previous next

[318] design of the supreme directors that a few negroes should be killed, not in self-defence, but to punish insults. These men could have extricated themselves from their confinement, but it might be at the the loss of some lives, and they determined to forbear, and not do the thing which they believed their enemies wished them to do.

And here let me deign to say a few words to account for the conduct of the white men during all the stormy scenes that were enacted until the contest was closed by the triumph of the Democratic party.

Many persons were grieved and astonished that the people should so tamely submit to outrageous insults which were often offered by the negroes. When just before the election Governor Hampton was escorted through the streets of Charleston by his enthusiastic friends, the streets were thronged with negroes, both men and women, who saluted him as he passed with the most filthy and abusive language, and the thousands of friends who made the escort bore it all with patience. Nay, when one negro, more audacious than the rest, ran up to the General's carriage and used such foul language that a policeman on duty (the policemen were all radicals) felt himself compelled, for decency's sake, to arrest the foul-mouthed rioter, the General begged forgiveness for him because he knew not what he did. The spirit manifested by the great leader on this occasion was the same spirit felt by all of his friends. It was universally believed that what the Republicans most wanted was an outrage on the blacks by the whitest. A batch of such, even if well imagined, would have been greedily received by Chamberlain and his associates and published throughout the North in the interest of the Republican party. It was a wise policy, therefore, to refuse to do that which their enemies anxiously desired them to do. Hence a spirit of forbearance, manifested on all occasions, which was harder to exercise because the negroes mistook its meaning, construed it as timidity, and became the more aggressive in consequence. As I have said, the Rifle Club, in duress in Bissell's store, forbore to release themselves, lest it might occasion the killing of some negroes, and sent for Gleaves to come to their assistance. During the day Gleaves did come, but he had pressing business of his own which called him to Charleston. Aid, however, did come in the person of Lowells, the member of Congress, who dispersed the mob. Meanwhile it was proposed in Charleston to send efficient aid to the authorities, and application was made to the Governor, who, as usual, sent his chief constable, Laws, to visit the disturbed districts and report on their situation. Laws reported that, since the appearance

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.

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.
Wade Hampton (1)
Gleaves (1)
Daniel H. Chamberlain (1)
Bissell (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: