Minor punctuation errors have been corrected without notice. Printer's errors have been corrected, and they are listed at the end. All other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been retained.
HANOVER; OR THE PERSECUTION OF THE LOWLY.
A Story of the Wilmington Massacre
Published by M. C. L. Hill.
Respectfully dedicated to the eminent heroine IDA B. WELLS BARNETT
NEGROES FLEEING FROM WILMINGTON.
DRIVEN OUT BY ORGANIZED BANDS OF "RED SHIRTS." OBNOXIOUS WHITE MEN ALSO ORDERED TO GET OUT OF TOWN. NO LYNCHING ALLOWED. MAYOR WADDELL AND HIS POLICE PREVENT FURTHER KILLING. RULE OF WHITES NOW PREVAIL. THREE HUNDRED POLICEMEN SWORN IN TO PRESERVE ORDER—NO COLLISION BETWEEN THE RACES EXPECTED. NO TRADE AT WILMINGTON.
* * * * *
[Associated Press Market Report]
WILMINGTON, N. C., NOV. 11.—Spirits turpentine—Nothing doing.
Crude turpentine—Nothing doing.
WILMINGTON, NOV. 11.—With the killing of the Negroes yesterday the backbone of the trouble seems to have been broken. The authors of the tragedy have gone to their homes and the mob has disbanded as if in contempt of the gangs of Negroes who still hang about in the black quarters growling and threatening the whites.
Law and order are gradually being restored; and those among the Negroes who feel resentment against the whites are afraid to show their true colors.
Early this morning 300 resolute white men gathered at the Mayor's office and were sworn in as new policemen.
Late last night half a hundred white citizens got together and planned a big lynching party which was to raid the city from centre to circumference to-day.
There were six Negroes in jail who had been arrested during the excitement of the day, and who some people of the town thought should be summarily dispatched. One was a leader, Thomas Miller, who was charged with declaring that he would wash his hands in a white man's blood before night. Another was A. R. Bryant, charged with being a dangerous character; the others were less prominent, but had been under the ban of the whites for conduct calculated to incite trouble.
Mayor Waddell and his associates put a veto upon the proposed lynching. They said that good government was to prevail in Wilmington from this time, and would commence immediately. The would-be lynchers were so insistent that the Mayor called out a guard and kept the jail surrounded all night. This morning the six Negroes were taken out and escorted to the north bound train by a detachment of militia, to be banished from the city. The citizens cheered as they saw them going, for they considered their departure conducive to peace in the future.
G. Z. French, one of the county leaders, attempted to escape. He ran through the streets, but was overtaken at the depot by several members of the posse.
A noose was thrown over his head and was drawn tightly around his neck. Gasping and half choked, he fell upon his knees, begging for his life.
NEGRO BEGS FOR LIFE.
"Do you solemnly promise that you will leave and never come back?" asked the leader of the posse.
"Oh, yes; yes. For God's sake, gentlemen, let me go, and I'll never come back any more!"
The frightened wretch was allowed to go and crawled aboard the train, scared half to death.
After finishing with French the "red shirts" made a raid on Justice Bunting's residence. He was away from home. The mob tore from the walls of his house the picture of his Negro wife and that of Bunting, and put them on exhibition on Market street.
They were labelled: "R. H. Bunting, white," and "Mrs. R. H. Bunting, colored." From Bunting's residence the mob proceeded to the house of a Negro lawyer named Henderson. The hard-knuckled leader knocked at the door. "Who's there?" came the query. "A white man and a friend," was the reply. Inside there was the deep silence of hesitation. "Open the door or we'll break it down," shouted the leader. Henderson, badly frightened, opened the door.
"We want you to leave the city by 9 o'clock Sunday morning," said the leader.
"All right," replied Henderson, "all I want is time enough to get my things in order."
A Negro lawyer named Scott was also banished and left the city before morning.
The Democrats hired one of Pinkerton's Negro detectives to associate with the Negroes several weeks, and his investigation, it is said, revealed that the two lawyers and the other Negroes mentioned were ringleaders, who were inciting their race to violence.
WHITE MEN MUST GO TOO.
The retiring chief of police, Magistrate R. H. Bunting, Charles H. Gilbert, Charles McAlister, all white Republicans, and many assertive Negroes, who are considered dangerous to the peace of the community, are now under guard and are to be banished from the city.
The Negro Carter Peaman, who was exiled last night, got off the train several miles from the city and was shot dead.
A report is current that John C. Dancy, the Negro United States Collector of Customs for this port, has been notified to leave the city and will be waited upon if orders are not summarily obeyed.
The city is now under thorough military and police protection and there is no indication of further outbreaks.
On the Cape Fear River, about thirty miles from the East coast of North Carolina rests the beautiful city of Wilmington.
Wilmington is the metropolis; the most important city of the old North State, and in fact, is one of the chief seaports of the Atlantic coast. The city lies on the East bank of the river, extending mainly Northward and Southward. Market Street, the centre and main thoroughfare of the city, wide and beautiful, begins at the river front and gradually climbs a hill Eastward, so persistently straight, that the first rays of a Summer's morning sun kiss the profusion of oak and cedar trees that border it; and the evening sun seems to linger in the Western heavens, loath to bid adieu to that foliage-covered crest.
Wilmington is the Mecca for North Carolina's interior inhabitants who flock thither to breathe in its life-giving ocean breezes when Summer's torrid air becomes unbearable, and lazy Lawrence dances bewilderingly before the eyes. The Winter climate is temperate, but not congenial to Northern tourists, who like swallows, only alight there for a brief rest, and to look around on their journeying to and from the far South: yet Wilmington is cosmopolitan; There dwells the thrifty Yankee, the prosperous Jew, the patient and docile Negro, the enterprising, cunning and scrupulous German; and among her first families are the Scotch-Irish, descendants of the survivors of Culloden. Wilmington suckled children who rallied under Scott in Mexico, heard the thunderings at Monterey, and the immortal Alamo. When the civil strife of four years was nearing its close, when the enemies to the Union of States, sullen and vindictive, were retreating before an invading army, Wilmington, nestling behind Fort Fisher, one of the most formidable fortresses ever contrived, was shaken by some of the most terrific bombarding that ever took place on earth.
"Then thronged the citizens with terror dumb Or Whispering with white lips, 'The foe! they come! they come!'"
Wilmington, the scene of one of the last desperate stands of a demoralized army, witnessed the "memorizing of Golgotha" as her sons desperately struggled to resist a conquering foe. In Oak Dale Cemetery on the Northeastern boundary of the city sleep a few of the principal actors in that tragedy. There rests noble James; there rests Colonel Hall—grand old Roman! I am glad he did not live to see the 10th of November, 1898, lest he should have been tempted to join that mob of misguided citizens whose deeds of cowardice plunged that city, noted for its equity, into an abyss of infamy. Southward from Oak Dale Cemetery awaiting the final reveille, are calmly sleeping not a few of that Grand Army who fell in the arms of victory at Fort Fisher.
During the slave period, North Carolina could not be classed with South Carolina, Georgia, and other far Southern States in cruelty and inhumanity to its slave population; and in Wilmington and vicinity, the pillage of a victorious army, and the Reconstruction period were borne with resignation. Former master and freedman vied with each other in bringing order out of chaos, building up waste places, and recovering lost fortunes. Up to but a few years ago, the best feeling among the races prevailed in Wilmington; the Negro and his white brother walked their beats together on the police force; white and black aldermen, white mayor and black chief of police, white and black school committeemen sat together in council; white and black mechanics worked together on the same buildings, and at the same bench; white and black teachers taught in the same schools. Preachers, lawyers and physicians were cordial in their greetings one toward the other, and general good-feeling prevailed. Negroes worked, saved, bought lands and built houses. Old wooden meeting houses were torn down, and handsome brick churches went up in their places. Let the prejudiced scoffer say what he will, the Negro has done his full share in making the now illfated city blossom as the rose. We who have for so many years made our abode elsewhere, have made our boast in Wilmington as being ahead of all other Southern cities in the recognition of the citizenship of all of her inhabitants; unstained by such acts of violence that had disgraced other communities. To be laid to rest 'neath North Carolina pines has been the wish of nearly every pilgrim who has left that dear old home. All this is changed now; That old city is no longer dear. The spoiler is among the works of God. Since the massacre on the 10th of November, 1898, over one thousand of Wilmington's most respected taxpaying citizens have sold and given away their belongings, and like Lot fleeing from Sodom, have hastened away. The lawyer left his client, the physician his patients, the carpenter his work-bench, the shoemaker his tools—all have fled, fled for their lives; fled to escape murder and pillage, intimidation and insult at hands of a bloodthirsty mob of ignorant descendants of England's indentured slaves, fanned into frenzy by their more intelligent leaders whose murderous schemes to obtain office worked charmingly. Legally elected officers have been driven from the city which is now ruled by a banditti whose safety in office is now threatened by the disappointed poor whites whose aid was secured in driving out wealthy Negroes on the promise that the Negroes' property should be turned over to them.
What has wrought all this havoc in the city once so peaceful? Rev. A. J. McKelway of Charlotte, Editor of the North Carolina Presbyterian, in an article published in the New York Independent of November, 1898, explains as follows:—"In 1897 was passed at Governor Russell's wish and over the protest of the Western Republicans, a bill to amend the charter of the city. If there had been any condition of bad or inefficient government, there might have been some excuse for this action; but the city was admirably governed by those who were most interested in her growth and welfare. Here is the law that is responsible for the bloodshed recently in Wilmington:"
"BE IT ENACTED, That there shall be elected by the qualified voters of each ward one Alderman only, and there shall be appointed by the Governor one Alderman for each ward, and the Board of Aldermen thus constituted shall elect a Mayor according to the laws declared to be in force by this act."
