Thaddeus and Lydia

Allan Callahan

The Negrification of America can be traced, to a large extent, to two old graveyards in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. One of them holds the crumbling bones of a man who was a prime mover in this Negrification, and another cemetery, a short distance away, contains the remains of his mulatto mistress. The graves stand silent and appear harmless, yet from them there still oozes to this day a hatred so intense that White Americans are still cursed by it, and will be far into the future.

The bones belong to Thaddeus Stevens and Lydia Smith. He became the leading champion in Congress of the Negro during the Civil War, and she was the forerunner of Rasputin, only far more deadly. Born in 1792, Stevens graduated from Dartmouth and taught school for a while; he then became a lawyer, and went into politics in 1828. Elected to Congress in 1848, he became the leader of the anti-slavery faction in Washington. Stevens stood out from all the others because of the intensity of his hatred toward the South.

This feeling can be laid at the feet of his dusky sweetheart. Lydia first came to know Thaddeus when she lived in a small house in back of his with her husband, who worked as a gardener. After his death she moved into the main house, first as a housekeeper, then as a mistress.

Lydia’s father was a White man. In her youth she had not been treated as a social equal by Whites, and this had created a towering resentment within her that never abated. Often, when she was alone with Stevens, she poured out her rage to him; and, although he had heard her stories countless times, he would sometimes get so wrought up that he would pace the room like a caged animal. At other times, while Lydia cried on his shoulder, he would swear vengeance upon the South. He became a hard man, completely cynical, indifferent to the feelings of his racial kinsmen, a burning fanatic, a terrifying force.

Quite early in his political career, Thaddeus became a Negrophile, and in time he came to eat, sleep, live, and counsel with Negroes. He did not mix socially with his neighbors in Lancaster, probably because his mulatto common-law wife was not socially acceptable, and he did not like to go anywhere without her. What socializing he did was largely card-playing with his male cronies, during which a considerable amount of money changed hands. The whole town knew that his office was always open to those who wanted to come in for “a piece of the action,” and he racked up a tidy little gambling income along with his political activities.

As the Civil War was pressing on toward a successful conclusion for the North, various plans were turning over in Stevens’ mind to ruin the South, always egged on by Lydia. These later became formalized as the Reconstruction Acts and the 14th Amendment.

They might have done shame to Genghis Khan or Tamerlane. Even though the Southern States were prostrate, Thaddeus wanted them to pay up the National Debt. What was left of their towns and fields after Sherman and Grant got through with them was to be given to Negroes, carpetbaggers, and scalawags. The ten Southern states were to be obliterated and turned into military districts, ruled over by federal bayonets. Ninety percent of the land was to be taken away from its owners and they themselves driven off. Each plantation Negro was to be given forty acres that had belonged to his master and the rest to Northerners who had come down to batten on the South.

These were some of the things Stevens wanted. The Reconstruction Acts were later modified or done away with since the South regained partial control of its affairs, but Draconian punishment for the Southern White man was what Stevens sought. As for the Negro, Stevens knew that he was illiterate, ignorant, and superstitious, yet he was to be rewarded anyway, with no effort on his part.

All this was to please Lydia, who had as much to do with Reconstruction and the 14th Amendment as he did. She outlined what she wanted, and he, with his lawyer’s training, wrote it up in the formal terms of legislation.

John Wilkes Booth must have been very uninformed. He loved the South, and wanted to avenge her; but if he had known that Stevens was planning to rape his beaten country, while Lincoln wanted to treat it leniently, he would have changed his target immediately.

White Southerners were stunned when they found out what was in store for them. Some, at first, could not believe it. One was the editor of a Southern newspaper who called on Stevens in his home to see if he was really serious in proposing the confiscation of Southern Land. What he heard caused him to write the following on his return:

“Stevens is in earnest about this proposal to confiscate. Stevens is living in open adultery with a mulatto woman whom he seduced from her husband. She manages his house both in Lancaster and the Capitol. She receives or rejects visitors at will. She speaks of Mr. Stevens and herself as ‘we,’ and in all things comports herself as if she enjoyed the rights of a lawful wife.”

No demand for retraction was ever made by Stevens, nor did he ever bring suit for libel.

Thaddeus had once been a man of unbounded energy, of great driving force, but now he was old and in ill health, and he knew his days were numbered. He must accomplish his purposes before his last hours should be upon him. He knew that what he wanted was unconstitutional, and it would take a new amendment to the Constitution to bring it into being. This new amendment, the 14th, became his consuming passion, and he and his mulatto mistress strained every nerve and fiber to bring it into being.

