• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Preface
 The formation of civil government...
 The assembling of the Conventi...
 The election of the first governor...
 Governor Walker's short-lived...
 The election of delegates to the...
 Memorial of Rhichards and Saunders...
 The meeting of the legislature...
 The meeting of the Legislature...
 Meeting of the Extraordinary Session...
 The Purman-Hamilton reign of terror...
 The meeting of the legislature...
 The meeting of the legislature...
 The banquet of the conspirators...
 The supplicant conspirators
 Governor Hart's administration
 The meeting of the Legislature...
 Death of Governor Hart
 The beginning of the End
 The campaign of 1876 - preparation...
 Appendix A : constitution...
 Appendix B : last constitution...
 Appendix C : message from the president...
 Appendix D : Florida political...














Group Title: Carpetbag rule in Florida : The inside workings of the reconstruction of civil government in Florida after close of the Civil War.
Title: Carpetbag rule in Florida
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053477/00001
 Material Information
Title: Carpetbag rule in Florida The inside workings of the reconstruction of civil government in Florida after close of the Civil War
Physical Description: 444 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Wallace, John.
Publisher: Continental Bk. Co.
Place of Publication: Kennesaw Georgia
Publication Date: 1959
 Subjects
Subject: Reconstruction -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Politics and government -- Florida -- 1865-1950   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: By John Wallace ...
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053477
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01648252

Table of Contents
    Frontispiece
        Page 1
    Title Page
        Page 2
    Preface
        Page 3
        Page 4
    The formation of civil government after the War
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    The assembling of the Convention
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    The election of the first governor after the Civil War ...
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    Governor Walker's short-lived administration
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    The election of delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1868
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
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        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    Memorial of Rhichards and Saunders to Congress against the Osborn Constitution
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
    The meeting of the legislature of 1868
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
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        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    The meeting of the Legislature of 1869
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    Meeting of the Extraordinary Session of the Legislature of 1869
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
    The Purman-Hamilton reign of terror in Jackson County
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
    The meeting of the legislature of 1870
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
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        Page 119
        Page 120
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        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
    The meeting of the legislature of 1872
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
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    The banquet of the conspirators and the handwriting on the wall
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
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        Page 211
        Page 212
    The supplicant conspirators
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
    Governor Hart's administration
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
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        Page 263
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        Page 265
        Page 266
    The meeting of the Legislature of 1873
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
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        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
    Death of Governor Hart
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
    The beginning of the End
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
    The campaign of 1876 - preparation of fraud
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
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    Appendix A : constitution of Florida
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
        Page 352
        Page 353
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    Appendix B : last constitution framed after a new convention was organized
        Page 377
        Page 378
        Page 379
        Page 380
        Page 381
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        Page 406
        Page 407
        Page 408
    Appendix C : message from the president of the United States
        Page 409
        Page 410
        Page 411
        Page 412
        Page 413
        Page 414
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    Appendix D : Florida political frauds
        Page 441
        Page 442
        Page 443
        Page 444
        Page 445
        Page 446
        Page 447
        Page 448
Full Text













JOHN WALLACE.


fi







CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.









THE INSIDE WORKINGS


OF TlH



RECONSTRUCTION OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT
IN FLORIDA AFTER THE CLOSE
OF THE CIVIL WAR.


BY JOHN WALLACE.
Late Senator from Leon County.






JACKSONVILLE, FLA.:
DA CO0TA PRINTING AND PUBLIUSUIG HOUBB
1888.
Continental pook .t(ompang
Kennesaw. Georgia
1959


















PREFACE.


The author of this work was born in North Carolina and held as a slave until
1862, when he made his escape while General Burnside was operating with his army
against the Confederacy in that State. He went to Washington, D. C., after which
he entered the United States Army on the 14th of August, 1863, enlisting in the
Second United States Colored Troops raised in that city, and served two years and
six months in that regiment, which was engaged in the operations of the Federal
forces in Florida in the year 1864, and the early part of 1865. Discharged front the
service of the United States at Key West, January ist, 1866, he returned to Tallahas-
see, where he has since resided up to this period. He had no education while a
slave, and never had the benefit of any school before or since he was discharged
from the army, and has acquired what knowledge he may have of letters from con-
stant study at night, which studies he was compelled to relax on account of injury
to his eyes by the explosion of a bomb shell, near his face, thrown by the enemy at
the battle of Fort Myers, Florida. His physicians advised him that if he persisted
in pursuing his studies it would result in total blindness. He has acquired the
knowledge of facts upqn which this work treats by being constantly in the midst of
the actors of the theatre of this period. He was first appointed a messenger of the
Constitutional Convention of 1868, and upon the adoption of the Constitution, was
elected Constable for Leon County, the Capital of the State, serving for two years.
Was elected twice to the lower branch of the Legislature, serving four years; and
twice elected to the Senate, where he served for eight years.
In submitting this work to the public, the author does not attempt to present a
work adorned with beauties of rhetoric, as he would desire, but has resorted, as
far as his limited ability would permit, to such language in the construction of sen-
tences as he judged would give-the reader a fair conception of the transactions
which took place during the period mentioned in the title of the work.
The design of.this work is to correct the settled and erroneous impression
that has gone out to the world that the former slaves, when enfranchised, had no
conception of good government, and therefore their chief ambition was corruption
and plunder; to prove that, although they had been for more than two hundred
years deprived of that training calculated to fit a people for citizenship of a great re-
public like ours, yet their constant contact with a more enlightened race, though in
the position of slaves, would have made them better citizens and more honest legis-
lators if they had not been contaminated by strange white men who represented
themselves to them as their saviours; that the laws of the State, passed with refer-
ence to the colored people in 1865, were not enacted as a whole to be enforced, but
to deter the colored people from revenging any real or fancied wrongs that cruel
masters may have inflicted while they were slaves; that these laws and the secret
leagues, riveted the former slaves to' these strangers, who explained them to be ten-
fold worse than they were; that it was white men, and not colored men, who











4 PREFACE.

originated corruption and enriched themselves from the earnings of the people of
the State from the year 1868 to 1877; that the loss of the State to the National Re-
publican Party was not due to any unfaithfulness of the colored people to that
party,but to the corruption ofthese strange white leaders termed "carpetbaggers;"
that the colored people have done as well as any other people could have done un-
der the same circumstances, if not better. This work is further intended to prove
that notwithstanding the blunders of the ex-slaveholder towards the colored peo-
ple, the deception and betrayal by the carpet baggers of the colored people into the
hands of their former masters, yet they, like the thunder-riven oak, have de-
fied the storm which has now spent its terrific force, and like a caravan of deter-
mined pioneers cutting out highways in a new country, the Negro is laying the
foundation for a civilization that shall be fully equal in every respect to that of any
other race or people; and that the ascendancy of the Democratic party to the State
government in 1877, has proved a blessing in disguise to the colored people of
Mlorida. Respectfully,
JOHN WALLACE.













CHAPTER I.


The Formation of Civil Government After the War. The Address
and Proclamation of Provisional Governor Authorizing the
Election of Delegates to Amend the Constitution. The Number
of Delegates. Negroes Excluded from Voting by Governor's
Proclamation. Election Held. Number of Votes Cast.

On July i3th, A. D. 1865, President Andrew Johnson ap-
pointed William Marvin, Esq., as Provisional Governor of Flor-
ida, to proceed to establish civil government. The President
embodied in the commission of the Provisional Governor an in-
junction that no person should be allowed to vote for the dele-
gates to any convention called by his authority who was not a
qualified voter before the ioth of January, A. D. 186i-or, in
plain ,words, that no negro should be allowed to vote at said
election. It will be noticed hereafter that although there were
hundreds of negro soldiers garrisoning different parts of the
State, who had shared, in common with their white brethren,
the fatigues, sufferings and dangers'of war and the battle field,
and a great many of those inhabitants and natives of Florida
were enrolled and mustered into the service of the United States,
had marched and fought side by side with the First and Second
Florida Cavalry, two white Federal regiments raised, in Florida,
they were called upon and commanded by the President of the
United States to aid, encourage and assist in establishing a gov-
ernment in Florida which excluded them from enjoying the same
privileges that their white brothers enjoyed. The Provisional
Governor carried out in letter and spirit the President's procla-
mation, and issued an address to the people of Florida setting
forth his duties and the duties of the voters. The address and
proclamation of the Provisional Governor are as follows:

To THE PEOPLE OF FLORIDA:
The civil authorities in this State having engaged in an
organized rebellion against the Government of the United
States, have, with the overthrow of the rebellion, ceased to









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


exist, and the State, though in the Union, is without a civil
government. The Constitution of the United States declares
that the United States shall guarantee to every State in the
Union a republican form. of government, and shall protect each
of.these against invasion, insurrection and domestic violence.
In order to fulfill this guaranty, and for the purpose of
enabling the loyal people of the State to organize a State gov-
ernment, whereby justice may be established, domestic tran-
quillity insured and loyal citizens protected in all their rights of
life, liberty and property, the President of the United States has
appointed me Provisional Governor of the State, and made it
my duty, at the earliest practicable moment, to prescribe such
rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper for con-
vening a convention composed of delegates to be chosen by that
portion of the people of the State who are loyal to the United
States, and no others, for the purpose of altering or amending
the Constitution of the State, and with authority to exercise
within the limits of the State all the powers necessary and proper
to enable the loyal people of the State to restore it to its constitu-
tional relations to the Federal Government, and to present such
a republican form of State government as will entitle the State to
the guaranty of the United States therefore, and its people to
protection by the United States against invasion, insurrection
and domestic violence.
"In the performance of the duty thus enjoined upon me by
the President, I shall, as soon as the people of the State have
had the opportunity to qualify themselves to become voters, ap-
point an election, to be held in the different counties of the
-State, of delegates to a State convention to be convened at a
time and place to be hereafter named.
The persons qualified to vote at such election of delegates,
and the persons eligible as members of such convention, will be
such persons as shall have previously taken and subscribed the
oath of amnesty as set forth in the President's proclamation of
May 29th, A. D. 1865, and as are also qualified as prescribed
by the Constitution and laws of the State in force immediately
before the ilth day of January, 1X61, the date of the so-called
ordinance of secession. Where the person is exempted from
the benefits of the amnesty proclamation, he must also have been
previously specially pardoned by the President before he can be-
come a qualified voter or eligible as a member of the convention.
This interpretation of the proclamation of the President I have
received from himself in person, and also from the Attorney-
General. The oath referred.to may be administered by and taken
and subscribed before any commissioned official, civil, military
or naval, in the service of the United States, or any civil or mil-
itary officer of a loyal State or Territory who, by the laws









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


thereof, is qualified to administer oaths. The officer adminis-
tering the oath is authorized and required to give to the person
taking it certified copies thereof.
In order to give the well disposed people of this State
time and opportunity to qualify themselves to be voters for dele-
gates to the convention, the election will not be held until a rea-
sonable time has elapsed for them to take and subscribe the oath
required, and to procure the special pardon, where such pardon
is a prerequisite qualification. The election will be held imme-
diately thereafter, and no allowance will be made for unreason-
able delays in applying for pardons.
"Applications for pardon should be in writing, and ad-
dressed to the President of the' United States, and state the
grounds on which a special pardon is considered necessary. The
application should have attached to it the original oath or affir-
mation contained in the proclamation of amnesty. In most cases,
the application for pardon will not be acted upon by the Presi-
dent until it has received the recommendation of the Provision-
al Governor. It will save time, therefore, to seek his recom-
mendation in the first instance. The application should then be
sent to the office of the Attorney-General. I have been informed
by the military authorities that a considerable nuirer of Posts
have already been established in the State, and others soon will
be, with officers attached, authorized to administer the oath re-
quired, and to give certified copies thereof, so as thereby to give
every facility for taking the oath, with little or no inconvenience
or expense to applicants.
"'In the meantime, and until the re-establishment of a State
government, it is left to the military authorities to preserve peace
and order, and protect the rights of persons and property. An
understanding has been had with the Commander of the De-
partment whereby persons occupying the offices of Judge of
Probate may continue to take proof of wills and issue letters
testamentary and of administration, and Clerks of Circuit Court
may take proof or acknowledgment of deeds and mortgages, and
record the same, as heretofore, and all persons occupying minis-
terial offices may continue to perform such duties and offices as
are essential and convenient to the transaction of business. If
any doubt should hereafter arise concerning the validity of their
acts, such doubts can be removed by a legislative act of confir-
mation.
"'By operation and results of the war, slavery has ceased to
exist in the State. It cannot be revived. Every voter for dele-
gates to the convention, in taking the amnesty oath; takes a
solemn oath to support the freedom of the former slave. The
freedom intended is the full, ample, and complete freedom of a
citizen of the United States. This does not necessarily include









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


the privilege of voting, but it does include the idea of future pos-
session and quiet enjoyment. The question of his voting is an
open question-a proper subject for discussion-and is to be de-
cided as a question of sound policy by the convention to be
called.
"On the establishment of a republican form of State gov-
ernment under the constitution which guarantees and secures
liberty to all the inhabitants alike, without distinction of color,
there will no longer exist any impediment in the way of restor-
ing the State to its proper constitutional relations to the govern-
ment of the United States, whereby the people will be entitled
to protection by the United States against invasion, insurrection,
and domestic violence.
Dated at Jacksonville, Florida, this third day of August,
i865.
WILLIAM MARVIN,
Provisional Governor."

As the proclamation of the Governor authorizing the hold-
ing of the election for delegates contains but very little more
than what appears in his address to the people of Florida,
the author deemed it necessary to have only such parts of it con-
tained in this work as do not appear in his address. The dele-
gates were apportioned among the several counties as follows:
Escambia, two; Santa Rosa, two; Walton, two; Holmes, one;
Washington, one; Jackson, three; Calhoun, one; Franklin,
one; Liberty, one; Gadsden, three; Leon, four; Jefferson,
three; Madison, two; Taylor, one; Lafayette, one; Hamilton,
two; Suwannee, one; Columbia, two; Baker, one; Bradford,
one; Nassau, one; St. Johns, one; Duval, one; Clay, one;
Putnam, one; Alachua, two; Marion, two; Levy, one; Her-
nando, one; Hillsborough, one; Manatee, one; Polk, one;
Orange, one; Volusia, one; Brevard, one; Sumter, one; Mon-
roe, one; and Dade, one. The proclamation set forth the quali-
fication of voters as follows: Free white soldiers, seamen and'
marines in the army or navy of the United States, who were
qualified by their residence to vote in said State at the same time
of their enlistment, and who shall have taken and subscribed
the amnesty oath, shall be entitled to vote in the county where
they respectively reside." But no soldier, seaman or marine,
not a resident of the State at the time of his enlistment shall be
allowed to vote." Every free white male person of the age of









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


twenty-one years and upwards, and who shall be, at the time of
offering to vote, a citizen of the United States, and who shall
have resided and had his home in the State for one year next
preceding the election, and for six months in the county in
which he may offer to vote," and also take the oath prescribed
by the President'in his amnesty proclamation, were entitled to
vote. The election was held in the several counties of the State
on the ioth day of October, A. D., 1865, according to procla-
mation ordering said election, dated September IIth, 1865.
The Judges of Probate in the several counties, and the
Clerks of Circuit Court, in case of the inability, absence, or
other cause, the Probate Judges failing to act, were authorized
to appoint the Inspectors of Election. The Clerk and County
Judge were also authorized to call to their assistance two re-
spectable inhabitants having the qualification of voters, and pub-
licly count the votes cast, and to furnish to each person elected a
certificate of his election, and also to forward a certificate of the
election of each delegate to the Provisional Governor at Talla-
hassee. The Inspectors of Election were required to administer
the amnesty oath to any person at the polls who could not ex-
hibit a certificate of his having taken the oath previously.
The number of qualified voters up to the day of election
was eight thousand five hundred and twelve. The number of
votes cast for delegates was six thousand seven hundred and
seven.
















CHAPTER II.


The Assembling of the Convention. The Election of the Presiding
Officer. Different Opinions of the Delegates as to the Negro
Problem Before They Received the Governor's Message. The
Governor's Message Solves and Settles the Problem. Negroes
Testifying in Conrts of Justice.

The convention met October 25th, 1865, and Hon. E. D.
Tracy, of Nassau County, was called to the chair. A committee
was appointed to wait upon the Provisional Governor and obtain
from him a list of the delegates elected, which duty was promptly
performed and the list of delegates forwarded to the convention
by the Governor, namely:
Leon County-James L. Taylor, G. Troup Maxwell, Thomas
Baltzell, David P. Hogue.
Gadsden County-George K. Walker, R. H. M. Davidson,
Arthur J. Forman.
Jefferson County-W. M. Capers Bird, W. B. Cooper, Asa
May.
Hamilton County-William J. J. Duncan, Alexander Bell.
Madison County-W. J. Hines, D. G. Livingston.
Wakulla County-James T. Magbee.
Liberty County-T. D. Nixon.
Jackson County-F. B. Calloway, Felix Leslie, Allen H.
Bush.
Calhoun County-Jackson Richard.
Taylor County-Wiley W. Whidden.
Clay County-William Wilson.
Lafayette County-Moses Simmons.
Putnam County-Henry S. Teasdale.
St. Johns County-James A. Michler, Jr.
Levy County-William R. Coulter.
Duval County-S. L. Burritt.
Suwannee County-Silas Overstreet.
Columbia County-Silas L. Niblack, Thomas T. Long.









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


Nassau County-E. D. Tracy.
Baker County-Samuel N. Williams.
Bradford County-John C. Richard.
Hillsborough County-James Gettis.
Marion County-James A. Wiggins, Thomas J. Pasteur.
Hernando County-Samuel E. Hope.
Monroe County-Daniel H. Winterhurst.
Dade County-R. R. Fletcher.
Polk County-Francis A. Hendry.
Alachua County-W. Wash Scott, Samuel Spencer.
Escambia County-Benjamin D. Wright, W. W. J. Kelly.
Walton County-James M. Landrum, John Morrison.
Holmes County-James G. Owens.
Sumter County-James Love.
Washington County-Jesse B. Lassiter.
Orange County-William H. Holden.
Brevard County-James F. P. Johnson.
Santa Rosa County-Jesse McLellan, G. B. Dyens.
Volusia County-A. Richardson.

The following was the oath administered to the delegates-
elect: You and each of you do solemnly swear well and truly
to discharge your respective duties and support the Constitution
of the United States."
Thomas Baltzell, of Leon, and Benjamin D. Wright, of
Escambia, were put in nomination for President of the conven-
tion. There were two ballots taken without an election, and on
the third ballot Mr. G. Troup Maxwell, of Leon, withdrew the
name of Baltzell, and the convention proceeded to ballot for
Tracy and Wright, Mr. Tracy receiving twenty-four votes and
Wright fifteen. Mr. Tracy was declared elected.
This convention, composed largely of men who had for
four years worked and fought to sustain a cause which was
finally lost, were willing to do anything honorable to show the
government that they were acting in good faith, even if it were
to sustain negro suffrage to a limited extent, had it not been for
the sweeping message of Governor Marvin, the man appointed
to carry out the policy of the President. Some of the gentlemen
with whom I was acquainted expressed themselves to me that








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


such a proposition would have been carried before the conven-
tion but for the opposition of Governor Marvin. The conven-
tion seems to have been entirely, or almost so, under the control
and influence of the Provisional Governor and the military. It
will be seen that they did but very little other than what was
recommended to them by William Marvin, the President's agent.
After reading carefully the message and recommendations of the
Governor to this convention, and digesting the different subjects
treated in the message, I leave the reader to draw his own con-
clusions as to any injustice done the negro by the convention;
whether it was not in accordance strictly with the policy of
President Johnson ? Referring to the question of negro suffrage,
the Governor says: "Shall the elective franchise be conferred
upon the colored race, and if so upon what terms and qualifica-
tions?" I am not advised that the President has expressed
his views or wishes on this subject, and I know no more of the
views or wishes of the members of Congress than is generally
known." "I cannot think, however, that, if the convention
shall abolish slavery and provide proper guaranties for the pro-
tection and security of the persons and property of the freedmen,
the Congress will refuse to admit our Senators and Representa-
tives to their seats because the freedmen are not allowed to vote
at the State and other elections." "When the question of their
admission shall, arise, I think the main inquiry will be, not are
the freedmen allowed to vote, but are they guaranteed in the
Constitution protection and security for their persons and their
property." "It does not appear to me that the public good of
the State, or of the nation at large, would be promoted by con-
ferring at the present time upon the freedmen the elective fran-
chise." Neither the white people nor the colored people are
prepared for so radical a change in their social relations." Nor
have I any reason to believe that any considerable number of
the freedmen desire to possess this privilege." The Governor
was capable of reasoning from a very narrow standpoint when
he asserted that no considerable number of freedmen desired the
full panoply of citizenship, when two hundred thousand of their
number had marched and fought under our national flag to assist
in putting down the greatest rebellion known in the annals of
history. The message of the Governor in reference to negro









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


suffrage was still clinging to his conscience as a nightmare of
injustice of which he could not rid himself, until he reached that
point which brought him face to face with the question of the
negro testifying in courts of justice. The Governor says:
" Heretofore the negro, in a condition of slavery, was to a large
extent under the power and protection of his master, who felt
an interest in his welfare, not only because he was a dependent
and had been raised, perhaps, in his family, but because he was
his property." Now he has no such protection, and unless he
finds protection in the courts of justice he becomes the victim of
every wicked, depraved and bad man, whose avarice may.
prompt him to refuse the payment of his just wages, and whose
angry and revengeful passions may excite him to abuse and mal-
treat the helpless being placed by his freedom beyond the pale
of protection of any kind." Much sensitiveness is felt in this
and other Southern States upon the subject of the admissibility
of negro testimony in courts of justice for or against white per-
sons. For myself, now that the negro is free, I do not feel any
such sensitiveness. I do not perceive the philosophy or expe-
diency of any rule of evidence which shuts out the truth from
the hearing of the jury. It may be said that the intention of
the rule is to shut out falsehood; but how can it be known to
the jury whether the testimony be true or false until they have
heard it and compared it with the other testimony in the case ?"
"The admission of negro testimony should not be regarded as
a privilege granted to the negro, but as the right of the State, in
all criminal prosecutions, to have his testimony, in connection
with other testimony, to assist to establish the guilt of the ac-
cused, and it ought, reciprocally, to be the right of the accused
to have such testimony to establish his innocence. But the
question of the admissibility of negro testimony is merely inci-
dental to the main subject, which is the duty of the State to
protect the negro in the exercise and enjoyment of his rights of
freedom. If this duty can be adequately performed, and the
rights of the negro fully secured without his being allowed to
make oath before the courts of the wrongs and injuries done him,
then the interest of the State to have his testimony admitted will
be so greatly lessened as to reduce the question to one of com-
paratively much less importance. If the colored race in this









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


country can be fully and fairly protected in the exercise and en-
joyment of their newly acquired rights of freedom, then, in my
judgment, they will be a quiet and contented people, unambi-
tious of any political privileges, or of any participation in the
affairs of the government. Protected in their persons and prop-
erty, they may be stimulated to be industrious and economical
by a desire to acquire property in order to educate themselves
and their children, and improve their physical, moral and intel-
lectual condition." "'What their condition as a race may be at
the end of fifty or a hundred years, I do not think any person is
wise enough to predict; but we may reasonably hope and be-
lieve that they will progress and improve in intelligence and civ-
ilization, and become, not many years hence, the best free agri-
cultural peasantry, for our soil and climate, that the world has
ever seen." I think a clause may be so drawn as to accom-
plish this object and at the same time exclude the colored people
from any participation in the affairs of the government."
May Almighty God, in whose hands are the destinies of
all the nations of the earth, and without whose blessing all your
works will be in vain, enlighten your understandings so that you
may see, and incline your wills so that you may do whatever
will advance His glory and promote the peace, the happiness and
the welfare of all the people of our beloved State.
"WILLIAM MARVIN,
Provisional Governor."

