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Question. With such skill as a man of your profession and age will enable you to apply to that subject, will you give us your opinion as to the number of different handwritings in those signatures ?
Answer. I should think about seven.
Question. Is it your opinion that all the names down to Hay. wood Willis were written by the same hand ?
Answer. I think so.
Question. Is it your opinion that all the names down to William Mason were written by one hand ?
Answer. I think so, with the exception of the names of T. W. Willis, E. M. Willis, and Amasa Smith.
Question. Do you think the names of the Masons were all written by the same hand ?
Answer. It looks as if they were.
Question. Now, have you any evidence you can give to the committee that a single man's name was put on there at his request ?
Answer. I have no evidence whatever upon that point. The editor of the Newbern Progress received the petition as genuine.
Question. How many voters are there in the whole congressional district ?
Answer. I suppose about 9,000—perhaps more.
Question. How many voters live in the precincts where these expressions of opinion were given?
Answer. Not many more than made the expression of opinion.
Question. Why was there not an expression of opinion in other parts of the district ?
Answer. There was no opportunity for having any such expression, and it was not thought advisable that there should be any.
Question. For what reason ?
Answer. The difficulty is, that very few points are occupied by our troops. There are various places visited occasionally by our gunboats, but not permanently occupied.
Question. In whose possession is the rest of the district, except those parts in which these expressions of opinion were had ?
Answer. A large proportion of it cannot be properly considered as in the possession of anybody.
Question. If not in the possession of anybody, is there any difficulty in holding elections there?
Answer. The difficulty is, that men would be punished for holding an election or making any demonstration.
Question. Punished by whom?
Question. Are the rebels in possession of the remaining portions of the district ?
Ánswer. I think it may be considered that they are to this extent, that it would not be safe for anybody to express their opinion in places other than where they did.
Question. So you come here with the expression, in your favor, of all the district in which it is safe to make an expression ?
Answer. That is my opinion.
Question. In whose handwriting is the body of the petition of the citizens of Carteret county, of which we have been speaking ?
Answer. It is in my handwriting. I wrote it at the request of several gentlemen.
Question. To whom did you first deliver it?
Answer. I think I delivered it to the man who first signed the petition-Benjamin D. Willis.
Question. At what time did you deliver it to him?
Answer. No, sir.
Answer. I think it was on the 14th of May. As I was passing by, the editor of the Progress called to me to come over to his office.
Question. Is there anything more you would like to offer to the committee ?
Answer. Not at present. I think I have about stated the whole case; but I would like to be heard again to-morrow.
JUNE 6, 1862. The hearing continued.
Question. Please state to the committee any further matters you desire to present in reference to the grounds of your claim to a seat.
Answer. Gentlemen of the committee, I claim that in this case the expression of the loyal voters in the district has been as general and as extensive as possible under the circumstances. I desire it to be remembered that Edenton, Plymouth, Elizabeth City, Winton, and various other places visited by the Burnside expedition, with the whole of Roanoke island, are in the first congressional district, and not in the second. They are no part of the territory of the second congressional district which I claim the right to represent. That will account for the absence of any expression of opinion from those places.
Question. How much of the territory reclaimed by General Burnside is in the second district ?
Answer. So far as the reclamation of territory is concerned, I do not consider it at all complete, not sufficiently complete and permanent to justify the people in consideration of the welfare of them. selves and their families, and the safety of their lives, liberty, and estate, in making any demonstration whatever of fidelity to the Union. As an honest man, I could ask them to make no demonstration beyond what they did make. According to the statement contained in the memorial signed by 168 of the loyal citizens of the second congressional district of North Carolina, three several elections have been held. Public meetings also have been held besides that, the proceedings of which I presented to the committee yesterday. A petition from the loyal citizens of Carteret county was also got up : and also other petitions which I have not seen, but which were in circulation on the 14th of May, when I left, all requesting a representation in Congress, and asking that I should be such representative. I claim that the expression is fully as extensive as is possible under the present condition of things in the second congressional district of North Carolina, and that the expression is unanimous in my favor. There was another candidate in opposition to myself at one election, but he did not, notwithstanding he was born and raised among the people along the coast, and has been and is now a member of the legislature, receive a single vote, because the people preferred myself.
Secondly. I claim that the substance of an election is in this case. The period during which these demonstrations have been made evi. dence, as I said yesterday, that the voters would, with the same unanimity, have expressed themselves in my favor upon any day certain which might have been the legal day of election, authorized by statute or by the proclamation of the governor. I claim that the substance is in this thing; the bark, the husk, may be absent, but the kernel and essence of an election is in the case.
