Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

resolved that the following committee be appointed and announced to provide for a celebration of the coming 4th of July, at such place as shall be hereafter announced:

General Committee.—Dr. A. P. Dostie, Rufus Waples, James Graham, Jud<*e E. Hiestand, Ed. Heath, Rev. Dr. J. P. Kewman^W. H. Pearne, Dr. W. H. Hire, Judge II. C. Warmoth, Jos. T. Tatum, Jno. Purcell, Tho. M. Conway, S. Wrotnowski, B. R. Plumley, Danl. Christie, N. W. Travis, Geo. S. Dennison.

All Civic and Benevolent Associations, officers and men of the Army and Navy, teachers and pupils of the Public Schools, and the public generally, are cordially invited to participate in this celebration.

Seats will be provided for ladies.

A. P. Dostie, President.

Jos. T. Tatum, Secretary.

The Custom House was chosen by the Republican Committee, as an appropriate place in which to celebrate the j oyful Anniversary of American Independence. The Custom House of New Orleans is a historical place. It was in that building that the United States troops under General Butler shielded slaves from their cruel masters!

On the 4th of July, 1865, those same slaves made the walls of the old Custom House ring with shouts of freedom. General Banks was the orator of the day. In his able address, he argued that" those who had been in rebellion could not safely be permitted to assume the political rights they had abdicated; that the emancipated were entitled to enfranchisement, and for the public good should enjoy their rights; and that the policy of President Lincoln embraced that event."

The loyal people of the South—surrounded by a dangerous foe, naturally looked to the successor of President Lincoln for protection. They reposed all confidence in his Executive power, and looked upon the anarchy and disorder around them as a natural result of the great Revolution, not suspecting the workings of his hidden policy. With dismay they witnessed the highhanded acts of disloyal men in high positions, but, with faith and hope, waited with patience for the President to form his policy, believing that his firm loyalty and his avowed aversion of traitors when Governor of Tennessee, would be embodied in his executive plans for a just reconstruction which they vainly hoped would bring peace and unity out of chaos. Never did a people trust to human power with more perfect confidence than did the loyal masses of the South trust Andrew Johnson, never were a people more cruelly deceived.

Had the policy of the President been boldly announced, sufferings, oppressions, and mental agonies might have been avoided! Loyal men might have escaped the clutches of tyrants and murderers. Conspiracy, rebellion and treason are best conceived in secrecy. The policy of Andrew Johnson in his restoration measures and movevents was a combination of the above elements, and for a time he moved on in his plans, so secretly that the most scrutinizing did not discover the lurking venom of " My Policy," Said General Butler in a speech delivered in New York, "I am glad to say to you what I know to be the sentiment of the President who has succeeded Abraham Lincoln by the dispensation of Providence to the highest place on earth—I know that Andrew Johnson feels as you and I do upon the subject of the rebellion. He has had a nearer view of it than we have, and is able to deal with it as we would have it dealt with." Said General Banks, in New Orleans, July 4th, 1865, " Give to President Johnson your firm and united support, I know he is worthy your confidence." Said Senator Wade in Ohio, " There is not a man in the Nation I would sooner trust than President Johnson." The loyal multitude throughout the land, white and black, turned from the grave of their beloved Lincoln to support his successor in the great work of restoration, upon the basis of freedom and loyalty. Union men of pre-eminent standing and patriotic record who had studied and admired the acts and sayings of Governor Johnson, of Tennessee, were the last to discover the true policy of President Johnson. Dr. Dostie was the last prominent Unionist of New Orleans to avow his belief that Andrew Johnson was the "Judas of the Republican Party." He continued his prayer "God bless Andrew Johnson," after his departure from Nashville, Tennessee, until that point in national affairs when no true loyal man could longer conceal from his mental vision the fact, that the President of the United States sustained traitors, in their tyranny over the loyal citizens of the South. In proportion as power was snatched from loyal men, by the opposers of the United States Government, it passed into the hands of the rebel element, to be used as an instrument to destroy republican principles. Those who had crouched by the ruins of slavery, silently lying beneath the black pall of treason, throughout the Administration of President Lincoln, formed a coalition with the working rebels who had fought the battles of secession, and suddenly appeared under the political leaders of the Rebellion, to plot afresh, the destruction of the Republic. The Union Liberty loving men of the South, who had been the standard bearers of their Cause in the conflict between Slavery and Liberty, between republican principles and aristocratic despotism, were the recipients of all indignities. The true character and plans of Andrew Johnson, were known and read to his kindred spirits, the ancient slaveocracy of the South. Men whose political life was conceived in the Black Code and similar documents, were appointed judges of the Courts, Sheriffs of the Parishes, and permitted to fill all the important offices, throughout the rebel States.

The provisional Governors of the Seceded States were, most of them, in harmony with the hidden policy, the working of which soon became visible. No justice could be obtained in the courts by loyal men. If Governors were appealed to for justice the persecuted were advised to look to the President for redress. An appeal to the Chief Executive from a persecuted loyalist was quickly referred to the civil authorities of the reconstructed States. Loyal men were restricted in business, and made to feel in every way that their noble principles were no passport to success, that the government under which they lived was no longer a protection to their persons lives or property. Unionism and loyalty were at a discount; rebellion and treason were more popular in 1865 -66 than in 1860-61.

The cause of the war was the conflict between the antagonistic elements of liberty and slavery. It ended when four millions of slaves were liberated. The next question was what are the rights of the emancipated? The true friends of the freedman from one end of the land to the other exclaimed, "let them have the rights of citizens; let them claim the rights of suffrage:" Philanthropists who had spent their lives in advocating freedom from tyranny, were the first to interest themselves in the physical, moral, intellectual, and political rights of the freedmen. Dostie formed one, and that too a conspicuous link in the chain which binds together the friends of equal rights in this age of reform. Said he, "Freedom in the United States entitles white and black men alike to the rights of a citizen, and to the constitutional privileges of all Americans." His views upon negro suffrage made him as obnoxious to the slaveocracy in Louisiana in 1866 as his views of secession had made him in 1860 to the disloyal. His views upon that subject were in harmony with those of Lincoln, Chase, Stevens, and Lovejoy. The following letter to Governor Hahn he often quoted, as indicating his own views, sometimes adding, "they are not quite as radical as mine.''

Washington, D. C, March 14, 1864.

"My dear Governor—I have just been reading with great satisfaction a brief notice of your inaugural and the address you made on the occasion. I am very glad that you propose to make clean work of slavery.

"Will you allow me to suggest one thing more? We can not go to the bottom where the granite is, in order to build without giving the elective franchise to the negro. I am satisfied that if we stop short of that, it will be found that our house is built upon the sand, and when the floods come, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, it will fall, and great will be the fall thereof. The sense of justice which has been awakened in the nation by the rebellion will not rest satisfied to have forgiven

« AnteriorContinuar »