The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

IV. The New South: Lanier

§ 5. Jones

More typical both in opinions and in fervour was Charles Colcock Jones, Jr. (1831–93). Born in Savannah, he graduated from Princeton in 1852 and the Harvard Law School in 1855. His Southern convictions, however, still intact, were intensified by his service in the artillery of the Confederate States. When the guns were stilled by the surrender of Lee, he, like Johnston, joined that numerous caravan which, seeing no hope in its own section, sought fortune in other regions. New York and the practice of law were his goals. Although he remained North twelve years, he moved no jot nor tittle from his early point of view. On his return south in 1877 to a suburb of Augusta, Georgia, he became at once conspicuous for his devotion to the Lost Cause, and when he died in 1893, his body, wrapped in the flag of the Confederacy, was given a soldier’s burial.

The style and the spirit of his numerous public addresses may be seen in a single sentence taken from Sons of Confederate Veterans, delivered so late as 1891:

  • Under the absurd guise of a New South, flaunting the banners of utilitarianism,—lifting the standards of speculation and expediency,—elevating the colors whereon are emblazoned consolidation of wealth and centralization of government,—lowering the flag of intellectual, moral, and refined supremacy in the presence of the petty guidons of ignorance, personal ambition and diabolism,—supplanting the iron cross with the golden calf,—and crooking
  • “the pregnant hinges of the knee
  • Where thrift may follow fawning”
  • not a few there are who, ignoring the elevating influence of heroic impulses, manly endeavor, and virtuous sentiments, would fain convert this region into a money-worshiping domain; and, careless of the landmarks of the fathers, impatient of the restraints of a calm, enlightened, conservative civilization, viewing with indifferent eye the tokens of Confederate valor, and slighting the graves of Confederate dead, would counsel no oblation save at the shrine of Mammon.

    This turgid style was much admired for the magniloquent swing of the phrases and the unending procession of lofty and sectional notions. It so well comported with his tall, stately figure and Chesterfieldian manners that he employed it even in his history of the aboriginal, colonial, and Revolutionary epochs of Georgia. The book was the product of careful research in the records then available, so that Bancroft hailed the author as “the Macaulay of the South.” But he is a Macaulay muffled in a pompous dress. His Antiquities of the Southern Indians, Particularly of the Georgia Tribes, which appeared so early as 1873, along with many other monographs established his reputation as an archæologist. He was, indeed, the most fertile Southern author of the period. His publications number eighty, including fourteen books, ten pamphlets, twenty-two magazine articles, and twenty-nine addresses. His indefatigable industry demonstrated the energy and the diligence of the old order, yet his writings are characteristically aristocratic and grandiose when compared with the more scientific researches of later scholars like John Bell Henneman (1864–1908), whose voluminous editorial labours represent very well the activity of the new generation.