previous next

[629] order, the law and the constitution, and the oath of office, and then declared ‘he could not and would not obey the order.’ On going to open court a few days after, the adjutant of the post delivered to him a military order suspending him from office. He proceeded and opened the court, read the order and stated the circumstances, and, laying aside his gown, directed the sheriff ‘to let the court stand adjourned while justice is stifled.’1 The major general appointed another judge to the vacancy.

The registration of voters was completed in the middle of October, and amounted to 46,346 whites and 78,892 blacks. The vote on a state convention was taken on November 19th and 20th, and resulted, for the convention, 130 whites and 68,876 blacks; against the convention, 2,801 whites. The delegates were 34 whites and 63 blacks. The convention assembled on January 14, 1868. The Bill of Rights contained provisions similar to that of Virginia, and the constitution was made to conform to the will of Congress. The ratification of the constitution, and the election of state officers and a legislature, took place on April 14, 15, and 16, 1868. The vote for the constitution was 70,758; against it, 27,288; not voting, but registered, 35,551. The legislature, with a majority of forty-eight blacks, assembled on July 6th. The fourteenth constitutional amendment was adopted, and the construction of the state by Congress was completed practically on July 13, 1868.

1 This incident in the conduct of the judge recalls a like exhibition of judicial purity and independence which occurred in the colonial history of South Carolina, and which I present by extracts from the charge of Judge William Henry Drayton, delivered November, 1774. Referring the the nature of the civil liberties of the Carolina colonists, he said:

This is the distinguishing character: English people can not be taxed, nay, they can not be bound by any law unless by their consent, expressed by themselves or their representatives of their own election. This colony was settled by English subjects; by a people from England herself —a people who brought over with them, who planted in this colony, and who transmitted to posterity the invaluable rights of Englishmen—rights which no time, no contract, no climate can diminish. . . . By all the ties which mankind hold most dear and sacred; your reverence to your ancestors; your love to your own interests; your tenderness to your posterity; by the lawful obligations of your oath, I charge you to do your duty; to maintain the laws, the rights, the Constitution of your country, even at the hazard of your lives and fortunes.

Some county judges style themselves the King's servants, a style which sounds harshly in my ears, inasmuch as the being a servant implies obedience to the orders of the master, and such judges might possibly think that, in the present situation of American affairs, my charge is inconsistent with my duty to the King. But for my part, in my judicial character, I know no master but the law; I am a servant, not to the King, but to the Constitution. . . . In the course of his charge, he quotes a ‘learned judge’ as saying: ‘Every new tribunal erected for the decision of facts, without the intervention of a jury, is a step toward aristocracy, the most oppressive of absolute governments; and it is therefore a duty which every man owes to his country, his friends, his posterity, and himself, to maintain to the utmost of his power this valuable Constitution in all its rights, to restore it to its ancient dignity, if at all impaired; to amend it wherever it is defective, and, above all, to guard with the most jealous circumspection against the introduction of new and arbitrary methods of trial, which, under a variety of plausible pretenses, may in time perceptibly undermine this best preservative of English liberty.—American Archives, Fourth Series, Vol. I, pp.’


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: