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Day 16 of the Convention

Friday, January 31, 1868

The Convention was called to order on Friday at 11 o’clock, Mr. Pres. Cowles in the Chair. No issues related to public schools were addressed on this day.

After various business of the Convention, Mr. Galloway lodged a complaint against one of the reporters for the Carolinian for a racist slur and called for his expulsion. Mr. Galloway said that delegates were called “niggers.” The President explained that a reporter of the Carolinian had come forward and laid his notes of today’s proceedings on the President’s desk. The reporter objected to his reading them and took back possession. The President then called for getting back the notes of the Reporter. The Reporter objected, stating that they were only rough notes. The President said that the note were among the most infamous thing that he had ever read. The President said he would exercise his authority to expel the reporter from the floor. 

The Convention then proceeded to other business, including another lengthy debate on political disabilities.   Mr. May complained, stating that “from the beginning of the Convention there has been a disposition manifested to shoulder anything foreign from the true duties of the Convention.—This body had scarcely met in the morning, to enter upon its important duties, before some foreign subject was introduced, which usually tended to an alienation of feeling and discussions, which would bring the Convention into disgrace among the people.—They are anxiously waiting for the formation of a Constitution. They have looked in vain. The Convention must pursue a different course, or two weeks longer will pass away and it will have hardly commenced its duties.

After voting on a resolution at hand, Mr. Durham returned to the issue of the reporter, stating that the reporter had told him that the President was erroneous in his statement. After an exchange, the President said that “the character of the President for veracity is at stake. I pitied the young man and had not been disposed to expel him, and certainly it was not done for malice. I would have kept him if I could but I couldn’t have allowed him to stay in my own house after the use of such language.” To this the delegates applauded.

On motion the Convention adjourned.

EdNC remarks

In the House Chambers, the President sat at the top tier of the Dias, clerk(s) on the second level, and reporters, on the third tier closest to the floor. Presumably this reporter was sitting here when making these notes.



Ferrell, Joseph, ed., Compilation of the Official Report of the Proceedings of the Convention (Chapel Hill, N.C.: unpublished manuscript 2007). (See day 8 for fuller explanation of this resource.)


Note: EdNC has converted quotes back to first person/present tense.

Ann McColl

Ann McColl is an attorney and state constitutional scholar.