The Governor should have known, from years of religious
training, that the glory of God would not be advanced by ex-
cluding from the right of citizenship nearly one-half of the popu-
lation of the State for no other crime than the color of their
skins. Not quite half of the time has passed in which the Gov-
ernor predicted that the colored people would only become the
best agricultural peasantry the world ever saw, and yet he finds
these very people occupying nearly all the industries, occupa-
tions and professions that are carried on by their white brothers,
notwithstanding the great odds against them by reason of their
former condition.
The convention adjourned after a session of twelve days,
but the Constitution was not submitted to the people for ratifica-









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


tion. There is no question that some of the best talent in the
State was elected to the convention. Judge Burritt, of Duval,
an able man and an intense loyalist, when advised of his election,
was in New York city, and immediately embarked for Jackson-
ville on the ill-fated steamer "Mount," which was lost at sea
with all on board. Had he been permitted to take part in the
convention and the subsequent measures of reconstruction, it is
quite probable that different results would have been reached.
Judge Baltzell, also, was one of the most upright, able, clear-
headed members of the convention, and had his life been spared
he would have been a power for law, order and government.
He was, without doubt, the ablest man in the convention, and
thoroughly loyal to the restored civil government. George K.
Walker was one of the purest and best men of the old regime.
He was in very poor health, but he was most earnest in seeking
to harmonize the conflicts growing out of the new condition of
affairs, and to establish order, peace and civil law. On one oc-
casion, when a member of the convention proposed some vio-
lent constitutional restrictions upon the freedmen, he in earnest
and eloquent strains admonished the member and the conven-
tion to "remember that we are here only by the grace of the
Federal government, and it is not becoming in usto deny to
others the rights we claim for ourselves, and disregard the obli-
gations we have assumed to the government through whose lib-
erality we stand here free citizens of the Republic."













CHAPTER III.


The Election of the First Governor after the Civil War, and the
Organization of the Legislature under the Constitution of 1865.
The Remarks by Governor Marvin at the Inauguration. The
Presence of Negro Troops Causes Great Sensitiveness. Ex-
tracts From Governor, Walker's Message. Recommendations
of Committee Appointed by Convention. Laws Passed by the
General Assembly, and their Workings.

Twenty-two days after the making and, the adoption of the
Marvin Constitution, an election was held for Governor and other
State officers. There seems to have been no opposition candi-
date for Governor, and no nominations were made for that office.
The old line Whigs seem to have had an understanding that
they would not vote for a Democrat, as they charged the Demo-
crats with having brought on the war, and as D. S. Walker had
figured so prominently in the politics of the State, having been
elected one of the Judges of the Supreme Court, and one of the
most popular leaders of the old Whig party, he became the can-
didate for Governor by general consent, Democrats being anx-
ious to get back into the Union by the help of either friend or
foe. The election was held on the 29th of December, and re-
sulted in the election of D. S. Walker, he receiving five thou-
sand eight hundred and seventy-three votes, with only eight votes
cast against him. The Legislature met December i8th, 1865,
and elected Joseph John Williams, of Leon County, Speaker,
against G. Troup Maxwell, of Leon, by a vote of twenty to
seventeen.
The two Houses, after the permanent organization, met in
joint session and canvassed the vote for Governor, and declared
Walker's election. W. W. J. Kelly, whose vote was only two
thousand four hundred and seventy-three, was declared elected
Lieutenant-Governor. After some preparations the Governor-
elect came forward, accompanied by Governor Marvin, to be
inaugurated. Governor Marvin addressed the Legislature, and
2









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


recited to them the great difficulties he had to encounter, as
Provisional Governor, in establishing a civil government, and
how he found the State government overthrown and prostrated,
with no money in the Treasury; and praising in the highest
terms the work done by the convention, in incorporating in the
Constitution that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall
in future exist in this State, except as a punishment for crime
whereof the party shall have been convicted by the courts of
this State, and that all the inhabitants of the State, without dis-
tinction of color, are free and shall enjoy the rights of person
and property without distinction of color; and that in all crimi-
nal proceedings founded upon an injury to a colored person,
and in all cases affecting the rights and remedies of colored per-
sons, no person shall be incompetent to testify as a witness on
account of color." He reminded them of the action of the
convention in repudiating the State debt contracted in support of
the rebellion, and of the ordinance nullifying secession. And
further to assure them how heartily he endorsed the policy of
the previous convention, pointed them to the fact that he had
humbly obeyed the request of the convention that the civil offi-
cers of the Confederate State Government, who had been sus-
pended at the surrender, by the military authority, had been di-
rected by him to resume the exercise of their respective offices.
The colored troops, which the convention had by resolution re-
quested the Governor to exert himself to have removed from the
interior of the State, he informed them had nearly all been
removed to the seaboard by the General in command at that
time. He recommended, among other things, that a-law should
be passed that where a laborer had entered into a contract in
writing before the Judge of Probate or a Justice of the Peace,
to labor upon a plantation for one year for wages, or a part of
the crop, and the contract specified the wages to be paid, and the
food to be given, that if the laborer abandoned the service of
his employer, or was absent therefrom two days without the leave
of his employer, or failed without just cause in other important
particulars to perform his part of the contract, that then he may
be arrested by the proper tribunal, and if found guilty on a hear-
ing of the case, be sentenced to labor during the unexpired
term, without pay, upon the highways, in a government workshop,









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


or upon a government plantation to be rented or bought either
by the State or by the different County Commissioners in their
respective counties. He said that the faith of the nation was
pledged for the protection of the freedmen, and those who had
been loyal to the government during the rebellion. How the
Governor could with any degree of reason conceive the idea that
the Confederate State Government that had, during the war,
hunted the Union men like the partridge on the mountains, and
had denounced them as deserters and spies to the Confederate
cause, and whose people had lost the services of that most valut
able adjunct, the negro, whose stalwart arm had for years filled
their homes with luxury, could deal justly with these two ele-
ments is beyond comprehension. After giving them all the ad-
vantages of religious training which inspires a sense of justice,
yet it is not humane to have expected them at that period to
be able to deal fairly and justly with those two classes of our
population. It might be inferred from the attitude of the conven-
tion relative to the removal of the colored troops from the in-
terior that the black soldiers stationed in the different parts of
Florida at the close of the war were very overbearing in their
conduct toward the ex-slaveholders,' and incited the freedmen to
lawlessness; but such was not the case. There were several
colored regiments scattered through the interior; among them
was the Second United States Colored Infantry, raised at Wash-
ington, D. C., two-thirds of its members being ex-slaves, and dur-
ing the entire time they were stationed here I know of no com-
plaint made against them of any misconduct toward the ex-
slaveholders. In fact, when any of the white citizens were ac-
cused or arrested for any offense against the military authorities,
they would always request the officer in command to have them
arrested and guarded by the colored troops. They were spoken
of by the whites in the very highest terms as to their conduct
and general appearance, and thousands of whites would come
out to witness their dress parade, and would often bring out
their families, and not one word of insult was ever offered to
them unless first insulted by the ex-slaveholder-who was always
some low fellow who had shirked the Confederate army, and
who imagined that such insults would palliate his shame. The rea-
son why they desired the colored troops removed was that they









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


believed the freedmen would be induced by the presence of these
soldiers to be continually lying around their camps to the neglect
of their crops, but these fears were unfounded; for the freedmen
were seldom seen around the camps unless they came to ex-
change products for soldier clothes or for money.
After Governor Marvin had concluded his remarks, Hon.
D. S. Walker, Governor-elect, came forward and took the oath
of office, which was administered by the Hon. C. H. Dupont,
Chief Justice. The Governor began his address by warning the
Joint Assembly and the large audience against the bitterness of
party strife, which four years previously had plunged the coun-
try into civil war. He said:
"By failing to regard the disinterested warnings of the
Father of his country against the baneful effects of the spirit of
party, and particularly when founded on geographical discrimi-
nation; by omitting, as he advised, to remember that the jeal-
ousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake against the
insiduous wiles of foreign influence, and by neglecting, as he
recommended, to frown indignantly upon the first dawning of
every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the
rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the
various parts, the people of the United States, nearly five years
ago, became involved in the terrific civil strife which has but re-
cently ended. We now hope that by a strict adherence to his
advice, the unity of the government which constitutes us one
people will again become dear to us."
The Governor then turned his attention to the subject of se-
cession, which he attempted to defend in a very astute manner,
well calculated to lead the youth of the State to believe that it
was right. He said:
"During the late unhappy conflict, some of us were known
as Union men; some as Constitutional Secessionists; and others
as Revolutionists. A glorious opportunity is now afforded to
fling away these names, and with them the strifes they have en-
gendered, and to meet, as brethren ought to meet, upon the
platform of the Constitution which our fathers made for us in
1787. If I shall be permitted to administer the government, I
shall know no distinctions between citizens on account of past
political differences. I will not condemn the Union man, be-








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


cause I know from experience how completely the love of the
Union becomes a part of our very existence, and how it is en-
deared to us by a thousand glorious recollections and as many
brilliant anticipations. I know that the heart of Florida's great-
est and most renowned citizen was literally broken by the sever-
ance of the Union. Nor will I condemn the Constitutional Se-
cessionist, because I know that, though he differed from me,
his side of the question was supported by arguments, if not un-
answerable, yet of great plausibility, and by the authority of
many of the greatest names that this country has ever produced.
Nor yet will I condemn the Revolutionist, for I know that he,
though originally opposed to secession, went into the war, after
the fact was done, upon the conviction that it was no longer an
open question, and that it was the duty of every man to stand
or fall with his own section. In fact, great questions connected
with the integrity of the Union were, before the war, so unset-
tled, and the opinions of great men so varied, that it required
a man greatly superior to myself to say with certainity who was
right and who was wrong. Seeing the different luminaries which
guided our people, I am not astonished that the very best men
in our land were found arrayed in opposing ranks. I need not
enumerate the host of great men who stood with the immortal
Clay for the integrity of the Union and against the doctrine of se-
cession. The logic of events has proved that they were right.
But among those who held the contrary doctrine that a State
might secede from the Union without infraction of the Federal
Constitution, we find the names of such men as Mr. Rawle, a
distinguished lawyer of Pennsylvania, to whom General Wash-
ington more than once tendered the office of Attorney-General
of the United States; John Randolph, of Roanoke; Nathaniel
Macon, of North Carolina; Mr. Calhoun, of South Carolina;
P. P. Barbour, a late Justice of the Supreme Court of the
United States; and Judge McKean, a late Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Those who advocated the
right of revolution quoted the remarks of Mr. Webster, that 'a
bargain broken on one side was broken on all sides,' and that 'if
the North should not obey the Constitution in regard to the ren-
dition of fugitive slaves, the South would no longer be bound
by the compact.' Mr. Greeley, then, as now, a great leader of









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


Northern sentiment, had said that he could not see how twenty
millions of people could rightfully hold ten, or even five, in a
Union with them by military force;' and again, if seven or
eight States should send agents to Washington to say we want to
get out of the Union, he should feel constrained by his devo-
tion to human rights to say, let them go.' In this connection he
also quoted the Declaration of Independence, that 'Govern-
ments are instituted for the benefit of the governed;' and that
when any form of government becomes destructive of these
nds, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to
institute a new government. Mr. Lincoln, prior to his first elec-
tion, had acknowledged this principle, with the addition, that
not only a people, but any part of a people, being sufficient in
numbers to make a respectable government, might set up for
themselves. Mr. Tyler, a late President of the. United States,
held to the doctrine of secession, and Mr. Buchanan, the then
President of the United States, said, just before the commence-
ment of the war, that while he thought a State had no right to
leave the Union, yet if she should leave it, the remaining
States would have no right to coerce her to return. Amidst
these various and conflicting views, all supported by the highest
authority, it is no wonder that our people should have been be-
wildered, or that, being forbidden by the turn of events, to re-
main neutral, some should have adhered to the Union and others
to the State."
The Governor next turned his attention to that problem
which had perplexed the statesman, the philanthropist and the
philosopher for more than half a century :-" What shall we do
with.the Negro ?" He said :
"I think we are bound by every consideration of duty,
gratitude and interest, to make these people as enlightened, pros-
perous and happy as their new situation will admit. For gen-
erations past they have been our faithful, contented and happy
slaves. They have been attached to our persons and our for-
tunes, sharing with us all our feelings, rejoicing with us in our
prosperity, mourning with us in our adversity. If there were
exceptions to this general rule, they were only individual excep-
tions. Every Southern man who hears me knows that what I
say is literally true in regard to the vast mass of our colored








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


population. The world has never before seen such a body of
slaves. For not only in peace, but in war, they have been faith-
ful to us. During much of the time of the late unhappy diffi-
culties, Florida had a greater number of men in the army be-
yond her limits than constituted her entire voting population.
This of course stripped many districts of their entire arms-bear-
ing inhabitants, and left our females and infant children almost
exclusively to the protection of our slaves. They proved true
to their trust. Not one instance of insult, outrage or indignity
has ever come to my knowledge. They remained at home ahd
made provisions for our army. Many of them went with our
sons to the army, and there, too, proved their fidelity-attend-
ing them when well, nursing and caring for them when sick and
wounded. We all know that many of them were willing, and
some of them anxious, to take up arms in our cause. Although
for several years within sound of the guns of the vessels of the
United States, for six hundred miles along our seaboard, yet
scarcely one in a thousand voluntarily left our agricultural ser-
vice to take shelter and freedom under the flag of the Union.
It is not their fault that they are free-they had nothing to do
with it; that was brought about by the results and operations of
the war. But they are free.- They are no longer our contented
and happy slaves, with an abundant supply of food and clothing
for themselves and families, and the intelligence of a superior
race to look ahead and make all necessary arrangements for their
comfort. They are now a discontented and unhappy people,
many of them houseless and homeless, roaming about in gangs
over the land, not knowing one day where the supplies for the
next are to come from; exposed to the ravages of disease and
famine; exposed to the temptations of theft and robbery, by
which they are often overcome; without the intelligence to pro-
vide for themselves when well, or to care for themselves when
sick, and doomed to untold sufferings and ultimate extinction
unless we intervene for their protection and preservation. Will
we do it? I repeat, we are bound to do it, by every consider-
ation of gratitude and interest."
The whites being to some extent exasperated about the free-
dom of the slaves, and not knowing what their conduct might
be as free laborers, talk of the importation of white labor from









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


Germany, Ireland, Italy and other countries, was quite preva-
lent. As to this subject the Governor said:.
"But let us always remember that we have a laboring class
of our own which is entitled to the preference. It is not suffi-
cient to say that white labor is cheaper. I trust we are not so
far degraded as to consult interest alone. But interest alone
would dictate that it is better to give these people employment
and enable them to support themselves, than have them remain
upon our hands as a pauper race; for here they are, and here,
for weal or woe, they are obliged to stay. We must remember
that these black people are natives of this country and have a
pre-emption right to be recipients of whatever favors we may
have to bestow. We must protect them, if not against the com-
petition, at any rate against the exactions of white immigrants.
They will expect our black laborers to do as much work in this
climate as they have been accustomed to see white ones perform
in more northern latitudes. We know that they cannot do it.
They never did it for us as slaves, and the experience of the
last six months shows that they will do no better as freedmen.
Our fathers of 1783 knew that it takes five black men to do the
work of three white ones, and consequently, in adjusting the
apportionment of taxes upon the basis of labor and industry of
the country, eleven of the thirteen States of the old confedera-
tion recommended that every five blacks be counted as only
three. And if we can offer sufficient inducements, I am in-
clined to think that the black man, as a field laborer in our cli-
mate, will prove more efficient that the imported white."
Referring to the question of negro suffrage, the Governor
said:
"We have been able to give an honest and conscientious as-
sent to all that has been done, but each one of us knows that we
could not give either an honest or conscientious assent to negro
suffrage. There is not one of us that would not feel that he
was doing wrong, and bartering his self-respect, his conscience
and his duty to his country and to the Union itself, for the bene-
fits he might hope to obtain by getting back into the Union.
Much as I worshipped the Union, and much as I would rejoice
to see my State once more recognized as a member thereof, yet
it is better, a thousand times better, that she should remain out








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


of the Union, even as one of her subjugated provinces, than go
back 'eviscerated of her manhood,' despoiled of her honor, re-
creant to her duty, without her self-respect, and of course with-
out the respect of the balance of mankind-a miserable thing,
with seeds of moral and political death in herself, soon to be
communicated to all her associates."
With the feelings that existed at that period among a goodly
number of the whites with reference to the freedom of the ne-
gro, I must confess that it took a great deal of courage for the
Governor to assert the negro's faithfulness to his master for gen-
erations past and during the war. Although the assertion was
true, I have no doubt that a majority of the whites desired to
see the negro prosperous, at least as a laborer, and to be fully
protected in his person and property, if gratitude was to be
measured to him as his faithfulness had been measured to his
former master. As to their contentment, happiness, and being
supplied with food and clothing, the Governor and others may
have fed and clothed their slaves abundantly, but not enough so
as to make them desirous of remaining slaves or to make them
contented. If such was the case it would not have been neces-
sary for the Legislature, anterior to the war, to pass a law punish-
ing white persons for cruelty to slaves. In fact, it is absolutely
necessary in order to govern a slave to punish him more severely
than it would be necessary for the law to punish a freeman. I
think "The Life and Times of the Hon. Frederick Douglass" is
conclusive on this point. I am confident if all these slaves the
Governor spoke of had been called up at that time they would
have said to him that they felt quite happy, even while there were
many who were destitute and had no home to go to. Yet most
of these people were looked after by their former masters,
as they had never left their premises. It was only those who
had left the premises of, or those who had been driven away
from, the places of their former masters, who were in danger of
suffering. So the Governor was right in the abstract, but not in
the concrete. The following poem fully expresses the feelings
of the freedmen before and after their liberation. It was written
and delivered by John Wallace at the celebration of the seven









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


teenth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, at Talla-
hassee, Florida:

Freedom, thou welcome spirit of Love,
Whence and from where didst thou begin ?
Thou from God's bosom as a dove
Didst seek the earth to vanquish sin.
Before the land and skies were made
Thy spirit hovered o'er the deep,
And when God earth's foundation laid,
Did enter man when yet asleep.
As he arose from dust to flesh,
Near him wast thou where e'er he went;
Though cast from Eden's garden fresh,
Thou wast with him in sorrow bent.
And still wast thou all through
Despotic ages past and gone,
And as a brother e'er proved true-
Thy light 'mid darkness ever shone.
When Pharaoh Israel's children held
Four hundred years abject, enslaved,
To free them Egypt was impelled,
Though then was gained the land they craved.

America thought thee to evade,
And to the South her slaves she sold;
But through power she was made
To yield to thee this great stronghold.
Though here was called unto thy aid
Grim war, the court of last appeal-
And North and South each other braved,
Yet now they both thy blessings feel.
There were four million souls and more
Of Africans in slavery bound,"
They sought thy crown 'mid trials sore,
Two hundred years, and then 'twas found.
Mankind has ne'er contented been
Where slavery's cruel sway was held.









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


'Twas giant Freedom fought the sin
Till all its darkness was dispelled.
Go sound the trumpet, ring the bell!
Just seventeen years ago to-day
Sweet Freedom wrested us from hell
And put an end to slavery's sway.

The sagacious Governor, further to prove that the former
slave was happy and contented, "maintained that it took five
black men to do the same amount of work that three white men
could do, and therefore the, blacks should be protected against the
exactions of white immigrants, as such immigrants would expect
a black man to do the same amount of work asa white man." It
is certainly true that a Northern man-or what the Southerners
call a Yankee-will work a negro closer, harder and longer at a
time than a Southern man will do, and will give him less, but as
a general thing they will pay up regularly, of which I shall have
more to say in another part of this work. I know of no rule or
reason to prevent a colored man from doing the same amount of
work that a white man can do if both have the same training.
The same fatigue that overtakes the white man at the close of a
day's labor, will overtake the negro, even though he is covered
with a black skin. The only difference as to how much work
one man can do more than another, depends upon his skill and
his physical make-up. It rather looks as though the Governor
was trying to show that the former slave did not work as hard
as the Northern man did before the war, and therefore slavery
was not a great hardship; but this will not stand scrutiny.
While the Governor's recommendations to the Legislature
were not all that could be desired by the colored people, from a
political standpoint, yet many features of them should forever
commend him to the lasting gratitude of our race. Among
these recommendations were the taking care of the indigent and
decrepit of the former'slaves, encouraging industry, virtue and
education, which are the foundation of the up-building of any
people.
The convention which made the constitution under which
this Legislature assembled, had requested the Provisional Gov-
ernor to appoint a commission of three gentlemen to prepare suit-









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


able laws for the government of the freedmen, and to report to
the first Legislature that should assemble. The Governor ap-
pointed C. H. Dupont, of Gadsden County, A. J. Peeler and
M. D. Papy, of Leon. Two days after the convening of the
Legislature this Committee made the following report:
"The undersigned were appointed by the Provisional Gov-
ernor, under a resolution of the recent State Convention, and
charged with the duty of reporting to the General Assembly
' the changes and amendments to be made to the existing stat-
utes, and the additions required thereto, so as to cause the same
to conform to the requisitions of the amended constitution, and
with reference especially to the altered condition of the colored
race.'
First. In entering upon the discharge of this duty, we are
deeply impressed with the magnitude and importance of the task,
and regret that the shortness of the time elapsing between the
date of our appointment and the meeting of your honorable body
has precluded the possibility of giving to the subject that thor-
ough investigation which its importance demanded. Within
the brief space allotted to us, however, we have endeavored to
embody, in the form of bills upon various subjects, some sug-
gestions which we trust may be found useful in directing your
minds to such changes and modifications of the existing statutes
and additions thereto as may be demanded by the recent altera-
tion in the civil relations heretofore existing between the two
races that constitute the inhabitants of the State. The constitu-
tional provision declaring the abolition of negro slavery, suddenly
removed from under the restraining and directing influence of
the master nearly one full moiety of our population, and creates
the necessity of bringing them more fully under the operation of
municipal law. Heretofore there existed in each household a
tribunal peculiarly adapted to the investigation and punishment
of the great majority of the minor offenses to the commission of
which this class of population was addicted. With the destruc-
tion of the institution of negro slavery that tribunal has become
extinct, and hence the necessity of creating another in its stead,
and of making such modifications in our legislation as shall give
full efficiency to our criminal code. It'is to the organization of
such a tribunal, as of first importance, that we now desire to in-
vite your attention. It must be manifest to every reflecting mind
that the Circuit Court, as at present organized, extending as it
does its jurisdiction over a large area of territory, embracing a
dozen or more counties, and confined to the holding of stated
terms, however efficient heretofore in the restraining of crime, is








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA. 29

but illy adapted to the present exigency. In view of the great
increase of minor offenses which may be reasonably anticipated
ftom the emancipation of the former slaves, a wise forecast would
seem to call imperatively for the erection of a criminal tribunal
more local in its jurisdiction and of greater promptness in its
administration of the penalties of the law. Such, eventually,
was the design of the recent convention in extending the judicial
power so as to embrace such other courts as the General Assem-
bly may establish.' The constitutional provision granting this
power to the General Assembly is as follows, to-wit: The ju-
dicial power of this State, both as to matters of law and equity,
shall be vested in a Supreme Court, Courts of Chancery, Circuit
Courts and Justices of the Peace; provided, the General Assembly
may vest such civil or criminal jurisdiction as may be necessary
in Corporation Courts and such other courts as the General As-
sembly may establish; but such jurisdiction shall not extend to
capital cases.' With all the reflection that we have been able to
bestow upon the subject, and aided by the light drawn from the
legislation of other States, we have, nevertheless, found it ex-
tremely difficult to devise any plan of organization for the pro-
posed courts which is entirely free from objection. We present,
however, with great deference, for your consideration and action
thereon, a bill entitled An Act to establish and organize a
County Criminal Court,' which we think will be found, upon
examination, to be as free from objection and as well adapted to
the exigency growing out of the new order of things as can well
be devised.
Second. The next subject that claimed the attention of the
Commission was the present state of our criminal laws as appli-
cable to the two different races that constitute the population of
the State. By reference to the statute book, it will be found
that in most of the minor offenses, and a few of the more aggra-
vated, a marked distinction is made between white persons and
free negroes and slaves with regard to the commission of these
offenses. After the maturest reflection upon the subject, we
have come to the conclusion that a wise policy would dictate
that, with a very few exceptional cases, this discrimination be
abolished, as far as it may be done without impairing the effi-
ciency of the prescribed penalties, and that both races be sub-
jected to the same code. In making this recommendation, the
undersigned would not be understood as favoring the idea that
there exists, either in the Federal Constitution or in that of
the State, any inhibition to control the authority of the General
Assembly in making such discrimination, whenever the welfare
of society or the safety of the community may demand it. This
authority, however, is not to be exercised beyond the granting
or restricting of what is usually denominated mere privileges,'









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


in contradistinction to the absolute 'rights' of individuals. The
enjoyment of the rights of person and property, together with
means of redress, is, by our amended Constitution, guaranteed
to all the inhabitants of the State, without distinction of color,
and may not be invaded by the legislation of the General As-
sembly. With this limitation, the power to discriminate between
the two races has always been exercised without stint by the re-
spective States of the Union, not even excepting those of New
England. Their statute books are replete with enactments con-
firmatory of the truth of this statement, nor is there any lack of
judicial evidence on the point. In 1833 Connecticut passed a
law which made it a penal offense to set up or establish any
school in that State for the instruction of persons of the African
race, not being inhabitants of the State, or to instruct or teach
in any school or institution, or board or harbor for that purpose,
any such person, without the previous consent in writing of the
civil authority of the town in which such school or institution
might be located. A case arose under this law, in which one of
the points raised in defense was that the law was a violation of
the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees that
the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and
immunities of citizens of the several States.' (Vide Crandall vs.
the State, Io Conn., Rep. 346.) In Kentucky the point has
been repeatedly decided the same way; nor are we aware that
its correctness has ever been judicially questioned in any State
of the Union. Chancellor Kent, whose accuracy and research
no one will question, states emphatically that in no part of the
country, except Maine, did the African race in point of fact par-
ticipate equally with the whites in the exercise of civil and po-
litical rights. (2 Kent's Com., 258, Note b.) But the right to
exercise the power of discrimination does not rest alone upon
the action of the States; it has, time and again, been sanctioned
by every department of the Federal Government. In its legisla-
tion for the District of Columbia the Congress has never hesi-
tated to recognize the difference that exists between the two
races, both as it regards their social and political status.
Such, too, has been universally the action of the executive de-
partment, backed by the official opinions of such men as Wil-
liam Wirt and Caleb Cushing, and endorsed by that giant of
constitutional law, Daniel Webster, while acting as Secretary of
State. Upon application to him for letters of protection to visit
Europe, he refused to grant them, upon the distinctly stated
ground that the applicants were not citizens' in the meaning
of the word as used in the Constitution. But if there ever did
exist any doubt upon this subject, it ought forever to be put at
rest by the authoritative decision in the great case of Dred Scott
vs. Sandford, reported in x9 Howard, S. C. Rep., 393. In the








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


opinion delivered in that case, undoubtedly the greatest intel-
lectual effort of the late Chief Justice Taney, it is expressly held
that 'a free negro of the African race, whose ancestors were
brought to this country and sold as slaves, is not a citizen within
the meaning of the Constitution of the United States.' And it is
strongly stated in the same opinion that it is not within the con-
stitutional power of Congress to make him such. In comment-
ing upon the legislation of Congress with reference to this race,
the Chief Justice very forcibly and significantly remarks: 'This
law, like the laws of the States, shows that this class of persons
were governed by special legislation directed exclusively to them,
and always connected with provisions for the government of
slaves, inc not with those for the government of white citizens.'
And after such a uniform course of legislation as we have stated
by the Colonies, by the States and by Congress, running through
a period of more than a century, it would seem that to call per-
sons thus marked and stigmatized citizens' of the United States
-' fellow citizens'-a constituent part of the sovereignty, would
be an abuse of terms, and not calculated to exalt the character
of an American citizen in the eyes of other nations. This adju-
dication was rendered just four years prior to the commence-
ment of the late revolution, and it may not be inappropriate to
inquire whether any of the results of that revolution can be justly,
invoked to impair its authority as a just and enlightened exposi-
tion of the Constitution. It is true that one of the results was
the abolition of African slavery; but it will hardly be seriously
argued that the simple act of emancipation of itself worked any
change in the social, legal or political status of such of the Afri-
can race as were already free. Nor will it be insisted, we presume,
that the emancipated slave technically denominated a freedman,'
occupied any higher position in the scale of rights and privileges
than did the free negro.' If these inferences be correct, then
it results, as a logical conclusion, that all the arguments going
to sustain the authority of the General Assembly to discriminate
in the case of 'free negroes' equally apply to that of freed-
men,' or emancipated slaves. But it is insisted by a certain
class of radical. theorists that the act of emancipation did not
stop in its effect in merely severing the relation of master and
slave, but that it extended further, and so operated as to exalt
the entire race and placed them upon terms of perfect equality
with the white man. These fanatics may be very sincere and
honest in their convictions, but the result of the recent elections
in Connecticut and Wisconsin shows very conclusively that such
is not the sentiment of a majority of the so-called Free States.
While we thus strenuously assert the authority of the General
Assembly to exercise the power of discrimination within the
limit before indicated, we would earnestly, but respectfully,








CARPETEAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


recommend that it be exercised only in exceptional cases, and so
far as may be necessary to promote the welfare of society and
to insure the peace, good order and quiet of the entire commu-
nity. Impressed with these views, and in furtherance of this
end, we have prepared a bill to accompany this report entitled
' An Act Prescribing Additional Penalties for the Commission
of Offences Against the State, and for other purposes.' The first
section of the bill provides 'that whenever, in the criminal laws of
this State heretofore enacted, the punishment of the offense is lim-
ited to fine and imprisonment, or to fine or imprisonment, there
shall be superadded, as an alternative, the punishment of stand-
ing in the pillory for an hour, or whipping, not exceeding thirty-
nine stripes on the bare back, or both, at the discretion of the
jury.' By an examination of the respective codes, as applicable
to the two classes of population, white and black, it will be found
that they differ but little as to the nature of the offenses desig-
nated in each. The great mark of difference is to be found in
the character of the punishments. There seems always to have
existed in the minds of our legislators a repugnance to the inflic-
tion of corporeal punishment upon the white man, and hence
the resort to fine and imprisonment for the punishment of of-
fenses committed by him, while that mode of punishment is
almost the only one applied to the colored man for the commis-
sion of any of the minor offenses. This discrimination, we think,
is founded upon the soundest principles of State policy, growing
out of the difference that exists in the social and political status
of the two races. To degrade a white man by punishment is to
make a bad member of society and a dangerous political agent.
To fine and imprison a colored man in his present pecuniary
condition, is to punish the State instead of the individual. The
provision contained in the first section of the proposed bill is
not designed to interfere with the discrimination above referred
to, but only to give a wider range to the discretion of the jury in
applying the punishment to the offense. The second section of
the bill is deemed important to remedy a defect growing out of
the extreme technicality of the common law with reference to
the subject indicated. By the principles of that law, if the sev-
erance' from the freehold, and the felonious taking and carry-
ing away,' be one and the same continued act, it would amount
only to a 'trespass,' for which the injured party was remitted to
his action for damages on the civil side of the court, but for
which the perpetrator of the act could not be criminally pun-
ished. In view of the present condition of things, we think that
this rule of the common law ought to be altered as is proposed
to be done by the second section of this bill. The twelfth sec-
tion restricts the privilege of the use of firearms by colored per-
sons to such only as are of an orderly and peaceable character.'








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


The authority of the General Assembly to impose this restric-
tion is beyond doubt. Neither the second article of the amend-
ments to the Federal Constitution, nor the first section of the
sixteenth article of the State Constitution, nor anything con-
tained in either of said instruments, can by any fair interpreta-
tion be deemed to oppose any obstacle to the exercise of this
authority. A reference to the legislation of the Northwestern
States will show that they recognize the right to impose suitable
restrictions upon this class of their population; and the section
now under consideration is almost a literal transcript of the law
of Indiana upon that subject. If the restriction is deemed im-
portant to the welfare of a community in which not one in a
thousand is affected by it, how much more important with us,
where nearly one full moiety of the population is of that class.
The interests of the well disposed and peaceable colored man,
whose right it is to enjoy the fruits of his honest industry, as
well as the safety of the entire community, both white and black,
imperatively demands that the privilege of bearing arms should
be accorded only to such of the colored population as can be
recommended for their orderly and peaceable character. It is
needless to attempt to satisfy the exactions of the fanatical the-
orists. We have a duty to perform-the protection of our wives
and children from threatened danger and the prevention of
scenes which may cost the extinction of our entire race.
Deeply impressed with the sense of the obligation that
rests upon the white race, as the governing- class, to do all that
may lie in their power to improve the moral condition of the re-
cently emancipated slaves, the undersigned most respectfully
present for your consideration A Bill to be entitled An Act to
Establish and Enforce the Marriage Relation Between Persons
of Color.' Heretofore, from the very necessity of the case, this
matter was left to be regulated by the moral sense of the master
and the slave, and may in truth be said to have been the only
inherent evil of the institution of slavery, as it existed in the
Southern States. Now that the obstacle of compulsory separa-
tion is removed, and, as a Christian people, we should embrace
the earliest opportunity to impress upon this class of our popula-
tion, and, if need be, to enforce by appropriate penalties, the
obligation to observe this first law of civilization and morality,
chastity and the sanctity of the marriage relation.
"Next to the enactment of laws for the prevention of
crime and the enforcement of the domestic relations, there is
no subject so intimately connected with the permanent welfare
and prosperity of a people as that of a well regulated labor sys-
tem. Such a system we recently enjoyed under the influence of
the benign but much abused and greatly misunderstood, institu-
tion of slavery. That has been swept away in the storm of rev-









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


solution, and we are now remitted to the operation of an untried
experiment. Whether we shall be successful in devising a plan
to make the labor of the emancipated slave available is a prob-
lem of doubtful solution, and one in which he is vastly more in-
terested than is his former master. This unfortunate class of
our population, but recently constituting the happiest and best
provided for laboring population in the world, by no act of theirs
or voluntary concurrence of ours; with no prior training to pre-
pare them for their new responsibilities, have been suddenly de-
prived of the fostering care and protection of their old masters,
and are now to become, like so many children gamboling upon
the brink of the yawning precipice, careless 'of the future and
intent only on revelling in the present unrestricted enjoyment
of the newly found bauble of- freedom. Their condition is
truly pitiable, and appeals to every generous bosom for aid and
succor, and we have greatly mistaken the character of the
Southern people if that appeal shall be made in vain. We are
not responsible for this pitiable condition of the race, but we
will, nevertheless, exert ourselves to save them from the ruin
which inevitably awaits them if left to the tender mercy' of
that canting hypocrisy and mockish sentimentality which has
precipitated them to the realization of their present condition.
If the effort to make the emancipated slave an efficient laborer
shall fail, then, as a last alternative, resort must be had to the
teeming population of overcrowded Europe. But let not this
'fearful alternative, pregnant as it is with the ruin and destruc-
tion of a helpless race, be adopted until we shall have given
them a fair and patient trial. As the superior and governing
class, we are bound to this by every principle of right and
prompting of humanity, yea, by the obligation of gratitude.
For where, in all the records of the past, does history present
such an instance of steadfast devotion, unwavering attachment
and constancy, as was exhibited by the slaves of the South
throughout the fearful contest that has just ended ? The coun-
try invaded, homes desolated, the master absent in the army or
forced to seek safety in flight and leaves the mistress and her
helpless infants unprotected; with every incitement to insubor-
dination and instigation to rapine and murder, no instance of in-
surrection, and scarcely one of voluntary desertion has been re-
corded. This constancy and faithfulness on the part of the late
slaves, while it has astonished Europe and stamped with false-
hood the ravings of the heartless abolitionist, will forever com-
mend them to the kindness and forbearance of their former
masters. They will do all in their power to promote his wel-
fare and to encourage and secure his moral and material improve-
ment. While they confine him to his appropriate sphere of so-
cial and political inferiority, they will endeavor to stimulate him








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


to all legitimate efforts at advancement, and by the exercise of
kindness and justice towards him, teach him to value and ap-
preciate the new condition in which he is placed. If, after all,
their honest efforts shall prove unavailing, and this four millions
of the human family but recently dragged up from barbarism,
and through the influence of Southern masters elevated to the
status of Christian men and women, shall be doomed by the
inscrutable behest of a mysterious Providence to follow in
the footsteps of the fast fading aborigines of this continent;
and when the last man of the race shall be standing up-
on the crumbling brink of a people's grave, it will be some com-
pensation to the descendants of the Southern master to catch the
grateful and benignant recognition of this representative man,
as he points his withered finger to the author of his ruin and ex-
claims, 'Thou didst it.'"

All of the recommendations made by this committee, so far
as enactment of laws were concerned, were acted upon and
passed into statutes. But the Legislature disregarded the com-
mittee's recommendation as to delaying the education of colored
children, and passed a law taxing every colored male from the
age of twenty-one to fifty, five dollars for the education of col-
ored youth, and some good schools were established accordingly
under the superintendency of Rev. E. B. Duncan, who was
certainly an able and conscientious man, who worked hard to
establish colored schools in every county. At that time railroad
facilities were very poor, and I have known him to walk from
county to county in South Florida to establish colored schools.
It is true, that some of the laws passed by the Legislature
of 1865 seem to be very diabolical and oppressive to the freed-
men, but when we consider the long established institution of
slavery, and the danger to which the Southern whites imagined
they might be subjected by reason of these people, who had
always been subject only to the command of their old masters,
we are of the opinion that any other people, under like circum-
stances, would have passed the same character of laws relative
to the freedmen. Many of these laws we know, of our own
knowledge, were passed only to deter the freedman from com-
mitting crime. For instance, the law prohibiting colored peo-
ple handling arms of any kind without a license, was a dead let-
ter, except in some pases where some of the freedmen would go
around plantations hunting, with apparently no other occupation,









30 CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.
such a person would be suspected of hunting something that did
not belong to him and his arms would be taken away from him.
We have often passed through the streets of Tallahassee with our
gun upon our shoulder, without a license, and were never dis-
turbed by any one during the time this law was in force.
The law in regard to contracts between the whites and
freedmen was taken advantage of by some of the whites, and
the freedmen did not get justice; but the great majority of the
whites carried out their contracts to the letter, and the freedmen
did as well as could be expected under the changed condition of
things. These laws were taken advantage of by the carpet-bag-
gers to marshal the freedmen to their support after the freedmen
had been given the right to vote. We shall have more to say on
this subject in a future chapter.













CHAPTER IV.


Governor Walker's Short-Lived Administration. Conduct of White
Soldiers Toward Freedmen. The Freedmen Electing a Con-
gressman, as They Thought. Stonelake's Fraudulent Land
Certificate. The Freedman's Bureau and Its Agents. The
Beginning of the Secret League. Preparation and Oath of
League. "The Loyal League of America."

The administration of Governor Walker, which continued
something over two years, by the existing military power, exer-
cised under the Federal authority, and he was often perplexed
to avoid conflict while in the legitimate exercise of civil author-
ity. With the Freedman's Bureau, charged with the paternal
care of the freedmen on the one side, and the United States
army exercising a supervisory control over the general conduct,
his administration was little more than a quasi civil government,
yet all waste done that was possible, within the restricted limits
prescribed by the Federal power, to maintain law and order.
The removal of colored troops from the interior of the State to
the seaboard did not hasten the restoration of law and order, as
contemplated by the resolution passed by the convention for that
purpose. The white soldiery were stationed throughout the in-
terior and finally superseded the colored troops, who were en-
tirely removed from the State. The officers and soldiers of the
regular army, many of whom did not stand very high in the es-
timation of our best Southern society, would abuse and maltreat
the negro much worse than their former masters, who in many
instances would have to interfere in his behalf, to save him from
cruelty and injustice. Of course there were honorable excep-
tions; but a majority of the officers and men sent to this State
to take the place of the colored troops, were unjust and some-
times cruel in their treatment of the freedmen-first from innate
prejudice, and second in order to ingratiate themselves with
their former masters, who were naturally irritated at the loss of
their slaves. They, however, refused to countenance such con-
duct on the part of the soldiery, holding that however the negro








38 CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.

might rejoice in his freedom, he had done nothing dishonorable
to obtain it.
I can recall but few instances of brutal treatment of the
freedmen by the Southern whites during Governor Walker's ad-
ministration. I was personally cognizant of one case in the city
of Tallahassee in the latter part of the year 1866, by the police,
under Francis Epps, mayor. The mayor had enlisted from
outside the city a dozen of what are generally termed "crack-
ers," as policemen. They were of the class who had never
owned a slave or dared to interfere with one while under the
protection of the master, and they seemed to cherish an old
grudge against the negro. They sought every opportunity to
interfere in his exercise of his freedom, and would order him off
the streets; and when two or three were assembled in conversa-
tion, would arrest them and beat them as long as they would
submit. Under the advice of some of the more respectable of
the white citizens, a party attempted one Sunday night to put a
stop to this cruelty. They started around to the colored
churches to summon the men to run these policemen out of
town or put them to death. On their way to the churches they
were met in the dark by the city marshal, Sam Quaile, who ordered
them to halt. Thinking it was one of these "cracker" police-
men, they discharged their guns in the direction of the voice,
but inflicted no injury. The whites turned out and preserved
the peace, and shortly after these "cracker" policemen were
discharged and no further disturbance occurred. So far as the
city of Tallahassee is concerned, the whites and blacks have
lived on friendly terms.
Early in I866 it was reported that the freedmen would be
enfranchised, and many of them thinking the right had already
accrued, called a secret meeting for the election of a Member
of Congress. The meeting was held at the A. M. E, Church
in Tallahassee, and Joseph Oats, formerly a slave of Governor
Walker, was unanimously elected. The next step was to raise
money to send the newly-elected Congressman to Washington.
The money was forthcoming, as plenty of old men and women
gave their last dollar to send one of their race to the National
Congress. Several hundred dollars were thus raised and given
to Oats, who shortly afterwards was "off to Congress." He








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


remained away from Tallahassee until his money was gone,
when he wrote back designating the time when he would return.
The freedmen prepared a picnic at Houstoun's spring, about a
mile from Tallahassee. Oats notified them that if they desired
to know what he had done for them while in Congress; they
must prepare to protect him, as the whites would kill him when
they should learn what he had accomplished against then. The
20th of May, the day on which General McCook marched his
troops into Tallahassee, and declared all the inhabitants to be
free, was the day set apart for Oats to tell the freedmen the great
work he had accomplished in Congress. At nine o'clock on that
memorable 2oth of May, the drums commenced beating and the
freedmerq to the number of two or three thousand formed in
line and marched to Oats'-dwelling and sent a committee armed
with old cavalry swords and pistols to escort Oats to theplace
of destination. He was escorted to Houstoun's spring, when the
committee, at his request, arranged that he should be surrounded
by the freedmen and the whites kept from harming him or
hearing what he said. The whites, however, did not know
what wag going on other than a celebration and picnic, and
were not present. Oats' speech was, that he had seen the Presi-
dent, and they had true friends at Washington, etc. It was -be-
lieved, however, that Oats did not go further than Savannah,
where he had a good time, spent the freedmens' money, and re-
turned home. After Oats had finished his story about the Presi-
dent, and his great labors in Congress, the crowd sent up their
huzzas for half an hour and then sat down to a sumptuous din-
ner. Whisky was plentiful on the ground and was freely im-
bibed by the freedmen. A dispute arose among them as to where
Oats had been, and the affair ended in a general knock down
and drag out. Oats was a carpenter by trade, and before being
set free had hired himself from his master; could read and
write, and was therefore capable of hoodwinking the average
freedman. He was a fine looking mulatto whose mother was
said to be white.
During the years 1865-67 there was much speculation among
the freedmen as to what the government intended to do for them
in regard to firms; and as most of them had to work for a por-
tion of the crop, it induced them to seek homes of their own.










