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Title: K. K. K. Sketches, Humorous and Didactic - Treating the More Important Events of the Ku-Klux-Klan Movement in the South. - With a Discussion of the Causes which gave Rise to it, and the Social and Political Issues Emanating from it.
Author: Beard, James Melville
Language: English
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  Humorous and Didactic,



  A Discussion of the Causes which gave Rise
  to it, and the Social and Political
  Issues Emanating from it.


  624, 626 & 628 MARKET STREET.

  Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1876, by
  in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.


  Selheimer & Moore, Printers,
  501 Chestnut Street.

  Messrs. Geo. C. Reeler and H. R. and J. M. Park,


These sketches are placed before the public without other apology for
their appearance than may be found in that demand for information on the
subject treated which renders a work of the character a positive necessity
of the times. The secret political movement here introduced to the reader
has contributed more to the sensational character of American politics,
and, at the same time, proven a more influential factor in those political
questions with which we have dealt as a people, than any or all
contemporaneous issues. And yet nothing has been written on the theme
bearing a just proportion thereto,--absolutely nothing,--if we subtract
the unknown quantity in the news problem of the day from this estimate,
and for reasons as varied as obvious. We shall not weary the reader with a
statement of the latter, nor a recitative of the conditions upon which
they are or may have been based. It is enough that we know that no
consecutive nor reliable history of the Order could have been written at
an earlier period; and even at this date, so broken and fragmentary are
those passages referring to its active career, compiled during months of
arduous labor, that the author has been necessitated to group them in a
series of historical sketches, or pen-pictures, and in treating the
subject to adopt the style of the romancist, rather than that of the
historian. He flatters himself, however, that while the reliability of his
historical information is not impaired by this method, that the work will
thereby be rendered more attractive to a large class of readers; and, on
the other hand, as to facts connected with the _morale_ of the weird
subject, he is not hampered by these considerations, but is enabled to
present them in such a concise form, and as sententiously as regards
style, as their share of the task's importance renders peremptory.

From the moment that the resolution to compose these sketches in the
interest of the reading public became fixed in the author's mind, he has
been in constant communication with individuals who were not only
influential leaders of the secret movement, but held high official rank
under it; so that the authenticity of his statements affecting its
_regimé_ is placed so far beyond question that the reader is at liberty to
take the latter as _ex cathedra_ utterances of this singularly reticent
body. Should those passages which are occupied with the more exciting
events of K. K. K. history be calculated to awaken _sensation_ in the
public breast, it is a _contretemps_ from which the author begs to excuse
himself in the light of the same admission, adding, moreover, that he has
availed himself of those examples which have gone before him in this
department of literature, and reserved his art-flourishes for less
susceptible divisions of the theme.

The intelligent reader will see no politics, nor evidence of political
bias in the pages of this volume, if he will do the author the simple
fairness of its thorough examination. If in addressing his audience from
the _status in quo_, to which the Ku-Klux troubles were referred in their
origin and bloody career, forcible truths are given their due emphasis, he
begs to assure the public that his utterances are no less strongly
inflected from a standpoint of contrasted locality and habits of political
thought. A man professing no politics but those of his grandfather, and,
despite settled opinions favoring such partisanship, is strongly tempted
at times to question _their_ integrity, would hardly be supposed guilty of
making an obnoxious necessity of some other man's property, in this most
precarious of titled possessions; and lest any should fail to perceive the
allegory which this sentence contains, the author begs to call attention
to it, and to appropriate the _situation_ which it presents. The public
mind is so excited regarding such topics at this moment, that it would
fail to meet expectation, if it should decline to suspect every shadow of
possessing substance, when projected from so suspicious a direction as the
subject chosen; and feeling this, and perceiving the inutility of any
other form of argument, the reader is invited, in conclusion, to adopt the
usual method in such inquiries, and determine for himself the _vexata





  Terms of Southern Surrender in the War of the Rebellion--Candor
  of Paroled Troops--"Lee's Ragamuffins"--Generals Grant's and
  Sherman's Proposed Amnesty--The "Rump Congress" and
  Disfranchisement--What the Latter meant--Issues which the War
  Settled--How these were Revived by the Pending Congress--Anarchy
  in the South--The Loyal League                                        13



  Situation Produced by the War--Discontented Partisans--The War
  District in the South--Words of a Northern Tourist--The Curse of
  Slavery--President Johnson--How the Work of Reconstruction was
  Inaugurated--The Law-making Power vested in Dummy Legislatures--
  Disfranchisement--Enfranchisement--The Color Issue which these
  Measures brought--A Singular Peace Policy--The War of the
  Conservatives in the South against Radicalism did not Revive
  Issues concluded by the late Civil Struggle, as the latter
  Boasted--Loyal Epithets--"Traitor," "Guerilla," "Southern
  Bandit," etc.--The Shamelessness of the State Officials--The
  Uneducated Negro a Law-giver--Organization of the Loyal League--
  Some of its Peculiarities--The K. K. K. Movement as an Offset to
  the League                                                            18



  A Stirring Episode--Raising the Dead--Night-Hawk Abroad--Moving
  toward the Rendezvous--Grand Cyclops of Den No. 5--Forming the
  Magic Circle--K. K. K. Drill--On the March--The _Tout Ensemble_
  of a Raiding Body--Weird Costuming--Banners Inscribed with the
  K. K. K. Escutcheon--How the Scene Impressed Beholders                29



  Impressions after a K. K. K. Raid--Will Morning never come?--
  Conjectures Regarding the Subject in the Minds of those who
  should have been Prepared to Render an Opinion--What
  Superstitious People thought--The Mill Council--K. K. K.
  Arraigned on various Charges, and Acquitted for Want of
  Testimony--The Subject an Enigma--Man a Superstitious Animal          38



  A Train which brought Welcome Passenger--Caucusing in the Open
  Air a Dangerous Proceeding--Correct Surmises--An Old Church,
  Bequeathed from Generation to Generation, and Liable to many
  Uses--Brothers and Sisters all--The L. L. in full Bloom--Storm
  succeeded by a Calm--Weird Visitors--What they left behind them--
  Sudden Panic--The Rally--Still in Doubt--The Chairman's
  Stratagem--How it didn't Work--Despondent Leaguers taught to Act
  for Themselves.                                                       49



  Contrasted Views of the Organization inspired by its Dealings
  with the Public--The Colored Man in the South--Kindly Feeling
  for the Race cherished by Native Southerners--Households Presided
  over by Colored Matrons--Superstitious Tendencies of Cuffey--His
  Ideas about "Ghosts," and the Realm which they Inhabit--Spook
  Kinsfolk--The ideal "Uncle Tom's Cabin"--Wherein it was a
  Failure--The "Infantile Sex" and their Greed for Ghost-lore--
  Painful Reminiscences--Use to which the Aged Patriarch, or Beldam,
  as the Case might be, put their Prerogative--Talent for relating
  Ghost Stories--The Young White Men of the South trained up in
  this School                                                           61



  A Band of Regulators whose Force at this time numbered a Half
  Million well-organized and perfectly Drilled Men--Who composed
  its Draft--Considerations which recommended it to the Better
  Classes of Society--Its Haunts--Oath-bound Covenant, and
  Penalties attached--Galloping forth to Predestined Conquest--It
  proceeded under a rigid Constitutional System--Territorial
  Subdivisions--Empire--Realm--Province--Den--Grand Wizard and his
  Cabinet--Grand Giant--The Commander of a Den--Grand Cyclops--
  Night-Hawks, etc.--How Members were Initiated--Proposed Initiates
  might Retire if Displeased with the Conditions of Membership--How
  far the Klan was "Rebel" in its Draft--Members of the State
  Legislatures, Congressmen, and Governors of States, took its Vows
  upon them--Its Political Suffrages--Compelling Ignorant Colored
  Men to relinquish the Franchise--K. K. K. Placards--Empty Coffins
  containing Ukase of Banishment Carted to the Doors of Obnoxious
  White Citizens--Its Ideas of Social Decorum                           71



  The Klan never did its Work by Halves--How General Orders were
  Transmitted--Form of General Order--Its Imbroglios with the
  League--Avoided Conflict with United States Troops--League
  Informers--K. K. K. Intimidation of Witnesses--_Memento Mori_--
  Crusade of the Ermined Ranks--The Klan a Bitter Enemy of those
  Unorganized Parties of Ruffians who made War on their kind in
  the former's Name--Its Right to Borrow Sympathy on this Exchange
  a Grave Question of Doubt--Vendettas Conducted against the
  "Shams."                                                              80



  Misgovernment in Tennessee--The Loyal League and the State
  Administration--The K. K. K. an Outgrowth of the Conditions which
  the former Inspired--Rapid Development of the Order on Tennessee
  Soil--Its Purposes of Revenge--Legislation on the Subject--
  Militia called out and Detectives Employed--The State pronounced
  a Ku-Klux Barracks--A Simultaneous Uprising of the K. K. K.
  throughout the State and Concerted Raids against the L. L.
  Rendezvous in various Neighborhoods--Military Accomplishments of
  the Grand Wizard--Subcommanders in Charge of the Expedition--
  Capture of Secret Papers--Ku-Klux Hollow-square--Oath administered
  to Captives                                                           88



  Speech of Hon. Bones Button before the State Council of the Loyal
  League--What followed--Amusing Contretemps                            97



  Excitement throughout the State--Scenes at the Capitol--Government
  Officials Notified of the Extent of the Disaster--A Quorum of the
  Legislative or Judicial Bodies not Attainable--No Departures from
  the City--The K. K. K. Cabal Receiving that Attention from
  Caucusing Legislators which its Importance Demanded--A Mob at the
  State-House--At Sunset the Situation Unchanged--A Sortie from the
  Capitol--Mobs along the Route--Seeking Refuge from the Excited
  Populace--Out of Danger--The New Situation--An Ugly Specimen of
  the Genus Ku-Klux--The Governor Recovers from the Attitude of a
  Suppliant--An Amusing Episode                                        107



  The Klan Outlawed--A Rash Act of one of its Dens--Negro
  Insurrectionists Placed in the Jail at Trenton--Subsequent
  Massacre--Detectives in Pursuit--Members of the Order Indicted--
  Efforts to Convict the Accused--Affair in Obion--Why these
  Horrors are Classed as Twin Editions--Description of Madrid
  Bend--K. K. K. Transactions in this Remote Quarter--Planters'
  Jealousy--Message from Mr. J. to the Leaders of the Party--
  Cool Treatment it Received--The K.'s Declare their Intention of
  Punishing one of the Laborers on J.'s Farm--His Defiance--A
  Fierce Skirmish--J.'s Flight--Massacre of Fleeing Blacks--Eight
  Colored Men taken from the County Jail at Troy--Their Fate a
  Mystery                                                              116



  Any person, under color of law, etc., of any State, depriving
  another of any rights, etc., secured by the Constitution of the
  United States, made liable to the party injured, 7034--Penalty for
  conspiring, by force, to put down the government of the United
  States, etc., 7035--Conspirator's doing, etc., any act in
  furtherance of the object of the conspiracy, and injuring another,
  liable to damages therefor, 7035--What to be deemed a denial by
  any State to any class of its people of their equal protection
  under the laws, 7036                                                 125



  Adventists--How they Practised on the Parasitical Blacks--A Little
  Power is a Dangerous Thing--The Political Situation in '67--The
  State Press--The Order of K. K. K. in Louisiana--When the
  Government Officials were first Notified of its Presence--The
  Feeling in Grant Parish--Riot Growing out of a Personal
  Difficulty--Blacks Entrenched in the Court-House at Colfax--
  Parley--Negroes Refuse to Surrender--A Second Defiance--Building
  Fired--Massacre and Termination of the Bloody Affair--Statistics
  of Losses in the Fight--Who were Responsible--The White League or
  Camelias--Occupied the K. K. K. Basis in Externals--New Orleans
  Riots--Their Effect on the Returning Boards--Coushatta--K. K. K.
  in Texas--Border History Uneventful                                  134



  The Situation in Georgia--Some Things which may be Explained--
  Negro Criminals--Taking Refuge in the Ocmulgee Swamps--Ku-Klux
  Ambushed--A Terrible Oath--Uncle Jack B.--"Nigger Dogs" in the
  "Goober State"--Uncle Jack Interviewed by the Ku-Klux--What
  came of it--Getting Ready for the Chase--A Pack of "Negro Dogs"
  described--In the Swamps--The Opening Chorus--A Warm Trail--
  Disappointment--The Lull is Past--A Last Effort--Another Crime
  added to the Calendar--A fresh Start--At Bay--Tragical Scene         143



  The Klan in South Carolina--Officious Interference in Politics--
  Atrocious Performances of Men in Masks--The "Shams," or
  Counterfeit Editions of K. K. K.--How Organized--Their Vocabulary
  of Crime--South Carolina Fanatics--How the "Sham" Movement
  Affected the K. K. K.--A Resolution of _sine die_ Adjournment--
  K. K. K. Horrors on the Increase--Rotten-Egg Battalions--Citizens
  sometimes took the Execution of the Law into their Own Hands--A
  Case in Point                                                        154



  Experiments in Metaphysics--An Anecdote Dealing with the
  Characteristics of some People--Another--Peculiarities of the
  Caucasian--Ditto of the African--An "Awakening" among the Children
  of the New Abrahamic Covenant--"Brudder Jones's Preechin'"--What it
  Wrought--The Pale-Faced Settlers in Distress--An "Artifice" of
  Retrenchment--Eloquent Discourse--Nineteenthly, and what followed--
  K. K. K. _redivivus_--"Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching,
  etc."--A Break for Tall Timber                                       161



  Late Announcement of the Earl of Beaconsfield before an Assembly
  of Englishmen--The Secret Societies of Europe--True Status with
  Regard to Current Politics--Combining the Offices of Regulator and
  _Vigilante_ with that of Politician--Its Generical Belongings--Few
  Friends Unconnected with its Patronage--Negative Issue which it
  Introduced into the Great Campaign--Occupying a Voice in Southern
  Counsels--Unprincipled Plagiaries--Dangerous Sentimentalism
  Awakened at the North                                                172



  A Popular Fallacy--Karl Konstant Kain, Esq.--Awaiting Events--An
  Intricate Subject for the Hospitals and Doctors--Getting Even
  with the Latter--Yellow Jack on a Raid--K. K. K., Esq. in his
  Prison Cell--Promoted to the Hospital--An Uncommon Defiance--K.
  Konstant Kain struggles back to Shore--"Do not Weep"--A Critical
  Moment--A New Cast and entire Change of Scenery--"Gruel" did it--
  Waited upon by a Deputation of Citizens--"Young Man, Go West"--
  The New Orleans Pest-House--Konfounded, Krooked Konundrum            180


  CONCLUSION                                                           189




     Terms of Southern Surrender in the War of the Rebellion--Candor of
     Paroled Troops--"Lee's Ragamuffins"--Generals Grant's and Sherman's
     Proposed Amnesty--The "Rump Congress" and Disfranchisement--What the
     Latter meant--Issues which the War Settled--How these were Revived by
     the Pending Congress--Anarchy in the South--The Loyal League.

The treaty concluded between the conquered and conquering States at the
close of the late civil war, while arranging all external differences and
disarming physical resistance, yet did not provide for certain
contingencies arising from the ethics of the dispute, which were destined
to exert a powerful influence over the destinies of the American people.
Undoubtedly the Southern troops surrendered their standards, and accepted
the conqueror's amnesty in good faith, and we can but believe that their
allegiance to the restored Union--which had been promptly tendered--would
have been crowned with this condition but for the disposition manifested
by the civil power to review the pledges of its ambassadors in the field,
and interpose supplementary conditions that could have no other beneficial
effect than might be supposed to result, in a general way, from the
humiliation of the conquered, and which would naturally tend to a revival
of the _casus belli_. Having returned to their homes, and been soothed
into accord with their new surroundings by those domestic Penates which
had escaped the dispensation of fire and sword, through which they had
mutually passed, "Lee's ragamuffins," as they had been styled by the
Jenkinses of the period, set resolutely to work to restore their fallen
fortunes, and, at the same time, so amend the shattered social fabric as
that their personal and property rights might have that organized
protection which cannot always be assured in times of civil disturbance.
That they had forfeited any of those rights common to citizens of the
republic under which they lived, by taking up arms in defence of a great
national doctrine which, they were firmly persuaded, embodied its genius,
if it did not represent its life, was a bombproof theory never seriously
proposed until the glory of Appomattox had passed into history. To be
denationalized, even in the sense which their severer critics ascribed as
one of the conditions of their voluntary withdrawal from the national
compact, carried with it discomforts of no mean significance; but to have
the ill effects of their so-called treason visited upon them in the
commonest concerns of social being, and to be denied a part in the
administration of those State governments for whose (supposed) integrity
they had imperilled their lives, was the harshest of all possible
reconstruction issues, and one which candid thinkers will regard a very
faint reflection of that peace policy which the measure purported to

Having determined to supersede the military policy enforced against the
Southern States by the Union generals, with such felicitous results, the
National Legislature, which, immediately upon the close of the war, had
developed those diagnostics which caused fair-minded men of the period to
look upon it as a distempered and revolutionary body (and achieved for it
the title of the "Rump Congress"), resolved to replace it by another,
altogether dissimilar in type, and contrasting strangely with it even in
reference to the objects supposed to be had in view. The people of the
South, contending for the doctrine of State sovereignty, and pledging
their fortunes and their lives in defence of a supposed inalienable right,
and the masses of the North as strenuously opposing this theory, and
asserting that no emergency could arise whereby a member of the Union
might reclaim its sovereignty from the national compact, presented an
issue altogether susceptible of settlement. And, indeed, proceeding upon
the obvious plan that where questions of great practical moment cannot be
adjudicated otherwise, they must submit to the _a fortiori_ of determined
majorities, the Southern people had already been driven to the amplest
concessions regarding this measure; and whatever doubts they may have
retained affecting the metaphysics of the discussion, were quite convinced
that no other plan of adjustment would prove feasible.

But this inference (and it could be presented in no more tangible shape at
the time) was far from satisfying that singular body of peace
commissioners who, in the capacity of a national legislature, had
assembled at Washington, not only to reaffirm the Southern doctrine, but
to reconsider all the mighty results of Grant's and Sherman's campaigns,
by disallowing the claims of the States lately in rebellion, and forcing
them into that mourning period of so-called reconstruction and social and
political anarchy, lately terminated. And thus, during the few years
succeeding this new legislative departure, was presented the singular
spectacle of States belonging to the National Union, who, by certain
inherent properties of their being, could not forfeit, nor submit to
forfeiture of the bond which established their identity therewith, acting
independently of the national government in all things, save those
non-essentials represented by taxation, the performance of military duty,
etc.; and, at a later period, through the mysterious processes of pardons,
congressional amnesties, and reconstruction, becoming (re)-invested with
the only sovereignty which it was claimed they had ever possessed, that
derived from the national compact.

It is needless to say that there was no logical plan supporting that
system of political manoeuvres set in motion by the "Rump Congress,"
whose earliest and latest results--the social and political emasculation
of the white freeman, and the exaltation, in like respect, of the
negro--provoked that state of anarchy in the South which alone could have
rendered possible the great secret movement whose history we are to
discuss in these pages.

It may be doubted whether the mere disfranchisement of the citizens of
these States--though that condition were supposed to include every right
and privilege dear to freemen--would have prevailed with this people to
embrace those extreme measures which, soon after this event, they were
driven to adopt with such unanimity. Loyal League supremacy, and the
elevation of the black man to those political rights from which the
Southern white citizen had been so recently thrust down, were far more
conclusive factors of this result; and as such, in all narratives
pretending to authenticity in delivering the political events of this
period, will be more closely blended with the historical fact.



     Situation Produced by the War--Discontented Partisans--The War
     District in the South--Words of a Northern Tourist--Widespread
     Destitution--The Curse of Slavery--How its sudden Abolition affected
     Community Wealth in the Southern States--The Political Situation even
     more Distressing--President Johnson--How the Work of Reconstruction
     was Inaugurated--The Law-making Power vested in Dummy
     Legislatures--Disfranchisement--Enfranchisement--The Color Issue
     which these Measures brought--A Singular Peace Policy--The War of the
     Conservatives in the South against Radicalism did not Revive Issues
     concluded by the late Civil Struggle, as the latter Boasted--Loyal
     Epithets--"Traitor," "Guerilla," "Southern Bandit," etc.--Radical
     Rule in the South--The Shamelessness of the State Officials--The
     Uneducated Negro a Law-giver--Organization of the Loyal
     League--Carpet-Bag Administration thereof--Negro Draft--Some of its
     Peculiarities--The K. K. K. Movement as an Offset to the League.

When the clouds of passion and prejudice that brooded over the American
States in the beginning of the latter half of the present century had
dropped into the ocean of carnage, which during four years of severe
revolutionary penance deluged all their borders, the return to those
opposite tempers that beget in men a desire to renew the pledges of
ancient covenants, and practise the _ultima thule_ of the Messianic idea,
as delivered to us by the teachers of the Cross (forgiveness), was
pronounced in degree; but while it exceeded the bare tendency looked for
by men, as an outgrowth of the changed order of things, this moral
rehabilitation of the body politic was effected by slow and painful

Legions of men might have been found on either side of the sectional
dead-line who cherished animosities which no philosophy born of the
emotions could preach down, and before which even those ministers of red
havoc that had invaded their homes were content to lower their weapons and
view in forbearance a virtue.

It cannot be denied that while the widespread diffusion of the war burden
and general travail had a tendency to equalize the feeling of the masses,
and awaken a desire to return to the arts of peace, that in not uncommon
instances inhumanities had been practised, and bloody reprisals sought,
whose issues were wounds, for which the angel of peace brought no healing
on his wings. Those more dignified passions which, in the outset of
hostilities, had swayed the common breast in the rush to arms, where they
had not become wholly extinct in a desire for reunion and renewed
fraternity, as we have shown, had thus degenerated into the more human
instincts of individual hate and revenge which, if sometimes less
blameworthy, are far more implacable. Those who cherished the latter,
however, were discounted in all their efforts to discourage peace
proposals by the feeling of distrust which their former actions had
inspired, and, very soon after the Grant and Sherman dictation of peace
terms, were left to those weaker subterfuges that might not hope for
organized support. Many of this discontented class were domiciled on
Southern soil, and it may be surmised that the genius of desolation that
walked forth to meet them on their homeward passage from Appomattox and
Gainesville inspired them with yet warmer resentments against the authors
of the ignominious defeat under which they suffered.

The war district of the South, in the year of grace which brought about
military amnesty, furnished one of those pictures of "crownless
desolation" in the history of the world's wars for which the art that
decorated St. Peter's with the images of purgatorial griefs could have
possessed no adequate coloring, and in the attempt to portray which
talents and scholarship less consummate than those of the divine Angelo
must have issued in utter failure.

Cities destroyed; towns and villages laid waste; churches, schools, and
public buildings rotting under the hospital plague, or, more fortunate,
sleeping in the ashes of licensed incendiarism; wealthy plantations
stripped of their agricultural paraphernalia, and relegated to the domain
whence they had been lately redeemed by the good offices of the pioneer;
and in room of these--landscape horrors; vast cemeteries, whose enforced
tribute reached unto all kindreds; flame-scarred wastes memorializing a
past civilization, and extending from the Alleghany hills to the Georgian
forests, and from the rivers to the sea; and brooding over all, sole relic
of the conqueror's power, that grim sentinelcy that looked down from
dismantled ruins, and bleak, wind-shaken towers, upon the burial-place of
the domestic arts.

A Northern tourist, who, soon after the close of hostilities, followed the
trail of Sherman's army half across the State of Georgia, and explored the
Shenandoah Valley from the mountains at its source to the mountains at its
foot, thus comments upon the scenes which beguiled the earlier and later
moments of his journey: "And this lovely heritage, interspersed by hills
and valleys, lakes and rivers, which but as yesterday, under the
transforming hand of wealth and art combined, blossomed as the rose, and
was lighted by the torch of America's best civilization, now, and under
these severe conditions--alas! that we should be driven to concede it--has
sunk back into aboriginal unsightliness, and many portions thereof become
the fitting abode of those monsters who, warned by an instinct of their
nature, shun the haunts of human progress."

But not only did this ghost of desolation hold its solemn rounds where
wealth and its monumental insignia had erst been set up--more practical
subjects were included in the fearful summing up of Federal conquest. The
grain crop of four years had been consumed by the requirements of both
armies, or ruthlessly committed to the flames through the weak policy of
military commanders; export products were sacrificed to confiscation
needs; the agricultural districts were bereft of all labor aids, and stood
tenantless and barren; nothing of practical value--not even the currency
of the country, which had been demonetized months before the events of
which we particularly write--greeted the impoverished inhabitant, who,
standing in this presence, could scarce look back upon four years of
bootless strife with regret unmingled with repining.

Slavery, which was undoubtedly a great evil, and is at this period
conceded to have been such by its most clamorous apologists of _ante
bellum_ times, was nevertheless the great prop of community wealth in
those States where it had been recognized by the government; and when
(keeping in view the wide-spread destitution to which we have called
attention) this pet institution was wrecked on the breakers of war,
property affairs in all their borders reached an ebb beyond which, it
would have seemed, they could not have been impelled by even a retribution
born of that highest example of social evil--State treason. The male
inhabitants of the South thus found themselves, at the close of the war,
not only stripped of fortune, and all that pertained to a farmer's
inheritance, in the strictly agricultural communities to which they
belonged, but without business capacity or business employ, had the former
been supplied, and under the explicit disfavor of the government
administration, in all its branches, with all that that implied.

But while the physical straits to which the inhabitants of these States
were driven almost exceeded belief, and challenged the sympathies of
Christendom, they were met at this time with a yet more incorrigible evil,
as we have already prevised, and one from which all attempts at escape
seemed likely to plunge them into deeper miseries. Despite the generous
policy inaugurated by the commanders of the Federal forces at the close of
the civil conflict, and the good intentions of President Johnson, who had
lately succeeded to the chief magistracy, the Congress of the United
States at this time resolved upon a system of oppressions towards this
people whose parallel is not to be found in modern history. This work was
inaugurated by the passage of laws whose effect was a virtual
dismemberment of the Union; all the efforts of these States to participate
in the administration of the affairs of the general government being in
pursuance thereof promptly discountenanced.

The movement which followed was in keeping therewith, and involved the
withdrawal from the State governments of all their prerogatives as such.
The civil power was vested in military satraps, who were commissioned to
govern these provinces (for such they had become); or where the work of
reconstructing or radicalizing the populace was more advanced, and it was
necessary to preserve the form of the civil machine, State elections were
improvised and conducted under the shadow of overawing bayonets. The
administration of justice was as summarily withdrawn from the legal
functionaries, and given over to the Federal judicatories; or, what was
far worse, placed in the hands of that most ignorant and despotic of all
judiciary systems--military courts-martial. The law-making power, in its
turn, was farmed out to dummy legislatures, which in their constitution,
if not in the modus of their creation, were _fac-similes_ of the great
"rump" model which had made laws before them, and which, with its
two-thirds majority and grand faculty for caucusing, was quite equal to
all the devices of vetoing chief magistrates. The provision disfranchising
the white men of the South had been contemporaneously declared, and was a
part of that remarkable series which had empanoplied the negro race with
all the political belongings of freedom.

