The Rascally Radicals

December 5, 1870


In southern states like South Carolina, the methods Radicals use to gain power are truly despicable. As this article points out, however, South Carolina is no exception, as the conduct "is of a piece that of the Radicals everywhere." While the deplorable conduct by the Radicals may not be limited to South Carolina, however, it was kept out of Virginia by the efforts of many.


As when rogues fall out honest men get their dues, so when a Radical becomes the victim of the deceitfulness, treachery and villainy of his associates, he immediately boils over with indignation. Hon. C. C. Bowen, a carpet-bag M. C. from South Carolina, has exposed the villainy of the Radical party in that State in a conversation with a correspondent of the New York Tribune. We quote: "He [Mr. Bowen] says that the worst election frauds in New York are not to be compared with those perpetrated in every part of South Carolina. The state election law, which was enacted last March, affords every facility to dishonest managers and supervisors of election. By its provisions the Governor is directed to appoint in each country a supervisor of elections, who, in turn, appoints three managers in each election precinct. After the polls are closed, the managers are allowed to have the custody of the ballot boxes for three days, at the end of which they must make a return. In many cases in South Carolina, the managers of the election were candidates for the Legislature of for county offices, and could, therefore, during the three days that the ballot were in their possession, fix them to suit themselves. Mr. Bowen says that he can prove that in many precincts the ballots cast by the people were taken from the boxes by the managers and others substituted for them before the count was made, and that when it was found that even their opponents would not be defeated, they scratched the names of the latter from the ballots in their own districts, and substituted those of their own candidates. The only place in South Carolina where an honest election was held was Charleston, and there it took place under the provisions of the new United States election law. In 1868 Mr. Bowen's majority in Charleston was about 1,600. This year it was more than 3,000, and yet so great were the frauds in the country that he was "counted out." He estimates the rightful majority at about 10,000. He thinks the Republican majority in the State is about 8,000. The majority returned is about 30,000. The people of South Carolina are very indignant that they have no redress, and Mr. Bowen doubts if the State will go Republican at the next election." This conduct is of a piece with that of the Radicals everywhere. Even the Radicals in Congress are no better. The act to enforce the fifteenth amendment; the new naturalization law; the law authorizing hundreds of thousands of dollars to be expended in the South for publishing advertisements in papers which are read by not one man in a hundred; and many other of the unworthy tricks resorted to by Congress for the perpetuation of Radical misrule - are as disgraceful as the trickery of the South Carolina carpet-baggers and scalawags. There is no hope for the country except in the expulsion of the whole horde of unprincipled adventurers from power.The evils and outrages under which South Carolina is now suffering were averted from Virginia solely by the efforts of those who began, carried on, and perfected "the movement." It is impossible to estimate too highly the debt of gratitude due to those men who, with the aid of "John F. Lewis, Lewis McKenzie, George Rye" and others, prevented the imposition of the test-oath upon our state officers, and placed all the departments of the government of the State in the hands of out our own people. We name the most objectionable of the men whom it is now fashionable to refer to as those who have deceived the Conservatives for the purpose of affording us a reason for adding that so evenly-balanced were the chances for and against the imposition of the iron-clad oath in Virginia, that if Lewis and McKenzie had insisted upon its imposition it would have been administered to the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and every member of the General Assembly. We award infinite credit to the statesmanship which brought to its aid such men. If they are satisfied, surely the people of Virginia have no right to complain of the tactics which secured from such men services so valuable.
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Travis Terry




“The Rascally Radicals,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed February 1, 2023,