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Chap. -./ j^^.i. 

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Ex-GovERNOR Charles Jones Jenkins, 



Ja8. p. Harrison & Co., Printkks and Binders. 



EX-GovERNOR Charles Jones Jenkins. 


Delivered before the General Assembly of Georgia, 
in the Hall of the House of Representa- 
tives, at the Capitol, in Atlanta, 
on the 23d of July, 1883: 





Jas. p. Harrisjx & Co., Printers and Publishers. 




Resolved by the Senate, the House of Rejpresentatives concurring, 
that the thanks of the General Assembly be tendered to the Hon. C. 
C. Jones, Jr., for the learned, able, and eloquent address delivered 
before the General Assembly on the occasion of the ^Memorial Exer- 
cises in honor of Ex-Govenror Charles J. Jenkins. 

Resolved, further, that five hundred copies of the address be printed 
for distri1>ution among the members. 


President of the Senate. 


Secretary of the Senate. 


Pro.iem. Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

Clerk of the House of Representatives. 


Mr. President, Gentlemen of the General Assembly of 
Georgia, Ladies, and Fellow-citizens : 

The characters and acts of those who influenced the cur- 
rent of public events, were complimented with positions of 
trust and honor, maintained an exalted standard of excel- 
lence in the community in which tjiey resided, and promot- 
ed the mental, moral, and material development of their age 
and State, are eminently worthy of narration. Meet it 
is that exhibitions of superior virtue, marked intelligence, 
and unusual endowments should not be forgotten, A live- 
ly remembrance and a faithful record of them will be 
deemed a matter of simple justice to those whose sphere of 
life was embellished by their display, will be regarded as a 
loyal acknowledgment from contemporaries who shared 
their confidence, were elevated by their companionship, and 
were witnesses of their nobleness, and will constitute an 
abiding ensample for the guidance and the emulation of 
the coming generations. Great men are the glory of the 
nation. Purity, honesty, courage, fidelity and patriotism 
are cardinal traits, and that life is precious which was dig- 
nified by a constant and illustrious manifestation of them. 

I*eculiarly grateful is the retrospect, most pleasing the 
recollection, when the virtues of which we speak were ap- 
parent in our own times; when the exalted manhood and 
the excellences we register appertain to our immediate 

6 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenliins. 

And now, in the beautiful language of another, we 
" hardly know what measure to observe in our praises of 
him who was singula) ly averse to over-statement, who never 
listened approvingly to flattery when living, and whose 
memory asks only the white roses of truth for its funeral 

The Hon. Chakles Jones Jenkins was born upon the 
paternal plantation known as the " Grimhall Bill Placed' 
in Beaufort District, South Carolina, on the 0th of January, 
1805. His father, whose full name he bore, at the time of 
the birth of the subject of thi^ memorial, was the Ordinary 
of Beaufort District. To that office had he been elected by 
the General Assembly of the State. Prior to this, he had 
for some years filled the ofiice of Clerk of the Court of 
Common Pleas. In 1816 he removed to Jetferfon county, 
Georgia, where he purchased a tract of land and led the 
quiet life of a planter. 

A year or two previous to this change of residence, young 
Jenkins 'liad been put to school in Savannah, where the ad- 
vantages for acquiring an education were deemed most 
favorable. Being an only child, and of a thoughtful, 
studious habit, his parents were solicitous that he t-hould 
enjoy instruction at the hands of the best teachers within 
convenient reach. To that end he was at one time a pupil 
of the Rev. Mr. Sweet in Bryan county ; at another, of Mr. 
Beman at Mount Zion, in Hancock county ; and finally, of 
Dr. Moses Waddell. When Mr. Jenkins entered the Will- 
ington Academy, in Abbeville District, South Carolina, Dr. 
Waddell had in large measure entrusted its conduct to his 
son, reserving to himself only a general supervision over it. 
This was and had been a noted institution of learning. 
John C. Calhoun, McDuflie, Pettigru, Longstreet, and 
others scarcely less distinguished, had sat upon its benches, 
and there acquired that preliminary education which con- 

*Dr. 0. W. Holmes' eulogy upon Emerson, May 11, 855 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

duced so surely to their intellectual development and 
professional success in after years. 

While Mr. Jenkins was a pupil at this academy, Dr. 
Waddell received and accepted a call to the presidency of 
Franklin College, at Athens, Georgia. Accompanying Dr. 
Waddell, he repaired to that town and, in 1819, entered the 
grammar school for the completion of his preparatory 
studies. The following year he matriculated as a Freshman 
half advanced. Until February, 1822, he continued to pur- 
sue his studies as a member of Franklin College. He then 
took his dismission and entered Union College, at Schenec- 
tady, New York. Dr. Eliphalet Nott was then the president 
of this institution, which enjoyed an enviable reputation. 
Graduating third on the merit roll of his class, Mr. Jenkins 
received his diploma from that college in 1824-. He was a 
member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society ; and, just fifty years 
after graduation, responding to an invitation, he delivered 
the anniversary address before that society within the walls 
of his alma mater. Senator Ira Harris, a classmate, who 
had borne off the first honors a half century agone, was 
present on this interesting occasion and introduced Gov. 
Jenkins to the vast audience there assembled. Intermtdi- 
ately he had been complimented by Union College with 
the degree of LL. D., and he stood before that multitude 
crowned with honors and full of years. 

His collegiate course ended, Mr. Jenkins returned to 
Georgia and became a student of law in the otifice of the Hon. 
J. McPherson Berrien, in Savannah. Judge Berrien had re- 
tired from the bench of the Superior Courts of the Eastern 
Circuit, and was then in the enjoyment of a lucrative and 
influential practice. Warmly did he welcome Mr. Jenkins, 
and careful was the attention bestowed by this distinguished 
juiist upon the legal training of hisyoung friend, who spent 
most of his time in the private study and law office at the 
residence of the Judge. Under such favoring circumstances, 
the progress made in mastering the principles of the learned 

8 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

profession to which he had given his allegiance was rapid 
and satisfactory. Within the entire circle of the profession 
no more capable instructor could have been found. The 
pupil, too, was loyal to the last degree. 

While Mr. Jenkins was thus pursuing his law studies in 
Savannah, Judge Berrien was elected to a seat in the Sen- 
ate of the United States and departed for Washington. 
Having completed the prescribed course of reading, Mr. 
Jenkins was called to the Bar in Screven county, Georgia, 
in April, 1826. His examination was had before Judge 
William Schley. A month afterwards he opened a law- 
office in Sandersville, Washington county, where he con- 
tinued to reside and to practice his profession until his 
removal to Augusta in April, 1829. 

Washington county was then a fine agricultural region. 
Many wealthy planters there abode. In association with 
the adjacent territory, Sandersville afforded an excellent 
field for a young lawyer. Improving his opportunities Mr. 
Jenkins soon acquired honorable fame at the bar, and se- 
cured a valuable clientage in his circuit. In this he was 
materially assisted by his friend, the Hon. Absalom H. 
Chappell, who, having built up an extensive practice at San- 
dersville, was about changing his residence to Forsyth. He 
very kindly turned over to Mr. Jenkins his pending causes 
and unfinished business, and recommended his clients, when- 
ever in need of legal aid, to secure the services of his young 

State politics, to use a common expression, were then run- 
ning high, and the Troup and Clarke parties were vigorously 
arrayed against each other, Mr. Jenkins allied himself 
with the Troup party and manifested a lively interest in 
the issues of the day. 

Much given to calm reflociion, with a maturity of judg- 
ment beyond his }ears, — a careful and conscientious stu. 
dent, — scrupulous in the discharge of the obligations devolv- 
ing upon him, — possessing a liberal education and an ever 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 9 

present thirst for knowledge, — bold and intelligent in the 
expression of his convictions, and yet tolerant of the opin- 
ions of others, — public spirited, courteous and affable in 
his intercourse, — a ready and effective speaker, persuasive, 
logical, and eloquent, — and with a character pure and deci- 
ded in all the elements which unite in the formation of 
true Christian manhood, Mr. Jenkins, upon the threshold 
of his professional and public life, commanded the respect 
and esteem of the community in which he dwelt, and ex- 
hibited those exalted traits which in after years remained 
unchanged, winning for him the confidence, the regard, and 
the honor of his fellow men. 

With a view to enlarging the sphere of his professional 
employment, Mr. Jenkins removed to the city of Augusta 
in April, 1&29, and there established his law-office. He 
continued, however, to ride his old circuit and retained, in 
the main, the clients he had gained during his residence in 
Sandersville. At the very first election at which, under the 
laws of Georgia, he was entitled to vote, upon this change 
of county abode, he was elected a member of the Legislature 
from Richmond county ; a compliment all the more grat- 
ifying because the nomination for the office was on his part 
wholly unsolicited. Mr. Charles Carter was the opposing 

In 1831 he was elected Attorney General of the State of 
Georgia and Solicitor of the Middle Circuit. The discharge 
of the duties appertaining to this responsible position 
brought hi.n prominently into public notice, and the fidelity 
and the ability with which he met the obligations incident 
to his station confirmed and widened the reputation for 
probity, courage, legal acumen and eloquence which had 
already been so freely accorded. 

Before the expiration of his term of office Attorney 
General Jenkins resigned and became a candidate for the 
Legislature. He was defeated. The following year he again 
offered for the same position, and failed of an election at 

10 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

the hands of the voters of Richmond county. Parties had 
now become national in their character, and the Democrats 
were in tlio majority. Mr. Jenkins was in active sympathy 
with the Whigs. The tide turning in 1836, he was in that 
year elected a member from Richmond county of the Lower 
House of the General Assembly. For each of the five 
following years was he returned ; but, in 1842, he suffered 
defeat on account of his connection with, And support of, 
what, was termed the Algerine Law. 

In 1841 a memorial, signed by many large tax-payers and 
influential citizens, was presented to the General Assembly 
praying the creation of an additional Board of Aldermen 
for the city of Angusta who should be charged with the 
administration of the finances of the city. Upon all ques- 
tions involving the raising and disbursement of municipal 
moneys that Board was authorized to exercise a veto power. 
In the conduct of the ordinary affairs of the city its mem- 
bers could utter no voice and exercise no control. They 
were to be elected by the owners of real estate situated 
within the corporate limits of Augusta, upon whom the 
burden of taxation chiefly devolved. There being no op- 
position, a bill carrying into effect the prayer of the petition 
readily received legislative sanction. The Hon, Andrew J. 
Miller was then the Senator from Richmond, and Mr. Jen- 
kins a member of the Lower House. 

No sooner, however, was this legislation generally known 
and discussed at home, than there arose an adverse clamor 
which originated with and was principally maintained by 
the masses who practically had but trifling pecuniary inter- 
est in the measure. The main objection urged was that a 
restriction had been placed upon the freedom of the ballot 
box. A mechanic, by the name of Walker, denounced the 
act in emphatic terms and led the popular oppo.-ition to its 
enforcement. It was he who gave to it the name of the 
Algerine I^aiv^ which really possessed neither significance 
nor relevancy, i-ave that the epithet was supposed to carry 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 11 

with it a suggestion of all that was abhorrent, without war- 
rant, and distasteful. The act was repealed at tlie next 
session of the Legislature. Believing the .'aw to be whole- 
some in its provisions, Mr. Jenkins refused to bend before 
the popular will. lie was leturned to the General Assem- 
bly in 1813, and was re-elected to the Lower House in ISIS, 
in 1817, and again In 1819. The elections which hitlierto 
had occurred annually were now biennial. 

