Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/357

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


Brilliant Eulogy on General W. H. Payne. 341

unabated reverence in the hour of trial, had refuted the accusa- tions urged to justify ruin. The problem was to extinguish this kind feeling ; to create antipathy in place of sympathy between the races ; to mass race against race ; to teach the negro to ex- change all the higher qualities of a lower race for the lowest qualities of a higher race, that the tutors might walk over the course to offices of profit. The architects of this ruin, in their own behalf, lifted up the sacred refrain, "Forasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these!" And what is it ye have done "unto the least of these? Made them part and parcel of the most predaceous, predatory gang the world ever saw. In the zeal to make odious what was called "treason," what was really brigandage was made honorable. "Let us have peace" was the name : Reconstruction the reality. The message was : Weakness has no rights which power is bound to respect. It was the appeal to all that was low to put an end to all that was high.

"the heart of the southern woman/'

What men and women, bound together by a sacrament of blood and sorrow, then bore, has been hidden out of sight. The ma- jesty of a broken life, which yet was master of the breaking pain, drew up in moral squares of battle. If force abounded, faith more abounded. There could be no better proof of the moral sceptre of the South than that it has held such sway in the heart of the Southern woman. She has built the monument to Hector, though as yet none to Andromache. A force of grandeur dared to "turn the battle to the gate." It must have been the feeling of this which caused Mr. Robert Y. Conrad to say of his stricken Commonwealth, with a son's emotion: "She is lovelier in her weeds and woe than in her queenliest days." Yet lovelier, with that divine face of sorrows, whose ,halo comes from suffering for the sins of others — without sin.

For them who stood beneath what seemed the blows of an al- mighty malice a voice out of thick darkness said, or seemed to say: "Flung as you are, by iron-hearted fate, into the vortex of this foulness, by beating back the baseness of the torrent which so blackly beats upon you, you may put on a finer strength. Every truth by which life is lifted stands as the meet-wand of the