A Telegraphic Lie Nailed.
The republican press have been greatly exercised, of late, over the report sent by telegraph all over the country, that a mob in this state forcibly rescued some deserters from an officer, threatening to hang the latter for making the arrest. It was upon the strength of this statement that our article of Saturday, under the caption "Obey the Laws," was written. The Jonesboro Gazette, published at the place where the riot is said to have occurred, thus effectually explodes the falsehood. We found it almost impossible to believe that citizens of Illinois could be guilty of such an outbreak, and are glad to find our impressions confirmed by authority.
THE DIFFICULTY AT ANNA. — A little affair occurred at Anna, on Wednesday, which we notice has found its way into Cairo and Chicago papers in a most exaggerated form. — It is stated that a man named Thompson had arrested a couple of deserters in this county and had them in a room at a hotel near the depot awaiting the arrival of the train; that an infuriated mob of about forty men collected, and armed with revolvers and provided with ropes, demanded the immediate release of the deserters on penalty of hanging those in charge of them; and that Thompson, finding himself overpowered, was forced to comply. There is scarcely a syllable of truth in the statement. The facts in the case are these: A couple of deserters had been arrested by a man named Thompson, and were taken to the Union House in Anna. — Considerable excitement sprung up among the friends of the arrested men, and a crowd of them had collected near the depot and were discussing the right of Thompson to make the arrests — whether or not he had authority from the proper source at Cairo. It was soon ascertained that he had, and no effort was made to rescue the men, no fire-arms were displayed in the crowd, no threats of hanging were made, nor did any one have any rope. The men were never demanded, and Thompson turned them loose without any demonstration on the part of the [unknown]. This he admitted himself to some citizens who were talking to him about the matter after its occurrence. It is customary for quite a number of persons to collect at the depot just at train time, and as no manifestations of violence were exhibited or threatened by the crowd on Wednesday, they may have had no object there beyond that of a business nature. Of this, however, we know nothing; but we believe if Thompson had retained his prisoners he would have been permitted peaceably to take them to Cairo. Deserters have been arrested in this county many times before, and no harm was ever offered those engaged in it; and whatever the opinions of this people on the policies of the administration, they have no intention nor desire to hinder the proper enforcement of the law, but will aid it by all means in their power.
Not content with the infamous falsehood above refuted, the telegraph next day took advantage of the fact that a man of bad character had been found dying in the woods, to charge that the same mob had killed him because he assisted to arrest these deserters! A man who could send forth to the world such malicious slanders upon the people of a whole section of the state, ought not to be permitted to live in it. The Gazette's account of this murder is as follows:
A MAN KILLED. — On Wednesday evening last a gentleman coming from the Mississippi bottom, on reaching the "Dug Hill," five miles west of town, noticed the ground in the road stained with blood, and a pair of saddle-bags and a broom lying near by. On searching, the body of a man — recognised as that of James Welch — was discovered a short distance from the road. He was lying on his back, and was covered with blood, though breathing. The gentleman made all possible haste to procure help for the injured man, and at once started to town for the coroner, as Welch was believed to be dying. Coroner Anderson, with a posse of men, promptly repaired to the spot, and found Welch quite dead, with his face in a puddle of water. He was found to have been shot, the ball, apparently from a rifle, having entered the right side, just above the hip, and passed diagonally through him. An inquest was held, and a careful examination failed to fasten suspicion on any one as being guilty of committing the deed. The matter will be taken in hand by the proper authorities, and every effort made to obtain some clue to the perpetrator.
Welch was a man of very bad character, and was generally on bad terms with his neighbors. By repeated quarrels and difficulties he had made many bitter personal enemies, but whether any of them took this method of obtaining revenge, is a matter that will have to be decided by the law. Welch leaves a family somewhere in the neighborhood of Preston, we believe.