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machine. The agent will sit down in the house and talk to the negro' and say, "Well, I want to sell you this machine.” After awhile the negro says he will take it. The agent begins to write, and he looks around over the house and puts down everything the poor negro has, and very often something the poor negro hasn't. He will get the negro to sign the paper. That agent will witness it. In the fall of the year another agent will come back to collect that debt. “Where is your sewing machine?” he will ask. "Boss, I never had no sewing machine.” “Oh, here is a paper signed by you saying you have; don't talk about not having any sewing machine." "Where is that agent what come here?" "He is gone.” “Where is that hog you had in the pen?” “Boss, I never had no hog." "Oh, yes, it is in the paper.” Then he goes for a little magistrate somewhere, and he indicts that negro for disposing of property under mortgage. The magistrate sends and has the negro dragged into court before him. Then he will say, "Now, if you will pay this man this mortgage and pay the costs, we will let you out." The negro goes out of your farm right over to another man, borrows the money to pay this mortgage, and binds himself up under contract to work for that other man next year. And the magistrate, in open violation of the law, uses the criminal part of his court as a collecting agency, puts part of the money in his pocket, and is threatening to ruin the labor of this country.
Now, gentlemen of the General Assembly, we fuss about law and order. Why, I saw men up here last summer hollering, “Law and Order,” yelling for "Law and Order," and "We must redeem South Carolina," and I saw some of those men down here at the State Fair drinking liquor and mixing it with coca-cola, and betting on horse racing. Who is going to redeem them? “Redeem South Carolina! She is ruined! Shut up the Charleston horse races"and slipping down here under a stand drinking liquor and cocacola, and slipping up to a fellow backed up against the fence with a little box in his hand, and slipping out tickets to bet on the horse 'races! Do you call that not gambling? Oh, gentlemen, let us also get to those higher up. Here is a section of your Statutes that is being daily violated—and I would like to ask if anybody in this house is violating it-of course, I do not expect an answer :
“It shall be unlawful for any person to assume the duties of any public office until he has taken the oath provided by the Constitution, and been regularly commissioned by the Governor. The term ‘public officers' shall be construed to mean all officers of the State
that have heretofore been commissioned, the trustees of the various colleges of the State, members of various State boards, and other persons whose duties are defined by law."
Are there any men serving in office in South Carolina today as trustees of colleges, or on other boards, who are not serving under commissions? If so, gentlemen, they are violating that section of your Statutes-Section 535—and it is the duty of the Attorney General to prosecute them. There is no punishment provided in that section, but the General Statutes provide that where no punishment is provided, the Judge shall impose such punishment as he sees fit. Now, gentlemen, if you want to go lower down to sustain the law, let the man higher up sustain it.
Much has been said about primary elections. I do not propose to discuss this question very far. When the primary started last summer I offered a reward of one hundred dollars each for the first five convictions of men violating the election laws—that is, betting on the elections, or trying to use money, whiskey or intimidation in the elections. Notwithstanding all these charges of fraud from the State Executive Committee, notwithstanding this committee's running to Spartanburg and Greenville and other places, not a single man has come and said, “I want one of those $100 rewards." No, gentlemen, and well they may not come. That is enough. I did what I could to prevent violations of the election laws and for a fair election. I stand on record in this House and in yon
Senate pleading for a free and fair election. I stand on record as a member of the State Board of Canvassers of South Carolina as being the only man voting for a resolution demanding it. There sits in this assemblage today a distinguished ex-Attorney General of South Carolina, who was a member of that board, and who would have voted with me, but illness called him to his home. My actions were so fine on that occasion that even my distinguished friends, the Cuban mixed-breeds, paid me a compliment. And yet they holler fraud in the primary. I wish you would appoint a committee to investigate that fraud, and let me come before it, and let me send you some witnesses from Buncomb street in Greenville, Ward i in Spartanburg, from some precincts in Charleston, and one or two in the county of Orangeburg. We were ready for the fray; we were ready for the investigation; but, like all bubbles, it went out. Now, gentlemen, what I would advise is this and I want to say to you right here: You got here on the bridge of the primary. Are you going to burn the bridge that brought you over? If you
do, you will do it by a two-thirds vote. But, gentlemen, here is what I would submit to you: Pass an Act at this session requiring the County Boards of Registration of the various counties to open the books of registration in every county in South Carolina during the months of July and August, 1913—two full months—and require those boards to go to every township in the county one day or two days, if it should be necessary, so that you will give every white man in South Carolina a fair opportunity to register in July and August. Then, if any man does not register, certainly he can not blame anybody else, and when you come back here next year, after your books of registration have been open for two long months, and you have given to every white man the opportunity to put his name on the books of registration, then you will be in a position to pass upon the question as to how you will amend your primary law.
They holler fraud. Who committed it? Where was it? Nearly all the county executive committees were against me; the State executive committee, with all its machinery, was against me. When I asked the chairman at Spartanburg to give me one manager of election at each precinct, he refused it. How, in the name of God, could the Bleaseites steal, when the other side had all the machinery in their hands? The only way you can account for it is on the theory that the other side will admit they were a set of fools and did not know what to do with it after they had it.