"It will be readily seen that, combining with those elected from the Negro wards, it was easy for the appointees of the Governor to elect the Mayor and appoint the other city officers."
"When the new Board took possession there were found to be three Aldermen, fourteen policemen, seventeen officers in the fire department, four deputy sheriffs, and forty Negro magistrates besides. It is probable that not one of these was qualified to fill his office. The new government soon found itself incapable of governing. It could not control its own. The homes of the people were at the mercy of thieves, burglars and incendiaries, and the police were either absolutely incapable of preventing crime, or connived at it. White women were insulted on the streets in broad daylight by Negro men, and on more than one occasion slapped in the face by Negro women on no provocation. * * * * White people began to arm themselves for the protection of their lives and property. * * * * In the city of Wilmington it has been found upon investigation, that the Negroes own 5 per cent. of the property, and pay 5 per cent. of the taxes. * * *
"The Negro editor publicly charged to the white women of the South equal blame for the unspeakable crime, etc."
The Rev. Mr. McKelway has worded his defense well; but in giving a plausible excuse for the crime of Nov. 10th, he makes a dismal failure. A mob headed by a minister of the gospel, and a hoary-headed deacon, after cutting off every avenue of escape and defense, and after the government had been surrendered to them as a peace offering, wantonly kills and butchers their brethren, is without parallel in a Christian community, and the more Mr. McKelway seeks to excuse such a deed, the blacker it appears.
The Hon. Judson Lyon, Register of the United States Treasury, in his reply to Senator McLaurin in the New York Herald, says truthfully: "In Wilmington, N. C., albeit the Executive as a leader of his party had backed down and surrendered everything as a peace offering, and the democracy, if that is what they call themselves, had carried the day, still the main thoroughfares of that city were choked with armed men. They destroyed personal property, they burned houses, they wantonly took more than a dozen lives, they drove thousands to the woods where nearly a dozen infants were born and died in many instances, with their mothers the victims of exposure as the result of the cruelty of people who call themselves democrats and patriots. Weyler in his maddest moments was hardly more barbarous."
In the city of Wilmington, where so much innocent blood had been spilled and so many valuable lives had been taken by that furious mob, see what are the facts:
There were ten members of the Board of Aldermen, seven of these white and three colored; there were twenty-six policemen, sixteen white and ten colored, the chief being white and a native of the State, city Attorney a white Republican, city clerk and treasurer, white, with colored clerk. Turnkeys and janitors white Republicans with colored assistants, Superintendent of Streets a white man, Superintendent of garbage carts a white man, Clerk of Front Street Market, a white man, Clerk of Fourth Street Market, a white man, Superintendent of Health, a white Democrat, two lot inspectors, colored men, Chief of Fire Department and Assistant chief, both white Democrats. There are three white fire companies and two colored. Superintendent of City Hospital is a white Democrat with white nurses for white wards, and colored nurses for colored wards. The school committees have always had two white members and one colored. Superintendent of Public Schools is a white Democrat.
Now, will somebody point out where that awful thing that is iterated and reiterated so much, to wit, NEGRO DOMINATION existed under this showing in the communicipality of Wilmington.
The men who were driven from the city by the mob, with but few exceptions, had no political following, nor political aspirations.
It has always been the rule with mobs to villify their victims, assail their characters in the most shameful manner in justification of their murder. But an attack upon the character and integrity of the Negroes of Wilmington, in order to justify the massacre of Nov. 10th, shall not go unchallenged. If what I write should raise a howl of protest and call another ex-Governor Northern to Boston to brand it as a lie, it is nevertheless a truthful statement of the causes that led up to the doings of the 10th of November, and although I shall fictitiously name some of the star actors in this tragedy and the shifters of the scenes, I can call them all by their names and point them out. It will be proven that the massacre of Nov. 10th, 1898, had been carefully planned by the leading wealthy citizens of Wilmington, and that over thirty thousand dollars was subscribed to buy arms and ammunition to equip every man and boy of the white race, rich and poor; that secret dispatches were sent to sympathizers in adjoining States and communities to come in and assist in making the 10th of November, 1898, a second Bartholemew's eve in the history of the world, by the wholesale killing of black citizens after every means of defense had been cut off; that black men and women for banishment and slaughter had been carefully listed; that clubs and clans of assassins had been organized and drilled in signals and tactics; that the aid of the State militia and the Naval Reserves had been solicited to enter Wilmington on the 10th of November to assist in disarming every Negro, and aiding in his slaughter and banishment. That the intervention of Providence in the earnest and persistent entreaties of white citizens who were too nobly bred to stoop so low, and the strategy and cunning of the Negro himself, frustrated the carrying out to its fullest intent, one of the most infamous and cowardly deeds ever planned.
"I will not retract! No! Not a single sentence! I have told the truth. This woman not satisfied with the South's bloody record since the war, is clamoring and whining like a she wolf for more human sacrifices, and an increased flow of human blood. She is unmercifully pounding a helpless and defenseless people. The article was issued in defense of the defenseless. It is right against wrong; truth against error, and it must stand even if the one who uttered it is annihilated; it must stand!"
"But you must remember my dear man, that the South is no place to speak plainly upon race matters. You have written the truth, but its a truth that the white people of the South cannot and will not stand. Now the leading whites are much incensed over this article of yours which they interpret as an intent to slander white women, and I am sent to say to you that they demand that you retract or leave the city."
"I will do neither! The truth has been said, a slanderer rebuked. God help me, I will not go back on that truth."
"Well, I leave you; I've done my duty. Good morning."
It is often said that there is nothing so indispensible as the newspaper. It is the moulder of public opinion; the medium of free speech; the promoter and stimulator of business; the prophet, the preacher, swaying the multitudes and carrying them like the whirlwind into the right or wrong path. To millions its the Bible, the Apostles Creed. Their opinion of God, of religion, of immortality is shaped by what the newspaper has to say upon such subjects. Glowing headlines in the newspapers have kindled the flames of Anarchy, and started men upon the path of destruction like wolves stimulated and brutalized by the scent of blood, to pause only when irrepairable evil hath been wrought.—"When new widows howl and new orphans cry." What a power for evil is the newspaper! The newspaper arrayed on the side of the right hurls its mighty battering-ram against gigantic walls of oppresion until they fall; takes up the cause of the bondman, echoes his wails and the clanking of his chains until the nation is aroused, and men are marching shoulder to shoulder on to the conflict for the right. What a power for good is the newspaper! I once heard a great editor say that "although newspaper work was hard and laborious, requiring a great store of intellectual strength it was nevertheless a fascinating work." But in the South where freedom of speech is limited to a class grit and backbone outweigh intellectual ability and are far more requisite. When we consider the fact that many white newspaper men have "licked the dust" in the Southland because they dared to emerge from the trend of popular thought and opinion, the Spartan who without a tremor held his hand into the flames until it had burned away was not more a subject of supreme admiration than the little Octoroon editor of the Wilmington Record whose brave utterances begin this chapter.
The great newspapers of today are too engrossed in weightier matters to concern themselves to any extent with things that promote directly the interests of the ten million black Americans. That is largely the cause of the existence of the Negro editors. The Negro, like the white man, likes to read something good of himself; likes to see his picture in the paper; likes to read of the social and business affairs of his people; likes to see the bright and sunnyside of his character portrayed; so he often turns from the great journals (who are if saying anything at all concerning him, worrying over the "Negro Problem" (?)) to look at the bright side presented by the Negro newspaper. A few days ago while worried and disconsolate over the aspersions heaped upon a defenseless people that floated upon the feotid air from the Alabama Conference, The New York Age came to me, a ray of light in a dungeon of gross darkness.
Prior to the year 1892 there had been no genuine zeal among colored people to establish a colored newspaper in Wilmington. The Record was launched at about that time: but not until taken in hand by the famous A. L. Manly did it amount to very much as a news medium. Under the management of this enterprising little man The Record forged ahead, and at the time of its suspension was the only Negro daily, perhaps, in the country. It was a strong champion of the cause of Wilmington's colored citizens. Improvements in the section of the city owned by black people were asked for, and the request granted. Good roads were secured, bicycle paths made, etc. The greatest deed achieved however, was the exposure by The Record of the very unsanitary condition of the colored wards in the city hospital. The Record made such a glowing picture of the state of affairs, that the Board of County Commissioners were compelled to investigate and take action, which resulted in the putting of the old hospital in habitable shape. This, though a good work, did not enhance the Editor's popularity with the whites who thought him too high strung, bold and saucy. And the colored people who appreciated his pluck felt a little shaky over his many tilts with editors of the white papers. The brave little man did not last very long however—the end came apace: Sitting in his office one evening in August reading a New York paper, his eyes fell upon a clipping from a Georgia paper from the pen of a famous Georgia white woman, whose loud cries for the lives of Negro rapists had been so very widely read and commented upon during the past year. This particular article referred to the exposure of and the protection of white girls in the isolated districts of the South from lustful brutes. "Narrow-souled fool!" exclaimed the editor, throwing the paper upon the floor; "I wonder does she ever think of the Negro girls in isolated districts of the South exposed to lustful whites! Does she think of those poor creatures shorn of all protection by the men of her race! I guess her soul is too small to be generous a little bit.—'White girls in isolated districts exposed to lustful Negro brutes.' Colored girls in isolated districts exposed to lustful white brutes; what's the difference? Does the Negro's ruined home amount to nought? Can man sin against his neighbor without suffering its consequences? 'Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!' I'll throw a broadside at that old women, so help me God."
