October 11, 1864
R. M. Gibson – Hearing that distinguished speakers were to address the McClellan club on Saturday evening at Washington Hall, one of our reporters attended the gathering. Seeing the floor of the hall well sprinkled with sawdust he supposed that some equestrian was about to give a practical illustration of how a man desirous of occupying the Presidential chair might ride two horses – Peace and War, at the same time. Instead of this, a gentleman wearing a green blind-bridle was entertaining the audience with a speech. The gentleman was R. M. Gibson, of Washington county, a burning and shining copperhead light in that section. Our reporter having attended the meeting to contribute in his humble way, to “save the Union as it was,” and “share the fate of his comrades on the field of battle,” listened to the speech for fifteen minutes. Mr. Gibson said that naturally, a nigger had no sense. The king of Dahomey himself hadn’t as much brain as any ordinary nigger picked up in any of our cities. The niggers, when left to themselves, never amounted to anything. A gentleman who travelled up the famous river Nile, three thousand years ago, saw a statute of a negro holding the horse of a mulatto. This nigger’s heel stuck out like a black bird’s; he had the same breadth of foot, the same thickness of lip, and the calf of his leg was just as near his knee as any negro of the present day. He was an ostler three thousand years ago, and he is an ostler now. The only way to manage a negro was to get him under thorough discipline. It was nonsense, Great God, to talk about making him the equal of the white man. – Each succeeding generation of the negro race is more industrious than the last. A negro who is worked well to-day has less of a disinclination to bodily exercise tomorrow. The younger portion of the audience would catch this idea at once, for it was taught in the schools. And being so rendered industrious, the child born to the father would be less lazy than its daddy. – It was so with pointer dogs. At one time he had no pointer dogs but our ancestors cultivated them, and now we have plenty of dogs that would “set” a pigeon in our streets. Yet we do not hate the negro. – The democratic party have always been his friends, and they are now. We do not hate him. We do not hate anything that God ever made, for He never made an abolitionist. (Uproarious laughter.) The speaker then proceeded to discuss the finances of the country, and after an elaborate argument, in keeping with what we have endeavored to note, (without exaggeration) concluded that it required several times as much money for a poor man to buy a shirt now as it did under democratic rule. We learn that the speech lasted three hours and a half.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: October 1864