« AnteriorContinuar »
declaring that the airs would be in opposition to the orders of Mayor Miller. At this juncture, Major Foster of the 128th New York Volunteers, stepped upon the stage, and commanded silence, saying, “he would take the responsibility of ordering the orchestra to strike up “Hail Columbia.” The order was reluctantly obeyed, and the old-time air was greeted with many cheers. General Bowen immediately issued an order of which the annexed is a copy: “OFFICE of PRovost MARTIAL, DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, NEw ORLEANs, April 22, 1863.
“Mr. Baker, Manager of Varieties Theater:
“It is reported to me that you have declined to cause the national airs to be played at your Theater at the reQuest of the audience, for the reason that you have been forbidden by the Mayor of the city. No such order can be recognized or held valid in the presence of the United States army. You will, therefore, cause the national airs, “Hail Columbia,” “Star-Spangled Banner” and “Yankee Doodle,” to be played before the audience leaves your Theater this evening.
JAMEs BowFN, Brig. Gen., P. M. G.”
It was from a few similar episodes in the life of Dostie that he acquired the name of “fanatic,” “agitator,” and “inovator.” Yet he reverenced just law, order, and peace. “My principles were never law-defying, but I must oppose treason in all its forms,” he replied when questioned as to his course in opposing the emblems of secession.
Those acts will bear scrutiny, for they did not often spring from sudden impulse, but from a settled purpose to attack injustice and disloyalty wherever found, and success generally attended his movements.
DOSTIE’s POLITICAL VIEWS.
Dostie thus defines his political status: “I have always been a Jacksonian Democrat. When the great question came before the American people whether Slavery or Freedom should triumph in our nation, the Democratic party favored Slavery, and I trusted to the Republican party to save the country. Abraham Lincoln was the choice of that party for President of the United States. It had analyzed his character; had found him a friend of the working classes; an enemy to every form of Slavery—an honest man with qualifications worthy the ruler of a Republican people.” In a political speech, he said, “From the moment I decided to support the noble Lincoln, I have watched with deep interterest his onward movements in the cause of Union, liberty and humanity. If he continues faithful to the principles by which he guides the nation, our hopes will be more than realized.” Dostie was never known to vote for any man who opposed the cause of President Lincoln. So strong was his faith in the great Emancipator, no argument could convince him that any other was so capable of securing the liberties of an oppressed race as Abraham Lincoln. In an address, he says, “I believe Lincoln was chosen by the Divine Ruler of Governments, for the purpose of liberating four millions of human beings from the tyranny of Southern despots.” Among the first to welcome General Butler to New Orleans, was Michael Hahn. He had combatted secession; had publicly announced his devotion to the Union until it became dangerous to give expression to his sentiments. Not willing to suffer martyrdom, he remained silent, patiently waiting the time when he could boldly proclaim his true sentiments. He had been a Douglass Democrat, but when he saw in President Lincoln, the preserver of the Union, he avowed his determination, publicly, “to stand by him as long as he stood faithfully by the Union.” It was that avowal that first attracted the loyal heart of Dostie towards Hahn. It was the tie that united them until separated by death. A few days after publicly proclaiming his determination to stand by Lincoln, Hahn was elected to Congress from Louisiana. Among the crowd who assembled upon the levee to witmess the departure for Washington of the newly elected congressmen, Flanders and Hahn, was Dr. Dostic. As the steamer left the landing he exclaimed, “Those men will stand by our good President and the true interests of Louisiana.” Upon the return of Hahn from Washington, in an address before the people of New Orleans, he said, “If any man wishes to know my political position, I will inform him that I am ready to stand or fall upon the same platform with Abraham Lincoln. I have had opportunities of studying the moral and intellectual character of our present beloved Magistrate, and in my opinion a better man could not have been elected President of the United States. The preservation of the Union is the great desire of his heart. When I first took my seat in Congress I thought it my duty to seek an interview with Mr. Lincoln, and state to him that I might cast votes that would displease him. The President took me by the hand and said, “Let the perpetuity of the Union be the prominent object of your official conduct, and you will not displease me.”
Says Herndon, (the law partner of Lincoln), “Abraham Lincoln possessed originality of thought in an eminent degree. He was, however, cautious, cool, concentrated, with continuity of reflection, was patient and enduring. These are some of the grounds of his wonderful success. He was most emphatically a remorseless analyzer of facts, things and principles. When all these processes had been well and thoroughly gone through, he could form an opinion and express it, but no sooner. The mind of Lincoln was slow, angular and ponderous rather than quick and finely discriminating.” When the good Lincoln did discern that the Union could no longer exist with the curse of slavery gnawing at its vitals, he struck the blow, and true Union loving men, such as Dostie, Lovejoy and Hahn, gloried in the salvation of their country.
Dostie, who had ever sympathized with such noble spirits as Clarkson, Wilberforce, Phillips and Garrison, could never for a moment stifle the sentiment that Slavery was the most atrocious of crimes. In the following address, delivered January 26, 1864, in City Hall— the same spot where in 1860–61, speeches were made to secession crowds—after a few introductory remarks by Hon. Michael Hahn, and before an immense concourse of people, Dr. Dostie thus expressed himself upon the national situation : Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen : “We took our place among the nations of the earth in 1789. We were then a homogeneous, happy people. Our heroic struggle for independence was fought and achieved by the people of the colonies, cemented in a perpetual union. No single State could have thrown off the shackles of British tyranny. It was only by the fraternal bonds of union that our brave republican fathers freed themselves from monarchical despotism. Our recognition by the great powers of Europe, was as one nation and homogeneous people. The immortal Declaration reads: “United colonies,” declaring themselves free and independent; and by the Constitution of the Confederation, the Continental Congress controlled and guided us to the haven of freedom and glorious nationality, and we have grown and prospered with a rapidity unequaled by any nation in the history of the world. The glorious Constitution that has enabled us thus to flourish, was adopted by the people, and not by State governments. Yes, it was by the people, in their individual and collective character, we were made one and perpetual. It was the people who, in their relation to States, yielded the power to levy taxes and impose duties, to regulate commerce, to make naturalization laws, to coin money, to regulate post-offices and post-roads, to define and punish piracies, to declare war, to provide an army and navy, to enter into any treaty, alliance or confederation, to issue letters of marque and reprisal, to emit bills of credit, to keep troops or ships of war in times of peace, and to enter into any agree.