« PredošláPokračovať »
General Lee, now held (confiscated, it is said) by and entered railway cars which stood awaiting our the Central Government. A portion of it has arrival. Our journey now struck me as not a been converted into a cemetery; and fifteen little perilous. A single line of rails is laid on a thousand soldiers' are buried there. Beneath a narrow, new embankment, which is carried for granite monument, near the entrance, lie two miles through shallows of the river, across long thousand nameless slain, who fell at the fatal reaches of quaking swamp, over slimy gullies, battle of Bull Run, and during the subsequent re- bridged here and there by rude, creaking timbers. treat to the Rappahannock.
watched the shaking of the bank, and the ominWe touched at Alexandria on the Virginian ous quivering and boiling of the morass, as the side, a bustling, manufacturing town, with a large heavy train passed slowly along; and as I did so, negro population. A few miles further down, as the fearful catastrophes I had often read of came I sat listlessly under the awning upon deck, I was up to my mind with painful vividness. At length startled by the sudden tolling of a bell overhead. we reached the solid ground of Virginia, and Looking up, I saw the eyes of every passenger swept on with increasing speed through its forests turned toward a white building on the summit of and little clearings. As we approached Fredericksa wooded ridge, a mile or so from the shore. One burgh, I was standing on the platform beside the of the tallest of the Yankees, noticing my per- brakeman, who was describing to me, in his odd plexity, stepped close up to me and said, pointing negro dialect, the scenes and details of that sideways with his thumb to the aforesaid building: | memorable battle-field, when all of a sudden, on “ 'Guess, stranger, that was the greatest man ever rounding a bluff, the whistle sounded ominously, the earth saw.” “What man do you mean ?” I and the engine-bell rang.
and the engine-bell rang. “Him be danger ring," asked modestly. I shall never forget that stare, cried my companion, as he screwed up his brake. as he scanned me from head to foot.
In a few seconds the train was at a dead stop; man do I mean? Why, where was you raised ? on going forward to ascertain the cause, I found Of course, I mean George Washington;" and he the stoker driving a herd of cattle from the line. turned away with a look of mingled pity and After returning to my place, the brakeman incontempt.
formed me, confidentially, that the "cow-catcher" It was indeed Mount Vernon, once the home, might turn over one or two, but he guessed “him now the tomb, of Washington. There the great could not fix a herd.” I was heartily glad when, general and his wife Martha lie side by side be- after a hot, dusty ride, I found myself safe in the neath a plain building of brick. Through a grated depôt at Richmond. door one sees the sarcophagi which contain their
RICHMOND AND THE WAR. ashes. Every steamer that plies on the Potomac tolls its bell as it passes that hallowed spot. But Richmond, the pride of Virginia, the queen of it surely does not speak much for the patriotism the South, is fallen. War has dealt hardly with and the independence of the great Republic, that a her. Many of the finest buildings are shattered tax should have to be levied upon passengers for and desolate. Long gaps of blackened ruins are the maintenance of Washington's tomb.
seen at intervals in her best streets. And one After passing Fort Washington, the signs of cannot help observing the look of sadness and life on the banks of the river became fewer. Here listlessness about the people, as if they were just and there a log-hut on the shore, with a group of awaking from a painful dream. One of the black children basking in the sun; or a solitary brightest and gayest of American cities has been boat mirrored in a little bay, with a motionless changed into a place of mourning. Three out of negro fisherman for its only occupant. Dense every four of its old families and merchants are woods—not stately primeval forests, but a scraggy ruined. Its young men were almost exterminated; second growth-fringe the river, and clothe the and many of those who survive are maimed and undulating uplands behind far as the eye can see. crippled. But even war could not rob Richmond
At Aquia Creek, some fifty miles below Wash of its magnificent site. It deserves its name ; for ington, we landed on a temporary wooden quay, I in the richness and beauty of its natural scenery
it is not one whit behind its English prototype, slavery as it formerly existed in the Southern Richmond on the Thames.
States of America. I do not intend to say a Virginian hospitality has been long proverbial single word in favour of that system. In prin. in America, and I had pleasant practical experi- ciple and practice it was, under every form and ence of it the moment I entered Richmond. My guise, a social evil and a national disgrace.
