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in the planter class, it was necessary for one to own at least twenty slaves. Those who owned less belonged to a class known as small farmers; but there were, of course, many families living in town whose ownership of slave property was limited to only one negro. As a rule, slaves could not be operated with any degree of success, in small numbers. This is one reason why the institution did not thrive in New England, where the farms were small and usually sterile. Another reason is that the rigorous climate of the far Northern latitudes was too severe for a race of people transplanted from the burning tropics. Only in large numbers and on wide tracts of land, where there was much labor required, of a simple character, could slaves be utilized with profit. Consequently, we are not surprised to find that a great bulk of the slaves were owned by a comparatively few men.* These gradually enlarged their domains by acquiring new lands from the small farmer; and at the same time they increased their holdings in slave property until the negro quarters around them became in time populous villages.
Most of the wealthy people of Georgia before the war owned plantations on which they lived in a semi-regal style; and some of these plantations were in fact little empires, large enough to require the services of a dozen overseers and to possess both foreign and domestic policies. Usually, the rich planter, in addition to his palatial country home, owned an elegant mansion in town, where he resided during a part of each year, to educate his children or to give his family social diversions. The predominant style of architecture found among the homes of these wealthy land-owners was classic. Both the town house and the country house conformed to this pattern, but usually the town house was the more artistic. These mansions were nearly all white, square, and massive, surrounded by majestic colonnades, approached by handsome walks and driveways, bordered with evergreens, and embowered in a grove of magnificent trees. The control of great bodies of men on vast landed estates developed a sense of responsibility and fostered a genius for leadership; and to this superb discipline furnished by the institution of slavery is due in large measure the South's commanding power in the nation for a period of more than sixty years.
To quote a well known writer who has made an exhaustive study of this subject, especially in its sociological aspects: † “Slavery was distinctly a patriarchal institution. Except in the sea-coast swamps and a few other malarial regions, the master lived throughout the year in the “big house”' on his plantation, with the negro cabins grouped in
* SLAVEHOLDING AND NON-SLAVEHOLDING FAMILIES.--The total white population of Georgia in 1860 was 591,550, or about 118,000 families; and of these families, 41,084 were slaveholders. At least 77,000 families, therefore, were in the nonslaveholding class. But all the slaveholders were not farmers: 6,713 families possessed only one slave each; 4,355, two each; 3,482, three each. These owners of a few slaves were usually residents of towns and kept their slaves as household servants. About twenty slaves was the number that could be most profitably managed by one overseer; and we may take the possession of that number as the minimum which would place the farmer in the planter class. Of such slaveholders there were in Georgia 6,363 in 1860. The massing of the bulk of slaves in so few hands indi. cates the system of agriculture that dominated the state in ante-bellum times, namely, the plantation.-R. P. Brooks in “History of Georgia,' p. 226.
t“Georgia and State Rights,” U. B. Phillips, p. 154.
“quarters” only a few yards away. The field hands were usually under their owner's personal supervision, while the house servants were directed by their mistress. The slaves were governed by harsh overseers only in very rare cases. Great numbers of slaveholders owned a very small number of slaves, and labored with them in the fields. The cabins of the negroes were frequently as good as those of the poor whites. The fact that they were not always clean was due to the habits of the occupants. It was of course to the interest of the master that his slaves should remain in the best possible condition. The Southern gentleman was widely known for his generosity and his inate kindness. The children of the two races were brought up as playmates, the mother of the pickaninnies frequently being the "mammy" of the master's children; and friendships enduring through life were contracted in early youth between the master and his hereditary servants. The law did not recognize family relations among slaves, but public opinion condemned the separation of husband and wife, or parent and child. Where such separation occurred through the division of estates or otherwise it was not unusual for one of the owners to buy the members of the family which he did not already possess. Free persons of color were not generally held in high repute by the people of the South. In Georgia they usually numbered somewhat less than 1 per cent of the colored population. As a class, they were considered lazy, trifling, and thievish, and were suspected of corrupting the slaves. There were a few brilliant exceptions in the state, but by no means enough to affect the general sentiment.*
Delightful glimpses of southern life in ante-bellum days have been given us by Mr. Lawton B. Evans, in his splendid epitome of Georgia history; and we cannot do better than reproduce in this chapter a descriptive paragraph from the pen of this writer. Says Mr. Evans: f “Eighty years ago there were no large cities in Georgia. Most of the people lived on farms, or in small towns. The wealthier people lived on large plantations. Their houses, usually white, were spacious and elegant, with green window blinds, and, in the front, wide porticoes with handsome columns. They were generally surrounded by groves of oak and other trees and were so situated as to overlook the plantations. Not only in Georgia, but all over the South, the homes of the planters were abodes of culture and luxury. Their sons and daughters were educated in the best schools of the country, and music, painting, art, and literature made the home life refined. The men wore ruffled shirts of the finest linen, and coats of rich velvet. Their wives and daughters dressed in imported silks and satins. The family of the planter lived in profusion and comfort. They were attended by a number of servants, and driven to church or to town in the family carriage. Their hospitality was unbounded. Several neighboring families would often gather at one house and spend a week or more in a social party; and hospitality was shown not only to friends, but to strangers. No traveler in distress was ever refused a meal or a night's lodging, and the respectable traveler, poor or rich, was always welcome as a guest as long as he pleased to stay.
