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very. The election resulted in the election of Mr. Hahn.
The following letter was written by Mr. Lincoln to congratulate him on his election :
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, March 18, 1864. Hon. MICHAEL HAAN:
My Dear Sir:-I congratulate you on having fixed your name in history as the first Free State Governor of Louisiana. Now you are about to have a convention, whicli, among other things, will probably define the elective franchise. I barely suggest, for your private consideration, whether some of the colored people may not be let in, as, for instance, the very intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks. They would probably help, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty in the family of freedom. But this is only a suggestion, not to the public, but to you alone.
Mr. Hahn was inaugurated as Governor on the 4th of March. On the 15th he was clothed with the powers previously exercised by General Banks, as military gov. ernor, by the following order from the President:
EXECUTIVE Mansion, WASHINGTON, March 15, 1864. His Excellency MICHAEL Haun, Governor of Louisiana:
Until further orders, you are hereby invested with the powers exercised hitherto by the military governor of Louisiana.
On March 16th, Governor Hahn issued a proclamation, notifying the electors of the State of the election for delegates to the convention previously ordered by General Banks.
The party which elected Governor Hahn succeeded also in electing a large majority of the delegates to the convention, which met in New Orleans on the 6th of April. On the 11th of May it adopted, by a vote of seventy to sixteen, a clause of the new Constitution, by which slavery was forever abolished in the State. The Constitution was adopted on the 5th of September, by a vote of six thousand eight hundred and thirty-six to one thousand five hundred and sixty-six.
Great umbrage was taken at these proceedings by some
of the best friends of the cause, as if there had been an unauthorized and unjustifiable interference on the part of the President, so that this Constitution and this State Government, though nominally the work of the people, were in reality only his. That this was a mistake, the following letter, written in August, 1863, is sufficient proof :
EXECUTITE MAXE10X, WASHINGTON, August 5, 1868. MY DEAR GENERAL BANKS:
While I very well know what I would be glad for Louisiana to do, it is quite a different thing for me to assume direction of the matter. I would be glad for her to make a new Constitution, recognizing the Emancipation Proclamation, and adopting emancipation in those parts of tho State to which the proclamation does not apply. And while she is at it, I think it would not be objectionable for her to adopt some practical system by which the two races could gradually live themselves out of their old relation to each other, and both come out better prepared for tho
Education for young blacks should be included in the plan. After all, the power or element of “contract” may be sufficient for this probationary period, and by its simplicity and flexibility may be the better.
As an anti-slavery man, I have a motive to desire emancipation which pro-slavery men do not have; but even they have strong enough reason to thus place themselves again under the shield of the Union, and to thug perpetually hedge against the recurrence of the scenes through which we are now passing.
Governor Shepley has informed me that Mr. Durant is now taking a registry, with a view to the election of a Constitutional Convention in Louisiana. This, to me, appears proper.
If such convention were to ask my views, I could present little else than what I now say to yon. I think the thing should be puslied forward, so that, if possible, its maturo work may reach here by the meeting of Congress.
For my own part, I think I shall not, in any event, retract the Eman. cipation Proclamation; nor, as Executive, ever return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation, or by any of the acts of Congress.
If Louisiana shall send members to Congress, their admission to seats will depend, as you know, upon the respective Houses, and not upon the President.
Yours, very truly, (Signed)
In Arkansas, where a decided Union feeling had existed from the outbreak of the rebellion, the appearance of the proclamation was the signal for a movement to bring
the State back into the Union. On the 20th of January, a delegation of citizens from that State had an interview with the President, in which they urged the adoption of certain measures for the re-establishment of a legal State Government, and especially the ordering of an election for Governor. In consequence of this application, and in substantial compliance with their request, the President wrote the following letter to General Steele, who commanded in that Department :
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WABHINGTON, January 20, 1564. Major-General STEELE:
Sundry citizens of the State of Arkansas petition me that an election may be held in that State, at which to elect a Governor; that it be assumed at that election, and thenceforward, that the constitution and laws of the State, as before the rebellion, are in full force, except that the constitution is so modified as to declare that there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted; that the General Assembly may make such provisions for the freed people as shall recognize and declare their permanent freedom, and provide for their education, and which may yet be construed as a temporary arrangement suitable to their condition as a laboring, landless, and homeless class; that said election shall be held on the 28th of March, 1864, at all the usual places of the State, or all such as voters pay attend for that purpose; that the voters attending at eight o'clock in the morning of said day may choose judges and clerks of election for such purpose; that all persons qualified by said constitution and laws, and taking the oath presented in the President's proclamation of December 8, 1863, either before or at the election, and none others, may be voters; that each set of judges and clerks may make returns directly to you on or before the 4th day of nest; that in all other respects said election may be conducted according to said constitution and laws; that on receipt of said returns, when five thonsand four hundred and six votes shall have been cast, you can receive said votes, ane ascertain all who shall thereby appear to have been elected; that on the -th day of next, all persons so appearing to have been electec, who shall appear before you at Little Rock, and take the oath, to be by you severally administered, to support the Constitution of the United States and said modified Constitution of the State of Arkansas, may be declared by you qualified and empowered to enter immediately upon the duties of the offices to which they shall have been respectively elected.
