and landlord of his late master. of the cotton crop everywhere. More- What is to become of the Africần in over, these negroes of the mountains our country as a race? Will he comsuffered nearly as much from lowland mingle with the Caucasian, and so disfevers as if they were white men from appear? It is true that there are a few our Northern frontiers.
marriages, and a few cases of illegal Will the freedmen acquire property cohabitation, between negro men and and assume position among the man- the lowest class of white women. For agers of our national industry ? Al- example, a full-blooded black walked ready a division is taking place among twenty miles to ask me if he could have them: there are some who have clearly a white wife, assuring me that there benefited by emancipation, and others was a girl down in his “settlement” who have not; the former are becom- who was “a teasin' every day about ing what the Southerners term "decent it." niggers," and the latter are turning into He had opened his business with poor black trash. The low-down negro hesitation, and he talked of it in a tremwill of course follow the low-down white ulous undertone, glancing around for into sure and deserved oblivion. His fear of listeners. I might have told more virtuous and vital brother will him that, as it was not leap year, the struggle longer with the law of natural woman had no right to propose to him; but I treated the matter seriously. Bear- have, of course no objection to the ing in mind that she must be a disrep- adornment itself; indeed, they are, like utable creature, who would make him white beaux, disposed to follow the a wretched helpmeet, I first informed game which wears the finest feathers; him that the marriage would be legal, but they are getting clever enough to and that the civil and military authori- know that such game is expensive, and ties would be bound to protect him in to content themselves with looking at it. it, and then advised him against it, on Where the prettiest colored girls in the ground that it would expose him to Greenville were to find husbands was a series of underhanded persecutions more than I could imagine. which could not easily be prevented. There are other reasons why the He went away evidently but half con- blacks will not increase as rapidly as vinced, and I presume that his Delilah before the emancipation. The young had her will with him, although I heard men have more amusements and a more no more of this odd love affair. But varied life than formerly. Instead of such cases are as yet rare, and further being shut up on the plantation, they more the low-downers are a transient can spend the nights in frolicking about race. Free labor and immigration from the streets or at drinking-places; inthe North or Europe will extirpate or stead of the monotony of a single neighelevate them within half a century. borhood, they can wander from village
Miscegenation between white men to village and from South Carolina to and negresses has diminished under the Texas. The master is no longer there new order of things. Emancipation to urge matrimony, and perhaps other has broken up the close family contact methods of increasing population. Nein which slavery held the two races, groes, as well as whites, can now be and, moreover, young gentlemen do not forced by law to support their illegitiwant mulatto children sworn to them at mate offspring, and are consequently a cost of three hundred dollars apiece. more cautious than formerly how they In short, the new relations of the two have such offspring. stocks tend to separation rather than to In short, the higher civilization of the fusion. Consequently there will be no Caucasian is gripping the race in many amalgamation, no merging and disap- ways, and bringing it to sharp trial bepearance of the black in the white, ex- fore its time. This new, varied, costly cept at a period so distant that it is not life of freedom, this struggle to be at worth while now to speculate upon it. once like a race which has passed So far as we and our children and through a two thousand years' growth in grandchildren are concerned, the negro civilization, will unquestionably diminwill remain a negro, and must be proph- ish the productiveness of the negro, and esied about as a negro.
will terribly test his vitality. But will he remain a negro, and not It is doubtless well for his chances of rather become a ghost? It is almost existence that his color keeps him a ludicrous to find the "woman question” plebeian, so that, like the European intruding itself into the future of a being peasant held down by caste, he is less whom we have been accustomed to hear tempted to destroy himself in the strugof as a “nigger,” and whom a ponder- gle to become a patrician. ous wise man of the East persists in What judgment shall we pass upon abusing as“ Quashee.” There is a grow- abrupt emancipation, considered merely ing disinclination to marriage among with reference to the negro? It is a the young freedmen, because the girls mighty experiment, fraught with as are learning to shirk out-of-door work, to much menace as hope. demand nice dresses and furniture, and, To the white race alone it is a cerin short, to be fine ladies. The youths tain and precious boon.