Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

rebels who have fought to overthrow the government, and drive away loyal black soldiers who have fought to sustain it. It is not necessary at first that all should vote. You can allow those who can read and write to vote; or you can allow black soldiers to vote. The privilege of voting given to the latter class, to wit: the soldiers, would commend itself, I think, to the whole nation. You may think that this is owing to my overweening anxiety for the blacks, but it is not that alone, nor chiefly. I am satisfied that Providence will not let us settle this question until we settle it on the foundation of equal and exact justice to all, in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution, which know nothing of black or white, rich or poor, but regard the rights of men, as such, as sacred.

"I was much gratified the other day in a conversation with the President to find that his views on this subject accord with my own. He does not feel that he can require this, as a delegation requested him to do. Still he desires it to be done by the action of the people themselves.

"If Louisiana takes the lead I think all the other States will follow, and then we shall have settled this question on deep and broad foundations, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. The number of those who are at first admitted to the privilege of the elective franchise does not to me seem essential, for if you let any portion of the colored people vote the rest will follow in time.

"I had a conversation with Governor Johnson, of Tennessee, on this subject. He feels right, personally, but is a little timid as to the public sentiment. I do hope you will see your way clear to take the lead in this matter. You will thus not only do a good thing for your country, but immortalize your name, for I am satisfied the nation will grow to this, if it has not already reached it.

"Excuse me for having intruded my views upon your attention. The brief but pleasant acquaintance I had with you has encouraged me to do it.

Very truly yours,

"Owen Lovejoy." "Governor Michael Hahn, New Orleans." In September, 1865, Dr. Dostie determined to go to Washington and consult with President Lincoln,believing he had been misinformed as to the true state of political affairs in Louisiana. His radical friends were anxious that their interests should be represented at the Executive Mansion. Like Lovejoy, Major Stearne, and hundreds of others, Mr. Johnson succeeded in deceiving: Dostie, in conversation with him, as to his real antagonism to the vital interests of all Southern loyalists. Strengthened in his confidence in the integrity and honesty of the President, whose policy at that time was to conciliate radicals, conservatives, copperheads, rebels and traitors, Dostie writes from Washington: "I am convinced in my interview with the President that his loyal sentiments will never allow him to seriously conflict with the policy of the martyred Lincoln. He has been misled, but will, I am confident, retrace his steps. I think we may safely trust the Administration." After spending several weeks with his aged mother (whom he visited for the last time), his brothers and sisters, he returned to New Orleans, hopeful of the future, and confident of the success of the cause he cherished. Soon after his arrival Dr. Dostie delivered the following address, which was denounced by the Press of New Orleans as an "incendiary speech," the author of it being styled " an insulting advocate of Negro Suffrage."

"fellow-citizens—The friends of the Union and Liberty, in reviewing the events that have convulsed our Republic for the past four years, rejoice in the glorious fact that the most gigantic rebellion upon record has been crushed—that the "Confederate States of America" are but an idea of the past. To-day the flag of the United States waves over this vast country, proclaiming the blessings of freedom to every man of whatsoever race or color. Emblazoned upon its ample folds is the motto—No North, no South, no East, no West— the United States of America, one and indivisible. The leading traitors of the nation—the Davises and Breckenridges—with many of lesser stamp, now languish in jDrisons, awaiting trial and condemnation, or are fugitives from the justice of a people they have clothed in the habiliments of mourning, and who have doomed them to infamy, as the murderers of their fathers, sons and brothers. To-day, fellow-citizens, the nation is sovereign. The Constitution, Laws and Government command treason to be silent that Justice and Liberty may reconstruct the Republic upon a basis that shall forever exclude slavery, and establish universal Justice. "The friends of emancipation and of equal rights look triumphantly upon the overthrow of that infamous system which was enveloping, with its anaconda folds, our republican structure, and undermining by its subtle poison the noblest of governments, that it might build upon its ruins an oligarchial despotism. We are now a nation of freemen. We claim that the people are the legitimate source of power. They command the enemies of liberty to cease their infernal work.

"The rebellion, which has baptized our country in blood, and caused hundreds of thousands to seal with their lives their devotion to liberty, has resulted in the liberation of four millions of human beings. It was a war of principles—of principles that, when once fairly inaugurated, must result in a full development of the republican elements which lie at the foundation of our Government.

"The progressive spirit of the age sternly demanded that the despotism, which the aristocracy of the South arrogated over the poor man, should cease. That the oppressed should have full privilege to enjoy the inestimable blessings of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." But that the lingering aristocrats of the land seek to withhold these from the masses, we have ample evidence. What mean these late convulsive movements of the enemies of Democratic Republican liberty throughout the South? Why have they combined with the Copperheads of the North to overthrow the great work the friends of republican institutions have accomplished in four years?

"Do we not discover in their attempts the machinations of a relentless, hydra-headed aristocracy repudiating still the immortal truths "that all men are equally free and independent;' that ' Government is instituted for the benefit, protection and security of the people; that no free Government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation and virtue?'

"Why do the Legislatures of the rebellious States so persistently refuse to recognize the fact that slavery has ceased to exist in our country? Alas! are not the men who compose these bodies, and who have met to make laws, the very men who have for the last four years been imbruing their guilty hands in the blood of our heroes? Have not they murdered these noble men that slavery might become the corner stone of their purposed despotism? Can we trust these men to give to freemen their rights? Patriots and statesmen, distinguished for their love of the Union and all who truly love their country, exclaim against the outrage of having such rulers.

"We are told by the Democratic party that this is President Johnson's policy. I do not believe that President Johnson intends to place traitors in power. I have had the honor of several interviews with him, and I was impressed by the conviction that he is a true patriot, an honest man and able statesman. I do not believe it will ever be Andrew Johnson's policy to place political power in the hands of men who have labored to destroy the most beneficent of Governments. His past acts and words have ever been in direct antagonism to this suicidal policy. At Nashville, as Governor of Tennessee, he says: 'I, Andrew Johnson, hereby proclaim liberty, full, broad and unconditional liberty—to every man in Tennessee. Rebellion shall no more pollute our State. Loyal men, whether black or white, shall govern the State.5 Again as President of the United States he says: 'In adjusting and putting the Government on its

« AnteriorContinuar »