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Dostte's Departure For The North.
On the 21st of August, 1861, refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the Southern Confederacy, Dostie left New Orleans and went to Chicago. Said he, "when I arrived in Chicago I had no means at my command. Deprived of my home and business, I was sad and gloomy. As I retired to my room for the night and reflected upon my future prospects, the darkness of despair seemed to gather around me. In the midst of this gloom, something seemed to whisper to me, " This revolution convulsing our country is Liberty struggling for justice and right. The thought of my repinings made me ashamed of my selfish fears. I trusted in an arm of power; com posed myself to sleep, and awoke ready for action."
Surrounded by difficulties, which would have appalled a common mind, Dostie was cheerful and hopeful. For a moment a flash of despair, may have caused him to utter an expression of woe, but by an effort of his powerful will despondency was quickly cast from him. He was seldom heard to complain of any misfortune, but with a calm philosophical resignation, he could smile at woe; defy the powers of despotism, and look with contempt upon the indignities offered to himself and his friends by the enemies of his government.
In Chicago, he watched the progress of events connected with the revolution with intense interest. What hours he could spare from his business, were devoted to reading and correspondence with friends in different parts of the Union in relation to the great conflict agitating the nation.
In a letter at that time, he said, "I would gladly sacrifice my life if by so doing I could render assistance to the sacred cause of Liberty,"—little knowing that destiny had reserved his life for just such a sacrifice.
The following letter to Dr. J. C. Duell, expresses the patriotic love for the Union ever manifested by Dr. Dostie:
My Very Dear Friend,—Your letter, so kind towards me personally, and so loyal and patriotic to our grievously wronged country, was received in due course of mail. I might offer good and valid reasons for not having written sooner, but to do so would consume too much space, and I trust to your kindness to excuse the omission.
"You tell me that you and other friends supposed that 'most probably I was in the rebel army.' You and my other friends never more misjudged a character than in thus judging of mine. Ascribe to me, if you choose, all the crimes in the criminal calendar, but never the dark, atrocious and damning sin of treason. My manhood is immaculate against it. After my God, I love my country most—her freedom-breathing inspirations—the memory of her immortal defenders—their glorious battles for the achievement of man's liberty, freedom and equality. All personal considerations are rendered contemptible in the mere comparison. I have watched the progress of the great treason with the most painful interest. I saw it approaching when it appeared as but a little cloud, that a fearless patriot of Jackson's stamp might have dispelled before it assumed such great proportions. Such a man could have prevented the fratricidal war by exposing the deceptive and villainous schemes of demagogues and monsters, who would build up and agrandize themselves on the ruins of liberty, and visiting them with the traitor's punishment ere they had succeeded in beguiling the people so far in their treason.
"During the presidential campaign there was little or no disunionism publicly avowed. All joined in disavowing the criminal intent. Speakers were interrogated, and great and small either avowed that the election of Lincoln would not constitute sufficient cause for dissolving the Union, or they evaded the question. The mass of the people were as loyal to the old flag as they were anywhere in the North, until the few powerful conspirators sprung their coup <#' etat upon them. Amazement and consternation ensued, and the terrific struggle began. Disunion and Union meetings were nightly held in the city of New Orleans. The Breckenridge politicians and their followers attended the disunion meetings. The union meetings were more attended by the moral and intellectual class of the community, including many who had been but little known, or not known at all, as politicians. The former were addressed by men of no standing or character, the latter by such men as Randall Hunt, Christian Roselius, Thomas J. Durant, and Pierre Soule. Unionism assumed a bold front, and little fear was entertained for the State of Louisiana until the Rev. Dr. Palmer sacriligiously preached disunionism from hir; pulpit. Then the parricides assumed a courage and coi> fidence fearful in its influence for evil. At their meeting held in Odd Fellows' Hall, they substituted the bust of the great traitor, John C. Calhoun for that of Washington, the pelican flag for the 'ensign of the Republic,' and instead of the 'Star Spangled Banner' an imitation of the French 'Marseillaise ' was sung by a young girl dressed and decorated as the Goddess of Liberty. The revolutionists themselves wore blue cockades.
"Their speeches were made up of wild invectives and denunciations against the North and everything northern. The union was cursed as a leprous sore. The gatherings of the Unionists continued until the ' Convention election,' when, having done their utmost to wrest the State from the conspirators, they ceased their meetings and active opposition. Unlike their adversaries they were unarmed and powerless. The official result of the election in the State was never published. That portion of the press which supported the cause of the Union contended that the result was opposed to secession and in favor of 'co-operation,' and demanded the publication of the official vote. But the demand was refused, and to this day the public does not know what the people's verdict was. The convention met at Baton Rouge, and with closed doors passed the infamous act. The event was announced by telegraph and the firing of cannon, and was variously received by the people. Some rejoiced, but thousands cried 'shame!' and foreshadowed in their faces the gloom that was to envelope them and that beautiful country.
"Down to this lamentable 26th of January,I scarcely knew a man possessing social or commercial standing, who did not mourn the posture the State had assumed, and feel the most unhappy forebodings. Soon a reign of terror was inaugurated; liberty of speech was proscribed. He was considered a bold and rash man who still advocated the cause of his country. There were still many who were thus bold. Men were daily arrested and imprisoned for expressing the Union sentiments of our fathers. My assistant, Dr. Met calf, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, was incarcerated in a loathsome prison, as early as last April, for asserting that he believed 'Lincoln would shell Charleston and cut the levees of New Orleans, if necessary to the enforcement of the laws, and the maintenance of the integrity of the Union.' As soon as he was released he fled to the land of liberty. Thousands were driven away by the terrorism. Sojourners and citizens that had the means, left rather than compromise their manhood. Thousands there were who were anxious to leave, but had not the means to do so. Language cannot describe the mental and physical distress that existed in that community where a few months before they had been so happy, prosperous and contented. General bankruptcy of the business men, and destitution of the mechanical and laboring classes followed. Clerks, artisans and laborers were forced to join the rebel army for the support of themselves and their families, and thousands were kept from starvation by scanty supplies from the c Free Market,' that was established as early as June last.