Governor Kellogg Threatened by Tax Resisters in Louisiana

Here are a few more data points from the tax resistance campaign by insurgent white supremacists, led by the shadow government of John McEnery, against the carpetbagger government of William Pitt Kellogg in post-Civil War Louisiana in .

From The Ouachita Telegraph, :

Kellogg’s Desperate Threats

The New York World advises our people in the following words:

This is the first instance in the history of our thirty-seven State Governments in which a governor has been constrained by his fears and necessities, to issue a menacing proclamation requiring the payment of taxes. It betokens an already empty treasury and no means to fill it. Kellogg has been but little more than two months in his bogus governorship, and in spite of the ready advance of their taxes by his few adherents he is constrained by his distresses and apprehensions to flourish and crack his lash over the shoulders of the tax-payers. By fulminating this unexampled proclamation he advertises his weakness and fears. He can borrow no money, for his government is so notoriously illegal that no lender would expect payment. If he should undertake to sell property for taxes, there would be no buyers, because an illegal Government could not give a valid title. Hence he is reduced to the necessity of resorting to bluster and threats. Having already got all he can collect from the few property holders among his own partisans, he tries to intimidate the weak-minded of his opponents, and scare them into furnishing the money without which his usurpation must soon collapse and perish. His proclamation is like a signal gun at sea fired by a pirate ship that is about to be on gulfed in the waves.

The advantages of the people of Louisiana for escaping the payment of taxes to support this usurpation are great and manifest. Its opponents comprise five sixths of the property holders of the State. They alone possess the means of buying property offered to be sold for taxes, and their hostility to Kellogg and his crew will prevent them from ever bidding a dollar on such property. No man will bid on that of his neighbor, and he feels assured that in return no neighbor will bid on his. As for buyers out of the State, they would be repelled by the inability of the Kellogg Government to give a legal title, and by the indignant hostility of every neighborhood against such mercenary interloping. If the State governments could support themselves, like the Federal Government, by indirect taxation, this form of resistance would not be easy. When duties are laid on imported goods, or an excise on whisky and tobacco, every purchaser pays the tax, and the people can protect themselves only by refusing to consume the taxed articles, as our patriot forefathers did in the Revolution. But happily this mode of taxation does not prevail in our State Governments. State taxes are direct; they are laid on property, not on consumption; they are paid immediately into the hands of the collector, not mixed up with the prices of commodities. There is no other penalty for non-payment than the distraint and sale of property, and property cannot be sold when there are no buyers. Kellogg’s supporters are chiefly the negroes who pay no taxes themselves, and are too poor to purchase the property of their white neighbors even if they could get the fee simple and a good title by paying one year’s taxes.

It is obvious that the Kellogg Government must come to an early end if the united property-holders of Louisiana passively withhold the supplies, and keep scornfully away from all auction sales advertised by Kellogg’s collectors.

Resistance to Taxation by the Kellogg Government.

Letter of Gov. M’Enery.

State of Louisiana, Executive Office,
New Orleans,

 I respectfully suggest that, with as little delay as possible, there be called in your parish a mass meeting of citizens to perfect a complete and thorough organization, with a view to resistance of collection of taxes by the Kellogg Government.

I will remain at my post at the Capitol and exercise, so far as practicable, the powers and functions of my office, and I appeal to the people of the State to rally to my support, and give me effective aid in my efforts to uphold their rights and liberties.

It is impossible that the Kellogg usurpation can continue beyond the meeting of Congress in , and if our liberties are worth anything at all they are worth a struggle against tyranny rand usurpation from now until Congress shall definitely act in our case.

Let there be unanimity among the tax-payers of Louistana, and the foul usurpation now headed by Wm. Pitt Kellogg will be blasted, and in due time Louisiana will be blest with the government of her choice.

John McEnery,
Governor of Louisiana.

Sustaining the Kellogg Fraud.

