It may fairly be claimed for the Church in the Confederate States that the special necessities of the times met a not inadequate response in its work for the soldiers and in its care of the slaves. These practical activities, however, did not by any means engross its attention or absorb all its energies. There appears upon examination abundant evidence of a quite remarkable degree of open-mindedness on the part of the Church, even during these trying times, to entertain new ideas, and of a disposition to set its foot in some new paths of ecclesiastical development, while the din of conflict and the increasing demands of immediate necessity might well have excused indifference to all but the most urgent practical duties. The Church in the Confederate States showed itself to be anything but narrow or provincial in mind and spirit. Within the brief space of four years of strife and confusion, and with only two preliminary conferences and one National Council, it found time to raise, consider, and enter upon, proposals and schemes for advance and improvement, which we have not yet, in the years since the War, been able fully to develop and to accomplish.
We have seen how the question of the name of the Church was raised in October, 1861, in the adjourned meeting at Columbia, and how three Bishops, and they not the least considerable of that body, had supported the movement, and had voted to substitute "Reformed Catholic" in the place of "Protestant Episcopal." And this was no momentary impulse of thoughtless minds. Bishop Otey and Bishop Atkinson were men of great deliberation of thought and weight of character, who did not speak except upon mature conviction. And in his very brief argument, quoted on a preceding page, the latter had stated, in two or three sentences, the substance of the reasonings which have since been repeated hundreds of times, with scores of variations. Bishop Green was also a man who saw clearly the true position of the Church, and understood the value of right words. He thus refers to this matter in his Address to his Convention of 1862: "I can but deeply regret that, in giving a name to our new organization, one had not been chosen expressive of our Apostolic and Catholic character, in the place of that which seemingly ranks us as one among the many sects of which the last three centuries have been so prolific."
The question as to opening the sessions of the House of Bishops was raised at the General Council of November, 1862, by a motion of Bishop Elliott to admit members of the House of Deputies. Bishop Atkinson objected: in the first place, he said it would be impracticable to admit one class of persons and to prevent the entry of others; but, further, he valued the privacy of deliberation as tending to lessen heat and acrimony in debate: "In private session many remarks could be passed over in silence, which, if publicly made, must be matter of reply." Bishop Davis said he had at one time great reverence for the House of Bishops; experience had sorely diminished this. "Why attempt to create a fictitious reverence? Let us be real." But he opposed the change, because he thought that the private session lessened the influence of outside popular prejudice upon the Bishops. Bishop Green and Bishop Lay were of the same mind; and Bishop Wilmer suggested the absence of several of the Bishops as an argument against the proposed change; so Bishop Elliott withdrew his resolution. There is no note of this matter in the published minutes of the proceedings of the House of Bishops. The foregoing account is taken from MS. memoranda made at the time by Bishop Lay.
We have seen how the committee, which reported the proposed Constitution, suggested for adoption a scheme of a Provincial System which would have made real Provinces. The modification of that scheme, which was adopted, was as much of an advance towards the Provincial System as the Church in the United States was able to accomplish in the forty years following, up to 1904. The plan of Judicial and Missionary Departments, adopted in 1904, is a slight gain in the direction of eventual Provincial organization.
Bearing on this matter of organization was the canon brought forward in the Alabama Convention of 1861, the Convention which declared the Diocese of Alabama to be separated from the Church in the United States. This proposed Canon adopted as a principle, and advocated as the true policy of diocesan organization, the primitive idea of the see city, and provided that, as soon as practicable, three sees should be formed out of the Diocese of Alabama, in the cities of Mobile, Montgomery, and Huntsville. The proposed canon was not adopted, but it was characteristic of the times. All through the South there was a disposition to seek for some more effective form of organization than the "State Diocese," and for the first year or two the young Church in the Confederate States heard a great deal of learned talk about the wonderful growth and prosperity to follow upon a reorganization of the Dioceses after a more truly primitive model. The various schemes suggested and discussed all came to nothing in the increasing pressure of deadly peril and necessity, and it is useless to enquire into their details. They do serve, however, to show that the Church was not intellectually stagnant, nor blindly content with its accustomed routine, but was earnestly endeavoring to adapt itself to the varying and urgent needs of the time.
