The Situation in Charleston, S.C. in July 1865 – The North is Requiring Former Confederates to Pay Penalty Taxes or Lose their property – Some of the Former Slaves do not want to Leave… Read what they said!
Offered is a 1 ¼ page letter on blue legal stationery. It is dated Charleston, July 14, 1865. J. A. Whitney, a lawyer, is writing to Charles Kenison Esq., apparently a well to do land owner and had executor duties to perform. Here is the content:
- Charleston July 14, 1865. Charles Kenison Esq. Dear Sir, Your favor 4th at hand today. I was not aware of your being Ex. Mullery’s Estate or could have gotten at same thing permission to pay. I only received permission to pay the McIntosh, had no money or would have paid.
- THE AUTHORITIES ALLOW ONE TO RENT PREMISES UNTIL THEY PAY TAXES AND GET POSSESSION. THIS IS ALL THEY WILL DO. I CAN RENT ALL THE HOUSES OF THE ESTATE SHOULD YOU DEEM IT ADVISABLE. NOTHING MORE CAN BE DONE HERE UNTIL NOVEMBER.
- Some parties have applied to Washington. In one instance, Raymond having funds there receiving orders to get possession of her father’s property. I endeavored to get possession, but all my efforts failed. In Estate McIntosh and Mrs. Ross’ property, Judge Cooley assured me they were the only exceptions that had been made to the direct instructions viz. “NO AGENT OR ATTORNEY TO BE ALLOWED TO REPRESENT PROPERTY BELONGING TO ANYONE RESIDING WITHIN CONFEDERATE LINES -“
- I regret the indisposition of your Lady, but trust she soon will regain her usual health.
- YOUR SERVANT’S LEAVING IS ONLY WHAT WE ALL EXPECT AND REALIZE. I HAVE ONE IN THE CITY & ONE IN THE COUNTRY WHO SO FAR STICK. I TOLD EACH THAT I WOULD GIVE THEIR FREEDOM. NO GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL SHOULD DO SO. EACH APPRECIATES BY STAYING, TELLING ME, “THEY HAD ALWAYS BEEN FREE -” AND WANTED NOTHING MORE.
- Rents are very slow in coming in. No law or authority to compel payments. IF ONE GOES TO PROVOST MARSHAL, HE GIVES AN ORDER TO PAY, OR MOVE. THIS IS ALL THAT WILL BE DONE, AND OF COURSE AMOUNTS TO NOTHING. However, I trust that Civil Authority soon will put things to rights. Yours truly, J. A. Whitney
Such a great quote, “They had always been free and wanted nothing more.” The new found freedom provided by the north meant that many poor slaves would be homeless.
#L7-14-65 – Price $395