“It’s no use arguing this thing, you must keep a keen eye upon the English niggers; and when a man pretends to dispute the right, tell him its ‘contrary to law,’ and to look at the statute-books; tell him it costs more to keep them than they’re all worth; and if they say the law was never intended for foreign citizens, tell ’em its ‘contrary to law.’ South Carolina’s not bound to obey the voice of the General Government, and what does she care for the federal courts? We’ll pursue a course according to the law; and any thing that is contrary to it we will take care of for the better protection of our institutions. Now, don’t let one pass, upon the peril of your office,” continued Mr. Grimshaw.
“It’s not a button I’d care for the office,” said Dunn. “Sure it’s yerself be’s makin’ all the fees, and ourselves getting the paltry dollar; and yerself gives us as much trouble to get that as we’d be earning two dollars at magistrate Jiles’ beyant. Sure! himself’s liberal and doesn’t be afraid to give us a division of the fees when the business is good. And sure ye make yer ten times the fees on an English nigger, and never gives us beyant the dollar,” continued he, moving off in high dudgeon, and swearing a stream of oaths that made the very blood chill. There was a covert meaning about Mr. Grimshaw’s language that was not at all satisfactory to Mr. Dunn’s Irish; especially when he knew Mr. Grimshaw’s insincerity so well, and that, instead of being liberal, he pocketed a large amount of the fees, to the very conscientious benefit of his own dear self. The reader must remember that in Charleston, South Carolina, there is a large majority of men who care little for law, less for justice, and nothing for Christianity. Without compunction of conscience, and with an inherited passion to set forward the all-absorbing greatness of South Carolina, these men act as a check upon the better-disposed citizens. The more lamentable part is, that forming a large portion of that species of beings known as bar-room politicians, they actually control the elections in the city; and thus we may account for the character of the incumbents of office, and for the tenacity with which those oppressive laws are adhered to.
This almost incompatible conversation between a high sheriff and two menial constables, may to many seem inconsistent with the dignity that should be observed between such functionaries. Nevertheless, all restraint is not only annihilated by consent, but so prominently is this carried out, and so well understood by that respectable class of citizens whose interests and feelings are for maintaining a good name for the city and promoting its moral integrity, that in all our conversation with them, we never heard one speak well of those functionaries or the manner in which the police regulations of the city were carried out.
The Janson in the offing.