It has already been stated that Stephens, on the fatal Saturday, was in attendance upon a Conservative meeting in Yanceyville, and that he went out of it with Wiley. It is reported that Wiley, on his way home, took supper at the house of a Mr. Poteat. Now the negroes are not only full of curiosity, but take risks to gratify it. Nothing was more common than for them to listen from behind doors, through keyholes and in the corners of the houses where they were employed as servants. Thus it happened that the conversation at the supper-table at Poteat's—so the story goes—was overheard by a negro woman (and other servants), who had been waiting upon the table, and a most pitiful recital it was! The servants had retired from the dining-room, and being in the passage way, outside, and hearing Stephens's name called, they listened.
Governor Holden said that Wiley was speaking of how Stephens had been killed that day; that he (Wiley) had done a good day's work and that he, and the others, had toled (that is enticed) Stephens down stairs to talk with Wiley about being a candidate for sheriff; that they got Stephens to the door and threw the noose over his neck and dragged him inside, and choked him down; that while this was going on, in the room below, old man Bedford Brown was making a speech up-stairs, and the applause was continuous, to drown any outcry; that after Stephens was choked the noose was loosened, as they wished if possible not to kill him; that he was told if he would denounce the Republican party and leave the State, they would spare his life; that he refused and said he would die first; that he then begged them, as their purpose was to kill him, to let him go and see his family; that he said to them, "Gentlemen, you know me, that I am a man of my word and will come back;" that they refused his request; that he then begged them to let him take a last look of his house; that they led him to the window, holding the rope behind him, and he saw his children playing upon the green; that they told him his time was up and pulled him back and again choked him down upon the table; that they loosened the rope when he said, "Gentlemen, I surrender—spare my life and I will do anything you say;" that a young man (whose name I will not give, as Governor Holden gave it to me) said, "No, damn you, you die," and struck him with his knife on his throat and vest, and then they finished him. The negro woman, horrified as she listened, upon hearing all this, exclaimed aloud, "There, by God!"
The supper party heard her words and the story ceased. Wiley left almost immediately; and then they asked the old woman why she said those words and she told them, "because the coffee burned her." They asked her if she had been listening and she declared she had not.
Next day, a younger brother of Poteat sent for her to work in his tobacco field, and asked her the second time the reason of her outcry the night before. He said, "You mind what you are doing—if you 'cheep,' (i.e., tell) about this thing, I will put a ball through you."
Wiley went home (the story goes on) and walked up and down his piazza, until late that night, attracting the attention of his family by his singular conduct. A negro man, on the watch, had followed him, and had hidden under the house, to hear what was said. The dwellings of the South are frequently without cellars and, in the country, are often sustained by brick and log supports; so it would be easy to crawl underneath. This negro claims to have heard some of Wiley's family ask him why he did not come to bed, and he replied that he was waiting for the wagon.
It was rumored among the negroes, that the purpose was to carry Stephens's corpse to a church near Wiley's, called "Republican Headquarters," and there leave it, to produce the impression that Stephens's political associates had killed him. There was a sprinkle of rain, after nightfall, and fresh wagon tracks were seen, which approached near to Yanceyville, and returned almost to Wiley's. Perhaps, if this was true, the scheme to steal away the body from the court house was baffled by the vigilance of the guards.
The effort was several times made to make it appear that Stephens had been slaughtered by his political friends, to get rid of him, or for effect. For instance, six years had elapsed when the Milton Chronicle, published in Caswell county, charged by innuendo, under the head of "Revelations," that "Hester, Holden, Settle, Smith, Albion (meaning Judge Tourgee), Albright, Boyd, Ball and Keogh" had accomplished this murder most foul. But Mr. Boyd, at the time of the Stephens homicide, was himself a member, in full standing, of the White Brotherhood. This silly charge was made during the Tilden-Hayes campaign of 1876; Judge Settle then being the Republican candidate for governor and William A. Smith for lieutenant-governor. The others named were all Republicans of more or less prominence. Of course the editor of the Chronicle, and his patrons, knew that the story was a lie.
While I was at Yanceyville, at the inquest, William Henry Stephens—(usually called Henry) as I could not at once go home, thought it would be better for me to stay all night at his late brother's residence. My sojourn at the dwelling, that night, gave me my first opportunity to see how it was fortified. The lower story was protected by thick planks, bullet-proof. The stairway was fixed with a trap door, which could be let down, by its hinges, from above; and then no one could go upstairs without forcing his way against great odds. There was a plentiful supply of firearms with abundant ammunition. Twenty men could resist successfully a hundred, or more, if the attacking party had no artillery. But if a lodgment could be effected below, what could prevent the firing of the dwelling and the destruction of its inmates?
Here Stephens had lived and kept his enemies at bay; and he was as brave as any of them and much more desperate. The cowards who attacked negro cabins in the dead of night, with overwhelming numbers, never invaded Stephens's premises, for that sort took no risks. Yet he felt secure, for he had said that he suffered none to approach him, but those he knew to be his friends. I suppose he thought Wiley was his "friend."
Let us go back a few weeks. At spring term (April, 1870) of the Caswell Superior Court, an alarm was given that the Kuklux were coming to kill Stephens, Judge Tourgee, and all Republicans and break up the court. This disquieting intelligence was conveyed to me by Judge Tourgee himself. At the time, I occupied a room in Mitchell's house, already mentioned. My apartment, although joined to the dwelling, had no door opening into the main building, so that one had to go into the yard to get to the entrances of that part of the structure. Hon. James T. Morehead, an aged lawyer, who had been famous in his day, and now attended the court from habit, occupied a room of the same size as mine, and opening into it, and detached, as mine was, from the main building.
On Monday afternoon, the first day of the term, Judge Tourgee told me that one Hemphill had informed him of the contemplated raid, and that it was to occur the next Wednesday night. He desired me to go with him to Stephens's house (where the judge boarded during the court), as one of the garrison, to help defend it. The proposition looked absurd to me and it seemed that, if I went, it might subject me to ridicule. No one likes to be ridiculed; at least, I do not.
It may be remarked, in passing, that Judge Tourgee had offended the lawyers, because he boarded with Stephens. They considered it beneath the dignity of so high an official to make his home with a man so low in the social scale, and they were all the more hostile toward the judge because he would do this. They insisted that they would have treated him with respect, if not with cordiality, had he not shown these degraded tastes. As it was, they had no more courtesy for him than for Stephens, believing the judge to have disgraced his office.
It was the effort of the lawyers of North Carolina, in those days, to avoid close contact with the populace and to preserve an esprit de corps. They believed that their only associates, on terms of equality, should be of their own order, as the clergy or medical profession, representing an educated aristocracy. The masses were illiterate, unpolished and, in the estimation of the lawyers, unfit for companionship with the cultivated classes, whose policy it was to inspire the plain people with profound respect for their superiors.
The statements here made of early ideas and feelings, largely result from conversations with Col. Thomas Ruffin, a man of aristocratic lineage and unusual powers of mind. He was a son of the late Chief Justice Ruffin, of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, and afterward himself was an associate justice of that eminent tribunal. He informed me of the sentiment among the lawyers against Tourgee, because of his intimacy with Stephens. And once, when as a matter of course, with my New York education, I had offered to make oath to an affidavit, in a Caswell county lawsuit, wherein I was associated with Col. Ruffin, he advised me against it, and said it had been the custom, in North Carolina, for lawyers never to be sworn, in the conduct of their cases, it being considered that their mere word was sufficient; and so, as I afterward understood, the judges generally so regarded it.
Any one can see, however, the mischiefs which might occur from such a custom; as, after the verbal statements of lawyers, disputes might arise as to what had been said, and no one would be able to decide, and no one would try to do so, for fear of a quarrel. Happily the people, in spite of the traditions of slavery, are rapidly emerging from their blind gropings, as an outcome of the freedom thrust upon them by the civil war, and the younger members of the legal profession now aid in the work of educating the illiterate, knowing that it is better for the commonwealth that all should be taught.
The social conditions existing in North Carolina in the early days mentioned, may help to explain the intense bitterness manifested on all occasions toward men like Stephens. He was of humble parentage, but had been put forward by Governor Holden as a trusted agent of the State government. Thus was invaded the prerogatives of the privileged classes. The prejudices of the leaders were communicated to their followers (who did the voting to keep their rulers in power).
Judge Tourgee, and all carpet-baggers (myself included, of course), were esteemed to be opposed to the dominion of the aristocrats; some of whom, nevertheless, were themselves quite ordinary persons, but puffed up with pride, God knows what for!
