Title Page
 Front Matter
 Florida's Quadricentennial
 Editorial notes
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Chapter IX
 Chapter X
 Chapter XI
 Chapter XII
 Chapter XIII
 Chapter XIV
 Chapter XV
 Chapter XVI
 Chapter XVII
 Chapter XVIII
 Chapter XIX
 Appendix A: Constitution of Florida,...
 Appendix B: Last constitution framed...
 Appendix C: Message from the President...
 Appendix D: Florida political...
 Appendix E

Group Title: Quadricentennial edition of the Floridiana facsimile & reprint series
Title: Carpet-bag rule in Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00100330/00001
 Material Information
Title: Carpet-bag rule in Florida the inside workings of the Reconstruction of civil government in Florida after the close of the Civil War
Physical Description: xxxii, 444, 10 p. : col. coat of arms, ports. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Wallace, John
Publisher: University of Florida Press
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1964
Copyright Date: 1964
Subject: Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Politics and government -- Florida -- 1865-1950   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States of America -- Florida
Bibliography: Bibliographical references included in "Notes" (p. xxv-xxxvi).
General Note: Quadricentennial edition of the Floridiana facsimile & reprint series
Statement of Responsibility: A facsim. reproduction of the 1888 ed., with introd. & notes by Allan Nevins.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00100330
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University Press of Florida
Holding Location: University Press of Florida
Rights Management: Copyright 1991 by the Board of Regents of the State of Florida. This work is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/. You are free to electronically copy, distribute, and transmit this work if you attribute authorship. However, all printing rights are reserved by the University Press of Florida (http://www.upf.com). Please contact UPF for information about how to obtain copies of the work for print distribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the University Press of Florida. Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author's moral rights.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01534307
lccn - 64019163
alephbibnum - 000123288


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Table of Contents
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Front Matter
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Florida's Quadricentennial
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
        Page xix
        Page xx
        Page xxi
        Page xxii
        Page xxiii
        Page xxiv
        Page xxv
        Page xxvi
    Editorial notes
        Page xxvii
        Page xxviii
        Page xxix
        Page xxx
        Page xxxi
        Page xxxii
    Half Title
        Page xxxiii
        Page xxxiv
        Page xxxv
        Page xxxvi
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Chapter I
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Chapter II
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Chapter III
        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
    Chapter IV
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Chapter V
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    Chapter VI
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
    Chapter VII
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    Chapter VIII
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    Chapter IX
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
    Chapter X
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
    Chapter XI
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
    Chapter XII
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
    Chapter XIII
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 208a
        Page 208b
        Page 209
        Page 210
    Chapter XIV
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
    Chapter XV
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
    Chapter XVI
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
    Chapter XVII
        Page 290
        Page 291
        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
    Chapter XVIII
        Page 307
        Page 308
        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
    Chapter XIX
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
        Page 337
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
        Page 345
        Page 346
    Appendix A: Constitution of Florida, 1868
        Page 347
        Page 348
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
        Page 352
        Page 353
        Page 354
        Page 355
        Page 356
        Page 357
        Page 358
        Page 359
        Page 360
        Page 361
        Page 362
        Page 363
        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 366
        Page 367
        Page 368
        Page 369
        Page 370
        Page 371
        Page 372
        Page 373
        Page 374
    Appendix B: Last constitution framed after a new convention was organized
        Page 375
        Page 376
        Page 377
        Page 378
        Page 379
        Page 380
        Page 381
        Page 382
        Page 383
        Page 384
        Page 385
        Page 386
        Page 387
        Page 388
        Page 389
        Page 390
        Page 391
        Page 392
        Page 393
        Page 394
        Page 395
        Page 396
        Page 397
        Page 398
        Page 399
        Page 400
        Page 400a
        Page 400b
        Page 401
        Page 402
        Page 403
        Page 404
    Appendix C: Message from the President of the United States, transmitting papers relating to proceedings in the state of Florida, May 29, 1868
        Page 405
        Page 406
        Page 407
        Page 408
        Page 409
        Page 410
        Page 411
        Page 412
        Page 413
        Page 414
        Page 415
        Page 416
        Page 417
        Page 418
        Page 419
        Page 420
        Page 421
        Page 422
        Page 423
        Page 424
        Page 425
        Page 426
        Page 427
        Page 428
        Page 429
        Page 430
        Page 431
        Page 432
        Page 433
        Page 434
        Page 435
        Page 436
    Appendix D: Florida political frauds
        Page 437
        Page 438
        Page 439
        Page 440
    Appendix E
        Page 441
        Page 442
        Page 443
        Page 444
        Index 1
        Index 2
        Index 3
        Index 4
        Index 5
        Index 6
        Index 7
        Index 8
        Index 9
        Index 10
Full Text


of the
State of Florida

1961- 1965

Carl Sandburg has said: "Books say Yes to life. Or they say
No." The twelve volumes commemorating the Quadricentennial
of Florida say Yes. They unfold a story so adventurous and
thrilling, so colorful and dramatic, that it would pass for
fiction were the events not solidly rooted in historical fact.
Five varying cultures have shaped the character of Florida and
endowed her with the pride and wisdom that come from full
knowledge and abiding understanding. Let us enjoy with
deepening gratitude Florida's magnetic natural endowments of
sun and surf and sky. Let us also recognize in her unique
cultural heritage the pattern of energy and dedication that
will spur us to face the challenges of today and tomorrow with
I am grateful for the privilege of sharing these volumes
with you.



Late Senator from Leon Coutitv.

*i: _.. .I

of the 1888 EDITION


of the

University of Florida Press

'3;C QC -
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.I r r r r __

of the


of the 1888 EDITION




Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 64-19163




Secretary of State

State Comptroller

Commissioner of Agriculture

Attorney General

State Treasurer

Superintendent of Public Instruction


St. Petersburg
Ft. Lauderdale


Vice Chairman

Executive Director, Tallahassee

of the

CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA by John Wallace. 1888. Edited by
Allan Nevins.
liam Watson Davis. 1913. Edited by Fletcher M. Green.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA by Joshua R. Giddings. 1858. Edited by
Arthur W. Thompson.
M. Barbour. 1882. Edited by Emmett B. Peter, Jr.
LOUISIANA IN 1814-15 by A. L. Latour. 1816. Edited by Jane
Lucas de Grummond.
1924 by T. Frederick Davis. 1925. Edited by Richard A. Martin.
1836. Edited by O. Z. Tyler, Jr.
WAR by John T. Sprague. 1848. Edited by John K. Mahon.
PEDRO MENENDEZ de AVILES by Gonzalo Solls de Meras. 1567.
(The Florida State Historical Society edition, edited and translated
by Jeannette Thurber Connor.) Edited by Lyle N. McAlister.
THE PURCHASE OF FLORIDA by Hubert Bruce Fuller. 1906. Edited
by Weymouth T. Jordan.
IDAS by James Grant Forbes. 1821. Edited by James W. Covington.
Ribaut. 1563. (The Florida State Historical Society edition, includ-
ing a biography of Ribaut by Jeannette Thurber Connor.) Edited by
David L. Dowd.

