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Andrew Johnson's favorite policy drew to his sovereign feet the chief traitors of the land, who went through with the farce of sueing for pardon, for the known purpose of strengthening despotism. Such suppliants were raised to the highest positions in the State and municipal governments of the rebellious States. Mark the contrast between the treatment of Doctor Dostie, the patriot of New Orleans, and that of Monroe, the traitor of New Orleans, at the hands of the Executive!
To Washington went Monroe, to get permission from the President to control the metropolis of the South, according to his old thuggery principles, in defiance of loyalty, justice, law and order. Upon his return to New Orleans, after an interview with the President, the following notice appeared in the New Orleans papers:
Mayor John T. Monroe arrived home last cvening. While in Washington, Mayor Monroe had several interviews with President Johnson, and obtained from him a special pardon, affixed to which is the President's own signature, which in most cases is only stamped upon pardons issued by the Chief Executive.
“Mayor Monroe, who was received very kindly by Mr. Johnson, upon asking for his pardon remarked to the President that he had supposed he was already pardoned under the proclamation of President Lincoln Mr. Johnson replied that to all intents and purposes he was included in that proclamation, but that for the sake of satisfying all parties, and to place the Mayor beyond the probability of any future annoyance, he thought it best to grant him a special pardon.
“At half-past eleven o'clock Mayor Monroe repaired
to the City Hall, and once more assumed the duties of Chief Executive of the city.”
By the supporters of the President the flattering reception of Monroe at the Executive Mansion was hailed as a propitious omen for their plans.
The Mayor, fully established in office, proceeded to act in harmony with the plan of reconstruction. All policemen known to be tinctured with loyal blood were discharged, to give place to applicants conspicuous in murdering Union men in 1860 and during the rebellion.
Secret organizations were formed, composed of officers of the confederate army, whose avowed object was to protect the rights of their companions, but whose secret purpose was demonstrated to be the destruction of the loyal element of Louisiana. As early as May 27th Hays' Brigade was organized to prepare for future work, Similar organizations, prepared for future emergencies all proclaiming their rule of action to be in unison with the principles of their former master, Jefferson Davis, and their ruler, Andrew Johnson.
The rumors of conspiracy, armed organizations, and secret societies aroused many of the timid and watchful to the danger of the situation; whispers of revenge uttered by the avowed enemies of “Yankees," "innovators," "
negro worshippers," and the freedmen fell upon the ears of the alarmed loyalists of New Orleans. To whom should they appeal? Not to the Chief Executive. His decrees had gone forth “to sustain the civil authorities." The civil authorities were the conspirators. To the military alone the defenceless looked for protection.
In the midst of danger the courageous Dostie knew
He faced his enemies with the same daring spirit with which he had petitioned General Twiggs for a pass in 1861, and passed his enemies, who sought every opportunity to insult him upon the street with stoical firmness.
Said he: “I am reminded daily that my enemies seek my life and attempt to destroy my reputation. I am pointed at as a fanatic, an immoral man; am accused of every crime but that of disloyalty to my Government, and in the eyes of my enemies that is my greatest crime. But I have faith in my God, faith in my Government, and am in possession of a clear conscience. My enemies may be numberless, but my philosophy points me to a happy future."
Surrounded by a despotism which proscribed Union men in their business, deprived them of their political rights; endangered their lives, liberty and property, loyal men naturally sought relief from a tyranny that was depriving them of every blessing due to humanity. The basis of the Constitution of 1864 was liberty, justice and equality. That basis was in harmony with the acts of a radical Congress. To that the loyal people of Louisiana appealed. At the mention of the Convention of 1864, delirium and fury seized the reconstructed."
According to the following resolutions adopted by the Convention of Nov. 1864, it was proposed to re-assemble that Convention in 1866.
Resolved, That when this Convention adjourns, it shall be at the call of the President, whose duty it shall be to re-convoke it for any cause, or, in case the constitution should not be ratified, for the purpose of taking such measures as may be necessary for the formation of a civil government for the State of Louisiana. He shall also, in that case, call upon the proper officers of the State to cause elections to be held, to fill any vacancies that may exist in the Convention, in parishes where the same may be practicable.
“ Resolved, That in case of the ratification of the constitution, it shall be in the power of the Legislature of the State at its first session, to reconvoke the Convention in like manner, in case it should be deemed expedient or necessary for the purpose of making amendments or additions to the constitution, that may, in the opinion of the Legislature require a reassembling of the Convention, or in case of the occurrence of any emergency requiring its action."
At this important crisis, Judge Abell of the Convention of 1864, hastens to give the following advice.
“NEW ORLEANS, June 27, 1866. “ Editors of the Picayune—If you believe with me that the attempt to reconvene the Convention of 1864 is unlawful and calculated to disturb the peace and good order of the State, you will publish the following, that the people may know how stands the matter. I am bold to say I look upon the whole matter as a conspiracy against the constitution and people of the State.
"I am clearly of the mind that the Convention of 1864 has filled its mission and is a lifeless body, and that it cannot and will not be reassembled by constitutional or legal authority. But if without constitutional or legal authority, it should do so, I will then, as I now do; protest in the name of the people and State of Louisiana, against touching the constitution of 1864 without the consent of the people, expressed at the ballot-box or by the Legislature.
“I am not an apologist of that instrument; it was conceived in usurpation, and brought forth in corruption; but like unto all human institutions, it has some good points, and will answer all the purposes of a State government until the people shall, by deliberation and experience, adopt a constitution to accord with their wishes and interest under the changed state of political and social order.
“Yours, respectfully, E. ABELL.”
The concentrated wrath of the leading rebel organ in New Orleans, in view of the daring of loyal citizens, finds vent in the following words:
“The Jacobins of 1864 are at work. They are in league with a Jacobin Congress and seek to overturn our Democratic Government." In 1866, the press of New Orleans, with but two exceptions, (tho Tribune, edited by colored men, and the Advocate edited by the Rev. J. P. Newman) was identified with the enemies of liberty and loyalty.
Outside of the men and measures connected with “our cause” and “my policy," nothing relating to political or philanthropic movements escaped the vile attacks of the press. The Freedman's Bureau, the Civil Rights Bill, Republican ideas, the officers of the United States army and navy, Congress, Philanthropists and Reformers, who opposed slavery and rebellion all over the land were subject to their low scandal. Some of their vile epithets were, “ The Rump Congress," "The Rump Convention of 1864," " The fool, Abe Lincoln," "The Beast, Butler," " The crazy fanatic Sumner,” “ The nigger worshipper Dostie,” etc.
The 4th of July, 1866, was celebrated in the following manner in New Orleans, by the "Reconstructed Party