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passage of this resolution is, that the Convention has been called for the purpose of framing a Constitution for the future government of the State, and to that business I think we are legitimately committed, and ought to confine our operations. Second. Whatever Acts, Ordinances or Resolutions it may pass are inoperative, so far as their bearings are concerned, on the immediate execution of existing laws, and, therefore, we should be careful, as well as reasonable, in the presentation of these resolutions. I helieve no act, so far as it relates to the immediate relief of creditors and debtors, can affect the State so as to profit either. Another reason I would give is, that to suspend executions now pending, will be an act of injustice which ought not to be perpetrated, because these actions are brought by co-equal citizens, who are demanding their claims under the laws of the State, which laws apply to all such citizens who are parties to these suits and actions. If, therefore, we pass acts and make distinctions between citizens, what good can they affect. The right of one citizen in the State is as sacred as the other. The right of the poor man is equally as sacred to the Convention or to the Commanding General as the right of the rich man. The large landholders have been for years the recipients of all the benefits from these lands. They entered heart and soul into all acts of rebellion. They have made their money; they have amplified their domains by virtue of speculations in lands. They are that very class of men who have been standing out against the government, against the Constitution. Men who have endeavored to thwart the existence of this Convention, who have been laying schemes ever since the first Reconstruction Act of Congress passed for the ostensible purpose of defeating these Acts of Congress. These men have sacrified money and time to defeat the assembling of this Convention. Ought they not, therefore, be compelled to pay their honest debts. Their contracts were legitimate when made, and made with their mutual consent in good faith. That seems to me to be a very pertinent question. They should be kept and executed according to law. They made the contracts themselves. This Convention did not make them, neither did the members of the Convention help to make them. They run out into the great sea of speculation, they run the hazard of the die, and should take the consequences. We have been informed by one gentleman, that over two hundred thousand dollars worth of property is now involved, and we are informed by the gentleman from Sumter, that if no relief is given by the Convention, the hammer of the Sheriff will take away, in February, all the possessions of a large class of the people of the State. In answer to that, I refer to the order of the Commanding General of the Department, who has made ample provisions to meet all contingencies.
(Mr. CAIN here read General Canby's Order.) The Commanding General has certainly secured the poor inan upon the plantation, and in consideration of that fact, I think it unnecessary for this Convention to make any further application to him. He has been adequate to the task, and seems to have grasped hold of this great question with consummate statesmanship. I am prepared to trust him still. The men who desire this relief were foreshadowed on the stage where a certain party came to make their lofty tumbling, and would have made that lofty flight if it could have been made with safety. The same party came with the professed cry of homesteads for the poor man, but just behind the veil is the charmer asking all the law and all the rights for the rich man. The gentleman wbo addressed the Convention a few nights ago took the ground that something must be done. I wish to show the consistency of this class of men. There is a class of men who denominate this Convention the "ring-streaked and speckled," like Jacob's cattle. That class, including some of the great minds of the State, have been opposed to the assembling of this Convention, and opposed to every man here. Some thinking it rather possible it might succeed, have run the hazzard of the die; have thought it best to get into the boat, and try to paddle it on their side. Are the men who opposed the General Government in its efforts to restore these States to the Union on the basis of Republican liberty, who have opposed all measures passed by Congress, have refused to vote when they could vote, who counsel "masterly inactivity to their followers-are these men to be clothed with all the powers necessary to save their property from the law? They did not, nor do they now, recognize the validity of this body. Shall we, therefore, in the capacity of a Convention, however hybrid it may be, act the part of hybrids and fee and endow men, who do not recognize us at all, with the means of saving their property. Far be it from me to do aught that would impair the well being of every class of citizens. I am for the well being of the State, but I do not believe that in the passage of such an act the poor man will be benefitted. I believe it will result only to the benefit of those who have their large broad acres, the rich and the luxurious, who once rode in their carriages, who made the war which has brought them to destruction. I do not believe these men care about the interest of the Convention only so far as their own interests are concerned. The President had said in his opening address that for the first time in the history of the State, a Convention of the people was assembled. This being a Convention of the people, it is not a Convention for the benefit exclusively of that class of men who do not recognize the people. We should do justice to all the people. If a man owes a debt, let him pay it, and
the poor man cannot be the worse off. It is possible that about twenty thousand in this State might be benefitted by the passage of the resolution, but there were perhaps six or seven hundred thousand whose homes, by the order of the Commanding General, are just as secure without it. The orders of the Commanding General, he believed, would be sufficient until reconstruction is completed by this Convention. Until reconstruction is completed, the Commanding General is supreme in this State ; until the machinery of civil government is in operation, until the State has voted upon the Constitution, until Congress has passed upon that Constitution, the General Commanding is s'monarch of all he surveys." With all due respect for the efforts of my friend from Sumter, and with all due respect for the best interests of the State, I believe the good of the people demands not the passing of this seeming stay law, because then we shall open the door to emigration. If we pass this resolution, the large landholders will keep the lands in their hands. If they are obliged to sell their lands, the poor man will have a chance to buy. If we want to see this State blossom like the garden of Eden, if we want to see prosperity at once spring up in our land, if we want to see commerce flourish, if we want to see emigration from the East, West, North and South, let us make this State the garden State. If we want to made this State a power, if we want to make it great, grand and glorious, let us begin by doing equal and exact justice to all men.
On motion, the Convention then adjourned.
Friday, January 24, 1868.
The Convention assembled at 12 M., and was called to order by the PRESIDENT.
Prayer was offered by Rev. W. C. SMITH.
The roll was called, and a quorum answering to their names, the PRESIDENT announced the Convention ready to proceed to business.
The Journal was read and approved.
The PRESIDENT announced that he had appointed Mr. J. Hume Simons Reading Clerk.
The PRESIDENT read the following communication from General Scott :
HEADQUARTERS ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER
BUREAU R. F. AND A. L.,
January 23, 1863.
tion, Charleston, S. C: SIR: I have the honor to transmit for your consideration, and for the action of the Convention over which you have the honor to preside, (if in your judgment it may seem best to lay the matter before it,) the enclosed letter.
It is one of many complaints which I have received during the past few weeks, and as the condition of affairs described therein arises from what appears to be a gradually growing sentiment on the part of the freed people throughout the State, I think an expression of some kind from the Convention, in the form of a resolution, announcing the sense of the Convention on the subject, would be productive of most beneficial results.
The sooner that such ideas as those held by the freed people upon the plantation of Mr. Irving are eradicated, the better it will be for both planter and laborer.
I would also respectfully suggest that such an expression as I have alluded to, on the part of the Convention, would do more than any act of the military authorities, or myself, to disabuse the minds of the people of the idea that the Convention has lands at its disposal for distribution. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, (Signed)
R. K. SCOTT Brevet Major-General, Assistant Commissioner,
KENSINGTON, EASTERN BRANCH OF COOPER RIVER,
January 14, 1868 S Captain F. W. Leidtke':
DEAR SIR :-A condition of things has arisen on this plantation among the freedmen which it is necessary to inform you of at once, and to request that you will communicate with at once upon the subject I have offered General Scott's contract to the people on the plantation for their acceptance, but was answered with a flat refusal to make any contract at all. They went on to say that they would work the lands, but until something was decided in their favor by the sitting of the Convention, they would not sign any agreement or make any terms with me whatsoever. Now this is like taking possession of my lands out and out, and I am not disposed to submit without every effort to establish my authority over what I consider my own property.
I am not disposed to be harsh in my measures, believing as I do that all this is the result of false teaching, but simply wish that you would advise me as the proper method to pursue, either compel them to sign this contract of General Scott's, or to quit my premises at once, so that I may have a chance of procuring other labor before it is too late. I have given these people full warning that if they insist upon working my lands without a contract, they do it at their own risk, and I am not bound now to contract with any of them against my will or recognize their work in any way. If my plantation affairs are to await the deliberations of the Convention, you will readily perceive the necessity of immediate action in order to disabuse their minds of the prevailing idea that something is to be done for their especial benefit by the Convention.
You will oblige me by sending a reply to this at once through Oakley Postoffice, Northeastern Rail Road.
S. EMELIUS IRVING.
The communication was laid upon the table until the disposal of the unfinished business.
Mr. R. C. DELARGE moved that the Convention go into Committee of the Whole, which was agreed to.
Mr. LEMUEL BOOZER, of Lexington, took the Chair.
The consideration of the resolution to request General Canby to suspend all debts contracted prior to the 30th June, 1865, was resumed.
Mr. L. S. LANGLEY moved to add after the words sexcepting wages for laborers" the words and mechanics."
Mr. F. J. MOSES, Jr.. accepted the amendment.
Mr. R. C. DELARGE obtained the floor. I had not intended to speak, Mr. President, upon this subject, but finding those who, acting from purely personal motivés, are interested in the defeat of the measure from no higher object than that of filling their own coffers, who get up and raise objections to such a measure in face of the impoverished condition of the people of the State standing in need of relief. I feel that duty to myself and my constituents require I should not remain silent. If they had been content to go no further than in Convention, I might have been induced to keep quiet. But when members go outside the Convention, and use threats to intimidate others, I for one will let them and their satellites see that there is one member who will not be intimidated by their threats.
Mr. T. J. ROBERTSON rose, and said if the gentleman had any reference to him he would pronounce the charge false.
Mr. DELARGE disclaimed any reference to the honorable gentleman. It has been said in opposition to this measure that the proposed legislation was for à certain class. If I did not feel that some of the gentlemen have allowed their zeal to get beyond their judgment, I would be tempted to believe they did not know of what they were speaking. That the resolution as first presented to the Convention had the appearance of a class measure I will not attempt to deny, but after the adoption and incorporation of the amendment offered by the member from Darlington,