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Circuit Court, and that fact having been certified to the Supreme Court the case was there dismissed.
Thus it came about that every effort to have the judgment of the Supreme Court upon the constitutionality of the Enforcement Act and the Kuklux Act came to nought.
In the summer of 1873 President Grant declared a purpose to pardon all convicted Kuklux whose neighbors and fellow citizens might ask clemency for them. Applications were made accordingly, and one by one the parties involved were set free. Except in the cases where the term of imprisonment was one year or less none of them served out his term.
JUST A LITTLE JOBBERY. The Republican organ in Columbia printed daily stenographic reports of the Kuklux trials in that city-an undertaking then too expensive for any other newspaper in South Carolina. It was afterwards discovered that the cost of this enterprising act of the organ had been paid out of the public funds.
The Legislature ordered the printing of 5,000 copies of the court proceedings in book form. For this work the Republican Printing Company charged $45,788. Their man Woodruff afterwards swore that the real value of the work was $22,894, and that the bill had been raised because his company had had to take their pay in Blue Ridge Scrip, which they thought worth only half its face. The actual value of the work was about $10,000.
On July 28, 1871, Governor Scott issued a proclamation offering a reward of $200 for each person arrested, with proof to convict, under the Enforcement Act. During the session of 1872-73 the Legislature appropriated $35,000 to pay these rewards. The Governor appointed a commission of five lawyers to pass upon the claims presented under the act. This commission (first awarding themselves $500 apiece for their services) reported the following persons entitled to pay as follows:
Maj. Lewis Merrill, U. S. A., $15,700; Thos. M. Wilkes, U. S. Commissioner, $7,000; F. B. Lloyd (assignee of Merrill), $5,000; H. H. D. Byron, U. S. Commissioner, $1,200; Capt. W. H. Brown, U. S. A., $200; James Canton, U. S. Marshal, $1,200.
Lloyd was the brother-in-law of Judge Thos. J. Mackey, and they both claimed to have helped to lobby the bill through the Legislature.
The Federal officials--civil and military-had, of course, received their regular pay from the Government.
There was considerable comment upon the course of Major Merrill in demanding money for military services performed in obedience to the orders of his superiors, and he evidently lost caste with the army officers. In 1886 the bill to retire him with the rank of lieutenant-colonel was defeated in the Senate—the Southern senators having exposed his conduct in taking pay from South Carolina for services already paid for by the National Government. A second effort on the part of Merrill's friends, in 1890, was successful.
During the second term of Governor Scott the Republican party was so fully in control in South Carolina that it had nothing to fear from any act or protest of the opposition—that opposition represented by the white population owning well-nigh all the property in the State and paying well-nigh all the taxes. The exposures and remonstrances of the press counted nothing. The appeals of the taxpayers were equally unavailing. No man was accounted worthy of any opinion on public affairs unless he should first have called himself a Republican and should next have acquiesced in every act of that party. Moral standards usually deemed applicable to public trusts were deliberately set aside and men of notoriously bad character were deliberately elected or appointed to public office.
The policy of the negro party-fixed by such leaders as Scott, Cardozo, Chamberlain, Elliott, Parker, Whittemore, Swails, Smalls, Moses (Jr.) and Whipper-was one of stolid enmity to the white race, and that policy was enforced by the Legislature, by the Executive and, with one or two honorable exceptions, by every governing board in the State administration.
The ruling majority in the Legislature was utterly dishonest-the Republican members, with few exceptions, flagrantly holding themselves out as so many puppets or hirelings to be bought with money.
A seat in the United States Senate had been bought-corruptly bought with money actually put into the hands of men who by thus taking it became guilty of wilful and corrupt perjury.
One notable scheme, the issue of Revenue Bond Scrip, in aid of the coterie of corruptionists of whom John J. Patterson was the acknowledged head, had been carried through the Legislature by bribery so flagrant that few of the guilty members undertook to conceal their acts. As already shown, Patterson, in a paper signed by himself, declared in effect that the votes of members of the General Assembly had been bought by him with money.