Judge Tourgee also invited J. R. Bulla, Esquire, the solicitor, to help defend Stephens's house. Mr. Bulla was a native Republican. Neither he, nor I, believed at the time, that the Kuklux were banded together for serious mischief; although, as I afterward learned, a plot was laid, in those days, by the Randolph county Kuklux, to take Mr. Bulla out and whip him. Had this been done it would have been a wanton outrage. Mr. Bulla never knew of the plan. The scheme was prevented by the interference of a mere youth, Tom Worth, from whom I had the facts.
Both Mr. Bulla and myself decided to remain in our rooms. Out of deference, however, to Judge Tourgee's intelligence, I agreed, in case of an alarm, to go over and help fight it out. There were sixteen resolute fellows there, under the leadership of Judge Tourgee, all well armed and with enough ammunition. Had an attack been made it would have been a lively conflict. Mr. Bulla, born a Quaker, would not agree to join in the battle, preferring, I suppose, in accordance with his tenets, to be murdered in cold blood.
The raid did not take place, however. The judge had caused all the roads leading to Yanceyville to be patrolled, and it was understood that if any considerable body of men approached from any direction light-wood fires would be kindled as warnings.
Tuesday night of the same week, I was invited, and so was Mr. Bulla, to a supper at Judge Kerr's. Nearly all of the members of the bar in attendance upon the court, were guests. Among them I remember Col. Ruffin, General Alfred M. Scales, Col. Junius I. Scales and Col. Dillard. Judge Tourgee was not invited.
Before I went to the supper Judge Kerr, whose residence was not far off, came to my room and smoked his pipe, with its long reed stem. Sometimes he walked the floor, and then sat down, then walked again, and so on. His manner was uneasy, a characteristic of the man. Several times he seemed ready to speak and then restrained himself. He had professed a liking for me, and as he was an impulsive man, I thought he might wish to say something about the threatenings in the air; but finally he kept whatever was on his mind to himself. He had fine traits, but was pompous in demeanor. Those who liked that style were fond of him.
At the April term of the court, the evidences of the presence of the Kuklux in Caswell county, accumulated. After partaking of supper with Judge Kerr and his guests, I retired to rest in my room, quite uneasy because of the rumors. I had fallen into a doze, when my ears were disturbed by voices and singing and a guitar tinkled. My venerable neighbor, Hon. James T. Morehead, was being serenaded. After the music (so-called) had ceased "Uncle Jimmy" made a little speech to the boys. From this, and the conversation ensuing, I learned that it was confessedly a Kuklux serenade. The venerable Nestor of the bar said to his visitors that there were many worse things than the Kuklux—among them the Union League and the Republican party. And so the young men were encouraged.
I was glad when the time came to go home; which I did on the 14th day of April, 1870. I started from Yanceyville in a buggy, with a Mr. Fowler, a resident of Greensboro. Had I previously doubted the existence of the Klans, I must have been convinced, after that ride, unimportant in itself, but memorable for the events which lately had taken place. The remarks and manners of my companion were peculiar. He had a furtive, scared expression as night enclosed us. He was a native Democrat—and I was amazed at his evident trepidation.
We were striving to reach Ruffin, a little station on the Richmond and Danville railroad (now called the Southern Railroad) a few miles south of Danville. Although spring was opening, there was no foliage on the trees, except tiny leaflets bursting into life. Night advanced and the moon shone effulgent, but her rays were obscured by the divergent limbs of the forest, when we sometimes plunged into its depths. The gloom was intensified by drifting clouds, hanging low; but these momentarily lifted, briefly restoring the cheery moonbeams and silver roadway. Many tree-trunks were white, contrasting with the darkness within the dense woods, glistening like spectres, as the tremulous light glimmered through the branches. There was no sound in the forest, except the solemn wail of the wind, and the steady tramp, tramp—tramp, tramp of the hurrying horse. My flesh crept and shuddered under the drastic influence of the chill night and the doleful croakings of my companion; who talked continually of the Kuklux, and peered through the bushes and undergrowth, as if expecting to see rise from the ground a full cavalcade of shadowy night-riders.
We reached Ruffin, nevertheless, in good time, and went whirling home in a comfortable railway coach, filled not with hobgoblins, but with civilized human beings.
Afterward I learned that the companion of my night-ride (who was a tailor) had sewn together the diabolical garbs of the White Brotherhood of his vicinity. Remembering this hideous livery of the devil, it was no wonder he was afraid, even of the peaceful moon, as she benignantly observed him through the arms of the forest.
* * * * *
New York, Feb. 2.—The result of the election (Nov. 8) was rather shocking, but not unexpected. I think the Republicans deserved the drubbing. A hundred and ninety thousand of them, in New York, did not vote; so to punish somebody for something, they let Tammany obtain control.
Governor Dix doesn't say anything; but Governor Wilson says enough for both. It remains to be seen whether or not the latter has not bitten off more than he can masticate.
In the course of my life I have been shocked more than once, mostly, while living in North Carolina. For instance, in 1876, when it was supposed that Tilden had been elected, the young men of Odell's store thought it a good joke and decorated my fence with black calico. Our colored cook, thinking it would hurt our feelings, stripped it all off early in the morning before we got a sight of it, much to our regret. But Madam was equal to the emergency and had the girl gather up the black stuff and take it to Odell's store to sell for paper-rags! The cook was received with shouts of applause, showing that Odell's young men fully appreciated the humor of the occasion.
Odell had a big store, but all the black calico in stock must have been cleaned out on that occasion. As I understand at the time, the fences of Judge Dick, Postmaster White, Col. Keogh, Judge Settle and Judge Tourgee were all decorated. The last named, characteristically, sought to make capital out of the episode, which was only a joke.
When I went to bed very late the night before (or rather in the morning) I thought Tilden had really been elected and I did not enjoy the sensation. Nevertheless I did not feel as I did six years before, in the Ku Klux times. We lived then in the little cottage opposite the jail. The election was in August. Madam had gone North to visit her home-folks. I was alone in the house. Diagonally across the street was a disreputable bar-room, where all the "roughs" assembled every night; and for no less than three weeks after the "Conservative" victory these fellows kept up a shouting and howling, which was far from agreeable to me.
Those were the Kuklux days and the times were very uncomfortable, especially for a carpet-bagger, whose party had been overwhelmingly defeated. But I did not know anything about the Kuklux and was simple-minded enough not to fully credit their existence.
I had become a citizen of North Carolina in November, 1868; but being unaccustomed to the ways and prejudices of the people, I was not prepared to believe what was said about the Klans. Respectable Southern gentlemen denied their existence and I felt bound by their protestations. Yet a "den" met frequently in Greensboro; sometimes in Bogart's Hall; sometimes in the old Caldwell Institute (now torn down), again upstairs over the Lindsay corner (recently destroyed) opposite the court house and more often in the woods in the northern suburbs of the town, not a great ways from the residence of Judge Dick.
These meetings were occurring after the beginning of my residence in Greensboro, for nearly a year, but I did not know of them. Indeed, young men with whom I was well acquainted, actually were members of the fraternity—men whom I met every day, on social terms, in my boarding house at Mrs. Gilmer's. I had not reason to suspect their membership. Of course the assemblages were as secret as could be. When they were held in Bogart's Hall, for example—so I have since been told by participants—the only light was a candle, placed under a table, so that its rays could not shine through the curtained windows.
While I myself was incredulous, my political friends, Union men, natives of the South, familiar with the methods and peculiarities of the people, were firm believers in the entity of the Kuklux. They saw and understood the most trivial signs and signals. These men had been on the spot when the rebellion raged and had, in many instances, belonged to the "Red Strings," and other secret societies, banded together for mutual help and protection, and to aid the Union cause, in which they implicitly believed; and to assist escaping prisoners of war through the military lines. If therefore they observed a peculiar mark upon a tree, or figures upon the ground, they knew there was some meaning intended.
But the time soon came when I had to believe. In the latter days of 1869, Judge Tourgee, then of the Superior Court, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of several citizens of Caswell county. They were charged with having visited in disguise the cabins of a number of negroes, whom they took out and whipped. I was employed by Gov. Holden to conduct the examination of witnesses for the State; but the defendants easily proved alibis, as usual in such cases.
A few months afterward I was notified by the Governor to attend similar examinations before Mr. John W. Stephens (called "Chicken Stephens" by Jo. Turner). Mr. Stephens was a justice of the peace in Yanceyville. He was likewise a State Senator, but the legislature was not then in session.
