Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Hymn to the National Flag

Hymn to the National Flag. [1864]

By Margaret Junkin Preston (1820-1897)

Float aloft, thou stainless banner!
  Azure cross and field of light;
Be thy brilliant stars the symbol
  Of the pure and true and right.
Shelter freedom's holy cause--
Liberty and sacred laws;
Guard the youngest of the nations--
  Keep her virgin honor bright.

From Virginia's storied border,
  Down to Tampa's furthest shore--
From the blue Atlantic's clashings
  To the Rio Grande's roar--
Over many a crimson plain,
Where our martyred ones lie slain--
Fling abroad thy blessed shelter,
  Stream and mount and valley o'er.

In thy cross of heavenly azure
  Has our faith its emblem high;
In thy field of white, the hallow'd
  Truth for which we'll dare and die;
In thy red, the patriot blood--
  Ah! the consecrated flood.
Lift thyself, resistless banner!
  Ever fill our Southern sky!

Flash with living, lightning motion
  In the sight of all the brave!
Tell the price at which we purchased
  Room and right for thee to wave
Freely in our God's free air,
Pure and proud and stainless fair,
Banner of the youngest nation--
  Banner we would die to save!

Strike Thou for us! King of armies!
  Grant us room in Thy broad world!
Loosen all the despot's fetters,
  Back be all his legions hurled!
Give us peace and liberty,
Let the land we love be free--
Then, oh! bright and stainless banner!
  Never shall thy folds be furled!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Monday, July 15, 2019

Terror on the Frontier - 3

I knew nothing about the significance of March 22, 1622 until I discovered Richard Parker in my family history.  Parker is significant (to me) on two counts: first, he was an Englishman in a family tree that is almost entirely German; second, he might have been the very first of my white ancestors to come to America, in the early 1600s.  Ah, the stories he could tell about his time in the Jamestown, Virginia area…

Though the ideal of an integrated society was encouraged by individuals on both sides, relations between colonists and natives (in the vicinity of Jamestown) had been uneasy.  Colonists spent time in native villages.  Natives spent time in the homes of colonists. Work had begun on a college for the training of indian youth.  But everything changed in one day.

Massacre of the Settlers - engraving based on Theodore de Bry's depiction of 3/22/22

Chief Powhatan of the Pamunkey Indians had, for the most part, facilitated peace.  Upon his death in 1618, Powhatan hostile brother Opechancanough took power and patiently plotted a coordinated attack against settlers along the James River near Jamestown.

In Captain John Smith’s History of Virginia, the author reported that braves of the Powhatan Confederacy "came unarmed into our houses with deer, turkeys, fish, fruits, and other provisions to sell us."  At close range, the Powhatan grabbed any tools available and killed all English settlers they found, including men, women and children of all ages. Chief Opechancanough led a coordinated series of surprise attacks in the vicinity of Jamestown colony, killing 347 people, a quarter of the English population of Jamestown.

Writing almost 100 years after the massacre, Robert Beverley reported the events in this manner:

In the meantime, by the great increase of people and the long quiet they had enjoyed among the Indians since the marriage of Pocahontas and the accession of Opechancanough to the imperial crown, all men were lulled into a fatal security and became everywhere familiar with the Indians - eating, drinking, and sleeping amongst them, by which means they became perfectly acquainted with all our English strength and the use of our arms, knowing at all times when and where to find our people, whether at home or in the woods, in bodies or dispersed, in condition of defense or indefensible...

Thus upon the loss of one of their leading men (a war captain, as they call him) who was likewise supposed to be justly killed, Opechancanough took affront in revenge laid the plot of a general massacre of the English to be executed on the 22d March, 1622, a little before noon, at a time when our men were all at work abroad in their plantations, dispersed and unarmed. This hellish contrivance was to take effect upon all the several settlements at one and the same instant except on the Eastern Shore, whither this plot did not reach. The Indians had been made so familiar with the English as to borrow their boats and canoes to cross the rivers in, when they went to consult with their neigh-boring Indians upon this execrable conspiracy. And, to color their design the better, they brought presents of deer, turkeys, fish, and fruits to the English the evening before.

The very morning of the massacre they came freely and unarmed among them, eating with them and behaving themselves with the same freedom and friend-ship as formerly till the very minute they were to put their plot in execution. Then they fell to work all at once everywhere, knocking the English unawares on the head, some with their hatchets, which they call tomahawks, others with the hoes and axes of the English themselves, shooting at those who escaped the reach of their hands, sparing neither age nor sex but destroying man, woman, and child according to their cruel way of leaving none behind to bear resentment. But whatever was not done by surprise that day was left undone, and many that made early resistance escaped.