You will please order an election to take place on the 28th of March 1864, and returns to be made in fifteen days thereafter.
Upon the return of the delegation to Arkansas, they issued an address to the people of the State, urging them to avail themselves of the opportunity thus afforded for restoring their State to its old prosperity, and assuring them, from personal observation, that the people of the Northern States would most cordially welcome their return to the Union. Meantime, a convention had as sembled at Little Rock, composed of delegates elected without any formality, and not under the authority of the General Government, and proceeded to form a new State Constitution, and to fix a day for an election.
Upon being informed of this, the President seems to have sent orders to General Steele to help on this movement, and he telegraphed to the Provisional Government as follows:
WASHINGTON, February 6, 1864. J. MURPHY :
My order to General Steele, about an election, was made in ignorance of the action your convention had taken or would take. A subsequent letter directs General Steele to aid you on your own plan, and not to thwart or hinder you. Show this to him.
He also wrote the following letter to one of the most prominent citizens :
To WILLIAN FISHBACK :
When I fixed a plan for an election in Arkansas, I did it in ignorance that your convention was at the same work. Since I learned the latter fact, I have been constantly trying to yield my plan to theirs. I havo sent two letters to General Steele, and three or four dispatches to you and others, saying that he (General Steele) must be master, but that it will probably be best for him to keep the convention on its own plan. Some single mind must be master, else there will be no agreement on any thing; and General Steele, commanding the military and being on the ground, is the best man to be that master. Even now citizens are telegraphing me to postpone the election to a later day than either fixed by the convention or me. This discord must be silenced.
The dispatches to General Steele reached him both together, and only a few days before the day fixed by the convention for the election. All that he did, therefore, was to issue a proclamation calling on the people to come out and vote at the ensuing election.
The convention framed a constitution abolishing slavery, which was subsequently adopted by a large majority of the people.
It also provided for the election of State officers on the day appointed for the vote upon the constitution; and the legislature chosen at that election elected two gentlemen, Messrs. Fishback and Baxter, as United States Senators, and also Representatives. These gentlemen presented their credentials at Washington, whereupon Mr. Sumner offered the following resolution in the Senate :
Resolved, That a State pretending to secede from the Union, and battling against the General Government to maintain that position, must be regarded as a rebel State, subject to military occupation, and without representation on this floor, until it has been readmitted by a vote of both Houses of Congress; and the Senate will decline to entertain any application from any such rebel State until after such a vote of both Hlouses.
The whole matter was referred to the Judiciary Committee, who, without adopting the views of Mr. Sumner's resolution, reported on the 27th of June that on the facts it did not appear that the rebellion was so far suppressed in Arkansas as to entitle the State to representation in Congress, and that therefore Messrs. Fishback and Baxter were not entitled to seats as Senators from the State of Arkansas. And the Senate on the next day adopted their report by a vote of twenty-seven to six.
In the House, meanwhile, the Committee on Elections, to whom the application of the Arkansas members had been referred, reported to postpone their admission until a commission could be sent to inquire into and report the facts of the election, and to create a commission for the exami. nation of all such cases. This proposition was, however, laid on the table, and the members were not admitted. This action put to rest all question of the representation of the State in Congress till the next session.
The cause of the rejection of these Senators and Repre. sentatives was, that a majority in Congress had not agreed