But old friend, Mr. Stewart, chancing to hear I was with all that, it would be a monstrous injustice coming, drove to the train to meet me; but find- to the slave-holders of the South to assume that ing I had already left the depôt, he followed, go slavery was always, or generally, or often, of the ing from hotel to hotel, examining the names in Uncle-Tom type. Not unfrequently there was far the visitors' book, until, at last, he found me. more of genuine Christian sympathy and kindness Then and there be insisted I should accompany shown to the negro slave, than is shown to the him to his charming residence at Brook Hill. I wbite servant in this free lạnd of ours. With my can never forget the happy days I spent there, own eyes I saw proof in the little colony that still where high culture and Christian love combine to clings around the family of Brook Hill, refusing throw a hallowed radiance round the family circle. to go away. I went about freely among them. I The accounts I got of the war were very touch- entered their houses, and found them clean and ing and very graphic. Brook Hill was the scene comfortable—far more so than the generality of of some sharp fighting. On its grounds, within labourers' cottages in England. I conversed with pistol-shot of the windows, was one of the outer the mothers and grown-up females and children, defences of Richmond, commanding a leading all of whom had received an excellent elementary road, and a lovely valley. In the final struggle, education from Mrs. Stewart herself. Their rejust before the capture of the city, an action took ligious knowledge was remarkable, and their place in the woods round the house, and during simple faith very striking. They are devotedly it the ladies carried in and tended some of the attached to their mistress; and they consider wounded. The house was plundered by the themselves a part of the household. I was much Northern troops; but, by the good hand of God impressed with the courtesy with which they upon them, the family escaped personal injury. were uniformly treated by master and mistress, It was intensely interesting, and yet sad, to hear and, indeed, by all the members of the family. their story of that four years' struggle. During The older women are never addressed by name ; most of the time they were shut out from the they are called “ mammy” or “aunt," and the rest of the world. All the luxuries, and many older men invariably “uncle.” I was somewhat even of the necessaries of life, were taken from startled when I first heard the venerable butler them. Their clothes in rags; their shoes worn addressed “ Uncle Anthony.” It is, in truth, out; their food scanty and bad ; their property a patriarchal establishment, carrying one away lying desolate; and they themselves-delicate back in thought to the days of Abraham and Job. women, and tender young girls — toiling from Modern civilization, springing from a fuller commorn to night, and often from night till morning prehension of the grand teachings of Christ and again, making up every available article into his apostles, has gradually taught nations, someclothes for the soldiers in the field, and for the times a little reluctant to learn, the fundamental sick and wounded in the hospitals. Independent injustice of the system of slavery; yet we ought altogether of the merits of the question at issue, to be careful lest, under the grand name of no man, who knows anything of the details of the liberty, we should foster institutions, and tolerate war, can deny that the people of the South, men practices, almost as degrading in their character, and women alike, displayed a heroism which has and as fatal in their ultimate issues, as American perhaps never been surpaseed.
A RELIC OF SLAVERY.
THE DECORATION OF SOLDIERS GRAVES. At Brook Hill, I saw for the first time what Wednesday, the 15th of May, was a sad and may be considered a relic and representative of solemn memorial day in Richmond. It was the day dedicated to the memory of the soldiers, who the vast audience. The members of the Court fell in battle, and to the decoration of their graves. sat mostly in front, but among them there was a The ladies of Brook Hill had prepared crosses, fair sprinkling of ladies. crowns, wreaths, and bouquets of the choicest Dr. Plumer is a man of commanding presence, flowers and evergreens. They carried them in to far above the average stature, erect in figure, that great cemetery which rises so picturesquely graceful in address, with hair and long beard over the rapids of the James River, and in which white as the snow-drift. His features are massive, are said to lie some thirty thousand of the slain. his eyes black and piercing, shaded by heavy With their own hands they placed them, so gently black brows. A painter might select him as a and so lovingly, upon the graves of the unknown study for Abraham. His sermon was a plain dead. Those graves bear no name, and no record; statement of gospel truth, with an eloquent and it was enough that they whose ashes sleep in powerful practical conclusion. While preaching, them died fighting for their country. It was
he held in his right hand a large palm-leaf fan, with a feeling almost of pride I took part in the which he occasionally used with great vigour, ceremony. Those soldiers may have been wrong; causing his flowing beard to wave about as if in they may have been, as some affirm, rash and reck- a storm. This is customary, indeed it is a necesless; they may even have been, as the Northerns sity, in the South, where the temperature of the believe, rebels : but no man with a human heart church not unfrequently rises to 100° Fahr. can refuse to them the tribute of praise for a And fans are not confined to the pulpit; each heroic struggle in defence of what they, at least, pew has a full complement. When one looks believed to be the liberties of their fatherland. over the congregation, as I did, the effect is in
The cemetery is tastefully laid out in plots conceivably droll. Everything is in motionadapted to the natural undulations of the ground. fans, hair, beards, ribbons, feathers, flowers-in Each grave has a number, corresponding to one in fact, all the lighter appendages of person and a general register, where the name of the occu- dress. pant, if known, is inscribed. In the centre of all, The Assembly is composed of about one huncrowning the hill, is a massive pyramid of solid dred and twenty delegates, representing an aggregranite, with inscriptions in Latin and English. gate of nine hundred congregations. Most of the When the graves were all strewn with flowers, delegates were very young men ; but there was a and the trees and surrounding monuments orna- decorum and a quiet dignity about them, indimented with crosses and garlands, and the ceme- cating high culture and deep Christian feeling. tery crowded with people, mostly in mourning The Moderator was treated with the utmost attire, and when a long file of volunteers, in the deference. His ruling was never questioned. In gray Confederate uniform, had marched up the debate the speeches were brief and pointed, and central avenue, with slow step, arms reversed, and the greatest courtesy was shown to opponents. muffled drum, and formed in hollow square round I saw no struggle for precedence, no disputes the pyramid, it was one of the most imposing about points of order, no interruptions of those and affecting spectacles I ever witnessed. addressing the House, no noise or confusion.