40 CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.

One Stonelake, United States Land Register at Tallahassee,
appointed soon after the surrender, knowing this fact, and tak-
ing advantage of the ignorance of the freedmen, issued to them
thousands of land certificates purporting to convey thousands
of acres of land. For each certificate the freedman was re-
quired to pay not less than five dollars, and as much more as
Stonelake could extort from the more ignorant. He induced the
most influential to make the first purchases, and, it was generally
believed, gave them a portion of his fees to secure purchasers.
The former masters warned our people against this fraud, but
as Stonelake was one of the representatives of the paternal gov-
ernment, he was supposed by the freedmen to be incapable of
fraud or deception. Many of them were led to believe that
these lands consisted of their former masters' plantations, and
that the certificates alone would oust the latter from possession.
After showing the certificates around among his neighbors and
exulting over the purchase of a plantation, he would eventually
show it to his former master, who would explain the fraud, when
he would rush back to Stonelake for his money, who would
invent some new deception to quiet him, and explain that upon
further examination of his books he found the lands were located
further south. These explanations did not fully satisfy the
freedmen, and they called a meeting and appointed several of
their number to go down south and spy out the Promised Land.
This committee expended the money raised by their confiding
friends, and after an absence of several weeks in a pretended sur-
vey, reported that they saw some good lands, as well as bad,
and advised the freedmen to occupy them, but as they were un-
able to locate the Promised Land, their advice was not followed,
and the victims were left to vent their curses upon the swindler,
Stonelake.
The Freedman's Bureau, an institution devised by Congress
under the influence of the very best people of the Northern
States, and intended as a means of protection of the freedmen,
and preparing them for the new responsibilities and privileges
conferred, in the hands of bad men proved, instead of a bless-
ing, to be the worst curse of the race, as under it he was misJed,
debased and betrayed. The agents of this Bureau were stationed
in all the cities and principal towns in the State. They over-









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


ruled the local authorities with the arbitrary force of military
power. Before it was definitely known that the Congress of the
United States could confer the right of suffrage upon the negro
the great majority of the agents were more oppressive of the
freedmen than the local authorities, their former masters. The
State having been impoverished by the war, the national govern-
ment, realizing the condition of the people, and especially of
the freedmen, who were set free with nothing but the scant
clothing on their backs, sent provisions to the State to be dis-
tributed to such of the freedmen as were struggling, without
means of subsistence, to make a crop. This meat and flour
was placed in the hands of these agents for distribution, who ap-
propriated it at their discretion, and frequently more largely for
their own benefit than that of their wards. The Commissioner
of the Bureau for the State, in company with a retired army
officer, carried on a large plantation on the Apalachicola, until
General Steadman was appointed to examine and report upon
the condition of the Bureau affairs, when, in anticipation of his
visit to the State his interest was suddenly transferred to his
partner, who, after gathering and disposing of the cotton crop
and all available stock on the place, gathered himself up and
left without paying the rents. M. L. Stearns, a subordinate
agent at Quincy, was publicly charged with the wholesale dis-
position of pork and flour, and evidence was produced to con-
vict him of receiving and attempting to force collection of a
mortgage for $750 received in payment for provisions; but the
officers of the Federal Court refused to entertain the case.
When he subsequently ran as the Republican candidate for Gov-
ernor in 1878, he was publicly denounced in the newspapers
and from the stump for having sold the freedmen's supplies to
white farmers for his own benefit. His refusal to meet the
charge lost him the support of the leading Republicans and a
large class of the freedmen, so that with the entire control of
the political machinery through the appointing power as acting
Governor, he was defeated, while the State at the previous elec-
tion, under Governor Reed's administration, with a weak and
unpopular ticket, had been carried by over three thousand
Republican majority. It was not a little remarkable that the
Presidential ticket, ran several hundred ahead of the State









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


ticket, and while Stearns was counted out Hayes was counted
in.
As soon as the freedmen were enfranchised they began to
receive better treatment at the hands of the Bureau agents.
The contracts between them and the planters, which had here-
tofore been interpreted against them, were now more- fairly con.
strued in their interest. This latter action of Congress, too, was
the gateway to the formation of the secret league of the freed-
men.
Thomas W. Osborn, the Commissioner of the Bureau for
Florida, stationed at Tallahassee, through his servant, a freed-
man, requested a meeting of three or four of the most influential
colored men at the house of a colored man whose name I do
not care to mention. He met them there and informed them
that it was the desire of the government that they should form
a secret league to prevent their being again returned to slavery.
This was sufficient to bring out the old and young, the halt and
the blind. In order to deceive and allay any apprehension in
regard to the purpose of the gathering, they were instructed to
answer any questions by saying that the assembly was for the
purpose of forming a benevolent society. .At the appointed
time several hundred freedmen assembled, but only seventy-five
or eighty were initiated the first night, as it was deemed wise to
impress them with an air of deep solemnity and great formality.
In order to work the negro with greater facility in the inter-
est of Osborn and his gang, this secret league was named the
Lincoln Brotherhood, and T. W. Osborn made himself its presi-
dent, and he became the grand head-centre of all the leagues
and subordinate lodges subsequently formed throughout the
country and State. Each member had to pay an initiation fee
of from one to two dollars, and fifty cents per month thereafter.
The subordinate lodges were organized by a deputy appointed
by the president, T. W. Osborn. They were required to pay
five or six dollars for their charter, which money went to swell
the revenue of the parent lodge at Tallahassee, or of its grand
chief. The lodge at Tallahassee became so large that it became
necessary to remove from the private house where it was first or-
ganized to the lower colored Baptist church, in a part of the
town seldom visited by the whites. The freedmen considered








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


this league a great thing, and their meetings at the church were
carefully guarded by armed sentinels, who halted any one who
came into the vicinity of the church, requiring the countersign
under penalty of the contents of the old musket. Auxiliary
lodges were formed in every part of the county and throughout
the State. The regular meetings of these lodges were held every
Thursday night, in the most secret places to be secured. One
who was ignorant of the purposes of these assemblies would be
led to believe that the freedmen were preparing to massacre all
the white inhabitants of the country. The rattling of the swords
and handling of the muskets seemed to be the pride of these men.
Many of them believed that the joining of the league made them
brothers of:the martyred Lincoln. The entrance to the lodge
was protected by a double guard, called the inner and the outer
sentinels. Whenever candidates for admission appeared the
outer guard would have to vouch for their not being spies
by giving two raps at the door. These were answered by. the
inner guard in like manner. The outer guard would then report
the number present desirous of becoming member, and that he
faithfully vouched for them. The inner guard would report to
the President, who would order them to be conducted in, which
was done by two persons called the Tylers of the Altar. These
Tylers would lead the applicants in front of the altar, standing
about two paces from the President's stand. Over the altar
would be fixed two United States flags, hoisted in such manner
as to reveal the full number of stripes and stars; three swords
would be laid across the altar in an equilateral triangle, with a
Bible in the centre. The candidates would be presented to the
President by one of the Tylers; the President would salute them
with the following words: Brethren, what seek ye?" The
Tylers would instruct them to respond-" Freedom and Equal-
ity." Then the President would say: "Signify your request by
humbly kneeling at this altar." He would then descend from
his stand and take his seat in front of the applicants at the altar,
who were required to place their hands upon the Bible, when he
would read the oath and require them to repeat after him as
follows:
I do solemnly swear that I will protect and defend the
Constitution and government of the United States against all









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith, loyalty
and allegiance to the same; that I will go the rescue of a brother
whenever I learn he is in trouble; that I will not vote for or
assist, directly or indirectly, any person for any office who is not
a brother of this league."
Later on, when the leading members of the Brotherhood
learned that their secret work had been exposed by some of the
more ignorant members, a new scheme was devised by O.
Morgan, one of Osborn's representatives, to put an end to this
exposure. A coffin was procured, a grave was robbed of some
of its hidden treasures, and the skull of a man was brought forth
to do the work. They now commenced holding their meetings
in one of the basement rooms of the Capitol. The coffin would
be hid away in the room with an old piece of canvas thrown
over it to conceal it from view. The applicant would be brought
in and made to take the usual oath, with the formalities before
recited. The lights in the room would then be suddenly put
out and the Tylers of the Altar would quietly place the coffin
in front of the applicants; the skull would be placed on the top
of the coffin in the middle of the triangle formed by the swords;
the lights would be restored and the applicant told by the Presi-
dent of the lodge that this skull was that of a brother who had
been recreant to his trust, had broken his oath and exposed the
secrets of this league; that he had been found out by the breth-
ren and put to death, and that such would be the fate of every
one who ever exposed the secrets of the order. I do not think
the coffin initiation ever went further than the towns, as it was
thought it could not be carried on in the country without the
whites finding it out. Some of those who were initiated with the
coffin were frightened so much that they never returned, and
they advised their friends not to join the lodge in Tallahassee for
fear of being killed. So the Morgan plan was not very success-
ful. This coffin and skull were found in the basement of the
Capitol after the Democrats captured the State from the Repub-
licans in 1876.
In May or June, 1867, the Republican National Committee
sent to Florida William M. Saunders, colored, from Maryland,
Daniel Richards, white, from Sterling, Ill., as speakers and
organizers of the Republican party, as they claimed. They









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


immediately joined in the hunt for plunder, and soon struck the
trail of and came in contact with the preceding plunder hunters
-Osborn and his Bureau agents, with the thousands of their
Lincoln Brotherhood. How to circumvent this brotherhood,
now so firmly established across their pathway, was a problem
for grave consideration. Saunders, Richards and Liberty Bill-
ings, a former lieutenant-colonel of a colored regiment in the
Union army and now located at Fernandina, held a consultation
at Tallahassee, and with all the solemnity of a Methodist prayer
meeting finally resolved to supplant the Lincoln Brotherhood by
a new secret organization styled The Loyal League of Amer-
ica." Here commenced the "tug of war" which subsequently
culminated in two Republican factions in the State. Thus the
"Union League," an institution formed and organized in
November, 1862, in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, and which
shortly after numbered its millions of membership, some of whom
were in the rebel States and had the confidence of some of the
warmest supporters of the Southern Confederacy, was prosti-
tuted to the forging of chains upon the souls of the confiding
freedmen. Before they could be recognized as Republicans by
Saunders, Richards and Billings, the freedmen were required to
join the Loyal League of America. A new application had to
be made, another five dollars initiation fee paid, with a monthly
due of not less than ten cents, or whatever the President should
require. In the Grand Council at Tallahassee, or at the office
of Richards and Saunders, whenever an influential freedman
applied for initiation, and they thought he could raise the money,
they would charge him fifteen or twenty dollars to become a
member of the league. Charters for the organization of lodges
cost five dollars, and whenever the deputies could succeed in
wringing it out of the people, they would charge them a greater
sum. These fees were divided with the President of the League
in Tallahassee, William M. Saunders, who constituted himself
the Grand Council; and whenever he could make the deputies
come up with the cash he would pocket the money. Grips,
signs and passwords were given to the freedmen in these lodges,
and they were told that they had received something beyond the
reach and conception of their former masters, which led them to
believe their late masters had no rights that they were bound to









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


respect. This nefarious teaching made many of them very
obnoxious and overbearing members of society. Thousands of
dollars were wrung from the hands of our people by these
devices. They were assured in these league meetings that the
lands and all the property of their former masters would be
equally divided among the former slaves, which led many to
indolence. They were further instructed that the oath which
they had taken in the League was of such a nature that they
could not vote for any Southern white man for office; that to
do so would cause their return into slavery. To rivet these
teachings upon their consciences, violent speeches would be
made in the lodge-rooms, and often in public, in denunciation of
their former masters, who, in turn, had their hands full to
explain and satisfy our misguided people, the best they could,
that the men who were organizing them in secret lodges were
mere demagogues for the sake of office and their worst enemies.
This argument set some of our people to thinking, and but for
this and the influence of the more sensible of the colored people,
the property of the country would have in many instances been
destroyed by the midnight torch. Although Saunders, Richards
and Billings and their henchmen who organized the Loyal
League were not altogether successful in putting to political
death Osborn and his Bureau agents, yet their fight for the spoils
had a great tendency to cripple them for life in many parts of
the State. The whites at this time had become alarmed at these
secret meetings and began to bestir themselves to find out the
full secret of this league. Their first step was to get the negro
into a good humor by delivering to him what he considered a
fine present. If any whisky or brandy was about the white man
would drop one or two drams into him, which would be the
means of drawing him into conversation the more easily concern-
ing the league. He would then start out by shaking hands with
the freedman, telling him at the same time that this (placing
his fingers into some curious form) is the secret grip of the
league. This would please the freedman so well, to think that
he knew something that the former master did not know, that
he would undertake to instruct him as to the right grip, if he
could recollect it. He felt grand at the idea that he was capable
of teaching his former master something. Many of the grips,








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


passwords and signs were exposed in this way; but the whites
were yet kept in the dark as to the real intentions of the league..
So insecure did the whites consider their lives and property that
some of them were constrained to make application to become
members of the league; but this was refused. One gentleman,
a wealthy planter in Leon County, to my personal knowledge
made application to J. W. Toer, Esq., colored (who was a very
good and polite old gentleman), and was admitted; but the
freedmen were told to watch him-that he was only a spy, and
old man Toer was after that time looked upon by them as
a traitor. This gentleman lived in a settlement where nine-
tenths of the population were colored, and all of them were
members of the league. He does not hesitate to declare that he
was forced to join this league to save his property from destruc-
tion. There is no disputing the fact that the fears of the whites
with reference to these leagues were well founded; for the men
who controlled them had really nothing in view but public plun-
der. Notwithstanding the oath that had been taken by the
freedmen as members of the Loyal League, and the violent
speeches with promises made by its leaders to them, there was a
sectional and natural feeling existing among most of them which
was a resistless leaning toward those with whom they were better
acquainted-their late masters. In 1867, some few months
before the nomination of delegates to the Constitutional Conven-
tion of 1868, the freedmen called a public meeting in the court-
house in Leon County, and invited M. D. Papy, one of the
most prominent lawyers in the State, Judge McIntosh, and
other Southerners, to address them and give them some informa-
tion as to their newly acquired duties as citizens. Those gentle-
men and others attended the meeting and addressed the colored
people. The meeting was largely attended and the addresses
were well received; but Osborn and the rest of the plunder-
hunters kicked furiously against this revolutionary movement on the
part of the freedmen, while most of the whites looked upon the action
of Papy and McIntosh as giving countenance to Osborn, Saunders
and other carpetbaggers. If this action on the part of the blacks and
whites had not been interfered with the State would have saved
thousands of dollars. The freedmen in other parts of the State
would have heard with gladness of the action of their former mas-










CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


ters at the capital. They would have broken the chains of the
league and looked up to those slaveholders of the State who had
not in the days of slavery treated them cruelly. They felt confi-
dent that their rights would be absolutely secure in the hands of
those men under the reconstruction acts of Congress. As a close
observer of the times, and as one of the actors in the reconstruction
theatre, I am certain, if the Southern whites could have taken in
the situation, two-thirds of them would have been returned as
delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1868. This result
would have enlisted two-thirds of the best white citizens of
Florida in the ranks of the Republican party. But "to err is
human." From this time up to the election of delegates to the
Constitutional Convention of i886 no further alliance was
attempted between the whites and the freedmen. The whites,
discouraged at the solidity of the freedmen against them, refused
to take any part in the election of delegates to the convention.
The two so-called Republican factions-one termed the Osborn
Faction and the other The Mule Team (having acquired this
name by the reason of Billings and Saunders using two mules to
haul them around while perfecting their electioneering schemes),
had everything their own way, with the military to back them.











CHAPTER V.


The Election of Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1868.
Address of D. Richards, the First 'President. The Loyal
League Overthrows the Lincoln Brotherhood. Notable Mem-
bers of the Convention. The Richards Constitution. Re-cap-
ture of Convention. Minority of Non-resident Delegates.
The Lincoln Brotherhood Ahead, and the Loyal Leaguers
Rampant. Ratiifcation of the Constitution and Election of
Governor Reed.

Under military authority the State was divided into nine-
teen election districts, which were so arranged as to have the
counties where the white population predominated attached to
the counties having large colored majorities. There was but one
polling place in each county, which necessitated the continuing
the election for three days. The election was held on the 14th,
x5th and -6th of November, 1867, under the formal supervision
of the military. The question submitted was, For a Conven-
tion, or, Against a Convention; and for delageces to the con-
vention in case a majority of the votes cast were for the Constitu-
tion. Twenty-seven thousand one hundred and seventy-two
registered voters were returned by the registering officers, of
whom fourteen thousand five hundred and three were returned
as having voted for a Constitution. All the districts returned
delegates, and a full convention, forty-six in number, were
elected. The following is a list of the delegates, as returned by
military general orders No. Ino:
First District-Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties-Geo.
W. Walker, Geo. J. Alden, Lyman W. Rowley.
Second District-Walton, Washington and Holmes-John
L. Campbell.
Third District-Jackson-W. J. Purman, L. C. Armistead,
E. Fortune, H. Bryan.
Fourth District-Gadsen and Liberty-D. Richards, W. U.
Sanders, Frederick Hill.
Fifth District-Franklin-J. W. Childs.
4









50 CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.
Sixth District-Leon-T. W. Osborn, Joseph E. Oats, C.
H. Pearce, John Wyatt, Green Davidson, O. B. Armstrong.
Seventh District-Jefferson-John W. Powell, A. G. Bass,
Robert Meacham, Anthony Mills.
Eighth District-Madison-Roland T. Rambauer, Major
Johnson, William R. Cone.
Ninth District-Suwannee-Thomas Urquhart, Andrew
Shuler.
Tenth District--Lafayette and Tay!or-J. R. Krimminger.
Eleventh District-Alachua-Horatio Jenkins, Jr., William
K. Cessna, Josiah T. Walls.
Twelfth District-Columbia-S. B. Conover, Abram Erwin.
Thirteenth District-Clay-B. M. McRae.
Fourteenth District-Duval and Nassau-L. Billings, N.
C. Dennett, William Bradwell, J. C. Gibbs.
Fifteenth District-Marion-J. H. Goss, A. Chandler, W.
Rogers, E. D. House.
Sixteenth District-Hernando- Samuel J. Pearce.
Seventeenth District-Hillsborough-C. R. Mobley.
Eighteenth District-Monroe-Eldridge L. Ware.

The convention met on Monday, January 2oth, 1868, C.
H. Pearce, colored, of Tallahassee, was elected temporary Presi-
dent, and H. Ford, of Baltimore, Md., also colored, was elected
temporary Secretary, amid the shouts of hundreds of the newly
enfranchised freedmen, who declared "the bottom rail on top,"
and the year of jubilee am come." There were but twenty of
the forty-six delegates present. The following Committee on
Permanent Organization was appointed: Wm. M. Saunders, of
Baltimore, chairman; Wm. R. Cone, S. B. Conover, Robert
Meacham and 0. B. Armstrong. This committee immediately
reported-
i. For President, D. Richards, of Sterling, Ill., returned
from Gadsden County (where he had spent but two days of his
life) and W. H. Christy, of Jacksonville, for Secretary, with
three assistants; a Chaplain, Sergeant-at-Arms, Postmaster,
three doorkeepers and one financial agent-Paul Crippen, a
stranger in the State.








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


2. Ten committee clerks, of whom Paul Crippen was one,
and Henry Ford, the Postmaster, was another.
3. Nine pages and messengers.
The first section of the report was adopted, but as there
was some objection to the others the appointments were devolved
upon the President, who subsequently appointed the list recom-
mended by the committee. The President-elect took the chair,
and addressed the Convention as follows:

RICHARDS' ADDRESS.

