18 JUNE 1994, Page 21

One hundred years ago

REUTER reports a case of lynching in Georgia, which in its devilish cruelty surpasses anything yet recorded, even of that crime. A negro of that State was accused of having assaulted a young white girl, and was seized by the white citizens of the neighbourhood. They hanged him on a tree, but considering capital punishment insufficient, they cut him down and skinned him alive, the wretched man surviving for six hours. That is to say, men of our own race, calling themselves Christians, succeeded in outdoing the worst atrocities attribut- ed to Turkish Pashas and Persian Gov- ernors. The man, mind, had been arrested, there is no lack of Courts in Georgia, and there was not the smallest reason to expect an acquittal. We can- not but believe that so hideous an inci- dent will at last rouse the conscience of the North, and that States in which such outrages can pass unpunished will be declared non-Republican, and treated as Utah has been. Polygamy is bad enough, but it does not outrage the instinctive conscience like Lynch-law.

The Spectator 16 June 1894