A word with the critics.
[The following editorial, from the Memphis Daily Advocate
of the date of publication of the address, commends itself.]
Whatever may be the sentiment elsewhere, it is plain that this
community is unanimous in support of the views advanced in the now famous speech of Major T. B. Edgington
There is one class of objectors, however, with whom we beg to have a word.
It is that class which, while admitting the force and justice of Major Edgington
's remarks, objects to them on the score of propriety.
The best answer to this is Major Edgington
's own:.‘There was no more fitting place to warn the people of the danger to the republic than among the graves of its defenders.’
His speech was not a political harangue.
It was not sectional in tone.
It was a simple, though wonderfully forceful, discourse upon a grave social question.
It was a mere accident that the majority of his audience were negroes, or even that they were Republicans.
It was an accident of locality.
In the North
the proportion of whites and blacks would have been reversed.
The fact that the latter were in the proportion of fifteen to one was but another proof of the justice of his argument.
Had Major Edgington
been a Southerner and an ex-Confederate soldier, his speech upon any occasion would have been an impossibility.
But his well-known record as a Union veteran and a Northern man, taken in connection with the occasion chosen for the delivery of this most remarkable address, served to give it tone and to relieve it of the objections which might otherwise have been urged.
There is an effort, too, to becloud the real issue by dwelling upon the impracticability of banishing the colored race from the South
This has not been suggested.
On the contrary it is taken for granted that the negro is to remain with us always.
This is the starting point of Major Edgington
It is not how to get rid of the brother in black, but how to deal with him in order that, without too much friction, the supremacy of the white race may be preserved.
Of course it will be preserved, whether the blacks increase as rapidly as Australian rabbits, or double in point of numbers once in twenty years. If the white race were but one-tenth as numerous as the black, it would still rule.
But the situation would be a trying one.
We do not think a solution of the difficulty will be hard to find when once the necessity for it is fully understood.
The public mind, North and South, is ripe for the discussion.
This is shown by the profound sensation created by the address in question.
It was simply the orderly arrangement of the chaotic thoughts of uncounted thousands, and there are yet uncounted thousands more who have never thought seriously of the question before, who will now take it up in earnest.