The editor took up his pen and wrote the retort which shook the old State from mountain to sea, and which enhanced the chances of the white supremacy advocates who were then planning for an uprising in November. "Punish sin because it is sin," concluded the editor, "and not because the one who commits it is black." The article was commented upon by the press throughout the State, and "the affrontery of the Negro" in assailing white women bitterly discussed. The Record advanced from five to twenty-five cents a copy, so anxious was every one to see what the Negro had said to call for such ado. Threatening letters began to come in to the editor's office. "Leave on pain of death." "Stop the publishing of that of paper." "Apologize for that slander," etc. But the editor refused to apologize, "Suspend or quit." A meeting of citizens was called, and a colored man sent to advise the editor to retract, but he was obdurate. Immediately after the departure of the colored advocate, the owner of the building came in and told the editor that he was compelled to ask him to move out. He looked around the office so full of pleasant recollections. The face of "Little Shunshine," once the writer of the social column whose rolicksome disposition had robbed labor of its irksomeness in the work-room, beamed upon him from far over the seas, and rendered the quitting of the old home a much harder thing to do. But go he must. Colored friends hearing of his predicament rallied to his aid, and offered him at least a temporary asylum in one of their buildings. So the office of The Record was moved into Seventh Street. Excitement soon abated however, and The Record resumed its work. Those who are inclined to blame the editor of The Wilmington Record for the massacre of 1898 must remember that the article was written in August, and the massacre occurred in November; and that the editor of that paper did not leave Wilmington until a few days before the massacre, upon the urgent advice of friends. The whites of Wilmington had need to be afraid of the Negroes, and did not attempt to do violence until sufficiently reinforced from the outside, and the black citizens had been cut off from all means of defense. Editor Manley's reply to the Georgia woman was not the cause of the upheaval, but it was an excellent pretext when the election came on.
There strode out of a humble but neatly furnished dwelling in the Southern section of the city of Wilmington on a sultry morning in August, 1898, a man not over the average height, neatly dressed in a well-brushed suit of black. His full and well kept beard of mixed gray hung low upon his immaculate shirt front. His head classic and perfectly fashioned, set well poised upon shoulders as perfectly proportioned as an Apollo. His gray hair parted upon the side of his head, was carefully brushed over his forehead to hide its baldness, and from beneath abundant shaggy eyebrows, looked forth a pair of cold gray eyes. Though past sixty, he was erect, and his step was as firm as a man of thirty. This was "The Colonel," typical Southern gentleman of the old school, a descendant of the genuine aristocracy, the embodiment of arrogance.
The Southerners' definition of the term "gentleman" is a peculiar one. The gentleman is born, and there is no possible way for him to lose the title. He is a gentleman, drunk or sober, honest or dishonest, in prison or out of prison. He is a gentleman with the stains of murder unwashed from his hands. It is birth and not character with the Southerner, appearance, rather than worth.
While in New England settled the tanner, the wheelwright, the blacksmith, the hardy son of the soil who came over to escape religious persecution, and to serve God according to the dictates of his own conscience, with none to molest or make him afraid, in the South there settled England and Europe's aristocrat, lazy and self-indulgent, satisfied to live upon the unrequited toil of others.
The "Colonel," aside from having a brilliant war record, had also a lofty political career in North Carolina during and following the reconstruction period. Twenty years or more ago he, in the height of his career, was the idol of Eastern North Carolina. "The silver-tongued orator of the East," his appearance in any town or hamlet was greeted with the greatest enthusiasm. Holidays were proclaimed and houses were decked with flags and bunting in honor of the hero of the day and hour. The workman forgot his toil, the merchant his business; old and young, little and big thronged the streets, women raised their little ones in their arms and cried, "See, the Colonel comes!" We listened with rapt attention to his superior eloquence, and no man was more deeply rooted in the affections of his people. We esteemed him too high to be low, too lofty in thought and aspiration to do a mean thing. Republican aspirants to Congress in those days were easily turned down by the Colonel who represented that district for three or more terms at the National Capitol. But there came a time when the Colonel's influence began to wane; whisperings were current that he was indulging too freely in the Southern gentleman's besetting sin—poker and mint julips, and that the business of the people whose interests he had been sent to look after was being neglected. Still Wilmingtonians' confidence in the Colonel did not slacken, and when the time for Congressional nominations came, we went to Fayetteville with bands playing and banners flying, and we cheered ourselves hoarse in order to quicken slumbering interest in the Colonel, but failed. Cumberland, Bladen, Mecklinburg and other counties came down unanimously in favor of one Shackleford, of the upper section, a name almost unknown to us, and New Hanover, which stood alone for the Colonel, was defeated. After the expiration of his term in Congress the Colonel went to his home in Wilmington, and resumed the practice of law. The last time that I visited the old city, the Colonel was solicitor in the Criminal Court. He had also moved out of his palatial dwelling on Third street, and sought cheaper quarters. Twenty years ago he would have scorned the thought of doing this deed which he was now contemplating as he strode down the street on this sultry August morning.
"I will carry this election or choke the river with their carcasses," he said slowly to himself. But why this ghastly sentence from the mouth of a representative Wilmingtonian? What had plunged the Colonel into such a desperate state of mind? Poverty! lost honor, unsatisfied ambition. The Negro and the "low white" are prospering, holding positions in the city government that rightfully belong to first families who are better qualified to hold said positions and more entitled to the remunerations; but the changing of this order of things cannot be brought about by honest methods, so like the hungry wolf, the Colonel is preparing to make a desperate charge to carry the election and place himself in office, even if the streets of the old city flow with blood. Yea, although the usual state election time is some distance off, plans have been already secretly perfected not only to carry the election by the Democrats, but to reduce the Negro majorities by banishment, intimidation and murder.
Senator ——, by invitation, had visited the state, and advised the carrying of the election with the shotgun, and had offered the loan of five hundred guns from South Carolina. Merchants, most of them in Wilmington, had promised to discharge all colored help who showed a disposition to vote, and had also subscribed to a fund for the purpose of purchasing powder, guns and dynamite. A railroad company operating into the city had subscribed five hundred guns. Stump orators had secured the aid of the poor whites both in the city and rural districts by promising them that by assisting to kill and chase the Negro from the city, the property owned by the colored citizens would be turned over to them. This was the work of hungry politicians who, to get office told an infamous lie, and were ready to deluge a city in blood just to get into office. Certain Negroes and white men had been listed for slaughter and banishment. Negro men and women who had had any difficulty in which they had gotten the best of a white person before the courts or otherwise, for even ten years back, were to be killed or driven from the city. Those who owned houses in white neighborhoods were to be driven out and their property taken. All this was being done quietly while the old city rested peacefully upon this smouldering volcano. The Negro, unaware of the doom that awaited him, went quietly about his work; but there were a few white men in the city who, although Southerners by birth and education, did not coincide with the methods adopted for the securing of white supremacy. Among these was Mr. Gideon who could not be persuaded to assist in such a movement, even in the minutest way. A few mornings previous to the opening of my story, there had appeared in the columns of a small Negro journal edited in Wilmington, a short article which had been interpreted as an intent to slander white women. This had thrown the city into a fever of excitement, and dire threats had been made against the editor, and the flocking of the colored people to his aid had made the whites that much more bitter toward Negroes in general. But they soon quieted down, and waited the "final day." The Colonel feeling assured that this article in the Negro Journal would be the means of driving all lukewarm whites into line, leisurely strolled on this particular day toward the office of Mr. Gideon.
"Why, good morning, Colonel!" said Mr. Gideon, arising from his desk and extending his hand toward the Colonel who strode noiselessly across the large office and gently tapped him upon the shoulder. The Colonel sank into a chair, and opening the little sheet which he had drawn from his coat pocket, laid it on the desk before Mr. Gideon.
"Now, is it not time for white men to act?"
Mr. Gideon made no answer, but fastened his eyes upon the paper before him. The Colonel continued, "We have taken care of the Negro, paid his taxes, educated his children, tried to show to him that we were more interested in his well-being than the Yankee Radical Carpet-bagger he has chosen to follow; but he has persistently disregarded us, unheeded our advice, rode rough shod over us, and fretted us until patience is no longer a virtue. The Negro has reached the end of his rope. Emboldened by successful domination, and the long suffering of the white people of this community, this nigger has made an unpardonable attack upon our white women. Now, Gideon, if this article is not sufficient to stimulate you to join in with your brethren in driving the ungrateful nigger out of Wilmington and inducing white labor into it, you are not true to your race."
Mr. Gideon turned in his chair and faced the Colonel, "I have previously read the article," he answered slowly "I have read also with—I must say—considerable disgust, the letters on the Negro question from the pen of Mrs. Fells, of Georgia, and the editorials of Kingston upon the subject; and to tell you the truth, Colonel, I must commend the boy for his courage; he was simply defending his race against the attack."
The Colonel jumped to his feet; "In the name of God, Gideon, do you believe that a nigger should answer a white man back?"
"Under certain circumstances, Colonel, I do. Mrs. Fells style is extremely brazen, and can we expect to harp with impunity upon the shortcomings of the Negro? Let us blame the right persons; those whose uncalled for assaults provoked the issuing of the article. But that's a small matter just at this time. I have refrained from entering into the scheme of driving out Negroes, because I am concerned about the business interests of this city; sit down, Colonel, sit down and hear me out. Now, when we have driven out the Negro, whose to take his place? We have tried the poor white."