Thirdly. No adverse utterance has been made by a single elector in the second congressional district of North Carolina. No person interested in the election has remonstrated against my claim to a seat. Cox, in his British Commonwealth, speaking of election petitions affecting the right of a man to a seat in the House of Commons of England, says that the only persons who can send in an election petition disputing the right of a member to a seat in the House of Commons are electors in the district, or a candidate, or persons who should have been candidates; that no person can object to the right of a person to a seat, unless he has some interest as an elector or a candidate.
Fourthly. The people desire, and their vital interests demand, some kind of a representation. These people on the coast of North Carolina live ordinarily by commerce. They are not altogether wreckers and fishers; many of them are engaged in the coasting trade. They are generally honest, good, religious, and intelligent men. If they are poor men, and own but few slaves, that ought not to be an objection to them. Every one of them are natives of North Carolina, and have always been obedient, as they interpret it, to their duties as citizens of the State. They have been isolated from the main land, have had no connexion with the rebellion, but have remained steadfastly loyal; they have given every assistance they could to the troops of the government. Instead of harassing the government by organizing themselves into guerilla bands, they have assisted the government. Their commerce has been interrupted. Many of them own lighters and small schooners, by the use of which, in carrying cargoes and pursuing the coasting trade, they earned their livelihood. Now their ordinary avocations are at an end, and they have no means of support. The pilot business, which was one source of income to these people, has been interrupted; also the right to throw seines in many parts of the sound has been prohibited. They wish a report of these matters to be made to Congress by some person who has lived with them, and who is practically familiar with the whole matter.
They claim to be American citizens, and that they have never forfeited their rights by any disloyalty or assistance to the rebellion. They wish some person who has lived among them to represent them, and they consider me the most suitable man they have. That is the view they take; I do not say I take it.
Again, these constituents of mine have suffered depredations both from federal and confederate troops. I came up here last February and presented to each house memorials in behalf of these men, asking compensation for depredations committed upon their property, but being a mere civilian, holding no office, being in no position which entitles me to appear for those people, except their request that I should appear for them as their attorney or commissioner, I cannot see those claims through and see them righted. They desire some representative to take their business in hand. It is important that they should, as it affects their vital interests.
Fifthly. In reference to a new election, which some of my friends have suggested to me should be held, and which might be ordered, I contend that it would have no additional virtue as an election, inasmuch as these people have several times expressed their opinion in my favor unanimously.
Question. What is the day of the regular congressional election?
Answer. Yes, sir; and the next will not occur until a year from next August.
Question. When do you claim that your first election took place?
Answer. No, sir; none recognized by the federal government. The people assembled together in their primary capacity under a full and general understanding among them.
Question. Is there any provision for calling a special election in North Carolina ?
Answer. There is a provision in the Constitution of the United States.
Question. Have you nothing, independent of that, in the laws of North Carolina providing for filling vacancies in Congress ?
Answer. No, sir; there is a provision in the Constitution that whenever a vacancy happens in the representation of any State the executive authority thereof shall order writs of election to fill such vacancy: but the rebel governor of North Carolina did no such thing.
Question. You had no provisional government?
Answer. None which was recognized by the federal government here.
Question. Governor Stanly is now provisional governor, and would it not be competent for him, under the authority of that provision of
the Constitution to which you have just referred, to order a new election? Answer. I do not know what the nature of his powers are.
I suppose Governor Stanley would have the right to send me out of the State if I should go back there.
Question. Would he not have power to order an election to fill all vacancies?
Answer. I should suppose so; but I have this objection to that: a brother of Professor Hedrick, an enemy of mine, has been appointed a federal officer at Beaufort. Other persons may be appointed to hold other offices in the district, and those persons, I presume, would work against me. That is one objection I have to a new election. Again: it would be dangerous and unsafe for the people to participate in another at this time.
Question. Where are the originals of those papers which are printed in Mis. Doc. No. 53 ?
Answer. They were presented to the House by Mr. Morrill, of Maine ; by the House referred to this committee, and I presume they are at the printing office.
Question. Have you any personal knowledge of the manner in which the names to those papers were obtained ?
Answer. By generally circulating the papers in the different neighborhoods and getting the persons to sign.
Question. They so represent the matter to you?
Question. You have no personal knowledge of the matter beyond the fact that the petitions were brought to you?
Answer. I have a personal knowledge from the fact that many persons whose names appear to the petition afterwards told me they had signed such a petition in my favor, and asked me when I was going to Washington with the petition.
Question. Have you observed the fact that many names on these petitions are alike?
Answer. It is a fact that on these islands there are many per sons of the same family name. It is so (addressing Mr. Dawes) in your State, at Cape Cod.
Question. Do you know all these men ?
Answer. I think I know nearly all of them. I know every man personally and some of them quite intimately. I have lived with them for seven months.
Question. Is that the length of time you have resided in North Carolina ?
Answer. No, sir. The democratic party of North Carolina in the spring of 1860—a party then in a majority of seventeen thousand
H. Rep. Com. 118—2