Imagens das páginas

either case be of the excepted classes. All persons who have preferred petitions for pardon shall be deemed to have been pardoned if the fact of being pardoned shall be announced by the Governor, although the pardon may not have been received. The payment of a public tax shall not be required as a qualification of the voter in the elections in November next.

October 12-Convention tabled a proposition to prohibit the payment of the war debt created by the State in aid of the rebellion.

October 16-Ordinance passed, dividing the
State into seven congressional districts.

October 17-Resolution adopted, requesting
Congress to repeal the "test-oath."
October 18-President Johnson sent this tele-


Governor, by a vote of 32,529 to 25,909 for
Prov. Gov. Holden.

December 15-Governor Worth qualified. 1866, May 24-The Convention re-assembled. A motion to adjourn sine die was tabled, 61 to 30.


1865, May 10-Governor Clark called an extra session of the Legislature for the 18th, to order a State Convention.

May 21-Major General Canby telegraphed as follows to Major General Warren, commanding the department: "By direction of the President, you will not recognize any officer of the Confederate or State government, within the limits of your command, as authorized to exer cise in any manner whatever the functions of their late offices. You will prevent, by force if necessary, any attempt of any of the legislatures of the States in insurrection to assemble for re-bers or other persons who may attempt to exerlegislative purposes, and will imprison any memcise these functions in opposition to your orders."

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 18, 1865. W. W. HOLDEN, Provisional Governor: Every dollar of the debt created to aid the rebellion against the United States should be pudiated finally and forever. The great mass of the people should not be taxed to pay a debt to aid in carrying on a rebellion which they in fact, if left to themselves, were opposed to. Let those who have given their means for the obligations of the State look to that power they

June 13-William L. Sharkey appointed Provisional Governor.

July 1-Prov. Gov. Sharkey issued a prociamation appointing local officers, and fixing an election for a Convention-August 7th-voters to have these qualifications:

[ocr errors]

tried to establish in violation of law, constitution, and will of the people. They must meet Voters for delegates to this convention must their fate. It is their misfortune, and cannot be recognized by the people of any State professing tution and laws as they existed prior to the 9th possess the qualifications required by the constithemselves loyal to the government of the Uni- day of January, 1861, and must also produce a ted States and in the Union. repeat that the certificate that they have taken, before a comloyal people of North Carolina should be exonerated from the payment of every dollar of in-petent officer, the amnesty oath prescribed by debtedness created to aid in carrying on the the proclamation of the 29th of May, 1865, which rebellion. I trust and hope that the people of by a copy of the oath, and no one will be eligicertificate shall be attached to or accompanied North Carolina will wash their hands of every-ble as a member of this convention who has not thing that partakes in the slightest degree of the rebellion, which has been so recently crushed by the strong arm of the Government in carrying out the obligations imposed by the Constitution of the Union. ANDREW JOHNSON, President of the United States.

also taken this oath."

August 14-Convention met.

August 15-President Johnson sent this tele



WASHINGTON, D. C., August 15, 1865. October 19-Ordinance passed, that no officer Governor W. L. SHARKEY, Jackson, Miss.: of this State who may have taken an oath of I am gratified to see that you have organized office to support the constitution of the Confed-your Convention without difficulty. I hope that erate States, shall be capable of holding under without delay your Convention will amend your the State any office of trust or profit which he State constitution, abolishing slavery and denyheld when he took such oath, until he may be ing to all future legislatures the power to legisappointed or re-elected to the same; and all the late that there is property in man; also that they offices lately held by such persons are hereby will adopt the amendment to the Constitution of declared vacant. the United States abolishing slavery. If you could extend the elective franchise to all persons of color who can read the Constitution of the United States in English and write their names, and to all persons of color who own real estate valued at not less than two hundred and fifty November 9-Election of State officers and dollars, and pay taxes thereon, you would comRepresentatives in Congress. Same day, ordi- pletely disarm the adversary and set an example nances repealing secession ordinance and anti-the other States will follow. This you can do alavery ordinance, submitted to popular vote, and approved.

October 19-Convention-yeas 84, nays 12passed an ordinance prohibiting the assumption of the State debt created in aid of the rebellion. An amendment to refer this question to a vote of the people, lost.

November 13-Legislature met. December 1-The Legislature ratified, with six dissenting voices, the anti-slavery amendment.

December 9-Jonathan Worth declared elected

with perfect safety, and you thus place the southern States, in reference to free persons of color, upon the same basis with the free States. I hope and trust your convention will do this, and, as a consequence, the radicals, who are wild upon negro franchise, will be completely foiled in their attempt to keep the southern State


a part in the late war against the United States,
shall be exempt from poll tax.

from renewing their relations to the Union by | pensions, and have forfeited the same by taking
not accepting their senators and representatives.*
ANDREW JOHNSON, President of the U. S.
August 21-Ordinance passed that "the insti-
tution of slavery having been destroyed in the
State of Mississippi," neither slavery nor invol-
untary servitude, &c., shall hereafter exist in the

August 21-An election ordered for first Monday in October for State and county officers, and Representatives in Congress in the several congressional districts as they were fixed by the legislature in 1857.

August 22-Secession ordinance declared null and void.

October 7-The colored citizens of Mississippi met in convention, and protested against the reactionary policy prevailing, and expressing the fear that the Legislature will pass such proscriptive laws as will drive the freedmen from the State, or practically re-enslave them.

October 16-Legislature met.

October 17-Benjamin G. Humphreys inaugurated Governor.

November 20-Governor Humphreys sent a message recommending that negroes be permitted to sue and be sued, and give testimony, and that the freedmen be encouraged to engage in pursuits of industry, and that a militia bill be passed, "to protect our people against insurrection, or any possible combination of vicious white men and negroes."

November 24-Bill passed "reserving twenty per cent. of the revenue of the State as a fund for the relief of destitute disabled Confederate and State soldiers, and their widows, and for the support and education of indigent children of deceased or disabled Confederate or State soldiers, to be distributed annually," &c.

November 27--The joint committee reported against ratifying the anti-slavery amendment, for reasons given; and the Legislature adopted


November 29-The Legislature adopted a memorial to the Congress of the United States, asking for the repeal of the "test oath." November 22, one for the pardon of Jacob Thompson. November 8, one for the pardon of Jefferson Davis.

December 1-The name of Jones county changed to Davis.

December 5-Bill passed, taxing each male inhabitant of the State, between 21 and 60, $1, and authorizing any person having in his or her employ any one subject to the tax, to pay it and charge it to the person for whom paid. All officers and enlisted men who have herefore received *As bearing upon this point, this letter from the late President Lincoln, on a similar occasion, has value: EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, March 13, 1864.


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, which, 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.
Truly yours,


1865, May 3-Gov. Joseph E. Brown issued a
Legislature for 22d.
proclamation calling an extra meeting of the

May 14-Maj. Gen. Gillmore issued an order
annulling this proclamation, and directing the
June 17-James Johnson appointed Pro-
persons interested not to heed it.
visional Governor.

July 13-Prov. Gov. Johnson issued a proc-
lamation fixing the first Wednesday in October
for an election for delegates to a Convention-
these to be the qualifications of voters :

[ocr errors]

That no person at such election shall be
qualified as an elector, or shall be eligible as a
previously thereto taken and subscribed to the
member of such convention, unless he shall have
oath of amnesty, as set forth in the President's
voter qualified as prescribed by the constitution
proclamation of May 29, A. D. 1865, and is a
and laws of the State of Georgia, in force imme-
diately before the 19th of January, A. D. 1861,
October 7-Names of members elect requiring
the date of the so-called ordinance of secession.'
pardons sent to the President, and pardons re-
October 25-Convention met.
turned, as in each of the other States.

October 30-Secession ordinance repealed; or-
dinance passed dividing the State into seven con-
gressional districts.


November 4-Slavery declared abolished, "the Government of the United States having, as a war measure, proclaimed all slaves held or owned having carried that proclamation into full in this State emancipated from slavery, and tical effect." "Provided, That acquiescence in the action of the Government of the United States or waiver, or estoppel, of such claim for compenis not intended to operate as a relinquishment, sation of loss sustained by reason of the emancipation of his slaves, as any citizen of Georgia may hereafter make upon the justice and magnanimity of that Government."

November 8-The State debt of Georgia, incurred in aid of the rebellion, declared null and void-yeas 133, nays 117. Pending this proposition these telegrams were sent :

MILLEDGEVILLE, GA., October 27, 1865. His Excellency ANDREW JOHNSON,

President of the United States: We need some aid to repeal the war debt. J. JOHNSON, Send me word on the subject. What should the Provisional Governor of Georgia. Convention do?

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D. C., October 28, 1865. Your despatch has been received. The people JAMES JOHNSON, Provisional Governor: of Georgia should not hesitate one single moment in repudiating every single dollar of debt created for the purpose of aiding the rebellion against the Government of the United States. It will people that are loyal and in the Union, to pay not do to levy and collect taxes from a State and a debt that was created to aid in an effort to tako



September 12-Convention met.

them out, and thereby subvert the Constitution | cers hereinafter appointed for that purpose in of the United States. I do not believe the great the county where he offers to vote; and any mass of the people of the State of Georgia, when person offering to vote in violation of these rules left uninfluenced, will ever submit to the pay- or the laws of Alabama on the 11th of January, ment of a debt which was the main cause of 1861, will be punished. bringing on their past and present suffering, the result of the rebellion. Those who vested their capital in the creation of this debt must meet their fate, and take it as one of the inevitable results of the rebellion, though it may seem hard to them. It should at once be made known at home and abroad, that no debt contracted for the purpose of dissolving the Union of the States can or ever will be paid by taxes levied on the people for such purpose.

President of the United States.

Hon. W. H. SEWARD:
We are pressed on the war debt. What should
the Convention do?
Provisional Governor of Georgia.
MILLEDGEVILLE, October 27, 1865.


His Excellency JAMES JOHNSON,

Provisional Governor of Georgia: Your several telegrams have been received. The President of the United States cannot recog; nize the people of any State as having resumed the relations of loyalty to the Union that admits as legal, obligations contracted or debts created in their name, to promote the war of the rebellion. WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

WASHINGTON, October 28, 1865.

November 8-Convention adjourned.
November 15-Election held for State officers
and Representatives in Congress.
December 4-Legislature met.

December 5-Legislature ratified the anti-slavery amendment.

1866, January-A convention of colored persons at Augusta advocated a proposition to give those who could write and read well, and possessed a certain property qualification, the right of suffrage.

March 10-Bill passed legislature, authorizing an extra tax, the amount to be fixed by the grand juries, but not to exceed two per cent. upon the State tax, for the benefit of indigent soldiers, and the indigent families of deceased soldiers of the Confederate and State troops. Artificial arms and legs to be furnished disabled soldiers.


1865, June 21-Lewis E. Parsons appointed Provisional Governor.

July 20-Provisional Governor Parsons issued a proclamation, fixing August 31 for an election for a Convention, under these restrictions: "But no person can vote in said election, or be a candidate for election, who is not a legal voter as the law was on that day; and if he is excepted from the benefit of annesty, under the President's proclamation of the 29th May, 1865, he must have obtained a pardon.

September 18-Election for State officers fixed for first Monday in November-the Provisional Governor authorized to order an election for Representatives in Congress.

September 20-Slavery abolished, "as the institution of slavery has been destroyed in the State of Alabama." Secession ordinance declared "null and void." Rebel State debt repu diated, 60 to 19.

September 30-Convention adjourned.
November 20-Legislature met.

December 2-Anti-slavery amendment ratified in this form:

1st. That the foregoing amendment to the Constitution of the United States be, and the same is hereby, ratified, to all intents and purposes, as part of the Constitution of the United States.

2d. That this amendment to the Constitution of the United States is adopted by the Legislature of Alabama with the understanding that it does not confer upon Congress the power to legislate upon the political status of freedmen in this State."

3d. That the governor of the State be, and he is hereby, requested to forward to the President of the United States an authenticated copy of the foregoing preamble and resolutions.

December 5-The President sent this response His Excellency L. E. PARSONS,

Provisional Governor :

The President congratulates you and the country upon the acceptance of the congressional amendment of the Constitution of the United States by the State of Alabama, which vote, being the twenty-seventh, fills up the complement of two-thirds, and gives the amendment finishing effect as a part of the organic law of the land. WILLIAM H. SEWARD. WASHINGTON, December 5, 1865. 1866, January 8—The Legislature re-assem bled.

Gov. R. M. Patton vetoed three bills. He vetoed the bill to regulate contracts with freedmen, because no special law is necessary. He adds:

[ocr errors]

Information from various parts of the State shows that negroes are everywhere making contracts for the present year upon terms that are entirely satisfactory to the employers. They are also entering faithfully upon the discharge of the obligations contracted. There is every prospect that the engagement formed will be ob served with perfect good faith. I therefore think that special laws for regulating contracts between whites and freedmen would accomplish no good, and might result in much harm."