"Why, encourage thrifty emigrants from the North." "Thrifty emigrants from the North," echoed Mr. Gideon.
"Invite labor unions, strikes, incendiarism, anarchy into our midst. Look at Illinois; can the South cope with such? The Negro we understand; he has stood by us in all of our ups and downs, stood manfully by our wives and children while we fought for his enslavement. After the war we found no more faithful ally than the Negro has been; he has helped us to build waste places and to bring order out of chaos. Now pray tell me where do we get the right to drive him from his home where he has as much right to dwell as we have?"
"Then you believe in Negro rule?"
"Yes you do Gideon, or you'd not talk in that manner," replied the Colonel, now beside himself with rage. "Now, by heaven, we are going to put the Negro in his place. Look at our city government in the hands of ignorant niggers and carpet baggers. God did not intend that his white faced children were ever to be ruled by black demons," and the Colonel rose again and began to pace the floor.
"Calm yourself, Colonel, calm yourself," said Mr. Gideon. "Now we ought to be ashamed of ourselves to raise the cry of Negro rule in North Carolina, when we so largely outnumber them. I admit that there are objectionable Negroes in Wilmington, Negroes who would greatly benefit the community by leaving it; but shall we slay the righteous with the wicked? Must the innocent and guilty suffer alike? Ten righteous men would have saved the cities of the plains."
"But they could nt be found," interrupted the Colonel.
"I warrant you they can be found here," calmly replied Mr. Gideon.
"We the white people of this community, have often given expression of our love and even veneration for such characters as Alfred Howe, Henry Taylor, John Norwood, George Ganse, John H. Howe, Thomas Revera, Joe Sampson, Henry Sampson, Isham Quick, and scores of others whom we must, if we do the right thing, acknowledge as the black fathers of this city. Thrifty and industrious Negroes have always been the objects of the envy of poor whites who will eagerly grasp the opportunity when given, to destroy the property of these people. While it is your object, Colonel, to carry the election, and triumph politically, they will murder and plunder, and when once licensed and started, you cannot check them. I see that they are being armed—a dangerous proceeding. Take care Colonel; I beg you to beware lest those guns in the hands of these people be turned upon you, and the best white people of this community be compelled to quit it. I listened with fear and apprehension a few evenings ago, to Fisher's harrangue to the poor whites of Dry Pond. They will take him at his word, for they are just that ignorant. Shall we for the sake of political ascension plunge Wilmington into an abyss of shame?"
"Now, Gideon," said the Colonel, "your talk is all nonsense, we are trying to extricate Wilmington from the slough of infamy into which it has been plunged by Radicals. We are going to elevate the white man to his place and regulate Sambo to his sphere, if the streets have to flow with blood to accomplish that end. Good niggers who know their places will be protected; but these half educated black rascals who think themselves as good as white men, must go. 'Nigger root doctors' are crowding white physicians out of business; 'nigger' lawyers are sassing white men in our courts; 'nigger' children are hustling white angels off our sidewalks. Gideon, in the name of God, what next? what next?" and the Colonel bounded into the air like an Indian in a war dance. "White supremacy must be restored, and you Gideon will regret the day you refused to assist your white brethren to throw off the yoke of oppression. Good day, Gideon, good day"; and the Colonel stalked out of the office.
Uncle Ephraim, one of the old Nimrods who supplied Wilmington's markets with savory ducks and rice birds, stood with his gun on the corner of Front and Market streets that morning, as the Colonel briskly strode past on his way from the office of Mr. Gideon to the Court House.
"Good mawnin Co'nel," said Uncle Ephraim, saluting politely; but the Colonel did not as usual pause to crack a joke with the docile old darky; he did not even vouchsafe a nod of recognition, but moved hastily on his way. Uncle Ephraim stood and wistfully watched the Colonel until he turned the corner of Second and Market streets.
"Whoop! dar's er pow'ful big load on de Co'nel's mine sho. Dat white man didn' eben see me; an' I his ole bodysarbant, too." Uncle Ephraim strode slowly down Market street and entered the store of Sprague & Company. "Look yer!" said he, "I wants er bout fo' ounce powder an er few cap." The salesman shook his head.
"Wa fur yo' shake yer hed, you no got um?"
"We are selling nothing of the kind to darkies just now, uncle."
"But how I gwine fer kill duck?"
The salesman made him no answer.
Uncle Ephraim stood, looked about for a moment, then slowly sauntered into the street, and made his way to Joslins, in South Front street, but was also refused there. Going again to the corner of Market and Front Streets, he saw several white men and boys enter Sprague & Company and came out armed with shot guns and other fire-arms, and walk briskly away. "De ole boy is gwine to tun heself loose in dis yer town soon; fer I see um in de bery eye ob dese bocra. I can't buy um, but see how de bocra go in an git um. Niggah, hit's time ter look er bout,"—and Uncle Ephraim slowly walked up Front Street towards Morrow's.
The Meeting In The Wigwam.
Three months have passed since the events narrated in the preceeding chapters. Chill winds are heralding the approach of winter. Wilmington is three months nearer its doom. Political warriors are buckling on their armour for the final struggle on the 8th of November which must result in complete victory for white supremacy, or indefinate bondage to Negro Domination (?)
Far out on Dry Pond in an old meeting house known as the Wigwam, the White Supremacy League has gathered. The old hall is poorly lighted but it is easy for the observer to see the look of grim determination on the faces of all present. It is a representative gathering. There is the Jew, the German, Irishman, Bourbon Aristocrat and "poor bocra." The deacon, the minister of the gospel, the thug and murderer. No one looking upon this strangely assorted gathering in a Southern community would for a moment question its significance. Only when politics and the race question are being discussed is such a gathering possible in the South. There is a loud rap: the hum of voices ceases. The individual who gives the signal stands at a small table at the end of the long narrow hall. One hand rests upon the table, with the other he nervously toys with a gavel. He is a tall, lean, lank, ungainly chap, whose cheek bones as prominent as an Indian's seem to be on the eve of pushing through his sallow skin. A pair of restless black eyes, set far apart, are apparently at times hidden by the scowls that occasionally wrinkle his forehead. His gray hair hangs in thick mats about his shoulders.
Teck Pervis had served in the war of secession under General Whiting, and was one of the many demoralized stragglers, who swept before the advancing tide of the Union troops scampered through the swamps and marshes after the fall of Fort Fisher, to find refuge in Wilmington. During the Reconstruction period and many years following, he, with such characters as Sap Grant, Neal Simonds, Henry Sallins, Watson and others, made nights hideous on Dry Pond by their brawls and frolics. In introducing Teck Pervis to the reader, I wish to briefly call attention to that peculiar class in the South known as the "Poor Whites." Always an ignorant dependent, entirely different in every respect from the descendants of the Huguenots, Celt and Cavaliers that make up the South's best people; the origin of this being, who since the war has been such a prominent figure in the political uprisings and race troubles, and so on, is worthy of consideration. In the early centuries the English Government made of America what in later years Australia became—a dumping ground for criminals. Men and women of the Mother Country guilty of petty thefts and other misdemeanors were sent to America, bound out to a responsible person to be owned by said person until the expiration of sentence imposed, a stipulated sum of money being paid to the Crown for the services of the convict. At the expiration of their term of servitude these subjects were given limited citizenship, but were never allowed to be upon equality with those who once owned them. These indentured slaves and their descendants were always considered with contempt by the upper classes. The advance of American civilization, the tide of progress has arisen and swept over this indolent creature who remains the same stupid, lazy, ignoramus.
In Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and throughout the entire South are legion of this people, some of whom could not be taught the rudiments of arithmetic. When African slavery became established in America, white slavery was then tried in Australia where the treatment was so severe that thousands of them fled to the woods to become as wild in many instances as the natives. As the introduction of African slavery caused the indentured slave to depreciate in value as bond men, they were converted into overseers, patrolmen, Negro drivers to look for and to return runaway Negroes to their masters. They were licensed to break up Negro frolics, whip the men, and ravish the women. But in the main the poor white subsisted by hunting and fishing. To him work was degrading, and only for "niggers" to do. A squatter upon the property of others, his sole belongings consisted of fishing tackle, guns, a house full of children, and a yard full of dogs. In Virginia, North and South Carolina he is known as "Poor Bocra," "Poor Tackie." In Georgia and Florida it's "Cracker," and there are few readers of current literature who are not familiar with that class of whites known as Clay Eaters of Alabama and Mississippi. Looked down upon by the upper classes, the poor white before the war was simply a tool for designing politicians. When war between the North and South became iminent, the poor white increased in value; for the aristocrat was adverse to being a common private. So they sought the poor white, appealed to his patriotism, pictured to him the wrongs heaped upon the South, and the righteousness of slavery. They drew glowing pictures of the Southern army's invasion of the North to thrash the Yankees, and pardon them in Faneuil Hall. The South freed, was to open her markets to the world. Her wealth was to be untold, while grass would grow on the sidewalks of Northern cities. Every poor white who shouldered a gun was to be elevated out of serfdom, be given forty acres of land, a "nigger" and a mule. Enthused by these glowing promises, the Southern poor white shouldered his gun and waded in: and no one reviewing the history of that immortal struggle would for a moment question the bravery of the Southern soldiers. They fought like demons. They invaded the North. They made the world wonder at Gettysburg.
Here Mississippi flushed with pride Met Pennsylvania's deadly tide And Georgia's rash and gallant ride Was checked by New York's chivalry.
Here Alabama's rebel yell Rang through the valleys down to hell But Maine's decisive shot and shell Cut short the dreadful revelry.
