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THE UP-COUNTRY AND LOW-COUNTRY QUARREL. 47
the ground that he alone held the proper certificate of election. The case was decided on its merits, without regard to the fact that Mr. McGregor is a Northern man; and he expresses himself fully satisfied with the decision.
THE LEADERS OF THE CONVENTION AND THE REPEAL OF THE SECESSION ORDINANCE.
Columbia, September 16, 1865.
IN Charleston and on the route hither I several times asked what would be the probable length of the State Convention, and was generally answered, "Not over a week, at most." I even found some gentlemen who thought it could finish its work in four days. The four days are gone, and the work is but fairly begun.
"It is the reproach of South Carolina abroad that her Constitution is less popular and republican in its provisions than that of any other State in the Union," says Provisional Governor Perry in his message to the Convention. If the sea-coast members could generally have their way this Constitution would scarcely be popularized in the least. The Convention could easily have done what they desired should be done in even less than four days. The upper-country members, however, have from the first said that no one need look for an adjournment under two weeks, unless the coast delegates gave them their way without much debate.
In fact there is as much difference of sentiment between the two classes of delegates as though one class came from this State and the other from Indiana. There has been a conflict going on between the two sections of the State for thirty years, which rages now with the more vigor because outside difficulties have compelled unity of action for the past five years. It grows mainly out of what is technically called the parish system of representation, whereby the legislation from the beginning of the century has practically been controlled by the city of Charleston, and has actually been in the hands of the members of the General Assembly from that city and county and three other counties. Under that system, which originated soon after the settlement of the State, and was indorsed in the formation of the original and all subsequent State Constitutions, half a dozen counties on the sea-coast cast as many votes in the Legislature as the balance of the State. In the early days of the State's existence, when nearly all the wealth and population were in these counties, the system worked no serious injustice; but of late years it has proved injurious to the interests of the up-country, and has kept up an ever-increasing feud between the two sections. Originating chiefly in this cause, there are now a dozen different questions of State policy in respect to which there is more or less bitterness of feeling between the two classes of delegates. Those from the up-country are determined that a full and fair settlement shall now be had. "We have drawn the sword and thrown away the scabbard," said one of them on the floor of the Convention. "I verily believe our people will fight on it," said another to me last evening. Of course this talk is of the die-in-the-lastditch sort; but it serves to show the existing feeling between the two sections of the State.
The record of the first four days of the Convention shows that there is a good deal of life in the body. It also proves that the delegates are generally well disposed toward the government. That they have fallen in love with President Johnson or with the Union party of the North, or with those whom everybody down here styles Yankees, no one even pretends. They are subdued Rebels, some of them are even conquered Rebels; but few are anything more. They have a very wholesome fear of the government, and a very wholesome respect for the power of the North. The whole crew of pestilent fellows does not number over a dozen. There are also about the same number who go to the other extreme, and are disgustingly servile and abject. With these exceptions, the delegates are generally frank, plainspoken men, owning that the S.outh is beaten, desiring nothing so much as long years of peace, acquiescent in the overthrow of slavery, and mostly disposed to make the best they can of the freedman, but utterly without faith in his capacity to labor and take care of himself; anxious to be again in full fellowship in the Union, and ardently longing for the reopening of trade with the North.
The chief man in the Convention is Benjamin F. Perry, Provisional Governor of the State; not that he himself is on the list of delegates, but that his position, in the peculiar circumstances of the hour, makes his word and wish of very unusual significance. The executive office has been * removed here for the time being; the rooms of the Governor at the hotel are full at all hours when the Convention is not in session; the Governor sometimes spends the whole day at the Convention; his son and private secretary is one of the delegates; it is an almost every-hour occurrence, in the debates, that the question is asked, "Is that view approved by the Provisional Governor?" or that the remark is made, "I think we had better consult the Governor first." So it may be said that he is the leader of the Convention. He is a tall, large, straight man, who carries a gold-headed cane and wears gold-bowed spectacles. Beside this, he has a very long, large nose, and a very long, large, prominent chin. He wears a wig, and has a smoothly shaven face. He looks like a man of power, and has an inoffensively self-satisfied appearance.
James L. Orr has a great deal to do with matters and things, and is at the head of one of the eight standing committees, — that on the Executive Department of the Constitution. His public life is well known. He was considered one of the coolest-headed and soundest-hearted Union men in the State five years ago this summer; but, for all that, he was one of the leading members in the Secession Convention, and in the Rebel Senate during the wThole existence of the Confederate government. Now he is one of the leading reconstructionists. Many of the delegates distrust him, — they say he changes from one side to the other too easily. Yet he has much influence in the body. He is over six feet in height, and of at least one hundred and ninety pounds weight. His face is florid and rubicund to the last degree. His nose is short, but prominent; his forehead high and bald. He is ready and forcible in debate, and carries himself with a very democratic air.
Francis W. Pickens, ex-Governor of the "Independent State of South Carolina," as it was called at his inauguration, is a battered old wreck, — short and squarely built, with a large and squarish head, a broad and flat face, a small and insignificant nose, round and piggish eyes, and broad and high forehead. He has bristly iron-gray moustache and chin whiskers, and wears a brown wig, — whereby there is a very peculiar and noticeable contrast. His voice is feeble, his manner colloquial, his air jaunty. He is third on Orr's committee, and is on his feet oftener than any other man. He eats his humble pie with some ostentation, and is specially solicitous that nothing shall be done to offend His Excellency the Provisional Governor, or His Excellency the President of the United States. His course and language are such as to call from delegates in private conversation frequent reference to the day when Fort Sumter surrendered, and to the speech he made on that occasion, —■ "The Independent State of South Carolina has humbled the flag that no nation on earth ever before humbled; it has been brought down in obedience to the behest of a sovereign State, on whose soil it shall never again be raised," &c, &c.
John A. Inglis is at the head of the committee on the Legislative Department, and is, perhaps, the most clearly intellectual man in the Convention. He is one of the three Chancery judges of the State, — a medium-sized man, trim, compact, without an ounce of superfluous flesh, erect, lithe, clear-headed, clear-eyed, clear-voiced, always ready, selfpossessed, marvellously impassioned on occasion, — a man whose face shows forty-five years while his hair indicates sixty. He was a member of the Convention of December, 1860; introduced the original resolution declaring it the duty of South Carolina to secede from the Federal Union; moved to exclude the reporters of Northern papers from the floor of the hall; was chairman of the Committee on Federal Relations; and, as such, reported the ordinance of secession, and carried it through with swift energy. He is of spotless personal integrity, frankly admits the defeat of the South, has no love for the Yankees, swears by South Carolina, and lost by the war a handsome house and one of the choicest private libraries in the State.
C. M. Dudley is at the head of the committee on General Amendments to the Constitution, — is tall, ungainly, awkward, round-shouldered, slab-sided, shambling in his step, and homely of face as a man well can be. With all this, he is a man of much ability and rare good sense, and is unquestionably looked up to as a leader by at least a third of the delegates. He is pre-eminently the advocate of the strictest economy in public affairs, and is mentioned as a strong Union man so long as there were any Union men in the State.
A. P. Aldrich is the leader of the impracticable, unconquered element, — the men wrho are sullen or spiteful, the untamed fire-eaters. They number less than a dozen, though there are a dozen more who would like to follow his lead, He was a quartermaster in the Eebel army. "He 'd feel