From the enlighteners of public opinion a howl of wrath came forth, and Johnston, who had just been Alexander, Hannibal, Cæsar, Napoleon, was now a miserable dastard and traitor, unfit to command a corporal's guard. President Davis sought to console him, and some of the noblest lines ever penned by man were written by Johnston in reply.
If I am neglecting my lawful opportunities, if I am failing to see wisely and correctly, I shall be grateful for counsel. Ah, Selma, for your sake, even more than for my own, I grieve that we have no children. A baby's hands would, I fancy, be the best of counsellors and enlighteners." "If children had come at first, it would have been very nice.
When you excited my desire to devote myself to the office whose garb I bear, you spoke to me of the holy life of men resigning themselves to knowledge you have given me for companions an ignorant and sensual herd, who have no knowledge but that of the grossest frauds; you spoke to me of men sacrificing the earthlier pleasures to the sublime cultivation of virtue you place me amongst men reeking with all the filthiness of vice; you spoke to me of the friends, the enlighteners of our common kind I see but their cheats and deluders!
The local superintendent, who remained through the week while the other enlighteners went to other Chautauquas for their daily performances. The superintendent was a bookish, underfed man who worked hard at rousing artificial enthusiasm, at trying to make the audience cheer by dividing them into competitive squads and telling them that they were intelligent and made splendid communal noises.
But as it is in no way proved that the aim of humanity does consist in freedom, equality, enlightenment, or civilization, and as the connection of the people with the rulers and enlighteners of humanity is only based on the arbitrary assumption that the collective will of the people is always transferred to the men whom we have noticed, it happens that the activity of the millions who migrate, burn houses, abandon agriculture, and destroy one another never is expressed in the account of the activity of some dozen people who did not burn houses, practice agriculture, or slay their fellow creatures.
If these heaven-blinded negro enlighteners persist in their pernicious plan of making Christians of their cattle, something of the sort must be done, or they will infallibly cut their own throats with this two-edged sword of truth, to which they should in no wise have laid their hand, and would not, doubtless, but that it is now thrust at them so threateningly that they have no choice.