"GENTLEMEN OF THE CONVENTION:
"For your kindness and partiality in electing me to preside
over your deliberations, you have my sincere, heartfelt thanks.
That the duties thus devolved upon me may be so discharged as
to satisfy you that I am not entirely unworthy of this generous
confidence, is now my greatest solicitude. From a sense of my
own weakness, I have hesitated about whether I should accept
this position of such high honor and trust; but relying on your
charity, forbearance, and aid, I enter upon the performance of
the duties with a prayer that the relations of friendship that now
bind us together may continue to be the most cordial, and that
our proceedings may be characterized by that spirit of kindness
and generosity which the great events standing so close around
us should inspire. Ours is the opportunity and privilege of ele-
vating and benefiting humanity by forming for a whole State a
fundamental law that should tend to promote patriotism, perma-
nent peace and enduring prosperity with all our people. The
age in which we live, generations that are to come after us, and
the stern, uncompromising historian, will hold us to a rigid
account for the manner in which we dispose of the great trust
confided to us by an afflicted, unfortunate people. Permanent
rules for the guidance of all in the development of the great
resources of our State, and that are to control all the functions
of government, are to be established by us, and may we heed
the voice of humanity, and may a merciful Providence aid us in
our counsels and direct us in our conclusions. With the mantle
of charity we would cover the moral heresies, monstrous injus-
tice and red-handed cruelty of the past, and with malice toward
none and charity for all, and firmness in the right as God gives
us light,' let us enter upon the majestic work of laying deep the
foundations of a government that shall sacredly care for and
protect the rights of all, and that shall deserve and receive the
respect, love and confidence of all our citizens. Let no recol-
lections of the bondage that was so long the withering disgrace









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


of American civilization be impressed upon the Constitution we
are about to form. Let it be not tinged with the blood-stains of
a wicked rebellion and terrible war by presenting features of
resentment, retaliation or revenge; but let it contain some cau-
tious, jealous provisions that shall forever hereafter vigilantly
guard, as with a two-edged sword, all approaches to the Temple
of Liberty, Justice and Equal Rights to all; and it will stand as
a proud monument to the wisdom of our times, and to the tri-
umph of the principles of freedom and truth and a progressive
humanity, over oppression, error, superstition and barbarism.
Let us insure to all who have not forfeited their rights by treason
or rebellion a common interest in our institutions, our laws and
our government by religiously securing to them the right to vote
and be voted for; and the consciousness that we are each a part
of the government will soon induce a feeling of self-respect,
manhood and pride in maintaining law and order and good gov-
ernment in society. We should provide for a system by which
all may obtain homes of their own and a comfortable living, and
also provide for schools irn which all may be educated free of
expense; clothe honest industry with respectability; inaugurate
a public sentiment that shall crown the man with honors as the
benefactor of his race who makes two blades of grass grow
where one grew before, and prohibit all laws that are not equal
and just to all within our State. And from out of the ashes of
discord and strife, will arise the songs of gladness, thanksgiving
and praise. Then the earth will respond to the gentle touch
of scientific culture in bountiful harvests; the Land of
Flowers will become the land of patriotism, peace and plenty;
the hot wrath of wicked men will be restrained in their
amazement at the great and wonderful transformation, and Flor-
ida will keep step to the grand music of the Union, and move
forward in her career of glory as one of the States, and God in
his infinite goodness will bless us in our basket and our store."

General Meade was notified of the organization, and being
invited to attend, sent the following telegram:

I regret that my public duties prevent my complying with
your invitation to visit your convention. I have no communi-
cation to make beyond calling your attention to the remarks
made to the Georgia Convention, and urging prompt action
upon your part in the important duty assigned to you, and the
earnest hope that you will speedily form a constitution and frame
a civil government acceptable to the people of Florida and the
Congress of the United States."








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


The Loyal League, headed by Richards, Billings and Saun-
ders, all non-residents, had so far supplanted the Lincoln Broth-
erhood which Osborn had instituted, that it was only through
the permission and courtesy of Elder C. H. Pearce, who held the
colored vote of Leon County under control, that he was elected
to the convention; and he was so tardy and cowardly in his
movements that he had allowed the opposition to seize the or-
ganization of the convention before he could gather in his ad-
herents, Richards was therefore master of the situation before
Osborn had awaked to the fact that he was no longer dictator to
the freedmen. But the representative from Illinois was not
equal to the task he had assumed, and the insane greed for
spoils soon lost him and his associates their hold. Billings and
Saunders had the Loyal Leaguers, and William J. Purman was
the accepted champion of the Lincoln Brotherhood.
The first effort of President Richards was to get control of
the small sum in the State Treasury, for which purpose he gave an
order upon the State Treasurer to pay over to Paul Crippen all
money in his hands belonging to the State. The Treasurer, be-
fore responding to the order telegraphed General Meade, who
immediately forbade any payment upon the requisition of the
President of the convention without his special approval of each
requisition. The five hundred dollars then in the Treasury was
thus saved to meet the salaries of the existing State officers.
These non-resident plunderers then determined to go directly to
the property owners for their plunder, and by resolution of the
convention President Richards and financial agent Crippen were
authorized to issue script to the amount of fifty thousand dollars.
Fifteen thousand was immediately issued on account of printing
alone, and Col. W. M. Saunders retained ten thousand of the
amount. The pay of pages and messengers was fixed at ten
dollars per day, and that of clerks and other officers from fifteen
to twenty dollars per day. As another illustration of the reck-
less disregard of interests of the State, J. T. Walls, delegate
from Alachua County, about three hundred miles distant, was
allowed $690; O. B. Armstrong, whose home was at the capi-
tal, $630; -Wm. M. Saunders, delegate from Gadsden County,
twenty miles distant, $649; F. Hill from the same district, with
the same distance, $457; John Wyatt, from the same district as









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


Armstrong, with thirty-five miles to travel, $467. There were
large amounts of script accredited to members and attaches of the
convention who never saw a dollar of it; but the script was
issued and retained by Paul Crippen and his co-conspirators.
At the time this script was issued the convention was sitting
with a bare majority of the delegates returned as elected in atten-
dance. As the convention filled up the struggle for supremacy
waxed hot between the contending parties, and two weeks were
wasted in the contest. Crowds of freedmen from the country
would daily assemble around the capitol, and whenever Saunders
and Billings were tired of scalping Purman and Osborn in the
convention, they would address the freedmen in mass meeting in
front of the capitol, relating to them that Purman, Osborn and
their followers had gone over to the red-handed rebels, charac-
terizing them as Lucifer and his rebellious angels disturbing and
making war in Heaven, while the speakers described themselves
as leading the Heavenly hosts and fighting to hurl the rebellious
angels from the temple. The masses were thus kept excited in
order to secure an influence over the colored delegates, who
were quartered among the blacks, nine-tenths of whom adhered
to the Billings faction. It would not have been safe for any of
the delegates to have gone over to Purman. Many of the Dem-
ocrats had been inclined to favor the Richards-Billings faction
rather than that of Osborn, until the system of plunder was
developed, when they became alarmed and gave their influence,
with the military authorities, to prevent their success.
The Billings-Saunders delegates were quartered in a house
under their control, which was characterized by Purman in debate
as the Bull Pen. Saunders, in retort for thus stigmatizing his
residence, would seize a chair to hurl at his head and this would
require the interference of the Sergeant-at-Arms. Saunders was
an eloquent and powerful speaker, good at repartee, an excellent
parliamentarian and one of the shrewdest and most un-
scrupulous members of the convention. Richards was a less
impassioned and more mild speaker-a sort of Uriah Heep
specimen of the Northern carpet-bagger, of moderate ability and
elastic conscience. Jesse H. Goss, of Marion County, a South-
erner by birth, was identified with the Billings faction, but hon-
est, upright and conscientious in seeking to protect the interests









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


of the State and preserve the rights of the freedmen. C. R.
Mobley, of Tampa, a Kansas refugee "border ruffian," identi-
fied himself with the Osborn faction; was -a fair debater and
opposed the extravagance of the Richards party. Jonathan C.
Gibbs, colored, who was afterwards Secretary of State under
Governor Reed, and Superintendent of Public Instruction under
Governor Hart, was the best educated delegate in the conven-
tion, as well as the most conservative and polished speaker. He
was a graduate of Harvard College. He adhered to the
Billings faction, but labored hard and honestly to secure a con-
stitution that should protect the property of the State as well as
the rights of the freedmen. More than once he arose in the
convention and denounced Billings of his own faction, who
would wait until the lobby of the convention would be filled
with freedmen, and make that the opportunity for delivering a
fiery speech in denunciation of the former slaveholders. Al-
though Mr. Gibbs was, through circumstances, inseparably
allied to the Billings-Saunders faction, he was unqualifiedly
opposed to the manner in which the convention started out in
the extravagant expenditure of the people's money. Mr. Gibbs
was not a politician, but an honest Republican, trying to lay the
foundation for a respectable party in the State, and if the mass
of the voters that composed the Republican party of Florida had
possessed the intelligence to have followed his advice, the State
would have been spared a great deal of bitterness between its
black and white citizens, and some precious lives would have
been preserved. E. Fortune, colored, identified with the
Osborn-Purman faction, a native of Florida, had a fair educa-
tion and was a forcible debater; and whenever he believed he
was right, neither money nor promises could move him from his
position. He opposed from first to last the conduct of the Bil-
lings-Saunders faction, and but for his unalterable opposition as
one of the colored delegates, it is doubtful whether the Purman-
Osborn faction would have succeeded. W. J. Purman, a full-
fledged Northern carpet-bagger, who was believed by many to be
an officer in the United States army at the time he was perform-
ing his duties as delegate, was a very persuasive and forcible
speaker, but was not a match for Saunders. Purman was pos-
sessed of an indomitable will, which in most cases crowned









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


him with success. Although in this fight he pretended to be
opposed to the plunder system, his subsequent actions in the
politics of the State showed him to be more unscrupulous and
dangerous than Saunders, Billings or Richards. T. W. Osborn,
also a carpet-bagger of the Purman type, was a man of consider-
able ability, but was no debater, and devoid of moral courage as
of conscience. He was a good wire-puller, and that is the most
that can'be said of him. Col. Liberty Billings, who was a pro-
fessed carpet-bagger, was at the time of his election a citizen of
the State of New Hampshire. He was a man of powerful in-
tellect, but his oratorical powers seemed to have been hid under
a bushel, except when he was arraying the blacks against the
whites. In fact, he never laughed or smiled, nor did he seem
to be in his right element unless he was criticising in the most
abusive language, the Southern whites. As to his financial pol-
icy in the convention, it was on the order of hold what you
have got and get all you can." Horatio Jenkins was a Northern
man, an officer in the Union army. He had fine abilities, was a
young man of fine personal character and popular address.
Had he but had the courage to follow his own convictions instead
of surrendering to the dictation of Osborn, he would have risen
to high position in the State; but Osborn led him to ruin, and in
after years he was compelled to leave the State in poverty and
disgrace, one of the many victims of Osborn's vicious ambition.
I shall record him better in a future chapter. Some of the lesser
lights of the convention, who could neither read nor write,
would be seen with both feet thrown across their desks smoking
cigars, while the convention was in session, and would often
address the President: "I ize to a pint off orter and deman
that the pages and mess'gers put some jinal on my des." The
President would draw a long sigh and order journals to be car-
ried and laid upon the desks of these eminent statesmen, who
would seize them up and go through the motions of reading them,
perhaps upside down, saying at the same time: "I has not had
a jinal to read for free or fo' days." The pages, indignant at
this mockery, would exclaim to the President "that the dela-
gates who called for the journals could -not read them if printed
in letters as large as the capitol." The modest President would
order them to take their places and attend upon the gentlemen o:









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


the convention. Most of the pages of the convention could
read and write.
If the convention, as then constituted, had been held in any
of the New England States and had been guilty of the same
conduct, nothing but a strong military guard could have secured
their persons from violence. These ridiculous scenes continued
for two weeks and more, when a portion of the members seceded,
leaving the convention without a quorum. The sessions were
continued, however, and in a few days adopted a constitution,
which was said to have been prepared in Chicago and brought
here by Richards to be forced upon the people of the State.
(See Appendix A.)
Goss, the delegate from Marion County, was despatched
with a copy of this constitution to Atlanta to procure the
approval of the commanding General.
The convention took a recess February 8th, to wait the
return of its messenger. During this time, Saunders and Bil-
lings, elated and more exultant over their supposed victory over
Purman, Osborn and Company, called a mass meeting to assem-
ble in the capitol square and addressed the freedmen, telling
them that they had hurled the rebellious angels from the great
Republican temple. After the speaking was over Saunders
resolved the meeting into a nominating convention for the pur-
pose of nominating State officers and also for members of the
Legislature for Leon County. Liberty Billings was nominated
for Governor, W. M. Saunders for Lieutenant-Governor, and
Samuel Walker, for Congress. Leon County was allowed in
this deal ten Representatives and one Senator. This appor-
tionment does not appear in the Billings-Saunders constitution.
In fact, all the officers of State were nominated by the mass
meeting composed entirely of the Freedmen of Leon County.
It looked as though there was office for all.

On Monday, February ioth, between twelve and one
o'clock at night, the seceding delegates, or "rebellious angels,"
returned to Tallahassee in a body, broke into the capitol, recap-
tured the celestial palace," and proceeded to reorganize the
convention. The most amusing incident of the recapture of the
convention was, that Saunders, although nominated for Lieuten-









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


ant-Governor, was not satisfied to be on the tail of the ticket.
Billings must come down from the head of the ticket and give
place to Saunders. How to steer clear of the Billings breakers
was a problem which quite, puzzled his brain-but something
must be done. As white and black masons did not affiliate at
that time in the South, Saunders conceived the idea of organiz-
ing a colored lodge, and getting all the prominent colored men
into it and then pledge them to demand the withdrawal of
Billings as a candidate for Governor, while Saunders would
pledge him his support for United States Senator. This was
commenced on Monday night, February loth. Several mem-
bers had been initiated that night. Billings, filled with anxiety
to know what was going on in the black camp, applied for ad-
mission and was refused. A disruption in the Billings-Saunders
faction was now imminent. The lodge adjourned about midnight
to meet the following night to complete its work. As its mem-
bers entered the street they saw the capitol lighted up, heard the
sound of voices, the earnest stamping of feet and clapping of
hands. They were awe-stricken, and conveyed the intelligence
to Saunders, who, startled at the scene, broke out with an oath
that "Billings, the d-d traitor, has organized a convention
against me and my friends." Saunders immediately sent mes-
sengers to the capitol to see what this strange thing really meant.
When the messengers returned and informed him what had taken
place, he said that his old familiar enemies were only holding a
secret caucus. But "the end was not yet." The eighteen del-
egates who withdrew had now enlisted four new recruits to their
standard,which swelled their number to twenty-two. They man-
aged by some means to capture two of the colored delegates
from the Billings-Saunders faction, which gave them a majority
of two of all the delegates returned under general order No.
iio. The freedmen undertook to mob these two delegates in
the streets the next day, which resulted in one of the delegates
named Shaler shooting one of the freedmen, but not fatally.
This convention now proceeded to vacate the seats of the
non-resident delegates-Roberts, Saunders and Billings-elected
Horatio Jenkins, Jr., President, Sherman ,Conant, Secretary,
and other necessary officers, and immediately set to work to
form the constitution which was finally adopted and became the








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


organic law of the State. A squad of the Federal military,
under direction of Governor Walker, was directed to guard the
convention chamber against a threatened attempt of the ousted
members to take violent possession. The freedmen seeing their
supposed Lord and Saviour shut out from the capitol were
excited to fever heat. The news went like wildfire through the
adjoining counties. Large numbers of them assembled in Tal-
lahassee, ready, as they thought, for battle. Each one had his
club, about two feet long with a string through the end of it, so
as to be fastened to his wrist. Their cry was that they wanted
nothing but the blood of Osborn and Purman and their fellows.
Nothing but the presence of the military prevented bloodshed.
Some of the more ignorant of the freedmen were so carried
away with Billings and Saunders that they wanted to attack the
military guard at the door of the convention and attempt to
drive them away and give Saunders and Billings possession of
the hall. When it was definitely ascertained that Billings and
Saunders could not get possession of the hall, some of the freed-
men, who had said when the convention was first organized,
"that the bottom rail was on top," began to mutter and to
say that "the rail had again fallen to the bottom." General
Mead, who had been appealed to by the minority faction, arrived
in Tallahassee on the 17th day of February. Committees from
each faction waited on him to learn his views on the situation.
He finally ordered that all the delegates returned under the
order of General Pope should go into the convention; the two
contending Presidents to hand in their resignations to the Secre-
tary, Sherman Conant, and the convention then reorganize, de
novo, with the commanding General of the Division, General
Sprague, presiding. This proposition was readily accepted by
Jenkins, but Richards hesitated, as he saw in this action his polit-
ical death staring him in the face. He finally consented under
protest, and with palsied hand he wrote his resignation. On
Tuesday, February i8th, at 3 o'clock, p. iM., the convention
met with all the delegates of both factions present. The Secre-
tary, Conant, introduced to the convention Col. John T.
Sprague, in full uniform, as its temporary chairman. A motion
was then made that Horatio Jenkins, Jr., be elected President of
the convention, which was carried by a vote of thirty-two to









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


thirteen. Colonel Sprague then retired. The next step was a
resolution declaring all the offices of the first convention vacant,
but Sherman Conant was retained as the Secretary of this con-
vention. This convention was not so liberal as the first in mak-
ing offices for its followers. Its offices consisted of one secre-
tary and an assistant secretary, one sergeant-at-arms, one door-
keeper, one chaplain, a printer and a financial agent. There
was a marked difference in the last convention as to decorum.
Osborn and the Brotherhood" having overcome the lead-
ers of the Loyal League by recapturing the convention, were
determined to pursue them to their death for future contingen-
cies. To expel them from the convention would have the effect
of killing their influence with the freedmen, and it was willed
that they should go. Purman was appointed chairman of the
Committee on Eligibility, and the day after the last convention
was organized, made a report which was generally believed he
had carried in his pocket from the time he entered the conven-
tion until he reported it, which was as follows :

"In the case of W. M. Saunders, returned as a delegate
to this convention from the Fourth Election District, conclusive
evidence is adduced that he is not a registered voter in nor an
inhabitant of the district he claims to represent; that he is no
citizen of Florida under the reconstruction laws.
In the case of Liberty Billings, returned from the Four-
teenth Election District, evidence is produced under the seal of
the United States Court, that he, on the 12th day of August,
1867, in this State made oath that he is a citizen of the State of
New Hampshire, and the official certificate of the Board of
Registration is in proof that he is not a registered voter in the
district he claims to represent.
"In the case of C. H. Pearce, returned from the Sixth
Election District, the official certificate of the Board of Regis-
tration is in evidence that he is not a registered voter in the dis-
trict that he claims to represent, that he was formerly a resident
of Canada; that he there swore true faith and allegiance to the
government of Great Britain.
Your committee, in conclusion, beg leave to recommend
the following resolution as the result and conviction of their
unbiased investigation, uninfluenced by any sentiment or preju-
dice, either of a political or personal character.
Resolved, That W. M. Saunders, Liberty Billings and C. H.
Pearce, returned as delegates to this convention from the Fourth,









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


Fourteenth and Sixth Election Districts, respectively, are hereby,
for reasons stated in the foregoing report, declared ineligible to
seats in this body."

In the case of Daniel Richards, from the Fourth Election
District, the Committee reported that he was not an inhabitant
nor registered voter of the district which he claimed to repre-
sent, and ineligible to a seat in the convention. These resolu-
tions were adopted by a large majority, and this ended the Bil-
lings-Saunders reign in the Constitutional Convention of x868.
It will be seen by the minutes of this convention, that its
journal was not kept in such a way as to enable coming gen-
erations to know what had transpired throughout the whole pro-
ceedings. The following resolution is introduced as a witness to
the insufficiency of the journal. It was offered by Mr. Alden:

Resolved, That the Journal of the Constitutional Conven-
tion of the State of Florida, from its organization until the
third day of February, be recognized as the only Journal of the
Convention to that date. Thereafter, that all the proceedings
of this convention, except the ineeting and adjournment of the
convention, be expunged from' the journal until the i8th of
February, 3 P. M., from which time the journal shall be resumed
and kept complete." (See Journal of the Proceedings of the
Constitutional Convention of the State of Florida, page 48).

T. W.. Osborn offered the following resolution, which was
adopted under suspension of the rules :
WHEREAS, It having come to the knowledge of this con-
vention that D. S. Walker, Governor of the State of Florida,
having his executive office in the capitol, and by virtue of his
office as Governor, being in charge of the capitol and all the
rooms therein, has in no manner been consulted or his assent
asked by any officer or member of the convention for the use of
the Assembly chamber or any other room in which to hold this
convention, therefore,
Resolved, That we, as the Constitutional Convention of the
State of Florida, sincerely regret that so great a discourtesy has
been shown to the Governor of the State by this convention
and by its former officers; and further that we request the Presi-
dent of this convention to wait upon Governor Walker and state
to him the circumstances in the case, and ask the use of this
room in which to hold the Constitutional Convention' of the
State of Florida."