The Quadricentennial Coat-of-Arms
Surmounted by the Crest symbolizing our National
Emblem and underlined by the Scroll, the Shield -
with the Tower of Spain in the Heraldic quarter of
honor, followed by the Fleur-de-lis of France, the
Lion Rampant of Britain, and the Mullets and Saltier
of the Confederacy depicts the four-hundred-year
cultural heritage of our Florida of today.

The Florida Quadricentennial Commission acknowledges its
deepest gratitude to Chase D. Sheddan,
distinguished scholar, and A. Vernon
Coale, noted Heraldic Artist, for their
conception and portrayal of the official
Florida Quadricentennial Coat-of-Arms.



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LORIDA enjoys a unique position
among the fifty states of the Union.
Her city of St. Augustine antedates
Jamestown, the second oldest Euro-
pean settlement within the present
boundaries of the United States, by
forty-two years. But it was not until
1950 that Florida entered the select circle of the ten
most populous states of the nation. Since 1950 she has
passed Massachusetts in population and is challenging
New Jersey for eighth place. Within the South only
Texas with more than four and one-half times the area
of Florida has a larger population.
Neither number nor age is necessarily a distinction,
but most Americans are impressed by the former and
revere the latter. Floridians view the recent and rapid
increase in their state's population as an indication of
youthful vigor. In 1860 eleven states of the Union had
a million or more inhabitants, a status symbol not at-
tained by Florida until the mid-1920's. At the turn of the
century Florida ranked thirty-third in a nation of forty-
six commonwealths; today she is ninth in population
among the fifty states. In contrast to the national increase
of less than 20 per cent from 1950 to 1960, Florida's
population increased by more than 78 per cent. The
number of people living in the state in 1964 is more than
twice that of 1950.
While boasting of their state's recent surge, Floridians
are also proud of their four-hundred-year-old origin. In
1957 the Florida Quadricentennial Commission was
established. With the approval of its members local or-

viii Florida's Quadricentennial
ganizations have celebrated the quadricentennials of
several historic events. The attempt of Tristan de Luna
to found a colony on the western tip of Santa Rosa Island
in 1559 was observed in Pensacola by reconstructing the
Spanish village settlement. In 1962 Jacksonville noted
the Quadricentennial of Jean Ribault's explorations with
a colorful drama. Even before this tribute to the French
explorer, a museum was built near the spot where in
1564 another Frenchman, Rene de Laudonniere, brought
the first Protestant colonists to an area within the present-
day United States. These and other quadricentennial
celebrations will culminate in 1965 with state, national,
and international observance of the founding of St.
There are many ways to celebrate quadricentennials-
parades, speeches, pageants, the re-creation of villages and
forts, and the restoration of buildings. Some of these are
spectacular but fleeting; others, including the restoration
of buildings, will remain for our descendants to see and
feel. More enduring than any of these are ideas. For this
reason the Governor, the Cabinet, and the Florida Quad-
ricentennial Commission gave priority to the reprinting
of rare and valuable books relating to Florida. These re-
productions will endure. They will enable many Ameri-
cans to share in the state's past, and will provide source
material for the historian.
Until recently few authors or publishers were inter-
ested in Florida. Englishmen brought the first printing
press to Florida in 1783 and from it came a newspaper
and two books. But for a century and a half the books
on Florida were rare and the number of copies printed
was small. In cooperation with the University of Florida

Florida's Quadricentennial ix
Press the Quadricentennial Commission is reprinting
twelve rare or semi-rare books. The subject matter in
these volumes covers a period of more than three hun-
dred years of Florida's history-the French and Spanish
settlements, the War of 1812, the purchase by the United
States, the Seminole War, the Civil War and Reconstruc-
tion, and the modern period. In addition to textual re-
productions, these facsimile editions contain introduc-
tions by businessmen, journalists, and professors. The
Quadricentennial Commission hopes these twelve books
will stimulate the production of other reprints and en-
courage students to write original manuscripts which
describe and interpret Florida's past.

The Florida Quadricentennial Commission

FRED H. KENT, Chairman-Jacksonville
GERT H. W. SCHMIDT-Jacksonville
H. E. WOLFE-St. Augustine


A century after its inception the Reconstruction Era
of Florida remains obscure, its details indistinct, its inter-
pretations varied, and its myths alive. The findings of lay
and professional historians published in the Florida His-
torical Quarterly and the unpublished theses and disserta-
tions at the universities of the state are known by relatively
few people. Pages 346 through 738 in William Watson
Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, pub-
lished in 1913, are the most comprehensive history of the
period and the source most frequently used by authors of
general histories of the United States.
Partisan though he was, Davis was not responsible for
most of the mythology of Reconstruction. These tenacious
myths describe a state ruled by Negroes; the "bottom rail"
placed on top by military force; white citizens disfran-
chised; the irresponsible, lawless acts of freedmen; whole-
sale graft by carpetbagger, scalawag, and Negro; and the
redemption of Florida by conservative white people. What
are the facts? Negroes never controlled any state or local
unit of government in Florida. The bottom rail was never
on top, for the whites retained economic, political, and
social control. Congress denied a sizable percentage of
white citizens the right to vote for delegates to the consti-
tutional convention of 1868 and to cast ballots for or
against ratification of the constitution, but at no other
time was the voting privilege of adult white males re-
stricted. Although crimes were committed by freedmen,
the most vicious acts and the greatest lawlessness were
perpetrated by Young Democratic leagues, Ku-Klux-Klan-
type organizations composed of white people. While there
was corruption, the carpetbagger, scalawag, and conserva-
tive white, not the Negro, received the plunder. By resort-
ing to economic and physical intimidation in 1876, the


