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The Rochester Riot

The Rochester Riot image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

'A molí gathored without justification and iired upon without reason has boon the occasion of riot and bloodshed ia the city of Boohester, wbioh are thoroughly i;cful to thoso who ohampioned morality by mob violonce and those wlio sustained order by a military niassaere. Tho immcdiate causo of tho disturbanco was thu arrest of a negro chargcd with tho perpetmtion of a horrible crime. His guilt was gcaiorally admittëd, but thoro se to havo boen no reason to believe that ho would oscapo tho proper legal punishment for his crime. Tlio jail was sutficiontly Btrong to hold him, end tho oourt b.'forí! whiuh he wonld in duo time have been arraignod wasnot suspected of any unwillingmss to punisli him if fonnd truüty. Tho only sbado of justification whici the vengöance of lynch law can claim vu tbus totally wanting. ïho crime itself waa une wbich naturally arouscd tho hot indignatioa of every do cent man, but there was no excuso for that indignaticm to manifest itself in tho tumult and violenco of a mob. A mob, nevertheless, gathered,'and, surroondiag the jail, demanded the siirrender of tho priaoaer. Tho pólice wore present to protect the jaii, but the authorities, with tlio foadness for the use of the military wliicli has grown up sincc the civil war, called out several oompanies of militia. If tlu-y really apprehended a riot which should uot confine itself wholly to yolls and threats, tliero is no reason to blairte tbeta fov summoning tlie s.1diery ; but a Wfiapon so dangerous should havi3 been reservad untll its use bécame absolutely aeCMSaiy, and shuuld then have boon wielded with coolness and intelligeoce. The militia, howovcr, wero entirely without discipline, or were commaadod byan incompetent officor. Wheth; or they fired by tlie oi-der of tho latter, oP fired without orders, is not yot certain ; but no ono who reads the account of tl.e aiïair eau doubt that the uring was unnoecsssry and unjustifiable. It was the rockleea act of mc-n deetitnte of disciplino and nervously apj)i!]iensive of dangor. With the militia held in reserve the pólice could in all probability have quelled the disturbance. The firing of the military dispersud tho mob in front of the jail, only to madden itsmembers and load thoin to the commission of further disorders in locaüties wht-re the immediatc ven guanee of tho bullet and bayonet was not to be feared Tlio disturbanco, that might havo been conipletely quelled by the Da of wisi' and osualmeons, wasthus fanned into Beroer flaiuo hy tho reekless act of nervous militiamon. Tho lesson is obvióos. While no palliation can be offored for riot and attempted lynch law, tlio unjustifiable use of the militar}' is to be reprobated with equal Bternnees. Ihehabitof calling out the aoldieiy on cvery pretext ot' apprehended disorder has giown tut too rifo during tlie last fow If the Eochester riot shoulil teaoh the pcople the folly ofinobs, and the authoritius the criminality of a ii.cill.-ss use of tho mihtia, it will not liave boen whollv without its Ipsroti tri


Old News
Michigan Argus