In illustration of the esteem in which he was' held, and 
as an £,cknowledgment of his influence in the' legislative 
assemblies of the State, it will be remembered that he was 
elected Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1810, 
again in 1813, and a third lime in 1815. That he presided 
with impartiality, dignity, courtesy, and ability, was uni- 
versally conceded. It would not be an exaggeration to 
affirm that among the law-makers of Georgia none may be 
named more conservative in his views, more; jealous of the 
public good, more liberal in the support of all measures 
conducive to the general welfare, or more uncompromising 
in his opposition to any legislation of questionable repute, 
than the 6ul)ject of this Memorial. Instant in season and 
out of season in his cordial advocacy of educational, indus- 
trial, moral, and political reforms, the records of the period 
abound with the proofs of his constant and intelligent de- 
votion to the best interests of his State and constituents. 

With an extensive acquaintance, surrounded by warm 
friende and admirers, with a well-earned reputation for all 
that was honest in purpose, chivalrous in conduct, manly 
in utterance, trustworthy in conception, and attractive in 
demeanor — clear in his apprehension of the right, and 
potent in his ad /ocacy of the true and the beautiful — he 
was now a central figure in the convocations of the people, 
alike in social gatherings, i.j deliberative assemblies, in occa- 
sional concourses, and at the Bar. The association of his 
name with the affirmative of any proposed measure was an 
earnest of its genuine merit and an augury of its success. 

12 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

In 1836, when the construction of the Western and At- 
lantic Raih-oad was under discussion, Mr. Jenkins was num- 
bered among the warmest supporters of tlie bill which gave 
to the State of Georgia this valuable internal improve- 

During the session of 1849-50, the Democratic party 
was in the majority in the Legislature. Two bills were in- 
troduced, one suggesting changes in tlie Congressional, and 
the other modifying the Senatorial Districts. Tliese were 
Democratic measures conceived with a view to strengthen- 
ing the party. As the time approached for their passage, 
it so chanced that many of the Democratic members were 
absent from Milledgeville. When the first bill was up for 
final consideration a scheme was devised by some of the 
Whig members to withdraw from the House and thus leave 
it without a quorum. Mr. Jenkins was requestea to par- 
ticipate in this movement, inaugurated in the interest of 
his own party and supported by some of his warmest po- 
litical friends. He responded that in his judgment such 
action was revolutionary and unjustifiable. He declined to 
countenance the affair, and, through his influence, the con- 
tem plated action was frustrated. 

When the Senatorial bill was reached, however, the 
Whig members did withdraw, with the exception of Mr. 
Jenkins, who, adhering to his convictions, remained in his 
seat, despite the earnest entreaties of his friends that he 
would adopt the course pursued by them. The withdrawal 
of the Whig members robbed the House of a quorum for 
the transaction of business, and a dead lock ensued which 
was broken only after the lapse of several days bj the re- 
turn of absent Democratic members. During this time 
Mr. Jenkins was the only Whig member of the House in 
his seat. We recall this incident in illustration of the 
moral heroism and conscientious adherence to duty dis- 
played by him, not only on this occasion, but at other times 
and in ways even more emphatic. With him friendships 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 13 

were strong and party aftiliations not without their admit- 
ted claims upon his sympathy ; but, above and beyond 
them all, he recognized his obligations to conscience and 
duty, and followed, irrespective of consequences, the dic- 
tates of his calm, unbiased, enlightened judgment. 

Before the close of this session of the Legislature Mr. 
Jenkins resigned his seat and returned home. 

The year eighteen hundred and fifty was filled with po- 
litical excitement and apprehension. Then were heard the 
mutterings of that storm which, ten years afterwards, 
descended like night upon a war-con vulted land. Georgia, 
in common with her sister Southern States, was greatly 
agitated upon the question of the acceptance or rejection of 
the pending Compromise measures. A State Convention 
was called to consider the emergency and to suggest a 
remedy for existing grievances. In the election of mem- 
bers of that Convention Union men were returned by a con- 
siderable majority. Among that number was Mr. Jenkins, 
and he it was who reported the resolutions, adopted by the 
Convention, which have passed into history as the "Geor- 
gia Platform of 1850." 

Important as that document is, and memoraijle as it was 
in its influence at the time of its adoption, we make no 
apology for reproducing it now in illustration of the style 
of composition, thought, and statesmanship of Mr. Jenkins 
at an epoch of unusual political excitement and peril, 

" To the end that the position of this State may be clearly 
apprehended by her Confederates of the South and of the 
North, and that she may be blameless of all future conse- 

" Be it resolved by the People of Georgia in Convention 

"First: That we hold the American Union secondary in 
importance only to the rights and principles it was designed 
to perpetuate. That past associations, present fruition, and 

14 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

future prospects will bind as to it so long as it continues to 
be the safeguard of those rights and principles. 

"Second : That if the Thirteen Original Parties to the 
compact, bordering the Atlantic in a narrow belt while their 
separate interests were in embrj^o, their peculiar tendencies 
scarcely developed, their revolutionary trials and triumphs 
still green in memory, found Union impossible without com- 
promise, the Thirty-one of this day may well j'ield somewhat, 
in the conflict of opinion and policy, to preserve that Union 
which has extended the sway of Republican Government 
over a vast wilderness to another ocean, and proportion- 
ality-advanced their civilization and national greatness. 

"Third : That in this spirit tiie State of Georgia has ma- 
turely considered the action of Congress, embracing a series 
of measures for the admission of California into the Union, 
the organization of Territorial Governments for Utah and 
New Mexico, the establishment of a boundary between the 
latter and the State of Texas, the suppression of the slave- 
trade in the District of Columbia, and the extradition of 
fugitive slaves, and (connected with them) the rejection of 
propositions to exclude slavery from the Mexican Territories 
and to abolish it in the District of Columbia; and, whilst 
she does not wholly approve, will abide by it as a perma- 
nent adjustment of this sectional controversy. 

"Four'h: That the State of Georgia, in the judgment of 
this Convention, will and ought to resist even (as a last re- 
sort) to a disruption of every tie which binds her to the 
Union, any future act of Congress abolishing slavery in the 
District of Columbia without the consent and petition of 
the slave-holders thereof, or any Act abolishing slavery in 
places, within the slaveholding States, purchased by the 
United States for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, 
dock-yards, navy -yards, and other like purposes; or any Act 
suppressing the slavetrade between slaveholding States ; 
or any refusal to admit as a State any Territory applying, 
because of the existence of slavery therein ; or any Act pro- 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 15 

hibiting the introduction of slaves into the Territories of 
Utah and New Mexico ; or any Act repealing or materially 
modifying the laws now in force for the recovery of fugi- 
tive slaves. 

"Fifth : That it is the deliberate opinion of this Conven- 
tion that upon the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave 
Bill by the proper authorities depends the preservation of 
our much loved Union." 

The summer of 1851 was passed by Mr. Jenkins at the 
North in quest of health and relaxation. While in Charles- 
ton, South Carolina, on his journey homeward, he was ad- 
vised by a daily paper that nominations of candidates for 
the Legislature had been made in Kichmond county and 
that his name did not appear upon the ticket. This an- 
nouncement caused no little surprise, because, prior to his 
departure from Augusta, he had been assured that he would 
be returned to the House. Arriving at home he sought an 
early interview with his intimate fiiend, Colonel Henry H. 
Cumming, who informed him that his name was left off the 
ticket at the request of his friends because they desiied to 
press his claiins upon the next General Assembly to a seat 
in the Senate of the United States. Judge Berrien's term 
of service was drawing to a close. He had rendered him- 
self unpopular in Georgia, and the prospect of his re elec- 
tion seemed more than doubtful. Under the circumstances 
Mr. Jenkins, in all candor, counseled Judge Berrien to re- 
tire from the contest ; but, refusing to be thus persuaded, 
he declared his intention to maintain his candidacy to the 
bitter end. This determination was embarrassing to Mr. 
Jenkins. For Judge Berrien there was no hope of success, 
and such were the relatione existing between these gentle- 
men that so long as he remained in the field Mr. Jenkins 
felt constrained not only to withhold the use of his name 
in connection with the otHce of United States Senator from 
Georgia, but also to exert his active influence in furthering 

16 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

the re-election of Senator Berrien. He accordingly went 
to Milledgeville upon the assembling of the Legislature 
that he might communicate personally witii the members 
and ascertain what could be accomplished in advancing the 
interests of Judge Berrien, Immediately upon his arrival 
he was waited upon by the Hon. Edward Y. Hill, and the 
Hon. nines Holt, both classmates and warm friends of 
Mr. Jenkins. They were avowed candidates for the office 
of Senator of the United States, and were then engaged in 
pressing their respective claims upon the favorable notice 
of the members of the General Assembly. With a frank- 
ness, cordiality, and generosity quite remarkable, they stated 
to Mr. Jenkins that hearing his name connected with the 
Senatorship they sought the earliest opportunity of assuring 
him that if he was a candidate for that position they would 
not only at once and cheerfully withdraw in his favor, but 
unite in promoting his success. At the same time they re- 
quested an immediate answer, as any delay would prove 
prejudicial. Thanking them for their great kindness, and 
explaining to them the situation in which he found himself 
with regard to the candidacy of Judge Berrien, who still 
refused to retire from the contest, Mr. JenkinsTesponded 
that so long as Senator Berrien remained in the field he 
could not permit the use of his name in association with the 
office of Senator. He therefore, under existing circum- 
stances, felt constrained to say to them he was not and 
could not be a candidate before the present General Assem- 
bly for the senatorial office. The Hon. Robert Toombs was 
also a candidate, but it was intimated and pretty generally 
understood that he would not have antagonized Mr. Jenkins. 
The next morning came a letter from Judge Berrien an- 
nouncing his withdrawal from the contest. Had this intelli- 
gence been received on the previous day, there is little doubt 
but that arrangements would have been made which would 
surely have resulted in the election of Mr. Jenkins to a seat 
13 the Senate of the United States. 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 17 

In organizirg his Cabinet in 1850, President Fillmore 
tendered to Mr. Jenkins the portfolio of Secretary of the 
Interior. In consequence, however, of important profes- 
sional engagements (among them five retainers for the 
accused in capital casee) he felt compelled to decline the 

In 1853, Mr. Jenkins was a candidate for the gubernato- 
rial chair. His opponent in the race was that distinguished 
and potent Georgian, the Hon. Herschel Y. Johnson. The 
contest, although sharp, was conducted upon a dignified and 
elevated plane and resulted in the election of Governor 
Johnson by a majority of only a few hundred. In this can- 
vass the question of union or disunion formed one of the 
issues, and was freely discussed ; Mr. Jenkins espousing the 
tenets and being the representative of the Union Party. 

During the session of the convention of 1850, a split had 
occurred in the Democratic Party in Georgia, and the Hon. 
Howell Cobb was, in 1851, elected Governor by the Union 
Party. In the nominating convention of that year Mr. 
Jenkins was urged to allow the use of his name, but he de- 
■clined in favor of Mr. Cobb, whom he supported with great 
€nergy and cordiality. In their joint canvass of the State 
Governor Johnson was charged with being an avowed 
secessionist and an advocate of prompt and decided action 
on the part of Georgia and her sister Southern States, while 
Mr. Jenkins, on the contrary, was recognized as espousing 
the sentiments held by the Union Party, and as counseling 
moderation and further delay. His chances before the 
people were then somewhat affected and prejudiced by the 
absurd changes which were rung upon his connection with 
what was called the Algerine Law, and by the fact that, in 
1852, he had been named as a candidate for Yice-President 
of the Uuited States upon a ticket led by Daniel Webster. 
In his political views Mr. Jenkins sympathized with the 
Whig Party, and remained a member of it until it allied 
itself with the Abolitionist Party of the North. 

18 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenki^is. 

The uext office to which Mr. Jenkinig was elected was 
that of State Senator to^fiU the vacancy caused, in January, 
1856, by the lamented death of the Hon. Andrew J, Miller. 

In 1860, he was appointed by Governor Joseph E. Brown 
an associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia in 
the stead of Judge Linton Stephens, resigned. In due 
course the General Assembly ratified this selection, and he 
remained upon the Bench of the Supreme Court during the 
entire period covered by the war between the States. The 
other members of the Court were Chief Justice Joseph 
Henry Lumpkin, and Justice Kichard F. Lyon. 

In an eminent degree was Judge Jenkins qualified for 
the discharge of the duties involved in the exercise of this 
important office. The opinions pronounced by him during 
a term of rather more than five years of judicial service are 
scholarly, erudite, and carefully considered. It so chanced, 
in the distribution of the bufiness of the court, that it fell 
to his lot to frame and deliver the judgment of that tribunal 
upon some of the most important questions springing out 
of the war and the abnormal condition of affairs thereby 
engendered. In support of this assertion we need only 
refer to the exhaustive and admirable opinions handed 
down by him in the cases of Jeffers vs. Fair [33d Georgia 
Reports, page 347] and Jones vs. Warren [34th Georgia 
Reports, page 28], in which the constitutionality of the Con- 
federate Conscript Acts is affirmed, and the validity of the 
Enrolling Acts of the Confederate Congress is upheld. 

President Jefferson Davis stated that he would gladly 
have offered Judge Jenkins a seat in his Cabinet, but he 
realized the fact that he could not be spared from the bench 
of the Supreme Court of Georgia. His labors there were 
invaluable to the Confederacy at crucial epochs. 

Judge Jenkins always maintained the right of secession 
from the Union on the part of a State, for substantial cause, 
but he was clearly of opinion, when Georgia did secede^ 
that no fit occasion had arisen for the exercise of that right. 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 19 

lie believed that the Southern States, before withdrawing 
from the Confederation, should have waited for some overt 
act committed by the Lincoln administration. When, 
however, Georgia passed her ordinance of secession, he re- 
cognized the fact that hia supreme allegiance was due to 
her; and, during the long and pain'ul struggle which en- 
sued, he wavered not in his devotion to State and Confed- 

The disastrous close of the Confederate war for inde- 
pendence found Judge Jenkins still upon the bench of the 
Supreme Court. In 1865 he was elected a member of the 
convention called to restore this Commonwealth to her 
Federal relations which had been sundered by the ordinance 
of secession and negatived by a protracted and bloody ap- 
peal to arms. When nominated for the presidency of that 
convention he declined the honor, preferring a place upon 
the floor. As chairman of the committee which originated 
business he rendered important service and bore a leading 
part in the debates. The proposition to repudiate the State 
debt, contracted during the progress of the war, met with his 
unqualified condemnation. That this should be done, how- 
ever, came as a mandate from the Federal Government, 
communicated through the Provisional Governor. An 
ordinance annulling that obligation finally received the 
sanction of the Convention. So great was the pressure 
hom. Washington that it could not at the moment be suc- 
cessfully resisted ; and so the Convention became an instru- 
ment in the hands of Federal authorities for the perpetra- 
tion of this grievous wrong. 

While still a Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge Jen- 
kins was, without opposition, elected Governor of Georgia. 
It was a noble expression of the confidence of the Common- 
wealth in the loyalty and worth of one of her most dis- 
tinguished sons — a testimony most exalted to his ability to 
preside over public affairs at an epoch of uncommon diffi- 
culty and perplexity. Never was trust more judiciously 

20 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

reposed. Never was the responsibility of high office more 
conscientiously or intelligently recognized. The honorable 
James Johnson was then acting as Provisional Govemor, 
his warrant derived from the Federal authorities, and Geor- 
gia, as one of the States lately in arms, occupied a proba- 
tionary attitude. The question of her preparedness for 
restoration to full fellowship with the Northern sisterhood 
was to be answered from a Federal standpoint. The pos- 
ture of affairs was novel. The situation was encompassed 
by embarrassmants most serious and perplexities beyond 

As the season appro^iched for his inauguration, Governor 
Jenkins was informed by Provisional Governor Johnson 
that he had been instructed by the President to remain at 
his post and to communicate from time to time to the 
authorities at Was^hington whatever of moment should 
transpire within the limits of the State. To this intima- 
tion Governor Jenkins responded courteously but resolute- 
ly. Affirming that he would not consent to share the 
honor or the responsiblity of the cffice of Governor of 
Georgia with any one, he declined to be inaugurated until 
the question should be definitely settled. Here is his manly 
letter : 


His Excellency., James Johnson., Provisional Governor of 
Georgia : 

'' Dear Sir : — I have received your note of this morning 
conveying to me the assent of his Excellency, the Presi- 
dent of the United States, to my inauguration as Governor 
of Georgia. I have also been waited upon by a Joint 
Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives, 
who have communicated to me your message of this morn- 
ing and the accompanying telegram from his Excellency, 
the President. In that his Excellency says : ' The Governor 
elect will be inaugurated, which will not interfere with you 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 21 

as Provisional Governor. You will receive instructions in 
a few days in regard to being relieved as Provisional Gov- 
ernor.' In conclusioi, after a very emphatic approval of 
your official conduct, he adds: 'You will be sustained by 
the Government.' 

"Our condition is anomalous, and there are no prece- 
dents in historv^ to which we can turn for light. I am ig- 
norant of the extent of your powers as Provisional Gov- 
ernor. I know that since your appointment you have done 
many acts usually performed by the Governor elected and 
installed under and by virtue of the Constitution of Geor- 
gia, and have thereby promoted the convenience and inter- 
est of our people. To what extent in contemplation of the 
President, as understood by you, your powers will be cur- 
tailed by my inauguration I am not informed. How far 
the prerogatives exercised by you since the organization of 
the General Assembly will be abandoned, I am ignorant. 
Should I be inaugurated to-morrow, and should you receive 
no further communication from the Pi-esident within a 
month, it is evident that during that time there will be two 
Governors of Georgia. It may be that as Provisional 
Governor of Georgiayou have duties to discharge which do 
not come within the purview of any constitutional duties. 

"You, Sir, area Georgian, and knowing the powers that 
will be conferred and the duties that will be devolved upon 
me, when inauguratec'., by the constitution and laws of the 
State, I most respectfully inquire whether those then re- 
maining to you will lie to any extent within those limits? 
If you reply affirmatively, it is manifest that there will be 
danger of conflict, which I most earnestly desire to avoid. 
I would then prefer that my inauguration should be post- 
poned until it be the pleasure of the President to relieve 
you. If you answer negatively, I shall indulge no prurient 
curiosity as to your position, and will askj to be installed. 

"I beg to assi re you, sir, that I stand upon no point of 
ceremony, indulge no jealous suspicions of probable inter- 

22 Life and Services of Hon. C. J- Jenkins. 

ference. I simply desire a better understanding of a novel 
situation ; and fully appreciating the kindness that induced 
his Excellency, the President, to yield his assent to my 
inauguration, propose to adopt the course which will most 
surely avoid all conflict. 

"With many thanks for the courtesy and kindness you 
have extended in ofiBcial intercourse with me, I am very 
respectfully your obedient servant, 

Charles J. Jenkins." 

Some delay occurred. It was finally determined, how- 
ever, by the General Government to interpose no obstacle 
to the inauguration of Governor Jenkins, and Governor 
Johnson was instructed, upon his induction into office, to 
turn over to the Chief Executive of the people all public 
papers and property appertaining to the State, and to retire 
from hi3 position as Provisional Gcvernor. Pending the 
settlement of this question the intercourse between the 
Governor elect and the Provisional Governor was charac- 
terized by the utmost courtesy, and all conflict of authority 
was wisely and happily avoided. 

The General Assembly, which had protracted its session 
to compass the inauguration of Governor Jenkins, ad- 
journed almost immediately after the solemnization of this 
important event. 

The Convention of 1865 had authorized the issue of bonds 
to the amount of five hundred .thousand dollars to meet the 
pressing wants of the State. These had been negotiated 
with different banks and the sums thence realized had been 
wholly expended. The treasury was empty. No taxes had 
been collected for the current year, and the machinery of 
the Commonwealth was sadly out of joint. The restoration 
of Georgia to good order, repose, and prosperity rested 
largely upon the shoulders of the Executive, and Governor 
Jenkins applied himself to the task with a loyalty,.z-3al, and 
ability worthy of all admiration. 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 23 

Immense were the losses sustained by the State during 
the Confederate Revolution. The graves of her sons hal- 
lowed every battle-field where brave men had followed the 
Red Cross to the death. Her slaves had been emancipated. 
Her railways had been mutilated and well nigh annihilated. 
Her plantations had been sacked, and penury and ashes 
were everywhere. Of domestic animals and agricultural 
implements the supply was most meagre. Labor was de- 
moralized and the chariots of war, which had so ruthlessly 
swept over the land, had left in their track only ruin and 
desolation. The past was disappointment. The present 
was confused by the wreck of institutions overturned, by 
the uncertainties of the new order of affaire, and by appre- 
hensions of continued disaster. The future was enshrouded 
in commingled gloom, doubt, and mistrust. Painful was 
the period and abnormal were the circumstances. To re- 
create the State, to avoid further complications with the 
Federal Government, to heal the wounds engendered by 
the civil strife, to recall peace and comfort and prosperity, 
and so to govern that whatever of hope and happiness and 
welfare remained might be husbanded and augmented in 
the interest of the sorely smitten Commonwealth, de- 
manded the highest exertions of the statesman, the patriot, 
and the philanthropist. 

The address delivered by Governor Jenkins upon taking 
the oath of office will long be remembered and treasured as 
an utterance most sage and elevated. 

" In the recent remodeling of their constitution," said he, 
■"the people of Georgia have acknowledged the Constitu- 
tion, Laws, and Treaties of the United States as the supreme 
law. This means something more than yielding of the 
contest or an overture for restoration. It implies fidelity 
to the supreme law in all future legislative, executive, and 
judicial action, and in all future movements of the people 
en masse. It implies a recognition of duty to and interest 
in the whole country, as well as to and in the State of 

24 L^fe (ii'^d Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

Georgia. It is of course predicated upon a reciprocal obli- 
gation on tlie part of those to whom this pledge is renewed. 

" The institution of slavery — the principal source of dis- 
cord in the past — has been effectually eradicated from our 
social and political systems. It can never again disturb the 
harmony of our national deliberations without which th& 
Federal Union must be a curse instead of a blessing. If 
the whole people, repressing all promptings of sectional 
feelings and interest, will faithfully observe and obey the 
Federal Constitution, coming events will lift the veil which 
now covers recent demonstrations of Providence, and dis- 
close to their rectified vision, in striking contrast, ruin 
caused by human folly and renovation wrought by Divine 

" Let not our people yield to discouragement in view of 
the tardy progress of reconstruction or of the suspicion and 
distrust so palpably manifested towards them. Sustained 
by conscious rectitude, let them maintain with calm and 
resolute d'Ignity the position they have taken, and await the 
result. A tempest of unsurpassed fury has swept over the 
land. The elements do not subside into their normal quiet 
instantaneously with the lull of the wind, the sleep of the 
lightning, and the hush of the thunder. The smoke of an 
hundred battles does not vanish in a moment. But the 
atmosphere will clear ere long. Those who cannot now 
see how men who recently fought with such desperation 
against the United States can so soon become its real citi- 
zens, will then look at us through a rectified medium. It 
will occur to them that valor and truth are twin sisters, 
born of magnanimity, whose womb never did nor never 
will conceive treachery. They will then remember and 
appreciate the historical fact that the States now returning 
never confederated against the United States until each for 
herself had, in open day and in the hearing of all mankind, 
declared herself separate from that power. And although 
they will still hold the act wrong in principle and void in 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 25 

fact, they will find in it no taint of duplicity. They will 
look in vain through all the sanguinary traces of war for 
the trail of the serpent. In due time consistency will com 
mand confidence ; and sincerity, like the diamond of the 
first water, will assuredly win its own recognition. Then 
our too suspicious judges will marvel less at our approved 
fealty than at their own tardiness in discerning it. 

" Be the process of reconstruction long or short, when con- 
summated, our attitude will and must be that of strict 
fidelity to the Union, of equality with our associates, and 
of dignity sustained by our inner sense of unviolated in- 

Referring to the status of the freed man, the Governor 
continued: "It is undoubtedly true that during all the 
years of his enslavement he has been marvelously kind> 
profoundly content with his condition. And what shall be 
said of his deportment during the last half decade of sad 
memories? While you strong men were in the tented 
field, far away from unprotected wives and children, he 
cultivated their lands, tended their households, and re - 
dered all servile observances as when surrounded by the 
usual controlling agencies. And since the fiat of emanci- 
pation, which he neither forced nor implored, although 
sometimes unsettled in his purpose, and inconstant in his 
service by contract, (the natural results of a transition so 
sudden and so thorough), I take you all to witness that in 
the main his conduct has been praiseworthy beyond all 
rational expectation. Tell me not of instances of insub- 
ordination as a slave, and of indecorum as a freedman, that 
have transpired in certain localities or characterized partic- 
ular individuals. These are exceptional cases, the general 
rule being quit) otherwise. Dj our own race render unva- 
rying obedience to the mandates of the law? Are our own 
offspring through the years of minority always subordinate 
to parental authority ? Shall then the less cultivated Afri- 
can be held to a stricter accountability or bo judged by a 

26 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

higher standard of moral rectitude? Tell me not the race 
is ungrateful. The assertion is against the truth of tradi- 
tion and experience. 1 here declare that, in my judgment, 
their fidelity in the past, and their decorum under the dis- 
tressing influences of the present are without a parallel in 
history, and establish for them a claim upon our favoring 
patronage. As the governing class, individually and col- 
lectively we owe them unbounded kindness, thorough pro- 
tection, incentives by moral suasion, by appeals to their 
interest, and by just legal restraint, to do right that they 
may do well. Their rights of person and property should 
be made perfectly secure — so secure that they may realize 
their freedom and its benefits — and of it they should be 
encouraged and stimulated to make benefit. To this end 
the courts must be opened to them, and they must be ah 
lowed, in the assertion and defense therein of their rights 
in civil and criminal cases, the testimony of their own race. 
As essential to their well being, they should be guarded on 
the one hand against the crafty machinations of the design- 
ing, and on the other, against the fatal delusion of social 
and political equality, 

"God is merciful. God is mighty. God in his abounding 
mercy and in the plenitude of his might so dispose our 
fortunes and theirs that each class shall be to the other a 
blessing and not a curse." 

We give one more extract from this noble utterance : 

"Peace restored — the machinery of government once 
more put in operation — public and private enterprises 
aroused from their long slumber — educational institutions 
re-opened — our sacred temples aid our altars with their 
holy ministrations frequented as of yore, and the blessing 
of Almighty God overspreading and vivifying all earnest 
effort, Georgia will illustrate the teachings of adversity by 
speedily achieving an enlarged prosperity." 

After a month's recess the Legislature reassembled. An 
appropriation of $200,000 was made to purchase corn for 

Li^e and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 27 

the poor of the State. A stay-law was enacted which Gov- 
ernor Jenkins vetoed on the ground that it impaired the 
obligation of contracts. Acting upon the suggestion con- 
tained in this inaugural address, the General As3emblj 
passed an act empowering persona of color to make and 
enforce contracts, to sue and be sued, to give testimony in 
the State courts, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold and 
convey property both real and personal, and to enjoy the 
full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings requisite 
and customary for the security of person and estate. This 
legislation exerted a beneficial influence. It evoked from 
the General, commanding the Department in which Georgia 
was included, an order securing to the State a partial resto- 
ration of her civil rights and conceding jurisdiction to her 

So complicated was this military machinery conceived 
and operated for the government of the States lately associ- 
ated in the Confederate Revolution — so numerous were the 
interferences experienced at the hands of the Freedman's 
Bureau — so annoying was the intervention of military com- 
missions and treasury agents, nominally in quest of captured 
and abandoned property, but really, in many instances, 
intent upon plunder — and so oppressive the menace of mar- 
tial law, that Governor Jenkins took occasion by public 
proclamation to advise the citizens of Georgia of the pre- 
cise status of affairs, that they might, in seasons of doubt, 
annoyance, and distress, be the batter able to govern them- 
selves promptly and intelligently. 

Within five years almost four-fifths of the entire wealth 
of Georgia had been either destroyed or rendered unpro- 
ductive. Under the wise counsels and energetic measures 
suggested by the Governor and sanctioned by the General 
Assembly, much was accomplished in repairing the ravages 
of war and in the restoration of law, order, and prosperity. 

After a short session, during which the attention of the 
members was chiefly directed to the consideration of local 

28 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

matters, the Legislature adjourned to reassemble on the first 
of November, 1866. 

It was proposed by the Congress of the United States to 
add a Fourteenth Article to the Constitution, Analyzing 
the features of the suggested amendment, Governor Jen- 
kins, in his message to the General Assembly, said : 

" I ask yon to consider, however, why it is that you are 
called upon to vote upon its adoption whilst your State had 
no voice in its preparation ? The Constitution secures to 
the States the one right as distinctly and as positively as 
the other. Had your repreeentatives and those of other 
States similarly situated been present, aiding in giving sub- 
stance and form to it, possibly it might have come before 
you a less odious thing. The policy seems to have been 
first to push it, without their participation, beyond the stage 
of amendment, and then say to them accept our bantling 
or take the consequences. The omission of any material 
part of the process of amendment makes the amendment 
itself unconstitutional, null, and void. 

" Should the States especially to be affected by this amend- 
ment refuse their assent to it, it cannot be adopted without 
excluding them from the count and placing its ratification 
upon the votes of three-fourths of the now dominant States. 

" It is said, however, that unless this concession be made, 
the now excluded S'ates will be kept out of the halls of 
Congress indefinitely. Were the amendment presented 
with such a menace distinctly expressed, a higher motive 
(if possible) than any hitherto suggested would prompt its 

" At the termination of hostilities it was right and proper 
that the previously resisting States should, in the most 
unequivocal and formal manner, abandon such resistance ; 
should rescind all they had done in antagonism to, and do 
whatever was necessary and proper to place themselves in 
constitutional relation with, that government. All this, we 
believe, Georgia has done. Beyond this, in acting upon 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 29 

any proposed change in the fundamental law, even in this 
critical juncture, my advice is that her legislators act with 
the same intelligent judgment and the same unflinching 
firmness that they would have exercised in the past or would 
exercise in the future when in full connection and unam- 
biguous position. Any other rule of action may involve 
sacrifices of interest and of principle which magnanimity 
would not exact, and self-respect could not make." 

Moved by his brave counsels and sage views, the General 
Assembly, after careful deliberation, declined to ratify the 
proposed amendment. 

During the entire period of his gubernatorial career 
Governor Jenkins was harassed and embarrassed by the 
reconstruction measures of Congress, by the arrogance and 
annoying interference of the Military Commander assigned 
to the almost autocratic control of the department embrac- 
ing the States of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, and by the 
constant and pronounced intervention by the Federal 
authorities in matters which appertained legitimately to the 
province of home rule and the ordering of them by the 
■duly elected officers of the State. Opposed upon principle 
to the Congressional plan of reconstruction, and persuaded 
that both the laws promulgated and the acts perpetrated 
under cover of them were oppressive and unconstitutional. 
Governor Jenkins, on the 10th of April, 1867, filed, in 
behalf of the State of Georgia, an original bill in the 
Supreme Court of the United States, praying relief by a 
temporary injunction restraining all proceedings under the 
Reconstruction Acts until the final adjudication of the case, 
and then asking a perpetual injunction against their enforce- 
ment in the event that they should be shown to be null 
and void as violating the fundamental law. 

The scheme of this bill originated exclusively with the 
Governor. In its elaboration and attempted enforcement 
he enlisted the sympathies and secured the professional 
services of eminent counsel led by the Hon. Jeremiah S. 

30 Z//e and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

Black and Mr. Charles O'Conor. Upon the hearing the 
court was of opinion that inasmuch as there had been no 
encroachment upon or violation of any property right of 
the State of Georgia, no jurisdiction attached ; conse- 
quently the bill was dismissed. 

Subsequently however, when, under the operation of the 
Reconstruction measures, Governor Jenkins was removed 
by order of General Meade, and the usurping Military 
Governor, General Ruger, took possession of the State 
treasury, the public buildiugs, and the Western and Atlan- 
tic Railroad, Governor Jenkins filed a second bill in behalf 
of the State, bringing the complainant directly within the 
purview of the decision rendered by the Supreme Court 
upon the dismissal of the first bill. 

The petitioner was met, however, by so many unexpected, 
and in most instances provoking obstacles at the hands of 
the Court, that before this second bill could be heard upon 
its merits the Bulloch Legislature came into power and 
ordered its discontinuance. 

The truth is, the Supreme Court of the United States in 
both cases avoided a frank and fair consideration of the 
issue presented ; and postponed, by every conceivable 
device, a decision of the questions raised by each bill. 

It was truly mortifying and pitiable to behold the shifts 
to which that august tribunal resorted. In more than one 
instance the partisan was enveloped in the ermine of the 

While in Washington in attendance upon the Supreme 
Court and engaged in an earnest effort to evoke protection 
for his oppressed Georgia, Governor Jenkins took occasion 
to publish an address to the people of the State, in which 
he counseled non-action under the military laws until the 
question of their legality could be decided. 

Upon his return home he was served with a communica- 
tion from Major General John Pope, the military satrap, 
calling his attention to the general order issued by him 


Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 31 

when he assumed command of the District, informing him 
• that State officers must confine themselves strictly to the 
performance of their official duties, and "refrain from 
using any influence whatever to deter or dissuade the people 
from taking an active part in reconstructing their State 
Governments under the act of Congress to provide for the 
more efficient government of the Rebel States, and the 
act supplementary thereto," and requesting to be ad- 
vised whether Governor Jenkins, when he issued his 
address to the people of Georgia, dated Washington, D. C, 
April 10th, 1867, had seen or acquired knowledge of the 
General Order alluded to. 

In his response, while admitting that he had not, at the 
time his address to the people of Georgia was prepared and 
published, seen the order referred to, the Governor uses this 
dignified and courageous language: " 1 supposed I was ex- 
ercising such freedom in the public expression of opinion 
relative to public matters as seems still to be accorded to 
the citizens of this Republic, not imagining that it was 
abridged by the accident of the speaker or writer holding 

" So much for the past, General, and I will only add that 
in future I will do and say what I believe is required of 
me by the duty to which my oath of office binds me ; and 
this, I trust, will not involve either conflict or controversy 
between us in the execution of our respective trusts ; as I 
think it need not. Everything of this character I certainly 
desire to avoid." 

The conduct of General Pope each day becime more an- 
noying, aggressive, and arbitrary. He intervened without 
sufficient cause in the ordinary details of the civil adminis- 
tration of the State. The Governor elected by the free 
votes of citizens he styled pi^ovisional, and constantly al- 
luded to his tenure of office as a mere matter of his military 
and overruling pleasure. He interfered, even to the extent 
of removing the incumbents from office, with the functions 

32 Life and Serv,ices of Hon. C. J. Jenlins. 

of civil officers. Odious and unequal did he render the 
operation of the Registration Laws. He attempted to 
throttle the public press ; and, by published order, essayed 
to con pel an expression of opinion alien to the sentiments 
of the community. He even endeavored to influence the 
mind of Judges ; and, from his military throne, sought to 
play the role of a dictator. 

In fine, he rendered himself so pronounced and obnoxious 
in his zealous and partisan enforcement of the Reconstruc- 
tion measures of a Radical Congress, that his rule became 
intolerable to the peoples over whom he domineered, and 
objectionable to the better mind of the Federal Adminis- 
tration. Governor Jenkins, looking to the welfare and the 
peace of the State, had long sought his removal. On sev- 
eral occasions he had urged such a step upon the attention 
of the President. To his praise be it spoken, President 
Johnson, while admitting the advisability of the suggested 
action, freely confessed his doubt whether, in the present 
temper of the country and its prominent officers, a more 
tolerable military ruler for the Department could be found. 
He did yield, however, in the end, and substituted Major 
General George G. Meade in the stead of the doughty war- 
rior who, hello flagrante^ boastfully located his headquarters 
in the saddle, and asserted that he had never looked except 
upon the backs of his retreating enemies. It may not be 
questioned that in this whole matter of reconstruction Pres- 
ident Johnson sympathized with the Southern States in 
their agony, and did what he could to lighten the miseries 
and the burdens of their grievous situation. 

It will never be doubted that Governor Jenkins during 
his entire term of offic 3 exhibited on all occasions a Roman 
virtue — a solicitude for the welfare of the State — an ener^v 
and persistency in advocating, in the face of the greatest 
difficulties, such measures as, in his wise and patriotic judg- 
ment, were most expedient for the public good — an honesty 
of purpose, — a fidelity, and a moral heroism than which 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 33 

nothing higher, nobler, or purer could have been mani- 
fested. Spotlees in character, blameless in life, faithful 
in adversity, loyal to the traditions and the honor of his 
people, he lives in the respect, the gratitude, and tlie affec- 
tion of us all. In the annals of this State he will stand side 
by side with the high-strung, the patriotic, and the invinci- 
ble George M. Troup. 

One of the earliest difficulties encountered by Governor 
Jenkins in administering the crippled finances of the State 
arose in the effort to provide for the payment of a debt 
which had been contracted with the United States Govern- 
ment during the administration of Provisional Governor 
James Johnson. Upon the conclusion of the Confederate 
war the Western and Atlantic Railroad — the property of 
the State — was in a deplorable condition. Bereft, to a large 
extent, of rolling stock, it was incapable of furnishing needed 
transportation. The State treasury was bankrupt. Just 
then the United States Government offered for sale a large 
amount of rolling stock concentrated in Tennessee. Gov- 
ernor Johnson sent an agent thither who effected a purchase 
in behalf of Georgia, and upon a credit of two years, of some 
four hundred thousand dollars' worth of cars and railway 

Shortly after Governor Jenkins' inauguration a demand 
was made upon the State of Georgia, by the Federal officer 
specially charged with the sale of this railway property, for 
the immediate payment of one twenty-fourth part of the 
purchase moneys, and interest on the balance. Similar 
payment was to be exacted each month until the entire debt 
should be discharged. An alternative proposition was sub- 
mitted on the part of the creditor. Should bond and 
security be given, the purchaser might enjoy a credit of two 
years from date of purchase. 

The treasury of Georgia, as we have seen, was then in an 
empty condition, and time was requisite for the collection 
of taxes. Governor Jenkins was under the impression that 

34 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

the original contract of purchase extended to the State of 
Georgia a credit of two years upon the purchase, and that 
nu security, beyond the faith of the State, had been either 
contemplated or asked. 

Under the pressure of the demand he communicated with 
Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of War, who curtly responded 
that if the Agent of the Government was seeking to exact 
anything outside the terms of the contract, he would inter- 
vene ; but .if, on the contrary, he was simply adopting 
measures for the enforcement of the contract, he could do 
nothing in the premises. 

Governor Jenkins thereupon wrote to General George 
H. Thomas, who was then in command of Tennessee where 
the purchase had been made, stating to him what he under- 
stood the contract of purchase to be, as gathered from rep- 
re-entations made by the Agent of ihe Provisional Governor 
of Georgia who had been charged with the negotiation, and 
inquirinsr, if the General Assembly of Georgia should 
authorize the Governor of the State to execute a bond in 
behalf of the Commonwealth conditioned for the payment 
of the purchase money at the expiration of two years from 
the date of the contract, whether such an arrangement would 
be satisfactory to the Federal authorities. 

General Thomas responded in the affirmative. The Gen- 
eral Assembly being in session, Governor Jenkins laid the 
matter before it and an act was quickly passed empowering 
the Governor to execute and deliver the bond. A certified 
copy of the Act, and the bond in proper form, were duly 
forwarded to General Thomas, and Governor Jenkins sup- 
posed that the affair was accommodated. 

Soon, however, there camj a demand for the payment of 
another twenty-fourth part of the indebtedness, and 
interest to date on the balance. Surprised, Governor 
Jenkins lost no time in communicating with General 
Thomas, wlio replied that he regarded the bond simply 
as a formal acknowledgment on the part of the State 

Lije and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 35 

of the exi-ting debt, and that inasmuch as no security 
had been given for its payment, collection must be enforced 
in equal monthly payments until the obligation was dis- 
charged. Having occasion to visit the North upon a mat- 
ter coimected with the finances of the State, Governor Jen- 
kins stopped in Washington and had a personal interview 
with Secretary Stanton. We received from the Governor's 
lips the following narrative of what then transpired : "Af- 
ter I had niade my statement, to which the Secretary lis- 
tened attentively, Mr. Stanton said he could recognize no 
distinction between a State and a private individual in the 
matter of the purchase, and affirmed that he could do noth- 
ing for the relief of Georgi'-i. I responded : Well, Mr. 
Secretary, with your permission, I take issue withyou right 
here. When I was a law student I was taught that there 
existed a courtesy between governments or nations, and that 
credits between them stood upon a footing different from 
that applicable to the transactions arising between private 
individuals. He had made no suggestion that Georgia was 
not a State. After arguing the point at some length, 1 said. 
'Mr. Secretary, I did nut think I should live to see the day 
when the Government of the United States would propose 
to send the Governor of one of the States out into the com- 
munity to seek for personal security to a money contract of 
the commonwealth. I cannot so far lower the dignity of 
Georgia.' While I was speaking, Mr. Stanton sat gazing 
into the fire-place. Asl naade the remark he turned quickly 
upon me, and, looking me full in the eye, said : 'Governor, 
will you be good enough to present in writing the views 
you have just expressed in regard to the courtesy due to a 
State under the circumstances of this case, and send them 
tome? I will consider them.' I replied : 'I will do so, 
with pleasure, Mr. Secretary.' 1 did commit my views to 
paper, and I sent them to him the same day. When next 
I called upon him he remarked: ' Governor, the views you 
have submitted grow upon me, I must confess, the more I 

36 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

consider them, but I cannot take the responsibility of acting 
without first consulting the i'resident. Indeed, I think 1 
^hall bring the question before the Cabinet at its next meet- 
ing. Call at such a time [naming it] and I will confer 
further with you.' I waited upon him at the time 
designated, and he informed me that he had submitted 
the subject to the consideration of the Cabinet, and that it 
had been referred to the Attorney General (Mr. Stanbery) 
and himself, with power to act. ' Do you know Mr. Stan- 
bery ?' he inquired. * 1 am not personally acquainted with 
him,' I replied. • Then walk with me to his oflSce,' re- 
joined Mr. Stanton, 'and I will introduce you to him and 
leave you with him to present the question fully, and I will 
see you afterwards.' We went to the office of the Attorney 
General, and there Mr. Slanton left me. While explaining 
the case to Mr. Stanbery, when I mentioned the fact that 
this was a purchase from the United States by an agent of 
the State of Georgia, and. that the present question was 
whether the United States Government should exact secu- 
rity from the State for the payment of the purchase moneys 
agreed upon, he interrupted me with the remark : ' Gov- 
ernor, do you know that the proposition revolts me ?' I 
responded : ' I am very glad to hear you say so, Mr. Attor- 
ney General. That was its effect upon me, and I gave the 
Secretary of War so to understand.' 'Oh,' said he, 'that will 
never do. Stanton must give that up. He shall give it 
up.' ' Well,' said I, ' Mr. Stanbery, I need not trouble 
you any further. I am happy to find your views so entirely 
in accord with my own.' In my next interview with the 
Secretary of War he did give it up. He ordered the terms 
of the bond, as delivered, to be observed, and entirely 
waived the demand for security." 

Matters remained in statu quo until the fall of 1867, 
when the bond matured. Governor Jenkins had, by pre- 
liminary negotiations, accumulated funds sufiicient for its 
payment. Georgia held, however, a claim against the Gen- 

Lij-e and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 37 

eral Government for its use of certain rolling-stock owned 
by the Western and Atlantic Railroad, and for the transpor- 
tation of soldiers and supplies over that road. Major Camp- 
bell Wallace, the Superintendent, was engaged in preparing 
the proofs requisite for the support of that claim which the 
Governor desired, in all fairness, to utilize in part payment 
of the amount due upon the bond. Mr. Stanton had mean- 
while been displaced, and General Grant was then acting as 
Secretary of War. Governor Jenkins advised General 
Thomas that he was prepared to liquidate the indebtedness 
arising under the bond, but suggested that the payment of 
a part of it (equal in amount to Georgia's probable claim) 
should be postponed. The General responded that while he 
could not pass upon the proposition, he would refer the 
matter to the Secretary of War. He further agreed, if the 
State would pay up the balance, to recommend that a sum 
sufficient to answer the counter-claim should be reserved, 
subject to future adjudication. 

