The worthy are all of one race, gathered out of all nations,
peoples and tongues .--ISABELLA FYVIE MAYO
THE BLOOD RED RECORD.
A REVIEW OF THE
Horrible Lynchings and Burning of Negroes by Civilized White Men in the United States,
AS TAKEN FROM THE RECORDS.
WITH COMMENTS BY
JOHN EDWARD BRUCE,
GENERAL NEWSPAPER CORRESPONDENT.
I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just.
If you injure a harmless person, the evil will fall back upon you like light dust thrown against the Wind .
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Compliments of J.E. Bruce
An American newspaper, published in the city of New York, recently collated and published in its columns a list of Negroes who have been burned at the stake in this country, for crime, or alleged crime, and the showing made by the "civilized and christianized" white man in thus wreaking vengeance upon a race in a manner so brutal, and horrible, so revolting and cruel, is not creditable to either his civilization or his Christianity.
The American who can read this list without a blush of shame must be more blood-thirsty than an Apache Indian.
These Burned at the Stake
Among the Negroes who suffered the frightful death of being burned at the stake since 1893, were:
Henry Smith, in Paris, Texas, February 1, 1893.
Unknown Negro, in Paris, Texas, April 14, 1893.
Lou Tye, in Harlan county, Ky., March 3, 1894.
Echols, Crowley and Brooks, near Madison, Fla., May 19, 1895.
Henry Hillard, in Tyler, Texas, October 29, 1895.
Nathan Willis, in South Carolina, November 27, 1897.
William Street, in Doyline, La., June 3, 1898.
Richard Coleman, in Maysville, Ky., August 6, 1899.
"Joe" Leflore, in St. Ann's, Miss., October 21, 1899.
Preston Porter, Jr., in Limon, Col., November 17, 1900.
Winfield Townsend, in Eclectic, Ala., October 2, 1900.
Fred Alexander, in Leavenworth, Kan., January 15, 1901.
But this list does not complete the record, by any means. The crime of lynching runs back to the period of reconstruction and back beyond that to the earlier history of the Republic, tho' while in those earlier days it was not so general in practice, it was none the less barbarous, wicked and cruel. The burning of Negroes by white men is no new thing in America. A hundred years or more ago, the record shows that the brutal and barbarous instinct of some American white men differs in no particular from that of some white men of the present generation, who believe that they are justified in torturing Negro criminals, by burning them at the stake, after saturating them with oil to facilitate the deadly work of the devouring flames.
The inutility of laws for the punishment of crime; of courts for the enforcement of these laws, of court officers to execute the mandates of the law, was never more apparent than at the present time, in those communities where citizens sworn to respect and obey the laws, and all lawful authority, take into their own hands the execution, or punishment, of men who transgress the laws which the courts are established to punish.
It is indeed a sad commentary on the alleged spirit of fair play and love of justice which is the boast of the American white man, when 5,000 of them, as in the case of Preston Porter, the Negro youth who was tortured at Limon, Colorado, November 17, 1900, are required to put into execution a deed so diabolically brutal in conception and execution as that confessedly was. Does this argue that the white American is a moral coward, this gathering of them in such large numbers to murder one Negro? We use the word murder advisedly and because the execution of any human being for any crime, by his fellow men, without the sanction of the law, no matter what his crime, is nothing short of MURDER, and every man who participates in the execution of any other man, either by fire or the rope, who has not been tried for his offense by a jury of his peers, according to the forms of laws, is an accessory before the fact, no matter whether he is "a best citizen," or a common thug and bully.
If we had in this country no law courts, no judges sworn to do justice between man and man, to preserve the peace to protect society by the punishment of crime and criminals, there might be some justification for these outbursts of passion which culminate in the brutal, cowardly and vengeful deprivation of the lives of helpless Negroes, by methods which disgrace the Christian civilization of the "mightiest Republic on earth."
Or, if the laws were inadequate, or those charged with their execution and enforcement were derelict in the performance of their sworn duty, there would be some justification and reason for these periodical saturnalias of lawlessness and crime committed by those who are the more culpable because they are more respectable and intelligent than the hoi polloi --the riff-raff of both races in our social life. But none of these conditions obtain, particularly in the northern and western States of the Union.
Within the past twenty years, white men in the North have committed some of the most heinous and brutal crimes in the calendar of crimes, crimes that have aroused the just indignation of men of all races and all conditions of society. Yet no one has ever hinted or suggested that these criminals of the white race be lynched or burned alive. Is a white man who commits rape upon any woman, white or black, and murders her after accomplishing his diabolical purpose, less of a brute than a Negro, who does the same thing and is promptly roasted at the stake or lynched and his body riddled with bullets?
Is the American sense of justice so vitiated--contaminated with the miserable caste spirit--that it can so easily differentiate between the black criminal and the white criminal, so that it can wink at the burning and lynching of the Negro and insist upon a fair trial for the white man? Is this the American idea and conception of justice and fairness?
In the days when religious bigotry and intolerance were considered cardinal virtues, we have read how men of one religious sect persecuted another by burning thirty thousand at the stake in one day, and that Nero, the Emperor of Rome, where this barbarity occurred, fiddled, while that ancient city burned and while his brother men, some of whom were hung with their heads downward, groaned in agony and despair; of how men, women and children were thrown from high eminences upon wagons, whose bodies were filled with sharp, pointed spikes which pierced them through and destroyed their lives. But these barbarities occurred at a period in the world's history, when education was in its swaddling clothes, when books were rarer luxuries than they are now, when the Bible was not as it is now, common property, when the newspaper, the telegraph, steam cars, the telephone, and all the agencies and mediums which men now employ, to communicate with each other, were as far removed from the thought of the misguided and over-zealous men of that period as Tesla's idea that Mars is inhabited and that he can communicate with its inhabitants, is removed from the realms of truth and reason.
But for the purpose of comparison, let us inquire--in what do the methods of the bigots and barbarians of Nero's time, or of the time of the infamous Duke of Alva, differ from those employed by the bigots and barbarians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with a Christian President in office at Washington, with a population of more than 76,000,000 of people, claiming the highest civilization and the almost divine right to carry it to, and innoculate with it, the so-called heathen in the islands of the sea. Nero was a butcher and a murderer, so was the Duke of Alva. So were the five thousand or more men who chained Henry Hilliard, a Negro, to an iron stake at Tyler, Texas, October 29, 1895, and roasted him to a turn and then distributed what was left of him as mementoes of the occasion, to those who wanted these gruesome relics , as testimonials of their inhumanity to man. Well might Montgomery say:
Here dwells the Negro, nature's outcast child,
Scorned by his brethren, but his mother's eye,
That gazes from her warmest sky,
Sees in his flexile limbs, untutored grace,Power on his forehead, beauty in his face.
Sees in his breast where lawless passions rove,
The heart of friendship and the home of love.
Sees in his mind where desolation reigns,
Fierce as his clime, uncultured as his plains,
A soil where virtue's fairest flowers may shoot
And trees of science bend with glorious fruit.
Sees in his soul involved with thickest night,
An emanation of eternal light.
According to the Chicago Tribune, which kept a daily record of lynchings for the year 1900, 117 persons were lynched, of whom only eighteen were charged with rape--the only crime which white men at the South say for which Negroes are lynched. The Chicago Conservator, another influential newspaper, has rearranged the record given by the Tribune in the following order:
Charge of Murder.
January 9, Henry Giveney, Ripley, Tenn.
January 9, Roger Giveney, Ripley, Tenn.
March 11, Unknown Negro, Jennings, Neb.
March 24, Walter Cotton Emporia, Va.
March 27, William Edward, Deer Creek Bridge, Miss.
April 16, Moses York, near Tunica, Miss.
April 28, Mindee Chowgee, Marshall, Mo.
May 4, Marshall Jones, Douglas, Ga.
May 13, Alexander Whitney, Harlem, Ga.
May 14, William Willis, Grovetown, Ga.
May 14, Unknown Negro, Brooksville, Fla.
May 14, Unknown Negro, Brooksville, Fla.
May 22, Calvin Hilburn, Pueblo, Colorado.
June 10, Unknown Negro, Snead, Fla.
June 17, Nat Mullins, Earl, Ark.
June 21, Robert Davis, Mulberry, Fla.
July 12, John Jennings, Creswell, Ga.
July 26, Robert Charles, New Orleans, La.
September 11, Unknown Negro, Forest City, N.C.
September 11, Thomas J. Amos, Cheneyville, La.
September 7, Frank Brown, Tunica, Miss.
September 14, David Moore, Tunica, Miss.
September 14, William Brown, Tunica, Miss.
October 9, Wiley Johnson, Baton Rouge, La.
October 23, Gloster Barnes, near Vicksburg, Miss.
November 16, Preston Porter, Lymon, Col.
December 16, Bud Rowland, Rockford, Ind.
December 16, Thomas Henderson, Rockford, Ind.
December 19, Unknown Negro, Arcadia, Miss.
December 20,--Lewis, Gulf Port, Miss.
Plot to Kill Whites.
April 22, John Hughley, Allentown, Fla.
June 17, S.A. Jenkins, Searcy, Ark.
June 5, W.W. Watts, Newport News, Va.
March 4, George Ratliffe, Clyde, N.C.
March 10, Thomas Clayton, Hernando, Miss.
March 26, Lewis Harris, Belair, Md.
April 3, Allen Brooks, Berryville, Ga.
April 20, John Peters, Tazewell, W. Va.
May 4, Henry Darley, Liberty, Md.
May 7, Unknown Negro, Geneva, Ala.
June 3, Dago Pete, Tutwiler, Miss.
June 23, Frank Gilmore, Livingstone Parish, La.
July 23, Elijah Clark, Huntsville, Ala.
July 24, Jack Hillsman, Knoxville, Ga.
August 13, Jack Betts, Corinth, Miss.
August 19, Unknown Negro, Arrington, Va.
August 26, Unknown Negro, S. Pittsburg, Tenn.
October 19, Frank Hardeneman, Wellaston, Ga.
December 8, Daniel Long, Wythe county, Va.
December 21, Unknown Negro, Arkadelphia, Ark.
March 18, John Bailey, Marietta, Ga.
March 18, Charles Humphries, Lee county, Ala.
April 19, Henry McAfee, Brownsville, Miss.
May 11, William Lee, Hinton, W. Va.
May 15, Henry Harris, Lena, La.
June 9, Simon Adams, near Columbia, Ga.
June 11, Senny Jefferson, Metcalf, Ga.
June 27, Jock Thomas, Live Oak, Fla.
July 6, John Roe, Columbia, Ala.
September 10, Logan Reoms, Duplex, Tenn.
September 12, Zed Floyd, Wetumpka, Kan.
October 2, Winfield Thomas, Eclectic, Ala.
October 18, Fratur Warfield, Elkton, Ky.
July 25, Unknown Negro, New Orleans, La.
July 25, August Thomas, New Orleans, La.
July 25, Baptiste Fileau, New Orleans, La.
July 25, Louis Taylor, New Orleans, La.
July 25, Anna Mabry, New Orleans, La.
July 25, Unknown Negro, New Orleans, La.
July 25, Silas Jackson, New Orleans, La.
October 24, James Suer, Liberty Hill, Ga.
October 24, James Calaway, Liberty Hill, Ga.
March 23, Luis Rice, Ripley, Tenn.
Attacking a White Man.
May 1, Henry Ratcliff, Gloucester, Miss.
May 1, George Gordon, Albin, Miss.
September 8, Grant Weley, Thomasville, Ga.
Suspicion of Murder.
June 10, Askew, Mississippi City, Miss.
June 10, Reese, Mississippi City, Miss.
Complicity of Murder.
June 10, John Sanders, Snead, Fla.
December 17, John Rolla, Booneville, Ind.
June 27, Jordan Hines, Molina, Ga.
June 20, James Barco, Panasoffkee, Fla.
May 7, Unknown Negro, Amite, Miss.
April 5, Unknown Negro, Southampton county, Va.
December 28, George Faller, Marion, Ga.
Suspicion of Arson.
January 11, Rufus Salter, West Spring, S.C.
Aiding Escape of Murderers.
January 16, Anderson Gause, Henning, Tenn.
July 9, Jefferson Henry, Greene's Bayou, La.
March 4, James Crosby, Selo Hatchel, Ala.
June 12, Seth Cobb Deyall's Bluffs, La.
March 22, George Ritter, Canhaft, N.C.
May 26, Unknown Negro, West Point, Ark.
October 8,--Williams, Tiponville, Tenn.
September 21, George Bickham, Ponchatoula, La.
September 21, Charles Elliott, Ponchatoula, La.
September 21, Nathaniel Bowman, Ponchatoula, La.
September 11, Charles Elliot, Ponchatoula, La.
September 21, Isaiah Rollins, Ponchatoula, La.
Attempt to Murder.
June 12, John Brodie, Lee county, Ark.
November 15, Unknown Negro, Jefferson, Texas.
November 15, Unknown Negro, Jefferson, Texas.
November 15, Unknown Negro, Jefferson, Texas.
Threats to Kill.
February 17, William Burts, Basket Mills, S.C.
May 16, Samuel Hinson, Cushtusha, Miss.
October 30,--Abernathy, Duke, Ala.
It should be borne in mind that this list represents the number of Negroes killed by mobs of white men for alleged crimes, and not by any legal process of law , which a white man charged with crime would demand as his right under the Constitution. Trial by jury is never denied any white criminal, even though he should assassinate the President of the United States. The disposition to be fair to white men who go wrong, even when they steal $620,000, or when, like brute beasts, three or four of them unite in outraging a helpless mill girl, and after violating her person murder her--is an American characteristic. The Alvord defalcation and the Paterson scandal are cases in point. Has any Negro, living or dead, committed a greater robbery than Alvord, or a more fiendish, brutal or cowardly murder, combined with rape, than the young white men at Paterson, N.J., who have recently been convicted by a jury of their peers for the outrage upon and murder of Jennie Bosschieter? Have any of the Negroes who have been lynched and roasted by white mobs in various parts of the country, North and South, had the advantages of social culture and refinement--of educating themselves and improving their opportunities that were possessed by either Alvord or the four highly-respectable young white men who have just been convicted of the brutal crimes charged against them? We do not offer in extenuation of crime the ignorance of Negroes who commit crime. Nor do we seek to palliate or condone their offenses against society and against the law of the land. We have merely referred to these cases to show that crimes of the character described are not confined to a particular race or class that the educated and refined criminal can be more brutal and vicious than the ignorant criminal, or, at least, equally so. He has the advantage of the ignorant man in mental resources and low cunning, and when once the sleeping devil within him is aroused he is just as human, just as fiendish and blood-thirsty as the most depraved criminal that ever expiated his crime on the gallows or suffered martyrdom at the hands of a civilized and christianized mob of the best citizens.