The policy adopted by the Southern people in concerting resistance to the
attacks of these modern Sejanus was the only one which could have
succeeded, and, whatever else may be said regarding its morality, was just
to themselves and disinterested mankind. They did not as a class, nor as
individuals, conceive for a moment that their allegiance to the
constitution and laws of their country was involved in the issues of the
political war which they waged against Radicalism, though constantly
reminded to that intent by their enemies, whose vocabulary of loyal
epithets included such choice terms as "rebel," "traitor," "guerilla,"
"Southern bandit," etc., and their integrity as citizens of the United
States government they never ceased to insist upon, though their leaders
foretold (and it has since been verified) that they would never succeed in
_establishing_ it until the movement, which they had inaugurated under so
many difficulties, had accomplished the _disestablishment_ of Radicalism
at the national capitol.

The details of the political strife of those years are unimportant to our
narrative; but the intelligent reader will perceive nothing occult in our
purpose if we call attention to the long imprisonments to which many of
the leaders of the Southern movement were subjected, the causeless
sequestration of public and private properties, the numberless criminal
prosecutions inaugurated in obedience to the whims of the "trooly loil,"
the immense peculations chargeable to the State governments under Radical
rule, and, lastly, the open robberies perpetrated under the name and with
the sanction of the national legislature.

The governments in the South--State, district, and municipal--were negro
governments, and if, in a few exceptions, this characterization was but
partial, it was where the negro alternated with that pestiferous
nomad--the carpet-bagger--in administering government for his late master.

Favored by this condition of public affairs, that remarkable secret
order--the Loyal League--found its way into the Southern country, and was
recommended to the negro by its politics, its dark lantern, its
facilities for the transaction of evil deeds, its avenues of escape
afforded to the criminal, and, finally, its picturesque ceremonial, in
which latter we can see no cause to dispute his taste or judgment. Some
description of this singular body, which was, we believe, in a measure
unknown to the great mass of the people of the Northern States, will not
be deemed digressive at this point.

The order was subdivided into neighborhood organizations, and the heads of
these were white men, while their vertebral force was recruited from the
voting population above described; the _chéf_ being as completely _en
rapport_ with his African brother as if he had been in truth his congener,
and not simply dependent on him for patronage. Their _locus in quo_ was
nowhere and everywhere,--each city and town numbering its lodges and
sub-lodges, and the diffusion thereof, throughout the agricultural
districts, being in the somewhat extravagant ratio of one to the square
mile. Their object was plunder. Their raids, directed against the white
trash, contemplated everything that might be classed under the term
_commissaries_, and ranged from the pig-pen to the poultry-yard, and from
an ear of corn to a well-grown tuber. The "wee sma' hours ayont the twal"
was the festive time of night selected by the "loil" Moses and his dusky
Israel for their exodus from forest or cavern, and, as they marched, the
flesh-pots of the enemy disgorged their treasure, and animated nature held
its breath. The goods and chattels of the unreconstructed were, by act of
Congress, their lawful prey, and if their foraging expeditions were
conducted by moonlight, it was from constitutional considerations, and not
through any well-grounded fear of resistance on the part of the
intimidated whites.

The conclaves of the society were held nightly, and during the election
campaigns, which progressed with tolerable regularity during eight months
of the year, their _en masse_ assemblages, or political rallies, occupied
each alternate day of the week (the off day being devoted to itinerant
duty among neighboring lodges). A weak solution of the Christian religion
involved in the superstitions which they everywhere practised, aided them
in their delusions concerning politics; and it is not exaggeration to
state that the remaining four months of the year, under the above
estimate, were devoted to their so-called revival meetings, which never
failed to prove an insufferable burden to the pork- and vegetable-raising
communities on which they were billeted. Their religion was, in truth, a
part of their politics, and, on occasion, their ministry their most
serviceable performers on the hustings.

These twin ideas of religion and politics having been introduced into the
League, dominated the order so completely that its secular business was
often arrested by a call to prayers, and more frequently than otherwise
its order of business terminated by a twilight homily on the total
cussedness and final unreliability of all who anchored their faith to the
Conservative idea in politics.

This new element, however, was far from benefiting the League; its morals
grew infinitely worse; its larcenies became more frequent, and were
prosecuted on a larger scale; it became more arrogant in its assumption of
exclusive political right on unreconstructed territory; and, finally,
assayed, through the medium of politics, to accomplish a social reform
that would elevate the ignorant and semi-savage race which it represented
to family equality with a class of beings who recognized no title to such
a claim, but that of honorable ancestry and a spotless name. Beyond the
attempt, however, which was warmly seconded by the national Congress, it
is needless to say that nothing was ever done; and this extreme of rash
legislation, undertaken, it would seem at this date, with no other object
in view than the humiliation of a proud and constitutionally sensitive
enemy, proved in the end the downfall of the League. From this moment, it
was met by a counter movement, which, while possessing an organization in
many respects superior to its own, covered its movements with the same
veil of secrecy; caucused with the same regularity; foraged on its enemies
with equal pertinacity and greed; and, finally, proceeded on its mission
with the same fell purpose of triumphing by fair means or foul.



     A Stirring Episode--Raising the Dead--Night-Hawk Abroad--Moving
     toward the Rendezvous--Grand Cyclops of Den No. 5--Forming the Magic
     Circle--Raiding Command--K. K. K. Drill--On the March--The _Tout
     Ensemble_ of a Raiding Body--Weird Costuming--Arms and
     Accoutrements--Banners Inscribed with the K. K. K. Escutcheon--How
     the Scene Impressed Beholders.

In the month of November, A. D. 1866, in that portion of Western Tennessee
known to dwellers as the Kentucky purchase, was enacted a scene which
possessed romantic features entitling it to rank with the most exquisite
fancies of Lamartine or Moore, and which, conscious of our inability to
improve on its smallest detail, is presented to the reader without any
fictitious adornment whatever.

In one of the apartments of the elegant mansion of Paul Thorburn, Esq.,
was assembled a company of pale watchers, who seemed thoroughly enlisted
in behalf of their sick charge--an adult son of this gentleman, who for
weeks had been prostrated by a virulent fever. It was plainly to be seen
from the countenances of the good Samaritans who had been lingering near
the couch--but now conversed apart, or telegraphed signals to those who
waited without--that all hope of the invalid's recovery had vanished.
Since the physician had passed from the apartment, whispering an attendant
that he would return no more, the furniture of the room had been
readjusted as if in obedience to the crisis in the affairs of its owners;
that portion of the attendants who lingered had left their seats, and
stood with folded arms and reclined heads, and the entire surroundings
wore that abstracted and melancholy air which the reader cannot fail to
have associated in fancy with such scenes.

The mother of the young man, pale and distraught from long weeping, had
imprinted a kiss of heartbreaking farewell on the brow of her son, and
removed her station to a neighboring window, whence she looked out upon
the autumn landscape, and anon, as if seeking aid from afar, up at the
pale empress of night, which, as it neared the meridian, projected great
bars of golden light into the apartment. Her attitude had not changed for
many minutes, as if the burden of grief that pressed inwardly upon her had
taken away the power of motion, and now reclined against the casement--in
form and feature immobile as sculptured Psyche, the tableau engrossed the
attention of all who lingered in the vicinity. It may have been, too, that
by means of that subtle, unperceivable line of communications, established
between the emotions of beings and coming events which are to effect
their destinies, a signal had been telegraphed to the waiting company;
for from the moment that they had been attracted towards this scene, their
gaze had not once been removed from the form of the pale watcher, who
suddenly, and as if wrought upon by the conditions of some outward wonder,
developed a strong twitching of the facial muscles, and a dilatation of
the pupils of the eye, which took in the landscape in the direction of the
public road; then a nervousness of manner, betokening strong inward
excitement; then an expansion of frame, whose lineaments, clear cut
against the bas-relief of starlight, took on Titanic proportions; and
instantly, as if in keeping with this strange pantomime, a hush, deep,
all-pervading, filled the apartment, broken at length by an audible sigh
from the couch of the invalid, followed by the frightened whisper,
"Mother!" The reply, exploded in clear, ringing tones, was addressed to
nobody, transfixed everybody, and started waves of sound that chased each
other through every nook and angle of the large building--"Ku Klux!"

Six hours before the occurrence narrated here, a solitary horseman,
mounted on a strong charger, might have been seen galloping along the
highways, and thridding the bridle-paths of the voting precinct, since
famous as Crow Hide township. Except a brace of pistols attached to the
pommel of his saddle, and a something in his deportment which said as
plainly as words, "stand out of the way," there was nothing in the
appearance of the cavalier to excite special wonder; yet he succeeded so
well in drawing upon himself the attention of mortality thereabouts that
there was scarce an inhabitant in all Crow Hide who had not obtained a
glimpse of himself, or his foam-flecked steed, as they flashed by,
convoyed by clouds of dust, and imprecated by all the choristers of the
farm-yard. The windows of habitations along the route were thrown open ere
the apparition was fairly in sight; children at play were attracted by the
strange cynosure, and hurried to obtain counsel of parents regarding it;
horsemen, who were met under whip and spur, drew rein suddenly, and gazed
anxiously after their strange counterpart, and anon, as if slow in making
up their minds at the object which hid him from view; and in fact it was
as clearly apparent, to even such of the hogs and chickens as were not
frightened out of their wits, that a seven days' wonder was being enacted
in Crow Hide, as it was to more sentient creatures that the intangible
something in the wind was not lawful subject for gossip. But if the
majority were involved in doubt, and resolved to forget the incident as
the most comfortable way of disposing of it, some there were who had
cracked the conundrum, as was evident from their knowing deportment, their
desire to avoid conversation on this topic, and finally, a disposition,
plainly manifested, to convert the remainder of the afternoon into a
holiday season.

As the twilight hour approached, stables were visited, trappings placed in
readiness, and all those indispensables of a scout's toilet which might
be performed in secrecy, executed. These preparations required brief time,
and within an hour after night had fallen, steeds were being caparisoned,
riders were mounting in hot haste and moving off by clandestine routes,
the roads were filling with cavalcades of armed men, who seemed bent on
some undertaking of "pith and moment;" and all these movements proceeding
with such secrecy that even the watch-dogs of the vicinity, though vaguely
notified of the affair, hesitated to interfere. Though moving by different
routes, the various squadrons seemed tending to a common rendezvous
(located at a point on the outskirts of the settlement), a fact which was
made further apparent by the constant recruits which were being added to
each, at points where the highway was intersected by country-roads and

Approaching a dense forest, a sound resembling the hooting of an owl was
heard, and, turning their horses' heads in the direction whence it
proceeded, the various companies, as yet unorganized, galloped forward.
The Grand Cyclops of Den No. 5, Realm No. 3, accompanied by two of his
faithful Night-Hawks (scouts of the body), had been on the ground in
advance of his most punctual followers, and when the magic circle had been
formed, and the password circulated, that officer presented himself in
their midst, and by the use of a monosyllable, whose signification was
understood by all, indicated that the council-fires would not be lighted.
Nothing was added, and no word spoken in reply; but so thoroughly had his
full meaning been anticipated, that, within thirty minutes from the time
this vague proclamation was issued, the weird brotherhood had dispersed,
and, in full raiding costume and bearing aloft the banners of the order,
were awaiting the commands of their trusted leader at a point two miles
distant. The command moved in obedience to signs, and on this occasion,
notified by a signal which must have been unintelligible to persons not
versed in their strange drill, they wheeled rapidly into line, and
instantly broke off from the right of the column in double files, the
leaders pushing their horses to a gallop. No word was spoken as the
command moved, and so completely had that ghostly spell that attended all
the movements of the night-riders fallen upon the weird column, that even
the horses trod warily, and beasts of the forest, startled by a glimpse of
the dim procession, in vain consulted their organs of hearing for
confirmatory sounds.

This body of raiders was that viewed from the sick chamber in the Thorburn
mansion, described in the opening of this chapter; and we shall seek at
this juncture to present to the reader a pen-picture of the formidable
apparition as it passed along the highway, in full view, and within fifty
paces of the groups of excited observers who looked out from its windows.

Perhaps the feature of the pageant that would have been soonest apparent
to the beholder was that representing its means of locomotion. The horses
of the raid were powerful specimens of their race, and furnished with all
those _cap-a-pie_ appointments of K. K. K. regalia that were prominent in
other departments of the expedition. Their bodies were completely
enveloped in curtains of black cloth, worn under the saddle, and fastened
at the neck to a corselet of the same material, the skirts of the former
extending below their knees. Over their heads were masks, much of the same
description as those worn by their riders, the material being of a dark
color, and openings of suitable width having been contrived for the eyes
and nostrils. Each steed was decorated also with a white plume, carried
vertically above the head; and on the right and left of the housings of
black cloth which enveloped their bodies, appeared the mystical letters K.
K. K. Their trappings otherwise were army saddles of uniform pattern, and
bridles supplied with the regulation bit, used in both armies at the close
of the war.

The riders who bestrode these steeds were even more fantastically arrayed,
and in the uniforms which they wore the same sacrifice of taste to
picturesqueness was to be observed. The most prominent feature of their
ghostly toilet was a long black robe, extending from the head to the feet,
and decorated with innumerable tin buttons, an inch and a half in
diameter, which, under the influence of the starlight, shone like
miniature moons. These robes were slit in front and rear, in order that
they might not impede the movements of the rider, and were secured about
the waist with scarfs of red silk. Over their faces they wore masks of
some heavy material; the apertures for the eyes, nose, and mouth (which
were ample for these purposes) being lined with red cloth. The head-dress
was even more unique, and consisted of tall black caps, helmet-shaped, and
provided with havelocks, resembling those used by the military in the late
war. These were also decorated with the regulation button, and, when worn
by officers of commissioned rank, supplemented by gorgeous plumes, white,
red, or blue, according to rank. Each individual wore about his waist, in
addition to the scarf to which we have called attention, a belt supporting
two large army pistols, in scabbards; and on the flaps of the latter,
embroidered in white characters, appeared the devices of the order--skull
and cross-bones, and mystical K. K. K. The banners which were three in
number, and carried at intervals in the procession, were of black silk,
supporting in the centre two lions rampant on either side of the
regulation skull and cross-bones, and on the right, left, and middle, at
top, the mystic "K."

Absolute stillness reigned over the weird column, no man being permitted
to speak, even in a whisper, while the large bridle-bits, Texas spurs, and
other appendages of a cavalry outfit likely to create alarm in passing
through quiet neighborhoods were carefully muffled. These details
completed the unsightly pageant; and of the party who viewed it, as it
moved, at funereal pace, through the moonlit precincts of the Thorburn
estate, on the evening referred to, no individual ever forgot the scene,
or was ever known to whisper an irreverent word concerning the objects,
plans, or creed of the festive K. K. K.



     Impressions after a K. K. K. Raid--Will Morning never
     come?--Conjectures Regarding the Subject in the Minds of those who
     should have been Prepared to Render an Opinion--What Superstitious
     People thought--The Mill Council--Boys and Colored Men--K. K. K.
     Arraigned on various Charges, and Acquitted for Want of
     Testimony--The Subject an Enigma--Man a Superstitious
     Animal--Education the Best and a Poor Antidote.

On the immemorial night referred to Crow Hide slept uneasily, for besides
an indefinable something in the air, that brooded over men's spirits like
a spell from the other world, there were strange sounds from without
creeping into hallways and banging at the doors of apartments; dogs were
disconsolate, and whined incessantly; barn-yard echoes stole in on every
breeze; and the moon-beams, falling into windows, and past the forms of
sleepers, by their jerky, undecided motion, said, as plainly as words, "We
are dissatisfied with ourselves." Children tossed their arms about wildly
as they slept, and when wakened, requested that their couches might be
removed from the neighborhood of windows. A weird somnambulism took
possession of the forms of men and women, leading them to doors and
windows, and sometimes rents in the wall, where they awoke to find
themselves in listening attitudes, and to listen. Horses neighed, cattle
lowed, and chains which might have been attached to watch-dogs, but were
not, made the circuit of buildings, or were tossed against the boundaries
of closes.

Would morning never come? Girls and timid boys revolved this query in
their minds, building a faint hope thereon; but when they held their
breaths and listened, they found, as their fears had informed them, that
the clock pendulums, hammering away at the seconds, made no gap in time.
Others, who felt no certain fear, but a boding uneasiness, thought to
count the moments on their fingers while the gloom lasted; but so
frequently were they interrupted by strange sounds from without, that they
found themselves ever recurring to the point where they began. Even the
chickens on their roosts were witch-ridden, and crowed lustily for day,
when the half-grown moon had not yet passed meridian.

But "the longest lane has its turn," at one or both ends, and when the
shadows slept, and the gray messengers of morn tripped along the eastern
hills, the enchanter's wand was lifted from its hills and valleys, and
Crow Hide, unclosing its eyes, gave thanks. Now a breath of peacefulness
had come upon its affairs, and so radiant seemed the morning skies, and so
innocent of evil the sweet landscapes lying bathed in dew-sparkles, that
there were few who looked abroad without being inspired with doubts of
the existence of the latter, even as an abstraction. Even those who had
been controlled by the most abject emotions while the terrors of the night
lasted, when morning came, stood up boldly for a common sense solution of
the mystery. Those who had all their lives been troubled with
superstitious fears, and were in danger of becoming imbued with the error
in its grosser forms, by the aid of such experiences as that through which
they had recently passed, admitted the possibility of this. If, therefore,
it did not come as a positive revelation, it was a relief to all to be
informed, as they were at an early hour, that the initials of the monster
haunt who during the night had managed to reflect as many individualities
as there were farm-houses in the district were K. K. K. But though this
was accepted as a fact by all, seeing that no other theory was advanced,
yet the question remained, did it furnish a satisfactory solution of the
mystery, or, indeed, any solution whatever? According to the neighborhood
version, the Ku-Klux themselves were about as intangible examples of
ghostliness as were ever wrapped in loose-fitting bombazine; and if so,
wherein was gossip made the wiser? The very difficulty which the most
scholarly person would experience in seeking out the words indexed by the
famous K(u) K(lu) K(lan), was enough to evince to the world that there was
something radically wrong with its genealogy.

On the morning in question, the chore emissaries (boys and negroes) of the
farms for miles around had assembled at the neighborhood mill, awaiting
their turns of grinding, and when rumor brought the subject into the mill
council, the conflict of opinion, involving original arguments advanced
and the weight of authorities adduced, became truly Brobdignagian. The
night raiders had been seen by some of the party, and of this number all
had crossed the boundaries of persuasion, and were absolutely convinced
regarding some physical (if the term may be used) peculiarity of the
ghostly phalanx.

An urchin of twelve summers, who confessed to _sub rosa_ practices while
the paternal premises were being raided, but nevertheless claimed to get
one eye squarely on them as they rounded a hill, one and three-quarters of
a mile distant, was convinced that the heads of the rear files (front not
visible) extended above the tops of the trees. This statement was
delivered with much earnestness of manner, and at its conclusion all the
saints and martyrs in the calendar were invited to give it their

       *       *       *       *       *

Peter Burleson, aged fifteen, who saw the party ride out of the village
cemetery (a whim of the raiders, inducing the belief that they had
undergone a partial hibernation amid these surroundings), was able to
state something as to its numbers in keeping with the above. According to
this witness, the weird force was composed of two battalions and a
squadron, or about two thousand men and horses, exclusive of a section of
artillery, and an indefinite number of pack-mules. The horses composing
the procession were deep black in color, emitted columns of smoke and
flame from their nostrils (_vide_ pictorial papers), and varied in height
from a lamppost to a telegraph pole. Of the raiders themselves he would
say nothing (under the impression, doubtless, that the theme had been
exhausted); but as to the "rig" they wore, he was morally certain that an
inverted churn constituted the head-dress, a wagon sheet of mammoth
pattern the shoulder-garb, and army canteens (probably bisected and thus
made to do double duty) the button ornaments.

Observing something at this point in the countenances of his auditors
which he did not quite like, he availed himself of their knowledge of
dictionary superlatives in an exhortation of some length, and concluded by
submitting as his wish that he be "hung, drawn, and quartered," and such
further disposition made of his remains as the skeptics of the crowd might

It is really a subject of regret with the writer to be compelled to state
that, notwithstanding the remarkable strength of emphasis employed by this
young man, the beautiful consistency of his narrative (its parts we mean),
and his apparent desire to anticipate and provide against attacks of this
character, that his evidence was discredited in some leading points, if
not altogether overthrown, by the testimony of the witness who followed.
This was Jerry Stubbs, a mill-boy oracle, and a youth whose antecedents
were otherwise good. His first onset was directed against the figures of
his predecessor, which were given a very crooked appearance indeed, when
placed against the fact that the entire raid--artillery, baggage-wagons,
horse, foot, and buttons--had been self-immured in the paternal horse-lot
(80 x 100 feet) of the said Stubbs, for the space of from one to twenty
minutes, or considerably more, or a great deal less--could not be exact as
to time. He had likewise made a critical examination into the equestrian
belongings of the raid, and the horses were not black, but white; and
finally, he felt morally assured, despite the confident utterances of
those who had preceded him, that the raiders were not mounted, but rode in
covered ambulances.

When the witness had concluded, there was a general clamor of dissent; a
dozen voices were heard attempting to speak at once; and when, by courtesy
of the hearers, each had been allotted a chance at the salient features of
his narrative, perhaps no one was better convinced than J. S. himself that
he had seen none of the occurrences which he had attempted to relate.

Oliver (colored), the miller, was, perhaps, a more reliable witness than
any of those who had preceded him, not simply because he had greater
experience of men and things, but his opportunities of informing himself
on the occasion referred to had been likewise superior. He had not only
seen the raiders, but had actually been interviewed by them. He slept in
the mill, and during the night had been aroused from his sleep could not
tell how, nor exactly when, but did not doubt that the agency was
supernatural. Proceeding to the door, he saw what he supposed to be
"sperrits," mounted on what he thought resembled horses, though he
afterwards satisfied himself of the fallacy of the latter conclusion. He
could not take observations with any degree of system, however, as he was
kept busy carrying water from the tank to the "thirsty sperrits," who had
made this call, it thus seems, with a selfish end in view. One of the
party, after having replenished his boilers to the tune of a bucketful,
loosened his belt and called for more, remarking aside to him, and
apparently in extenuation of the act, that it was the first he had quaffed
since being condemned to death by fate and the enemy's bullets at Shiloh.

He confessed to having become somewhat alarmed at this; but when, a moment
later, another individual of the party, mistaking him for the mill owner,
offered sympathies in view of the fact, as he alleged, that the party had
drank the creek in two, at a point a few miles nearer its source, his
courage failed him, and here his narrative suddenly breaks off.

This witness was sharply cross-questioned by the attorneys, who had by
this time volunteered on both sides of the controversy, but could not be
prevailed on to amend or otherwise detract from the material allegations
set forth in his examination. Neither would he add anything thereto--a
healthy sign which the defence did not fail to appropriate and magnify.
One other witness remained to be examined, and while his testimony
possessed that trait which shone so conspicuously in the allegations of
all those who had preceded him, viz., a tendency to found his own airy
fabric on the spot he had rendered untenable for that of his predecessor,
it was in the main reliable; and if, as was urged against it, its facts
were produced at a late hour, it was altogether attributable to the
witness's modesty, and the fact--which was now elicited for the first
time--that, notwithstanding he had been standing on his head
(metaphorically) for the opportunity, and his well-known dexterity in
wielding syntactical figures of speech, he had been unable to explode his
items fast enough to anticipate those who had occupied the time.

This boy, Dick Shuttail (white), age not known to self or parents, had
obtained a view of the Kluxes from the airy depths of the family rag-box,
situated in the rear garret, and he was, therefore, able to speak with
emphasis on certain points which had been barely touched upon by
less-favored observers. He testified that the raiders were mounted on
elephants or camels; could not distinguish certainly, but his bias led him
to say the former, and that these beasts were branded on the side with
three corn-droppers (K. K. K.), or, more probably (as suggested by a
hearer), one corn-dropper three times. The raiders were veritable spooks,
as, in the place where eyes, mouth, and nose should have been roundly
visible, the crows had supped, and instead of hair, they were driven to a
subterfuge which closely resembled an inferior article of mosquito bar,
worn, however, _a la pompadour_. Their saddle-bags, loaded, most probably,
with munitions of war, were borne in front of them, and their uniforms
were ornamented not with buttons, but spangles of bright hue and
extraordinary size.

He was going on to relate that the horses they rode were neither black nor
white, but br----, when he was interrupted by hisses from his audience,--a
circumstance which either aided memory, or sharpened his introspective
organs, for almost immediately afterwards he hung his head, and, covering
by this movement a very sour expression of countenance, retired from view.

To say, notwithstanding, the beautiful start he made, and the high
dramatic turn he was giving the events of his narrative up to the fatal
moment of collapse, that this witness's testimony went absolutely for
nothing, and that his explanation, tendered at some length and supported
by all those texts of mill-boy verity which had been successfully adduced
by his rivals respectively, was rejected by an indignant auditory, is to
anticipate the reader.

When, at length, the mill-wheel had performed its last revolution, and the
mill boys, astride their sacks of flour, dispersed to their homes, it was
with the solemn conviction that some great mystery had dawned upon their
young lives, to whose after developments they must look for that rational
sequel which had thus far been denied them. Hundreds there were in this
and other localities of the South who, while they rejected the idea of a
Ku-Klux phantom, were equally slow in accepting the current theories which
dissociated them and their plans from all preternatural agencies.

In every man's breast there is more or less of that mysterious element
which, under proper conditions of time and place, sees ghosts in shadows,
and hears them in the faintest echo. These attributes (if the term be
admissible) implanted in the breast of the child at its birth, though
weeded with ever so careful a hand during the years of training, still
retain some tendril hold, which no process of metaphysics can uproot, and
which in the future years send out fruit-bearing branches that make and
unmake human destiny. Of the majority of human kind, it may be said that
their lives and possible achievements are covered under a great incubus of
superstitious thought and feeling. And if, at some late period of
existence they take the tide at a favorable turn and struggle up into the
pure surroundings of an honest life, the effort frequently comes too late,
for they see in this change only some postponed dispensation of _luck_ in
their favor, and so are worse bondmen than before.

Some men there are who will even confess to you that they are governed by
these strange impulses in what they term the "trifling details of life,"
but as men who admit "trifling details" into their lives rarely attain to
a higher life than is constituted by the sum of these, their admission
covers a greater scope than they probably intended. Others, equally
candid, adopt a different mode of imparting the same confidence, and
naively tell you that in "the more _important_ concerns of life" they are
indebted for guidance to an unseen agency. But as these men wholly mistake
the meaning of the adjective they use, adjusting it to such retail
considerations as flow from their daily business or dwell at the bottom of
their post-prandial cup, we must take their confession to include both
froth and sediment, the top and bottom of so many human lives.