* Austin Denny, in Gilmer's "Georgians,' p. 22; Wilkes Flagg, in “Federal Union," June 11 and July 23, 1861.
+ "History of Georgia,'' L. B. Evans, pp. 187-196.
“But all the people of Georgia were not rich planters. A great many of our best men were plain people. Their houses were simple buildings, situated generally near the high roads or on the banks of rivers. These people did all their own work. Their clothes were made of cloth manufactured by themselves. The women carded the cotton or wool with hand-carders, into small rolls. These rolls they spun on spinning wheels into thread, which they dyed whatever colors they desired, and they wove the thread into cloth on home-made looms.” We have already discussed in a former chapter, some of the customs, sports and pastimes of ante-bellum days.
But what of slavery as an economic system? This topic has been ably discussed by one who has made it a philosophic study, with unusual opportunities for exhaustive research. Says Mr. R. P. Brooks: * "It was a one crop system. There were some wise planters who produced nearly everything they used, but a majority did not; and all during the ante-bellum period Georgia was a heavy buyer of western corn, wheat, and forage. Another unfortunate result of the dominance of King Cotton was that the increased demand for slaves sent prices soaring. The African slave trade was abolished in 1808, so that the planters had to depend upon natural increase for slaves. Competition for laborers became very keen. In 1800 a prime field hand was worth $300. By 1860 the price had advanced to $1,800. At the same time the constant tendency was for the price of cotton to fall. In 1800 it brought 24c; in 1830, 17c; in 1850, 12.3c; in 1860 11c. IIence the planter who would keep up his accustomed standard of life had to be always increasing his acreage and his force of hands in order to obtain the same income. The result was that every available dollar went into cotton lands and negroes, and little was left for investment in manufacturing and other industries. It is not to be in ferred that there were no manufacturing enterprises in the South. But in comparison with the industries of the northern states these establishments were insignificant in size and number. The South did not take a leading part in the great economic revolution which, during the first half of the nineteenth century, transformed England, France, Germany, and the Northern United States from agricultural to manufacturing communities.
“Of the slavery system in general, it may be said that slave labor cost the South more than free labor would have cost, had it been available. A noted traveler, Sir Charles Lyell, was interested in Louisiana to find that it took three negroes to cut and bind two cords of wood in a day, whereas in New York one white man prepared three cords daily. He was also told that where negro and white laborers were worked together the negro was required to do only two-thirds as much work as a white laborer. Another reason why slave labor was so expensive was that the negro was stubbornly opposed to new ideas. It was found impossible to introduce improved methods of tillage. At a time when Northern and Western farmers were using the drill, the horse-shoe, the reaper, and was threshing by machinery, the bulk of work on Southern plantations was done with an ordinary hoe. Planters tried to use labor saving machinery, but the negroes invariably broke the tools or were
*“History of Georgia,” R. P. Brooks, pp. 227-234.
careful to waste time so that the net result would be in favor of the old method.
“Under slavery, it was not always possible to keep the laborers at work, but they had nevertheless to be maintained while idle. This point was stressed by a Northern preacher, Nehemiah Adams, who, during a visit to the South, observed that the kindness of owners prevented them from disposing of superfluous negroes. Another element of cost was in the expense attached to rearing the slave children to the age where they could be used, and the support of superannuated slaves. The one crop system and the absence of fertilizers were unfortunate for the land. Rotation of crops was not practiced and little effort was made to conserve the soil. When the areas under cultivation at any given moment became less productive, the planters pushed on westward with their slaves, bought the holdings of small farmers, cut down the trees, used the virgin soil, and presently abandoned the country to the mercy of the washing rains.
"As has already been said, the majority of Georgia's families owned no slaves. The large-scale planters were a small percentage of Georgia farmers. Below them in the social scale was a class of smaller slave owners who are said to have been unprosperous. The third element in society was the independent, non-slave holding farmer. Among this element of the population, constituting the great majority, there were striking variations in conditions. It is not true that all non-slaveholders were a destitute class. The negroes came at the bottom of the ladder. In many respects they received more benefit from slavery than did any other class. Coming to America as savages, members of a race which had never contributed anything to civilization, the enforced labor of two hundred years taught a great proportion of them habits of industry. No primitive people ever got their upward start under such happy auspices as did the American negroes."
