previous next

[317] set at liberty. Then came Gleaves, the Lieutenant-Governor, like a Deus ex machina, to make peace, and the peace which he made was actually praised, even by the Democratic papers. Gleaves went to the mob, and persuaded the leaders to submit to arrest, on condition of being released the next day. To this mockery of government the leaders made no objection. They submitted, took a pleasant jaunt to the Court-house, and the next day were released, according to the terms of the contract. And this was the Lieutenant-Governor's method of upholding the majesty of the law. For a few days there was quiet, but by September 1 the riots began again as furiously as ever, and now there was not even the shadow of a government to go through the mockery of repression. Several gentlemen of the county, Messrs. Elliott, Bellinger, Bissell and Campbell,, despatched from Green Pond the following despatch to the Governor: ‘Strike in progress in Combahee; sheriff and trial-justices both absent. Mob stopping the laborers and beating them. Plenty of hands willing to work, but are afraid. Can you stop it? If not, say so, and we will.’ There is no doubt but that if the Governor had ‘said so,’ the strike would have been easily subdued, and without any bloodshed. But he did not answer the telegram. He was not in Columbia to receive it. Regarding the social troubles of the State of which he was Governor as a matter of minor consideration fit only for trial-justices, he had gone to Washington to provide by military means that the poor negro should not be disturbed in the exercise of the inestimable right of voting as the Radical party should direct. At the moment that telegram was sent he was calmly sitting in the Attorney-General's office preparing for the advent of the man on horseback which would insure a free election in the State.

After a time the sheriff appeared on the scene. He began work by organizing a posse of colored men to arrest the leaders. The strikers resisted, and the posse was driven off and took refuge in Bissell's store. They were immediately surrounded by the strikers who breathed curses and vengeance against them, and kept them in confinement all that night.

Among the prisoners were about thirty members of a rifle-club, who were taken to serve as a posse. Their task was a difficult and a delicate one. They had every reason to believe that nothing would be so pleasing to the government as an act of violence on their part. They had observed that while no negro was safe from the violence of the mob, no white man was in peril. They were insulted and provoked, but no violence was offered them. It was evidently the

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.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Combahee (South Carolina, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Gleaves (2)
Bissell (2)
R. K. Elliott (1)
Willie Campbell (1)
Vincent Bellinger (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
September 1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: