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CHAPTER XVII.
GOVERNOR HAHN.

On the 20th of January, 1865, Governor Hahn issued the following proclamation :

“Whereas, Our sister States of Missouri and Tennessee, assembled in Conventions representing the loyal people of their respective Commonwealths, have each passed Edicts of Emancipation, declaring the freedom of all slaves within their borders, and forever prohibiting slavery or involuntary servitude, except for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted; and “Whereas, Said Edicts of Emancipation by our late slave-holding sisters, are acts of great historic significance, worthy all praise and commemoration, as indicating the progress of ideas, the courage, fidelity and humanity of the people, and the early establishment of the National Government upon the permanent basis of freedom and justice: “Therefore, I, MICHAEL HAHN, Governor of the State of Louisiana, in the name of our free State and loyal people, do hereby extend to Missouri and Tennessee, and to the noble representatives in their respective Conventions, thanks and congratulations. “And further, I do recommend that TUESDAY next, the 24th day of January, shall be observed and respected by our people as a holiday for recreation and festivity in honor of the memorable Emancipation Acts of the now Free States of Missouri and Tennessee; which acts, with those of Louisiana and Maryland, are forerunners of the time when “Liberty shall be proclaimed throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof.” “Given under my hand and seal of the State, this 20th day of January, A. D. 1865, and the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth. “By the Governor : “MICHAEL HAHN. “S. WROTNowski, Secretary of State.”

The 24th day of January, 1865, was observed in New Orleans, as a day of festivity in honor of the noble action of the citizens of the States of Missouri and Tennessee, who were determined to erect the standard of Liberty and Progress. All the State Courts were adjourned; Judge Durell dismissed the United States Court in the following manner:

“Mr. CLERK :—Whereas, his Excellency Michael Hahn, Governor of the State of Louisiana, has set this day apart as a holliday in honor of the rapid progress now making in the cause of civil liberty on this contiment, you will therefore enter upon the records of the United States Courts this most worthy cause for the adjournment of the same. Mr. Marshal, adjourn the Circuit Court; Mr. Marshal, adjourn the District Court.

Early in the morning the leading thoroughfares, were thronged with people, black and white, thousands of them arrayed in “red, white and blue.” The public buildings were decorated with Stars and Stripes. The City Hall, the Headquarters of the Governor and Mayor were covered with the National emblems. The office of the State Auditor, A. P. Dostie, located at No. 17, St. Charles street, was decorated with National banners. In the evening a transparency was added to the other decorations, upon one side of which was a portrait of

Major General N. P. Banks, and upon the other, the
ImOtto.
“NEw GLORIES ARE BEFor E Us.”

Over the Public Schools both (white and black) the Stars and Stripes were hoisted. At noon a national salute was fired, and all the bells in the city rang a joyful peal, Thousands of the emancipated assembled upon Lafayette Square, where a battallion of the 11th Heavy Artillery, U. S. colored troops, and a Company of the 77th U. S. infantry, (colored) had assembled to listen to speeches and music. The National airs were popular on that day. The evening was spent by thousands in listening to speeches from Governor Hahn, Rev. Thomas Conway, Dr. Dostie, Judge Durell—and others.

January 9th, Governor Hahn was elected to the United States Senate. We annex his farewell Message:

“STATE OF LOUISIANA, ExECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, NEw ORLEANs, February 27, 1865. “To the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Louisiana: “Gentlemen, I hereby resign the office of Governor, to take effect on the 3d of March proximo, so that my occupancy of the office may terminate with that date, and enable my successer to be inaugurated, if convenient to your honorable bodies, on the 4th of March. “The one year of administration which I have had as your Governor, is a period to which I shall ever advert with pride and pleasure. Called to the office by a flattering vote of the people, I entered upon its duties with diffidence, and a full sense of its responsibilities. I leave it without self-reproach, and with pride at having performed a part however humble in the triumphs and glories which have marked the history of Louisiana the past year. At its commencement half the State—the portion excepted by proclamation—held slaves. By a vote approaching unanimity, every slave has been since set free; and slavery will never more have an existence in fact or a sanction in law in the State of Louisiana. Justice to a hitherto enslaved race has not ended here. The most extensive, as well as impartial and equal provisions have been made for their education; while our Constitution, keeping pace with the spirit of the age, has provided for their complete equality before the law, including the extension to them of the highest privilege of citizenship. I have no hesitation in saying that its terms will justify the adoption of universal suffrage whenever it shall be deemed wise and timely; and if the most devoted enthusiast shall complain that the doors have not been thrown open at once to all, he must admit, as we can claim, that our State has progressed further than three-fourths of the Northern States. We trust to vie in every noble and patriotic work with the best and foremost of our sister States. Our State has furnished, and is furnishing, in proportion to the able-bodied men in the State, a quota to the Union armies equal to that of any other State. Even in the parishes within the rebel military lines we are assured of the existence of a union feeling. “I speak of these things as encouraging signs of the times. In Louisiana, which now, as at the outset of the rebellion, can claim to be fully as loyal as Missouri, Maryland or Kentucky, her inhabitants have passed the Rubicon of their trials. The power of secessionism is waning; its influence is now scarcely felt among our people. “Our progress in civil reorganization has been equally auspicious. A constitution has been accepted by the people, which has swept away not only the last vestige of human bondage, but all the concomitant blemishes upon civilization which stood upon our statute books and were a part of our institutions. The Black Code, so long the reproach and regret of the humane and enlightened of the world, exists no more. The odious basis of representation, which gave to wealth and capital a leverage against the mechanical and industrial classes, and favored, as it was designed to, the establishment of an oligarchy among American freemen, is removed at once, without the necessity of a long and wearisome agitation, as would otherwise have been necessary for the attainment of the simple justice of equal representation. One voter is now equal to another, and entitled to the same privileges and proportional representation. Older governments and communities have had to battle for years without success for this plain, practical and essential republican measure. Our Constitution favors industry, secures the reward of labor, guarantees impartial education, invites immigration, and will be the basis of a prosperity hitherto untold in our annals.

“I leave your chief executive office in the hands of my constitutional successor, Lieutenant-Governor Wells. He has already received marks of the confidence of his fellow-citizens of this State, and is known to you for all his patriotic antecedents. I have full confidence that his administration of the government will have the support of our fellow-citizens, without distinction of party.

“For myself, I shall never forget the many and flattering marks of kindness which I have received from my fellow-citizens of Louisiana. That confidence which they have unwaveringly awarded me it will be my endeavor to merit and justify. Whether it be to serve her in the public or private station, her honor and her glory it will be my constant aim to promote, with all the humble ability I can command.

“I respectfully recommend the Legislature to take such measures as may be necessary to provide, in a fitting manner, for the inauguration of Lieut. Governor Wells into the office of Governor.

MICHAEL HAHN.

When Governor Hahn resigned his position, few doubted the firm loyalty of his successor. True Union

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