By the account taken of the Christians murdered that morning, they were found to be 347, most of them falling by their own instruments and working tools.

John Smith’s History of Virginia, published in 1624, described the massacre:

The Prologue to this Tragedy, is supposed was occasioned by Nemattanow, otherwise called Jack of the Feather, because he commonly was most strangely adorned with them; and for his courage and policy, was accounted amongst the Salvages their chief Captain, and immortal from any hurt could be done with him by the English. This Captain coming to one Morgan house, knowing he had many commodities that he desired, persuaded Morgan to go with him to Pamauke [chief town of the Pamunkey Indians] to truck, but the Salvage murdered him by the way; and after two or three days returned again to Morgan’s house, where he found two youths his Servants, who asked for their Master: Jack replied directly he was dead, the Boy suspecting as it was, by seeing him wear his Cap, would have had him to Master [George] Thorp: But Jack so moved their patience, they shot him, so he fell to the ground, put him in a Boat to have him before the Governor, then seven or eight miles from them. But by the way Jack finding the pangs of death upon him, desired of the Boys two things; the one was, that they would not make it known he was slain with a bullet; the other, to bury him amongst the English. At the loss of this Salvage Opechankanough much grieved and repined, with great threats of revenge; but the English returned him such terrible answers, that he cunningly dissembled his intent, with the greatest signs he could of love and peace, yet within foureteen days after he acted what followeth.

Sir Francis Wyat at his arrival was advertised, he found the Country settled in such a firm peace, as most men there thought sure and unvioable, not only in regard of their promises, but of a necessity. The poor weak Salvages being every way bettered by us, and safely sheltered and defended, whereby we might freely follow our business: and such was the conceit of this conceited peace, as that there was seldom or never a sword…most plantations were placed stragglingly and scatteringly, as a choice vein of rich ground inuired them, and further from neighbours the better. Their houses generally open to the Salvages, who were always friendly fed at their tables, and lodged in their bed-chambers, which made the way plain to effect their intents, and the conversion of the Salvages as they supposed.

Having occasion to send to Opechankanough about the middle of March, he used the Messenger well, and told him he held the peace so firm, the sky should fall or he dissolved it; yet such was the treachery of those people, when they had contrived our destruction, even but two days before the massacre, they guided our men with much kindness through the woods, and one Browne that lived among them to learn the language, they sent home to his Master; yea, they borrowed our Boats to transport themselves over the River, to consult on the devilish murder that ensued, and of the utter extirpation, which God of his mercy (by the means of one of themselves converted to Christianity) prevented, and as well on the Friday morning that fatal day, being the two and twentieth of March, as also in the evening before, as at other times they came unarmed into our houses, with Deer, Turkeys, Fish, Fruits, and other provisions to sell us, yea in some places sat down at breakfast with our people, whom immediately with their own tools they flew most barbarously, not sparing either age or sex, man woman or child, so sudden in their execution, that few or none discerned the weapon or blow that brought them to destruction: In which manner also they slew many of our people at several works in the fields, well knowing in what places and quarters each of our men were, in regard of their familiarity with us for the effecting that great master-piece of work their conversion; and by this means fell that fatal morning under the bloody and barbarous hands of that perfidious and inhumane people, three hundred forty seven men, women and children, most by their own weapons, and not being content with their lives, they fell again upon the dead bodies, making as well as they could a fresh murder, defacing, dragging, and mangling their dead carcasses into many pieces, and carrying some parts away in derision, with base and brutish triumph.

Neither yet did these beasts spare those amongst the rest well known unto them, from whom they had daily received many benefits, but spitefully also massacred them without any remorse or pity; being in this more fell than Lions and Dragons, as Histories record, which have preserved their Benefactors; such is the force of good deeds, though done to cruel beasts, to take humanity upon them, but these miscreants put on a more unnatural brutishness than beasts, as by those instances may appear….

One thing I cannot omit, that when this good Gentleman upon his fatal hour, was warned by his man, who perceiving some treachery intended by those hell-hounds, to look to himself, and withal ran away for fear he should be apprehended, and so saved his own life; yet his Master out of his good meaning was so void of suspicion and full of confidence, they had slain him, or he could or would believe they would hurt him. Captain Nathaniel Powell one of the first Planters, a valiant Soldier, and not any in the Country better known amongst them; yet such was the error of an over-conceited power and prosperity, and their simplicities, they not only slew him and his family, but butcher-like hagled their bodies, and cut off his head, to express their uttermost height of cruelty.