conservatives kept some of the Negroes away from the
polls and persuaded others to vote "the right way." The
ultimate victory of the conservatives, however, rested on a
decision of the Republican justices on the state Supreme
Frequently writers concentrate on dishonest men and
bad measures, virtually ignoring the good that was ac-
complished. The constitution of 1868 was an excellent
framework of government. A wider democracy, educational
progress, desirable community services, and progressive
legislation were intermingled with knavery, lawlessness,
and avarice. The population of the state almost doubled
between 1860 and 1880, and there was a notable increase
in production and personal income. Crooks from every
political faction held office; but there were dedicated car-
petbagger, scalawag, white conservative, and Negro public
servants. Among the latter were Jonathan Gibbs, Josiah
Walls, and John Wallace.
A former slave from North Carolina, John Wallace
was mustered out of the United States Army at Key West
after a service of two and a half years. The self-educated
veteran distinguished himself as a member of the Florida
legislature and was employed by William D. Bloxham,
later to be twice governor of the state, as a teacher for the
Negro children on his plantation. Wallace had a flair for
writing. In 1888 his Carpetbag Rule in Florida was pub-
lished by a Jacksonville printer. The extent of Bloxham's
authorship of the volume is unknown, but the book was
used by the Democrats as a campaign document in the
election of 1888. The Democratic Party had been fright-
ened by the large protest vote of 1884 against the favorit-
ism shown big business during the Bloxham administra-
Allan Nevins is the dean of American historians.
Twice a winner of the coveted Pulitzer Prize for biog-
raphy and a recipient of the Bancroft and Scribner Cen-
tennial prizes, he graced the graduate faculty at Columbia


University as Professor of History from 1931 to 1958. He
is Senior Research Associate at the Huntington Library
and Chairman of the Civil War Centennial Commission.
The University of Florida Press is grateful to him for his
incisive introduction, and to Stanley L. West, Director of
Libraries at the University of Florida, for use of a copy
of Wallace's book.
University of Florida General Editor of the


The chapter entitled Reconstruction is one of the
most grimly depressing in all American history; a chapter
full of knavery, malice, blindness, brutality, and greed.
Although far less tragic than the Civil War chapter, it has
few of the countless redeeming flashes of heroism and de-
votion that illumine the pages of the bloody struggle, and
it is especially painful in that it seems to prove that the
national character held fundamental flaws.
Happily, however, the record of the dozen years after
Appomattox as written in Washington and the nation does
have several bright foils in the story of aspiration and
growth in other fields. Most striking, perhaps, is the pag-
eant of Western advance and development during the
same period. From the bitterness and demoralization sum-
moned to our memory by references to the Black Codes,
Military Districts, Ku Klux Klan, Impeachment, Freed-
men's Bureau, and Brooks-Baxter War, from the spiteful
debates, the abusive legislation, the riots, the frauds, and
the oppression of helpless blacks matched by the maltreat-
ment of impotent whites, we can turn to the opening of
mines, ranches, and wheatlands, the march of railroads
across plains and mountains, the swift rise of new cities
and states, and all the poetry and drama that cluster about
the Indian, the cowboy, the prospector, the cattleman, and
the transcontinental surveys. And if this does not suffice,
we can study the constructive economic revolution of the
In the story of Florida during the years from Lincoln
to Hayes, the chronicle at first appears monotonously dis-
tressing. Political and social Reconstruction, which was
sometimes really stagnation or retrogression, appears about
as seamy here as elsewhere; it is nearly as replete with
violence, prejudice, and stupidity. "Eleven years of night-

mare" is the phrase one Florida historian gives it.' Yet
this is far from the whole chronicle. While the clash of
factions, the muddle of legislation, the cheating and im-
becility, spread a canopy of gloom over good citizens of
both races, elements of a brighter scene were appearing.
Florida also had frontiers, geographic and economic,
on which to advance. It wrote into the first new constitu-
tion a provision for a State Bureau of Immigration. Men
who represented the best type of Yankee enterprise ap-
peared-the noted agricultural writer, Solon Robinson,
for example, who helped build housing in Jacksonville.
The health-seeker and tourist began to arrive, with a na-
tional figure in the vanguard-Harriet Beecher Stowe,
who settled on the broad St. Johns in 1868 and celebrated
the beauties of the district in her letters. Interest in citrus
cultivation revived, and trees were transplanted and bud-
ded by the hundred thousand. Alert people, writes one
observer, concluded that "men, money, and labor" could
transform the peninsula. In her books Rodman the Keeper
and Jupiter Lights, the novelist Constance Fenimore
Woolson meanwhile suggested that sympathetic good will
could bring the two races into partnership.2
Eleven states took part in the drama of Reconstruc-
tion, and the story of one cannot be understood in detach-
ment from the others. Each has its special elements of
significance, but each repeats the same broad themes. Al-
though Florida's story is as interesting as any, historians
treating of the whole scene have too frequently neglected
it. For one reason, Florida was peripheral, and had never
played the central part in Southern affairs that Mississippi,
Georgia, and Virginia did. For another, the state was rela-
tively poor and weak. Its population of 140,000 when the
war began, including 61,500 slaves, made it seem un-
important in comparison with the five members of the
Confederacy whose population approached or exceeded
1,000,000, and the four others which exceeded 600,000.
The entire peninsula south of Tampa was empty, with an



average of fewer than two inhabitants to the square mile.
Only the strip just south and east of Tallahassee, border-
ing on Georgia, could be termed well populated. At a
time when most Southern wealth was popularly measured
in broad plantations with large gangs of slaves, Florida
was a land of small farmers and "crackers." When hostili-
ties opened it had only 77 plantations of a thousand acres
or more, and only 211 additional holdings of more than
half that size. Nearly four-fifths of the slaveholders owned
fewer than fifteen slaves apiece.3
Still another reason why the historian James Ford
Rhodes, for example, gives a full column of page refer-
ences to Mississippi and another to Georgia in the index
to his volumes on Reconstruction, and not even a quarter-
column to ,Florida, lies in the happy exemption of the
state from the most sensational types of violence and out-
rage. Appalling as some occurrences were, they less fre-
quently justified wild headlines than those in other parts
of the South. The provisional governor when the war
ended, ,William Marvin, was a man of high character: a
former judge, a resident of the state for a quarter-century,
a Unionist who had opposed secession, a man whose mod-
eration made him generally respected by perceptive whites
and Negroes alike. The first elected governor, David S.
'Walker, who took office at the beginning of 1866, was an-
other moderate: an old-time Whig, a lover of the Union,
and a deservedly popular citizen.4 When military recon-
struction went into effect the following year, the fact that
most of Florida's coastal area had been under the domina-
tion of the Union army or navy from an early date in the
war made acceptance of the new regime easier. The fact
that during the heated 1850's Florida had fewer fire-eaters
than most of the South-David Yulee, for example, became
more conservative during the decade-was also helpful.
At any rate, Florida's history seemed quieter if not
happier than that of some of her sisters; it contained few
of the lurid episodes we find thickly scattered through the