I proceeded to Yanceyville via Danville, Va., leaving the railroad at the latter town, and driving sixteen miles across the country. Reaching Yanceyville in the forenoon, I noticed several groups of men, apparently laboring under suppressed excitement. Beginning to understand the popular temper I feared a riot if the cases should go on before the magistrate that day.
I stated my apprehensions to the Honorable John Kerr, the leading attorney for the defendants and suggested that, to avoid a possible riot, his clients should waive examination, and give bail for their appearance at the next term of the Superior Court, which they could do easily.
All of the Yanceyville lawyers appeared with Judge Kerr for the defendants, doubtless volunteering their services with patriotic fervor. After further consultation, my suggestion was adopted and thus, it may be, bloodshed was then avoided. At any rate, events soon to follow in Yanceyville, justify the belief that Stephens would have been put out of the way on the spot, had the trials proceeded.
When the cases had been disposed of, Stephens came to my room. He was a slender, sinewy man, with fair complexion, pale blue eyes and light brown hair, not prepossessing in manners or appearance; illiterate and unpolished, but very earnest; belonging to the plain classes of the South. His origin was respectable, although born into a poor family, in Guilford county. He had courage and tenacity. He was the leader of the Caswell county Republicans, being one of the few white men who dared to profess Republican principles in that locality. He was bitterly hated by the "Conservatives," and this boded him no good. Yet knowing it all, accused of petty crimes, which he had not committed, held up to ridicule by such a man as Jo. Turner, then a veritable potentate, Stephens had stood up boldly in the midst of a hostile population, with no backers but the timid negroes, which only intensified the hatred of his enemies. No romance of chivalry has ever invested its heroes with a nobler spirit than his, which was more than equal to that of the bravest of his traducers—for who of them all would have faced the dangers that he was facing?
He resided about a quarter of a mile from the Yanceyville court house, within plain view of it. His house was veritably his castle, where he had fortified himself. He was besieged at home and was under obsession everywhere; yet he seemed to hold danger in contempt.
On this occasion he wore a sack-coat of medium length, with side-pockets. He said he had been warned by anonymous letters to leave the State. "But," he said simply, "I have a right to be here and can't be scared away from my home and family." Continuing, Stephens told me how well he was prepared for emergencies; and he displayed two single-barreled, breech-loading Derringers. He showed me how rapidly he could load them and seemed expert in handling the weapons. He carried a pistol in each side-pocket of his coat, within easy reach. He said he never permitted any one to approach unless he knew him to be a friend; that he always carried the Derringers, but that on "public days," he also had with him what I understood to be a seven shooter.
In his estimation this was a public day, because a crowd was in town, attracted by the cases before his magistrate's court. Yanceyville was but a small village, with a court house and a few dwellings, stores and shops, and ordinarily not many persons were on the streets. There was no hotel. Throwing back his coat, Stephens, displayed to me his other weapon. With his temper and dangerous surroundings, he was a man to be dreaded by his foes, for he meant to kill any assailant. He could be overcome only by treachery, as will be seen hereafter.
To me, his words had peculiar significance, when considered in connection with the occurrences of the next few days; for it should be noticed that he declared he never suffered any one to approach, unless he knew him to be a friend. "But," he added, "I think the worst is now over and they," (meaning the Kuklux) "are becoming frightened at their own acts." Alas, how little he knew or understood the venom of his enemies! Our conversation was on Monday. The next Saturday, May 21, 1870, Stephens was murdered in a lower room of the Yanceyville court house.
A vivid account of the assassination is given in "A Fool's Errand," where John Walter Stephens is called "John Walters." Whether it is all true as therein narrated, I cannot say for certain; but the story, confessedly fiction, is no more monstrous than the reality. It was a ghastly murder. As those who know best about it (if still alive) have told nothing, and will not, any narrative of the circumstances must be imperfect.
On the day of the homicide Stephens had attended a Democratic meeting, upstairs in the court house, in the audience-room. According to his custom he had been taking note of the speeches.
Sometimes he used the room where his body afterward was found, for the trial of his magistrate's cases. This room was at the time occupied for no other purpose, and was devoid of furniture, except an old table and a chair or two. A pile of fire-place wood extended across it, on the north side, next to the wall, one end of the pile being near a window. There were three windows, two of them overlooking the court house yard, opposite a street. On the other side of the street were several negro houses. Stephens's dwelling could be seen plainly from the windows, being southeast from the court house. The only door entering the room was from the hallway, which passed entirely through the building from north to south. The door of the room was within a few feet of the rear hall entrance.
Stephens, after being in the meeting upstairs, until about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, was called out by a man named Wiley; with whom Stephens had been in frequent conversation during the day, trying to induce Wiley to become an independent candidate for sheriff. Wiley was a Democrat and Stephens had pledged him the Republican vote of Caswell county. After the two went out together Stephens was not seen alive by any one innocent of the murder.
No doubt Wiley enticed Stephens from the meeting and admitted it. But according to a letter from Hon. R. Z. Linney (recently deceased) published in the News-Observer, Dec. 29, 1891, credited to the Statesville Landmark, "a gentleman of intelligence who was at Yanceyville at the time of the tragedy," declared that he had information regarded by him as altogether reliable, that Wiley was not in the room when Stephens was killed, but had arranged to get him from the court-room, to extort from him a promise to leave the county; and the promise not being given Stephens was killed. According to the "gentleman of intelligence," Wiley was "very angry" with the men who had slain Stephens—a lame excuse, it must be admitted; although his "anger" was quite creditable.
Mr. Linney, it may be stated, in passing, said in his letter, that Wiley died at his (Linney's) house near Taylorsville, and that the "measure of the corpse was about seven feet in length." This statement seems astounding, but as I recollect him, Wiley was a very tall man. Upon one occasion, during the Kuklux troubles, I saw him on horseback, going from Yanceyville, with a long rifle resting in the hollow of his arm—an incident characteristic of the times. He looked like a wind mill on horse back.
MATERIALS FROM THE SCRAPBOOK OF W. A. HAYNE COLLECTED IN 1874
William A. Hayne was a native of Charleston, and a free man of free parents. His mother's father and his father's father were white. He was educated in the Charleston school of free Negroes. He attained the position of Representative in the Legislature and served the State efficiently. Hayne passed away in 1889.
The recent meeting at Barnwell Courthouse was by far the largest held there since the war. The meeting was called to order by Dr. J. W. Ogilvie as temporary chairman. A committee of five, consisting of Col. Counts, Captain F. M. Wanamaker, Dr. J. C. Miller, and Messrs. W. T. Blanton and J. M. Hudson were appointed to select permanent officers, and nominated the following gentlemen: General Johnson Hagood, President; Messrs. Counts, Sojourner, Blanton, Killingsworth and Ogilvie, vice-presidents; J. M. Ryan, secretary.
General Hagood, who was at the front end of the hall, some distance from the chair he was to occupy, upon the invitation of the temporary chairman, advanced to take his seat as presiding officer amidst deafening applause. On taking the chair, General Hagood said: "I understand the purpose of this meeting to be to consider the misgovernment in South Carolina, which running through ten long years, has culminated in the shameful and shameless proceedings of our present Legislature. It is not for me, here, to recall this disgraceful history in all its details. You have borne with it till patience has ceased to be a virtue, and from one end of this American Union to another, regardless of section or party the press—that mighty engine and exponent of popular sentiment—is now ringing with the denunciation of the last wrong inflicted upon you, and with commendation of the true and faithful man who, with a heroism surpassing that of the battlefield, which is wielding such weapons as the executive army can furnish in your temporary defence. This thing has gone far enough: This crowded hall—these earnest faces over which a light flickers that carries me back to a time since when my head and heart have alike grown gray, tell me so. Every instinct of self-preservation tells me that the time has come when all in South Carolina who are fit to live outside of her penitentiary, or expect to within her borders an inheritance for their children, must enlist in this struggle. It will be a contest in which no half-hearted recruit is wanted. It is a fight for life and property, in which you will have to do all that a citizen may do—and, if need be, all that may become a man." (Applause.)
Mr. Alfred Aldrich rose and said: A short time ago, in this house, I said among other things to the taxpayers, that I had "implicit confidence in the people of Barnwell County, but none in Governor Chamberlain." In the light of recent events, I desire to make the Amende honorable to Governor Chamberlain, and here, with equal unreserve as when I made the declaration alluded to, I wish to submit the charge in my opinion embodied in the following resolutions:
Resolved that Governor Chamberlain, from his first ... to his last veto, has carried ... knowledge to the platform on which ... if he does not receive the support of the leading men of his own party, is entitled to the confidence and will receive the cordial sympathy and merited aid of the honest and good men in South Carolina.
