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election, and all persons entitled to register shall take and subscribe to the following oath or affirmation: "I, do solemnly swear (or affirm), in the presence of Almighty God, that I am twenty-one years old, that I have resided in this State six months, and in County one month; that I will faithfully support and obey the Constitution and laws of the United States, and of the State of Mississippi, and will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I am not disfranchised in any of the provisions of the acts known as the reconstruction acts of the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congress, and that I admit the political and civil equality of all men, so help me God." Provided, That if Congress shall, at any time, remove the disabilities of any person disfranchised in the said reconstruction acts of the said Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congress (and the Legislature of this State shall concur therein), then so much of this oath, and so much only, as quired of such person, so pardoned, to entitle him to be registered.
refers to the said reconstruction acts shall not be re
Section 4. No person shall be eligible to any office of profit or trust, or to any office in the militia of this State, who is not a qualified elector.
Section 5. No person shall be eligible to any office of profit or trust, civil or military, in this State, who, as a member of the Legislature, voted for the call of the convention that passed the ordinance of secession, or who, as a delegate to any convention, voted for or signed any ordinance of secession, or who gave voluntary aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility to the United States, or who accepted or attempted to exercise the functions of any office, civil or military, under any authority or pretended government, authority, power, or constitution, within the United States, hostile or inimical thereto, except all persons who aided reconstruction by voting for this convention, or who have continuously advocated the assembling of this convention, and shall continuously and in good faith advocate the acts of the same, but the Legislature may remove such disability: Provided, That nothing in this section except voting for or sign ing the ordinance of secession shall be so construed as to exclude from office the private soldier of the late so-called Confederate States Army.
Section 6. In time of war, insurrection, or rebellion, the right to vote, at such place and in such manner as shall be prescribed by law, shall be enjoyed by all persons otherwise entitled thereto, who may be in the actual military or naval service of the United
States or this State: Provided, Said votes be made to apply in the county or precinct wherein they reside.
Among the efforts of the conservatives to effect a compromise on the subject of political equality, was the submission of a measure, by a minority of the committee on suffrage, guaranteeing certain rights and privileges to colored citizens. The preamble contains a protest against so much of the majority report as confers the right of suffrage upon a class of persons recently emancipated from slavery, uneducated, and wholly disqualified for the exercise of that great privilege," and begs leave to submit as one of the articles of the constitution, a "guarantee of rights and privileges." The first section of this proposed article provided that colored residents of the State should "receive, in common with white citizens, the protection and care of the State, and the benefit of merciful laws adapted to the improvement of their condition, and the advancement of
rity with regard to the acquisition and transmission of property, and concedes to them all the benefits of the laws and the courts in the protection of personand property. The remainder of the article relates to their protéetion as laborers, and provides for the establishment of separate schools for colored children. This plan met with little favor at the hands of the majority of the convention.
Provision was made for the organization of a system of common schools, to be supported by certain specified funds. A public school
was to be maintained in each school district st least four months in the year, and the Legis lature was required to provide, as soon as pos sible, for the establishment of an agricultural college, and to appropriate for the support ef that institution the 210,000 acres of land granted to the State, for that purpose, by the act of Congress of July 2, 1865.
Among the general provisions of the constit tion was one prohibiting lotteries, and the sl of lottery tickets. The ordinance of secession was declared null and void; and the State of Mississippi prohibited from paying any "det or obligation contracted in aid of the rebellio, nor shall this State ever, in any manner, claim from the United States, or make any allowance or compensation for slaves emancipated or erated in any way whatever since the 9th day of January, 1861." Persons elected to office. on entering upon their duties, are required to swear, in addition to the usual asseverations in such cases, that they have never voted for r signed any ordinance of secession, or ever, members of any State Legislature, voted the call of any convention that passed such ordinance.
The labors of the convention were closel by the passage of an ordinance providing for an immediate submission of the constitution to the people for their ratification. The ele tion for the purpose was to take place on th 22d of June, and at the same time the vote qualified electors was to be taken for all State officers, including members of the Legislature and Representatives to Congress. It was als enacted that the first Legislature under the new constitution should meet at Jackson the second Monday after the ratification of that instrument should be promulgated, and that the first term of all civil officers should co mence on the second Monday after the officia announcement of their election, and contin until the end of the first full term succeeding such election. A committee of five was des ignated to appoint commissioners of election. and adjust all outstanding accounts of the c vention. Further power was given to this committee by the following:
SEO. 12. When this convention adjourns it shall be subject to the call of the committee of five speed by this convention: Provided, That, should the stitution be ratified, this convention shall thereater should not be ratified, then the convention may be be but in case the constitu
their interests." The second section guarantees to them full privileges and complete secu
reconvened by said committee.
SEC. 13. Said committee of five shall have authority to employ a clerk and to enforce the collection of the taxes levied by the several ordinances of this convention, and to perform any and all duties appertain ing to the same.
