Memphis Daily Appeal clipping

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Mathews, D. T. J.; Chalmers, James R. (James Ronald), 1831-1898

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D. E. Johnson, Colored, Defends Himself Against Chalmers.

He is the Republican Candidate in the Second District.

To the Editors of the Appeal:

SARDIS, MISS., August 28. I know your paper is purely a Democratic journal and is not, therefore, in sympathy with me or my candidacy. But since there is no Republican paper in this district, and the Avalanche stoops to publish any letter or bogus dispatch in the interest of Gen. Chalmers, and knowing the APPEAL to have a large circulation in North Mississippi, and hoping the papers of the district may copy, I ask you out of simple justice to publish the following. When I was nominated by the Republicans at Hernando for the Forty-ninth Congress, Mr. Chalmers immediately sent a dispatch to the Avalanche, calling my candidacy a "Ham Carter trick." There can be nothing more false than this charge, and the differences are too many and plain. Carter was not a citizen of this district and while in St. Louis announced himself as an independent candidate for Congress; while on the other hand, I am a citizen of this district and have lived in Panola county for twelve years, am raising a family here and am not an independent candidate for Congress, but was nominated by a Republican convention. This charge was copied by the small-fry papers of the district and given wide circulation. The mass of voters knew of the convention and the falsehood had not the desired effect. His friends then gave out that I had allowed myself to be nominated by the convention, not because I thought I could be elected, but in order to make Chalmers buy me off. So far from the Democrats having anything to do with my candidacy, the only hints that I have had of reward has come from the Chalmers side. The first coming on the day of the convention. With one eye shut and a significant nod, the Hon. (?) D. T. J. Mathews, a staunch colored friend of Chalmers's and one of his creatures of the mail service, told me "that he was not instructed to offer me anything and did not offer anything, but to just run on for a while. It would be worth something to come down and I was in a position to make myself whole." I told him I would cease to run one day after the election. In a few days this same gentleman asked me to accept a position in the mail service on the Mississippi river and out of my district. I told him if I was defeated, I would accept after the election. These gentlemen (?) knowing me to be poor, were mean enough to appeal to my poverty, and ask me to give up a chance of going to Congress and accept a place in the mail service, upon the principle that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I am made of different material from that. Now I am not in the habit of giving private conversations to the public, and I would not give this one if Gen. Chalmers had not this week given to the public a very dirty little pamphlet, whose abuse and falsity is only exceeded by the true characters of all concerned in its publication. This pamphlet is signed by this man Matthews, as chairman, and P. Watt Lanier, as secretary of the Republican Executive Committee. In the first place, Mr. Chalmers knows that neither of them is even a member of the Republican Executive Committee, and further, that neither of them has sense enough to write an article of that character. The language is purely Chalmers, and he has not manhood to father the falsehoods. It is as pernicious and false as the dispatch sent from Jackson on the 7th instant to the Avalanche by one of his emissaries. Chalmers's friends have a different version of the convention for every county, and now this pamphlet brings out another. They have found that the "Ham Carter scare" did not take, and have since circulated first one sensational story and then another, with no other success than to strengthen me among the mass of voters. And now they are distributing a circular full of abuse and falsehoods. I have heretofore treated all their attempts to bribe, to intimidate, and their circulated falsehoods with silence, knowing that my cause is getting better every day. But in answer to the circular I will just say that I have not time or inclination to give my attention to these slanders, and his henchmen shall henceforth receive no attention from me no matter what they shall say. He knows that he has a bad case therefore he resorts to falsehoods and gets poor, ignorant men to sign them. I shall also make this announcement, that I shall make this canvass if I have to walk through the counties that compose the district. I shall visit Tallahatchie county next week and Lafayette the week after, spending a week in each county, and if Mr. Chalmers has an ounce of manhood left after (Liddell and Carey like) turning State's evidence against his former associates, he is cordially invited to meet me in joint discussion. If I am such a pigmy, let the giant come out and swallow me. To the Republicans I will say that my fight is a just one. I have made many friends and have many strong supporters in the district. So far as defeating Gen. Chalmers is concerned if the vote was taken to-morrow he would be defeated. But my object is not only that he shall be defeated, but that I shall be elected. Those who know me know also that I am poor, but the money that Mr. Chalmers received while occupying the seat to which John R. Lynch was elected is not enough to cause me to come down. It is true that I have not money to finish the campaign, but will ride until my money gives out, then I will walk through the remaining counties, still hoping that some of my friends in or out of the district, who desire to see the Republican party of this district, not defeat the Democracy, but rid us of what is worse, a political tyrant and demagogue, will assist me. I do not consider this my fight alone, but the fight of the Republican party. I have no postmasters and route agents to furnish me with money, but the mass of Republicans are as much interested in this fight as I am, and your help in the shape of dollars, sent by postoffice order or check on Sardis Bank, will assist me in printing tickets and having them distributed. I ask no help in making the canvass, for if elected, I will be noted as the Congressman who ran the race in a walk. I have already made my letter too long, but would like to wind up by making myself understood that I shall not notice any more sensational stories or pamphlets circulated by the henchmen of the little general, (with a little "g."). And while I never was much at abuse and hold no kind of a hand at lying, yet I am more than anxious to meet the general on the stump and try to pull the triple mask from his face. If he has not lost what little valor he possessed before he went to Tippah, oh! somebody get him to meet me. Yours respectfully, D. E. JOHNSON.




Memphis Daily Appeal, “Memphis Daily Appeal clipping,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed December 1, 2023,

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