But the South's victorious armies did not reach Faneuil Hall. The air castles, the hopes of Southern prosperity and the poor whites elevation and wealth were blasted, when two years after that gallant dash at Gettysburg, that ragged, starved, wretched host surrendered at Appomattox. The blasted hopes of the poor white caused him to drift further away from the aristocrat who had fooled him into a foolhardy and disastrous struggle. Land was cheap but he hadn't the money to buy it, and the aristocrat didn't have the "nigger" and the mule to give him. He grew lukewarm politically, got his rod and went a fishing. But with the Negro freed and enfranchised, and the Northern politician on the premises, the vote of the poor white became indispensible to the former Southern ruler who wished to hold his own politically. So a new battle cry was made, viz:—"Negro Domination," "Social Equality." But so lukewarm had the poor white become, that his song had to be sung with pertinacious fervor to make him do more than pause to listen.
"Do you want niggers to marry your daughters? Do you want niggers to sit in school beside your children? Do you want niggers on the juries trying white men? If you don't want such dreadful calamities to befall the South, go to the polls and do your duty!" "What'd he say? Niggers er marryin our darters? Niggers in skule wid we uns? Thet aint er goin ter du! Le' me see thet ticket!"
The Southern poor white has never had much of a hankering after "book larning." He's better than the "nigger" and that's all he cares to know. To be white means license to trample upon the rights of others. The cat's paw—the tool of the aristocrat, he stands ready always, to do the dirty work of lynching, burning and intimidation. Traveling South, especially on the East Coast, the train conductor only has to say to the colored passenger in a first class car but once that he must get out. If the passenger refuses, the conductor need not waste words; a telegram to Jessup or Way Cross, Ga., or Bartow Junction in Florida will call together a crowd of crackers, large enough to put the engine off the track if necessary. Like the dog in the manger, unable to pay for a first class ride himself, the poor white squats about railroad stations and waits for the opportunity to eject some prosperous Negro. I have known as many as two hundred to swarm around a train to put off one frail woman not over ninety pounds in weight.
This is the creature that is held up continually before the Negro as his superior—an assertion that will ever be met with strong resistance. For while the Negro was a slave he is not a descendant of criminals.
"Gentermen," said Teck Pervis, "whils we air waitin fur ther kernul and other big uns ter errive, as cheerman uv the Dry Pond White Supreemacy Leeg, I wish ter keep this here meet'n warm by makin' er few broken remarks"—"Go ahead Teck, give us a speech" came from more than a dozen throats; "I wanter say jes here" he continued "thet ther white folks uv Wilmington, North Caliny hav tuk and stood nigger biggitty and hifullutin carryins on with moe patience then eny folks on top side er this green yerth" (Laughter and applause). "We po uns have jes layed er roun an slep till Mr. Nigger has trotted so fur er hed that I am feared we wont be able ter over take him." (Laughter). "They air in better houses then we po white uns, thur chilan air er wearin better cloes an er gittin moe larnin then our'n. An gentermen surs jes tackle eny er them little uns er'n an they'd surprise yer; why they kin spit latin faster then er terbacky worm kin spit terbacky. (Laughter). Who give ther nigger ther stick ter break our heads? Who done it I say? You rich white uns, thets who;" "But we'll do it no longer," said a voice from the audience. "We uns hepped yer ter fite yer battles," continued Teck, "an when thet war was ended, we did'n git ther nigger an mule yer promised, but we uns did' n kick powerful hard agin yer bekase yer did'n hev em ter giv us." (Laughter). "But you uns could er giv we uns ther wurk instid uv givin it ter good fur nuthin nigger bekase we po uns hev voted yer ticket rite er long an kep yer in office—
"I see ther kurnels on hand' so I giv way fur im," and Teck Pervis advanced to where the Colonel had paused to remove his overcoat. "Whats the matter with the Colonel? He's all right!" was uttered with a ring that shook the old wigwam. The Colonel, escorted by Teck Pervis, leisurely strutted to the centre of the hall. The Colonel had seen the time when he would have scorned the idea of being introduced to an audience by a low white. "Oh vain boast! who can control his fate?" He is now as poor as the poorest indentured slave, seeking to feed at the public crib by appealing to the passions and prejudices of the masses.
"Gentlemen," says he, "it is needless for me to ask you to night whether or not you believe that the Anglo-Saxon race was ordained by God to rule the world. It is needless for me to say that the Anglo-Saxon proposes to carry out God's decree to the letter. (Applause). When God made man, he placed him over every other living creature to rule and govern, and that man was a white man. (Applause). When God said to man 'Have dominion over the beasts of the field,' He meant to include inferior races. These inferior races are to be kept in subjection by their superiors, and wherever and whenever they assume to dominate their superiors we are justified by our Creator in using every means available to put them down. The white people of North Carolina, the curled darlings of God's favor have by their long suffering gotten into such a state of subjection that it is time to act. (Applause). Wherever the Saxon has planted his foot, he has been a civilizer. He came to America, drove out the savage and made it the greatest nation on the face of the earth, (applause) and he has the right to govern it in its entirety from the humblest official to the executive head of the nation, (prolonged applause). We have for years been dominated by semi-civilized barbarians, flattered into the belief that they are as good as white people by unprincipalled Yankee carpet-baggers who have profited by their ignorance. Emboldened by the leniency of their superiors, Negroes have become unbearable. The government is corrupt, and so bold has the Negro become that the virtue of our women has been assailed by that black rascal, the editor of The Record—(cries of Kill him! Burn the scoundrel!) The snake is not to be scorched this time: we are going to make a clean sweep, and permanently restore white man's government. Our friends in other sections of the State, and even in adjoining States are in sympathy with us, and are willing to come in and help us," etc.
But why weary the reader with the Colonel's firey harangue? Although there is no foundation for such incendiary language the reader will soon see just how much misery it wrought upon a defenseless people. Fanned into fury by the rehearsing of imaginary wrongs by gifted tongues, the mob when once started astonished its leaders, who quailed and looked aghast at the hellish work they had inaugurated.
Mrs. Amanda Pervis.
"Whew! dis here win is er blowin pow'ful col fer Octoby. Ther ol sow was er tot'n straw yistedy and that means winter aint fur off. Shoo there! I never seed ther beat er thet ol hen; make hase ter gulp her own co'n down ter driv ther turkeys way from their'n." Thus spoke Mrs. Amanda Pervis as she stood in the door of her humble wooden dwelling on Kidder's Hill a brisk morning in October. "Thanksgiving haint fur off, an turkey meat's er gittin high. Shoo ther yer hussy!" "Who air yu er talkin ter Mandy?" said her husband coming to the door and peeping over his wife's shoulder. "I tho't er trader er some sort wus er passin." The wife turned and looked astonished at her husband. "Why fer ther lan sake, what's er comin over ye Teck Pervis? I tho't yer'd be fas er sleep after bein so late ter meetin las nite. I tho't yer'd tak yer res bein yer haint er goin er fishin!" "I felt kinder resliss like, and I tho't I jes es well be er gittin up," answered Teck, plunging his face into the basin of cool spring water that his wife had placed on the shelf beside the door. "Well hit won't tak me long ter git breakfus reddy," and Mrs. Pervis darted into the kitchen. Teck Pervis dipped his hands into the basin, poured the cool water on his head until his gray hair hung in thick mats over his face then leisurely drawing the towel from the nail beside the door, lazily wiped his head and face. The smell of fried bacon and delicious coffee arose from the kitchen; the rattling of dishes was to him sufficient token of the putting of victuals on the table. Teck Pervis sauntered in, sat down folded his arms upon the table, and sheepishly watched his wife as she flitted from place to place in the humble little kitchen. Mrs. Pervis paused, and her eyes met her husband's gaze. "Well what in ther wor'l is ter matter Teck Pervis? Why air ye gazin at me so dis mornin, turn yer cup and tak yer coffy." "We uns had er interestin meetin las night," he said meekly. "Well mus yer put on er graveyard face ter day bekase yer had er interestin meetin las night? Don't put so much gravy on yer rice, hits ergin yer helth. Maria Tappin tol me yestidy thet her brother Tom was to be nitiated las night with er good meny other uns, an I 'lowed I'd here erbout hit, as my husban was er goin. Now yer air talkin erbout er interestin meetin the candidates muster all bin on han." Teck Pervis looked pleadingly at his wife. Mrs. Pervis went on: "I am glad yer went ter loge meetin; er lot er them Red Shirt Varmints cum er roun las night er lookin fer yer to go with em ter that wigwam, and I was proud ter tell em that my husban' was not in politicks when it cum to killin colud folks ter git inter office, an that truth hit em so hard dey sneaked." Teck shuddered. During a series of revivals in the Free Will Baptist Church during the summer Teck Pervis had professed religion. A fierce struggle was going on 'neath his rugged breast. Must he tell the truth. The best whites were there even ministers of the gospel; but then preachers are not always on the right side; and Teck Pervis had promised his wife that he'd not allow himself to be a tool for hungry broken down aristocrats who only wished to use the poor as cats' paws. He took a big swallow of coffee, drummed nervously with his fingers upon the table. "I jes es well tell yer ther plain truth, Mandy," he said finally, "I got wi ther boys las night and went ter ther Wigwam, an was made Cheerman ov ther meetin. They lowed thet hit wus ter be ther mos importent meetin in ther campain, an hit wus time fer white men ter be er standin tergither." "Teck Pervis," exclaimed the wife, "Hev I bin er rastlin'in prayer an pleadin ter ther Lawd in vain? Didn't I beg yer not ter fergit yer religin in jine-in in wid sinners in doin eval?" "There aint er goin ter be eny killin done, Mandy, we air jes er goin ter skeer ther Niggers way from ther polls, an keep um frum votin." "I know all erbout hit," broke in Mrs. Pervis. "Hit will en' in murder, for yer know thet Niggers won't be drove." "Why all ther big guns war there Mandy; merchints, lawyers, docters an ev'n preachers." "Laws e massy me!" exclaimed Mrs. Pervis. "An if ther shepod wus