Stevens was a powerful speaker whose oratory could overwhelm most of his listeners. Few dared stand up to him, but there was a small scattering of dissention. One senator, after hearing one of Stevens’ speeches, rose to ask him the wisdom of disenfranchising all Confederate leaders, ex-soldiers, and loyal sympathizers. “Can you build a penitentiary big enough to hold eight million people?” he queried. “That I can,” roared Stevens, “and ring it around with drawn bayonets forever!”

The Northern newspapers were generally helpful in continuing to build up hatred against the South after the war ended. One young Southern woman wrote in her diary: “I am ashamed to say that I wept tears of frustration as I read what the Northern magazines and papers print about us. No one presents our side or allows to explain our position. I must admit that I tore off my shoe and beat the senseless paper to a pulp.”

Stevens’ most powerful foe in Washington was President Johnson, who was opposed to radical measures against the South. In a burning speech he warned:

“The power thus given to the commanding officer over the people of each district is that of an absolute monarch. His mere will is to take the place of the law. He may make a criminal code of his own; he can make it as bloody as any recorded in history, or he can reserve the privilege of acting on the impulse of his private passion in each case that arises. Here is a bill of attainder against nine millions of people at once. It is based upon an accusation so vague as to be scarcely intelligible, and found to be true upon no credible evidence. Not one of the nine millions was heard in his own defense. The representatives even of the doomed parties were excluded from all participation in trial. The conviction is to be followed by the most ignominious punishment ever inflicted on large masses of men. It disenfranchises them by hundreds of thousands and degrades them all – even those who are admitted to be guiltless – from the rank of freemen to the condition of slaves.

“Such power has not been wielded by any monarch in England for more than five hundred years, and in all that time no people who speak the English tongue have borne such servitude.”

For his pains, Johnson almost got himself impeached; he was saved only by one vote. But in spite of the fact that things seemed to be going his way, Stevens was fearful of allowing any open debate on his pet amendment. Observed Senator Hendricks:

“The Fourteenth was perfected in a party caucus by a committee of fifteen. Here was a measure touching the Constitution itself actually withdrawn from open discussion in the Senate to be passed upon in the secret councils of the party. For three days the Senate Chamber was silent, the discussion transferred to another room where party leaders might safely contend for a political and party purpose.”

A little more secrecy, a little more back room shenanigans, and all was ready. Four days after Johnson’s warning speech the 14th Amendment was sprung and rammed through. The Constitutional Conventions of the Southern states which duly ratified it were largely made up of illiterate Blacks, controlled by a White minority which resembled a pack of jackals. Frantic delaying actions were fought in Mississippi, Virginia, Georgia, and Texas, but the influential White men at their heads were pushed aside and neutralized one by one.

Once his evil work was done, the remaining strength drained from Thaddeus. He felt that he had ruined the White South for his Lydia, and he could die content. All he had to do was await the news that the 14th Amendment had passed. His will was made out, which stipulated that Lydia was to receive his home in Lancaster and $500 a month for life. The only hang-up concerned the place where his body was to be laid. About a year before he had bought a burial plot in a Lancaster cemetery, but after finding out that Blacks could not be buried there, he raised a fuss and demanded his money back. This prompted the local newspaper, the Lancaster Intelligencer, to come out with the following comment:

“Nobody doubts that Stevens has always been in favor of Negro equality and here, where his domestic arrangements are so well known, his recognition of his pet theory is well understood. A person not of his race, a female of dusky hue, daily walks the streets of Lancaster when Stevens is at home. She has presided over his house for years, she is constantly spoken of as Mrs. Stevens. It is natural for men to desire to sleep their last with those they have loved in life. But why did he not purchase a lot in an African burial ground at once, where he could be sure no white bones would ever jostle his?” (It turned out that Thaddeus and Lydia were not destined to be buried in the same ground.)

Toward the last, too sick to leave his bed, his death-chamber became a reception room for colored people of all shades and types, with an occasional Negrophile White in attendance. Lydia ran the show, and admitted only those she approved of. The waiting came to an end on 28 July 1868, when the 14th Amendment became the law of the land.

Stevens had been hanging on by his fingernails, and when the news came, he let go. At that moment his mind went blank. Life flickered on in his body for two more weeks, but he never regained consciousness.

The story of Thaddeus and Lydia points up once again the fact that the biological threat of the Negro lies not as much in the actions of the pure-blooded racial agitators as it does in those of mixed-bloods and the White race-traitors who are their accomplices.

SOURCE: The Liberty Bell, August 1986

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1 Response to Thaddeus and Lydia

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