Now, they accuse my friends of being "hoodlums," and say they would not support Woodrow Wilson. You get the returns of last year and look at the State vote and the presidential vote, and see who failed to vote the State ticket, Why did Wilson get so many more votes in South Carolina than I did ? If the Blease people did not support Wilson, why was it Wilson ran so far ahead of me?
Now, gentlemen, I shall not take up your time in answering some of the things that were told on me last summer. It is beneath my notice and beneath yours. But I want to mention one thing. When a Yankee actor or actress comes through South Carolina and the South Carolina aristocracy sits in the theatre—and the best definition I know of for aristocracy is some fellow who does nothing, lives on his daddy's name and doesn't pay his debts—when they all sit in the theatre, and some man comes out, as, for instance, in “The Pink Lady," and says, “I will be damned if I do it," oh! the ladies all yell with delight. When a woman comes out in "The Lonesome Pine," and a fellow says to her, “Country Maiden; you must
reform; love 'so and so"-naming the family she hates, and she says, “I could put them in hell,” there is loud applause in the Columbia Theatre. In minstrel shows, when the dirtiest songs are sung. going far enough to leave the most vile interpretation in the minds, of the young, loud applause comes from the men and women. But when the Governor of South Carolina goes to Richmond, Va., and says what he has said all over his State, then the newspapers come out and say, “It is a horrible thing that the Governor said hell.”
I tell you, members of the Legislature, today, what I said thenI repeat it now: Notwithstanding the oath of office which I have just taken from my distinguished friend from Lancaster, who stood by me through thick and thin, and who was re-elected chief justice of Lancaster if they did fight him because he was a Bleaseite, I will never order out a military company, so help me God, and tell my home boys and girls—if the girls belonged to the militia—to shoot down a white boy, their neighbor and their friend, to protect a black brute who has laid his hands upon a white woman, I will never do it. And every time I told the white people of this State that this summer, they hollered back to me, “Go on, boy, you are right; don't ever do it.” And I am here today, and I am still right, and I am going to stand by it as long as God gives me heart and mind and power.
But it is all right when a little Yankee show woman comes down here and says dirty things; that is to be applauded. And yet if a man were to meet you, with your wife, on the street, and make the same remark to you, you would slap his face. But
sit in the opera house and applaud.
Now, gentlemen, a few days ago the News and Courier came out with a great headline-on Sunday, I think it was—with a great displayed headline, "Hell's Playground"-a novel written by a Yankee novelist, putting the title in big headlines, for your daughters to read. But it was a terrible thing when the Governor said "hell."
The News and Courier and the Columbia State and other papers displayed with great glee the dirtiest campaign joke and lie that has been told in South Carolina in a century. They say, "We are family papers, we can't publish any reply of the Governor, because it hasn't the proper language.” But they could send to your daughters, sweet girls fifteen and sixteen years of age, the dirtiest lie that ever fell from the disgraced lips of anything shaped up or called Grace.
Now, gentlemen, another matter that I desire to call to your attention is this playing of football. You certainly ought to put some restriction or regulation on it. I hold in my hand a headline in the paper, “Has Broken Nose.” Another big headline, "Johnstone's Spinal Column Is Wrenched, May Be a Helpless Cripple." I am proud to say that I understand the young man is getting better, and I hope he will be restored to his strong manhood. But, here we find an article written by the editor of the Columbia State, in which he has the effrontery to say that football is the quickest device ever invented by which many a lad may overcome a college handicap, and going on to say that it breaks down the barriers of social distinction, and by being a good football player the lad gets to be better in society, has more recognition. The fact of his being a football player carrying him into society he could not otherwise reach, says the Columbia State. Gentlemen, that is the first time in my life I ever heard that a man had to show the capacity of a prize fighter or a bull dog to become a gentleman. Yet here it is in the great advocate of your State colleges—the great paper that hollers for your State colleges. The Evening Record comes out and says, with big headlines, “Dirty Football," and writes of the dirty manner in which the game is played, the dirty manner in which some young men take advantage of others, to cripple them, if you please, and get them out of the game.
Now, gentlemen, I think you ought to do one of two things: either abolish foot ball playing in your colleges, or else fix a degree for it, and confer upon a man Doctor of Society because he has the tenacity of a bull dog or the fighting capacity of a Durham bull.
Now, my friends, from every city and hamlet in South Carolina we hear the song of prosperity. Notwithstanding we were told that if Blease was elected Governor South Carolina would be financially ruined, that she would go to the dogs, yet, if you will read you will find, in all the history of your State, the year 1912 towers in prosperity above all the years that have gone before. More capital has been invested in your State than ever before, and today one of the appeals that is being made to you for higher appropriations is based on the fact that the State is so prosperous. And, yet, they said if Blease was elected the State would be ruined.
I want to call your attention to another false impression that the newspapers are trying to create. They are trying to lead uninformed people in this State to believe you have a special Act on the race course in Charleston. There is not a word of truth in it, and the