Part XI

       "His like the world has never seen from the days of Cain or of the forty thieves in the fabled time of Alf Baba. Like the wind, he blows and we hear the sound thereof, but no man knoweth whence it cometh or whither it goeth. National historians will be in doubt how to class him. Ornithologists will claim him, because in many respects he is a bird of prey. He lives only on corruption, and takes his flight as soon as the carcass is picked. He is no product of the war. He is a "canker of a calm world' and of peace, which is despotism enforced by bayonets. His valor is discretion; his industry perpetual strife; and his eloquence 'the parcel of a reckoning' of chances as he smells Out a path which may lead from the White House to a custom house, a postoffice, the internal revenue bureau, or perchance, to either wing of the Federal capitol. His shibboleth is 'The Republican Party.' From that party he sprung as naturally as a maggot from putrefaction. Wherever two or three or four negroes are gathered together, he, like a leprous spot, is seen, and his cry, like the daughter of the horse leech, is always, Give, give me office. Without office he is nothing; with office, he is a pest and public nuisance. Out of office he is a beggar; in office he grows rich till his eyes stick out with fatness. Out of office he is, hat in hand, the outside ornament of every negro's cabin, a plantation loafer and the nation's laze-rone; in office he is an adept in 'addition, division and silence.' Out of office he is the orphan ward of the administration and the general sign-post of penury; in office he is the complaining suppliant for social equality with Southern gentlemen." (Norwood.) This is a splendid picture in general of the carpet-bagger during the days of reconstruction.
       Alabama had become insolvent, and "Governor Lewis, Republican, said to the legislature that he could not sell for money any of the State bonds." The State debt had grown to the enormous sum of $25,500,000, besides county and city debts of vast sums. "Corruption marked the Republican management as its own. The scoundrel class was in office. Strife between whites and blacks still stirred up by Spencer and his henchmen. Immigration was prevented, emigration from the State by whites going steadily on. Capital shrank from the State into which it had corruptedly rushed a few years ago. For six years the State had been losing at all outlets." Such was Alabama. It was even worse in South Carolina, Louisiana and other States.
       In North Carolina, July 4, 1868, "this new State government was organized. Senate, 38 Republicans, 12 Democrats, 12 carpet-baggers. Outside the legislature, in the lobby, a swarm of the same kind, . . . all of them disreputable. The treasury was robbed, the school fund stolen to pay per diems. The educational investments in securities were sold out at nearly one.third their par value to the Republican treasurer for himself and his associates .... In less than four months, this legislature authorized a State debt of over $25,000,000 in bonds, in addition to $16,000,000 for various minor schemes. The entire debt imposed by reconstruction on North Carolina exceeded $38,000,000, while the taxable wealth of the State at that time was returned at $120,000,000. . . . Similar corruption in municipal bonds. Yet not a mile of railroad was built, although $14,000,000 in bonds were actually issued. Not a child, white or black, was educated for two years; not a public building erected, no State improvements anywhere." (Noted Men of the Solid South.)
       Alabama's debt, before Republican rule,was $8,336,083; at the end, $25,503,593.
       In North Carolina, the assessed property in 1860 was $292,000,000; taxes, $543,000. In 1870, assessed property, $130,000,000; taxes, $1,160,000, showing a difference between local government and enforced military government under carpet-baggers.
       In South Carolina, in 1860, the taxable property was $490,000,000; taxes, $400,000. In 1870 (Republican rule), assessed property, $184,000,000; taxes, $2,000,000 a year. In Georgia, in 1860, the taxable property was $672,322,777; in 1870, $226,329,767. When Governor Bullock became governor, the State debt was $5,827,000; at the date of his flight, the debt was reported to be $12,500,000; bond endorsements amounted to $5,733,000, aggregate over $18,000,000.
      In Florida, property decreased in value 45 per cent in eight years of Republican rule, from 1867 to 1875.
      In Mississippi, 6,400,000 acres of land were forfeited to the State in payment of excessive taxation, and large amounts were collected as taxes and squandered.
       In Louisiana, during Republican rule, New Orleans city property decreased in value $58,104,864 in eight years. County property decreased more than one-half, or from $99,266,839 to $47,141,690. One hundred and forty millions of dollars were squandered with nothing to show for it; State debt increased more than $40,000,000; city property depreciated 40 per cent, county property 50 per cent.

This Page last updated 01/26/02