In other directions a beginning was made in important matters, which have since been taken up by the Church in the United States, and carried through to completion. Mention has been made of the Committee, appointed in November, 1862, on the Bible and Prayer Book. This Committee was made up as follows: Bishops Elliott, Green, and Lay; the Rev. Drs. Sparrow of Virginia, and Mason of North Carolina, the Rev. Paul Trapier of South Carolina, Judge Phelan of Alabama, Judge Battle of North Carolina, and Mr. Edward McCrady of South Carolina. It was charged with the duty of printing the Prayer Book, and preparing a compendium for public worship, taken from the Prayer Book, for the use of the army, as has already been mentioned. But this committee was also authorized to take up the question of Prayer Book revision, and to report to the next meeting of the General Council such changes in the Prayer Book, not affecting doctrine or discipline, as might seem desirable. It had been moved in the House of Deputies that to the words "doctrine and discipline" should be added the word "worship," thus limiting the scope of their work to mere trifling matters of unimportant detail. This amendment, however, had been rejected, and the Committee was left at liberty in regard to all matters purely liturgical; so that they might have considered and reported such a revision as we have since seen actually accomplished in our General Convention of 1892. Such a revision could have been made under the terms of the resolution appointing this Committee. But there was probably no distinct purpose, or even serious thought, of making any important changes at that time. Nothing of the kind was proposed or spoken of, so far as we know, in the Council or in outside discussion. Indeed, the Council so emphasized the fact that no alterations had been made in the Prayer Book, except the change of two words, and those words such as had no essential doctrinal or liturgical significance, that we cannot avoid the conclusion that any proposition for real revision, however manifestly in the line of improvement, would have been all but unanimously rejected. At the same time the wisdom, which in so many ways shines out in the proceedings of that Council, was not wanting here. The wiser heads in that assembly knew that no forms of worship can for three hundred years express the devotions of a living Church, without, at the end of such a period, requiring some revision, and the admission of new forms and services, for the expression and cultivation of the spiritual life of the people. They therefore wisely introduced, at this critical time, the thought of amendments even to their precious Prayer Book, that, becoming accustomed to the prospect of needed changes, the mind of the Church might be adjusting itself to the thought, and thereby be the better prepared to undertake the work when the fitting season should have come. We have no reason to suppose that the Committee entered upon the serious consideration of any alterations in the Book of Common Prayer. The only suggestion of any important alteration at this time came from the Diocese of Alabama, and is significant of the times. [In the Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina it was proposed, in 1863, to add the words "Governor of this State" after "President of the Confederate States" in the Prayer for those in Civil Authority.] The special trials which Alabama and its Bishop had to endure at the end of the War will be mentioned hereafter. Bishop Wilmer, in his Convention Address of 1864, "with something of prophetic ken," advocated a change in the Prayer for those in Civil Authority. He says: "I have long entertained the opinion, and on suitable occasions have expressed it, that the regular and ordinary forms of public worship should be so entirely catholic in character, as to be adapted to all the exigencies of time, place, and circumstance. It seems to me most undesirable and unnecessary, to say the least, that the Book of Common Prayer should undergo a revision and reprint upon the occasion of every political revolution. The phraseology of the prayer for our Rulers, now in use, has given needless occasion of offence, even in time of high party excitement. The preface to the Book of Common Prayer declares, that, 'in the prayers for our civil rulers, the principal care was, to make them conformable to what ought to be the proper end of all such prayers, namely, that Rulers may have grace, wisdom, and understanding, to execute justice and to maintain truth, and that the people may lead quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty,'--a phraseology, in my judgment, at once ample, minute and catholic. If such a form of prayer were introduced into the Service, it would always be appropriate, and we should be spared the necessity of changing our worship with every change in the political world around us. Should this Council entertain the same opinions with myself, it would be competent for us to instruct our delegates to the next General Council to propose and vote for such a change as I have proposed."
The Diocesan Council of Alabama took up the subject thus suggested by the Bishop, and passed a resolution approving of the proposed change in the prayer; but declared that it was not expedient at that time to instruct their delegates on the subject.
Though no movement was made towards immediate revision of the Prayer Book, the Committee do seem to have considered the revision and improvement of the Hymnody and Psalmody of the Church. We learn from a notice published in The Church Intelligencer of October 5, 1864, and signed by the Rev. Thomas F. Davis, Jr., a son of Bishop Davis, probably acting as secretary of the Committee, that Bishop Lay had been requested to make a report to a meeting of the Committee, appointed for December following, on the "Hymnology" of the Church, and that to that end he desired to receive, from all persons interested, suggestions, criticisms, and information, such as might in any manner assist him in the proper fulfilment of the duty assigned to him. From the same source we learn also that Bishop Green was chairman of a like "sub-committee having charge of our peculiar Psalmology," and that he was desirous of obtaining, for the use of his sub-committee, copies of "paraphrases and metrical versions of the Psalms, specially those of Chas. Wesley, Lyte, Bishop Mant, and Archdeacon Churton."
