The South Since the War: As Shown by Fourteen Weeks of Travel and Observation in Georgia and the Carolinas

By SIDNEY ANDREWS. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.
THE simple and clear exhibition of things heard and seen in the South seems to have been the object of Mr. Andrews’s interesting tour, and he holds the mirror up to Reconstruction with a noble and self-denying fidelity. It would have been much easier to give us studied theories and speculations instead of the facts we needed, and we are by no means inclined to let the crudity of parts of the present book abate from our admiration of its honesty and straightforwardness.
A great share of the volume is devoted to sketches of scenes and debates in the Conventions held last autumn in North and South Carolina and Georgia, for the reconstruction of the State governments ; and Mr. Andrews’s readers are made acquainted, as pleasantly as may be, with the opinions and appearance of the leaders in these bodies. But the value of this part of his book is necessarily transitory ; and we have been much more interested in the chapters which recount the author’s experiences of travel and sojourn, and describe the popular character and civilization of the South as affected by the event of the war. It must be confessed, however, that the picture is not one from which we can take great courage for the present. The leading men in the region through which Mr. Andrews passed seem to have an adequate conception of the fact that the South can only rise again through tranquillity, education, and justice; and some few of these men have the daring to declare that regeneration must come through her abandonment of all the social theories and prejudices that distinguished her as a section before the war. But in a great degree the beaten bully is a bully still. There is the old lounging, the old tipsiness, the old swagger, the old violence. Mr. Andrews has to fly from a mob, as in the merry days of 1859, because he persuades an old negro to go home and not stay and be stabbed by a gentleman of one of the first families. Drunken life - long idlers hiccup an eloquent despair over the freedmen’s worthlessness ; bitter young ladies and high-toned gentlemen insult Northerners when opportunity offers ; and, while there is a general disposition to accept the fortune of war, there is a belief, equally general, among our unconstructed brethren, that better people were never worse off. The conditions outside of the great towns are not such as to attract Northern immigration, in which the chief hope of the South lies ; and there is but slight wish on the part of the dominant classes to improve the industry of the country by doing justice to the liberated slaves. The military, under the Freedmen’s Bureau, does something to enforce contracts and punish outrage; but it is often lamentably inadequate, and is sometimes controlled by men who have the baseness to side against the weak.
Of the three States through which Mr. Andrews travelled, South Carolina seems to be in the most hopeful mood for regeneration ; but it is probable that the natural advantages of Georgia will attract a larger share of foreign capital and industry, and place it first in the line of redemption, though the temper of its people is less intelligent and frank than that of the South-Carolinians. In North Carolina the difficulty seems to be with the prevailing ignorance and poverty of the lower classes, and the lukewarm virtue of people who were also lukewarm in wickedness, and whose present loyalty is dull and cold, like their late treason.