In the following document Rufus Saxton's brother, Samuel—also for a time employed by the Freedmen's Bureau in South Carolina—expresses his frustration as it becomes increasingly clear that the land redistributed to freedpeople at Port Royal was going to be returned, for the most part, to the planters from whom it had been seized. William Whaley, the planter referred to here, was a prominent attorney from Charleston who also owned Frogmore Plantation on Edisto Island, between Charleston and Port Royal. Whaley's opposition to the changes wrought by emancipation continued well after this incident.
In 1869, Whaley successfully argued in Calhoun v. Calhoun before the South Carolina Supreme Court that debts contracted for the purchase of slaves still had to be paid, affirming the law's recognition of the legality of slavery up until the point when it had been abolished.
Planter-Attorney William Whaley Wants to Exclude Blacks from the Land Board
Tuesday, 21st Nov 1865... Whaley and some others are in [Charleston Freedmen's Bureau office] and discuss the restoration of Edisto, and other lands. Mr W declares very emphatically that he would rather his lands would sink to perdition than that a black man should compose one of the Board. In unguarded moments they frequently show their true colors, and show us who hear their professions how well fitted they are to take their place as citizens of the Republic, with rights equal with those who have always been loyal...
Source: S. Willard Saxton Journal, Rufus and S. Willard Saxton Papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.
Questions to Consider