Again, I do not believe it, and deny it, because the charge
is not so much against the crime itself, as against the color of
the man alleged to be guilty of it. Slavery itself, you will re¬
member, was a system of legalized outrage upon the black
women of the South, and no white man was ever shot, burned,.
or hanged for availing himself of all the power that slavery
gave him at this point.
Upon these grounds then,—grounds which I believe to be
solid and immovable—I dare here and now in the capital of the
nation and in the presence of Congress to reject it, and ask
you and all just men to reject this horrible charge so frequently
made and construed against the negro as a class.
To sum up my argument on this lynching business. It re¬
mains to be said that I have shown that the negro's accusers in
this case have violated their oaths and have cheated the negro
out of his vote; that they have robbed and defrauded the
negro systematically and persistently, and have boasted of it.
I have shown that when the negro had every opportunity to
commit the crime now charged against him he was never ac¬
cused of it by his bitterest enemies. 1 have shown that during
all the years of reconstruction, when he was being murdered at
Hamburg, Yazoo, New Orleans, Copiah and elsewhere, he
was never accused of the crime now charged against him. I
have shown that in the nature of things no such change in the
character and composition of a people as this charge implies
could have taken place in the limited period allowed for it. I
have shown that those who accuse him dare not confront him
in a court of law and have their witnesses subjected to proper
legal inquiry. And in showing all this, and more, I have
shown that they who charge him with this foul crime may be
justly doubted and deemed unworthy of belief.
But I shall be told by many of my Northern friends that
my argument, though plausible, is not conclusive. It will be
said that the charges against the negro are specific and posi¬
tive, and that there must be some foundation for them, because
as they allege men in their normal condition do not shoot and
hang their fellowmen who are guiltless of crime. Well ! This
assumption is very just, very charitable. I only ask somethino
like the same justice and charity could be shown to the negro as
well as to the mob. It is creditable to the justice and humanity