Resolved, that in rising above party to vindicate the civilization and ancient good name of the States over which he presides, by his rebuke to the Legislature for the election of corrupt and incompetent judges, as he has shown large statesmanship, integrity of purpose and courage of performance that command the respect and approval of all good men, irrespective of party.
Resolved: that the Governor, having taken care of the Charleston and Sumter circuits by refusing to commission Whipper and Moses and not being able to reach Wiggins in the same way, we of the Barnwell circuit must see that he does not defile the bench and debauch the county now adorned by the virtue and the learning of the incorruptible Maher.
Resolved: That we recognize and appreciate the difficulties that the Governor has had to contend against to maintain his position as a political reformer, that we acknowledge probity in redeeming the pledges contained in the platform on which he was elected to office, and admire his boldness in resisting the pressure of those who were not in earnest when they made them; that we are fully sensible of the opposition that he encountered and the difficulties that have environed him in acting his arduous role, and that we take this occasion to show him and the men of his party who endorse him, of our cordial support.
The resolutions were unanimously and enthusiastically adopted. The Honorable A. P. Aldrich by invitation, then addressed the meeting. We have already published his remarks.
It was resolved that the President appoint, at his leisure, an executive committee of five to carry out in Barnwell County such recommendations as might be made by the Central Democratic Executive Committee, at its meeting in Columbia on the instant.
Mr. Simms then offered the following resolutions, which were carried out unanimously: Resolved, that in view of our repeated failures to reform the State Government by the policy of co-operation with the Conservative element of the Republican Party, who professed the same object, and of recent events we recognize the absolute and immediate necessity of reorganizing the Democratic party to restore an honest and economical government.
Resolved: That the Democratic Party of South Carolina will in the future, as it has in the past, support principles, not men, and we hereby extend a cordial invitation to all men in the State, who desire honest government, to unite with us, at least until we have accomplished our purpose.
Resolved: That the co-operation now invited is not with the bad men who have heretofore deluded, deceived and betrayed our colored fellow-citizens, but with the great mass of that class who, we believe, are willing to rescue the State from the grasp of these unprincipled adventurers.
Resolved: That the President appoint a committee of five to carry out the recommendations of the State executive committee to meet in Columbia on the 6th instant.
The following resolutions offered by Col. Counts, were adopted without a dissenting voice.
Whereas, by an indiscreet action of the Legislature of this State an insult of the grossest nature—an insult to all common decency and to all civilization, has been thrust into our faces by way of an election for judges of the respective circuits of Judges Maher, Reed and Shaw; and whereas, it was not expected or desired by either political party of said circuits that either of the present incumbents should be defeated; and whereas, we regard this act as a public declaration against the peace, prosperity and happiness of all virtue and intelligence, now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That we, the people of this section of the second circuit, not wishing to make an issue with any individual or party, and not being willing to risk our lives and property in the hands of the newly elected judge, P. L. Wiggins, for reasons obvious, do earnestly request the said P. L. Wiggins to tender his resignation to the Governor at once, and that the Governor do declare said vacancy be filled by an election to take place before the close of the present session of the Legislature.
Resolved, That a memorial be prepared by such persons as the president of this meeting shall designate, asking for the re-election of Judge Maher, and that said memorial (by request of this convention) be presented to the Legislature by the Hon. Chancellor Johnson.
Resolved, That a memorial be prepared by such persons as the president of this meeting shall designate, asking for the re-election of Judge Maher, and that said memorial (by request of this convention) be presented to the Legislature by the Hon. Chancellor Johnson.
Resolved, That a committee of two be appointed by the president of this meeting to communicate with the action of this meeting to communicate with Solicitor Wiggins, and to notify him of the action of this convention; and that said committee be instructed to assure him that this convention is not prompted by any impure motives or personal animosity for him in taking this action, but alone for the interest of the country, and for the peace,....
VOTE OF MARION COUNTY IN 1870
Reform Republican Marion 372 511 Friendship 79 65 Mars Bluff 84 192 Berry's X Roads 196 178 Mullins 196 124 Aliens 72 33 High Hill 176 37 Old Ark 23 17 Cains 121 120 McMilans 105 36 Little Rock 277 204 Aeriel 130 57 Stones 62 73 Jeffries Creek 67 224 Old Neck 80 67 Campbells Bridge 151 56 Totals 2191 1994
"It will be seen from the above statement that the reform movement in 1870 carried the county by a majority of 207 votes. In that election the fight was between the Conservatives and the Republicans—the whites against the blacks. In fact it was a question of color, for both races voted solidly. Now it is different. The Republicans have inaugurated the Reform movement, and the fight on the 3d of November will be between the two wings of this party. The problem then is easy to solve. The Reform movement will carry Marion County by an overwhelming majority."
THE SPEAKING TOMORROW 1870
The representatives of both wings of the Republican party will speak at the Courthouse tomorrow. We hope every Republican in the county will be present and hear what both sides have to say. The Republican voters of the county who have any doubt as to their duty at the coming election, for whom they should vote, we hope, will be sufficiently enlightened to cast their votes for honest men and an honest Government.
We hope, for the character of Marion, that, those who come to the Courthouse on this occasion, will come for the purpose of enlightening themselves on a subject which involves the salvation of the State, and that each and every one will constitute himself a keeper of the peace, and that good order will be preserved during the day.
ROLL OF MEMBERS OF THE UNION REPUBLICAN STATE CONVENTION, 1874
Aiken—R. B. Elliot, C. D. Hayne, Gloster Holland, W. M. Peel.
Abbeville—H. Wideman, J. R. Tolbert, R. Griffin, A. H. Wallace, A. J. Titus.
Anderson—John R. Cochran, C. A. Mathison, W. R. Parker.
Barnwell—W. J. Whipper, C. P. Leslie, E. M. Sumter,—Jackson.
Beaufort—Robert Smalls, N. B. Myers, R. H. Gleaves, T. E. Miller, Thomas Hamilton, S. J. Bamfield, Hastings Gantt.
Charleston—W. R. Jervey, E. W. M. Mackey, Aaron Logan, S. E. Gaillard, W. J. McKinlay, T. H. Jones, E. B. Seabrook, J. L. Walker, W. T. Oliver, W. G. Pinckney, Stephen Brown, Edward Petty, J. A. Williams, J. W. Reid, J. A. Mushington, P. P. Hedges, R. B. Gathers, A. C. Richmond.
Chester—T. J. Mackey, D. J. Walker, Barney Humphries.
Chesterfield—T. L. Weston, Robert Brewer.
Clarendon—J. D. Warley, Syfax Milton.
Colleton—W. M. Thomas, A. C. Schaffer, A. P. Holmes, T. H. Grant, W. F. Myers.
Darlington—T. C. Cox, B. F. Whittemore, Jordan Lang, J. B. Middleton.
Edgefield—J. H. McDevitt, Lawrence Cain, Paris Simkins, David Graham, Ned Tenant.
Fairfield—Daniel Bird, Thomas Walker, William Boler.
Georgetown—J. H. Rainey, W. H. Jones, Jr., R. M. Herriott.
Greenville—J. M. Runion, Thos. Brier, A. Blythe, Zion Collins.
Horry—T. C. Dunn, H. W. Jones.
Kershaw—J. A. Chestnut, N. W. Blair, Frank Carter.
Lancaster—Jos. Clarke, Allen Hudson.
Laurens—Y. J. P. Owens, H. McDaniels, James Young, Jos. Crews.
Lexington—R. H. Kirk, S. L. Lorick.
Marion—C. Smith, W. A. Hayne, M. K. Holloway, Anthony Howard.
Marlboro—H. J. Maxwell, D. D. McColl.
Newberry—H. C. Corwin, C. David, Henry Gillem.
Oconee—M. D. Singleton, Elisha Jenkins.
Orangeburg—T. C. Andrews, R. R. Duncan, C. W. Caldwell, E. I. Cain, Samuel Lewis.
Pickens—O. C. Folger.
Richland—C. M. Wilder, J. J. Patterson, F. L. Cardoza, C. S. Minort.
Sumter—Samuel Lee, F. J. Moses, Jr., W. E. Johnson, J. M. Tindall.
Spartanburg—J. Winsmith, T. B. Hartwell, S. T. Poinier, Alex Jones.
Union—June Mobley, S. Hawkins, J. H. Goss.
Williamsburg—S. A. Swails, J. T. Peterson, Wm. Scott.
York—J. H. White, R. M. Crook, M. L. Owens, Nelson Davis.