In the event it proved that no sufficient time or leisure was allowed for the development and accomplishment of those schemes for improving the worship of the Church, or for its better adaptation to changing conditions and necessities. But it is interesting to observe how, in several matters, and those of no slight moment, these schemes and efforts anticipated the action of the reunited Church in the years which have elapsed since the close of the War. And perhaps they are even more interesting and important as showing how the Church in the South kept a true sense of proportion in her life and work, and was by divine grace enabled to preserve the spirit of love and devotion. The din of war did not dull her ears to the heavenly harmonies of prayer and praise. It is a noble sight to look upon--Bishop Green, with his Diocese desolated by war, overrun by contending armies, and his own delicate frame taxed beyond endurance by incessant pastoral labors; and Bishop Lay, driven from his Diocese, and once and again arrested and imprisoned, not even upon a false charge, but confessedly upon no charge at all of misdoing, but simply as means of terrifying others,--to see these two saintly men, amid these sad and distracting surroundings, setting themselves to study with renewed care and diligence the Psalms of David and the great hymns of the Christian Church, that thereby they might help God's people to a nearer sense of His presence and power, and a deeper trust in His love and goodness. It is like Paul and Silas praying and singing praises to God out of the darkness of their Philippian prison!
But the work of Bishops and of Councils, and even the faithful ministrations of the Church to the soldiers, and its anxious care and labor for the spiritual welfare of the slaves, were only a small part of its life and work during those four years of heroic struggle. The greatest and best things in life can never be adequately preserved and portrayed. They can only be experienced and, perhaps, remembered. The burden and difficulty of maintaining the ordinary routine work of the Church in the South were greatly increased, and too often that work was wholly destroyed in its visible aspect, by the War. In the first months of the opening conflict the violence of political and sectional feeling, and the fierceness of the martial spirit, produced a state of popular feeling adverse to religious sentiment and unresponsive to religious appeals. The urgency of the temporal necessity, and the appeal to physical force, weakened the moral sense and dulled the apprehension of spiritual truth. Bishop Gregg, in his Pastoral Letter of December 27, 1861, thus refers to the secularizing influence of absorbing political interests: "Things present and things to come are equally unavailing to stem the tide. The Christian's heart is taken captive, his love for Christ* grows cold, prayer dies away, religious zeal abates, spiritual realities cease to affect him, and lukewarmness is the present effect, as spiritual death may be the final result." Bishop Otey's words of like import have already been quoted.
This condition of the public mind, however, soon passed away with the increasing experience of the tremendous character of the conflict, and of its demands upon the courage and patience of the people. The ministrations of the Church, when the South had settled down to the real strain of the struggle, were more effective and more fully appreciated than ever before. For example, we read in a news-item in the Church Intelligencer of September 14, 1864, referring to the Journal of the Diocesan Convention of Georgia: "Under the blessing of God the progress of the Church has been wonderful, and the liberality of the people without stint. In the Bishop's visitations every where he seems to have been received into communities where the Church is hardly known, with open arms. Places suitable for service were provided, children and adults baptized, and numbers confirmed. But a few years ago, Georgia seemed a cold and barren soil for the plantation and growth of the Church. Now it appears that the seed sown after all was not on unpropitious soil." While in many sections the ministrations of the Church were thus increasingly effective, large areas of country and large numbers of the population came, in one way and another, as the War went on, to be cut off and rendered inaccessible. The occupation of parts of the country by hostile forces, the passing and repassing of contending armies, the absence of almost the entire white male population in the army, and the consequent removal of their families from such regions as were exposed to the occupation, or the devastating raids of the enemy, so depopulated the country, or so weakened and demoralized its diminished population, that parishes were broken up, the clergy left without support, and the ministrations of the Church in too many cases wholly abandoned. Often the clergyman, whose flock was thus scattered and his work destroyed, had an unprotected family, whom he could not leave, to take a chaplaincy in the army at a stipend insufficient even for his own expenses, nor, in the general interruption of communications, could he find another parish, in the impoverished condition of the country, able to afford a refuge and maintenance for his wife and children. Bishop Davis refers to such conditions as existing to a considerable extent in the rich and populous coast counties of his Diocese, where the Church had been strongest and most amply supplied, but which now were either occupied by the enemy, or exposed to constant apprehensions of danger, from the fleets of the United States, never long absent from that coast. Bishop Green says in his Convention Address of 1863, before Mississippi had come to its worst experiences of war, that of his thirty-seven clergymen "not more than two thirds of them are actively and efficiently engaged in parochial labor." Where these unfavorable conditions did not prevail, those clergymen who were not possessed of some private fortune began, after the first year of the War, to endure a heavy burden of anxiety and of difficulty in providing even the most meagre support for their families. The cost of living went up so rapidly, by the double influence of a diminishing supply and a depreciating currency, that the most ample salary, promised at the beginning of the year, proved wholly insufficient long before it had been paid. It is a curious experience, of all such times of financial disorder and a fluctuating currency, that men's ideas have become so fixed upon names and the mere denominations of money, that it is difficult for them to remember, so as truly to realize, the fact that money is merely a medium of exchange, and has a relative value only--is worth only what it will purchase. A dollar somehow seems really to be a dollar, and to have an intrinsic worth, when it has long ceased to command in exchange that which gave it value. In the worst times of depreciated Confederate money five thousand dollars, to the mind of the man not in business and not accustomed to frequent financial transaction, seemed a very large salary; so large in fact that very few clergymen, except those having the chief parishes in the very few large Southern cities, ever received so much; yet that sum, after the first two years of the War, was wholly inadequate for the most frugal support of the average family. Even a rich congregation could with difficulty keep the salary of the rector up to his living expenses, for it was impossible to estimate expenses even three months ahead. Happy was that rector who had among his parishioners prosperous planters and farmers who could make their contributions towards his support in corn and wood, pork and potatoes.
In September, 1864, the Richmond Sentinel, in a striking editorial article, propounded the question: "How can Pastors live?" It then proceeded to give some figures in elucidation of the question it had raised, taking as a basis for calculation a family of six persons, man and wife, two children, and two servants; and allowing the meagre half-ration served out to the Confederate soldier as the measure of the necessary food supply. This is the calculation given:
400 lbs. bacon at $5, $2000
4 bbls. flour at $150, $600
20 bush. corn meal at $20, $400
32 loads of wood at $25, $800
20 lbs. lard, at $5, $100
10 lbs. tallow, for lights at $ 5, $2000
6 pairs of shoes $850
House Rent $400
Hire of two servants $250
Taxes, and Salt--say-- $50
The writer states that the prices given above are lower than the prices then prevailing in some parts of the country; and it will be noticed that nothing is allowed for milk, butter, eggs, sugar, molasses, fresh meats, vegetables, fruit, or poultry; and that one pair of shoes for each member of the family is all that this estimate allows in the way of clothing. The editor very pertinently proceeds: "Can any reasonable man think such a question out of place in a secular journal? No men render the country more important service at all times; and during this fearful struggle, who have so powerfully upheld everything that was good? How unrequited their services have commonly been, is better known than practically regarded. Does it not, then, become every good patriot--saying nothing of the Christian--to take up this question now in its proper bearing,--'How can your Pastor live?"'
As one answer to his question the editor states that the members of the Second Presbyterian Church, of Richmond, had just presented to their pastor, the eminent and beloved Dr. Moses D. Hoge, the sum of twelve thousand dollars in addition to his regular salary. We learn from another source that, much about this same time, "certain laymen of the Diocese of South Carolina have presented Bishop Davis with a purse of ten thousand dollars, to provide better for his comfort in these times of cheap money and dear living." The Diocesan Convention of Alabama, this same year 1864, passed a resolution: "That in consideration of the advanced prices of living, the parishes be invited to make voluntary contributions to the support of the Bishop, and forward the same to him, when practicable, in such manner as they shall deem most expedient." The want and suffering which must have been endured by many of the clergy and their families in small and obscure parishes could hardly be more forcibly suggested to the judicious mind than by these extraordinary methods adopted in the case of those most favorably situated and least exposed to want. [Bishop Gregg, in his Convention Address in 1864, expresses his gratitude to his people for voluntary contributions made to his support in addition to his salary. The following entry is copied from Bishop Lay's MS. Journal: "Arkadelphia, Arkansas, May 3, 1863. "Preached on the text, 'Is it a time to receive money?' A pair of boots, a barrel of sugar, and $290 given me here."]
Upon his Diocesan Convention of May 5, 1864, the Bishop of Alabama urged the imperative duty of establishing Homes for the widows and orphaned children of the State. The Convention endorsed the suggestion, and requested the Bishop to take upon himself the authority of establishing such Homes. It was proposed to have, not one great institution, but a number of small Homes in different parts of the Diocese. In The Church Intelligencer of December 7, 1864, Bishop Wilmer published a statement of his plans and purposes, and claimed the support of his people. The Diocese of Alabama through its Bishop had established an order of Deaconesses under whom this extensive work was to be carried on. These good women, devoting themselves to works of piety and charity, were divided into three classes, Deaconesses and Associates, who were to reside in one or other of the permanent Chapter Houses, and Probationers, who were not required to do so. They were all to serve without fee or reward, receiving only their necessary support from the order, and anything given them was to go into a common fund. "From these several classes persons will be detailed to act as matrons and assistants in Church Homes; as nurses in Hospitals; as teachers; and to serve in any capacity or place, where it may be thought advisable or necessary." This very extensive and admirable scheme was carried out only partially. The collapse of 1865 checked it almost in its birth; but the order of Deaconesses remains one of the institutions of the Diocese.
The trials of those days were not without blessed results in the lives of both clergy and people, "who were exercised thereby." Common struggle, common suffering, and common poverty bore sweet fruits of mutual sympathy, helpfulness, and love; and never was there a fuller and freer hospitality, a more generous response to the necessity of friend and neighbor, and of the stranger, especially if he were a soldier, whom chance or the fortune of war brought to the door. The traditions of the War are cherished in the South, not merely in honor of our noble dead, but because of their many precious and helpful memories of mutual kindness, sympathy, and affection, growing out of the common trials and tribulations of those strenuous days. There was war without, but there was peace and good-will within our borders.
And there was no secularizing of the Church or of the clergy. It is true that a few clergymen entered the army, as Bishop Polk, and the Rev. William N. Pendleton, who served with distinction as colonel, and chief of artillery, and rose to the rank of brigadier general. But the common mind and heart of the Church were not affected by these exceptional cases.
Bishop Polk's known deeply religious character, his high-minded yet simple-hearted devotion and spirituality, manifest to all who came in contact with him, the burden which lay upon his heart, and his undoubted sincerity in desiring to be released from the obligations of military service, seemed to set his case apart, and to emphasize its wholly exceptional character. And there were not wanting those who, seeing the wonderful religious influence exerted by him in the army, and especially among the highest officers who were in any way associated with him, felt that his military service had been providentially blessed, and used in the work of extending the Kingdom of Christ.
The clergy throughout the South were enthusiastically loyal to the cause of the Confederacy, and none more so than those who had come from the North, as many of our most distinguished clergymen had come. But, though loyal in heart and mind to the Southern cause, they were seldom guilty of forgetting their duty as ministers of Christ. They stood in their place; they ministered about holy things; and they realized their function in binding up the wounds and allaying the fever of strife. The note sounded out in the heated days of 1861, that political preaching must be eschewed, and that the clergy must give a spiritual application to secular events, and so keep themselves within their proper sphere--that continued to be the note which the Church gave out through all the long months and years of strife. Thus in May, 1863, the Committee on the State of the Church in the Virginia Diocesan Council: "To our ministers, especially in this crisis, we would say--What is wanted is not sermons on the times and the war and the objects of our country's hopes. We need not preach to the soldiers about war and camp and battles; they hear and think enough of that without our help. What they want and expect of us as ministers of Christ, is just the glad tidings of salvation, just the eternal message of grace and love to perishing sinners." Those whose memory retains the impression made by the pastoral ministrations of those days can never forget with what power the appeal of the Gospel message, in the ordinary services of the Church, was emphasized by the great experiences, the victories, the defeats, the sufferings and bereavements, of the time. In all the special prayers put forth by the Bishops there was a note of humility and penitence. I do not remember a phrase of offensive hostility in reference to the public enemy, more than a petition that the plans of the invader might be confounded, and that he might be repelled from our borders, or some equivalent expression. And what a solemn warning the words of the old prophet seemed to have for us in the fast-day text of the preacher, when he spoke to us from these, or such like, words: "For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still!"
The Southern Bishops, in their Pastorals and Convention addresses, did not fail to warn their people against the temptation to entertain feelings of malice and hatred against the enemies and invaders of their country. The Bishop of Mississippi was a man of tender sensibilities, and of an emotional temperament, whose feelings were not kept under restraint by that massive and masterful quality of character, which in such a man as Bishop Atkinson, for example, seemed to make any ebullition of feeling or of temper all but impossible to imagine. And Bishop Green's Convention addresses show many evidences of the keenness of the pain he endured in speaking of the experiences of his pastoral work. It is, on that account, all the more impressive to read his words to his Convention of 1861: "Let us not, in the fervor of our patriotism, forget that we are Christian men, and yield to feelings of hatred and revenge, more than a true love of country calls for at our hands.... Dreadful as is the spirit of this unnatural struggle, it may yet be driven out by prayer and fasting.... Let us suppress all bitterness and wrath towards others, and all envyings and jealousies among ourselves." And again in 1863, after a pathetic account of the ruin, desolation, spoliation, and destitution of the people, with the frustration of all good works, in certain parts of his Diocese, he hastens to add: "Let us also take heed, beloved brethren, how we suffer these unjustifiable acts of our enemy to betray us into a spirit of revenge and indiscriminate reprobation of a people so lately united to us in fraternal bonds, and among whom there are at this moment no doubt thousands who feel for us a sympathy they dare not express." Another interesting passage in Bishop Green's Lenten Pastoral, dated February 22, 1862, anticipates the comparatively recent recommendation of one of our Missionary Councils in regard to the general observance of the noontide prayer. He says: "Let each minister of God open his church daily, and use the Litany, together with such of our Collects and Prayers as our most pressing wants require. And let those who may be providentially hindered from thus making their common supplications before God, seek Him in the retired chambers of their dwellings. And, that our petitions may go up unitedly before Him, let me further recommend that the Hour of twelve each day be observed for that purpose, until Peace be restored to our borders. When God shall thus see a people on their knees, He will not be long in hearing their cry."
Little as our people in general may have been able to attain to this benign and patient spirit, in the fierce hurry and strain of the deepening conflict, they were proud of their saintly Bishops, and loved and respected them all the more, because they thus warned them, and set before them their sins.
Not that the Southern Bishops and clergy, more than other men, were perfect, or wholly superior to the human feelings naturally engendered by the experiences through which they were passing. Now and again natural feeling breaks out, and sectional or party prejudice may color a sermon or a prayer. The eloquent Bishop of Georgia was at times moved to set before his people the grounds upon which the South had separated from the North; or in his pathetic and indignant outburst of feeling, in his funeral oration over the dead body of his friend and brother, the Bishop of Louisiana, he might seem to forget the self-restraint of the Christian philosopher in the fiery ardor of the patriot and the loving sorrow of the friend; as did others of lesser note upon less provocation. But such cases were exceptional, and served but to emphasize the general tone of humility, reverence, and godly sincerity, in which the clergy of the Church called upon their people to repent of their sins, both personal and public, and to see in the sufferings and bereavements of the hour wholesome disciplines and corrections for their profit, and for the ultimate good of their country.
It must not be supposed, however, that the Church or the clergy pleased themselves with any complacent dreams of their own goodness. The deep sense of unworthiness, characteristic of the religious feeling of the time, is the chief evidence of a real power working in the mind and heart; and both in sermons and in the religious press are found constant warnings against the dangers and increasing evils of the hour. But it is noticeable that while vice and intemperance and profanity and malice are rebuked, there is no assertion, or other evidence, that these sins were increasing. On the contrary, from time to time appear evidences and testimonies, both direct and incidental, that in those particulars there was a manifest improvement general throughout the country, and especially among the soldiers. The sins complained of, and the chief objects of attack by preachers and religious writers, were the sins of greed, covetousness, extortion, and disregard of the sanctity of the Lord's Day. In the last case the complaint was mainly directed against the Confederate government for violating the Sunday rest in connection with the public business. Bishops preached against speculation in the necessaries of life, against extortion, and against the inordinate thirst for riches, manifest in such practices. Certainly such sins needed to be preached against; yet it is quite certain also that it was the unavoidable conditions of war, and scarcity, and a depreciating currency, which were the real evils. The apparent increase in the practices complained of was an unavoidable incident of those conditions, and did not indicate moral deterioration in the people.
Beyond all question there was a distinct and general development of religious feeling and principle produced in the South by the War. [Bishop Gregg, whose striking testimony upon the demoralizing influence of the War spirit in 1861 is quoted on a former page, remarks later upon the opposite effects upon the public mind as the struggle continued. In his Convention Address in 1864 he says: "The course of events during the war, with its impressive teachings, has deeply affected the hearts of the great mass of our people.... The greater number have been taught by His providential dealings, or by His chastenings, to recognize, and think more devoutly, of Him Who ruleth over all."] Its leaders, both civil and military, were, as a rule, distinctly religious men. We have seen something of this in connection with the work of the Church in the army. The same was, in a measure, the case among the statesmen of the Confederacy. The trials, vicissitudes, burdens, and bereavements of a war, in which all material forces were against us, served to bring the personal qualities of the leading men into greater prominence. The formal utterances of state papers and proclamations took a tone of reality, and touched a chord of responsive sentiment, in the strain of a life and death struggle against overwhelming odds, such as cannot be known in times of lesser stress. The word passed from mouth to mouth, in a country so closely knit together in personal knowledge and association as was the South in those days, that such a Colonel, eminent for his courage and achievements, had a few Sundays before been baptized in front of his regiment; and the story brought home, by the soldier on furlough, of the piety of his General,--these things powerfully affected the public sentiment of a people, who began to see little hope of success in mere material forces. They saw in these things the presence of a higher power. We read in the Convention address of a Southern Bishop in 1863: "I cannot refrain from expressing my thankfulness to Almighty God, the Ruler of Nations, for having raised up for us in the hour of our need a Chief Magistrate as manly in piety as he is sage in council and valorous in arms. Among the many omens which have cheered our people in their unequal struggle, none has so affected the heart of your Bishop as the intelligence that our worthy President had openly professed his faith in Christ, and laid himself with all his honors at His feet." This refers, of course, to the confirmation of President Davis in St. Paul's Church, Richmond. The consistent purity and high-minded integrity of Mr. Davis's whole life made this simple act of Christian duty on his part a powerful testimony to the people over whom he had been called to preside. It had been remarked that he closed his Inaugural Address with a simple and devout appeal to the Heavenly Father: "To Thee, O God, I trustfully commit myself, and prayerfully invoke Thy blessing on my country and its cause." An illustration of this same spirit may be given, taken from later and darker days. In appointing November 16, 1864, as a day of public worship and supplication, he invites "The people of these Confederate States to assemble in their respective places of public worship, there to unite in prayer to our Heavenly Father, that He bestow His favor upon us; that He extend over us the protection of His almighty arm; that He sanctify His chastisement to our improvement, so that we may turn away from evil paths, and walk righteously in His sight; and that He may restore peace to our beloved country, healing its bleeding wounds, and securing to us the continued enjoyment of our own right of self-government and independence; and that He will graciously hearken to us, while we ascribe to Him the power and glory of our deliverance."
