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“We have passed the Red Sea of slaughter; our garments are yet wet with the crimson spray. We have crossed the fearful wilderness of war, and have left our four hundred thousand heroes to sleep beside the dead enemies of the Republic. Before us is the land of promise, the land of peace, filled with possibilities of greatness and glory too vast for the grasp of the imagination. Let us as Representatives of the people, whose servants we are, bear in advance the sacred Ark of Republican Liberty, with its tables of the Law inscribed with the irreversible guarantees' of Liberty. Let us here build a monument on which shall be written not only the curses of the law against treason, disloyalty, and oppression, but also an everlasting covenant of peace and blessing with loyalty, liberty, and obedience, and all the people will say, Amen.”—Hon. J. A. Garfield of Ohio, in the House of Representatives, 1866
February 11th, 1867, Mr. Eliot from the select Committee on the New Orleans Riots, made the following
REPORT: "Mr. Eliot and Mr. Shellabarger, being a majority of the
select committee appointed to investigate matters connected with the New Orleans massacre of July 30th, 1866, and to report such legislative action as the condition of affairs in the State of Louisiana required, submit the report of the Committee as follows:
“On the 6th day of December, 1866, the House of Representatives passed the following resolution:
Resolved, That a Committee of three members be appointed by the Speaker, whose duty it shall be to proceed to New Orleans, in the State of Louisiana, to make an investigation into all matters connected with the re. cent bloody riots in that city, which took place the last of July and 1st of August, 1866, and particularly to inquire into the origin, progress, and termination of the riotons proceedings, the names of the parties engaged in it, the acts of atrocity perpetrated, the number of killed and wounded, the amount and character of the property destroyed, and whether and to what extent those acts were participated in by members of the organization claiming to be the government of Louisiana, and report the facts to the House; and * to report such
appropriate legislative action as may be required in view of the condition of affairs in the State of Louisiana.
“ On the 10th of December the Committee was appointed. They entered upon their duties on the following day, and proceeded to examine witnesses, citizens of Louisiana then residing for the time at Washington, and continued their labors here until the 15th of December. On the 22d of December the examination of witnesses was resumed at New Orleans, and was closed in that city on the 3d of January, 1867; it was resumed at Washington on the 15th of January, and finally closed on the 2d of February. The whole number of witnesses examined is 197; of which 159 were before the Committee at New Orleans. Of these forty-seven were examined at the request of the citizens of that city.
“There has been no occasion during our national history when a riot has occurred so destitute of justifiable cause, resulting in a massacre so inhuman and fiend-like, as that which took place at New Orleans on the 30th of July last.
“The character and position of the gentlemen--members of the Convention which had originally assembled in 1864—who were the subjects of the attack in common with the unoffending negroes, whose political condition, claims, and rights it was their ultimate purpose to consider and determine, give to the events of July significance and pational importance.
“ The massacre was begun and finished in mid-day; and such proofs of preparation were disclosed that we re constrained to say that an intention, existing somewhere, to disperse and to slaughter the members of the Convention, and those persons, white and black, who
were present and were friendly to its purposes, was mercilessly carried into full effect. What parties had formed that intention, and what other persons knowingly or unwittingly co-operated with or aided them, the Committee has endeavored to ascertain.
“The direct cause of the riots which resulted in the massacre uf several members of the Convention and in the slaughter of many citizens of Louisiana was the reassembling of that Convention pursuant to a call made by honorable R. K. Howell, acting as president pro tempore. The Convention of 1864 had been held on the first Monday of April in that year, in pursuance of a proclamation issued by Major General N. P. Banks, while in command of the department of the Gulf. That portion of the proclamation which related to the Convention is as follows:
“In order that the organic law of the State may be made to conform to the will of the people, and harmonize with the spirit of the age, as well as to maintain and preserve the ancient landmarks of civil and religious liberty, an election of delegates to a Convention for the revision of the constitution will be held on the first Monday of April, 1864. The basis of representation, the number of delegates, and the details of election will be annonnced in future orders."
It is in evidence before the Committee, and we find the fact to be, that the only action contemplated at the meeting of July 30th was the ascertainment officially of existing vacancies; and if a quorum of members should appear, it was proposed to postpone all further action until such' vacancies should be filled and the writs of election for the choice of members from unrepresented districts should be complied with, and the whole State