"He tells us that a few days before he saw a man, who had lived in Tennessee for twenty years, savagely beaten by the mob, with his teeth knocked in." Report on the secessionist climate of opinion in the Volunteer State
Fraud, tyranny and terror are as rampant in Tennessee as they have been, and are, in most of the Southern State. There, as elsewhere, the oligarchs and anarchists suppress free speech and free action, take the management of their affairs from the hands of the people, and rule everything with a rod of iron. The few honorable men among the Secessionists are utterly powerless to stem the raging flood of lawlessness and villainy, while the Union men are awed, silenced, imprisoned, lynched or banished. A week or two since, so we find it stated, seven hundred free citizens were driven from Memphis, and afterwards eight hundred more in a single day. A gentlemen of this city, a mere youth of nineteen-who had served there as a clerk for the last eighteen months, had to fly for his life. He had taken no political part, and said nothing on either side. But silence would not do; the must avow himself a Disunionist and act with traitors, or receive the tender mercies of Judge Lynch. So leaving his effects, he jumped into the cars, scarce breathing freely till he reached Cincinnati. He tells us that a few days before he saw a man, who had lived in Tennessee for twenty years, savagely beaten by the mob, with his teeth knocked in. His offence was, simply preferring the old flag of our Republic to the traitor banner that pollutes the air at Montgomery.
A reign of terror almost as fierce and merciless is inaugurated at Nashville, and almost everywhere in the western half of the State. Almost the only prominent man who dares resist and denounce this ruffianism, is the famous Parson BROWNLOW. Heretofore he has been very eccentric, and sometimes too violent in sentiment and language; but the bold, patriotic attitude now assumed by him might redeem a multitude of errors. He stands up, firm and fearless, and in his journal, published at Knoxville, his voice of scorn and defiance rings out daily, clear and loud as clarion. But he is almost unaided, there being but three genuine Union papers in all Tennessee.
The Legislature met in extra session on last Thursday week. It has deliberated much in secret conclave, which of itself, under the circumstances, foreshadows the perpetration of almost any enormity. Mr. BROWNLOW says:-"It is give out boldly by Secessionists "that the Legislature will pass an Ordinance of Secession, and declare the State out of the Union, without so much as asking THE PEOPLE whether they will go! We shall not be surprised to hear that the monstrous outrage has been perpetrated or attempted." Certainly. And why not? The same thing has been done in most of the seceded States, and the utter ignoring of the people is part and parcel of the whole infamous movement. These rebels, who have cried out so falsely against Northern oppression, are as vile despots as ever lived, - oppressing their own fellow citizens, crushing out the liberty of speech, and anxious, were it possible, to extinguish thought itself.
The Legislature of Tennessee was chosen nearly two years ago, without reference to any such object as secession, and has no right to meddle with it at all. What makes the case still stronger, that State, not three months since, sealed its attachment to the Union, and rejected JEFF DAVIS and his gang of traitors and counterfeiters, by a heavy majority. Nothing new has occurred since to change the relations and policy of the State, unless it be new injuries and insults offered by the South to the Government and people of the whole Union. Shall this Legislature assume that their constituents were wrong, or have changed their minds, and refuse them the privilege of protesting against their summary ejection from our civil family? It seems probable that it will commit this despotic villainy. But will the people submit? Will they meekly bow their necks to the yoke? That remains to be seen; and if they are so tame, they have lost the last spark of manhood, and well deserve, as Parson BROWNLOW (this line is cut off - ed.).
On the whole, there is little hope for Tennessee.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 8, 1861.
8, The Cain murder altercation in Knoxville
Knoxville Tenn May 8/64
Govorner [sic] Andrew Johnson
Military Govorner [sic] of Tenn
I am under arrest in this place for shooting a reble [sic] in self defence [sic].