For Governor, JOHN T. GREEN
For Lieutenant-Governor, MARTIN R. DELANEY
For Congress, SAMUEL LEE
State Board of Equalization, B. D. TOWNSEND, of Darlington W. B. SMITH, of Charleston W. D. MARS, of Abbeville G. W. MELTON, of Chester S. J. LEE, of Aiken
Representatives, W. D. JOHNSON W. A. HAYNE B. G. HOWARD A. H. HOWARD
Judge of Probate, JOHN WILCOX, SR.
School Commissioners, J. A. SMITH
County Commissioners, T. W. AYRES A. J. FRYER J. P. DAVIS
A GREEN POW WOW
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHARLESTON CHRONICLE:
A mass meeting of those of the Republicans of this County who are credulous enough to espouse the bolters movement, was held here on Tuesday the 29th inst, at the Court House under the call of one Dr. J. B. Thompson, temporary County Chairman, who was sent down here by Senator T. C. Dunn, with a handsome and carefully prepared set of Resolutions, for adoption, pledging the entire County for Green and Reform, and lauding Senator Jones, for his steadfast adherence to the cause; and with equal warmth denouncing the other of our delegation for daring to exercise their untrammelled opinion in their support and advocacy of Daniel H. Chamberlain. The resolutions, however, were never introduced as intended owing to the fact that the Chairman, the said Dr. Thompson, had not the temerity to call his own meeting to order, nor did he put in an appearance at any time during the proceedings. The recollections of the bombardment of Castle Jones, on the memorable night of the 13th of August was too vivid upon his memory. But about the meeting.
It was a Babel of confusion from beginning to ending. This arose principally from an evident disposition on the part of the most prominent Greenites, to thrust the notorious Bowley upon the people as a Delegate, against their will and wishes. The meeting was really a Pow Wow. A motion of any description could not be heard and the meeting adjourned without coming to any effectual conclusion.
The majority of the people are under such a feeling having been foiled, deceived, and deserted by the men whom they have elevated for honor, that they now have inscribed upon their banners:
"Judge Green may try with might and main, But he'll never beat Daniel H. Chamberlain."
MATTERS IN MARION
FREAKS OF A JACK-IN-OFFICE—THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE DISTRICT CONFERENCE
Correspondence of the News and Courier
Marion, S. C., July 20, 1874.
One W. A. Hayne, of nondescript complexion and Radical persuasion, whose frantic speeches and other wild performances during a political canvass several years ago procured him the sobriquet of "Notoriety," is just now lording over our unhappy people in the guise of a United States commissioner. In this potential capacity he has commenced active operations against those who he or his ebon emissaries choose to suspect of transgressing the internal revenue law. Farmers who may have been in the habit of purchasing small quantities of tobacco just as they purchase other supplies for the use of the laborers on their plantations, have all at once become victims of vindictive prosecutions—the officers who make the arrests, and the over-zealous witnesses for the government, all being negroes. It is said that a farmer must not buy tobacco for his hands without having obtained a regular license therefor. While this may or may not be true, it seems to be certain that the warlike commissioner is enforcing the decision not so much in the spirit of the law, which he pretends to vindicate, as with a malicious propensity to annoy his political opponents. He was not gracious enough to consider that our farmers were without perhaps a single exception, ignorant of the existence of so stringent a ruling, (if, indeed, it does exist,) and he did not see the propriety of advertising it for the benefit of those whose character would belie the suspicion of an intention to defraud the revenue. It may be that "Noteriety Hayne," by thus flaunting in our faces his puissant commission, means to enhance his consequence as a prospective candidate far the Legislature, or that he thereby seeks to ingratiate himself with the colored people who relish (as he may suppose) the persecution and humiliation to which the planters are subjected by such wanton abuses of misplaced authority.
The transaction from this topic to matters of religion may be somewhat violent; it is, nevertheless, a relief. The Marion District Conference of the Methodist Church convened here on Thursday last, and remained in session four days. An unusually large number of delegates were in attendance. The deliberations, which were presided over by Rev. W. C. Power, were conducted in a spirit of earnest devotion to the important interests which came up for consideration. The reports from the various charges in the district, which embraces the Counties of Marlboro', Marion, Horry and Georgetown, and portions of Darlington and Williamsburg, exhibited a most gratifying state of the church. The Sunday-Schools were shown to be in a very flourishing condition, and the cause of temperance was making headway against all opposition. The Rev. Drs. Shipp and Jones, presidents respectively of Wofford and Columbia Female Colleges, were present, and their fine pulpit ministrations added much to the interest of the occasion.
DIVIDING THE NEGRO VOTE
WHY THE SOUTH HAS FAILED TO ACCOMPLISH IT
A Northern Journalist's Impressions of the Palmetto State
The following extracts from a letter of Mr. John Russell Young, published in the New York Herald, are well worthy of attentive consideration; but we need hardly say that in our opinion Mr. Young is wholly mistaken in holding the white responsible, during the last five years at least, for the solidity and infrangibility of the negro in the South:
Why is it that the Southerners, the whites who masters before the war, have not devided the negro vote, and uniting with those who were intelligent, gained control of the State so as to secure it an efficient government? It would seem to the ordinary political thinker that even three-sevenths whites could control the four-sevenths blacks. One thinks of the Saxon in India with the Hindoo, in Canada with the French, in Jamaica with the Negro, in Ireland, after a turbulent fashion, with the mailed hand, and yet his rule is now absolute. Why is it that in South Carolina it is otherwise? My gifted and honored colleague, Mr. Nordhoff, in his series of letters from the South, says it is because he has been corrupted by the carpet-bagger. With all deference to that distinguished authority, his answer is an imperfect solution. Surely the Negro who knows his old master, who has lived with him during his life, who in most cases looks with affection upon him and all who belong to him—surely in the new relation he will look to the master as a friend, and take his guidance in so solemn a duty as entering upon citizenship. This too because as we learn from all authorities, and from none more clearly than Mr. Nordhoff, that the master, "accepts the new relation" and has no purpose of renewing the war, and, so far as from wishing to return the negro to slavery, feels that the old system was an error, even from an economical point of view, and that in time its abolition will prove to be a blessing to the white, whatever it may be to the black. Why, then this being the case, has the carpet-bagger been able to strangle a commonwealth like South Carolina, and with the aid of the Negro, plunder his old master? The only answer that I can see is that the whites have not taken any pains to cultivate the blacks, who would naturally go with them, or the intelligent and honest Northern men who came here, meaning in good faith to make the South a home and to grow up with the Southern people. In nearly every case with scarcely an exception, the whites have drawn a line, just as Jefferson Davis drew when he embarked upon the Confederacy. They alone have a right here. Whoever opposes him is a "scalawag," a "carpet-bagger," or a "nigger." A "scalawag" if as a Southern born man he votes with the Republicans; a "carpet-bagger" if he comes from the North, no matter how he votes. This line is drawn with severity and with scarcely an exception. A worthy citizen of Charleston, who came from the North in the beginning of the war, from motives of philanthropy, to educate the blacks, who has lived in the state ever since, and holds a high reputation from all classes because of his integrity and ability, told me that he had never been asked to the home of a Southern man since he came into the State. "They do business with me, meet me in public places and show me all respect, but never open the latch key". A reverend and highly esteemed prelate of the Methodist Church in the North came here to attend a gathering of African churches. He was in an official position, for these churches were under the control of his denomination. He remained here several days presiding over the gathering. He was known to be an honored prelate, whose life was given solely to his religious duties. He told me that during his stay in South Carolina he had not received a single attention from his Southern fellow Methodists. The clergy had not noticed his presence nor asked him into their pulpit. He saw only fellow Christians who had come from the North or Negroes, I cannot imagine how the line can be more closely drawn, and now speak of what happened only a few days since.
