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the dupes of unscrupulous partisans and designing adventurers, we pity them; as they are ignorant, dependent, and helpless, it is our purpose to protect them in the enjoyment of all the rights of person and property to which their freedom entitles them."

The address closes with an appeal to the Conservative men of Georgia, to "organize for self-protection and ceaseless opposition to the direful rule of negro supremacy which is sought to be enforced on us and our children, in defiance of the Constitution, and in contempt of the civilization of the age and the opinions of mankind;" and to their "fellowcitizens of the North" not to "stand aloof and calmly see us subjected to this damning wrong; and that, too, when it will imperil the Republic and spread baleful disaster over every interest." The State Central Committee of the Conservative party met at Macon, on the 13th of February, and adopted the title of "The Central Executive Committee of the National Democratic Party of Georgia;" and recommended to all clubs and organizations throughout the State, which had been formed for the support of Conservative principles, to array themselves under the banners of the National Democratic party. Among the reasons given for this action were these, that that was "the only party at the North which maintains the Constitution of the United States as made and construed by the fathers and the Union of the States thereunder;" and that "close coöperation with that party is demanded by the instinct of self-preservation, the first law of nature, as the only rational mode of escape from the iron rule of military despotism, to be followed by the more humiliating condition of negró supremacy." The committee expresses its approval of the "fearless stand taken by Andrew Johnson for the rights of the whole people and the Constitution of our country, but gives no advice to the people with regard to their action on the constitution then being framed at Atlanta. A month later, however, on the 13th of March, the committee met again and adopted the following resolution:

Resolved, That the opinions and feelings of the National Democratic party of Georgia and of the United States, upon the unconstitutionality and injustice of the reconstruction acts of Congress, are too decided and well known to require reiteration here. Their opposition to the action of the several conventions called in pursuance of those acts, and to the effort to establish the supremacy of the negro race in the South, and to place the destinies of these States in the hands of adventurers and irresponsible persons, is equally decided and well known. Yet, warned by the fate of Alabama, and actuated by the instinct of self-preservation, we feel it to be our duty, to the extent of our power, to provide against every contingency, and therefore would urge upon our friends to participate in the elections which are to be held on the 20th April, proximo, to the end that the best and wisest men-permanently identified with Georgia, and who will administer her government in the interests of the people, and not for the purposes of plunder-be chosen to organize the government and frame the laws under which we and our posterity may have to live.

They recommended an active canvass for the coming election, and put Augustus Reese in nomination for the office of Governor; delegates were also appointed to the National Democratic Convention which was to meet at New York on the 4th of July. Judge Reese declined to be the candidate for Governor, and Judge Irwin's name was substituted; but that gentleman having taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, and afterward voted as a member of the electoral college of Georgia for Jefferson Davis as President of the Southern Confederacy, General Meade informed the committee that he was ineligible under the reconstruction acts, and could not be installed in office if he received a majority of the votes cast. Judge Irwin accordingly withdrew his name, and John B. Gordon was recommended to the voters of the party, by the committee, for Governor of the State. Mr. Gordon had been a major-general in the army of the Confederate States, and had received no pardon; but, having never held any office before the war for which he was required to swear to support the Constitution of the United States, he was pronounced eligible by General Meade.

The following orders issued by General Meade have direct reference to the approaching election:

General Orders, No. 54.


The officer commanding sub-District of Georgia will proceed to distribute the troops under his command in such manner as will, in his judgment, best subserve the purpose of preserving order during the coming election.

necessary transportation, and the troops sent to staThe Quartermaster's Department will furnish the tions not now occupied will be furnished with camp equipage, in all cases where satisfactory information. has not been obtained, before their departure, that suitable quarters can be procured.

