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“I would willingly take part in the demonstration tomorrow evening in the mode you suggest, but prefer on this occasion to take part as a spectator and listencr. May all success attend you. "Respectfully,
J. S. WUTAKET."
“New ORLEANS, May 16, 1865. “A. P. Dostie, Esq., Chairman, etc. :
“I aided the nomination of Andrew Johnson, and am to-day an ardent supporter of him. I shall be glad to do all that lies in my power at the meeting to-morrow night. • Very respectfully yours,
J. P. SULLIVAN."
NEW ORLEANS, May 16, 1865. Dr. A. P. Dostie, Committee of Invivation, etc. :
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge and thank you for an invitation to address the meeting to-morrow night, in Lafayette Square, in support of our honored President, Andrew Johnson, and his Administration. I shall rejoice to add my little aid to the cause of Free Stateism and Johnsonian principles on that occasion. Very truly yours,
NEW ORLEANS, May 15, 1865. Hon. A. P. Dostie, Chairman, etc. :
DEAR Sır: Your note of this date, inviting me to be present and address a meeting of the friends of the United States Government who desire to sustain President Johnson, to be held on the 17th inst., on Lafayette Square, has just come to hand.
I had intended to be present as a citizen to hear what might be said on the occasion, and had not thought of taking any part in the meeting. I prefer not to speak, yet, if desired, will do so. Very respectfully,
L. A. SHELDON. Many other letters were read from prominent Union men in New Orleans expressive of confidence in Andrew Johnson. Addresses were delivered on that occasion by Col. Thorpe, Judge Wamoth, Rev. Dr. Perne, Judge Heistend, and Dr. Dostie.
In the narration of these events, it will be necessary to go back to the 5th of March, 1865, when J. M. Wells was inaugurated Governor of Louisiana. At that time he was supposed to be in sympathy with loyal men and an enemy to the rebellion. In his first official acts he proved his opposition to the Unionists, who had elected him to office. Among his first recommendations was that of Dr. Kennedy to the office of Mayor of New Orleans. Dr. Kennedy was a strong advocate of the rebellion, a man who favored oppression, who believed in elevating the aristocracy and degrading the laboring classes. One of his first acts as Mayor was the issuing an order decreasing the wages of the city laborers, who were already suffering on account of their scant means of support. A call was made to the friends of the sufferers to assemble on Lafayette Square, for the purpose of denouncing the proceedings of the Mayor. At the hour appointed for the meeting thousands were seen going in the direction of the Public Square. Lafayette Square in New Orleans is considered as the property of the public. On the night of the laboring class rights meeting the anti-republican Mayor Kennedy ordered its gates locked. The meeting was held in the street, in front of the City Hall. The annexed resolutions were read and unanimously adopted :
Whereas, The present improvised and irregular Government has attempted to overrule the Constitution of the State by repealing the labor ordinance, thus removing one of the supports and guarantees due to labor.
Resolved, That this assembly disapproves and condemns this usurpation of power on the part of said city authorities.
Resolved, That said proceedings are without any justification or excuse, and utterly in violation of the fundamental law.
Resolved, That the administration of Acting Mayor Kennedy is a failure, and we call upon that incompetent functionary to resign.
Resolved, That we recommend like proceeding to Glendy Burke, Dr. Edward Ames, of the Bureau of Streets and Landings, and all others concerned in the movement against the interests of labor.
Resolved, That the city Government is now in the hands of Copperheads and notorious sympathizers with the accursed rebellion, which, thank God, our brave brothers have so well nigh crushed and destroyed; and that to the loyal citizen they are intolerable, and should be removed; that loyal and trusty citizens may be called to fill their places.
Among the speakers at that meeting was the Hon. John Henderson, a prominent opponent of slavery in the Louisiana Convention of 1864. From the New Orleans True Delta we extract the following in relation to the meeting:
“Mr. Henderson, in a very energetic speech, denounced the conduct and policy of Hugh Kennedy, the Mayor, and depicted him as an enemy to the free State of Louisiana, and inquired who appointed him. Mr. Henderson argued that the Government, by sending General Banks to this State, had virtually recognized us as a free State, but Governor Wells in his appoinements had shown himself unfaithful to the trust confided to him by the people, who believed him to be a good Union man when he came in the guise of a refugee. Mr. Henderson called on the people to seek proper redress."
Dr. Dostie was urged to address the assembly. He said he would only take a retrospective view of affairs. His remarks condemned the conduct of Governor Wells, and the proceedings of the Mayor as outrageous. He advocated law and order, but called on the people to seek redress.
He said the appointment of Mayor Kennedy was due to Governor Wells, whom he characterized as the John Tyler of the Free State party, who had sold out and turned over the party and its principles into the hands of the Copperheads. He said it was Governor Wells who had attempted to remove the Terrebonne officials, and appointed such men as Verret and McColium, signers of the infamous ordinance of secession. He proposed that the assembly, when it should adjourn, should proceed to the residence of Major-General Banks, and pay their respects as laboring men to the man who had risen from humble origin (having been a laboring man) to the high position he now enjoyed as a soldier and statesman, in command of the most important military Department, thaj of the Gulf.”
There were men who had held human beings in bondage, who at the commencement of the slaveholder's rebellion gladly gave up their slaves and entered heart and soul into the great movement destined to revolutionize the Slave States. Such took no backward steps, and laid no impediments in the way of liberty. A policy based upon hypocrisy has ever been used by the despotic slaveholder to commit crimes of the darkest hue. It was that policy that led Governor Wells to conceal his true motives, until he could grasp the reins of power. Then, unmasked, he stepped upon the political arena to strike the blows of a despot. At first he timidly vascillated before the just policy of Lincoln, and trod lightly and stealthily upon the platform, which he feared might be resting upon a volcano of wrath. But over the grave of Lincoln he planted himself upon the rock which Andrew Johnson erected for despots and became his willing accomplice.
In September, 1864, General Banks was ordered North, and did not return until April, 1865, to resume command of the Gulf Department. Upon his return the few weeks permitted him to act in favor of loyalty were spent in bold decisive action. The following was one of his first orders :
“ DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
NEW ORLEANS, May 5th, 1865. “ Special Orders, No. 119.]
“5. Col. Samuel M. Quincy, 73d U. S. Colored Infantry, is relieved from his present duties, and is hereby assigned to the duty of Acting Mayor of the city of New Orleans.
“Upon the receipt of this order, he will proceed to the City Hall, and assume the duties of that office. The