Another of the old company of Captain Smith, called Nathaniel Causie, being cruelly wounded, and the Salvages about him, with an axe did cleave one of their heads, whereby the rest fled and he escaped: for they hurt not any that did either fight or stand upon their guard. In one place where there was but two men that had warning of it, they defended the house against 60 or more that assaulted it. M Baldwin at Warraskoyak, his wife being so wounded, she lay for dead, yet by his oft discharging of his piece, saved her, his house, himself, & diverse others….

One more account, from A New and Comprehensive Gazetteer of Virginia, and the District of Columbia (1835):

Old Powhatan had died in 1618, honored by the esteem and respect of all who knew him, his own people, holding in grateful remembrance his prowess and policy in youth, and his mildness in age-and his English friends and brethren admiring his firm support of his dignity, his paternal affection, his mild simplicity, and his native intelligence. He was succeeded in his power by Opechancanough his younger brother, who was cunning, treacherous, revengeful and cruel. He renewed the former treaties, with every assurance of good faith, and wore the mask of peace and friendship so sucessfully as completely to lull the whites to security. But this crafty prince had always viewed with peculiar jealousy and hate the progress of the colony. He had given much trouble, and engaged in frequent hostilities, whilst he was king of Pamunkee, and it was not to be supposed that he would patiently submit to the continued and rapid encroachments of the whites upon his lands, to the entire extermination or banishment of his people, now that he possessed the empire of his brother. . But to meet them in the field was impossible, the disparity in arms was too great, and the numbers in fighting men now equal,” the attempt would be madness and desperation, and lead to that extermination of his race which he wished to avoid. His only resource was to strike some great and sudden blow which should annihilate the power of the colony at once.

He had applied to a king who resided on the Eastern Shore, to purchase a subtle poison f which grew only in his dominions, but this king being on good terms with the whites and wishing to enjoy their trade refused to gratify him. His next resource was in a general massacre, to take effect upon all of the scattered plantations on the same day. The situation of the whites favored this design, they not only placed confidence in the words of the savages which - had now been so long faithfully kept, but in their weakness and cowardice. They had extended their plantations over a space of one hundred and forty miles, on both sides of James river, and made some settlements in the neighborhood of the Potomac; in short wherever a rich spot invited to the cultivation of tobacco, there were they established, and an absence of neighbors was preferred. The planters were careless with their arms, never using their swords, and their firearms only for game. The old law making it criminal to teach a savage the use of arms was forgotten, and they were fowlers and hunters, for many of the planters, by which means they became well acquainted with the use of arms and the places in which they were kept. One great object with the settlers, and with the company, in whose instructions we find it perpetually enjoined, had been the conversion of the Indians to the christian-religion. To promote this pious object, they had always been received in the most friendly manner, they became market people to the planters, and they were fed at their tables, and lodged in their bed-chambers as friends and brothers.

Opechancanough had renewed the treaty with governor Wyatt, and took every other means in his power to avoid suspicion. He told a messenger about the middle of March, that the sky should fall ere he would violate the treaty of peace; only two days before the fatal 22nd, the English were guided in safety and kindness through the forest by the unsuspected Indians, and a Mr. Browne who had been sent to live among them to learn their language was sent safely to his friends,-nay, so well was the dread secret kept that the English boats were borrowed to transport the Indians over the river to consult on the “devilish murder that ensued,” and even on the day itself as well as on the evening before, they came as usual unarmed into the settlements with deer, turkies, fish, fruits and other provisions to sell. and in some places sat down to breakfast with the English. The concert and secrecy of this great plot is the more astonishing when we reflect that the savages were not living together as one nation, and did not have for most purposes, unity of action, but were dispersed in little hamlets containing from thirty to two hundred in a company; “yet they all had warning given them one from another in all their habitations, though far asunder, to meet at the day and hour appointed for the destruction March 22, 1622. of the English at their homes, some directed to one place, some to another, all to be done at the time appointed, which they did accordingly: some entering their houses under color of trading, so took their advantage; others drawing them abroad under fair pretenses, and the rest suddenly falling upon those that were at their labors.” They spared no age, sex, or condition, and were so sudden in their indiscriminate slaughter that few could discern the blow or weapon, which brought them to destruction.

Their familiarity with the whites led them with fatal precision to the points at which they were certain to be found, and that “fatal morning fell under the bloody and barbarous hands of that perfidious and inhuman people, three hundred and forty seven men, women and children. Not content with this destruction, they brutally defaced and mangled the dead bodies, as if they would perpetrate a new murder, and bore off the severed portions in fiendish triumph. Those who had treated them with especial kindness, and conferred many benefits upon them, who confided so much in them that to the last moment they could not believe mischief was intended, fared no better than the rest.