pages on Tennessee and North Carolina in the report of
the Joint Committee on Reconstruction to the Thirty-
Ninth Congress, and subsequent documents. The state had
its organizations which practised intimidation and vio-
lence: its Ku Klux Klan type of regulators on the one side,
its Union Leagues and Lincoln Brotherhoods on the
other. The chapter which William Watson Davis calls
"The Outbreak of Lawlessness" in his history of Florida
Reconstruction is horrifying. We read with equal repul-
sion of the way in which Negroes murdered former masters
(sometimes, no doubt, with cause), and the way in which
parties of young white men, including local aristocrats,
dragged offending Negroes into the woods for the ghastly
purpose of executing them. But the Klan was never so
ruthless as in areas where the Invisible Empire first spread
its tentacles from Nashville. Florida never had a governor
as corrupt and unprincipled as Franklin J. Moses, Jr., the
scalawag executive of South Carolina, or so universally
hated as Henry Clay Warmoth, the carpetbagger head of
Louisiana. It never had a race riot so alarming as those
which took place in New Orleans and Memphis in 1866, or
an encounter between white citizens and colored police
as savage as that which shocked New Orleans in 1874.
From the beginning, the white conservatives of Flor-
ida, deprived of self-government, couched their sense of
desperation in moderate language. It was as a veteran
adherent of the Union that Governor Walker protested
against the Fourteenth Amendment on the ground that it
would disfranchise thousands who had witnessed secession
with bleeding hearts, and had assisted the rebellion only
out of respect for the authority of the state. Some special
pleading appears in this; probably not more than 5 to 10
per cent of the population supported the Union in 1861,
and the devotion of many was shallow. But the language
in which a legislative committee described popular griev-
ances in the autumn of 1866 was eloquent without being



"Our present relations with the general government
are certainly of a strange character," ran its protest.5 "Be-
yond the postal service, our people derive no benefit from
our existence as a State in the Union. We are denied
representation even when we select a party who has never
in fact sympathized with armed resistance to the United
States, and who can, in good faith, take the oath. We are
at the same time subject to the most onerous taxation; the
civil law of the State is enforced and obeyed only if it
meets the approval of the local commander of the troops
of the United States; the Congress of the United States
enacts laws making certain lands subject to entry at a
small cost by the colored portion of our population, and
denies the like privilege to the white man by restrictions
amounting to a prohibition. We are, in fact, recognized as
a State for the single and sole purpose of working out our
own destruction and dishonor."
And it is refreshing to find how earnestly Governor
Walker, like Governor Harrison Reed, the Republican
carpetbagger from Wisconsin who took office in 1868, tried
to repress extremists on both sides. Walker deplored the
hysterical attacks of Southern newspapers upon the North,
and the resentful assaults of the Northern press upon the
Southern people. Sensational journals of Radical Repub-
lican hue played up every brutal assault and treacherous
murder below the Mason and Dixon Line; angry sheets
supporting conservative Democracy retaliated with "every
instance of elopement, murder, theft, robbery, arson, bur-
glary, starvation, destitution, Mormonism, free-love, and
so on until their readers are taught to believe that the
North is utterly corrupt."6 Truth lay between. Similarly,
Reed tried to restore harmony by following a median pol-
icy. He appointed some Democrats to important offices
along .with Negroes and imported Republicans, took care
to give the state a sound judiciary, surrounded himself
with a good cabinet, and discouraged appeals to prejudice.
The result was that he displeased every group. The native



white population had little use for a carpetbagger, no mat-
ter how wise and fair. The Negroes violently denounced
him, especially after he vetoed a bill to make railways and
hotels give the same accommodations to Negroes as to
whites. A clamor for his impeachment arose which kept
the state in political turmoil until his exit after the elec-
tion of 1872.
Perhaps the most unnerving spectacle of these years
was the constitutional convention which began its sessions
in the first days of 1868. Of this Wallace draws a graphic
picture. Some of the Negro delegates were so illiterate that
they would try to read the journal of proceedings upside
down. T. W. Osborn, head of the Freedmen's Bureau, an
ambitious Yankee on his way to the United States Senate,
directed one of the leading groups.7 An Illinois carpet-
bagger named Daniel Richards, elected president of the
convention, delivered an address which urged bestowal of
the ballot on all Negroes and other loyal men while dis-
qualifying all who had engaged in "treason and rebel-
lion." The City Hotel in Tallahassee was thronged with
delegates holding caucuses, drinking whiskey, and gladly
receiving bribes from anybody who offered them. For the
first time many a former slave tasted champagne and
smoked expensive Havana cigars. The wonder is that the
instrument finally adopted was as liberal and workable as it
proved. Patterned largely on the constitutions of Vermont
and Missouri, it gave the ballot to whites and blacks on
equal terms. But it was long before men forgot the tur-
moil as the convention divided into two angry groups, and
General George Gordon Meade intervened to decide the
outcome of its labors.
This drama of Reconstruction had villains of melo-
dramatic stature. One was Osborn, whom Wallace harshly
stigmatizes as a "plunder hunter." Another was W. J.
Purman, a lawyer from Pennsylvania who will be remem-
bered in history as chairman of a commission established
in 1869 to enter into negotiations for transferring West