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


Osborn offered another resolution, under suspension of the
rules, that the Sergeant-at-Arms be instructed to inquire of Gov-
ernor Walker the amount of wood that had been used by the
convention, which wood had been purchased by the officers of
the capitol, and used by the convention without consent from
the Governor.
Although Osborn and Company, prior to the assembling of
the convention, had been marshaling the freedmen against any
respect for or recognition of the Walker administration, it seems
that the struggle with the Billings-Saunders faction in the con-
vention had resulted in making Osborn a special convert and
forced him to at least a temporary membership of the Govern-
or's political church; but Walker rather doubted the sincerity of
the convert, and he never thereafter informed the deacons or
other members of the congregation of this most sudden and
remarkable conversion of this Saul of Tarsus.
The convention, as soon as it was organized, commenced
reading a constitution which had been agreed upon by Osborn
and Company, some time and at some place which are not defi-
nitely known, but was generally believed to have been made or
agreed upon in the city of Monticello, whence these eighteen
conspirators, after the manner of the Arabs, had folded their
tents at the capitol and silently stolen away. The reading of
the constitution would only be disturbed when some interlocu-
tory decree of Osborn and Company had to be carried into
effect. The following is a fair sample of some of these decrees:
On the 2oth of February, J. E. Davidson and M. L. Stearns,
who received but a small fraction of the votes cast, were seated
from the Fourth District, in place of Daniel Richards and W.
M. Saunders; Richard Wells, who did not get twenty votes, was
seated from the Sixth District in place of C. H. Pearce. O. B.
Hart, who received the same number of votes as Wells, was
seated from the Fourteenth District in place of Liberty Billings;
John W. Butler, who made no contest, was seated from the
First District in place of George Walker, who failed to attend
the convention after being elected.
After passing a resolution declaring the script issued by the
first convention void, the constitution was signed and the con-
vention adjourned on the 25th day of February, subject to call








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


of President, or any ten members, in case the President is out
of the State. Nine members of the Billings-Richards faction
signed the constitution under protest, as they were threatened
that they should have no pay unless they did sign it.
Billings, now the candidate of his faction for Governor,
began to stump the State against the adoption of the constitu-
tion. The freedmen were wrathy and began to raise money to
end Richards and Saunders to Congress to protest against the
admission of the State into the Union in case the constitution
was adopted. Some four or five hundred dollars were raised
and they went off to Washington. They had not been absent
long before Richards sent back to the freedmen the following
telegram: Florida is safe; Congress is with us! Praise the
,Lord." For an hour the air was filled with shouts from the
freedmen. One freedman while on his dying bed, and con-
scious of his approaching death, gave the only five dollars he
had to be sent to Saunders and Richards at Washington. Saun-
ders had not been there many days before the Osborn faction
captured him and sent him back to'the State to canvass for the
adoption of the New Constitution. He came back but did not
dare stop in Tallahassee for fear of being mobbed by the freed-
men. Now that one of the trinity had deserted, Billings and
Richards were left to conduct the canvass themselves with the
assistance of C. H. Pearce, who had been ousted from the con-
vention. Billings would hold his meetings on large plantations
in the night time, so as to get all the old men and women out,
as they generally controlled the younger class. In order to
deeply impress the freedmen with the justness of his cause and
of his unblemished Republicanism, he .would .have all the little
colored children brought out to the meetings, and would ask the
name of each, and then take them up and kiss them. A little
soap and water would not have done some of them any harm.
When he would kiss the children you could hear on all sides
from the freedmen words like these: I will vote ebery day
for that man." "I will die for that man." "That man is a
good 'publican." Billings hearing these words would shout to
them, "Jesus Christ was a- Republican." So attached were
these people to Billings that they introduced a sign among them-
selves which was the given name of Billings. When one wanted








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


to know how the other stood to Billings, he would say Lib-
erty," and if the other was a Billings man he would answer
"Liberty."
On the Billings State Ticket was Sam. Walker, for Lieuten-
ant-Governor, and D. Richards, for Congress, while the Repub-
lican party had nominated Harrison Reed for Governor, Wil-
liam H. Gleason for Lieutenant-Governor, and Charles Hamil
ton, for Congress. The Democrats, taking courage at the fight
of the two Republican factions, nominated George W. Scott for
the head of their ticket, and in conjunction with Billings, op-
posed the adoption of the constitution. The election was held
on the 4th, 5th and 6th days of May, and resulted in the elec-
tion of Governor Reed and Lieutenant-Governor Gleason, and
the ratification of the constitution by five thousand majority.
There is no question about the fact of Billings carrying Leon
County against the constitution, though the vote as counted did
not show it. Governor Reed was honestly elected, but a large
majority of the votes cast in the above county were against the con-
stitution but were for Harrison Reed, and the Legislative Ticket
of Billings. The vote was more evenly balanced between Reed
and Billings. The Billings Constitution was not put before the
people to be voted on, as that could not be done without the
endorsement of General Meade, and he refused to recognize
that constitution for the reason that it was made without a ma-
jority of the delegates elected; but both constitutions were laid
before Congress by the President of the United States.
One of the most noticeable traitorous features of the Osborn
constitution was a clause to prohibit any person from being eligi-
ble to the office of Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Member of
Congress, or United States Senator, unless he had been nine
years a citizen of the United States, two years a citizen of the
State of Florida, and a registered voter. This was done to shut
out such colored men as the educated and brilliant Gibbs, and
other leading lights of the colored race in the State. They were
handicapped, however, by the amendments of the Constitution
of the United States, therefore their scheme did not work well;
but the attempt to steal is bad morally, if not legally. This
clause first took effect upon one of the schemers, William H.
Gleason, who, not having been a citizen of Florida two years









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA. 65

before the election, was ousted from the office of Lieutenant-
Governor, by order of the court in proceedings instituted by
Governor Reed in consequence of the attempt of Gleason and
his co-conspirators to impeach and suspend Reed and inaugu-
rate Gleason as Governor.














CHAPTER VI.


Memorial of Richards and Saunders to Congress Against the
Osborn Constitution. Criticism on the Memorial.

After the re-assembling of the convention, which resulted
in the utter defeat of Richards and Saunders, and the consequent
setting aside of all the previous proceedings, the defeated parties
carried the matter into the Congress of the United States, with
the hope of preventing the admission of the State into the Union
under the constitution made by the recognized body. They
accordingly drew up the following memorial, which was laid before
that body on the 23d of March, 1868:

FLORIDA CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION-ITS
HISTORY.

Enclosed is the order of Major-General John Pope, com-
manding third military district, calling the Constitutional Conven-
tion of Florida, and his return of the delegates elected.
By the said order it will be seen that forty-six delegates were
returned as elected.
On the 2oth of January, when the convention was organ-
ized, thirty delegates were present, twenty-seven of whom voted
for the officers elected, and two against them-one not voting,
but who next day asked and obtained leave to have his vote
recorded in favor of the organization.
Next day, 2ist, standing rules were adopted by a unanimous
vote. The convention was organized by electing to most of the
offices radical republicans, and threats were openly made by the
conservative Johnson office-holders and rebels that no constitu-
tion should be made, nor business done, until the organization
of the convention was broken up. Conservative republicans,
both in and out of the convention, began to caucus night and
day, with the leading rebels freely admitted to their councils, to
devise ways and means to overthrow the radicals. The princi-
pal hotel in the city was opened free to the delegates who would
act with them, and who were all poor-many of them not money
enough to pay board bills with. Whisky flowed free as water.
Money was used in abundance to corrupt the delegates, which
was like tendering bread to a starving man.
The unworthy, debasing influences brought to bear upon








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


the delegates would disgrace any other part of Christendom, if it
does not Florida.
Like hungry wolves around a carcass, the Federal office-
holders in the State congregated together there as with a com-
mon purpose, and that purpose to defeat reconstruction on a re-
publican basis in that State. The caucuses of the organized
lobby were held every night until nearly daylight, and money
furnished by the Johnson office-holders, and every other influence
*was used to bring in delegates to join them.
Among those who took active part against the convention
as organized, and most of whom were almost constantly in cau-
cus, were the following, viz : Harrison Reed, O. B. Hart, T.
W. Osborn, Sherman Conant, Lemuel Wilson, A. A. Knight,
O. Morgan, M. L. Stearns, E. D. Howse, W. J. Purman, S. B.
Conover and E. K. Foster, all holding offices under the General
Government.
Colonel John T. Sprague, commander of the State, previous
to the organization, and during the convention, exercised his
influence actively in the interest of those who finally disrupted
the convention. C. Thurston Chase and S. F. Dewy, both
Federal office-holders, aided by their correspondence, counsels
and advice the faction striving to gain the control of the conven-
tion or to break it up. E. M. Randall, brother of the Post-
master-General, was constantly in caucus with them, as was also
Captain Dyke, editor of the Floridian, and keeper of Anderson-
ville, where our Union soldiers were starved. Governor David
S. Walker rendered them all the aid and comfort in his power,
and after the convention was broken up and a new one organ-
ized, he was on the floor of the convention every day among the
delegates and on one occasion made a speech to the conven-
tion.
Every effort to proceed with the business of the convention
was violently resisted by this disorganizing faction in the body,
aided by a powerful and thoroughly organized lobby, for two
weeks. During this time only forty-one delegates had sub-
scribed to the oath as required by the rules of the convention;
the others having failed to appear and subscribe to the oath.
The great struggle of the opposition was to turn enough delegates
out or vote enough into the convention to give them control of it.
At the end of two weeks' wrangling, the opposition were beaten
on a close vote of twenty-one to twenty, and the combined con-
servative and rebel faction, to the number of eighteen, withdrew
in a body to break up the convention. Other of the conservative
delegates had previously gone home-one a Union man of
such strong rebel proclivities that it was stated on the floor of
the convention by his friends that he would not take the oath to









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


support the Constitution of the United States and proclamations.
made thereunder. He had left some ten days previous.
When these last eighteen withdrew there were but twenty-
two delegates left in the convention. These twenty-two dele-
gates remaining in the convention diligently applied themselves
to the object for which they came together during the following
week. By taking the present Florida constitution, and making
just such changes in it as the altered circumstances seemed to
require, on the 8th day of February they finished their work,
formed and signed a good constitution. They then adjourned
for one week, in order to give time to lay the constitution before
General Meade, and get his endorsement of the ordinance call-
ing an election, as it could not be enforced without the general
commanding the district gave validity to it by his endorsement.
When the seceding delegates withdrew, they immediately
left the city of Tallahassee, fearing, probably, if they remained,
some of their weaker members, wno had been kept intoxicated alt
the time for two weeks, might get sober enough and be induced to
go back into the convention, and thus make a quorum of all the
delegates elected. They repaired to Monticello, some thirty
miles distant, sent messengers and special trains, and money to
try and gather together the fugitive delegates, who had previ-
ously gone home. They remained away from the capital an
entire week, and until the convention had completed its labor,
formed a constitution, signed it, and adjourned for a week to
hear from General Meade. The convention adjourned on.
Saturday, February 8. The following Monday, February 1o,
the seceding delegates returned, at midnight, 22 strong. With
the aid of the military furnished by Governor Walker, they broke
into the State-house at dead of night. C. M. Hamilton, until
very recently agent in the Freedman's Bureau, and believed by
most of the delegates to be still in command, with power to
enforce his orders, went and took from their beds two of the
delegates who had already signed one constitution, took them t6
the State-house, and, between the hours of twelve and two
o'clock in the night, they assumed to organize a convention, with
the military standing guard around and in the State-house. A
guard of soldiers, furnished by direction of Governor Walker,
was stationed in the hall night and day.
On Tuesday, the IIth, this disorganizing organization went
through with the performance of expelling four delegates who
had'not met with them at all, and then swore in five men who
tried hard to be elected as delegates to the Constitutional Con-
vention, but did not get votes enough, and consequently Gen-
eral Pope, although pressed hard for weeks, to do so, did not
return them as elected. They then telegraphed General Meade
that they were organized as the Constitutional Convention of









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


Florida, and had a large majority of the delegates elected and
returned. General Meade had hesitated to endorse the action of
the adjourned convention of 22 delegates, for the reason that they
had not a majority of the delegates elected to sign the constitu-
tion. A majority of those who had duly taken and subscribed
to the oath, as required by the rules, had signed it. The gen-
eral admitted to the messenger sent to confer with him that the
convention, as first organized, was the only legal organization,
and said if two more names could be procured to the constitu-
tion he would approve of it at once, and indorse the election
ordinance.
The organization that held possession of the hall continued
in session through the week, sending their published proceed-
ings to General Meade, and their gross misrepresentations by
telegraph through the Associated Press all over the country.
When the day arrived to which the regular convention
stood adjourned, the delegates were confronted on their en-
trance to the hall with bayonets of United States soldiers.
Application was then made to Governor D. S. Walker, as the
chief executive civil officer in the State, to have all parties
arrested and removed from the hall who were hindering the con-
stitutional convention from assembling, and were thereby
obstructing reconstruction in the State. He refused to take any
action in the matter in behalf of the convention. Lieutenant
Colonel F. F. Flint, commanding post of Tallahassee, was then
informed that the civil authorities refused to aid in securing the
hall to the convention, and was asked to assist the officers of the
convention, with the military under his command, in entering
upon the discharge of their duties. He declined to interfere,
but kept up his guard around the concern then in the hall.
The correspondence upon this subject is enclosed; also,
correspondence with General Meade, after he arrived at the cap-
ital. The communications are numbered i, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6,
and especial attention is called to them. It will be noticed that
Governor Walker says he shall use all the power he possesses to
prevent one party ejecting the other from the hall, which, of
course, means that he should protect the seceding revolutionary
body, as he had helped them to the possession of the hall, and
they were occupying it.
Thus it will be seen, that, by the aid of Governor Walker
and the military, the convention was prevented from assembling
on the day that it was adjourned to and the illegal midnight
assemblage was protected, receiving the high sanction of the
civil and military authorities of the State. The correspondence
with Governor Walker and Colonel Flint was on Saturday,
February 15. On Monday, the i7th, General Meade arrived at
Tallahassee. A committee of delegates from the convention









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


waited upon him at once to learn his views. It was believed
that if the legally organized convention were permitted to peace-
ably assemble in the hall where they were to meet, enough of
those men in the hall would cheerfully join with the twenty-two
delegates to make a majority of all elected. Indeed, many of
the delegates in the hall said, "That as the ordinance provid-
ing for pay of the members had to be indorsed by the command-
ing General to render it valid, and as the authorities seemed to
favor them, they thought it safer to remain with the organiza-
tion than in the hall so long as they were sustained by the mili-
tary.
The committee failing to get any satisfactory reply from the
General, and understanding him to say that "'the organization in
the hall had no legal status, nor could get any," the President of
the convention addressed the General a letter, marked No. 5,
asking him to withdraw the forcible opposition to the assembling
of the convention. No answer was returned; guard was con-
tinued in the hall and around the State-house after General
Meade arrived there, with the concern he himself said had no
legal status, in possession and in session.
The next day the General sent for the President and told
him if he did not resign as President of the convention he
should recognize the other body as the legal organization.
Colonel Sprague also sought a number of interviews with the
President and urged him to resign, saying if he did not the other
body would be recognized, and then "you will have to take
your chances of getting in there at all," (meaning the twenty-
two delegates by you), while he (Colonel Sprague) with the
whole military power was protecting the other organization in
possession of the hall. The President desired General Meade
to state his request that he resign in writing, which being com-
plied with, the resignation was tendered under protest.
See letter from General Meade marked No. 6, and enclosed
therein is the proposition to compromise to which he refers, and
also the President's resignation.
At three o'clock, on Tuesday, February S1, delegates all
met in the hall by request of General Meade. Colonel John T.
Sprague took the president's chair. He called the meeting to
order and made a speech to the delegates. He received and
put motions, and decided questions, while two or three of his
subordinate officers of his own regiment.were sitting as dele-
gates, and voting on motions put by their Colonel. S. B. Con-
over and W. J. Purman are both officers in Colonel Sprague's
regiment,* and were sitting as delegates.
Horatio Jenkins was elected President. The standing rules,
*NOTr.-Putrman was not an officer and Conover had only been a contract sur-
geon.









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


which had been unanimously adopted by the convention the
second day after organizing, and which provided that said rules
could not be amended nor changed without one day's notice,.
were all swept away by a resolution. By another motion the
rules of Jefferson's Manual were adopted to govern the body,
and within a half hour after the rules of the Florida House of
Representatives were adopted under the operation of the pre-
vious question, without a word of debate. All the motions
were made by the same delegate. All officers of the conven-
tion were summarily turned out by resolution, and all motions
and resolutions were rushed through under the previous ques-
tion without debate. The previous question was moved and
ordered fourteen times within half an hour, and nine times in
rapid succession by the same delegate, without yielding the
floor. The journal next morning did not show that the previous
question had been ordered at all the day previous, and omitted
to give the yeas and nays on the most important resolution acted
upon the day previous. It was ordered that the journal be cor-
rected, but when it appeared again not more than half of the
corrections had been made. After that, during the entire ses-
sion, there were no minutes of proceedings ever read to the con-
vention nor approved by it. It is a humiliating fact that not a
single page of the journal, as published after the reorganization,
is anything like a correct record of the proceedings.
On Wednesday, February i9, the day after the reorganiza-
tion, the convention met and under the operation of the same
inexorable previous question, expelled four delegates by a major-
ity vote. They then swore in four others in their places, who
had received but a small minority of the votes cast at the elec-
tion, one receiving only nine votes, while the delegate turned
out to give place to him had twenty-four hundred and twenty-
four votes. They also swore in a Mr. J. W. Butler in place of
George W. Walker, who had been returned as elected, but had
not yet been in attendance. General Meade had said when in
Tallahassee, that if the convention should swear any one in who
was not returned as elected by General Pope's order, he should
interfere. But Mr. John W. Butler, O. B. Hart, J. E. David-
son, M. L. Stearns, Mr. -- Wells, were all sworn in as soon
as the General left the city, and acted with the convention until
its close, and then signed the constitution.
Thus, with the aid of all the civil and military authorities,
and a free use of money, whisky, and the previous question,
the regular Constitutional Convention of Florida was broken up
by the Johnson Federal office-holders, led on by Harrison Reed,
United States mail agent, and David S. Walker, Governor of
Florida.
After the adoption of the constitution an ordinance was.









CARPETBAG RULE .IN FLORIDA.


introduced and passed that any member who did not sign the
constitution should be deprived of his pay for the entire session.
See last day's proceedings.
The constitution provides that the Governor shall appoint
the following State officers, viz: Secretary of State, attorney
general, comptroller, treasurer, surveyor-general, superintendent
of public institutions, adjutant general, commissioner of immigra-
tion, the Supreme Court judges for life, seven circuit judges,
seven states attorneys, and all commissioned officers in the
militia. Lieutenant Governor is elected. The Governor also
appoints, with power to remove at pleasure, the following county
officers in each county in the State, viz: An assessor, collector,
treasurer, county surveyor, superintendent of schools, county
judge, sheriff, clerk of Circuit Court, five county commissioners,
and as many justices of the peace as he pleases, and for life.
Constables are elected by the people.
By the appointment provided for in said constitution, less
than one-fourth of the registered voters will elect a majority of
the State Senate, and less than one-third will elect a majority of
the Assembly; 6,700 voters in the rebel counties elect as many
senators (twelve and one Indian) as 20,282 voters elect in Union
counties. Seven senators are elected by 3,027 voters in rebel
counties, and only one senator is elected by 3,181 in a Union
county (Leon), and twenty-three voters elect one senator in a rebel
district.
In the Assembly, 8,330 voters in rebel counties choose
twenty-seven members and one Indian, while 18,652 voters in
Union counties only choose twenty-six members. Madison county
(Union), with 1,802 voters sends two representatives, while the
rebel sent from Dade county has a constituency of fifteen voters,
and the rebel from Brevard county represents a bona fide con-
stituency of eight registered voters.
It grants suffrage to, and removes all disabilities from, the
vilest rebels and haters of the government, and permits them to
be elevated to places of power and trust, without regard to the
reconstruction acts of Congress, and disfranchises thousands of
the colored voters. All rebels are relieved. from taking the
registration oath that Congress has prescribed, and from taking
the oath of office prescribed by the act of Congress and required
of every officer under the General Government. It also assumes
to regulate the eligibility of United States senators and members
of Congress from that State.
The constitution having been formed in the manner above
described, it is evident that means will be found to ratify it
without regard to the number of votes actually cast for it, should
the boards of registration be in any manner under the control of
the men who broke up the convention.









CARPETBAG RULE. IN FLORIDA.


The constitution formed by the legally organized conven-
tion before it was broken up extends the right of suffrage to just
the class entitled to it under the reconstruction acts of Congress,
and requires officers to take the same oath now prescribed for
officers under the General Government, but authorizes the legis-
lature by a vote of two-thirds to remove all disabilities imposed
for having engaged in the rebellion. It apportions representa-
tives in the Legislature upon the.basis of registered voters; makes
all State officers, except the judiciary, and many county officers,
elective by the people, and jealously guards and protects the
rights and interests of all classes in the State alike. Had the
sanction of such high authority, both civil or military, been
thrown around the legally organized convention, as seemed to be
so eagerly extended to the midnight concern, there can be no
question but what accessions would thus have been induced to
their number, so that a very large majority of the convention
would have cheerfully co-operated with the twenty-two delegates
in forming and signing said constitution.
When we, with so much pride, recollect that General
Meade is the hero of Gettysburg, it must not be forgotten that
he is human, also, and fallible; and that he is more liable to
make a mistake in dealing with civil affairs, when surrounded
by designing, unscrupulous, intriguing politicians, than he is
in his profession as a soldier. That he should not have sus-
tained the organization he himself had before recognized as legal
and regular, instead of breaking it up, was undoubtedly a great
mistake.
Colonel Sprague, commander of the State, whose advice
in relation to all local matters must necessarily have great
weight with the General, is in thorough sympathy with the
most conservative conservatives in the State. He has passed
through three wars without being in either, having asked and
obtained a position on Governor Seymour's staff during the
last war, while his regiment was in the field.
For a truthful and more graphic account of the Florida con-
vention see the letters of Solon Robinson, one of the editors, in
the New York Tribune of the 8th, ioth and 12th of February
last. Also see editorial in the Tribune of the ioth, fully sus-
taining and indorsing what Mr. Robinson had written.
Your memorialists pray that Congress may, in its wisdom
and in view of all the facts set forth above, find that the constitu-
tion formed by the twenty-two delegates who remained and com-
pleted their work before the convention was broken up is the
only one that should be submitted to the voters of that State for
ratification.
D. RICHARDS,
W. U. SAUNDERS.








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


Governor Reed, although prominently spoken of for Gov-
ernor by the most influential Republicans, was not attached to
either faction of the convention, but gave his earnest efforts,
while securing the rights of freedmen to prevent proscription of
the whites on account of the rebellion; but the Osborn-Purman
faction realized the fact that they could not succeed without his
brain, and looked upon him as the only means by which they could
hope to obtain success. They privately expressed fears that he
would. not be as pliant as they would desire in aiding their
schemes of plunder, but could find no other alternative. The
memorial, therefore, does not state what is true when it asserts
that Harrison Reed -took part in the canvass to defeat recon-
struction on the republican basis. Both parties were bidding
for Democratic support, which was finally knocked off to the
Osborn faction. The Hon. Charles Summer vigorously opposed
the admission of the State into the Union under this Osborn
constitution. He declared upon the floor of the Senate that
"Florida should not be admitted until she came with clean
hands."
Governor Reed being the supposed candidate of the Osborn
faction for the office of Governor, it was but natural that the
Richards faction should attempt to place him in the most awk-
ward position before Congress; hence his name heads the list
with those whom they charge with defeating reconstruction on
a republican basis. There was some money spent, and many
concessions made to the Democrats by the Osborn faction, to
overthrow the Richards convention, as charged in the memorial.
Reed was mainly instrumental in procuring those concessions,
as he believed in the professions of future loyalty to the Union,
and regarded it necessary to enlist the intelligent class in behalf
of the reconstructed government to protect the State against mis-
rule through the ignorance of the newly enfranchised freedmen.
He favored an apportionment of the Legislature so as to secure
the sparsely settled white counties against the domination of
the populous black belt; he favored the admission of all to
citizenship, with no test but that of allegiance to the amended
constitution; he favored the appointing power of the Governor
to general and local offices, temporarily, to save the State from
a threatened war of races which would banish the whites from








76 CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.

the old slave-holding counties and the freedmen from the white
counties of South and West Florida. He was held responsible
for these concessions, and was denounced by the radical leaders
of the freedmen, and the colored vote of Duval, Nassau, Leon
and Gadsden counties was mostly thrown against him and the
constitution. It was only by these concessions that the conflict-
ing elements could be at once harmonized and the State pro-
tected from violence and the necessity of military force. The
result vindicated his judgment, and during the four and a half
years of his administration no resort to force was necessary, and
the freedmen were less proscribed than during the early stages
of reconstruction in any other Southern State.