The Negro and His Northern Ally
The negro, then has been thrown back upon his Northern ally. Every memory, every name, every anniversary of the war, is cherished as sacred. All the rest is an abomination. You may well ask: "Why should not this be so, for are not these memories dear to them by the blood slain brothers and children?" Truly so, and far be it from me to profane so holy a thought as that which would honor them. But I am answering the question propounded some time since as to how it is that the Southern whites have never succeeded in dividing the colored vote, so as to give the states a good government. They have driven the Negro away. In Georgia when they gained power they have practically disfranchised him. But for the interference of the Federal Congress they would have forbidden his appearance in their legislatures. I do not think that any frank Georgian will deny that this result was largely due to intimidation and force. In a State with 545,142 negroes in 1870, to 638,926 whites, they have virtually stamped out a Republican party. The negro is afraid to vote, is not in many places allowed on the jury, is punished severely for crimes, and Mr. Nordhoff has told you that at least 25,000 of them have left the State in the last five years; and yet in Georgia they pay taxes on a large property. The negro in South Carolina sees what has been done across the line, and he knows, or naturally fears, that should the white man rule here the same results will follow. As a consequence, therefore, the negro is in the hands of the adventurer. He fears that his master will make him a slave, or reduce him to a condition akin to slavery. The result is, therefore, that not one of them will vote the Democratic ticket. I have heard of Democratic negroes, but I have seen none. I have spoken on this subject with Southern men in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and there is only one story. "I have negroes here," said one eminent gentleman, "who were my slaves in the old time. They hang around my house. They will fight for me, work for me and bring me their money to keep. They take my advice in all things, and are trustworthy and devoted. They will not vote for me. My coachman there will vote against me and in favor of the meanest Republican in the county." The negro thus far sees nothing in politics but his own freedom. He votes for Grant all the time. His political education embraces a sentiment and a fact. The sentiment is Lincoln, the fact is Grant. I was talking to a woolly headed vagabond the other day, who had learned that I was a Northern man, and wanted to go home with me as an attendant. He was a worthless, ragged, shining darky, as black as night, and earned his living, he told me, by dancing the juba for gentlemen on the sidewalk when the police were not looking. During the war he was a slave lad. "Did you know you were free," I said, "before the war was over?" He told me that the news came very quickly; that they all kept "mighty shady," never pretending to know until "Massa Sherman came with the soldiers." But they knew it all the time, and there was never a night that his "old mammie didn't pray to Massa Lincoln." This is the thought that has burned deep into the negro mind. You cannot erase it. You cannot take it from him. He has heard the slaves' horn. He has worn the yoke and carried the scar into furrow and swamp. He has seen father and mother perhaps, taken to the block and sold into slavery. That memory ever lives as it would live with you and I, if such a career darkened our lives. So Moses may steal and Whipper may "administer justice," to him they mean freedom. Coming out of the night they find no hand to grasp but the hand of the adventurer. Is it any wonder then, that they follow him as blind men or those who see darkly?
I cannot resist the conclusion, and it grows upon me every day, in the South, that for much of the wrong, that has been done in these States the old Southerners are to blame. I say this in sorrow and with no harshness of feeling to them, and not without making allowance for a feeling which, after all, is one of human nature, a feeling of hatred of the men who defeated their hopes of empire and of contempt for the negro, who is today a senator, but who yesterday could have been sent to the whipping post. It is not easy for a planter who has not enough to eat to rejoice over the fact that the servant who once washed his beard is now his ruler of the State. But, whatever the motive of the feeling, the negro in South Carolina is at the feet of Moses and Whipper, because he was driven there. The old master has as yet made no sign of sympathy or friendship. I am profoundly convinced that if, instead of mourning over the lost cause, as in the past they were wont to bluster about the Yankees and slavery, these people had dealt wisely with the negro and generously with the Northern immigrant, these States, and South Carolina especially, would be free and powerful. I hail the Chamberlain movement in one of its aspects as the opening of a new era. The support which that officer receives from the leading journal in the State, and one of the leading journals in the South—The News and Courier—shows the awakening of a new spirit. This paper thoroughly Democratic, its editors gentlemen who were in the Confederacy through the whole war and firm in their devotion to the lost cause, sees that the only hope for South Carolina is supporting the honest, intelligent New England Governor, who says he is Republican from conviction and never ... a Democrat; that he has no sympathy for Democracy or desire to be in its councils ... that as Governor he means to give ... honest government. The news ... takes the Governor at his word and ... him on, while newspapers over the border in Georgia mock and deride. If Chamberlain succeeds he will divide the colored vote, and for the first time array parties upon some other dividing line than that laid down by Jefferson Davis when he founded his Confederacy.
Hope for Carolina
But whether he succeeds or not the movement which he began a year ago, and which is now almost national in its extent, must go on. There is no way for South Carolina to win a good government except on this basis. Here the negroes are and in a large majority. They cannot be driven away, they cannot be slain, they cannot be disfranchised. They must be asked to take part in government, to unite with honest men in punishing crime. Education makes this more and more easy, and amid all this sorrow and strife and tumult the work of education goes on. The negro pants for the primer and the speller as the hart for the water of the brook. I have taken pains, in some bookstore loungings, to inquire about this. I learned in nearly every case that the negroes were constant purchasers, and almost invariably of school-books—elementary and advanced. I am told that the negro is as anxious to read and write as he used to be to own a yellow cravat. I do not suppose this education goes far, but it is something. It is there I see day—there, and nowhere else. This old feeling must die out. These memories of the Southern Confederacy must be put away with the family laces and grandmother' samplers. Leaders like Toombs and Hill must be superseded. These negroes must be taught that freedom means responsibility, and that honesty is safety and peace. These lands and ports, these watercourses, these widely stretching and vast acres, must respond to capital and energy, the money and the skill of the North. Here is room in South Carolina alone for all of New England, and in no State could the spirit of New England work such marvels. But so long as the fogs of slavery and misgovernment and ostracism and social hatred hang over them like the malaria of their own rice lowlands, so long South Carolina will be a prostrate State, crying for sympathy and help. Let us trust that the time has come for the people to help themselves, and in doing so, raise their Commonwealth to a pinacle of grandeur and prosperity such as even its proud history has never known.
"REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLE" AND THE INDEPENDENT REPUBLICAN MOVEMENT
The burden of the song of the Chamberlain Ring and their organs is that the integrity of "the party" is of more consequence than honest government, and that any Republican who votes for Green and Delaney is a traitor to the Republican party and false to Republican principles. In all humility we beg leave to suggest that the persons who are candidates for office in the interest of a corrupt Ring, and the few newspapers which live and move and have their being by and in that Ring, are hardly the disinterested and unselfish counsellors that they claim to be. It is safer to go outside of the charmed circle, and ascertain what is advised by Republicans whose honesty is as great as their integrity, who were Republicans when Democracy was in the ascendant, and who are as true now to Republicanism as they were while slavery existed and most of the South Carolina white Republicans were red-hot Democrats in the South or obscure demagogues in the North. Their opinions are entitled to weight, and for that reason they are carefully excluded from the columns of the organs of the Chamberlain Ring. It is in our power, however, to lay these opinions before the public, and we mean to do it.
1. The New York Times is known everywhere as a powerful Republican newspaper; it advocates Republican principles in season and out of season. This paper heartily approves of the Independent Republican movement, and says that, whatever may be the immediate result, "The final effect cannot be good." It says, further, that, in the organization of the Independent Republican movement, the colored people have made "a long step forward."
2. The New York Evening Post, a Republican newspaper which circulates among the upper-ten, declares that "the political signs from South Carolina are favorable"; and that it has very gratifying assurances that "the colored voters are beginning to perceive that they have been used too long by unscrupulous politicians" (of the Chamberlain-Bowen school) "who have employed partisan prejudices to promote their own private fortunes." And The New York Tribune, an unfaltering friend of the colored Republicans, talks in the same strain, and gives the Independent Republican movement its warm approval.
3. One of the strongest Republican newspapers in New England is The Springfield Republican (Mass.) which sees in the new movement an evidence of good faith on the part of the Conservatives, and of sagacity and honesty on the part of the Independent Republicans.
The newspapers whose opinions we have quoted represent, in large part, the sentiments and opinions of the people who pushed the war against the South, and insisted on the abolition of slavery. They say, without a dissenting voice, that the Independent Republican movement is right and wise and just. On the other side, a marked man, stands C. C. Bowen, who, in printed handbills, speaks of Judge Green as "the Democratic candidate for Governor." Colored Republicans! whom will you believe, the men and newspapers who fought your battles when you were powerless to help yourselves, or the men and the newspapers whose love for you only began when you had office and public plunder to bestow upon them?
SUNDAY MORNING, July 12, 1874
If there be anything wanting to the argument we have persistently urged upon the Republicans of this State, it is contained in the following extract from an editorial in The New York Times, General Grant's especial organ. In speaking of what General Grant has said about South Carolina, the Times says: "He (General Grant) further added that unless a true reform was begun at once in South Carolina, the Republican party would this fall repudiate the so-called Republicans of the State. In fact, this is what the Republicans of the North have already done. The Triumph of Moses and his gang would be only the triumph of corruption, and that the people of this country will not stand.
If we do not heed this warning in time, there will not be enough left of our organization next year to make a respectable ward meeting. We cannot fight the Democrats here, General Grant and the whole country beside. We cannot afford to commit political suicide, and we are not going.