There was, perhaps, in some respects, a want of GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SOUTHERN life in the speakers, and a lack of interest in the PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH,
spectators; yet still the whole conduct of busiThe General Assembly of the Presbyterian ness, and the tone of the House, impressed me as Church of the South met at Richmond on Thurs- a true type of a Christian Assembly met for the day, the 16th of May. I was requested by Dr. promotion of Christian love and truth. Plumer, the Moderator, to take part in the open- The various reports on Church work and proing exercises. The Assembly met in a new gress were encouraging, considering the lamentchurch, just erected in place of one which had able events of the past few years. The war had been burned during the siege. From my seat on sadly thinned the ranks of the young men, and the platform-pulpit I had a commanding view of largely cut off the supply of candidates for the
ministry. In fact, the requirements of the army the banks of the Potomac, and soon afterwards had emptied the colleges. Now, however, the organized the church of Snow Hill, Maryland. Theological Colleges are again filling up; and Journeying southward, he found, we are told, on there is an earnestness shown by ministers and Elizabeth River, Virginia, " a poor desolate people students, and a liberality displayed by the people mourning the loss of their ministers from Ireland," at large, which are sure guarantees of ultimate who had died during the previous summer. He
Theological students all receive an preached to them, and founded several congregaallowance from a special fund of the Church, tions, some in Virginia, some in Maryland, and proportional to their wants, so that they may be some as far south as Carolina. Feeling that able, free from worldly care, to devote their entire the work was too great for one man, he went to time and strength to their work of preparation. England for help, and returned in 1705 with two It seems to me that such a plan, under judicious assistants. On his 'return he, and those who management, cannot fail to raise up a staff of were with him, were opposed, persecuted, and godly and efficient pastors.
imprisoned by the authorities. It was only after I inquired particularly as to the points which a ten years' conflict he succeeded in procuring a have rent the great Presbyterian body in the legal license to preach ; and even then the British States, separating the North from the South. rulers placed every possible obstacle in his way. There is no fundamental doctrine or principle of The tyranny which drove the Pilgrim Fathers ecclesiastical order at issue. The two Assemblies from the shores of England, and forced many of seem to be one in all respects except political the Presbyterian colonists to fly from Ulster, then sentiment, engendered by the late war, and ruled in Virginia, and did its best to exterminate fostered, as it appears to me, by a resolution evangelical Protestantism. But Mackemie persewhich stands on the books of the Northern vered. When ordered by Cornbury, the governor, Assembly, reflecting upon the action of the South, to ccase preaching within his territory, he answered But surely the past miglit now be forgotten; in the spirit of the apostles, “I neither can nor surely every reference to it calculated to give dare do so.” “ Then you must go to jail ;" and offence might be blotted out from the Records of to jail he was sent. Eventually he succeeded, for Christ's Church. The North, strong in its in- God was with him. In 1706 he organized the tegrity, and proud of its triumphs, can afford to first Presbytery in America. It consisted of seven be generous. Kindness would heal the breach, ministers ; and its first extant record is of a meet
; and win back to union. What a noble aspecting held at Freehold, New Jersey, for the purpose would a great United Presbyterian Church present of ordaining Mr. John Boyd. to the world, stretching from the Atlantic to the From this small beginning has sprung the great Pacific, and from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf Presbyterian Church of the United States. It of Mexico; and having its missions in every was with no little interest that I, a fellow-countrycountry under heaven!
