The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 23, 1939



Site Ed. Note: Some ethnologists today, or at least linguists, now think, much as Cash did in 1939, as conveyed in "Tough Egg", re the latter day descendants of the Croatan, even if not so much was it so thought in 1939. (And if you were clever enough to recall across time and thus to think that when we first set down that link a year ago, in August, 2004, in conjunction with our notes of August 9 and August 11, 1940, that we had first read the parenthetical thought of "Tough Egg", you'd be wrong; we hadn't. Just another one of those ghosts of equal and exact justice and fairness wafting through time, we suppose.)

John Ball was an itinerant priest in mid-14th century England who preached social equality and advocated vows of poverty by the clergy. Excommunicated and imprisoned for his exhortations, he was freed by the rebels in the Peasant Revolt of 1381 which he helped to incite along with Wat Tyler. The Revolt stemmed from the plague of 1348-49 which had diminished the pool of laborers in England and thus resulted in higher wages, until Parliament passed the Statute of Laborers in 1351 limiting wages. Over the next thirty years, unrest slowly mounted in the working classes until a full-scale revolt erupted in 1381, the last straw on the pyre being the raising of the poll tax. Richard II, then the fourteen-year old King, son of Edward the Black Prince and grandson of Edward III, met with the rebels at Mile End and agreed to numerous reforms including an end to serfdom. Tyler meanwhile had captured the Tower of London and killed the Archbishop of Canterbury. Shortly afterward, however, Tyler was killed, the revolt was put down, Ball was hanged, drawn and quartered, and Richard revoked all the reforms agreed to at Mile End.

Poitiers, a village in Vienne in France, was the site in the Hundred Years War where in 1356 Edward the Black Prince defeated John II of France and his son Philip the Bold of Burgundy. Crécy is a village in the Somme of France wherein was fought another battle of the Hundred Years War, on August 26, 1346. In that one, Edward III defeated Philip VI of France; the French greatly outnumbered the English but the latter's longbow proved superior to the crossbow. The way was made clear by this battle for the English to reach Calais.

And, of course, one might argue persuasively that the Soviet-Nazi non-aggression pact of two days prior to this date in 1939 eventually paved the way for the landing not too far from Calais by the Allied forces in Operation Overlord, D-Day, some 598 years after Crécy, also using the longbow, proving superior to the crossbow. That is, if you accept that the pact was indeed as Cash suggests but does not argue.

But that's a long, long way around from Croatan and the Lost Colony to D-Day, and the year ensuing it, especially factoring Mistress Ford and Jack Falstaff into the course. We'll let you make the journey on your own.

Double Game?

Stalin May Possibly Be Up Forcing England's Hand

One curious outside possibility ought not to be overlooked in trying to make sense out of the new Russian-German pact. We mean that Stalin may be playing the double-double cross for his own purposes.

It sounds fantastic, probably is, but the fantastic has now become the probable in international diplomacy. And the fact is that Stalin has all along played his hand to force England and France to make far larger concessions than they wanted to make. For one thing, he wanted a clause providing for the occupation of Lithuania, Latvia, and Esthonia if Hitler attempted to bring them in the Nazi orbit by his usual boring-from-within tactics. For another, he certainly wanted a pact against Japan. And, perhaps above all, he wanted to force the resignation of Chamberlain and the election of an English Government which he felt he could trust. And nothing can have been calculated to throw England and France into such a panic that they would agree to anything than just this move.

There are several considerations that make it not quite incredible. One of them is that the Russians themselves have hastened to say that the way for negotiating the Anglo-Franco-Russian pact is still open. Another is that, according to the stories from Rome, the pact contains a clause which allows either party to denounce it in case the other commits an act of aggression against a third party. That clearly gives Russia an out if Poland is attacked.

And then there is the fact that if Germany is allowed to take Poland, she comes up against the Russian border, a thing which Stalin cannot reasonably be supposed to desire. It may be argued, of course, that Stalin is so greedy for new possessions that he'll agree to this in order to get his share of the booty. But Russia doesn't need more land. And if Germany takes most of Central Europe, as she certainly plans, she'll be able to face Russia with a manpower equal to her own and far better armed. Altogether, the risks far outrun any possible gains.