From the Union Record we have the following manly counsel:

While there is no earthly means by which we can, at the present, get rid of the Kellogg usurpation, we can refuse to give it any support. We can refuse to contribute anything toward it in the way of taxes. It cannot live without bur money — indeed it lives for our money. Withhold that from it, and it will soon come to grief. We notice that the movements of the tax resistance association in New Orleans has already alarmed the chief conspirator. He gives vent to his uneasiness through what is called a proclamation warning the people against refusing to pay taxes. We are not surprised at this. How natural it is for the wolf when he sees his prey slipping from his paw, to give vent to his disappointed feelings by a savage howl! So it is with Kellogg, the slightest prospect of loosing his prey, brings from his ravenous lips a threatening howl. Let our people take no notice of his threats, but, in every parish in the State, meet in counsel; form into associations, act in concert — as one man, and resolve not to pay one cent of tribute to the vile usurpers. If we are united we can accomplish good. We cannot individually. Unless the people will come together, and agree to act In concert, there will be no alternative but to meet the demands of the Kellogg tax collectors, and let the government of our choice dissolve into nothingness. Which we cannot afford to do, if, for no other reason, because all hope of having our rights secured by Congress is not entirely gone. It is true Congress adjourned leaving us in the hands of Grant, but it did not recognize the Kellogg government. Since the adjournment of Congress, the Senate has been in extra session and it still refuses to recognize either the Kellogg or Fusion government, by not admitting either Pinchback or McMillen to a seat in the Senate, but have expressly deferred the matter till the regular session in . Now if we permit the Fusion government to dissolve, and give in our voluntary adhesion to the Kellogg usurpation how can we hope to be heard in Congress at its regular session? So every consideration of self-respect, manhood, patriotism and interest demand that we give no support to the Kollogg usurpation, only as enforced at the point of the bayonet!

The U.S. Senate never did decide which of the rival Louisiana Senators (William McMillen or P.B.S. Pinchback) ought to take Governor Kellogg’s vacant seat and join them. Kellogg’s governorship lasted until , by which time the white supremacist Democrats, who had switched from tax resistance to terrorism, succeeded in regaining political control in the state.

The next piece comes from The Morning Star and Catholic Messenger, . Oddly, it does not mention the Kellogg/McEnery feud, but comes around to recommending tax resistance on the grounds that the present tax system is unconstitutional in the way that it uses “license” fees to enact what is essentially a poll tax on businesses, whereas the constitution says that any such taxation should be proportional to business income:

The above very brief statement of the violations of constitutional principles in the manner of levying taxes in this State, suffices we think, to show that the tax-resisters are justifiable. We consider it to be the right and duty of all good citizens, to refuse to pay an unjust, oppressive, exhorbitant, or unconstitutional tax, or system of taxation. This is their duty to themselves, to their country, and to republican institutions.

But, it may be said that all resistance is vain, that the resisters will be ultimately overcome, to their great loss, etc. Considering the utter disregard of right and conscience the powers that be have exhibited, the chances are in favor of those who predict that they will do evil. Still, we insist that resistance to wrong will ultimately produce good results. The mere fact of resistance will do good. The obstacles opposed to wrong, the difficulties it will be compelled to contend with, will diminish its confidence in itself, and make it hesitate or restrict itself to narrower limits. If its way is made easy it would be encouraged it and perhaps hereafter do worse. Then, the credit of the wrong-doer will be impaired, his resources diminished, and his ability to do harm be greatly crippled.

True, we have little to hope from the Legislature and Supreme Court of the State. True, though our State Constitution bristles with articles and clauses guaranteeing equal rights, the Supreme Court will refuse to enforce these in favor of the tax-paying portion of the people. Nevertheless, there is a gleam of hope from another quarter. There is a higher break in the clouds of oppression that have hung over our political skies. In their ardent zeal to emancipate and elevate the black man, the Northern States have added brand new articles to the Federal Constitution; and it turns out that these very articles may be turned against the wrongs, our Barbarian State Government would fain inflict on the white man. These new articles impose principles of equality upon the State Governments, and thereby insure the right of appeal from the Supreme Court of the State to the Supreme Court of the United States, in all eases in which this equality is infringed. The famous fourteenth amendment particularly has this effect. It says: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within in its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws.” Of course this applies when the State law itself denies this equal protection or infringes the principles of justice and equality universally recognised in civilized countries. If the State were to impose its taxes on negroes only, or at a higher rate than on white men, who can doubt that the Supreme Court of the United States would decide such inequality to be a violation of the fourteenth amendment. If this is clear then it is also clear they must decide that laws which tax a tailor and exempt a milliner — tax butchers and exempt bakers — tax merchant-tailors more than lawyers, notaries more than retail merchants, and retail merchants more than butchers or bakers and so forth, are, on the same principle, contrary to this article of the Constitution of the United States. Let the tax resisters therefore, never surrender, till they awake the whole people, the poor as well as the rich, in the future as well as to day, to a consciousness of the danger and injustice of such precedents and of such arbitrary modes of taxation. Public sentiment will have its effect in shaming the judiciary, and causing them to retract their sanction of such iniquities and absurdities. Besides, it is not unreasonable to expect that the Supreme Court of the United States will enforce the fourteenth Amendment according to its true spirit and meaning, and then we will be disenthralled.

