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nounced my judgment that hereafter the supremacy of the United States Government over the State was undisputed and indisputable. I am aware that many of my contemporaries deny the proposition, but I can properly comprehend the legitimate sequences of war, no other result presents itself to my mind.
Gentlemen of the Convention, I have merely outlined some of the subjects which in my judgment should command your earnest attention. As I have indicated, your body is here, not the representatives of the intelligence of the State. Your action, therefore, must be your passport to public favor, and while the great majority of the white population have failed to cast their votes in electing delegates, it will be your duty to adopt such a Constitution as will commend itself not only to the black, but to the white people of South Carolina.
As the Executive of the State during the trying times through which we have passed. I have earnestly endeavored to do equal and exact justice to all of our citizens. In the performance of my duties, I have known no distinction between race or color. When I have been called upon to exercise the high prerogative of Executive clemency in favor of those who have violated the laws, the records of my office will show that I have made reasonable allowance for the frailty and ignorance of the colored population, and that the commutations and pardons extended to them exceed those extended to the white race, whose opportunities for obtaining intelligence did not commend them with the same force to my judgment and sympathies.
As a citizen of South Carolina, born and raised on her soil, and desiring to lay my bones in this home of my fathers, I do not wish to see a Constitution adopted obnoxious to our people. If the instrument which you may frame be just and wise, as I trust it will be, I shall feel it to be a duty to recommend the adoption to my people. But if, on the other hand, it bears upon its face evidences of hostility to the true interests of the State, it will be calculated to create antagonisms, the results of which will be most deplorable, and I for one will pull up my stakes, and with my household remove to some other section of the country.
I am one of those who believe, as I have already said, that the Constitution you are to frame is the Constitution which the people of South Carolina are to live under for years to come, certainly for three, perhaps for twenty years. If I can talk to this Convention, or any member of the Convention, with the view of securing moderation, conservatism, or liberality in the framing of that Constitution, I feel as a citizen of South. Carolina that it is my duty to come here and give you that counsel.
Born and raised as I have been in South Carolina, I desire that my bones shall repose in her soil. But if your Convention shall adopt a Constitution so obnoxious and unjust that, in my opinion, my wife and children cannot live under it, I shall pull up my stakes, remove my
household and go to some other quarter. "I do not desire such an alternative. I desire that this Convention should do what has not been done in Georgia, Alabama or elsewhere. In South Carolina the black population preponderates one hundred and twenty thousand over the white. It would, therefore, be not only generous but magnanimous of the black delegates who represent their constituency to tender to the people of
Soutii Carolina such a Constitution as any just, fair and honorable man canı accept.
As I have already stated to you, gentlemen, I do not choose to discuss before you the constitutionality of the reconstruction acts of Congress. Those laws, whether constitutional or not, have been adopted by Congress. Immediately upon their adoption I recommended the people of South Carolina, to go to work diligently and earnestly to carry them into effect. I have given the same advice to promiscuous gatherings in Charleston, Anderson, Columbia and elsewhere. Whatever may be my opinion of the reconstruction course of President Johnson, which I think liberal and just, the laws we are now acting under are the laws of Congress passed not by a majority simply, but by a two-thirds vote in both Houses of Congress. I am therefore disposed, disfranchised as I may be under these laws, to carry them into operation Therefore when I see this Convention, with the black rather than the white element preponderating, with more colored delegates than whites occupying seats in the Convention, I feel it to be my duty to impress upon the Convention the propriety, you the necessiiy, of framing a liberal Constitution. To the colored nan there can be no reasonable objection to it. You have in the State, when you go to the ballot box, fifteen or twenty thousand votes over the whites, and if you act wisely and frame a Constitution which will commend itself to the white people of the State, then you will have accomplished a great result.
I say to you in ali frankness, if you frame a just, wise and liberal Constitution, I for one will advocate its adoption before all the white as well as black people of South Carolina.
I presume that opposition will be made to those who favor this Convention. There will be opposition to you and opposition to me, but I have been too long in political life to be afraid of the small thunder which may be directed against me by newspapers. I have reached a period of indifference upon that question. If I know my own conscience, and if what I say is not true, I trust that that overruling Providence which guides and controls us will smite me for the falsehood-I have this day no other or higher motive, I care not whether it be public or private, no other political aspiration than to promote the interests of the people of South Corolina. I believe I said so some of my colored friends some months ago that I was tired of politics and desired to embark in some business that would enable me to support those who are dependent on me. I now go further and say to you I am disgusted with politics. I know of no position, State or Federal, that I would seek if it cost me the passage of a single step. Let me tell you that a man who embarks in political life, if he is honest, will be poor as long as he remains in it, and the sooner he gets out of it the better it will be for his wife, children and self. I intend to do it. I wish to go into retirement, and there is no office that your recommendation or votes could confer upon me that I would accept. I ask you, then, to have confidence in the statements that I have made.