The ties of love and gratitude, the sacred rights of hospitality and reciprocal friendship, oaths, pledges and promises, and even the recent and solemn profession of fidelity to an all-merciful and omnipotent God, were broken asunder or forgotten in obedience to the command of their chief for the execution of a great but diabolical stroke of state policy. With one and only one of all who had been cherished by the whites, did gratitude for their kindness and fidelity to his new religion prevail over his allegiance to his king, and affection for his people. A converted Indian who resided with a Mr. Pace, and who was treated by him as a son, revealed the plot to him in the night of the 21st. Pace immediately secured his house and rowed himself up to Jamestown, where he disclosed it to the governor, by which means that place and all the neighboring plantations, to which intelligence could be conveyed, was saved from destruction; for the cowardly Indians when they saw the whites upon their guard immediately retreated.

Some other places were also preserved, by the undaunted courage of the occupants, who never failed to beat off their assailants, if they were not slain, before their suspicions were excited. By these means was Virginia preserved from total annihilation in a single hour, by this well conceived, well concealed, and well executed plot of her weak and simple adversaries. The larger portion of the colony was saved; for a year after the massacre it contained two thousand five hundred persons; but the consternation produced by it, caused the adoption of a ruinous policy. Instead of marching at once boldly to meet the adversary and driving him from the country, or reducing him to subjection by a bloody retaliation, the colonists were huddled together from their eighty plantations into eight, the college, manufactories and other works of public utility, were abandoned, and cultivation confined to a space almost too limited, merely for subsistence. These crowded quarters produced sickness, and some were so disheartened that they sailed for England.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Dabney and the Radicals

Once upon a time, Robert Lewis Dabney (1820 – 1898) was a prominent Presbyterian theologian. However, if any monuments to Dabney are still standing, surely they will fall in the near future. As America’s version of the Cultural Revolution steamrolls history, the legacy of Dabney is bound for oblivion. Dabney said a few things that would offend the tender sensibilities of the “Woke” mob, circa 2019. And we just can’t have that! 

R. L. Dabney (1820 - 1898)

I can imagine the requisite politically correct responses to his 1871 essay. “Women’s Rights Women.” Nevertheless, Dabney’s characterization of the “Radical” movement of his day still fits the self-proclaimed “Progressives” of today. And Dabney showed considerable insight and prescience regarding the eventual outcomes of the radical agenda. Excerpts follow, but the entire article is available at 

In our day, innovations march with so rapid a stride that they quite take away one’s breath. The fantastical project of yesterday, which was mentioned only to be ridiculed, is to-day the audacious reform, and will be to-morrow the accomplished fact. Such has been the history of the agitation for “women’s rights,” as they are sophistically called in this country…. If we understand the claims of the Women’s Rights women, they are in substance two: that the legislation, at least, of society shall disregard all the natural distinctions of the sexes, and award the same specific rights and franchises to both in every respect; and that woman while in the married state shall be released from every species of conjugal subordination….

One result of the reflection which we have been able to give this movement, is the conviction that it will prevail in the so-called “United States.” This is foreshadowed by the frantic lust for innovation which has seized the body of the people like an epidemic. It is enough with them to condemn any institution, that it was bequeathed us by our forefathers; because it is not the invention of this age, it is wrong, of course. In their eyes no experience proves anything, save the experience which they have had themselves. They do not suppose that our fathers were wise enough to interpret and record the lessons of former experiences. That certain things did not succeed in our forefathers hands is no proof that they will not succeed in our hands; for we are “cute,” we live in an enlightened age, and understand how to manage things successfully. The philosophy of the Yankee mind is precisely that of the Yankee girl who, when she asked for leave to marry at seventeen, was dissuaded by her mother that she “had married very early and had seen the folly of it.” “Yes; but, Mamma,” replied the daughter, “I want to see the folly of it for myself.”…

Or if we examine the argument in its more exact and logical form, we shall find it, after the established (false) premises are granted, equally conclusive for the educated. The very axioms of American politics now are, that “all men are by nature equal,” that all are inalienably “entitled to liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and that “the only just foundation of government is in the consent of the governed.” There was a sense in which our fathers propounded these statements; but it is not the one in which they are now held by Americans. Our recent doctors of political science have retained these formularies of words as convenient masks under which to circulate a set of totally different, and indeed antagonistic notions; and they have succeeded perfectly. 

The new meanings of which the “Whigs” of 1776 never dreamed are now the current ones. Those wise statesmen meant to teach that all men are morally equal in the sense of the Golden Rule: that while individual traits, rights, and duties vary widely in the different orders of political society, these different rights all have some moral basis; that the inferior has the same moral title (that of a common humanity and common relation to a benignant Heavenly Father) to have his rights—the rights of an inferior—duly respected, which the superior has to claim that his very different rights shall be respected. The modern version is that there are no superiors or inferiors in society; that there is a mechanical equality; that all have specifically all the same rights; and that any other constitution is against natural justice.

