« 上一頁繼續 »
differently if he'd met as many of your troops on the battle-field as I have,” said one of the delegates, when I asked him about Mr. Aldrich. He is noticeable for his long and tumbled hair, and his long full whisker and moustache. He is able and forcible in debate, and “a real good fellow,” personally. The first ordinance introduced into the Convention was the following: — “We, the delegates of the people of the State of South Carolina, in General Convention met, do ordain, That the ordinance passed in Convention, December 20, 1860, withdrawing this State from the Federal Union, be, and the same hereby is, repealed.”
This ordinance came from ex-Governor Pickens, on the first day of the session, when it went over under the rules.
On the second day he called it up for immediate action, with the single remark that he thought it the first business for the Convention, in order that the country might see that South Carolina is in earnest in her profession of a desire to conform to the results of the war.
Mr. Huger, the old postmaster of Charleston, seconded the motion for immediate action, and made a rambling, old man's speech of twenty minutes' length, which the house applauded out of personal feeling for him, probably. He is over eighty years of age, is tall, and not much bent, has a face indicative of great force and strength of character, and wears long white hair, – the general appearance of his face reminding one of the pictures of Calhoun, whom the old man eulogized. The noticeable feature of the speech was its language of devotion to South Carolina. “She is my mother; I have all my life loved what she loved, and hated what she hated; everything she had I made my own, and every act of hers was my act; as I have had but one hope, to live with her, so now I have but one desire, to die on her soil and be laid in her bosom. If I am wrong in eyerything else, I know I am right in loving South Carolina, – know I am right in believing that, whatever glory the future may bring our reunited country, it can neither brighten nor tarnish the glory of South Carolina. She has passed through the agony and the bloody sweat; and as we now return her to the Federal Union, let every man do his duty bravely before the world, trustfully before God, remembering each man for himself that he is a South-Carolinian. She has been devastated by the invader, reviled by the hireling, mocked by the weak-hearted ; but she has accepted-the invitation to return, - accepted it in good faith, with the assurance of a word better than a bond; and now, no matter what she gives up, no matter what there is to endure and to forget, let us all do our duty as becomes her children, counting it our chiefest honor to stand by her in evil report as well as in good report, honor alike to live with her and to die with her l’” . The scene was in the highest degree dramatic, - the venerable old man standing between the platform and a table, with a supporting hand on each, and speaking in the most impassioned manner, with a clear, resonant voice that easily filled the whole church; every member of the Convention sitting with strained attention; the galleries bending over in silence, the better to see and hear; a clerk standing near the feeble Huguenot Carolinian to pass the glass of water while he spoke, and reach for him his staff when he had concluded. Rev. Dr. Boyce, of Greenville, and President of the Baptist Theological Seminary at that place, thought the ordinance insufficient in terms for the desired purpose ; and at his suggestion it was sent to a special committee of three, consisting of Governor Pickens, General McGowan, and Judge Lesesne. On the following day, the third of the session, it was reported, by Governor Pickens, in this form: —
“We, the people of the State of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention met, do ordain, That the ordinance adopted by us in Convention on the twentieth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty, entitled, an ‘Ordinance to dissolve the union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled “The Constitution of the United States of America,”’ is hereby repealed.” Immediately after the report was read, the Governor called for action on the ordinance, and it was at once put on its passage, without debate. The recorded vote was, – Yeas 105, Nays 3. And so, on the 15th of September, 1865, the State of South Carolina, after nearly five years of rebellious absence, in which she has destroyed all her living and very nigh destroyed herself, comes home. There are no cheers or huzzas, no Salvos of artillery and clanging of glad bells, as when she set up the proud palmetto standard, – only suggestive silence and the eloquent catching for breath of a multitude of men. The three nays were Messrs. A. P. Aldrich, J. J. Brabham, and J. M. Whetstone, the delegates from Barnwell District. Mr. Aldrich explained, that, as the conquering party had carried on the war for four years on the theory that the States were not out of the Union, he could n’t see any sense in repealing an ordinance of secession. His tone and manner were those of petty spite. By a curious coincidence, immediately after the passage of this ordinance, there came to light the following very remarkable resolutions, which were introduced by William Wallace, one of the delegates from this city: —
“Whereas, By the fortunes of war, our former noble and beloved Chief Magistrate, Jefferson Davis, is now languishing in prison, awaiting his trial for treason; and
“Whereas, The fanatics of the North, not satisfied with the widespread ruin and desolation which they have caused, are shrieking for his blood;—
“Resolved, That it is the paramount duty of South Carolina, who led the way in our late struggle for independence, and for which struggle he is now suffering, to use every lawful means in her power to avert the doom which threatens him. “Resolved, That to this end, a deputation of members of this body be sent to the city of Washington, in behalf of the people of South Carolina, to ask of His Excellency the President of the United States to extend to the Honorable Jefferson Davis that clemency which he has shown to us, who are equally the sharers of his guilt, if guilt there be, and which is accomplishing so much toward restoring the peace and harmony of the Union.” The fluttering began before the reading of these resolutions was finished, and several members were on their feet at once. Mr. Dudley got the floor, and quietly suggested that this was scarcely appropriate language for a body which had just returned the State to the Union, and was relying on the generosity of the North for full admission again into the sisterhood of States. Two or three other delegates made remarks to the same effect; and Mr. Wallace then accepted as a substitute a simple resolution appointing a committee to memorialize the President in favor of the pardon of Davis, Stephens, Magrath, and Trenholm. In this connection, I cannot forbear quoting the remarkable language in which the little daily paper of this city, edited by the novelist William Gilmore Simms, who has always been called a Union man, speaks of this matter. It is as follows : — “These appeals are eminently proper, coming, not merely from the people of South Carolina, but from those of all the several States of the Confederacy. How should any of their people be able to lift their heads if harm should come to any of their leaders ? President Johnson must perceive that to save these people from shame, he must shelter these, their representative men, from harm. We have no doubt that he will do so, and we are willing to leave this matter in his hands. He can entertain no base or little revenges. We take for granted that he will dismiss, without impediment or bond, all these eminent persons of state;
that he will give to Mr. Davis the freedom of the country or the use of a frigate to convey him to foreign shores. He can do no less.” During the four days of the Convention a large number of resolutions have been presented and referred to the appropriate committees. They touch almost every conceivable question of State policy, but are merely representative of individual views, and need not, therefore, be given in this record. They are indicative, however, of a disposition to make some sweeping and radical changes in the Constitution. The attendance on the sessions of the Convention is not large, but it is increasing daily. Possibly one hundred persons were in the galleries of the church to-day. No ladies were present on the first day; on the second day there were four, evidently of the middle class of society; yesterday the number from that class was increased; and to-day there were also present about a score of those who evidently number themselves among the élite of the city.
ACTION OF THE CONVENTION ON THE SLAVERY QUESTION.
CoLUMBIA, September 19, 1865. HERE were two things which, in a national point of view, it was essential that this Convention should do as soon as possible, - declare the abolition of slavery, and repeal the Ordinance of Secession. Ex-Governor Pickens, of swift repentance, saw this so clearly, that he introduced an ordinance, on the first day of the session, to accomplish both these things. I have already related how the Ordinance of Secession was repealed. The slavery question was settled to-day, not by an ordinance, but by the adoption of a clause for the Constitution. “It is impossible,” said Governor Perry in his message, –