From The Ouachita Telegraph, :

Payment of Taxes.

We invite attention to the proceedings of the meeting held on . The next meeting will be held on for the purpose of organizing the tax-resisters permanently. Meanwhile, provisional officers have been announced who will hasten on the work of organization. The people may rely upon it, that in Ouachita, and in every other parish in the State, there will be organizations to resist the payment of taxes to Kellogg. Ways and means will not be wanting to block the game of that model ruler.

The Shreveport Bar.

It is a pleasure to us to point our brethren of the legal fraternity all over the State to the action taken by nearly all the prominent members of the Shreveport Bar, respecting litigation in the courts over the payment of taxes to the Kellogg government. It will be seen by reference to the proceedings published on our first page, that a number of the leading lawyers of Shreveport are pledged to attend gratuitously to the defense in all tax suits brought by the Kellogg officials of Caddo parish. It will also be seen that a lawyer can, if he will, make himself, as well as any other citizen van, a party in opposition to political frauds, accomplished though they be, and can array himself in an attitude of professional hostility to an usurping power.

We commend, most warmly, the decided action of the Shreveport lawyers to the lawyers of Monroe who were actively engaged in the support of the Fusion cause, and especially to those who wanted to condemn every one who would not rush frantically to the support of Horace Greeley and of a combination in this State of all the political elements opposed to Grant and Radicalism. They led the advance then, and we now call upon them as leaders to stand like men in their chosen positions.

Tax-Payers’ Meeting

At a meeting of the tax-payers of Ouachita parish to take into consideration and to perfect an organization for the resistance of the payment of taxes to the illegal and usurping government known as the Kellogg government, it was moved and seconded that D. Faulk take the chair and D.C. Brown act as Secretary.

The meeting being called to order, it was moved, seconded, and carried that the Chair appoint a committee of five to draft resolutions to perfect said organization; whereupon the Chair appointed the following committee: Col. R. Richardson, Smith W. Bennett, Capt. G.W. McCranie, Fred Cann, and A.A. Lacy.

The committee submitted the following report, which was unanimously adopted:

, .

Your committee, appointed to consider and report a plan for resisting on the part of the people of the Parish of Ouachita the payment of taxes to the Kellogg government, respectfully report that they have had the subject under consideration, and beg leave to report—

That your committee is not in doubt of the illegality, from the beginning, of the said Kellogg government, and that, whenever its claims to our support are legally tested, opposition thereto will be affirmed as right and just. Our duty as citizens and individuals, therefore, demand of us the use of all legal and constitutional means to defeat the great outrage by which the people of Ouachita and the State have been defrauded of their rights; and your committee, believe that one of the rights left to them, and necessary to be exercised to show that the people are not untrue to themselves, their ancestry, or the cause of self-government, is the resistance of payment of taxes to the usurping government established by the affidavits of W.P. Kellogg and the illegal orders of Judge Durell. For the purpose of making more effectual this recommendation, your committee have considered it wise and just to suggest the organization of a Tax-resisting Association, composed of all the tax-payers of the parish opposed to the payment of taxes to the Kellogg government, which association shall organize permanently to resist the payment of such taxes, with such officers as will carry on the object contemplated by this meeting. It is further recommended that a public meeting for the purpose of organizing the Association, permanently, be held on , and that, meanwhile, the chairman of this meeting appoint provisional officers, consisting of a President, three Vice Presidents, a Treasurer and Secretary, who shall proceed to take charge of and prosecute diligently the duties of such offices for the purpose of organizing the people into an association to resist the payment of taxes to the Kellogg government, and to this end shall notify the people of the parish to hold primary meetings expressive of their views and to appoint delegates to the parish meeting and of the day selected for the public meeting above recommended, and shall make such collections of funds as may be deemed necessary to defray the expenses of a permanent organization. It is further recommended that the Provisional President caused to be prepared and circulated throughout the parish, for signatures, an agreement to be signed by all such tax-payers as will join and adhere to the contemplated Tax-resisting Association and will bear their share of the burthen in the effort to restore to Louisiana a government chosen by her own people.

