Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 01.djvu/399
Address before the Mecklenberg (N. C.) Historical Society.
or to find the appliances of their art. The South has had no literature and no science, because she has always had a sparse population. The ambitious have had but two roads to fame; the one led, in time of peace, to legislative and congressional halls; the other led, in time of war, to the tented field and the battle-ground. There never has been a scientific monthly or weekly published in the South. The only well-sustained review ever attempted here dealt mainly in political questions. This, under the management of Hugh Swinton Legare, had almost the ability of the great English quarterlies, but its discussions were confined almost exclusively to matters of state-craft. After a time it shared the fate of all our Southern magazines—died for want of patronage.
To sneer at an agricultural people for deficiency in literature and science, is just as unfair as to sneer at a commercial people for lack of those qualities which are alone found in farming communities. In the thinly settled South, as has been said, the ambitious found but two high roads to distinction. The character of our people is to be judged, then, by the manner in which they acquitted themselves in the struggle for military and political fame, and not in the struggle for moneyed power or literary and scientific preeminence.
Has the South succeeded in furnishing brave soldiers and wise statesmen? This will be my investigation to-night.
The commander-in-chief in the first great rebellion, was the Southern-born Washington. In that contest, the South furnished troops out of all proportion to the numbers of her population. Northern soldiers never came to the relief of the South, but almost all the battle-fields of the North were drenched with Southern blood. At the battle of Brooklyn, a regiment of Marylanders fought so stoutly and checked the British advance so long, that it was virtually destroyed. Half the victors at Trenton and Princeton, who changed the wail of despair of the American people into shouts of victory, were from Virginia. Two future Presidents of the United States, of Southern birth, were in that battle, one of whom was wounded. The only general officer there slain, was from Fredericksburg, Virginia, and he was commanding Southern troops. The retreat at White Plains would have been a terrible disaster, but for the charge of Southern troops that drove back, for a time, the British, flushed with victory. At Germantown, a Southern brigade gained deathless honor, and the life-blood of a North Carolina general was poured out. After the massacre by the Indians in the