Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/178
Southern Historical Society Papers.
and then it seems that all the latent and pent up forces of the natural world are turned loose for terrible destruction. The foundations of the earth, laid in the depths of the ages, are shaken by mighty upheavals, the heavens, whose blackness is unrelieved by a single star, roll their portentous thunderings, "and nature, writhing in pain through all her works, gives signs of woe." The fruits of years of industry are swept away in an hour; the landmarks of ages are obliterated without a vestige; the sturdiest oak that has struck deep its roots in the bosom of the earth is the plaything of the maddened winds; the rocks that mark the formation of whole geological periods are rent, and deep gorges in the mountain side, like ugly scars in the face of the earth, tell of the force and fury of the storm. Such was that period to our social, domestic, and political institutions. Law no longer held its benign sway, but gave place to the mandate of petty dictators enforced by the bayonet. What little of property remained was held by no tenure but the capricious will of the plun derer; liberty and life were at the mercy of the conqueror; the sanctity of home was invaded; vice triumphed over virtue; ignorance ruled in lordly and haughty dominion over intelligence; the weak were oppressed; the unoffending insulted; the fallen warred on; truth was silenced; falsehood, unblushing and brazen, stalked abroad unchallenged; anxiety filled every heart; apprehension clouded every prospect; despair shadowed every hearthstone; society was disorganized; Legislatures dispersed; judges torn from their seats by the strong arm of military power; States subverted; arrests made, trials had and sentences pronounced without evidence; madness, lust, hate, and crime of every hue, defiant, wicked, and diabolical, ruled the hour, until the very air was rent with the cry, and heaven's deep concave echoed the wail:
"Alas! Our country sinks beneath the yoke. It weeps, it bleeds, and each new day a gash is added to her wounds."All this Georgia and her sister States of the South sufifered at the hands of her enemies, but more cruel than wrongs done by hostile hands were the wounds inflicted by some of their own children. They basely bartered themselves for the spoils of office. They aligned themselves with the enemies of the people and their liberties until the battle was fought, and then, with satanic effrontery, insulted the presence of the virtuous and the brave by coming among them, and forever fixed upon their own ignoble brows the stigma of a double treachery by proclaiming that they had joined our enemies to betray them. They were enemies to the mother who had nur-