Very respectfully submitted,
R. Richardson, Chairman.

The chairman appointed the following officers: Col. R. Richardson, Provisional President; S.D. McEnery, Eli Noble, Robert J. Wilson, Vice Presidents; G.W. McFee, Treasurer and Secretary.

On motion, the meeting adjourned.

D. Faulk, President.
D.C. Brown, Secretary.

And, from The Daily Phoenix of Colombia, South Carolina, of :

The Release of Mr. Edward Booth.

In the Superior District Court, on , in the case of the State vs. Edward Booth, now pending, to compel defendant to pay his license tax, the court adjudged that Mr. Booth had violated an order of the court, for which Judge Hawkins sentenced him to be confined in the parish prison for twenty-four hours and to pay a fine of twenty dollars.

From the present attitude of many of the citizens of our city to the State Government, the case naturally excited the profoundest interest, and the decree of the court in fining Mr. Booth and sending him to prison, naturally created a widespread sympathy. According to instructions, Mr. Booth was imprisoned on , for twenty-four hours.

On it was agreed among his immediate personal friends, the members of the tax resisting association, and their sympathizers, to make a grand demonstration, at the hour of his release, and escort him to his place of business, to show their sympathies, and in what approbation he was held for having become the object of an oppression, in the defence of his personal rights.

Before the hour of his release, a large concourse of people assembled before the doors of the prison, to hail the deliverance of the prisoner, and the anteroom was thronged with friends anxious to proffer the hand of sympathy and condolence. Presently, at , Captain Freneaux approached Mr. Booth and told him that he was free. Taking the arm of Mr. E.J. Ellis, Mr. Booth filed out of the room and stepped into a carriage in waiting, amid rousing cheers and a stirring air from the band. The carriage led off, followed by the band and the large concourse of people, who gradually fell into an orderly line of twos, to the number of about 400.

On the way, the marching assembly gave repeated and loud cheers, which were vociferous on beholding an effigy at the corner of Camp and Gravier streets, hung to a telegraph pole. All exclaimed, “That’s Kellogg! That’s Kellogg!” and the cheers were renewed. From thence the effigy was taken to the corner of Magazine and Gravier, and again strung up, this time to a lamp-post. Here a large crowd gathered, when some one applied a match to the effigy, and it was in a short time entirely destroyed.

The carriage containing Mr. Booth drove to the door of his place of business, and, on alighting from the vehicle, the crowd called loudly upon him for an address, to which he gave heed by mounting a box and motioning for silence. He thanked the assembly for the grand demonstration which they had made on the event of his release, but regarded the fervor rather to the merits of the principles which were involved, than a feeling appertaining to his case individually. He denounced the steps taken against him as a move showing that the most sacred rights of the people were jeopardized, and that the present administration was arrayed against the liberty of the people; that they had been outraged, and that it now devolved upon them to resist, by every legitimate means, the advances of this oppression. He cited to them the fact that their cause was now before the congress of the people — the nation itself — and not that body termed a Congress which assemble at Washington. The people of this country would eventually cry against the wrongs now being perpetrated, and they would be adjusted. He exhorted them to remember that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” and that to lie supinely dormant was to see every vestige of a freeman’s boon swept from them. Mr. Booth closed his remarks by saying: “This is a State where men know their own rights, and, knowing them, dare defend them.”

Colonel Smith took the stand, and, in the name of Mr. Booth, requested that the crowd now retire, at the same time urging them to be prepared and nerved to their work, and if occasion demand, let the halter be applied to him who would be the despoiler of a people’s liberty. — New Orleans Times.

There was also some tax resistance talk in South Carolina around this time, at least from the sound of this editorial from the Republican-leaning Orangeburg News of :

The Refusal to Pay Taxes.

We publish in another column an article from the Daily News & Courier. The wily “bold soger boy” who writes the leaders of that journal don’t criminate himself, much, but he “outs with it” any how. If troubles should come to the poor farmer whose all is his “homestead,” then this immaculate editor can say: “thou canst not say I did it.” But how a man professing to have the interest of his adopted State (for he is an Englishman) and her people at heart can write such an article is strange to us. Covertly he says it will not bring war. It will not cause blood shed. It will not bring down upon them the strong arm of the Federal Government. Gen. Grant will violate his oath, disregard the Constitution and break his party pledges just to allow his mortal enemies to run riot over this State. The article, and the communication to which it is an answer, has satisfied our mind that we are right in our convictions as to the real intent and purposes of the Tax Unions, which the Democracy are so strongly endeavoring to organize in every Township in each County throughout the State.

