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The last Chapter of the history of reconstruction in South Carolina. Paper no. 6—Conclusion.

by Professor F. A. Porcher.

The Elberton riots.

The next considerable riot has acquired historical importance, as it was the occasion employed by the Governor to frame an indictment against the people of the State. The parties concerned in putting it down were brought before the Chief-Justice of the United States to answer to a conspiracy to intimidate the black citizens of Aiken and Barnwell counties, and to prevent them from exercising the elective franchise. Several men of both parties were slain, but the death of a few men was a matter about which the courts need not be troubled, and no inquest was made into the cases of homicide; and in consequence of the rulings of the court, no opportunity was given to explain the causes and the history of this riot. The whole history displays the animus of the Governor, and the recklessness with which he seized upon a local disorder to have a large portion of the State brought under the dominion of the Federal soldiers.

The following is the statement of several gentlemen of the highest position in that part of the country, men who knew the truthfulness of their report, and who were in no way implicated or suspected of any participation in the affair. Their report, under their signatures and their oaths, was submitted to the commissioners who sat in [48] Aiken to investigate the matter, aided by the Attorney-General and the District Attorney. The commissioners disregarded this paper, preferring to get at the truth from negroes, who were paid for their affidavits, which affidavits were prepared for the occasion, printed with blank spaces for the insertion of such matter as might be specially sworn to by the respective witnesses.

On Friday, September 14th, two negroes entered the dwelling of Mr. Alonzo Harvey, a planter of Silverton, Aiken county. Mr. Harvey was absent; they attacked his wife and child with clubs, seriously injuring them. Mrs. Harvey, fortunately, got her husband's gun, which, although not loaded, frightened the negroes and drove them off. In a short time, about a dozen white men, hearing of the outrage, assembled in pursuit of the assassins, and caught a negro, Peter Williams by name, who, on being taken to Harvey's, was recognized by both Mrs. Harvey and her child, as one of the assassins. This negro, probably ill-guarded by the numerous body who had him in charge, contrived to get away, was shot and brought back wounded. On Saturday rumors were rife that the negroes were assembling in arms in the neighborhood of Rousis's bridges, to avenge the shooting of Williams. In the evening the whites also began to assemble. Information was received on Sunday that Fred. Pope, the leading negro in the assault on Mrs. Harvey, had sought protection with the armed negroes at Rousis's bridges. Angus P. Brewer, a special constable, armed with a warrant issued by Griffin, a colored trial justice and a Republican, with a posse of white men, proceeded to Rousis's bridges to arrest Pope. In a defile near these bridges this posse was, unexpectedly and without any challenge, fired upon by some negroes in ambush, and the fire was returned. Only a few shots were exchanged, and no damage done either side. The whites retired from the defile and sought to negotiate with their assailants. After a delay of more than two hours, caused by the reluctance of the negroes to respond to the advances of the other party, the blacks finally consented that if six unarmed whites, whom they named, would meet six negroes, also unarmed, they would abide by whatever decision the joint committee should agree upon. The whites assented and the committee met, the constable with his warrant being one of them. He exhibited his warrant and demanded the surrender of Pope, but on the assurance of the negroes that Pope was not at that time with them, it was mutually agreed that both parties should disperse and return quietly to their homes, both parties pledging themselves to this agreement. The whites dispersed, but [49] the blacks did not. In less than two hours afterwards they assailed two white men on the same spot. At the lower bridge over the same stream, they ambushed fourteen white men on their way home—about sixty shots were fired upon them—of whom five were wounded; the fire was returned and one negro was killed. The whites then dispersed. The negroes at eight o'clock that night waylaid John Williamson and Everett Stellangs. Williamson was killed. They then tore up the track of the Port Royal railway, wrecked a train, cut the telegraph wires and burnt the mill and gin house of Dr. Bailey. Of course the country was filled with rumors which were doubtless exaggerated. By ten o'clock on Monday morning about an hundred white men had assembled and proceeded to the point where the railroad had been broken. There they were fired upon by the negroes. The fire was returned—one negro was killed, the others ran away. The whites then moved towards Elberton. There the negroes had assembled in large numbers, armed, yelling, cursing and threatening the lives of the women and children. In front of Elberton is a deep swamp, which was occupied by the blacks, but they retired before the regular approach of the whites, with the loss of one of their number. The whites camped at Elberton. That night the negroes waylaid at Penn Branch a party of white men and wounded S. Dunbar and H. Killingworth, and killed Robert Williams. On Tuesday the whites proceeded to Rousis's bridges, the original scene of the troubles, where they met the Federal troops. The bridge had been torn up by the negroes, and they occupied the swamp. At the approach of the whites they fired and retired into the swamp. The whites then appealed to the troops to disperse the armed negroes, who had waylaid and killed men in the night, burnt property and threatened the lives of women and children. On the assurance that this would be done, they returned to their homes, leaving the settlement of the riot to the discretion of the Federal officers.

Such is the plain unvarnished statement of facts given in the order in which they occurred, without effort to create an impression against either party. This statement does not tell how rapidly the negroes could assemble, how the whole county was like a movable camp; how, at the tap of a drum or the blowing of a horn, negroes would instantly be under arms—arms which had been given by Governor Scott to his favorite militia; it does not tell how terror prevailed over the whole country; how old men, women and children were sent to certain places where they might be protected from the threatened [50] violence of a body of negroes who acknowledged no law, and who undertook to avenge the shooting of one of their color, whose crime was something very near to assassination. Let it be always borne in mind that, right or wrong, the impression was as deeply seated as it was universal, that nothing was so eagerly desired by the Republican party as a tale of outrage and violence towards negroes, and that nothing was so studiously avoided as any act which could give a foundation for such tales. We shall see further on that a high official signalized his devotion to his party by the facility with which he tortured this riot into a seething mass of Democratic wrong, outrages and folly. When the unprovoked assault was made on the defenceless Mrs. Hardy and her son, the action of her neighbors in searching for the miscreants was but a spontaneous movement of self-defence. After one of them was captured and identified, his captors were so far from doing him violence, that he actually made his escape; and if he was shot as he ran away, there was nothing in that act which could be tortured into violence to effect a political end. The ostensible object of the gathering of the negroes was to avenge this shooting, and every act which they performed was not only unlawful, but aggressive. If they were out in arms to commit violence, it was the simplest act of self-preservation in the whites to take up arms to resist them. They might have made havoc among the negroes; they refrained from every act of violence, except when absolutely necessary, and at last gladly hailed the presence of the Federal troops, who appeared on the fifth day, and left the settlement of the disturbance to them.

This spirit of forbearance characterized every step of the whites throughout this terrible summer. It permitted the negro to derange the whole labor system of the rice fields; it stayed the arm of the whites when a mob of negroes held the city of Charleston, and had shed the blood of one of her citizens. It was no less strong during the Elberton riots; it was peaceful to the end, and it ultimately triumphed.

I do not know whether the Governor on this occasion resorted to his usual remedy of sending a trusty and confidential agent to inquire, pacify and report. The troops of the United States were there. The sheriff played into the hands of the Radicals by the following dispatch to the Governor, September 19:

I have just returned from the reported riot—have seen or heard of no fighting. I saw no colored men under arms, nor did I hear of any. None could be found up to late last night. The whites were all under [51] arms, and reinforcements arriving. I was powerless to disband them. The country is excited.


Jordan, S. A. C.

This dispatch was calculated to produce the impression that the assembling of armed whites was causeless, as no negroes under arms were either seen or heard of. When this dispatch was made public, a reply to it was made by those gentleman who had accompanied the sheriff, one of whom was his nephew.

These gentlemen charge that the sheriff's report is false, or at least unfair, and of a partisan character: 1. It is not true that he had returned from the scene of the riot, for he had not gone within seven miles of it. 2. It is not true that he was powerless to disband the white troops, for he had made no attempt to do so. 3. He saw no armed negroes, because he did not go where they were to be found. And 4. It was not true that he heard of no negroes under arms, because those who were with him heard of them, and he must have heard the same riots.

Whether true or false, the sheriff's dispatch proved a condition of affairs about Aiken so alarming as to demand the attention of the Governor. How did he show his sense of responsibility? He went on a journey to the North. Judge Mackey happened to see him on the car, and urged him to remain at home. The Governor, he said, ought to make personal efforts to save the lives of the people over whom he presided. The Governor's engagements in Massachusetts were of more importance than the peace of South Carolina.

When the United States troops appeared at Rousis's bridge, assumed the conduct of affairs, and the whites had dispersed and returned to their homes, there was an end to the riot of Elberton. Several lives had been lost, which ought to have been inquired into. But the lives of the citizens were a matter of little importance to the Governor, and he left the State, taking with him the AttorneyGen-eral. But Elberton promised to yield a rich harvest of crimes, dear to the hearts of the government. It was converted into a manufactory of Democratic intimidation of negro voters. Mr. Corbin, the District Attorney, visited Aiken early in October, in order to put this manufactory in operation. In reality he had no official relation to Chamberlain, but, embarked as they both were in the sacred cause of Radicalism, he generously lent his aid to the Governor, and made his report to him. One would naturally expect, from a law officer of such standing, a report on which facts would be carefully [52] and accurately detailed. On reading it we shall find that Corbin does not come up to the character of a witness, it is a mere matter of hearsay information and belief.