CHAPTER VII.


The Meeting of the Legislature of 1868. Inauguration of Governor
Reed, and His Address. Ratification of the 13th and i4th
Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Election
of United States Senators. Extracts from Reed's Message.
Governor Reed's Cabinet. First Years of Reed's Administra-
tion. His Appointing Power a Source of Corruption. Cor-
rupt Legislation. The Attitude of the Colored Members to
These Measures. Osborn and the Federal Office-holders.
Reed Calls on the Colored Voters for Support. Meeting of the
Legislature November, i868, and the Appointment of Electors.
Attempt at Impeachment. The Ouster of Alden and the
Appointment of Gibbs as Secretary of State. The Ouster of
Gleason as Lieutenant-Governor.

The Legislature met and organized on the 8th day of June,
1868, under a constitution framed by the people of Florida in a
convention assembled by the authority of what is known as the
reconstruction acts of the Congress of the United States. On
the 9th of June the joint Assembly repaired to the Supreme
Court room to witness the inauguration of the first Governor of
Florida, whose election had been secured by a majority of all
the male inhabitants of the State, twenty-one years of age and
upwards, without regard to color or previous condition of servi-
tude. Governor Reed came forward and was sworn in as Gov-
ernor of Florida by Judge Boynton, of the United States District
Court amidst the shouts of thousands of glad people who now
began to see the dawn of a new day. After taking the oath of
office the Governor delivered the following

INAUGURAL ADDRESS.

FELLOW CITIZENS OF FLORIDA:
In entering upon the high trust which your partiality has
conferred, in deference to time-honored custom, it becomes
my duty to briefly indicate the policy of my administration as
chief magistrate of the State.









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


In November, r860, the constitutional rights of the peo-
ple of Florida were subverted, and its civil government was
overthrown. Since then the State has been without a constitu-
tional government, and subject to military law. In March, 1867,
the Congress of the United States, in obedience to its obligation
to guarantee to every State a republican form of government,'
prepared a plan by which the State could regain its forfeited rights
and its people berestored to the benefits of the constitutional gov-
ernment. Under this plan, you have formed a government, which
we are here to-day to inaugurate and prepare to make effective.
You have formed and adopted a constitution based upon the
great theory of American government, that all men are by nature
free and endowed with equal rights. You have laid deep and
broad the foundations of the State upon the principle of universal
freedom. Bred to freedom and under republican institutions;
believing slavery an unmitigated curse, as well as a violation of
human rights-a moral, political and physical evil wherever
tolerated, I most cordially congratulate you that it no longer
exists to blight the fair heritage which God has given us here,
and that the constitution which you have adopted contains no
germ of despotism to generate future discord. I congratulate
you also that no spirit of malevolence or bitterness, growing out
of the wrongs and conflicts of the past, has been suffered to mar
your organic law, but that in a spirit of magnanimity and for-
bearance worthy of the highest commendation, those who have
forfeited their citizenship are welcomed back to the benefits and
privileges of the government upon the sole condition of fealty
and adherence to the constitution and laws.
*'Amid the ruins of a government embodying antagonistic
principles you have laid the foundation of a government insur-
ing harmony, stability, security and peace. The conflicting ele-
ments and interests of the past now all unite in a homogeneous
system, all yielding obedience to a common law, which respects
alike the interests of all. Time alone can heal the social disor-
ders and dissensions created by the disruption of society and
the radical change in the system of government, consequent upon
the war. We will patiently await its mollifying influences, inter-
posing no obstacles to a speedy restoration.
"All classes of society and all the interests of the State
demand peace and good government, and if the spirit of our
constitution is appreciated and reciprocated, every citizen may
realize these advantages, and the State may arise from its pros-
trate condition to a measure of prosperity unknown in the past,
and become one of the brighest luminaries in the galaxy of our
glorious Union.
"Fellow citizens, I accept the high responsibility of the
chief magistracy under your new constitution, believing firmly









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


in its principles, and unqualifiedly endorsing its policy and that
of the Congress under whose clemency we are permitted to
inaugurate anew a civil government for the State. I enter upon
this high trust with the firm purpose of executing the laws in
the spirit of liberality in which they are conceived, and in view
of the highest interests of the State and the people. Relying
upon your loyalty and patriotism, and the favor and guidance of
that Divine Power which sways the destinies of all, I shall do
what within me lies to render effective the government and to
command for it the respect and obedience of all classes of our
citizens."

After the inauguration of Governor Reed, the Legislature
was notified by Colonel F. F. Flint that the Commanding Gen-
eral would not recognize the Governor-elect and Legislature
until further orders from Congress. On the ninth of June the
Legislature adopted the i3th and i4th Amendments to the Con-
stitution of the United States. The Legislature on June I6th
proceeded to the election of United States Senator for the term
expiring March 3d, 1869. The cunning Osborn of the "Broth-
erhood" was a candidate for the short term, but it had already
been determined by Purman and Company to give him the
largest and longest slice of the public ham, so as to cover the
entire term of Governor Reed, which would enable him to use
his influence as Senator to fill the Federal offices with men
antagonistic to the Governor should he refuse to give his signa-
ture to any subsequent legislation passed by the influence of
Purman and Company to rob the State and its people. A. S.
Welch was elected to fill the term expiring March 3d, 1869, and
T. W. Osborn for the term ending March 3d, 1873. Osborn
would have been elected for the term beginning March 4th,
1869, but it was thought by Purman and Company that it was
important to have him in the Senate on the admission of the
State into the Union so as to control the offices. Abijah Gilbert,
an old gentleman of reputed wealth, resident at St. Augustine,
was pitched upon on account of his money, he agreeing to cash
$50,00o or $oo00,000 State bonds at 85 cents on the dollar, and
for the further reason that he was very old and would always say
"me too, Osborn," in any recommendations the latter would
make for appointments to office. Gilbert was elected to fill the
term ending March 3d, 1875. After the election of United









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


States Senators the Legislature adjourned until the 7th of July
to await the action of Congress as to the admission of the State
into the Union. On the 25th of June, Congress declared the
State entitled to admission, and on the 3oth day of the same
month, Florida was represented in both branches of the National
Legislature. The State having been admitted into the Union
under the new Constitution, the Legislature now convened on
the day appointed and received the message of Governor Reed.
The Governor, after reciting the peculiar and extraordinary cir-
cumstances under which' it assembled on the 8th of June-in
a military district but without military sanction--said:
"After near eight years of defiant wandering and estrange-
ment, during a portion of which time no peaceful citizen was
safe from the demands of a lawless despotism, and life and
property.were at the mercy of usurpers, Florida has renewed her
allegiance to the Federal Constitution and resumed her position
in the union of States with a radical change in her fundamen-
tal law, which compels a corresponding change in our system of
legislation."

In referring to the policy of the government conferring the
right of suffrage upon the negro the Governor said: "The
government could not, with honor, deny to the man who car-
ried a musket in its defense a voice in its administration. To
have required him in war to fight, and in peace to bear the bur-
den of other citizens, and then deny him a voice in its adminis-
tration, cannot be sustained by any argument based upon prin-
ciples of justice or morals." Contrasting the Constitution of
i868 with the Amended Constitution of 1861, of the State of
Florida, the Governor quoted from the latter the following:
" No citizen of any of the States which are now at war with the
Confederate States shall ever be admitted to the rights of citizen-
ship in this State; no such person shall vote at elections, be
eligible to office, hold real estate, exercise any profession or
trade, be engaged in mechanical, manufacturing, commercial,
banking, insurance or other business, under pain of confiscation
to the use of the State of all property of such person as shall
violate this clause of the constitution." With this he cotrasted
the following from the new republican Constitution: "Every
male person of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, of









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


whatever race, color, nationality, or previous condition, who
shall, at the time of offering to vote, be a citizen of the United
States, or who shall have declared intention to become such in
conformity to the laws of the United States, and who shall have
resided and had his habitation, domicile, home, and place of per-
manent abode in Florida for one year, and in the county for six
months, next preceding the election at which he shall offer to
vote, shall in such county be deemed a qualified elector at all
elections under this constitution." This message contained
eighteen subjects, and showed great powers of thought and per-
ception. All the varied phases of the State were discussed as
though he had studied the subjects from boyhood, and any one
who read it would be forced to the conclusion that it was his
aim to administer an honest, and economical government for the
State and its people.
The Cabinet of Governor Reed consisted of eight members.
To show the Southern whites, who were greatly irritated at the
turn of things, that he meant to give them an honest administra-
tion, he appointed Colonel Robert H. -Gamble, Comptroller, the
most important office of his Cabinet. Colonel Gamble was an
ex-slaveholder and a Democrat. He also appointed James D.
Westcott, Jr., Attorney-General, also a Democrat, who supported
the slave power. From these appointments Governor Reed had a
right to expect at least support from the Southern whites to give
his administration a fair trial. No colored man was appointed
in the Cabinet, although the Governor expressed his willingness
to have negro representation in every department, and did send
to the Senate the name of John C. Gibbs, for Secretary of
State, whose right name was afterwards found to be Jonathan
C. Gibbs, and his name was withdrawn. The Governor insisted
on sending up the right name, but the Osborn-Purman faction
threatened opposition to his administration if any negro was
placed in the Cabinet. The Governor, not knowing what the
end might be, for the moment refrained.
The administration of Governor Reed was contaminated
with more agencies inimical to the establishment and mainte-
nance of an honest civil government than the administration
of any Governor of Florida since the State was first admitted
into the Union. One of these agencies was the appointing
6









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


power, where all the officers, both State and county, with the
exception of constables, were appointed by the Governor, and
nine-tenths of these officers had to be confirmed by the Senate.
The Governor, unacquainted with the men in the different
counties who were capable, honest, friendly, disposed to peace,
order and good government, made it a rule to look to the
Senators and Representatives from the counties to inform him of
the fitness of the candidate for office. This, though in most
instances unavoidable, opened the door to corruption and politi-
cal treason to his administration. The carpetbag Senators and
Representatives from the different counties would always man-
age to get the endorsement of some colored men whom
they would represent to the Governor as having great
influence and respectability in the county where they lived;
and whenever an appointment was to be made in a Democratic
county and one of these office-seekers wanted to secure the
prize, but whose antecedents against the negro in the county
where he lived was such that he could not get an endorsement,
he would represent to the executive that he was the only man in
the county that stood between the negro and his former master
and prevented wholesale slaughter of his colored brothers.
Whenever the executive could make opportunity without great
delay to inquire into these representations, he would generally
find them false, and would thereupon appoint a Democrat-
when no honest Republican could be found-who was friendly to
the just administration of these laws. Many of these offices were
filled by men who held seats in the Legislature, and who had in
their pockets plunder bills to be acted upon at the same ses-
sion of the Legislature to give them a start. There were a few
exceptions, among whom was Judge Goss, who resigned his
position as Senator as soon as he was appointed Circuit Judge.
The Governor, in several counties where it was held disrepu-
table to hold office under a Republican Governor, had to appoint
one man to fill two or three offices in order to get men friendly
to the new administration. Men whose names came up in the
Senate for confirmation, unless they were members of that body,
would have to come down with the cash before they could pass
through the gate of Purman and the other members of the
carpetbag family in that body. The Governor was forced to









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


appoint men as county judges and solicitors, some of whom it
was very doubtful as to whether they had ever seen the inside of
a law book. Many of the carpetbag office-holders, anterior to
their advent in the South had been blatant Democrats at the
North, but not even respectable cross-road politicians, yet who
now claimed to be great men, and the proper leaders of the
colored people of this State.
The second of these adverse agencies was the tendency of
the Bureau carpetbag members of the Legislature to rush
through corrupt legislation. These men, now secure in their
offices for the several counties, but yet members of the Legisla-
ture, were in a position to dictate to the Governor as to legisla-
tion. They now began to feel the Governor's pulse. A bill was
introduced in the Senate by A. A. Knight, an Osborn carpet-
bagger, while he was holding in his pocket a commission as cir-
cuit judge, "to incorporate the Florida Savings Bank." The
bill was one granting extraordinary and indefinite powers without
sufficient guaranties of protection to the public-rendering it
lawful for public officers to deposit the funds of the
State, and others to deposit trust funds, with no adequate
security; giving a company with $20,000 cash capital the power
to control an unlimited amount, and actually affording large
facilities for obtaining money from the people, and by a breach
of trust enriching the stockholders at the expense of the public.
The managers and stockholders were, of course, to be the
carpetbag office-holders. The bill was telegraphed from New
York by L. D. Stickney, one of Secretary Chase's direct tax com-
missioners for Florida. A check for $500 was sent to Knight to
secure its passage. It was passed in both Houses under sus-
pension of the rules, within twenty-four hours after its receipt.
It was taken to the Governor the same evening by Knight, who
requested its immediate approval, so that he could send a certi-
fied copy to New York by the next mail. He vouched on
the honor of a Senator" for its freedom from any obnoxious
features. The Governor held it for advisement over night;
returned it with his veto, and, on its return, the Senate, with
its swindling features exposed, did not dare to vote to pass it over
the Governer's veto. Even Knight himself did not so vote.
This was the first bill passed, and the first of the many vetoes









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


by which Governor Reed sought to protect the State against
fraud, corruption and villainy. This was a snug little place in
which to deposit the people's money and cry out "broke" after
making a division among the stockholders. The scheme was
entered into to rob both negroes and whites, as well as to make
away with the public funds.
This veto caused great consternation in the Osborn ring
plotters, and from that time out they swore vengeance against
Reed and his administration. Other infamous schemes were
invented at the same session, which came to naught through the
veto of the Governor. See "veto" journal of the Senate, page
224.
The Republican members of the Legislature who really
represented true republican principles, were in the minority,
and were, therefore, powerless to do much to arrest the disgrace
which these corrupt practices were bringing to the party; and,
as these schemes were adopted by a so-called Republican cau-
cus, any member of the party voting against them in the caucus
or otherwise was looked upon and denounced as voting against
a party measure, and was accordingly set down as a traitor to
the party. The most of the non-office-seeking and honest white
Republicans were denounced as Democrats in those palmy
days of corruption. J. H. Goss, J. E. A. Davidson in the Sen-
ate, and E. J. Harris in the Assembly were the typical white
Republicans in the Florida Legislature at that session. They
were Southern Republicans.
The "brothers in black," some of whom had heretofore
followed the Billings-Richards faction, seemed to have been
quite indifferent, either as to men or measures, since they had
lost their supposed great leaders, while some of them, such as
H. S. Harman and Richard H. Black, were men of education,
and did all they could at that session to pass a school law for
the education of the masses. Otherwise they seemed content to
enjoy full citizenship. They knew nothing, it seemed, about
stealing by legislation at that session, and had not the colored
members been associated with their bad white leaders, they
might have legislated for years before learning to steal by stat-
ute.
The Democrats at this session had very few members in









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


either branch of the Legislature, and amounted to but little.
Among the most noted of them were Dr. J. L. Crawford, of the
seventh district, now our able and courteous Secretary of State,
A. L. McCaskill, of the second district, and George P. Raney,
of the Assembly, from Franklin county, now one of the judges
of the Supreme Court, and one of the most incessant work-
ers in the legal profession that has ever adorned the bench.
Mr. Raney was a pure and honest Democrat, whose advanced
ideas the Democrats of the State may yet have to adopt to
make the party a true Democratic party, and save it from over-
throw.
The third of these agencies was the whites who had been
excluded from office by the i4th amendment of the Constitution of
the United States, who had previously taken an oath to support
the Constitution of the United States by reason of holding cer-
tain offices and afterwards giving aid and comfort to the rebel-
lion. The most of them had been politicians before and during
the war, and had great influence in their several communities.
They were now rampant, and when they would appear before
their people would represent themselves as persecuted men.
These men and their friends would seize on every corrupt meas-
ure or misstep of the carpetbag Legislature and carry it to their
people as the result of their exclusion, and with the cry of "negro
supremacy and domination" arouse the passions of their peo-
ple to fever heat. The fact of their former slaves sitting in the
Legislature, voting for an amendment to the Constitution which
excluded them from the rights of citizenship, was a little more
than human nature could have been expected to swallow with-
out some protest, as did the negro protest who had carried a
musket for nearly three years in defense of the Government, and
was then excluded from the rights of citizenship. But if the
carpet-baggers had gone in at the start for honest government
these men would have had no material on which to feed and
infuriate the people. Governor Reed would have been enabled
to muster enough of the Southern whites to the support of the
Republican administration in the State to have given it great
strength and respectability. The Governor was, from the
beginning, opposed to this wholesale plunder system, but the










CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


cry was, that it was carried on under his administration, and the
odium was thrown upon his shoulders. *
This Legislature made radical changes in the criminal laws,
as well as laws tending to protect the labor interests of the State.
After memorializing Congress to remove the disability of those
who had been excluded from citizenship by reason of participation
in the rebellion, which was voted for by every ex-slave in the Leg-
islature, both houses met in joint session and adjourned to meet in
convention on the third day of November to appoint the Presi-
dential Electors of the State.
T. W. Osborn, comfortably seated in the United States
Senate for the term of four years, now began to reorganize his forces
to resist the administration of Governor Reed. As United States
Senator he was enabled to prevent the appointment of any one
to a Federal office who would not agree to use his office in every
possible way to cripple and retard the State administration. No
officer was appointed with reference to his special fitness; but on
the other hand the only qualification that seemed to have been
necessary was that the applicant was a carpet-bagger, and that he
would join him in his opposition to Governor Reed. Only two
colored men were appointed to office by Osborn's endorsement,
and these two positions were insignificant so far as the emolu-
ments were concerned. Many of these Federal officeholders had
been appointed by Governor Reed to fill the offices in the sev-

NNOTE.-Failing to either intimidate or subsidize the Governor for their purposes
of plunder, as a last alternative, the Osborn ring, under the lead of Speaker Stearns,
in the Assembly, and United States Marshal Wentworth in the Senate, determined
to inaugurate a war of races," and thus compel martial law, so that the Federal
troops under the control of the marshal should have full sway. It was planned
in secret counsel that before adjourning the Legislature bills should be passed to
compel hotel keepers and railroad companies to receive and provide for negroes on
the same terms as whites, and thus place Ithe Governor between two fires. If he
approved the bills the whites would be provoked to violence, and if he vetoed them
the freedmen would all be arrayed against him, and his impeachment would be made
certain. Accordingly, two bills were framed and passed in the Assembly, making it
a penal offense to exclude persons from equal privileges in hotels or on railroad cars
on account ofcolor. To avoid difficulty, the Governor called the Republican Sen-
ators in council at the executive office and explained the impossibility of maintain-
ing civil administration with such aggravating legislation, and finally he declared
he could not sanction it. The only response was the immediate passage of the bill
and its immediate veto by the Governor. It was near the last day of the session;
and after the final adjournment the negro population had assembled in the rotunda
of the Capitol and unitedly denounced Governor Reed as a traitor, and then the plan
of impeachment was perfected, to be carried out at the next session, with Osborn to
prepare the charges and lHoratio Jenkins as prosecutor.









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


eral counties, but as the officers of the State and county had to
receive their stealing and pay in State and county scrip at a
discount-sometimes more than one-half-and the Federal offi-
cers were paid in greenbacks, it was an easy matter to get these
spoilsmen to swear undying allegiance to Osborn. These Federal
officers were appointed in every county, with instructions to resist
every one, be he Republican or Democrat, who was friendly to
the State administration, who should attempt to be elected to the
Legislature ; for it was here that Osborn proposed to block the
wheels of the administration. Whenever, by reason of the
scarcity of Osborn carpet-baggers in any county where Federal
offices were to be filled and the duties were too multifarious for
one or two persons, recruits would be sent from Washington to
take the vacant places. Such persons needed no teaching on
their arrival how to oppose Governor Reed, for that lesson had
been taught them before they left Washington. These officers
had great influence with the ignorant masses, who were taught
by them that they had been sent by the Government to oppose
Governor Reed. With this mode of warfare they would succeed
in every election for members of the Legislature to either carry
the Republican counties against the administration, divide the
Legislative delegation, or elect a Democratic delegation. The
latter was as great a victory to them as the former, as it tended
to show the authorities at Washington that the Governor, though
a Republican, was not backed up by his party, and enable
Osborn to secure the appointment of all the applicants whom he
recommended. To aid these officeholders to carry out the plans
of Osborn, the freedmen were told that Governor Reed had
gone over to the Rebel Democracy." This of course alarmed
the freedmen and for a time united the most of them against the
Governor. In the meantime the Osborn-Purman faction began
to subsidize such men as Goss, J. E. A. Davidson, E. M. Ran-
dall, and J. S. Adams, who were now sustaining Reed, and were
in favor of straightforward, honest Republicanism, while most of
the colored leaders were reluctant to give their full support to
the Governor, from the fact of his not having put one of their
race in his Cabinet. The Governor realizing this fact, and aware
of the snare which Osborn had constructed for him, sent for C.
H. Pearce, colored, who had been ousted from the Constitu-









00 CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.

tional Convention by Osborn & Co., and who had now been
elected to the Senate from the Eighth Senatorial District by a
large majority, and had a consultation with him with reference
to the conspiracy that Osborn and his officeholders had formed
to resist his administration. Pearce was convinced that the
Governor was sincere in trying to administer the government
with honesty and pledged himself to do whatever he could to
enlighten his people as to the true intention of the administra-
tion. Mr. Pearce was a minister of the A. M. E. Church, and
had great influence with the colored people throughout the
State. He was enlisted as an active agent and furnished with
money to visit the various counties where trouble existed and
quiet the apprehensions of the freedmen; and he rendered great
service in Leon, Gadsden, Franklin, Hamilton and other coun-
ties, in allaying the fears of the colored masses, who were being
constantly excited by appeals of the false leaders against the old
white citizens and Governor Reed, who was charged with being
their ally. This move on the part of Governor Reed had the
effect of mustering the most of the colored ministers to his sup-
port. The ministers throughout the State began to teach their
congregations that Reed was the embodiment of true Republi.
canism, while Osborn & Co. were mere tricksters and office-
seekers, which in time united a large majority of the colored
voters in favor of the administration of Reed. The Governor
was determined to make no attack on the conspirators except
when he would interpose his veto to corrupt measures; but he
held himself in readiness for them to do their worst.
On the 3d day of November the members of the Legislature
met in convention at Tallahassee to appoint the electors of Presi-
dent and Vice-President, the Legislature at its previous session
having provided this mode of election. Of course the vote of
the State was given to U. S. Grant. James D. Green, of Mana-
tee County, was 'appointed as messenger to convey the result to
Washington. A committee of the convention waited on Gov.
Reed and notified him of their assembling and asked if he had
any communication to make. He replied that he had none-
that they were not sitting as a Legislature but as a convention
for a specific purpose-that done they had only to adjourn. They
claimed mileage and per diem, and proposed to appropriate









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


money for this purpose. The Governor reminded them that
they had drawn their salary for the year and could only claim
mileage, which he would accord to them from the executive
contingent fund. They unanimously demanded to be called in
special legislative session, ostensibly for the sole purpose of
appropriating pay. The Governor, although fully advised of
the purpose of Osborn and his satellites to suspend him by a
resolution of impeachment, thinking it best to have the fight
opened then and there, acceded to the demand of the conven-
tion and called them in special session for a specific purpose.
Osborn's gang immediately forced through the Assembly the
following resolution:

Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to prepare
and report articles of impeachment against Harrison Reed, Gov-
ernor of Florida, with power to send for persons, papers and
records, and to take testimony under oath.

