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Justice. At the following session Col. A. C. Haskell was elected in the place of Associate Justice Wright, who had resigned under charges of official misconduct.
At this session Gen. J. B. Kershaw was elected judge of the Fifth circuit-it appearing that the last election of Judge Carpenter had been contrary to law. At the following session the Hon. Wm. H. Wallace was elected judge of the Seventh circuit, in the place of Judge Northrop, resigned.
In January, 1878, the Supreme Court decided that the election of each of the circuit judges (except Kershaw and Wallace) had been illegal because the vote had been taken viva voce and not by ballot. The vacancies resulting from this decision were filled as follows:
First Circuit-B. C. Pressley, of Charleston.
In the meantime the Supreme Court had decided that C. W. Buttz, elected solicitor of the First circuit, had surrendered his office by taking a seat in Congress. Mr. W. St. Julien Jervey of Charleston (the Democratic nominee in 1876) was appointed to the vacancy.
Samuel J. Lee, the colored lawyer elected solicitor in the Second circuit, resigned under charges of bribery and of conspiracy to cheat, and was succeeded by Col. F. Hay Gantt, of Barnwell—also the Democratic nominee in 1876.
Josephus Woodruff having resigned the clerkship of the Senate, he was succeeded by Col. T. Stobo Farrow of Spartanburg. In like manner the Republican reading clerk was succeeded by Col. Artemas D. Goodwyn, of Orangeburg.
There were several resignations among the Republican senators and representatives—Democratic successors being elected as a matter of course. Charleston sent a solid Democratic delegation to the House.
The credentials of Gen. M. C. Butler and of D. T. Corbin were submitted to the United States Senate in January, 1877, and were laid over till the regular session following. General Butler was seated.
Many of the leading Republicans of both races quitted South Carolina almost immediately after the departure of the troops from the State House. Mr. Chamberlain engaged in the practice of law in New York. Cardozo and Elliott became department clerks in Washington. Whipper nominally practiced law in Beaufort. Purvis at last accounts held a Government position in Charleston—being a hanger-on in the United States marshal's office. Corbin spent some time in Washington—his after career being unknown to the writer. Ransier became a day laborer under the city government in Charleston. Whittemore, Hoge and Neagle promptly left the State, and were no more heard of. Gleaves remained a while in Beaufort, but soon fled the State to escape prosecution. Nash gave up some of his property to the State, to escape the penitentiary, and was generally despised for the remainder of his days. Smalls remained in Beaufort—having first been pardoned of his criminal offense. F. J. Moses, Jr., left the State, wandered about Northern cities and became both a vagrant and a criminal. Swails, as has already been mentioned, was driven out of Williamsburg by the white people of that county. All the Republican politicians who remained in South Carolina soon sank into actual obscurity or harmless inactivity.
THE STORY OF THE FRAUDS.
The principal charge brought by the white people of South Carolina against the negro government under which they lived and suffered for eight years was that it was corrupt-corrupt in its objects, its methods and its agents. Whilst the country at large became in some degree informed about prevailing conditions, and whilst the Republican leaders themselves admitted the general charge of misgovernment and even that of venality, yet the extent to which corruption permeated every branch of the public service and affected every agency of government was never realized until, after the robbers had been driven from power, there was an investigation by committees who made it their business to probe to the bottom-who aggressively undertook to justify the charges made at intervals for eight years that the Government of South Carolina was steeped in rottenness and that its agents were with very few exceptions actual thieves and perjurers. From the reports of these committees, founded in every instance upon sworn testimony which every accused party was invited to answer, and which has been constantly accessible in the public records, the printed documents of the State, is made up the presentation now to be given of the most significant chapter in the history of Reconstruction in South Carolina—the chapter which contains the proofs of the charges made against the State Government by the white people in every remonstrance, every appeal, every effort to shake off the rule of the plunderers.