ther, yer kaint blame ther flock." "Teck Pervis did I understan yo ter say that—" "Don't git excited, Mandy, yer jes es well git use ter ther new tern things air takin. Them preachers war thar bekase they sed hits time fur white uns ter stan tergither. Radicul rule mus be put down." Mrs. Pervis crossed her hands upon the table and looked resigned. "Teck, do tell me what preachers war they?" "Why ef yo own minister wus'n thar hiself I hope er hoppergrass may chaw me." "Teck Pervis, do ye mean ter tell me thet Brother Jonas Melvin wus at thet meetin?" "Yes, and Hoosay too, thet Presberteen man thet sines his name with er dubble D hung on ter ther een." "Jonas Melvin is er windin up his kerrare in Free Will Church. We'll hev no sich men fumblin wi ther werd ev God in our pulpit. I never did think them Presbyteens hed eny religin no way. They air full of book larnin, but havn't bin tech wit ther sparit. This Hussy is lik ther res er these hi tone preachers thet hang on ter this docterin thet ther yerth moves insted uv ther sun." "Hoosay Mandy. Why don't yer tak proper! Hoosay!" "Well, he jes oughter be named Hussy, fur he is er hussy. When ole sat'n meets them two at the cross-road thars er goin ter be er tussle now I tell yer." "Well now yer know thet ther scripter says cussed be Canyon, least wise thets the way Brother Melvin splained hit tother night, cussed be Canyon means cussed be Niggers." "Now Teck Pervis, wher is yer proof thet the scripter ment Nigger? I aint rusty un ther scripter ef I am er gittin ole." "Now, Mandy, yer know ther scripter reads thet Canyon was the son er Ham an wus cussed bekase his daddy laffed at ole Noey, bekase when he layed down ter sleep he didn't pull the kivver on his self proper like. When de ole man woke up the tother boys tole him what Ham hed done, he cussed Canyon Ham's son, and sed sarvant of sarvants shill he be. Ham wus ther Nigger boy in ther family, and we uns air carin out ther edicts of ther scripter when we try ter keep the Nigger cussed. Sarvant ov sarvants shill he be, an we air—" "Hol on, Teck Pervis," exclaimed his wife. "Let me git in er word kinder catiwompus like et leas. Now we air all ther time er lookin fer scripter ter back us up in our devalmint. Ther scripter don't say thet God'l mighty cussed Canyon, it says thet Noey cussed him, an ef Noey hed kep sober an b'haved hisself he wouldenter hed ter cuss at eny body. Whose teachin air we er follerin? Ole Noey's er our Blessed Lawd an Saviour? He sed all things what soiver ye wood thet men should do ter yo, do ye evan so ter thim. Have yer back slided an fergot yer religin erready Teck Pervis?" Teck was dumb. "Yo Red Shirts Ruff Riders an broke down ristecrats kin go on an do yer devilment but mark what Mandy Pervis says, God'l Mighty will giv yu uns ther wurk er yer hans." "Why, Mandy, yo ought ter git er license ter preach, why you kin spit scripter lik er bon evangilis," and Teck Pervis reached over and slapped his wife upon the shoulder. This compliment from her husband stimulated the old lady to more earnest effort. "Now look er here," she continued. "What do them risticrats kere er bout the likes er we? In slave times we war not as good as their Niggers an ef we didn't get out ther way on the road, they'd ride their fine critters plum over us. They hed no use fer we uns unless hit wus ter use us fer somethin. Whan ther war broke out, of course they wanted der po'uns ter do ther fightin, an they kill me ole daddy bekase he would'n jine em. He didn't think it right ter tak up an fight agin the Union; an I can't fergit thet you'ns who did go ter ther fight ware promis'd er Nigger an er mule. But did yer git em?" Teck Pervis winced. Mrs. Pervis continued. "Now sich es ole Wade an Moss Teele an uthers air hungry ter git er bite at ther public grip, so they throw out bait fer yo uns ter nibble; an yer air fools ernuff ter nibble. Jane Snow tells me thet all ther big bug Niggers er goin ter be driv out, and we uns will git ther property and wash up in ther churches." "Thet wus promused," broke in Teck. "But who hes ther rite ter tek them critters property an giv hit ter yo uns?" replied Mrs. Pervis. "Teck Pervis yo may mark my words, but jes es soon es them broken down ristocrats git er hol of ther gov'mint, jes es soon es yo po fools help them, then yer kin go." Teck Pervis glared at his wife like a fierce beast at bay. He was Teck Pervis of old, the defiant, blood-thirsty rebel in the rifle pit glaring over the breastworks at the enemy. "Wese got ther guns!" he thundered, bringing his fist down upon the table, "an ef they dont give ther po' uns er show when ther city is took, why! we'd jes es leave kill er ristercrat as er Nigger, and we uns will do it. Wat yo say is right frum start to finish. We uns air watchin um; wese got ther guns, an we uns'll hold em till we see how things air goin ter wurk. Reach up there an han me my pipe Mandy."
"Sweet and low, sweet and low Wind of the Western sea Low, low, breathe and blow Wind of the Western sea Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon and blow Blow him again to me While my little one, while my pretty one sleeps."
This sweet old lullaby of Longfellow's, sung by a rich soprano voice floated upon the cool October air out from a beautiful and richly furnished suburban cottage in Wilmington. The singer sat alone at the piano. Though vulgarly called a "Negress," her skin was almost as fair as a Saxon's; and because of the mingling of Negro blood—more beautiful in color. She was gowned in an evening dress of gossamer material, ashes of rose in color. Her hair let out to its full length hung in silky profusion down her back. There were plain old fashioned half moon rings in her ears, and bands of gold upon her bare arms enhanced their beauty. No one will deny that among the women of mixed blood in the South, there are types of surpassing beauty. The inter-mixture of Negro and Saxon, Negro and Spanish and Indian blood gives the skin a more beautiful color than exists in the unadulterated of either race. While the mulatto and octoroon may reveal the Saxon in the fairness of the skin, the Negro reinforcement shows itself generally in the slight inclination of the lips toward thickness, the lustrious black of the eye and hair which is generally abundant and slightly woolly in texture. This is brought out plainly in the case of the Jew. Although centuries have passed since the Jews very extensively amalgamated with the dark races of Egypt and Canaan, their dark complexions, lustrous black eyes, abundant woolly hair plainly reveal their Hamatic lineage. To pass through the Bowery or lower Broadway in the great metropolis at an hour when the shop and factory girl is hurrying to or from her work, one is struck by the beauty of Jewish womanhood. King David's successful campaigns placed Solomon over large dominions of Moabitish and Canaanitish peoples; and for the stability of his kingdom, Solomon took wives out of all of these nationalities; and Solomon's most favored wife was his black princess, Naamah, the mother of Rehoboam, his successor. The poet describes Naamah as the "Rose of Sharon, the most excellent of her country." The marriage of Solomon to his black princess was the most notable of any of his marriages; for that wonderful poem, "Solomon's Songs," is mainly a eulogy to this one of his many wives. "I am black but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me." In the most beautiful language in the gift of the poets of that day Solomon converses with Naamah in the following dialogue: "Return, return O Shulamite; return, return that we may look upon thee." Naamah, "What will you see in Shulamite?" Solomon, "As it were a company of two armies."
We have conclusive evidence that the Southern gentleman did, and does sing such love ditties, and talk sweet nothings to the Southern black woman, and the woman of mixed blood, but unlike Solomon, he is too much of a coward to publicly extol her. During the slave period in the West Indian Islands a child born to a slave woman shared the fortunes of its father; and if the father was free, so was the child. But the American slave holder reversed that law so that he could humble the bond-woman and damn her offspring with impunity. Upheld by the law the Southerner sold his own daughter and sister into a life of shame. The pretty Negress and the woman of mixed blood brought extortionate prices in Southern markets. Northern sympathizers may talk of the New South, and the Southern orator may harp upon the shortcomings of the "inferior race," but on this line of thought and conduct, the Southern whites have not changed one whit. Before the war, Sambo only had a quit-claim on his black or mulatto wife, and now the laws are so framed that he cannot defend the woman of his race against the encroachments of his white brother, who looks at the destruction of the Negro woman as only an indiscretion. The humble black fool is often forced away from his own wife or sweet-heart at the point of a revolver, cowed by the feeling that a manly stand against a white man might cause incalculable loss of life. Yet the advocate of Lynch Law pictures this humble fellow, this man who is afraid to attempt to defend his own home, as a reckless dare-devil, keeping the whites in constant terror. How incompatible these two traits of character. No; it is not the reckless dare deviltry of the Negro that terrorizes the South, but the conscience of the white man whose wrong treatment of a defenseless people fills him with fear and intensifies his hatred. He is determined to fill to overflow his cup of iniquity. Like Macbeth, he has waded in so far, that to return were as tedious as to go over. It matters not how loud the Southerner shouts about "the good-for-nothing Nigger," he still has the same old anti-bellum liking for the women of that race. Bishop Turner is the only honest and earnest advocate of Negro Emigration, the others have only a half-hearted leaning in that direction. If it were possible for emigration to become a reality, the Southern whites would be the hardest kickers against the scheme. The only beneficiaries from this wonderful enterprise would be the steamship companies; for after the hundreds of years of transportation are over, then excursion parties would be the order of the day for time immemorial. Our Southern gentleman will not be deprived of the Negro woman. There is no ocean too wide for him to cross; no wall too high for him to scale; he'd risk the fires of hell to be in her company, intensely as he pretends to hate her. Wilmington, North Carolina, the scene of that much regretted phenomenon—the fatal clashing of races in November, 1898, was not, and is not without its harems, its unholy minglings of Shem with Ham; where the soft-fingered aristocrat embraces the lowest dusky sirene in Paddy's Hollow, and thinks nothing of it. Molly Pierrepont whom I introduce to the reader in this chapter, is a type of Negro women whose progress along ennobling avenues is more hotly contested than any other woman in the South, because of her beauty. To decide between the honor with poverty offered by the black man and the life of ease with shame offered by the white one is her "Gethsemine." Yet where love of honor has conquered, she has made a devoted wife and a loving mother.
