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People's party paper. [volume] (Atlanta, Ga.) 1891-1898, September 02, 1892, Image 1

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Peoples Party Paper
Despite Brass Bands, Rowdyism, Bar
becue and Speeches, his Speech
is Delivered!
[Reported Expressly for the People’s
Party Paper by J. L. Driscol.]
The train that left Atlanta at eight
o’clock, August 25, carried your re
porter to Cammack, arriving about
one p. m.; at the same hour the train
from Augusta to Atlanta, deposited
the Hon. J. C. C. Black at the same
point. From this the reader will
readily infer that it required two
trains to get Mr. Black and myself
to the connecting point with the Ma
can branch of the Georgia road, but
one was sufficient to take us to
Sparta. The distance, however, is
not so great!
The journey from Cammack to
Sparta w r as quite uneventful. In
deed, I was not aware that Mr.
Black was on board the train until
we arrived at our destination, when
I was informed of his presence by a
gentleman of whom I had inquired
who the good looking gentleman
was. This brought vividly to my
mind another reception, at Thom
son, two weeks and two days ago—
but “comparisons are odorous.”
Doubtless, Major Black will agree
with me in the latter observation’
But, 1 digress.
A nondescript band and about'
three hundred citizens awaited (us !!)
at the depot. The major, with a
few friends, took possession of the
linest carriage in waiting; I, with
* : lw’(Hb nthree hundred Spartans, took
possession of the sidewalk, taking
mental notes on the way. The three
hundred might be divided into three
classes. 1. The kid gloved few, oc
cupying seventeen vehicles of‘every
kind, from the two-horse carriage to
the single-seated sulky. It was evi
dent that but few of these stood in
need of relief, consequently they
were against reform, and spurned
the cries of the masses for equal
rights as shams and absurdities.
2. There was the promiscuous crowd,
constituting by far the greater num
ber, which is always attracted by the
noise of a band; and 3. A brigade
of store-clothed, plug-hatted dudes
who rivaled the band aforesaid in
giving vent to unmusical sounds.
These young men were chiefly dis
tinguished by being scant in cour
tesy, reckless in assertion, overbear
ing in demeanor and barren in ideas.
They were boastful of their intelli
gence, too. Said one of them, in
in answer to an observation of mine
about the probable outcome of the
election : “These y’ere third party
ites is so ignorant they think Watson
are going to give them forty acre
and a mule.” The marks of ap
proval with which this sage remark
by this representative of intelligence
was received, showed plainly that
the common people of Georgia
should not be trusted to manage
their own affairs.
The reader will pardon me for
going back to throw in an incident,
Passing Culver, a station a few
miles back, a well-fed looking speci
men of the genus plutocrat rushed
up to the train and addressing one of
the group, Mr. Ham, I think, said:
“Hello! you are going to Sparta to
skin them fellers to-morrow ?” “Yes,”
said the gentleman addressed, “and
you come along to hold them while
we do the skinning.” A country
man, sitting beside me, remarked:
“Them fellers have been skinning us
so long that they think they can al
ways do it.” There was a grim de
termination in his tone which boded
no good for the skinners.
Now I must confess a humiliating
truth. lam a veteran of the Con
federacy ; I marched under the stars
and bars upwards of three years, and
always referred to it with pride; I
have three wounds upon my body,
received in that service; I suffered
captivity and chains; I never, yet,
voted anything but a democratic
ticket, and all my predelictions are
d’in favor of Jeffersonian democracy—
“EOqxxeil to Special to None.”
of “equal rights to all men and spe
cial privileges to none.” I have al
ways resented the imputation of
bulldozing ascnbed to Southern men
f>y Northern meddlers as untruthful;
I have seen men of wealth and social
influence, in Atlanta, ally themselves
with the republican party, and with
men of the most pronounced hatred
of everything Southern, treated with
the utmost courtesy ; yet, as soon
as my mission was known in Sparta,
I was met in a spirit so arrogant, so
dictatorial and so overbearing as to
make it appear that I was an alien
among a hostile people. I will not
dwell upon this subject. It is an
unpleasant theme.
