Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/76
Last Chapter of Reconstruction in South Carolina. 75
It was a time-honored custom to celebrate the 226. February with a military parade; for several years past this parade had been fur- nished by the Rifle clubs; and so little of sectionalism or of partisan spirit had entered into this celebration, that in Charleston, at least, a portion of the United States troops were always invited to participate in it, and always accepted the invitation. Arrangements were-made this year for the usual military parade. On the morning of the 2ist an order of the President was published that no Rifle clubs should be allowed to parade the next day. The Governor instantly issued an order, which was published all over the State, postponing the celebration of Washington's birthday, until it might be done without fear of interruption from the President. The latter endeavored to defend this petty act of spite by referring to his proclamation of October, in which he had commanded the Rifle clubs to be dis- banded, thus justifying one act of tyranny by the plea of consistency , with another. But in fact there were no longer any Rifle clubs in existence, as all had been absorbed in the militia and lawfully commis- sioned by the Governor.
THE COURTS AT LAST COME TO THEIR SENSES.
The civil government extended over the greater portion of the State, but there were some important districts in which the sheriffs, being of the Radical party, refused to acknowledge Governor Hamp- ton, and would not permit processes issued by trial justices of his appointment to be served. This was particularly and offensively the case in Charleston. Bowen, the partisan leader of the Radicals, was sheriff of the county. He refused to serve the processes of the trial justices, or to allow the jailer to receive prisoners under their warrants; and the people saw, with quiet indignation, one man deter- mining for the whole county that the man whom they had repudi- ated should exercise the powers of a governor. The circuit judge was applied to for relief, but shrank from assuming responsibility. At last, about the middle of March, a case occurred in which the judge was compelled to act. But even then he acted with indecision. He could not refuse to acknowledge Hampton, he dared not deny the claims of Chamberlain. He adopted the course agreeable to all weak men. He ordered the sheriff to respect alike processes issued by both parties.
This dual government was fraught with too much danger to be pa- tiently endured. In about a week a case was again brought before