THE STATE DEBT. The figures of the public debt of South Carolina have already been given and they need not be repeated. Naturally the manipulation of the different series of bonds gave great opportunity for peculationand these were well employed by the Financial Board. Under the act of 1868, authorizing the issue of bonds to pay the accrued interest on the public debt, bonds to the amount of $1,000,000 were issued in excess of the sum authorized by law. Under the act for the relief of the treasury, passed in 1869, there was an unauthorized and therefore fraudulent issue of another million. Under the act authorizing
the issue of what have already been noted as Conversion bonds, there was an over-issue of $5,965,000, which was so palpably fraudulent and contrary to law that the bonds were formally repudiated by the negro Legislature. These Conversion bonds were for a long time carried on the lists of the New York Stock Exchange at one cent on the dollar-a fact which so affected the State's credit that it interfered for a time with the funding of a portion of the public debt in 1892.
The manipulation of the State debt was in the hands of the Financial Board already mentioned and their trusted agent, H. H. Kimpton. The recklessness and dishonesty of their performances may be inferred from what has been stated, but may be particularly illustrated by reference to a comparatively small matter. The proceeds of the "land scrip” issued by Congress in aid of the State Agricultural College was invested, as required by the statute, in State bonds. These bonds were hypothecated by Kimpton, under alleged instructions of the Financial Board, to secure a loan to the State. The debt maturing and not being paid, the bonds were forfeited and sold. The Agricultural College was thus for about seven years deprived of the benefit of the fund provided by Congress—the bonds being restored and set apart for the use of the College as soon as possible after the return of the State Government to the control of the white people.
Under the act (March 7, 1871,) to create the Sterling Funded Debt, bonds in the sum of £1,200,000 were to be issued for the purpose of funding and retiring bonds outstanding. Of these Sterling bonds, about £600,000 had been printed, signed by the State officers designated in the act, and stamped with the great seal of the StateCardozo, the Secretary of State, having taken the seal to New York to expedite the performance. The purpose to put these bonds on the market and thus further increase the State debt was told to the "Joint Special Financial Investigating Committee" by C. C. Bowen, who claimed great credit for his discovery of what he declared to be a new scheme to defraud the State by an over-issue of bonds. The scheme was never carried out, and the bonds were afterwards canceled in pursuance of a joint resolution of the Legislature. Bowen claiming a fee for his disclosure, he received a pay certificate for $2,500, which, it seems, he had great difficulty in collecting.
After four years of Republican administration the bonded debt was found to be $18,515,033.91, including past-due interest. The
debt on July 9, 1868, when the negro government was inaugurated, was $5,407,306.27. By the repudiation of the Conversion bonds the debt in 1873 was reduced to $11,480,033, and this the Legislature undertook to reduce one-half by means of the Consolidation act of that year-leaving the recognized debt at $5,740,016.
For the increase of the State debt there was no showing by way of public works or of funding any outstanding liability. The entire increase represented the waste of public funds or their misappropriation by the trusted agents of the State.
As before stated, the Financial Board consisted of Gov. R. K. Scott, Treasurer Niles G. Parker and Attorney-General D. H. Chamberlain. These selected the financial agent and to him committed the custody of immense amounts of State funds and State securities whilst having required him to give only his personal bond without surety of any sort. Kimpton was evidently on terms of intimate friendship with at least two of the board-Chamberlain and Parker. The former called him "Dear Kimpton” and he always addressed the Treasurer as "Friend Parker."
Of the floating debt enough has been stated to show that by far the greater part resulted from transactions conceived and consummated in fraud, and that the other portion was founded upon expenditures wholly unnecessary for the proper administration of the Government. In 1877 this floating indebtedness was found to be $1,046,926.
THE GREENVILLE AND COLUMBIA RAILROAD.
One of the schemes of the Republican ring was that to control certain railroads in which the State was a stockholder-a scheme set forth in the following letter:
Office of the Attorney-General,
Columbia, S. C., Jan. 5, 1870. My Dear Kimpton-Parker arrived last evening, and spoke of the G. & C. matter, etc. I told him that I had just written you fully on that matter, and also about the old Bk. Bills.
Do you understand fully the plan of the G. & C. enterprise? It is proposed to buy $350,000 worth of the G. &. C. stock. This with the $433,000 of stock held by the State will give entire control to us. The Laurens branch will be sold in February by decree of court, and will cost not more than $50,000, and probably not more than $40,000. The Spartanburg and Union can also be got without difficulty.
30—R. S. c.