fact taught them absolute contempt for his life. The sacred-
ness of life which ordinary men feel does not touch them
anywhere. A dead negro is with them a common jest.
They care no more for a negro's right to live than they
care for his rights to liberty, or his rights to the ballot. Chief
Justice Taney told the exact truth about these people when he
said : "They did not consider that the black man had any
rights which the white men were bound to respect." No man
of the South ever called in question that statement and they
never will. They could always shoot, stab and burn the
negro without any such remorse or shame as other men would
feel after committing such a crime. Any Southern man who
is honest and is frank enough to talk on the subject, will tell
you that he has no such idea as we have of the sacredness of
human life and especially, as I have said, of the life of the negro.
Hence it is absurd to meet my arguments with the facts predicated
of our common human nature.
I know I shall be charged mth apologizing for criminals.
Ex-Governor Chamberlain has already virtually done as much.
But there is no foundation for any such charge. I affirm that
neither I nor any other colored man of like standing with
myself, has ever raised a finger or uttered a word in defense
of any one really guilty of the dreadful crime now in question.
But, what I contend for, and what every honest man,
black or white should contend for, is that when any man is
accused of this or any other crime, of whatever name, nature,
or extent, he shall have the benefit of a legal investigation ;
that he shall be confronted by his accusers; and that he shall
through proper counsel, be able to question his accusers in
open court and in open day-light so that his guilt or his inno¬
cence may be duly proved and established.
If this is to make me liable to the charge of apologizing for
crime, I am not ashamed to be so charged. I dare to contend
for the colored people of the United States that they are a law-
abiding people, and I dare to insist upon it that they or any
man, black or white, accused of crime, shall have a fair trial
before he is punished.
Again, I cannot dwell too much upon the fact that colored
people are much damaged by this charge. As an injured class
we have a right to appeal from the judgment of the mob to the