Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

seen in his own hand writing in the United States Court of this place:

"John L. Manning, &c., Vs. Romanta Tillotsox.— In the Confederate States District Court for the District of Louisiana.

"And now into this honorable Court, by counsel, comes Romanta Tillotson, the defendant, and pleads a peremptory exception to the jurisdiction of the Court, and for cause of exception he shows that this suit is brought by and on behalf of persons who are all citizens of the State of South Carolina, and that the defendant is a citizen of the State of Louisiana, and that this Court has no power or jurisdiction by the Constitution and laws of the Confederate States to entertain the cause.

"Wherefore, respondent prays that this exception may be maintained, and that the plaintiif 's petition may be dismissed.

(" Signed) Durant & Hornor,

"for Defendant. (" Signed) Singleton & Slack,

"Attorneys. "U. S. Circuit Court, Sixth Circuit And ) Eastern District Of Louisiana, [• Clerk's Office. ) "I certify the foregoing to be a true copy of the original on file in this office.

"F. B. Yinot,

"Deputy Clerk. "New Orleans, Dec. 27, A. D. 1864."

"When the hearts of the Union people of New Orleans were gladdened by the arrival of the Union forces, who among the citizens went out with rejoicing and welcome upon his lips? Was it Thomas J. Durant? no! He was invited to attend the first Union meeting, in Polar Star Hall. He did so. When the formation of a Union Association was proposed, he resisted it. Said "It was now no time for such an organization, that our sons and brothers were upon the battle-field. That the result of Corinth was not yet known; that it behooved the people of ISTew Orleans to await results; that Butler was enticing the negroes to the Custom-house and shielding them from the authority of their masters, and that it was best to know first whether our rights to our property were to be respected or violated. When the Assembly proceeded to organize the First Union Association, Durant withdrew.

"This man sets himself up as a sort of model upon the slavery question; in fact, his "I am holier than thou" sort of professions upon everything concerning the colored people—his refusal to give credit to the Free State movement for what it .has done for their cause, make it necessary that I should analyze his antecedents strictly upon this question, I should not do so but for his unfairness and unjustness. Far be it from me to question any man's past, who is patriotically working for our country's future.

"That Durant has been no stranger to the system of slavery, the following document which may be seen at the Conveyance Office of this city will show.

"ninth May, 1851—Sale Of Slaves Of Widow Peter Cenas To Thomas J. Durant. By act passed before W. Christy, Notary Public, dated the 28th day of October, 1845, Pauline Maria St. Jean, widow of the late Peter Censas, late of this city, deceased, has sold unto Thomas J. Durant, also of this city, the following named slaves, to wit; Rosanna, a negress aged about twenty-nine years, and her three children, to wit: Elizabeth, aged about seven years, Tyler, aged about three years, and Sally, an infant, aged about six months—all black.

"That sale was made for the sum of eight hundred dollars, ($800), for which said purchaser has furnished his note bearing eight per cent, interest from its date until final payment, drawn in favor of said vender, dated 28th October, 1845. New Orleans, 9th May, 1851.

"Bernard Marigny, Register."

u Among the first notable propositions made by him as a Union man was to restore Louisiana to the Union by a Convention. He made several speeches in favor of immediate restoration by that method, and after most earnest and persevering efforts he succeeded in carrying one of the Union Associations in his favor. Those who opposed him believed in his views but deemed them premature. This was in February, 1863. He continued agitating the question in the district or local clubs. He became Attorney General under the military authority of Gov. Shepley, and commenced a registry system for voters of the city and country parishes. He had registers appointed in all the parishes within the lines. He got up a plan of a Convention upon the white basis, to consist of one hundred and fifty members apportioned among the parishas almost identically as was adopted in the calling of the Convention of 1864. It was understood thatDurant w^as the active promoter of the scheme of a convention, but that Governor Shepley always found cause for delay. Excepting his penchant for delay, he left everything in Durant's hands; and with this Durant was well pleased. But a certain letter was received from President Lincoln, Avho, not pleased with Shepley's delays, placed everything in the hands of Major General Banks.

"Here was the beginning of Durant's hostility to the plan which has been substantially followed in the restoration of Louisiana. Before that time there was, according to his own speeches, territory enough and population enough fully to warrant such a proceeding. Taking the thing out of Sheplcy's hands was taking it out of Durant's hands. Although all the propositions and plans of Durant have been substantially, nay almost identically followed, his opinions have undergone a radical change. What caused that change to come 'o'er the spirit of his dreams T Disappointment and ambition. He could not rule as 'master,' therefore he has striven to ruin.

"In his letter to II. Winter Davis he says: "' No free State Constitution had, on the 8th day of July, been adopted or installed in the fragment of Louisiana held by the military forces of the United States.' On the 11th May the Convention, representing fully two-thirds of the entire population of the State, passed the Ordinance of Emancipation. Eightylive members of the Convention were present and voted upon the great question. Of this number seventy-two voted in favor of the Ordinance, declaring slavery forever abolished and prohibited throughout the State, and inhibiting in their fiat the Legislature from making laws recognizing the right of property in man, and proclaiming that all children, from the ages of six and eighteen years, shall be educated by maintenance of free public schools; also, that all able bodied men in the State shall be armed and disciplined for its defence, and that the black man may receive the full rights of citizenship. Are not these jewels of liberty? With these invaluable jewels the Constitution was adopted in the hearts of the people. The form or ceremony of ratification had not been gone through 'tis true; but Mr. Durant, from his knowledge of the loyalty of his fellow-citizens, could scarcely help knowing it would be ratified by an immense majority, and if he was imbued with that patriotism and love of liberty his eloquent speeches in his saner and more generous moments portray, he would feel to thank those who stood by the helm of the ship when he was in the hold endeavoring to scuttle and sink her.

"Durant participated in the election for State officers in February, 1864; he was chairman of a committee which conducted the campaign for one set of candidates; he made numerous publications and speeches, and his partner, Chas. W. Horner, who now ' certifies' the protest, went before the people on Durant's ticket as a candidate for Attorney General! The Durant ticket obtained only about one-sixth of the entire vote cast. Finding the weakness of his party, and abandoning all hope of being returned to the Constitutional Convention, he suddenly came to the conclusion that he would not be a candidate, 'because the whole movement was irregular!' His partner was, however, again a candidate, and again unsuccessful. If Durant or his partner had been elected, it is fair to assume that we would have had none of their pigmy efforts to retard the great Free State movement in Louisiana. And if the President, in compliance with his wishes had directed General Butler to respect Slave property, Durant would not have sought in his published letter to H. Winter Davis to have ridiculed our glorious Lincoln.

"I have written more in a spirit of sorrow than in anger. My aim has been nothing to extenuate nor ought.

« AnteriorContinuar »