At this stage of the affair Governor Jenkins visited Wash- 
ington and submitted the facts to General Giant, who, after 
considering them, replied : " If General Thomas recom- 
mends the adoption of this course, and you will pay up the 
excess, I will instruct him to let the balance lie over." 
Upon this basis was a settlement effected. The sum nomi- 
nated in the bond, over and beyond Georgia's claim, was at 
once paid and an amount was reserved which was regarded 
as the equivalent of that counter-claim. It was understood 
that the Governor, if so required, should at any time, upon 
a month's notice, pay over th's balance. This accommoda- 
tion occurred in October, 1867, and nothing further was 
said about it until a few days before the removal of Gov- 
ernor Jenkins, when he received a communication from 
General Grant's Secretary stating that if his object in seek- 
ing indulgence on a part of the debt as nominated in the 
bond was to gain time so as to enable him to make up a 
claim in favor of Georgia against the United States, it was 

38 Z{/e and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

wholly inadmissible, and Georgia must forthwith pay np 
the balance. 

Anticipating some such complication, Governor Jenkins 
had instructed Major Campbell Wallace to retain in hand 
funds sufficient to discharge the balance of the debt irre- 
spective of Georgia's claim. Upon receipt, tlierefore, of 
this coirmunication from the Secretary of War, he tele- 
graphed Major Wallace to end the matter by paying the 
balance due according to the letter of the bond, and this 
was imriediately done. 

In 1866 an attempt was made on the part of the United 
States Government to levy and collect a tax upon the 
Western and Atlantic Railroad, which was the exclusive 
property of the State of Georgia. 

The Collector of Revenues for the Atlanta District noti- 
fied Major Wallace, the Superintendent of the State Road, 
that he must at once pay a tax of two and a half per cent, 
upon the gross earnings of the road for the preceding year, 
and thereafter submit monthly returns. Persuaded that 
the proposed tax was utterly without warrant of law, Gov- 
ernor Jenkins immediately communicated with Mr. Mc- 
Culloch, the Secretary of the Treasury, and protested 
against the proceeding. In due course he was advised by 
that official that he had referred the question to the Solic- 
itor of the Treasury and that upon the incoming of his re- 
port he would respond definitely. Subsequently he did 
reply to the effect that the Solicitor yf the Treasury was of 
opinion that the road was liable to taxation, and conse- 
quently, that the Department could afford Georgia no 
relief in the premises. Confident that this decision was 
erroneous, Governor Jenkins caused a bill to be filed in 
the District Court of the United States asking relief, and 
praying an injunction against the United States Internal 
Revenue Collector. The bill was exhibited to Judge 
Erskine, who, after some hesitation, granted an order to 
show cause why the injunction should not be allowed. 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 39 

Argument was had upon the return of the Rule, and the 
Court reserved its decision. It was distinctly understood, 
however, that no further action should be taken by the 
Collector pending the rendition of the judgment. 

Judge Erskine departed for a vacation at the Nortli and, 
after some time, Major Wallace was notified by the Collec- 
tor that unless the tax was paid within ten days he would 
issue an execution, levy it upon the rolling stock of the 
Western and Atlantic Railroad, and in this summary man- 
ner enforce payment. Informed of this unexpected and 
unjustifiable procedure, Governor Jenkins directed Major 
Wallace to pay the tax under protest. This was done. 

As this demand would be renewed each month, and as it 
was very important that a stop should be put to the exac- 
tion, Governor Jenkins proceeded to Washington, and, 
after an interview with the Secretary of the Treasury, in- 
duced him to send instructions to the Collector stavino- 
further aciion until the rendition of a decision by the Dis- 
trict Judge. Secretary McCulloch declined, however, to 
refund the amount of the tax which had been paid under 
protest. This amounted to some twenty thousand dollars. 
Upon his return to Georgia Judge Erskine did grant an in- 
junction pendente lite. In due course, the defendant not 
appearing, the injunction was made perpetual and a decree 
was entered ordering tlie tax already paid to be refunded. 
Even after this the Secretary of the Treasury refused to 
return the amount collected until He had invoked and re- 
ceived the opinion of the Attorney General sustaining the 
decision of Judge Erskine. When the sum was tinally re- 
funded, no interest was allowed on the part of the Govern- 
ment, although more than a year had elapsed since the date 
of its illegal receipt. 

During Governor Jenkins' administration gubern itorial 
intervention \\ as not infrequently invoked to settle disputes 
in connection with the Freedman's Bureau — in regard to 
branded horses found upon the premi&es of planters — and 

40 Life and Services qf Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

respecting what was claimed by Treasury Agents to be 
either Confederate cotton or captured and abandoned prop- 
erty. In all instances the Governor patiently and manfully 
rendered every available assistance. He also labored faith 
fully and successfully in restoring the credit of the State to 
a sound financial basis. It was during his administration 
that the Western and Atlantic Railroad was mortgaged to 
support a line of bonds issued by the State. When first 
placed upon the market, through the personal exertions of 
the Governor they were made to bring ninety cents in the 
dollar. Their value being thus admitted, he refused to sell 
many of them at that figure, and advanced the price to 
ninety five cents. Shortly afterwards they were eagerly 
sought after and regarded as a safe and desirable security. 
Georgia's credit had been wisely re-established. 

The Congressional Reconstruction Convention of Geor 
gia assembled in Atlanta on the 9th of December, 1867, and 
remained in session until the 23d of the month. It met 
again on the 8th of the following January. General George 
G. Meade, newly arrived, had supplanted General Pope in 
the command of the Military Department. The members 
of this Convention, after a rather protracted absence from 
home, found themselves, in many instances, with empty 
pockets. They grew hungry and clamored for pay. 
Having appointed Dr. Angier their financial agent, they 
passed a resolution requiring the State Treasurer to turn 
over to him, from the State's moneys, forty thousand dol- 
lars for the use and support of the Convention. Armed 
with a copy of that resolution, signed by the President of 
the Convention, certified by its Secretary, and indorsed by 
General Pope who had not then been removed, Dr. Angier 
repaiied to Milledgeville and, exhibiting it to Mr. John 
Jones, the Treasurer of the State, demanded payment of 
the amount named. Mr. Jones d clined to accede to the 
request un'ess it was fortified by an Executive warrant. 
Dr. Angier remained but a few hours in Milledgeville and 

Life and Sermces of Hon, C. J. Jenkins. 41 

then returned to Atlanta without applying to the Governor 
for an Executive warrant. The Convention soon took a 
recess for the Christmas holidays, and its members returned 
home having received no pay for their services. Meanwhile 
the efforts made by Governor Jenkins and others to secure 
the removal of General Pope eventuated in success, and 
General Meade was appointed by President Johnson in his 
place. And now, in presenting the facts connected with 
the removal of Governor Jenkins from his gubernatorial 
office, we record the circumstances as they were narrated to 
us by him. It was our privilege to have conversed fre- 
quently and unreservedly with him on this interesting topic, 
and in regard to other incidents in his noble life. We re- 
call his precise language. 

" It had been intimated to me," said he, " that General 
Meade was a Democrat, and that he was frank and manly 
in character. I therefore, in person, paid my respects to 
him soon after he reached Atlanta to assume command of 
the Department. The Reverend Dr. Brantley, who was 
personally acquainted with him, accompanied me and intro- 
duced me to him. The General received me courteously, 
thanked me for this early visit, and said he had proposed 
calling upon me as soon as he had become fairly domiciled 
in his new quarters. During the course of our conversa- 
tion he introduced the subject of Dr. Angler's recent visit 
to Milledgeville, and inquired whether he had called upon 
me at that time ? I replied that he had not done so. Well, 
he rejoined, that was a mistake. It was a blunder on Pope's 
part. Angier should have been instructed to have waited 
upon you for an Executive warrant. 

" But, continued he inquiringly, 1 do not know, Gover- 
nor, whether or not that would have caused any difference 
in the result ! Not the least, General, I answered. What, 
Governor, said he, do you mean to say you would not have 
responded to an order for an Executive warrant.? Certainly, 
not, General, I replied. Well, said he, I am very sorry to 

42 Life and Sermces of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

hear yon say so. Will you be kind enough to give me the 
reasons which would Iiave influenced you in refusing? Yes, 
General, X answered. I will do so very cheerfully and very 
briefly. When I was inaugurated as the Governor of 
Georgia I took an oath to support and defend the constitu- 
tion of the State. That con.-titution provides that no 
money shall be dravn from the Treasury except by Execu- 
ive warrant upon appropriation made by law. That 
means of course, as you will concede, General, appropria- 
tion authorized by some law of the State of Georgia. Yes, 
certainly, he responded. I continued : The Legislature of 
Georgia had made no appropriation which authorized me to 
issue an Executive warrant in the case presented. Had I 
then drawn such a warrant upon the State Treasurer I would 
have violated my uath of office. Of this there can be no ques- 
tion. Upon this ground alone, had there been no other, I 
would have taken my stand. Bat there is another view 
which, it appears to me, should exert a controlling influence. 
The Congress of the United States, in inaugurating this 
policy which is without precedent, and in putting this 
anomalous machinery in oi)eration, foresaw the trouble 
which has come upon this Convention. While Congress 
did not provide funds for the support of the Convention, 
by the act which called the Convention into being it author- 
ized that body to levy a tax to defray its own expenses. 
This clearly shows that the Congress of the United States 
did not contemplate empowering either the Convention or 
the military commander to draw funds from the treasury 
of Georgia for that purpose. After hesitating a little 
General Meade replied : Governor, if you and I, as citizens, 
were discus&ing this subject, there would perhaps arise no 
special difference of opinion between us, but you must con- 
sider my position. I am sent here to carry out in Georgia 
these reconstruction measures. This Convention is an in- 
dispensable instrumentality in the accomplishment of that 
end, and, while in attendance upon it, its members must be 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 43 

fed and supported 1 liave no money for them. They 
have endeavored to borrow money but they cannot secure 
a dollar. They have no credit. Just here I interrupted 
him with the remark: I am not at all surprised at it, Gen- 
eral. Well, said he, it is so. They cannot borrow any 
money and, as to levying a tax, that is altogether too slow 
a business. That will not answer, and unless you furnish 
the money from the ti-easnry of the State the whole thing 
will come to a dead lock. My answer was : In truth, Gen- 
eral, I do not see that either you or I would be to blame for 
that. The corclnsion will be that Congress has set the 
machinery in motion and has provided no oil with which 
to grease the wheels. 

" After a pause General Meade said : Governor, I came 
here with a most earnest desire to move on harmoniously 
and not to interfere with your functions. General, I in- 
terposed, such is my hope, and I think I have evinced it by 
this early call upon you. Yes, he replied, and I have 
thanked you for your courtesy, but this is a terrible diffi- 
culty which is interposed upon the occasion of our tirst in- 
terview. I most earnestly request you to reconsider the 
matter, for I must say to you, in all candor, that if you per- 
sist in this determination I see no alternative left me but to 
remove you from office. This I would be very reluctant to 
do. I replied : I will not be so discourteous. General, as to 
say to you that I will not reconsider, but I have maturely 
reflected upon this matter, having, after the answer given 
by the State Treasurer to the Financial Agent of the Con- 
vention, anticipated that a call, such as that which you now 
8ugge4, would be made upon me. I cannot see how any 
reconsideration could lead me to a different conclusion with 
regard to my manifest duty in the premises. At any rate, 
he responded, I will give you time to reflect. Here our in- 
terview ended. 