By order of Major-General MEADE. S. F. BARSTOW, Acting Assistant Adj't-General. General Orders, No. 56.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD MILITARY DISTRICT, DEPARTMENT OF GEORGIA, ALABAMA, AND FLORIDA, ATLANTA, GA., April 9, 1868. That fairness and impartiality may be secured in the coming elections in Georgia and Florida, It is ordered:

1. That the ballot-boxes shall not be opened, or the votes counted, nor shall any information be given of the progress of the election, till the polls are finally closed.

2. The polls being finally closed, the board of managers shall select two men of character and standing from the opposite party, who shall be permitted to be present at the opening of the ballotboxes and the counting of the ballots, so as to witness and verify such counting.

By order of Major-General MEADE. S. F. BARSTOW, Acting Assistant Adj't-General. General Orders, No. 57.


1. The numerous resignations of sheriff's of counties in the State of Georgia that have recently been

tendered at these headquarters, coming on the eve of an important election, and when there is not sufficient time to make new appointments, makes it proper and necessary for the commanding general to give notice, that such resignations will not be accepted, and that sheriffs who have been so long holding their offices at the sufferance of the commanding general will not be permitted to resign until after said election is over and they are hereby required to continue in the faithful performance of their official duties until relieved from the same by orders from these headquarters. Any violation of this order will be punished in the manner prescribed in General Orders No. 42, for the punishment of civil officers for disobedience of orders.

2. Inasmuch as a numerous class of the electors of this State are, from necessity, at present dependent upon another class for employment by which they may earn daily bread for themselves and their families, and as numerous complaints have been made at these headquarters, that such laborers will be intimidated from voting at the approaching election by fear of the loss of employment, employers are hereby forbidden any attempts to control the action or will of their laborers as to voting, by threats of discharge from employment or by other oppressive means; and any person who shall, by such means, prevent a laborer from voting as he pleases, or shall discharge him from employment on account of his having exercised his privileges as a voter, will, on conviction of such offence before a military commission, be punished by fine or imprisonment, or both. 3. It is made the duty, as it is certainly the desire, of the commanding general, to secure to all the duly registered voters in the State of Georgia an opportunity to vote at the approaching election freely and without restraint, fear, or the influence of fraud," and he calls upon all good citizens to cooperate with him in his efforts to have the election conducted fairly as required by law.

By order of Major-General MEADE. R. C. DRUM, Assistant Adjutant-General.

General Orders, No. 58.


1. The uncertainty which seems to exist in regard to holding municipal elections on the 20th instant, and the frequent inquiries addressed to these headquarters, render it necessary for the commanding general to announce that said elections are not authorized by any orders from these headquarters. Managers of elections are hereby prohibited from receiving any votes, for any offices except such offices as are provided for in the constitution to be submitted for ratification-the voting for which officers is authorized by General Orders Nos. 40 and 52. 2. Complaints having been made to these headquarters, by planters and others, that improper means are being used to compel laborers to leave their work to attend political meetings, and threats being made that, in case of refusal, penalties will be attached to said refusal, the major-general commanding announces that all such attempts to control the movements of laborers and interfere with the rights of employers are strictly forbidden, and will be considered, and on conviction will be punished, the same as any attempts to dissuade and prevent voters from going to the polls, as referred to in paragraph 2, General Orders No. 57.

3. The major-general commanding also makes known that, while he acknowledges and will require to be respected the rights of laborers to peaceably assemble at night to discuss political questions, yet he discountenances and forbids the assembling of armed bodies; and requires that all such assemblages shall notify either the military or civil authorities of these proposed meetings, and said military and civil authorities are enjoined to see that the right

of electors to peaceably assemble for legitimate purposes is not disturbed.

4. The wearing or carrying of arms, either concealed or otherwise, by persons not connected with the military service of the Government, or such civil officers whose duty under the laws and orders it is to preserve the public peace, at, or in the vicinity of the polling-places, on the days set apart for holding the election in the State of Georgia, is positively forbidden. Civil and military officers will see that this order, as well as all others relating to the preservation of the peace and quiet of the counties in which they are acting, is strictly observed.

