of the good people of the North by whom it is entertained.
They rightly assume that men do not shoot and hang their
fellowmen without just cause. But the vice of their argument
is in their assumption that the lynchers are like other men.
The answer to that argument is what may be truly predi¬
cated of human nature under one condition is not what may
be true of human nature under another Uncorrupted human
nature may shudder at the commission of such crimes as those
of which the Southern mob is guilty
But human nature uncorrupted is one thing and human
nature corrupted and perverted by long abuse of irresponsible
power, is quite another and different thing. No man can rea¬
son correctly on this question who reasons on the assumption
that the lynchers are like ordinary men.
We are not, in this case, dealing with men in their natural
condition, but with men brought up in the exercise of arbitrary
power We are dealing with men whose ideas, habits and
customs are entirely different from those of ordinary men. It
is, therefore, quite gratuitous to assume that the principles
that apply to other men apply to the Southern murderers of the
negro, and just here is the mistake of the Northern people.
They do not see that the rules resting upon the justice and
benevolence of human nature do not apply to the mobocrats,
or to those who were educated in the habits and customs of a
slave-holding community What these habits are I have a
right to know, both in theory any in practice.
I repeat: The mistake made by those who on this ground
object to my theory of the charge against the negro, is that they
overlook the natural effect and influence of the life,education and
habits of the lynchers. We must remember that these people
have not now and have never had any such respect for human
life as is common to other men. They have had among them
for centuries a peculiar institution, and that peculiar institution
has stamped them as a peculiar people. They were not before the
war, they were not during the war and have not been since the
war in their spirit or in their civilization, a people in common
with the people of the North. I will not here harrow up your
feelings by detailing their treatment of Northern prisoners dur¬
ing the war. Their institutions have taught them no respect
for human life and especially the life of the negro. It has in