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[246] that ‘the collision was the culmination of the system of outrage and insulting the white people, which the negroes had there adopted for several years; many things were done on that terrible night that cannot be justified, but the negroes had sown the wind and had reaped the whirlwind.’

Having related the general fact of the collision and massacre, I am at a loss to determine how to proceed. Though often urged, the government never made this tragedy the subject of a judicial enquiry. A coroner's inquest was held, at which an immense amount of the most extravagant testimony (ex parle) was offered, and subsequently, on proceeding on a habeas corpus, other testimony of a very different character was given by witnesses whose character and standing entitled them to respect. But in neither case did the testimony undergo that sifting and scrutiny which a judicial examination alone can elicit. Prima facie the testimony for the government must have been considered insufficient to make a case against the accused; for though repeatedly urged to prosecute, they refused to do so. Another very ugly feature in the case is, that though a coroner's inquest was promptly held to enquire into the death of the negroes, no notice was taken of the death of Merriweather, who was the first victim of the affray. Perhaps the best plan that can be pursued is to tell the story as it was told by each party, beginning with that of Chamberlain and his Attorney-General, Stover, which, having an official character, was received as true and greedily swallowed by everybody outside of the State. I must premise by saying that the two great parties in the country had selected their candidates for the Presidency, and the contest promised to be bitter and unscrupulous. It was known that the Southern States, except those under negro dominion, would support Mr. Tilden, whose great services in weeding out corruption in New York had commended him to good men all over the country. To counteract this favorable opinion, it was the aim of the supporters of Mr. Hayes to stigmatize the cause of Tilden by representing him as the supporter of Southern outrages upon helpless negroes. Any event, therefore, like the Hamburg massacre was a godsend to them, as it would wonderfully advance the interest of Hayes. Now, when we remember that Chamberlain was one of the accredited leaders of his party in South Carolina, and that his power was due to the aid which he could obtain from that party, it is not doing him injustice to presume that he would put no gloss over his report of the massacre so as to relieve the Democratic party from any of the odium which attached to it. The only fault that was apparent in his report is, that

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