Rhett on Spiritual Responsibility & Paternalism

The Father of South Nationalism, Robert Barnwell Rhett of South Carolina, consistently applied the paternalistic values of the neo-classical plantation civilization (often in that day referred to as the “Golden Circle”) in his role as a planter and father. As Dr. William C. Davis of Virginia Tech, author of Rhett: The Turbulent Life and Times of a Fire-Eater, notes, as Rhett aquired more slaves for his plantations “he took all the more seriously his responsibility to care for them physically and spiritually.” This included protecting his dependents from abuse and speaking up for others. ”

On at least one occasion he personally stopped an enraged master from brutally flogging a slave,” Davis points out. Rhett also bought bacon and other luxuries for his slaves whenever he had the extra money to do so. And on his plantations, “he insisted that his overseer carefully record all clothing, blankets, fabric, and even needles and thread given to the slaves there to ensure that they received what they needed.” The picture that emerges from Davis’ authoritative biography of the US Senator, secessionist and later Confederate congressman is of a benevolent and caring master who was diligent in his role as a father figure to those in his charge.

Rhett, a practicing traditionalist Episcopalian, was also serious about spiritual instruction for his slaves. In his approach he shared much in common with Leonidas Polk, a leading Episcopal bishop and later Confederate general. As Dr. Glenn Robins of Georgia Southwestern State University writes in his book The Bishop of the Old South: The Ministry and Civil War Legacy of Leonidas Polk, the first Episcopal bishop of Louisiana and owner of more than 200 slaves was “aggressive in his defense of slavery when abolitionists assailed the South as an immoral society and denounced the region’s replates as puppets of a slaveocracy. In this regard, the bishop joined other Southern evangelicals who viewed abolitionists as demagogues and political extremists who ignored the basic doctrines of Christianity, disregarded the biblical justification of slavery, and promoted dissension in churches and denominations by calling into question the Christian faithfulness of slaveholders.” Polk wrote that “the world is trying hard to persuade us that a slaveholding people cannot be a people of high moral and intellectual culture.” He fought this view by “evangelizing slaves” and with “fearless preaching amidst a rowdy mob on the river docks of Shreveport,” as Dr. Cheryl H. White noted in “Bishop Leonidas Polk: Saint of the Confederacy?” for the Winter 2014-2015 edition of Renewal, a publication of the Secker Society.

Like Polk, Rhett was enthusiastic about Christianizing and providing moral and spiritual leadership for his slaves. Davis notes that in 1845 he and his brother “attended a meeting of the Episcopal diocese of South Carolina from which came the declaration that it should be the fixed policy and responsibility of the South to give proper spiritual instruction for its slaves.” He assisted a leading Methodist minister who focused on preaching to slaves and “built a large church on one of his plantations for the slaves from all the neighborhood to attend.” Rhett and his family frequently attended this church themselves. The Southern nationalist leader was never a cash-rich man and often close to impoverishment despite his land wealth. His nephew later noted that his generous gifts to churches and charities contributed to this condition.

What emerges from research in this area is a picture of a ruling class of Southern planters and religious leaders who were serious about paternalism and their spiritual responsibility to their family, a concept on the plantation which extended to slaves as well as blood relations. Southern inequality and paternalism shaped by the neo-classical values of the Golden Circle provided a wholesome and Christian environment for vast numbers of Whites and slaves alike.

We can today look back upon this social model for inspiration in reforming the sprawling crime-ridden ghettos of the South. The egalitarian order imposed upon us by US radicals has destroyed the Black family, greatly harmed the White family, reduced the influence of the church and in general contributed to social discord, violence, poverty and immorality.

8 comments

  1. “We can today look back upon this social model for inspiration in reforming the sprawling crime-ridden ghettos of the South.”

    Makes sense to me. Could be quite profitable too.

  2. As I’ve always said, if you bought a 100,000 $ tractor to work your farm , your going to take care of it. Same way back then. Some people take care of their equipment and some don’t. Seems to me theirs a lot of farm equipment that could be put to good use!

  3. Rhett was blowhard cuck. Broad Street in Charleston was second only to Wall Street NYC in, you know, a certain (((kind))) of banking, and Rhett was a Broad Street swamp creature. He lent his name to opinion columns in the Post & Courier that were always bad policy for SC in order to gain per$onal benefit. Firebrand? Yeah. Bad actor? YES.

    You’ve even used (((Gene Genovese)))’s communist phase term, “paternalism,” which even Gene retracted when he and his wife converted to Catholicism and became conservative Republicans. Rhett keeps popping up as a red herring. Stop taking the bait.

    1. lol Yeah, a statesman who was pro-South, pro-White and against the Federal system was a “cuck.” That makes sense.

      And “paternalism” is a Jewish conspiracy, huh? Being a father-like figure to those under you and taking responsibility for the welfare of your community is cucky too, huh.

      What other great knowledge do you have to share with us?

      1. You deserve credit for bringing up Rhett. He’s was a certain kind of secessionist “fire-eater” that is a phase for all Southern Nationalists. But he’s a gateway drug.

        When you get into the nitty gritty, read private correspondences of Southern leaders, and then step back and take a look at the big picture, you see that Rhett was being played. In part as jared larson says below. But mostly, the fire-eaters were exploited by abolitionists as catalysts for war. Rhett and the fire-eaters were bumbling infighters during the War.

        The Southerners at Fort Pickens were smart enough not to fall for the emotional trick played at Fort Sumter by Lincoln on the same day. Rhett is partly to blame. That loser Beauregard was just appeasing the rabid sentiments set in motion in Charleston by Rhett.

        Never forget: John C. Calhoun disavowed Rhett. Read the Calhoun Papers, esp. during his final years in the late 1840s. Calhoun wasn’t cucking. He was trying to stop the hot heads from leading the South into a trap.

        My own family worked hard to undo the damage committed by Rhett and the fire-eaters at the Nashville Convention that Calhoun tried to prevent.

        So yeah. Rhett’s actions hurt the South, hurt our people, and enabled the worst elements in the federal government.

        The term “paternalism” has specific misuse regarding the study of the South. Just google Genovese and paternalism. This was the Civil Rights era Left’s system for deconstructing Southern racism. Planters cared for the blacks. Those evil, raping self-identified “fathers” duped the poor farmers of the South with a cheaper work force. Meh. It’s all bunk, as Frank Owsley proved in 1949 in Plain Folk of the Old South. In general, people like Calhoun, Hampton, and Lee were so loved by the South because they acted in unison with “farmers” and weren’t actually that far removed from them.

        Look, I know it’s fun to love a self-styled “fire-eater,” but you’d do well to read Calhoun.

    2. In large part I agree with you Alex.The Jews made huge fortures bring the wretched Blacks to White Christian areas and then later deflect the blame on all of us.I can see how 98% of Whites did not benefit from slavery but were made to bear its cost in money,blood,loss of all-White culture and ultimately the curse of race mixing today.Why should a handful of wealthy Whites feel themselves better than the rest of us?Why should our ancestors have fought for their wealth?Why should we honor those who brought not only the Black plague but the even more dangerous Jewish plague upon us.I could care less about whether the Blacks went to church,I say let them continue their voodoo.You can never separate their violent,primitive nature from them just because you wish it.I recently saw a clip of the all-Black Harvard graduation(isn’t this illegal?)and they were swaying and undulating just as the masses of Blacks do in Africa,they are just never going to be anything but primitive and dangerous animals.I love Stonewall Jackson because he was a fighter for Whites but also not a materialist who would sell out to Jews for a plantation house.