He begins by saying, that he had spent three days in Aiken, where he took affidavits of a considerable number of persons from different parts of the county, but he does not mention the names of any of these parties. He asserts (what no one denied) that Rifle clubs exist throughout the county, armed with the best and most approved weapons. These clubs, he says, have created, and still create a reign of terror. Colored men, through fear of them, were living out of doors, away from their homes at night. Many of them were killed by these clubs, and others were taken out of their beds and whipped; and many colored men had told him that their only security from death or whipping, was to pledge themselves to vote the Democratic ticket. He continues—From the best information I could get while in Aiken, the number of men killed by the clubs in three weeks was certainly thirteen, and probably thirty. The civil arm is powerless to prevent these atrocities. The sheriff dare not, for fear of his life, arrest any of them. He did not go within seven miles of the eight hundred men assembled at Rousis's bridge, commanded by A. P. Butler, and marching upon a crowd of negroes, whom they had surrounded, and intended, as some allege, to kill. It is the Governor's duty to put down this state of things.

Now, it is disgraceful to a civilized State, that reports, so basely framed, should be made the basis of a call on the United States for military assistance. It was more than a fortnight since the county was quiet before Corbin made his appearance on the scene. Time had been allowed witnesses to frame a consistent tale of horrors. Corbin never left Aiken but was able to get affidavits from a considerable number of citizens from different parts of the county. It is certain, therefore, that his visit was expected and that proper witnesses went to Aiken to meet him with their tales of outrage; and in this part of the report he betrays the true end of his visit, viz: to get up a story of intimidation of free voters. The report of the number of persons killed is perfectly disgraceful if we consider it as coming from an official; from the best information he could get, certainly thirteen and probably thirty men had been killed in three weeks, and the civil arm was powerless to prevent these atrocities. This is fearfully true, but it was the blacks, not the clubs, that had successfully set the civil arm at defiance. That two or three black men had been killed during the riots is true, but as they were aggressors [53] no notice was taken of it; but if thirteen men had been killed, as Corbin described, could any one doubt but that their names would have been heralded all over the country as the victims of Democratic ferocity. The very fact that none such were so heralded is conclusive proof that there were no such victims, and no one knew that better than Corbin himself. Lastly, he says, that white men, eight hundred in number, had surrounded a crowd of negroes, and, as some allege, intended to kill them. What is the meaning of this hesitating phrase, as some allege? Did any one doubt that such was their intention? that it was even their duty for the preservation of their own safety and that of their families? Could Corbin blame them for it? It was the timely appearance of the troops which prevented a fearful slaughter—none of the men in that body would have minced the matter as Corbin did. Even Corbin knew that his report was of no use but to make an electioneering squib, and furnish Chamberlain with a pretext, which he could not otherwise get, for an appeal to the President.

Before we dismiss the subject of the Elberton riots, I must remark on the tone of the report of Captain Lloyd, who relieved Colonel Butler at Rousis's bridge, It contains nothing but what is, perhaps, strictly true, but the report is that of a man who considered the whites the aggressors. He says, and his report is endorsed favorably by Captain Mills and General Ruger, that the timely arrival of his troops doubtless prevented a great massacre of the negroes. This is very true, but the tone was calculated to confirm the partisan report of Corbin, and the frantic screams of Chamberlain. Even Captain Lloyd declares, that when relieved by them, the whites quietly went to their homes.

Colonel Haskell, the Governor and the judges.

After the formal nomination of Chamberlain by the Republican convention, Colonel Haskell, the chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee, wrote to Chamberlain to propose that he and Governor Hampton should jointly canvass the State and present to the people their respective claims, thus insuring a full and fair discussion and a fair and intelligent vote. He further took occasion to notice the abuse which the Democratic party had received on the part of Chamberlain's supporters, which he assumes to believe that Chamberlain knew to be false, and he says: ‘Your appearance before the Democrats in the State will be a pleasing refutation of the slanderous [54] charges published against our party in newspapers claiming to be your organs, and also in Northern papers backed by the name of Senator Patterson and others of your political friends. These charges should be either contradicted by your denial of them, or you should go in person to ascertain their truth. You are Governor as well as candidate; as the latter you may not be bound to correct charges which you know to be false, but as Governor you are bound by your pledges and your honor to prevent your followers using the sanction of your official silence, to sustain charges against your opponents, when they allege the overthrow of the peace and dignity of the State which you are sworn to defend. You are bound either to contradict the assertion that the law is overthrown and terrorism prevails, or to suppress this lawlessness.’ He then makes an offer of the whites to assist the Governor in restoring order. ‘It is our right to be called upon to aid you before you appeal to the United States Government. Our services are at your disposal, and whatsoever is our duty we are ready to do.’

This letter gave Chamberlain an opportunity to write an answer, which was extensively circulated at the North in the interest of Hayes. This letter is very long. He not only does not contradict, but he reiterates all the slanders which an infuriate party had uttered against the whites. He begins with acknowledging the courtesy of Colonel Haskell's invitation, which he accepts (but did not keep his promise.) He denounces the conduct of the Democrats at joint meetings. Those at which he had been present at Edgefield and elsewhere had been attended by Democrats who had perpetrated every sort of insult short of physical violence. (He forgot that he had himself set the example four years before.) He denounced the Rifle clubs as a basis of political organization, as illegal associations. These clubs were guilty of actual violence; at Harrisburg they had wantonly butchered unresisting prisoners. The Republicans, he admitted, were responsible for the Charleston riot, but he is proud to add that it was suppressed by Republican authority. (The Governor knew that the riot suppressed itself, and that Republican authority did nothing to suppress it.) The cause of the Elberton riot was not well known, but it had been proved that colored men had been killed, not while resisting the process of law, not while engaged in acts of violence, but they were shot down in the fields, in the roads, in their cabins, wheresoever they might be found. He had learned that forty or fifty had thus been killed, and had reason to believe that the killing was not yet over. All the violence in the State is due to Democratic [55] agencies, and he, therefore, declines to call on the Democrats to suppress disturbances of which they were the authors. It would be like setting wolves to guard the sheep. Neither can he call on the negroes, for that would bring on a conflict. In such an emergency, he says, ‘my only reliance must be on United States troops. I shall do my duty, and the President will do his, and the world will see whether the principles of a free ballot can be trampled under foot by any combination or party of men in the State.’

With this distinct notice of an appeal for military force, which it must be remembered must come from the Legislature, unless the Governor solemnly declares the country to be in such a disturbed state that the Legislature cannot assemble, Colonel Haskell, in order to confront him on that ground, promptly appealed to every circuit judge in the State to make a report of the condition of their several circuits. Each judge promptly replied that there was no disturbance of the ordinary peace, and that the mandates of the courts were readily obeyed and executed. Judge Wiggins, in whose circuit were the counties of Aiken and Barnwell, replied that writs of arrest were resisted in his circuit, but when pressed for an explanation, reluctantly admitted that such resistance proceeded from negroes who had been engaged in the Combahee and Elberton riots.

Almost simultaneously with the publication of his letter to Colonel Haskell, the Governor issued his proclamation declaring that Aiken and Barnwell are so disturbed by riotous and seditious brawlers that he is compelled to call out the military force of the State to enforce the execution of the laws. He denounces the Rifle clubs throughout the State as an illegal and dangerous body of men, and orders them to disarm themselves and to disband. Three days are allowed the seditious disturbers of the peace to disperse, and the same time allowed the Rifle clubs to break up their organization. He further addressed a public letter to the people of the United States, and repeats the assertion that the arm of the law is powerless in South Carolina, and asserts that to his personal knowledge about a hundred negroes had been slain in the late disturbances. (The number of the slain had doubled since his letter to Colonel Haskell.)

Arrests. The man on horseback.

Meanwhile two men were sent by Chamberlain to Aiken to prepare for these arrests of Democrats, both black and white, which were to strike terror into their hearts, and bind the State helpless to [56] the chariot-wheels of the Republican party. These men (one was the Commissioner Canton) were secretly engaged in the back room of ten Radical lawyers, taking the affidavits of Radical negroes and party hacks. The whites discovered, by chance, what they were at, and Mr. Hammond, with about twenty other gentlemen of known respectability, went with an affidavit, the substance of which has been already given, forming, as it does, the history of the Elberton riot. This paper was civilly received, but, as it was not of a nature to further the end the commissioners had in view, was laid aside. About the same time, as if to show how completely the Governor had entered into the conspiracy against the whites, the Governor removed from office the trial justice, Griffin, the negro Radical magistrate, in resisting whose warrants of arrest the riots had begun.

On the 12th October the commissioner was ready for work, and the arrests began. He was informed that if he would publish the names of those who were to be arrested the parties would save the marshal the trouble, and surrender themselves. But the commissioner preferred to make a mystery of his iniquitous proceeding, and the marshal, or his deputy, assisted by United States soldiers, went out daily to arrest white, and occasionally black Democrats. The warrants charged upon the prisoners a conspiracy to intimidate some citizens of African descent, and the murder of others. Each of the warrants was supported by an elaborate printed affidavit, made by some negro, and attested by his mark. The marshal is said to have paid one dollar for each of these affidavits. Frequently there were indications on the part of the government of a desire to provoke hostilities.

On the 19th a large body of Democrats, both white and black, went to Aiken to meet Governor Hampton, and do honor to him. The principal officer of this meeting was A. P. Butler, one of the most beloved and respected men of that county. As soon as the meeting was over, the United States Marshal, with his posse of Federal soldiers, stepped up and arrested Mr. Butler and eleven others on the old charge. It was doubtless expected that this open insult would have been resented and resisted. But their design was frustrated. These gentlemen quietly submitted to the arrest, and calmly awaited their release on bail.

On the 16th, Chamberlain's formal demand on the President for aid to suppress insurrection in South Carolina reached Washington. The President was at the time absent from the capitol on a pleasure excursion, and the heartrending appeal for aid was not considered [57] by the Cabinet of sufficient importance to disturb or interrupt the recreations of their august chief. The delay was not very long. The President returned on the 17th, and before night a proclamation was issued commanding all Rifle clubs to disperse, disband and disarm, and ordering all the disposable force of the army to be sent to General Ruger to be employed in maintaining peace in South Carolina.

