ePub 版

dun hansumly by his niggers," and thinks them the "most ongratefullest creeturs on the face of the yerth."

The complexion of these country residents is noticeable, and suggests many inquiries. If you say that half the men and nearly all the women are very pale, you strike at the matter, but fail to fairly hit it. Their whiteness of skin is simply the whiteness of ordinary tallow. It is sallowness, with a suggestion of clayeyness. Unquestionably soap and water and crash towels would improve the appearance, but I doubt if they would give any bloom to the cheek. The skin seems utterly without vitality, and beyond the action of any restorative stimulants: it has a pitiful and repulsive deathin-life appearance. I am told the climate is in fault, but my judgment says the root of the matter is in the diet of the people. The range of eatables is exceedingly narrow, and swine's flesh constitutes at least half the food of all classes outside the towns and cities; while the consumption of grease — of fat in one form or another — would, I am sure, astonish even an Arctic explorer. The whole economy of life seems radically wrong, and there is no inherent energy which promises reformation.

The amount of tobacco consumed by the people is beyond all calculation. I hardly exaggerate in saying that at least seven tenths of all persons above the age of twelve years use it in some form. Nearly every man and boy smokes or chews, and very many of them do both, while the country women chew and smoke to some extent, and women of most classes "dip." When I saw old Solon Shingle come into the witness-box to tell the story about his famous "bar! o' apple sass" I thought the manner in which he disposed of his quid of tobacco the nastiest piece of business I should ever see. I was mistaken. To see a man take it from his mouth and put it in his hat when he goes to breakfast is by no means uncommon. I have even seen men lay it under the edge of their plate at dinner; and one of the leading delegates in the Convention held an immense quid between the thumb and finger of the hand with which he abundantly gesticulated during a ten-minutes speech! Could nastiness go further? And do not these things mark the civilization of a people? In South Carolina, though seeing all classes, I did not once observe a white woman "dipping" snuff; but in this State I have seen scores, — I should scarcely exaggerate if I said hundreds. I saw them in Charlotte, the first town at which I stopped, within an hour after my arrival; and have seen them in every place I have visited since, — " dipping" in the porches of their own houses, on the streets, and twice in the public parlors of hotels. If barbaric life has a filthier and more disgusting custom than this, may I be excused from seeing it.

The labor system of the State is not so badly disorganized as that of South Carolina, but it is thoroughly demoralized. One sees here more white men in trades there almost given up to negroes, but he also sees negroes in trades here from which they are excluded there. The number of grown men, middle-aged men, who have no ostensible business but lounging and whiskey-drinking, is much greater in this State than in that. It is the complaint of papers in all sections of the State, that there never before were so many idle men, — vagrants, consumers, non-producers, non-taxpayers. The chief pity of the matter, however, is, that they seem to have no desire for work. "And who makes so much fuss about the negroes not working as these very white drones who hug the street-corners, lounge about dram-shops, and trust to chance for food and raiment?" asks one of the Raleigh papers, very pertinently. "We trust our law-makers will do all in their power," adds another journal, "to compel the freedmen to wTork for an honest living; but we consider it equally incumbent on them to take steps to reduce the amount of vagrancy among the whites." These extracts are not from papers edited by Northern or outside men, but the two writers are men who have always lived in the State. The columns of the Wilmington and Newbern papers, edited by new-comers, bear witness, however, to the same state of facts.

It probably never will be settled whether the State did or did not want to go out of the Union in May, 1861. That she did not in December, 1860, nor in February, 1861, is clear enough from the votes cast in those months; but the condition of affairs had greatly changed by the following May. "My situation, and not my will, consents," quoted one delegate of the recent Convention in explanation of North Carolina's course then. I am everywhere urged to believe that the "geographical necessity" forced her out. I have heard that phrase so much since I came into the State, that I should be tempted to consider it a sort of byword if it were not used by sober men of mature years. While many seem anxious that the stranger should believe the State did not voluntarily secede, there are others who insist that it was her matured will to go out in that fatal May. "If she did not believe in the constitutional right of secession, she at least believed the time had come for a revolution," said a gentleman to me here last evening. "The people desired the State to withdraw," said Delegate Ferrebee, who was also delegate in the Secession Convention. "I am convinced that not two fifths of the people ever favored secession in any form," responded Delegate Pool. When doctors disagree, who shall decide ?" My calm and deliberate judgment," said a leading lawyer to me in Charlotte, "is, that about five eighths of the people of the State sustained the action of the Secession Convention." On the other hand, Delegate Boyden says, "I don't believe one third of them ever sustained it." How shall an outsider come to a conclusion?

It needs to be continually borne in mind that much of the "Unionism" of the State is mere personal bitterness toward Jeff Davis, or Governor Vance, or some less noted secession leader. Thus, when the outspoken Raleigh Progress says, "it is remarkable that treason has become so rampant and defiant before the State has been readmitted," it is excited because somebody has proposed to ask the President to consider the utter worthlessness of old Governor Vance, and decide if he may not just as well set him free. Yet the Progress is quite right wdien it remarks that "there must be a great change of heart in North Carolina before Andrew Johnson, as a candidate for the Presidency, can carry it against any prominent leader of the Rebellion who may oppose him"; and also quite right again when it says that "the work of restoration in our State has been damaged by attempts to conciliate men who deserve nothing but stripes.''

The action of the Convention in respect to the secession ordinance and the war debt pointedly marks the outlines of the situation. Over thirty delegates declared by a solemn vote that the ordinance never had any force whatever, and then turned squarely about and put themselves on record in favor of assuming the debt made in trying to sustain that pretended ordinance! In other words, a large number of gentlemen who consider themselves insulted if called by any other name than "Unionist" desire the State to pay her share of the expense of the war for breaking up the Union. Is there in this action an exhibition of what is technically called "cheek "? There is at least, as I have already said, startling proof that words are very cheap, and that Unionism in name is one thing, and Unionism in fact quite another thing.

The average sentiment of the State is very far from being up to that of the Convention, as shown by its action on the secession ordinance. Of course the declaration that it has always been null and void will be sustained by the vote of next December, but that vote will be smaller even than that just cast in choosing the Convention. That there will be further resistance to the government is not possible. I do not forget that Delegate Phillips declared in debate that "if the North and South ever again come into the position they occupied in 1860-61, blood will be again spilled "; nor do I forget that another delegate said he knew men of position who declared themselves "ready for further trial of the present issue, if England and France would recognize the confederacy "; yet against these signs of the hour I set the declaration of Uncle Nat Boyden, "Neither principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor life, nor death, nor any other creature, shall hereafter separate us from the sisterhood of States!" That any possible separation may be prevented, we need only to help the Union men of the State. That the average sentiment of her people may be brought up to the best sentiment of the Convention, we need to make haste slowly in the work of reconr struction.

The condition of the negro is in some respects worse and in others better than in South Carolina. He is in such minority here that he cannot enforce his natural rights so easily as he does there; but, on the other hand, because of that same fact, the essential natural rights are generally more readily granted to him here than there. The cold hunkerism of this people, however, stands immovably in his way, and gives him little chance. It is greatly to his credit that he has not been seized by such discontent as prevails below. In the extreme western part of the State he got uneasy and drifted over the line and off toward Charleston; and in the eastern part he must needs go down to Newbern and Wilmington to find freedom. Elsewhere, however, with local exceptions, he is staying on the old place, and working at the old tasks; and I am convinced that, in the main, he has not given serious cause of complaint.

"The chief ambition of a wench seems to be to wear a veil and carry a parasol," said a ladylike-appearing woman at the hotel in Salisbury. The mistress of the hotel in

« 上一頁繼續 »