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aspired to hold high place in the Government of South Carolina:
Marion County S C August The 27 Mr. Chair man dear Sir Therse Lins will Inform you That I am well At This Time and Hoping That You The same Mr C Smith dear Sir I have Ben offort for a Representatives Please write Me Some Information I have ben Put to the House and Reserve 706 when Ben deas reserve 7 Please write to me whot you Think of my run writ soon. E. G. Gregg.
THE CAMPAIGN OF 'SEVENTY-SIX.
On December 23, 1875, Thomas Y. Simons, of Charleston, the South Carolina member of the National Democratic Executive Committee, summoned each member of the Democratic State Central Committee (which had been constituted in 1872) to attend a meeting in Columbia on January 6, 1876. The State Committee assembled accordingly, the following named gentlemen being present : M. C. Butler (chairman), of Edgefield; Samuel McGowan, of Abbeville; John S. Richardson, of Sumter; Thomas Y. Simons, of Charleston; William D. Simpson, of Laurens; W. W. Sellers, of Marion; William Wallace, of Richland; S. P. Hamilton, of Chester; Johnson Hagood, of Barnwell, M. P. O'Connor, of Charleston; F. W. Dawson, of Charleston.
After a free and earnest interchange of views the committee embodied their conclusions and suggestions in the following address : To the People of South Carolina :
The State Central Executive Committee of the Democratic party do not deem it necessary to publish any lengthy statement of the reasons which induced them to meet at this time. It is sufficient to say that events with which the people of the State are painfully familiar made it indispensable that the organization of the Democratic party in South Carolina should be revived, as the speediest and most practicable means of bringing together our hitherto scattered forces, and of concentrating them in the struggle into which we are forced for the maintenance of liberty and law in the State. Thus it has become the duty of the State Committee to take such steps as will enable the people of the State to begin the work of party organization at once, and make it thorough and complete..
In the contest in which we are about to engage we must win. Success cannot be expected to crown our labors unless there be absolutely unity in the Democratic party, together with such discipline as will insure the prompt and efficient execution of its policy when declared. From our adversaries we must learn, at last, the lesson of organization and activity. When the agencies on which society relies for the conservation of its varied interests menace those interests with destruction, and threaten a whole people with ruin, politics is no longer a matter of sentiment in which the citizen is free to engage or not according to his tastes. Upon the management of our political affairs depends the security of property, as well as the safety
22-R. S. c.
of person. By political movements alone can the purification of the State Government be accomplished. Only through political instrumentalities can honesty, fidelity and capability regain a preponderating influence in the councils of the State. To politics, then, for their own salvation, must the people of South Carolina now address themselves with the vigor, the persistency and the systematic endeavor which mark their conduct in business life. It would not be wise to declare a policy before the party which shall give effect to it is ready for both deliberation and action. The officers must not be chosen until the rank and file of the political army shall have been mustered in and trained. There should be, in fine, such organization in each ward, township and county that when the State Convention shall assemble, it shall represent, by its delegates, the known wishes, opinions and purposes of the organized Democracy of the State. Then will its voice be the purpose of the people; its determination theirs; its fight their battle. To such organization, searching and far-reaching, should the people of the State, without delay, address themselves. Without it the State cannot be saved!
The State Convention, when it shall assemble, will determine authoritatively the policy of the party; and by the decision of that convention shall we all be bound. As, however, the Democratic party, as such, has had no active existence in South Carolina for some years, the State Committee desire to say emphatically that, in recommending its instant and comprehensive organization, their sole. purpose is to obtain an honest and economical government in South Carolina, which shall maintain, without abridgement or change, the public rights and liberties of the whole people, and guarantee to all classes of citizens the blessings of freedom, justice and peace. And in this crisis in the constitutional life of the State, when civilization itself is in peril, we look for and confidently expect to receive the sympathy and aid of every citizen whose aims and desires are like unto our own.
In common with their fellow citizens, the State Democratic Committee have watched with anxious solicitude and growing confidence the course of the present Governor of the State. They recognize and appreciate the value of what he has done, promoting reform and retrenchment during the past year. They applaud his wise and patriotic conduct in exerting his whole official power and personal influence for the undoing of the infamous judicial election, and they declare their belief that the Democracy of the State, rising above party, as he has done, will give an unfaltering support to his efforts as Governor for the redress of wrongs, for the reduction of taxation, to obtain a just administration of the law, and make the State Government a faithful guardian of the public and private interests of the people.
