Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 40.djvu/34
30 SOUTHERN HISTORICAL SOCIETY PAPERS.
son for which he was indicted? It is said (though I am not ai tliis time prepared to vouch for the accuracy of the report) thai a solemn warning was sounded forth from the Supreme Court of the United States to the effect that to push such a charge against our fallen leader would be to fool with a combination boomerang and back-action buzz-saw. Be that as it may, we know that Mr. Davis, after long imprisonment, was released on bail (Horace Greeley himself being a bondsman), and the in- dictment was never tried.
Yes, the course of the Southern peoples was the only course consistent with peace and honor. Alas ! they were ahead of their
times ; and, like all those who, in any age 01 Ahead of the clime, dare to be ahead of their day and genera- Times tion, they have been made to suffer for then
temerity. As Charles Mackay, the poet says .
"That man is thought a knave or fool,
Or bigot plotting crime, Who, for the advancement of his race, Is wiser than his time."
Civilization takes but one step forward at a time ; then pauses and rests before the next step. The Southern people of the period of 1789-1861, in the very vanguard of this slowly ad- vancing civilization, acted on the principle that the same rule should govern in the intercourse between nations and people as between individuals : and that rule the golden rule. But they were wiser than their time. Let me explain.
Some three centuries before this the civilized. Christian (?) nations of Europe saw nothing wrong in kidnapping the defense- less heathens of Afric sands and selling them into bondage far from their native haunts. They justified such practice on the grounds alike of expediency and morals. It would bring the heathen under the benign influences of Christianity, and at the same time cause wealth to flow into the ready pockets of their