In making his demand on the President for aid, he must have declared that it was impossible on account of the disturbed state of the country for the Legislature to meet. If he did not make such a declaration, Grant could not have complied with his request; if he did make it, then every man, woman and child in South Carolina, and Chamberlain knew, as well as anybody else, that this declaration was a lie. I have no words to soften the expression. It was a barefaced and a base lie, and Chamberlain knew that it was so

Thus the man on horseback, so confidently promised by the disreputable Patterson, had come at the call of Chamberlain. He came not to protect life and preserve peace, but to awe the whites, and destroy every vestige of Republican government in South Carolina. We shall soon see what was his method of restoring peace to the distracted country.

The arrests of Democratic citizens, both black and white, continued up to the time of the election. How many were arrested in Aiken, Barnwell and Edgefield I do not know; there must have been over two hundred. Excitement thickens as we approach the time of the elections. The negroes regarded the troops as sent, not so much to protect them as to intimidate the whites. Every means that could be devised was tried to intimidate colored Democrats, but as this was on the right side, the commissioners took no notice of them. Their object was to keep the polls free for Radical voters. If Democrats were hindered or impeded in the exercise of the franchise it was not worth their notice.


The next serious riot that occurred was in St. Thomas' parish, near the village of Cainhoy, in which eight men were murdered, their bodies being shockingly mutilated.

On the 16th October a steamboat left Charleston for Cainhoy, with about sixty Democrats, nearly all white, and about as many Radical negroes, with Bowen, the sheriff of Charleston, at their head. By agreement the meeting at Cainhoy was to be a joint meeting to be [58] addressed alternately by members of both parties. The men from Charleston carried no arms. It had become a universal practice to carry pistols, which, of course, was done on this occasion. When the boat reached Cainhoy, Bowen went on ahead of the rest to organize the meeting, for the mass consisted of his adherents; the rest followed leisurely. After the meeting was organized, the speaking began with Mr. W. S. Leroy, who was followed by a colored Radical. Some young men, not curious about the business of the meeting, strolled about, and entered a building which had once been used as a kitchen. In the chimney of this building they saw several muskets piled, and took them out. Instantly a cry was raised, they are going to kill you, and a large body of negroes ran to a thicket which covered a small stream, took thence rifles which had been concealed there, and began a fierce fusillade upon the whites. These had no weapons but their pistols, and many were entirely unarmed. To make an aggressive demonstration under the circumstances would have been more than useless, and all that the most prudent could do was to make their retreat as safe as possible. Several men were wounded, and when the party reached Cainhoy, it was found that seven or eight had been left behind, of whose fate nothing was known. The boat returned to Charleston and a detachment of the Rifle clubs instantly sent back to Cainhoy to protect the village from a probable attack by the enraged negroes, and to bring back those who had been missing. No attack was made on the village, but at the scene of the meeting were found the bodies of some gentlemen shockingly mutilated. These were sent on to Charleston, and it is significant of the state of feeling among the negroes of Charleston who crowded the wharf to await the return of the boat, that they greeted the biers on which were the bodies of the murdered men with hisses.

It was afterwards ascertained that when Bowen went ahead and found, on reaching the place of meeting, that a large number of men were armed with rifles, he directed them to be concealed, as the whites who were expected did not have arms and expected to find them also unarmed. The rifles were accordingly put out of sight so that they might be recovered at a moment's notice.

The fact that some young men on finding the muskets, which had been concealed in the chimney, had handled them, and this gives a pretext for the outbreak, gave the Radicals a color to represent this as an assault of Democrats on the meeting. Bowen accordingly telegraphed to the Governor as follows: ‘A fight, during a joint discussion [59] at Cainhoy, was originated by a portion of the Democrats from the city attacking the meeting and killing an old colored man. This was the first shot, afterwards a general row ensued.’

This is an extraordinary dispatch, and a little examination must convince any one that it does not tell the truth. That a few young men, unarmed, straying from their friends, like themselves unarmed, should wantonly fire upon a meeting consisting largely of their friends, that they should begin the mad attack by killing an old negro man, is a supposition so monstrous as to require positive proof. Had they wished to kill any one there was much higher game within their reach. The story is contradicted by every witness who was examined at the inquest. The old negro was the only negro who suffered, and he was killed in the melee probably by his own friends. Indeed, it is likely that these muskets, old and nearly useless, were purposely placed where they were found, in the hope that they would be found. The weapons which had been concealed, and which were so readily brought out, were effective rifles.

The coroner's jury sat to investigate this Democratic riot. The solicitor of the county, Butts, made himself very busy at the inquest, installed himself as chief examiner, dictated what answers should be recorded, browbeat the members of the inquest, who would from time to time put questions, and as far as he possibly could dictated the answers. His arts were of no avail; he could extort nothing from his witnesses to bring in a verdict against the Democrats; and where a witness bore hardly upon the Radicals, he would stop him by declaring that the inquest had had enough of such stuff, and did not want any more of it. The coroner s inquest could bring no charge against the white people, and thus put the seal of condemnation upon Bowen's partisan dispatch.

Meanwhile the village of Cainhoy was guarded by the detachments from the rifle clubs, until the arrival of a portion of the United States troops. They were accompanied by Wallace, the marshal, who took care to suggest to the officers in command that the armed men who joyfully went there and who were congratulating themselves on being thus relieved, were members of the dreadful Rifle clubs which the President had ordered to be disbanded, and that, perhaps, it would be right to proceed against them for disobedience to the proclamation. But the commander had good sense as well as good feeling, recognized the supremacy of the great law of selfpreserva-tion, and exchanged military as well as civil courtesies, with the gentlemen whom he had gone to relieve. [60]

The Cainhoy massacre, though humiliating, furnished another proof of the self-control exercised by the whites. It was an unprovoked, a brutal and an outrageous assault. It would have justified, as it deserved, the most signal retribution. The Rifle clubs which proceeded that same evening to the scene, had it in their power to strike a blow which would have been remembered for years, and the moral sense of no people in christendom would have condemned them had they done so. But they did not; they went with words of peace; they gave their protection to the village which lay exposed to the insults and assaults of the savage mob, and they quietly and gladly gave way to the troops who came on the same mission. This moderation was not understood by the negroes. They supposed it was the result of fear, and the glorious day of Cainhoy and the defeat of the whites was celebrated by them in songs and dances. Day by day their tone became more aggressive, day by day the imbecility of Chamberlain's government, and the partisan tyranny of Grant's, more offensive. The papers teemed with sickening reports of insults, of outrages, of the work of the torch. But enough of these disgusting details.

Election riots.

On the 7th November the election was held. In Charleston, long before six o'clock, a mob, accompanied by the beat of a drum, gave tumultuous notice of the election, and by six o'clock the polls were thronged. All day there was the most intense excitement. Every poll was attended by brutal looking negroes, who, decorated with ribands, proclaimed themselves the special deputies of the sheriffs, armed with clubs, and ostensibly keepers of the peace. Scarcely less repulsive in appearance were the deputies of the United States marshal, who, as at this election Federal officers were to be elected, were directed by the Attorney-General to watch the polls and preserve the purity of the election. At every poll were the gentlemen of the precinct, who, without distinction of age, profession, or condition, went there to assist by their moral influence to preserve the peace. General Hunt was in town with his troops to quell any disturbance that might arise. About the polls, too, were numbers of negro women decorated with Chamberlain badges, giving encouragement to their darkey brethren and ready to join in and add to the horrors of a riot.

The day passed off quietly in the city, but it was evident from the very large number of votes polled that hundreds of illegal votes had [61] been cast; large numbers of negro Democrats had been intimidated and declined to vote. At the county polls the negroes went armed. As the votes were counted in the night immediately after closing the polls, the telegraph was all the next day reporting the state of the polls, and we were soon persuaded that Hampton was elected Governor and Tilden President. Of course the exultation of the whites was great, and the disappointment of the blacks commensurate with the hopes which they had entertained. Disorder was common in the streets all day, but in the afternoon it culminated in a fearful riot. How it arose no one could explain, but it seems to have been occasioned by the discharge (perhaps accidental) of a pistol near the east end of Broad street. The crowd was dense and several shots were fired with no damage. But the excitement spread, and the crowd at the courthouse recklessly fired upon passengers in the street who were quietly going to their places of business. In this way Mr. E. Walter was killed and his father wounded. The mob assailed every white man who passed there; made furious demands at the station house for arms, and failing to obtain them tore up trees, palings, fences, to furnish themselves with the means of destruction. The police was turned out to quell the riot, but failed to do anything but to arrest whites who were in the streets. True to the character of the negro riots, it was everywhere at once. It began on Broad street, but there was a riot at every corner, and every white man was in danger of insult if not of violence.

Notwithstanding the president's proclamation, the members of the Rifle clubs went to the station house with their weapons to offer to assist in restoring peace. By that time General Hunt had arrived there with a small body of soldiers and instantly accepted their services. Marshal Wallace officiously reminded him that these were the offensive and seditious Rifle clubs against whom both the President and the Governor had fulminated their proclamations. ‘I don't know what they are,’ said the general; ‘I know they are gentlemen whom I can trust, and I am very glad to have them,’ and they assisted in securing the town and kept it quiet that night.