Next: when our wise fathers said that liberty is an inalienable, natural right, they meant by each one’s liberty the privilege to do such things as he, with his particular relations, ought to have a moral title to do; the particular things having righteous, natural limitations in every case, and much narrower limits in some cases than in others. Radical America now means by natural liberty each one’s privilege to do what he chooses to do….

Indeed, as De Tocqueville predicted, innovations in the direction of extensions of suffrage will always be successful in America, because of the selfish timidity of her public men. It is the nature of ultra democracy to make all its politicians time-servers; its natural spawn is the brood of narrow, truckling, cowardly worshippers of the vox populi, and of present expediency. Their polar star is always found in the answer to the question, “Which will be the more popular?” As soon as any agitation of this kind goes far enough to indicate a possibility of success, their resistance ends. Each of them begins to argue thus in his private mind:—“The proposed revolution is of course preposterous, but it will be best for me to leave opposition to it to others. For if it succeeds, the newly enfranchised will not fail to remember the opponents of their claim at future elections, and to reward those who were their friends in the hour of need.

Again: it has now become a regular trick of American demagogues in power to manufacture new classes of voters to sustain them in office. It is presumed that the gratitude of the newly enfranchised will be sufficient to make them vote the ticket of their benefactors. But as gratitude is a very flimsy sort of fabric among Radicals, and soon worn threadbare, such a reliance only lasts a short time, and requires to be speedily replaced. The marvelous invention of negro suffrage (excogitated for this sole purpose) sufficed to give Radicalism a new four years’ lease of life; but the grateful allegiance of the freedmen to their pretended liberators is waxing very thin; and hence the same expedient must be repeated, in the form of creating a few millions of female votes. The designing have an active, selfish motive for pushing the measure; but its opponents will without fail be paralyzed in their resistance by their wonted cowardice; so that success is sure….

What then, in the next place, will be the effect of this fundamental change when it shall be established? The obvious answer is that it will destroy Christianity and civilization in America. Some who see the mischievousness of the movement express the hope that it will, even if nominally successful, be kept within narrow limits by the very force of its own absurdity. They “reckon without their host.” There is a Satanic ingenuity in these Radical measures which secures the infection of the reluctant dissentients as surely as of the hot advocates. The women now sensible and modest who heartily deprecate the whole folly, will be dragged into the vortex, with the assent of their now indignant husbands. The instruments of this deplorable result will be the (so-called) conservative candidates for office. They will effect it by this plea, that ignorant, impudent. Radical women will vote, and vote wrong; whence it becomes a necessity for the modest and virtuous women, for their country’s sake, to sacrifice their repugnance and counterpoise these mischievous votes in the spirit of disinterested self-sacrifice. Now a woman can never resist an appeal to the principle of generous devotion; her glory is to crucify herself in the cause of duty and of zeal. This plea will be successful.

But when the virtuous have once tasted the dangerous intoxication of political excitement and of power, even they will be absorbed; they will learn to do con amore what was first done as a painful duty, and all the baleful influences of political life will be diffused throughout the sex….

Second: these new excitements and temptations will utterly corrupt the character and delicacy of American women. It is indignantly asked. “Why should politics corrupt the morals of women more than of the ‘lords of creation’?” Suppose now we reply: American politics have corrupted the morals of the men? Suppose we argue that the retort is so true and just and the result has actually gone to so deplorable an extent, that were the female side of our social organization as corrupt as the male side has already become, American society would crumble into ruin by its own putrescence? It is better to save half the fabric than to lose all. And especially is it better to save the purity of the mothers who are, under God, to form the characters of our future citizens, and of the wives who are to restrain and elevate them, whatever else we endanger. Is it argued that since women are now confessedly purer than men, their entrance into politics must tend to purify politics? We reply again that the women of the present were reared and attained this comparative purity under the Bible system. Adopt the infidel plan, and we shall corrupt our women without purifying our politics. What shall save us then?

But there is another reply to this retort. Political excitements will corrupt women tenfold more than men; and this, not because women are naturally inferior to men, but because they are naturally adapted to a wholly different sphere. When we point to the fact that they are naturally more emotional and less calculating, more impulsive and less self-contained, that they have a quicker tact but less logic, that their social nature makes them more liable to the contagion of epidemic passions, and that the duties of their sex make it physically impossible for them to acquire the knowledge in a foreign sphere necessary for political duties, we do not depreciate woman; we only say that nature has adapted her to one thing and disqualified her for the other. The violet would wither in that full glare of midsummer in which the sunflower thrives: this does not argue that the violet is the meaner flower. The vine, left to stand alone, would be hurled prone in the mire by the first blasts of that history. In the case of the Amorites there was also this wise wind which strengthens the grasp of the sturdy oak upon its bed: still the oak may yield no fruit so precious as the clusters of the vine. But the vine cannot be an oak; it must be itself, dependent, clinging, but more precious than that on which it leans or it must perish.