We don't mean to argue that this double-double cross is what is happening. But the possibility is worth keeping in mind.


Tough Egg

Reflections Inspired By A Notable Old Name

June Locklear is a name for a novel. It hath the ring of Elizabethean England in it. And of even older times than that. Men with names like Locklear wielded the cross bow at Crecy and Poitiers. A flaxen-haired lass out of the world of John Ball or of Mistress Ford--that is what June Locklear should be.

But in fact, June is a man. And a man in trouble. An Indian of that Croatan tribe (we like to think) which lives down around Lumberton. The ethnologists say that these people are in fact nowise related to the Croatans of Roanoke Island and that the legend that they have in their veins the blood of the Lost Colony is untrue. Still, they have names much like those which appeared on John White's sailing list.

In any case, as we were saying, Mr. Locklear is in trouble. He was a-riding along the road near Lumberton in his automobile, had a collision with another driven by Will Frank McCormick. McCormick got out of his car and came over to see if Locklear was hurt, whereupon the latter hauled out his knife and proceeded to stab and slash the other until he fell to the ground. Then, leaving McCormick's little daughter, Imogen, with her helpless father, he took the McCormick car and drove off, ended by wrecking it too. Now he's in jail at Lumberton.

A pleasant fellow, you see. Probably just a plain mean Indian. But just possibly it is that old Locklear blood, after all. Those men who fought at Crecy were often anything but gentle little lambs: most of them were all too handy with a knife. And Elizabethean times was full of such surly fellows as this Locklear--as witness the companions of Jack Falstaff.



R. E. Sentelle Apparently Beyond The Law's Reach

The Law's apparent reluctance to punish R. E. Sentelle, the former Legislator and ordained (though inactive) Baptist minister from Brunswick County, is not going to add very greatly to its prestige.

The man's story makes ironic reading. He was a confirmed dry in 1935, even voting against the Hill Bill to hold a state-wide election on Prohibition. By 1937 he had moderated his views enough to permit him to vote for the County Option Bill.

That same year, he was arrested and convicted in Montgomery County for driving drunk. He put up a fight, carrying the case clear up to the State Supreme Court, and he contended so strongly that he had not been fairly tried that we half came to believe him. So did Governor Hoey, who pardoned him from the jail sentence but let a $250 fine stick.

In December of last year, a couple of Mecklenburg cops were cruising along the Wilkinson Boulevard when a man and his family drove up and reported that they had almost been hit by a drunken driver. The cops lit out, never stopping to take the witnesses' names, and finally they found Sentelle parked in a driveway. They arrested him for drunken driving. He demanded a jury trial, and the Grand Jury returned "not a true bill," since the cops had failed to establish that he had driven drunk.

However, they had found some liquor in his car. The Grand Jury returned a true bill on this account. The case, after the manner of cases of persons of any influence whatsoever in the Fourteenth Solicitorial District, has not yet been tried.

On July 7 Sentelle was arrested again for driving drunk--this time in Gaston County. He engaged Gregg Cherry, first-rate lawyer and a power in state politics, to represent him. The case was continued a couple of times on account of Sentelle's claimed illness. Yesterday it was heard in Municipal Court, and though one policeman testified that Sentelle was drunk when arrested, and another policeman testified that he was drunk when brought to the station house, the Court chose to believe the accused himself, who admitted that he had been drinking but swore he wasn't drunk.

Three full pints of whisky and a fourth with seal broken and partly empty were found in his car, but the dispatches from Gastonia make no mention of any action against him for violation of the State's law against transporting liquor in any quantity with broken seal.

We'll gain nothing in respect for law, to be sure, by retrying in the newspapers the various cases against this former Legislator. It could be, may be, that he really wasn't drunk when arrested in Gastonia. The judge took that view of it, anyhow, which settles it.

But to those of us who believe in an equal and an exact justice for rich and poor, influential and non-influential alike, the whole business smells. The smell begins in Raleigh and wafts through Mecklenburg and becomes positively intolerable in Gaston.


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