Therefore the State Executive Committee earnestly advise the people of the State to reorganize thoroughly the Democratic party,
in preparation for the State Democratic Convention, which will meet at a time and place to be hereafter designated by this committee. The following gentlemen are charged with this organization of the party in every precinct, ward and township in their respective counties :
Abbeville, J. S. Cothran; Aiken, George W. Croft; Anderson, James A. Hoyt; Barnwell, T. J. Counts; Beaufort, William Elliott; Clarendon, B. P. Barron; Chester, W. A. Walker; Colleton, J. J. Fox; Darlington, F. F. Warley; Edgefield, J. Scott Allen; Fairfield, John Bratton; Georgetown, B. H. Wilson; Greenville, T. B. Ferguson; Horry, J. T. Walsh; Kershaw, E. M. Boykin; Lexington, Gerhard Muller ; Lancaster, John D. Wylie; Laurens, B. W. Ball; Marion, A. Q. McDuffie ; Marlboro, J. H. Hudson ; Newberry, Y. J. Pope; Oconee, Robert A. Thompson; Orangeburg, James F. Izlar; Pickens, R. E. Bowen; Richland, John McKenzie; Spartanburg, John H. Evins; Sumter, Thomas B. Fraser; Union, Robert W. Shand; Williamsburg, S. W. Maurice; York, James F. Hart.
The organization of Charleston County is entrusted to the Committee of Fifteen, of which Col. Charles H. Simonton is chairman.
In conclusion, the State Committee earnestly say to their fellow citizens that we are not as those who are without hope. The magnitude of the task before us can hardly be overrated. Every step is beset with difficulty, if not danger. But, knowing this people, the Committee are confident that the future can be made as bright as the present is dark. Now is the accepted time! By organization, labor, patience, boldness and liberality can peace and plenty and political security be restored to the State.
The gentlemen thus detailed went at once to work in their different counties. A Democratic club was formed in every township, ward or voting precinct, as conditions required. The club had its officers and its standing committees, and it constituted in each county the unit of organization. The county convention was composed of delegates from the several clubs in proportion to their membership. Every member signed the roll—and thus signed a pledge to abide by and support all nominations of the Democratic party, whether for national, State, county or municipal offices. Municipal officers were usually nominated by a local club organized for the occasion-in some cases by a mass meeting of citizens.
The white people promptly joined the clubs in very large numbers and the enrollment constantly increased, so that on the day before the election those not enrolled (and not acknowledging themselves Republicans) were so few that it might fairly be stated that these organizations embraced the entire Democracy of South Carolina.
At a meeting held February 22 the State Committee called a convention of the Democratic party of South Carolina to be held in Columbia on May 4, "for the purpose of appointing delegates to the National Democratic Convention, to be held in St. Louis on the 27th of June next, and to take such further action as the convention shall deem proper and necessary."
The call for a State convention imparted new energy to the work of organization, and the club rolls were greatly increased. County conventions were held and delegates duly elected.
THE MAY CONVENTION. The Democratic State Convention met in Columbia on May 4. On motion of Gen. M. C. Butler, Col. D. Wyatt Aiken, of Abbeville, was made temporary chairman, and Mr. T. C. Gaston, of Chester, temporary secretary. The following delegates were enrolled :
Abbeville-J. S. Cothran, F. A. Connor, J. W. Perrin, J. C. Maxwell, G. M. Mattison, A. M. Aiken, J. C. Bradley, D. W. Aiken, J. H. Morrow.
Aiken-James Aldrich, Paul F. Hammond, J. M. Miller, R. Elmwood Lyler.
Anderson-J. A. Hoyt, E. B. Murray, John B. Moore, C. W. Brown, C. S. Mattison, John M. Glenn.
Barnwell—Johnson Hagood, T. J. Counts, J. S. Stoney, G. B. Lartigue, W. T. Blanton, J. W. Holmes, I. S. Bamberg.
Beaufort-James W. Moore, C. J. C. Hutson, James E. DeLoach.
Charleston—E. McCrady, Jr., H. A. M. Smith, R. Seigling, James Conner, C. R. Miles, C. H. Simonton, M. P. O'Connor, James Cosgrove, W. L. Daggett, J. F. Ficken, J. B. Campbell, George L. Buist, J. D. Aiken, J. W. Hutto, J. G. Gaillard, W. G. Hinson, E. L. Rivers, W. J. Gayer, T. Y. Simons, L. Sherfesee.
Chester-W. A. Walker, Julius Mills, T. C. Gaston, John W. Wilkes.
Chesterfield-W. A. Evans, A. McQueen, J. L. M. Irby, D. S. Miller.
Clarendon-John L. Manning.
Colleton-J. J. Fox, John F. Townsend, Allen Izard, N. K. Perry, F. E. Bissell, J. Otey Reed, T. J. Harley, H. D. Elliott, Charles Boyle.
Darlington-J. A. Law, S. A. Gregg, J. E. Keith, E. R. McIver.