Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
War in the Land of Uncle Sam
By Richard Grant White (1822–1885)
[The New Gospel of Peace. 1866.]

NOW the war in the land of Unculpsalm was in this wise.
  The people were of one blood, but the land was in many provinces. And the people of the provinces joined themselves together and cast off the yoke of a stiff-necked king who oppressed them beyond the great sea. And they said, Let us have no king, but let us choose from ourselves a man to rule over us; and let us no longer be many provinces, but one nation; only in those things which concern not the nation let the people in each province do what is right in their own eyes.  2
  And let it be written upon parchment and be for a covenant between us and our children, and our children’s children forever—like unto a law of the Medes and Persians which altereth not.  3
  And they did so. And the Great Covenant became the beginning and the end of all things unto the men of Unculpsalm.  4
  And the men of Unculpsalm waxed great and mighty and rich: and the earth was filled with the fame of their power and their riches; and their ships covered the sea. And all nations feared them. But they were men of peace, and went not to war of their own accord; neither did they trouble or oppress the men of other nations; but sought each man to sit under his own vine and his own fig-tree. And 1 there were no poor men and few that did evil born in that land: except thou go southward of the border of Masunandicsun.  5
  And this was noised abroad: and it came to pass that the poor and the down-trodden and the oppressed of other lands left the lands in which they were born, and went and dwelt in the land of Unculpsalm, and prospered therein, and no man molested them. And they loved that land.  6
  Wherefore, the kings and the oppressors of other lands, and they that devoured the substance of the people, hated the men of Unculpsalm. Yet, although they were men of peace, they made not war upon them; for they were many and mighty. Moreover they were rich and bought merchandise of other nations, and sent them corn and gold.  7
  Now there were in the land of Unculpsalm Ethiopians, which the men of Unculpsalm called Niggahs. And their skins were black, and for hair they had wool, and their shins bent out forward and their heels thrust out backward; and their ill savor went up.  8
  Wherefore the forefathers of the men of Unculpsalm had made slaves of the Niggahs, and bought them and sold them like cattle.  9
  But so it was that when the people of the land of Unculpsalm made themselves into one nation, the men of the North said, We will no longer buy and sell the Niggahs, but will set them free; neither shall more be brought from Ethiopia for slaves unto this land.  10
  And the men of the South answered and said, We will buy and sell our Niggahs; and moreover we will beat them with stripes, and they shall be our hewers of wood and drawers of water forever; and when our Niggahs flee into your provinces ye shall give them to us, every man his Niggah; and after a time there shall no more be brought from Ethiopia, as ye say. And this shall be a part of the Great Covenant.  11
  And it was a covenant between the men of the North and the men of the South.  12
  And it came to pass that thereafter the men of the South and the Dimmichrats of the North and the Pahdees gave themselves night and day to the preservation of this covenant about the Niggahs.  13
  And the Niggahs increased and multiplied till they darkened all the land of the South. And certain of the men of Unculpsalm who dwelt in the South took their women for concubines and went in unto them, and begat of them sons and daughters. And they bought and sold their sons and daughters, even the fruit of their loins; and beat them with stripes, and made them hewers of wood and drawers of water.  14
  For they said, Are not these Niggahs our Niggahs? Yea, even more than the other Niggahs? For the other Niggahs we bought, or our fathers, with money; but these, are they not flesh of our flesh, and blood of our blood, and bone of our bone; and shall we not do what we will with our own?  15
  But there arose men in the northern provinces of the land of Unculpsalm and in the countries beyond the great sea, iniquitous men, saying, Man’s blood cannot be bought with money; foolish men, saying, Though the Niggah’s skin be black, and his hair woolly, and his shins like unto cucumbers, and his heels thrusting out backward, and though he has an ill savor not to be endured by those who get not children of Niggah women, yet is he a man; men of Belial, which said, All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.  16
  And the slaves were for a reproach throughout all the world unto the men of the South, and even unto the whole land of Unculpsalm. But by reason of the Great Covenant and the laws of the provinces, the men of the North had naught to do in this matter.  17
  But the men of the South which had Niggahs (for there were multitudes which were of the tribe of Meenouites which had no Niggahs, and they were poor and oppressed) heeded it not; for they were a stiff-necked generation. And they said, We will not let our Niggahs go free; for they are even as our horses and our sheep, our swine and our oxen; and we will beat them, and slay them, and sell them, and beget children of them, and no man shall gainsay us. We stand by the Great Covenant.  18
  Moreover we are Tshivulree.  19
  Now 2 to be of the Tshivulree was the chief boast among the men of the South, because it had been a great name upon the earth. For of olden time he who was of the Tshivulree was bound by an oath to defend the weak and succor the oppressed, yea, even though he gave his life for them. But among the men of the South he only was of the Tshivulree who ate his bread in the sweat of another’s face, who robbed the laborer of his hire, who oppressed the weak, and set his foot upon the neck of the lowly, and who sold from the mother the fruit of her womb and the nursling of her bosom. Wherefore the name of Tshivulree stank in the nostrils of all nations.  20
  For they were in the darkness of a false dispensation, and had not yet learned the mystery of the new gospel of peace.  21
  And when the Tshivulree found within their borders those men of the North, iniquitous men which said that man’s blood cannot be bought, and men of Belial which said, Do ye unto all men as ye would have all men do unto you, they seized upon them and beat them with many stripes, and hanged them upon trees, and roasted them with fire, and poured hot pitch upon them, and rode them upon sharp beams, very grievous to bestride, and persecuted them even as it was fitting such pestilent fellows should be persecuted.  22