Such a character as Molly Pierrepont was an exclusive luxury for gentlemen. The poor white could not afford to support a mistress who of course went to the highest bidder. Ben Hartright left the Wigwam before the close of the meeting in which he was so deeply interested, and proceeded directly to Molly's cottage; but he did not notice as he tipped lightly through the gate a cloaked and veiled form crouching down in the bushes a few yards away. He heard not the light footsteps as it drew nearer to be sure that there was no mistaking the visitor. Ben Hartright entered boldly; knocking was unnecessary, he was master there. The furniture and hangings were all his purchase, even the expensive jewels that the woman wore. The figure on the outside drew still closer, peered in, tip-toed upon the piazza, pressed the ear against the window to catch as much as possible of what went on within. Only a few minutes did it tarry however. As the door swung open, Molly arose from the piano and advanced with outstretched arms to meet him.
"Hello, Ben! I thought you were to be here by eight to-night."
Ben Hartright sank upon a sofa and gently drew the girl down beside him before he assayed to answer her.
"Well, Molly, you must remember that I am in politics now," he said, kissing her fondly, "and I must attend the different meetings, business before pleasure you know. We are in the most exciting period of the campaign; a campaign the like of which has never before been experienced in North Carolina. We are organized and determined to save the State to the Democratic party and make white supremacy an established fact if we have to kill every Nigger and Nigger-hearted white man in it. To make assurance doubly sure, we are arming ourselves, and seeing to it that no Nigger shall buy an ounce of powder, and every Nigger man and woman is to be searched and what weapons they have taken away that no white man's life may be endangered. There are some Niggers and white men who must be killed, and they are carefully listed."
Ben Hartright unbosomed to Molly the plots of the White Supremacy League in all its blood-curdling details, naming every man and woman who were to be the victims of the mob's fury.
"Do you think that a very brave thing to do?" asked Molly at the conclusion of Ben's recital.
"Oh, anything is fair in dealing with Niggers," answered Ben. But the look of astonishment in Molly's black eyes suddenly brought Ben Hartright to the full realization that he was revealing the secrets of his klan to one of the race he was plotting to massacre.
"Of course we don't include such as you, Molly," he said, lightly tapping her on the shoulder. "You are no Nigger, you are nearly as white as I am."
"Nearly as white," echoed Molly with a sneer. "Do you mean to try to choke it down my throat that my whiteness would save me should your people rise up against Niggers in Wilmington? Honestly, Ben Hartright, do you mean that?" Molly arose from the sofa and stood up before her lover that she might the better study his face. Hartright was silent.
In Southern legislative halls white minorities in old Reconstruction days ruled Republican majorities by appealing to the vanity of light-skinned Negro representatives.
"You are almost white, why vote with them Niggers?" Ben Hartright was using the old tactics; he had realized that he perhaps had been careless with his secrets. "What I really mean, Molly, is that you are a friend of white people—that is you are not one of those Nigger wenches who want to be er—er—ladies—that want Nigger dudes to raise their hats to them—want to be like white people you know."
"I understand," said Molly.
"We white gentlemen believe in having colored girl friends, and we always stand by them no matter what happens." Molly momentarily eyed the ceiling.
"Benny, did you ever read Uncle Tom's Cabin?"
"Yes, I have," answered Ben, but it has been too long ago to remember very much of its contents.
"Why? Everybody should read that book it seems to me; read and read again Cassie's story of her love for the man who after promising to protect and defend her, sneaked away and sold her. Cassie was almost white. Cassie was a white man's friend, and to that man she was true; but Cassie's story of betrayal, disappointment, misery at the hands of that long haired brute who afterwards became her master, would make the strongest heart weep. You will stand by your colored girl friend. Perhaps you think you would, but I doubt it, Ben Hartright. When that time comes that the two races are arrayed against each other, my fair complexion will be of no avail. I am a Nigger, and will be dealt with as such, even by the man who now promises me protection."
Ben Hartright quailed under Molly's biting sarcasm. He was unprepared for this change of front on the part of his mistress. His pretention of love were not sufficient to create in Molly a feeling of security.
"Then d'm it all! you as good as tell a gentleman to his teeth that he lies then?" said he doggedly.
"No; I don't mean to say that you lie. What you say to me now, you may earnestly mean, but under circumstances just mentioned, you would deny that you ever knew me. What you have revealed tonight concerning your aims and plots, portrays to my mind just who and what you are, and just who and what I am. Samson has revealed his secret to his Delilah, and its Delilah's duty to warn her people of the dangers that await them. Men whose lives are threatened must be warned; women who are in danger of being ignominiously dealt with must be put upon their guard; must know that these defenders of virtue, these Southern gentlemen who are thirsting for the blood of a slanderer (?) of white women are hypocrites, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel."
"By the thunder, what do you mean by such language?" and Ben Hartright arose from the sofa and glared at the girl, his eyes flashing. "Do you know that you are talking to a gentleman?"
"Be careful," said Molly, "You wouldn't have the women for whom you would be so chivalrous know who Ben Hartright really is, would you?"
"Why, what's the matter Molly?" said Hartright in a more subdued voice. "Have you joined the sanctified band?"
"No; but I realize as never before just who and what I am, and your trying to flatter me into the belief that I am better than black women who try to be pure, is a revelation to me who and what you are. There are men whom you have named to be killed whose only offense is that they are respectable and independent; and women who are hated because they are not easy victims such as I am—women who will live honestly upon bread and water. These are colored people who have so much confidence in the better class of white people, that they would not believe that such a plot is being laid for their destruction."
Ben Hartright put his arms around Molly's waist. "I thought you were a true friend of white people, Molly; but I find that you are not, so let's drop the unpleasant subject. If the Niggers keep away from the polls, and don't attempt to run a ticket, there will be no trouble; but if they persist in defying the whites, there'll be hell. But all pretty Nigger gals such as you will be all right."
"Unhand me!" said Molly, twisting herself from his grasp. "Go tell your hypocritical associates in crime that the deed they are about to commit will recoil upon their own heads, and upon the heads of their children."
"Go!" hissed Molly, pointing to the door.
Ben Hartright walked slowly to the door paused and wistfully eyed Molly who stood with uplifted hand pointing in that direction. "Oh, you are quite full of race pride just now, but when it comes to deciding between the easy life that a white man pays for and Nigger drudgery, you'll doubtless change your tune. I leave you to reflect."
Hartright walked out. Molly sank upon the sofa and buried her face in her hands. "How true!" she sobbed. "What have I done?" but she rose and her anguish was gone in a twinkling. "Easy life! Drudgery! But here I swear from this hour Molly Pierrepont will live no longer such a life."
Ben Hartright reached his home in Orange street about three o'clock, noiselessly opened the door and strode up to his apartments, thinking he would get to bed without disturbing his young wife; but she was not there. The bed remained as it was when the chambermaid left it that morning, after giving it its finishing touches. Ben Hartright looked about the room in wild amazement. He drew out his watch, scanned its face eagerly. "By ginger!" he exclaimed, "it's past three o'clock. Wonder where is Emily? This is indeed something unusual." Thinking perhaps that his child might have taken ill during the night and that his wife had remained in the nurse's room with it, he crossed the hall and rapped upon the door; a second rap brought the nurse to the door rubbing her eyes. "What's the matter, Fannie; is the baby sick?"
"No, sah!" answered the girl.
"Isn't Miss Emily in there?"
"No, sah; Mr. Benny she aint in heah, sah."
"Where in the thunder is she then?" roared Ben Hartright, now beside himself with rage. "Is this the way you look after your mistress?" and he seized the already frightened girl by the shoulders and shook her vigorously, turned away before she could utter a word of excuse, and bounded down to his mother's apartments.
Mrs. Hartright, aroused by the noise above, was just emerging from her door to learn the cause of it all. "Why, what's the matter, son?" she questioned gently, as Ben, both angry and frightened, strode up to where she stood.
"Didn't you hear me asking Fannie where Emily is? Didn't you know that she hasn't been in her room, and here it is nearly four o'clock in the morning!"
"Emily went out just after tea, and I thought she had returned," answered the mother. "Perhaps she went walking with some of her girl friends, was taken ill and had to stop at one of their homes. Wait Benny, I'll dress and help you to look for her."
Ben Hartright turned and walked slowly to the door and paused to wait for his mother. There was a turn of the door latch, a vigorous twist of a key in the lock; the door flew open and Emily Hartright walked in. She apparently did not see her husband who stood and eyed her angrily as she entered and began to ascend the steps to her room.