Several persons were injured in this riot, but Walter was the only one killed. Whether any negroes were killed was never known. It was said that they always carried off their wounded and dead, and were profoundly silent about it. It was said afterwards that about ten had been killed, but no coroner's jury sat on any colored victim of the riot. The next day there was a feverish uneasiness all over town. The telegraph was incessantly reporting news of the election, and the [62] bulletin boards of the newspapers were crowded with anxious men. A body of men assembled at the Mayor's office to take counsel about the best means of keeping the city quiet. General Hunt was there, so was the Collector of the Port, Worthington, a boon companion of Patterson; he was the man who had bribed the Legislature for Patterson, and was believed to have incited most of the disturbances which had disgraced the town. It was said to be his special duty in Charleston to act the spy upon the officers stationed there, and report to Washington the names of those officers who seemed to cultivate social relations with the Democrats. General Hunt told the Mayor that the negroes who were thronging the streets should be sent to their homes, for, that in the restless disposition which they manifested, an outbreak might at any moment be expected. The Mayor replied that the negroes had as good right to be on the streets as the whites, and he did not see why the same rule should not be applied to both parties. General Hunt replied: ‘My object, Mr. Mayor, is not to discuss principles and rights, but to provide for the peace of the city. I know that the whites will not provoke a disturbance. But your party has been industriously teaching the blacks all the summer that if Hampton is elected they will be remanded to slavery, and every telegram that comes makes it more certain he is elected. You who have done the mischief can alone undo it, and your advice to go home will be better than my order to that effect.’ He soon afterwards left the room, and Worthington promised that in a few hours General Hunt would be removed from the city. In less than three days Worthington's prediction was verified. General Hunt was removed.

The Board of Canvassers.

The excitement, caused by the election and the subsequent riots, died off, and for a short time we rejoiced in the contemplation of the great victory, and complacently awaited the reestablishment of civil government. But an ominous note from Columbia came to disturb our minds and qualify our hopes. The Democrats believed that Hampton was elected by a majority of about twelve hundred votes; that a majority of the House of Representatives had been elected, and that on a joint ballot of the two Houses they would have a majority of one vote. It was now asserted that Chamberlain had received a majority of two or three thousand votes, and so large a number of representatives as to give the Radicals a majority on joint [63] ballot of about twenty votes. On what was this expectation grounded?

In all the Southern States in which the negroes had a majority, an expedient was devised for perpetuating this power, which made all elections a mockery and a nullity. In this State it was a Board of Canvassers, consisting of the principal officers of the State, to whom the returns of the elections were made, who canvassed the returns and determined the result. They were authorized to throw out votes which they deemed illegal or improper; in fine, to do anything to keep the power in their own hands. No man could be sure of his election, even though he had received a unanimous vote; for this omnipotent board, for reasons satisfactory to themselves, might decide that the whole election was irregular and consequently void. A board of such enormous power, composed of men of principles, more than doubtful, required watching, and General Conner, and other eminent lawyers, went to Columbia to watch their proceedings and take care of the interests of the Democrats.

The first point made was, that as a majority of this Board, the treasurer, the secretary of State, and another, were candidates for election, they could not sit in judgment on their own cases, and consequently the board was incompetent to act. It must be remembered that by law every ballot contained on a single piece of paper the names of all, the persons balloted for, so that it was impossible to canvass any one name on the paper without canvassing all. To this reasonable objection the facile Stone, Attorney-General, admitted that the objection was well taken, and that each member of the board, who was a candidate, must retire when his name was under discussion. This was an expedient that, under the circumstances, could proceed only from a knave or a fool.

The next point was, that as the Constitution makes each House the sole judge of the validity of the election of its members, the board has no right to do more than count the votes and certify them to the Secretary of State, leaving to each House the subsequent duty of determining the validity of the elections. As the Board did not concur in this view, General Conner applied to the Supreme Court for an injunction against further proceedings by the Board until the matter could be examined by the court.

(I fear, lest if I attempt to follow the details of this case, I should fall into technical errors. I shall therefore, briefly as possible, tell what did happen.)

The court ordered the Board to examine the election returns and [64] return them to the court. The report on this order showed that sixty-four Democrats and sixty Radicals had been elected to the House of Representatives. The court then issued a mandamus directing the report to be certified and sent to the Secretary of State. This mandamus never reached the board. After making their last return they went into secret session, decided that the elections in Edgefield and Laurens were void in consequence of the intimidation of voters in those counties. Certificates of election were withheld from those who had been elected in those counties, and thus securing to the Radicals a majority in the House of Representatives, they adjourned forever.

Great and just was the indignation of the court when this sharp practice was reported. The whole board was declared in contempt, a fine of one thousand five hundred dollars imposed on each of them, and they were committed to jail during the pleasure of the court. Fortunately they had made a return of the election to the court, and the clerk was directed to give certificates under the seal of the court to the members elected for Edgefield and Laurens.

But the Radical party have always found in the judiciary of the United States a judge who will be a convenient instrument in the game of rascality, and one was already in Columbia ready and willing to serve them. The session of the Circuit Court was at hand, and Judge Bond had reached Columbia fully a week before the time. His presence boded no good, and it was not long before the worst fears of the people were realized. A motion for the release of the imprisoned canvassers was brought before him and he granted it. On what ground he undertook to interfere with the Supreme Court I know not. He gave no reasons at the time, but promised to give them subsequently. If he ever did, the interest in the matter had died away and nobody cared to know how he could justify this unwarrantable blow at the independence of the State court. The judge had a duty to discharge to the party which had put him in power and he paid the debt. He would have had a more fragrant reputation had he been less true to the behests of his party.

The man on horseback.

The President having failed to intimidate the people of South Carolina from expressing their opinions at the polls, resolved now to try to effect by violence the seating in the Governor's chair the charlatan whom the people had rejected. On the 26th November, the [65] following order was sent by Cameron, the Secretary of War to General Ruger:

D. H. Chamberlain is now Governor of South Carolina beyond controversy, and remains so until a new Governor shall be legally inaugurated. Under the Constitution the Government has been called, to aid with the military forces of the United States, to maintain a Republican government in the State against resistance too formidable to be overcome by the State authorities. You are directed, therefore, to sustain Governor Chamberlain in his authority against domestic violence until otherwise directed.

And in forwarding this order General Ruger is directed, in obeying these instructions to advise with Governor Chamberlain and dispose his troops in such manner as may be deemed best to carry out the spirit of the President's order.

It is now sufficient to read this order to see the whole tissue of fraud and of partisan spirit which breathes in every line. But an order from the President deserves at least the respect of an examination. Let us briefly do so.

In the first place, why the gratuitous assertion that Chamberlain was, at that time, the actual Governor of South Carolina? It was neither doubted nor denied. It was only himself who seemed by his imbecility and his utter dependence upon Federal troops to doubt it. His enemies had elected the man of their choice, and were content to wait patiently for the time when he would lawfully assume his position. In the second place, Chamberlain had ten months before called in the aid of the Federal troops and these troops were still there in pursuance of the call. Whence, then, this new order? In the third place, though not expressed in the order, it was really given in view of the approaching session of the Legislature. If Grant was really desirous of doing his duty under the Constitution, he would have let things remain in status quo, until the Legislature, which was about to meet, should advise him what he ought to do, but this would not have suited the views of the party. He speaks of the duty of the Government to aid in maintaining a Republican Government in the State. Could the President have meant that inasmuch as one party called itself Republican and the other Democratic, his duty called him to aid the former to the exclusion of the latter? This supposition is an insult to his understanding, but even so, more favorable to his character than the gross tyranny of the order by which he [66] proposed to destroy all republican government. Chamberlain is made the supreme judge of what is meant by a Republican Government, and all the available forces of the United States are put at his disposal to wield the destinies of a State which loathed, abhorred and had rejected him.

The President was guilty of a high crime against representative government. A legislature had been elected which put the Democrats in power. Four men of more than questionable character, three of whom were candidates for election, had undertaken to say that the election in two counties was void. They thus changed the balance of power by usurping a function which the Constitution gives exclusively to the several branches of the Legislature, and the dictum of these few men was to overrule the voice of the State; and this was the Republican Government which the President ordered his soldiers to defend.

The troops were ordered to protect Chamberlain against Democratic violence. No one knew better than Chamberlain himself that the only party that contemplated violence was his own party. They had put the Democrats to a very severe test, and found them true to the programme which had in the beginning been mapped out for them by their great leader. They bore with patience the outrages and injuries which had been put upon them. Arrest after arrest of some of their best citizens had been made for causes which the Government knew to be frivolous, which had no end in view but to intimidate, possibly to excite to madness. The party of violence was the Radical party. All this violence, all this intimidation was for the purpose of keeping in office a man who knew that he was utterly repudiated by the people, and could not sustain himself one hour without the aid of Federal bayonets; and this was what President Grant called sustaining Republican government in South Carolina. The next scene in the drama shows his method of sustaining it.

Meeting of the Legislature.

The Legislature was to meet on Tuesday, November 28th. The attendance of both parties was full. Large numbers of citizens from all parts of the State were in Columbia, and great excitement prevailed on account of the actions respectively of the Board of Canvassers, of the Supreme Court, and of Judge Bond. It was now to be demonstrated whether we had a Republican government, whether the will of the people, expressed through the ballot-box, was to be [67] respected. On the night of the 27th the troops took possession of the State House, and it was evident that the morrow was to be a day of unusual excitement. On the morning of the 28th some gentlemen, strangers as well as members, visited the State House, but were refused entrance by the soldiers on guard. It was now certain that difficulties would be experienced by those members who had not been favored by the Board of Canvassers. At twelve o'clock the whole body of Democratic members, sixty-four in number, went to the State House, led by the Edgefield delegation, at the head of whom was Mr. Shepherd. At the door of entrance some demur was made to their admission, but it was not persisted in, and they reached the lobby. At the door of the Representative Hall they found a corporal with a guard of soldiers, acting under instructions from Chamberlain, conveyed by his agents, who stood by the corporal. He called for their credentials, and by their voices determined who had a right to sit in that house.

