|From this class came rank and file of
the Southern army in the late rebellion. From this class, too, came the purpose and the
energy which at once originated and sustained the revolt against the Government, and the
attempt to organize the Southern Confederacy. If any single class may be called the
"master class" of the South, occupying commanding place, and wielding
controlling influence in the politics of that section, that class is the one of which I
now speak. Deprived by the war largely of its property, its numbers considerably reduced
by the same course, its compact and easily moved organization, not a little impaired,
disappearing from politics for several years during the earlier period of Reconstruction,
within the past two or three years it has rallied, re-organized, assumed again political
control, and once more promises to dominate the entire section. Louisiana and South
Carolina seem just now passing from Republican control to that of this particular class.
The latest Republican Governors, more learned, more efficient, more distinguished,
surrender to the more commanding political and moral power of this class. Chamberlain
gives place to Hampton! and Packard, it is thought, must surrender to Nicholls!
The Poor Whites, in the days of slavery, cherished no love for the class of which I have spoken, and the latter had even greater affection for the slave than for the poor white. But things have changed. The poor white, called to the army as a common soldier, was taught that the white men of the South, rich and poor, had a common cause for which they were called to struggle, to suffer, and to die, it need were, against the encroachments of a usurping and tyrannical Federal Government.