After having devoted much thought to this subject, and made many empirical
journeys along the route which leads to men's confidences, without being
suspected of any such deep-laid treason as that which we here confess in
the light of a laudable undertaking, it is our candid opinion that if the
unsuperstitious of earth were doomed to fall by the knife of some avenging
Elijah, the bodies of the slain would no more constitute a Waterloo than
fifty swallows would make a tolerable month of July. So that when we say
this Ku-Klux breeze blew consternation to many timid hearts, both young
and old, great and small, in Crow Hide, we only state in a small way what
might have been true, under slightly amended conditions, of the best
educated of the _oi polloi_ of the largest cities of the greatest



     A Train which brought Welcome Passengers--Caucusing in the Open Air a
     Dangerous Proceeding--Correct Surmises--An Old Church, Bequeathed
     from Generation to Generation, and Liable to many Uses--Brothers and
     Sisters all--The L. L. in full Bloom--Storm succeeded by a
     Calm--Weird Visitors--What they left behind them--Dummy Constructed
     of Cow-bones, and Habited in full Ku-Klux Regalia--Height, Ten
     Feet--Sudden Panic--The Rally--Still in Doubt--The Chairman's
     Stratagem--How it didn't Work--Despondent Leaguers taught to Act for

On the day preceding the evening to which the fates referred the K. K. K.
demonstration, as aforesaid, a crowd of sable politicians might have been
seen lounging in the neighborhood of the village depot; and a few moments
later, as the train drew up, edging their way through the crowd to the
vicinity of two small dark objects, which, though partially concealed by
the crowd, undoubtedly constituted a part of it, as they were seen to wave
above the heads of the tallest what could hardly have been mistaken for
anything less startlingly suggestive than two glazed carpet-bags.

When the tumult subsided, and the crowd, after hovering for an instant in
the neighborhood of this pantomime, melted away as depot assemblages are
wont to do, it was plainly to be seen that the sable electors had been in
search of the two men with the glazed carpet-bags, and the two men with
the glazed carpet-bags in search of the sable electors; for these elements
of the crowd had now amalgamated (so to speak) in a loving embrace.

The ceremony of greeting, as witnessed from a distance by the villagers,
extended to a thousand little personal liberties, which white men would no
more tolerate from each other than would the more dignified of the beasts
of the forest. And when its honey had been extracted by the parties
respectively, they were seen to place their upper extremities near
together in consultation. Some observation of amazing pithiness ran the
gauntlet of woolly crowns; and immediately afterwards a burly politician
withdrew from the caucus, followed by all eyes, and at a point not far
distant drew a diagram on the platform with his cane. Completing the
demonstration, and using, the same weapon, he smote upon the echoing
timbers with loud emphasis, and immediately the olfactory charm was
renewed around the quadrilateral wonder, which, having been viewed by the
crowd with the air of savants, became at once the subject of animated
discussion; and then, as suddenly, of perfect agreement and harmonious

This seemed a favorable moment for dispersion; and, indeed, the latter
movement must have had partial reference thereto, for instantly the crowd
developed as many moral agents as it had possessed caucusing elements,
who, adopting their several courses, looked neither to the right nor left,
but pushed for the interior with all commendable speed.

This cloud, "no bigger than a man's hand," but nevertheless boding a
political shower of no mean consequence to dwellers thereabouts had been
viewed, as we have anticipated, by a number of persons, who, in their
anxiety to conceal impressions, did not linger in the vicinity after being
informed, by a glance, of its ominous character. The horseman whom we have
seen in another chapter speeding through the neighborhood on courier duty,
took his cue from a friendly sun-glint shot from the glazed surface of one
of the carpet-bags; and, indeed, all the details of preparation
culminating in the forest meeting of the weird brotherhood, which we have
described, and those events connected therewith, which will demand our
attention as we proceed, were suspended on one of those mere accidents of
discovery which frequently have so much to do with the fate of communities
in times of political disquiet.

In a retired forest grove, distant from any settlement, was a dismantled
church building, which had been resigned by the white settlers of Crow
Hide to the slave population of the township in _ante bellum_ times, and
the title to which, in obedience to a policy of non-interference on the
part of lawful claimants, had survived to their descendants in the golden
era of freedom. This building performed innumerable offices for the
foundlings of emancipation in those parts--marriages, funerals, revival
meetings, society gatherings, etc., occupying it in turn, and even once in
a while the dark-lantern fiend invading its precincts. From its sacred
desk, battered with age and apostolic blows, and warped by the sunbeams of
three generations, the venerable "parson" was wont to deliver castigations
to the erring of his people on holy days, and anon, to receive from the
High Tycoon of the League--enthroned on the same heights--the most bitter
denunciations of his political shortcomings. Here, the firstlings of the
flock were dedicated to the higher life of Christian rectitude in the holy
rite of baptism. And here, too, the candidate for political preferment was
made to feel the responsibilities of the step by being dipped seven times
in the "witches' cauldron" ere he was referred for those special services
which constitute the "heated gridiron," the most beautifully suggestive of
the ritualistic conditions of League membership. Here sisters and
brothers, giving way to their better instincts, harmonized on meeting
days; and here, brothers and sisters, with a broader display of those
principles which govern human nature--if with less consistency--refused to
harmonize on League days. Here, shouting and singing constituted the
mercurial forces "jurin de roasen 'ere and kant meetin'" solstice, and
here (_in hoc signo_) broken heads and scattered fragments of benches
marked the political temperature, when the League machine held right on
its course, over those sensitive members of the brotherhood, which it
might not be proper to denominate "sore tails" without this

It was on this spot, and amid these venerable surroundings,
contemporaneously with the Ku-Klux demonstration to which attention has
been directed, that a scene was enacted which fills an excruciating
passage in our narrative, and which we have only been debarred from
presenting to the reader by the obtrusion of details which could not be
excerpted from the latter without injuring its consistency.

To say that the L. L. was in full bloom, and moving unflinchingly forward
in the discharge of the numerous obligations which devolved upon it as a
member of society, would be to depose facts that will be brought nearer to
the comprehension of the reader, if we explain that three of its
ablest-(bodied) speakers were coquetting for the favors of the chair, and
denouncing each other in the most incendiary language--despite the
remonstrance of the chair--in the same breath; that the speaker was
hammering on his desk with a vehemence born of despair, and occasionally
interlarding this performance with scowls that would have made his fortune
in the lion-taming business; that the house had risen to its feet for the
third time in a solid vote of remonstrance; and, finally, that two other
members had felt themselves called upon to explain to the rebellious trio
aforesaid the treasonable quality of their offence, the positive madness
of their course, and, when called to order by the speaker, had flown in
the face of that functionary with some very defiant language regarding
their rights as citizens of a free country.

Maddened by a sense of the cold-blooded contempt aimed at him through this
repeated disregard of his most cherished prerogative, the speaker (a white
man) arose to his feet, and was in the act of aiming an inkstand at the
pyramid of wool which served one of the malefactors the double purpose of
a crown of glory and emblem of loyalty, when, lo! there was a crash, a
mighty upheaval of moral forces, so to speak, a thunderous resurge of the
waves of faction, and _presto_! the scene changes.

Now the echoes have gone to rest, and a palpable hush reigns over the
assembly. Instead of those savage principles--war and rebellion--how
emphatic the terms of contrast; meek-eyed peace sits enthroned on every
brow. What means that half-suppressed sigh, that groan smothered in
parturition? But hold! "'Sdeath" A creeping dread moves along the serried
benches, laying its hand on the pulse-beat, invading the pants' legs, and
nestling close to the seat of life of the _tableaux vivantes_ who await
destiny (horrible reflection) on the ragged edge of "unfinished business."
Where late stood those mentors of the scene--shaken by the impulse of
"thoughts that breathe," and bandying hot invectives with unsparing
wrath--how changed, alas! the forms of cringing suppliants whose
counterparts might have been spaded from the Theban catacombs any day for
a thousand years. At yonder extremity of the building, surrounded by the
insignia of more than despotic rule, where towered the "thunderer of the
scene," transfixed _in articulo jactanti_, lo! an Ajax defying the

And now what weird forms from the "night's Plutonian shore" are those
which, joined in close procession, invade the folding doors, and with
thunderous steps--matched in echo--storm down the quaking aisles? Doomed
spirits, or ministers of heaven's delayed vengeance, it matters little;
and 'neath such a materialized spell from the echoless lands, who could
doubt, or doubting, live? On they come, looking neither to the right nor
left, neither mending their gait nor halting, until they have plunged _in
medias res_, when, with a scarcely perceptible pause--those ponderous
boot-heels, describing a half circle, smite the puncheon floor--every limb
is adjusted to the most graceful of company manoeuvres; and turning on
their march, they move with the same echoing tread down the aisles, out at
the folding-doors and into the darkness--away--away.

But stop, ha! that sigh of relief springing to a hundred throats was
premature--the fiend hath but dismissed his attendants, himself remains.
Standing ten feet in his boots, and clad in full Ku-Klux regalia
(described in a previous chapter), an embodiment of rank ghostliness, he
now occupied the centre of the building, and if anything was wanting to
that "ghastly, grim, ungainly" ideal, which those who placed it there were
seeking to embody, it was supplied in the most threatening of tragic
postures, and a gesture whose very fixedness was not its least eloquent
feature. This latter described a horizontal line from the shoulder to the
finger-tips, and, _horribile dictu_, the index-finger was pointed squarely
at the anatomy of the august personage who was--had been, we should
say--presiding over the deliberations of the body. For about twenty
seconds that individual had been viewing the landscape from the _de
mortuis_ standpoint; but being recalled to animation by the excessive
personality of this proceeding, he executed three handslings and a
somersault, and was at rest for the time being in a pile of superannuated
furniture at the far end of the hall. Then there was a rush from the
"third person" element, who could but feel that the grammatical situation
was getting momentarily worse. Benches and desks were overturned; stoves
and stove furniture came tumbling about their heads; a pillar, swept from
its moorings by the human wave, fell with a boom like cannon at sea, and,
hark! louder still, and rising above the din, a human voice hoarsely
bawling, "Take him out!"

Who is there that has not witnessed examples of fell panic converted into
a gallant defence, or brave onset, by the most seemingly trivial
occurrence? It was so on the present occasion. A section of stove-pipe
being projected against the uplifted arm of the ghostly personage,--who
had, perhaps, contributed more than any other being to the tumult by which
he was surrounded,--that member fell to the floor with a crash, and this
movement having been witnessed by one of the refugees, his emotions took
that form of expression which perhaps was best adapted to arrest the
panic, if not to restore confidence.

The flying Leaguers turning their heads to discover the author of this
seeming sacrilege, beheld, instead, the accident which inspired it, and
instantly faced about with changed resolution. The individual who first
sounded the alarm, though, evidently, still frightened by the tones of his
voice, repeated it in the same words; and this second reminder was
followed by a feeble rally, directed at the rear of the speaker's body.
While this manoeuvre was in course of evolution, a voice from the rear
files shouted, "Forward!" but the effect of the command was so visible in
widening the distance between the assaulting column and the object of
attack, that a dead silence fell on the assembly, and, for the space of
several minutes, each was busy for himself examining the salient points of
the enemy's position.

The gallant chairman having recovered his legs by this time, and seeing,
by the spasmodic movement in the crowd, answering to that muscular feat,
that something was expected of him, proceeded instantly to measures.
Wearing a severe countenance, he called the house to order, and, looking
around upon the assembly, announced a committee of five (greatly to the
relief of the remaining threescore), whose duty it should be to rid the
camp of the fell intruder. Why this had not been thought of before is one
of the unsolved conundrums, and why it ever was thought of, the committee
aforesaid are not yet prepared with a reply. Neither is there any good
reason for the state of things which immediately followed, as a dead calm
fell upon the assembly, which probably would not have been disturbed until
this moment, if another of those fortunate occurrences, which seemed made
to order for the occasion, had not reached the tide of League affairs at
its swell.

Whether the machine was an eight-day affair, and had accomplished the
moments of its destiny, or simply a piece of mechanism poorly planned, we
are quite unable to say. But at the moment when the Quaker period of the
aforesaid conference had reached its most eloquent passage, a cracking
sound was heard in the vicinity of his ghostship, followed by a rattling
explosion, whose fussiness could hardly be resembled to anything but an
avalanche of dry bones hurled from some upper region; and, instantly, in
obedience to this warning, a desire to forsake present surroundings for
some less melancholy region took the form of an inspiration in the breast
of each "politishun." In what way this manoeuvre would have been
executed, if the chairman had persisted in the high-tragedy rôle he had
assigned himself, by remaining to announce some plan of retreat, is
another mystery connected with this event, with which we are not concerned
beyond the bare announcement. But it is certain that that individual,
taking time by the forelock, had made a successful advance on the rear
window, carrying the sash with him, and that his followers were engaged in
a very animated game of leap-frog, directed towards similar advantages at
other angles of the building. In less time than is consumed by a record of
the event, the doors were blocked with a mass of rolling, tumbling,
somersaulting Leaguers. The windows had their full quota of struggling,
sweating passengers. A large crack in the wall was in labor with three
burly forms, and yet a score or more were unaccommodated, and, with heads
ducked, were hurling themselves endwise against the retreating columns,
with an energy which evinced the strong determination of each to avoid the
fate of that hindmost unfortunate, whom Satan, from time immemorial, has
exacted for toll.

But, though some confusion waited upon this exodus from the neighborhood
of the big haunt, it was conducted with greater dispatch than had
characterized any similar movement in the history of the rickety old
building, and soon the boss straggler, having eluded the individual on two
sticks by pigeon-winging it through a hole in the roof, rolled upon the
green sward beneath with a grunt of overpowering relief.

When the building was completely deserted, and the swallows, half in
doubt, had returned to their perch under its eaves, a sound, which could
scarcely have been mistaken for aught but the hooting of an owl, broke the
stillness of the neighboring forest, and was quickly replied to at the
distance of perhaps a furlong in the opposite direction. The echoes
awakened by these signals were still busy at hide-and-seek with the
shadows in the old building, when two forms, clad in long robes and
wearing high-peaked caps, crossed the plateau to its threshold, and giving
way to an involuntary chuckle as they gazed first upon the wrecked
surroundings, passed to its inner precincts. Perhaps a full minute elapsed
before they reappeared at the entrance way, and, being joined here by a
companion with two led horses, they placed their bags of cow-bones on the
latter, and, mounting, galloped swiftly into the darkness.



     Contrasted Views of the Organization inspired by its Dealings with
     the Public--Its Political Bearing--Its _Objects_ not deemed Harmful
     to Society--New England Transcendentalists, and the Ponderous Science
     which they put before the World under the Title of
     "Negropholism"--The Colored Man in the South--Kindly Feeling for the
     Race cherished by Native Southerners--Households Presided over by
     Colored Matrons--Superstitious Tendencies of Cuffey--One of the
     Conditions of his Tropical Nativity--Heathenish Lapses--His Ideas
     about "Ghosts," and the Realm which they Inhabit--Interviewing the
     former--Spook Kinsfolk--He holds them in the highest Veneration--The
     ideal "Uncle Tom's Cabin"--Wherein it was a Failure--The "Infantile
     Sex" and their Greed for Ghost-lore--Fighting their way through
     Legions of Shadowy Foes to their "Curtained Rest"--Young Professors
     of the Spiritual Science--Painful Reminiscences--Use to which the
     Aged Patriarch, or Beldam, as the Case might be, put their
     Prerogative--Talent for relating Ghost Stories--The Young White Men
     of the South trained up in this School--Insight into Negro Character
     obtained therefrom--K. K. K. Affectation of the Supernatural based
     upon the latter.

The two preceding chapters may occur to those who were not informed of the
nature and degree of the excitement which waited upon the movements of
these secret organizations in obscure and uninformed neighborhoods, and
among the negroes in various localities, as partaking of the hypercritical
in narrative. But those who, by reason of residence or other accident,
were made conversant with such scenes almost every week in the year, and
who were not unfrequently drawn away from the contemplation of social
misdemeanors or crimes of the most serious import to split their sides
over some ludicrous _faux pas_, or intended farce, of the perpetrators,
will not be slow to discover their basis of fact, nor accord to the author
that honesty of purpose to which he lays claim in the conduct of these
pages. It was stated in a previous chapter that the secret organization
known as the Ku Klux Klan was a political movement intended to offset what
was known as the Loyal League, an order whose draft was taken from the
negro population, but which was controlled by, and in the interest of, a
class of political harpies known as carpet-baggers. The latter element, by
means of this political engine, dominated the politics of the South for a
period of more than five years, and while its power may not have been
broken by the influences set in motion by the counter movement, and though
the latter must be condemned on general principles, yet among the people
where it had its origin, and stripped of the analogies which the
imaginations of fault-finders would be apt to supply, its objects were not
deemed harmful to society. As to its wisdom, there can be no doubt that it
was aimed at the most salient of the enemy's weak points.

In treating this proposition, we shall seek to avoid that ponderous
science which that branch of transcendentalists who acknowledge Mr.
Wendell Phillips as their leader put before the world under the title of
Negropholism, and deal with the article as we find it--so much on the
greasy surface of the native that the temptation of the carpet-bagger to
use it for base ends must be regarded an uncommon one.

[The people of the South, young and old, who were brought up under that
social regimen which embodied the negro as a prominent and necessary
feature, will appreciate the feelings of the writer when he states that he
has not, and never can have, any feeling of enmity towards this race. Some
of the tenderest passages in his heart history he is glad to refer to that
period when negroes were not only admitted _en famille_ among the whites,
but in innumerable instances given absolute control over the household
affairs of their masters. He numbers among his cultured acquaintance
scores of young men and maidens who never knew any other parentage, and
who can never admit a dearer relation than their adopted paternity. The
negroes, if vicious and mean, owe it to that cruel divorcement from the
Southern social plan effected by their political leaders, and to the life
of vagabondage to which they are doomed under the new system; they are not
more so by nature than other men. If, therefore, the writer is tempted to
speak of their weaknesses, it is in no irreverential sense, and with a
laudable object in view, to which this policy will be seen to be strictly

That the negro is by nature grossly superstitious, no one who has had even
tolerable means of information will deny. In another chapter we have
prevised something on general principles concerning the superstition of
mankind, but the comparison to be drawn between the negro and all other
branches of the Adamic tree, as to this particular fruitage, is so
unequal, that we shall ask the reader to accept the former as a very
modified presentation of a theory that was made to order for the crown of
Cuffey. And however much this may be untrue with regard to other animals,
this faculty of the individual under discussion has nothing whatever to do
with his æsthetical being. It does not in any sense enlist that high
poetic principle which is one of the conditions of his tropical nativity.
Left to himself, with all the appliances of civilization and the
encouragement of its examples about him, his superstition will subject
him, in the short space of a twelvemonth, to heathenish lapses which the
weak-headed Mongolian, under the same outward conditions, has resisted for
a period of six thousand years. Voudooism is, perhaps, the weakest form of
heathen worship which this moral condition has developed, and, despite the
few occasions admitted by the structure of our laws, it is strictly a
native product. Those who contend that it is an African transplant, or
borrowed from the congeners of the race on those shores, are surely not
guided by convictions derived from an examination into its philosophy.
But it is a very radical form of savagism in worship, including human
sacrifices among its rites, and as we have anticipated that it had its
birth in the rice- and cotton-fields of the South, further remark on this
division of the argument is deemed unnecessary.

In contrast with other races of beings, the world of shadows is to the
imagination of the black man a thing of gloom. The existences who people
this realm are hobgoblins, and the standard of the latter a mild
abridgment of the arch-fiend. He, nevertheless, holds them in the highest
veneration, and is prepared to accept their revelations concerning
himself, and indeed all other subjects of mundane philosophy, as oracular.
He even holds familiar converse with them--when an interview can be
contrived without endangering those barriers of etiquette which preserve
to either a fair start in a foot-race--and calculates with tolerable
accuracy that the churchyard spawn who affect this characterization are
counterfeits. On the latter subject he has doubts, however, which on
occasion might be turned to his disadvantage.

Whether it is affectation with him, or a kind of prescience with which he
is gifted in view of his moral structure, we do not pretend to decide; but
he boasts a knowledge of the private affairs of his spook kinsfolk (they
are invariably uncles, aunts, grand relations, etc.) which would be
considered sacrilege in another being. If he deems you worthy of such
confidence, he will describe to you the ghostly raiment they wear,
diversified in other particulars, but always sombre-hued, and in no
recorded instance cut bias. He is rarely at fault in assigning the period
of antiquity from which they date, and if opportunity served, could lead
you to the exact spot where their archæological remains "smell sweet." He
can give, with that emphasis of detail which grows out of perfect
familiarity with his subject, their occupations--ranging from
yacht-building, horse-culture, and other of the fine arts, all the way
down to book-making. And finally, if pressed for information, can state
some astonishing facts with regard to their phrenological development.
With him these essences are always evil spirits, and though he views them
in the constant performance of deeds that would quickly promote them to
the hangman's offices if enterprised in the flesh, yet his philosophy so
confounds the means and extremes relating to the transaction, that he can
see no way out of the difficulty but to respect the latter as proceeding
from the former.

Though they cherish a causeless animosity against himself and his kind,
and war on the latter with a chronic wastefulness of the vital spark,
which could only proceed from a want of appreciation of this blessing
inseparable from their standpoint, yet he cannot go behind his apotheosis
to find fault with the system of government upon which it proceeds. In
fact, though he avoids the "ghoul-haunted" precincts with which his
neighborhood abounds, and trembles when he recites the deeds of valor
performed by some warlike example against fleshly hosts, yet when he has
taken his distance, and duly calculated the chances in his favor, he
delights, above all things, to gather about himself the philosophic
weaklings of his race, and, having launched upon his theme, observe the
absolute failure of the kink in the woolly crown of each as a thing to be
depended on in time of emergency.

The ideal "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had very little of the ghost element in its
construction. In this respect, as in some others, it was a miserable
failure. The real structure was a ghost's palace, where they came and went
at pleasure, and not unfrequently took up their abode. To this habitation,
in _ante bellum_ times, presided over by Uncle Dick or Aunt Rachel, it
mattered little--for both were magicians of no mean order--the juveniles
of both races flocked after nightfall for supplies of ghost-lore; and to
say that they were accommodated will but faintly describe, we fear, that
anguished state of soul (what Southern boy or man does not drop a tear on
this reminiscence?) with which, a few hours later, they passed out into
the darkness and fought their way through legions of shadowy foes to their
"curtained rest."

These ghost stories, which always resulted disastrously for flesh and
blood, and had a churchyard twang about them that came with peculiar
relish to the youngster under a strong glare of candle- or fire light,
were the very apple-pie of farm-life to the "infantile sex," despite the
after-piece, which, after all, was a contingency that might be disposed of
at will by the philanthropic source of the mischief. How often have we
observed a circle of these young professors of the spiritual science
defiantly "lean back" in their proclivities when the crooning narration
began, and the great fireplace sent out effulgent rays, suddenly alter
their manner for one of marked deference as the ghost-character came on
with stately tread and took its place in the forefront of thrilling
reminiscence; and then, as the rays of firelight went to sleep with the
embers one by one, hitch up their seats within the margin that remained,
getting nearer by degrees, until at length, as the story grew towards its
denouement and the fire hung over its ashy tomb, crowding from all
quarters, they threatened to overturn the narrator--so great was the
terror inspired by the shadows which lay behind them.

But to no one had these performances such constant and deep relish as the
aged patriarch or beldam, as the case might be, who was elevated by their
young suffragans to the post of mentor for the time being. They revelled
in this employment, first, because it suited their talents; and second,
because it was perfectly adapted to their emotional nature. An African,
moreover, is gratified beyond expression by the knowledge that he
possesses authority, no matter how brief or weak in extent, which may be
exercised over his fellows; and there is not, we believe, a living party
to such a bequest of social right and liberty over conscience as that to
which we have referred, who was not a sufferer under the arrangement to an
extent which he rarely admits to stranger confidences. But this
improvement of the occasion which came to him on the part of the
fiction-vender was not always done in mere wantonness. Not unfrequently
the result achieved was without design, and when the contrary was true,
the design was quite an intelligent one. When he acted intelligently, the
object kept in view was to gain such an ascendency over the minds of his
young auditory that he might reap either present benefits, or call it up
to advantage in the future; and when we reflect that his audiences were
largely composed of his young masters and mistresses, whose influence was
great at head-quarters, and who would one day succeed to the estate, the
wisdom of his conclusions must be conceded.

Trained up in this school, and knowing by their later experience of men
the precise extent to which the plantation darkey was controlled by the
superstitious notions which he disseminated (for he was no hypocrite), the
young white men of the South were at no loss in adopting countervailing
forces when the Loyal League storm burst upon the country. The
superstition of the negro was not a weakness, but a ruling characteristic;
and at this central idea of his being the Ku-Klux movement was directed.
Being thus addressed to his fears, it will be seen, by any one wishing
information on the subject, that the latter was designed to whip him into
obedience to what was then thought, but is now known, to be the ruling
element in Southern politics. We do not assert that it was a just
expedient; we cannot believe, in view of later developments in our local
politics, that it was a wise one; but its transactions have passed into
history, and it is with them that we are concerned.



     A Band of Regulators whose Force at this time numbered a Half Million
     well-organized and perfectly Drilled Men--Who composed its
     Draft--Considerations which recommended it to the Better Classes of
     Society--Its Haunts--Oath-bound Covenant, and Penalties
     attached--Panoply of Lower Regions--Its Raiding Rendezvous--Galloping
     forth to Predestined Conquest--It proceeded under a rigid
     Constitutional System--Territorial
     Subdivisions--Empire--Realm--Province--Den--Grand Wizard and his
     Cabinet--Grand Giant--The Commander of a Den--Grand
     Cyclops--Night-Hawks, etc.--Recruiting Agents--How Members were
     Initiated--Proposed Initiates might Retire if Displeased with the
     Conditions of Membership--How far the Klan was "Rebel" in its
     Draft--Members of State Legislatures, Congressmen, and Governors of
     States, took its Vows upon them--Its Political Suffrages--Compelling
     Ignorant Colored Men to relinquish the Franchise--K. K. K.
     Placards--Empty Coffins containing Ukase of Banishment Carted to the
     Doors of Obnoxious White Citizens--Its Ideas of Social Decorum.

The mystic order of K. K. K. had scarcely emerged from its
swaddling-clothes, as things go in the material universe, ere it had
developed into a giant that filled the Southern zodiac, as effectually as
the almanac dummy comprehends in his physical outlines the cardinal points
of the seasons. Moving from county to county, and from one State to
another, it invaded the most remote communities--until within three months
from the time that the slogan call had been sounded on the eastern shore
of the Mississippi, its bannerets formed a cordon around the Gulf and
Atlantic coasts, and its dominion over the Trans-Mississippi country was
undisputed. A band of regulators, whose force at this time numbered a half
million well-organized and perfectly drilled men, it aimed at nothing less
than the subjection of the pending elements in the Southern State
governments, and as a means thereto, the total overthrow and dispersion of
all secret subsidiary agencies. In its ranks all conditions of white
society in the South were represented--attracted partly by the weighty
political considerations upon which the movement rested, and in not a few
instances by its outside of novelty and vague promise of sensation.
Proceeding under an oath-bound covenant, it invoked, seemingly--by
adopting the emblems of their rule--the powers of darkness to assume the
protectorate over its affairs, and levied on the code of pirates for a
rule of discipline that should awe the stoutest hearts into meek
submissiveness. To break the least of its commandments was esteemed a
crime for which death would be a weak expiation, and to retreat from its
enterprises, good or evil, bold or weak, was to be exposed to a fate more
horrible than the chain and vulture. Their periodical gatherings, or dark
seances, were held in caves in the bowels of the earth, where they were
surrounded by what might be aptly termed the panoply of the lower
regions--rows of skulls, coffins and their furniture, human skeletons,
ominous pictures _copied_ from the darkest passages of the Inferno or
Paradise Lost; and, brooding over all, that spell-like mystery which
waited ever as an inspiration from the tomb upon the movements of the
weird brotherhood. Here, habited in full regalia, and seated in alignment
on raised benches, the members of the Order were wont to receive trembling
initiates, commune together about affairs of government, and plan midnight
raids against mortal enemies. Frequently these conferences were brief, but
the fires were always lighted, in order that the still inspiration of the
scene might not be wanting to the business of the evening--the
ever-recurring raid on jail, or state-house, or Forest League. Gowned and
helmeted, and mounted on strong chargers, invested, as far as possible,
with the character of their riders, the ghostly phalanx galloped forth to
predestined conquest, for an invisible host fought at its side, and each
man bore a talisman in his outer garb which might have affrighted the
armies of an empire from the field.

The government of the Klan proceeded under a rigid constitutional system
that was rarely or never amended. Its chief officer, or ruler of what was
known as the _Empire_, was elected to an unlimited term of office, and
entrusted with the means of despotic rule. His official title was Grand
Wizard, and he was, by virtue of his first appointment,
commander-in-chief of the army or military force constituted under the
Empire. The officers under the latter held their appointment from him, and
composed his counsel, or cabinet. The Grand Division, or Empire, was
subdivided into Realms, Provinces, and Dens. The geographical boundaries
of the Realm corresponded with those of the congressional districts in the
several States under Klan dominion, and hence were equal in number. The
chief officer of a Realm was distinguished by the title of Grand Vizier.
His territory, as we have indicated, was subdivided into Provinces, whose
territorial limits were identical with those of counties in the same
location. The ruler of a Province was termed a Grand Giant. Under
Provinces, Dens were organized, which, so far as territorial dominion is
concerned, had only a neighborhood signification. But they were really the
executive force, and through them, as individuals, all the work was
accomplished. The commander of a Den, contradistinguished from those of
Realms and Provinces, owed his rank and authority to the suffrages of
those whom he immediately ruled. He was entitled Grand Cyclops, and under
him was an officer known as Exchequer, whose duties had a twofold
signification, and applied to the administration of the treasury and
recording secretaryship. There were from four to six scouts belonging to
the Den, who performed courier duty, and to whom was applied the titular
distinction of Night-Hawks; and in addition to these, and also in the
non-commissioned rank, each thoroughly organized Den had its Conductors
and Guardians, who were local, and the tenor of whose duties is
sufficiently indicated by their titles respectively.

The Dens were the recruiting agencies, and the officers to whom was
assigned this duty conducted the work with the utmost secrecy and caution.
No individual was approached who was not known by his voluntary avowals to
be in sympathy with the movement. When such a confession (which must have
been made in public) was reported to the Den Council, if no objection was
alleged against the individual, a committee was appointed to canvass the
subject and report at some future day. Afterwards, if no local
disqualifications were still urged, recruiting agents were sent to
interview the candidate, who proceeded with such circumspection that they
rarely failed to obtain a reply to the inquiries they brought without
committing themselves or their cause. A candidate for membership who had
been approved was conducted to the Den Council in the night season and by
circuitous and unknown routes. He was also securely blindfolded, and the
Conductors (officers of escort) were forbidden to communicate with him,
until their destination had been reached. Arriving in some sequestered
forest grove, he was commanded to dismount, and with eyes still bandaged,
and the former policy of secrecy maintained in all particulars, was
conducted into the presence of the council. Here, without being permitted
to ask questions, he was requested to give heed to what was about to be
said, and when the Cyclops, or some individual commissioned by him, had
revealed to him the objects and polity of the organization known as K. K.
K., and the quality of allegiance exacted from those who entered its
ranks, he was requested to state whether he still wished to carry out his
original design of connecting himself with the Order. If this
interrogatory was replied to in the negative, some very positive oaths and
threats enjoining secrecy as to what had transpired were delivered to him,
and he was permitted to retire. [This policy was invariably pursued by the
Klan, and it is not probable that its vows were ever committed to an
individual who had not obtained the full consent of his mind to the
concessions he was required to make.] On the contrary, if an affirmative
reply was given, the ceremony of initiation was proceeded with,--a formula
which we shall not describe in this place, further than to say that the
vows, which were delivered in a kneeling posture, were of the most
approved iron-clad pattern, and that to each was attached a string of
penalties, categorically presented, which aimed at nothing less than the
annihilation of the transgressor.

It is wrong to infer, as many have done, that because the political views
maintained by the Klan corresponded to those which were avowedly held by
ex-Confederate soldiers at that period, that the former was recruited
from the latter in large measure, or, as the enemies of both were apt to
suggest, as an entirety. Though occupying the territory in which they were
domiciled, it is improbable that one-half the available force which the
former boasted was derived from the latter source, and it is certain that
a majority of the latter did not give their sanction nor countenance to
the measures adopted by the Klan in seeking redress for alleged political
wrongs. But a very large number of ex-Confederates entered its ranks, and,
perhaps for prudential (not political) reasons, the administration of Klan
affairs was, in a large measure, committed to this element. Its force, as
has been anticipated, was recruited from the entire white population of
the States which it occupied; and it certainly was not wanting in that
_respect_ for which such movements are almost wholly dependent on the
character of their constituency. Members of State legislatures,
congressmen, and governors of States, took its vows upon them, and were
not unfrequently to be found at its midnight gatherings. In all National
and State elections the Klan gave its political suffrages to members of
the Order, or known sympathizers. Indeed, to effect its political ends
(which were the ends of its organization), there were few extremes of
contumacious conduct which it did not practise towards the existing State
governments. Not only did it throw the weight of its suffrages in behalf
of favorites--it forbade others the exercise of this privilege. Freedmen
who were deemed too ignorant to cast an intelligent ballot were visited at
their homes in the small hours of the night, and by measures of
intimidation, which not unfrequently included the lash, were driven to
accept an oath of lengthy abstinence from the League and the polls. White
men, who were obnoxious because of their too active instrumentality in
League affairs, or their excessive fondness for the class of society which
they encountered at its meetings, were equally unfortunate. During the
quiet hours of the night ghostly placards, bearing the caption K. K. K. in
large letters, and inscribed with the escutcheon of the Order (skull and
cross-bones), were posted on their doors, commanding them to "skip out" (a
technicality invented by the Klan), or expect the utmost vengeance of the
Order. Where the rank of the offender required that some more dignified
means of notification be employed, or where the individual was deemed to
represent very obdurate qualities of soul, instead of the ordinary method
aforesaid, an empty coffin was carted to his door, and in this horrible
symbol of its anathemas was placed the order of ejectment.

The social system was sought to be renovated in the use of the same
summary methods, and upon crimes of this nature the severest examples of
Klan disfavor were constantly visited. The carpet-bag element recently
introduced into the country suffered most frequently in this category; and
it is not too much to say, that the strict construction placed upon the
social laws of the country, and upon social decorum as an abstraction, by
the weird fraternity, was to this class one of the most intolerable
burdens of Southern exile. To miscegenate was quite bad enough (and a
privilege which the State laws denied them), but to be permitted to go a
step further, and "conglomerate," was not to be thought of, and Klan
discipline was brought to bear--one of its few acts which has received the
unconditional endorsement of both Northern and Southern society.



     The Klan never did its Work by Halves--How General Orders were
     Transmitted--Form of General Order--Its Imbroglios with the
     League--Avoided Conflict with United States Troops--Ku-Klux
     Prosecutions a Weakness of the Courts--League Informers--K. K. K.
     Intimidation of Witnesses--_Memento Mori_--Crusade of the Ermined
     Ranks--Misdirected Prosecutions--Obligation to Disregard Judicial
     Oaths when they Conflicted with the Plans and Policy of the Order--No
     Patch-spots in its System of Government--Weird Drill--Absenteeism not
     one of the Strong Points of the Brotherhood--The Klan a Bitter Enemy
     of those Unorganized Parties of Ruffians who made War on their kind
     in the former's Name--Its Right to Borrow Sympathy on this Exchange a
     Grave Question of Doubt--Vendettas Conducted against the "Shams."

The Klan never did its work by halves, nor never pronounced a meaningless
threat. If an individual was warned to leave the country at a certain
date, there was no help for it, neither were there any extensions of time
or modifications of original orders. Had members of the Order been
incarcerated in a county prison for Klan offences, and a rescue been
planned, the bars must yield at a certain hour. If some poor wretch was
doomed by order of the Council to suffer under its laws of extradition,
the weird scout was "over the borders and away" ere its absence could be
noted, or electric messages sent to notify the authorities of the
impending outrage.

When the Grand Wizard wished to promulgate an order, the newspapers were
the medium commonly sought. His commands in the use of this means were
delivered to the next in rank, and by him transmitted to the Grand Giant
of the province named, an officer who maintained constant communications
with the Den system. No Den was required to execute a general order within
the territory which it occupied, and in but rare instances did it proceed
to enforce its own _local_ measures. This force was, in almost every
instance, employed beyond its own boundaries, and not unfrequently crossed
the borders of the province, and even the realm to which it belonged, in
the execution of raiding commands. The territorial subdivisions of the
Order were each numbered according to class, a precaution which was found
to be indispensable in the transmission of "general orders." The latter
were usually in the following form:

     _To the Grand Cyclops of Den No. 5, Province No. 4, Realm No. 3._

     Greeting: You are hereby commanded to report with your entire command
     to the Grand Giant of your province for duty in D. 6, P. 5, R. 4.

     Speed.                 G. W.

These titles were not always employed in the published orders; but where
they were omitted, some descriptive term equally well understood was

The raiding force always moved in the night season, and members of the
Order never exhibited themselves in the Ku-Klux rôle in the daytime. When
the cock crew, no churchyard edition of the animal ever sought the
friendly shadow of the daisies with greater precipitancy than did the
individual K. K. K. the inner chambers of the Den.

Their imbroglios were in almost all cases with the organization known as
the Loyal League; but though they bore arms, and waged a campaign whose
avowed object was the annihilation of this hated enemy, yet in their
dealings with its members their ultimatum rarely bore an emphasis strong
enough to excite the opposition of the local authorities. And to their
credit it must likewise be said (a fact that was considered by the State
authorities at a recent date in promulgating pardons to members of the
Klan), that they avoided collisions with the United States troops, and in
no instance, though frequently pursued, and sometimes driven to the wall
by the exertions of the latter when employed in behalf of their enemies,
were they ever known to burn powder against their country's armed
servitors. Neither did they interfere with the courts of the country in
administering the laws from a national standpoint, though in some
instances criminals were taken from the county jails before "oyer" had
been pronounced in their cases.

Members of the Order did not, nor could not, according to their
construction of Klan government, belong to the jurisdiction of the courts,
more especially the Federal courts. And though trials were never
interfered with until their officers had satisfied themselves that it
would be impossible to convict one of its members on a charge of
complicity in its affairs, yet in the event of an unfavorable verdict and
attempted sentence, it is certain that resistance of some character would
have been offered. Ku-Klux trials were one of the weaknesses of the courts
at this period, and while numbers were arraigned on this charge who were
guilty, and merited discipline, it may be safely estimated that a majority
of these prosecutions were conducted against persons who were not only
innocent of collusion in its affairs, but who execrated the Klan as
heartily as did their over zealous inquisitors. Members of the League were
the informers, and not unfrequently the only witnesses in these trials;
and when it is remembered that their zeal for justice, as the blind
goddess was viewed by them, burned with about equal warmth against that
portion of the white population who were symbolized in this way and those
who were not, the farcical nature of these proceedings in numberless
instances will be understood. But when it was known that testimony had
been suborned against members of the Order, the Klan proceeded to extreme
lengths in construing the statute for perjury, and in visiting its
penalties on the offender. Not only so, but on the eve of these judicial
examinations, the Dens, as well as individual members thereof, were
particularly active in the work of destroying testimony by intimidating
witnesses, a common form of the threats employed being the words _memento
mori_ written plainly on a blank sheet of paper, and clandestinely
conveyed to the suspected party. To ignorant persons, the mystery of this
latter proceeding alone went not a little way towards accomplishing the
object in view.

While such precautions were taken, and no doubt proved of vast service in
enabling the Order to resist that crusade of the ermined ranks to which we
have referred, the leaders of the K. K. K. succeeded in obtaining, from
the membership at large, a very important concession in morals affecting
this subject, and one which we believe has been hitherto resisted by the
draft of secret societies on this continent, viz., an obligation to
disregard judicial oaths where they conflicted with the plans and policy
of the Order. To illustrate this point, a leading form of the
interrogatory propounded to witnesses in these trials was: "Are you aware
of the existence of a secret political organization known as the Ku Klux
Klan?" and though parties thus addressed were often possessed of the most
incontestable evidence of the truth sought to be elicited, it was not
deemed dishonest, nor in any sense immoral, to reply negatively. The oath
of secrecy which members (voluntarily) took upon themselves when they
entered the Klan was supposed to extinguish the guilt of this
transaction, though we are not told precisely in what way the _double
entendres_ and tricks of evasion, practised by such witnesses at
subsequent stages of the trial, were to be construed.

But as we shall have occasion to refer to this topic from time to time, as
the work progresses, we will not at present allude further to the subject
of Ku-Klux trials and their furniture of fiction.

The Klan was thoroughly organized. There were no patch-spots in its system
of government. Its tactics of drill were in some sense peculiar, but it
sufficiently resembled that adopted by the cavalry branch of the United
States army to be mistaken for it in all the leading manoeuvres. The men
were perfect in company drill, and were required to attend all Den
meetings, or be assessed onerous fines or other penalties. Absenteeism was
not, however, one of the strong points of the brotherhood; and a Den
rarely moved towards raiding territory without its full quota of men. The
raids moved with astonishing celerity--a circumstance which was rendered
necessary to the most perfect secrecy of these movements, and was also
imperative in view of the long distances to be traversed. The hours
between twilight in the evening and dawn, according to a Medean law of the
K. K. K., as we have anticipated, could only be appropriated to this
labor; and when it is explained that companies of men frequently left the
Den rendezvous for raiding objectives forty miles distant, and returned
to the former point without dismounting, our conclusion above will be seen
to be authorized.

The Grand Cyclops was not only the chief of the Den Council and an
absolutist in authority as to its domestic affairs, but was also the chief
officer in command of a raid, and must have been looked to for all special
directions regarding its conduct. The Exchequer possessed a similar
prerogative, and became the orderly or adjutant on the march.

The Klan was the bitter enemy of those unorganized parties of ruffians who
made war on their kind in the former's name, and the sum of whose
villanies never failed to be debited in this way. Hardly a week passed,
during the excitement which gave rise to both, and which they, in turn,
converted into a reign of terror whose strong points the Duke of Alva
might have studied to advantage, in which the secret organization was not
made to suffer under some such confidence arrangement; and to say that its
adipose suffered under this bereavement of men's regards which it could so
illy spare, will not, we fear, adequately present the situation. It,
however, had placed itself in a position by which its motives were liable
to be misinterpreted; and as one of its professed foibles was its ability
to cover up its tracks in the least mysterious of its transactions; and,
as during the French Renaissance, times analogous to these, to wear a mask
was esteemed a crime from which all other crimes might be inferred, we
doubt whether its right to borrow sympathy on this exchange could be
logically maintained.

But while the Klan was doomed to nurse its woes of this character in not a
few instances, they proved immedicable wounds; and where the perpetrators
became known, or even suspected, it conducted a vendetta against the
individual conspirators which proved far more effective than all the
organized efforts of the "best government."



     Misgovernment in Tennessee--The Loyal League and the State
     Administration--The K. K. K. an Outgrowth of the Conditions which the
     former Inspired--Rapid Development of the Order on Tennessee
     Soil--Its Purposes of Revenge--Legislation on the Subject--A
     Governor's Proclamation--Militia called out and Detectives
     Employed--The State pronounced a Ku-Klux Barracks--The Loyal League
     in various Localities Succumbing to the New Element of Conquest--A
     State Council of the League Summoned to meet at Nashville--The
     Governor to Preside--The Secret out, and Counter Measures Resolved
     upon by the Rival Party--Spies sent to Nashville--League Places of
     Rendezvous throughout the State subjected to Espionage--A War of
     Extermination against the Latter--A Simultaneous Uprising of the K.
     K. K. throughout the State and Concerted Raids against the L. L.
     Rendezvous in various Neighborhoods--Military Accomplishments of the
     Grand Wizard--Subcommanders in Charge of the Expedition--Capture of
     Secret Papers--Ku-Klux Hollow-square--Oath administered to
     Captives--Success of the Undertaking--Shifting of Conditions.

As early as the spring of 1866, the head of the Order announced that the
recruiting-books for the State of Tennessee showed a force of eighty
thousand men; and it was here, and about this date, that some of the most
eventful scenes connected with the history of the K. K. K. were enacted.
This State had been committed to League control early after peace was
declared by the general government, and the bitter proscription at once
inaugurated against the white race, under the combined patronage of the
League and the existing State government, not only excited the strenuous
opposition of all those who anchored their faith to the Conservative idea
in politics throughout this and neighboring States, but called forth a
warm protest from those disinterested partisans at the North who had
recently been erected into what is known as the moderate Republican or
Independent party. Disfranchisement, in its most radical form, excluded
the intelligent voters of the State from all participation in its affairs;
tax laws came up for amendment at each session of the State legislature,
and in connection with other expenses of government (for such they had
become), were sextupled in the end; the most quiet and law-abiding
neighborhoods were placed under military surveillance, or driven to suffer
the penalty of confiscation acts whose terms might have included the
entire race of mankind; and finally, every device of ignorant and
intemperate legislation applied, whose effect would be to render the
government unsuited to the wants of the people, and convert the latter
into a body of malcontents. This end appears, indeed, to have been
contemplated by the League faction at that stage of its supremacy when its
attainment seemed most improbable; but when the reality, or something
which very much resembled it, came upon them, they disowned the abortion,
and invited their friends at the North to behold with what consistency
the old rebel stump was putting forth green shoots of disunion.

We shall not express a preference for either of these bad extremes of the
politics of that period, but in order to a proper understanding of the
question, we deem it no impropriety to state that it was a fact well
known, and illustrated elsewhere, that wheresoever the League animal
deposited its spawn, with due regard for atmospheric conditions, the K. K.
K. insect would shortly drop its chrysalis.

In looking over the history of those times in Tennessee, the student need
be at no loss in seeking out the exact causes of the Ku-Klux movement as
it existed on her soil, nor of finding its dimensions from this given
mean. As large as was the Klan force, it probably did not exceed the
League in numbers, and had many disadvantages to meet which the latter,
helped forward by its government patronage, did not regard as impediments.
But it had injuries to redress, burning wrongs to avenge, and cherishing
these incentives, it laughed at legislative penalties, and burned to join
battle with those dispensers of Ku-Klux halters who dealt in this and like
judicial pleasantries at their expense.

Having had its birth in the western district of the State, where the
elements of a rapid growth were found, it was quickly communicated to the
central counties and the neighborhood of the capital, and finding its way
thence over the Cumberland Mountains--before its presence was even
suspected in that loyal quarter--developed a shamrock growth on the soil
of East Tennessee. Within three months from the time the first Den was
organized on her territory, the K. K. K. had reached its highest growth in
numbers and strength of resources, and announced itself ready and anxious
to meet the army in buckram, whom it asserted represented the cause of
misgovernment on Tennessee soil. Its plans were quickly developed, and the
destruction of a half dozen or more dark-lantern societies, which lay more
on the surface of things than was thought to be polite, alarmed the State
functionaries, and called attention to their proceedings in a form quite
as disagreeable as the most ultra of the party could have desired. The
subject first came before the legislature, and steps were taken which it
was presumed would "put a head on the monster" (to literally quote one of
the Buncombe addresses before that august body), but the indescribable
nonchalance of the proceedings, which seemed directed at a child's
toy-house rather than a nest of boa constrictors, only excited the K.'s to
new activity. A Governor's proclamation was next called for; soon
afterwards secret measures were instituted looking to the employment of a
force of detectives; and finally, the militia were summoned to assemble,
but, despite all, the crooked wonder grew, and the more industrious the
efforts put forth to curtail its existence the more it grew and the
greater the occasion it saw for this exertion.

In the summer of this year, the members of the legislature of Tennessee,
in council assembled, pronounced the State a Ku-Klux barracks, and
resolved themselves unsafe in their granite citadel at Nashville. The
League head-quarters in various parts of the State were succumbing one by
one to the new element of conquest, and, indeed, the State seemed on the
eve of a revolution, by which, if no more serious results were attained,
its territory would be rendered untenable for that class of its population
which was known to its enemies as the dark-lantern faction. In this
emergency, the leaders of the L. L. resolved to call a State council of
the Order, over whose deliberations the Governor should preside, and whose
object would be to devise ways and means for the destruction of their
troublesome enemies. Great preparations were made accordingly, and without
divulging their plans, it was resolved, at the conclusion of the secret
proceedings, to hold a mass meeting at the capital which should review the
whole subject. This body assembled at the specified date, but not before
the rival party had become fully acquainted with its plans and purposes,
and in convention assembled resolved upon counter measures.

On the very evening which the Council had set apart for its introductory
proceedings (in the city of Nashville), the indefatigable K.'s had issued
commands throughout the State requiring every member of the Order to
report at his Den head-quarters for special service. A force of spies was
dispatched to the neighborhood of the League Council, and the brief
period which was to elapse before the Solons would arrive and enter upon
the solemn business in hand was appropriated by these secret agents, and
their co-conspirators in other neighborhoods, to the work of obtaining
information from deserters, chance prisoners, etc., as to the exact
location and surroundings of the League places of rendezvous throughout
the State. Indeed, while the League had busied itself with a very red
conflagration devoted to the Ku-Klux fat, whensoever they should overtake
that slippery substance, the much persecuted "krookeds" had doubled back
on them, and only awaited a fair wind to convert their little game into a
"double reversible," quite as complicated as any that had dawned upon the
patent-machine mind previous to that date.

A war of extermination against the League had been resolved upon months
before by the leaders of the Klan, but a favorable moment for a decisive
blow, or the emergency requiring it, had not arrived, until both were
visible in the proposed State council of the Order and the objects it
would consider. Now, destiny seemed rushing upon them, and the time almost
too brief to make an intelligent feint on the enemy's front. But
promptness of stratagem, and rapid development of passing advantages, was
perhaps the strongest point in the military character of the distinguished
leader of this movement, for where others halted, awed by the proportions
of an undertaking, or the suddenness of combinations effected in their
front, he only felt an inspiration to go forward. The force which
participated in the attack on the evening of ---- 19th, 1866, did not fall
far short of one hundred thousand men, and yet, thirty-six hours previous
to this time, the occasion had not presented itself to the mind of the
veteran who planned the attack as suitable therefor. A well organized and
lightly-equipped force proved unquestionably a _sine qua non_ in rendering
the dispositions of the commander successful; but we doubt if it would be
fair to subtract this circumstance from the glory of the undertaking, if
the reader is informed that it had been developed from the same ingenious
source with special reference thereto.

In the attack which followed, each Den constituted an independent force,
and was under the immediate command of the Grand Cyclops. Indeed, no other
officer was known on the field, though it was sufficiently apparent, at
the time, that each had received his allotted task from a superior, and it
was afterwards divulged that they had acted under written orders. At ten
o'clock precisely, the commands moved (from the various points of
rendezvous selected), and were allotted one hour to each ten miles of
distance to be traversed. They were in full uniform, and though they
carried arms, were commanded not to fire, nor to return a fire, except
under orders. _En route_ they avoided public roads and dense settlements,
and on approaching their destination changed the order of march (by twos)
to close column by fours, when the command was "charge." After the
building, which formed the object of attack, came in view, no time was to
be lost, and its investment completed as rapidly as possible. Attempted
refugees were to be forced back within the walls, and in no event was an
escape to be permitted. A party of six resolute men were detached from
each squadron for special duty, in securing the papers, books, and other
written documents of the League meeting, and this movement was so far
pivotal in its character, that their comrades were commanded to keep their
proceedings in view, and be ready at a signal to render them assistance.
After a thorough search of the premises had been accomplished, the
dismounted men without were commanded to take their station within the
building, and form the hollow-square of the order.

As so much has been said concerning this feature of their drill, and so
little really known, we give the exact figure in the cut below. It may be
imitated by arranging two letters K with their backs to each other, and
doubtless originated from this device.

     [Illustration: Ku-Klux Hollow-square.]

This ghostly evolution having been performed, and the trembling Leaguers
finding themselves invested at every point, the Grand Cyclops had orders
to ascend the rostrum, and from that elevated position deliver to the
(constructive) culprits an oath whose principal features were as follows:
To forever abjure all allegiance to the secret organization known as the
Loyal League; to cease to employ the elective franchise as an instrument
of oppression against the white population of the State; to forsake the
acquaintance of all men, irrespective of party, who sought to profit by
their votes; and finally, to abstain, under pain of the severest
penalties; from all efforts to investigate or otherwise disturb the
mystical beings who stood before them, and who, at some future time, if
deemed expedient, would accord them further and more convincing proofs of
their ghostly genealogy. This command having been executed, the lights
were to be blown out at a signal, and the parties, disappearing by the
most secret routes possible, to hasten forward to a point of rendezvous
one mile distant.

Such was the plan of campaign resolved upon by the Grand Wizard and his
advisers; and that it was successful in every particular is a fact which
we need hardly repeat, in view of the numerous hints conveyed in the
written history of those times. While the State Council of the Loyal
League was guessing itself dry over the great "konundrum," and, at the
same time, making such a _sine die_ disposition of its remains as was
rendered feasible by broadsides of eloquence and sixthlies of courageous
resolve, that lively "korps(e)" had frisked from its abode, and with the
alacrity of a "monkey on a trapeze-bar" (in the language of the
oil-regions) "went through them."



     Speech of Hon. Bones Button before the State Council of the Loyal
     League--What followed--Amusing Contretemps.

Mr. Cheermon, and Gemmens: Der crisis am upon us. I repeats, surs, and
wishes dat dis obserwashun should sink down into de conclusibness ob ebery
individooal who heers me. Der Ku--crisis am upon us. As a member of dis
spectifle body, I am de las' pusson who would wish to use my perfesshun to
cover up dis sollum trufe. We is stannin', Mr. Cheermon, upon de ragged
confouns ob de bloody kazzum; and I repeats, dat de question for us to
solve dis ebenin' is: Shall we go fowards, or be pushed fowards.
[Sensation.] Fur be it frum me to "sing de song ob de sirum" when de
liberties ob de black man am inwaded, and de nasshumal honor is bein'
piled in de dust by de rabble (rebel) asstocracy. But, surs, lookin' up to
de umbragus folds ob dat spar-strangled banner, I is impressed with anoder
conclushun, and it is in dese wurds follerin, to wit: We is occupyin' de
ticklish edge ob a dillemmer, in de lite ob which de man who crossed de
Rubimcom am but a faint epistle. Yes, my spectifle feller-bredren, to use
a catephoricle flower ob de tropics, we have arriv' at a tite spot. We am
obfusticated, so to speak. [Assenting groans throughout the assembly.] Den
de riddle for us to read dis ebenin', in de light ob dese distressin'
surkumstances, is: What ar' to be did? In addressin' de collectiv' wisdum
of dis orguss resemblage, I axes, is we to go fowards? Is we to wait till
de nex' ebenin' or de nex' year? Is we to fold our hans behind our bax,
and hole our bref suspinely until de Klu-Krux animile has squatted hisself
squar' down on our liberties? Is we, I ax, to bump down in de middle ob
dat rode whar' de Klu-Krux Juggernox goes tootin' majestercally along over
de dethroned carcasses ob de black man, and whar you may holler peace!
peace! but you can't be heard; and you wouldn't be notissed if you was.

