Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- June 06, 1893Lynching in Illinois
Although civilization celebrates its most glorious triumph in Chicago now, only 150 miles away, at Decatur, in the state of Illinois, something happened, which, to express it mildly, is very deplorable. It is a stain and disgrace for Illinois, the third state in the union, because it puts Illinois on the same level with the frontier states, where lynching is sometimes hard to suppress due to the difficulties in obtaining justice, because courts of law are far away. But such unlawful action is a disgrace for Decatur, whose citizens place themselves on a level with vagabonds and cattle thieves.
There may be cases where there is danger that the crininal escapes and the crime remains unpunished. For this reason it may be not justifiable, but excusable, if people take the law into their own hands. But such was not the case in Decatur. The man under suspicion of having committed the crime was in the hands of officials. He was a negro, without friends, reputation and means, and it was impossible for him to escape. The law could have taken its course without any obstruction.
Besides, evidence against the lynched negro was not convincing, although the 2charges were serious. Not even the woman who had been attacked was called to see if she could recognize the negro as her attacker. Although he denied definitely that he had committed the crime, his mere admission of having been at the place of the crime was sufficient evidence for the mob to give their lust for murder free range. Nor did the citizens of Decatur make any efforts to prevent the mob lynching the negro.
It is, indeed, commendable that Altgeld has promised a reward of $200 for the apprehension and conviction, of each one of those who took part in the lynching. The law must rule in Illinois, and not the mob.
I H, I C, II E 3, IV
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