Thursday, January 16, 2014

"The white people, in self-defense, have armed and made ready for the alternative you present...."


   The APPEAL deprecates any and all a appeals to arms for a settlement of political differences. When Radicalism was rampant in the adjoining State of Arkansas, we steadily denounced the pretence of a militia kept under arms for the purpose of intimidation, robbery and murder. We do not wish to see a revival of the scenes of those days, when white men, if Democrat, had no rights that Radicals were bound to respect. We do not want a recurrence of the terrible trials of a period the remembrance of which is sufficient to stir np the bitterest memories of insult and wrong such as few people have ever been called upon to endure. We cannot afford neighborhood strife or political turmoil. We want peace and must have it. Entering upon a career of prosperity that promises unexampled result in permanent improvements, accessions of population and large profits for our crops, we must have peace--peace at any price short of dishonor and total loss of manhood. We, therefore, appeal to the leaders of the negro Radical of Crittenden, Lee and Phillip counties, Arkansas, to abandon the armed organizations which we understand they have formed for the purpose of carrying the elections in September by force. We appeal to them to confine themselves to peaceful organizations, and to give up the intentions they have expressed to elect their candidates, if necessary, at the end of rifles or shotguns. Already these movements have produced legitimate fruits. The white people, in self-defense, have armed and made ready for the alternative you present. Like begets like. Force begets force, and peace peace. Do not listen to the paid hirelings of the Radical party, who are prompting you to bloody strife. Their purpose is a plain one. They want to have you murder or be murdered in order that the bloody shirt may again become the banner of the vindictive partisans who have ruled the Union for eighteen years. In Crittenden county you have unfortunately broken the peace and violated a cardinal principle of American law--free speech. This you did with arms in your hands, justifying the precautions the white people of Lee and Phillips counties have taken in arming and organizing. The white or black emissaries of Radicalism who are encouraging you to this, and the newspapers who aid and abet you by browbeating, unjust and incendiary articles against the whites, will desert you in your hour of peril. They have no other use for you than to have you shot like dogs, or have you shoot your neighbors like dogs, that they may raise the cry of southern proscription and excite ignorant voters at the north to the belief that the south is in a chronic state of rebellion, that a strong government is necessary, and that Democratic rule means anarchy, confusion and bloodshed. You have doubtless been promised the support of the Hayes administration and the money of the Radical party. These will be of no help to you. Hayes cannot interfere for or against you, and all the money the Radicals may promise to pay you, though it were counted by millions, will not compensate for the loss of life and property which your course, if persisted in, will bring about. Surrender the emissaries of the Radical party now among you to the proper authorities that they may be dealt with as they deserve, pledge yourselves to peace and to a fair election, and your white fellow-citizens will abandon the organizations your past conduct and present threats have rendered necessary to their safety. You have enjoyed under Democratic rule four or five years of peace, good will and industry, such as was impossible under Radical government. Under Democratic administrations you have enjoyed in peace, with none to mock or make you afraid, every right that belong to freemen. You still enjoy these rights, and in a State with fifty or sixty thousand Democratic majority. Let your white neighbors enjoy the same right in peace. The incendiary and partisan articles which appear in the Hayes organs, and which illy conceal the Radical hate of the white people whom you attacked in Crittenden and threaten in Phillips and Lee counties--these may give you present hope and stimulate you to go on with the murder and riot you have begun, but they will be poor comfort when, after the battle, you come to count the cost. We appeal to you to lay down your arms and resolve on peace. And we appeal to the white voters of Lee, Crittenden and Phillips counties to leave to the justly constituted authorities of the State the duty of preserving the peace. If riot threatens, appeal to Governor Miller. He will, no doubt, call out the militia, if necessary, and compel obedience to the laws. Let us have peace. Let every good man, no matter what his politics, determine that the priceless boon of peace shall be a special care. Civil commotion now would be fatal to the industries ot every class, and, as we have said, would furnish to the Radicals of the north an excuse for hoisting the bloody shirt and reviving the sectional hates and animosities by which they maintained themselves in power, and under cover of which for so long they robbed the State and Federal governments and increased the tax burdens of the workingmen of the country.

[The Memphis Daily Appeal, Memphis, Tenn., Sunday, August 11, 1878. Vol XXXVII.---Number 200. Pg. 2]

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