But, Mr. Cheermon, before perceedin' fudder wid de docturnal pints of dis
discusshun, I shall have sumfin to say in respex to Klu-Krux-Klam from a
scienticular pint of obserwashun. How is dis, I ax? Whar is de gettin' out
place, de tail, so to speak, of dis conundrum? [A pause, during which
several members are observed to scratch their heads meditatively.] Dar am
a proverb which says, "Ketch a Klu-Krux before you puts him to _def_," or
words to dat effec. Dat feature of de bizness I disposes to ten' to in
pusson, Mr. Cheermon, and if I can git de contention of de brilyunt
dissembly what sits in judgment upon dis and oder topics dis ebenin', I
will open de merits of dis opinyun to de verymost chile in understandin'.
Sposen dat we takes dese wurds, "Klu Krux Klam," as dey 'peers in de
original Greek, and transplants dem into de original Inglish. Take de word
Klu, dat wurd about which dare has been so much unsiantickle sputin, and
what is dare in it? Is dare an individooal under de soun' of my voice who
duzzent know de orfograthy of a wurd of three monysimples? Is dare, I
axes, in dis orguss body, a pusson who is sich a babe in understandin' dat
he duzzent know dat b-a-k-e-r spells baccer? Den I say to my spectifle
feller-sitterzens, dat if you will take de wurd Klu, and hang its ole
fashyun'd Inglish close on it, dat it will spell "clew," and if dat is so,
what fudder clew could you have to dis whole subjec'? [A member here rose
to a point of order, objecting to the "orfograthy" of the Hon. Bones'
premise, and claiming that the word under discussion was not "klu," but
"ku." There is no telling what this might have resulted in, if the
individual had been provided with documentary proof of his statement; but
as he was not, he was compelled to retire amid the jeers of the audience
and the loud taunts of the speaker, who elevated himself on a bench in
order that his rhetoric in this instance might have its full effect.] Den,
my feller-sitterzens, if de wurd "klu" means what it says it duz, de wurd
"krux" means krux, and de wurd "klam" means klam--dat is to say, if the
wurd klu means _clew_, neither of dese wurds means nuffin'. Dat pint is
suffishuntly clur to a man up a tree, and no doubt is understood by de
gemmen who spells "klu" widout a l.

But, cummin' back to de merits of de discushun, I disposes now, Mr.
Cheermon, to angeline de word klu, which, as I has before tuk occashun to
say, is de clew to dis whole mystery. Let us taik de consummant k, which
is de indecks letter, and pints to what follers. Duz dis letter have any
siggerfication apart from its connectin' links in dis wurd, or duz it hav
such a siggerfication? I beleevs dat de intellumgence of every pusson in
dis orgunce, if I may except one individooal, will bar me out dat it duz.
Dat pint bein' settled in a excloosive way, which, I may sugges', is much
de smallest part of de wurk, we must now perceed to find de siggerfication
aforesed, and de logickle delusions upon which it rests. What, may I ax,
duz de letter k stan' fur? Duz it stan' for cow? Is dare a pusson in dis
orgunce, who will lif' his head and dissert that k stans for cow? Wall, if
it duzzent stan' for cow, is it a far prejux for crow? Would a cup set on
its flatness, Mr. Cheermon, with rich a handle as k to it? Will the gemmen
who spells klu widout a l, pertend to spell cat widout a c? I persoom not.
Wall, then, my feller-sitterzens, if k duzzent stan' for cow; if it is too
crooked for cup; if it wooldn't spell crow widout bein' turned wrong side
foremos'; if it duzzent suit the gemmen's noshuns of cat; an' is too
crooked and not crooked enough for "crooked," den what, may I ax, duz dis
unekest of alfybetic frenonymongs outline wid de adumkate purpyscruity. If
it am eber used as de forefix fur knife, knot, knob, knock-under, and sich
like, it ar' bekase its crookedness let it out'n de rite paf, and not
'kase it felt called on in de way of tendin' to its own bizness.

But no diffunce if it do fail in oder respex, my feller-sitterzens, it
won't do to say dat dis consummant k am a failure, and ostrumsize it from
de langwidge. I am not one ob dose dat am committed to de beleef dat it am
a bow-legged nonjuscrip, a onaccountable freak of de English alfybet, an'
good for nuffin but to lean up agin more spectifle consummants, and thow
de lines out'n shape.

An' if dat be de sollum trufe, I pauses once more to ax whar is de stitch
in de temple of langwidge dat dis alfumbettycle beformity was made to
order to fit into, so to speak. What ar' its mishun in de worl', and how
is we to arrive at dat pint. In diggin' about de roots of dis boss
conundrum, Mr. Cheermon, we wants to have nuffin to do wid scientifficle
reductions, nor logickle abscraptions, as we understans de metumsquizzicle
bearin' ob dose terms; but, on de oder han', if the court am exquainted
wid her own diktum, and she think she do, we feels bemooved to argify
strate to de pint in hand. Now, in respex to de consummant beforesed, I
taiks de hi groun' dat if dere is any offis dat it can fill better than
any oder consummant, dat, dat am its mishun. Or to miscomterpret my
persac meanin' wid more purpyscruity, if dare is enny spot in de presinks
of de langwidge dat can't navumgate widout it, and dat it can't navumgate
widout, dat, _dat_ am de shoo fur it to war. Havin' adjostled dat pint to
de weakes' understandin', we nex' inquire if dere is enny wurd in de
dickshummary dat can't be spelt into a syllumble widout de ade of dis
consummant. I taix it upon miself to say, Mr. Cheermon, dat dere is such a
word, and widout enny furder surcumloscrution, or bein' too pertickler
about de orrytorrycal effec of mere metumsquorricle figgurs of speech, I
will perceed to denounce it in your heerin'. (Sotto voce.) Kill. (A pause,
followed by a lumbering sound and the disappearance of two woolly crowns.)

I trus', Mr. Cheermon, dat dis am considered no interbumption, an' if enny
oder brudder should feel discomposed to roll off de bench jurin de fudder
discontinuance of dese remarks, it won't be tuk as no mark of misrespex to
the gemmen who has de floor. But, to rejerk to de subjec' in ban'. De bes'
excepted, and de only excepted, siggerfication of de consummant k, am de
mistickle wurd just denounced in your hearin', and I shall ax you to
squeeze dat pint, while I maix a rapid sarch over dickshummary groun' for
de indecks belongins of de rejineder part of dis word klu, dat is, de
consummant l, and de avowal u. In respex to de consummant l, I would wish
to say in de fust place, fustly, dat the mixtur' of learned doubts
enterin' into its conjugation am not near so obfusticatin' as de las'
beforesed, an' dat havin' obtaned de persac fractional squantum of de
befogoin, we can, as it wur, look fowards to subsumquent revolutions of de
topic. Darfore, widout enterin' into de rejux system of argyfyin fudder
dan to appli de rools dat was foun' to wurk so hamboniously in respex to
de las' named, we arrives at de delusion dat de mos' acceptumble
renderation of de consummant l is to be foun' in de mistickle terms lick,
licks, and "lick 'em," or de las' beforesed in purtickler, or all three in
purpentickler. Now, if enny brudder whose sperience and obserwashun am
purtickler sensitiv on dis pint, feels cauled upon to say dat de most
pinted complication of dis consummant is to be foun' in de word "lam," or
dat it was made to order for de word "lash," or was put into de alfumbet
wid special reffermence to de wurd "larrup," or was made out'n whole clof
as a prehitch for "lambaste," I will 'low him dat privumlege, and widout
been outdone in dishonorableness, will give him de floor when I discludes.

In pointrefax, Mr. Cheermon, when we looks at all de crosses and dotses of
dis argyment, when we sees all its pros and cros, de delusion am forced
upon us, _roles bolus_ (nolens volens), so to speak, and in de langwidge
of one of our country's most illustrious poicks, "Dat do settle it."

Havin' foun' den, my feller-sitterzens, by jiggernometrical injuction, de
persac valyer of de quantitums k and l in de trombonial k-l-u, we will
now perceed to exburden our conshusness of sum thoughts havin' reffermence
to de avowal u. If dat which needs no splainin' may be made de subjec' of
splainatory logic, widout on de oder han' rejucin' de speaker to de
distressin' condishun of hyperbolus, I shall, in a brefe space of time,
more or less, egshibit to dis orgunce de close anallumgy dat exists
betwixt de avowal u, and de pussonal pronoun "you." I takes it for
granted, Mr. Cheermon, dat every individooal dat has a place in dis orguss
resemblage, am fermilliar, either by "hearsay" or "theysay," wid dat
principul of de Common Law dat purvides dat whar wurds are to be
miscomterpreted, dat de meanin' is to be fastened onto um what am neares'
at han', and dat if dey am already purvided wid a resonably far
siggerfication, dat it shall be onlawful to prowl off in sarch of one what
soots yer better. Dat pint bein' settled, I will not do enny gemmen in dis
orgunce de misrespex to persoom dat if a Klu-Krux wur to pint a six-bar'l
blunderbuss under his oil-factory of smell, and say "you," as loud and
suddint as a clap of armytillery, dat he would disclude dat he meant sum
odder feller, and fail to locomoshy in de odder direction. Takin' den, my
feller-sitterzens, de consummants k and l in de trombonial (trinomial)
k-l-u, and it will be seen dat dey have close refermence to de avowal u,
and _visum versum_, and dat in dese three alfumbettycle cosines, and de
mistickle siggerfication detached to each, ar' de whole substanshuation
of de mystiffercation of de Klu-Krux-Klam.

Den, Mr. Cheermon and feller-sitterzens, if dese be de mos' obdurous
intenshuns of dose ruffumlians, duz it not, let me ax, bemoove this loil
body to take immejit steps to surcumvalidate, deturrimerate,
homswogglemerate, and murder-r-r-- [This expression stuck in the speaker's
throat, for, being attracted from the up-stairs of his eloquence by what
he at first mistook for an outburst of enthusiasm on the part of his
hearers, but was afterwards induced to believe proceeded from some more
serious cause, he looked around him upon great waves of panic that lashed
the building from side to side--at first converting all obstacles into a
causeway for their terror, but at length flowing into currents that beat
strongest where the drifts of wrecked and storm-tossed furniture formed
artificial banks. Having the organ of comparison well developed among the
other faculties, the brain of the statesman took in the situation at once;
for, observing with what success doors and windows were swept from their
moorings at the heads of the retreating columns, he saw the twenty or more
ghostly embodiments that occupied his rear in imagination only, and,
hesitating for one instant, he joined the assault on the "imminent
breach," ballasting his flight with cries that bore a marvellous
resemblance to the changes of which the last word of the "befogoin" is
susceptible. Reaching a neighboring window at the end of two vigorous
jumps, he passed out into the night--a distance of "eighteen foot in the
clur," as he afterwards testified--and regaining his feet and the top of
his bent simultaneously, "the startled ear of outer darkness" heard
something like the report "murder," at brief intervals of time
accommodated to long intervals of space, for about the period employed by
an Erie express train in exhausting a winter horizon.]



     Excitement throughout the State--Scenes at the Capitol--Metropolitan
     Arrests resisted--Secret Police--Government Officials Notified of the
     Extent of the Disaster--A Quorum of the Legislative or Judicial
     Bodies not Attainable--No Departures from the City--The K. K. K.
     Cabal Receiving that Attention from Caucusing Legislators which its
     Importance Demanded--What the State Judiciary Demanded--A Mob at the
     State-House--At Sunset the Situation Unchanged--A Sortie from the
     Capitol--Mobs along the Route--Seeking Refuge from the Excited
     Populace--Out of Danger--The New Situation--Governor Brownlow
     Escaping from the Temporary Fortress by an Alley-way--An Ugly
     Specimen of the Genus Ku-Klux--The Governor Recovers from the
     Attitude of a Suppliant--An Amusing Episode--"But how many suns, O
     Man, would look upon the Deed Unavenged?"--A Canard which Grew out of
     this Affair.

On the day following the grand _coup de main_ of the Klan to which we have
directed attention in the previous chapters, and which, in bringing
depression to League affairs, sent the former's mercury to a feverish
height, great excitement prevailed throughout the State; and at the
business centres, and more especially the capital, something like a
popular demonstration greeted the arrival of news from provincial
quarters. The wires had been buzzing with intelligence of the disaster
since early dawn, and yet the news and telegraph offices found it
impossible to throw off the steaming bulletins giving additional
particulars, or summing up the history of the exploit in localities
already heard from, with sufficient speed to meet the cravings of the
multitude. The streets of the capital were filled with passengers, who,
with white faces and lips compressed, seemed as firmly intent on reaching
some point of general rendezvous as it was indubitably certain that they
had nothing definite in view, but were tossed to and fro by a burning
thirst for news that must and would not be satisfied. Occasionally, as the
crowd kept this frantic pace, individuals would suffer themselves
buttonholed, and made the subjects of lengthy confidences, but rarely, as
one man's property in the commodity of the hour was something which all
might share at the bulletin-board; and so all day long the human tides
ebbed and flowed along the news-channels, never manifesting impatience,
but ever quickening their speed to keep pace with the now fairly excited
messengers. Merchants and shop-keepers stood in their doors wearing
prurient countenances, and anon, sending would-be purchasers away with
curt replies; for since the sun rose on that eventful morn, had not
traffic grown out of fashion? Women and children kept within doors without
commands to that effect, for there was something in the very air of the
crowds without that not only did not invite confidence, but positively
frowned upon all advances thereto. The Metropolitan guards, who had
special instructions, and whose force had been doubled since morning,
moved along their beats wearing grave countenances, and occasionally
scanning the faces of the crowd with furtive stare, as if in search of
some secret which they half suspected lay hidden there. Once they ventured
upon an arrest, being guided by their suspicions only, as was evident from
their embarrassed movements; but though they employed a strong guard, and
sought out the most thinly peopled avenues in making away with their
prisoner, they had not proceeded above two blocks before they were set
upon by the crowd, and compelled not only to relinquish their charge, but
to seek safety in flight. It was even whispered that there was a secret
police force abroad, deriving its authority from the opposition element in
politics; but this was industriously denied in quarters where the facts
should have been known, and after it became a rumor, every effort was made
to quell suspicion. But, however that may have been, after the
unsuccessful feint to which we have called attention, no further effort
was made to interfere with the calm-faced crowds which, looking neither to
the right nor left, persevered in that unvarying procession which led them
to and from the news centres. A K. K. K. placard, which had been posted at
a popular street corner during the previous night, and which, for
contrasted reasons, had been given a wide berth by the rival factions,
became, as the evening wore along, the one subject which seemed to
possess sufficient interest to attract the regards of passers-by, and it
is probable that its importance (like some sentient wonders that we wot
of) was derived from the circumstance of its connection with weightier

It was probably past the hour of noon before the extent of the Ku-Klux
raid was certainly known to the State authorities, and to say that the
intelligence cast a palpable gloom over the various departments of
government, would hardly particularize the situation with that
definiteness which the curiosity of the reader may demand. After the noon
recess it was found impossible to assemble a quorum of either the
legislative or judicial functionaries, and when visitors sought
individuals belonging to these branches, with a view to conference on
private topics, they were, oftener than not, sent away with the
intelligence that they had left the city. But this was scarcely true in
any case, for not only was there no hegira of State officers from the
scene of their labors on this day, but out-bound trains flew along the
landscapes with hardly any reasonable ballast in the way of passengers.
The secret of the whole business, as revealed soon after, showed that some
very extensive caucusing was being done, and that the K. K. K. cabal, for
the first time in its history, was receiving that attention from the
government authorities which its importance demanded. It is not known with
certainty what was resolved upon at these meetings, but it may be guessed,
with tolerable assurance, that those bold measures soon afterwards
instituted in the House (though enterprised too late for any practical
use) received their inspiration from this excited period. And it was soon
after published as an item of news, that the judiciary demanded of their
law-making colleagues some immediate legislation that would enable them to
grapple with the new problem in jurisprudence which the movement

About the middle of the afternoon there was a popular demonstration in the
neighborhood of the capitol, the crowds lounging in that direction in an
objectless kind of way, but when, finding themselves under the shadow of
the great building, developing a sudden enthusiasm for something, or some
individual, they scarce knew what. For more than an hour they besieged the
State functionaries with loud huzzahs, and only when they saw that the
demonstration had been misunderstood, or that they would be given the cold
shoulder, in any event, did they relinquish the purpose of hearing some
report from their law-givers, and being heard in return. But when the
countermarch movement began, very little time was consumed by the crowd in
transporting itself out of sight and hearing--individuals, and especially
those who had been conspicuous in the movement, walking hurriedly, and
with their heads down, as if to conceal an expression of chagrin that
lurked in their countenances.

At sunset the situation was unchanged, the main streets emptying
themselves of their human currents, in obedience to some suburban
attraction at intervals, only to be filled next hour with the chaffering
multitudes, who resumed their fatuous pursuit of the unknown quantity in
the news-problem with the same heat that it had been undertaken in the
early portion of the day. It was at this precise hour that the Governor
was observed to leave the State-house, accompanied by two gentlemen of his
staff, and walk hurriedly along Cedar Street, in the direction of the
public square. The crowds seemed determined to place their own
interpretation on this movement, and having assembled in large force at
the point where College street intersects that along which the party were
passing, loud hootings were indulged in, and in forcing a passage through
the crowd, the obnoxious individuals subjected to rougher jostling than
was thought to be required by the emergency. Turning to reply to some
taunt volunteered from the crowd, one of the gentlemen lost his hat by a
blow from behind, and was deprived of the gratification which he might
otherwise have received upon relieving himself of a few sentences of
eloquent invective, by a storm of derisive cheers, which drowned every
other sound. At the next crossing the demonstration was equally as large,
if not so aggressive, and when the official trio reached a neighboring
building, and immured themselves within its walls, they doubtless looked
back upon the reminiscence with feelings of relief. But from after
developments, it may be inferred that they had no sooner felt themselves
exempt from the perils which had lately beset them, than they entered upon
a conference to devise ways and means of escape from their temporary
fortress (for such the building in which they had taken refuge proved to
be). This would not have been difficult of accomplishment, in any event,
and the tactics resolved upon by the besieged rendered it comparatively
easy of attainment.

In less than ten minutes the throngs, who had assembled with no more
serious object in view than to gratify an idle curiosity, and express
their unfriendliness to their taskmasters by the methods usually adopted,
had been taken up by the absorbent elements of the crowd flowing newsward,
and were no more. If the Governor's party had expected resistance of this
character, they were to be deceived, for by the time the lamps were
lighted, almost a calm pervaded that quarter; and when, a few moments
later, the first of the party (who proved to be Governor Brownlow) left
the building by a postern-gate in the rear, he was seen by none but the
spies who had been set to watch. Hurrying along an alleyway, the honorable
refugee had crossed two squares ere he emerged upon the broad street which
led across an unfrequented portion of the city, to the vicinity of the
mansion which he occupied. Halting here to reconnoitre and indulge a
moment of quiet reflection, after the exciting events through which he had
passed, he was suddenly encountered by a form of the peril from which he
was seeking to escape that had more than once been suggested to his fancy,
but which now presented itself in such palpable outline, and with an
attitude so positively menacing, that his courage forsook him for the
moment, and he recovered from the manner of a suppliant just in time to
save himself from a very humiliating scene. The _thing_ in question was an
ugly and even frightful embodiment of the genus Ku-Klux, which, having
been successful in its contemplated surprise, was very naturally disposed
to dictate terms to its victim. As no violence was intended, it had time,
however, for but a few tragic sentences, adopted from a repertory prepared
for the occasion, before the frightened official had recovered his wits
and his Greek.

Raising himself to his full stature, the Governor denied the assumed
ghostliness of his interlocutor in these precise words: "Do you not know,
fiend, that I possess the authority to have you shot or hung, and that I
am strongly persuaded to exercise it?"

To which the "fiend" retorted in the following laconism "But how many
suns, O man! would look upon the deed unavenged?" and realizing that they
were quits, the parties to this amusing by-comedy went their respective

The report of this transaction reaching the public ear via the
sensation-mongers, a few hours later, it was taken up in its amended form
and bandied about the coffee houses and street-corner gatherings until it
finally lost all proportions, and at nine o'clock, precisely, was guilty
of sending an old gentleman to bed, on the outskirts of the city, under
the conviction that Governor Brownlow had been murdered by the Ku-Klux.

But though for twenty hours her streets had flowed with lava tides of that
wild element of which mobs are made, and whatsoever was leonine in her
temperament had been appealed to by rumors of war, that rode past on every
breeze, somewhere in the "wee sma' hours ayont the twal," the last star
had paled in the news' firmament without witnessing anything more tragical
than may be found among the occurrences related in this chapter, and the
tired city slept.



     The Klan Outlawed--A Price set upon the Heads of its Membership--A
     Rash Act of one of its Dens--Strong Provocations--Negro
     Insurrectionists Placed in the Jail at Trenton--Prisoners Wrested
     from the County Authorities by Two Hundred Men Disguised as
     Ku-Klux--Subsequent Massacre--Detectives in Pursuit--Members of the
     Order Indicted--Efforts to Convict the Accused--Failure of
     Prosecution--Affair in Obion--Why these Horrors are Classed as Twin
     Editions--Description of Madrid Bend--K. K. K. Transactions in this
     Remote Quarter--Planters' Jealousy--Message from Mr. J. to the
     Leaders of the Party--Cool Treatment it Received--The K.'s Declare
     their Intention of Punishing one of the Laborers on J.'s Farm--His
     Defiance--Arming the Blacks--A Fierce Skirmish--J.'s Flight--Massacre
     of Fleeing Blacks--Eight Colored Men taken from the County Jail at
     Troy--Their Fate a Mystery.

In Tennessee, where the Klan took the form of a political party, which
bitterly antagonized the Brownlow administration in every issue of
government, the principles which it supported (despite the bad qualities
inherent in its organization) gave it a success altogether unproportioned
to the means employed. Notwithstanding it was outlawed by act of the
Legislature, and a price set upon the heads of its membership, it
continued to flourish long after Brownlowism had ceased to be an element
in the politics of the State. But, after a comparatively uneventful
history during the years which intervened, in the summer of 1874 a rash
act of one of its Dens, located in Gibson county, in the western portion
of the State, operated such a loss of influence to the body throughout the
State, that it at once became ineffective; and here, in the autumn of this
year, the latest remnant of the organization on Southern soil fell into
disintegration, and ceased to exist.

A brief history of this transaction may prove not uninteresting to the
reader, as it was one of the most daring and venal of all the acts of
these regulators, and influenced national affairs as has no other local
event within the present century. In a remote settlement in the eastern
portion of this county, a party of negroes had organized themselves into a
military company, which not only conducted night drills and made
occasional raids into the surrounding settlements, but threatened that at
no distant day they would devastate the neighboring country, and prove the
heralds of an insurrection that would give the Southern country into the
hands of their race. The whites in the immediate vicinity bore their
midnight levies with tolerable resignation, and would, doubtless, have
dismissed their taunts as meaningless, if these had not been supported by
acts which left no doubt as to the warlike quality of their designs. They
had proceeded so far as to procure arms and ammunition, and nominate a day
for the threatened outbreak before any interference was attempted, and
when this was finally resolved upon, it was effected quietly by arresting
some of the more prominent conspirators at their homes. These parties were
incarcerated in the county jail at Trenton, and though the feeling of
indignation ran high in every portion of the county, it is believed that a
resolution to drop the subject here, or submit to such meagre satisfaction
as it was in the power of the courts to render in such cases, was general.
Such peaceful and eminently wise counsels were not to prevail, however,
and on the night succeeding that upon which these prisoners had been
committed to the county authorities for safe keeping, a large body of men
(estimated at from two to three hundred), disguised as Ku-Klux, rode into
the town, and laying siege to the jail, soon effected their object of
taking from thence the alleged insurrectionists. In view of the formidable
force employed, no resistance was offered, and the prisoners, being tied
securely on horses, which had been provided for that purpose, were placed
at the head of the column and conducted six miles from Trenton in an
easterly direction. Here a parley was called, and some dispute arising as
to what disposition should be made of the prisoners, they were commanded
to make their escape, and at the same instant fired upon, the volley being
repeated twice. Of the company of ten who were commended to this terrible
fate, two were killed outright, two were badly wounded, and the remainder
(disappointing the wishes of their captors, it is thought), made good
their escape. The news of this event spread rapidly, and as it met with
almost universal condemnation, a vigorous pursuit was organized, and every
effort which a thoroughly aroused and indignant community would be likely
to employ, undertaken to discover and arrest the perpetrators. Knowing
that disaffection had existed among the raiders, and a large portion, if
not a majority of their number, had refused to participate in the
massacre, this clew was adopted by the authorities, and a detective force
employed, which it was thought could not fail of success. Several days
were consumed in the pursuit and investigation, and at the end of that
time it was announced that one of the party had become "State's witness,"
and that a full expose of the affair would follow.

The faith that was reposed in this story shows how unequal was the
estimate which the State authorities placed upon the resources and
influence of their secret enemy, and how illy adapted to the ends in view
was the machinery of prosecution employed by the courts in this and
similar causes. The party who had professed a willingness to betray his
associates in this affair could only be prevailed upon to embrace a very
small number in the accusations he made, and, at the subsequent trial,
completely failed to sustain the points of the indictment which had been
founded on his sworn admissions.

The arrests were made, however, and after a long and tedious contest
between the State and Federal courts, regarding the subject of their
jurisdiction--which could not fail to prove advantageous to the
accused--the trial, or something which bore a resemblance thereto, was
proceeded with. Viewing the resources of the two parties to the
presentment, and the efforts put forth by each, it could not have been a
success on any terms, and, under the existing conditions, proved a
judicial farce of the first magnitude. The negroes who had made their
escape from the scene of the massacre, and who had held out promises that
they could identify their would-be lynchers, failed to meet the tests
which were imposed at the trial; and the State's witness, mainly relied
upon, either could not, or would not, criminate his associates beyond a
few general statements, that would not have justified even a partial
verdict. After a lengthy trial, pending which the State authorities put
forth their utmost exertions to establish the guilt of the accused, it was
announced that an _alibi_ had been proven in each case; and so ended the
Gibson county horror.

In Obion, a county adjoining Gibson on the west, the details of even a
bloodier affair than that recounted above were given to the public a few
years earlier, but which, for some reason, never found its way into the
courts. We give the outlines in this place, because these horrors, in view
of the _locus in quo_, will always be classed as twin editions in future
histories of the Ku-Klux riots.

In what is known as Madrid Bend, a peninsular territory formed by a curve
in the Mississippi River at its junction with Reelfoot Lake (which
occupies the rear of the district), are situated a number of large farms,
supporting hundreds of negro laborers, and here, as might have been
expected, that doctrine of cause and effect, inversely applied, to which
we have referred in a previous chapter, had its perfect work. On such soil
the K. K. K. vine could not fail to prosper; and accordingly, at an early
day, a Den was organized, which soon afterwards took upon itself the duty
of regulating the affairs of the little kingdom. Loyal League meetings
were broken up; carpet-baggers were requested to skip on brief notice; the
enfranchised masses were not permitted to vote too early, nor too often;
but, what is sincerely to be regretted by the honest historian, called
upon to chronicle these events, and the law-loving public at large,
matters did not stop here. The weird brotherhood went further still, in
enforcing their ideas of good government, and were wont, at those periods
of the "calm, still night" when the queen of its realm did not exercise
her beams too freely, to visit the neighboring farms, and, at the end of
the lash, administer lessons in morals, social polity, etc. The "man and
brother" was not permitted to offend in too palpable breaches of morals,
even on his own territory, and certain home duties were strictly enjoined
upon him. These _ex cathedra_ performances proceeded in fact to great
lengths, and naturally gave dissatisfaction to the controllers of the
farming interests in the Bend.

