"Letter from Gen. H.E. McCulloch" (August 15, 1868)
Ranger's Home, Tex. Aug. 5, '68.
Editor's Gazette:--Sir--If I alone were interested I would treat with silent contempt the foul slanders and unblushing lies, which members of the Radical party are circulating respecting my course as a man and member of the Democratic party, but humble as my position is under the reign of Radical rule, and humble as I feel it to be among our own honest people, these slanders are being made use of to effect, prejudicially, the party to which I belong, and through that party, the public welfare of the country.
Not one word that I have ever said or written, privately or publicly, could be construed by any honesy minded man to a threat of personal violence of an aggressive character towards any member of the Radical party.
As they regard negroes their equals and I regard negroes as my inferiors, I could not very well afford to come in personal contact with any of them, and not being a "bully," or "brag" would not like to threaten a man whom I would be compelled to refuse to recognise as an equal.
Those who have known me longest and known me best, know that I have never committed of countenanced an act of "Lynch Law," or disregard of the civil authorities of the country, and my opposition to secret political associations, or organizations, has been too well known and publicly expressed. [sic] (especially the Loyal Leagues) to need refutation, but in order to protect ourselves, our property, and the lives of our wives and children, I have publicly urged, and now urge the true conservative men of the country to organize themselves thoroughly and secretly if necessary, and prepare for defence against the attacks of the loyal leagues or poor, ignorant, misguided negores, who are pushed on by irresponsible, cowardly, white villains, to commit outrages on the whites, in order to get up material for the political campaign; and the conflict between the races which lately occurred at Millican, presents but too clear a proof of the indispensable necessity of prompt action on these suggestions. While this is so, I do not counsel or advise rashness, indiscretion, or aggression, but calm, firm, determined resistance to all wrongs, and defence of our rights, and especially of our families, honor, lives and property, against any and all persons or organizations, who may attempt to trespass upon them without authority of law.
The civil laws of the country, if faithfully administered, and efficiently enforced, would give sufficient protection to the rights, lives and property of every citizen or resident of the country, white and black, without the interposition of the loyal leagues, or any other organization, and while they were administered by honest men, selected by those who are most deeply interested in the public good, they did give this portection as effectually as is usually done in countries as new and sparsely settled as many portions of our State [sic], or even in older portions of the United States, and I am perfectly satisfied if the military authorities will restore the officers they have removed, discontinue agents of the "Freedman's Bureau" and disband the loyal leagues, that law and order will be resotred, and crime and lawlessness promptly punished throughout the State. The enforcement of the laws will then be in the hands of efficient officers in the main, known to the poeople of the country as reliable and trustworthy, and the citizens will be responsible for their conduct, and are willing to be so held, but while the offices are filled by men who have no sympathies with or regard for the welfare of the people among whom they simply live, as masters, whose political prejudices will not enable them to look upon a late rebel as anything less than a demon, sent from the region of darkness, and who can look upon a carpet-bagger, radical, scallawag or negro as not inferior to an angel sent from the regions of the blessed, and negroes not only equals, but superiors, socially and politically, to any true Southern gentleman, no sensible man can expect the men of character in the country to take any interest in the management of its affairs. They cannot do so without sacrificing their self-respect by associating in many instance with me holding office by appointment, who are known to be dishonest, contemptible and mean, but the evils of our country will soon be corrected; the Democratic party will soon triumphantly overthrow the Radical party, in these United States, and especially in Texas, and the Government, both Federal and State, soon fall into the hands of the true, honest and faithful men of the country, and the political atmosphere of Texas becoming too pure for the carpet-baggers and scallawags who now infest it, they will leave it, and the negro, having no one to poison his mind and embitter his feelings towards the whites, will live in perfect peace among us, though he wil be worth by little to himself, and less to society.
As I do not expect to appear often in print, I will take occasion to say in conclusion, that white men established and have maintained this Government, that it is a white man's country, which is entitled to, and must have, a white man's Government, under the control of white voters, and officers elected by them, and that I am utterly opposed to negro suffrage in any form, as it must lead ultimately to negro equality, to which I never will quietly submit.
The negroes are free, made so by the triumph of the arms of the United States, in the hands of overwhelming numbers, and they now should have and must have all the protection necessary to secure them in their lives, persons, and undisturbed possession and free use of their property; but they are in no condition to exercise the privilege of voters, nor do I believe they ever will be, and to confer it upon them would only be placing them in the hands of vicious men to be used as pliant tools, and thereby endanger the liberties of the country, or be the cause of involving us in a war of race, which no man would more deeply deplore than myself.
Henry E. McCulloch.