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otherwise excellent population of the tide-water regions in Virginia and the Carolinas. Many of the southern crackers or poor whites spring from this class, which also in the backwoods gave birth to generations of violent and hardened criminals, and to an even greater number s of shiftless, lazy, cowardly cumberers of the earth's surface. They had in many places a permanently bad effect upon

the tone of the whole community. Moreover, the influence of heredity was no more plainly perceptible than was the extent of individual variation. 10 If a member of a bad family wished to reform, he had every opportunity to do so; if a member of a good family had vicious propensities, there was nothing to check them. All qualities, good and bad, are intensified and accentuated in the life of the wilderness. The man who in 15 civilization is merely sullen and bad-tempered becomes a murderous, treacherous ruffian when transplanted to the wilds; while, on the other hand, his cheery, quiet neighbor develops into a hero, ready uncomplainingly to lay down his life for his friend. One who in an eastern city 20 is merely a backbiter and slanderer, in the western woods lies in wait for his foe with a rifle; sharp practice in the East becomes highway robbery in the West; but at the same time negative good-nature becomes active selfsacrifice, and a general belief in virtue is translated into 25 a prompt and determined war upon vice. The ne'er-dowell of a family who in one place has his debts paid a couple of times and is then forced to resign from his clubs and lead a cloudy but innocuous existence on a small pension, in the other abruptly finishes his career by being 30 hung for horse-stealing.

In the backwoods the lawless led lives of abandoned


wickedness; they hated good for good's sake, and did their utmost to destroy it. · Where the bad element was large gangs of horse-thieves, highwaymen, and other criminals often united with the uncontrollable young men of vicious 5 tastes, who were given to gambling, fighting and the like. They then formed half-secret organizations, often of great extent and with wide ramifications; and if they could control a community they established a reign of

terror, driving out both ministers and magistrates, and 10 killing without scruple those who interfered with them.

The good men in such a case banded themselves together as regulators and put down the wicked with ruthless severity, by the exercise of lynch law, shooting and hanging the worst off-hand.

Jails were scarce in the wilderness, and often were entirely wanting in a district, which, indeed, was quite likely to lack legal officers also. If punishment was inflicted at all it was apt to be severe, and took the form

of death or whipping. An impromptu jury of neighbors 20 decided with a rough-and-ready sense of fair play and

justice what punishment the crime demanded, and then saw to the execution of their own decree. Whipping was the usual reward of theft. Occasionally, torture was

resorted to, but not often; and, to their honor be it said, 25 the backwoodsmen were horrified at the treatment ac

corded both to black slaves and to white convict servants in the lowlands.

They were superstitious, of course, believing in witchcraft and signs and omens; and it may be noted that 30 their superstition showed a singular mixture of old-world

survivals and of practices borrowed from the savages or evolved by the very force of their strange surroundings. At the bottom they were deeply religious in their tendencies; and although ministers and meeting-houses were rare, yet the backwoods cabins often contained Bibles, and the mothers used to instil into the minds of their children reverence for Sunday, while many even of the 5 hunters refused to hunt on that day. Those of them who knew the right honestly tried to live up to it, in spite of the manifold temptations to backsliding offered by their lives of hard and fierce contention. But Calvinism, though more congenial to them than Episcopacy, and infinitely 10 more so than Catholicism, was too cold for the fiery hearts of the borderers; they were not stirred to the depths of their natures till other creeds, and, above all, Methodism, worked their way into the wilderness.

Thus the backwoodsmen lived on the clearings they 15 had hewed out of the everlasting forest; a grim, stern people, strong and simple, powerful for good and evil, swayed by gusts of stormy passion, the love of freedom rooted in their very hearts? core. Their lives were harsh and narrow, they gained their bread by their blood and 20 sweat, in the unending struggle with the wild ruggedness of nature. They suffered terrible injuries at the hands of the red men, and on their foes they waged a terrible warfare in return. They were relentless, revengeful, suspicious, knowing neither ruth nor pity; they were also upright, 25 resolute, and fearless, loyal to their friends, and devoted to their country. In spite of their many failings, they were of all men the best fitted to conquer the wilderness and hold it against all comers.

THE HISTORIAN OF THE FUTURE 1 The great historian of the future will have easy access to innumerable facts patiently gathered by tens of thousands of investigators, whereas the great historian of the past had very few facts, and often had to gather most 5 of these himself. The great historian of the future cannot be excused if he fails to draw on the vast storehouses of knowledge that have been accumulated, if he fails to profit by the wisdom and work of other men, which are

now the common property of all intelligent men. He 10 must use the instruments which the historians of the

past did not have ready to hand. Yet even with these instruments he cannot do as good work as the best of the elder historians unless he has vision and imagination,

the power to grasp what is essential and to reject the 15 infinitely more numerous nonessentials, the power to

embody ghosts, to put flesh and blood on dry bones, to make dead men living before our eyes. In short he must have the power to take the science of history and turn it into literature.

Those who wish history to be treated as a purely utilitarian science often decry the recital of the mighty deeds of the past, the deeds which always have aroused, and for a long period to come are likely to arouse, most

interest. These men say that we should study not the 25 unusual but the usual. They say that we profit most by

1 Reprinted from the version of the address, “ History as Literature,” which appeared in the Boston Transcript. The address is included in the volume History as Literature.


laborious research into the drab monotony of the ordinary, rather than by fixing our eyes on the purple patches that break it. Beyond all question the great historian, of the future must keep ever in mind the relative importance of the usual and the unusual. If he is a really great 5 historian, if he possesses the highest imaginative and literary quality, he will be able to interest us in the gray tints of the general landscape no less than in the flame hues of the jutting peaks. It is even more essential to have such quality in writing of the commonplace than 10 in writing of the exceptional. Otherwise no profit will come from study of the ordinary; for writings are useless unless they are read, and they cannot be read unless they are readable. Furthermore, while doing full justice to the importance of the usual, of the commonplace, the 15 great historian will not lose sight of the importance of the heroic.

It is hard to tell just what it is that is most important to know. The wisdom of one generation may seem the folly of the next. This is just as true of the wisdom of 20 the dry-as-dusts as of the wisdom of those who write interestingly. Moreover, while the value of the byproducts of knowledge does not readily yield itself to quantitative expression, it is none the less real. A utilitarian education should undoubtedly be the foun- 25 dation of all education. But it is far from advisable, it is far from wise, to have it the end of all education. Technical training will more and more be accepted as the prime factor in our educational system, a factor as essential for the farmer, the blacksmith, the seamstress, 30 and the cook, as for the lawyer, the doctor, the engineer, and the stenographer. For similar reasons the purely

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