What shall we say of a nation of more than 76,000,000 people, with courts of law, school-houses on every hilltop, churches on almost every other corner in the cities, towns and villages of this great country, with a powerful and influential press, which goes into paroxysms when an American citizen is murdered in a foreign land--that quietly and complacently winks at the foul and disgraceful saturnalia of crime within their own borders, when the victim of these crimes are Negroes? What shall we say of the Christian ministers of the white race who seem to lack the moral courage to denounce from their pulpits this species of lawlessness and barbarism, which is no longer confined to the South--in obedience to a cowardly public sentiment which threatens their living and closes their mouths as tightly as though they were dumb men? What shall we say and think of those in authority in State and nation whose silence or apathy, or both, discovers a desire to compromise with law-breakers, whose next step will be the lynching and roasting of white men to save court expenses?
It would seem that we in this country are fast approaching the period when every man will again be a law unto himself, when hip-pockets will be made deeper and larger, when courts will be a superfluity and the law only a memory.
The blood-thirstiness of the white men of America, who lynch and roast Negroes at the stake, is the saddest imaginable commentary on the boasted civilization and humanity of the proud white race. A race that can quietly look on and see a human being, black or white, consigned to the deadly flames and writhe in agony and anguish for any crime, howsoever brutal or fiendish, is not far from barbarism..
It won't do to attempt to justify the crime of lynching by saying that the victim of the mob's fury was a "burly Negro brute."
The crime cannot be justified while white men, guilty of similar crimes against women, are given the benefit of the doubt and a trial by a jury of their peers.
Two wrongs have never yet made one right; justice was never yet evolved from passion, and vengeance is not justice.
Perhaps no clearer expression touching the enormity of the crime of lynching has ever been made than this by His Excellency Mr. Wu Ting-Fang, the Chinese Minister, in an interview held with him recently and published in the Cleveland, O., Leader, who said: "What do I think of lynching? Well, that is strictly an American institution. China has been accused of many barbarities, but lynching is not one of them. Burning that poor fellow at the stake, Ugh! The very idea makes me shudder. And he died protesting his innocence." (The New York Herald account says that he repeated the Twenty-third Psalm while the angry flames were consuming his body.) "Guilty men," continued Mr. Wu, "don't do that. But I don't understand it at all. You brought the black here against his will. You made him free, or the great Lincoln did. Then you declared him equal to the white man, but you denied him equality. He cannot hold office; that is, you seldom elect him to one. He can't serve on a jury, though he has the right, and he is still a slave socially. The difficulty seems to me to be that you regard him as a savage and treat him as such. He feels himself an outlaw and acts accordingly.* * * Of course, the alleged crime for which Alexander suffered is unknown in China. It is a crime that stirs men's blood. But the American officers--these sheriffs you call them--seem to help these mobs instead of protecting their prisoners. The law permits them to kill the mob, but they let the mob kill their prisoner, whom they have sworn to protect. In China an officer who did that would forfeit his life. He would kill himself rather than suffer such disgrace. In China prisoners are not guaranteed a trial, but they always get it. Then, if they are guilty, they suffer. Nations that permit lynching cannot called themselves Christian nations. This habit, and it is a habit here, is a blot upon the nation's good name. * * * .......... You must face this problem sooner or later, and the sooner you face it the better for you and for the Negro. And I believe you will find the only solution of the problem is to assimilate the colored man the intermarriage. * * * The only way to keep up with you American is to get ahead of you."
We most heartily endorse every word that this excellent gentleman and scholar has said on the barbarous practice, which is making the name American a "by-word and a hiss" among the Christian nations of the world, and the subject of such intelligent, just and caustic criticism among the so-called barbarian and heathen people of the Orient . On the subject of assimilation we draw the line. And with Byron we say:
"In native hearts and native swords
The only hope of freedom lies."
The white man has been assimilating his blood with that of the Negro from 1610 to 1901, not, of course, in the orthodox manner, but in a manner which is quite discreditable to him.
There was scarcely a plantation in the length and breadth of the South in the halcyon days of slavery, on which there was not a brood of bastards, the result of the pollution of black women by their masters and their masters' sons. And there courses through the veins of the Negroes of this country the blood of some of its proudest names which are held up to the emulation of American youth. The white man who morally demoralized the Negro race when it was in his power can hardly be expected at this late day to make reparation by legitimatizing the fruits of these unholy unions, or to marry the black women whose mothers and their relatives were the helpless victims of his lustful passions. The white men of the South understand better than Mr. Wu why the assimilation of the two races cannot be made to do duty in solving the problem of the centuries.
