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And, whereas, The second section of the act of 1855, entitled "An act to regulate the office of Auditor of Public Accounts, provides "that, should he [the Auditor] fail to give such bond and security within the time required, the office shall be considered vacant, and the Governor shall immediately order a new election;"
Now, therefore, in view of the foregoing premises, I, J. Madison Wells, Governor of the State of Louisiana, do hereby declare the office of Auditor of Public Accounts to be vacant, and by virtue of the 26th section of the act of 1855, before quoted, I do hereby appoint Julian Neville, Auditor of Public Accounts, to fulfill all the duties and enjoy the emoluments of said office, as provided by law, until after an election shall have been held throughout the State to fill the vacancy, and the Auditor so elected be duly conimissioned and qualified according to law.
Given under my hand at the city of New Orleans, this 13th day of June, A. D., 1865, and of the year of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.
J. Madison Wells,
Governor of Louisiana.
The following letter from Dostie gives the true explanation of the non-renewal of bond, showing the falsity of the charge:
New Orleans, June 13, 1865.
"To the .Public.—I was to-day waited upon by Julian Neville, Esq., accompanied by the Acting Chief of Police, Mr. Burke, and two other police officers. The former presented to me an order, issued by Acting Governor Wells, requiring me to turn over the archives of my office to him as Auditor pro tern. Refusing to obey the illegal mandate, I was seized hold of by Acting Chief Burke and one of the policemen, and taken from the room by force. Returning subsequently, I found the office closed and in charge of the police. The ground alleged by the Acting Governor was the non-renewal of my bond, which was sometime ago demanded of me on the ground that my securities were not assessed for real estate.
"After the demand was made, Acting Governor Wells, unexpectedly to me, left the State, and did not return again within the thirty days allowed me. Otherwise I should have responded to him, as advised by legal counsel, arguing that the demand was illegal, good and solvent security only being required by law; or I would, if insisted upon, have complied with the demand, illegal as it was, either of which I was fully prepared to do. My bonds had not been objected to on any other ground. The securities were perhaps not assessed for real estate within the Parish of Orleans, but they were fully competent and possessed of ample means to secure the $10,000, or several times that sum, if necessary. I was elected by the people, and had within thirty days after being notified of my election duly given bonds, which were approved according to law. No man can say the securities were not good, solvent and sufficient, or that they are less so now than they were then.
"Be that as it may, I was yesterday violently ejected without other calling of my attention to the subject, or preliminary warning or notice than the appearance of the policemen with the order alluded to.
"The proclamation with the reasons assigned, was published at a subsequent hour in the Picayune, and was only seen or known by myself or the public after these violent proceedings had taken place.
"When securities to bonds are required to be freeholders the bond expressly so states. Such is the case with the Treasurer's bond. But there is no such requirement of law in the case of the Auditor. The joint resolution passed by the late Legislature required the Governor to investigate the "solvency of bonds." He never objected to my bonds, nor called my attention to it for any want of "solvency" which would have given a color of law to his original demand, but only for the securities not 'being assessed for real estate,' which is no legal ground whatever.
"I am a civil officer, a co-ordinate member of the Executive Department of the State, and Acting Governor Wells is also a civil officer. There was a way of testing my right to the office by law, through the agency of courts of justice. Every respectable lawyer knows the means and the way. If civil law is to reign in our State, instead of usurpation, that means should have been pursued to test the question. The use of the City Police to obtain violent possession of the office was not a legal means, but an outrage against the law.
"Mr Julian Neville was a candidate against me for the office of State Auditor. I was elected by a majority, I think, of nearly three to one. He was not a candidate on either of the tickets upon which Acting Governor Wells ran, but against them; and it is saying nothing in disparagement of Mr. Neville, to characterize his appointment as a pure John Tylerism on the part of the Acting Executive.
"I make no vauntings of what I shall do, as time has not been afforded me for legal consultation or advice under the circumstances. But I make this early statement of facts to a public who know me well, and will judge between me, a poor man, possessed of no means but my legal rights as a citizen and an officer, on the one hand, and the great defaulter of Rapides, whose name has stood on the Auditor's reports of the State for more than twenty years for $12,678.67, with accumulated interests, now amounting to $28,209.95 on the other. He has lately declared himself, on several occasions, to be worth his hundreds of thousands. With his great Red river operations on the cotton market, and the means realized by his grand tax-sale proceedings, he may succeed in crushing me, so far as success in this usurpation against me is concerned. But while my voice or my life do not fail me I shall not cease to vindicate my manhood or my rights as a citizen and a freeman.
A. P. Dostie,
It was the illegal despotic manner in which Dr. Dostie w^as removed from his office that made the hand of the tyrant visible, marking him the despot, aside from a desire to show his power. Governor Wells, in this unjust act, was influenced by personal animosity, and stooped from his high position to low acts of revenge. Dostie had pointed out his traitorous course, and exposed his dishonesty to the world. Not with a spirit of vindictiveness but with his characteristic fearlessness and contempt for treason and dishonesty. Governor Wells had betrayed the Union party, and had been proved a defaulter. The following letter was probably one of the causes of the removal of the Auditor of State by the Governor:
Auditor's Office, State Of Louisiana, ) New Orleans, May 18, 1865. j Hon. Chas. Leaumont, Judge of the Fifth District
Court, New Orleans.
"Dear Sir: I beg leave to call your attention to section 1st, page 181, of the Revised Statutes of the State, which provide that the Judges of the District Courts shall require the District Attorneys to proceed by rule for the removal from office after ten days notice of any person holding office who shall at any time have been a defaulter to the State.
"His Excellency, J. Madison Wells, acting Governor of Louisiana, became a defaulter to the State in 1840, in the sum of $12,680—as will be seen by the reports of the Auditor of Public Accounts for succeeding years, a proof of which defalcation will be furnished on the day of trial of the rule. Article 35 of the present Constitution, the same as Article 28 of Constitution of 1852 and Article 30 of the Constitution of 1845, says as follows: 'No person who at any time may have been a collector of taxes, whether State, parish, or municipal, or who may have been otherwise entrusted with public money, shall be eligible to the General Assembly, or to any office of profit or trust under the State Government, until he shall have obtained a discharge for the amount of such collections, and for all public moneys with which he may have been entrusted.'
"Your immediate attention to this important question is earnestly solicited.
"Very respectfully, yours (Signed.) "A. P. Dostie, Auditor."
The personal indignities offered to the Auditor of State through the scurrilous remarks of the city press in sympathy with the Governor and his friends; the criticisms upon his wardrobe and private letters, which were dragged through the streets of New Orleans by the tools of the Chivalry of that city—the half column de