The following ordinance was also passed by the convention before its adjournment :
Whereas, In a republic the foundation of a govern ment is the right of suffrage, and therefore this right should be guarded from all undue influence, and secured in such manner that the free and untrammelled voice of the people should be heard: Therefore, be it ordained, by the people of Mississippi in convention assembledSEC. 1. No contract shall be valid which in any manner abridges or affects the right of franchise, of either party, and any person or persons demanding such conditions shall, on conviction thereof, be disfranchised for the term of five years from and after the ratification of the constitution of this State, and shall pay a fine of five hundred dollars, to be collected by any court having jurisdiction.
SEC. 2. Whoever shall dismiss from employment any person or persons for having exercised the right of franchise, or for attempting to exercise such right, shall, on conviction, be fined not less than two hundred and fifty dollars, and be disfranchised for the term of five years.
A large portion of the citizens of Mississippi were strongly opposed to the congressional plan of reconstruction, and began early to organize a vigorous opposition to the work of the Constitutional Convention. The Executive Committee of the Constitutional Union party, which was formed in the preceding year, called a convention to meet at Jackson on the 15th of February. At this convention a series of resolutions was adopted, assuming the name and principles of the Democratic party, and declaring that the conservatives of the State would "do battle under that banner until the Union is restored to a constitutional basis, and all the States are recognized as equals in the great confederation of American sovereignties." The purposes of the party, as thus revived, were set forth in the following:
Resolved, That the military bills of Congress, for the reconstruction of the so-called rebel States, are unconstitutional and oppressive in all their particulars, and should be resisted by the unanimous voice of the people at the ballot-box. Resolved, That, for the purpose of accomplishing this result, the people of Mississippi are hereby recommended to organize a Central Democratic Association, with similar associations in every county, and in all the principal cities and towns in the State, and, to this end, this convention will appoint a central committee of nine, resident at the capital of the State, with power to complete this party organization, in all respects. Resolved, That the nefarious design of the Republican party in Congress, to place the white men of the Southern States under the governmental control of their late slaves, and degrade the Caucasian race as the inferiors of the African negro, is a crime against the civilization of the age, which needs only to be mentioned to be scorned by all intelligent minds, and we therefore call upon the people of Mississippi to vindicate alike the superiority of their race over the negro, and their political power to maintain constitutional liberty.
On the 22d of January, the Democratic State Central Committee had a meeting to concert measures for the thorough organiza
tion of the party. It was determined to form
In the mean time a convention of Republicans met at Jackson, on the 5th and 6th of February, and nominated candidates for the State offices, to be voted for at the election for taking the vote on the ratification of the constitution. Their candidate for Governor was B. B. Eggleston, the presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention. The following was the Republican platform:
Resolved, That we hereby renew the pledge of our adherence to the principles and organization of the Republican party, recognizing as the main principles of that party the sentiments of "equal rights to all," and "unwavering fidelity to the Union," that, come what may, in weal or woe, in victory or defeat, we will stand by these principles, and never lower the standard of Republicanism.
Resolved, That we cannot withhold the expression of our implicit confidence in General Ulysses S. Grant, who was true to the country in war, and will
not desert it in peace.
Resolved, That each and every member of this State Convention, hereby pledges all his influence to ratify the new constitution and to support the Republican nominees.
The Democrats met in convention on the 13th of February, in accordance with the call of their Central Committee, and occupied two days in the consideration of their "State and Federal relations." The results of their deliberations were embodied in a voluminous series of resolutions, reaffirming their confidence in the principles and policy of the national Democratic party, and denouncing in unmeasured terms the course of their political opponents in all public matters over which they had exercised any control. They declared it to be their deliberate opinion that "the defeat of Radicalism, in the approaching political struggle, constitutes the only hope which the American people can reasonably cherish for the restoration of constitutional liberty to ourselves and the coming generations of our posterity; and that it is the duty of all men, of all political parties, and of every section of the the Constitution Republic, who venerate framed by their wise and heroic fathers, and who desire the restoration of constitutional
liberty, heartily to unite their energies in the coming political struggle against the Radical party, and never cease their labors until that odious and dangerous faction shall have been hurled from power."
Some of the "enormities of the Radical party were summed up in the following resolution:
against them no feeling of hostility, and desir ing that they may elevate themselves in the scale of humanity by mental culture to any extent of which they are capable; but their ignorance and incapacity to exercise the privilege of suffrage, and to discharge the responsi bilities of making laws and holding office, forbid that we consent to invest them with these privi leges, or to consent to any legislation designed to establish the political or social equality of the white and black races-much less the subordination of the former to the latter, as advo cated by the Radical party."