Florida to Alabama, a result never achieved. (He closed
his active career by "engaging in agricultural pursuits" in
his native state.) Most picturesque of all the villains, how-
ever, was Milton S. Littlefield, who strode forth on the
stage in 1869. W. W. Davis, who calls him an extralegal
lawmaker, furnishes a description of the man: "Compactly
built, with an almost hypnotically clear eye, a ready ton-
gue, an agile brain, a supply of money, and a lordly air."
He saw his opportunities chiefly in the railroad field, and
he tbok them. Most notably, he played a part in the nefari-
ous transaction by which $4,000,000, in state bonds issued
for public works, went, as Governor Reed put it, "to one
of the firms of swindlers who abound in New York and
which by fraud and villainy have diverted much of the
proceeds from the work for which they were issued." The
$4,000,000 in bonds netted the sellers $2,800,000, of which
only $308,000 was even ostensibly used to build and equip
Florida railways; the rest went into private pockets.8
The history of these years also had its heroes, for hap-
pily Florida was not lacking in men of ability, probity,
and public spirit. One little-regarded hero was Samuel
Fleischman, a Jewish merchant who met death stoically
because he had expressed views hostile to white supremacy,
and stood unflinchingly by them. Brave Harrison Reed, a
pugnacious battler in an impossible situation, may be re-
garded as a hero, even though far from unblemished.
What John Wallace has to say of his struggle seldom fails
in interest.9 The most impressive figure of the time, how-
ever, in Davis' thorough history as in Wallace's more
biased pages, is William D. Bloxham, who well deserves
the place accorded him in the Dictionary of American
Descended from an Englishman once employed by
George Washington at Mount Vernon, and born at Talla-
hassee, Bloxham had been educated at William and Mary
College, had fought under the Confederate flag as captain
of a Florida company until his health failed, and had then

become a planter. Florida in the last two years of the war
produced a great part of the beef and bacon on which
Confederate troops depended. When peace came, he
sprang into the struggle against the control of the state
by Negro and carpetbag leaders. In 1870, making speeches
in every county, he was elected lieutenant-governor. Two
years later he was defeated for governor; but in his strenu-
ous campaign he laid the foundations for the organization
which in 1876 was to wrest the government from radical
hands. Eventually, but not until 1881, he did occupy the
gubernatorial mansion.
It was Bloxham who, as Governor Reed himself testi-
fied, foiled a plot in 1868 to take Reed's life. A hostile
faction was besieging the state capitol; by firing guns close
to his residence, sending up rockets by night from its head-
quarters at the city hall, and using clamor and threats, it
tried to frighten Reed into resigning. When it hired a
notorious thug as assassin, only Bloxham's intervention
made the man abandon his intention. As Ruby Leach Car-
son demonstrates in her essay in the Florida Historical
Quarterly,10 Bloxham was ever an advocate of conciliation
and harmony. He told the convention which nominated
him in 1872 that "the men who followed with honor the
Lost Cause unite . with those who, with equal heroism,
were led to victory under the Star Spangled Banner," and
added to this bit of rhetoric words which Southerners
might well recall today: "We not only lay aside our preju-
dices, but we assert the equal political rights of all men
of every color and condition, and shall see to it that they
are ever preserved inviolate." Such statements do some-
thing to justify John Wallace's characterization of Blox-
ham as "a political giant." He was more than the "clever,
polite, entertaining" man of one newspaper description;
he was a leader of determination and liberal vision.
War and politics by no means monopolized his ener-
gies. His work as an agricultural experimenter and leader
of the Grange is still remembered. He labored to encour-



age immigration, and was proud of his many friends
among the Northern Republicans who came to Florida.
He did what he could to encourage education. Establish-
ing a school for Negroes on his plantation in early Recon-
struction days, he hired John Wallace for teacher. Wal-
lace, a slave in North Carolina until 1862, possessed no
formal education. But he served for two and a half years
in the United States Army, and by the time he was dis-
charged at Key West on January 1, 1866, he had picked up
a creditable amount of knowledge and had developed -an
innate talent for self-expression.
It was out of the relationship between Wallace and
Bloxham that the valuable book now reprinted was born;
and a certain amount of mystery as to the authorship in-
heres in the friendship. That Wallace was a man of great
natural talent nobody can doubt. By 1888, the date of
publication, he had gained prominence among leaders in
the Florida House and Senate, serving twelve years in all.
He knew well what he calls "the inside workings" of gov-
ernment in the Reconstruction period-perhaps no man
knew them better. His honesty in dealing with carpetbag
iniquities and Negro "immorality" harmonizes with all
that we know of his public integrity. We would wrong one
of the finest early representatives of his race if we refused
to treat the book as his own. But Bloxham told W. W.
Davis that he had given Wallace some assistance, and in
certain parts of the volume the aid may have gone beyond
mere advice. The text relates, for example, that in the
campaign of 1872 Bloxham as Democratic candidate was
endorsed by a convention of so-called Liberal Republicans
who held fierily extreme views; and with a touch worthy
of Gibbon, it adds that "the road looked clear for Blox-
ham until his so-called friends took the stump." We can-
not help feeling that Bloxham himself may have supplied
this touch.
The points of view (we must use the plural) in this
history are curiously mixed. Although it presents an un-

flinching attack upon the carpetbag regime and all its
agents, it expresses a warm loyalty to the Republican
Party insofar as that party can be separated from the
carpetbaggers. Again, although it deals harshly with many
an individual scalawag, its treatment of the native whites
of Florida is in general quite friendly; it is the kind of
treatment that Bloxham would have accorded them, and
here in particular he must have influenced Wallace. Al-
though the author does not gloss over the illiteracy, in-
dolence, general ignorance, and susceptibility to evil in-
fluences found among the Negroes, he is in general a de-
fender of the Negro race. _t times we are tempted to see
Bloxham holding the pen, or at least strongly directing it,
as in the treatment of the Black Code of 1865; this, states
the historian, was a defensible set of laws, for they were
not meant to be enforced rigorously against all Negroes,
but only to be used in restraint of the most unruly and
vengeful. The assertion that Union soldiers treated the
freedmen in certain areas so badly that their former mas-
ters had to intervene and rescue them is again the kind of
statement that Bloxham could have written more readily
than a former slave who had worn the Union uniform.
But in this chaotic period, with so much of right and
wrong on each side of the incessant conflicts, discrepant
judgments and conflicts in points of view were unavoid-
able. Only a highly partisan and egregiously simplified
history could avoid them. We must wish that Wallace was
less vehement in his indictment of the Freedmen's Bureau
as a "curse" which operated only to mislead, debase, and
betray the Negroes. Deplorable though its political machi-
nations were, it opened some schools, built some hospi-
tals, and distributed a great many much-needed supplies
to the those who needed them. We must wish that more
had been said of the good measures which the carpetbag
legislatures mingled with the bad. This would have given
the Wallace or Wallace-Bloxham volume more balance
and comprehensiveness. It would have been well to men-



tion the heroic war record of Thomas W. Osborn, the
alleged plunderer; for this chief of artillery of Meade's
Eleventh Corps at Gettysburg was one of the most distin-
guished gunnery officers of the conflict, as Colonel Charles
S. Wainwright's vivid book, A Diary of Battle, shows.
Nevertheless, we cannot ask too much of a work writ-
ten so close to the events it narrates, and by an actor or
actors in the scenes described. There is ample credit availa-
ble for two men in a book so valuable in substance. With
all its shortcomings-its confused organization, its weari-
som4"detail in the delineation of party and factional strug-
gles, its want of analytical power, its confusions in outlook
-it stands among the priceless original narratives of Re-
construction historyjfascinating at many points to the
attentive general reader, and indispensable at nearly all
to the student.

