Column 03Transcript of Article
A Democratic Journal Sounds the Alarm
We have come to the conclusion that after all our labors against lynch law have not been in vain. The following from the
Charlottesville, Va. Chronicle, a Democratic journal of the deepest dye explains itself:
We hardly ever pick up a newspaper these days that we do not see some such item as this: "Special from Wytheville, Va. The
town sergeant, V.S. (last name illegible) while attempting to arrest a Negro burglar this afternoon was shot through the shoulder.
The Negro then escaped to the woods and is being pursued with dogs. If caught HE WILL DOUBTLESSLY BE LYNCHED.
It is not stated, and presumably he is not killed or mortally wounded - but suppose the officer was killed by the Negro in
his effort to escape, ought it to be taken for granted in a civilized country, with the courts wide open for the trial and
punishment of the guilty, that the prisoner "will doubtless be hanged without trial judge or jury." We know there are crimes
of portentous frequency in the South in which the presumption of trial and execution by lynch law arises. For such crimes
and such criminals, we have no word of mercy. But when it is to be presumed that every Negro who commits a capital felony
against a white man or officer of the law is to be strung up without judge or jury the time has certainly come to call a halt.
There is no more reason for taking the ordinary crimes committed by Negroes from the ordinary courts of the land than there
is for more prompt justice in the cases of white men.
What harm could have come from awaiting the decent and ordinary processes of law in the case of Wytheville offender. There
is nothing in the shooting of an officer of the law by a Negro, any more than a white burglar, to arouse those elementary
passions which excuse, if they do not justify the stringing up of the Negro ravisher to the first limb.
If all good citizens do not turn their faces like flints against this barbarism we will soon earn and receive the scorn of
all civilized people.
We felt like exclaiming, "Thank God," when we read those lines. The words which we have written from time to time read like
prophecy. We knew that lawlessness could not be allowed to exert itself unrebuked upon one class of citizens without demoralizing
the people, undermining civilized government and making the lives of all citizens insecure. Lynch law must go!
Summary of Article
This is an interesting article that addresses the immorality of lynch law, which was a common practice in the Southern states.
This article introduces into the discussion, an editorial that was published in the Va. Chronicle, which pointed out the barbarous
and arbitrary nature of lynch law. The author of the Planet article commends the Chronicle editorial in acknowledging the
inherent duplicity of lynch law and asserting that the practice should be ended.