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“The talk which I heard in the Square on Saturday evening about establishing law and order is a cheat. The very men who we are told are going to do these most desirable things, give the lie to their flattering, fawning sycophants. Within the last two weeks we have had several instances. The forcible ejectment of the Auditor from his office, in violation of all law—the breaking open a safe—the expulsion of a man from his property and place of business, he having paid a license (and a large one at that) for the privilege, is an outrage, in violation of law, and if such acts can be committed by mere brute force, without hindrance, no man is safe.”
“It is time that this community ask itself what manner of men we have among us? And now, forsooth, men must go to public meetings and hold their tongues, by order of a set of hired bravos and ruffians, called policemen. Is it for this our ‘erring brethren should be invited to participate in the management of our affairs?”
On the evening of the great demonstration in honor of Governor Wells, Dr. Dostie walked to Lafayette Square with his friend, Alfred Shaw, Esq., stood in front of the platform, and listened attentively to the remarks of the Governor of Louisiana. He heard his party defamed by that gentleman; saw liberty disgraced by the police organizations; the policy of Abraham Lincoln, and the Free State Government of his beloved Louisiana pointed at with derision and scorn, yet viewed it all with the heroic firmness and hopeful calmness of a true philosopher. He believed that the progress of corrupt men would be impeded by the action of that man who as Governor of Tennessee had declared that “Treason should be made odious.” On that night Dostie was surrounded by enemies, who had decreed that he should perish politically; that he should never succeed in business; that he should finally be the victim of conspiracy. Surrounded by gloom and poverty; struggling with a power destined to crush him, he was yet comparatively a happy man, such was his philosophy. A friend who called upon him a few days after his expulsion from his Auditor's office, was surprised to find him in excellent spirits. Upon denouncing Governor Wells, Dr. Dostie replied: “I don't think of Wells as my personal enemy. I could take him by the hand to-day if he would reform in his principles. I care not for my own sufferings. What are they compared with many others?” Taking the Life of Governor Brownlow from the table, he said, “I have just been reading of Brownlow's sufferings, caused by rebel rule. I look into the future, bright with hopes. Events point to victory, peace and unity. Man may decree, but there is a Ruler of events whose divine laws conflict with injustice and oppression. That Infinite power rules the nations of the earth.” Such was the heroic, unselfish philosophy of Dr. Dostie.
The eighty-ninth anniversary of our Independence was an event in which thousands of emancipated human beings desired to participate with heartfelt gratitude. The committee appointed by the constituted authorities of the city of New Orleans resolved to celebrate the day. That committee was principally composed of citizens who had been in league with the rebellion and slavery. The Republican party was almost entirely excluded from acting with that committee in making arrangements to celebrate our day of Independence. The speaker chosen to deliver an oration upon the occasion was an ex-colonel of the Confederate army, who had never avowed his conversion to the principles of republican liberty.
Dostie and his radical brethren decided to draw up another programme, in which they invited the true friends of loyalty and independence to participate in the great national jubilee of Freedom which the 4th of July, 1865, was to the Emancipated of the South. The annexed is the announcement of that celebration:
CELEBRATION OF THE FOURTH OF JULY.
At a meeting of the National Republican Association, held on Friday evening, June 30th, it was unanimously resolved that the following committee be appointed and announced to provide for a celebration of the coming 4th of July, at such place as shall be hereafter announced: General Committee.—Dr. A. P. Dostie, Rufus Waples, James Graham, Judge E. Hiestand, Ed. Heath, Rev. Dr. J. P. Newman, W. H. Pearne, Dr. W. H. Hire, Judge H. C. Warmoth, Jos. T. Tatum, Jno. Purcell, Tho. M. Conway, S. Wrotnowski, B. R. Plumley, Danl. Christie, N. W. Travis, Geo. S. Dennison. All Civic and Benevolent Associations, officers and men of the Army and Navy, teachers and pupils of the Public Schools, and the public generally, are cordially invited to participate in this .. Seats will be provided for ladies. A. P. DostIE, President. Jos. T. TATUM, Secretary.
The Custom House was chosen by the Republican Committee, as an appropriate place in which to celebrate the joyful Anniversary of American Independence. The Custom House of New Orleans is a historical place. It was in that building that the United States troops under General Butler shielded slaves from their cruel masters |
On the 4th of July, 1865, those same slaves made the walls of the old Custom House ring with shouts of freedom. General Banks was the orator of the day. In his able address, he argued that “those who had been in rebellion could not safely be permitted to assume the political rights they had abdicated; that the emancipated were entitled to enfranchisement, and for the public good should enjoy their rights; and that the policy of President Lincoln embraced that event.”
The loyal people of the South—surrounded by a dangerous foe, naturally looked to the successor of President Lincoln for protection. They reposed all confidence in his Executive power, and looked upon the anarchy and disorder around them as a natural result of the great Revolution, not suspecting the workings of his hidden policy. With dismay they witnessed the highhanded acts of disloyal men in high positions, but, with faith and hope, waited with patience for the President to form his policy, believing that his firm loyalty and his avowed aversion of traitors when Governor of Tennessee, would be embodied in his executive plans for a just reconstruction which they vainly hoped would bring peace and unity out of chaos. Never did a people trust to human power with more perfect confidence than did the loyal masses of the South trust Andrew Johnson, never were a people more cruelly deceived. Had the policy of the President been boldly announced, sufferings, oppressions, and mental agonies might have been avoided ! Loyal men might have escaped the clutches of tyrants and murderers. Conspiracy, rebellion and treason are best conceived in secrecy. The policy of Andrew Johnson in his restoration measures and movevents was a combination of the above elements, and for a time he moved on in his plans, so secretly that the most scrutinizing did not discover the lurking venom of “My Policy,” Said General Butler in a speech delivered in New York, “I am glad to say to you what I know to be the sentiment of the President who has succeeded Abraham Lincoln by the dispensation of Providence to the highest place on earth—I know that Andrew Johnson feels as you and I do upon the subject of the rebellion. He has had a nearer view of it than we have, and is able to deal with it as we