Can They Stand It?
November 14, 1870
After the failing of the carpet-baggers from the North in the recent elections, white southerners have issued out a warning of sorts - do not try and come down to the south and take a single thing that belongs to them.
The horde of carpet-baggers which swept down upon the South like an army of wolves of the black forest have held on to their schemes for seizing the offices and filling'their pockets with the public moneys with a pertinacity and impudence that is amazing. But gradually the white people of the'South have regained control over their own public affairs, and gradually have the beast'of prey been driven back to their black forests. The history of their depredations, their ravenous inroads upon the public revenues can never he justly and fairly explained. The extent, as well as the enormity of their crimes can never be appreciated. No one will ever encounter the heavy task of hunting them up and following the carpet-bagger through his torturous and dark paths.'The South has been terribly victimized by these people, who have been seconded and strongly maintained in the rascality by the Government itself. Beginning with military rule and the villainous agency of the Freedmens's Bureau - the latter furnishing the rascals, and the former installing them in office - the south was laid completely at the mercy of these unscrupulous and greedy men. The Congress having disfranchised the Southern whites, and the negroes being incapable of discharging the duties of public offices, the military commands had hardly any recourse left them but to fill those offices with emissaries of the Freedmen's Bureau. General Canby made them sheriffs here in Virginia, and gave them the handling of the public money - the taxes paid in by an impoverished and oppressed people. There were but few of them who could give the security required by the laws of Virginia. But the courts had to submit. In the case of Leahy, in Pittsylvania; General Canby ordered the court to take his security, though it had twice refused to do so. Leahy will only be a sample. We shall see how many of them make good their deficits. 'Getting position through the power wielded over us while in a territorial condition, they were enabled to muster in strong force, permeating the whole Commonwealth, and, with the cooperation of the Freedmen's bureau, the minds of the negroes were poisoned against us with a view to permanent possession of the offices by these adventurers after the military government was withdrawn. In this they have been wofully disappointed. They have lost all chances to handle the public funds save in districts where the negroes hold the balance of power, and even in those districts a strong feeling in behalf of native citizens, together with a prejudice against carpet-baggers for their evident purpose to keep negores out of office, has caused a great change to the disadvantage of the carpet-baggers. They are defeated almost everywhere.'Now, as these people had no other motive in coming here but that off playing the "dodge" of "ruining" the Souther States and stealing all the money they could, they had no callings, no visible means of support. Disappointed in not getting the official plunder they came for, or rather in not enjoying that plunder after the military left, they have no way of living. Their commissary department was but limited, and when that is exhausted there is an end of them. See how many have left this city - and there are many others who must follow.'The scenes of the last two years have been remarkable. The impudence of our people in taking possession of their own Government has greatly straightened the circumstances of the amiable and honest carper-baggers. They have been like wrecked people at sea fighting for the floating planks. They struggled to keep their hold upon our city government, and they essayed to undermine each other. The Journal south to oust Humphreys, and then Porter, and others planned to blow up all the "ins," and later, Miss Van Lew was set upon. The situation got very warm as "J.N." says, the "pressure was heavy."'Bond, and Wardwell, and Painter, and Samuel, and Gregory, and others, have gone. Hunnicutt preceded them all, as he was the most honest of them all, and least designing. He was sent off like a long-bearded goat, bearing as much of their sins as they could pack upon him. But Hunnicutt, if he cherishes malice toward his early colleagues who turned upon him after fleecing him of all he made by the public printing, will have his heart's content with their exposure and flight. They much all go covered with ignominy and disgrace by the gross swindling, and embezzling and corruption, and fraud, that have been proved upon them, from stealing $7,000 worth of real estate to selling cadetships and pocketing public money in a hundred ways. They will ultimately all leave the lauds they have oppressed, vexed, injured, and insulted by their deeds. Their only hope of escape from the contempt of man everywhere is in their obscurity. 'Richmond has now peace from these people for eighteen months. In that time the commissary department will likely give out, and, for want of means to subsist upon, they will depart. There is certainly room enough in the world for them and for us. While we cannot envy any people with whom they nay cast their lots, we may truly felicitate ourselves upon their departure; for the country will grow back brighter as they withdraw.'We hope - indeed we believe - that no sincere and good-intentioned gentleman coming from any quarter of this earth to live amongst us, will make the error of taking even the shade of a shadow of these strictures to himself. We all know, and none better than th genuine carpet bagger, who we mean, Some of our best citizens have come to dwell amongst us from distant sections of the Union, and we heartily welcome them. The man is blindly sensitive indeed who cannot distinguish these apples from the the horse droppings
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“Can They Stand It?,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed August 8, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1883.