The supremacy of the Constitution of the United States and the laws made in pursuance thereof was admitted, and it was declared that "whatever may be the opinion of any member of this convention as to the abstract right of secession, no one has the purpose or desire in the future to resort to any measures calculated to weaken the authority or destroy the unity of the Government; but, on the contrary, we avow ourselves friends of a constitutional Union of the States, and will, in good faith aid in securing the future glory and prosperity of our common country, and cultivating a spiri of fraternity and peace amongst the people of all sections."
Resolved, That the history of the Radical party proves that they are unprincipled enemies of liberty, in this: That they have corruptly and repeatedly violated the Federal Constitution; that they hold ten sovereign States of the Union under an actual military despotism, taxing the people thereof enormously, and refusing them the right of representation in the councils of the nation; that they are, even now, engaged in the work of Africanizing the Southern States, establishing negro rule and negro supremacy, and elevating the black race, politically, over the free-born white citizens of the South, and, in violation of the Constitution, giving to negroes the elective franchise; that they are about usurping all the powers of government, and grasping, through the legislative department, supreme executive and judicial power, thus making themselves daring innovators and remorseless tyrants, and destroying the last remnant of that liberty once enjoyed by the nation; that their corrupt and despotic principles, if successful, will inevitably ruin and degrade the Republic; that, although the Radical party consists of a mere minority of the people, as clearly shown by the recent elections, they nevertheless continue to defy the voice of the nation, and arrogantly assume to wield the legislative It was further laid down as a part of the polit power which they hold under the mere forms of the ical creed of the party that the State had never Constitution, for the consummation of their wicked party schemes, the oppression of the masses, and the been out of the Union, and, therefore, as Coestablishment of a huge military despotism in the land, gress had no power over the right of suffrage under which constitutional liberty will be utterly the provisions of the State constitution had the annihilated; that they have already destroyed the only binding authority on that subject; a prosperity of the nation by paralyzing commerce and "white males of the age of twenty-one and crippling industrial pursuits, whereby multiplied thousands of white men, women, and children, not upward and citizens of the United States were only in the South, but also in the North and West, alone qualified electors and office-holders" in have been thrown out of employment and reduced to the State. With regard to the Constitutional actual want and suffering; that they are expending in Convention, it wasthe South millions upon millions of dollars in pampering and feeding idle and degraded negroes, as instruments for securing political power, while the white sufferers of the North and West, and the downtrodden masses of the South, remain without consideration, sympathy, or aid; that they are every day increasing our enormous national debt, by extravagance and corruption, thus involving the national finances in irretrievable ruin; that their whole recent party career is marked by injustice and usurpation, and tends toward the permanent destruction of free government on this continent, and to render fruitless the toils and sacrifices of those pure men of the olden time who founded for us a government well designed, when properly administered, to secure to us forever the blessings of liberty, prosperity, and national glory. Such being some of the ruinous practices of the Radical party, we hold them before the august tribunal of the people for judgment at the ballot-box, not doubting but that they will soon perish as a party, under the withering and terrible frowns of an outraged nation of freemen.
Resolved, That the pretended Constitutional Con vention, now in session at the capital of Mississippi and which assumes to frame a constitution and firm of civil government for the people of said State, is assembled without constitutional authority, elected by the qualified electors of the State, nor by virtue of the laws of the land; that the acts of Cor gress, under which military elections were held,: the purpose of polling negro votes, to elect the mem bers of said convention, were not within the delegated powers of Congress, and confer no authority on said convention; that the constituents of said convention are chiefly negroes, destitute alike of the moral and intellectual qualifications required of electors in a civilized communities, combined with a small mine ity of white adventurers from other States; that the majority of said convention faithfully reflect th peculiarities of their constituents; that their projected
acts demonstrate them to be the enemies of the pe
ple of Mississippi, who have constituted the from its territorial' infancy to the present time; that under the fraudulent pretence of framing a constite tion and civil government for the State, they are wickedly conspiring to disfranchise and degrade the people, to rob them, alike, of their liberty and the property, to destroy their social and political status, and finally place them under the yoke of segme government.
After having expressed its bitter hostility to the reconstruction measures, and its deter nation to defeat the ratification of the new con
stitution, the convention finished its platform with a resolve that a committee of five be appointed to prepare an address to the people of the State, explanatory of the principles and views which govern this organization."
An address to the Democratic Associations of
the State of Mississippi, signed by John D. Freeman, chairman of the Executive Committee, was published on the 27th of April, reiterating in the strongest language the sentiments which animated the party in this political campaign, and calling upon the people for renewed activity and "eternal vigilance" to "defeat the Radical constitution now, and succeed in the presidential contest," ," and so "preserve the present constitution and laws." A plan of organization, including a constitution and set of bylaws, was framed, and submitted to the county associations for their acceptance. It was declared that the Republican organization was "secret and oath-bound," and under its "baleful influence the negroes might be made to sanction a 66 fearful crime against themselves and the superior race on which they depend for all that is valuable in life." "It is the mission of the Democratic party as now organized," the address continues, "to save them from political suicide and the Government from absolute overthrow.
