Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/91

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The Real Jefferson Davis.

In his premise the brilliant and well-equipped Missourian was exceptionally correct; but his deduction from it seems scarcely tenable: that the disproportion was the fault of the North. Mr. Clark left an important factor out of his calculation: that the histories and fact books have almost invariably been left to Northern men to write; that they, naturally and properly, write for the Northern schools, libraries and public. To all three of these the details of Southern prowess and of Southern progress were as antipathetic, where not absolutely terra incognito. These Northern writers merely gave the Northern readers what was most to their taste. No public caterer, knowing that the vast bulk of his patrons doted on pumpkin pies, would insist upon offering them imported plum pudding. But the South had her skilled cooks, and plums for their cooking galore.

Should not Congressman Clark lay the blame at our own proper door? We boast, and with good show of justice, that we have scholars, writers and teachers in the South unexcelled on the planet; that we have more universities in many States than can be profitably and effectively conducted, and that their alumni embrace great and world-acknowledged scholars.

Why do these men—who write theology, science, philosophy, fiction and poetry—not write history as well? Why do not the universities, colleges, schools and school boards which they control use books that bear false witness of any kind—against their neighbors? Why do they not sprinkle the Southern historical Sahara with at least a passing shower of historical facts ? Doubtless Southern-built histories and geographies of Southern actions and biographies would sell rapidly and become universal Southern textbooks; and that would pay the writers "for revenue only" far better and more lasting than the most interesting romance.

There is a certain servility in the Southern acceptance of Northern product, material, mental and moral; and that acceptance is not new, but harks back to the days when the South—vaunting that, while only the tail, she wagged the national dog—got all her books, periodicals, fashions and most of her bibulants from the North. That the then differing systems of the two halves of the Union may have condoned, if not necessitated.