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The Governor-elect took the oath of office on November 27, 1865, the day on which the General Assembly met in regular session, and was inaugurated with the customary ceremonies.
James Lawrence Orr was born in Anderson District May 12, 1822. Graduated from the University of Virginia in 1842, he was afterwards admitted to the bar. He located at Anderson for the practice of his profession, and there established and edited the weekly Gazette. He served in the lower branch of the Legislature from 1844 to 1857, and in that body earnestly opposed nullification. He sat in Congress from December, 1849, till March, 1859. In December, 1857, he was elected speaker of the House. In the agitation over the questions of slavery and states' rights he opposed separate State action, while distinctly affirming the right of secession. These views he so strongly presented to the Southern Rights Convention, held in Charleston, in 1851, that the body refrained from passing the secession ordinance framed for its adoption. In 1854 he joined with Stephen A. Douglas and others in opposition to the Know Nothing party. In 1860 he opposed separate State action, but acquiesced in the decision of South Carolina and went actively with her people into the Civil War. In 1861 he raised a regiment of riflemen for the Confederate service and commanded it in the field until, in 1862, he was called to a seat in the Congress. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1865, and his candidacy for the governorship was in response to the request of many of the leading men in that body. In 1868 he was elected judge of the Eighth Circuit, holding that office till his appointment, in December, 1872, as United States minister to Russia. In the summer of that year he had been sent as a delegate from South Carolina to the National Republican Convention.
Judge Orr died May 5, 1873—within two months after the presentation of his credentials to the Russian government.
The Hon. William D. Porter was duly installed as LieutenantGovernor.
At this session there was the ordinary legislation for the support and operation of the State Government, and the vacant offices within the gift of the General Assembly were filled by elections. Especial pains were taken to pass an act organizing the State militia.
The choice of presidential electors was, by an act duly passed, given to the qualified voters of the commonwealth.
The General Assembly adjourned sine die on December 21. On that day Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, by direction of the President, notified Colonel Perry that he was relieved of the trust which had theretofore reposed in him as provisional governor of the State of South Carolina, and instructed him to deliver into Governor Orr's possession the papers and property relating to that trust. A communication was addressed to Governor Orr, advising him of this action of the National Executive, and tendering him the cooperation of the Government of the United States, "whenever it may be found necessary in effecting the early restoration and the permanent prosperity and welfare of the State."
Thus was effected the restoration of the State of South Carolina to her relations with the Federal Government, under the scheme of Reconstruction founded upon the "Presidential” doctrine held by Abraham Lincoln and sought to be enforced by Andrew Johnson.
On December 25, 1865, Governor Orr issued his first proclamation, in the course of which he stated his view of the relations between the State government and the civil and military authorities of the United States, as follows:
The order suspending the writ of habeas corpus, issued by the President, has not been modified or revoked in this State, and the military authority is therefore paramount in all such matters as they are instructed to take jurisdiction of, and as such will be respected by all orderly and law-abiding people.
The military claim jurisdiction in all cases of disloyalty to the Government and infractions of its laws; to preserve order and discipline in and near their garrisons; to adjudge and determine all controversies in which freedmen and whites are engaged, including violations of State laws by freedmen; in all cases of wrong or injury done to its officers and soldiers; and is an auxiliary in aiding treasury agents to recover United States property, and the Freedmen's Bureau in supervising contracts with freedmen. Whenever, therefore, a person is arrested by military authority on either of the above
grounds, they have jurisdiction of the case, and are instructed not to obey any writ of habeas corpus for the release of such person.
In all controversies between citizens, arising out of wrongs or injuries done to person or property, and in all violations of the penal code by citizens, the laws are in full force, and the courts will be opened henceforth on every circuit to administer law and punish crime.
The people were admonished to avoid collisions with the military authorities. The colored people were advised to make contracts forthwith for the coming year, to be good citizens and to cultivate sobriety, industry, economy and honesty.
THE "BLACK CODE." After the consideration of the report of the Code Commissioners provided for by the ordinance of the Convention, the General Assembly, at the regular session of 1865, passed certain laws intended to establish the relations of persons of color to the State government, and to the white race, as brought about by emancipation. These laws-called by the negro leaders and the Republican organs the “Black Code"-were as follows: An act preliminary to the legislation induced by the emancipation of slaves; an act to amend the criminal law; an act to establish district courts; an act to establish and regulate the domestic relations of persons of color and to amend the law in relation to paupers and vagrancy.
