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the adjustment of the State bond debt, which he effected through a settlement with the bondholders. Late in '75, or early in ’76, he appointed a Board to scrutinize and pass on money claims against the State, of which there were many, fraudulent and otherwise, outstanding. He requested me, as a representative of the other party, to serve on said Board. After some hesitation I assumed the duty; but, early in 1876, the political agitation having begun, I practically withdrew; later I was removed. In 1876 Governor Chamberlain was a candidate for re-election; and, accepting as a reformer, had at first the support of most of the press and of nearly all the recognized leaders of the Democrats, or white people, of the State. A large portion of the people were, however, of a different mind. They had suffered, and been robbed and held down for years by the negro government, led and controlled by white men for the most part dishonest and unscrupulous, known as “carpet baggers' and scalawags,' backed by the army and by the government of the United States. They had twice before been persuaded to attempt joint action and compromise tickets, and been signally disappointed. Had the white people come out for this new reformer, his defeat by his own party was almost certain; for he was a more genuine reformer, and more dangerous to them, than those who had preceded bim. Moreover, had he been elected, he would have been bound by pledges and his party ties, — still wedded to the Utopian idea of a happy, peaceful and efficient government conducted by two races co-ordinate in political power and widely at variance in every other respect. The impossible! Thus, when the straight-out' home rule' policy was announced early in 1876, it was hailed by the people, though opposed by most of our prominent men as madness and folly. At the first Democratic convention held in May the straightouts' were in a minority, but strong enough to command respect; and as all the members of the convention had but one purpose in view,— what was best for the State, – action was deferred to the August convention. Almost every man in the State prominent in political affairs had been already committed to the Chamberlain policy. The National Democratic Executive Committee had adopted the same lines, and their agents were here at work; but General Wade Hampton, before going to his plantation in Mississippi, had assured some of us that if the straight-out' home rule' policy were adopted he would go into line, and fight with all the power that was in him. Few then conceived how great that power was, and what a leader he would make; but he was our only hope. On 28th June, 1876, the centennial of the Battle of Fort Moultrie was celebrated. Governor Chamberlain was the orator, and many thought his speech on that occasion had made his nomination certain ; but the people were not quieted, — their instinct told them it was all wrong, and unless those who were truly the State governed it, it would be better to live under military rule. The • straight-outs' carried the convention in August by a small majority, - three, I think. The vote was then made unanimous. Hampton had returned, and was a delegate from Richmond County. I was chairman of the Executive Committee of that county, and was made chairman of the State Executive Committee, charged with the conduct of the campaign, to be begun in September (1876). The action of our convention was a bitter disappointment to Governor Chamberlain ; but he got the Republican nomination and went into the contest with great determination. Finally, as history shows, he appealed to the United States government, and induced the President [Grant] to declare that insurrection existed in South Carolina. He accordingly put us under martial law, and the State was again occupied by the army of the United States. The President's proclamation was issued on a Saturday in October, published on Sunday, and answered by our Committee in the New York Herald' of the next morning, — Monday. Our answer respectfully refutes the statements made by the President, and is sustained by the signed declaration of all the Judges of South Carolina, except the Chief Justice, - who corroborated our denial orally, but declined to put it in writing, — and except the colored Associate Justice, who was not asked. One Circuit Judge was absent from the State ; but on his return volunteered a like declaration. All Republican, they stated that, while the political struggle was earnest and intense, law and order prevailed throughout the State.
“Prior to the above date, moved by the intensity of the struggle and grateful for the patriotic purpose which had marked his administration through the previous year, I went to see Governor Chamberlain privately, and had my sole interview with him. I urged him to retire from the contest, proffering to him the expression of the good will of the people of the State, and their appreciation of his efforts to do good during his administration. He seemed somewhat impressed, and said he would reflect on the matter. This was not known to the public, and I think has never been published. His answer, however, came to me very soon, in a bitter and virulent letter to the New York Tribune,' which I answered in the New York · Herald. From that time the fight was on to a finish.
“We won on election day, carrying the State ticket by a small majority, — only a few hundreds. We lost the national ticket. The discrepancy was due to the fact that Republicans who were genuine citizens, and who were in business or had property here, voted our State ticket, but on the national ticket adhered to their party.
