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Scripto | Transcribe Page
An Address to the people of the United States, adopted at a conference of colored citizens, held at Columbia, S.C. July 20 and 21st, 1876.
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SOUTH CAROLINA IN 1876—HAMBURGH MASSACRE.
of the freed prisoners were wounded. The party then dispersed and left the town. When the bodies of the murdered men were examined at daylight, by some of the citizens of the place, it was found that the tongue of one of them had been cut off, and that another, who had not been killed instantly, but had lived for about three hours after daylight, had been cut in the hip, and a ghastly wound inflicted by what appeared to have been an ax or a hatchet.
This narration of facts rests upon evidence already taken in a judicial investigation.
In view of the foregoing detailed statement of the facts and circumstances immediately connected with the recent disgraceful occurrence, as well as the circumstances which usually attend similar occurrences in our section of the conn try, we cannot avoid the irresistible conclusion which is thereby forced upon our minds that they have their origin in a settled and well-defined purpose to influence and control political elections.
While we do most cordially record the gratifying fact that there are many of our follow-citizens, holding political views opposed to our own, who deprecate with us such inhuman and barbarous deeds, yet the fact that such outbreaks invariably occur on the eve of elections, and in counties containing republican majorities, and the further fact that they are usually preceded by threats and menaces from prominent leaders of the democratic party, similar in tone, temper, and character to the utterance of General M. C. Butler, that such lawless and cruel deeds as the Hamburgh massacre would not stop until November, and are generally followed either by apologies or by open declarations of approval from the leading and influential journals of that party, we are driven to believe that the Hamburgh massacre was not only an assault upon our right to exercise our privilege as a part of the arms-bearing population of our country, but a part of a deliberate plan, arranged and determined upon by at least the members of that party who not only constitute a positive quantity in its ranks, but who control its organization.
Grateful to Almighty God and the spirit of liberty and humanity that animates the great body of the people of the United States for the personal liberty and citizenship that we enjoy, we have labored, and shall continue to labor, for the permanence and perfection of the institutions that have served as the great instrument of consummating this act of justice.
We desire to recognize our obligations and responsibilities as citizens of this country, and to assure our fellow-citizens of every part of the land that we stand among them imbued with a national spirit—with confidence in and devotion to the principles of representative popular government—and with ideas of policy that are broad enough to include every individual and interest of our common country. We need your aid and sympathy to enable us not only to preserve the fruits of the great legal measures that were designed to establish and secure our rights and interests on a common footing with all other citizens of the nation, but to protect our persons from outrage and our lives from danger.
We appeal to you in the name of justice and humanity, in the name of peace and order, in the name of Christianity and the cause of civilization, to vindicate the honor of the American name by insisting that the humblest citizen of this republic shall be made secure in his constitutional guarantee of security for his life, his liberty, and his property.
We earnestly call upon you to utter the voice of the nation’s condem-
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