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GEORGIA. The Constitutional Convention of Georgia, which had adjourned on the 23d of December, 1867, came together again on the 8th of January. On the following day, General Meade, who had recently been appointed to the command of the Third Military District, appeared in the hall, and made a brief address to the delegates. As a soldier, he said, his duty was plain, and he should not depart from the instructions contained in the reconstruction acts of Congress. He hoped the convention would be just and moderate in its deliberations; and that it would frame a constitution which everybody could indorse. He did not consider that any act of the convention was binding until it had been ratified by the people, but, under the anomalous state of affairs then existing, he might regard it as his duty to give force to such measures as should appear to him to be for the good of the people. The pay difficulty, of which an account was given in the CYCLOPÆDIA for 1867, was not entirely settled by the removal of the obnoxious officials. Captain Rockwell, whom the commanding general had appointed Treasurer of the State, found an empty treasury, and was unable to respond to the requisition of the convention. General Meade, however, offered to use his best endeavors to raise funds to pay the expenses of that body, and from time to time during the session he was able to place at the disposal of the disbursing agent sums sufficient for that purpose.

A large portion of several days was occupied in discussing a proposition to call upon the national authorities to give the convention power to organize a provisional government for the State. This subject was first introduced by George W. Ashburn, who strongly urged the adoption of such a measure. Mr. Ashburn's resolution asked that the convention be clothed with the same powers that were delegated to the district commander by the act of July 19, 1867. The following was offered as a substitute, and adopted by a considerable majority:

Whereas, The reconstruction acts recognize the existence of a government within the limits of Georgia, subject to the military commander of the district and the paramount authority of Congress, under

which certain officials hold office;

And whereas, The time for which the said officials were elected, as set forth in the laws allowed to operate within said limits, has expired, and said officials hold only by reason of a failure to provide their successors;

And whereas, A great many of said officials are hostile to and are insidiously using their influence against the restoration of Georgia to the Union, and by so doing are not only seriously retarding the work of reconstruction, but also materially affecting the prosperity of the State: therefore,

Resolved, That the convention 'do hereby request the Legislative Department of the Government of the United States to authorize this body to declare vacant the Chief Executive office of the State, and to fill the same, as well as to provide for the removal, through the Chief Executive officer of the State thus selected, of all persons who are hostile to reconstruction, and the filling of such vacancies by said Executive. VOL. VIII.-20 A

Resolved, That the convention, in justice to the friends of reconstruction under the reconstruction acts, do hereby request the department aforesaid to relieve all such of existing disability, that they may be eligible to fill the vacancies thus created.

Resolved, That the convention do further request the modification of the test-oath so as to admit of all persons, who have aided or abetted the late war vided such persons heartily reject the past, and are against the United States, holding office therein, proearnestly attached to and determined to labor for the reunion of the State on the basis of the reconstruction acts.

The subject of a modification of the testoath had been already brought to the attention of Congress by the following telegram, which had been submitted to the House of Representatives and referred to the Committee on Reconstruction:

ATLANTA, GA., January 12, 1868. GENERAL U. S. GRANT: Unless the pending bill the offices in a State under their command, rescinds in Congress, directing military commanders to fill all the test-oath and provides for selection from qualified voters, I am informed its execution in this district will be entirely impracticable.

GEORGE G. MEADE, Major-General.

A bill having been filed in the Supreme Court of the United States by ex-Governor Jenkins, which was intended to test the authority of the civil officers appointed in Georgia by General Meade, several attempts were made in the convention, by ordinance or resolution, directly to condemn these proceedings. No resolution of the kind, however, was adopted, but an ordinance was introduced, and referred to the Judiciary Committee, declaring all appointments to office in that State made by the military commander, to be legal, and all acts performed by officers so appointed to be valid, and not to be called in question in any court of the State on account of the manner in which such appointment had been made. Among other matters of less moment which occupied the attention of the convention, entirely outside of the main object for which it was called, was the removal of the capital of the State from Milledgeville to Atlanta, and the expulsion of one of the negro members. When the proposition to remove the capital was first introduced, the city of Atlanta promptly offered to furnish, for the space of ten years, if necessary, suitable buildings for the General Assembly and all the State officials, and to give the City Fair grounds, containing twenty-five acres, as a site for the erection of permanent capitol buildings. The negro member expelled was Aaron Alpeoria Bradley, who had made himself quite conspicuous in the convention by the advocacy of extreme measures, and a somewhat turbulent opposition to moderate counsels. The specific charges brought against him were, that his name had been stricken from the roll of attorneys in Massachusetts for contempt of court and malpractice, and that he had been convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment in the State of New York for the crime of seduction.

