Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/350
334 Southern Historical Society Papers.
not uncommon incident of the benevolence which is for the sake of helping others and not for the means of promoting self. They in their modesty illumine the text, which, though Jacobinical, is fine: "Perish our memory rather than our country." "Not unto us, not unto us," they said. They were doers of the word, unthinking of the praises of the world. As if they caught the purity of the sky to which their hearts were lifted, they 'shed abroad a Saviour's love,' among the humble folk in whose dark plight (as from old England and New England they had been received) the ministries of these unrecorded women were as stars. The chastened sanctity of their toil rises before us as a beatitude of the discipline and duty of life. They are in the number of those great teachers who transfigure into beauty the inmost force and feeling of high calling, and by so doing, lift toward their likeness the ignorant and stumbling. Purified love of the highest shone in purified piety to the lowest. The slave had been civilized by Christianity, even if spared the curriculum of post graduate courses and aesthetical belles lettres. Never was a great trust so greatly discharged.
THE CONSCIENCE OF THE SLAVE OWNER.
By old England and by New England a trusteeship for the inveterate savage had been imposed. The authority of white over black was a spiritual supremacy. A higher social conscious- ness had reclaimed the negro from a savage sociology ; out of dark chaos had educed something of moral symmetry. The negro had been trained in the school of discipline. What is civilized man, as he exists to-day. but the pupil of all the adverse strokes of time? The negro felt himself subject to higher powers, to a government which was in sympathy with the governed. With what measure of sympathy it was meted out, with that meas- use it was meted back by the slave in the stress of war. It was a high, not a low, ideal of supremacy which was loved, honored and obeyed. The sincerity of a common cause had been wrought into the heart and habit of a race. Not quite two years ago, hard by the plantations once owned by Patrick Henry and John Randolph, I could have pointed you to the home of one, whose former slaves, with a reverence