In 1862 I made up a Company of 125 men, and started to Kentuckey [sic] to join Robert Johnson's Regt, by [but?] the man with whom I had the difficulty, and his Sons they cause my arrest, buy giving information to the rebles. [sic] I was captured and brought to this place and confined in Prison by the rebles [sic], and from tis place I was sent to Madison G.a. [sic] I was released from their by taking the oath of allegence [sic] to [the] Confederate Government, and went home. I then went to work and recruited an other Company and was followed by this mans [sic] Sons but Sucseed [sic] in making my way to Kentuckey [sic] although several of my men were killed by those same men.
At the time Thomas A. R. Nelson and yourself was canvesing [sic] this Section of the Country for the Federal Government, two of this mans [sic]
Sons pushed an Umbrella through the window of the Car in which ;you rode and Spit at you through the hole at Russellville and proposed thre [sic] times thre [sic] sick groan for you. I was an eye witness to this as well as men other of my acquaintances.
Those boys of whom I speak are Sons to Hugh Kane a rank Secessioinist, and a man who has done evry [sic] thing in his power to render assistance caus [sic] of the Confedracy [sic].
In the first place they were to [sic] cowardly to enter the Army themselfs [sic], and consequently hires Substituters [sic] They afterward acted as agents for the Confederate government, and one of those Genteel-men after serching [sic] 3 days for a Union Soldier, and did not Sucseede [sic] in finding him took his wife out and raveshed [sic] her, and them made his brags that he would have a good time whil [sic] the "Union Soldiers" was gone. He said he would Stand him-self [sic] in the Country for their (the Union mens [sic]) wives. They also took the grain out of their Store House, and rendered it a place of confinement for the men they had conscripted for the Confederate Army.
Now General; I humbly ask if this is the way to use a man who has Sacrafised [sic] a home, and his everthing [sic] to bed used. Take it to be your own Case. You know what the rebles [sic] of East Tenn [sic] are, and, what the Union men had to suffer from their hands. I have worked for, and done all in my power for the Federal Government, and now those reble [sic] scoundrels laugh, and grin at me, for to think their influence got me into this[.]
Please look into and investigate my case as soon as convenient, and caus [sic] me to be released from Prison. I have bin in the Federal Army for fourteen months and will refer you to Colonel Crawford for my abilities as a Soldier and my good conduct as an Officer[.]
I am Governor....
W. G. Bewley, Lieutenant Comp "B." 1st Tenn Arty
Knoxville Tenn. 8th May 1864
Hon. Andrew Johnson,
Military Governor of Tennessee,
I understand that a letter has been addressed to you by W. G. Bewley Lieutenant Company B 1st Tenn. Artillery, who is under military arrest in this place, for the murder of my father, Hugh Cain, requesting you to order or obtain his release.
Strong representations are said to have been made in the letter as to the disloyalty of my father and one of my brothers. It is true that one of my brothers was disloyal, but my father was always a Union man and had a conversation with you , as I hear, when you were last in Knoxville.
Bewley has been at enmity with my father, since last October, because he alleged that my father had sent soldiers to forage on his mothers [sic] place. Father alleged that she had sent the soldiers on him and he merely sent them back.
Bewley, as I can prove, made repeated threats against my father, and, while he was sitting quietly at the Depot at Russellville on the 27th April last came up and after a few words, stuck him with as large stick, and, as father pushed him back, he attempted to draw his pistol and threatened to kill a bystander who attempted to prevent his using it. Father, when he saw the pistol, retreated some twenty yards and crawled under the depot, through a small hole in the upper side. Bewley fired at him as he went under, but missing his aim at him went round to the end of the depot, took deliberate aim and shot him when all resistance had ceased.
I can prove the substantial correctness of the above statement by respectable witnesses and am advised that the case is clearly murder a the common law, and murder in the first degree by the statute of law of Tenne.
Having thus shown that the case is not for executive interference or clemency, I have to ask, respectfully, that you forward to me or to Brig. Gen. S. P. Carter, a copy of the appointment or commission of Bewley as Lieut. as I am told this will be necessary; on his trial before a Court Martial or Mililtary Commission.
Very respectfully, Your Obt. Serv't,
J. L. Cain
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, pp. 692-694.