" Prior to this conference I passed and published an Execu- 
tive order suspending the collection of taxes, I also in- 

44 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

structed the State Treasurer to reiuove the funds of the 
State to some secure depository, and to keep his own 

" Several days elapsed and I heard nothing from the mili- 
tary commander. 

" On the 7th of January 1868, General Meade addressed a 
communication to n\e enclosing a copy of the ordinance 
passed by the Convention, referring to the refusal of the 
State Treasurer to pay over the sum named to the Financial 
Agent of the Convention, and concluding with a demand 
upon me for an Executive warrant on the State Treasurer 
for the payment of the amount specified. I responded, in 
due course, declining to give the warrant ; and, in my reply, 
briefly recapitulated the reasons, previously explained to 
him in person, which influenced me in refusing to comply 
with his demand. The receipt of my letter was quickly 
followed by this communication from General Meade : 

* Headquarters Third Military Division, 

(Georgia, Alabama, and Florida). 
Atlanta, Ga., January 13, 1868. 

Charles J. Jenkins, Milledgeville, Ga. : 

Sir — I have received with profound regret your communi- 
cation of the 10th inst. in which you decline to accede to 
the request made in mine of the 7th instant. As I cannot 
but consider your action as a failure to co-operate with me 
in executing the laws known as the Reconstruction Laws of 
Congress, and as I am further advised you have declined 
to pay the salary of M. S. Bigby, Solicitor-General of the 
Tallapoosa Circuit, on the ground that said officer having 
been appointed by the military commander of the Third 
District you cannot recognize the validity of his appoint- 
ment, I am forced, most reluctantly, to view your actions 
as obstructions to the execution of the Reconstruction Laws, 
and have no alternative bat to remove you from your office, 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Je7iki,ns. 45 

as you will see I have done by the enclosed order. I do 
not deem myself called upon to answer the arojaments of 
your letter. The issue is very plain between us. I must 
require the acknowledgement of the validity of the Recon- 
struction Laws, and you plainly deny them as having any 
binding force on your actions. Both of us are acting from 
a conscientious sense of duty, but the issue is so plain and 
direct that all hope of harmonious co-operation must be 

With feelings of high personal respect, and with sincere 
regret for the course I feel myself compelled to take, I re- 

Most respectfully your obedient servant, 

George G. Meade, 
Major General Commanding.' 

" Shortly after my receipt of this communication by post. 
General Thomas H. Ruger presented himself to me at 
Milledgeville and stated he supposed I was aware of the 
object of his visit. ' Yes,' I replied, ' I have received a com- 
munication from General Meade informing me that he had 
removed me from oflSce and appointed you, as Provitiional 
Governor of Georgia, in my place, and I presume you have 
come to assume the duties of the ofiice.' ' That,' he re- 
sponded, ' is my business here, and I hope, Governor, you 
will offer no resistance.' ' Before answering you,' I replied, 
'permit me to ask you a question. Are you instructed, if 
necessary, to use force to disposeess me of this office V He 
responded, ' I am, sir, and I will show you my orders,' which 
he proceeded to do. ' Well, sir,' I rejoined, 'you have the 
army of the United States at your back, and I can summon 
not even a respectable police force. I therefore elect to 
bow out to you, ratiier than to a file of soldiers with mus- 
kets and bayonets, but 1 denounce this proceeding as an 
outrage upon the rights of the State ; and, had I adequate 
force, I would resist you to the last extremity.' After 

46 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

eome fnrtlier conversation General Ruger remarked: 'I 
eee, Governor, yon have promulgated an executive order 
suspending, for the present, the collection of taxes. Will 
you be good enough to give me your reasons for so doing ?' 
T answered : ' Sir, you probably remember that the Conven- 
tion, now in session in Atlanta, passed a resolution request- 
ing me to do just that thing, but I scorn to rest that official 
act upon any such authority ; and, while I disclaim any in- 
tended discourtesy to you, I must decline rendering 3'ou 
any account of my official acts.' Here onr interview ter- 

This call was made upon the Governor at the Executive 
mansion in Milledgeville, where he was confined to the 
house, being at the time very lame from the effects of a 
severe fall encountered at Washington, D. C, and barely 
able to move about with the aid of crutches. From the 
executive mansion General Ruger proceeded to the office 
of the Slate Treasurer where, to his dismay and manifest 
displeasure, lie found only an empty vault and a lot of old 
books. The Treasurer refused to inform him where the 
funds of the State were deposited, or to surrender the cur- 
rent books appertaining to his conduct of rhe public finances. 
His interview with Treasurer Jones ended by his ordering 
him under arrest. General Ruger at once revoked the ex- 
isting order suspending the collection of taxes, and directed 
the Superintendent of the Western and Atlantic Raih-oad 
to pay over its earnings to his newly appointed Treasurer. 

He courteously placed the executive mansion at the dis- 
posal of Governor Jenkins, but the Governor remained 
there only a few days to arrange his affairs, and then de- 
parted for his home in Augusta. The night before he left 
Milledgeville the citizens, in torch-light procession, waited 
upon him to testify their respect, love, and admiration, and 
to proclaim their detestation of the military usurpation 
which had forcibly deprived the State of Georgia of her 
chosen and honored chief magistrate. Governor Jenkins 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 47 

responded in a farewell address replete with diojnity, emo- 
tion, affection, and eloquence. 

It was a mournful occasion for Georgia. In this arbitrary 
act of the Federal commander all her good citizens realized 
the hopeless, impotent condition in which the common- 
wealth had been plunged. Tiiey comprehended and la- 
mented the fact that the guardian of the rights, the proper- 
ty, and the manhood of the State had been taken from 
them. The future they could contemplate only with fear 
and apprehension. Abnormal as were the circumstances 
and perplexing the difficulties which surrounded his admin- 
istration of the affairs of State, they were persuaded that 
while Governor Jenkins remained in office nothing would be 
omitted which could conduce to the general welfare. 
Hence, even in the midst of abounding penury and uncer- 
tainty, there existed reasonable expectation of security in 
the present and of returning prosperity in the near future. 
The mailed hand of the conqueror struck down the trusted 
guide and counselor, the chosen friend and beloved magis- 
trate, and substituted in his stead an instrument alien and 
unsympathetic, an emotionless locum tenens whose imposed 
duty it was to execute a scheme of reconstruction devised 
by a Republican Congress, inaugurated without judgment 
or the sanction of law, and enforced in opposition to the 
will of a coerced and protesting population. 

Before quitting the Executive mansion where, for some 
time, because of his lameness. Governor Jenkins had trans- 
acted the business of the State, he instructed one of his 
secretaries to detach the seal of the Executive Department. 
This he placed in the hands of a trusted friend, with 
injunctions of secrecy, and the request that it be preserved 
until such time as he should call for it. He also removed 
the Executive documents appertaining to his term of ser- 
vice as Governor. These and the seal, as well as the State's 
moneys, were safely kept and never passed into the posses- 
sion ol the military usurper. Full and just account of the 

48 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

public funds was rendered when Georgia was in condition 
to administer her own ajBPairs, and the executive seal and 
books were, by Governor Jenkins, returned and surrendered 
to Governor Smith with a complete, manly, and patriotic 
statement of the reasons which influenced him in Dfuardinsr 
them and the public treasure from the alien touch of the 
stranger and the plunderer. 

It has been worthily said that there is no document in the 
archives of Georgia which surpasses in lofty sentiment and 
noble dignity the letter of Governor Jenkins accompanying 
the return of the seal of the Executive Department. It con- 
cludes thus: " The removal of the books and papers was 
simply a cautionary measure for my own protection. Not 
so with the seal. That was a symbol of the Executive 
authority, and although devoid of intrinsic, material value, 
was hallowed by a sentiment which forbade its surrender to 
unauthorized hands. Afterwards, whilst I was in Wash- 
ington vainly seeking the interposition of the Supreme 
Court, a formal written demand was made upon me by 
General Ruger for a return of these articles, with which I 
declined to comply. 

" The books and papers 1 herewith transmit to your 
Excellency that they may resume their places among the 
archives of the State. With them I also deliver to you the 
seal of the Executive Department. I derive high satisfac- 
tion from the reflection that it has never been desecrated 
by the grasp of a military usurper's hand, never been pros- 
tituted to authenticate official misdeeds of an upstart 
pretender. Unpolluted as it came to me, I gladly place it 
in the hands of a worthy son of Georgia, her freely chosen 
Executive, my first legitimate successor." 

In acknowledgment of his noble conduct during this 
trying period, in recognition of the distinguished services 
he had rendered the Commonwealth, and in token of the 
profound gratitude, love, and honor of the people of Geor- 
gia, the following Preamble and Resolutions, framed and 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 49 

introduced by the honorable Joseph B. Gumming, of Kich- 
mond County, were enthusiastically adopted by the General 
Assembly : 

" Whereas, The Honorable Charles J. Jenkins, when 
expelled by usurpers from the office of Governor of this 
State, had the firmness and the courage to save the public 
treasure from the plunderers, and applied it to the obliga- 
tions of the State, and also removed the archives of the 
State Treasury, and saved from desecration the Seal of the 
Executive Department; 

" And Whereas, his efforts to save the people of Georgia 
from oppression relaxed not with his hold upon the Execu- 
tive office, but in the midst of discouragement were con- 
tinned before the Supreme Court of the United States so 
long as there was any hope of success ; 

" And Whereas, preserving the archives and the seal until, 
in better times, he might restore them to his first rightful 
successor, he has delivered them to his Excellency the 
Governor ; 

"And Whereas, gratitude to a great and good man, defer- 
ence to the feelings of the people of Georgia, and the 
encouragement of patriotism and virtue in the generations 
to come alike render it good that we should make and put 
in imperishable form a recognition of his fidelity to his 
trust ; 

" Therefore be it Resolved by the General Assembly of 
the State of Georgia : That his Excellency, the Governor, 
be authorized and instructed to have prepared, and in the 
name of the people of Georgia to present to the Honorable 
Charles J. Jenkins, a seal to be the fac simile of the one 
preserved and restored by him, except that in addition to 
the other devices it shall have this inscription : Pkesented 
TO Chakles J. Jenkins by the State of Georgia ; and 
this legend : In arduis fidelis.'' 

In due season, a jac simile of the seal of the Executive 
Department — wrought of gold and of excellent workman- 

50 Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

ship, bearing the prescribed inscription and legend, and 
accompanied by a properly authenticated copy of the pre- 
amble and resolutions of the General Assembly — was, in 
the name of Georgia, presented to Governor Jenkins ; a 
memento worthy alike of a grateful and happy Common- 
wealth, after much tribulation, restored to the protection 
and guidance of her own sons, and of the fidelity and Spar- 
tan virtue of him who, with a fortitude, sagacity, and 
dignity never excelled, maintained inviolate his high trust, 
and preserved the honor of his people amid circumstances 
without parallel, and in the face of difficulties the most 

Nineteen centuries ago did Flaccus sing of the 

" Justum. et tenacem propositi virum, 
Non civium ardor prava jubentium, 
Non vultus instantis tyranni, 
Mente quatit solida :" 

and the dignified conduct of Governor Jenkins on this 
epochal occasion, and the moral heroism and tenacity of 
exalted purpose displayed by him, afford abundant proof 
that in his person and character the race of noble conserva- 
tors of the rights of the people and of principles dearer 
than life or position had suffered no degeneration. 

