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Presidential Statement of the Day

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Benjamin Harrison, in a letter to the Virginia Baptist Convention, 21 May 1892:

Lynchings are a reproach to any community; they impeach the adequacy of our institutions for the punishment of crime; they brutalize the participants and shame our Christian civilization. I have not time to explain to you the limitations of the Federal power further than to say that under the Constitution and laws I am, in a large measure, without the power to interfere for the prevention or punishment of these offenses. You will not need to be assured that the Department of Justice will let no case pass that is one of Federal jurisdiction without the most strenuous endeavors to bring the guilty persons to punishment. I will give the matter you have suggested the most serious consideration and you may be assured that my voice and help will be given to every effort to arouse the conscience of our people and to stimulate efficient efforts to reestablish the supremacy of the courts and public officers as the only proper agency for the detection and punishment of crime and the only security of those who are falsely accused.

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