And in the name of God, who were these judges who thus presumed to determine who were the representatives of the people of South Carolina? First and foremost was a man named Dennis. He might have been a general, he certainly sported that title; a Massachusetts man, some said a kinsman of Chamberlain, and certainly his henchman. His most famous exploit was the furnishing the State House at the enormous expense of $90,000, of which sum he took at least half as his commissions. There was also one Jones, a mulatto from the North, who had been the clerk of the House of Representatives, and who, with the clerk of the Senate formed a partnership under the firm of the Republican Printing Company. The clerks of the two Houses made contracts for printing with this company, that is, with themselves, and in a very short time they were confessedly among the rich men of Charleston, and lived in houses which were the admiration of all beholders. E. W. M. Mackey occasionally assisted in this unholy work, but the consummation of the crime called away the last two, and Dennis remained sole arbiter of the composition of the House of Representatives.

When it was ascertained that those gentlemen who had no credentials from the Secretary of State would not be admitted, the whole body of Democrats refused to enter and withdrew. On the steps of the State House Shepherd read to the indignant multitude a solemn protest against this intrusion of military force in the organization of the Legislature. The immense crowd, wrought to frenzy at this highhanded act of usurpation, might have overpowered the troops [68] and taken possession of the State House, but Hampton was there. He spoke words of encouragement and of hope, and warned his friends that ultimate success depended upon the strict observance of peace. It was good counsel and it prevailed, but it was hard to follow it. The people showed themselves on that day, as on other occasions, capable of self control, and Chamberlain might have heard the knell of his hopes in the way in which they submitted to this enormous usurpation. The retiring delegates, sixty-four in number, withdrew to a large hall in Columbia, where, as an undoubted quorum, they organized the House of Representatives by choosing W. H. Wallace their Speaker, and Sloan, Clerk. Whilst organizing they discovered that their numbers had increased to sixty-five by the adherence of Ruder, of Orangeburg.

The Radicals intended to take possession of the House and organize, whilst the Democrats would be parleying about the admission of their associates, and in fact before the Democrats had retired the roll was called by Jones, the clerk of the former House. It was then proposed to organize, and a doubt was expressed by a member whether a constitutional quorum was present. Whereupon Mackey asserted that there was a quorum. One hundred and sixteen members had been elected, he said, fifty-nine is one more than half of that number, and there were just that number in the hall, they were, therefore, a competent quorum—and his word was law to that hopeful assembly. He was elected Speaker, Jones clerk, and thus the crime was consummated.

In the Senate a full body appeared. Three new members appeared, two from Edgefield and Laurens, who, not being commissioned by the Secretary of State, were not allowed to sit, and one from Abbeville, who, having been elected to fill a vacancy, it was said could not take his seat until he had been admitted by the Committee on Privileges and Elections. The constitution of the Senate was thirteen Democrats to seventeen Republicans. The admission of the three new members would have reduced their majority to one.

When Wallace was elected Speaker a message was sent to the Senate, but the latter refused to recognize it as a House. A demand was also made on the Secretary of State for the election returns, so that the votes for Governor might be counted. That officer replied that the returns had already been delivered to Mackey, who gave his receipt for them as Speaker. A motion was then made in the Supreme Court for mandamus on Mackey and the Secretary of the State to deliver the returns to Wallace, the Speaker of the House. [69]

Mackey seemed anxious to enlarge the body of which he was the Speaker. Some members were declared not elected; these moved to Wallace's hall; their seats were given to others. One of those thus presented with a seat was said not to have been in Columbia at the time, but another personated him, and took the oath for him. Chamberlain, too, seemed doubtful of his position. He sent in no annual message this year.

Meanwhile General Ruger awoke to the conviction that he had been engaged in a very dirty piece of work. He saw that he had been employed as an instrument of the grossest tyranny; that through him a heavy blow had been struck at Republican Government. He was now anxious to exculpate himself and to make it appear that he did not do what he had done. It was the old excuse—the same which Grant had made for himself when he had violently expelled half of the House of Representatives of Louisiana, and delivered the State prostrate into the hands of her enemies—his orders had been misunderstood. So with Ruger. His soldiers were put in the State House, not to interfere in the formation of the Legislature, but to preserve peace. He wished every man, who claimed to have a seat in the Legislature, should have free access to the House. It was through the officious interference of Dennis that any were excluded. He was instantly put to the test. If your orders were so signally misunderstood, and therefore caused such mischief, undo all that has been done. Empty the State House and let us meet and organize de novo. This reasonable proposition did not suit him. It was important to the cause of Chamberlain that the acts of Dennis should be undisturbed. So the people of South Carolina must need be content with the assurance, that the general in command did not intend to do, and really should not be held responsible for what he had done. One thing was certain, that he was heartily ashamed of his conduct, and that he had not the courage to correct his blunder.

As, however, they had his assurance that he had no sympathy with Dennis's proceedings, and that the doors would be opened to all who had been elected, the whole House of Representatives, early on the morning of the 30th, went to the Halls—Wallace occupied the Speaker's chair and Sloan the clerk's. Intense was the surprise of Mackey and his followers when he entered shortly afterwards and found the Speaker's chair occupied. He demanded it as his right. His demand was refused. He then sent to inform the Governor that the Legislature was invaded by a body of strangers, who were obstructing them in their legitimate work. No satisfactory answer [70] came, and Mackey put a chair by the side of the Speaker and called his party to order. It was now a contest, the issue of which seemed to depend upon the powers of endurance of the parties.

Neither would yield, neither would, by adjourning, leave the field open to the other. In this game the true house had some advantages. They were all white; they had means of their own on which they could subsist, and the people of Columbia were ready to supply all their wants. But this contest was soon brought to an end. General Ruger informed General Hampton that the Edgefield and Laurens' delegation would not be permitted to remain in the State House after midday of December 2d. This was a flat contradiction of his declaration of the true intent and meaning of his orders, and General Hampton wrote him such a reply as an indignant gentleman might write to one who had deliberately told him the thing that was not. Dispatches were instantly sent to Washington to make a statement of the case, with what effect we know not, but certainly the obnoxious gentlemen were not removed at the time indicated. On the night of the 3d a large number of negroes were sent to the State House, constituting what was called a constabulary force, and the next day Mackey informed Wallace that at 2 P. M. the constabulary force, aided by the United States troops, would proceed to clear the Hall of obnoxious persons.

This was, doubtless, a trap for the purpose of forcing a collision, which would give the troops a pretext for more active interference, since it was more than probable, judging from the temper of the men, that if one of these negro constables should lay his hands on any of the men, his life would be the penalty of his temerity. Whether the troops would take a hand was uncertain, but the appearance at the door of officers who bore no good will to the cause of the Democrats, was ominous of evil. Determined, therefore, to offer moderation to violence, and not to do that which their adversaries wished them to do, Wallace and the House left the Hall and returned to that in which they had originally organized.

The next day the mock-house counted the votes for Governor, and by striking out the votes of Edgefield and Laurens made a majority for Chamberlain, and on the 7th he was inaugurated. It was a sad ceremony. The Hall of the House of Representatives, in which it was performed, was closed to all except to members of the two Houses and a few invited guests. As no judge of the Supreme Court would administer the oath, it was done by the probate judge. And meanwhile the House received a blow from which it could not [71] recover. It will be remembered that the Supreme Court was prayed for a mandamus against Mackey to give up to Wallace the election returns. The court objected; that mandamus could be laid only on officers, and that as Mackey was not Speaker of the House he could not be the subject of a mandamus. Two days later, on a selection made by sundry taxpayers of the State, an injunction was laid on the banks, which were the depositories of the public money, to pay out no money of the State until further orders. Thus was the usurping government denied a legal House of Representatives by the Supreme Court, and its power to do mischief nipped in the bud by cutting off the supplies by which it might continue to prolong its existence.

The Radicals went also through the formality of electing Corbin United States Senator, but as Mackey was not Speaker, the election was a mockery. The House of Representatives; was not acknowledged by the Senate, and their messages, inviting the Senate to join them in electing a Senator and in counting the votes for Governor, were treated with contempt, but the Democratic Senators attended, and M. C. Butler was elected. On the 15th General Hampton was inaugurated before the Hall in which the representatives assembled, before an immense throng of enthusiastic spectators. Lieutenant-Governor Simpson also took the oath of office administered by Judge Mackey.


The House of Representatives, repudiated by the Senate, was powerless to do anything legally, but it made an appeal to the people, which was followed by the happiest results. As it was necessary to supply the government with money, the people were invited to pay to such receivers, as the Governor should appoint, ten per cent. of the taxes which had been levied the last year. The success or failure of Hampton's government depended entirely upon the response which should be made to this appeal.

The city of Charleston was the first to reply. On the evening of December 21st the citizens met in Hibernian Hall, and put Charles Lowndes, Esq., in the chair. About him sat several gentlemen, known to be the largest taxpayers in the city. Several spoke of the grave crisis at which we had arrived, and the importance of standing together. It was resolved, without a dissenting voice, to disregard any call for the payment of taxes made by officers of the mock government, of which Chamberlain was the head; to acknowledge [72] no Governor but Hampton. Tremendous was the enthusiasm of the meeting when General Conner, describing the effect of a religious observance of the resolutions, said, the bayonets of the United States. army may keep these men in the places which they have usurped. We make no war upon the United States. But they cannot keep them from starving. A committee was appointed to see to the execution of the resolutions. The effect of this movement was magical. It was the doom of the Chamberlain hopes. The movement was quickly followed all over the country, and by the first January the Governor could, with confidence, appoint receivers of this voluntary tax. About the same time both the legislative bodies adjourned. As the Senate would not recognize the House of Representatives, the latter could do no more than it had done, and having provided for furnishing the treasury adjourned. The other body, finding that they could not get at the treasury, and seeing their numbers diminishing by deserters to the true House, adjourned also. It was said that when the House adjourned its members had increased from sixty-six to seventy-eight.

