Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Specimens of Secessional School Books

This entry is from Vanity Fair, Volume 3, 1861, and it is an excerpt from an article called "Specimens of Secessional School Books:"
Vanity Fair having discovered a want is resolved to supply it. Our Seceding brethren want food for the young mind free from the abolition virus, and we have accordingly prepared a series of Geogrophies, Spelling-books, Grammars &c, in which every idea is a native of the Sunny South, and therefore appropriate to Southern Sonnies. Our caveat is entered with the excellent Jeff.

SOUTH CAROLINA. A vast empire, bounded on the North by the Arctic Ocean, East by Fort Sumter, South by the Tortugas, and West by the Pacific. The population is illimitable, the productions incalculable, its resources inexhaustible. The people are happy because the Better Half of themselves are slaves. Its Chivalry awes the World by valiant deeds; its navy defies the battle and the breeze.
Production – South Carolina produces chattels of every shade, to suit the taste of the purchaser.

Diseases – The prevailing disorders are violent Retches and Sicksession. A Dr. Jackson once invented a cure for these complaints.

Literature – The standard of literature is high. The Charleston Mercury, the journal of the western world, is renowned for the purity of its English and the elevation of its morals. Its circulation is enormous. It justly holds every man a traitor who does not steal from the U. S. Government.

The peculiarity of this work is its proper use of terms. For instance we say “the noun is the slave of the verb.” “The verb is the master of the accusative.” Great stress is laid on Passives and Supines. Obedience is taught in every line. . . .
Vanity Fair Cover from University of Michigan 's Online collection

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