Messrs. Black, Ham (surnamed su
gar-cure), and a gentleman whose
name I did not learn, were the first
on the ground. No man of the Peo
ple, save your correspondent, had put
in an appearance as yet, and the un
terrified, as they delighted in dub
bing themselves, were loud and boast
ful m proclaiming forthcoming vic
tory. “ I’ll tell you,” you could hear
on all sides, “Watson will not show
himself to-morrow; he won’t face
Black,” etc. One smart Aleck came
in on the porch and taid to a kindred
spirit: “ I hear that there is a third
party reporter here ■who is look
ing for a third party man, and offer
ing a quarter reward.” His friend,
having a little regard for the proprie
ties, introduced him to me on the
spot, intending, I presume, to avoid
any unpleasant reflections. I smil
ingly told him that he was misin
formed about my offering any re
ward to-night, for to-morrow I ex
pected to see them a drug on the
market. “ But,” says he, “ what kind
of men will they be ? ” I respect
fully suggested that perhaps the tai
lor, the shoemaker, the barber and
bootblack might not have done so
much for them as for the cohorts of
plutocracy, but they would doubtless
be good representative Georgians—
the men, or their descendants, who
followed the lead of Lee and Jack
son. He smiled and let me alone.
Genial Bob Lewis was the next friend
I met among the enemy. He told me,
in a confidential tone, that there was
not a respectable white man in Han
cock county belonging to the third
party. “ But,” said he, “ I will mod
ify that; I will say, not an intelligent
man.” That put me to thinking, and
the more I thought the more I was
convinced that these much despised
farmers, with whom I came in con
tact, had a more inteiligent concep
tion of the situation than the average
merchant or clerk in the city. When
will men learn the difference between
intelligence and fine clothes ?
The midnight train brought in
Governor Northen, Hon. Joe James
and Mr. Moses. The hour was too
late for further ebbulitionjof party
confidence, so all retired to recuperate
for the impending conflict. The first
man I met on coming down stairs
next morning was Mr. Ellington.
Our forces at the hotel were doubled,
and I began to pick up courage.
After breakfast the streets were
transformed from the every day ap
pearance which they had the day be
fore to that of a county fair in its
glory. You could hear a spasmodic
cheer here and there for Black, but
every cheer provoked half a dozen
for Watson. The climax was reached,
however, when Mr. Watson was
driven into town about half past eight
o’clock a. m. Nothing more dis
tinctly showed the difference between
the hold on popular affections by the
patriot and the partisan. Partisans
stand off in open-mothed admiration
of the partisan; patriots throw the
arms of their affection around the
patriot, even as the mother clasps her
first-born to her bosom. “ Sink or
swim, survive or perish,” the true
lover of humanity, the champion of
the people, the patriot, retires to the
bosom of his family with the consol
ing consciousness of duty well per
formed that the mere lover of power
can never feel.
Although arrangements for a joint
debate had been fixed for a later
date, yet when Mr. Watson heard of
the boastings of the numerous speak
ers in attendance on the other side,
he immediately issued a challenge,
which was promptly declined. The
pu. ~ the report
The Democrat .d fitted up a
platform and arranged tables for a
barbecue in a beautiful grove about
an eighth of a mile south of the town.
Mr. Watson spoke from the court
house steps. It is dangerous to at
tempt an estimate of the number
present, but I do not think there
were less than twenty-five hundred
listening to Mr. Watson after the
gang that tried to break up his meet
ing (an account of which appears in
the body of the speech) withdrew.
Having commenced earlier than the
enemy, the People’s meeting closed
much sooner; that followed as a
natural consequence, as it had not so
many speakers. About half an hour
after Mr. Watson’s meeting was dis
missed, and many of his audience
were there, attracted by the barbe
cue, I went down and found about
eight hundred present, or say one
third as many as attended the Peo
ple’s party meeting.
A great many tried to belittle the
meeting by saying that Mr. Watson
had more negroes. Well, that is
true, but then he had more whites
also. “ Oh, but,” they say, “ the
white men were from the adjoining
counties.” I have no doubt but they
will sav when a meeting is held in
the adjoining counties, that they are
mostly from Hancock.
