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The Creed of the Old South 1865-1915   By: (1831-1924)

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[Transcriber's note: Greek text has been transliterated.]

THE CREED OF THE OLD SOUTH 1865 1915

BY BASIL L. GILDERSLEEVE

BALTIMORE THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS 1915

COPYRIGHT, 1915, BY THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS

[Illustration: The Author 1865]

[Illustration: The Author 1915]

PREFACE

In the last score of years I have often been urged by friends and sympathizers to bring out as a separate issue my article, The Creed of the Old South, which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly of January, 1892, and which attracted wider attention than anything I have ever written. As this is the jubilee of the great year 1865, the memories of that distant time come thronging back to the actors in the momentous struggle, and I am prompted to publish in more accessible form my record of views and impressions that may seem strange even to the survivors of the conflict, now rapidly passing away. To this paper I have added an essay on a cognate theme A Southerner in the Peloponnesian War which was published in the Atlantic Monthly of September, 1897, and which has been accepted by the eminent historian, Mr. Rhodes, as an historical document. These specimens of what I call my Sargasso work ("Weeds from the Atlantic") are reproduced by the kind permission of the Houghton Mifflin Company. A few slips of pen and type have been corrected, and a few notes out of the mass of literature evoked by the first essay, or akin to it, have been added for the benefit of the third generation.

[Illustration: signature of Basil L. Gildersleeve]

THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY, JUNE, 1915.

THE CREED OF THE OLD SOUTH

[Note: This article was prepared (in 1891) at the instance of Mr. HORACE SCUDDER, the editor of the Atlantic Monthly, who had projected a series of papers to be written by men who by virtue of education, intellectual endowment and social position were supposed to be high and lifted up above vulgar passion and prejudice. The business of these elect gentlemen was to set forth the motives that urged them to an active participation in so rude an affair as war. After publication in the Atlantic, the essays were to be gathered into a book and Mr. SCUDDER fancied that thus collected they would prove a valuable addition to the history of the times. The series stopped at the third number and the book was never published. Whilst I did not concur in Mr. SCUDDER'S view, I accepted the compliment and began to write with a lighter heart than I bore as I went on. At the end I was dipping my pen into something red, into something briny, that was not ink. The feeling seems to have been contagious, for some years afterwards (1899) Mr. WILLIAM ARCHER, in his America To day (p. 142), wrote as follows:

"I met a scholar soldier in the South who had given expression to the sentiment of his race and generation in an essay one might almost say an elegy so chivalrous in spirit and so fine in literary form that it moved me well nigh to tears. Reading it at a public library, I found myself so visibly affected by it that my neighbor at the desk glanced at me in surprise, and I had to pull myself sharply together."]

A few months ago, as I was leaving Baltimore for a summer sojourn on the coast of Maine, two old soldiers of the war between the States took their seats immediately behind me in the car, and began a lively conversation about the various battles in which they had faced each other more than a quarter of a century ago, when a trip to New England would have been no holiday jaunt for one of their fellow travellers. The veterans went into the minute detail that always puts me to shame, when I think how poor an account I should give, if pressed to describe the military movements that I have happened to witness; and I may as well acknowledge at the outset that I have as little aptitude for the soldier's trade as I have for the romancer's. Single incidents I remember as if they were of yesterday... Continue reading book >>




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