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public treasury a compensation for their services, which shall be eight dollars per day during their attendance, going to and returning from the sessions of their respective Houses. The compensation may be increased or diminished by law, but no alteration shall take effect during the period of service of the members of the House of Representatives, by whom such alteration shall have been made.” By this article of the Constitution, it seems to me plain that he cannot be paid from the 3d to the 31st of October, but only from the 2d of November to the 12th, inclusive, the time of actual membership.
“This is no donation to him for relief or charity, (the House unquestionably has the right to make appropriations for such purposes), but for per diem as the resolution expressly states.
“Hoping I may be honored with your opinion upon this important question as soon as practicable, I am, very respectfully yours,
“(Signed) A. P. DosTIE, Auditor.”
“NEw ORLEANs, Nov. 14, 1864. “Hon. A. P. Dostie, Auditor of Public Accounts State of Louisiana—
“Sir: The resolution of the House of Representatives relative to the per diem of the Hon. P. L. Dufresne, is a flagrant violation of the Constitution of the State of Louisiana, and you are fully justified in refusing to audit the warrant drawn upon you under that resolution.
“‘The members of the General Assembly,” says Article 32 of the Constitution, “shall receive from the Public Treasury a compensation for their services, which shall be eight dollars per day, during their attendance, going to and returning from the sessions of their respective Houses,’ and I cannot advise you to audit beyond the limits fixed by the Constitution.” “Very respectfully, your obedient servant, “(Signed) B. L. LYNCH, - - “Attorney General.”
The following is a letter written by the Auditor to the Senate, after it had drawn up resolutions of impeachment against Dr. Dostie for refusing to audit cer
tain claims. NEw ORLEANs, Nov. 20th, 1864.
To the Hon. Legislature of Louisiana:
“Article 32d of the Constitution says: “The members of the General Assembly shall receive from the Public Treasury, as compensation for their services,” &c. If it can be shown to the Auditor, whose sworn duty it is to “audit, adjust, and settle all claims against the State, according to the Constitution and laws,” that the Senator was a member of the General Assembly from the 3d of October, and has rendered services, then it will become the Auditor’s duty to draw his warrant upon the Treasurer in payment for such services from that date; but if on investigation of the claim it should be found that he was not a member, aud had not rendered any services up to the 24th October, then the Auditor, by making such payment, would be violatin his oath of office, forfeiting his bond to the State, an rendering himself liable to fine and imprisonment.
“It is not, however, claimed by your resolution that the honorable gentleman was a member at the time in question, and as I have shown above, he was not an officer of the State until the 24th of October, therefore he is not legally entitled to compensation for services previous to this date.
“Complaint cannot be made, in justice, of the State
in adopting such rules, or of the Auditor for protecting the public treasury from unlawful demands. If the State did not, through her officers, correct errors of this character, her losses would sometimes be very severe, and her ability to maintain her credit materially lessened. “For these reasons I must respectfully decline to draw: a warrant in pursuance of your resolution. Honorable Senators—I desire to say in conclusion that this decision is from a conscientious conviction of duty, and not from any disposition to oppose your honorable body or clog the wheels of legislation. My history in the public affairs of the State establishes beyond a doubt my love and reverence for the new Government of Louisiana, and that my prayers are fervent and continuous for the progress, prosperity and permanence of the government under the Constitution of 1864. “Let me pray that if you, in your superior wisdom, dissent from my views of law and duty, that you will, in your judgment, consider me honest and conscientious, and as not intending disregard or discourtesy towards the dignity of your body. “I am, very respectfully, yours, “A. P. DosTIE, Auditor.”
The position taken by the vigilant Auditor of State was decided correct, and an abuse, having no countenance of legality, was prevented.
The names of Durant and Dostie are intimately associated with the political history of Louisiana during the rebellion. Both were natives of the State of New York. Both were self-made men. Dostie in his youth was a friend of liberty, and ever maintained its broad principles, which acted ever as a motive power and guiding star throughout his eventful life. Durant, in his youth, embraced the doctrines of slavery, and became an influential slaveholder. Dostie was by nature impulsive, large hearted and fearless. Durant was deliberate, politic and cowardly. Dostie was by nature a democrat —one of the people. Durant was an aristocrat—holding himself above the masses. Dostie drew the hearts of his friends to him by a magnetism which emanated from his honest, earnest soul. Durant repelled by his cold and studied manner. Dostie was a patriot; Durant a politician. Ambition was only a secondary consideration with Dostie. “Let us perish from the earth, if by our death equal rights and universal justice be promoted thereby,” were the words of Dostie. “My slave interests must not be disturbed by the United States Government,” were the words of Durant. Ay, and more In every public act, even up to the eventful year of 1864, he expressed the sentiment, “No republican government must be established in Louisiana, wherein my fame is not conspicuous and my ambition is not gratified.” President Lincoln and his executive acts relating to Louisiana, and the established Free State government of 1864, were dear to the liberty-loving heart of Dostie, who regarded a word or an act against his authority in the light of sacrilege. The following correspondence may not prove uninteresting as connected with the history of New Orleans in 1864. “NEw York, July 26, 1864. “Hon. Henry Winter Davis, Baltimore, Maryland: “Dear Sir-The friends of freedom in Louisiana, thwarted in their efforts by the acts of the Executive at Washington, had placed their hopes on the bill guaranteeing us a republican form of government, which you reported to the House of Representatives, and which obtained such emphatic approval there and in the co-ordinate branch of Congress. We had watched its progress with anxiety, for we perceived it would give us relief from the incapacity, and, as too many had cause to believe, from the infidelity to freedom which had been the essential characteristics of Executive administration in our State. It is with the deepest mortification, therefore, we find a measure affording protection to loyal men by the only constitutional power known to the Government, defeated in its operation by the will of the Executive, seeking to perpetuate in Louisiana all that incapacity and selfishness can render odious to the citizens. “The executive is “unprepared to declare that the free State constitutions already adopted and installed in Ar