The crowd was so densely packed
around the steps that it was difficult
to get order, more difficult for your
reporter to get seated, and still more
difficult to write with the mass of
surging humanity swaying back and
forth like the billows of the ocean.
Without any formal introduction—
indeed, there was no man there who
stood so little in need of an introduc
tion as he—Mr. Watson advanced
and spoke as follows :
My Fellow-Citizen^ —The night
I got home from Washington City
I made au appointment to speak to
the people of Hancock county, here
in Sparta. The democrats, as I be
lieve, got up a counter appointment
to disturb my meeting, and then in
vited here their most distinguished
speakers. [Cries of “Let ’em come,
Tom, you can get away with them
I am here to keep my own ap
pointment. I have no dead sheep,
I have no dead calves, I have no
dead pigs to feed anybody on.
[Great laughter and applause.] I
have got no money to spend in this
campaign, and I trust there is no
where that I could spend it to de
bauch voters, but I have got a will
ingness to spend all my strength in
this campaign. [Several voices—
“ Bless the Lord, we’s with you.”]
I have the willingness and the de
termination to talk with you day by
day and night- by night as far as you
will listen to me, and the thing that
is farthest from my thoughts is to
run away, no matter where the
enemy comes from. [Great cheer
ing, and cries of “Hit ’em, Tom.
Hear how dat man will skin ’em,”
followed by a confused roar of voices
on the outskirts of the crowd and
playing by the band.]
Mr. 'Watson. [Resuming after
quiet was restored, in partial de
gree]. The very first thing I did
when I got into town this morning
was to challenge Mr. Black to meet
me here at my appointment with
any one or two of his friends; and if
you Democrats want to see some
fun, why all you have to do is to
trot Black and Northen both into
the ring, and I will fight them both.
[Wild and prolonged cheering, and a
voice, “Yes; let ’em trot out their
bosses and see them run;” and, “they
are on the run now.”]
[A voice, “We have a barbecue
down in the grove, and everybody is
invited to hear good Democratic
doctrine and partake of the feast
prepared. Everybody invited.”]
Nir. Watson. They may have the
grove; they may have hired both
groves; but there is enough of God
Almighty’s land for you all to stand
on to-day! [Great applause, and
cries “That’s so, Tom, old boy;
we’re with you! Good-bye, Jim
mie !”]
You may have the trees [the
speaker (Erecting his address to the
point near the hotel, where the.other
speakers were domiciled], but we
have got the men; and these men
are not going to be enticed away
from this free, fair discussion of
these great public questions by any
amount of green pork; by any
amount of barbecued beef; by any
amount of uncooked mutton down
here in the grove! These men who
have come out to hear the truth can
get their dinners when the speaking
is over. [Cries of “We have got our
dinners right here! Hurrah for
Fellow-citizens, there have been
the most flagrant attacks made upon
me personally, as well as upon your
platform generally. I want to' an
swer these first, although they do
not properly belong to a general
debate. It will take me an hour or
two to get rid of them, and
they can have that hour or two
to decide whether to fight or not.
Let any Democrat who is hungering
to see the neatest fight of the com
paign, while I am discussing the
Peek bill, and the Anthony Wilson
contest, and all that sort of thing, go
down to Democratic headquarters
and find out how anxious Governor
Northen and Major Black are to
meet me, and carry my challenge to
these gentlemen to meet me, and
assure them that they can have
fighting to their hearts’s content.
[lnterruptions from the outside of
the audience which yere answered
by auditors around the stand; a gen
eral swaying of the crowd, and
cries of “Hurrah for our Tom ! Hit
’em again! Good-bye, Jimmie
Black!”] ’
My friends, you please do your
talking after I leave, and give me
the opportunity now. Those fellows
out there are just trying to irritate
you, and that interferes with me.
They will tell a half-bushel basket
full of lies about this speech when I
get away. You save your lungs for
them to-morrow, and I will attend
to those little fellows to-day. [Cries
of “Order! Order, bovs ! It’s com
ing now!”
Have any of you seen that [hold
ing a paper aloft] ? It is a picture
of Col. Peek and myself putting the
white people and the black people in
slavery—putting the poor white and
the poor black people in slavery—
and underneath the picture is the
heading, “Peek’s Slavery Bill.”
Now, 1 have discussed this bill at
every one of my appointments, ex
plaining it in every . detail, but the
fair, truthful(?) newspapers have
been so carefully careless that they
have not reported it. They have
reported everything I said that they
could put to a bad use, but wherever
I discussed the press, or put a black
tye or a blue spot on ihe Democratic
party, they have been careful not to
say a word about it. There has
never been a campaign in the State
of Georgia that depended so much
on deliberate and tenacious telling of
lies. They have told you the tangle
foot lie, and the straight-legged lie;
the sway-back lie, and the snaggle
tooth lie [laughter]; the hump
shouldered lie, and snub-nosed lie
[increased laughter]; the lie gen
eral, and the lie special [roars of
laughter] ; the lie definite, and the lie
indefinite [another outburst]; the
lie malicious, and the lie amusing [A
voice, “’Fore de Lord, Boss, dis mg
gah bust, sho’!”], but if there is any
lie that will take the cake in this
varied list of lies, it is the Sindey
Lewis he. [The climax reached.]
More falsehoods ’have never been
thrown into any canvass; it has been
almost impossible for them to tell the
truth, and as I said about this last
kind of a lie,.it does seem that it de
fies mendacious ingenuity, even in
one who has given the whole venom
of his nature up to this campaign.
[Great cheering and expostulations
on the part- of the well-behaved
colored with a few unruly members
of their own color.] Boys, lot those
black men alone; they have no bet
ter sense. [Addressing a white
hatted young blackguard, who was
trying to create confusion.] Make
yourself useful, young man ; trot your
men up here and 1 will attend to
them. [Pointing to a group of sys
tematic disturbers.] They do not
amount to a row of pins; they do
not amount to a needle in a hay
I say this, fellow-citizens, that the
infamous falsehoods that have been
attempted to be practiced on me and
on you in this campaign are without
a parallel, and more especially by the
little man that runs the paper down
the street, whose mind is so malig
nant that if the contents of his heart
were turned into his stomach he
would die of the black vomit. [A
colored brother, “’Fo’ the Lord;
how he hits him!” Another, “Umph ;
I’d sooner be a nigger than dat white
man, sho’!”
[At this point the young men com
posing the Democratic club seemed
to scatter themselves, as if by pre
concerted action, and commenced
vociferous volleys of “’Rah for
Black! ’Rah for Black!” and tried
to urge the colored men of the town
to take part.]
Mr. Watson [pointing his finger
in scorn at them]. Oh, look at the
kindergarten! Look at the silk
hatters ! Listen to the dude!
Listen to the nursery prattle ! Why,
they have even robbed the cradle
for claqueurs to come here and
claque for Black. [Uproarious ap
plause.] [Addressing the goslings
in a serious tone.] You put your
candidate in an absurd attitude,
young fellows, when you cannot
trust him to come and do his own
talking, but you must come here
and the attempt out of your
empty heads. [Renewed interrup
tions, which your reporter could not
hear on account of the dense crowd
around him.]
We are going to have a Democrat
bring m a baby directly. That young
fellow [pointing] up there -seems to
be as near an approach to a baby as
he can well be not to be in a cradle.
Now, colored men, let us come
back to the slavery bill. It is a bad
bill, undoubtedly,
[Now a chorus of voices, scattered
here and there, cut loose and pande
monium reigned supreme for about
ten minutes. Mr. Watson’s friends,
who were in the street, crowded in
on the steps of the court house and
up ou the portico, in order to get a
better view of the movements further
out. The reporter was virtually in
a sweat-box, and it was fortunate for
him that the speaker was compelled
to speak slowly while he was so re
tarded in his work, else the words of
the speaker would be unrecorded.