CHARLESTON, S. C., FRIDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 2, 1874
THE FAIR PLAY MEETING
A Grand Gathering of Republicans and Conservatives—Harmony Prevails and Nothing Asked but Fair Play
The meeting last night was one of the most extraordinary gatherings ever held in Charleston. Upwards of four thousand of our citizens irrespective of party, assembled together and raised their voices in the interests of fair play for one and all.
Men of culture and wealth, stood side by side, with the honest and industrious workingmen. Republican and Conservative, white men and colored men, Chamberlain men and Green men stood shoulder to shoulder bearing in mind the great object of the meeting and for the time being casting aside all thoughts of party spirit. It seemed to be well understood by each and every man in the vast assemblage that this was not the time nor place to urge the claim of any particular candidates, and the harmony that prevailed reflected the most unbounded credit on the citizens of Charleston.
Let it here be distinctly understood that the objection to the commissioners of election does not imply an objection to either of them individually but it is claimed that one of them should at least give place to a representative of the other side. If Thompson and Smith are candidates for election to any office, and the three commissioners of election are all Thompson men, it is natural that the supporters of Smith should be dissatisfied, but by appointing one Smith man all suspicions of unfair play will be removed.
Col. E. W. M. Mackey called the meeting to order from the steps of the City Hall at 8 o'clock and upon his motion it was organized with the following officers:
President—The Hon. H. D. Lesesne.
Vice-Presidents—Mayor C. I. Cunningham, Ex-Gov. Wm. Aiken, Coroner Aaron Logan, Mr. E. B. Seabrook, Mr. S. Y. Tupper, Alderman W. J. McKinlay, Senator S. E. Gaillard, Hon. Henry Gourdin, Mr. John F. Taylor, Rev. E. J. Adams, Mr. Andrew Simonds, Mr. H. H. DeLeon, Mr. C. O. Witte, Alderman S. B. Garrett, Mr. Hugh Ferguson, Mr. J. W. Reed, Alderman John A. Godfrey, Mr. B. Bollman, Mr. B. O'Neill, Capt. J. C. Clausen, Mr. Stephen Brown, Mr. W. A. Courtenay.
Secretaries—Mr. J. A. Mushington, Mr. C. O. Trumbo, Capt. Alex Williams.
Mr. Lesesne opened the meeting with a most appropriate address, in which he stated ... meeting, at his leisure, who shall present by letter or otherwise, the foregoing preamble and resolutions to the Governor of the State, and require of him, as necessary for the preservation of public peace, that he do remove the said commissioners of election, or a majority of them, and appoint, in their stead, commissioners of known integrity, intelligence and impartiality, who will see that in every matter pertaining to the election, equal and exact justice shall be done to all citizens, irrespective of class, color or political party; and further, that the said committee shall, in the event of the refusal of the Executive to grant this request, call a mass meeting of the people to take such action as will then be necessary.
Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed by the chairman of this meeting, at his leisure, who shall immediately ascertain what protection can be secured to the voters of Charleston County under the United States laws relating to elections, which committee shall immediately report the result of their investigations, through the public prints, with such recommendations for the guidance of the citizens as they may deem advisable.
After the reading of the above preamble and resolutions, Mr. Joseph W. Barnwell addressed the meeting, and was followed by the Hon. G. A. Trenholm, who spoke with much eloquence and at considerable length.
Mr. Trenholm, holding the Chronicle in his hand, read therefrom the following extract from the third plank of the Republican platform: "We shall hold all men as enemies to equality of rights who interfere with the ballot or deny the free and lawful exercise of its use to any citizen, whatever may be his party creed."
He called attention to the fact that these sentiments were in the Republican platform and were published in the Charleston Chronicle, the only Republican paper in this city; but, strange to say, this portion of his speech does not seem to have made a great impression on either the News and Courier reporter or the Sun man. For the News and Courier fails to report it, and the Sun does not shine upon it.
The Hon. A. J. Ransier then took the platform, but his address was interrupted by an unlooked for incident.
A number of policemen having in charge some of the men who were wounded in the fracas with the strikers, of which an account is given elsewhere in this issue, were seen marching down Meeting street followed by a considerable crowd. The bigger crowd seeing the others, and not knowing what was up, became demoralized, and a panic ensued followed by a general stampede.
SPEECH OF W. A. HAYNE, OF MARION,
On Outrages In Edgefield County S. C.
The House, in Committee of the Whole, having under consideration the following message from His Excellency:
STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, Executive Chamber, Columbia, March 1, 1876.
HON. ROBERT B. ELLIOTT, Speaker House of Representatives:
Sir:—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a copy of a resolution adopted by the House of Representatives and concurred in by the Senate, by which I am requested to report to this General Assembly at the earliest practicable moment all the facts and information in my possession in relation to outrages alleged to have been committed recently in Edgefield County.
I have the honor, in reply, to say that the information received by me respecting the matter referred to is, in substance, that, on the night of the 11th of February, some twenty-five or thirty mounted men, in disguise, went to the house of James Perry, living near Ridge Spring, in the County of Edgefield; that they found in the house Freeman Gardner, his wife, Julia Brooks, a woman between seventy and eighty years of age, and Zilpha Hill, a young woman—all colored; that this disguised band took all four of the immates of the house to a point of about a mile and a quarter distant and then stripped and whipped them all; that after the whipping was over, the woman, Patsey Gardner, was severely and systematically burned by the application of liquid sealing wax or burning pitch to her back and limbs; that the young woman, Zilpha Hill, who was pregnant was also beaten and severely abused, to such an extent as to endanger her life; that the only pretext for this conduct was given in a remark of one of the disguised band about John Gaston's goods.
This is the account given by the victims of the outrage, and the condition of the woman, Patsey Gardner, seems to indicate the truth of her statements as to the injuries inflicted upon this woman.
This is the substance of the information in my hands at the present time.
Very respectfully, (Signed) D. H. CHAMBERLAIN, Governor.
Mr. Hayne said:
Mr. Chairman—Perhaps no member regrets this outrage more than I do, for in the last campaign it was my earnest desire, yea, the height of my ambition, to bring about not only purity in my party, but harmony between the two races, and therefore my regret. I am disappointed, almost discouraged, for it seems as though 'tis love's labor lost. But, sir, just so long as the newspapers of the country continue to exert their influence in this direction will our State be disgraced by these foul outrages. They fire up the hatred of the hot headed, indiscreet youths of the State by their incendiary articles, and make them believe that to slay and scourge all who differ from them in opinion are doing God and their country a service. They never heap the ashes of charitable oblivion upon the coals of prejudice and hate, but continue to replenish it with the most exciting and fiery appeals. The Edgefield paper makes light of this dastardly violence done to aged and inoffensive women by ascribing it as the work of "rash boys." Manly pastime for these brave boys! a crime sir, that in any other State, and done to any other class, would have demanded and met with immediate punishment, perhaps in the Court of Judge Lynch, as was the case in Marlboro County a few weeks ago, when a white lady was abused, the perpetrators, two colored men, met with immediate punishment. They would not have brooked the law's delay. Yea, sir, an outraged community would have taught these "rash boys" a lesson that I fear they will learn in no other school, and the courteous Sheriff would not have been put to the trouble of "inviting them to be arrested."
But, Mr. Chairman, it happens to be the poor despised Africans who have tilled their fields for centuries, educated and amassed for them princely fortunes, and while they were engaged in riveting tighter the chains of bondage, were engaged in the care and protection of their defenceless families. Mr. Chairman, I ask, is this the mode to bring about harmony and prosperity? Will this tranquilize this already distracted country? No, sir. On the contrary, it will raise to its highest temperature the ill feelings of an outraged people, and cause them to adopt for their redress lex talionis, in opposition to the Edgefield lex loci, as Mr. McDuffe truthfully says, "God has planted in the breast of man a higher and holier principle than that by which he is prompted to resist oppression; the vilest reptile that crawls on the earth, without the gift of reason to comprehend the injustice of its injuries, would bite, or sting, or bruise the hand by which they were inflicted. Is it to be expected, then, that freemen will patiently bow down and kiss the rod of the oppressors?" I had hoped that the swift retribution that followed the K. K's reign, and the withering rebuke administered by their own counsel, (Hon. Reverdy Johnson,) would have put an end to these inhuman and disgusting outrages; but, sir, the newspapers must live and thrive, and this can only be done by a healthy subscription list, and, in order to swell that list, they must excite the worst passions of depraved men and pander to their prejudices.