We quote from the communication referred to:

Let us analyze this tax question and the relief suggested by the proposal to withhold their payment. We refuse to pay our taxes as individuals, and at once the powers the be order a levy and sale, supported, if need be, by a posse comitatus. Here come in the colored militia, thoroughly organized and armed all through the State, swift messengers to do the bidding of those in authority. It is useless to talk of want of nerve on the part of our rulers. We have been taxed almost to death within four years past with this song ringing in our ears, “They will not dare to do it;” and yet, day by day, they have gleaned from fresh pastures, and broken every prop that has protected the property of our citizens. They dare all things here, backed by three departments of a government, burning in their zeal to handle the public funds. Wrapping the tattered constitution of the State about them, and swearing at every step to uphold the glorious flag, “Bugle Blast of a Robber Band,” they keep both hands in the treasury. We are advised to resist payment of the taxes according to the News and Courier, and Senator Robinson, the attornery-general [sic] and the President. Surely these be good advisers, and we dread to differ with them! We combine and resist the posse. Surely not through the courts, creatures of the Governor and Legislature. That would be a farce indeed. Then by force of arms! Collision with the militia, and grant, for argument sake, that we disperse them. Here go the wires at once demanding aid from the President to suppress insurrection and rebellion against law and order. Mind you, this posse will be the legally constituted authority of the State. When the militia of a State can’t carry out the laws, the constitution puts it upon the General Government, and under the law the President must interfere. This is about the theory and practice since the war. Then where goes the remedy? Is not my statement according to the law and the facts? I have no theory in the matter. If I had, it would go the other way. Surely if I am right, this is not the way of escape. I only make a formal statement of what lies heavily in the popular mind. The Tax Unions move slowly. I am impressed that this is one felt difficulty. The people, smarting still under the wounds of the late war, tread with caution upon ground that seems to imply a conflict that must in the end reach the Federal Government and command its aid de lege. If we are in error give us light, and you will infuse new vigor into the movement for our redemption.

“The tax unions move slowly.[”] Why! Because the principle that underlies them is rebellion. The mass of the people know it. They have had enough of rebellion and fighting the “powers that be,” and hence the tax unions move slowly. They teach the non-payment to a Republican Government of the taxes, which is nothing less than rebellion.

Well, all we have to say about it is, join the tax unions who ever may, the taxes will continue to be collected in this State, and the poor fools who do join these unions thinking that they will avoid the tax levy thereby, won’t have our sympathy, for if the dear-bought experience of the past won’t teach them to shun the advice of those whose motto is “rule or ruin,” nothing will.

Now we will look at this matter in another light. We will bring it directly home to the small farmer and land-holder.

Suppose you conclude to join the tax unions, and swear to resist the payment of the taxes only as you may be advised is right. What then? When the tax gatherer comes along, and don’t receive the taxes, the penalties are put on, executions issued, costs attached and then turned over to the Sheriff and he is ordered to levy on your personal property, which he must dispose of first before he can sell your land. Well, how many of you but what have personal property sufficient to pay your taxes? What next? You will resist the levy by the sheriff, he will call out the posse comitatus (militia) you resist it, which is rebellion, then the President comes in and views the situation — result — you pay the taxes, penalties, costs and all, added, and to your mortification find, perhaps, as the tax payers in Charleston did, that your advisers preach what they don’t practice.

Certain lawyers in Charleston went and paid their taxes and then advised the citizens of that city to resist the collection of theirs, and they would defend them in the Courts, of course, if paid for their services. But the thing leaked out, and the “stale lie” “damn the principle the money is what we want” was clearly demonstrated.

Well, your horses and mules, cows, sheep, corn and bacon, put up and sold, of what value is your homestead to you? If this does not realize sufficient to pay your tax, then your land is sold or forfeited to the State. We said in a previous article that it was not the land of the small land owner, that was forfeited for non-payment of taxes, but that it was that of the large land owner, whose uncultivated acres lies as waste places throughout the country. They have little personal property, or keep what they have under mortgage to cotton brokers in Charleston, and hence their land is levied on and sold or forfeited to the State.

