Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 35.djvu/81
The Negroes as Staves. 67
soon Uncle Billy had removed the sod and dirt, and brought forth the big box.
Uncle Billy remained faithful as long as he lived, as a matter of fact not a single negro belonging to Judge Davis ever deserted him.
The first, and so far as I know, the only memorial to the good old negroes was erected in Fort Mill, South Carolina, by Captain Samuel E. White. It is a beautiful shaft and stands near the Confederate Monument in Fort Mill.
It was erected "In memory and in gratitude of those faithful slaves who kept the trust laid upon them to guard the homes, the property and the honor of their masters who were serving the South in the field."
Captain White was a gallant Confederate officer, and is a distinguished citizen, and this work adds to his fame. He also erected the first monument to Southern women.
When I recall to mind how the negroes conducted themselves before and during the war, and how faithful they were, my earnest hope and prayer is that the present and coming genera- tions of negroes will yet try to emulate them, and so regain the confidence of the white people.
It is said that man improves from generation to generation. The negroes' progress since the Confederacy has scarcely borne out the promise of the days of mutual interest when the white master felt his responsibility and was fast christianizing his trusting servant in spirit as well as in name. Schools and all the other civilizing influences cannot overcome the selfishness and suspicion planted in the soul that would have been saved if the South had been left alone.
Love does not grow tinder the lash. Freedom is and should be evolution, and more than an emancipation proclamation is needed to fit a race for liberty.
These few stories of the war reveal a negro little known to-day, a negro whom fanaticism robbed of the kindest masters the world has held, a negro who found sweet content in the sunshine of God and human nature. A negro who cherished the home of which he knew himself a welcome part until worthy of his own.