The courts.

The contest was now waged in the courthouses. Not long after his mock inauguration Chamberlain undertook to pardon a prisoner in the penitentiary. The governor refused to release his prisoner on the ground that Chamberlain was not the Governor and had no power to grant a pardon. The case was brought before Judge Carpenter. In this case lawyers on both sides discussed the claims of the two soi-disant Governors. After a hearing of several days the judge determined to take time to make a decision. He did take time. The case was closed before Christmas. After studying some time in Columbia the judge, still intent on a decision, went to Charleston, and unable to find there the light which he wanted he went to Washington, the Mecca of all faithful Radicals. There he remained a month and on the 1st of February published a decision, which, if it was to be final would have resolved the State into chaos.

As Mackey had been declared by the Supreme Court not the Speaker, he was obliged to determine that the inauguration of Chamberlain was void. The inauguration of Hampton was equally void, because, though done before a legal House of Representatives, it was not done before the Senate. Neither party, then, could claim any right from his inauguration, and as no actual governor had been inaugurated, Chamberlain was Governor until his successor should [73] be inaugurated. The consent of Chamberlain to be inaugurated could not invalidate his right to hold over, as the whole ceremony was illegal and the body engaged in it could not receive any inferred resignation. This decision gave Chamberlain a legal right to the title of Governor until his successor should be legally inaugurated, but it made it impossible that he should ever have a successor. This could be done only by the joint action of the two Houses and they could meet only at the call of Chamberlain. Now, though the Senate might obey the call of Chamberlain, it was certain that the House of Representatives would not, and so the practical effect of Carpenter's decision would be to leave the State for a year in the hands of a powerless Governor, with no Legislature, no treasury, with nothing by which the State could be saved from falling into perfect anarchy. This seems to have been the blessed result of his visit to Washington, to prolong the rule of a miserable adventurer even though it involved the State in ruin.

An appeal was instantly taken from this monstrous decision, and at the same time a case was made by the granting of a pardon by Hampton to one Tilda Norris, a penitentiary convict. In this case it was the sheriff who refused to recognize Hampton's authority, and the case was brought before the Supreme Court, whose ruling would determine who was the lawful Governor.

We shall follow this case to the end. The same wearying arguments were repeated on both sides, and the same readiness on the part of the court to permit dilatory practice showed that the courts were all desirous of having the decision made outside of South Carolina. They wanted the President to decide for them. I believe Mr. Justice Willard was the exception; that he was ready to assume the responsibility; but he was only one of them.

At last the proceedings were closed, and nothing remained but to pronounce the judgment. At this critical moment, Chief-Justice Moses was stricken down with a fit, from which he never recovered, and the Radicals made use of that opportunity to compass their ends. The third justice was the negro Wright. If he and Willard should agree, their decision would be final; if not, the matter must rest undetermined until a third justice should be elected. Every art that ingenuity could suggest was brought to bear upon the wretched negro. The choicest wines and liquors were lavished upon him. Threats and entreaties were both tried upon him. The sable sisters of the church visited him, prayed for him and with him, and used all [74] the blandishments of the wily sex to persuade him to remain true to Chamberlain and Radicalism.

On the 27th February an order was finally signed by the two justices for the release of Norris. Wright begged that the filing and publication might be delayed for a few days, and Justice Willard consented to it. On March 1st it appeared that a change had come over the black jurist. He had left with the clerk a very long opinion in which the pretensions of Chamberlain were elaborately discussed and acknowledged, followed by a withdrawal of his signature to the order which had been agreed upon by the court two days before. It was but a momentary triumph for Chamberlain. Justice Willard was naturally indignant at the childish conduct of his associate, but took no steps to add to the shame and confusion which fell upon him. Norris was released the next day, and there was henceforth little legal opposition to Hampton.

Hampton Governor—Grant's last malicious kick.

Meanwhile Governor Hampton was not lying idly waiting for events to decide for him. He had already declared that no one should be Governor beside himself, unless it should be a military Governor supported by the bayonets of the United States, and as soon as he was inaugurated he applied himself diligently to discharge the duties of his office. He appointed for every county, trustworthy men to collect the taxes levied by the House of Representatives. That body had fixed it at 20 per cent. of the taxes collected the last year. The Governor called for only 10 per cent., and such was the zeal manifested by the citizens, that before March he was in possession of $120,000, and able to keep all the machinery of the Government in good working order. For the preservation of law and order throughout the State he appointed Trial Justices, men of approved character, in every county; and he organized the militia, so as to make it a real arm of order and liberty. In this organization the Rifle clubs naturally held a conspicuous place. No white men had been considered by Governor Scott fit to be enrolled in the militia; and when Hampton became Governor it was natural that they should expect to be relieved of this disfranchisement. The clubs were accordingly officered and commissioned according to law, and it was in reference to these that President Grant gave the last uttering of his malignant spite against the whites of South Carolina. [75]

It was a time-honored custom to celebrate the 22d February with a military parade; for several years past this parade had been furnished by the Rifle clubs; and so little of sectionalism or of partisan spirit had entered into this celebration, that in Charleston, at least, a portion of the United States troops were always invited to participate in it, and always accepted the invitation. Arrangements were made this year for the usual military parade. On the morning of the 21st an order of the President was published that no Rifle clubs should be allowed to parade the next day. The Governor instantly issued an order, which was published all over the State, postponing the celebration of Washington's birthday, until it might be done without fear of interruption from the President. The latter endeavored to defend this petty act of spite by referring to his proclamation of October, in which he had commanded the Rifle clubs to be disbanded, thus justifying one act of tyranny by the plea of consistency with another. But in fact there were no longer any Rifle clubs in existence, as all had been absorbed in the militia and lawfully commissioned by the Governor.

The courts at last come to their senses.

The civil government extended over the greater portion of the State, but there were some important districts in which the sheriffs, being of the Radical party, refused to acknowledge Governor Hampton, and would not permit processes issued by trial justices of his appointment to be served. This was particularly and offensively the case in Charleston. Bowen, the partisan leader of the Radicals, was sheriff of the county. He refused to serve the processes of the trial justices, or to allow the jailer to receive prisoners under their warrants; and the people saw, with quiet indignation, one man determining for the whole county that the man whom they had repudiated should exercise the powers of a governor. The circuit judge was applied to for relief, but shrank from assuming responsibility. At last, about the middle of March, a case occurred in which the judge was compelled to act. But even then he acted with indecision. He could not refuse to acknowledge Hampton, he dared not deny the claims of Chamberlain. He adopted the course agreeable to all weak men. He ordered the sheriff to respect alike processes issued by both parties.

This dual government was fraught with too much danger to be patiently endured. In about a week a case was again brought before [76] him, and this time he determined with great reluctance that Hampton was Governor of South Carolina, and all Chamberlain's appointments void. This long period of a divided government was the direct effect of the influences which had been brought to bear upon the negro, Wright. Had he not tried to retract his consent to the order which the court had agreed upon, that order would have been the final judgment of the Supreme Court. His tergiversation gave the weak and the malignant an excuse for indecision, on the ground that the court had not decided. When Judge Read pronounced in favor of Hampton, all the colored judges had concurred, and Hampton was everywhere acknowledged as the lawful Governor of the State.

But there was one spot in South Carolina which he could not touch. One house into which he could not enter. He found the State House closed against him by the black myrmidons whom Chamberlain had posted there to defend it against him, and whose power, contemptible in itself, was supported by the army of the United States, which had been sent to South Carolina to obey the orders of Chamberlain. It is this exclusion from the Capitol and the Executive Chamber which makes it impossible for me to stop, now that I have shown how everywhere else the machinery of government was moving in obedience to his will. I must make brief notice of the connection between the election of Governor and of President of the United States.

State of feeling in South Carolina justified.

To one unacquainted with the condition of South Carolina, it would seem a matter of little personal interest whether a Governor should be chosen from our party, and, still less, whether the President should be a Democrat or a Republican. It is reasonable to expect in both parties a fair proportion of intelligence and integrity, a fair amount of conscientious regard for right, and a fair effort to act justly, and to secure to all citizens the blessings of peace, order and liberty. Political parties are generally supported by a sentiment, not by a sense of personal interest. But it was not so here. When the war came to an end, and the Southern States lay prostrate at the feet of their conqueror, they experienced the bitterest consequences of the humiliation of defeat.

Viewed from abroad, and from an ordinary standpoint, the proceedings of Congress might be regarded as full of humanity, of mercy and of charity. There were no revengeful prosecutions (a [77] few judicial murders in the first flush of victory excepted). The Congress devoted itself to the work of reconstruction, and in the far distant regions of the whole civilized world their acts doubtless seemed full of humanity and wisdom. The whole body of States was reconstructed on the principle of equal rights to all men, and with this principle engrafted on the Constitution there seemed to be no reason why the States should not proceed harmoniously in the career of peaceful progress.

