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Brann Vs. Baylor
by [?]

REVOLVERS, ROPES AND RELIGION.

I have just been enjoying the first holiday I have had in fifteen years. Owing to circumstances entirely beyond my control, I devoted the major part of the past month to digesting a couple of installments of Saving Grace presented by my Baptist brethren, and carefully rubbed in with revolvers and ropes, loaded canes and miscellaneous cudgels–with almost any old thing calculated to make a sinner reflect upon the status of his soul. That explains the short-comings of the present issue of the ICONOCLAST. One cannot write philosophic essays while dallying with the Baptist faith. It were too much like mixing Websterian dignity with a cataleptoid convulsion, or sitting on a red ant hill and trying to look unconcerned. Here in Waco our religious zeal registers 600 in the shade, and when we hold a love-feast you can hear the unctuous echoes of our hosannahs from Tadmor in the Wilderness to the Pillars of Hercules. We believe with St. Paul that faith without works is dead; hence we gird up our loins with the sweet cestus of love, grab our guns and go whooping forth to “capture the world for Christ.” When we find a contumacious sinner we waste no time in theological controversy or moral suasion, but promptly round him up with a rope and bump his head, and we bump it hard. Why consume our energies “agonizing with an emissary of Satan,” explaining his error and striving by honeyed phrases to lead him into the light, when it is so much easier to seize him by the pompadour and pantelettes and drag him bodily from the abyss? Some may complain that our Christian charity carries a razor edge, that we skim the cream off our milk of human kindness then put the can under an alkali pump before serving it to our customers as a prime article; but bless God! they can scarce expect to

“. . . be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
Whilst others fight to win the prize
And sail through bloody seas.”

My Baptist brethren desired to send me as a missionary to foreign lands, and their invitation was so urgent, their expressions of regard so fervent that I am now wearing my head in a sling and trying to write with my left hand. Although they declared that I had an imperative “call” to go, and would tempt Providence by loitering longer than one short day, I concluded to remain in Waco and preach them a few more of my popular sermons from that favorite text, “If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” It is quite possible that a few heathen will go to hell whom I might enable to find the river route to heaven, but I believe in doing the duty that lies next my hand–in first saving the heathen right here at home.

But enough of persiflage; now for cold facts. In all candor, I would cheerfully ignore the recent disgraceful occurrences in this city could I do so in justice to the South in general and to Texas in particular. I have no revenge to gratify, no more feeling in the matter than though the assaults had been made upon an utter stranger. It is quite true that for a time I was eager to call my assailants out one by one and settle the affair after the manner of our fathers; but being creditably informed that instead of honoring a cartel, they would make it the basis of a legal complaint and send me to the penitentiary, and having no desire to enact the role of the street assassin, I became once more a law-abiding citizen. Truth to tell, there’s not one of the whole cowardly tribe who’s worth a charge of buckshot, who deserves so much honor as being sent to hell by a white man’s hand. If Socrates was poisoned and Christ was crucified for telling unpalatable truths to the splenetic-hearted hypocrites of their time, it would ill become me to complain of a milder martyrdom for a like offense. It may be urged that having been twice accused of the heinous crime of slandering young ladies, and twice beset on that pretext by armed thugs, I owe it to myself to make some explanation satisfactory to the public. Not at all; from my youth up noble womanhood has been the very god of my idolatry; and now that I have reached the noon of life, if the reputation which I have honestly earned as a faithful defender of the vestal fires can be blown adown the wind by the rank breath of lying rascals, I would not put forth a hand to check its flight. If old scars received while defending woman’s name and fame in paths of peril which my traducers dare not tread, fail to speak for me, then to hell with the world, and let its harlot tongue wag howsoever it will. Never but once did I stoop to refute a cowardly falsehood circulated about myself. I was younger then–had not learned that public opinion is a notorious bawd, that “nailing a lie” but accentuates its circulation. Unfortunately, the recent assaults upon me are not altogether my private concern. They were armed protests against a fundamental principle of this Republic–freedom of the press. They are being citied by ill advised or malicious persons as evidence of “Southern Savagery.” They are calculated, if suffered to go unexplained, to cast reproach upon revealed religion. They were futile but brutal attempts in the last decade of the Nineteenth century to suppress truth by terror, to conceal the iniquities of a sectarian college by beating to death the only journalist who dared to raise his voice in protest. They were appeals to Judge Lynch to strangle exposure, hence it is imperative that the blame be placed where it properly belongs; not upon the South, which unqualifiedly condemns it; not upon the Baptist church, which indignantly repudiates it; but upon a little coterie of white-livered black-hearted hypocrites, any of whom could look thro’ a keyhole with both eyes at once, a majority of whom are either avowed sympathizers with or active members of that unamerican organization known to infamy as the A.P.A. The same old God-forsaken gang of moral perverts and intellectual misfits who more than two years ago brought a Canadian courtesan and an unfrocked priest to Waco to lecture on A.P.A’ism, and who threatened at one of these buzzard-feasts to mob me for calling the latter a cowardly liar, were responsible for my being dragged with a rope by several hundreds hoodlums up and down a Baptist college campus in this city Oct. 2, and for the brutal assault upon me five days later by a pack of would-be assassins who had waited until my back was unsuspectingly turned before they had the nerve to get out their guns. I can overlook the assault made by the college students, although most of them were grown men, because they were encouraged thereto by their elders. I have positively refused to prosecute them; but the last assault was led by a shyster lawyer of middle-age, a so-called “judge,” a member of the board of managers of Baylor. I am seeking no trouble with any of them–they are perfectly safe in so far as I am concerned; still if the latter gang are not satisfied with their cowardly crime, if they regret that they were beaten off ere they quite succeeded in sending me to Kingdom Come, they have only to notify me where and when they can be found alone, and I’ll give the whole accursed mob a show for their money. I’m too slight for a slugger–cannot lick a herd of steers with one pair o’ hands; but I can make a shot-gun sing Come to Christ. I am credibly informed that “at least half a dozen” of my meek and lowly Baptist brethren are but awaiting an opportunity to assassinate me, and that if successful they will plead in extenuation that I “have slandered Southern women.” I walk the streets of Waco day by day, and I walk them alone. Let these cur-ristians shoot me in the back if they dare, then plead that damning lie as excuse for their craven cowardice. If the decent people of this community fail to chase them to their holes and feed their viscera to the dogs, then ‘d rather be dead and in hades forever than alive in Waco a single day.