The convention continued in session until

the 11th of March, when the completed constitution was ratified by a very large majority of the delegates.

The general declaration of principles with which the instrument is introduced contains the following sections of special interest:

SECTION 2. All persons born, or naturalized, in the United States, and resident in this State, are hereby declared citizens of this State, and no law shall be made or enforced which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, or of this State, or deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws. And it shall be the duty of the General Assembly, by appropriate legislation, to protect every person in the due enjoyment of the rights, privileges, and immunities guar

anteed in this section.

SEO. 4. There shall be within the State of Georgia neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, save as a punishment for crime after legal conviction thereof.

SEC. 33. The State of Georgia shall ever remaain member of the American Union; the people thereof are a part of the American nation; every citizen thereof owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and Government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of this State, in contravention or subversion thereof, shall ever have any binding force. It is also declared that no lotteries shall be authorized in the State, and that there shall be no imprisonment for debt. The following military order has reference to this last mentioned declaration :

General Orders, No. 27.


1. The Constitutional Convention of the State of

Georgia, now in session in the city of Atlanta, adopted on the 19th day of February, 1868, the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas, The convention has determined that

there shall be no imprisonment for debt in the State;


Whereas, Creditors are oppressing debtors by the use of what is known as "bail process" and writ of ca. sa. therefore,

Resolved, That, in the opinion of this convention, said proceedings are contrary to the wishes of the people of this State.

Resolved, That the general commanding this district is hereby requested to protect, by order, the people of this State from the evil above set forth, and

that such order remain in force, until such time as the people have expressed their will in regard to the


2. Therefore, by virtue of the plenary powers vested by the reconstruction acts of Congress in the

commanding general of the Third Military District, and for the purpose of giving effect to the wishes of the people of Georgia, as expressed by their delegates in convention

It is ordered: That imprisonment for debt is prohibited in the State of Georgia, and hereafter no bail process in civil cases or writ of ca. sa. shall be issued out of any of the courts of this State.

3. Every person now in prison in this State, under any such process or writ, will be immediately discharged from prison.

4. This order to remain in force until the people of Georgia shall express their will in the manner provided by the acts of Congress in regard to the constitution to be submitted to them by the said Constitutional Convention, or until further orders from these headquarters.

By order of Major-General MEADE.

R. C. DRUM, Assistant Adjutant-General.

When the provisions of the constitution relating to the elective franchise were under discussion, an attempt was made to introduce an educational qualification, but it met with little countenance. Earnest opposition was made by Mr. Waddell to the indiscriminate enfranchisement of the blacks, on the ground that they were wholly unfit to exercise the privilege. He even went so far as to propose the following as one of the sections of the franchise article:

White men only shall be eligible to any office of honor, trust, profit, or emolument, whether municipal, judicial, or political, in this State; and white men only shall serve as jurors in the courts.

tions of voters was in these words:
The section finally adopted on the qualifica-

SECTION 2. Every male person, born in the United States, and every male person who has been naturalized, or who has legally declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, twenty-one years old or upward, who shall have resided in this State six months next preceding the election, and shall have resided thirty days in the county in which he offers to vote, and shall have paid all taxes which may have been required of him, and which he may for the year next preceding the election (except as have had an opportunity of paying, agreeably to law, hereinafter provided), shall be deemed an elector; and every male citizen of the United States, of the age aforesaid (except as hereinafter provided), who may be a resident of the State at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall be deemed an elector, as aforesaid: Provided, That no soldier, sailor, or marine in the military or naval service of the United States, shall acquire the rights of an elector by reason of being stationed on duty in this State; fuse to take the following oath: "I do swear that I and no person shall vote who, if challenged, shall re have not given, or received, nor do I expect to give, or receive, any money, treat, or other thing of value, ed to be affected, at this election, nor have I given or by which my vote, or any vote is affected, or expectpromised any reward, or made any threat, by which to prevent any person from voting at this election."

