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THE JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE
TO INQUIRE INTO
THE CONDITION OF AFFAIRS
THE LATE INSURRECTIONARY STATES.
MADE TO THE TWO HOUSES OF CONGRESS FEBRUARY 19, 1872.
20 Session. I
No.22, Pt. 1.
AFFAIRS IN THE LATE INSURRECTIONARY STATES.
FEBRUARY 19, 1872.-Laid on the table and ordered to be printed.
Mr. POLAND, from the Joint Select Committee on the Condition of Affairs
in the late Insurrectionary States, made the following
The joint select committee appointed to inquire into the condition of affairs
in the late insurrectionary States, so far as regards the execution of the laws, and the safety of the lives and property of the citizens of the United States," submit the following report:
A select committee of the Senate, upon the 10th of March, 1871, made a report of the result of their investigation into the security of person and property in the State of North Carolina as, affected by crimes and outrages of a political character, stating that, while engaged in prosecuting that inquiry, many complaints were made of insecurity in other States, and leaving to the Senate to determine whether the public interests required the further pursuit of the investigation.
On the 23d of March, 1871, the President of the United States sent to Congress a message, in which he said:
A condition of affairs now exists in some of the States of the Union rendering life and property insecure, and the carrying of thio mails and the collection of the revenue dangerons. The proof that such a condition of affairs exists in some localities is now before the Senate. That the power to correct these evils is beyond the control of State authorities, I do not doubt. That the power of the Executive of the United States, acting within the limits of existing laws, is sufficient for present emergencies, is not clear.
He recommended legislation to secure life, liberty, and property, and the enforcement of law in all parts of the United States. In pursuance of this recommendation, "An act to enforce the provisions of the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes," was passed, and approyed April 20, 1871. Before the passage of that act, this joint committee was appointed, under the following resolution:
Resolved by the Scnate of the United States, (the House of Representatives concurring,) That a joint committee, consisting of seven Senators and fourteen Representatives, be appointed, whose duty it shall be to inquire into the condition of the late insurrectionary States, so far as regards the execution of the laws and the safety of the lives and property of the citizens of the United States, with leave to report, at any time during the next or any subsequent session of Congress, the result of their investigation to either or both Houses of Congress, with such recommendations as they may
*NOTE. The testimony referred to in this report is contained in a series of volumes separated into divisions according to the States to which the testimony relates. There are volumes continuously paged of South Carolina testimony; one volume of North Carolina; volumes of Georgia
; volumes of Alabama and of Mississippi; and that taken in relation to Florida and Teunessce, including General N. B. Forrest's evidence, is contained in a single volume entitled Miscellaneous.
deem expedient; that said committee be authorized to employ clerks and stenograr phers, to sit during the recess, to send for persons and papers, to administer oaths and take testimony, and to visit, at their discretion, through sub-committees, any. portions of said States during the recess of Congress; and the expenses of said committee shall be paid out of the contingent fund of the Senate, upon vouchers approved by the chairman of said committee.
The committee organized April 20, and again met in Washington on the 17th of May, 1871. On the 19th, a sub-committee of eight was ap. pointed, to proceed at once with the investigation, with authority to take testimony wherever they deemed advisable, by a sub-committee of their own number, to be reported to a meeting of the full committee on the 20th of September.
This sub-committee took testimony in the city of Washington until June 29, when a sub-committee of their number proceeded to the State of South Carolina, and examined witnesses in that State until July 29. They then rejoined the other members of the sub-committee, who had during their absence prosecuted the investigation in Washington. Evidence was then taken by a sub-committee of three until the 5th day of August, when an adjournment took place until the 20th of September, a sub-committee, consisting of Messrs. Pool, Buckley, and Beck, being appointed to digest in the meantime the reports of the executive officers of the various States upon their finances, tax and election laws. The whole committee again assembled September 20, and remained in session until the 25th of that month, during which time sub-committees were appointed to visit and take testimony in the States of North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.
The evidence taken in Washington, and by a sub-committee in South Carolina, having been reported to the joint committee, is hereby submitted ; and, as an appendix to and part of this report, is also submitted the report of the sub-committee appointed to digest the reports of the executive officers of the States. The testimony taken in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, by the sub-committees visiting these States, is not yet prepared, and will be submitted with a subsequent or supplementary report.
The proceedings and debates in Congress show that, whatever other causes were assigned for disorders in the late insurrectionary States, the execution of the laws and the security of life and property were alleged to be most seriously threatened by the existence and acts of organized bands of armed and disguised men, known as Ku-Klux.
Inquiring, as our primary duty, into the truth of these allegations, in those States where such acts have most recently been committed, the investigation necessarily assumed a wider range. Not only has inquiry been made as to the commission of outrages, as to the execution of the laws by the superior courts and inferior magistrates, but bad legislation, official incompetency, corruption, and other causes, baving been assigned as accounting for, if not justifying disorders, they, too, have, to a large extent, entered into the statements and opinions of witnesses.
There is a remarkable concurrence of testimony to the effect that, in those of the late rebellious States into whose condition we have examined, the courts and juries administer justice between man and man in all ordinary cases, civil. and criminal; and while there is this concurrence on this point, the evidence is equally decisive that redress cannot be obtained against those who commit crimes in disguise and at night. The reasons assigned are that identification is difficult, almost impossible; that when this is attempted, the combinations and oaths of the