One of these, whom we shall designate as Mr. J., a large proprietor, who
felt himself particularly outraged, in view of the fact that his farm had
been several times visited in this clandestine manner, finally protested,
and signified to those whom he regarded as the leaders of the movement his
perfect ability to control his own affairs. No reply was made at the time,
but not long after this one of the negro laborers on J.'s farm had the
misfortune to commit a misdemeanor amenable to severe punishment under the
K. K. K. code, and it soon after became apparent that the neighborhood Den
would adopt the usual plan in meting out justice to the offender. Upon
receiving this intelligence, J., seeing that his authority was not only
set at nought, but defied, became enraged, and notified the parties that
they must proceed at their peril, as he would arm the negroes on his
plantation, and lead them in an effort to resist the proposed attack.
Unawed by this proclamation, the Klan made its dispositions, and at about
twelve o'clock on the night designated, appeared on the scene. A fierce
skirmish ensued, as was to have been expected. The negroes had not only
been fully equipped, as their employer had threatened, but were stationed
behind barricades, with which their wooden houses were lined, and hence
fought to the best advantage. The attacking party, on the other hand, was
compelled to occupy open ground, and so far from being shielded by the
darkness, the relative situation of the parties adjudged that circumstance
favorable to the enemy. The combat was a brief one, and under the
conditions which they were forced to accept, could not have resulted
favorably to the besiegers. They finally withdrew, having had one man
killed and three wounded in this ill-advised affair. The negroes, on their
part, suffered no loss whatever.

But the end was not yet, and while fortune favored the cause of the
resisting faction in the skirmish of which we have given brief
particulars, they must have realized, from their knowledge of their
surroundings, that the blood which had been shed would be required at
their hands. The scene, moreover, was remote from any garrisoned point
whence they might have received aid from government troops in the event
that the attack was renewed.

The news of the affair, as was to have been expected, spread rapidly, and
as great excitement ensued, J., feeling the insecurity of his position,
fled by steamer to Memphis, at the same time counselling the negroes to
place themselves under the protection of the authorities. Troy, the seat
of justice of Obion, was distant from the scene of rencontre about twenty
miles, and thither, at an early hour of the day, the negroes, adopting
by-paths and unfrequented routes, turned their steps. But despite the
precautions against discovery which they adopted, their movements were
closely spied, and before they had proceeded many miles a large force of
their enemies was in pursuit. Riding at a break-neck speed, the pursuing
party gained on them rapidly, and as they kept out flankers, in order
that none of the party might be overran and thus suffered to escape, ten
of the refugees were overtaken and put to death ere the raiders were
warned that they were trespassing too far on neutral territory.

Eight of the eighteen succeeded in reaching Troy, and at their request
were placed in jail, and a strong guard detailed for their protection.
Even these extraordinary precautions, however, proved unavailing, and on
the first night of their incarceration a large force of disguised men
invested the prison, and having intimidated the guard, carried them away
prisoners. Further than this, no report has ever been given of the affair,
but it may be guessed, with tolerable assurance, that they shared the fate
of their companions.

This affair created a profound sensation throughout the entire country,
and to it, as much as any other single deed of the night-riders, are due
those prompt measures on the part of the general and State governments
which operated as such an emphatic check on their movements. Soon after
this the Congress of the United States passed a law virtually outlawing
the body; and later, in view of certain phases of the subject which best
adapted it to the special legislation of which they were capable,
relegated the question to the State governments, reserving only the right
to adjudicate such causes where States were indisposed to afford their
citizens adequate protection.



     Any person, under color of law, etc., of any State, depriving another
     of any rights, etc., secured by the Constitution of the United
     States, made liable to the party injured, 7034--Penalty for
     conspiring, by force, to put down the government of the United
     States, etc., 7035--Conspirator's doing, etc., any act in furtherance
     of the object of the conspiracy, and injuring another, liable to
     damages therefor, 7035--What to be deemed a denial by any State to
     any class of its people of their equal protection under the laws,
     7036--What unlawful combination to be deemed a rebellion against the
     government of the United States (obsolete), 7037--Certain persons not
     to be jurors in certain cases, 7038--Jurors to take oath; false
     swearing, in taking this oath, to be perjury, 7038--Any person
     knowing that certain wrongs are about to be done, and having power to
     prevent, etc., neglects so to do, and any such wrong is done, is made
     liable for all damages caused thereby, 7039.

_Act of the Congress of the United States. An Act to enforce the
provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United
States, and for other purposes._

ART. 7034. [1.] Any person, who, under color of any law, statute,
ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of any State, shall subject, or
cause to be subjected, any person within the jurisdiction of the United
States, to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities,
secured by the Constitution of the United States, shall, any such law,
statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of the State to the
contrary, notwithstanding, be liable to the party injured in any action at
law, suit in equity, or other proceeding for redress; such proceeding to
be prosecuted in the several district or circuit courts of the United
States, with, and subject to the same rights of appeal, review upon error,
and other remedies provided in like cases, in such courts under the
provisions of the Act of the 9th of April, eighteen hundred and sixty-six,
entitled "An Act to protect all persons in the United States in their
civil rights, and to furnish the means of their vindication," and the
other remedial laws of the United States which are, in their nature,
applicable in such cases.

ART. 7035. [2.] (1.) If two or more persons within any State or Territory
of the United States, shall conspire together to overthrow, or to put
down, or to destroy by force the government of the United States, or to
levy war against the United States, or to oppose, by force, the authority
of the government of the United States, or by force, intimidation, or
threat, to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the
United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the
United States, contrary to the authority thereof, or by force,
intimidation, or threat, to prevent any person from accepting or holding
any office of trust, or place of confidence, under the United States, or
from discharging the duties thereof, or by force, intimidation, or
threat, to induce any officer of the United States to leave any State,
district, or place where his duties, as such officer might lawfully be
performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his
lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or to injure his person
while engaged in the lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or to
injure his property, so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in
the discharge of his official duty, or by force, intimidation, or threat,
to deter any party or witness in any court of the United States from
attending such court, or from testifying in any matter pending in such
court, fully, freely, and truthfully, or to injure any such party or
witness, in his person or property, on account of his so having attended
or testified, or by force, intimidation, or threat to influence the
verdict, presentment, or indictment of any juror or grand juror, in any
court of the United States, or to injure such juror in his person or
property, on account of any verdict, presentment, or indictment, lawfully
assented to by him, or on account of his being or having been such juror,
or shall conspire together, or go in disguise upon the public highway, or
upon the premises of another for the purpose, either directly or
indirectly, of depriving any person or class of persons of the equal
protection of the laws, or of equal privileges or immunities under the
laws, or for the purpose of preventing or hindering the constituted
authorities of any State from giving or securing to all persons within
such State the equal protection of the laws, or shall conspire together
for the purpose of in any manner impeding, obstructing, hindering, or
defeating the due course of justice in any State or Territory, with intent
to deny to any citizen of the United States the due and equal protection
of the laws, or to injure any person in his person or property for
lawfully enforcing the right of any person or class of persons to the
equal protection of the laws, or by force, intimidation, or threat, to
prevent any citizen of the United States lawfully entitled to vote from
giving his support or advocacy, in a lawful manner, towards or in favor of
the election of any lawfully qualified person as an elector of president
or vice-president of the United States, or as a member of the congress of
the United States, or to injure any such person in his person or property,
on account of such support or advocacy: each, and every person so
offending, shall be deemed guilty of a high crime, and upon conviction
thereof, in any district or circuit court of the United States, or
district or supreme court of any Territory of the United States, having
jurisdiction of similar offences, shall be punished by a fine not less
than five hundred nor more than five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment,
with or without hard labor, as the court may determine, for a period not
less than six months, nor more than six years, as the court may determine,
or by both such fine and imprisonment, as the court shall determine. (2.)
And if any one or more persons engaged in any such conspiracy shall do,
or cause to be done, any act in furtherance of the object of such
conspiracy, whereby any person shall be injured in his person or property,
or deprived of having and exercising any right or privilege of a citizen
of the United States, the person so injured or deprived of such rights and
privileges may have and maintain an action for the recovery of damages,
occasioned by such injury or deprivation of rights and privileges against
any one or more of the persons engaged in such conspiracy, such action to
be prosecuted in the proper district or circuit of the United States, with
and subject to the same rights of appeal, review upon error, and other
remedies provided in like cases in such courts under the provisions of the
Act of April ninth, eighteen hundred and sixty-six, entitled "An Act to
protect all persons in the United States in their civil rights, and to
furnish the means of their vindication."

ART. 7036. [3.] In all cases where insurrection, domestic violence,
unlawful combinations or conspiracies in any State shall so obstruct or
hinder the execution of the laws thereof, and of the United States, so as
to deprive any portion or class of the people of such State of the rights,
privileges, immunities, or protection named in the Constitution and
secured by this act, and the constituted authorities of such State shall
either be unable to protect, or shall from any cause fail in or refuse
protection of the people in such rights, such facts shall be deemed a
denial by such State of equal protection of the laws of the United States,
to which they are entitled under the Constitution of the United States;
and in all such cases; or whenever any such insurrection, violence,
unlawful combination, or conspiracy shall oppose or obstruct the laws of
the United States, or the due execution thereof, or impede, or obstruct
the due course of justice under the same, it shall be lawful for the
President, and it shall be his duty, to take such measures, by the
employment of the militia or the land and naval forces of the United
States, or of either, or by other means, as he may deem necessary for the
suppression of such insurrection, domestic violence, or combinations; and
any person who shall be arrested under the provisions of this and the
preceding section, shall be delivered to the marshal of the proper
district, to be dealt with according to law.

ART. 7037. [4.] Whenever in any State, or part of a State, the unlawful
combinations named in the preceding section of this act shall be organized
and armed, and so numerous and powerful as to be able by violence to
either overthrow or set at defiance the constituted authorities of such
State and of the United States, within such States, or when the
constituted authorities are in complicity with or shall connive at the
unlawful purposes of such powerful and armed combinations; and whenever,
by reason of either or all of the causes aforesaid, the conviction of such
offenders and the preservation of the public safety shall become in such
district impracticable, in every such case such combinations shall be
deemed a rebellion against the government of the United States, and during
the continuance of such rebellion, and within the limits of the district
which shall be so under the sway thereof, such limits to be prescribed by
proclamation, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States,
when in his judgment the public safety shall require it, to suspend the
privileges of the writ of _habeas corpus_, to the end that such rebellion
may be overthrown. _Provided_, That all the privileges of the second
section of an act entitled "An Act relating to _habeas corpus_, and
regulating judicial proceedings in certain cases," approved March third,
eighteen hundred and sixty-three, which relates to the discharge of
prisoners other than prisoners of war, and to the penalty for refusing to
obey the orders of the court, shall be in full force, so far as the same
are applicable to the provisions of this section. _Provided, further_,
That the President shall first have made proclamation, as now provided by
law, commanding such insurgents to disperse. _And provided, also_, That
the provisions of this section shall not be enforced after the end of the
next regular session of Congress.

1872. The foregoing section was re-enacted in the Senate (1872) but it
failed in the House. Hence, by limitation, it became obsolete June 10th,
1872. Action was taken under it by President Grant in several counties in
South Carolina while the law was in force.

ART. 7038. [5.] No person shall be a grand or petit juror in any court of
the United States upon any inquiry, hearing, or trial of any suit,
proceeding, or prosecution based upon or arising under the provisions of
this act who shall, in the judgment of the court, be in complicity with
any such combination or conspiracy; and every such juror shall, before
entering upon any such inquiry, hearing, or trial, take and subscribe an
oath in open court that he has never, directly or indirectly, counselled,
advised, or voluntarily aided any such combination or conspiracy; and each
and every person who shall take this oath, and shall therein swear
falsely, shall be guilty of perjury, and shall be subject to the laws and
penalties declared against that crime; and the first section of the
article entitled "An Act defining additional causes of challenge, and
prescribing an additional oath for grand and petit juries in the United
States' courts," approved June 17th, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, be,
and the same is hereby repealed.

ART. 7039. [6.] Any person or persons having knowledge that any of the
wrongs conspired to be done and mentioned in the second section of this
act are about to be committed, and having power to prevent or aid in
preventing the same, shall neglect or refuse so to do, and such wrongful
act shall be committed, such person or persons shall be liable to the
person injured, or his legal representatives, for all damages caused by
any such wrongful act, which first-named person or persons by reasonable
diligence could have prevented; and such damages may be recovered in an
action on the case in the proper circuit court of the United States, and
any number of persons guilty of such wrongful neglect or refusal may be
joined as defendants in such action. _Provided_, That such action shall be
commenced within one year after such cause of action shall have occurred;
and if the death of any person shall be caused by any such wrongful act
and neglect, the legal representative of such deceased person shall have
such action therefor, and may recover not exceeding five thousand dollars'
damages therein, for the benefit of the widow of such deceased person, if
any there be, or if there be no widow, for the benefit of the next of kin
of such deceased person.

ART. 7040. [7.] Nothing herein contained shall be construed to supersede
or repeal any former act or law, except so far as the same may be
repugnant thereto; and any offences heretofore committed against the tenor
of any former act shall be prosecuted; and any proceeding already
commenced for the prosecution thereof, shall be continued and completed,
the same as if this act had not been passed, except so far as the
provisions of this act may go to sustain and validate such proceedings.



     Adventists--How they Practised on the Parasitical Blacks--A Little
     Power is a Dangerous Thing--The Political Situation in '67--Whites
     Refraining from Participation in Election Campaigns--The State
     Press--The Order of K. K. K. in Louisiana--When the Government
     Officials were first Notified of its Presence--The Feeling in Grant
     Parish, a Shire Division of the State created for Political
     Purposes--Riot Growing out of a Personal Difficulty--Blacks
     Entrenched in the Court-House at Colfax--Besieged by a Force of from
     Three Hundred to Four Hundred Men--Parley--Negroes Refuse to
     Surrender--A Second Defiance--Building Fired--Massacre and
     Termination of the Bloody Affair--Statistics of Losses in the
     Fight--Who were Responsible--The White League or Camelias--Occupied
     the K. K. K. Basis in Externals--New Orleans Riots--Their Effect on
     the Returning Boards--Coushatta--K. K. K. in Texas--Border History
     Uneventful--Texas Legislature Interferes.

In the States of Louisiana and South Carolina the war between the K.'s and
Loyal League waged fiercest, and was longest protracted, for here the
fires of political proscription were earliest lighted, and the boundaries
of party maintained with the greatest fortitude. In the former State, a
party of men, who were known in certain quarters by the derisive title of
"Adventists," had assumed to control its affairs, not so much in the
interest of, as by the use of, as a means, the negro element of its
population. Practising upon the credulity of this unenlightened class, it
is not too much to say that they effected their object; and for a period
of more than seven years around these central suns of the political
firmament the parasitical blacks fluttered. Governors, congressmen, and
legislators were created from this material without any reference whatever
to the legal attainments or other qualifications of the aspirants, and
with a view only to such class legislation as could be made available to
the negro rings, and destructive to the people's interests in that

Placed in control of affairs, these men, having suffered under the
dispensation which the poet sought to describe in the words, "A little
learning is a dangerous thing, etc.," and suspecting, moreover, that his
meaning had not been fully brought out in that expressive stanza,
astonished even their followers with an example which said "a little power
is a dangerous thing." Legislating, mainly, with a view to continuance in
authority, and arbitrarily seizing the elective machinery of the State,
they had, independently of the League, under the existing conditions, an
unlimited lease of the State administration. Nor did they fail to realize
the advantages that came to them under the system of government which they
had adopted. Having found a precedent for the most pronounced
transgressions of a written law in the acts of their co-conspirators in
other States, and an excuse in the resistance which they inspired, they
proceeded to lengths of usurpation which those interested for the cause of
liberty on those shores viewed with surprise and dismay. The fullest use
was made of every prerogative, and in innumerable instances they were
subjected to that stretching process which has been commonly found so
destructive to the article.

So rapid was the transition from the war period to that of political
anarchy, which followed in obedience to these conditions, that as early as
the year 1867 the State was hopelessly committed to an ignorant and
unprincipled minority, and in every portion thereof the white masses
refrained from even attending the polls, so well assured were they that
the fair majorities which they could score would be displaced by the most
barefaced fictions. The opposition or conservative press, on the other
hand, never ceased to perform its whole duty, representing to the people
the true condition of affairs at the capital, the constant abuses of the
legislative functions, the enormous treasury shortages, judicial
tyrannies, etc., etc.; though, as was indicated by their course
subsequently, to the more intelligent of those whom were addressed, this
seemed but a citation of evils that were remediless; and where plans of
relief were suggested, of remedies that were placed hopelessly beyond
their reach. Even in the city of New Orleans, where these exhortations
were most frequently heard, the municipal elections not unoften went by
default to the minority representatives; and multitudes (who have since
testified their devotion to the cause of right), attracted by the
patronage of the winning power, while refusing to give them aid, tendered
them congratulations.

Others to whom these philippics came, and who in their country homes had
been subjected to the intolerable rigors of League politics, took the
appeals even more seriously than they were intended, and began that secret
warfare on the agents of oppression in their midst, which, however
effectual it may have proven in the end, must always be deprecated on the
ground of those inequalities of principle which it represented, and of
means it employed.

The first secret political organization enterprised against the Radical
power in Louisiana was unquestionably that edition of the K. K. K. which
we have been treating, and which proved so effective in disestablishing
the various isms of the party in other sections; but it is no less certain
that, at no advanced stage of its existence on Louisiana soil, it
underwent a very positive metempsychosis, and became, thereafter, the
White League, or White Camelias as sometimes addressed representatively.
But no matter by what appellative known, nor under what constitutional
emendations proceeding, the idea was nowhere more aggressively employed in
the work of uprooting the Radical succession, and rendering Southern
hospitality, as applicable to its agents, a thing of unmitigated terror.
For a year or more after its organization had been completed, little was
done apparently, but during this time the League in all its departments
had been subjected to a rigid espionage, and the communications of the
former with the transactions of government at the capital, established by
the same means.

A slight difficulty in one of the Northern parishes, growing out of an
election issue, was perhaps the first intimation conveyed to the Louisiana
State authorities that they were to encounter opposition of this
character. It, however, was local in its belongings, and though widely
published by the organs of the League at the North, was not deemed worthy
of attention by the State press. In Grant Parish, a new shire division of
the State, created with a view to political ends, the quarrel of the
factions assumed a serious shape at an early day, and here eventually
transpired one of the most fearful tragedies of this bloody epoch. A
remarkable feature of this affair was that it grew out of a purely
personal matter, if we may except the contrast of races involved. The
details of the private quarrel would of course be uninteresting, and the
bloody particulars which followed may be recited in a few words.

An issue of races having been distinctly made, the two parties assembled
in force; the blacks, after some preliminary manoeuvring, entrenching
themselves in the court-house at Colfax, and bidding defiance to their
enemies. They were at once closely besieged by a force equalling, or
possibly barely exceeding, their own (three hundred to four hundred men),
and, after some parleying, an unconditional surrender demanded. This was
resisted on the expressed condition that the entrenched force, though in
the minority, were "able to defend themselves," and would do so at every
hazard. An irregular skirmish followed, pending which no advantage
resulted to the attacking party, and seeing which, the leaders of the
movement resolved on bolder measures: The blacks were again notified that
they must vacate their quarters, or submit to the torch, as the besiegers
were fully resolved upon dispossessing them of that stronghold. This they
seem to have regarded as a mere threat, impossible of execution, and
continued to throw out defiances and fire an occasional shot into the
enemy's ranks. The whites, on the other hand, unawed by their manner, and
fully decided to adopt this measure as a _dernier ressort_, sent forward
parties commissioned for the dangerous service. It is not known what
resistance, if any, was offered to this stratagem, but very soon the
building was in flames from pillar to turret, and the terrified blacks
rushing forth in mad haste, to encounter a fate scarcely less terrible
than that of being roasted in the flames. As they emerged from the burning
building, the attacking columns threw themselves on their flanks, and
poured volley after volley into their now fairly stampeded ranks. Scores
fell under the first deadly assault, and as they passed on in their flight
they were intercepted or overtaken by their infuriated pursuers, the
massacre continuing a full hour after the terrified rout had begun to
issue from the building.

The statistics of the loss on either side in this engagement have never
been given with accuracy, and there is good reason to believe that many of
the approximations that have gone to the world have embodied intentional
errors. From those who were participating in the affair, and represented
the hostile factions in about equal proportion, we obtain the following
estimate of their respective losses: Blacks killed, ninety; wounded,
twenty-five. Whites killed, five; wounded, three. In the skirmish but few
of the whites wore masks, and this affair has generally been regarded the
fruit of a popular uprising, and not strictly chargeable to any secret
organization, or body of men banded together for political purposes. It
occurred, moreover, at a time when partisan feeling in that section had
reached a strong ebb, and men were incensed against each other as they
rarely become in the light of such incentives. That the Klan was
officially represented in the affair was generally conceded.

It was about this time, or a little previously, that the famous White
League came into existence, occupying the K. K. K. basis as to politics,
and in all essentials of its organization formulated upon the same model.
This society assumed the duty of regulating the political affairs of the
State, and that it succeeded to some extent in purifying the constitutions
of the Returning Boards, those monster instrumentalities of fraud
belonging to the Radical elective system here, there can be no doubt. It
was, however, open to many objections, and on equitable grounds must have
been defeated by the same testimony that in some instances was made
available against the Klan. It was responsible for the New Orleans riots
of December 1874, in which hundreds of lives were sacrificed, and which
subjected the party which it assumed to represent to a manifest loss of
influence. The Kellogg, or Radical faction, however, received severe
punishment at their hands, and made many valuable concessions under the
election issues, from which the troubles grew; and it was in this affair,
likewise, that the Returning Boards, above mentioned, were made to feel
their power, and "by the same sign" induced to amend their ways. A bloody
affair at Coushatta, in the Red River country, followed in the succeeding
year; but as the transactions of this body are not strictly within the
purview of the present work, we refrain from a statement of the

The Klan, finding its services no longer available here, in obedience to
its nomadic instincts crossed the Texas border, and for a year or two
following [Davis, Radical, being at that time Governor], assisted in the
administration of Texas affairs. But while it proved a factor of no mean
consequence in almost every political measure which agitated the Border
mind, and numerous local raids were reported by the State journals, its
frontier history was made up of unimportant details, whose want of
adaptation to the plan of this volume must be our excuse for omitting
them. The following statute, referring to the subject, was enacted by the
Texas Legislature of contemporaneous date:

     _Unlawfully appearing in disguise as Ku-Klux, White Camelias, and
     other Deviltry, punished._

     ART. 6508. [1.] The penal code for the State of Texas shall be
     amended as follows, by inserting after Act 363 the following: [363]
     _a_ If the purpose of the unlawful assembly be to alarm and frighten
     any person, or persons, by appearing in disguise, so that the real
     persons so acting and assembling can not be readily known, and by
     using language or gestures calculated to produce in such person or
     persons the fear of bodily harm, all persons engaged therein shall be
     punished by fine not less than one hundred, nor more than one
     thousand dollars each; and if such unlawful assembly shall take place
     at any time of the night--that is, between sunset and sunrise--the
     fine shall be doubled; and if three or more persons are found
     together disguised and armed with deadly weapons, the same shall be
     _primâ facie_ evidence of the guilty purpose of such persons, as
     above described; and if any other unlawful assembly, mentioned in
     this chapter, consist in whole or in part of persons disguised and
     armed with deadly weapons, the fine to be assessed upon each person
     so offending shall be double the penalty hereinbefore described.



     The Situation in Georgia--Bullock Usurpation--Some Things which may
     be Explained--Negro Criminals--Taking Refuge in the Ocmulgee
     Swamps--A Brutal Murder--Ku-Klux Ambushed--A Terrible Oath--Uncle
     Jack B.--A Brief Memoir--"Nigger Dogs" in the "Goober State"--Uncle
     Jack Interviewed by the Ku-Klux--What came of it--Getting Ready for
     the Chase--A Pack of "Negro Dogs" described--In the Swamps--The
     Opening Chorus--A Warm Trail--Swimming the
     Ocmulgee--Disappointment--The Lull is Past--The Cheering Notes of the
     Chase--Blood of the Martyrs! can it be?--A Last Effort--Another Crime
     added to the Calendar--A fresh Start--Baffled Again--At Bay--Tragical

As the K. K. K. influence was not felt in the politics of the south-west
after the events which we have narrated, and the scope of this work
forbids our entering into such details as comprised the Chicot county
affair in Arkansas, and the Vicksburg (Miss.) _emeute_, which was
unquestionably due in part to other influences, we yield to the
eccentricities of our theme, and find ourselves under the shadow of that
towering usurpation--the Bullock administration in Georgia. The
organization of the Klan in this State was perhaps more extensive and
efficient than elsewhere on Southern soil,--proving a complete offset to
the Loyal League in the important work of influencing party discipline,
and, after a time, effecting its other aim--of rendering it physically
_hors du combat_. We shall not pretend, however, to follow it through the
various stages of its development on Georgia soil, nor give what might be
deemed a correct history of its movements, as we are concerned rather with
the issues which grew out of the latter, and that which will prove far
more interesting to the reader--the _modus_ of its operations.

A single feature of the campaign in this region we will endeavor to make
prominent, without a design of saddling its individuality on this State,
or insinuating that that branch of the pet institution vulgarly known as
"nigger dogs" was not as widely diffused as its popular derivative, and
far too fossilized in its structure to submit to any merely sentimental
changes in types of government. So far as that phase of the subject may
tend to obtrude difficulties upon the reader, the writer will volunteer
the information that he was recently placed by accident at a point where
his sensorium covered three large well-trained kennels of these brutes;
and that it has been his good fortune, on more occasions than one, since
liberty resumed its old-time inheritance in the "land we love," to follow
the panting "Ketch," where none dare go before, along the redolent trail
of the criminal--black or white. Nor is there anything more remarkable
about the circumstance that the body of men known as Ku-Klux should, upon
certain contingencies, avail themselves of the services of this sagacious
brute, than that the same men, by accident or otherwise, should be
employed on a righteous mission like the following:

In the year 1862, in that portion of Telfair county where the _Elk_ river
has its confluence with the Ocmulgee, a larger stream, a negro slave of
Mr. ---- committed a brutal rape on one of his master's household, and
fled to the neighboring wilderness. He was not pursued at the time, as, in
view of the recent conscript levies and the unsettled state of the
country, there were no available means at hand; and, aided by individuals
of his own color, whose race prejudices at this time had reached a state
of savage excitement, he found safe harborage and a precarious livelihood
in the river-swamps during the entire period of the war. Pending his
exile, and soon after it began, he was joined by an only brother, a
brother-criminal likewise, who had been forced to fly the settlements;
and, having formed an alliance--_sun_ and _ek_--the predatory excursions
of this twain became thereafter the special terror of dwellers in that
exposed region. Nothing, however, particularly worthy of mention marked
their exploits until the year following the close of hostilities, when
they emerged from their fastnesses, and having made their way to a
neighboring settlement, occupied by an old gentleman and an only son, a
youth of twelve years, put them both to death with every circumstance of
horrible detail. This affair occurred in the latter part of the year
1865, and, as was to have been expected, created a wide-spread sensation.

