Imágenes de páginas

white girls, from sixteen to twenty years of age, had much difficulty in hiring themselves out as domestics in private families for $40 per annum—board only included; negro wenches, slaves, of corresponding ages, so ungraceful, stupid and filthy that no decent man would ever permit one of them to cross the threshold of his dwelling, were in brisk demand at from $65 to $70 per annum, including victuals, clothes, and medical attendance. These are facts, and in considering them, the students of political and social economy will not fail to arrive at conclusions of their own.

Notwithstanding the greater density of population in the free States, labor of every kind is, on an average, about one hundred per cent, higher there than it is in the slave States. This is another important fact, and one that every non-slaveholding white should keep registered in his mind.

Poverty, ignorance, and superstition, are the three leading characteristics of the non-slaveholding whites of the South. Many of them grow up to the age of maturity, and pass through life without even owning as much as five dollars at any one time. Thousands of them die at an advanced age, as ignorant of the common alphabet as if it had never been invented. All are more or less impressed with a belief in witches, ghosts, and supernatural signs. Few are exempt from habits of sensuality and intemperance. None have anything like adequate ideas of the duties which they owe either to their God, to themselves, or to their fellow-men. Pitiable, indeed, in the fullest sense of the term, is their condition.

It is the almost utter lack of an education that has reduced them to their present unenviable situation. In the whole South there is scarcely a publication of any kind devoted to their interests. They are now completely under the domination of the oligarchy, and it is madness to suppose that they will ever be able to rise to a position of true manhood, until after the slave power shall have been utterly overthrown.



It is with some degree of hesitation that we add a chapter on Southern Literature—not that the theme is inappropriate to this work ; still less, that it is an unfruitful one; but our hesitation results from our conscious inability, in the limited time and space at our command, to do the subject justice. Few, except those whose experience has taught them, have any adequate idea of the amount of preparatory labor requisite to the production of a work into which the statistical element largely enters ; especially is this so, when the statistics desired are not readily accessible through public and official documents. The author who honestly aims at entire accuracy in his statements, may find himself baffled for weeks in his pursuit of a single item of information, not of much importance in itself perhaps, when separately considered, but necessary in its connection with others, to the completion of a harmonious whole. Not unfrequently, during the preparation of the preceding pages, have we been subjected to this delay and annoyance.

The following brief references to the protracted preparatory labors and inevitable delays to which authors are subjected, may interest our readers, and induce them to regard with charity any deficiencies, either in detail or in general arrangement, which, owing to the necessary haste of preparation, these concluding pages of our work may exhibit:

Goldsmith was engaged nine years in the preparation of " The Traveller," and five years in gathering and arranging the incidents of his "Deserted ViUage," and two years in their versification.

Bancroft, the American Historian, has been more than thirty years engaged upon his History of the United States, from his projection of the work to the present date; and that History is not yet completed.

Hildrcth, a no less eminent historian, from the time he began to collect materials for his History of the United States to the date of its completion, devoted no less than twenty-five years to the work.

Webster, our great lexicographer, gave thirty-five years of his life in bringing his Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language to the degree of accuracy and completeness in which we now find it.

Dr. John W. Mason, after ten years' labor in the accumulation of materials for a Life of Alexander Hamilton, was compelled to relinquish the work on account of impaired health.

Mr. James Banks, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, who recently delivered a lecture upon the Life and Character of Flora McDonald, was eighteen years in the collection of his materials.

OulibichefF, a distinguished Russian author, spent twentyfive years in writing the Life of Mozart.

Examples of this kind might be multiplied to an almost indefinite extent. Indeed, almost all the poets, prosewriters, painters, sculptors, composers, and other devotees of Art, who have won undying fame for themselves, have done so through long years of earnest and almost unremitted toil.

We arc quite conscious that the fullness and accuracy of statement which are desirable in this chapter cannot be attained in the brief time allowed us for its completion; but, though much will necessarily be omitted that ought to be said, we shall endeavor to make no statement of facts which are not well authenticated, and no inferences from the same which are not logically true. We can only promise to do the best in our power, with the materials at our command, to exhibit the inevitable influence of slavery upon Southern Literature, and to demonstrate that the accursed institution so cherished by the oligarchy, is no less prejudicial to our advancement in letters, than it is destructive of our material prosperity.

What is the actual condition of Literature at the South? Our question includes more than simple authorship in the various departments of letters, from the compilation of a primary reader to the production of a Scientific or Theological Treatise. We comprehend in it all the activities engaged in the creation, publication, and sale of books and periodicals, from the penny primer to the heavy folio, and from the dingy, coarse-typed weekly paper, to the

large, well-filled daily.

« AnteriorContinuar »