Churchmen in the South, with the people in general, felt much satisfaction in the formal recognition of the Person and government of God, contained in the Constitution of the Confederate States; and held it to be one of the very great improvements in that document, as compared with the Constitution of the United States. Unquestionably there was an increased thought of, and trust in, the divine power, as all other sources of help seemed cut off. Thus were our people providentially strengthened in faith and patience, that they might bear the greater loads of sorrow and suffering which the future held in store.
One of the greatest difficulties encountered by the Confederate government was in providing for the proper care of the sick and wounded soldiers. Proper provision, in any adequate sense, the government was never able to make; and in the first stages of the conflict it might almost be said that no provision at all, in many cases, could be made by the public authorities. Private beneficence came to the aid of the destitute medical department, and all during the war individual charity did what it could to supply the deficiencies of the service, and to supplement official care. In the language of a distinguished officer from the Carolinas, who served throughout the war in Lee's army, "Every house in Virginia was a hospital," so unstinted was the response of the people to the demands made by the necessities of the suffering soldiers. In the Church papers of the day are appeals from the surgeons of the army to the people for contributions from their scanty and fast-diminishing household stores, to supply the hastily extemporized hospitals with such necessary articles and remedies as they might possess; and seldom were such appeals unheeded.
As an illustration of the methods of those days, the case of the sick and wounded soldiers, captured at Newbern in the spring of 1862, may be mentioned. The Federal commander, shortly after taking possession of Newbern, put the sick and wounded Confederate soldiers, whom he found in the hospital, on a steamboat, and sent them around by the Pamlico river to Washington, N. C, and so up the river to Tarborough, and delivered them under parole to the Confederate authorities. With them were a Confederate surgeon, and a distinguished physician of Tarborough, who had volunteered his services in the Newbern hospital. [Surgeon Wm. A. Blount and the late Dr. N. J. Pittman.] There was in Tarborough no hospital building; there were no hospital stores, medicines, surgical appliances, or provisions of any kind for the reception and care of the sick and wounded, more than could be found in any other small country town of that day in the South. In this emergency a large academy building was taken for a hospital, and one soldier patient was assigned to each family in the town, or, in the case of a few of the more opulent, two patients to a family. The family, to whom the patient was assigned, undertook to supply him with such things as he needed, bedding, clothing, and food prepared and sent to the hospital three times daily, under the direction of the surgeons in charge. Thus the immediate necessity was met, and the hospital supplied, after a fashion.
In this work of caring for the sick and wounded the Church found an unlimited and increasing demand upon the hearts and hands of its clergy and people. No reckoning can ever be made in this world of the blessed work of noble women and pious laymen in this field. In the region of actual hostilities, personal service among the wounded and dying in the hospitals formed a large part of the regular pastoral work of the clergy. In places distant from field and hospital, the people organized for systematic contributions of money and supplies. As early as August, 1861, the Bishop of Georgia issued a Pastoral to his Diocese, foreseeing the necessity, and urging the formation, in every parish, of an organization to work systematically for a supply of clothing for the soldiers; to prepare hospital supplies, such as bandages, lint, and the like, to be laid up against the time of need; to raise money to purchase medicines; and to secure fit persons to volunteer as nurses in the hospitals. The clergyman of each parish was requested to assume the direction of this work, selecting a suitable layman of the parish to serve as secretary and treasurer of the local organization. We do not know to what extent this was carried into effect. In the spring of 1862 the Rev. Benjamin M. Miller, of Natchez, resigned his parish, and organized the "Female Hospital Aid Society," to work under his direction in the hospitals. "They expect to go to the hospitals nearest the army, so as to be ready, in case of a battle, to minister, as far as they can, to those who may require such aid." A few weeks later we read in Bishop Green's Convention address of 1862: "Rev. Benjamin M. Miller is, for the present, engaged in the praiseworthy occupation of succoring our wounded soldiers. Attended by a faithful, self-denying band of Sisters-in-Christ, he is ministering to both the bodily and spiritual needs of these brave men who lately suffered for us on the field of Shiloh."
