Confederate Veteran, Vol. IX, No. 3 Nashville, Tenn., March, 1902.

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"UNCLE TOMS CABIN" MISLEADS

George T. C. Bryan

The press generally at the South, has commented upon and generally commended the action of the Kentucky Daughters of the Confederacy who tried to suppress the play "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Mr. H. H. Gratz, a venerable editor of Central Kentucky, writes most ably upon the subject setting forth the harmful effects of the production upon the negro, and boldly asserting the right of objection. Mr. Gratz is over seventy years old, and is noted for his fearless defense of Southern rights, even when such defense is against personal interest and policy.

George T. C. Bryan, of 503 California Street, San Francisco, wrote in January: Editor Bulletin---Sir: Will you kindly find space in your paper for my reply to your editorial, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," in your issue of the 14th inst.?

Mrs. Stow's "Life Among the Lowly," has no potency for good, and as a drama has survived its usefulness. Had it been a correct and not a misleading picture of Southern life during the existence of slavery no one could rightfully object to it. Mrs. Stowe lived to see her wishes as to the removal of slavery accomplished. The critical historian will, in seeking for the unsullied truth, search and sift this story along with much other matter when building up a history devoted to the truth, and hence made acceptable to all quarters of our common country. The story of "The Great American Conflict," what led up to it, the aims of the opposing contestants, and the methods they resorted to in war on both sides, will be truthfully told. Organized effort on both sides, left after the closing of hostilities remnants that crystallized into "Grand Armies," "Loyal Legions," "Grand Camps," "Daughters of the Confederacy," etc. The motive for existence that is behind such organizations it is profitable to study, and "By their fruits ye shall know them." One and probably the chief reason for the existence of "The Daughters of the Confederacy" was the desire with all Confederates that a truthful history be handed down to their children and sent out to the world. Such a duty they Owed to their fallen soldiers and to self and all mankind. There can be nothing sectional in this, and that the Southland was the seat of the war made it imperative that those living in its midst and knowing it best should demand a true record of all that transpired. It was not through choice that the "Daughters of the Confederacy" found their homes the centers of strife. That they have taken upon themselves the work of trying to restore their country to some degree of comfort and in educating their illiterates and of collecting facts that make history, and so preserving it from obliteration and falsehood, places the world under obligations to them. Investigation will prove that almost every substantial Southern move inaugurated and aimed to preserve the memorial of the fathers and to relieve distress, want, and sickness, was sustained chiefly by them. Southern men who bore the standard of Dixie, and their children of to-day draw their deepest, best inspiration from the "Daughters of the Confederacy" and thus the purest and best gift of the Creator was in his mercy spared to the Southland. As women, worthy of the lineage of great sires, they selected the name "Daughters of the Confederacy," a name which unmistakably pledged them to the highest line of duty and self-denial. Like a mother's sweet influence, their spirit spread over the South, even before their name and organization was fully established. And they brought comfort to the needy and sick. Though weak in numbers for the work over such a vast area and having been left in desperate poverty by the war, yet they were strong in the resolve of woman's tender, pure, dedicated heart. By studying what these women have accomplished we become confirmed in the conviction that however widely apart the masses of the North and South may have drifted under the distractions of divided interests and from the pressure of sectional differences that brought on the war, it is seen that charitable forbearance and a strict adherence to the truth and to duty will in time reunite the two sections. The sword only severs and bruises; it strikes down and crushes. God's peace comes in other forms than by invasion and war. The Southern Historical Society publications, the reports of the History Committee of the Grand Camp of Confederate Veterans, and the reports of the "Daughters of the Confederacy" are fitting supplements to the great history of the "War of the Rebellion," published by order of Congress and compiled from the military reports of participants on both sides---North and South.

Asylums for the care of aged and helpless Confederate soldiers and their wives and children were reared by and were dependent chiefly upon the "Daughters of the Confederacy." At Richmond, Va., alone they have assembled the silent ranks of over 15,000 Confederate dead. The care of Confederate soldiers' graves all over the South is left to the tender solicitude and protection of these daughters. Monuments in counties, hamlets, cities all over the South and at points in the North commemorate the love in the hearts of survivors for the "rebel" soldier fathers, brothers, and sons; and these monuments are the gifts from "woman's devotion." A "people without its monuments is a people without a history." Need, then, that the spirit which brought into existence and inspires these "Daughters of the Confederacy" must die?

A prominent historian and professor in a great Northern university, and he a Northern man, describes the Southern women as cutting off their hair and selling it along with their jewels and silverware to sustain their soldiers in the field of war; and he declares that the united South underwent greater hardships, and made greater sacrifices for their cause than did the Hero Fathers in the War for Independence in 1776.

Who, then, sir, may rightfully deny to them the name they have chosen and the task they have dedicated themselves and their children to? Do they not make the world better for having lived in it as "Daughters of the Confederacy ?"

 

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