April, 1964 ALLAN NEVINS

1. Kathryn T. Abbey, Florida: Land of Change (Chapel Hill,
N. C., 1941), 293.
2. An account of new economic steps taken may be found in
George Winston Smith's interesting article, "Carpetbag Imperialism
in Florida, 1862-1868," Florida Historical Quarterly, XXVII (Oct.,
1948, Jan., 1949), 99-130, 259-99.
3. The volume by William Watson Davis, of the University of
Kansas, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida (New York,
1913), one of the products of William A. Dunning's noted seminar
on Reconstruction days, is almost purely political, with no material
of importance on economic and social change. This is the more re-
grettable because the first chapter of the book gives an enlightening
exposition of the development of the old slaveholding regime. But
the second volume of Caroline Mays Brevard, A History of Florida
from the Treaty of 1763 to Our Own Times, edited by James A.
Robertson (DeLand, Fla., 1925), offers interesting pages on social
and economic history.
4. See Davis, 430-32, 434-37.
5. Text is in Annual Cyclopaedia, 1866 (New York, 1867), 326.
6. Ibid., 326, 327.



7. See George R. Bentley, "The Political Activity of the Freed-
men's Bureau in Florida," FHQ, XXVIII (July, 1949), 28-37; a judi-
cious and tolerant view.
8. Paul E. Fenlon, "The Notorious Swepson-Littlefield Fraud,"
FHQ, XXXII (April, 1954), 231-61, is an illuminating account of
railroad financing in Florida, 1868-71.
9. Cortez A. M. Ewing, "Florida Reconstruction Impeach-
ments," FHQ, XXXVI (April, 1958), 299-318, treats some of Reed's
struggles in detail.
10. "William Dunnington Bloxham: The Years to the Gover-
norship," FHQ, XXVII (Jan., 1949), 207-36.

Carpetbag Rule in Florida

PAGE 8, LINE 18: As the proclamation. Provisional Governor
Marvin correctly gave notice that a state government must be estab-
lished which would guarantee liberty to all inhabitants alike, with-
out distinction of color. At this time, according to the New York
Tribune of June 12, 1865, emancipation had met a prompt and
often cheerful acquiescence from former slaveholders, and nine-
tenths of the freedmen on the plantations were working for wages
and would be paid. The economic status of the Negroes was im-
proving. But as for social and moral status, the Tribune correspond-
ent believed that the recent masters had no ability or disposition to
promote it, and would let the freedmen remain in their existing
condition. William Watson Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruc-
tion in Florida, 344.
PAGE 12, LINE 37: Some of the gentlemen. This assertion is
highly dubious. The New York Herald of November 8 had reported
that in the elections to the convention, the friends of the Negro had
all been defeated. "The election as a whole was a formal declaration
that the Negro should be a social, civil and political outcast." The
convention very reluctantly decreed in formal terms the extinction
of slavery, and did this by a vote of only 20 to 14 (Davis, Civil War,
361). The convention unanimously restricted the vote to white
males, and, in a quite gratuitous statement, declared its emphatic
disapproval of any plans for enfranchising the Negro. When Gover-
nor Marvin counseled repudiation of the war debt, the convention
attempted to evade the issue, and acted only after being shown a
telegram from President Andrew Johnson to the governor of North
Carolina declaring that repudiation was an essential prerequisite to
restored membership in the Union. The popular Marvin was
actually in advance of most of the white voters. We must reject
Wallace's statement, for which he offers no evidence.
PAGE 35, LINE 28: Some of the laws . seem . oppressive.
To an unfortunate extent, the "black code" in Florida, as in other
states, was oppressive. As various historians have pointed out, most
Southerners wished to place the freedmen in the position of the
free Negro of ante-bellum days, this being a poor position halfway
between those of the slave and of the white man. Much was to be

said for some provisions of the code. To imprison a petty offender
would have been to take him out of the fields or other places of
employment; it therefore seemed better to make whipping a punish-
ment. For the protection of white women and children, Negroes
were denied firearms, but this denial seems seldom to have been ex-
tended to their use of guns for hunting. Nevertheless, the code was
excessively harsh in its penalty of death for burglary; its provisions
for dealing with vagrancy, and for the' "apprenticeship" of minors,
seemed to open the door for a virtual revival of slavery; and in
other respects it weighted its scales too heavily against the freedmen.
PAGE 40, LINE 30: curses upon the swindler, Stonelake. This
account of Stonelake's rascality is accepted and endorsed by W. W.
Davis. The pathetic belief of many freedmen that the government
would give each family "forty acres and a mule" sprang, in the
main, from two facts: the fact that the Freedmen's Bureau, created
by Congress in March, 1865, was given authority over abandoned
lands in the states that had been scenes of war, and did distribute
some such lands to former slaves, while encouraging other Negroes
to buy or lease at low rates; and the fact that various leaders of the
new regime in the South, white and colored, made indiscreet and
unfounded promises.
PAGE 42, LINE 10: Thomas W. Osborn. Thomas W. Osborn
was unquestionably a man of more than average capacity and
energy. He had been born in New Jersey in 1836, had been taken
to North Wilna, New York, by his parents at the age of six, had
been graduated from Madison (now Colgate) University in 1860,
and a year later had been admitted to the bar. Entering the Union
army as lieutenant, he rose to the rank of colonel. In his later years
he practiced law in New York City, and died in 1898.
The Freedmen's Bureau had to discharge many duties, eco-
nomic, social, and political, and it was beyond human power in the
chaotic and impoverished South to perform them all well. General
0. O. Howard, as head, did his best, organizing the South in ten
districts; Osborn, of whom General Charles S. Wainwright gives a
favorable account in A Diary of Battle, had been Howard's chief of
artillery, and had won his trust. Howard characterizes him (Auto-
biography, II, 218) as a "quiet, unobtrusive officer of quick decision
and of pure life." The work of the Freedmen's Bureau in famine
relief, medical assistance, and above all in education, deserved
praise. It is to be noted that by June, 1866, Osborn had fifty-one
schoolteachers, two medical men, and eight hospital nurses working
in his Florida district. The Bureau also did much to put the Negro
on his feet as an independent worker, and to see that he had effec-
tive judicial protection. Wallace's account of it is to be taken with

strong reservations. It was in the political field, where officers of
the Bureau became organizers trying to establish a Republican Party
in the South, that its activities became most objectionable; and
Wallace gives most of his attention to politics, with a view some-
times biased.
PAGE 55, LINE 8: W. J. Purman. William James Purman had
been born in Center County, Pennsylvania, in 1840, and educated
in the common schools and Aaronsburg Academy there. After teach-
ing school, he studied law at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. During the
conflict, he served on special duty at the War Department until he
was transferred to Florida in 1865; but he gained no rank, or at any
rate later made claim to none. In 1870-72 he was Federal Internal
Revenue Assessor for the Florida district, and it was from this post
that he was elected in 1872 to the Forty-third Congress, gaining re-
election two years later to the Forty-fourth. He was a member first
of the Republican State Committee in Florida, then in 1876-80 of
the Republican National Committee.
PAGE 63, LINE 8: Richards and Saunders. Neither Richards nor
Saunders ever gained election to Congress.
PAGE 79, LINE 18: election of United States Senator. Florida
had no representation in the United States Congress from 1861 to
1868. But in June, 1868, the legislature filled the vacancies for the
two terms to expire March 3, 1869, and March 3, 1873; Adonijah S.
Welch of Jacksonville taking the former, and Thomas W. Osborn of
Pensacola the latter. Then for the next, or Forty-first Congress,
Abijah Gilbert of St. Augustine was seated to serve until March 3,
1875. Such was the political confusion in Florida that rival claim-
ants appeared for both Osborn's and Welch's places, but were re-
jected by the Senate. See Congressional Globe, 41st Congress, 2d
Session, pp. 3053, 3054, for some account of the claims.
PAGE 127, LINE 37: Bloxham who rallied the masses against
Stearns. Obviously all the eulogy of Bloxham, while in the main
well merited, must have come directly or indirectly from the man
PAGES 128 FF, LINE 6: Osborn, who was anxious to be returned
to the United States Senate. This account of the legislative election
of 1870, and of Governor Reed's struggle with the "ring" of corrupt
men mismanaging Florida affairs, has general validity. Bloxham was
beginning to organize the forces of conservatism, which as Wallace
sees them were identical with the forces of reform. It is to be noted,
however, that such statements as that concerning Osborn's offer of a
$5,000 bribe to a friend of McInnis seem to rest on hearsay evidence,
and Wallace offers nothing to substantiate them. The conversations
here reported verbatim also tax the credulity of the reader. The



"Osborn ring" no doubt had its own version of the events here re-
hearsed. This part of the book, while valuable in its own way, has
a much flimsier character than the documentary portions.
PAGE 139: End of chapter. It is to be noted that the volume
has a curious hiatus respecting the year 1871, except for some later
material on pages 153-56 on preparations for the impeachment of
Governor Reed. In the Forty-second Congress, Representative Ben
Butler of Massachusetts offered a caustic picture of Florida at this
time. "Here it is also true that we have a Republican governor and
a Republican legislature," he said, "but the legislature is powerless
to protect its members, and the governor is inefficient or powerless
to execute the laws" (Congressional Globe, 42d Congress, Ist Session,
p. 447; April 4, 1871). Butler went on to say that Charles M. Ham-
ilton of Marianna, Florida, a former Union captain and a member
of the Fortieth and Forty-first Congresses who had become senior
major general of the Florida militia, had just written him that a
friend in his county had been murdered by the Ku Klux Klan
merely because he was so popular that he would carry a coming
election against a Democratic opponent. Butler also read two letters
from St. Augustine detailing outrages against loyal citizens "by a
disloyal horde of semi-savages." Such violent language suggests how
heated was the atmosphere of the time, how serious was the social
demoralization throughout much of the South, and how unavoidable
was the strong partisanship evident in Wallace's history. In Febru-
ary, 1871, Congress passed a law strictly regulating the election of
its members, and in April it passed the Ku Klux Klan Act (U. S.
Statutes at Large, XVI, 433; XVII, 13). These drastic measures were
designed to strengthen the radical governments in the Southern
states, thus aiding the Republican Party, as well as to suppress
PAGE 217, LINE 10: S. B. Conover. The efforts of Simon B. Con-
over to gain a seat in the United States Senate, frustrated in this
legislative session of 1872 but finally successful the next year (see pp.
266-77), lifted a busy, ambitious carpetbag physician to a national
position. Conover, a native of New Jersey, was only twenty when
the war began, but he had begun studying medicine at the Univer-
sity of Pennsylvania, and in 1863 got an appointment as acting
assistant surgeon in the army. His service in the Army of the Cum-
berland took him to Tennessee, and he found opportunity for more
study in the medical department of the University of Nashville,
graduating in 1864. Then he served in military hospitals in Phila-
delphia, Cincinnati, and Lake City, Florida. He was a delegate
to the constitutional convention of 1868 which gave Florida a rather
surprisingly good constitution, and is granted a footnote mention

by W. W. Davis in his account of that gathering. Conover's service
in the Senate was undistinguished. In dealing with the events of
1876 in Florida, Davis terms him one of the reputed friends of
reform within the Republican Party, adding that the precise shape
reform would take has never been clear. He was not a candidate
for re-election in 1879, but ran for governor in 1880. After his de-
feat by Bloxham, he removed to the state of Washington and re-
sumed the practice of medicine. As Wallace notes, a much abler
man, Wilkinson Call, a Confederate veteran of fine record and a
nephew of the eminent Richard Keith Call, succeeded to his seat in
the Senate.
PAGE 219, LINE 24: The State was carried for the Republicans.
All over the country in 1874 a new tide was rising strongly, and the
long-suffering people of the South, afflicted by so much misrule,
plucked up hope. The vindictiveness so manifest in the North just
after the war was ebbing, and a more reasonable attitude toward
the Southern whites was becoming evident. A Democratic House of
Representatives was chosen, and this fact gave the states below
Mason and Dixon's line some assurance of protection. In Alabama
and Arkansas conservatives carried the elections; in South Carolina
the voters chose a governor who, though nominally a radical, was
pledged to conservative reforms; and in Florida and Louisiana the
margin by which the old regime was sustained was narrow. It was
evident even to President Grant, who had gone to extreme lengths
in 1873 in keeping the much-hated carpetbaggers in power in Louisi-
ana, that the policy of the Administration would have to be modi-
fied. In Arkansas that year he deserted the radical claimant to the
governorship, Elisha Baxter, and permitted the conservative candi-
date, Joseph Brooks, to take the executive reins. Grant's next mes-
sage to Congress would indicate his realization that federal inter-
ference by force in the Southern states was becoming unpopular
PAGE 277, LINE 24: the J., P., & MA., railroad. The attention
now given to the Jacksonville, Pensacola &c Mobile and the Florida
Central railroads could possibly be said to have its healthy side in a
realization that, as Rembert W. Patrick states, "transportation was
the key for opening the potentialities of Florida" (Florida Under
Five Flags, 67); it certainly had an unhealthy side in opening a wide
door to corruption. Although by 1880 Florida was receiving an ever-
larger tourist traffic, river and coastal steamboats were still the main
vehicles of travel. Before 1861 the trustees of the Internal Improve-
ment Fund had based the credit of railroad bonds on state lands.
The few railroads were of course bankrupt at the end of the war,
and were sold. Unpaid bondholders had a valid claim on state