In 1863 we find Bishop Lay recording in his private journal, how in Little Rock he met the ladies (probably of the community in general), and organized them, fifty-five in number, into four committees, each under its proper leader, for service in the four hospitals in Little Rock, which then contained four hundred and fifty patients. He mentions the distribution by these ladies of five hundred "bed comforts" to the patients in these hospitals. A few days later he notes the fact that the church had been dismantled, and given up for a hospital, and says that he had given all his "carpets to cover the sick." In the absence of a sufficient supply of blankets, woollen carpets were often cut up to make coverings for the soldiers, in the field as well as in the hospitals.
And among the heavy burdens of those days not the least was the thought of sons and husbands and fathers, and brothers and friends, languishing in distant prisons, at Point Lookout, at Johnson's Island, and the other military prisons of the North. The petition in the Litany, for "all prisoners and captives," came then to have its first real meaning for many worshippers in the Church service. The policy of the Federal government refused all exchange of prisoners for long periods, and thereby deliberately subjected their own soldiers, held prisoners in the South, to those conditions of want and suffering and disease, which the Confederate authorities were absolutely helpless to prevent. And, as bearing upon the condition and treatment of prisoners of War in the North and in the South, it should be remembered that statistics, published by the government since the War, show that the percentage of mortality was very much greater among the Southern prisoners in the North than among the Northern prisoners in the South. Among the special prayers put forth during the War, not the least impressive and affecting is one by the Bishop of North Carolina: "For our Soldiers now held Prisoners by the Enemy."
A correspondent of The Church Intelligencer, from Danville, Va., in January, 1864, gives an interesting account of a service held in the Danville hospital for Federal prisoners, filled with the sick and wounded, by two Confederate chaplains, the Rev. James Carmichael and the Rev. Alfred M. Randolph, now Bishop of Southern Virginia. The service was attended also by citizens of Danville, and by some Confederate soldiers. The writer says: "A cloud of dark blue extending down the ward. ... A few of our soldiers entered the room, and quietly took their seats, the Federals making room for them, dotting the dark blue here and there with gray. Together we sang and knelt and prayed, friend and foe, refugee and prisoner,... and heard the love and liberty of the Gospel proclaimed. In front of me sat a Federal bathed in tears; behind me sat a Confederate similarly affected; thoughts of the past and of the present rushed over me in overwhelming tide. God grant that such scenes may dispose us to an honorable and peaceful separation." The following lines, appearing in the newspapers of that day, and signed with the pen-name, Personne, of a distinguished correspondent of the Charleston press, have at least one element of true poetry; they speak out of the very heart of those days, and of their deepest experiences. [P. G. DeFontaine.]
Fold away all your bright-tinted dresses,
Turn the key on your jewels today,
And the wealth of your tendril-like tresses
Braid back in a serious way;
No more delicate gloves, no more laces,
No more trifling in boudoir or bower.
But come, with your souls in your faces,
To meet the stem wants of the hour.
Look around. By the torch light unsteady
The dead and the dying seem one.
What! trembling and paling already,
Before your dear mission's begun?
These wounds are more precious than ghastly;
Time presses her lips to each scar,
While she chants of the glory which vastly
Transcends all the horrors of war.
Pause here by this bed-side. How mellow
The light showers down on that brow!
Such a brave, brawny visage! Poor fellow!
Some homestead is missing him now:
Some wife shades her eyes in the clearing;
Some mother sits moaning, distressed;
While the loved one lies, faint but unfearing,
With the enemy's ball in his breast.
Pass on; it is useless to linger,
While others are claiming your care.
There is need for your delicate finger.
For your womanly sympathy, there;
There are sick ones athirst for caressing,
There are dying ones raving of home,
There are wounds to be bound with a blessing.
And shrouds to make ready for some.
They have gathered about you the harvest
Of death in its ghastliest view;
The nearest as well as the farthest,
Is here, with the traitor and true.
And crowned with your beautiful patience,
Made sunny with love at the heart,
You must balsam the wounds of a nation,
Nor falter nor shrink from your part.
Up and down through the wards, where the fever
Stalks noisome, and gaunt, and impure.
You must go with your steadfast endeavor
To comfort, to counsel, to cure.
I grant that the task's superhuman,
But strength will be given to you
To do for these dear ones what woman
Alone in her pity can do.
And the lips of the mothers will bless you,
As angels sweet-visaged and pale!
And the little ones run to caress you,
And the wives and sisters cry, "Hail!"
But e'en if you drop down unheeded;
What matter? God's ways are the best.
You have poured out your life where 'twas needed,
And He will take care of the rest.