Thus with the help of these able investigators, we have carefully analyzed the institution of slavery, in its ethical, in its sociological, and in its economic aspects. Briefly summing up its results, we cannot escape the conclusion that if it wrought an injustice to the black man, it wrought a much greater injustice to the white man; that, while it shackled the negro, it likewise forged fetters for the South; that it committed this section to agriculture while its absence gave New England an opportunity to develop her industrial interests under free labor, to establish great manufacturing plants, and to acquire a recognized ascendency in the mechanic arts—all of which this section might have enjoyed had she not been shackled to a system which, in the end, overthrew her political power in the nation, brought on the Civil war, with its tragic aftermath of reconstruction, engulfed in colossal ruin the accumulations of half a century, liberated a body of slaves equal to half of the South's entire population, entailed upon her an enormous war debt, both State and Federal, deprived her of a property in human chattels worth $2,000,000,000 and left her with homes in ashes, with cities in ruins, with fields laid waste, and with a population decimated by the ravages of war, to begin once more the struggle of life under the appalling incubus of defeat.
But while slavery took these things from the South it left her with
limbs unshackled by an institution which was a real foe to her progress; it left her with a courage undaunted, with a spirit unconquered, with a faith unshaken, with an honor unsullied; it left her, too, with a record of noble sacrifice, of patient endurance, of marvelous military achievement, of splendid heroism, and of lofty fidelity to principle, unparalleled in the annals of time. All her fine impulses of chivalry survived ; all her high ideals of honor remained. Moreover, the institution of slavery bequeathed to her a legacy of tender memories, an inheritance of song, of romance, and of legend, to charm the ears of her children for generations unborn and to enrich the pages of her history forever.
“Uncle Tom's Cabin” will doubtless never become a classic in the homes of Georgia. But the civilization which out of an African savage produced an Uncle Tom was the civilization of the Old South. Its virtues are extolled at least by implication in every lineament of strength and in every feature of nobility which Mrs. Stowe has given to her splendid character; and so long as Uncle Tom shall live in the literature of a vanished era-endowed with an immortality which he only too well deserves—so long will the institution which produced him be lifted to the admiration of the ages, an institution to the glories of which a writer, professedly one of its greatest foes is forced by the exigencies of her story to pay the reluctant tribute of an unwilling pen.*
* UNCLE Tom's CABIN.-Says a distinguished newspaper correspondent at the national capital, in speaking of Mrs. Stowe's book: “It was an extravagant fiction. Every Southern man knew it to be such. There were some short-haired women in the North, who ought to have been born men, and some long-haired men, who ought not to have been born at all, who believed the stuff, or affected to believe it; but it was not until the flag had been fired on that Mrs. Stowe's absurd yarn got to be a classic and a gospel. It was not until the flag was fired on that that ignoble old ruffian, John Brown, got to be a martyr.”_" Essays by Savoyard,'' p. 63.
In another connection, this same writer observes: «« The John Brown raid would have been the last nail in the coffin of the new Republican party, if the South had only had the patience to stand pat. As for slavery, it put dollars in Northern pockets where it put dimes in Southern. It made the cotton that regulated the balance of trade and fed Northern looms and bought Northern goods. There was not one single Northern State that would have furnished a single regiment to fight for the freedom of all the negroes in the world. There was not a single Northern community that did not regard an abolitionist of the Garrison stripe as little less than a nuisance. Had the South dealt with the problem as Buchanan and Black advised, there would have been no war, and if slavery had died, it would have been a natural death, not a violent one."--Ibid., 61-62.
Who INVENTED THE SEWING MACHINE?-As an anthor of stories for the young, Dr. Francis R. Goulding admittedly ranks with the great English dissenter: Daniel DeFoe. But did Doctor Goulding further increase the debt which humanity owes him by inventing the sewing machine? To this question, Joel Chandler Harris returns the following answer: Says he “The first sewing machine was invented by Rev. Frank R. Goulding, a Georgian, who has won fame among the children of the land as the author of 'The Young Marooners.' He invented the sewing machine for the purpose of lightening the labors of his wife; and she used it for some years before another genius invented it, or some traveler stole the idea and improved
Walter A. Clark, of Augusta, has written a book in which he gives an account of some of the early settlements of Richmond. The old Village of Bath, where Doctor Goulding held a pastorate at one time, is included among this number; and