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[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

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Samuel Tilden (1)
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