Within a few hours after the deed had been committed, a well-equipped
party of horsemen started in pursuit, and for more than a week conducted a
thorough campaign through that division of the Ocmulgee swamps that was
supposed to have furnished a retreat to the murderers. They did not
succeed, however, further than to obtain a view of the refugees, and
salute them with a volley at long range; and seeing that their efforts
would prove fruitless, returned to their homes. Here the matter rested
until the following spring, when a party of Ku-Klux, raiding in that
vicinity, were fired upon from the brush, and one of their number killed,
by two men who were positively recognized as the swamp-ruffians. Having
buried their dead companion, in obedience to the strange ceremonies in
vogue with them, the members of the Klan assembled around his grave, and
recorded an oath "never to relent from their purpose of revenge, nor cease
the pursuit of his murderers, while the Ocmulgee contained water, and the
region fertilized by it and its tributaries supported an inch of
unexplored territory."

Not far from the scene of the last occurrence lived Uncle Jack B----, a
character in the neighborhood prior to Sherman's raid and reconstruction,
but who, since those events, in view of a somewhat disproportioned record,
had been singing exceedingly small. In _ante bellum_ times, this old
gentleman had been looked up to, by both whites and blacks of his
vicinity, as in some sense the reigning monarch of the locality, and one
between whose smiles and frowns lay considerations that might engage the
attention of much weightier personages than any whom the countryside
supported. In brief, Uncle Jack had been the proud proprietor of the
largest and best known pack of "nigger dogs" in the "Goober State," with
all that that implied in the language of the reconstructionists; and if he
did not still possess that distinction, it was altogether attributable to
the circumstance that the office which it involved had ceased to be a
sinecure, and the property in question was no longer quoted among
commercial values. But though the old man and his beasts bowed their heads
under the in _terrorem_ of the new order of things, they well knew that
this _dies iræ_ could not last always, and were, moreover, fully persuaded
of the truth of the old proverb which insures to every well-behaved canine
a "dish" in passing events. That they were not sophists in this matter
will be sufficiently demonstrated by the remaining events of this chapter.

At precisely twelve o'clock on the night succeeding that which witnessed
the tragical event last narrated above, Uncle Jack held a long conference,
at the outer gate of his premises, with three mounted men, and shortly
thereafter might have been observed to visit his stable and dog-kennel,
lingering for some time in the vicinity of each. A half-hour or more was
consumed by the details of a preparation from which it was plain to be
seen some mystery was in course of evolution, and the old man, mounted on
his now full-rigged hunter, and swept forward in a tempest of dolorous
howlings, turned an angle of the close, and joined his weird visitors.

It will hardly be necessary to inform the reader that these men were K. K.
K. emissaries, who had been dispatched to secure the hunter and his dogs
to aid them in the difficult enterprise which they had undertaken; and
looking from one to the other of the new levies, he would have no
hesitancy in making up his mind that "Barkis was willin'," and the "yaller
beauties," as he was wont to term them, "spilin'" for nigger meat. These
latter were composed of a dozen brace of the best Florida breed of the
hybrid blood- and sleuth-hound, fat and frolicsome, wearing sleek coats of
yellow, and as to size, if put to the test, the runtiest of the runts
would have kicked the beam at fifty pounds. Leashed in couples, they made
rapid circuits around the now galloping horsemen, filling the night with
the music of their weird chorus, and falling to an indiscriminate and
discordant baying whenever hog or cow or other animate thing, startled
from their covert, stood still to guess at the intrusion. Three miles from
the point of starting, the main company was reached, and soon afterwards,
passing into the edge of the bottom, the dogs were released from their
slips, and at a word from the hunter, and directing a premonitory sniff at
their surroundings, sped into the darkness. For an hour or more the
hunters pressed their way through the pitchy swamps, now following a
scarcely distinguishable stock trail, now lightened upon by a gleam of
starlight from above, and not unfrequently committed for guidance to the
instincts of the animals they bestrode, without other report from the
excited yelpers than was too timidly given to be accounted much worth, or
called forth the response from some guttural cavity of the forest, "a
lie." Reaching the banks of the river, at a point five miles below the
swamp line at which their road had intersected the bottom, a halt was
called, and the company sat peering into the darkness, for the first time
doubtful of their enterprise, when lo! within ten feet of the rearmost
file a welcome sound broke the stillness--at first low and doubtful, but
gaining in volume and flowing into blended notes--one--two--three--and
then a stunning, Wagnerian chorus, that lifted every horseman from his
stirrups, and sent the wood echoes rolling in sonorous waves along the
breast of the forest. A loud hurrah from the hunters attested their equal
joy, and hue and cry being joined, the panic of pursuit began. Straight up
the river bank the roaring pack held on their course, not once veering to
the right nor left, nor never slackening speed, and timid horsemen, that
erst had shivered if their steeds but stumbled in the darkness, now rode
abreast of the panting "leader," swelling the volume of sound with their
loud halloos, and leaping branch and inlet sound with the agility of the
frightened deer that sped before. Even the "Ketch," usually sedate and
disallowing confidences, had been momentarily thawed by the all-pervading
enthusiasm, and joining the pack just where the fun grew furious, howled a
dismal accompaniment to the cheering notes of the chase. On, on, into the
darkness beyond, sped the tempest of pursuit--now wedged into narrow
passes and involved in a hundred confused knots, now unravelling on the
open plains beyond and flowing on in currents bold and free as those that
kissed the shore beneath them, now leaping brake and fell, now skirting
hazardous banks, now hugging obtrusive shores, and hark! at a sharp signal
from the "leader" all sounds are hushed,--followed by a plunging boom,
and, churned into a thousand eddies, the bold Ocmulgee supports the rout
of panting men and beasts, who have no sooner recovered from the chilling
baptism than each bends forward in a mad struggle to reach first the
yonder shore and herald this clamorous invasion to its phantoms of
darkness. But so close on the heels of the dripping "leader" pressed the
frantic crew--who owed him fealty come life or death--that his opening
chorus was echoed by a hundred lesser sounds that were not echoes, and
with a mighty effort the panting "Ketch," leaping sheer from the waves to
the upper bank, was not too late with his base variation. And now the wild
pursuit is begun anew, for the tardiest horseman is spurring into the
depth of the forest beyond, and skurrying out of sight and hearing if that
were possible--the wailing wood notes have a story to whisper to the
deserted shore.

But "the best laid plans of mice and men aft gang aglee," and not above a
half mile from their watery exodus the puzzled yelpers vary their chorus
and slacken speed, and, warned by a ringing blast on the huntsman's horn,
the whole company of baffled pursuers double on their track, and by twos,
and threes, and then in larger squads, rejoin their river base. Here the
huntsmen consult together, and the pack renew their frenzy, frisking along
the river shore, scouring the woods, and soon afterwards, indicating by a
yelping chorus far down the stream that the stratagem of the refugees led
them that way. The impatient horsemen soon gallop at their heels, and
after one or two dissentient howls from the aged skeptics of the pack,
they one and all run full upon the warm scent, with a clamor that causes
the woods to "ring again," and sends the vital current tingling along the
veins of the coldest-blooded horseman. And now the lull is past, and the
thunder of pursuit once more greets the forest echoes. Away, away,
distancing the swamp tracts and riding into the region of the morning, for
its first beams, striking through the tree-boughs, sprinkle their forms
and play in feathered jets along the bosom of the forest. Away, away,
riding neck and neck with the fleet-footed swamp-hare, and crossing the
hurricane's track with a rush and sound that might have been its refrain.
Away, away, emerging upon the broad plateau, and yelling, yelping,
whooping, cursing, but never slackening speed. Away, away, vanishing
through lanes, disappearing over hill-tops, and clattering through the
valleys beyond, with a mighty hubbub that jars the base of the hills, and
sends the round echoes careering at their backs.

Blood of the martyrs! can it be? Just at the apex of yonder rise which the
feet of the pursuers take hold upon, lives an unprotected widow and her
daughter, and with ominous precision of stride the hue and cry points that

The instincts of both men and beasts instantly acquaint them with the
situation, and, bending forward in one last despairing effort, they
emulate the rush of the tornado as they bear down the enclosures and sweep
up the incline, just in time to witness the most piteous spectacle that
men with emotions were ever invited to commiserate. The panting pack,
first on the scene, leap on the frightened and weeping women with furious
growls, licking their faces and hands, sniffing at their forms, and baying
from all quarters, until, driven from thence, they rush into the single
apartment, leap on the beds, drag them to the floor, and falling to, with
the fury of wild beasts disappointed of their prey, tear them into
shreds.[A] Being expelled from thence, the hunters hear the dolorous
narrative of the women, cross-question them as to particulars which may
aid them in the pursuit, and having lost but little time, follow the now
furious hounds in a noisy detour around the little farm. Again and again
this is repeated, and men and dogs are fairly baffled. The former dismount
and examine the ground for visible signs, but are unrewarded, and seem
ready to despair, when one of the pack, having leaped to the close fence,
follows it for some distance, and finally breaks forth into that ominous
bark which criminal never heard undaunted. Instantly he is joined by his
impatient companions, and the welkin rings with their loud acclaim. The
hunters follow, but almost too late, as the sequel proves; for having
invaded the barn, a few rods distant, and discovered there the objects of
their rage, the excited pack had well-nigh ended this series of tragedies.
The mangled remains of one of the criminals was dragged forth a lifeless
corpse, and his associate, defending himself with a clubbed gun, had
disabled half the number of his assailants when he in turn was
overpowered, and but for the intervention of his pursuers must have
suffered a like fate.

But the rescue proved ill-timed, in one sense at least, for no sooner had
the ruffian been disengaged from his dilemma and lifted from the building,
than a shot was heard from behind, and, bleeding from twenty wounds, he
rolled lifeless on the sward.

Looking in the direction whence the report came, the hunters saw the form
of the girl who, a little while ago, had engaged their attention as a pale
and woe-begone Lucrece, now expanded into a Hebe, and, still unrevenged,
levelling her smoking weapon at the form of the African.



     The Klan in South Carolina--Officious Interference in
     Politics--Atrocious Performances of Men in Masks--The "Shams," or
     Counterfeit Editions of K. K. K.--How Organized--Purposes of the
     Organization--Their Vocabulary of Crime--South Carolina Fanatics--How
     the "Sham" Movement Affected the K. K. K.--Parodied out of the
     Field--A Resolution of _sine die_ Adjournment--K. K. K. Horrors on
     the Increase--The "Shams" were Opposed in their Movements not only by
     the Party who had formerly Upheld the K. K. K., etc.--Rotten-Egg
     Battalions--Citizens sometimes took the Execution of the Law into
     their Own Hands--A Case in Point.

While the K. K. K. influence was bad enough, in all conscience, and the K.
K. K. embodiment a trifle worse, it had imitators in both these elements
of its being who cherished even Satanic designs, and we doubt if so much
could be written of the former. That the Klan was organized on South
Carolina soil, and did much mischief to the Conservative party and
influence there by assuming to be its exponent on the most untoward
occasions, and at the moment when its services were least desired, is
something which is admitted in the former case, and its stupidity heartily
cursed with in the latter. But it is equally true that many of the
atrocious performances of men in masks which invariably fell to the K. K.
K. score were bastardies, and unless, for the sake of imaginative persons,
it is admitted that Satan was involved in the fatherhood of both, it may
be doubted if even the claim of _illegitimate_ kinship could be sustained.

The "sham," or counterfeit edition of the K. K. K., had no organized
existence in either of the remaining Southern States; but here it not only
possessed this groundwork of system, but possessed it to advantage, and in
numbers and influence (if political rank can bestow the latter) probably
excelled the body which they affected to parody, and, giving the joke a
serious turn, did injure. Their plan embodied as many of the K. K. K.
secrets as they could contrive to capture, and scorning illiberality even
in outward things, prescribed the regalia and mask feature, with an
expansiveness of detail that must have affected the cotton-market. Its
chief place of rendezvous was the capital of the State, and it is believed
by many that His Excellency, the Governor, was, if not its visible head,
at least its trusted adviser and friend. Their object was the
aggrandizement of party; and this they proposed to accomplish by rendering
the State a revolutionary hell, tenantable only for soldiers, black
militia, and that currish type of the politician then in vogue, and who
had been found, by actual experience, best adapted to these elements. If a
county, State, or general election were to be held, these men, getting
themselves up in approved Ku-Klux toilet, went forth to lay their knives
at the throats of a sufficient number of innocents to afford a text for
bloody-shirt invectives, and straightway the political sky rained soldiers
enough to garrison the polls of a small empire. Murder, arson, rape,
robbery, etc., all had a place in their vocabulary, not indeed as we would
speak of them in the abstract, but with all those horrible belongings of
sentimentality which attach to each when enterprised wilfully, cheerfully,
and with scarcely a selfish end in view. Warring against women and
children was a foible of the society, which they carried to such a state
of development that it became first an _attribute_, and then a furious
_passion_; insomuch that, if a faithful history of their exploits were
written, the noble patriots of Maine and Massachusetts would execrate
them, as they do not, could not, those secret enemies who war against
social virtue in their midst, and the book could have no other title than
"Murderers of the Innocents."

But, in exposing the _wrongs_ of this people, we do not become their
champion, nor even so much as pretend to assume that they possessed
_rights_. If fanaticism, or, to use a stronger term, transcendentalism,
morally speaking, or radicalism in politics, exists in the South (and we
leave this problem to the _Science Monthly_), it has its fullest
development on South Carolina soil. Her people have always shown
themselves jealous of individual rights, and disposed to clannishness,
where concessions affecting these have been made. They have attempted to
secede from the Union on two occasions, and the latter of these became the
political herald of the great civil war, whose incidents are remembered
with tears by every patriot. The K. K. K. found her climate congenial, and
from the first her people were mad against reconstruction; and while the
writer may express no opinion on the subject, these things are spoken of
to her disadvantage. But admitting that they were true, and that she
occupies that revolutionary extreme in politics assigned her by the most
reliable histories of the period, could that justify the course of her
domestic enemies towards her, and should it chain the expression of the
undissembling chronicler of such events?

We need hardly state that this emetic proved too much for the K. K. K.
animal, and that all its movements thereafter indicated not only a badly
disordered stomach, but moral functions so much impaired that it was
constantly ruled by a tendency to ask everybody pardon for sustaining this
relation to society, and to accuse itself of crimes for which it could
only assign somnambulistic causes. Indeed, about the year 1871, it was
completely parodied out of the field, and if Ku-Klux horrors were far more
frequent in this State after that period than previously, the reader, with
the lights before him, is asked to assume the responsibility of the
seeming paradox. It not only had no government patronage at its back, but,
on the other hand, viewed a brilliant perspective of government halters,
and seeing how unequal the rivalry must prove in more respects than one,
wisely concluded to retire from business. A resolution of _sine die_
adjournment was actually passed, and the members having exchanged sad
farewells and wept on each other's necks in view of the gloomy prospect
before them, the "Shams," as they were derisively called, became masters
of the situation. (If we except the Hamburg affair in the summer of 1876,
and one other occurrence of merely local import, the white element of
South Carolina has been guilty of no overt act since the period named
implying contumacy towards the State government or the constitutional
rights of the citizen.)

The "Shams" were opposed in their movements not only by the party who had
formerly upheld the K. K. K. idea as an alleged necessity of the times,
but by that more conservative influence which, though maintaining the same
political views as the latter, contemned the use of all secret agencies in
politics. When it was possible to anticipate their raids, rotten-egg
battalions were formed, which, in their efforts to deter them from their
purpose, employed every character of violence that did not involve the
commission of crime. Not unfrequently their places of meeting were
discovered, and when this was the case, a descent was planned, and the
subject of "unfinished business" rendered one of lively interest to its
membership. But, frequently, organized resistance, from the very nature
of the case, was out of the question, and where citizens were placed at
the mercy of their raids, they sometimes took the execution of the law
into their own hands. An instance in point, which has been given to the
public in different forms, but never correctly, has been related to the

In the western portion of the State lived a farmer who had so frequently
suffered from the incursions of these gentry, that he resolved on
retaliatory measures, and loading his shot-gun lay in waiting. The
corn-crib seemed to have been a favorite objective with them, and as he
had stationed himself where his gun commanded the approaches thereto, he
quietly bided the moments. His calculations were well taken, for in a
brief time a party of five men, gowned and otherwise disguised, rode to
the neighborhood of his concealment, and taking sacks from their saddles
proceeded to the crib. Here their movements were guided by a plan that was
unique if not original. Obtaining a rail from a neighboring fence, one end
thereof was inserted under the corner of the building, and their combined
strength applied to the other; a leverage which easily gave a sufficient
aperture to admit their bodies. One of their number was now stationed on
the end of the improvised lever as a teetering weight, and the party
proceeded to business.

While matters were progressing thus favorably for the marauders, our
hero's feelings may be better imagined than described, and observing with
what a saucy air the individual who balanced the fulcrum performed his
other duty of sentinelcy, he took steady aim and fired.

The result, as ascertained some hours afterwards, was truly wonderful, and
deserves, if it has not received, a place in the archives of the Moses'
administration. The bodies of four dead negroes were found, one pierced
with bullets, and the remainder having their necks broken. We will not
offend against good taste by giving further details, and especially desire
that the plausibility of this story may be seen in the readiness with
which the reader comprehends the mystery of their deaths respectively.

It is needless to state that this affair was heralded to the world as a
Ku-Klux murder, and as the parties wore uniforms, and affected the
characterization, some doubt touching the integrity of the announcement
may have existed in the minds of those best acquainted with the facts.



     A Problem for the Phrenologists--"Self-Preservation is [said to be]
     the First Law of Life"--A Mooted Question put at Rest--Experiments in
     Metaphysics--An Anecdote Dealing with the Characteristics of some
     People--Another--Peculiarities of the Caucasian--Ditto of the
     African--An "Awakening" among the Children of the New Abrahamic
     Covenant--"Brudder Jones's Preechin'"--What it Wrought--Unpleasant
     Truths--Sins of Omission and Commission--The Pale-Faced Settlers in
     Distress--An "Artifice" of Retrenchment--Eloquent
     Discourse--Nineteenthly, and what followed--K. K. K.
     _redivivus_--"Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching, etc."--A
     Break for Tall Timber--The Best Time on Record.

Whether it is located in the brain, or has its seat in that sentient organ
of the body which physiologists indicate as the seat of life, we are left
to conjecture; but it is certain that there exists somewhere in the
anatomy of man an essence, or attribute, which, under certain outward
conditions, becomes the tyrant of his movements, and renders the
disposition to cultivate acquaintance with other vistas a passion too
strong to be resisted. Philosophers tell us that "self-preservation is the
first law of life," but their efforts to connect this postulate with some
rational conclusion deduced from the organism of the animal under
discussion, is so egregiously wanting in the elements of a sound
syllogism, that we are led to believe that it has no foundation in fact,
and that they only meant to say that where the emotion denominated _fear_
assumes the reigns of physical government, an open road and fair play are
all that is required to render the proposed achievement a success. It is
useless to tell us that men, adopting the improved modes of destroying
life which this Christian age has developed, stand up to explode missiles
at each other under the persuasion that they are doing something that will
tend to preserve life; or, if that were not false doctrine, who that ever
attended one of these tournaments of bad shooting is unable to testify to
the overpowering conviction that the parties thereto would have enjoyed
themselves better in a free exercise of their limbs--

  "Over the meadows and far away."

Having examined into the philosophy of this question, with a view solely
of removing certain doubts inherited from the professions of a warlike
ancestry, and, predisposed to err in the opposite direction, we have
arrived at the conclusion, _once for all_, that the "git up and git"
tendencies of mankind, when the proper incentives are at hand, are as
absolutely irresistible as the water-fall at Niagara, and as necessary to
the happiness of the subject as the barriers that separate him from his
mother-in-law. Having solved this problem, and satisfied ourselves of the
universality of its conditions, it next occurred to us to examine its
terms as applicable to the different races of men. And here we found that
while all races are equally gifted in this respect, yet its elementary
conditions are not always the same in different branches of the Adamic
tree. Taking the extremes in color as the representatives of a fair
contrast in other respects, we have confined our investigations to the
white and black races,--and with a view to our own profit, and to being
fully comprehended by the reader,--these races as they exist on our own
shores. Without any reference whatever to the vain science known as
metaphysics, our conclusions are as follows: With the white man this
element of his being is less on the surface, and he wears it uneasily, as
though it were foreign to his genius, and at the same time a curb on his
actions. With the other it is a loose-fitting garment, worn on the
outside, and he seems rather pleased than otherwise that he is thus
rendered a spectacle to his fellow-men. The white man attempts to conceal
it, and above all would persuade himself that it is an illusion of the
fancy. The black, contrariwise, has no qualms of conscience on the
subject, and if pressed for argument, might adduce it as a crowning
evidence of his homogeneity.

Two incidents have come under our notice which set forth this distinction
more forcibly than any form of words we could employ. A farmer living in
the back country, near the city of Shreveport, brought his son--a youth
whose adolescency would hardly have escaped the notice of strangers--to
that thriving burg to view the sights. The steamboat feature was down in
the programme, of course, and reaching the wharf, the youngster was
commissioned to go aboard and obtain the exact "geography" of "the thing."
This he proceeded to do with all haste, exploring the quarter-deck,
rummaging through the cabins, and finally bringing up before the engine
with a manner that said as plainly as words, "the thing is inconceivable."
The engineer, standing not far off, observed this movement, and, probably
without contemplating such serious results, stepped briskly forward and
touched the safety-valve. Startled beyond all "fancy fathoms" by the
earthquake of sound, "country" accomplished a rapid retrograde movement,
which soon involved him in conflict with the waves, whence, floundering
and spluttering, after the fashion of a porpoise, and having absorbed a
barrel or more of river water, he was with difficulty rescued. Being
dragged ashore, and before the agonies of drowning had fairly relinquished
his frame, a sympathizing bystander asked if he had been much scared. His
reply was characteristic of the Caucasian blood, "No-o-o (splutter); I've
(splutter) seen the critters afore."

Not many hundred miles north of the city of Galveston, while the Texas
Central Railroad was in course of construction, and at a little town
which formed its northern terminus for the time being, occurred the

Two individuals of African lineage, hailing from the upper districts of
the State, who had never seen an "ingine," but had long promised
themselves that felicity, stood at the depôt awaiting with some impatience
the arrival of the evening train. Standing hand in hand, and conversing
excitedly on the topic uppermost in their minds, their _outre_ appearance,
coupled with the exceeding verdancy of some of their observations, became
the subject of attention, and then of amused remark from the bystanders.
This they were unable to appreciate for various reasons, and soon the
appearance of the winged monster around a neighboring curve, with
appalling and most unpreconceived suddenness, took away their breaths and
rocked their bodies with shivers of dread. Their first impulse was to
dismiss their corner of the meeting and pass to the rear; but, looking
around upon the broadly smiling crowd, they were reassured for the moment,
and each grasping the other's horny palm with a grip which evinced their
respective determinations not to be left, whatever might happen, they
stood hearkening to the thunderous echoes, and noting with special wonder
the cow-catching and other aggressive features of the steadily approaching
monster. It had now stolen by slow degrees to within twenty feet of the
spot which they occupied, and the whistle breaking into a peculiarly loud
accompaniment to the huff--huff--huff of the bellowing engine, the
expression, "Dar, she's busted!" startled even the man of iron at the
throttle-valve, and prefacing the exertion with a ten-feet leap into the
air, the panic-stricken darkies broke across the landscape with a yearning
desire for tall timber that was eloquently depicted on every motion of the
supple limbs, and in each sway of the backward leant and pendulous
cerebellums. The cheers of the crowd, and a few extra flourishes on the
big horn, served to augment their weight of conviction, and buckling to
their labor with saw-mill regularity of stroke, and a settled
determination not to be overtaken by slower time, they soon blended with
the verge of the horizon, and took that leap into space which rescues them
from all further connection with this narrative.

So thin is the partition wall that separates the real from the ideal with
these beings, that they continually advertise themselves for a scare, and
should they by any accident be deprived of their weekly supply of the
element, loss of appetite and other serious bodily symptoms would
undoubtedly ensue.

We have volunteered these remarks and illustrations, pertaining to the
philosophy of this question, with a view of introducing the following

In that portion of the State of Mississippi where the pumpkins grow
largest, and the mosquitoes are supplied with blood-letting apparatus at
both extremities, and at about that period of _post bellum_ history when
the K. K. K. rabies had taken strongest hold upon the chivalry of the
neighboring hills and valleys, a great "awakening" occurred among the
children of the new Abrahamic covenant. In other words, and to quote the
language of one of the communicants, "a ole fashyun'd whoopin', bumpin',
jumpin,' tumblin,' rousation of de dry bones had superseemed froo de
inscroomentality of Brudder Jones's preechin'." For a period of six weeks
the lame, halt, and blind of the neighboring plantations had been led into
the troubled waters with manifestations of relief that the most skeptical
would hardly question, and still, to quote further, "Zion was a wavin',
and de onregenerate milyums flockin' abode of de 'gospil car.'" Indeed,
the "orfumdoxeky of de new doctorin'" was having its effect everywhere,
and old soggy timber that had resisted the improvements in wedges for half
a century went to atoms under the vigorous mauling of "Brudder Jones." No
sooner had one squad of penitents been "bumped" through and converted into
stools for the sisters, than the raw material for another and larger was
at hand, and "swingin', whoopin', rollin'," the "thing" held right on its
course over the rheumatic toes of the aged and infirm, and into the
combative "buzzums" of the young, vigorous, and

But though nothing could be more delightful to the writer than to continue
the narrative in this strain, recording only the triumphs of "suvverin
grace," and concerning himself most with the æsthetic beauties of its
"sperimental terms," yet duty compels him to state that while Brother
Jones and his militant hosts were pressing hard upon the enemy from their
entrenched position, their campaign was far from embodying all the gospel
conditions. Though we could wish the sentence blotted out after we had
written it, it behooves us to say, in plain words, that sins both of
omission and commission soiled their robes, and wrought, or should have
done so, a languishing effect on their hosannas. The grassy cotton-fields
and rioting pumpkin vines testified to the former, while the _commission_
department of the offence, with such a paraphrase of that word as may be
effected by a slight transposition of accent, was directed with most fatal
precision of aim at the henneries and "piggeries" of the neighboring white
trash. So constant and regular were their visits to the haunts of the
feathered domestics, that the fashion of noting absentees from roll-call
became obsolete; and a full chorus of grunts was so foreign to the morning
habits of the pig-pen, that such an outburst in that quarter must have
affected the nerves of the strongest. Indeed, that division of the
pale-faced settlers whose springtime felicity depended largely on this
class of commissaries, had arrived at such a desperate strait that, in
convention assembled, it was resolved to retrench, and, if we must write
it, their "artifice" of retrenchment was levelled at Brother Jones and his
"band of robbers," as they were politely termed. The scheme "hit upon,"
and the success which followed it, may be gathered from the following

That period of the night equally removed from the departed and the coming
day, had accomplished its fiftieth revolution, and now hung fire over the
eighteenthly of the most eloquent discourse that was ever flattened out
over the crowns of an equal proportion of unsuspecting listeners for the
same number of times. The cries of the stricken arose from every quarter
of the vast audience, and hundreds of the slain had submitted to that
elongating process by which their contorted frames were made to do duty
for the greatest number of "squatter sovereigns." One brother arose to
testify, in a series of whoops, to the pungency of "de brudder's
doctorin'," and immediately went to bed to a mass of excruciating hurts on
the outskirts of the assembly. A sister, racked by the "alloverishes," and
knowing the penalty for interrupting the services at this interesting
stage, screamed out in affright, and reaching that point over a causeway
of the best Boston built brogans, was content to embrace her toes around a
neighboring sycamore. Nineteenthly stood up for duty,--arranged its
cravat,--tip-toed,--and lo! instead of a chorus of grunts, a chorus of
gasps, full-chested, deep drawn, and suffocating. There he stood, or
rather towered, just where the rays of light fell strongest, garbed in
funereal black, and full twelve feet from crown to sole.[B] Steadying
himself after an awkward, but ghostlily impressive bow, there issued from
that portion of his corporeal frame which might be supposed to represent
the mean in a mathematical estimate of his inches, the following
announcement: "I am a Ku-Klux!" and then from the upper extreme the
following confirmation of this report: "I have just forded the
Tallahatchie River, and am the advance guard of the old original whoopers,
surnamed K. K. K.;" and then from mean and extreme, in dismal chorus,
"Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching, etc."