Are the disgraceful scenes that darkened the history of South Carolina and cast a foul blot upon her proud escutcheon to be re-enacted? It must not. If we expect to enjoy peace and prosperity in our State, we must be more mindful of the rights of each other, more tolerant in our political views, and finally, leave the punishment of violators of the law to Courts of Justice, and not constitute ourselves a Vigilance Committee for every imaginary wrong. The Courts are certainly doing their duty, as our increased appropriation for the penitentiary will evince. If this course of action is followed, then, and not until then, will South Carolina blossom as the rose, and peace and prosperity flow as a river within her borders.
Again, Mr. Chairman, if the people of that and any other County would only turn away from the siren voice of selfish office-seekers, and put in office men who would dare to do their duty at all times and in all places, without fear, favor or impartiality, then, sir, would their rights be secured, and they would sit down under their own vine and fig-tree, with none daring to molest or make afraid; then would these lawless men respect the rights of the occupants of the humblest cabin; for the law properly administered would indeed be a terror to these evil doers, and wherever that aegis of America's honor, and her citizen's protection floats, men would fear to disregard the rights of his fellows or take the law into their own hands; and, my fellow-citizens, let me entreat you, in the exercise of your rights as citizens hereafter, select only such men as are worthy of these high offices—men who will do their duty. When I have given such advice hitherto you have scorned it, but take heed in future, for your interests, the security of your rights, make it an imperative duty on you.
Mr. Chairman, if departed spirits are visitants of this earth, and familiar with the actions of men, the spirits of the patriotic Rutledge and of the sainted Gasden must have wept tears of anguish over the degeneracy of these men bearing their patronymics as they witnessed the outrages (the details of which are heart sickening) which were perpetrated upon those inoffensive women. Has the chivalry of South Carolina degenerated thus far? Is this the work of her brave sons? Could they find no more worthy foe than an aged, infirm woman, brutally maltreated and her person exposed, who, even if guilty, should have excited their sympathy? Another, in a condition that would have appealed not in vain to the protection of savages, much less civilized men, cruelly beaten, and her life and that of her unborn child endangered thereby. Shame on you, degenerate sons of a brave and chivalrous ancestry! The recording angel in heaven's chancery must have shed tears as, with his diamond pen, he noted this additional evidence of man's depravity. I am no advocate of the "bloody shirt" doctrine, neither do I endorse the rash sentiments expressed by the member from Charleston, (Mr. Davis); but inasmuch as His Excellency has furnished this House with official information of this outrage, I have felt it my duty as a representative to express in positive, forcible terms my utter abhorrence and condemnation of this brutal outrage. The Governor has faithfully performed his duty in furthering the arrest of the guilty parties, and I hope the Court of justice will administer a lesson that will not soon be forgotten by that community. The laws are adequate; we simply require efficient and faithful officers to execute them; and as a legislative body we have done our duty in condemning this outrage, the punishment of which we leave to another tribunal—the Nemesis of justice.
SECOND DAYS EXHIBITION!
They go for a Reporter And Catch a Tartar!
Large Attendance but Poor Performance.
The exhibition at this place of amusement yesterday was of only an indifferent character. Unless the managers improve the show in some way, it will hardly draw for many more performances. True, the tricks of the acrobats are worthy of mention; the riding passable, and the performance of the numerous ring-masters tolerably creditable; but the "dagger pitchers" and "revolver-swallowers," and inferior parts assigned to the clowns in the ring, were altogether too limited to please the amusement-loving public. There must be more robber declarations and full-blooded excited performances anxious for bloody fames, or the thing will be a failure. This pretense of fight won't do; there must be a regular shooting and dying for principle, or we shall pronounce your cheap show a humbug; and some of you at least know that no third rate "Punch and Judy" exhibition will be tolerated by the party in power in South Carolina. With this warning and introduction, we proceed to give an account of the performance.
The mob was called to order precisely at 1 o'clock, temporary President Swails in the chair. The proceedings of the previous day were read from The Union-Herald in his hand, and called the attention of the assemblage to an article in that paper touching upon the subject of the raising of a chair by some member for the purpose of annihilating the present Governor of South Carolina. Smalls succeeded in raising a turbulent discussion about nothing, and a general discussion of the subject by the windy members of the convention, for some two hours, in which many of the "end men" took part.
The more intelligent members of the hippodrome took no part in the discussion, with the exception of the Governor, who, in a very dignified manner, informed them that he had feared no bodily harm from any of them; that he had witnessed such scenes before, and was quietly engaged in preparation for any trap that might be sprung upon the decent members of the convention, after the riot should have spent itself.
At this point, Maxwell, the tragedian from Marlboro, obtained the floor. He is one of the most amusing characters connected with the big show. He hadn't "seen any chairs raised," and, folding his arms and throwing himself back in a tragic and majestic position, said: "I, gentlemen, was the coolest of the cool." This remark, brought the house down. The worst of them were compelled to laugh; especially those who know he never keeps cool. He wound up his harangue by saying that the day was fast approaching when men would seek their rights on the ... face to face with newspaper men ... got the floor....
After other speeches, of a like nature, Captain Canton, city editor of The Union-Herald, stepped in front of the reporters table, read the article, and explained to them how he obtained his information and what he saw with his own eyes, winding up, after being interrupted several times, by telling them that "newspaper men were abundantly able to take care of themselves."
The discussion continued until Elliott moved that the whole matter be laid upon the table, which was agreed to.
Mr. Keegan, the correspondent of The Washington Chronicle, had listened to their foul language of denunciation of himself and others of his profession, and seeing the question closed, the vilified correspondent, sought his hat, and turning round to the assembled mob, told them they had denounced him like a dog, and had denied him the right to defend himself. This remark of the correspondent cowed the more ignorant portion of the gang, and the resolution was withdrawn, which permitted him to explain to them as the representative of a Republican paper, a gentleman and a soldier; that he had fought to free them; fought against his own father, who owned 150 of their kind, and was a Major in the 5th Louisiana Regiment; that he fought for principle, while his father fought for property; that he had been sent to Columbia to report their doings and sayings, and to see if there was a possible hope of good government in South Carolina.
This stopped the war upon the newspaper men. We devoutly hope that when he goes back across the Potomac he may....
AN INTERESTING REPORT OF THE PROCEEDINGS IN THE HOUSE
The School-Book Culprit's Speech in His Own Defense—His Attack Upon Mr. Cathcart and The News and Courier—A Pleasant Colloquy Between Hamilton and Leslie—The Close of the Discussion and Its Result
(From our special correspondent)
Columbia, S. C. February 25.—This has been a regular field day in the House, very nearly the entire session being devoted to a discussion of the report of the committee on privileges and elections concerning the guilt and expulsion of J. D. Robertson, of Beaufort.
Mr. Crittenden resumed, in a review of the evidence. He briefly reviewed his own remarks of yesterday, and then proceeded to quote from the letters of Robertson, while so endeavoring to benefit the children of South Carolina, had never informed the commission of his plans up to December 30th. One point Mr. Robertson had made was that Ivison, Blakeman & Co. were disappointed and for that reason they had made an attack upon him. This, Mr. Crittenden said, was too thin, as the publishers referred to were not that kind of men. He then concluded by saying that he hoped the time had come when the people of South Carolina would show to the world that the time had passed when the adventurers could come from other portions of the country, and with professions of love for the negroes and children of the State, take advantage of their own pockets. The colored people had learned better sense than to trust such people any longer.
Curtis, who was acting speaker, here asked what construction the House placed on Act 2, section 16 of the constitution, which relates to the number of votes required to expel a member, from the floor. Mr. Orr held that the Supreme Court had decided that two-thirds of the number present were competent to expel. Some one else claimed that it required two-thirds of all the members on roll. The speaker here cited a case in the House Journals in which it was decided that two-thirds of the members present was sufficient. Mr. Brayton stated that two-thirds of the House and two-thirds of the Senate were necessary to impeach a judge, and he thought that as much consideration should be shown to the members of the House. In justice to themselves they ought to insist upon the passage of the following resolution:
Resolved, that it is the sense of this House that in order to expel a member a two-thirds vote of all the members elected is required.
Freeman, of Charleston, spoke against the resolution, taking the same ground as that held by Mr. Orr.
Bampfield rose to a point of order that it was the duty of the chair to decide. If necessary an appeal could be had.
The chair stated that if he decided it would be in favor of the view that it required two-thirds of the members present.
Freeman thought it very strange that no defense had been offered by the friends of the accused, and proposed to amend Brayton's resolution by striking out "elected" and inserting "present."
Mr. Orr said that no resolution of ruling of the chair was necessary as they had the decision of the Supreme Court on the matter, and that was their law. Richardson's Supreme Court Reports, volume 4, has already decided this question, and he didn't see the use of construing the law when it was already construed by such authority.