When anything, animate or inanimate, is used for a function to which it is not adapted, that foreign use must endamage it, and the more the farther that function is from its own sphere. So it will be found (and it is no disparagement to woman to say it) that the very traits which fit her to be the angel of a virtuous home unfit her to meet the agitations of political life, even as safely as does the more rugged man. The hot glare of publicity and passion will speedily deflower her delicacy and sweetness. Those temptations, which her Maker did not form her to bear, will debauch her heart, developing a character as much more repulsive than that of the debauched man as the fall has been greater. 

The politicating woman, unsexed and denaturalized, shorn of the true glory of her femininity, will appear to men as a feeble hybrid mannikin, with all the defects and none of the strength of the male. Instead of being the dear object of his chivalrous affection, she becomes his importunate rival, despised without being feared….

This suggests a third consequence, which some of the advocates of the movement even already are bold enough to foreshadow. “Women’s Rights” mean the abolition of all permanent marriage ties. We are told that Mrs. Cady Stanton avowed this result, proclaiming it at the invitation of the Young Men’s Christian Association of New York. She holds that woman’s bondage is not truly dissolved until the marriage bond is annulled. She is thoroughly consistent. Some hoodwinked advocates of her revolution may be blind to the sequence; but it is inevitable. It must follow by this cause, if for no other, that the unsexed politicating woman can never inspire in man that true affection on which marriage should be founded. Men will doubtless be still sensual; but it is simply impossible that they can desire them for the pure and sacred sphere of the wife.

Let every woman ask herself: will she choose for the lord of her affections an unsexed effeminate man? No more can man be drawn to the masculine woman. The mutual attraction of the two complementary halves is gone forever. The abolition of marriage would follow again by another cause. The divergent interests and the rival independence of the two equal wills would be irreconcilable with domestic government, or union, or peace. Shall the children of this monstrous no-union be held responsible to two variant co-ordinate and supreme wills at once? Heaven pity the children! Shall the two parties to this perpetual co-partnership have neither the power to secure the performance of the mutual duties nor to dissolve it? It is a self-contradiction, an impossible absurdity.

Such a co-partnership of equals with independent interests must be separable at will, as all other such co-partnerships are. The only relation between the sexes which will remain will be a cohabitation continuing so long as the convenience or caprice of both parties may suggest; and this, with most, will amount to a vagrant concubinage. But now, what will be the character of the children reared under such a domestic organization as this? If human experience has established anything at all, it is the truth of that principle announced by the Hebrew prophet when he declared that the great aim of God in ordaining a permanent marriage tie between one man and one woman was “that He might seek a godly seed.” God’s ordinance, the only effective human ordinance for checking and curbing the first tendencies to evil, is domestic, parental government.

When the family shall no longer have a head, and the great foundation for the subordination of children in the mother’s example is gone; when the mother shall have found another sphere than her home for her energies; when she shall have exchanged the sweet charities of domestic love and sympathy for the fierce passions of the hustings; when families shall be disrupted at the caprice of either party, and the children scattered as foundlings from their hearthstone.—it requires no wisdom to see that a race of sons will be reared nearer akin to devils than to men. In the hands of such a bastard progeny, without discipline, without homes, without a God, the last remains of social order will speedily perish, and society will be overwhelmed in savage anarchy. 

Last: it would not be hard to show, did space permit, that this movement on the part of these women is as suicidal as it is mischievous. Its certain result will be the re-enslavement of women, not under the Scriptural bonds of marriage, but under the yoke of literal corporeal force. The woman who will calmly review the condition of her sex in other ages and countries will feel that her wisdom is to “let well enough alone.” Physically, the female is the “weaker vessel.” This world is a hard and selfish scene where the weaker goes to the wall. Under all other civilizations and all other religions than ours woman has experienced this fate to the full; her condition has been that of a slave to the male—sometimes a petted slave, but yet a slave.