After remaining a few days in Augusta, Governor Jen- 
kins proceded to Washington City where he learned that a 
demand, made by General Ruger, for his arrest and return 
to the State of Georgia, was in the hands of Secretary 
Stanton. The morning after this information had been 
communicated. Governor Jenkins received a letter from 
General Ruger stating he found upon examination that the 
seal of the Executive Department, and the books apper- 
taining to that department during Governor Jenkins' 
administration, had been removed, and requiring their 
instant return. To that communication Governor Jenkins 
promptly responded acknowledging its receipt and saying 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 51 

he had been credibly advised that General Ruger had made 
a formal demand upon the Secretary of War for his imme- 
diate arrest and return to the State of Georgia, if to be 
found within the limits of the District of Columbia. This 
being so, Governor Jenkins admonished General Ruger that 
all correspondence between them, epistolary or otherwise, 
must be considered at an end. Nothing further was heard 
from the Military Governor of Georgia, and no attempt was 
made to arrest Governor Jenkins. 

After remaining some weeks in Washington, he went to 
New York, and thence returned to Baltimore that he might 
give such attention to the second bill filed in behalf of the 
State of Georgia to test the constitutionality of the Recon- 
struction Acts, to which allusion has already been made, as 
the nature of the case demanded. That bill was still pend- 
ing when the Bulloch Legislature came into power and 
ordered its dismissal. 

The winter of 1867-'68, memorable for the impeachment 
of President Johnson, was quietly and pleasantly passed in 
the city of Baltimore where the Governor was the recipient 
of marked attention and many courtesies. During the 
summer of 1868 he fixed his abode in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 
and in the fall returned to Baltimore for the winter. 

The spring of 1869 found him again in Georgia, whence, 
after a short sojourn among friends, he departed for Europe. 
Some eighteen months were delightfull}^ spent abroad. To- 
ward the close of 1870 he returned to his home in the village 
of Summerville, near Augusta, where he continued to re- 
side until his lamented death, leading a retired, gentle life, 
free from care, and happy in the universal esteem, confi- 
dence, and love of this Commonwealth. 

His last public service was rendered as President of the 
Constitutional Convention of 1877. For many years, and 
until a short time prior to his demise, was he President of 
the Board of Trustees of the University of Georgia. In the 
welfare of that institution he ever manifested the liveliest 

But twice after his return from Europe was he persuaded 

52 Life and Services q/ Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

to enter upon employment — once as the President of the 
Merchants' and Planters' National Bank, and again as the 
temporary President of the Augusta factory. Both these 
positions he held only for a short time. Advancing years 
and physical infirmities inclined him to a dignified repose. 
For several years was Mr. Jenkins a law-partner of Judge 
A. B. Longstreet, author of the Georgia Scenes, and, in 
after years, famous as a clergyman and as an educator of 
young men. While in the active practice of his profession, 
the bar of Middle Georgia was remarkable for the number 
and ability of its leading members. It was then his hon- 
orable lot to meet, either in association or in opposition, 
such lawyers as Freeman Walker, Richard Henry Wilde, 
Thomas Flournoy, Robert R. Reid, Henry H. Gumming, 
John P. King, George W. Crawford, Robert Toombs, 
Francis H. Cone, Alexander H. Stephens, William T. 
Gould, A, B. Longstreet, Herschel V. Johnson, Joseph 
Henry Lumpkin, Andrew J. Miller, Ebenezer Starnes, the 
brothers Cobb, and others whose legal acumen, erudition, 
and forensic ability linger as approved traditions and well 
established memories. Not infrequently Mr. Pettigru, 
Judge Berrien, Judge Law, Judge Charlton, Mr. McAllis- 
ter and Mr. Ward entered this legal arena as competitors 
for its richest prizes. To affirm that Mr. Jenkins was the 
peer of the knightliest of them would be to assert what no 
one conversant with the period will deny. Earnest and 
honest in the assertion of the rights of his client, careful in 
the preparation of his cases, well- versed in the principles of 
his profession, discriminating in the application of prece- 
dents and in the citation of authorities, skillful in the con- 
duct of his causes, quick, observant, apt in the examination 
of witnesses, potent in the grouping and presentation of 
testimony, courteous to bench and bar, eloquent and per- 
suasive in his appeals to the jury, and yet stooping not to 
wrest a verdict upon grounds unwarrantable, or even ques- 
tionable, in Governor Jenkins were combined those mental, 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 53 

moral, and legal qualifications requisite for an accomplished 
and successful advocate and counsellor. No safer adviser, 
no firmer friend could be found in the fraternity ; and, 
when the occasion demanded and the emergency called for 
the exercise of his highest powers, so sonorous was his 
voice, so impassioned his utterance, so impressive his ac- 
tion, so convincing his argument, so fearless his attitude, so 
fine his rhetoric, so masterful his oratory, and so abundant 
were his resources, that he towered in the court-room as if 

" The whole Law's thunder bom to wield." 

Underlying all were present an honesty of purpose, a con- 
scientious recognition of duty, an elevated plane of thought 
and conduct, a purity of life and character, and a might of 
moral force and reputation, the want of which no intellect- 
ual gifts can supply or studied art long conceal. Confining 
himself to no special department of the law. Governor 
Jenkins' practice was general, embracing whatever ofiered 
on the common law, criminal, and equity sides of the court. 
While filling the office of Attorney-General, his criminal 
business was extensive, but after his resignation he uni- 
formly declined to appear for the prosecution. Numerous, 
however, were his retainers for the accused in capital cases, 
and the ability, sagacity, eloquence and success displayed 
by him in the conduct of such causes were conspicuous. 
During a large part of his professional career his voice was 
heard in evoking the weightiest judgments of the court, in 
discussing the most intricate questions of civil, constitu- 
tional, and criminal law, and in displays of intellectual 
rivalry and effective eloquence worthy of all admiration. 

As a Judge upon a bench of last resort, he was patient, 
courteous, discriminating, just, and capable. In careful 
consideration, scholarly composition, lucidity of argument, 
and thorough interpretation of the law, his opinions, handed 
down while he was an associate Justice of the Supreme 
Court of Georgia, are excelled by none in the whole range 
of the Georgia decisions. 

Although the political reputation of Governor Jenkins is 

54 Z//e and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

almost exclusively associated with acts done within the 
confines of Georgia and measures connected with her gov- 
ernance and welfare, he was, as a statesman and legislator, 
ever loyal in his devotion to the highest principles of right 
and justice, broad in his views of public policy, alert in his 
advocacy of the value of internal improvements, solicitous 
for the moral and intellectual elevation of the masses, and 
entirely above and beyond the machinations and shifts 
of the time-server, the demagogue, and the modern pol- 
itician. At an early period, recognizing the wisdom of 
his views, the reliability of his judgment, his fidelity to 
trust reposed, and the worth of his services, the commu- 
nity in which he dwelt summoned him from the retirement 
of private life and kept him for a long time in public place. 
We have seen that on more than one occasion he just missed 
of stations that would have introduced him to the public 
gaze of the nation, and widened the sphere of his influ- 
ence. Whatever their potentialities may have proven, we 
are justified in the belief that Governor Jenkins there, as 
elsewhere, would have compassed and enjoyed the full meas- 
ure of honor, usefulness, confidence and power appertaining 
to them. 

To his exalted and heroic administration of the guberna- 
torial office we have already alluded, and we can only add 
that his acts in this connection have become part and parcel 
of one of the bravest chapters in the political history of 
this Commonwealth. He certainly was 

" So clear in his great office that his virtues 
Will plead like angels, trumpet- tongued, against 
The deep damnation of his taking off." 

We are credibly informed that General Meade, in review- 
ing his conduct of affairs in Georgia under the Reconstruc- 
tion measures of Congress, expressed sincere regret that 
he had removed Governor Jenkins from the gubernatorial 

As a public speaker Governor Jenkins was persuasive, 
magnetic, convincing and eloquent. He possessed the fine 

Life and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 55 

presence, the luminous eye, the emotional countenance, the 
impressive thought, the pathetic, soul-stirring utterance, 
the admirable action which move the understanding, capti- 
vate the will, and command the homage and the emotions 
of the multitude. On the stump he was always a favor- 
ite orator. At the bar it was ever deemed a pleasure to hear 
him. In his more studied efforts there was a happy combi- 
nation of excellent rhetoric, chaste imagination, mature re- 
flectit)n, and thoughtful study. 

As a writer and speaker of the English language he had 
no superior among his companions and associates. 

Public spirited — never an indifferent spectator of the 
causes and incidents which formed the history of the 
period ; ready, b}'' counsel and act, to promote the genuine 
welfare of the community in which he resided and give 
proper shape and tone to the general thought ; jealous of 
the good name of his people and State ; earnestly encourag- 
ing and maintaining an elevated standard among the legal 
fraternity, and sympathizing with all movements which 
sought to compass the intellectual, moral, and material 
growth of the population, Governor Jenkins on all occa- 
sions exerted his influence in support and advancement of 
law, order, and civilization. 

Genial in his disposition, frank in his intercourse, and 
dignified in deportment, possessing fine conversational 
powers, a fund of anecdote, and a wealth of personal rem- 
iniscences of men and events most entertaining, his society 
was at all times engaging and his d scourse instructive. 
He was verily a noble type of that well-approved manhood 
in which courtesy, kindness, dignity, cultivation, honor, and 
charity were happily blended. 

To all these excellences were added unswerving integrity 
honesty of purpose, purity of thought and act, and those 
crowning virtues born of an ever present and controlling 
religious sentiment. 

We fear not the reproach of contradiction when we sug- 
gest that within the wide borders of this Commonwealth 
there was perhaps no one who enjoyed in such an eminent 

56 Ufe and Services of Hon. C. J. Jenkins. 

degree the confidence, the love, the admiration and the 
veneration of his fellow citizens. 
As the years roll on his memory will not be forgotten. 

" His life was gentle ; and the elements 

So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up, 

And say to all the world, * This was a Man ! ' " 

Would to God that his pure thought, love of virtue, 
patriotism, devotion to truth and duty, and clear conception 
of all that constitutes and dignifies exalted manhood and 
stimulates civilization, could wholly possess our souls and 
abide with us as a living heritage. 

Sadly of late has Georgia been afllicted in the loss of her 
distinguished sons. In quick succession have Ex-Governor 
Herschel V. Johnson, Senator Benjamin H. Hill, and Gov- 
ernor Alexander H. Stephens followed each other to the 
tomb. And now the grass is not yet green above the new- 
made grave of him who, in the hearts of many, was and is 
esteemed as the "noblest Roman of them all." 

Bereft of wife and child, and smitten by disease, this 
grand old man lay for long weeks and months hovering 
betwixt two worlds. In this extremity his patience and 
fortitude were wonderful ; his Christian faith and resigna- 
tion sublime. Never did a murmur escape his lips. When 
overborne by physical weakness his mind at times wan- 
dered and his memory ceased to dwell upon the present, 
visions of coming glory dispelled the gathering shadows, 
and his latest thoughts were of the Church and the Com- 
monwealth. The bravest and holiest images of the past 
were near him, and his thoughts were intent upon all that 
was blessed and sublimated. 

And so, when the light went out in this noble dwelling, 
the immortal lamp, trimmed anew by angel hands, as we 
believe, was borne upward and placed among the stars of 



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