But there was an element in the population which rendered such a principle fatal to all peaceful progress. In many of the States, and in South Carolina particularly, a majority of the people had been slaves. All these were suddenly elevated to the rank of citizens. Were this all, even then there might be hope. The slaves had always lived well with their masters, bore no resentment for past injuries, and if they were let alone in their own mutual relations, the two races might, and doubtless would have harmonized and soon discovered the art of living together in peace. But this was not to be. With the progress of Northern arms grew up an institution founded ostensibly, perhaps really, for the protection of the rights of the newly emancipated slaves. This institution, known as the Freedman's Bureau, became for the time the ruling power in the State. It interfered in all the concerns of whites and blacks, its officers were generally men who not only had no love for the South, but who made it their mission to foster in the minds of the blacks a bitter hatred and mistrust of the whites. They were, on all occasions, the champions of the negroes' rights, and never failed to instruct them that it was to the Republicans that they were indebted for all the rights which they enjoyed. In the train of the Bureau came the school mistresses who instilled into the minds of their pupils the same lessons of hatred and hostility. The consequence was, that though the personal relations between the races were friendly, though the blacks invariably addressed themselves to the whites as to true friends for all offices of love and kindness, of which they stood in need, they would never listen to them, if the latter wished to speak about politics. This feeling was intensified by the introduction of the Union League, a secret society, the members of which were solemnly bound never to vote for any but a Republican. The negro has a large development of secretiveness, and this association which bound the souls of all by its solemn oaths and which on holidays paraded the streets with the Bible borne by the president [78] and the superior officers at the head with mystic symbols, had a rare fascination for them. By such means the negro presented a solid phalanx of Radicalism, bound by superstition and fanaticism to the service of the party, and it is not wonderful that when the bonds of the League began to break that the Republican party suspected that only violence on the part of the whites could have estranged them from their allegiance to that party which had claimed them so long as their bounden servants.

Bad as all this was, even this might be borne had the Republican party contained the average number of good and honest men as in other parts of the country. With Republicans who had a real love for the State, the negro, under their training might have developed into good and useful citizens. But it was otherwise ordered. The Constitutional Convention, which met in pursuance of the Act of Reconstruction, consisted principally of negroes, without any kind of training, and who necessarily were but tools in the hands of designing persons. The whites who were in it were either renegade Carolinians, or men whose war record had been good, and who now hoped to make themselves powerful by early joining the party in the ascendant; or Northern men who had come hither to make their fortunes out of the new order of things; many had been attached to the Freedman's Bureau; many were men of infamous character at home, and came like buzzards to prey upon the carcass of the ruined State; all were men upon whom dark suspicion hung, and these were the ruling spirits of the Convention.

The Convention made a tabula rasa of the whole State. All officers were displaced; the judiciary destroyed; the whole field cleared for the grand experiment which Republicanism was now going to make in the State.

At an election, which was held soon after the adjournment of the Convention, Scott of Ohio, the chief of the Freedman's Bureau, was raised to the office of Governor, and the satrap displaced Governor Orr to make way for him. Chamberlain was made AttorneyGen-eral, and Parker, Treasurer. He had once been a bar-tender in Haverhill, N. H. His house was destroyed by fire, and the insurers refused to pay for the loss; but Parker did not deem it prudent to prosecute his claim. We have seen how he was indicted for embezzlement, and the farcical termination of that prosecution.

The Legislature was composed largely of negroes; but in almost every delegation were men, who having come to Carolina to carve [79] out fortunes for themselves, were afterwards known by the significant appellation of carpet-baggers. These were the men who controlled the Legislature.

As no property qualification was required for a seat in that body, it was by many regarded as a pleasant and easy way of making money, and it was not long before it was discovered that besides the salaries, which were unprecedentedly large, every member had the means of making an honest penny by the sale of his vote. A new business arose and prospered in Columbia, a sort of political brokerage, by which men contracted with speculators to buy the votes of members when they were interested in the passage of any measure. Here was a corruptible Legislature under the influence of men utterly corrupt. This corruption was barefaced. The corrupt men who governed the Legislature had no sense of decency, no compunction, provided they got what they wanted. In all civilized communities the rights of a minority are secure, even if utterly unrepresented, there is a public opinion which restrains even corruption and checks it in its mad career. In South Carolina there was no public opinion. Society was divided into the conquered whites, who were destined to satisfy the voracious appetites of the carpetbagger, and the needy and ignorant negro, directed by his hungry teachers.

The whites had no rights which they were bound to respect; if they paid the enormous taxes which were levied upon him, the negro was satisfied; he had done all that it was necessary for him to do in the degenerate State.

It was utterly vain to arraign any one on the charge of corruption. The more corrupt a man was supposed to be, the greater was his power with the party. The wretched Whittermore had been expelled from the House of Representatives in Congress for the petty crime of selling a cadetship. This disgraceful petty crime never lost him any of his power. He continued as before to govern the Peedee country, and was, doubtless, the more esteemed because of his cleverness in making a corrupt bargain. So, too, the infamous Leslie, who did not even deign to deny the charges of huge fraud in the land commission swindle, but defied his accusers, threatened to expose their crimes and lodge them in the penitentiary; and he continued to govern and to represent the county of Barnwell as long as he chose.

Not only were charges of corruption unavailing to destroy their power among the ignorant masses, they were impotent to weaken their influence with the leaders. Every one of them accused every [80] other of crimes which ought to be followed by ignominious punishment; but such is the cohesive force of plunder, that all these robbers, as they called each other, would, when their power was in danger, knit anew the bonds of friendship and present a solid and unbroken front against all who dared attempt to rid the State of their destructive and blighting presence.

And all this seething mass of corruption was sustained by the moral power of the government. The infamous Patterson had the ear of the President. The garrisons of soldiers posted in the different parts of the State were always represented to the negroes as placed there to protect them from their enemies—the whites; and on more than one occasion it seemed as if they regarded the whites as not only a conquered, but a seditious and rebellious people. The Governor, too, studiously kept them in the position of a suspected race.

When Governor Scott was organizing the militia, he refused to enrol white companies, and the whole military organization was confined to the negroes. A few white Radicals were honored with offices, but the white citizens of South Carolina were entirely disfranchised. Arms of the best and most approved patterns, and ammunition to suit, were lavishly bestowed on this militia of Scott's making, and many a citizen of the State, black as well as white, fell victims to this reckless arming of a semi-barbarous race. At Hamburg, in the Elberton riots, and at Cainhoy, the rifles which the whites had paid for were used freely against them, and they were denounced for their outrageous treatment of the poor and heavily oppressed negro.

It has been asked why did not the whites join with the Republicans and reform the abuses which were ruining the State? Twice they made the attempt. Twice did they join with those members of the Republican party who seemed disgusted with the course of their own party. Once they supported Judge Carpenter against Scott, and once Green against Chamberlain. On both occasions they were utterly defeated. The movement was regarded as an unwarrantable intrusion into the sacred fields of the party. The State seemed bound to the car of Radicalism forever.

Such was Republicanism as it was known to the people of South Carolina. Is it to be wondered at that the white people eagerly embraced the party of Democracy? That party, at least, had no corruption like that of the Republicans of this State. That party repudiated the doctrine that the army of the United States might be [81] employed, under pretext of protecting one party, to undermine the liberties of all; and the leader of that party had lately signalized himself as the determined foe of corruption. In the election of Samuel Tilden the humiliated Democracy dared to hope for a return to better things. Another cause also was operative. Eight long years of misrule had not been without their pernicious effects. It was not alone the loss of property—the confiscation of their estates by taxation that weighed heavily upon the people. They could bear the loss of property. They had submitted without a murmur to the results of the war. But the iron of oppression was entering their souls and producing its most fatal effects—a pathetic hopelessness. A tale of corruption caused but a shrug—we had become too much accustomed to the story to be keenly moved by it. We gazed on the picture with listless apathy, and only wondered what would be the next development, and the secret cry of every one was, How long, oh Lord, how long!

To the old Carolinian, everything was strange—everything so different from old customs and practices, that as he looked bewildered around and about him, he felt that he had become a stranger, that he had no home, I am far from asserting that our people were pure and spotless; that we were free from the taint of corruption; that we preserved intact the principles of a pure religion and of an elevated morality; but I do assert that they had a sacred regard for truth, that the laws of honor were felt and observed, and that if men were corrupt the teaching of this law was so effective, that sin among them lost much of its hideousness by losing its grossness. The public man convicted of untruth, lost all his power, and though corruption probably did exist, it was covered with a thick veil, and men never dared flaunt its skirts in the face of an indignant society. To hold an office in the State was prima facie evidence that the man was fit for the place. Our Governor was the first of the gentlemen of the State, and at that time it was really a grand old name. Our judges wore their ermine unstained. In the long line of our judges, one only had ever been found unworthy, and his was a weakness too common among our best men. The seduction of wine was too strong for him. I do not remember a single case of a defaulting public officer. To hold an office in the State was strong presumption of worthiness for the place. Hence a principle of reverence unconsciously took possession of our minds, and the idea of moral worth was associated with political eminence. We were proud of our State. And now all this was changed. To hold an office was a [82] presumption of unworthiness. In former times the public bonds of the State never found their way into the stock market; now, they were hawked about the streets of New York by a wretched gutter-broker, who was made by Chamberlain the financial agent of the State, and once, in order to expedite business, the Secretary of State, the mulatto Cardoza, went to New York with the great seal of the State in his pocket, to comply with the request of the financial agent. On one occasion three men met at the agent's office, counsellors and advisers of the financial agent of South Carolina, Scott, of Ohio; Parker, the swindler of New Hampshire, Bowen, the god of the Cooper River negroes, and the vote broker, Henly. These, and such as these, sat in council with the financial agent of the State; gave their counsel; determined about the disposal of the money which might be raised, and, doubtless, broke many a vulgar jest upon the misery of the State which they presumed to represent.

