A Box of Matches Only Cost 5 Cents
C. M. Calhoun

The general government formed what was known as the Freedman's Bureau; a Freeeman's bank was also formed; all the negroes enticed into investing their savings therein; all the money amounting to thousands, were stolen by their pretended worshipers, the yankees, who made so many professions in their behalf. Many poor ignorant deluded negros would walk miles to get their Bureau that the government was to give them. Generally, after the marching around of these negro companies, their drillmaster would address them in inflamitory speeches, against the whites. On one occasion, I heard these expressions from Guffin, from Abbeville, to his company in the city of Greenwood, but then quite a small town, or village. Says he, "if the white people mistreat you, remember a box of matches only cost 5 cents, implying you can burn them out and get revenge in that way if no other. As time progressed, matters in state got worse instead of better; our jury system was controlled to suit them, made up mostly by the negroes. Some of the supreme court judges were of the same color, so it was quite an easy matter to convict a white man, where a negro was concerned in the case. Justice was burried, laid aside, rule and ruin reigned supreme in the land, and that for eight long years. After Scott, came Gov. Moses, a greater rascal never went unhung, although a South Carolinian by birth, yet he was worse than Scott. At the close of the war the State of South Carolina had quite a small floating debt, but by his and other administrations, they spent and stole the peoples money so openly and lavishly that it soon assumed great proportions, something like twenty million dollars. The negro Legislature bought fine Brussels carpets and twenty dollar spittoons for the Session Halls, the latter costing really about 2 or 3 dollars, but the committee of purchase would have them billed twenty, and they pocketing the overplus. This is merely one item and instance going to show how prodigal these scoundrels were with the people's money.

Our taxes were getting each year unbearable almost amounting to confiscation. State bonds would time and again be issued and bought up at 50c or less on the dollar. The white people could only warn and protest against such a lavish waste of money, which finally culminated in a call for a tax payers convention, which constituted our best men, who met in Columbia and proclaimed to the world, and timely warning given to these purchasers of State bonds. Stating the time would eventually come when right and justice would again rule supreme, when all bonds tainted with fraud would go unpaid, possibly all the effect had by this threat, was a greater reduction made on these bonds when sold and a smaller price paid for them. Nevertheless they got all the money they desired, by taxation and fraudulent issue of bonds.

Gov. Moses lived in great affluence and extravagance. His surroundings and style he put on was more like that of a king. Prodigality was the watchword pervading every avenue of the government from the highest down to the lowest man in office. Our people in those times, came daily in contact with the Trial Justice Courts, whose sittings were daily, employing, as many of them did, negro constables, who would ride after, arrest and bring the prisoner before them, oftentimes to answer to any little offense, or pent up malice the negro might have against the white man. In many instances the best thing the white man could do after a little difficulty with one of his tenants or hired help, would be to mount his horse and reach the judge before the negro got there; in most all cases, a compromise could be made by the payment of a little money, proportionate with the offense committed, or ability of the man to pay. Although we now had civil law, yet it was onesided. The negro was master of the situation. Before this period of which I am now writing, when negro troops occupied our different court house towns; it was in the town of Newberry when one of these brutes in military attire, grossly insulted a defenseless lady. 'Twas then a veteran soldier, from Texas, lying over there, not being able to reach his far off home, saw and heard the insult. He resented the insult and cut the brute with his knife. The whole command was instantly wrought up for revenge. It was at night, and at the depot this thing happened. The enraged party, on returning captured the wrong man and was leading him off to kill him when this soldier, Calvin Crozier, steps up and proclaims, he was the man that was protecting the ladies from insults. He was then bound and shot to death by the brutal mob of negro soldiers, and was upheld in so doing by their officer, Col. Trowbridge, of the 33rd United States regiment. After burying him, they danced over the grave.

It was during the negro, carpetbag and scalawag, black republican administration was in power that all State and public institutions were taken possession of. The State college once the pride of the State, was made a university, and its doors thrown open to all classes irrespective of color, the outcome was, the negroes had it all to themselves while the white tax payers had to foot the bills. Congress at one time passed what was called the civil rights bill, giving and enforcing upon the negro, every right that the white man enjoys, and no distinction should be made on account of race, color or previous condition. This, if carried out, implied he should be admitted to our churches, schools, hotels and in fact, any privilege that he might desire. This act still remains on the statutes, but after the second reconstruction in 1876, by the whites, while they enjoy equally with the whites, justice before the law, it goes no farther than that. It's true that during the earlier part of the reconstruction period, much lawlessness was carried on by both parties, the whites as well as blacks. The whites in some localities, formed themselves into what was called Klu Klux bands, and oftimes retribution would be visited upon the yankee soldiers as well as the negroes.


Liberty Dethroned by C. M. Calhoun
Believed to be privately printed, Greenville South Carolina, 1903, pages 334-337.