Criminals, idiots, and duellists are excepted from this provision; and the sale of intoxicating liquors on election-days is prohibited. The General Assembly is empowered to provide for the registration of voters, and is required to "enact laws giving adequate protection to electors before, during, and subsequent to elections."

The general State election, after the year 1868, is to be on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November, and the General Assembly is to meet on the second Wednesday The Senators hold office four years, and the in January, unless otherwise provided by law. Representatives two years. The Governor is to be chosen for a term of four years, and the powers and duties of the various officers of Government are much the same as those delegated to persons in similar positions in the other States. The Secretary of State, Comptroller-General, Treasurer, and Surveyor-General are to be elected by the General Assembly;

The judicial powers of the State are vested in a Supreme Court, Superior Courts, Courts of Ordinary, justices of the peace, commis

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sioned notaries public, and such other courts as may be established by law. The Supreme Court consists of three judges, and has jurisdiction only for the trial and correction of errors on appeal from lower courts. The judges are to be appointed, those of the Supreme Court for twelve years and those of the Superior Courts for eight years.

The constitution requires the General Assembly at its first session to "provide a thorough system of general education, to be forever free to all children of the State, the expense of which shall be provided for by taxation or otherwise." The sources of reve

nue to be exclusively devoted to the support of common schools are, a poll-tax not to exceed one dollar annually on each poll, any educational fund belonging to the State, not appropriated to the university, a special tax on shows and exhibitions, and on the sale of spirituous and malt liquors, and the proceeds of commutation for militia service. All ablebodied male persons between the ages of 18 and 45 are to be enrolled as militia, unless exempt by law or conscientiously opposed to bearing arms; in the latter case they are required to pay an equivalent in money, to be devoted to the school-fund. If these provisions for the support of schools at any time prove insufficient, the General Assembly has power to levy a general tax on property to make up the deficiency.

The financial embarrassments which weighed upon the people, in consequence of the great losses of property during the recent war, claimed the attention of the convention, and the whole matter was referred, after some debate, to a special committee on the subject of relief. The report of this committee, after reciting the causes of the existing distress, viz., the destruction of $400,000,000 of taxable property, the loss of four years' labor, depreciation in the value of real estate, repudiation of the indebtedness of the State to her citizens, the low price of cotton, and the entire derangement of labor, recommended measures of relief, which, after debate and amendment, took the following form:

We, the People of Georgia in Convention assembled, do solemnly ordain, That, from and after the passage of this ordinance, no court in this State shall have jurisdiction to hear or determine any suit, or render judgment in any case against any resident of this State, upon any contract or agreement made or entered into, or upon any contract or agreement made in renewal of a debt existing prior to the first day of June, 1865, nor shall any court or ministerial officer of this State have jurisdiction or authority to enforce any such judgment, execution, or decree, rendered or issued upon any contract or agreement or renewal thereof, as aforesaid.

The substance of this ordinance was also referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, with instructions to embody it in that portion of the constitution which was intrusted to them. This was accordingly done, and the courts of the State deprived of power to entertain suits against any resident of the

State founded on contracts existing on the 15th of June, 1865. Several exceptions are, however, made to the operation of this clause, and the General Assembly is empowered in all cases to give the courts jurisdiction:

Provided, that no court or officers shall have, nor shall the General Assembly give, jurisdiction or authority to try, or give judgment on, or enforce, any debt, the consideration of which was a slave or slaves, or the hire thereof.

