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Doc. 101. affair at Memphis, Tenn.

Official correspondence.

sir — It is circulated upon the streets, to my prejudice as a candidate for Mayor, by aspirants and their friends for the same office, that in the event I should be re-elected, the military would take charge of the municipal department of Memphis. This by some is believed, and to my great injury.

To satisfy my friends, I would be pleased to know if any such intention is entertained by you.

Most respectfully,

headquarters Dist. Of West Tennessee, Memphis, Tenn., June 18, 1864.
John Park, Esq., Mayor of Memphis:
sir — Your letter of this date is this moment received, in which you inquire if it is the “intention of the military authorities to take charge of the municipal department of Memphis in case you are re-elected Mayor;” I answer, unhesitatingly, that such is the “intention.”

The disloyal character of the present city government, as well as its utter inefficiency in the management of city affairs, compels me to this declaration.

I hope that the citizens of Memphis, by electing a ticket friendly to the government of the United States, will relieve me from the duty of interfering; but of this I am determined, that while I command here, there shall be no hostile municipal government within my jurisdiction.

I find that on the second day of July, 1861, you delivered your inaugural message as Mayor of Memphis. I recall the following extract from it, viz.:

For years a fanatical party has been growing in the North--a party that declares for itself a law higher than the constitution, or even the word of God--combining in its elements republicanism, abolitionism, free-loveism, atheism, with every other abominable ism that strikes at the organization of society or the existence of free constitutional government.

This fanatical party, as you know, succeeded, at the last Presidential election, in placing in the chair of Washington, Mr. Abe Lincoln, the man who promulgated the irrepressible conflict doctrine — a doctrine so utterly at war with all the best interests of the South, that when its author was placed in power, upon a platform fully endorsing his doctrine, and with evident determination upon his part to carry out his doctrine to the full extent, there was no alternative left for the South but to withdraw from a Union that, instead of affording peace and protection, as was originally contemplated, was to be used as a means of destroying all that was valuable to the South.

Had the administration at Washington fully comprehended the state of the country and its duties, war with all its horrors might have, been averted. But the head of that administration had avowed his purpose of planting his foot firmly, and on assuming the reins of government, seemed to be controlled alone by his ‘higher laws’ doctrine; disregarding all constitutional restraints, he set himself up as a military dictator, whose arbitrary rule was more to be feared than that of any of the monarchs of Europe.

Against the administration of this tyrant the South rebelled. They did right. The southern people would have been unworthy the name of freemen had they submitted to Lincoln's administration, after his purposes were fully developed.

While I have understood that you have taken the oath of allegiance, it is believed, that notwithstanding, you have never repented of any of your sins against the government of the United States. This last would be a sufficient reason for the interposition of the military authorities, but the disloyal and inefficient character of the government of which you are the head, furnishes reasons that are overpowering.

Respectfully yours,

C. C. Washburne, Major-General Commanding.

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