Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

policemen and citizens made a rush at them and broke them in. A volley of shots were poured in upon the defenceless inmates by their enemies.

The Rev. J. W. Horton attempted to hold up a United States flag in token of non-resistance. When it was recognized, policemen exclaimed, "JSTot one of you shall escape here alive!" and the noble Horton was shot, saying: "We offer no resistance; we surrender!" Then followed scenes of blood and carnage which can never be revealed. The assembly room was filled with the wounded and dying, whose cries and groans mingled with the oaths and demoniac laughter of their murderers. Shouts of Jefferson Davis and Andrew Johnson fell upon the ears of the dying victims of "My Policy." Numbers who came to Mechanics' Institute with those who loved liberty and delighted in the policy of Abraham Lincoln, died on that terrible day by the bloody hordes of the supporters of Andrew Johnson, who had declared that "The civil authorities must be sustained."

They were sustained, and loyal hearts ceased to beat. Thousands of the reconstructed, under the policy of their leader, rent the polluted air of New Orleans on that day with shouts of victory over loyalty. Said an eye-witness of that terrible scene:

"The Convention had been broken up an hour ago— if that were the object of Mr. John T. Monroe and his rebel soldier policemen. The negro procession had been scattered, its leaders killed, and dozens of innocent negroes struck by the same hapless fate, if that were their object. But still the authorities and citizens continued the riot.

"An innocent negro carrying a roll of cotton samples under his arm, quietly passed the St. Charles Hotel. Four hackmen pounced upon him, began beating the frightened non-resistant, and collected a crowd. A policeman rushed up, and without a word of inquiry, discharged every barrel of his revolver at the prostrate negro, who kept crying: c Arrest me, I've done nothing; arrest me, but for God's sake don't kill me in cold blood.' To the amazement of the crowd every shot missed him. "But," exclaimed a reputable citizen—let the expression be set down iorever to his honor with those who know him—" if I'd a pistol, I'd have killed the miscreant policeman."

"Carts were constantly passing, laden with the bodies of murdered negroes. In one I counted six; many had two and three. All were greeted with laughter / occasionally one evoked a cheer. Now and then a carriage passed with some wounded white man, and not unfrequently the crowds would make a rush upon him to see if he were one of the obnoxious Radicals.

"One fell thus near the noted millinery-shop of Madame Sophie, a few doors below Blelock's bookstore. A gentleman—so far as clothes go and general demeanor— stepped out from the sidewalk and devoted a minute or two to vigorously kicking the dead body. A bystander made some expressions of horror and disgust, when a policeman turned sharp on him with 'Are you one of them, sag?' He protested that he was not. * He lies,' exclaimed another; i he's a yankee soldier!' The luckless person protested that he was not; the policeman fiercely questioned him, and at last allowed him to escape on the express ground that he 'guessed he wasn't a Federal soldier after alV This occurred in sight and hearing of at least one late General of our armyy who stood on an adjacent upper verandah"

Said another eye-witness of that revolting scene:

"I was standing on the corner of a street near Mechanics' Institute, when great cheers came up from the Institute, and a dense mob crowded along Common Street toward the St. Charles Hotel. As they approached, we could make out four policemen with cocked revolvers, and in their midst, with hat knocked off, with coat nearly torn from his shoulders, with blood clotted over his head and about his neck, with citizens rushing at him, striking at him, shouting, 'kill him!' partly limping and partly jerked along by the infuriated policemen, came Michael Hahn, ex-Member of the United States House of Representatives, ex-Governor of Louisiana, and United States Senator elect from the Legislature of Louisiana—the man to whom Abraham Lincoln confidently wrote that 'negro suffrage might yet, in some hour of peril, help to keep the jewel of Liberty in the family of Freedom!' In ten minutes he was lying bleeding and feverish in a cell of the city jail!

"My companion and myself 'moved on.' In less than a square, a regiment in blue—thank God for the color at last!—came up Canal Street on the double quick, and obliquing from side to side, left no rioters behind the artillery.

"A Union ex-Major General walked down, an hour later, to demand of Mayor Monroe, in the name of common decency and humanity, the release from the stifling jail where these wounded men still lay, of Governor Hahn, Sheriff Shaw, Dr. Dostie, and the rest. He was met by the smiling Mayor with the inquiry 'if the thing hadnH been pretty well done f' While he was getting his question fitly answered, in walked Cavalry Kautz.

"' Is this Mr. Monroe?'

"' Yes, Sir.'

"'I am directed, Sir, to relieve you of any duties as Mayor of the city, and assume command as military governor. Yourself and other officials will await my orders.'"

Night drew her sable curtain over a scene of woe. The first act of the terrible tragedy of July 30th had been performed. A stroke of "My Policy" had been struck. The reconstructed had made use of a powerful argument in favor of the " Conflict of Races." The jails, police stations and hospitals of New Orleans bore evidence of that "conflict." The dead, the dying, those who mourned over their murdered fathers, brothers, husbands and friends, were all evidence of that "conflict." The agony of despair revealed by those who sought in vain to find the mangled remains of their loved ones, who had left their homes in the morning with hopeful hearts to be murdered by the enemies of liberty, knew that their sorrow was caused by the " Conflict of Races." They required no arguments to be convinced of the simple logic of "My Policy" and the triumph of the demon spirit of Slavery over Liberty.

Mayor Monroe and his colaborers, with their thuggery principles, had carried out their programme, upheld by the Chief Executive, who had declared that the " Civil authority must be sustained." Mechanics' Institute, in the capital of Louisiana, was a slaughter house, where the city police and the reconstructed had waded in the blood of their victims. Said one who had looked into Mechanics' Institute after the massacre: "The floor of the Convention room was covered with the blood, limbs, hair and brains of human beings, at which policemen and citizens laughed with fiendish pleasure. The hall and stairway dripped with human gore. The sidewalk was covered with blood and tattered garments."

At police stations and in the streets, citizens and policemen looked upon their dying victims; heard their cries for water, and pleadings for mercy without rendering them any assistance. "Let the wretches die," they exclaimed with a fiendish laugh, and the innocent victims of despotism perished with their pleading eyes fixed in vain upon their relentless murderers.

At the jails, and at the gates of hospitals many lay in the agonies of death. When policemen and citizens were asked if nothing could be done to relieve in some measure their sufferings, the reply was, "We know our own business. The wretches ought to suffer." "For what?" was asked. A terrible oath was the only reply.

The Rev. J. W. Horton, who had opened the Convention with prayer, was shot, stabbed, and beaten by policemen until deprived of reason. He was then dragged to jail and thrown into a cell by order of the city officials, who in order to keep the peace of the city and "sustain the civil authorities, ordered the arrest of the rioters." Therefore, the dying Horton, among whose last conscious acts, was an appeal to the God of Nations to protect a Convention which had met to uphold the cause of justice, was thrown by his assassinators as a

« AnteriorContinuar »