The following also forms a part of the article on the judiciary:

All contracts made and not executed during the late rebellion, with the intention and for the purpose of aiding and encouraging said rebellion, or where it was the purpose and intention of any one of the parties to such contract to aid or encourage such rebellion, and that fact was known to the other party, whether said contract was made by any person or corporation with the State or Confederate States, or two or more natural persons, are hereby declared to by a corporation with a natural person, or between have been, and to be illegal'; and all bonds, deeds, promissory notes, bills, or other evidences of debt, made or executed by the parties to such contract, or either of them, in connection with such illegal contract, or as the consideration therefor, or in furtherance thereof, are hereby declared null and void, and shall be so held in all courts in this State when attempts shall be made to enforce any such contract, or give validity to any such obligation or evidence of debt. And in all cases where the defendant, or any one interested in the event of the suit, will make a plea, supported by his or her affidavit, that he or she has no reason to believe that the obligation or evidence of indebtedness upon which the suit is predicated, or some part thereof, has been given or used shall be upon the plaintiff to satisfy the court and for the illegal purpose aforesaid, the burden of proof the jury that the bond, deed, note, bill, or other evidence of indebtedness upon which said suit is brought, is, or are not, nor is any part thereof, foundillegal contract, and has not been used in aid of the ed upon, or in any way connected with, any such rebellion; and the date of such bond, deed, note, bill, or other evidence of indebtedness, shall not be evi

dence that it has, or has not, since its date, been issued, transferred, or used in aid of the rebellion.

It is furthermore provided in the constitution that every head of a family, or guardian or trustee of a family of minor children, shall be entitled to a homestead of the value of $2,000, exempt from execution except for taxes, money borrowed and expended in the improvement of the homestead, or for the purchase money of the same. All property of a wife, in her possession at the time of her marriage or afterward acquired by her, is to remain her separate property, and not be liable for the debts of her husband.

On the last day of the session of the Constitutional Convention, after the members had ratified the instrument as a whole which had been framed by their various committees and already adopted in parts, a resolution was passed, transmitting to General Meade the provisions intended to afford relief to the people, and requesting him to require the courts to enforce them "until the State is fully restored to its regular relations to the United States, and the State organization is in full operation." This was accordingly done by a general order (No.

37) dated March 12th, which recited the resolution of the convention and the provisions of the constitution alluded to, and continued:

2. Therefore, by virtue of the plenary powers vested by the reconstruction acts of Congress in the commanding general of the Third Military District, and for the purpose of giving temporary effect to the wishes of the people of Georgia, as expressed by their

delegates in convention:

It is ordered, That the foregoing sections of said constitution shall, from this date, be deemed to have taken effect and to be in full force in the State of Georgia, and shall continue in full force and validity, until further orders from these headquarters.

3. The courts and officers of the Provisional Government of said State, and all the municipal and other officers in the same, are hereby required to enforce and carry out the above provisions for the relief of the people of the State of Georgia.

One of the judges, having refused to comply with this order, was removed by the following edict from headquarters:

Special Order, No. 83.-Extract.


1. John T. Clarke, Judge of the Superior Court, Pataula Circuit, State of Georgia, having published in the Early County News an order adjourning the Superior Court of Early County, from the second Monday in April until the second Monday in June next, assigning, as cause of such adjournment, the exercise, on the part of the major-general commanding, of il

legal, unconstitutional, oppressive, and dangerous orders and measures, the said John T. Clarke, Judge as aforesaid, is hereby removed from office.

By order of Major-General MEADE.
R. C. DRUM, Assistant Adjutant-General.
Official: C. D. EMORY, A. D. C.

Almost the last act of the convention, before voting on the ratification of the constitution, was the adoption of the following resolutions, submitted by G. W. Ashburn, as a substitute for the report of a committee of seven which had been appointed to procure the names of persons desiring to be relieved from political disabilities:

Whereas, The strength of republican government is best promoted, and its principles maintained, by the broadest platform of enfranchisement; and

Whereas, A portion of Georgia's citizens are under political disabilities which debar them from exercising the highest privilege of American citizenshipthat of the elective franchise: Be it, therefore,

Resolved, That this convention do request the Congress of the United States to enact or pass such laws as will remove the political disabilities from all the citizens of Georgia. And be it further

Resolved, That a copy of this preamble and resolution be furnished to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The convention finally adjourned on the 11th of March, having been in actual session sixtyseven days.