An observant man cannot fail to see, if he looks about him, that prejudice against the Negro in the North results from friction--contact--where they comgregated in great numbers, and that while at the South its results, very largely from the fact that in freedom he has disappointed the prophets of evil--his late masters, who declared that he would relapse into barbarism, if left to himself, that he was idolent, shiftless, ignorant, and that his normal natural condition was subordination to the dominant race. The census of 1890 shows that this indolent, shiftless, ignorant Negro, after two hundred and forty-seven years of servitude to the crafty, industrious and intelligent Christian (?) white men of the South who failed to impart to him any of their virtues of which they now boast, but who did inoculate him with all their vices--emerged from slavery almost as ignorant and as barbarous as when he was forced into it, and after thirty-eight years of freedom has done what the white race never could have done under like conditions. He has reduced his illiteracy forty per cent and accumulated property to the value of more than $199,000,000. He has done a great many more things, which are to his credit, and which we will not stop here to enumerate.
The great Wendell Phillips, in his lecture on the "Lost Arts," referring to the conceit of the average American says: "We seem to imagine that whether knowledge will die with us or not, it certainly began with us, We have a pitying estimate, a tender pity, for the narrowness, ignorance and darkness of by-gone ages. We seem to ourselves, not only to monopolize, but to have began the era of light. In other words, we are all running over with a fourth day of July spirit of self-content. I am often reminded of the German whom the English poet, Coleridge, met at Frankfort. He always took off his hat with profound respect when he ventured to speak of himself. It seems to me the American people might be painted in the chronic attitude of taking off its hat to itself."
"Prejudice against color," says Lewis, "never existed in Great Britain, France Spain, Portugal, the Italian States. Prussia, Austria, Russia or in any part of the world where colored person have not been held as slaves. Indeed, in many countries where multitudes of Africans and their descendants have been long held as slaves, no prejudice against color has ever existed. This is the case in Turkey, Brazil and Persia, In Brazil, where there were more than 2,000,000 slaves, some of the highest offices of State were filled by black men. Some of the most distinguished officers in the Brazilian army are Blacks and Mulattos."
American prejudice is deep-seated, and even in communities where the sentiment is most favorable to the Negro, it is only necessary for any Negro there abiding to commit a crime similar to the Paterson, N.J., crime to arouse the latent prejudice of the white race and raise the cry of "Lynch the Nigger," or, by way of variety," Burn the Black brute." It has a been heard in every State in the South, this cry for vengeance, and in not few Northern, Eastern and Western States in recent years. If civilized men and women of the white race all over this country where lynching and the burning of Negroes is winked at can be so easily persuaded when a Negro criminal is thus summarily punished that "the punishment fits the crime"--would it not be more economical to the State to abolish courts of criminal procedure and burn up the authorities? What becomes of the humanity of the proud Caucasian, when it can be thus subordinated to the lowest passions of a vengeful and blood-thirsty mob that magnifies even a Negro, charged without proof of his guilt, into a demon, "who to be hated needs only to be seen," while it resignedly permits a white criminal, known tobe guilty, to be tried for his life or his liberty according to the forms of law? Manifestly there is something radically wrong in the code of moral ethics "of the unconquered and unconquerable Caucasian."
But, as we have said in another place, the brutal custom of burning Negroes in the South is as old as the civilization of the South, as we know it. Cortez burned a Mexican chief, with his son, and seventeen others. And in our own age and land Negro criminals are executed with fire, with a brutality which tells that the soul of man can still find pleasure in vindictive torture. We suggest to the bloody executioners who thus find pleasure in torturing Negroes at the stake that they ring the changes just a little, and kill these "burly Negroes" by other methods than by burning, if they cannot permit the laws of the country to operate upon the unfortunate black men who violate them.
At Bochara, and often elsewhere, criminals have been hurled from the top of a tower to the ground, as at Rome from the Tarpeian Rock. Murzuphus, a fallen usurper of the Byzantine throne, was doomed to lose his eyes and then to be dashed from a lofty column. The Persians sometimes filled a tower with ashes into which the victim, like their Prince Sogdianus, was thrown when a wheel stirred the ashes and he was suffocated. Parysatis caused Roxana to be sawn asunder--a doom which is said to have befallen the Prophet Isaiah. Queen Brunechild was fastened by one hand and one foot to a wild horse who tore her to pieces. Chatel, Ravaillac and Damian, the last, after being tormented with pincers, were drawn asunder by horses, limb from limb. The cook of Cardinal Fisher, for poisoning, was destroyed in a cauldron of boiling water.
