The North Carolina Election of 1898 The North Carolina Election of 1898 The North Carolina Collection UNC University Libraries
IntroductionHistoryPrimary SourcesTimelineBiographical SketchesGlossary

October 26, 1898 -- Governor Russell Calls for a Peaceful Election

As election day approached and rumors of hostilities associated with the Red Shirts in southeastern North Carolina reached Raleigh, Governor Russell became increasingly concerned about the threat of violence. He issued this proclamation on October 26, 1898, calling for a peaceful election on November 8.

 


Caucasian (Raleigh, N.C.), 27 October 1898 PROCLAMATION BY THE GOVERNOR

WHEREAS, The Constitution of the United States secures to every State in this Union a republican form of government, protection from invasion and freedom from domestic violence; and,

WHEREAS, The Constitution of North Carolina guarantees to all the people of the State the inherent right to fully regulate their own internal government; to peacefully assemble for the purpose of consulting for their common good; to hold peaceable and quiet elections; and to discharge and exercise into an orderly and quiet way, the manifold duties and privileges of good citizenship; and,

WHEREAS, The Constitution of this State, and the laws made in pursuance thereof, forbid that any citizen shall be deprived or retained of his liberty, but upon indictment for, and conviction of crime; and,

WHEREAS, It is ordained in the same Constitution and laws of this State that the writs for the protection of the citizen, and the processes of the courts for the protection of society, shall never be suspended, neither by usurping Executives not by turbulent mobs, using the weapons of intimidation and violence; and,

WHEREAS, It has been made known to me, by the public press, by numerous letters, by the oral statements of divers citizens of the State and by formal written statements, that the political canvass, now going forward, has been made the occasion and pretext for bringing about conditions of lawlessness in certain counties in this State, such, for example, as Richmond and Robeson Counties; and,

WHEREAS, It has been made known me, in such a direct and reliable way, that I cannot doubt its truthfulness, that certain counties lying along the southern border of this State have been actually invaded by certain armed and lawless men from another State; that several political meetings in Richmond and Halifax counties have been broken up and dispersed, by armed men, using threats, intimidation, and, in some cases, actual violence; that in other cases property has been actually destroyed, and citizens fired on from ambush, that several citizens have been taken from their homes at night and whipped; that in several counties peaceful citizens have been intimidated and terrorized by threats of violence to their persons and their property, until they are afraid to register themselves, preparatory to exercising that highest duty of a freeman, the casting of one free vote at the ballot box for the men of their choice in the coming election.

Now, therefore, I, Daniel L. Russell, Governor of the State of North Carolina, in persuance of the Constitution and laws of said State, and by virtue of authority vested in me by said Constitution and laws, do issue this my proclamation, commending all ill-disposed persons whether of this or that political party, to immediately desist from all unlawful practices and all turbulent conduct, and to use all lawful efforts to preserve the peace; and to secure to all the people the quiet enjoyment of all their rights of free citizenship.

And I do further commend and enjoin it upon all good and law-abiding citizens not to allow themselves to become excited by any appeals that may be made to their passions and prejudices by the representatives of any political party whatsoever, but to keep cool heads, and use their good offices to preserve the public peace and to protect even the humblest citizen in his rights, political and personal.

And I do further commend and enjoin it upon all judges and other civil magistrates, and upon all solicitors, sheriffs and other officers of the law, to use their best efforts under the Constitution and laws of the State to apprehend and bring to speedy trial all offenders against the persons and property and the political and civil rights of any and all persons in this State whomsoever.

And I do further commend and require that all persons who may have entered this State from other states, in persuance of any unlawful purpose instantly to disperse and leave this State upon pain of being arrested and dealt with according to law.

Done at our city of Raleigh, this 26 th day of October, in the year of our Lord, one

thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, and in the one hundred and twenty-third year of our American Independence. By the Governor,

DANIEL L. RUSSELL.

BAYLUS CADE, Private Sec'y.

Source: Caucasian (Raleigh, N.C.), 27 October 1898. Scanned from microfilm.
The North Carolina Election of 1898North Carolina CollectionUNC-Chapel Hill Libraries