In Christian and European society alone has she ever attained the place of man’s social equal, and received the homage and honor due from magnanimity to her sex and her feebleness. And her enviable lot among us has resulted from two causes: the Christian religion and the legislation founded upon it by feudal chivalry. How insane then is it for her to spurn these two bulwarks of defense, to defy and repudiate the divine authority of that Bible which has been her redemption, and to revolutionize the whole spirit of the English common law touching woman’s sphere and rights? She is thus spurning the only protectors her sex has ever found, and provoking a contest in which she must inevitably be overwhelmed. Casting away that dependence and femininity which are her true strength, the “strong-minded woman” persists in thrusting herself into competition with man as his equal. But for contest she is not his equal; the male is the stronger animal. As man’s rival, she is a pitiful inferior, a sorry she-mannikin.

It is when she brings her wealth of affection, her self-devotion, her sympathy, her tact, her grace, her subtle intuition, her attractions, her appealing weakness, and places them in the scale with man’s rugged strength and plodding endurance, with his steady logic, his hardihood and muscle, and his exemption from the disabling infirmities of her sex, that he delights to admit her full equality and to do glad homage to her as the crown of his kind. All this vantage-ground the “Women’s Rights women” madly throw away, and provoke that collision for which nature itself has disqualified them…. There will be of course a Semiramis or a Queen Bess here and there who will hold her own; but the general rule will be that the “weaker vessels” will succumb; and the society which will emerge from this experiment will present woman in the position which she has always held among savages, that of domestic drudge to the stronger animal.

Instead of being what the Bible makes her, one with her husband, queen of his home, reigning with the gentle sceptre of love over her modest, secluded domain, and in its pure and sacred retirement performing the noblest work done on this earth, that of moulding infant minds to honor and piety, she will reappear from this ill-starred competition defeated and despised, tolerated only to satiate the passion, to amuse the idleness, to do the drudgery, and to receive the curses and blows of her barbarized masters. Thus will be consummated that destiny to which so many gloomy prognostics point as the allotment of the North American continent: to be the accursed field for the final illustration of the harvest of perdition, grown from the seeding of the dragon’s teeth of infidel Radicalism. 

God gave the people of this land great and magnificent blessings, and opportunities and responsibilities. They might and should have made it the glory of all lands. But they have betrayed their trust: they have abused every gift: above all have they insulted him by flaunting in his face an impudent, atheistic. God-defying theory of pretended human rights and human perfectibility which attempts to deny man’s subordination, his dependence, his fall and native depravity, his need of divine grace. It invites mankind to adopt material civilization and sensual advantage as their divinity. It assumes to be able to perfect man’s condition by its political, literary, and mechanical skill, despising that Gospel of Christ which is man’s only adequate remedy. It crowns its impiety by laying its defiling hands upon the very forms of that Christianity, while with the mock affection of a Judas it attempts to make it a captive to the sordid ends of Mammon and sense. 

Must not God be avenged on such a nation as this? His vengeance will be to give them the fruit of their own hands, and let them be filled with their own devices. He will set apart this fair land by a sort of dread consecration to the purpose of giving a lesson concerning this godless philosophy, so impressive as to instruct and warn all future generations. As the dull and pestilential waves of the Dead Sea have been to every subsequent age the memento of the sin of Sodom, so the dreary tides of anarchy and barbarism which will overwhelm the boastful devices of infidel democracy will be the caution of all future legislators. And thus “women’s rights” will assist America “to fulfill her great mission,” that of being the “scarecrow” of the nations.


 Just this year, a new collection of Dabney's works has been published: Dabney on Fire: A Theology of Parenting, Education, Feminism, and Government,  edited and with an introduction by Zachary M. Garris.  Boyd Cathey reviews the book at

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Independence Day

In 1961, an Army Pershing missile mounted on a tank-like carrier rode down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., as part of the inaugural parade for President John F. Kennedy. Following behind were additional missiles, from front: Lacrosse, Nike Hercules, and Nike Zeus.

President Dwight Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon got a closeup look at 90mm guns on Army tanks rolling along Pennsylvania Avenue past the White House reviewing stand during their inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., 1957.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Aborigines of South Carolina - 3

A book by Robert Mills, published in 1826, offers some unusually detailed insights on the native people of the Palmetto State, and especially the Catawba Indians.  Following is a passage from Statistics of South Carolina: Including a View of Its Natural, Civil, and Military History, General and Particular:

To give some idea of the present condition of these poor, but interesting Indians, [the Catawbas] the following anecdotes, (which occurred in 1816, when Professor Blackburn was making an astronomical and general topographical survey of the state) are introduced. This gentleman accompanied by Mr. ___ , of Lancaster, went to visit General Scott, the chief of the Catawba nation. 

We stopped, says Professor B. at a little village consisting of four families of these Catawba Indians; I expected to see General Scott, the Catawba chief, but the General was absent. I saw however his brother Billy, a man about 55, who had a degree of gravity about him that I thought commendable.

