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The Churches of New Orleans are a strange part of the history of the rebellion. With the noble exception of the Rev. Wm. Duncan, the prominent clergymen of that city became Judases—betraying their Saviour, their Government. The names of Palmer, Leacock and Goodridge, are written with pens dipped in blood upon the tombstones of thousands of misguided youths, who listened to their eloquence in behalf of rebellion and slavery. The power of a Butler was again felt in New Orleans, when he laid his hands upon the heads of the Reverend traitors, and demanded of them obedience to the laws of the true Church, and the just laws of the Nation.
Upon the refusal of the clergy to pray for the President of the United States, their Churches were ordered to be closed, until loyal ministers could officiate in their places. The ecclesiastical institutions of the South were a dangerous power in favor of despotism and rebellion. It was necessary to strike the Church from its foundation by the earthquake advance of reform. It required men of the force of a Luther or a Cromwell, to blot out the disgraceful crimes which stained their statute books. Slavery had enveloped the consciences of its ministers, and treason lay like a dark pall upon their guilty souls. That power in the Churches of New Orleans, that defied the United States Government, was temporarily overthrown by General Butler. Loyal Christian ministers were invited to fill the pulpits of disloyal clergymen—men who would not advocate the divinity of slavery, but the charities of Christianity. Soon convened loyal congregations to listen to their prayers for the overthrow of Slavery and treason, and the preservation of their beloved President and the Congress of the United States. To men like Dostie, who watched with jealous eye every evil influence that opposed civil and religious liberty, the new turn in Church affairs, was a source of rejoicing. Every Sabbath morning he might be seen entering the Episcopal Church, formerly occupied by Dr. Goodridge, to worship with the reverence of a man of faith. His deep toned voice, which had a peculiar charm to his friends, upon these solemn occasions could be distinctly heard repeating that service to which he became deeply attached. Said he, “I asways pray in faith for President Lincoln, for I feel in my inmost soul that the God of Nations will sustain the noble acts of our Chief Magistrate.” From that time until his death, Dr. Dostie was a constant worshipper in Church. His religious views partook of his general character. They were broad and liberal, and not confined to any narrow creed. In a conversation with a friend, he remarked, “I believe that Christ died for all. I trust in God—the great Ruler of Events has placed before us his laws. If we are guided by them, they will lead us to happiness here and hereafter. That is my creed and my religion.”
|Upon the organization of a loyal congregation in Christ's Church, Dr. Dostie was chosen one of the wardens. Christ's Church What a throng of associations gious home of the army and navy of the Gulf Department. cluster around that name ! Christ's Church was the reliThere might be seen upon a Sabbath morning, the commanding General and his Staff; the officers of every grade of both the army and the navy; soldiers and sailor boys. Union citizens and loyal visitors from all parts of the country assembled in that sacred spot. What prayers have been offered by clergy and laymen for the preservation of the Union, and what heartfelt petitions have ascended to the God of Nations in behalf of President Lincoln and the Congress of the United States That emblem of religious liberty—the United States flag—enveloped the altar dedicated to Freedom. That flag draped in mourning symbols, was wrapped around the biers of the patriots who fell by the hands of the enemies of their Government. It enclosed in its folds the pulseless form of the youthful De Kay, the gallant Cummings, the brave Dwight, and numbers of honored dead, who died for the Union and Liberty. How many weeping parents, wives, brothers and sisters, would have been comforted, could they have witnessed the tribute of respect, paid to their departed ones at Christ's Church, and beheld with what tenderness and sympathy, that friend of the loyal soldier, Dostie, and his brother officers in the Church looked upon the remains of those who fell in the cause of republican Liberty.
Dr. Dostie was a man of iron nerve and unceasing activity. Possessed of a strong constitution, a powerful will and an active brain, he could endure more physically and mentally than most men. It was not an uncommon thing for him to look after the interests of a dozen schools per day; work a few hours at his profession, receive not less than fifty calls; attend two or three Union meetings, and then spend half the night in reading and writing.
Not a Union Church or Sabbath School (white or colored), existed in the city in which he did not take a deep interest. Not an association or loyal gathering assembled that bore not witness to his exertions in the cause for which loyal men were battling. In many of these reforms, Dr. Dostie was the prime mover. Sensitive to the opinion of his associates; delighting in the approbation of his friends, and desiring the respect even of his enemies, no earthly power could induce him to swerve from what he considered duty. Where he could resist treason he never wavered. Said he, “It is the duty of loyal men who love their flag and their Government, to use every exertion to put down the signs of disloyalty.” Wherever he observed an act or symbol of treason, it called down upon the offender his rebuke and bitter indignation. Among the “fanatical acts” of Dr. Dostie that evoked the thundering anathemas of the rebel multitude was his noted performance at the Varieties Theater. A few determined Unionists, among whom were Judge Durell, E. Heath, and L. B. Lynch, headed by Dostie, resolved that the flag of the Union should float where it had been torn down by its enemies. The Varieties Theater had become somewhat notorious for displaying rebel emblems. It was decided by Dostie and his associates to make a demonstration of loyalty in that place to test the Union sentiment. With a chosen band, Dr. Dostie entered the Theater and displayed the “Star-Spangled Banner,” requesting the orchestra to play a national air. Instantly the United States flag was displayed from all parts of the house, and the air of the “Star-Spangled Banner’’ demanded. This created a great excitement. The manager of the Theater appeared upon the stage and demanded an explanation of the demonstration. Dr. Dostic, standing by the flag he had unfurled, replied, “New Orleans is now a Union city. The audience have determined to hear the national airs; none but secession airs have been heard here during the season, and the present company intend to hear “Hail Columbia’’ before the performance proceeds.” To this the manager replied, “That he had permission from the military authorities, and license from the city to conduct the Theater, and had received strict orders from those authorities to allow nothing of a political character.” “'Tis false,” arose from all parts of the house. The audience continued to demand the playing of the national airs, some, however,