An extract from a funeral oration delivered by the Rev. J. B. Carne, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Covington, Tenn., on the death of Capt. J. L. Cooper, who was killed in that place the 19th of November, by Jas. A. Slaughter. Let the people heed the warning voice and let them see to it that this unholy business must not continue among them:
“There is another point to which I call your attention, that is to the cause of this sad death. It requires but little thought or reason to trace this back to whisky drinking, not that our deceased friend was guilty of this, but that the drunkenness of others furnished the occasion for his murder. Upon this subject I will use plain language. In saying what I shall I have no wish to hurt the feelings of anyone. Among the saloon keepers I have personal friends – men whom I like in many respects. But the time has come when as a minister of Jesus Christ and as a law-loving citizen I feel it my duty to speak out regardless of personal considerations. We all see what the liquor traffic is doing for us. Upon Saturdays, on rainy days and public days, our streets are filled and our sidewalks obstructed by crowds of drunken blackguards who use the most profane and obscene language. Brawls and fights are frequent. In short, on such days our town is turned into a perfect pandemonium. During the past week, besides other mischief, the drinking houses have been the means of sending one of our citizens into eternity who died in a fit of mania potu. Another one crazed with drink is said to have threatened the lives of his wife and children with pistol in hand. Then our friend who lies in that coffin was from the same cause hurried into eternity through no fault of his own, while still another citizen has his hands stained with the blood of this innocent victim. You see that this traffic is taking the bread and clothing from our helpless and innocent children. If is making demons of our men. It is making widows of our wives and orphans of our children. It is taking our children from under the paternal roof and out of the family circle, and from faithful and obedient sons it is transforming them into drunkards and gamblers. In fact. it is simply turning or town into a perfect pandemonium. Now these are facts that we all know. It may be that whisky dealers have never thought of these things. They may never have realized the inevitable results of their unholy traffic. If so, when they see these things as they cannot help seeing them; when they realize that for their trifling gains they are breaking the hearts and blighting the lives of our mothers and our wives; that they are making beggars, widows and orphans of our children; that they are making beasts and demons of our men; when they realize these things, then if they have one spark of manhood or honor in them they will give up the unholy traffic. But if, when these terrible facts staring them in the face, they are so greedy for their gains as to persevere in their business regardless of consequences, then if there be in the world of woe a vault deeper and darker and more hopeless than any other it will certainly be their home for eternity.
And now I appeal to all good and law-abiding citizens. You see our laws defied and trampled under foot. You see our twon overrun by the most lawless and abandoned characters. You see our women and children turned into widows and orphans. You see our good citizens murdered upon our streets. I call upon you as honest men and law-abiding citizens to see that, if this unholy business must continue, that it is at least kept under legal restrictions. I appeal to you in the name of law and justice; I appeal to you in the name of murdered innocence in that coffin; I appeal to you in the name of this heart-broken widow and these orphaned children [turning and painting to Mrs. Cooper and children]; I appeal to you in the name of humanity; I appeal to you in the name of my God to arise in you might and arrest this tide of lawlessness and crime.
I am aware that I have spoken plainly, but the time has certainly come for plain talk. As a minister of God, and as a good citizen, I have felt it my duty to speak out, let the consequences be what they may.
[A Warning Voice, The Bolivar Bulletin, Bolivar, Tenn., December 8, 1881]