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leans, General Banks wrote me that he was confident that the people, with the aid of his military cooperation, would construct substantially on that plan. I wrote him and some of them to try it. They tried it and the result is known.
"Such has been my only agency in the Louisiana movement. My promise is made, as I have previously stated; but as bad promises are better broken than kept, I shall treat this as a bad promise, and break it whenever I shall be convinced that keeping it is adverse to the public interest; but I have not yet been so convinced. I have been shown letters on this subject, supposed to be able ones, in which the writer expresses a regret that my mind has not seemed to be definitely fixed on the question whether seceded States, so called, are in the Union or out of it.
"It would have added astonishment to his regret, were he to learn that since I have found professed Union men endeavoring to answer that question, I have purposely forborn any public expression upon it. It appears to me that the question has not been and is not yet, a practically national one; and the discussion of it, while it remains practically unnational, could have no effect, other than the mischievous one of dividing our friends.
"As yet, whatever may become the question is a bad base of dispute, and good for nothing at all. We all agree that the seceded States, so called, are out of their proper practical relation with the Union, and that the sole object of the Government, civil and military, in regard to those States is to again get them into their proper relation.
"I believe that it is not only possible, but in fact easier to do this without declaring or even considering whether these States have ever been out of the Union, or whether finding themselves safely at home, it would be utterly immaterial whether they had been abroad or not.
"Let's join in doing acts necessary to restore the proper practical relation between these States and the Union to each other forever; after innocently indulging his own opinion whether, in doing acts, he brought the States from without into the Union, or only gave them proper assistance, they never having been out of it.
"The amount of constancy, so to speak, on which the Louisiana Government rests, would be more satisfactory to all if it contained 50,000 or 60,000, or even 20,000, instead of 12,000, as it does. It is also satisfactory to some that the elective franchise is not given to the colored man.
"I would myself prefer it were now conferred on every intelligent one and on those who serve our cause as soldiers; still the question is not whether the Louisiana Government as it stands is quite all that is desirable. The question is: Will it be wise to take it as it is, itself to improve or to reject and disperse?
"Can Louisiana be brought into her proper practical relation with the Union by sustaining or discarding the new Government? Some 12,000 votes in the heretofore slave State of Louisiana have sworn allegiance to the Union, assumed to be the rightful political power of the State, held elections, organized a State Government, adopted a Free State Constitution, giving the benefit of the public schools equally to the black and white, and empowering the Legislature to confer the elective franchise upon the colored men.
"The Legislature has already voted to ratify the Constitutional amendment recently passed by Congress, abolishing slavery throughout the Union, perpetuated freedom in the State, committed to the very things, and nearly all the things the nation wants, and they ask the nation's recognition and assistance to make this committal.
"We have rejected and spurned them; we do our utmost to disorganize and disperse them. We, in fact, say to the white man, 'you are worthless and worse; we will never help you, nor be helped by you.' To the blacks we say, * This cup of liberty, which these your old masters held to your lips, we will dash from you, and leave you to the chances of gathering the spilled and scattered contents in some vague and indefinite when, where and how.'
"If this course of discouraging and paralyzing both the white and black has any tendency to bring Louisiana to her proper fractional relations with the Union, I have so far been unable to perceive it; if, on the contrary, we recognize and sustain the new Government of Louisiana no converse of all this is made true. We encourage the hearts and nerve the arms of 12,000 to adhere to their work, and argue for it, and fight for it, and feed it, and govern it, and repair it to complete success.
"The colored man, too, in seeing all united for time, is inspired with vigilance and energy, and doing to the same end. Grant that he desires the elective franchise, will he not attain it sooner by saving the already advanced steps toward it than by moving backwards over them? Concede what the new Government of Louisiana is only to what it should be as the egg to the fowl, and we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it.
"Again, if we reject Louisiana; we also reject our vote in favor of the proposed amendment to the National Constitution. To meet this proposition, it has been argued that no more than three-fourths of those States which have not attempted secession are nececsary to ratify an amendment.
"I do not commit myself against this further than to say that such inference would be questionable, and sure to be persistently questioned, which the ratification by three-fourths of all the States would be unquestioned and unquestionable.
"I repeat the question; can Louisiana be brought into her proper political relation with the Union by discarding her new State Government? That which has been said of Louisiana will apply to the other States, and yet so great peculiarities pertain to each State, and such important sudden changes in the same State, and withal so new and unprecedented to the whole case, that no exclusive and inflexible plan can safely be prescribed as to the details of collaterals.
"Each exclusive and inflexible plan would surely become a new entanglement. Important principles may and must be inflexible. I am considering, and shall not fail to act when satisfied that action will be proper."
The news of the surrender of Lee and his army made the peace loving masses of New Orleans shout for joy as they united their voices in praise of their Leader, the army and navy. The Star Spangled banner floated from the public buildings of the city, and from many of the private residences. The leading Union men assembled upon Lafayette Square—which was almost enveloped with the emblems of Liberty and alive with the glad strains of the National airs—to speak in accents of praise and affection of Abraham Lincoln, who had carried the Nation safely through the dark waters of the rebellion, and landed it on the peaceful shores of Liberty.
At the close of the meeting Dostie stepped upon the platform and exclaimed,—"Let the air ring with cheers for Liberty—our glorious Lincoln — the Army and Navy." The enthusiastic crowd responded, and a shout of gladness arose from that vast multitude in honor of victory. Alas! at that moment the nation's martyr was silent in death! On the morning of the 20th of April, calmness had succeeded enthusiastic joy. New Orleans was quiet and peaceful, when suddenly the cry was heard in the streets, "President Lincoln is assassinated!" "'Tis false! It is a false report of our enemies!" was heard from every quarter. The morning papers, however, announced the telegraphic dispatch with their columns clad in the emblems of mourning. Joy was turned into woe.
Gloom hung over the city like a sombre pall. The public mind seemed filled with universal sorrow. All joined in condemning the terrible crime which had clad in mourning the Nation. Public business was suspended. The flagSj at half mast, were hung with black. The Public Schools were closed, and their fla^s hung with the emblems of mourning. The military and navy headquarters, Gity Hall, Custom House, the principal