Now, certainly, the barbarians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries do not wish to be behind the barbarians of the past in the great work which they have begun to make the Southern and Western States of this Union thoroughly infamous in the eyes of the civilized world. They should, at least, imitate the methods of the bloody executioners of past ages to add novelty to their present old-fashioned methods of hanging and burning Negroes suspected of crime or even guilty of crime. There isn't any fun in simply hanging or burning a Negro criminal. The white children who witness these dull and insipid performances will be unable to understand these ghastly ceremonies; they should be as imposing as possible so that Southern and Western youth may study the details and improve upon the methods of their fathers in the next century. As Cardinal Richelieu is made to say to Baradas: "Walk blindly on, behind you stalks the headsman." So we may say to the lawless white men who are putting to shame the civilization and religion of America, whose hands are dripping with human blood and who seem to be entirely oblivious to the fact that every life they take, without just cause, hastens on the day of reckoning: "Walk blindly on, behind you stands the headsman." As has been well said by another: "Justice is apparently slumbering; public sentiment seems apathetic, but beware, again we say to you, the day of her awakening. Look sharp when she shall shake off her lethargy. Think you that the Negro will always be ripe for martyrdom, will always be gentle, subservient, humble and yielding? Fools! nay thrice mocked fools ye are. Under the rule of the enlightened Caucasian of the South. All that tread the globe are but a handful to the tribes that slumber in its bosom."
The Chinese Minister, Mr. Wu, sees with a clearness of vision, which almost amounts to prophecy, what the ultimate effect of this continued lawlessness and barbarism will be, if the nation does not put a stop to it.
Elections at the South are a farce, and republicans in that section dare not stand up like men and face the terrorism of the thugs in that party who, with watchful eye, jealously protect the white people of the South from "Negro domination." Their representatives in Congress assert, with brazen boldness, that the Negroes of the South are cheated out of their votes for the express purpose of keeping them out of power and to prevent "Negro domination."
The late President Garfield, in a speech in the House of Representatives, February 1, 1866, said: "What is a republican form of government? When the Union was formed the free colored people were not a tenth of the population of any State. Now all black men are free citizens, and we are asked, as the lamented Henry Winter Davis has so clearly stated it, to recognize as republican such despotisms as these. In North Carolina 631,000 citizens will ostracize 331,000 citizens; in Virginia 719,000 citizens will ostracize 553,000 citizens; in Alabama 596,000 citizens will ostracize 350,000 citizens; in Mississippi 353,000 citizens will ostracize 436,000 citizens; in South Carolina 291,000 citizens will ostracize 411,000 citizens. We are asked to guarantee all these republican governments! Gentlemen on the other side of the House ask us to let such shameless despotisms as these be represented here as republican States. I venture to assert that a more monstrous proposition was never before made to an American Congress.
"I am, therefore in favor of the amendment to the Constitution, passed the other day, to reform the basis of representation. I would have wished that it had been more thorough and searching in its term. I took it as the best we could get, but I say here, before this House, that I will never, so long as I have any voice in political affairs, rest satisfied until the way is opened by which these citizens, as soon as they are worthy, shall be lifted to the full rights of citizenship. I will not be factious in my action. If I cannot to-day get all I desire, I will try again to-morrow, securing all that can be obtained to-day. But so long as I have any voice or vote here, they shall aid in giving the suffrage to every citizen qualified by intelligence to exercise it."
By the passage of the amendment here referred to the Negro came in for a share of the benefits resulting therefrom. The United States, reposing confidence in the honor and integrity of the white people in the States lately in rebellion against the Federal Government, intrusted the destiny of the new-made citizen in those States to their keeping in view of their pretensions to having accepted in good faith the results of the war, and their avowal to support the Constitution of the United States, as amended in good faith.
This same amendment enfranchised and made citizens of the United States every white man at the South who had rebelled against the Federal authority. The same power, therefore, that made the ex-slave a free man and a citizen, made his former master and all who were against the Union free men and citizens of the United States the moment that they swore allegiance to the Federal authority and to support the Constitution of our reunited country.
The thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments were as great boons to the impoverished and disfranchised poor, whites of the South, as they were to the Negro who has always been loyal to the government.
But these men broke faith with the government as soon as they became strong enough to defy the majesty of the laws which they had sworn to uphold and defend with their lives and their sacred honor. They repudiated their oaths, and called into question the right of the Federal Government to confer citizenship upon the Negro. They disputed the right of the Negro to participate in government in those States where he was in the majority, and they set up the cry that this is a white man's government, and to enforce that idea upon the Negroes they organized Red Shirt Clubs, Ku Klux Klans, White Line Clubs and various other kinds of clubs whose object and purpose were declared to be to eliminate the Negro as a factor in the politics of the South.
Terrorism reigned throughout the South; intimidation and murder were common happenings, and, when after about 50,000 Negroes had been slaughtered by the thugs, bullies and midnight assassins who had received their baptism of freedom and been made citizens at the same time the Negro was--they raised the cry "no Negro domination ," and appealed to the passions and prejudices of the whites of the South to refuse to permit Negroes to vote, or if they voted to refuse to count their votes as cast.
