Tax-Payers of South Carolina.
The Kind that Made Up the Hampton Meeting in Charleston — Men Who Pay No Taxes, or Pay with Worthless State Bank-Bills — A Contrast to the Meeting of the Supporters of Gov. Chamberlain.
From an Occasional Correspondent.
Charleston, . The Democrats of this State profess to believe that the surest way of breaking down the Government of the State is by refusing to pay taxes, and for this purpose they are holding meetings in different parts of the State. The first of these meetings, and the only one which has attracted any attention, was held in this city on , and notwithstanding the efforts of the Democratic press to make it appear that the meeting was a great success, it was a failure, both in regard to character and numbers. The hall where the meeting assembled, crowded to its utmost extent, cannot hold over 800 people, and it is certain that no one was turned away from that meeting because the hall was overcrowded. The more conservative Democrats had little or nothing to do with it, and the name of the largest Democratic tax-payer in the city is absent both from the call for the meeting and from the list of officers who were elected on that occasion — of which there was a large number, the officers constituting about one-fourth of the meeting.
The character of this meeting, however, as representing the tax-payers, can be best judged by an examination of the names of the persons attached to the call for the meeting. This call was signed by 68 persons, of whom five pay absolutely no taxes whatever, while 22 more might just as well pay no taxes, for they pay their taxes to the State in worthless bills of the “Bank of the State,” which the State is compelled by the decision of the courts to receive in payment of taxes. By the terms of the charter of this bank the faith and credit of the State is pledged to the redemption of its bills, which for years after the war could be bought for 5 or 10 cents on the dollar, but since the decision of the United States Supreme Court compelling the State to receive these bills for taxes, they have increased in value, though to the State they were more worthless even than Confederate money, since they cannot be used in defraying any of the expenses of the Government, but are destroyed as fast as received. It is in this way that these 22 men, among them the Chairman of the meeting, C.T. Lowndes, pay their taxes, or, in other words, swindle the State out of their taxes. To the State it makes little difference whether they pay them or not, and for all valuable purposes they are no more tax-payers than the five men who signed the call with them any pay nothing whatever.
Another one of the persons who signed this call is found upon the defaulters’ list, so that out of the 68 who signed the call but 40 can be considered as tax-payers. An examination of the tax-books discloses how much injury they will inflict upon the State by refusing to pay their taxes. Here are a few samples:
Isaac W. Hayne $1.45 J.B. Campbell 2.32 T.M. Hanckel 4.35 C.H. Simonton 14.94 B.H. Rutledge 59.83 C.R. Miles 67.05
The men who called this Charleston meeting, and elected themselves as the officers of it, are no worse, however, as tax-payers, than the few fools who are doing the same thing in other portions of the State.
As a set-off to this Democratic meeting, the law-abiding citizens of this city held a mass-meeting , at which fully 2,000 people were present, notwithstanding the extreme coldness of the weather, which prevented them from holding a large meeting in the open air as at first contemplated. They met, in the words of the call, “for the purpose of expressing their determination to maintain and support the lawful and legitimate Government of the State, of which his Excellency, Daniel H. Chamberlain, is the Chief Executive.” The meeting was a perfect success, and the enthusiasm that marked the proceedings indicated an earnest determination to sustain by every legitimate means the lawful Government of the State.…
This seems much like what happened in Louisiana around the same time. Rutheford Hayes, to cement his questionable presidential election victory (the Bush vs. Gore of his day), promised to withdraw federal support for Reconstruction governments in the South and to allow the white supremacist terrorist forces to take over. Carpetbagger Republican Daniel Chamberlain left South Carolina a few months after this article ran, and was replaced as governor by Wade Hampton Ⅲ, a former Confederate military officer and slave owner.