5. The commanding officers of sub-Districts of Georgia and Florida will take prompt measures to give publicity to this order through the Superintendents of Registration and the officers of the Freedmen's Bureau, and will enjoin on the latter to instruct and advise the Freedmen in their rights and duties.

By order of Major-General MEADE. R. C. DRUM, Assistant Adjutant-General. General Orders, No. 59.


Whereas, It has been reported to the commanding general, from several parts of the State of Georgia, that very many names have been stricken from the list of registered voters, without any cause being assigned for said striking off, or an opportunity given to voters, heretofore registered, to meet the objections received in their cases; and whereas, it is the determination of the commanding general that all candidates in the approaching election shall have every opportunity to show "from official data, whether said registration and election have been honestly and fairly conducted, and in accordance with law; it is hereby ordered,

That all managers of elections shall receive the votes, of all such persons as shall have been stricken from the registered list during the last five days, for revision; not counting said votes, but keeping them separate, with the names of the persons presenting them written on the back, and said votes shall be sent in a separate envelope with the returns made of the election, to be compared with the reasons required by law to be sent to these headquarters, whenever any Board of Registration shall deem it proper to strike names from the registration lists.

By order of Major-General MEADE. R. C. DRUM, Assistant Adjutant-General. The election passed off quietly, and the result, so far as it concerned the ratification of the new constitution, was announced in the following General Order:

General Orders, No. 76.


Official returns of the recent election having been received from all the counties in the State of Georgia, in which the election on the ratification of the constitution was held; and it appearing from said returns that a majority of seventeen thousand six hundred and ninety-nine (17,699) votes had been cast"For the constitution," the same is hereby declared ratified in accordance with the provisions of the act of Congress which became a law March 12, By order of Major-General MEADE. R. C. DRUM, Assistant Adjutant-General. Rufus B. Bullock, the Republican candidate for Governor, was elected by a majority of 7,047, the whole number of votes cast being 159,245, and Gordon having 76,099 to 83,146 for Bullock. This result, together with the names of all persons elected to the two branches


of the Assembly, was announced by a General Order dated June 25th.

By a military order, dated June 28th, the Governor-elect was appointed Provisional Governor of the State in place of General Ruger, to enter upon the duties of his office on the 4th of July, on which day the persons chosen for members of the Assembly had been already directed to convene at Atlanta by proclamation of the Governor-elect, under authority of the act of Congress "to admit the States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, to representation in Congress," which went into effect on the 25th of June. On the 3d of July, General Meade issued an order, directing the Provisional Governor to "proceed at 12 M., on the 4th instant, to effect such preliminary organization of both Houses of the Legislature as will enable the same to enter upon the discharge of the duties assigned them by law." Accordingly, on the next day, the members-elect of the Legislature assembled in the capitol furnished for the purpose by the city of Atlanta, in presence of General Meade, Governor Bullock, and Judge Erskine. The act of Congress admitting the State into the Union conditionally was read, as were the orders of the commanding general, announcing the result of the late election, and directing the Governor to organize the two Houses of Assembly. These preliminaries being over, the oath was administered to the Senators by Judge Erskine, and the officers of the Senate were chosen by ballot. The organization of the House of Representatives occupied two or three days, in consequence of the nearly equal division of the members between the two political parties. The whole number of Senators was 44, of whom 22 were Republicans and 22 Democrats. In the House of Representatives were 73 Republican and 102 Democratic members, 175 in all-3 Senators and 25 Representatives were negroes.

The question of the eligibility of several members who had been sent to the Assembly was considerably agitated both in and out of that body, and several seats were formally contested. On the 8th of July, in reply to the official announcement that the organization of the two Houses had been completed, General Meade wrote to the Governor, stating that, in his judgment, neither House could be legally organized "until they have complied with the requisitions of the reconstruction acts, and the act which became a law June 25, 1868, all of which prohibit any one from holding an office under the State, who is excluded by Section 3 of the amendment of the Constitution, known as Article 14," and declaring that he could not "recognize any act of the Legislature as valid, nor allow the same to be executed, until satisfactory evidence is produced, that all persons excluded by the 14th Article are deprived of their seats and offices in both Houses." The provision of the 14th Article referred to renders ineligible to office

all persons who had taken an official oath to support the Constitution, and afterward gave aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. The Governor transmitted General Meade's letter to the two Houses of the Legislature, and recommended the appointment of committees to investigate the eligibility of each member. This course was accordingly taken, and each member was examined on oath with regard to the application in his case of the prohibition of the 14th Article. A majority of the committee in the House reported in favor of the exclusion of three members, but a minority report was submitted, in which it was argued that no act of any member had amounted to giving aid and comfort to the enemy according to the best interpretation of the law. The case of each of these members was debated in the House, and they were finally pronounced to have been legally eligible. In the Senate, likewise, the investigation resulted in favor of the eligibility of every member, though a minority of the committee reported in favor of excluding about one-fourth of the Senators from their seats. When the result of these investigations was communicated to General Meade, he declared that he had "no further opposition to make to their proceeding to the business for which they were called together," and that he considered them "legally organized for the 18th instant, the date of the action of the House."

One effect of the act of Congress of June 25th was, to abrogate the provision in the constitution of the State of Georgia which denied the jurisdiction of the courts in actions for debts contracted prior to the 1st of June, 1865, and the assent of the State to this abrogation by solemn public act, as well as the ratification of the 14th Article, was required as a condition precedent to her restoration to her full relations in the union of States. These conditions were both complied with by a joint resolution passed on the 21st of July, by a vote of 24 to 14 in the Senate, and 89 to 70 in the House of Representatives. On the following day Rufus B. Bullock was inaugurated Governor of the reconstructed State of Georgia for the term of four years, and on the 24th sent his first regular message to the Assembly.

On the 28th of July an order issued from the headquarters of the Army at Washington, in which it was declared that the Second and Third Military Districts had ceased to exist, and the States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, would constitute the Department of the South, MajorGeneral George G. Meade to command, with his headquarters at Atlanta. Thereupon the following order was published:

General Orders, No. 108. HEADQUARTERS THIRD MILITARY DISTRICT, DEPARTMENT OF GEORGIA, ALABAMA AND FLORIDA, ATLANTA, GA., July 30, 1868. The several States comprising this military district having, by solemn acts of their Assemblies, conformed to the requisitions of the act of Congress which became

a law June 25, 1868, and civil government having been inaugurated in each, the military power vested in the district commander by the reconstruction laws, by the provision of these laws, ceases to exist; and hereafter, all orders issued from these headquarters, and bearing upon the rights of persons and property, will have, in the several States of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, only such force as may be given to them by the courts and legislators of the respective States. To conform to the changed condition of affairs, the commanders of the several sub-districts, hereafter to be designated as districts, will, without delay, withdraw all detachments of troops, whether infantry or cavalry, and concentrate their command as hereinafter directed.

In the District of Georgia, the following posts will be occupied:

Dahlonega-One company of infantry. Savannah-Two companies of infantry. Atlanta-Seven companies of infantry. The above posts will be occupied by the 16th Regiment of Infantry, whose colonel will designate the companies, and also will assign the lieutenant-colonel to the post of Atlanta, and the major to Savannah. During the period in which General Meade exercised the authority of civil government in the Third Military District, the whole number of persons tried by military commission in the three States of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, was thirty-two. Of these fifteen were convicted, but the sentences of four were disapproved, and those of eight others remitted, while two were referred to the President of the United States-thus leaving but one in confinement for a civil offence, on conviction by the military tribunal.

The negro members of the Georgia Assembly were all legislated from their seats in the course of the session. In the first place Aaron A. Bradley, who had been elected to the Senate from the First District, and who it will be remembered was expelled from the Constitutional Convention, on the ground that he had been convicted of crime in another State, was induced to resign his place, to escape a similar fate in the Legislative Assembly. The theory in the Senate, however, was, that, as he was a convicted criminal, he had never been eligible to office, and therefore could not resign. Α resolution was accordingly adopted, declaring that he was ineligible, and that R. C. Lester, who had received the next largest number of votes at the election, was, according to the laws of the State, duly elected in the First District. On the resignation of Bradley, the Governor had ordered a new election, and the right of Mr. Lester to occupy the vacant seat was likely to be contested; but, before the election occurred, the action of the Legislature took place which excluded all the colored members on account of ineligibility under the constitution and laws of the State. In order to see clearly the ground upon which this action was based, it will be necessary to take a glance at the course of the convention in relation to this very subject. While the constitution was under discussion, the following section was proposed, and, after some debate, rejected by a vote of 126 to 12:

SECTION 10. All qualified electors, and none others,

shall be eligible to any office in this State unless disqualified by the constitution of this State or by the Constitution of the United States.

Having rejected this, the convention made no provision which could be construed as expressly giving the negro a right to be elected to office, but, on the contrary, declared that "the code of Georgia, and all laws passed since the 19th day of January, 1861, are of full force," except as to slaves; and by these laws the right of persons of color to hold office is in terms denied. The matter was first brought up in the Senate on the 25th of July, by Mr. Candler, who offered the following resolution:

Whereas, ex-Governor Joseph E. Brown, one of the ablest lawyers in the Republican party of Georgia, as well as other persons, distinguished for their knowledge of constitutional law, held, during the late election canvass, that persons of color were not entitled to hold office under the existing constitution; and whereas, such persons hold seats as Senators on this floor; and whereas, there are laws of vital importance to the people of Georgia to be enacted by the General Assembly, the validity of which should not be made uncertain, because of a participation in their enactment by persons not entitled, under the constitution, so to participate: therefore, be it Resolved, That the Committee on Privileges and Elections be directed to inquire into the eligibility of the several persons of color holding seats as Senators, and report at the earliest day practicable.

The subject was afterward introduced in the weeks of animated discussion, the whole moveHouse of Representatives, and, after several of all the negro members. ment resulted in the expulsion from both Houses

The resolution of the House of Representatives effecting the final expulsion was adopted on the 3d of September, and was in these words:

Whereas, Abram Smith, of the county of Muscogee, has been declared ineligible to a seat on this floor; and whereas, Thomas W. Grimes, Jr., of said county, received the next highest number of votes cast in said county at the late election for Representatives in the General Assembly of this State, be it

be declared a member of this body, and that the Resolved, That the said Thomas W. Grimes, Jr., proper officer proceed immediately to swear him in.— [Here follows a full list of the negro members.]

The above resolution was amended by Mr. Tumlin, of Randolph, as follows:

Free persons of color, heretofore occupying seats on the floor of this House, are, under the constitution of the State of Georgia, ineligible to seats on the floor of this House; and whereas, they have been so declared by said House, be it therefore

aforesaid, having the next highest number of votes, Resolved, That the persons in each of the counties who are free from constitutional ineligibility, are declared eligible and entitled to seats on the floor of this House.

When the Governor was informed, by a special committee, of the action of the House, he sent in a communication acknowledging the receipt of the resolution, but in a decided tone disapproving of the course which had been adopted. He argued at considerable length in favor of the right of colored persons to hold office under the Constitution and laws of the United States, and the State of Georgia. In

conclusion he says: "I most respectfully and earnestly call upon you, as lovers of our common country and well wishers of the peace and good order of the State, to pause in the suicidal course upon which you have entered, urged on as you are by bold, bad men outside your body, whose wicked counsels have once drenched our land in blood, and whose ambition now is to ruin that which they cannot rule."