In the article copied from the News & Courier, it is said no purchasers will be found to buy the land offered for sale; granted, but you will find purchasers for your horses and mules, corn and bacon, and the time is rapidly approaching when the State of South Carolina will provide land and homes for the thousands of poor people in this State who are now landless and homeless. If these parties who have allowed their lands to be forfeited to the State, don’t come forward and redeem the same by paying the taxes, &c., assessed upon them, they will be sold, and sold on such terms that purchasers a plenty will be found to buy them. Do you doubt it? What is to prevent the General Assembly from putting these forfeited lands in the market, for the taxes, cost, &c., due on them, on terms of ten years credit. It would be a good way to provide homes for the homeless, and it is folly to say purchasers won’t be found.

But we don’t anticipate any such a state of affairs. We are going to elect a Governor for the next term who will have the confidence of two-thirds of the conservative party of this State.

The taxes will be collected and the same properly and economically disbursed and accounted for. President Grant will stand by the Republican party in this State and aid them in a just and honest administration of affairs whatever may be said to the contrary notwithstanding. And hence we don’t believe there will be any war of races, we don’t believe there will be any rebellion, we don’t believe there will be one drop of blood shed in resistance to the collection of the taxes by the coming tax collector. We believe the great majority of the tax payers of this State have had enough of such advice as flow from the lips of such harpies as run the Broad Street newspaper.

The Republican party don’t intend to be scared or blustered into doing anything that will give the reins of government into the hands of the bourbon element of this State, “not if the Court knows itself, and it thinks it do.”

With the Hon. Daniel H. Chamberlain as our standard bearer, we fear not the “dogs of war.” And Tray, Branch and Sweetheart can yelp on.

The Sun, newspaper, however, which in its salutatory proposal to be independent, and proves to be a most rabid democratic paper — answers the News & Courier’s article, and twits its brother of shirking the question. Says that friends a plenty (dems. of course,) will hasten here from the Northern States to help them wage war if necessary. If war does come the conductors of such papers, and signers of tax union rolls, will be very apt to suffer as much as a people can suffer, and live.

Chamberlain was indeed elected governor of South Carolina in , so the editorial’s predictions are pretty good up to that point.

However, contrary to prediction, the Republican party did get “scared and blustered into [giving] the reins of government into the hands of the bourbon element” when Rutherford Hayes surrendered the South back into the hands of the white supremacist Democratic party in . Another notice on the same page as the above editorial shows that the editor was not so confident as he wanted to appear:

The opposition are organizing thoroughly all over the State — granges, tax unions and rifle clubs in every county. This means business, and why are the Republicans quarreling among themselves instead of organizing?

Here is another article from the same paper, presumably a reprint of the News & Courier article:

The Refusal to Pay Taxes.

Our correspondent, “Ninety-Six,” is mistaken in supposing that the strength of this paper has been thrown in the scale with those who see some remedy for our desperate situation in the “refusal to pay taxes.” The difficulty of security unanimity of action on the part of the taxpayers, especially in cities and towns, has prevented us from advising, what some of our contemporaries in the interior have advised, a square solid opposition to the State officials, taking the form of stopping the supplies. Nevertheless it must be apparent to every thoughtful citizen that, if the time is ever to come when the payment of taxes shall be refused, that time will be at hand when any such person as [Franklin] Moses or Chamberlain shall have been elected Governor of the State. The letter of “Ninety-Six” could not, therefore, have come more opportunely than it has.