I dwell upon this matter because I feel that a bare recital of events can never tell but a portion of the truth. It was not a sentiment which led the Carolinians to support the Democratic party, it was a deep seated personal interest which was universal. The success of the Democratic party was to them life, hope, self-esteem, the sense of still having a home, the purification of the temple, the revival of our manhood. The triumph of the Republican party was moral death, degradation, apathy—all that was abhorrent to a proud and generous nature, all that was loathsome to the moral sense was involved in the triumph of Radicalism. I cannot use language too strong to convey an idea of the feeling which thrilled through the heart of the State at the prospect of political defeat, because I know that no language can adequately describe it.

In the same spirit with which they had put forward Carpenter, and afterwards rallied around Green, they were moved by the specious words of Chamberlain. They knew him to be corrupt; that he had made his way to his proud eminence by the aid of corrupt agents, but he was so far in advance of his party in refinement and culture, and had so clearly indicated the cause which the State ought to follow, that a large portion of the people were reconciled to the prospect of having him for their Governor. He was not the man whom they would choose, but he seemed the best whom they could probably get. They trusted to the purifying influences of culture and power. But his letters to Senator Robertson and President Grant revealed the true character of a man utterly false, and made it impossible for any self-respecting Carolinian to vote for him. [83]

How the canvass was conducted and how the election was held, has been told. We were almost as anxious to have Tilden President as Hampton Governor. Even if Chamberlain were elected, we were certain that his government would collapse, if the administration in Washington should be in Democratic hands. The party in South Carolina subsisted only under the shadow of the government in Washington, and when it should lose the prestige of its support, it would soon become impotent for evil. Great, therefore, was the sense of relief when the day after the election the news came flashing over the wires that both Tilden and Hampton were elected.

The history of the contest between the two parties for the counting of the presidential vote, of the successful operation by which the Returning Board of Louisiana and Florida reversed the votes of those States and gave their votes to Hayes, and the settlement of the question by a special commission elected for that purpose, really form a part of this history, but as this is a matter of general interest, and not peculiar to us, it is of crime well known, and would needlessly lengthen our already very long paper, should it be recited here. It proved conclusively the excellence of the plan by which the Republicans proposed to keep power in their own hands by means of Returning Boards. They nullified the votes of Florida and Louisiana without any scruple, and were supported by the Republican party, including a part of the Federal judiciary. So that Hayes was declared elected by a majority of one vote.


Meanwhile the Chamberlain government had dwindled to a mere shadow, its jurisdiction confined to the State House, which was guarded by United States troops. The government of Hampton covered the rest of the State, and his Treasury was well supplied. It was manifest, even to the stolid mind of Grant, that Chamberlain could not be maintained in his usurped office; that the troops must be removed which held for him the only spot on which his jurisdicdiction was acknowledged—but he would not undo the mischief which he had done; that would have been a tacit acknowledgement that he had been wrong, and he defended his inaction under the flimsy pretext of unwillingness to determine what ought to be left to the discretion of his successor.

That successor must have determined very early on his course. On the 6th March Chamberlain received a communication purporting [84] to come from persons who represented the President, advising him for the sake of peace and the good of his country to yield his right to the office of Governor. Chamberlain replied that the communication embarrassed him beyond endurance. He had hoped for active interference in his favor, and was advised to surrender his rights. In this whole matter he was acting, not for himself, but for others, and he could assume no responsibility. And it was well for us that it was so; that he would make no terms. The government at Washington and the better class of Republicans at the North, had conceived a lofty opinion of this man. They regarded him as a genuine Reformer and hailed him as the great leader whose mission it was to reconcile the conflicting races in the State, and lead them both to a higher plane of civilization. So deeply had his utterances impressed the Northern mind, that, when Hampton was nominated, the Nation, one of the leading Republican papers at the North, declared that the nomination was the mad act of a people constitutionally inclined to mischief; and now that his fall was certain it was sought to break it and soothe his disappointment by concessions and compromises. They did not know that compromise with such a man would have been a surrender of all that we had gained, and very fortunate was it for the State that Chamberlain himself rejected it.

Though only six weeks elapsed between the ascension of Hayes and the final collapse of Chamberlain, it is not easy to imagine the excitement which prevailed among us at what seemed an unnecessary delay. We were sure of having the fruits of victory, but the government in Washington was in no hurry to gratify us. It was now upwards of four months since the inauguration of Hampton, and yet, owing to the hesitation of the President, the people could not feel that they were free from the thraldom of military despotism, and they murmured at the unaccountable delay. Was the President afraid to leave Chamberlain a helpless victim in the hands of the Democratic party? It may well have been so. The Republicans had industriously taught the people of the North that South Carolinians are constitutionally inclined to mischief, and it might be that the teachers believed the lessons which they had so industriously circulated. At length, after some toying and coquetting with the subject, the President, on the 23d March, invited both Hampton and Chamberlain to visit him in Washington. The Governor accepted the invitation. But he took care to give the President notice that he had no favors to ask, no compromises to offer or accept; that he did [85] not even wish the President to acknowledge him as Governor of South Carolina. One thing only he wanted, and that was the removal of the troops from the State House. What passed in the interview with the President we know not. It is likely that the Governor gave the President the assurance that Chamberlain was in no danger of personal violence. The journey of Hampton to and from Washington, and his stay there, was a continued ovation, and the President must have been aware that the popular voice was unanimous for him. Chamberlain, too, accepted the invitation of the President; but we know not what passed between the two dignitaries. Soon after Hampton's return on the 10th April, 1877, precisely as the town clock of Columbia struck twelve, the United States troops marched out of the State House, and Chamberlain, crest-fallen and humiliated, with curses in his mouth against the President who had deserted his friends, and was turning the State over to the hands of his enemies, left the Executive office, and went to his house a wiser if not a better man.

The history of the contest between the Radicals and the Democrats for the possession of the State, reflects the highest credit upon the character of the people. It shows how they united moderation with determination, and how, even when exposed to the most aggravating provocations, they exercised admirable self-control. They entered into the contest, knowing that it was to be a struggle for life and death, and no pains were spared to gain the victory. They knew that a gigantic power was at hand, hostile to them, and ready to avail itself of any outbreak of violence, to come down upon them with its crushing arm. Such an opportunity was never given. When the election showed that they had succeeded, a new and bitter contest arose to secure the victory which the ballot had given them. This contest was the work of the lawyers. With indefatigable activity they threw themselves into the lists, and fought every step until success crowned their efforts. Their first triumph was over the Board of Canvassers, which vainly endeavored, under cover of law, to disfranchise two counties and thus defeat the expressed will of the people. All that was wanted was got from the Board, and their malignant action in setting the Supreme Court at defiance proved absolutely futile. The Board obtained a temporary triumph by the officious intervention of Judge Bond; but this interference did not in any degree shake the advantage which the lawyers had gained, and served only to bring into utter contempt the whole machinery of Returning Boards, and to bring the judge into the condition of a [86] convenient minister of a partisan government. During all the exciting scenes which were enacted in the court rooms, a large body of eager citizens were without impatiently waiting for the issue. A word from the great leader would have embroiled the country in civil strife. That word was not spoken. On the contrary he counselled peace, moderation, forbearance, and led his friends to hope that through these means their cause would surely prevail.

It was the hope of the Radicals that the exasperated citizens would commit violence. The army of the United States was there to obey the will of Chamberlain; all that was wanted was a complaint from him that his government was obstructed by violence, and the army was ready to march to the support of the usurper. That complaint he never had a cause to make. Day by day he saw his hopes slipping away from him, but there was no violence employed to effect that object. It was the moral force alone that had undermined, but no military force could help him here. The people gave their money to Hampton, and would give none to the occupant of the State House; but this refusal was without violence, nay, so conscious were his officers of the hopelessness of his cause, that they never even called for money. The judges, all of whom had been appointed by Radical legislatures, one after another acknowledged the right of Hampton; Chamberlain at last found that his government was limited to the forced possession of the State House, and never had a shadow of a ground of violence to warrant a call on the army for support.

Nor were provocations wanting to goad on a maddened people. When Grant ordered that no white soldiers should take a part in the customary celebration of Washington's birth-day, what object could he have had in view but that an indignant people would disobey the order, and thus by giving color for interference, provoke a collision which would injure the cause? And with what admirable temper did the Governor meet this outrageous order! He sent his orders all over the State, directing that the order of the President be obeyed, and held out hopes of a celebration at an early day when it would not be a crime for citizens of South Carolina to celebrate the birthday of the father of their country.

If the final victory was due to the lawyers, it is no less due to the great wisdom of the accomplished Governor and leader of his party. Calm, cautious, prudent and hopeful, he never made a false step; never for a moment, even in appearance, yielded a tittle of what he had gained. In the history of his past life General Hampton had been [87] known as a brilliant, chivalrous and accomplished gentleman. In the great contest for the redemption of South Carolina he showed himself to be a great man.

In this essay, I have necessarily been obliged to omit many radical crimes. I could not name them all without going to inordinate length, and I could not do justice to the subject without going even into details. Wherever I have undertaken to make a narration, I am not conscious of having done any injury either to Chamberlain or the party that he represents. The period under consideration is the darkest which ever hung over us; more trying even than when the issue was to be decided by battle, and the story can be well told only by laying bare its atrocities. It is apparent that the specious man who contrived not only to elevate himself to power, but for a time even to win the approbation of the Democrats, and who was regarded by the North as the redeeming feature in the dark picture of Southern Radicalism was a charlatan and a trickster, that having gained power by corruption he sought to gild it with the hollow pretence of a Reformer. He was a charlatan, but he had nothing but the address of the charlatan. He never expressed himself when the character of the State was seriously compromised. He had not the courage to face danger. He shut himself up in his house to enjoy domestic felicity when danger came, or he ran to Washington to implore the aid of Federal bayonets. He wrote admirable papers on law and morals; his proclamations were splendid rhetorical essays. He was great in college orations, but as a Governor he was contemptible.

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