This message served only to elicit the following:

Resolved, That that portion of the communication of his Excellency reflecting upon the action of this House, in deciding upon the eligibility of free persons of color under the constitution, be returned to his Excellency, with the following resolution:

Resolved, That said communication is not warranted by the resolution upon which his Excellency was requested to act, and that the constitution declares that the members of each House are the judges of the qualifications of its own members, and not the Governor; they are the keepers of their own consciences, and not his Excellency.

The excluded members entered a spirited protest against the outrage perpetrated upon their race by the action of the House, which was addressed to the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives, and accompanied by a request that it be entered upon the journal. This request was not granted. In their protest, they give "notice that they will appeal, at the proper time, to the Congress of the United States and the justice of the American people, to redress their grievances, to which they are subjected by the intolerant and oppressive conduct of the dominant party in this House, who, while part of their members were in danger of losing their seats on account of ineligibility under the Fourteenth Constitutional Amendment, were met by the colored members of this House in a spirit of conciliation and kindness during that investigation."

The action in the Senate with reference to the two remaining colored members of that Chamber, Messrs. T. G. Campbell and George Wallace, was precisely similar to that in the House, but took place about ten days later. The Governor sent a message expressing his disapproval of this course pursued by the Senators; but a resolution which was offered, to the effect that only that portion of this conmunication giving the names of the persons entitled to the vacant seats be entered on the

journal, failed to pass, as being disrespectful

to the Governor.

Senators to Congress were elected on the 29th of July. Benjamin H. Hill received a majority of votes for the long term, and H. V. M. Miller for the short term.

The Legislature continued in session until the 6th of October, and passed one hundred and fifty-five acts, a large portion of which were for the incorporation of railroad, manufacturing, and other companies, and for the revival and encouragement of the material interests of the Commonwealth. Provision was also made for

the organization of the courts and the regular exercise of the civil authority of the State. Among the other measures of general interest was an act for the relief of debtors, and an act to provide for setting apart homesteads, and securing them to the sole use and benefit of families. The former was intended to supply, in some degree, the place of the constitutional provision on the same subject which was rendered null by the act of Congress of the 25th of June. It provides that, in all suits brought to recover debts due on contracts made prior to June 1, 1865, it shall be lawful "to give in evidence, before the jury empanelled to try the same, the consideration of the debt or contract which may be the subject of the suit, the amount and value of the property owned by the debtor at the time the debt was contracted, or the contract entered into, to show upon the faith of what property credit was given to him, and what tender or tenders of payment he made to the creditors at any time, and that the non-payment of the debt or debts was owing to the refusal of the creditor to receive the money tendered, or offered to be tendered; the destruction or loss of the property upon the faith of which the credit was given, and the amount of loss by the creditor, and how and in what manner the property was destroyed or lost, and by whose default. And, in all such cases, the juries who try the same shall have power to reduce the amount of the debt or debts sued for, according to the equities of each case, and render such verdicts as to them shall appear just and equitable."

In suits against trustees, executors, etc., it is made lawful for the defendant to put in evidence the loss, destruction, or depreciation in value of the property in his hands.

Before the Legislature adjourned, the Committee of the House on the State of the Republic made a report, which was almost unanimously adopted. This report gives a brief review of the experience of the State under the process of reconstruction, implying, rather than expressing, the belief that the people had been treated with unnecessary severity, since they were disposed to return to their allegiance in good faith, and to do every thing in their power to secure the rights of all. The closing paragraphs of this document are expressed in the following terms:

with the views, opinions, and purposes of those As the representatives of the State, well acquainted portion of our people entertain the purpose or desire whom we represent, we assert that the idea that any of remanding the negro to a condition of slavery is too preposterous and false to need refutation.

We assert that it is the purpose of the white people of the State to faithfully protect the negro race in the enjoyment of all the rights, privileges, and immunities guaranteed to them by the Constitution and laws of the United States and the constitution and laws of this State.

the State, to impair the constitutional right of the We assert that there is no purpose, in any part of people peaceably to assemble for the consideration of any matter, or to obstruct any portion of the peo

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