“Letter from H.S. Whitfield, Esq., in relation to Mr. Randolph and the Tuskaloosa Monitor”

Source Type: Newspaper
Author: H. S. Whitfield, Esq.
Publisher: Alabama State Journal
Place of publication: Montgomery, AL
Date of publication: May 28, 1869 11:00 pm

Letter from H. S. Whitfield, Esq., in relation to Mr, Randolph and the Tuskaloosa Monitor. — Just about the time we were going to press Saturday a letter was handed us by Capt. Richard W. Goldthwaite, of this city, from H.S. Whitfield, Esq., of Tuskaloosa, in relation to a recent article, which appeared in the STATE JOURNAL, touching affairs in Tuskaloosa county. Below we print this letter. The JOURNAL desires to misrepresent no gentleman, certainly not to wound the feelings of any – hence we give place to this communication, not only as an act of justice to Mr. Randolph, against whom personally we have never entertained i’ll-feelings, but also to have the whole matter thoroughly sifted and the facts known. The article to which Mr. Whitfield alludes was penned under a statement of “facts,” as they were represented to us by one of the Commissioners appointed by Gov. Smith. Among those “facts” were the statements complained of as follows: First, in speaking of the men who committed these outrages the JOURNAL contained the following: “They are reckless tools in the hands of Ryland Randolph, of the Independent Monitor. It is to these men that Randolph’s murderous appeals are addressed. The Monitor has contained numerous paragraphs advising assassination and house burning. Many of the persons pointed out by that paper to be slaughtered, have been deliberately murdered in accordance with its promptings. In like manner many houses indicated by Randolph for destruction, have had the incendiary’s torch immediately applied to them. Randolph is the head devil of all the lawlessness that has afflicted and brought disgrace upon the city and county of Tuskaloosa.” Then, again, in relation to the killing of a prisoner taken from the jail, the JOURNAL said: “Some of them held a conference with Randolph, and then the whole crowd left. Soon thereafter the prisoner was taken out of jail and murderously shot as above stated. Certain it is there was no mob at any time, of any sort, or for any purpose, except the mob composed of Randolph’s murderous Sipseyites.” And again: “Messrs. Miller and Dalton mett and conferred fully with all classes of citizens in Tuskaloosa; whites and blacks, Democrats and Republicans, county officers, merchants, lawyers, mechanics, hotel keepers, planters, and, in a word, men of every calling. They all tell the same story about Randolph. Not a human being was heard to speak of the main except in terms of the most unmeasured denunciation. If it had been the will of infernal demon that held the high carnival of blood in Tuskaloosa, that Ryland Randolph should be slain, it would have caused a shout of joy to ascend from nine-tenths of the community. This seems to be the publicly expressed sentiment of the Tuskaloosa people in regard to Randolph. We must confess that it is difficult to reconcile these professions with the support, negative and passive though it be, which keeps the Monitor afloat.” The above paragraphs do not contain a single syllable penned by the Editor of this paper. They were embraced in the “statement of facts” handed us by the Commissioner of the Governor. We drew no deduction of our own, but simply published what was represented to us as facts. If they are not facts the JOURNAL has done Mr. Randolph great injustice, and we do not hesitate to say so, It is due to the people of Alabama that Messrs. Dalton aul Miller should state how and where they obtained the above information. — TUSKALOOSA, MAY 17, 1869. ED. JOURNAL — IN a recent number of your paper, (that of the 13th,) you present to the public what purports to be a statement of facts, reported back by Messrs. Miller and Dalton, who had been despatched hither by Gov. Smith, to enquire into certain lawless acts committed near this place. It is well known that I have acted for, now, two years with the Republican party, and that I established and edited a paper in the cause of reconstruction. Will this entitle my statement to be taken as free from any bias towards the Monitor and those whom it is represented as controlling? I am no little amazed at what you have published. Surely Messrs. Miller and Dalton have, in some respects, been the victims of senseless and spiteful hoax, for the statements, in great part, which you make, as “simple facts,” got from them, so far transcend the real facts as to be entirely beyond the bounds of even historical romance, and quite within the limits of pure fiction. It is a “simple fact,” that the outrages in question, had their origin in the aggressive and defiant acts of a bad and lawless negro who had challenged the whites around him, by bullying threats, and who, in company with his brother, pursued and drew upon the two half drunken white men, who, by the by, were not in earnest bout carrying off the little boy. It is a “simple fact” that the whites were unarmed and the negroes were. In an attempt made afterwards to chastise these negroes Levi and his brother, a white man was killed and two wounded. They were the kinsmen and friends of these men, living mostly about North Port, ant not “Randolph’s Sipseyites,” who committed the subsequent outrages. It is a “simple fact” that the editor of the Monitor advised these men, when they came to his office, against any violation of the law, and specially against the killing of tho negro then in jail, the brother of Levi. So far as all this is concerned you have merely colored freely; but when you inform us, here in ‘Tuskaloosa, that the Monitor has advised the murdering of several men and the burning of several houses, and that the advice has been prompltely followed in every instance, you rise to that height of fiction which reminds us of the Arabian Nights. When you go further and that Mr. Randolph is denounced by universal acclamation here, and that a shout of exultation from nine-tenths of the community would hail his death, you take away our breath. There is not a shadow of truth in all this. On the contrary, while the extreme partisan bitterness of the Monitor is condemned even by many Democrats, its editor has an extended circle of warm personal friends. Its fierce editoriale with pictures of hanging carpet-baggers, and all that, are not regarded as serious threats. Those dreadful “Sipseyites,” I assure you, are simply the raw-head-and-bloody-bones of the Monitor, whose editor, I venture to assert, is not acquainted with a half dozen of the population about Moore’s Bridge, twenty-five miles distant, and the reported stronghold of the clan. You very pertinently suggest, that it is strange such a man as your “simple facts” represents the editor of the Monitor to be, is permitted to live in this community. Is this an intimation, that, in your opinion, a little of the Ku-Klux code should be administered to him? Do you think there are some cases where an obnoxious person should be dealt with outside of due legal process? Permit me to conclude with saying generally, that, in some respects, the whole matter has been greatly exaggerated, and in others, entirely falsified to Messrs. Miller and Dalton. Will those gentlemen have any objection to giving the names of a few of the great number of persons who communicated the facts to them? H. S. WHITFIELD