On the 30th of March, Mr. George W. Ashburn, who had taken a very prominent part in the late convention, was assassinated in the city of Columbus. No efforts being made on the part of the civil authorities to bring the perpetrators of this crime to trial, General Meade speedily removed the mayor and aldermen of the city, together with the marshal and

his deputy, and appointed others in their places, putting Captain Mills, of the 16th Infantry, at the head of the administration as mayor. With the aid of the city government thus constituted he proceeded to arrest several citizens on suspicion, and to institute a trial by military commission. Finding it very difficult, however, to obtain any clear evidence against the persons arrested, they were released on bail, and a government detective was obtained and further arrests made. The commission was proceeding with the trial, but apparently attaining no satisfactory results, when the State acceded to the conditions of the act of Congress restoring her to her relations to the Union in July. General Meade, therefore, directed the military tribunal to proceed no further, and the prisoners were remanded to custody, to await the action of the civil authorities. They were afterward released on giving bail for their future appearance, in case they were called on to appear, and this seems to have been the end of the affair.

The Constitutional Convention had passed an ordinance before its adjournment, providing for an election, to take place on the 20th of April and following days, for the ratification of the constitution by the people and for the choice of Governor, members of the General Assembly, and Representatives to Congress. It is declared that the qualifications of voters for these offices shall be the same as those required by act of Congress of those voting on the ratification of the constitution; and General Meade was requested to give the necessary orders to carry these provisions into effect, and to cause due returns of the results of the election to be made. The ordinance further provides that the officers chosen at this election shall enter upon their duties "when authorized so to do by acts of Congress or by the order of the general commanding, and shall continue in office till the regular succession provided for after the year 1868." The following oath is prescribed for any person whose right to vote is challenged at the poll:

You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you have been duly registered agreeably to the acts of Congress; that you have not prevented or endeavored to prevent any person from voting at this election; that, if the constitution upon which the vote is now being taken is ratified, you will truly and faithfully sup port it, so help you God.

General Meade's election order relating to the vote on the ratification of the constitution, was issued on the 14th of March; and on the day following a second order was published, applying the same regulations to the election of the officers provided to be chosen by the or dinance of the convention. After reciting the action of the convention, and the provisions of the acts of Congress relating to the holding of an election, he appoints the 20th of April and three succeeding days for the purpose, and lays down the regulations to be observed in the following terms:

5. It shall be the duty of the Boards of Registration in Georgia, in accordance with said acts, commencing fourteen days prior to the election herein ordered, and giving reasonable public notice of the time and place thereof, to revise, for a period of five days, the registration lists, and, upon being satisfied that any person not entitled thereto has been registered, to strike the name of such person from the list, and such person shall not be allowed to vote. And such Boards shall also, during the same period, add to such registry the names of all persons who, at that time, possess the qualifications required by said acts, who have not been already registered.

In deciding who are to be stricken from or added to the registration lists, the Boards will be guided by the acts of Congress relating to reconstruction, and their attention is especially called to the supplementary act which became a law July 19, 1867.

6. Said election shall be held in each county in the State under the superintendence of the Boards of Registration, as provided by law, and polls will be opened, after due and sufficient notice, at as many points in each county, not exceeding three, as, in the opinion of said Boards, may be required for the convenience of voters. And in any city, or other place, where there is a large number of voters, it is hereby made the duty of said Boards to open as many polls as may be necessary to enable the voters to cast their votes without unreasonable delay.

