Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 18.djvu/424
424 Southern Historical Society Papers.
rally looked upon us with the feelings of contempt meted to " Rebels," in the European sense of that word. In a brief resume of our history, tracing it down from the Colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution, and thence to the outbreak of the war in 1861, Major Scheibert cites the facts and states the arguments, so familiar to us, but unknown and novel to the vast majority of his country- men ; and from these facts and arguments shows how unmeaning and absurd is the stigma of " Rebels," as applied to the people of the Confederacy. In reciting this history for the enlightenment of his countrymen, he had not only to meet and counteract the belief, almost universal among European nations, that the institution of slavery was the casus belli, but also to refute the assumption that the emancipation of a down-trodden race and the achievement for them of human freedom were the original purpose and direct intention of the war on the part of the North. In the opinion of probably nine out of ten foreigners the Southern people were, and are, regarded as the inhuman oppressors of their fellow-beings, the champions of a detested cause, alike hostile to the spirit of American institutions and opposed to the genius of modern freedom and civil- ization.
It is not necessary in this notice to repeat to readers familiar with the history the facts and arguments by which Major Scheibert shows the groundlessness and falsity of such an assumption and such charges. It is, however, a pleasure to express our satisfaction and gratitude that the studies of at least one German of intellect and character have supplied him with the facts and arguments of the case, and that his friendly zeal has prompted his utterance in an attempt to prove to his countrymen the co-equal responsibility of the North for the original institution and continued existence of slavery in this country, and to show that emancipation followed the war, not as the original intention and purpose of the Northern government, but as a measure of military and political expediency, that was disowned and denounced at the time of and even after the outbreak of the war. The prejudice against us, prevalent among European peoples, was the foundation of that hostile public opinion that enlisted against us the so-called moral sentiment of the world, from which it followed that practically we were fighting the world. It is highly probable that the results of this foreign prejudice, favorable to the enemy but preg- nant with threats to us, were so disastrous as to nullify the effects of splendid victories and achievements on our part, and it is no exagger- ation to say that they multiplied the privations and sufferings of every man, woman and child in the Confederacy.