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patriots; a Davis in our National councils, a Johnson among the Presidents of our Republic, and there were traitors and conspirators in that Convention. Its objects were to amend the Constitution, and abolish the name of slavery in Louisiana. Those acts were consummated on the 11th of May, 1864. There are two names connected with this Convention, which it will be well to remember, as future events present them in strange contrast. Judge Howell first agitated the slavery question in that Convention. Said he: “I have not troubled this Colvention so far with any attempts at speech-making, or presented any propositions; but I think it is time to go to work. With a view to that purpose, I offer the following resolution: “1. Resolved, That a committee of members be appointed by the President of this Convention, to whom shall be referred the subject of immediate and permament emancipation of slavery within the State of Louisiana, with instructions to report as early as practicable
ordinances and provisions in relation thereto, to be incorporated in the Constitution of this State.”
When the vote was called for upon the amendments of the Constitution, Judge Abell said, “I consider this one of the most tyrannical things I have ever seen. In the name of the people of Louisiana I vote, no.” As Judge Abell is somewhat conspicuous in the history of Louisiana, it may be well to trace some of his movements in the Convention of 1864. May 20, he says in defence of slavery, “It is both a Scriptural and historical institution, and should not be abolished. It only slumbers and will be called into life when the people have their will and are free from military law.” On the same day he opposed the education of colored children. May 4th, in a lengthy argument he attempted to prove the right to hold men as property. Said, “the idea of tearing property to the amount of 900 million dollars from slave-holders—the honest earnings of the people of Louisiana was a wrong he would fight on all occasions.” Thus he labored in that Convention to carry his infamous doctrines against freedom, equality and education, foreshadowing his future murderous course. The friends of progressive freedom in that Convention looked with the same contempt upon the impotent assaults of Judge Abell upon the cause of Liberty, as did the majority of Congress upon the futlie arguments of a Davis or a Saulsbury, who opposed the Constitutional Amendment in the Senate of the United States. An eventful and interesting portion of Dr. Dostie's life is associated with the Louisiana Convention of 1864. From the first day of the meeting until its close, he watched its deliberations with intense interest. In every important debate, he might be seen at Liberty Hall, watching its movements with pale and thoughtful countenance, his intellectual forehead flashing with emotion, and his penetrating eye lit up with patriotic fire as he noted the onward march of the principles of Liberty in the councils of his adopted State. In the official minutes of the Convention of 1864, we find this interesting relic. Mr. Abell rose to a question of privilege, and stated that he had received a communication of an extraordinary character, and believing it to be a breach of privilege, he wished to lay it before the Convention, and for
“New Orleans, July 15th, 1864.
“E. ABELL, Esq.,
“Dear Sir: I entertain so strong an aversion to the incorporation into the ‘organic law” of the words “white,’ ‘black’ and “color,” that I am induced in this confidential note, (accompanied by a proposed “rider”) to ask you to consider the propriety of altering the language of certain portions of the new constitution, so as to harmonize with the principle contained in this proposed “rider.” Many members of the Convention have had the kindness to say to the governor and myself, that they will do what they can to expunge the obnoxious words from the militia and educational bills, before the question of final adoption, as a whole, comes up.
“Very respectfully, yours,
This “extraordinary letter” was no doubt a criminal thing in the eye of Judge Abell, and his wrath, in view of the philanthrophy of Dostie, was treasured up for future action.
DOSTIE AS AUDITOR OF STATE.
The business before Dr. Dostic as Auditor of State was foreign to his former habits of thought, yet after the first feeling of reluctance, he entered upon its details with characteristic energy. No man ever felt the responsibility of official business more than Dr. Dostie. He always defended his schemes for the public good upon the grounds of justice and economy, which sometimes brought down the denunciations of those selfishly interested, who accused him of guarding the public more carefully than his position required.
As Auditor of State he vigilantly watched and exposed abuses, which he considered in any way connected with his official duties. In his official relations he sometimes contended with the members of the Convention and Legislature. In those discussions he always maintained a respectful firmness, never yielding to conciliatory measures, or boisterous threats unless convinced of error.
Said Dr. Dostie, “In my official capacity I must be allowed to act according to my convictions of duty.” The following correspondence illustrates the above sentiment:
“NEw OELEANs, Nov. 12, 1864.
“Hon. B. L. Lynch, Attorney General of Louisiana— “Sir: I respectfully call your attention to the following facts and request your legal opinion in the matter at your earliest convenience: Mr. E. P. Marrioneaux was elected on the 5th of September to represent the parish of Iberville in the House of Representatives, now in session, but declined to take his seat. On the 31st October an election was held to fill the vacancy occasioned by such declension, and Mr. P. L. Dufresne was elected. He took his seat in the House and was sworn in on the 2d of November. “The House passed the following resolution: “Pe it Resolved, That the said P. L. Dufresne, member elect of the parish of Iberville, be, and he is entitled to the same per diem and mileage allowed other members of the House, from the 3d day of October, 1864.” “A warrant, in the usual form, signed by the Speaker of the House and Chairman of the Finance Committee, has been drawn on me for payment of Mr. Dufresne in accordance with the above resolution. “Is the action of the House in accordance with the constitutional law of the State 2 Is it not positively unconstitutional? If so, have I the right, and is it not my duty as Auditor, to refuse to pay, except for the time since his election ? Would it not be violating my oath of office to pay money from the State Treasury for services never rendered, and as per diem for an officer who did not exist, even though I had the sanction of the House to that effect. “Article 32 of the new Constitution says: “The members of the General Assembly shall receive from the