Ahead of the Hounds: The Nashville Press and Times, Brownlow’s official organ, of the 15th, declares that militia will be sent into this county.
Here is what Mr. Mercer says:
We hear from the counties of Hardeman, Tipton, and Fayette, that the colored people are registering very slowly. They are intimidated by the threats of the rebels, especially of their employers. They are told that if they vote for Brownlow, they shall be whipped, shot or driven out of the country, and consequently, they are afraid, in many neighborhoods, to apply for certificates. Our friends must not be bullied in this manner. * * * Now let our colored friends of these three counties determine to give larger majorities for Brownlow than the rebels ave for secession in 1861. Troops will be sent to protect you, and if ruffians molest you, they will be severely punished. General Cooper will do his duty in the premises, and punish your persecutors.
When the editor of the Press and Times penned the assertion that negroes in this county were being intimidated by the threats of rebels, he asserted what every man in Hardeman knows to be a falsehood from beginning to end. “They are told that if they vote for Brownloy they will be whipped, SHOT or DRIVEN OUT OF THE COUNTRY,” says the radical organ. We say, and can prove, that this is a base, malicious and uncalled for fabrication. “They,” the negroes of Hardeman, says the same paper, “are afraid to apply for certificates.” The assertion is too monstrously false to even merit comment, and were it not for the line in the paragraph quoted which informs us that “troops will be sent” here, we would not notice the above batch of falsehoods, hatched in a viper’s nest for an especial purpose.
As to Tipton and Fayette, they need no vindication from us, and can reap the sweet or bitter fruits of their own labor; but we do claim the right of hurling back a slanderous attack when made upon the intelligent, law-abiding, exemplary citizens of old Hardeman, a people who stand to-day, as they have in the past, confessedly inferior to none in all that goes to make up a community of firm and unyielding devotees at the shrine of American liberty and independence. We defy the editor of the Press and Times to name a county either in or out of the State that excels this in peace and quiet. We defy the editor of the Press and Times to name one man in Hardeman who has threatened to whip, shoot, or drive out of the country any freedman, if he, the freedman, should vote for Brownlow. And further, we defy hell itself to produce a slimy spawn that could utter baser fabrications than those contained in the paragraph taken from the Press and Times of the 15th.
[Bolivar Bulletin, Bolivar, Tenn., 20 Jul 1867]