The Killing of Jo. Holmes

May 10, 1869


Discredits Carpetbaggers, Wells and free riders. Also, asserts that the death of Jo. Homes was indeed bad.


The Killing of Jo. Holmes. The unprincipled scoundrels who feel that their bread and butter depend upon the success of the Wells faction, and who have no idea of trying to make an honest living anywhere, but who hope to subsist upon the crumbs that are expected to fall from the tables of the plunderers with whom they wish to fill the offices of this State, are so lost to all sense of shame that they do not hesitate to utter the infamous falsehood that the killing of Jo. Holmes was part of a system of browbeating and terrorism which is to be resorted to by the Conservatives for the purpose of carrying tho elections. Of course the villains who give utterance to such falsehoods chuckle in their sleeves when they think how Greeley, and Forney, and Wendell Phillips, will be taken in by them; yet they must experience some doubts in their own minds as to whether General Grant and General Candy can be imposed upon by such slanders. It is not necessary for us to tell even the negroes in Virginia that the Wellsites manufactured this lie out of the whole cloth. Sambo is not such a fool as to believe the story. He knows that his pretended friends of the carpet-bag genus do not desire him to aspire to any office; and he will be apt to regard such tales as scarecrows, set up to frighten him out of the field of candidacy. We advise the Rev. Fields Cook, Dr. Thomas Bayne, the Hon. Lewis Lindsey, and other distinguished Wells men of the "colored persuasion," to pay no attention to any efforts that may be made by the white carpet-baggers and scalawags of their party to alarm them as to their personal safety, but to demand a fair share of all the offices. As 90,000 is to 1,000 so is the number of the offices to which the negroes are entitled to the number to which the whites are entitled--that is, according to the teachings of these scalawags and carpet-baggers, and because that is about the relative strength of the two races in the Radical party of Virginia, There is no true man in Virginia who would not rather see Fields Cook elected to Congress than Charles H. Porter. And so far from there being any intention on the part of the Conservatives to bring guns, pistols, and Bowie knives, to bear upon the result and keep down the negro, it is the fact that if compelled to choose between Porter and Cook, nine Virginians out of every ten will unhesitatingly vote for the latter. The negroes of Virginia are to assemble in convention in this city before long. There will be delegates from perhaps all, or nearly all, the counties in the State. They will be molested by no white man of the Conservative party. We are rather pleased than displeased to find that they begin to manifest a spirit of independence towards their new masters--that is to say, the carpet-baggers and scalawags aforesaid. We counsel them to heed not the infamous falsehoods that may be concocted by these unprincipled masters of theirs for the purpose of inducing them to remain at home, and thus of causing their State Convention to be a failure. Let them come in peace, and the Conservatives of this city will keep off all carpet-baggers and scalawags, and see to it that they shall return to their homes unmolested. There is no feeling of opposition to the objects of this Convention on the part of the native white men of Richmond or of the State. We wish to sec the Wellsites put to the test, and be made cither to acknowledge that the negroes ought not to be elected to office, or to agree to nominate ninety negroes for every white scalawag or carpet-bagger that may be similarly favored. Let no clamor about the hostile intent of the whites, and no fears of guns, clubs, or pistols, deter you from demanding of those who tell you that you are their equals that proportion of the offices of the State to which you are entitled, according to the lesson which they have taught you and to your numbers. As to the killing of Holmes, we know nothing more than the papers have told us. We deplore all violence. We have no sympathy with any man who would maltreat a negro because he is a negro. But, being in ignorance as to the provocation and the circumstances of this homicide, we cannot undertake to pronounce judgment against either the dead or the living. General Candy will cause the unfortunate affair to be thoroughly investigated, and will no doubt have justice done as between man and man. Meanwhile, we would warn our northern friends, and especially General Grant, not to place any reliance upon the one-sided statements made in the interest of the Wells faction, and which are intended only to aid in the election of the wandering Michigander.
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“The Killing of Jo. Holmes,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed August 8, 2022,