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 cities but also had prototypes in the South among the Unionists and negroes. The ex-Confederate General Forrest even claimed for the former a “benevolent and defensive” purpose. The benevolence was to be mutual aid; the defensive, ostensibly to prevent Union leagues, composed mostly of negroes, from disturbing the peace. Whatever the origin of the associations, when full grown they became a monster terrible beyond question. The oath of perpetual secrecy with the penalty of death attached to its violation, of implicit obedience to a chief or chiefs, the guarding of secrets by the obligation to slay a betrayer, and the oath of every chief to obey without hesitation the orders of some “inner circle,” constituted societies which in some parts of the South came to rival the Nihilistic assassins of Russia or the inner chamber of the old Spanish Inquisition. From the numerous cases of murder and outrage perpetrated upon negroes and those who befriended them during the days of reconstruction, which were reported to my officers and were by them recorded with the different circumstances attending them, it is now clear that the main object from first to last was somehow to regain and maintain over the negro that ascendency which slavery gave, and which was being lost by emancipation, education, and suffrage. The opposition to negro education made itself felt everywhere in a combination not to allow the freedmen any room or building in which a school might be taught. In 1865, 1866, and 1867 mobs of the baser classes at intervals and in all parts of the South occasionally burned school buildings and churches used as schools, flogged teachers or drove them away, and in a number of instances murdered them. But the better
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