I care not how much odium will attach to me, I care not what opposition may develope itself
, what denunciation may be pronounced either from the press or from the public, if you make a Constitution liberal, fair and just, I pledge you my word I will advocate publicly its ratification by the people of South Carolina. But if you are proscriptive and unjust, I shall raise my voice against its adoption. I don't know that it will prevail--perhaps not. I have reached that point in my political life which will enable me to say yea or nay without any regard to whether it pleases or displeases the populace.
Gentlemen, I thank you for the attention which you have extended me this evening I am here, as I have stated, to make suggestions, to give . information, and I will be pleased to give any information upon any subject connected with the Executive (iepartment of the Government which they may call for. If I can contribute anything whatever to your deliberations I will do so with the extremest pleasure.
I am not one of those that sneer at this Convention. I think its deliberations are of importance to the people of the State. I think it is of as much importance to my race as to the black race. In its deliberations, therefore, I hope you will exhibit wisdom and good sense in framing a Constitution, under which we can live in peace and quiet. If you attempt proscription and injustice, there will be a continual warring between the white and black races, which will result in the shedding of hlood. God forbid that such shall be the case. As far as I have been able to see and confer with the members of this body, I believe their temper and disposition is to frame such a Constitution as that the white and black race can live in quiet and content.
In conclusion, I desire you to adopt a liberal and wise Constitution, under which the white and the black man can live together; a Constitution which will protect the great interests of the State, and restore to it a degree of prosperity not heretofore enjoyed; a Constitution that will dispel that distrust which unfortunately now prevails. You have a great problem to solve, such an one as has rarely been given to man; you are to undertake an experiment which has not thus far in the experience of mankind been successful. That experience shows that, when placed upon terms of equality, the races have not harmonized. It is for you to de. monstrate to the contrary.
Being hopeful myself, I believe that, with proper discretion and wisdom, you may form such a Constitution as will promote harmony, peace, and good will, and enlarge the prosperity of our State. And in the utmost sincerity, gentlemen of the Convention, I invoke the blessings of Heaven upon your deliberations, and trust that an overruling Provi. dence may give you such wisdom as will secure peace and concord to this people.
Saturday, January 20, 1868.
The Convention assembled ab 12 M., and was called to order by the PRESIDENT.
Prayer was offered by Rev. JAMES M. RUNION.
The roll was called, and one hundred and one members auswering to their names, the PRESIDENT announced a quorum present, and the Conveution ready to proceed to business.
The minutes of Friday wore read and approved.
1. Committee on u Bill of Rights--B.F. Whittemore, Darlington ; A. J. Ransier, Charleston; Dr. L. B. Johnson, Pickens; R. B. Elliott, Edgefield; W.J. McKinlay. Orangeburg; R. J. Donaldson, Chesterfield W. B. Nash, Richland; T. J. Coghlan, Sumter; James Henderson, Newberry.
2. Committee on the Legislative part of the Constitution-J. M. Rutland, Fairfield ; B. O. Duncan, Newberry; W. J. Whipper, Beaufort; E. W. M. Mackey, Orangeburg ; William McKinlay, Charleston; James H. Goss. Union; Samuel Johnson, Anderson ; Jesse S. Craig, Colleton ; Wilson Cook, Greenville.
3. Committee on the Executive part of the Constitution--F. J. Moses, Jr., Sumter; J. H. Rainey, Georgetown ; R. G. Holmes, Beaufort; C. M. Wilder, Richland; S. Corley, Lexington; A. Clinton, Lancaster; J. M. Rupion, Greenville ; W.H. W. Gray, Berkley ; M. Mauldin, Pickens.
4. Committee on the Judiciary-0. O. Bowen, Charleston; J. J. Wright, Beaufort; D. H. Chamberlain, Berkley; A. Middleton, Barnwell; Dr N. J. Newell, Anderson; William E. Johnston, Sumter; J. P. F. Camps, Spartanburg ; P. R. Rivers, Edgefield ; John A. Hunter, Abbeville.