man of Mackemie, took part in a General Assem
bly meeting near the spot where that devoted ORIGIN OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN missionary first preached the gospel on American
One may well say, “It is the Lord's doing, I was, for several reasons, deeply interested in and wondrous in our eyes." this question. Not quite two hundred years ago the foundations of Presbyterianism were laid
EDUCATION IN VIRGINIA. laid, too, on the soil of Virginia-by Francis Virginia, though in deep mourning, and notMackemie. He was an Irishman, born near withstanding the wreck of her agricultural and Ramelton, County Donegal; educated in the commercial industry, is making a noble effort to University of Glasgow; and licensed to preach keep abreast of the North in the education of the the gospel by the Presbytery of Lagan, near young. Dr. Ruffner, the State Commissioner, is Londonderry, in the year 1681. Sent to America a man of enlarged views and great administrative as a missionary, he commenced his labours on skill. With that kindness and courtesy which
characterize American officials, he placed in my trying circumstances in which they are placed. hands public documents, and gave me free access Before the end of the first year the schools to the schools, and indeed to all sources of infor- numbered 2900, the teachers 3000, and the pupils mation. He is a strong advocate of a system of 130,000, in an aggregate population of about a education free to all, and supported by a tax million and a quarter. In 1870, less than 12,000 levied upon all. He maintains that, as the whole coloured children were attending school, though community reaps the fruit of education, the whole the coloured population amounted to 512,841 ; community should support it. He maintains, but, in consequence of the liberality of the whites besides, that when every man is taxed for it, in providing school accommodation, the coloured every man will feel that he has a right to take pupils had in 1871 increased to 39,000. full advantage of it. No such idea can enter into the mind of any man as that his children are
THE PEABODY DONATION. being educated by public charity. And, besides, I have had occasion frequently to mention in when all are admitted to the schools on the same these papers acts of princely generosity towards terms, that distinction of classes, marked by a the cause of education in the United States; but gradation, or entire remission, of fees, which is probably none of them equals that of George often so yalling to the minds of sensitive children, Peabody. His letter announcing the gift is dated is entirely avoided. Another important effect of Washington, February 7, 1867, and contains the the free system he mentioned: when the children following noble passage :-“I feel most deeply
_ of the middle and upper classes frequent the state that it is the duty and privilege of the more schools, their parents and guardians will take favoured and wealthy portions of our nation to care that the training given shall be sound and assist those who are less fortunate ; and with the thorough.
wish to discharge, as far as I am able, my own The great difficulty in the way of education responsibility in this matter, as well as to gratify in Virginia is the mixed population, Separate my desire to aid those to whom I am bound by schools must be maintained for the two races ; so many ties of attachment and regard, I give to for the whites will not permit their children to you the sum of one million of dollars, to be by attend a school to which negroes are admitted. you and your successors held in trust, and the “ I have,” says the Governor of the State in 1870, income thereof used and applied in your discre"in years past, and under the most favourable tion for the promotion and encouragement of circumstances, witnessed a fair and impartial trial intellectual, moral, or industrial education among of the experiment, and it proved an utter failure. the young of the more destitute portions of the The true interests of the coloured people them- Southern and South-Western States of the selves demand that they should be provided with Union.” “In July 1869," the Report says, “Mr separate schools.”
Peabody added to his donation a second million The Free School System was introduced in the in cash, and a large additional amount in deferred beginning of 1870; and the Report on Public securities.” Mr Peabody's donations to this fund Instruction states that, except in one district, amounted altogether to the enormous sum of in which the coloured people voted adversely, the three millions and a half of dollars. What an question of levying a local tax for providing example is this to England's prince-merchants of school accommodation has been carried by a large Christian liberality and lofty patriotism ! majority in every case. In one large and wealthy district, the coloured people, who are in the
RELIGION IN THE SCHOOLS OF VIRGINIA. majority, left the question of the school tax to be Dr Ruffner's admirable Report contains some entirely decided by the whites, who were the interesting and suggestive remarks in regard to property-holders. Not a coloured vote was cast the place and use of religion in the public school. on the question, and the whites unanimously “It is now generally admitted,” he says, “that
, voted the tax." This is a noble testimony to the State cannot properly teach religion. It does the patriotism of the Virginians, considering the not follow, however, that all incidental allusions