At this time “ a change came o’er the
spirit of their dreams.” The band
struck up again aud added to the
Mr. Watson (making himself heard
above the din) : That shows who are
the cowards, don’t it? They look
like people who are not afraid of the
truth! The infamous cowards are
not willing to hear the truth. Oh,
yes! You are a nice set of fellows
to talk about me being afraid to meet
your candidate, when I came here to
face the music and meet you face to
face and foot to foot, and hilt to hilt,
you try to drown my voice without
a hearing; but from your infamous
cowardice I appeal to the brave hearts
and strong arms of the people, and I
have no doubt where they stand.
[Great cheering and voices iu every
direction: “You have the crowd,
Tom. They are on the run.”]
Mr. Wateon: They know that I
have something to say about this pa
per, and the infamous liars that pub
lish it do not want you to hear it;
but you shall hear it, my friends. I
came here to-day to tell you, and the
infamous slanderers cannot prevent
me from making the truth known to
you. [A voice: “That’s what’s the
matter with Hannah.”]
[After a vain endeavor to break
up the meeting, presumably at the
command from the leaders, the band
was headed for the grove where the
“’cue” was prepared and the mob
followed after.]
Mr. C. E. McGregor, of Warren
ton, then advanced and said: “ The
clouds have passed away; the brazen
trumpeters of democracy have disap
peared, and I have this to say: Let
you patriots of Hancock county re
main quiet for a few moments, until
Mr. Watson is ready to resume, and
hear how this great leader of the
democrats of the Tenth district an
swered in thunder tones the chal
lenge of your champion. Now, give
me the utmost quiet and your undi
vided attention. [A voice : “ Hurrah
for Black.] My friend, you will not
halloo that after November. [Look
ing defiantly toward some disturb
ers to the right.] I have this to say :
‘My foot is on my native' heath.
[A voice : ‘And your name it]is Me-’
Gregor* Great cheering.] Yes, and
we are on top, and will be there in
November. Now, I have a few
words to say to you Democrats over
there ; a little medicine to aminister;
I know that it is a nauseous dose, but
you have to take it. I will now read
you a letter in reply to a letter of
Mr. Baxter, dated August 18, noti
fying Nir. Harrison that the Young
Men’s Democratic club would have
public speaking and barbecue at
Sparta on the 25th, and inviting the
speakers of the People’s party to join
them as debaters.
Here is the letter, which speaks for
itself, [Reads.]
Linton, Ga., August 24.
Hon. R. B. Baxter, Chairman Young
Men’s Democratic Club:
Dear Sir —Inasmuch as Hon. T. E.
Watson, the People’s candidate for
Congress from this, the Tenth Congres
sional District had, as early as the I2th
instant, announced and publicly pub
lished an appointment at Sparta for
Thursday, the 25th instant, I was as
tonished that your Democratic club
had, as late as the 18th instant, selected
the same day and place for your free
barbecue and rally. Regarding your
invitation for our speakers and party
to join you as debaters and guests, per
mit me to say that The Atlanta Con
stitution of this date contains this in
formation :
“Mr. Biack will speak at Sparta, and
Mr. Watson will not meet him.”
As Mr. Watson has challenged Mr.
Black for eleven joint discussions, and
Mr. Black having accepted live and de
clined six, Mr. Watson respectfully
offers to divide time with him at this
appointment, after Mr. W r atson has oc
cupied one hour in giving an account
of his stewardship and replying to per
sonal assaults.
Yours respectfully,
J. M. Harrison,
Chairman Ex. Com. People’s Party.
The Atlanta Constitution says:
“ Mr. Black will speak at Sparta, and
Mr. Watson is afraid to meet him.”
It does not look that way to a man
up a tree, does it? [Loud laughter.
A voice : “ That is the lie unblush-
colored man: “’Fore God,
iu a hole; he’s treed,
Mr. Now listen to the
reply of the man who wants so badly
to fight. I want to show yon what
sort of a war uniform they dress
Gen Black in. [Laughter and ap
plause. Reads.]
Sparta, Ga., August 25th.
Mr. J. M. Harrison, Chairman :
Dear Sir—Yours of the 25th was not
received until a moment ago. I wrote
you on the 18th instant, proposing a
joint meeting and discussion here to
day, and you delayed your reply, which
I have received only a few moments
ago. You are mistaken in the state
ment that Mr. Black declined six of the
joint discussions to which Mr. Watson
invited him. Mr. Watson having indi
cated that his duties would call him
out of the District after the 15th inst.,
and that he only wished to devote the
time up to that date to a joint discus
sion, the arrangements proposed by
Mr. Black did not go beyond that date,
he signifying his willingness to ar
range other joint debates as might be
mutually agreed on. You delay your
reply to mine of the 18th instant until
it has just reached me, and after we
havejarranged another programme for
the day,and then propose an unequal
and unfair di vision of time, is so mani
festly so that we cannot accept it.
R. B. Baxter, Chairman.
[To show the desperate straits in
which this correspondence placed the
would-be masters of the people, I
must throw in an incident paren
thetically. At the hotel, after the
meetings were over, I got in conver
sation with "one E. S. Jervey.
He proclaimed that Mr. Watson had
declined to meet Mr. Black—this to
me by the way of information. I re
spectfully informed him that I had
correspondence in my pocket that
enlightened me more than he possi
bly could—at the same time showing
him the above letters. He stepped
into the office and almost immedi
ately returned with a gentleman
whom I afterwards learned was Mr.
Baxter. Mr. Baxter, in an insulting
tone, demanded to see the letters
which I had in my pocket. I replied
that while there was nothing of a
secret character in the letters—for
they would be published-—yet I de
clined to yield to what was put in the
form of a command. By this time
Mr. Ham and Mr. James joined the
group, and Mr. Baxter again made
the demand, saying that one of the
letters he thought was his personal
property. I replied that it made no
difference whose property it was, it
was correspondence of a public char
acter, read at a public meeting, placed
in my possession, and nothing but
brute force would get it. It was then
suggested, in the form of a command,
that I let Mr. Baxter read the letters.
That I declined, telling them that if
they thought they had a man they
could bulldoze, they were mistaken ;
that I had carried a gun on my shoul
der in defense of Southern rights
when some of them were lolling in
the innocent inertia of puling baby
hood, and if they wanted the letters,
to take them if they could. Mr. Ham
disclaimed any idea of bulldozing,
and asked why, as a matter of court
esy, I refused to show what was to
be published. I replied that in that
light I did not mind showing them
to him and Mr. James, if they would
give me their words of honor to re
turn them—for they were gentle
manly all through—but I would not
let Baxter or Jervey see anything.
I will say, in justice to Mr. James and
Mr. Ham, and other gentlemen, that
there was nothing of an insulting na
ture indulged in by any person pres
ent, save Baxter and Jervey; but
still I was surrounded by men who
were willing to torture everything in
their favor.—J. L. D.]
Mr. Watson : Now, fellow-citizens,
I put it to you as fair-minded men—
[Noisy demonstrations on the outside
of the crowd, and angry retorts from
within —the people evidently losing
patience with|the blackguards.]" Now,
my fellow-citizens, I have come here
to discuss public issues with you, and
do you think it fair, as fair men, as
honest men, as brave men, that a
squad of half a dozen should stand
over there and try to keep me from
speaking ? [Cries of “No !jNo ! No!”]
Don’t you think that they put their
candidate in a contemptible attitude
when they stand there and say, by
their noisy interruptions, that they
are afraid for him to meet me and
talk to you? (Angry mutterings
around the speaker’s stand.) Now,
if you will keep quiet (addressing
those around the stand who showed
their indignation) we will get rid of
this riff-raff out there—those empty
headed boys who have neither the in
stinct nor training of gentlemen. No
gentleman would behave in that way,
no brave man would behave in that
way, no fair-minded man would at
tempt to drown the voice of reason
when a man has come here to ’ meet
his enemies foot to foot and face to
face; nobody but a contemptible
coward would attempt a thing like
that. (Long continued cheering.) I
will soon have these pusillanimous
fellows running through the streets
with their tails between thejr leers.
(A voice : “ He’ll do it, sho.”)
Now, fellow citizens, let us come 7
to tlmdiscussion of the “Peek Slav-/
eryßW.” They say that this
gave the rich landlord the righfl&jg'
take up his poor tenant, the
take up his cropper or the right**’ to

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