“ The situations, national and State, were very tense. In December the General Assembly convened. Hampton and Chamberlain each took the oath of office and declared himself Governor. The Election Board, being Republican, threw out enough of the Democratic members of the House to give the Republicans a majority. The armed forces of the national government sustained the rulings of the Board; and, occupying the State House, refused entrance to the rejected members. The Democratic members then convened in a hall in the city, organized, having a majority of the total number of the House, elected a Speaker and other officers, and communicated with Governor Hampton. The Governor, having qualified by taking the oath of office, entered upon his duties, occupying the rooms of the State Executive Committee. Governor Chamberlain took the oath before the Republican members of the Assembly, and guarded by United States troops occupied the office in the State House.
“ The Democratic Lieutenant-Governor took charge of the Senate, of which he was by law the president. Thus we had one Senate, and two branches of the lower House. fter two or three days of non-action but of intense feeling, the general commanding the United States soldiers removed the guards from the entrance door, but kept a strong force in the building. The Democratic members then marched in, and effected entrance to the legislative hall without violence.
“ The two Speakers sat side by side at the Speaker's desk. General Wallace for the straight-out whites, Mr. Mackey for the reconstructionists. The two parties occupied respectively the right and left of the hall. The situation was strained, and fraught with danger. The United States army was in the building and about it on every side, and sustained the reconstruction government. This gave undue confidence to the reconstructionists, and doubtless increased the peril for those of our side. For that reason I did all in my power to keep the peace. It was well known that I was opposed to violence, and that Hampton and the whole party sustained that position. It was known to most, too, that I never carried a concealed weapon, and disapproved of the practice. It was equally well known that we obeyed and meant to obey the United States government, and to offer no resistance to its army. These points could be established from incidents and declarations too many and too long for recital here. But we had called five thousand white men to the city of Columbia to protect our people from violence on the part of the radicals, and to keep the peace. Further, when the Democratic legislators were carried into the hall and separated from outside, I distributed revolvers one to each member, and armed myself, wearing the pistols on a belt and open to view. It was a mistake on the part of our Speaker to allow the radicals to enter after we had captured' the hall, or to permit the “Speaker' of the radicals to take a seat on the stand. But he did both, and the situation had to be met. I therefore had food brought to the hall, and requested the members to hold to their posts day and night, which they did. I remained in person with them, sitting or standing behind the two Speakers. While in this position Mr. Mackey, the reconstructionist Speaker, asked me to step behind the curtain that he might speak to me. I assented. He then told me that they had a force of desperadoes in the building ready to rush upon us, and he prayed that our people be removed to avoid the massacre, etc., etc. To which I answered, “Mr. Mackey, if you suppose I am here for pleasure you are mistaken. I am here to keep the peace, and on this stand for the single purpose of killing you at the moment your
massacre” begins. I tell you further that I have six picked men detailed to kill you in the event I am killed before you are. Further, if the massacre occurs here, every officer of your side of the government, from the Governor down, will be killed. The men who will do it are good citizens and old soldiers who know their duty and will do it. We mean to keep the peace. You can now begin your “massacre" as soon as you please.'
“ That was the only case in which I made such a declaration in person to any of them; and I told the truth. That was what, in my honest judgment, prevented bloodshed. Our people were not led by excitement, but by reason and patriotism, and they obeyed orders.
“I mention in passing an incident. On the first day there was great anxiety in the throng at the State House, where both parties and the army were gathered, and anxiety was felt by many. Assassination of our leaders was threatened. One of my brothers, Colonel John C. Haskell, was present. He came to me and warned me to be careful, saying, 'I have for some time had my eye on a man who follows you everywhere and never takes his eye from you. He looks as if he means mischief.' •Show me the man,' I said. He pointed him out. • John,' I said, .be at rest about him. He is a discharged United States soldier who recently served out his term and is living here. He is a good and brave fellow. He came to me this morning, and asked the privilege of being my bodyguard, and I have seen him ever since watching faithfully.' I did not apprehend danger that day, but I could not deny the good fellow the privilege.
“ Under such conditions it was impossible to transact business; and after a day or two the Democratic legislature adjourned and went home. The vaults of the State House were closed and sealed. Governor Hampton, assuming control and receiving the taxes, ran the State government. Governor Chamberlain held his ground at the office in the State House, and awaited results. We were still under martial law, but the departments of government were allowed to exercise their ordinary functions.
[While these events were occurring in Columbia, the country at large, it will be remembered, was intent on the disputed Hayes-Tilden presidential contest. But little attention was then paid to what was going on locally in South Carolina, although the result in Washington also depended on the South Carolina electoral vote. That, however, was conceded to