Governor Patton has also vetoed the bill "to extend the criminal laws of the State, applicable to free persons of color, to freedmen, free negroes and mulattoes." He says

"Every person must vote in the county of his residence, and, before he is allowed to do so, must "The bill proposes to apply to the freedmen a take and subscribe the oath of amresty pre- system of laws enacted for the government of scribed in the President's proclamation of the free negroes residing in a community where 29th of May, 1865, before some one of the offi-slavery existed. I have carefully examined the


September 19-Slavery declared abolished laws which, under this bill, would be applied to the freedmen; and I think that a mere recital "the slaves in South Carolina having been emanci of some of their provisions will show the impol-pated by the action of the United States authori icy and injustice of enforcing them upon the ne- ties." groes in their new condition."

"a bill enGovernor Patton has also vetoed titled an act to regulate the relations of master and apprentice, as relate to freedmen, free ne" because he deems the groes and mulattoes,' present laws amply sufficient for all purposes of apprenticeship, without operating upon a particular class of persons.

The Legislature passed a tax bill, of which these are two sections:

"12. To sell, or expose for sale, for one year, at any one place, any pictorial or illustrated weekly, or any monthly paper, periodical or magazine, published outside the limits of this State, and not in a foreign country, and to vend the same on the streets, or on boats or railroad cars, fifty dollars."

September 27-Election ordered for third
Wednesday in October, for State officers. Ordi-
nance passed, creating four congressional dis-


September 29-Convention adjourned.
October 18-James L. Orr elected Governor
October -Legislature met.
This telegraphic correspondence occurred:

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 28, 1865.
B. F. PERRY, Provisional Governor :

Your last two despatches have been received and the pardons suggested have been ordered. hope that your Legislature will have no hesitancy in adopting the amendment to the Constitution of the United States abolishing slavery. It will set an example which will no doubt be "13. To keep a news depot for one year, in any followed by the other States, and place South city, town or village, for the sale of any news- Carolina in a most favorable attitude before the paper, periodical or magazine, not including pic-nation. I trust in God that it will be done. torials provided for in the preceding paragraph, The nation and State will then be left free and ten dollars."

The Legislature passed some joint resolutions on the state of the Union, of which this, the fourth, is the most important:

[ocr errors]

That Alabama will not voluntarily consent to change the adjustment of political power as fixed by the Constitution of the United States, and to constrain her to do so, in her present prostrate and helpless condition, with no voice in the councils of the nation, would be an unjustifiable breach of faith; and that her earnest thanks are due to the President for the firm stand he has taken against amendments to the Constitution forced through in the present condition of


The code became operative June 1st, under proclamation of Governor Patton.



1865, May 2-Gov. Magrath issued a proclamation that the confederate stores within the State should be turned over to State officers, to be distributed among the people.

May 8-Gov. Magrath summoned the State officers to Columbia to resume their duties.

May 14-Maj. Gen. Gillmore issued an order annulling the Governor's acts, and notifying the persons interested not to heed his proclamations. June 30-Benjamin F. Perry was appointed Provisional Governor.

July 20-Prov. Gov. Perry issued a proclamation fixing the first Monday of September for an election for a State Convention-the qualifications of voters being thus prescribed:

Every loyal citizen who had taken the amnesty oath, and not within the excepted classes in the President's proclamation, will be entitled to vote, provided he was a legal voter under the constitution as it stood prior to the secession of South Carolina. And all who are within the excepted classes must take the oath and apply for a pardon, in order to entitle them to vote or become members of the convention.

untrammeled to take that course which sound

ANDREW JOHNSON, President. policy, wisdom, and humanity may suggest.

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 31, 1865.

B. F. PERRY, Provisional Governor:

There is a deep interest felt as to what course the Legislature will take in regard to the adoption of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States abolishing slavery, and the assumption of the debt created to aid in the rebelIf the action of the convention was in good faith, lion against the government of the United States. tution of the United States? why hesitate in making it a part of the Consti

I trust in God that restoration of the Union will not now be defeated, and all that has so far been well done thrown away. I still have faith that all will come out right yet.

This opportunity ought to be understood and appreciated by the people of the southern States. If I know my own heart and every passion which enters it, my earnest desire is to restore the blessings of the Union, and tie up and heal Let us be guided by love every bleeding wound which has been caused by this fratricidal war. will once more reign throughout the land. ANDREW JOHNSON. and wisdom from on high, and Union and


COLUMBIA, S. C., November 1, 1865.

His Excellency ANDREW JOHNSON,

President United States: I will send you to-day the whole proceedings of the State Convention, properly certified, as you request.

The debt contracted by South Carolina during has assumed the rebellion is very inconsiderable. Her expenditures for war purposes were paid by the confederate government. She no debt, or any part of any debt, of that governHer whole State debt at this time is only September 13-Convention met. September 15-Secession ordinance repealed, about six millions, and that is mostly for railroads and building new State-house prior to the

107 to 3.


war. The members of the Legislature say they have received no official information of the amendment of the Federal Constitution abolishing slavery. They have no objection to adopting the first section of the amendment proposed; but they fear that the second section may be construed to give Congress power of local legislation over the negroes, and white men, too, after the abolishment of slavery. In good faith South Carolina has abolished slavery, and never will wish to restore it again.

The Legislature is passing a code of laws providing ample and complete protection for the negro. There is a sincere desire to do every thing necessary to a restoration of the Union, and tie up and heal every bleeding wound which has been caused by this fratricidal war. I was elected United States Senator by a very flattering vote. The other Senator will be elected to


B. F. PERRY, Provisional Governor.

WASHINGTON, November 6, 1865. His Excellency B. F. PERRY, Prov. Gov.: Your despatch to the President of November 4 has been received. He is not entirely satisfied with the explanations it contains. He deems necessary the passage of adequate ordinances declaring that all insurrectionary proceedings in the State were unlawful and void ab initio. Neither the Constitution nor laws direct official

information to the State of amendments to the Constitution submitted by Congress. Notices of the amendment by Congress abolishing slavery were nevertheless given by the Secretary of State at the time to the States which were then in communication with this Government. Formal notice will immediately be given to those States which were then in insurrection.

The objection you mention to the last clause of the constitutional amendment is regarded as querulous and unreasonable, because that clause is really restraining in its effect, instead of enlarging the powers of Congress. The President considers the acceptance of the amendment by South Carolina as indispensable to a restoration of her relations with the other States of the



November 7-Provisional Governor Perry sent a message communicating these telegrams, and recommending the ratification, and that they "place on record the construction which had been given to the amendment by the executive department of the Federal Government."

November 13-The Legislature ratified the anti-slavery amendment, in this form:

1. Resolved, &c., That the aforesaid proposed amendinent of the Constitution of the United States be, and the same is hereby, accepted, and adopted and ratified by this State.

2. That a certified copy of the foregoing preamble and resolution be forwarded by his excellency the Provisional Governor to the President of the United States, and also to the Secretary of State of the United States.

3. That any attempt by Congress towards legislating upon the political status of former slaves, or their civil relations, would be contrary to the Constitution of the United States as it now is, or as it would be altered by the proposed

amendment, in conflict with the policy of the President, declared in his amnesty proclamation, and with the restoration of that harmony upon which depend the vital interests of the American Union.

debt, this telegraphic correspondence took place : Respecting the repudiation of the rebel State


WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 1865.

His Excellency B. F. PERRY,

Provisional Governor:

Your despatch of this date was received at half-past 10 o'clock this morning. This freedom or loyal intercourse between South Carolina and her sister States is manifestly much better and wiser than separation. The President and the whole country are gratified that South Carolina has accepted the congressional amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery. Upon reflection South Carolina herself would not care to come again into the councils of the Union incumbered and clogged with debts and obligations which had been assumed in her name in a vain attempt to subvert it. The President trusts that she will lose no time in making an effective organic declaration, disavowing all debts and obligations created or assumed in her name or behalf in aid of the rebellion. The President waits further events in South Carolina with deep interest.

You will remain in the exercise of your functions of provisional governor until relieved by his express directions.


COLUMBIA, November 27, 1865. Hon. W. H. SEWARD: Your telegram of the 20th instant was not received in due time, owing to my absence from Columbia. The Convention having been dissolved, it is impracticable to enact any organic law in regard to the war debt. That debt is very small, as the expendi tures of South Carolina were reimbursed by the confederate government. The debt is so mixed up with the ordinary expenses of the State that it cannot be separated. In South Carolina all were guilty of aiding the rebellion, and no one can complain of being taxed to pay the trifling debt incurred by his own assent in perfect good faith. The Convention did all that the President advised to be done, and I thought it wrong to keep a revolutionary body in existence and advised their immediate dissolution, which was done. There is now no power in the Legislature to repudiate the debt if it were possible to separate it from the other debts of the State. Even then it would fall on widows and orphans whose estates were invested in it for safety. B. F. PERRY, Provisional Governor.


WASHINGTON, November 30, 1865 SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of the 27th instant, imforming me, that as the Convention had been dissolved, it was impossible to adopt the Presi dent's suggesstion to repudiate the insurgent debt, and to inform you that while the objec tions which you urge to the adoption of that proceeding are of a serious nature, the Fresi

« AnteriorContinuar »