Those American R’s. Rule, Ruin, Restoration. [Inscribed]
A new altered South…
Inscribed to a “Miss Ella Hall” and signed and dated in the year of publication by the author. Scarce, thus.
A curious Reconstruction novel. The story is set in Georgia or North Carolina, near an early Moravian settlement. The novel opens just before the American Civil War when “...them blasted fellers that are tryin’ to ruin the country by either drivin’ us out of the Union or stealin’ our ni[***]rs, got the upper hand up North and fixed things for Abe Lincoln’s election.” (p)
The book’s themes include the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the Confederacy and “the Ku Klux [Klan] and supposed Ku Klux outrages.” Discussions of politics permeates the novel—Radicals (Republicans) and Democrats—and the clash of the old South and the new South. Beginning on page 292 there are a pair of two-column printings of a “Democratic Party Platform” and a “Republican Party Platform” with their official platforms on the left and their “real” platforms on the left.
While not an “alternative historical” novel of Reconstruction, names and places have been changed to present a tale of a new altered South. Of the next generation of Southerners, the author writes: “in their veins courses the blood of North and South, which, united in their persons, made them the worthy children of the New Republic. ”(p335)
Authorship has been attributed to Charles Oscar Beasley who writes here as “One Who Has Been R’d” —presumably one who has been ruled, ruined, and restored. Beasley was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. In the Department of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy he co-wrote a prize-winning essay on “Pessimism.”¹
Description: Those American R’s. Rule, Ruin, Restoration. [Inscribed]
Philadelphia: Edward E. Wensley & Co., 1882. Frontis., v, , –335 pages. First Edition. Terra cotta cloth blocked in blind and gilt. Foxing and spotting to fore-edge and several leaves foxed in margins; trifle wear to boards and heel of spine; a very good copy.
Wright III:432. Note. 1. The Penn Monthly, July 1882, (Philadelphia), p58.