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MY CAMPAIGN FUND IN 1910.
The suggestion that the blind tigers of Charleston subscribed to my campaign fund for Governor two years ago is not original with Felder. He is simply repeating what a few unscrupulous enemies of mine have stated heretofore. I presume that if these alleged blind tigers had subscribed to the national Democratic campaign fund or to the campaign fund of Ira B. Jones that their action would be considered patriotic and the names of such subscribers would be published at the head of the list in the Columbia State. It is a fact, however, that I have not, at any time, received from a blind tiger in Charleston a single penny for campaign purposes. Two years ago my campaign was managed by my brother, Eugene S. Blease, and by my law partner, Fred H. Dominick. I submit affidavits of these gentlemen to the effect that they never received for me, or for my campaign, the sum charged by Felder as having been subscribed by parties set out by him :
State of South Carolina, County of Richland. Personally comes before me Fred H. Dominick and makes oath that during the year 1910 he was connected with the management of Governor Cole. L. Blease's campaign; and as to the charges that any amounts were contributed by the alleged blind tigers of Charleston and used in the furtherance of Mr. Blease's candidacy, this deponent has no knowledge whatsoever; that he has never received one cent from any blind tigers as contributions to Mr. Blease's campaign, and that if such a fund was contributed he has never received same and never used same, nor has he any knowledge of it—the first intimation he having had of this charge being the charges as made by Thomas B. Felder.
As to the charge of his having gone to Charleston between the first and second primaries, after Governor Blease had already been there and got a suit case full of money, and when that ran out, that I went there and got another suit case full, the charge is absolutely false. I have never received and never made any requests for any campaign contributions from any blind tigers in Charleston.
FRED H. DOMINICK. Sworn to before me this 19th July, 1912.
G. C. DISMUKES, (L. S.)
Notary Public for South Carolina. State of South Carolina, County of Richland. Eugene S. Blease, being duly sworn, says that during the campaign of 1910 he assisted Fred H. Dominick in conducting the
campaign of Cole. L. Blease for Governor of the State. Deponent did not, at any time, and has never in his life for any purpose whatever received any sum of money from any blind tiger in the city of Charleston.
EUGENE S. BLEASE.
Sworn to before me this 19th July, 1912.
G. C. DISMUKES, (L. S.) Notary Public for South Carolina.
TRIP TO CHARLESTON.
The statement of Felder that I went to Charleston for the purpose of getting money during the time intervening between the first and second primaries of the campaign two years ago, is but another example of this man's quickness to make statements without even reflecting. During the whole of the two weeks between the two elections, with the exception of one day and one night spent in the city of Columbia, I remained at home in Newberry. I was not in Charleston between-the first and second primaries.
As to the statements that I have been and am getting graft from the blind tigers of Charleston as immunity for protection extended them.
This originated with John P. Grace, the present Mayor of Charleston, on account of my not allowing him to have the control and appointment of the constabulary force in Charleston, and to run the matter of enforcing the dispensary law and the sale of whiskey in that city. The investigating committee has already heard him and his attempted proof, and the people surely are convinced that there is no foundation in any one of “his charges.” Each and every one of his false accusations have been denied—even my bitterest enemy, the Columbia State, admitted that there was no criminality traced to the Governor's office. I answered Grace's insinuations at the campaign meeting in the city of Charleston and stated in his presence that any man who made that accusation against me was a malicious character thief and cowardly liar.
In regard to my signing the bill for the Piedmont-Northern Company, commonly known as the interurban.
This bill, as passed by the Legislature, provided for the building of an electric line around Spartanburg, Greenville, Green
wood and other points in this State. I thought it contained too much power to give to a corporation, and after carefully looking over it, stated that I did not think I would sign it. I received requests from a number of people of that section, stating that the road would be of great benefit to them. Among others calling upon me in favor of the measure I now recall Hon. D. H. Magill, of Greenwood; D. E. Smoak, Esq., of Greenville, and Sam J. Nichols, Esq., of Spartanburg.
I did not receive one cent of money for approving this measure, nor was I threatened by any one on account of this bill, and if any lawyer received a fee for appearing before me in behalf of the bill it was without my knowledge, and the payment of any such fee, if any was paid, exercised no influence whatever in causing me to take the action I did thereon. Some of the very members of the committee who are attempting to injure me were very active in the passage of this bill.
THE CRIMINALS-"DEFORD AND PORTER."
In regard to the matter of application for pardon for one alleged to be Gus DeFord, which petition has played such a prominent part in the dictagraph proceedings had between Captain Sam J. Nichols and one Porter, alias Reed,' alias somebody else—I don't know what his name is—I will state, in the first place, this great detective, with a great flourish of trumpets, stated that he had gone into the South Carolina penitentiary and had picked out not only the most notorious criminal in that prison, but the most notorious criminal in the United States of America, in order to plant a scheme to trap me and my friend, Captain Nichols. Gus DeFord is not in the penitentiary; but, on the other hand, is a fugitive from justice. It is hardly necessary for me to refer to this matter, in view of the testimony that was submitted by their own witnesses and their famous dictagraph, in which it was shown that there was no truth whatsóever in the alleged statement of Felder and his hireling detective that I was to receive any portion of the amounts that were to be paid to the attorney who had been employed to represent this alleged Gus DeFord. On the contrary, this very dictagraph itself stated that the Governor of South Carolina could not be bought and that it was useless to attempt to get the pardon from the Governor of South Carolina by the use of money. In addition to this, you have the sworn testimony of Captain Nichols, a young man well known throughout South Carolina as a man of the highest honor and integrity, who not only voluntarily came to Columbia to testify, but insisted that a meeting of the
committee should be had at which he could testify, and at which meeting he demanded the presence of Porter, alias Reed, alias what's his name, but the "alias" failed to appear. Captain Nichols' testimony was published practically in full and conclusively established the fact that I had no knowledge that any application for the pardon of Gus DeFord would be presented and that I was not even aware that this convict was in the penitentiary. The matter of pardon of this convict was never mentioned to me, and Captain Nichols so states under oath. This testimony was published in the Columbia State in its issue of July 19.
THE BENTLEY PAROLE. It is stated in the State that two letters, purporting to bear on the pardon record of Governor Blease, were read by Felder before the committee and that the case referred to in those two letters was being investigated by the Burns Detective Agency.
The first letter, it is stated, is on the letter paper of Lyon & Lyon, attorneys at law, of Dubuque, Iowa. It does not appear to whom this letter is addressed, but it is signed “Geo. T. Lyon," and refers to a letter written to “Miss Bentley” and speaks of the fact that a draft "sent payable to the Governor has never been cashed.”
The second letter, addressed to “Dear Frank,” is signed by "Nettie," and states that "when the Governor asked to have the money sent to him you would think he had made up his mind as to what he wanted to do. We have heard nothing from him.”
These letters pertain to the parole granted to Frank W. Bentley, a young white man sent to the penitentiary from Richland county for the crime of forgery. The petition for pardon was presented to me by Barrett Jones, Esq., of Batesburg, S. C. I refused to pardon Bentley, but on the showing made, on May 14, 1912, I paroled him on the condition that he leave the State. Bentley's crime was the forging of two checks by which he obtained $10 from Mr. Ben David, of Columbia, and $25 from Mr. J. Flannigan, formerly of Columbia. Both Mr. Flannigan and Mr. David, as well as Solicitor Timmerman, the prosecuting attorney, requested executive clemency. Mr. John Neill, a member of the company whose signature was forged, also requested me to release him..
Bentley was formerly of Dubuque, Iowa, where his mother and sister, Nettie, now live. The sister had Attorney George T. Lyon interested in the matter of securing young Bentley's release, and Mr. Lyon stated in a letter to me that he was getting no compensation for his services, but was interested in the matter because of his friendship for the Bentley family; that the Bent
leys were good people and that Bentley had borne an excellent reputation at his old home.
Mr. Lyon sent me a draft for $25 for the purpose of furnishing transportation for Bentley from Columbia to Dubuque, and to carry out the conditions of the parole. I have in my office a receipt from Bentley for the amount of the draft, and Mr. W. F. Blackburn, stenographer in my office, went to the depot, purchased a ticket from Columbia to Dubuque, at a cost of $24.55, and gave the ticket and the remaining 45 cents to Bentley, and showed him the train to take for his home, which he boarded.
All the correspondence in regard to this matter is on file in the Governor's office, open to the inspection of any one who wishes to see it. I submit two letters received from Attorney Lyon and the affidavit of Mr. Blackburn.
Lyon & Lyon. D. E. Lyon.
Geo. T. Lyon,
Dubuque,, Iowa, August 14, 1911. Alex. Rowland, Columbia, S. C.
Dear Sir: Your favor of August 11 at hand, and I note with pleasure the proposed action of the Governor and sincerely hope he finds merit in the young man's petition this time.
I am inclosing herewith a New York draft for $25 to cover railroad fare—this I believe will cover fare from Columbia to Dubuque—but should you require more, so advise me. I will guarantee to use my best endeavors to keep Bentley from returning to your State; that, of course, is the best I can do. I feel safe in saying, however, that he will be satisfied to stay around home hereafter.
Miss Bentley is at present on her vacation. She left feeling very sad over contents of your last letter to me. If it is possible, I would greatly appreciate favorable action during her absence, as it would do wonders for her.
Her absence explains this writing, as I do not care to dictate to another.
Call upon me for anything further you may desire, and please advise me early of the Governor's action.
Yours very truly,
(Signed) GEO. T. LYON: