Clarion-Ledger clipping

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The Death of James Lynch.

This is an event of no ordinary moment. It occurred on the night of Tuesday, December 17th, from an attack of Bright's disease of the kidneys, after long sickness and much suffering. The deceased was one of the foremost of the Republican leaders in the State, and he had done more than all of them to organize and to build up the party on which they have thrived.

He came to the State from Philadelphia, on the first wave of carpet-bag immigration, in the Spring of 1867. - Among the first persons on whom he called and to whom he made known his mission, was one of the conductors of THE CLARION. Learning that this paper had earnestly counseled the people of the State to make no resistance to the plan of reconstruction proposed by Congress in that year, and to organize their State government as speedily as possible so as to avoid the evils which would follow a stubborn and ineffectual opposition - he seemed to infer that we would sympathize with him in the scheme which he came to execute by direction of Thad. Stevens, Schenck, Kelley, and other Black Republican leaders, viz: to organize the Radical party in the State. We told him that he had misapprehended our purpose; that our people were in no condition to take sides in national politics - that we believed their true interest dictated that they should stand aloof from outside parties for the present and address themselves solely to the work of reconstructing their State government on the best terms they had been able to obtain from the Federal government which had possessed itself of the power to dictate and to enforce its decrees. And above all, we admonished against such policy as would lead to the organization of the races into separate parties and the awakening of the prejudices of caste, as detrimental to the welfare of all.

These views did not accord with the mission of Lynch. He declined to take counsel of them, and was thrown with the venal herd of mean white adventurers who proceeded with him to found the Radical party through the Loyal League agencies, and who were powerfully abetted by the "non-action" policy which was advised by those who confidently predicted that the Congressional plan of reconstruction would be overthrown by an appeal to the judiciary.

In parcelling out the offices under the military election of 1869, the place of Secretary of State fell to the lot of James Lynch, and he was in the discharge of its duties when he died. His partizan labors in that canvass, as they had been in the canvass of 1868 - and as they were subsequently - were great. It is not exaggeration to say that he was the ablest and most influential man of his party in the State. He was well educated, and possessed powers of declamation, and was master of a fervid oratory, which swayed the passions of the African masses as the reed is moved by the breath of the tempest. He was ambitious, and his spirit chafed under the distinctions which Nature's laws have defined between the races. He despised the ignorant herd of the baser sort of white men by whom he was surrounded, and who paid court to him for the sake of the influence which he was known to wield with his race. Disdaining them, he was nevertheless, too proud to thrust himself into association with those from whom the distinctions of race separated him; and to take advantage of mere human enactments to possess himself of social privileges which would not have been voluntarily accorded.

As an officer it is due to his memory to say that he was never accused of dishonesty - and we doubt not the scanty store of worldly goods which he has left behind him will attest that he did not use his office as others have done, for unlawful and dishonorable gains. He had sincere respect for the masses of the Conservative voters of the State - the old citizens and their sons who have recently come to men's estate - and we never believed that, while in the pursuit of his own ends, he was impelled by a mere spirit of malice and revenge - or that he failed to sympathise with them in their misfortunes. Admiring their courage and fortitude he was anxious to have their confidence and respect, which he valued more than the pretended friendship of the mercenary wretches who filled their purse by robbing the needy and persecuting the weak. Of this feeling, we had many evidences, and among the rest, the following letter hitherto unpublished, which he addressed to us during the sitting of the Philadelphia Convention. We did not publish it - nor the accompanying extract, because we had not given currency to the report which he complained had placed him in a false light. It is now produced as a part of his life, and to illustrate his feelings towards the masses of the people to whom the exigencies of his party placed him in antagonism. It furnishes a signal contrast to the mean spirit which has been displayed by numbers of the white race who have risen like scum to the surface from the depths from which nothing but an upheaval of the elements of society would have thrown them:

June 7th, 1872.


Dear Sir: - Please do me the favor to publish the following extract from the Press of to-day, in the columns of THE CLARION. I am no less a Mississippian than a Republican.

Very respectfully, yours, etc.,

June 7th, 1871.

To the Editor of the Press:

SIR: - I notice in your issue of to-day a report of the proceedings of the National Republican Convention, in which I am represented as rejoicing over the poverty of the white people of the South. This is, I believe unwarranted by any word uttered in my speech before the convention, yesterday, or at any other time since I have been North. Perhaps there may be some who think differently, which is astonishing. Be that as it may, my sentiment, sympathy and respect for my white fellow-citizens of the State of Mississippi is misrepresented by the statement in your paper of which I complain.

The poverty of the Southern people - of those of my State - is the result of a heroic devotion to mistaken ideas and convictions, which they gallantly struggled to enforce, and from which they are rising as rapidly as unparalleled fortitude, determined energies and wisdom enables.

I allude to the poverty of the South only to show the identity of interest between white and black, and that a political sympathy between the races without sacrifice of principle is a result highly desirable, as it would affect favorably the material interests of that section.

I regret that your report failed to notice my plea for universal amnesty, which I hope will be universally endorsed. I shall work with my whole heart to secure the rights of my race in common with those enjoyed by others of this great country, and will stand by that party only that is a guarantee of these rights; but this work will never lead me to speak ill of the chivalrous people of Mississippi because they are white or are of different political opinion.

If we have had Kukluxism in our State - and thank Heaven there has been but little; it cannot mar the character of our citizens, who as a people are law-abiding.





Clarion-Ledger, “Clarion-Ledger clipping,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed December 2, 2023,

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