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Various indications in the Southern States, had satisfied the President that the time had come when the work of reconstruction might safely and wisely be thus commenced. In Tennessee, where the rebels had never maintained any permanent foothold, but where the government at Washington had found it necessary to commit the local authority to Andrew Johnson, as Provisional Governor, there had been a very strong party in favor of restoring the State to its former position as a member of the Federal Union. But in Louisiana, the movements in the same direction had been earlier and more decided than in any other Southern State. The occupation of New Orleans by the national forces, and the advent of General Butler as Commander of that Military Department, on the 1st of May, 1862, speedily satisfied a very considerable portion of the inhabitants, who had property at stake in the City and State, that the rebel authority could never be restored; and preparations were accordingly made to hold an election in the fall of that year for Members of the Congress of the United States. General Shepley had been appointed Military Governor of the State, and to him the President, in November, addressed the following letter on that subject:

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, November 21, 1862. DEAR SIR:-Dr. Kennedy, bearer of this, has some apprehension that Federal officers, not citizens of Louisiana, may be set up as candidates for Congress in that State. In my view there could be no possible object in such an election. We do not particularly need members of Congress from those States to enable us to get along with legislation here. What we do want is the conclusive evidence that respectable citizens of Louisiana are willing to be members of Congress and to swear support to the Constitution, and that other respectable citizens there are willing to vote for them and send them. To send a parcel of Northern men here as representatives, elected as would be understood (and perhaps really so), at the point of the bayonet, would be disgraceful and outrageous; and were I a member of Congress here, I would vote against admitting any such man to a seat. Yours, very truly,





The election was held, and Messrs. Flanders and Hahn were chosen and admitted to their seats at the ensuing session, as has been already seen.

On the 23d of May, 1863, the various Union associations of New Orleans applied to the Military Governor of the State for authority to call a Convention of the loyal citizens of Louisiana, for the purpose of framing a new State Constitution, and of re-establishing civil government under the Constitution of the United States. What they especially desired of him was that he should order a registration of the loyal voters of the State, and appoint commissioners of registration in each. parish to register the names of all citizens who should take the oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and repudiate allegiance to the Rebel Confederacy. General Shepley, in reply, recognized fully the great importance of the proposed movement, but thought it of the utmost consequence that it should proceed as the spontaneous act of the people of the State, without the slightest appearance or suspicion of having been in any degree the result of military dictation. He consented to provide for the registration of such voters as might voluntarily come forward for the purpose of being enrolled, but deferred action upon the other points. submitted to him until he could receive definite instructions on the subject from the Government at Washington.

In June, a Committee of Planters, recognizing the propriety of some movement for the re-establishment of civil authority in the State, and not concurring in the policy of those who proposed to form a new Constitution, applied to the President, asking him to grant a full recognition of the rights of the State as they existed before the act of secession, so that they might return to their allegiance under the old Constitution of the State, and that he would order an election for State officers, to be held on the 1st Monday of November.

To this application the President made the following reply:


GENTLEMEN:-Since receiving your letter, reliable information has reached me that a respectable portion of the Louisiana people desire to amend their State Constitution, and contemplate holding a Convention for that object. This fact alone, it seems to me, is a sufficient reason why the General Government should not give the committee the authority you seek to act under the existing State Constitution. I may add, that while I do not perceive how such a committee could facilitate our military operations in Louisiana, I really apprehend it might be so used as to embarrass them.

As to an election to be held in November, there is abundant time without any order or proclamation from me just now. The people of Louisiana shall not lack an opportunity for a fair election for both Federal and State officers by want of any thing within my power to give them.

Your obedient servant,


After the appearance of the President's proclamation, the movement towards reconstruction in Louisiana assumed greater consistency, and was carried forward with greater steadiness and strength. On the 8th of January a very large Free State convention was held at New Orleans, at which resolutions were adopted indorsing all the acts and proclamations of the President, and urging the immediate adoption of measures for the restoration of the State to its old place in the Union. On the 11th, General Banks issued a proclamation, appointing an election for State officers on the 22d of February, who were to be installed on the 4th of March, and another election for delegates to a convention to revise the Constitution of the State on the first Monday in April. The old Constitution and laws of Louisiana were to be observed, except so far as they relate to Slavery, "which," said General Banks, "being inconsistent with the present condition of public affairs, and plainly inapplicable to any class of persons within the limits of the State, must be suspended, and they are now declared inoperative and void." The oath of allegiance required by the Presi dent in his proclamation, with the condition affixed to the



elective franchise by the Constitution of Louisiana, was prescribed as constituting the qualification of voters.

Under this order, parties were organized for the election of State officers. The friends of the national government were divided, and two candidates were put in nomination for governer, Hon. Michael Hahn being the regular nominee, and representing the supporters of the policy of the President, and Hon. B. F. Flanders being put in nomination by those who desired a more radical policy than the President had proposed. Both took very decided ground against the continued existence of slavery within the State. Hon. C. Roselius was nominated by that portion of the people who concurred in the wish for the return of Louisiana to the Union, and were willing to take the oath of allegiance prescribed by the President, but who nevertheless disapproved of the general policy of the Administration, especially on the subject of slavery. The election resulted in the election of Mr. Hahn.

In Arkansas, where a decided Union feeling has 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:


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 may attend for that purpose; that the voters attending at 8 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 makc returns directly to you on or before the -th day of next; that in all other respects said election may be conducted according to said Constitution and laws; that on receipt of said returns, when 5,406 votes shall have been cast, you can receive said votes and ascertain all who snall thereby appear to have been elected; that on the -th day of

next, all

persons so appearing to have been elected, 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 immediately enter 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 assembled 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. Upon learning this fact, the President wrote the following letter to one of the most prominent members:

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