Nothing could be further from our purpose than to injure that excellent
person, either in the eyes of his contemporaries or of that posterity
which he was wont to invoke so confidently from the more thrilling
promontories of his discourse; but a decent regard for the "proprieties"
of this narrative compels us to state that the reverend orator observing,
or fancying that he observed, something mandatory, and withal personal in
the terms of this refrain, at once inaugurated the "tramp" exercise over
the heads of the assembly, and reaching _terra firma_, one mile from the
point of embarkation, and seeing nothing in the homogeneity of a mob
particularly attractive to a man of genius, proceeded to divest himself of
his surroundings in the best executed "lonesome" since the days of
Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok. This movement, moreover, possessed a striking
appropriateness, inasmuch as it rendered him _practically_ the leader of
his flock, and perhaps on no former occasion of his extended ministry did
he ever discharge the duties of the "relation" with the same yearning
solicitude for the success of the issue, even admitting, in extenuation of
the past, that the most lukewarm of his constituency did their whole duty
on this memorable occasion. As the writer has never been successful at
equating distances since he was gobbled by the greyhound in connection
with his more legitimate prey in the good old days of "academicia," he
declines to state just how many furlongs the panic-stricken multitude had
traversed, when a gloaming of red in the east warned them that they had
nothing further to fear from the "nocturnal beasts," who had obtruded
their heathenish "doxullumgy" on the late exercises, and will not commit
himself as to the sequel, further than to say that the results of the
"great awakening" were soon after visible in a certain rejoicing tendency
of the cotton plant and pumpkin vine of that fertile region.



     Late Announcement of the Earl of Beaconsfield before an Assembly of
     Englishmen--The Secret Societies of Europe--Men of Influence in the
     Southern States Disclaim the alleged Good Offices of the Klan in the
     Work of Southern Redemption--Its True Status with Regard to Current
     Politics--Combining the Offices of Regulator and _Vigilante_ with
     that of Politician--An Absolutist in all Society Matters--Many who
     advance the Idea that that Complete Renovation of the Social System
     Effected through its Means could not have been Accomplished in the
     Use of less Radical Measures--Inhuman Butcheries, etc., Figments of
     the Scalawag Imagination--Many of its Acts were Lawless, etc.--A
     Logical Presentation of the True Theory--How it Injured the Common
     Cause--Its Generical Belongings--Few Friends Unconnected with its
     Patronage--Negative Issue which it Introduced into the Great
     Campaign--Occupying a Voice in Southern Counsels--Unprincipled
     Plagiaries--Dangerous Sentimentalism Awakened at the North--What the
     Imaginative Prose of the News-Reporter was Calculated to Do--How it
     (K. K. K.) Prolonged the "Carpet-Bag" Reign of Terror.

The late announcement of the Earl of Beaconsfield (Mr. D'Israeli), before
an assembly of Englishmen, that the pending war against Turkey was the war
of the secret societies of Europe, conducted through Prince Milan, as
their agent, may induce incredulous persons to give greater heed to the
statement which we here make that the movement inaugurated by the secret
order known as the Ku-Klux-Klan was a war against radicalism as it
formerly existed in the Southern States, waged through its ... allies. If
the English premier speaks truth, there is a strong probability that the
secret purveyors to whom he refers will achieve their aim, and be crowned
with the same reflected glory that has availed to cover a multitude of
sins in the instance of the American order, though reflecting people, who
take into account the incentives to such measures, can but regard them as
intermeddlers of a very base stamp. The cause of religious liberty on the
Turkish frontier will not be benefited by this revelation; and, continuing
the analogy, there are few men of influence in the Southern States who do
not make it a point, whenever occasion offers, to disclaim the alleged
good offices of the Klan in the work of Southern redemption.

We have before intimated that, in one of these States, the cause of the
allied Democrats and Republicans did receive essential aid from this
source, and while we shall not enter into any such exegesis of the
question as would show just how far the common cause was aided or retarded
by the secret measure, we must be permitted to record a belief that its
influence was commonly hurtful.

Every secret society, enterprised with a political end in view, must, in
the nature of the case, prove unpopular with the masses of those who wield
the franchise, and in not unfrequent instances, as we have anticipated,
be deprehended by the very individuals, or parties of individuals, whom
they seek to succor. In the instance of the Klan, these conditions were
felt with peculiar weight; inasmuch as the people among whom it was
domiciled cherished, beside this common feeling, a natural aversion to
such influences in politics, derived from their _ante bellum_ experience;
and the people of the North, unacquainted with its aims, and grossly
unenlightened as to its _materiel_ and claims to social rank, wrote it
down a very monster of sedition. It was denounced in public, scoffed at in
private, declared to be an outlaw by the legislatures, interpreted as the
very essence of crookedness in morals by the courts, fulminated against by
the national and State executives, and how, under these severe conditions,
it contrived to even exist, is, and must remain, one of the unsolved
problems of the "gilded age."

But, aside from any inherited odium of the quality which we have been
discussing, the Klan had obliquities of its own, and a record compiled
therefrom which could not fail to photograph it to the world in a very
disagreeable light, and obtain for it enemies (and sometimes potential
enemies), where it would not otherwise have possessed them. Even its
interference in politics was of an illegitimate and unnatural kind, and
called forth the constant criticisms of such unprejudiced judges as those
who were to reap the benefits of their enterprises would likely prove.

But it did not stop here, and combined the offices of regulator and
_vigilante_ with that of politician. It was an absolutist in all society
matters, and those who offended in this regard could rarely base a hope of
immunity from visitation upon any well-defined precedents to be found
among its Domus Dei records. [We have seen, in the various sketches of
incidents connected with the Order, and based on its history, which have
been given in the progress of this work, the idea of its officiousness in
such details rendered prominent, and this has been done, in every
instance, with a view to subserve the intelligent aim upon which the work
is based: in a word, to render it a true reflector of the K. K. K. idea,
as it has existed in Southern society and politics.] But, leaving out of
the estimate the cruel measures sometimes resorted to in executing its
plans, there will be found many who advance the opinion that that complete
renovation of the social system accomplished through its means was a
necessity of the times which would hardly have been effected so quickly
and so thoroughly in the use of less radical measures.

And in this connection, it may not be deemed digressive to say, that the
many inhuman butcheries with which it was debited by a _not too
discriminative public_, never in reality occurred (in no instance unless
through accident or mistake), and were pure figments of the scalawag
imagination--an imperent element of Southern politics, whose acts had
provoked the reign of terror which it took this dishonest means of

But as nothing could be further from our purpose than to become the
champion of this secret movement--which might be inferred from a too ready
condemnation of its enemies--we hasten to add our conviction that many of
its acts were lawless, many of its correctives applied to social maladies
improportioned in severity, and its entire administration, social and
political, an incontinent abuse of usurped prerogative. We have said that
in politics its influence was hurtful to those in whose behalf it was
officiously employed, and we wish to verify this statement in a logical
manner. Assuming that our position is fully understood by the reader, the
information may be volunteered in its support, that the rank and file of
the Order comprised the radical element in Southern politics (native),
Democrats and Republicans (and not a few of the latter), a force, which it
was reasonable to presume, would enterprise radical measures only in
support of its aims. The organization, then, standing alone, and
segregated from any influences which itself may have set in motion, could
not have failed of ungracious treatment from those domestic surroundings
which it had ignored, but upon which it was confessedly dependent. The
great _party_ from which it had seceded, controlled by a rigid system of
morals in politics, viewed from habit all such movements with suspicion;
and as there was nothing in either the manners or the policy of this
departure calculated to remove the antipathies of the prejudiced, or to
win the affections of the disengaged, reflector of opinion, it failed
altogether to secure discriminations in its favor, which would have placed
it above such considerations. From this standpoint (_i. e._, its
individuality) it conciliated nobody, for even its externals were
forbidding; and the ignorant and educated classes alike--though perhaps
from diverse considerations--cherished a suppressed sentiment unfavorable
to its affectation of the supernatural, and its partiality for the shadowy
in nature.

But while it lost popularity where it should have gained it,--through
generical belongings which, possibly, could not have been rendered more in
harmony with the public fancy,--there was certainly nothing reassuring to
its fellow-citizens in the record which it put before the world. While, as
we have said, there was nothing monstrous, nor even designedly criminal in
its acts, there was so much that offended against propriety, and required
explanation withal, that those who had not been estranged before, as well
as those who had, became hopelessly so. It had not been in existence a
twelvemonth, before its name, in the localities which it frequented most,
became a by-word signifying something very forbidding and disagreeable, if
not actually criminal. In the dozen States or more whence its force was
recruited, it had not half a hundred friends unconnected with its
patronage, and these could hardly have been induced to have made a public
profession of their preference.

Its influence on Southern politics, then, could not have been favorable;
and having said so much as to the positive effect wrought, we shall
briefly examine the negative issue which it introduced into the great
campaign. And in doing this, we shall not attempt to penetrate its
motives, nor inquire how far it was responsible for acts which but
reflected an evil tendency. The reader has, doubtless, anticipated us in
the statement that it alienated the political mind of the North, reopened
the dead issues of secession and war, and licensed a political persecution
which, in extent and malignity of design, has not been equalled since the
Roman empire dictated government to its conquered dependencies.
Reconstruction, having been inaugurated under favorable auspices, was not
to be pretermitted, nor even abated, while this sage Ahithophel occupied a
voice in Southern counsels (rendering a war of races possible); and who
will affect to say that this policy had no basis of sound reason? The
society, a mystery to itself, and sorely misinterpreted by the people
among whom it was domesticated, became, of course, a monster of blended
secretiveness and iniquity to those who had small means of becoming
acquainted with even its aims through unprejudiced sources. Added to this,
the most unprincipled plagiaries of its actual history--perpetrated by
those local enemies who had most to fear from the movement--found their
way constantly into the news mediums of the country, awakening, in the
North at least, that dangerous sentimentalism which, more than politics
and religion combined, influences the mind of the nation.

Atrocities of which the body could not have been guilty, even in
thought--horrors from which it would have shrunk with the same symptoms of
dismay that clouded the brow of the Northern reader at their bare
relation--were rescued from the carpet-bagger dialect, and rendered into
the imaginative prose of the news-reporter, with the design of securing
enemies, not for the Ku-Klux movement, but the cause of Conservatism in
the South. Many of these slanders never reached the individuals or
communities who would have been authorized to refute them, and when their
disclaimers were uttered they were either unheard or unheeded.

We do not, of course, affect to say how long the evils of reconstruction
were prolonged in the South by means of this influence, but there can be
no doubt that it excited such a tendency, and for a long time proved the
forlorn hope of the enemies of good government in this section. Many of
the wise and good men who had joined the movement in its inception soon
became aware of their mistake, and abandoned all connection therewith.
Others followed at a later date, and about the year 1873 a general
disbandment ensued, leaving only guerillas in the field.



     A Popular Fallacy--Karl Konstant Esq.--A Fit Companion for the
     Wandering Jew--Awaiting Events--The First Visitation--An Intricate
     Subject for the Hospitals and Doctors--Getting Even with the
     Latter--Put Away--Yellow Jack on a Raid--K. K. K., Esq., in his
     Prison Cell--Promoted to the Hospital--An Uncommon Defiance--A
     Picturesque Outside--Waiting for the End--K. Konstant Kain Struggles
     back to Shore--"Do not Weep"--A Critical Moment--A New Cast and
     entire Change of Scenery--"Gruel" did it--Waited upon by a Deputation
     of Citizens--"Young Man, Go West"--The New Orleans
     Pest-House--Konfounded, Krooked Konundrum.

Some dealer in those cheap apothegms which commend themselves to the
public gullibility, through the public tendency to moralize concerning
subjects of which it knows nothing, has rendered himself famous, and the
great majority of mankind asses, by the announcement that "everything must
have an end." Without a design of reopening a dead controversy, or so much
as mentioning the word "fossil," we must be permitted to record a belief
that the author of this sage prophecy had never heard of the
mathematician's war involving the crookedness of the half circle, and was
grossly uninformed on the topic of the great Woman's Rights movement and
those leaders who have concerned themselves about its temperature for the
past two hundred years. And while the cause of orthodoxy might be safely
entrusted to two such examples of

  "The few immortal _things_
  That were not born to die,"

it is in no sense of triumphing over a fallen adversary that we add the
conviction that the beaming countenance of Karl Konstant Kain, the last of
the K.'s, had never dawned upon this prophet's sense of the ridiculous.

We shall introduce him to the reader as he was, and is, and without any
reference to a future--that with him is but a name, a fleeting shadow. And
in order that this reminiscence may be perfect, it will be needful to
relate that he had reached, at this period of his existence, a climax of
loneliness and gaunt despair that would have rendered him a fit companion
for the "Wandering Jew," and a most unfit one for anything less
ludicrously ideal. Though it had been of his own choosing, a shadow
pursued him and would not let him rest: it was the ghost of the murdered
K. K. K. He had been with it in its prosperity; had eaten its bread in its
adversity; and since above the spot of its interment the daisies were
developing into types of its departed beauty, he had given himself to the
magnanimous resolve of perpetuating its genius in other climes.

Having chalked a freight car, "Through without delay," he deposited his
remains on the inside, and four days thereafter found himself at the door
of a cheap hashery, in the thriving little city of Columbus, Texas. Here
he refreshed the inner man on a promise to pay, rendered subsequent to the
meal, and having been damned for a "blister," and a "cooter," and a
"scorpion," wandered forth, that image of "blank dismay" which we have
already depicted to the reader. Destiny was now begun with him in earnest,
and it was only necessary for him to sit still and "administer upon the
fluttering pasteboards," with that resignation of soul which should
characterize the man who has given five points in the game, and occupies
the losing seat. Mounting a goods-box on a neighboring corner, he adjusted
his unshapeliness to its angles in a posture that would have been an easy
one for another man, and awaited events. They were not slow in coming. In
fact they came in troops, and awaited their turn with a constancy of
resolve that would have frightened a less Napoleonic structure. The first
visitation comprised two Hibernians of smiling aspect, who, observing this
unusual tableau, affected to note a disposition to sneeze in the subject.
Instantly our hero accepted the challenge (_ad hominem et sine
exceptione_), and leaping from his perch engaged his persecutors with the
desperation of a man who feels that he would be made happier if soundly
whipped. Striking right and left, he provoked his adversaries to do their
worst, and soon brandishing huge knives, they made inroads upon his
anatomy which left him an intricate subject for the hospitals and doctors.
Twenty-two wounds in all had severally penetrated his lungs, severed his
carotid artery, atrophied his liver, wasp-nested his umbilicus, riddled
his facial parts, and bereft him of five fingers and the arm to which
their five fellows were attached,--and yet he would not die, could not see
it to his interest to die, felt that it would not be destiny to die,--and
four weeks thereafter exhibited himself in public to a goodly number of
false prophets, who, excusing him and themselves on the ground of a
miracle, tendered him congratulations.

But if Karl Konstant was some the worse for wear, he was none the worse
for something to wear, having levied on a full cloth rig and watch,
belonging to one of the hospital doctors, as some remuneration for the
torturing exercises in surgery which had been directed at his corporosity.
Walking the streets with the air of a man whom melancholy has marked for
her own, and yet attracting the notice of passers-by through a subdued
emphasis of gait and manner, which could hardly have proceeded from a less
philosophic cause than good clothes, and a chronometer that would
unfailingly chronicle the hash hour, he was next interviewed by two
policemen with drawn clubs, who, by virtue of his late condition of
mayhem, subjected him to but one-half the regulation mauling, and having
divested him of his borrowed plumage, jugged him, and corked him, and
expressed through the bars a wish to kiss him for his mother-in-law.

About this time "Yellow Jack," in making his decennial tour of the
Southern cities of Texas, debarked at Columbus, and for a period of four
weeks lent his energies to a most devastating epidemic. Thousands were
stricken, hundreds rendered their final account, and the undertakers,
protesting that it was an ill-wind, took orders for coffins. Karl Konstant
Kain beheld the public dismay through his prison bars, and despaired. He
knew that it would come; fate had whispered him that it would come--and
feeling this, his anxiety on the subject soon developed into a wish that
it might come. He was not disappointed; and when it came and lodged a
great pain in his side, and touched up his pulse an half hundred degrees
or so, it did not conclude its labors, but promoted him to the hospital
and doctors, and bade him look about him for means of offsetting the

But we regret to state that, notwithstanding these small but disinterested
attentions, K. K. K., Esq., murmured, and the very day upon which he was
transferred to hospital sumptuousness, confronted his yellow-visaged enemy
with a challenge to do his worst. That individual hesitated, and objected
that the combat would prove an unequal one; but soon seeing that any
explanation which might be rendered would be construed into a possible
desire to avoid defeat (and becoming the least bit enraged in view of such
an uncommon defiance), began his dispositions.

And now the battle of the giants raged in good earnest; and as there was a
kind of Pindaric grotesqueness about it which could not fail to attract
observers, it became first the hospital talk, and then the subject of no
inconsiderable amount of by-betting, with the odds in favor of "Yellow
Jack." One week from the period of his inoculation, the victim had
developed the most picturesque outside that it is possible for any man to
possess east or west of the Malayan dominions, and inwardly, a type of the
black vomit that would have set an undertaker's teeth on edge. The
doctors, examining their watches at a safe distance, thought that he could
not last twenty-four hours, and the subject of the disorder, transferring
an abandoned kerchief to the rear of his shirt front, gave himself but
half that time. But doctors, though controlling the other features of the
business with tolerable accuracy, are not always infallible as to "time
when." It was three days before a coffin was ordered, and pending the half
hour required to produce a fair example of pest-house carpentry, Karl
Konstant struggled back to shore with the announcement that he had changed
his mind, and a sarcastic appeal to his medical attendants "not to weep."
The "box" was found to square the dimensions of a stiff in a neighboring
ward, who had accomplished the stormy voyage in forty-eight hours, and
into it he was jammed, and committed to the cartman with an injunction to
drive fast.

K. K. K., Esq., was now billed "for five days, only with a new cast and
entire change of scenery," the latter part of this announcement referring
to an abandoned hut on the river shore, one mile below the city. The
doctors, despairing of the disease, declared that the stench in his body
would suffocate him in twenty-four hours (extending the time as above, to
avoid accidents), and dismissed him to an aged negress, with instructions
to draw on the city for boneyard supplies. Situated in this quiet retreat,
our hero could lie "heels uppermost," and number his waning breaths, or
hearken to the death-rattle in his throat, without aught to molest or make
him afraid, and controlled by that sweet imperturbability of temper so
necessary to perfect rest amid such scenes. He had enjoyed his new lease
of happiness two full days before it was thought necessary to apply to his
city correspondents, and as there was some delay in forwarding the
stipulated articles, it is needless to say that when they arrived the
subject had "limbered up," and the cartman found it necessary to imitate
his example, and drive back a sadder man.

Five days came and went, and still Karl Konstant Kain lingered above
ground, viewing the shadows go up and down on the pine box destined for
his remains (a standing menace of this character now occupied one corner
of his apartment), and realizing that his symptoms grew hourly worse. His
old friends, the doctors, feeling some anxiety, came to examine into the
matter, but after a careful diagnosis of the patient, they left with very
marked abridgments of countenance and their pills. Under the
circumstances, they felt that pills would only hasten the sad event. And,
indeed, their prognostications seemed not ill-founded. Six hours later, a
fearful coma seized his struggling anatomy and held it fast, and in a few
minutes, at farthest, the last mournful rites would be in order. The pulse
had become quite motionless, the suppressed breathing grew momentarily
fainter,--and, aha! hold a light, nurse.

What a moral is pointed in that much quoted sentiment referring to the
"fate of men and empires." 'Twas but a drop of water trickling from the
rain-drenched roof, and yet it had power to call a human being to life.

K. K. Kain, Esq., now sat bolt upright in his straw-bed and
demanded--shall we write it--would it be politic--in a word, would it be
accepted as true? In such an emergency there is no alternative left to the
undissembling chronicler of fact, nor do we seek one. K. Konstant Kain
demanded gruel, and indeed from this moment conceived such an attachment
for gruel, that it was with difficulty that their separation could be
accomplished for any considerable portion of his waking moments. Nor can
it be denied that gruel aided his convalescence and his complexion as
nothing else but tolerably regular doses of Blooming Cereus could have
done. (This joke is paid for, and on that ground it is hoped there will
be no objection to it.) In two weeks, time gruel stood him on his two legs
and bade him "view, the landscape o'er." In three it had brought its
magician's art to bear on his sunken cheeks, and converted the yellow rose
of Texas into a lively peach bloom. And in the short space of one month it
had so far rehabilitated his battered hulk, that he was enabled to receive
a deputation of citizens with a purse of Mexican coin, and a "gruel"
request to convey himself across that border. It is needless to say that
Mr. Kain accepted the _doucéur_ and stood not upon the order of his going.

Arrived in that sun-burnt clime, one of his first acts, according to the
Texas journalists, was to involve himself in a railroad smash-up, with a
loss of his dexter leg and a head, but as he was shortly afterwards
advertised to appear in a Greaser circus combination as a tight-rope
performer, it is apprehended that some of the facts were suppressed.
Terminating his engagement in debt to the managers, he reached the city of
New Orleans by "hook or crook," or both, and more of the former, and a
good deal of the latter, and was last heard of as one of the inmates of
the famous pest-house of that city. How he escaped from this institution,
and resumed his peripatetic career, would doubtless make a very pretty
romance, but we must be pardoned, if we assert that we know no more about
this _konfounded, krooked konundrum_ than does the reader, and drop our



     The Author has no Explanations to Offer--Such as it is, it is--The
     Chief of Two Reasons for Holding it in Esteem--A Whim that has been
     Gratified--Mischievous Results of Confiding a Secret to One Female
     Acquaintance instead of Fifty--Can anything be more Ridiculous than
     to Suppose that there is a Word of Fiction Connected with the
     foregoing Chapters?--Lakeside Publishers--The Public Invited to
     Pocket their Scruples and Read History--Finale.

Positively, we must depart from a time-honored custom of the bookmaker, as
we confess with blushes that we have no confidences to exchange with the
reader, no explanations to offer to the public, and no fine epigrams to
repeat concerning that aged word--farewell. Such as it is, it is, and we
have no idea of making it better, by any such _supra legem_ performance.
If the reader is satisfied, we are; and if he is not, and will signify
that remarkable conclusion to the author, he shall have his money back,
together with fair wages for such portion of his valuable time as may have
been squandered on its pages. We could not think of taking such a mean
advantage of any one's talent for promiscuous reading, and beg to repeat
this announcement as a request.

If anybody's party-feeling has been ruffled, it may be taken in some sense
as a natural conclusion, for, besides having none ourselves, and treating
the subject from all sides, we may have had some such _dernier_ purpose in
view. Political tastes are so varied that they can rarely be consulted
with success in a literary venture of reasonable magnitude, and where this
is true, it can be no more than fair to ignore them.

The work has many imperfections, as all can see--imperfections which
cannot be cured, and hence resemble it so much to human nature that we
must be pardoned for alleging that circumstance as the chief of two
reasons (both disconnected from those philoprogenitive impulsions that we
sometimes hear of from mawkish writers) for holding it in esteem. The sun
has spots, and we once knew a critic whose grammar was execrable. Lest,
however, some persons should officiously infer that we mean to wrong a
very excellent class of people, we will state that the analogy between the
last-named objects does not cease here.

What we wish to say most in this concluding chapter, is that the work was
not written to invite anybody's pique, nor to avoid it, nor to flatter
anybody, nor to parody anybody, but to gratify a whim, and as it has been
announced that there would be no explanation, and the completion of the
task leaves us in a mood for conundrums, we shall not interfere with the
reader's prerogative of guessing its import. But it was a mere whim, and
now that it has been gratified, we feel better--vastly improved, in
fact--so much improved that, in order to reach a superlative that will fit
our case precisely, we find it necessary to go beyond the dictionary
standard, and adopt the beautiful newsboy euphemism, hunky-dory. And then,
too, the author has that self gratulation which could not fail to proceed
from the knowledge that, from the beginning, a brave effort was maintained
to avoid that notoriety which comes of even remote connection with such
labor as he has performed,--and which must have succeeded but for his
inadvertence in confiding the secret to one female acquaintance instead of
fifty. Now that the mischief has been performed, his partiality for the
sex leads him to say that he will be more thoughtful in the future.

An old friend, whose sagacity regarding such subjects is approved, has
informed us confidentially that the book will sell, and if it sells, can
it be anybody's business whether it is read or not? After revolving this
query in our mind, and inducing a fair analogy between what would be just
to the outside world and profitable to ourselves, we are left _statu quo_
until such time as the neighborhood debating society can be heard from.

Can anything be more ridiculous than to suppose that there is a word of
fiction connected with the foregoing chapters? A half-wit acquaintance,
who plumes himself on the accident which enables him to write M. C. after
his name, has obtruded this difficulty upon the author, and been
handsomely objurgated for his pains. Did we not do right? and why is it
that these men are permitted to lounge away from their places of
confinement at the most dangerous season of the year?

We here make the announcement, boldly and without fear of successful
contradiction (this form of expression is copied from J. Billings, with
some amendments in spelling), that nobody's facetiousness is chargeable
with one syllable of these sketches; and if they do not suit the public
palate, it is altogether attributable to the fact that that organ is in a
badly disordered state, and requires stimulants of a nature which the
Lakeside publishers will have no difficulty in supplying at the regulation
price for compounded drinks. More than this we do not feel at liberty to
divulge at present, but we do sincerely trust that those who compromise
their doubts far enough to purchase the book, will pocket their scruples
and read history.



[A] The reader's fancy, aided by the hints supplied in the text, has
doubtless informed him that these females had fallen victims to the lust
of the flying desperadoes; for, perceiving the hand of fate in the
impending catastrophe, and having nothing to hope from the indulgence of
their pursuers, they realized that this startling crime could only hasten
the denouement, not add to their weight of doom.

[B] An individual of the gowned fraternity, six feet six inches in height,
borne upon the shoulders of a comrade, who approximated the latter

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