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merge the hope of truth. Whether we turn to standard historians, to the 1000 pages of sworn testimony before a Congressional committee, or to individual witnesses, the perplexity is the same. Thus, we consult Woodrow Wilson's History of the American People,-and this book invites a word of comment. Its author has woven together the immense material of the national history for three centuries, in the main with admirable judgment and skill. He has produced a comprehensive, well-proportioned, graphic narrative, which closely holds the reader's attention, and gives in general the spirit as well as the substance of the people's story. But upon the main theme of the crowning century, he misses some of the vital elements. Of the wrong and mischief of slavery he has hardly a word, waving the subject aside as if beyond his province. He gives with admirable sympathy and intelligence the attitude of the well-meaning Southerner before and after the war; and this feature has special value for those familiar only with the Northern standpoint. But he has not the least appreciation of the anti-slavery spirit in its heroic phase. On the wrongs of the slave he is silent, while upon the sins of the carpetbagger he is eloquent. This one-sidedness robs of its significance what should be the American epic of the nineteenth century.
Of the misgovernment of Mississippi, Dr. Wilson instances that "before the work of the carpet-baggers was done, 640,000 acres of land had been forfeited for taxes, twenty per cent. of the total acreage of the State." The nearest atlas or gazetteer is enough to check this statement. The total acreage of the State is 29,640,000,-of which 640,ooo is not twenty per cent., but a trifle over two per cent. Dr. Wilson goes on to say that the State tax levy in 1874 was fourteen times as great as in 1869. This is apparently
taken from the Taxpayers' petition" of 1875, but from
whatever source, it gives an utterly exaggerated impression. Before the Congressional committee Judge H. R. Ware, chairman of the State Republican committee,-a Kentuckian by birth, and a life-long resident of Mississippi,-gave his testimony; and it included documents showing that the total State expense during the last two years of Democratic rule, 1864 and '65, was $1,410,250 and $1,860,809; for twenty years of Democratic administration, throwing out the extra expenses of the war period, the average cost was $699,200; under military government (always the cheapest) in 1869 it was $563,219; while under the Republicans in 1875 it was $618,259; and the average for six Republican years had been $992,920. When the Republicans came in, they had to make payments in warrants worth only sixty-five cents on the dollar, with proportionate increase of expense; they had to provide for a free population doubled by the emancipation of the slaves, and for the last four years they had made an annual reduction.
Yet the "Taxpayers' petition "-addressed to the Legislature early in 1875, and without effect,-must be taken as evidence of at least a considerable extravagance and waste. A reading of it gives the impression of a needless multiplication of offices and excessive salaries. The public printing seems clearly a scandal, running above $73,000 a year, as against a cost in the sister State of Georgia of only $10,000. The general charge seems to be of laxness and needlessly high salaries rather than any wholesale corruption. Some question as to the justice of the general charge occurs when a point is encountered as to the payment of teachers in the public schools. The petitioners claim that this should be reduced to $25 a month for second-class schools, and $50 a month for first-class schools. In fact, when the Democrats came into power, they reduced the rate to $40 a month,which, for a school year of four months only, seems like
penny-wise economy. The petition makes perhaps the strongest impression in its statement that the boards of supervisors, controlling local taxation, are, as a general rule, "wholly unfit to discharge their duties, and without respectability or even accountability "; that the public works. under their care are recklessly and carelessly managed, and the county taxes are grievous. It would seem that in these local bodies, especially in the "black counties," lay the worst of the taxpayers' grievance.
Judge Story makes a vigorous retort, testifying after a year of Democratic administration, 1875-6, as to the question of comparative expense. He shows that the State tax had indeed been reduced from 9 mills to 6 mills, but this only by cutting off outright the school tax of two mills. Not to follow further the labyrinth of figures, it is interesting to note, as to the favorite term "carpet-bagger," that of the six Republican candidates for Congress in Mississippi, in 1876, only one was of Northern birth, and he had married and lived in the South since the war; one had been an old Southern Democrat and a circuit judge; two had been Confederate officers; and one, John R. Lynch, was a colored man of high intelligence and excellent character. He, as Speaker of the House, and B. K. Bruce, United States Senator, were among the colored men who showed capacity and character worthy of the high positions they attained. Among the Republican leaders of Northern birth were some who were honored and trusted in their old homes; such men as General Eggleston, president of the Constitutional convention; Colonel Warner, afterward State Treasurer of Connecticut, and Henry W. Warren, of Massachusetts. The first Republican governor, J. M. Alcorn, was a Southern man, very able, but apparently not of the highest moral standards. His successor, Adelbert Ames, was from Massachusetts, conceded now to have been "honest and brave,
but narrow and puritanical," and with the mysterious trait of "hating the Aryan race of the South."
These last words are quoted from the story of an old friend of the reader's, Thomas Dabney, the "Southern planter," whose noble character was sketched in chapter XII. He had fought a brave fight with poverty and hardship since the war, and as we come again into his company for a moment, it is with a sense of confidence which even official documents do not inspire. He had no doubt of the oppressiveness of Republican rule, and the need of shaking it off by vigorous measures. It is related that the taxes on his plantation for 1873 were over $900, while the income was less than $800. Yet one letter tells that he is in "a laughing humor" because he has just paid his taxes for 1875-only $375,-a reduction of more than half-and this was still under Republican rule.
One other witness may be heard, the writer's life-long friend, Henry W. Warren, now of Holden, Mass. To those who know him his name is a synonym for integrity, efficiency and modesty; he is one of the men who never seek a public honor and never decline a public service. From his own words some statements are here condensed. "After graduating at Yale in 1865, I was called to a position as public school teacher at Nashville, Tenn.; and from there, seeing a promising opportunity, I went with two friends to work a cotton plantation in one of the 'white' counties of Mississippi. We bought it from its old owner, who had kept his slaves in his employ as paid laborers, and they continued to work for us. As slaves they had not been badly treated, except by the overseer during the master's absence. Many of the whites of the county, owning no slaves, had been indifferent to the Confederate cause, and many of them had served in its army only when hunted by the conscription officer, sometimes with bloodhounds. More than a few of
them were Republicans. I was asked to serve as registrar of voters for the Constitutional convention, being one of the few who could take the 'iron-clad oath' (that is, that he had never aided the Confederacy) and this led to my going to the convention, and afterward to the Legislature. The Speaker dying, I was chosen to his place for the rest of the term. Our county going Democratic, I was not re-elected; but I was chosen chief clerk of the House, and served for four years, after my two years as a member. All the Democrats united in signing a paper, asking me to be always present in the House,-this was after I had induced the Speaker to change a mistaken ruling. So I was in a position to know pretty well what was going on. From the first there were plenty of Confederate generals and colonels in the Legislature." (The excluding clauses were struck out of the Mississippi constitution at the start.) "The manner of the blacks to the whites was habitually civil, and something of the slave's deference to the white man remained. I think the legislation was generally of reasonably good character. I knew positively of but little corruption. That there was some corruption and more extravagance, I have no doubt. But I have served since in the Massachusetts Legislature, and I think the Southern State was but little worse than the Northern. The negro members, though with some able and honest leaders of their own, like Bruce and Lynch, followed largely the prominent white men. Of the Northerners whom I knew, almost all were men of substance and had come to stay. Six out of ten owned plantations. A 'carpet-bagger' I hardly ever met, though no doubt there were some, but the name was given to all Northerners. As to expense, you must remember that the State had to be completely rehabilitated. The war had ruined everything; public buildings were destroyed or dilapidated; and under military rule things had simply been kept going. Everything had