7. Any person, duly registered in the State as a voter, may vote in any county in the State where he offers to vote, when he has resided therein for ten days next preceding the election. When he offers to vote in the county where he was registered, and his name appears on the list of registered voters, he shall not be subject to question or challenge, except for the purpose of identification, or as to residence. And any person so registered, who may have removed from the county in which he was registered, shall be permitted to vote in any county in the State to which he has removed, when he has resided therein for ten days next preceding the election, upon presentation of his certificate of registration, or upon making affidavit before a member of the Board of Registration, or a judge or manager of the election, that he is registered as a voter, naming the county in which he is so registered; that he has resided in the county where he offers to vote for ten days next preceding the election, and that he has not will be supplied by the Boards of Registration, and the name of the voter making oath must be indorsed on his ballot, and all such affidavits must be forwarded with the returns of the election.

voted at this election. Blanks for such affidavits

8. The polls shall be opened at each voting-place, during the days of the election, at 7 o'clock A. M., and close at 6 o'clock P. M., and shall be kept open, between those hours, without intermission or adjourn


9. All public bar-rooms, saloons, and other places for the sale of liquor at retail, at the several county seats, and at other polling-places, shall be closed from 6 o'clock of the evening preceding the election until 6 o'clock of the morning after the last day of the election. Any person violating this order shall be subject to fine or imprisonment. Sheriffs and their deputies and municipal officers will be held responsible for the strict enforcement of this prohibition, by the arrest of all persons who may transgress the same.

10. The sheriff of each county is hereby required to be present at the county seat, and to appoint depnties to be present at each polling-place in his county, during the whole time that the polls are kept open, and until the election is completed, and is made responsible that no interference with the judges of election, or other interruption of good order, shall Occur And any sheriff, or deputy sheriff, or other civil officer, failing to perform with energy and good faith the duty required of him by this order, will,

upon report made by the judges of the election, be arrested and dealt with by military authority, and punished by fine or imprisonment.

11. The commanding officer of the District of Georgia will issue, through the superintendent of registration for this State, such detailed instructions as may be necessary to the conduct of said election in conformity with the act of Congress.

12. The returns required by law to be made of the results of said election, to the commanding general of this military district, will be rendered, by the persons appointed to superintend the same, through the commanding officer of the District of Georgia, and in accordance with the detailed instructions already referred to.

13. No person who is a candidate for office at said election shall act as a registrar, judge, inspector, manager, clerk, or in any official capacity connected with conducting the election.

14. Violence, or threats of violence, or any oppressive or fraudulent means employed to prevent every person from exercising the right of suffrage, is positively prohibited, and every person guilty of using the same shall, on conviction thereof before a military commission, be punished by fine or otherwise.

15. No contract or agreement with laborers made for the purpose of controlling their votes, or of restraining them from voting, will be permitted to be enforced against them in this district. By order of Major-General MEADE. R. C. DRUM, Assistant Adjutant-General. The following order was issued on the 16th of March:

General Orders, No. 42.

All civil officers in this military district are hereby required to obey all the orders issued from these headquarters relating to the performance of their offiorder shall, on conviction thereof before a military cial duties; and any officer refusing to obey any such commission, be punished by fine or imprisonment, or both. By order of Major-General MEADE. R. C. DRUM, Assistant Adjutant-General.

The great body of the native white citizens of Georgia were opposed to the action of the convention, and determined, so far as their own political influence extended, to prevent the adoption of the constitution. They had met in convention at Macon, in December, 1867, and organized under the name of the Consercommittee to draw up an address to the people vative party of Georgia, and had appointed a of the State, setting forth the principles of the organization. This address, which was signed by the committee-Herschel V. Johnson, Absalom H. Chappell, Benjamin H. Hill, Warren Akin, and T. L. Guerry-and published in the early part of January, took strong ground against the whole course of the national Government in its treatment of the Southern States since the close of the civil war. The reconstruction acts were characterized as cruel and unjust, and intended to lead to the supremacy in the South of the negro race under the guidance and control of adventurers from the Northern States.

"In making this earnest protest against being placed, by force, under negro dominion," say the committee, "we disavow all feeling of resentment toward that unfortunate race. As we are destined to live together, we desire harmony and friendship between them and ourselves; as they are made

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