I brought the usual present to an Indian camp, (a jug of whiskey) and asked Billy if I might treat the ladies, who crowded around us; Billy gave his dissent to drams for women, and I obtained leave to treat the ladies only by earnest entreaty. Billy was shrewd, but very good humoured- Mr. Keg. [alias Capt. Keg,] had for wife an Indian woman, the daughter of Capt. Billy; as fine a figure, and as beautiful a face as I ever saw, save that her cheeks were not beds of roses. She was young, diffident, and retired, and absolutely refused to take a dram; her natural manner evinced her a genuine child of nature.

I examined a silver ornament, she wore pendant from her neck, and in doing so I touched her bosom,—she slightly blushed,—the inscription was an eagle; she wore a better dress than the other Indian women; her ornaments were mostly silver, but they gave her an air of superiority, and her modesty, and diffidence, proclaimed her the queen of the Catawba ladies. We have been told that the Indian women are daringly bold; Jenny had nothing of this; she retired from my touch like the mimosa, and with embarrassed mauvaise honte, and played, or pretended to play, with a little laughing Indian baby.

My compass attracted attention: I drew the needle round with a piece of iron,—an old Indian woman named Sally, tried what a stick would do, to attract it in the same way; this was in the true spirit of the Newtonian Philosophy; she then applied her finger, all in vain. I showed her that my fingers could attract the needle, but she soon perceived that I had a penknife concealed in my hand, and producing her piece of steel for striking fire, she did even so. The Indians laughed, and I was deemed no conjurer. They however wondered to see the distant trees brought close to my telescope, and when this wonder ceased, I showed them the same trees inverted wonder after wonder; yet, though apparently embarrassed, they showed no confusion, but rather a wish to find out the cause of the deception; nothing seemed to divert them so much as to see my negro boy standing, as they supposed upon his head. These Indians are shrewd; what a pity it is they are not wise. Old Sally Newriver spoke English pretty well. She is a half blood, and was wife to Gen. Newriver, a famous warrior of old; she seems about seventy, and has no appearance of dotage; it was she, who found out my trick respecting the magnetic needle. (This remarkable personage is said to be still living, 1826.)

After this brief review of the aborigines of our country may I be permitted to digress a little, in order to enter a plea for the remnant of this interesting nation; proprietors originally of a large section of country, but now lingering neglected and despised amongst us, suffering all the evils arising out of depraved practices, and immoral habits, the consequences of the sad inattention of those who were bound in duty, and from motives of policy, to teach them better; to enlighten them with that knowledge, and those principles of virtue, which distinguish Christians.

What excuse can we have for such strange neglect of a people, who, from the moment they identified themselves with us, ought to have received the fostering hand of a generous legislature, and had such means of instruction provided for them, as would in time, constitute them a civilized people, capable of enjoying all the advantages arising from such a state? No reasonable excuse can be alleged for this lamentable indifference.

Prejudice, the enemy of all that is generous, good, and great, has been alone the cause of it. As this may have arisen from a want of a correct knowledge of duty, and as the progress of improvement amongst ns to the present time, has been great, it forbids us to attribute a neglect of this kind, any longer to prejudice, except to that species of prejudice, which has led to the idea, that the nature of the Indian character forbids improvement. But can we be satisfied with so poor an apology for neglecting a people, politically one with ourselves; a people who (though now few in number) were once a powerful nation; a people, to whom this state, upon equitable principles, political and pecuniary, is indebted; who were the best friends and allies South Carolina ever had, (evinced by their being yet amongst us,) who yielded up their lands freely to our forefathers, and became satisfied, at last, with a very small portion of the vast territory they formerly enjoyed. These facts ought to be sufficient to rouse us to a sense of duty to these poor deserted sons of the forest!

Let us nobly resolve to seize the last remaining opportunity offered us, of redeeming the honor of the state, by taking the shattered remains of this once powerful tribe under its special care; let us instruct their children, in the different employments of civilized society, bear with the unfortunate vices of adults, and where we discover an exemption from them, make every exertion to profit from it, and endeavor to raise the Indian in his own estimation.

The Catawba Indians are now reduced, from habits of indolence and inebriation, to very few; their number does not exceed 110 of every age. In 1700 (some years after the first settlement of Carolina) they mustered 1500 fighting men; this would give the population of the nation at that time between 8 and 10,000 souls: about the year 1743 the Catawbas could only bring four hundred warriors into the field; composed partly of their own men and partly of refugees, from various smaller tribes who, about this time were obliged, by the state of affairs, to associate with them, on account of their reduced numbers. Among these were the Watteree, Chowan, Congaree, Nachee, Yamassee and Coosah Indians; at present not 50 men can be numbered in the list of their warriors. What a sad falling off is here!