« AnteriorContinuar »
written upon the walls of their cherished institutions, "Death to Slavery;" saw engraved thereon with the pen of truth dipped in the blood of thousands, "UNION, LIBERTY, EQUALITY."
Poor patriots, who had dared to utter sentiments of loyalty, had been banished by Confederate law. A few remained who were reserved upon all political subjects -whose pent up devotions to the Union struggled for utterance, and who waited with trembling hope the arrival of the United States forces.
Pierre Soule, "the silver-tongued" and fluent Union orator of 1860, had stooped from his loyal eminence, and in 1862, was in the vile ranks of Secession, and in sympathy with the Mayor, Common Council and other city officials, noted for their rebellious acts.
Thomas J. Durant was classed among "the persons of pre-eminent standing who were tolerated even with ostentation." His wealth, aristocracy, and above all his policy, was in harmony with Southern chivalry. A prominent Slaveholder, his known sentiments on the subject of Slavery were a passport in his favor-even with those who suspected that he did not coincide with their disunion movements. Durant seldom committed an impolitic act. There was policy in retaining the friendship of Southern men of influence, wealth and position. His slave property was in danger. In the midst of the Rebellion he therefore complained for himself and his friends in a letter, which was sent to President Lincoln, “That in various ways the relation of master and slave was disturbed by the presence of the Federal army, and that this, in part, was done under an Act of Congress." Said President Lincoln, in writing of Durant and his
letter, "The paralizer-the dead palsy of the Government in the whole struggle, is that the Durant class of men will do nothing for the Government-nothing for themselves except demanding that the Government shall not strike its enemies lest they be struck by accident."
Suddenly the politic Durant recognized the result of the Revolution, and became a Radical in Negro Suffrage; pointed to President Lincoln in the back-ground, represented himself as standing upon the pinnacle of Radicalism; denouncing the slow movements of his superior, in the great principles of Liberty.
In 1860-61, none perceived that Durant, who had "rested so calmly beside the throne erected to Slavery," would so soon become the champion of radicalism. He belonged to that class of men who, incapable of contending with aroused elements, model themselves upon the epoch in which they live; assume the individuality of the crisis, personifying the popular idea, whatever it may be.
Christian Roselius, was classed among "the solid men of Southern Status." Destiny had given him the experience of age, that he might dissect the rotten carcass which the Rebellion sought to vitalize. But he could not discern the corruption of Slavery, and with bold cloquence defended its principles. He became the learned advocate of slave aristocracy, and the relied-upon avenger of radical abolition. Enveloped in his cloak of conservatism, he feared no thrusts from treason's weapons. During the dark days of rebel power in New Orleans, his voice was heard exclaiming, "O, sirs, a fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind."
Conspicuous among the solid men of those times was
J. Ad. Rozier, whose antagonism to progress and liberty was more prominently exhibited than his patriotism. Said he, in one of his denunciatory speeches of radical measures, "President Lincoln has no right constitutionally to trample upon the rights of even rebels against the Government, and turn loose upon them four millions of slaves." Seizing the Constitution in one hand, he stamped bloody slavery upon it with the other, and vowed that "by the memories of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, conservatism should palsy the heart of radicalism, if it attempted to subtract one iota from that Constitution." The history of Rozier is written by the radical pen of truth, who makes her foot-prints visible, although she wades through the blood of Revolution, massacre, and riot. Her record will mark the status of true Union men who were not stamped with the crimson stains of Slavery's curse.
These were some of the stars of the first magnitude that shone forth from the Union firmament in the Crescent City during the dark days of Secession. They were dark days indeed!
There were clusters of minor luminaries, which it were endless to delineate. There were some who, fearful of exposing their true principles, pretended to submit cheerfully to tyranny and oppression. Said one of that number, Michael Hahn, who ranked among the second of the classes described:
"During the war there were three classes of Union men in the South. Some left for the North as soon as they could after the commencement of the war, and before the military lines were drawn. The second class remained in the South as long as they could, and
although their attachment to the Union was deep, and strong and heartfelt, and was known to each other, they nevertheless had the understanding that in all the mere outward displays, they would pretend an acquiescence in or approval of the Confederate Government. Some succeeded in this course of deceiving the rebel mobs and Provost marshals as to their real feelings up to the time when they were happily released from rebel bondage by the arrival of Federal troops. Others again, of the same class, were detected in their movements as sympathizers with the Union, before the loyal troops could come to their aid, and were sent out of the Confederacy, like Flanders, Hubbard, Tewell, and others, of New Orleans, or were hanged or made to mysteriously disappear.
"The third class consisted of such as never under any circumstances, or at any time even pretended to recognize the Confederate Government. I know of but one man in Louisiana who belonged to this class and who came up fully and completely to this home standard. This man was Dr. Anthony P. Dostie. One day he was seen making his way through an ante-room crowded with confederates, into the office of the traitor Twiggs, whom he addressed in this manner :
“GENERAL: Your superior, Jefferson Davis, has issued a proclamation which is published in this morning's papers, notifying all Union men, or alien enemies, as they are called, to leave the Confederate States for the North within a time specified. I consider myself as embraced within that proclamation. I am a Union man. I do not recognize the Confederacy, and as your superior has .ordered me to depart from your military lines, I expect I shall be protected in complying with this order; and I
have come to demand of you a pass enabling me to go North."
"Twiggs eyed the man with wonder, and for some time hesitated about granting the request; but a perusal of the proclamation of Jeff. Davis, and of the Confederate law, on which it was based, convinced him that he had no right to withhold the pass. Armed with the paper furnished him by Twiggs, the noble Dostie left his home, his business and his property, and took the cars for the North. His trip was not one of the most agreeable character: for on the route on exhibiting his pass to the military, his status, of course, became known, and he frequently received insults from mobs, and was even thrust into prison, notwithstanding his pass from Gen. Twiggs. When he finally escaped from Dixie and reached Chicago, he wrote a letter which was published in a New York paper, giving a truthful account of what he saw and heard within the rebel lines. In this letter, speaking of the heroic efforts of the Union men of Tennessee to keep their State within the Union, he exclaims: 'God bless Andrew Johnson.""
Fear did not, however, prevent Hahn on the 6th of May, 1860, at Lafayette Square, New Orleans, from offering the following resolution :
Resolved, That we the citizens of New Orleans, regardless of all the minor differences of opinion that divide the people of this country politically, are of one mind and one heart, in support of the Union of these States, and that as long as the Constitution of the Republic and the laws enacted by Congress in accordance therewith can be maintained inviolate, as we confidently believe they can be, we shall regard with abhorrence all attempts to destroy the pa