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‘May God save the Union, still, still may it stand,
CHAPTER IV. NEW ORLEANS BEFORE GENERAL BUTLER's ARRIVAL.
February 24th, 1862, General Butler said to President Lincoln, “We shall take New Orleans, or you will never see me again.” The object of the expedition, headed by the brave Butler, was known to but few, yet its movements were watched by some who anxiously hoped its object was the taking of New Orleans from the grasp of treason. Among that number was Dostie.
New Orleans went more gradually into the vortex of Secession than other Southern cities. It contained more of the elements of Unionism than any other city. When General Butler arrived in New Orleans, few remained that had not been dragged into or become willing subjects to the poisonous influence, that made treason a power so dangerous. None who were suspected of loyalty to the United States government, could live in safety under its municipal government, unless they had been distinguished as aristocrats, slaveocrats, or politic men,_* men of chivalric positions"—“men of pre-emiment standing,”—“solid men of Southern States—men who had ever stood upon the broad platform of Slavery.” These “were tolerated even with ostentation.” Some of these privileged classes, cast a penetrating glance into the future of the Republic, and in that glance saw written upon the walls of their cherished institutions, “Death to Slavery;” saw engraved thereon with the pen of truth dipped in the blood of thousands, “ UNION, LIBERTY, EQUALITY.” Poor patriots, who had dared to utter sentiments of loyalty, had been banished by Confederate law. A few remained who were reserved upon all political subjects whose pent up devotions to the Union struggled for utterance, and who waited with trembling hope the arrival of the United States forces. Pierre Soule, “the silver-tongued ” and fluent Union orator of 1860, had stooped from his loyal eminence, and in 1862, was in the vile ranks of Secession, and in sympathy with the Mayor, Common Council and other city officials, noted for their rebellious acts. Thomas J. Durant was classed among “the persons of pre-eminent standing who were tolerated even with ostentation.” IIis wealth, aristocracy, and above all his policy, was in harmony with Southern chivalry. A prominent Slaveholder, his known sentiments on the subject of Slavery were a passport in his favor—even with those who suspected that he did not coincide with their disunion movements. Durant seldom committed an impolitic act. There was policy in retaining the friendship of Southern men of influence, wealth and position. His slave property was in danger. In the midst of the Tebellion he therefore complained for himself and his friends in a letter, which was sent to President Lincoln, “That in various ways the relation of master and slave was disturbed by the presence of the Federal army, and that this, in part, was done under an Act of Congress.” Said President Lincoln, in writing of Durant and his letter, “The paralizer—the dead palsy of the Government in the whole struggle, is that the Durant class of men will do nothing for the Government—nothing for themselves except demanding that the Government shall not strike its enemies lest they be struck by accident.” Suddenly the politic Durant recognized the result of the Revolution, and became a Radical in Negro Suffrage; pointed to President Lincoln in the back-ground, represented himself as standing upon the pinnacke of Radicalism; denouncing the slow movements of his superior, in the great principles of Liberty. In 1860–61, none perceived that Durant, who had “rested so calmly beside the throne erected to Slavery,” would so soon become the champion of radicalism. He belonged to that class of men who, incapable of contending with aroused elements, model themselves upon the epoch in which they live; assume the individuality of the crisis, personifying the popular idea, whatever it may be. Christian Roselius, was classed among “the solid men of Southern Status.” Destiny had given him the experience of age, that he might dissect the rotten carcass which the Rebellion sought to vitalize. But he could not discern the corruption of Slavery, and with bold eloquence defended its principles. He became the learned advocate of slave aristocracy, and the relied-upon avenger of radical abolition. Enveloped in his cloak of conservatism, he feared no thrusts from treason’s weapons. During the dark days of rebel power in New Orleans, his voice was heard exclaiming, “O, sirs, a fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind.” Conspicuous among the solid men of those times was J. Ad. Rozier, whose antagonism to progress and liberty was more prominently exhibited than his patriotism. Said he, in one of his denunciatory speeches of radical measures, “President Lincoln has no right constitutionally to trample upon the rights of even rebels against the Government, and turn loose upon them four millions of slaves.” Seizing the Constitution in one hand, he stamped bloody slavery upon it with the other, and vowed that “by the memories of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, conservatism should palsy the heart of radicalism, if it attempted to subtract one iota from that Constitution.” The history of Rozier is written by the radical pen of truth, who makes her foot-prints visible, although she wades through the blood of Revolution, massacre, and riot. Her record will mark the status of true Union men who were not stamped with the crimson stains of Slavery’s curse. These were some of the stars of the first magnitude that shone forth from the Union firmament in the Crescent City during the dark days of Secession. They were dark days indeed! There were clusters of minor luminaries, which it were endless to delineate. There were some who, fearful of exposing their true principles, pretended to submit cheerfully to tyranny and oppression. Said one of that number, Michael Hahn, who ranked among the second of the classes described : “During the war there were three classes of Union men in the South. Some left for the North as soon as they could after the commencement of the war, and before the military lines were drawn. The second class remained in the South as long as they could, and