5. Committee on Franchise and Elections--R. C. De Large, Charleston ; James D. Bell, Beaufort ; C. P. Leslie, Barnwell; Isaac Brockenton, Darlington ; Elias Dixon, Clarendon; John A. Chestnut, Kershaw; H. W. Webb, Georgetown; M. F. Becker, Berkley ; John S. Gentry, Spartanburg
6. Committee on Finance-N. G. Parker, Barnwell; T. J. Robertson, Richland ; Robert Smalls, Beaufort; C. M. Olsen. Williamsburg ; John Bunum, Edgefield; William Perry, Anderson; P. Alexander, Chester; George Jackson, Marlboro’; J. H. White, York.
7. Committee on Education-F. L. Cardozo, Charleston; J. K. Jillson, Kershaw ; L. S. Langley, Beaufort; Dr. J. C. Neagle, York; H. E. Hayne, Marion ; F. F. Miller, Georgetown; H. G. Shrewsbury, Chesterfield; Alexander Bryce, Pickens; David Harris, Edgefield.
8. Committee on Petitions-William E. Rose York; T. K. Sasportas, Orangeburg ; Frank Arnim, Edgefield; S. B. Thompson, Richland; Y. J. P. Owen, Laurens ; Lee Nance, Newberry ; J. H. Jenks, Berkley ; Williain M. Thompson, Colleton; H. D. Edwards, Fairfield. · 9. Committee on Rules and Regulations-S. A. Swails, Williamsburg ; S. G. W. Dill, Kershaw; G. Pillsbury, Charleston ; George Lee, Berkley: Henry Jones, Horry; John Wooley, Edgefield; William S. Collins, Marion ; J. K. Terry, Colleton; H. J. Lomax, Abbeville.
10. Committee on the Miscellar eous Provisions of the ConstitutionL. Boozer, Lexington ; B.' F. Randoi ph, Orangeburg; Joseph Crews, Laurens ; R. H. Cain, Charleston; F. Ê. Wilder, Beaufort; J. A. Hayne,
Bart well; Bailey Milford, Abbeville ; J. M. Allen, Greenville ; Benjamin Byas, Berkley.
11. Committee on the Review and Consolidation of the Constitution As a Whole-L. Boozer, Lexington; B. F. Whittemore Darlington ; F. L. Cardozo, Charleston; F. J. Moses, Jr., Sumter; R. C. DeLarge, Charleston; William E. Rose, York; J. M. Rutland, Fairfield; C. C. Bowen, Charlesten; S. A. Swails, Williamsburg; N. G. Parker, Barnwell.
The PRESIDENT stated that the last Committee under the suggestions of the Committee to whom was referred the subject of the appointment of Standing Committees, consists of the Chairman of the respective Committees, the object being, after the other Committees have prepared their matter, it may be consolidated into one whole, so as to be presented in a proper shape.
Mr. LEMUEL BOOZER, of Lexington, arose and said he understood from the announcement of the Committees, that he had been appointed upon one or more as chairman. I appreciate very highly, he said, the distinction conferred by the Chair in appointing me a Chairman of one of the Committees of this Convention. I am here to contribute
humble services to the business of the Convention, and am willing to add, in any way, so far as I am able. But under the peculiar circumstances, I do not believe that I can effectually discharge all the duties of Chairman of a Committee, more especially one of so much, importance as that to which I have been assigned. The District Court of Lexington District must be held early in February. There is much business to be done, and many prisoners are in jail for trial. My duty imperatively demands that I shall attend that Court as District Judge, and it is altogether probable that the term may last two weaks. That will be the busy time when the most important business of this Convention will be progressing to maturity, and when the Chairman of each Committee should be at his place. This will be out of my power. The Convention will therefore readily perceive the reasonableness of the request, which I now make, to be excused from serving as Chairman of the Committees. I am willing to work in any other capacity, but I earnestly believe the business of the Convention will be facilitated and the interest of the State promoted by granting my request. I hope I may, therefore, be excused for the reason assigned, from serving on these Committees.
Mr. C. C. BOWEN moved that the excuse of the delegate from Lexington be made the special order for twelve M., to-morrow, which was agreed to
Mr. F.J. MOSES, Jr., offered the following, which was adopted :
Resolved, That until the Committee on Review and Consolidation re