lands, but the state government made unsuccessful efforts to turn its
lands into money. It was important to rehabilitate and extend the
railroads, and for this task the carpetbagger regime was in every way
unfitted. Not until 1880 were the great successful railway builders,
Henry B. Plant and Henry M. Flagler, to appear.
PAGE 334, LINE 7: Each party now had their candidates. The
election of 1876 was stained by intimidation, violence, and fraud,
both parties being guilty. The Democrats took steps to prevent
Negroes from voting by systematically planned outrages and threats
of stern action-reprisals at the polls and loss of employment after-
wards. They saw to it that every white man cast his ballot. Great
numbers of printed ballots were distributed among the citizens,
white and colored, and Negroes were bidden: "Vote this if you
know what is healthy for you. If you refuse, you will take the conse-
quences." The Republicans were equally unscrupulous.
States Rembert W. Patrick (Five Flags, 59), "careful planning
resulted in many a Democratic victory. According to one story, the
Democrats stationed a confederate in a back room of the voting
place with a supply of ballots and a ballot box almost identical to
the official one. As each voter cast his ballot, the Democratic inspec-
tor yelled 'Check!' and the back-room worker dropped a prepared
ballot into his box. The Democrats had made sure no lamp would
be available, and in the darkness after the voting had ended, the
fraudulent ballot box was substituted for the legal one." In many
precincts, however, the election was fairly conducted.
PAGES 339 FF, LINE 8: Before the polls closed. Wallace is almost
unquestionably correct in declaring that Tilden was wrongfully de-
prived of the electoral vote of Florida. He was counted out in
the state by what C. Vann Woodward terms "flagrantly partisan and
arbitrary decisions." S. B. McLin of the Florida Returning Board
later declared that he had become convinced that the state's elec-
toral votes should have been cast for Tilden, and although Presi-
dent Hayes treated the statement with contempt, McLin was right.
The consensus of opinion among historians is that Hayes was really
entitled to the electors from Louisiana and South Carolina, but
that Tilden should have received the Florida vote, which would
have made him President by 188 to 181. See Woodward, Reunion
and Reaction, 19 ff, for a judicious view.





Late Senator from Leon County.

Price $1.50.


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IAte senator from Leon Oouty.



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 from the
service of the United States at Key West, January Ist, iS66, 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 upon 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


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 of these strange white leaders termed "carpet baggers;"
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-
ied 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
lmrida. Respectfully,


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 13th, A. D. r865, 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. I86i-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:

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


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 iith day of January, IX61, 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


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 number 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-
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


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
"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,
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 w hite male person of the age of


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 ip 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 nith, 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


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
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.
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.


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
Sto carry out the policy of the President. Some of the gentlemen
with whom I was acquainted expressed themselves to me that



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 it reference to negro



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*
caused, 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



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 vatn, 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.
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-



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 us to 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."


The Election of the First Governor after the Civil War, and the
Organization of the Legislature under the Constitution of r865.
The Remarks by Governor Marnin 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, x865,
and elected Joseph John Williams, of Leon County, Speaker,
against G. Troup Maxwell, of Leon, by a vote of twenty to
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


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,



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 valu-
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



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 dawn ng 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-



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 ot 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



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
ends, 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 o:F 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



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 and
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



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 df 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
We have been able to give an honest and conscientious as-
sent to all that has beer. 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



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 horne 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 Governot 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. IR was written
and delivered by John Wallace at the celebration of the seven



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 caNed 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 s.,vay was held.



'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 as a 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
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-



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
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,
anti 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



but illy adapted to the present exigency. In view of the great
increase of minor offenses which may be reasonably anticipated
from 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,'



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 19 Howard, S. C. Rep., 393. In the



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, and 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,



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.'



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-



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



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 cases where some of the freedmen would go
around plantations hunting,with apparently no other occupation,


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.


Governor Walker's Short-Lived Administration. Conduct of White
Soldiers Toward Freedmen. The Freedmen Electing a Con-
gressman, as They Thought. Stonelake's Fraudulent Latnd
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 was 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


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 1866 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



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 them. 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
freedmen 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 the place.
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 was 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 farms; and as most of them had to work for a por-
tion of the crop, it induced them to seek homes of their own.



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,
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 misled,
debased and betrayed. The agents of this Bureau were stationed
in all the cities and principal towns in the State. They over-



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



ticket, and while Stearns was counted out Hayes was counted
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-
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



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
inter guard in like manner. The outer guard would then report
the number present desirous of becoming members, 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 thd 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
I do solemnly swear that I will protect and defend the
Constitution and government of the United States against all



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
secretspof 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



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



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,



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-



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 I868. 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 1886 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.



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. Ratification 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,
15th and i6th of November, I867, under the formal supervision
of the military. The question submitted was, For a Conven-
tion, or, Against a Convention; and for delagetes 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. I o:
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.


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
Tenth District-Lafayette and Taylor-J. R. Krimminger.
Eleventh District-Alachua-Horatio Jenkins, Jr., William
K. Cessna, Josiah T. Walls.
Twelfth District-Columbia-S. B. Conover, Abram Erwin.
Thirteenth Dirtrict-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 20th, 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
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.



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:


"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
con fided 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



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 in 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."



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



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



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


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 oi


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-



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 ioth. 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



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,Lbut 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. M., 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



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,



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 meeting and adjournment of the
convention, be expunged from the journal until the 18th 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 th 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."



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 20th 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


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