  And they said unto the men of the North, Cease ye now to send among us these men of Belial preaching iniquity, cease also to listen unto them yourselves, and respect the Great Covenant, or we will destroy this nation.  23
  Then the men of Unculpsalm which called themselves Dimmichrats, and the Pahdees, seeing that the Tshivulree of the South had only one thought, and that was for the Niggah, said, We will join ourselves unto the Tshivulree, and we will have but one thought with them, even the Niggah; and we shall rule the land of Unculpsalm, and we shall divide the spoil.  24
  And they joined themselves unto the Tshivulree; and the Tshivulree of the South, and the men of the North, which called themselves Dimmichrats, and the Pahdees, ruled the land of Unculpsalm for many years; and they divided the spoil. And they had but one thought, even for the Niggah.  25
  Wherefore he was called the everlasting Niggah….  26
  And the Tshivulree of the South saw that the men of the North feared their threats; and they waxed bolder and said, We will not only keep our Niggahs in our own provinces, but we will take them into all the country of Unculpsalm, which is not yet divided into provinces. And they went roaring up and down the land.  27
  But in process of time it came to pass that the spirit of their forefathers appeared among the men of the North, even the great spirit Bak Bohn; and he stiffened up the people mightily.  28
  So that they said unto the men of the South, Hear us, our brethren! We would live with you in peace, and love you, and respect the Great Covenant. And the Niggahs in your provinces ye shall keep, and slay, and sell, they and the children which ye begat of them, into slavery, for bondmen and bondwomen forever. Yours be the sin, before the Lord, not ours; for it is your doing, and we are not answerable for it. And your Niggahs that flee from your provinces they shall be returned unto you, according to the Great Covenant. Only take care lest peradventure ye make captives the Niggahs of our provinces which we have made free men. Ye shall in no wise take a Niggah of them.  29
  Thus shall it be with your Niggahs and in your provinces, and yours shall be the blame forever. But out of your provinces, into the common land of Unculpsalm, ye shall not carry your Niggahs except they be made thereby free. For that land is common, and your laws and the statutes of your provinces, by which alone ye make bondmen, run not in that land. And for all that is done in that land we must bear the blame with you. For that land is common; and we share whatever is done therein; and the power of this nation and the might of its banner shall no longer be used to oppress the lowly and to fasten the chain upon the captive. Keep ye then your bondmen within your own provinces.  30
  Then 3 the Tshivulree of the South waxed wroth, and foamed in their anger, and the air of the land was filled with their cursings and their revilings. And certain of them which were men of blood, and which were possessed of devils, and had difficulties, and slew each other with knives and shooting-irons, did nothing all their time but rave through the land about the Niggah.  31
Note 1. There were no poor men and few that did evil born in that land. This land of Unculpsalm seems to have been a most singular place. Almost the whole of the poverty, the ignorance, and the crime to be found in it, except south of the border of Masunandicsun, seems to have come to it from other countries. This is strange enough; but what is most extraordinary is that the people of that land, the virtue and the intelligence of whose fathers had made it great and happy and powerful, gave to this foreign element of its population, ignorant, criminal, and without substantial interest in the country, an equal share of political power, which these foreigners, herding together in clans or tribes, used in a solid body under the direction of demagogues, so that they held the balance of power in the land. So foolish a scheme of politics is not elsewhere recorded in history. [back]
Note 2. This is another of the many passages that refute the notion as to the modern origin of this book. Indeed, it increases the obscurity that involves that subject. For where, even in ancient times, and among pagan people, do we read of such cruelty as the selling of the child away from the mother? As to the prevalence of such a practice in this Christian land and among this enlightened people, it is not to be thought of, and indeed it has always been denied. [back]
Note 3. The word here translated “difficulties” had a peculiar signification among this strange people. It means a certain sort of human sacrifice or blood-shedding, sometimes accompanied with death, sometimes only with maiming. There was a prelude to it, of a purely verbal nature, the name of which must needs be translated misunderstanding. Sometimes a misunderstanding was brought to a close by a libation—in the Phiretah dialect a likkerinup, or, according to some authors—a likkerinround;—the drink-offering being poured down the throats of the assembly with expressions of mutual respect in honor of the event; but if not, it proceeded to its second stage, which was called difficulty. In this each party to the previous misunderstanding sought to sacrifice the other, to appease some imaginary deity who was believed to delight in human sacrifices. The sacrifice was sometimes performed with the knife, sometimes with the shooting-iron. Strange to say, each party sought to honor this imaginary deity, to whose service he professed to be devoted, by being the sacrificer rather than the sacrificed. Unless, therefore, one party or the other attained this purpose by concealing his shooting-iron beneath his raiment, and shooting through it with entire indifference to the cost of his apparel (in the original, dhamthex pentz), a struggle ensued which had not the peculiar decorum and solemnity becoming a religious ceremony. It is particularly worthy of notice that the difficulty and the likkerinup were peculiar to the Phiretahs, and were unknown to the Iangkies, and throughout the region north of the border of Masunandicsun, except among the Pahdees, who were strangers within the gates of Gotham. [back]

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