The Negro in the meantime resorted to every legitimate means to conserve his citizenship rights by appeal to the National Congress and the administration at Washington. Finding that Northern sentiment was favorable to the Negro and majority rule when legally constituted, the wily Southern diplomatists sent missionaries to the North who were eloquent and persuasive, who explained the situation at banquets gotten up in their honor and before bodies of learned men--students of sociology and thinkers, who thought great thoughts on the irrepressible problem, and who were content to swallow at one gulp the sublimated rot of these cunning and crafty word-mongers, who privately boasted of their ability to twist the gullible Yankee around their fingers and make him believe that the moon is made of green cheese and silver bullion. They told the Yankee that they had suckled at the breasts of black mammies," that they were the only white men on this continent who thoroughly understood and sympathized with the Negro; that the Negroes were lazy, shiftless, docile, faithful, the best laborers in the world and the best managed; that without them the South would soon become bankrupt. But they omitted to account in any satisfactory manner for the ignorance of the Negro; they did not tell the Yankee that it was necessary to keep him ignorant in order to control him and to make their thousands out of his unrequited labor. But, like the man out of whom Jesus cast the devils, they cried: "Let us alone." Let us manage the Negroes in our own way. There is a new South, and, if we are permitted to control it, it will again blossom as the rose, etc., etc. Democratic majorities increased in the South and Democratic mendacity and scoundrelism made themselves manifest wherever the Negro republican or the white republican attempted to exercise their constitutional rights. The latter was shot or lynched or burned at the stake; the former was ostracized socially and politically. Congressional investigation of these iniquities resulted in the formulation of a new charge against the Negro--that of rape--although in all the years of his servitude as a slave this charge was never brought against the Negro except in one or two instances, notably in North Carolina in 1835, when the Negro was not the guilty party, and in two other States of the South. The characteristics of a race are the result of growth--custom, habit. As a slave, the Negro was deferential, courteous, tractable, docile. The slavish feeling forbade his making advances to white women. The fear of the lash or the auction block made him the most circumspect domestic that ever obeyed an order. If there is anything in heredity, how comes it that the children and grandchildren of the Negroes of the ante-bellum period have developed in freedom the lustful passion for white women which our enemies now say is a distinctively Negro crime or characteristic? Who believes this libel uttered against the Negro? Of 117 Negroes lynched, shot or burned in 1900, only eighteen were charged or suspected of the crime of rape. We must look farther for the cause of lynching than that alleged against the Negro, for there is a deeper significance and meaning for all this deviltry than appears on the surface. There are about 12,000,000 Negroes in this country; necessarily there are some murderers among them, some ravishers of women, but not more of either class than among an equal number of whites. Criminals, black or white, should be punished, but punished by law. Lynch law is a vicious thing, and it has become so popular at the South that the North and West, not to be out-done, have imported the custom and are assisting the South to make this nation a disgrace in the eyes of the world.
History tells us that at a time when it was easily in the power of the Negroes to have massacred nearly every white person at the South they were kindly and obedient, even to those who had lashed them as slaves, and sold their wives and children into distant servitude. Did any one ever hear of a Negro raping a white woman during the four years' bloody war when the masters of the South were fighting to rivet the chains about the limbs of the faithful slaves who protected and fed their wives and children? No other race in the hour of its sudden freedom ever behaved with such magnanimity towards its former masters as ours did. The voice of history cannot be gainsaid. The facts it records cannot be rubbed out The antagonism to the Negro is political; primarily the demand for his disfranchisement proceeds from those who owe him most--the white man of the South. The conspiracy to thus blacken the character of the Negro by white men at the South may succeed, but its success will be followed by consequences more damaging to the white race in that section than it can now conceive of. The more they conspire against us, the more clearly and plainly will they discover to the world the malignity and malevolence which is at the bottom of their desperate and cowardly efforts to eliminate the Negro from participation in government and to reduce him to the condition of a political pariah in the government, which he, in common with the loyal white men of the Union, helped to make possible by his valor and his courage in every war of the Republic.
The charge of rape is exceedingly diaphanous when applied to the Negro as the cause of white opposition to him in those communities where he is most in evidence and most ambitious to enjoy, in common with white men, his constitutional rights and prerogatives. The bitterness engendered by the desire of the Negro to come into his rights as a citizen is responsible for many of the brutal crimes which impel "respectable white citizens," North and South, to commit the crime of lynching, thus trenching upon the power and authority of courts which the people of all races are taxed to maintain, in the belief that they are the bulwarks of our safety--the Palladium of our liberties.
William Penn, in his "Reflections and Maxims," thus tells us what he conceives justice to be. We commend it to the fiery and untamed barbarians, who, upon hearsay or suspicion, take that which they cannot give: "Believe nothing against another, but upon good authority; nor report what may hurt another, unless it be a greater hurt to others to conceal it."
