Weekly Democrat-Times clipping

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Allen, William H., 1851-; Alcorn, J. L. (James Lusk), 1816-1894

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REFLECTION OF A SAGE.

Gov. Alcorn Writes to "Friend Allen."

[Friars Point Gazette.]

Our townsman and Representative in the Legislature, Wm. H. Allen, addressed on the 1st ult., a letter to Gov. Alcorn, indicating the wish, if his stewardship had been acceptable to the people, to be again returned to the Legislature. The following is the Governor's reply:

EAGLE NEST, MISS., July 15.

Mr. W. H. Allen, Friars Point, Miss.

DEAR SIR - Your letter of the 1st came to my desk when I was absent from home. I now embrace the first opportune moment for a reply.

Your stewardship when in Jackson as a representative of the county was, I think, satisfactory to the people, and you are, in my judgment, entitled to the reward of the faithful public servant. The best endorsement the people can give you is that you should be continued on duty. For myself, I am in support of yourself and your colleague, Mr. Cutrer. I hold you both in high esteem as faithful representatives of your people.

I observe what you say touching your position on the levee, and on the question of a tax on cotton, as the basis of the money for that great work. I should have been surprised to find you a supporter of a tax on labor for a public work like that of the levee. The complaint is often made by the laboring classes that capital is ever seeking to impose the burden of government on the laboring classes. You are especially the representative of the men of toil. It is not to be expected of you that you will stand idly by and witness the effort of the rich to shift their reasonable share of the burdens of government upon the laboring classes. Capital may be relied on to purchase the village newspaper, its dependents, the village loafer and country vagabond, but the faithful representative of a free people - never!

I have never seen a more insolent exhibition of the tyranny of capital than is presented in the proposition to tax cotton to build levees. The rich corporation with its millions, the money lender with his thousands, the luxurious planter with his carriage and his horses, with his silver plate and his jewels, these, all these must go free of taxation while the toiling laborer in the cotton field is made to bear the burden of government. The heiress with her jewels, the dude with his diamonds and his pistols must go "Scott free," while the laborer, with his wife and children, who in rags and with short rations toil under July's burning sun, upon lands not his own, his share only half of what he makes, to produce cotton to be taxed to build levees for the protection of the country's wealth? That well fed and sleek looking parasite, the saloon keeper, as well as the rich merchant, secure in their profits look out upon the toiling masses from their shady verandahs and echo the corporation's plea for the cotton tax, but the man who is fit to be the representative of a free people will scorn the insulting suggestion of taxing labor to build up capital, to strengthen wealth and degrade the honest poor.

Be a man, friend Allen, scorn the offer of money intended to degrade your people, teach your people to ever hold themselves ready to bear their equal share of the burdens of government, but though poor, hold in contempt the man or men who will offer with money, to purchase their manhood!

Very respectfully,
Your friend,
J. L. ALCORN.

In reading this characteristic production it is well to bear in mind that Gov. Alcorn's true position, is opposition to any and all levee taxation and organization. But there has been such progression in levee sentiment that this position is no longer effective. Hence he is driven to indirection and assails the cotton tax. As without that the newly formed levee district is sure to run aground.

Beslobbering "friend Allen," a Coahoma county negro politician, is an anachronism. Probably J. L. Alcorn alone is unmindful of the changes that have occurred since he stirred up the darkey masses, more than ten years since, by insults and sneers upon his white neighbors. That game is played, Governor, played to the last card in the deck; at least in the Yazoo Delta.

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Weekly Democrat-Times, “Weekly Democrat-Times clipping,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed February 26, 2024, https://msstate-exhibits.libraryhost.com/items/show/277.

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