H. S. Harmon, colored, Green of Manatee, and M. L.
Stearns were appointed this committee. The resolution was
reported to the Senate as though Governor Reed had been
impeached, but the Senate was sitting without a quorum, as the
Democrats were not in their seats, as were not some of the
Republicans; therefore their proceedings fell flat to the ground,
so far as it affected the right of Reed to act as Governor was
concerned. William H. Gleason, Lieutenant-Governor, and
George J. Alden, Reed's Secretary of State, interpreted this
action on the part of the Assembly a little differently from that
of Governor Reed and his friends, and different from all prece-
dents of impeachment trials and investigations. The Constitu-
tion of the State making it the duty of the Lieutenant-Governor
to act as Governor in case of impeachment of the Governor, was
made to say that the fact of a resolution being passed by the
Assembly asking for articles of impeachment to be prepared was
equivalent to suspension, and therefore Gleason was Governor.
Alden, who before his appointment as secretary was frozen stiff
with poverty, had begun to pass through the process of thawing
from the genial influence of a good salary bestowed upon him by
the hand which he now attempts to bite. Gleason sets up his
claim as Governor at the old hotel in front of the Capitol, while









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


Governor Reed held the Capitol. Alden now deserts Reed and
recognizes Gleason as Governor and steals the State seal out of
the Secretary of State's office and attaches it to Gleason's docu-
ments. This went on for several days, during which time Reed's
office was guarded night and day by armed police. Gleason
becoming restless at not getting possession of Reed's stronghold,
ventured one day to take possession by stratagem. He came
into the executive office without saying anything to Governor
Reed, and sat there for some time. George B. Carse, Adjutant-
General, a very impulsive man, who understood the scheme of
Gleason, at once ordered him out of the room. Gleason made
answer that this was a public office and that he would not go
out, whereupon Carse made a lunge at him with one hand with
a revolver in the other. Gleason wore a fine beaver hat, which
went one way while he went the other, he retreating in double
quick time to the seat of his hotel government. The night fol-
lowing the day on which Gleason made his disgraceful retreat
Governor Reed made up his mind to move on the works of the
enemy. He commenced the attack by first using his pruning-
knife in his Cabinet. He beheaded Alden and appointed Jona-
than C. Gibbs, colored, as Secretary of State, and gave him
possession of the office, and in a few minutes Gibbs was seated
behind his desk receiving the congratulations of his friends.
Numbers of freedmen were sent for from the country to witness
and congratulate one of their race sitting in the Capitol as Secre-
tary of State. These calls and congratulations went on until the
next day, when Alden undertook to enter the door of the Secre-
tary's office. He was at once ordered away by the Governor's
police and the crowd of freedmen, who did not propose to see
Mr. Gibbs disturbed. He was told by one of the freedmen that
the scepter had forever departed from him, as he had sinned against
Governor Reed. He remonstrated with them and told them,
" All of us are true Republicans, my colored friends;" but the
freedmen retorted, "You no 'publican if youse want to go in
Mr. Gibbs' office." He was not long in finding out that it was
safer for him to be somewhere else, and with trembling limbs
made hasty steps away and reported to the wily Gleason what
great disaster had befallen one of the gang. The appointment
of Mr. Gibbs unquestionably added very material strength to









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


Governor Reed from the freedmen. They now saw that the
man whom the carpetbag element had been denouncing as their
enemy was more, disposed to deal justly by them than were his
traducers. Secret Watchers were kept on the track of Gleason
and Alden until Reed could sharpen his knife for the decapita-
tion of Gleason. On the 9th of November Governor Reed,
through his Attorney-General, Meek, assisted by J. P. Sander-
son, M. D. Papy and A. J. Peeler, filed a petition in the Supreme
Court of the State asking for a writ of quo warrant against W.
H. Gleason, requiring him to show cause why he should not be
ousted from the office of Lieutenant-Governor of the State of
Florida, he not having been a citizen of the State two years, as
required by the Constitution. D. S. Walker and Horatio Bisbee,
Jr., appeared for the respondent. One of Gleason's pleas was
that Governor Reed had solicited him to run for the office, which
was untrue, for Reed had personally protested against his run-
ning, and offered him a Cabinet position if he would decline;
another was that Governor Reed had instituted this suit in pur-
suance of a pledge made to Gleason that if he persisted in his
effort to supplant him he would oust him by legal process. The
proof was conclusive that he was holding office in violation of
the Constitution, and he was, therefore, ousted from his place
as Lieutenant-Governor of Florida. He appealed to the Supreme
Court of the United States, so as to hold on in name, but not in
fact, to the office until his term would expire. He knew, of
course, that the Supreme Court of the United States had no
jurisdiction of the case. The Osborn faction had by these two
ousters learned something of the fighting qualities of Reed, and
thereafter moved with more caution when they determined to
attack him. The object of the Osborn gang was to get Reed
out of the way and put Gleason in as Governor, and Horatio
Jenkins was to be appointed Lieutenant-Governor, and he, being
one of Osborn's henchmen, would not throw obstacles in the
way of legislation that might be introduced to enrich the gang.
The deposition of Alden and Gleason was a terrible blow to
them and the balance of their companions; but the Legislature
appropriated two thousand dollars to Gleason for attorney's fees
and expenses in making the fight.
In view of the conduct of the Legislature and the consequent









92 CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.

misapprehension and mutual distrust of the blacks and whites,
the Governor determined to secure some armament for the State
in case military force should become necessary. He visited
Washington and sought the aid of the government by claiming
from the Ordnance Department the issue of the arms due the
State under a rule which had been suspended during the war.
This was denied. He then called upon Governor Andrew of
Massachusetts and Governor Fenton of New York for a loan of
arms. This failing, he purchased through a personal friend in
New York two thousand stands of muskets and Enfield rifles and
four thousand rounds of ammunition on a credit of four months,
giving notes for $21,000. The arms were shipped and delivered
at Jacksonville, where they were received by the Adjutant-Gen-
eral, Carse, and General Houstoun, then president of the rail-
road company, and placed on board the cars to be delivered at
Tallahassee. A guard of Federal soldiers had been placed by
General Sprague at the control of the Governor, but fearing
difficulty if a military force appeared on the cars, General
Houstoun guaranteed their safe delivery if the guard could be
withdrawn. The arms were on board and the train started at
night with the Adjutant-General in charge. The railroad
employees, without the knowledge of President Houstoun, intro-
duced into the cars with the arms men engaged to throw them
out when they should reach Madison County, where a company
of Dickinson's guerillas was placed along the road to seize and
destroy them. All the ammunition and all but eight hundred
of the guns were thus thrown out and destroyed, or carried
away to be used by the enemies of the government. The rail-
road company was responsible to the State for the loss, but the
Osborn ring being implicated and in control of the Legislature,
sought to involve Governor Reed and deprive him of the power
and the means to pay the notes he had given, and the company
was not called upon for the damages.
Thus ended the first year of Governor Reed's administration.














CHAPTER VIII.


The Meeting of the Legislature of 1869, and Another Attempt at
Impeachment. Attempt to Bribe Members to Vote for Impeach-
ment. Extracts from Governor Reed's Second Message. Gil-
bert Compelled to Pay for His Seat in the United States Sen-
ate. Reed's Vindication.

The second session of the Legislature under the Constitu-
tion of 1868, met on the fifth day of January, 1869, and organ-
ized by electing M. L. Stearns, of Gadsden County, of freed-
men's provisions notoriety, as Speaker of Assembly, which
placed the lower house of the Legislature in the absolute con-
trol of the Federal office-holders, the Senate being presided over
by Gleason, who had appealed from the decision of ouster by
the Supreme Court of the State to the Supreme Court of the
United States. Samuel Walker, of the defunct Billings-Saunders
faction-and elected to the Legislature from Leon County, now
sought the opportunity to give active effect to his old prejudice
against Governor Reed for being, as he said, instrumental in the
overthrow of the Billings faction. Walker now renews the
attack upon the Governor by reciting a resolution relative to
impeachment passed at the November session. George P.
Raney, Democratic representative from Franklin County, offered
a substitute to the resolution, which reads as follows:

WHEREAS, It is known to this Assembly to be publicly
alleged that Harrison Reed, Governor of Florida, has done and
committed acts wrongful and unlawful, therefore, be it
Resolved, By the Assemby of the State of Florida, that a
committee of five be appointed by the Speaker to inquire into
and investigate the conduct, acts and doings of said Harrison
Reed, Governor of Florida, and that the said committee be
empowered and authorized to send for persons and papers, and
take testimony upon oath in the premises; and that the said
committee be required to report the result of its investigations at
its earliest convenience during the present session; and that it
accompany its report with the testimony taken in the said mat-
ter."








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


This resolution was adopted by a vote of thirty to five.
Samuel Walker, who at first seemed to have been so anxious for
investigation, voted against the adoption of the resolution for
the reason that he thought to extort from the Governor the posi-
tion of County Revenue Collector during the impeachment in-
vestigation. George P. Raney, a Democrat, was appointed
chairman of the investigating committee, which placed Governor
Reed between two fires. It was the purpose of the Democrats
to show all the shortcomings and misconduct of the Republi-
cans so as to break down anything like respectable government,
while the plunder-hunting Republicans, by urging impeachment,
expected either to get rid of Reed by impeachment or to com-
pel him to seek safety under their wing by pledging himself to
put his signature to all their corrupt legislation. To be driven
to the plunderers would be certain disgrace and death to his
administration and the Republican party of the State; and for
him, a life-long Republican, to be driven to the Democratic
party by these unprincipled men, would stigmatize him both
politically and morally as a coward. Relying upon an Allwise
Providence and the better judgment of fair-minded men of the
Legislature, Governor Reed stood firm as the rock of Gibraltar
to his Republican faith. While the committee was investigating
the charges against the Governor it became evident to the plun-
derers that they would not be able to ham-string him without
bribing some of the members of the Legislature. Their rooms
in the hotels were the scene of caucuses every night, sometimes
till near day. The great destroyer of the Divine promise of
"peace on earth and good will toward men," with its demon-
like redness and horrifying influence, was the chief attraction
in these caucuses. Men could be seen staggering to and fro,
breathing out curses against Harrison Reed. When conspira-
tors were convinced that a member of the Legislature could not
be beguiled by cigars and whisky, they would call him outside
of the room to have a "private talk" with him. Convention
scrip and greenbacks would be offered him to favor the impeach-
ment of Harrison Reed. These night caucuses became so ridic-
ulous and notorious that they brought forth the following reso-
lution :








CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


"WHEREAS, It is publicly charged that certain persons
have received large sums of money and State scrip to induce
said persons to use their influence to induce members of this
Assembly to favor impeachment of His Excellency, Harrison
Reed, Goyernor of this State; and whereas, It is publicly
charged that said persons are so using their influence with said
members; therefore, be it
Resolved, That the committee appointed by,this Assembly
to investigate the conduct and doings of His Excellency Harri-
son Reed, be and are hereby directed to investigate said charges
and report the result of their investigation in the matter to this
Assembly with their report- in the matter of the affairs of His
Excellency Harrison Reed; and the said committee are author-
ized to send for persons to enable them properly to investigate
said charges."
The Assembly resolved itself into a committee of the whole
on the resolution. They subsequently reported progress and
asked leave to sit again. This resolution acted as a bomb shell
in the camp of the conspirators, and from the time of its intro-
duction until the termination of the investigation of the charges
against Governor Reed, they had all they could manage to pre-
vent being exposed and arrested for bribery. The original
movers in this conspiracy were anxious that the resolution of
investigation of the charges made against Governor Reed should
be passed before his annual message was received. They
expected that the Governor would refer to the charges.against
himself and would in that message lay down his express line of
defense; but he, knowing what kind of men he had to deal
with did not refer in any manner to his traducers, and many of
them expressed themselves as being satisfied that they would
force him to resign before the investigating committee reported;
but little did they know yet the staying" qualities of the Gov-
ernor.
The two houses met in joint session on the 7th day of the
month to receive the message of the Governor. The designa-
tion of the Lincoln Brotherhood had now been changed by
those Republicans who desired good government to that of the
Osborn Ring. The Governor came forward and delivered his
message, which was clear and logical. Among other things he
said: With the election of America's great military chieftain
to the highest office in the nation, the peace, welfare and pros-









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


perity of the Union is secured, upon the basis of freedom and
equal rights. Thoughout our beloved State violent opposition to
the Federal authority and republican government has ceased,
and all classes of the people yield obedience to the laws. The
last embers of the late rebellion are rapidly dying out, and our
citizens, 'without distinction of race, color or previous condi-
tion,' are gradually uniting in behalf of common interests and
mutual prosperity. The newly enfranchised citizen of color
sits side by side with his white fellow-citizen without antagonism,
in the cabinet, in the halls of legislation, the jury box, and on
the boards of commissioners-occupies the magistrate's chair,
and executes the decrees of court without exciting violence or
occasioning asperity. The change since your last session is
marvelous, and calls for grateful recognition." In referring to
the organization of the militia, the Governor said: "Several
volunteer companies of patriotic citizens, both white and colored,
have been enrolled, and have selected their officers, but in the
sensitive condition of the popular mind I have deemed it
unwise to accept these organizations." The Legislature having
passed a law at its first meeting in 1868 authorizing the election
of a State Printer, the freebooters had no trouble to elect one of
their number to that office. It had been pre-arranged before the
meeting of the Legislature of 1868 what laws Osborn and his
gang would enact to secure them the possession of the State for
years to come. "Vandalize the State," was Osborn's order to
Governor Reed. Immediately after the Governor had delivered
his message, the ring had the Legislature to meet in joint session
and elected E. M. Cheney, of Jacksonville-subsequently tainted
with the notorious Yellow Bluff fraud-as State Printer. The
ring now had both Senators and the Representative in Congress
against the State administration, and the Jacksonville Union, a
paper published in the interest of Osborn and Company, with E.
M. Cheney, editor. The ring, elated at the success of electing
Cheney for State Printer, and thinking that they had a large
majority of the Legislature at their backs, went boldly to the
friends of Reed and informed them unless Reed resigned his
office as Governor within twenty-four hours after Cheney's elec-
tion as printer, he should be impeached and utterly disgraced,
and if the ring had to go to the trouble of impeaching and try-









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA. 97
ing him before they could get clear of him, he should wind up
in the penitentiary. These admonitions were carried to Gov-
ernor Reed by the true friends of the Republican government,
some of whom thought it best to let the government go into the
hands of these men and go to pieces; but the Governor, like
the brave Fitz James, said:

"Come one, come all, this rock shall fly,
From its firm base as soon as I."

The ring, now restless in spending so much money to
impeach Harrison Reed, was determined to compel others to
bear some of the burden. Abijah Gilbert, who had been elected
United States Senator to fill the term commencing March 4,
1869, the gold of whose purse yet reflected in the faces
of the spoilsmen of the last regular session of the Legis-
lature, was pitched upon as the softest and most available man
to fill and settle the whole bill. On the i9th of January a resolu
tion was introduced reciting the fact that large sums of money
had been used at the last session to secure the election of the
said Gilbert, and that under such circumstances the election was
unlawful and void. The Legislature thereupon went into an
election of United States Senator. It was not the intention of
the ring to elect another Senator, but this part of the game was
only to make Gilbert come down with the cash. They said
openly that Gilbert had not paid enough for his seat, and that
this proceeding was the only way to make him fork up the
coveted amount. Gilbert was on hand, and the old man was
frightened nearly out of his breeches, and you could see notes
flying from his room in the hotel to the Capitol to different mem-
bers of the Legislature, requesting them to call at his room, as
he desired to see them on special business. The members, who
understood the whole game, would smile when receiving these
messages from the old man, and would make haste to grant his
request. After he had seen them they would come back to their
seats entirely transformed relative to the election of United States
Senator, and after one night-calling had passed, the next day a
motion was made to indefinitely postpone the whole proceeding
as to the election of Senator, which was adopted by a unani-
mous vote. Those who had been foremost in denouncing the
7









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


election of Gilbert and declaring that he was elected by bribery,
could now be heard to say that his election was fair and honest.
They came near breaking the old man, and just before he left
Tallahassee he said to one of his friends, surely I have fallen
into a den of thieves." Men who came to the capital with
scarcely money enough to pay their fare on the railroad could
now be seen with rolls of money, evidently extracted from Gil-
bert, and they were of that portion of the carpet-baggers who
were interested in the impeachment of Harrison Reed.
The committee appointed to investigate the acts and doings
of Governor Reed on the 26th day of January appeared at the
bar of the House and made their report. There was a majority
and a minority report. The first charge against Reed was that
he had received five hundred dollars to appoint a person clerk
of the court of Leon county, which the evidence showed was
not true, but that the money was contributed to pay the indebted-
ness incurred by the central committee in the election campaign.
The second charge was that a balance of six thousand nine hun-
dred and forty-eight dollars and sixty-three cents in United States
currency, proceeds of Virginia and other State bonds, sold under
an act authorizing the Governor of the State to raise funds to
pay the expenses of this session of the Legislature, had been
used by the Governor and State scrip substituted for it. This
scrip was receivable for all State dues, while the cash was abso-
lutely necessary to carry on the State government then in its
infancy and opposed by foes without and pretended friends
within. The same witness who made the charge relative to the
Leon county clerkship presented another to the committee that
Governor Reed had, through a friend, offered to give him a
contract to make a set of maps for the Surveyor-General's office if
he would change his base and go in and work to prevent impeach-
ment. This a portion of the committee treated as manu-
factured evidence, and consequently untrustworthy. The
majority report of the committee did not make any recommenda-
tion. It was signed by George P. Raney, Democrat; F. N. B.
Oliver, Democrat; John Varnum, Republican; Henry S. Har-
mon, Republican; and E. Fortune, Republican. The minor-
ity report was signed by E. J. Harris and Auburn Erwin,
Republicans, and exonerated Governor Reed from the charges.









CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.


The Democrats were in doubt what to do; they did not want to
commit themselves to Reed, nor did they want to help the
plunderers, so they sat and watched the drift of things. Several
resolutions and motions were made reflecting upon the charac-
ter of the Governor. The ring worked long and hard, and at
first thought they would succeed; but when they saw H. S.
Harmon and E. Fortune, colored members, who had signed the
majority report, voting to exonerate him, they gave up the
sport. The following resolution was offered by Mr. E. Fortune,
member of the investigating committee:

"WHEREAS, The committee appointed on the 6th day of
January to inquire into and investigate the conduct, acts and
doings of Harrison Reed, Governor of Florida, has, pursuant
to instructions, reported the results of its investigations to this
body, accompanied with the testimony taken in the said matter;
therefore be it
Resolved by the Assembly of Florida, That the said Assembly
finds nothing in said report or testimony justifying an impeach-
ment of Harrison Reed, Governor of Florida."

This resolution was adopted by a vote of forty-three to
five, every member of the committee voting for it, and but one
colored member voted in the negative. This committee was
the creation of the ring, which shows how flimsy the testimony
against the Governor was, and how desperate they were in their
determination to remove him from between them and the people's
money. Osborn, who had now come down from Washington,
and was sitting in the hall when this vote was taken, swore
vengeance against every Republican who voted to exonerate
Reed; but his carpetbag friends gave him to understand that all
the negroes and Democrats had agreed to exonerate the Gov-
ernor, and that had they voted against him when they saw he
would be exonerated, it would have had the effect of driving all
the negroes to him and the Democrats, which action would have
soon lifted them out of their fat places. The ring now called
a caucus in the Senate chamber and pretended to make friends
with the Governor and to support his administration. Chief
Osborn was present and assured him that he was very sorry that
this attempt at impeachment had been made, and that he was
misled in the matter, and if the Governor would correspond








100 CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA.

with him in Washington no one should be appointed to a Federal
office who was not friendly to his administration. Many
speeches were made by the members of the ring, assuring the
Governor that from that time forth Osborn and his friends would
stand by him. Most of the carpet-baggers then in the Legislature
were holding State offices by commission from Gov. Reed, and
this agreement was made by Osborn and his followers so as to hold
on to the State offices as well as the Federal offices which had been
given them by the latter. This worked well for a time. Hon.
C. H. Pearce, who had succeeded in rallying the colored members
of the Legislature to the Governor, was very severe on the con-
spirators, and threatened to alienate the colored voters from the
carpet-baggers if this persecution of Reed was continued. Reed
appeared to be quite indifferent as to promises made by Osborn
& Co., and asked the colored men in the caucus to stand by him
if they believed he was trying to give the State an honest admin-
istration. After further assurances by the members of the ring
that Reed should be supported, the caucus adjourned sine die.




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