We conclude these reflections by reproducing a letter written by Hon. W.E. Chandler, of New Hampshire: nited States Senate, .......... Washington, D.C., April 30, 1888. My Dear Mr. Bruce: The Republican party can never abandon its efforts to enforce the fifteenth amendment. That was an outcome of the War for the Union and one of the terms of the settlement made by the North with the South. To allow it to become permanently a dead-letter would be cowardly and disgraceful. A deliberate determination to surrender it would be the destruction of the Republican party.
There is an eclipse of faith just now in the minds of some Republicans. Our business men are indifferent to the sentiment of devotion to human rights, at least, where the persons concerned are black. But there will come, I am sure, a revival of fidelity and courage. The continued adherence of the colored men to the Republican party, which gave them liberty and suffrage, will necessitate the renewed championship by that party of the political equality of the proscribed race. The present unnatural and dangerous condition of affairs at the South, where the black man is deprived of his constitutional rights is a constant menace against the peace and prosperity of the white people. Justice and obedience to the Constitution can alone avert the danger. I think the colored as well as the white Republican at the South should keep up his courage and look for the coming of the morning.
Faithfully your friend,
.......... W.E. CHANDLER.
The Republican party, we are told by this eminent authority, "can never abandon its efforts to enforce the fifteenth amendment." Well, if it hasn't abandoned it, it has, at least, suspended its efforts in that direction, and its indifference or apathy, or both, to the just demands of the Negro for protection in the exercise of the rights which it voluntarily conferred to him, as it did upon the white men of the South, is the cause of the trouble in that section between the races, and of the growing spirit of lawlessness in other parts of the country, of which Negroes are victims. What Mr. Justice Taney is alleged to have said respecting the rights of Negroes, viz., 'that black men have no rights which white men are bound to respect," is a true to-day in this country as when it was first uttered. Negroes are lynched and burned because the white men who do these things know or believe, at least, that no serious consequences to them will follow, they are prepared for the spasmodic outbursts of indignation which are usually heard when a Negro is thus punished. They know the press and the pulpit will condemn them in a vague and meaningless way, and that in a week or a month the circumstance will be forgotten. They do not misunderstand the popular estimate in which the Negro is held by the white race, or its feeling with respect to his social and political status. Very few white men, North or South, regard the Negro as their equal, and fewer still are willing to acknowledge him as a man and a brother. The knowledge thus possessed by the mobs of the true estimate in which the Negro is held emboldens them to commit the cowardly and brutal deeds which shock even the so-called "heathen nations" of the world.
The difference in the estimate of the white men of the South and the white men of the North, regarding the Negro, is that the former is frank, outspoken in the conviction that the Negro is fundamentally inferior to the white man, and, therefore, can never be his equal, while the white men of the North, who almost believe the same thing patronize him and in a half-hearted manner call him brother . Yet when this black brother is burned at the stake by his white Southern brother, his white Northern brother does not take on nearly so much, nor express himself with half the vigor, earnestness and bitterness that he does when Christian missionaries are massacred in China or when the serfs of Russia are brutally whipped with the knout in the salt mines of Siberia, or when the American brethren are murdered by the hundred for Christ's sake by the unspeakable Turk. These dear Northern brethren of ours make themselves perniciously active in enlisting government aid, in urging the sending of war vessels to these foreign lands to impress the foreign barbarians, who murder helpless Americans, with the idea that this government will not permit any outrages upon its citizens abroad. And yet its black citizens at home are subjected to all sorts of indignities and outrages, and no voice is raised in their defense, no concerted effort made to prevent a repetition of the brutalities that make their lives miserable in the house of their brethren. Why? Because the party which gave them their rights, while it may not have quite abandoned its efforts to enforce the law for their protection, have for reasons, largely commercial, at least, suspended the work which first called it into being. It is no longer the party of human rights. Ship subsidies, expansion, the development of the commerce of the nation, the building of a great navy, the organization of a standing army, are any or all of them of far greater importance than the protection of the lives and property of Negroes, who wear the empty and meaningless title, American citizens?
The danger to the Republic is not past as long as this condition of insecurity and lawlessness is permitted to exist in any part of this land. As has been well said, the correct and equitable solution of the problem cannot be much longer adjourned. The gravity of the situation which now confronts this nation affects not only the civic and political rights of the Negro, but of the white man as well. "The wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it," says a Chinese proverb. Under the American system of government, the Negro, being a citizen, must perforce advance with the nation that made him a citizen. He is not a black citizen merely; he is an American citizen , as well, and whatever benefits, or privileges, or rights are enjoyed by his white fellow-citizens, must , of necessity, be accorded to him. He does not ask for more than this, and he will not be satisfied with less . The solution of the problem which seems to perturb the white man very greatly is comprehended in these words of the lowly Nazarene:
"As ye would that men should do unto you do ye even so unto them."
If the American white man has the courage and the manliness to live up to this rule of conduct and right-living, he will have made good his boast of being of the "superior race," and we shall hear less of lynching and all the other iniquities which disgrace his civilization and belittle his manhood and his humanity.