The laws of the State undoubtedly give the State the power to sell, or forfeit to the State for want of bidders, any property upon which the taxes remain unpaid. Nobody denies that this power exists, but what is the practical value of it? In Charleston County, at the late tax sales, 260,000 acres of land were forfeited to the State. There were no bidders for them. It is doubtful whether such a title as would be given to purchasers at tax sales would be worth anything. However this may be, there were virtually no offers in Charleston for the lands exposed for sale. Suppose that, in every county of the State, nine-tenths of the property-holders refused to pay taxes, could there be any more bidders for the millions of acres than there are now for the thousands? Would there be more bidders, when it was known that the people had combined to resist ruinous taxation than there are now when no such combination exists? We think not! The greater part of the land in the State would be forfeited to the State Government, and what would the State do with it? The law does not provide for the sale of the lands forfeited to the State. They go to the State, and there they stay until the General Assembly shall take some action in regard to them. No disposition can be made of them until the expiration of ninety days from and after the day of the forfeiture, because for ninety days there is the option of redemption. And it would be difficult for any Legislature in this State to take any measure which would do other than put the forfeited land back in the hands of those to whom it originally belonged. During the ninety days allowed for redemption, and until some plan for realizing upon the forfeited lands should have been devised and carried into effect, the treasury would be empty and not a dollar could be drawn by any creditor of the State. In that fact lies the strength of the situation. Suppose, then, that the Legislature, stung by want of money and cowed by the determination of the people, should order the lands to be sold to the highest bidder, what then? No one would bid for them except the original owners or their agents, and they would bid very little. They would either get the lands back for much less than the tax and penalties, or they would allow the lands to be again forfeited to the State. No money there! Suppose, also, that the Legislature determined to give away the forfeited lands. Who would care to take them and live upon them? Now, there is not in the programme, as we have sketched it out, any suggestion of armed resistance to the laws of the State. All that is described is a passive resistance, a general refusal to pay taxes, either because an inability to pay, or because it is believed that the payment of one exorbitant tax only leads to the imposition of one still more onerous. There is no need of any militia, or of any posse; nor would there be any “domestic violence” justifying the intervention of the Federal authorities. It is not necessary, therefore, to discuss the question whether our rulers have nerve or not. We think that they have — in the Legislature, or the Courts, or in any crowd where the majority is with them. They have what Napoleon called “two o’clock “in the morning” [sic] courage, and we do not believe that any official in South Carolina would either steal, or cheat at elections, if he were assured that, as soon as his sin found him out, he would be treated to an ornamental coat of tar, trimmed with feathers, warranted to fit close and wear well. They dare anything as a mob or a party, but they will not face personal or individual responsibility, which is the one form of responsibility to which they have not been held. This, however, is outside of the matter immediately before us.

We are glad to lay the views of “Ninety Six” before our readers but, as we have said before, we think that he exaggerates the danger and difficulty of facing and overcoming the band of robbers, who are strong only as long as we are weak and disunited. When nine tenths of the taxpayers, aye! three-fourths of them resolve to pay no more taxes until honesty and intelligence shall control the government of the State, the thieves and their minions will be routed in a single campaign, without violence, bloodshed or loss of life or property. Then would the people say, Why in Heaven’s name, did we not do this years and years ago? The one difficulty is to get the people to stand together. Of that we see little prospect.

Part of what had gotten everyone in South Carolina so interested in the idea of tax resistance was that reports were circulating of a meeting between Judge T.J. Mackey, U.S. Senator Thomas Robertson, and U.S. President Grant in which Grant had been characterized as having been furious with the corruption in the South Carolina Republican Party, and in particular Governor Moses, and had said explicitly that he would not use federal troops to enforce exorbitant state taxes being raised for corrupt purposes. He also later said that the Attorney General was of the same opinion: “in the event of the continuance of the present corrupt Government in power, should the tax-payers of the State refuse to pay the taxes, the United States would not lend its assistance to enforce their collection; and I fully believe that the President would not permit the United States troops to interfere. … If the present officials are re-elected, or if there is not a decided change for the better in their successors, I firmly believe that the President will refuse to recognize the Government by withholding the aid it will require in the enforcement and collection of taxes.”

But I have also found a letter-to-the-editor written in , from a South Carolinan expatriate urging the “white man of Carolina” to resist taxes, which shows that the idea was already in the air:

An Appeal to Carolinians.

 — My fellow-citizens of South Carolina, you owe it to your manhood, to your country, to your wives and children, to refuse to pay another dollar’s taxes. To pay the tribute levied by an organized band of craven rogues, under the guise of a State Legislature, is to prove to the civilized world that the brutal African rogue and sneaking carpet-bagger is the superior in physical force, in mental bravery, and in manhood, to the white man of Carolina. You lay on your backs, when not toiling in the cotton fields, and moan, “My God, what is to become of us?[”] Start up, resist, pay no more taxes without representation, demand from the President and Congress a republican government in South Carolina and minority representation by the cumulative system of voting. As you are now, you invoke the contempt, yes, not even the pity, of the masses of the American people, who appreciate a people that help themselves and can prove their manhood. It does look as if all the brave men of South Carolina were either killed in the late war or have emigrated.

A National Republican.