"Emily," said Ben, following and seizing his wife by the arm. "Are you mad, if not explain this extraordinary conduct of yours. Where have you been?" She turned, gazed into her husband's eyes for a moment, then with one vigorous tug, she wrenched her arm from his grasp and proceeded up the steps. The mother by this time had joined her son, and they both followed the young lady who had entered her room and was removing her wraps.
"What's the matter my darling?" said Mrs. Hartright, throwing her arms around her daughter's waist. "I was so troubled about you. What kept you out so late, Emily?"
"Wait, mother, until I have rested and composed myself, then I will explain," answered Emily, softly.
Ben had sank into a chair and sat with his chin resting upon the palm of his hand. Emily sat upon the side of the bed.
"Men go night after night," she said, "stay as long as they please, and return in whatever condition they please; and to queries of their wives, they are evasive in their answers; but when a woman takes the privilege of exercising her rights—"
"Her rights," roared Ben, jumping to his feet. "A lady goes out of her residence, leaves her servant and relatives in ignorance of her destination, returns at four o' clock in the morning to tell anxious husband and mother about her rights! We'll have a direct explanation from you, Mrs. Hartright, without preambling."
"I'll not be bullied, Ben Hartright," answered the young wife calmly. "Remember that when you married me, you didn't marry a chambermaid or housekeeper, but a lady of one of the first families of Virginia, and such people brook no bullying," and Emily arose and glared at her husband like a tigress.
Ben Hartright quailed. Never had he seen his little wife in such a state of anger and defiance.
"If you are man enough to reveal your whereabouts until the small hours of the morning, you can tell where your wife was."
Ben Hartright raised his eyes from the floor and looked at his wife in amazement.
"When you entered the house of your mistress, Molly Pierrepont, to-night, I saw you. I, your wife, whom you swore to honor and protect, saw you. She saw you embrace and kiss a Negro woman, the woman of a race whom you pretend to despise, and whom you and your pals are secretly scheming to cold bloodedly murder and drive from their homes. Take care! God knows your hypocrisy and the deeds you commit will recoil upon your own heads."
"Emily, are you mad?" gasped the elder lady who stood as if transfixed to the floor.
"Ask him," returned the young lady, "he knows whether or not I utter the truth, or whether I am a victim of a beclouded brain. He knows that he has wronged me; he knows that he has lied to me. I care not for your frowns. You a gentleman? You hate Niggers, yet you can embrace one so fondly. I will no longer live with such a gentleman, who night after night under the excuse of 'clubs' and 'business' spends his time away from his wife, and in company of a Negro woman. I am going home to my people."
"Now, Emily," said the elder Mrs. Hartright, "don't start a scandal; remember that you are a Southerner. Southern people do not countenance the airing of unpleasant family matters!"
"Yes," replied the young lady, "this fear of airing family troubles on the part of our women, has made us slaves, while the men are licensed to indulge in all manner of indecencies with impunity. I will be the first Southern woman to sever the chain of 'formality,' and cry aloud to the world that I leave my husband because of his unfaithfulness. It is my right, and I will exercise that right."
Ben who had again sank into his seat arose and advanced toward his wife to sue for forgiveness.
"Don't touch me!" she cried, with uplifted hand. "The cup is full. Go back to her who has monopolized the best portion of your time since you have married me."
Ben Hartright sank again into his chair and buried his face into his hands.
"Now, my darlings, let mother be the daysman between you," said the elder Mrs. Hartright, coming near carressing the young wife. "Benny knows just to what extent he has wronged you my dear, and I believe him honest enough and manly enough to acknowledge it, and sue for forgiveness. I leave you to yourselves. God grant that you may be enabled to peacably settle your difficulties satisfactorily to you both, without giving license to Madame Gossip. God bless you." Kissing Emily, Mrs. Hartright descended to her room.
Ben Hartright succeeded in patching up matters with his wife by promising to live a more honest life, only to break it, which caused her to make good her threat and leave him.
The Union Aid Society Holds a Meeting.
The home of Mrs. West was one of the many snug little cottages owned by the colored inhabitants of that section of Wilmington known as "Camp Land." It also had the distinction of facing Campbell Street, the main thoroughfare of that portion of the city. Although Mrs. West knew something of slavery as it existed in North Carolina, she was free born; her grandfather having purchased his freedom, and afterwards that of the rest of the family before her birth. The rule that the free Negro was a shiftless being more to be pitied than envied by slaves, was not without many exceptions in North Carolina. There were many Negroes in old North Carolina who by grasping every opportunity to earn an extra dollar by working for neighboring planters when their own tasks were done, and making such useful articles as their genius could contrive, often after years of patient toiling and saving would often astonish their masters by offering to purchase their freedom. There were others who paid to their masters annually a specified sum of money for their time, that they might enjoy the control of their own affairs as much as possible.
For many years before the war my father did public carting in the town of Fayetteville as a free-man, his master receiving a certain amount of his earnings. Of course there were free Negroes whose conception of freedom was a release from manual toil, and who like poor whites, lived a shiftless indolent life, following the sunshine in Winter and the shade in Summer.
Free Negroes in North Carolina had the right to purchase property and enjoy other limited privileges. The parents of Mrs. West, known as Burchers, emigrated to the West in the forties, where their children could be educated. After the war Mrs. West, with her husband whom she had met and married in Ohio, returned to North Carolina, prepared to enter upon the work of uplifting the newly emancipated of their unfortunate race; and now well advanced in years, she could look over many years of active useful service in the cause of her people. It was the evening for the regular monthly meeting of the Union Aid Society of which Mrs. West was President, and several members had already arrived; but in such a season such business for which a society of this kind was organized would doubtless be neglected, so pregnant was the air with the all absorbing subject—politics.
But the Union Aid Society is composed exclusively of women. What of that? Some of our most skilled politicians in the South are among the women of both races. Although they do not take the stump and sit upon platforms in public assemblages, they are superior house-to-house canvassers, and in their homes noiselessly urge the men to do their duty. For earnest persistence and true loyalty to the party of her choice, the Negro woman of the South outdoes her sister in white. Give the ballot to the women of the South, and give her dusky daughters an equal show, and a Solid South would be a thing of the past; for the Negro woman is the most loyal supporter of Republican principles in that section. So radical is the Negro woman, that it is worth a husband's, or brother's, or sweetheart's good standing in the home or society to assay to vote a Democratic ticket. Such a step on the part of a Negro man has in some instances broken up his home. The Spartan loyalty of the Southern white woman to the Confederacy and the Lost Cause was not more marked than is the fidelity of the Negro woman to that party which stood for universal freedom and the brotherhood of man, and whose triumphant legions so ignominiously crushed Freedom's sullen and vindictive foe. Although the Government provides for the annual placing of a small flag upon the grave of each of the thousands of heroes now sleeping in the Southland, it is the dusky fingers of the Negro woman, perfumed by the sweet incense of love and gratitude that places the lilac, the rose and forget-me-not there.
The Northern white woman in the South, in order to maintain her social caste, generally allows her patriotism to cool. But the Negro woman sings patriotic airs on each 30th of May as she twines wreaths of pine to lay upon the graves of those who died for her. Of course, these women who had gathered in the parlor of Mrs. West's cottage were intensely interested in the coming election in Wilmington, and were ready to discuss the event with all the fervor of their patriotic souls. "Ladies," said Mrs. West after the prayers had been said, and the minutes of the previous meeting read, "I confess that for the first time since my election to the presidency of this society, I feel an inclination to waive the transaction of its regular business, so depressed am I over events now crowding upon us." "I believe thats the case with every one," answered Mrs. Cole. "I have received a letter from the Chairman of the Executive Committee," continued Mrs. West, "stating that so grave is the situation all over the State that he is advised by the Governor himself to withdraw Republican candidates from the field—a request without a precedent in North Carolina."
"It would never do to show such cowardice!" said Mrs. Cole. "If I were chairman of that committee I'd put the ticket in the field and go to the polls if the devils were around it as thick as shingles upon a housetop." "I was of the same mind" answered Mrs. West, "but when the Governor of the State—when brave Daniel Lane has become apprehensive, I can appreciate the gravity of the situation. I have seen that man walk undismayed through the streets of Wilmington during very turbulent periods in her history. I see that in the upper section of the State the Democrats have already organized Red Shirt Brigades who are riding through the rural districts terrorizing Negroes, and we may look for the same to take place in Wilmington. Silas writes that they are determined to carry the election. He has received two threatening letters and is afraid. You are aware that that monster has been, and is advising the whites in our State to copy South Carolina's method of carrying elections, and they are heeding his advice. I am compelled to acknowledge despite my previous confidence in the integrity and honesty of our North Carolina white people that my faith is getting shaky. The buying of guns and other weapons by poor whites who are often unable to buy food, means something. It means that the rich are going to use them to perform the dirty work of intimidation and murder if necessary to carry this election." "Colored men must show their manhood, and fight for their rights," exclaimed Mrs. Wise the secretary who had laid down her pen and was attentively listening to the president's talk. "But how are they to do it?" asked Mrs. West; "My son tells me that there is not a store in the city that will sell a Negro an ounce of powder. The best thing to do—if such things should happen—is to stay in our homes, and advise the men to be cool. Rashness on their part would be all the excuse the unprincipalled whites would want to kill them. Editor Manly's reply to Mrs. Fell's letter in August is now brought forward to be used by their stump orators to fan the flames of race hatred." "I wish he hadn't written it," interrupted Mrs. Cole. "It was a truth unwisely said," answered Mrs. Wise, "and by a man who meant to defend his own; so let us make the best of it. I would not have Editor Manly feel for a moment that we are such ingrates as to say anything against him."