These statutes must be deemed to have embodied the views of the Legislature touching the status of the colored people in South Carolina, as established by emancipation and by the new relations of the State to the Federal Government; and as they were taken by the Radical leaders to be evidence of a purpose by the white people not to accept the rightful results of the freedom of their former slaves, a summary of the significant provisions should be given.
All free negroes, mulattoes and mestizos, all freedmen and freedwomen and all descendants through either sex of any of these persons were to be known as persons of color, except that every such descendant who might have of Caucasian blood seven-eighths or more should be deemed a white person.
Persons of color, though “not entitled to social or political equality with white persons," were to have the right to acquire, own and dispose of property, to make contracts, to enjoy the fruits of their labor, to sue and be sued, and to receive protection under the law in their persons and property.
All rights and remedies respecting persons or property, and all duties and liabilities under laws, civil and criminal, which applied to white persons were extended to persons of color-subject, however, to the modifications made by contemporaneous legislation.
The penalty of death was denounced upon any person of color who should commit any wilful homicide unless in self-defense, who should commit an assault upon a white woman with manifest intent to ravish her, or who should have sexual intercourse with a white woman by personating her husband.
For a servant to assault his master or employer or any member of his master's or employer's family, or any person authorized to direct and control him, was declared an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by whipping or imprisonment.
It was made a misdemeanor for any person of color who should be in the employment of a master to sell any bacon, fresh meat or any product of a farm without having written evidence from such master or some person authorized by him, or from the district judge or a magistrate, that he had the right to sell such article.
It was made a misdemeanor for any person not authorized to write or give to a person of color a writing purporting to show evidence of the right of that person of color to sell any farm product which he was forbidden to sell without such evidence.
Persons of color were to constitute no part of the militia of the State, and no one of them should, without written permission from the district judge, be allowed to keep a firearm, sword or other military weapon—except that one of them who should be the owner of a farm might keep a shotgun or rifle, such as was ordinarily used in hunting, but not a pistol, musket or other firearm or weapon appropriate for purposes of war.
It was made a misdemeanor for a person of color to engage in ; the manufacture or sale of spirituous liquors.
It was declared unlawful for any person of color to migrate into and reside in this State, unless within twenty days after his arrival within the same he should enter into a bond of $1,000 with two freeholders as sureties, conditioned for his good behavior and for his support if he should become unable to support himself.
The district court was clothed with exclusive jurisdiction, subject to appeal, of all civil causes wherein any one of the parties should
be a person of color, and also of all criminal cases wherein the accused should be a person of color.
The right of trial by jury was provided in the district court, except in the summary jurisdiction of "small and mean causes"—the grand jury consisting of eight persons and the petit jury of six.
An indictment against a white person for the killing of a person of color was triable in the circuit court, as was any other indictment in which a white person should be accused of a capital felony affecting the person or property of a person of color.
In every case, civil or criminal, in which a person of color should be a party, or which should affect the person or property of a person of color, persons of color should be competent witnesses—the accused in a criminal case and the parties in every civil case being also competent.
In reference to wills, executors and administrators, distribution of estates after payment of debts, the rights and remedies of legatees and next of kin, and all matters relating to testators and intestates, the same law which applied to white persons was extended to persons of color.
The relation of husband and wife amongst persons of color was established—those then living as such being declared to be husband and wife.
In the case of one man having two or more reputed wives, or one woman having two or more reputed husbands, the man was required, before the ist day of April, 1866, to select one of his reputed wives, or the woman one of her reputed husbands, and the ceremony of marriage between the man or woman and the person so selected should be performed.
Every colored child theretofore born was declared to be the legitimate child of his mother and also of his colored father if he was then acknowledged by such father.
Persons of color desirous thereafter to become husband and wife should have the contract of marriage duly solemnized by a clergyman, a district judge, a magistrate, or any judicial officer, but cohabitation, with reputation or recognition of the parties, should be evidence of marriage in cases criminal and civil.
Marriage between a white person and a person of color was declared to be illegal and void.