The extravagance, the incapacity and the corruption of the negro government in each of its various departments were manifest to all who cared to see or read or listen or learn. The charges made, the
warnings uttered, the protests entered in the campaign of 1870 were more than justified by the actual history of Governor Scott's second term. No regard was had in any department of the State Government to party pledge, to official responsibility or to the personal obligation which every honest officer recognizes.
The finances of the State and the counties alike were in bad plight. The State debt, principal and accrued interest, was admitted to be $18,350,000, exclusive of the "contingent liabilities” already mentioned. State bonds were scarcely marketable, and then only at low figures—the maximum price offered being 60. The State was without credit in any of the exchanges of the world, and the moral character of her agents was such as to render them incapable of reestablishing confidence or of restoring the good name of the commonwealth. The "floating debt" was more than $700,000.
The condition of most of the counties was little better—the aggregate of county indebtedness, November 1, 1872, being over $250,000. County paper was hawked about by its holders—sold to speculators at exorbitant discounts. Defalcations among county treasurers amounted to more than $450,000—and the defaulters still maintained their standing in the Republican party. Pretensive efforts were made to bring these criminals to justice, but no one of them was ever punished. The so-called prosecutions lacked the real sympathy of the prosecutors and thus naturally came to nought.
The free-school system was worse than a failure. Of the $300,000 appropriated at the session of 1871-72 not a dollar was available for the pay of teachers; this entire fund having been applied to other claims, on the principle, "first come, first served”—and the agents or the favorites of the “ring" always came first. Teachers' pay certificates were sold at ruinous discounts-usually 50 per cent.—and in some counties were absolutely valueless. The school commissioners, with occasional exceptions (chiefly in the counties controlled by whites) were incompetent to do even the routine work of the office—much less were they able to organize, maintain or expand a school system. The school sessions were irregular, the teachers became discouraged, the white taxpayers were naturally disgusted, and the entire system had sunk into a state of disrepute and worthlessness.
The condition of the lunatic asylum was not only a disgrace to the State, but an outrage upon the inmates. The superintendent in his
official report, November, 1872, stated that the institution had had "no assistance from the State from July, 1871, to January, 1872." Upon asking of the State Treasurer the money appropriated, Superintendent Ensor was informed that there was none in the treasury. On April 30 the Treasurer, in response to an urgent appeal of the superintendent, again declared that there were no funds, nor was any assurance given of any relief. It seemed as if the asylum must be closed. That calamity was averted through the credit extended by certain merchants and by a loan procured on the endorsement of Dr. Ensor, Governor Scott and Mr. Chamberlain. The money thus obtained being exhausted the superintendent had actually to beg help of merchants in Columbia. Those who extended accommodations and thus averted the necessity to turn the patients out into the streets were Mr. John Agnew and Mr. Edward Hope of that city. Mr. Bernard O'Neill, a Charleston merchant, aided the good work by extending unusual accommodations to Messrs. Hope & Giles, of which firm Mr. Hope was the senior member.
In November, 1872, the asylum was in debt, for expenses of maintenance, $62,015—of which the sum of $15,496 was due to employees, including the superintendent and the physicion.
The personnel of the Radical government was generally so disreputable that there was little confidence in the character or the motives of those holding office. There were, of course, honorable exceptions. But in some cases the character of the Radical incumbent (whether white or black) was such that he would not have been permitted to enter a gentleman's premises by the front gate—would scarcely have been permitted to interview his negro cook without a certificate of character.
There was a heyday of enjoyment among the plunderers assembled in Columbia. At the expense of the State, with money taken in bribes or actually stolen from the public treasury, they had their fine garments, their wines, liquors and cigars, their blooded horses and their spic-and-span turnouts—and plenty of money to spare. These things were impudently flaunted in the faces of the white people powerless to protect themselves against the insolence of thieves, the arrogance of officeholders or even the swagger of loose women who shared the benefits of the money stolen from the people.
The position of the negro party seemed impregnable. They controlled the State Government, and they were backed by the civil and