Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 12.djvu/210
200 Southern Historical Society Papers.
mystery connected with this whole transaction. The Attorney- General was unwilling to sue and declined the assistance of some distinguished lawyers in Columbia who had urged the prosecution. One Ladd who had been an employee of Parker, and who had attempted to escape on Parker's arrest, declared on the trial that he saw in Parker's possession coupons to the amount of $450,000, which were to be distributed among partes whom he named. Par- ker himself was to have $75,000 and Chamberlain $50,000. On this testimony the jury found that Parker was indebted to the State in the sum of $75,000, the value of the coupons which he had kept as his share of the plunder, and took no notice of the $300,000 which had been lost by his connivance, thus actually sanctioning the monstrous act by which he had thrown away such an immense sum that he was bound to keep. He ought to have been convicted of a gross embezzlement, he was treated as an insolvent debtor. Judge Carpenter ordered him to be kept in jail until the debt should have been paid. A practice had grown into use in this State for the State officers to go to the North to enjoy their holidays. Judge Carpenter went to the North soon after the Parker case was over, and the Governor also went away for recreation. Parker, after remaining in jail a short time, made his escape, but was quickly captured, and now an extraordinary effort was successfully made, not only to release him, but to give him absolute freedom from all claims which might be brought against him. Judge Mackey, from another circuit, was brought in to try a process of habeas corpus.
This eccentric judge decided that the verdict of the jury had made Parker a debtor to the State ; that as the prisoner had represented that all his property lay in the State, the State could proceed only against that, and that he could not be imprisoned for debt. After this release of a prisoner guilty of such gross embezzlement, the sheriff proceeded to rearrest Parker for other fraudulent transactions, but was repulsed by the judge, who declared Parker to be under the protection of the court. A day or two afterwards Parker was brought before a trial justice on a charge of fraudulent transactions, and was released on slender bail. Not long afterwards he withdrew from the State.
It is needless to go over the several incidents of the summer, the election riots in Charleston and the unblushing effrontery of the petty officials of the government. There was scarcely a day in which the white people were not made to feel that the struggle was at hand, the event of which was to be their liberation, or to plunge