« AnteriorContinuar »
o'clock, at the Mechanics' Institute. Distinguished speakers will address the meeting. Union men, come in your might and power."
Said the late Adjutant-General of the State of Louisiana, John L. Swift, who descended from his radical platform of 1864 to bow at the footstool of the Chief Executive of the nation in 1865:
"Revolution in Louisiana had a brave and determined leader in Dr. A. P. Dostie. He was a man of unquestionable courage. He was honest and fearless. He possessed many admirable qualities, and he was a revolutionist by nature. In works and acts he was a fanatic." Alas! that some of that honest and fearless "fanaticism" could not have been imparted to his friend John L. Swift, who apparently sympathized in all his fanatical acts in 1864.
"Fanatic!" was the cry when Sumner was struck down by Brooks in the United States Senate. The same cry was heard when Lovejoy was murdered by the enemies of free speech. When Lincoln fell by the hand of an assassin, the dark pall of woe hung over the nation. There was silence in the ranks of the enemies of the Republic, but secret joy that another "fanatic" in the cause of universal liberty had become a victim to the national conspiracy.
For a time that conspiracy was paralyzed before the Nation's woe, but, under "My Policy," was revivified. "Tbe Conflict of Races" was incorporated into the reconstruction measures of Andrew Johnson. Negro suffrage and its advocates in 1866 were to the returned rebels what freedom and Abraham Lincoln were to slaveholders in I860; Conspiracy and murder are the offsprings of slavery. In 1860 Jefferson Davis defended the spirit of slavery. In 1866 Andrew Johnson defended the same demoniac spirit, and warmed the dying viper into life that it might strike its fangs into the vitals of the Republic.
The following invitation was sent to Dr. Dostie on the morning of the 26th of July:
"new Oeleans, La., July 25, 1866. To Dr. A. P. Dostie:
Sir: The friends of universal suffrage will hold a meeting in this city at the Mechanics' Institute on Friday evening, the 27th inst., at V o'clock p. M., for the purpose of endorsing the policy of the present Congress relative to the Southern States and the call for the reassembling of the Constitutional Convention of Louisiana. You are respectfully invited to be present and address the meeting.
By the Committee.
On the night of the 27th of July a meeting of loyal citizens was held in Mechanics Institute for the purpose of endorsing Congress and to discuss the call for the reassembling of the Convention of 1864. It is to be regretted that Dr. Dostie's speech at Mechanic's Institute was not fully reported as his enemies have taken advantage of that fact, and misrepresent his words upon that occasion. We annex the following report of the meeting:
"new Orleans, July 28th, 1866.
"By far the most enthusiastic meeting which had assembled in New Orleans for many years, met last night at the Mechanics' Institute, or State House. The meeting was composed of 'citizens who are in favor of universal suffrage, of the reconstruction policy of Congress, and of amending the Constitution of this State to give equal rights to all, without distinction of race or color."
"Long before the time announced for opening the meeting, the large hall of the House of Representatives was crowded to its utmost capacity, and a large and anxious crowd assembled in the street, in front of the State House, where a stand was erected and a separate meeting subsequently organized. The inside meeting was called to order by Judge Heist and, United States Commissioner, who nominated ex-Governor Hahn as chairman. Vice-Presidents composed of prominent Union men from all the districts and parishes in the State, were elected."
The following resolutions were read and adopted:
Resolved^ That the ^5,000 citizens of Louisiana qualified to vote, but disfranchised on account of color, 20,000 of whom risked their lives in her behalf in the war against the Rebellion may claim from her as a right that participation in the Government which citizenship confers.
Resolved^ That we endorse the proposed reassembling of the Constitutional Convention of Louisiana, seeing in that movement a reasonable hope of the establishment in the State, of justice for all her citizens, irrespective of color, and also of the enforcement of that patriotic declaration of President Johnson, "That treason is a crime, and must be made odious, and that traitors must take a back seat in the work of reconstruction."
Resolved^ That we commend the course pursued by Judge Howell and Governor Wells, who, regardless of threats, personal violence and unmoved by the ridicule, censure and attempt at intimidation of the rebel press of the city, rise to the hights of the occasion in the performance of acts of duty.
Resolved, That the thanks of the loyal men of Louisiana are due to Congress, for the firm stand taken by that Honorable Body, in the matter of reconstruction.
Resolved, That the military and naval authorities of the Nation are entitled to our gratitude for the security afforded us.
Resolved, That we approve the call issued by the friends of the Republican Party to assemble in Philadelphia on the 1st Monday in September next, and we recommend, that on the 8th of August next, a Convention assemble in this city to select delegates to represent this State in the Philadelphia Convention.
Resolved, That until the doctrine of the political equality of citizens irrespective of color is recognized in this State there will be no permanent peace.
Gov. Hahn, on taking the chair, spoke as follows: "Fellow- Citizens: Although it is not my province to address you on this occasion, I cannot resist the temptation to express to you my appreciation of the honor which I feel in being called to preside over this meeting. The days of the slave oligarchy, of Confederate ProvostMarshals, when colored men could not come together to deliberate over public affairs, has, thank God, ceased to exist. [Applause.] As President Lincoln and the Union army were unable to restore the Union until the colored men came to their aid, so the Union men of this State feel that they cannot maintain the principles of the union of the States without the aid of the patriotic colored men. [Applause.] I remember the day when the teacher of a colored school in this city was ruthlessly arrested and died in prison on a charge of being an abolitionist, and every time I pass that old church where he used to teach, I feel that there are men still living who have the spirit that animated him. [Applause.] The cause which we are here to-night inaugurating in Louisiana is a great and holy cause, and the rebels are trembling in their shoes in consequence. They are realizing the fact that this is a country to be ruled by loyal men, both white and black. There was a time when the term 'Abolitionist' was considered a shame, but I stand before you to-night, raised and educated as I have been in the South, and tell you that I glory in being an Abolitionist and a Radical. [Applause.] When I went to Washington last fall, my Union friends in Louisiana did not come up to the mark of universal suffrage; but when I came back a few months later, the outrage which had been heaped upon them by the rebel Government here had brought them to the mark, and now no man can justly claim to be a Union man unless he favors universal suffrage.
"I would rather every office in the State was in the hands of colored men than in the hands of unrepentant rebels. [Applause.] It is to you that the loyal men of the South must look, and when you separate to-night, make up your minds from this day forward you are as good as any white man in the State." [Great cheering.]
Hon. Rufus Waples next addressed the meeting, reviewing the policy of Congress and the President, as follows: "Congress recognizes the right for the people, in their primitive capacity, in those States destroyed by the rebels, to make their own organic law, and submit it to Congress, and leave it to Congress to decide whether it be consistent with the organic law of the republic.
"The President says all these States have a right to send their Senators and Representatives to Congress as before. If this were true, they might have sent them