"Then let the lovers of liberty assemble, organize, and prepare for the great work before them. There is a registered majority of seventeen thousand votes to overcome in this State -it was that majority that elected the present military convention by negro votes-they will soon put forth a constitution for the disfranchisement, impoverishment, and degradation of the white race-let the foreign invader and the domestic foe feel the power of those they seek to destroy."
Another convention was called by the State Central Committee, to meet, on the 12th of May, at the capital. The convention met accordingly, and determined to nominate candidates to be voted for at the approaching election, but declared that such candidates should be "nominated with a view to secure the defeat of the constitution, and with reference to the preservation of the honor of Mississippi and the maintenance of the constitutional freedom of her people, disregarding any tests of qualification whatever not prescribed in the present constitution of Mississippi and of the United States." The Democracy of the several counties were called upon to disregard local questions and personal considerations, and unite their energies for the election of men of "unquestioned fidelity to the social and political institutions of the State." With regard to the presidential election, the following was adopt
That inasmuch as there is strong ground for belief that the aforesaid constitution will be rejected by the people of this State, and that they will not there fore be permitted to participate in the presidential election, it is deemed inexpedient to nominate candidates for presidential electors at the present time,
VOL. VII.-33 A
but, if necessity should hereafter arise for such action, the power is hereby vested in the State Executive Committee to make the said nominations, or to reassemble this convention for that purpose, as shall be deemed expedient.
The zeal of the Democrats was not wholly expended in State conventions and addresses to the associations, but mass meetings were held in all parts of the state, and the ablest men of the party were put into the field to new constitution. Meantime the canvass was rouse up the people to hostility against the carried on by the Republicans in the constitutional convention, and through an organization, said to be more or less secret in its character, known as the "Loyal League." In an address to the freedmen of Mississippi, published in June, the Democratic Executive Committee denounced this Loyal League, and warned the freedmen to have nothing to do with it. It was organized, they declared, by James Lynch, a colored preacher from Philadelphia, "as an oath-bound, secret, religious society," and all the members were sworn to vote the Republican ticket. This address to the freedmen closes with this paragraph:
Freedmen of Mississippi, look before you leap. There is an awful gulf now yawning before you. The vote you may cast in this election may be decisive of your fate. If you abandon the people with whom you have ever lived and who now invite you to their protection for the future, you cast your destiny with an enemy between whom and us there is eternal war. The system of plunder and robbery they have inaugurated by their convention proceedings can never be indorsed by any people. The entire products of the earth and the industry of the people cannot support the burdens they impose. The State and all its interests will wither in their hands and become as sterile and denuded as the sands of Sahara.
An order was issued from the military headquarters at Vicksburg, on the 19th of May, giving full directions with regard to effecting a registration of the qualified electors of the State, and laying down the rules to be observed in the conduct of the election, which was to be held on the 22d and following days of June. Precautions were taken to prevent fraud and preserve the peace, by the following sections of the order:
7. None but registered voters will be permitted to challenge the right of others to vote, and no challenge except as to residence and identity will be entertained. While it is the imperative duty of the commissioners to do their utmost to insure the purity of the election, care must be taken to prevent the abuse of the right sire to impede the election. to challenge by evil-disposed persons, who may de
8. The sheriff of each county is made responsible for the preservation of good order, and the perfect freedom of the ballot at the various election precincts in the county. To this end he will appoint a deputy State-for each precinct in the county, who will be --who shall be duly qualified under the laws of the required to be present at the place of voting during the whole time the election is being held. The said deputies will promptly and fully obey every demand made upon their official services, in preserving the peace and good order, by the commissioners of election. Sheriffs, in making their appointments, will exercise great care to select men whom they know
to be in every way able to serve. Deputies, appointed in accordance with the foregoing, will be paid five dollars for the day's service, on accounts approved by the registrar, out of the reconstruction fund.
9. As an additional measure for securing the purity of the election, each registrar, judge, and clerk, is hereby clothed with all the functions of a deputysheriff, or constable, and is empowered to make arrests, and authorized to perform all duties appertaining to such officers under the laws of the State, during
the days of election.
10. At every precinct on the days of election, all public bar-rooms, saloons, or other places at which intoxicating or malt liquor is sold at retail, will be closed. Should any infraction in this respect come to the knowledge of the commissioners of election, or the deputy sheriff in attendance, they will immediately cause the arrest of the offending party, or parties, and the closing of his, or their, place of business. All parties so arrested will be placed under bonds, of not less than one hundred dollars, to appear for trial when required by proper authority, or, in case of failure to give the required bond, will be held in arrest to await the action of the general commanding. 11. The carrying of fire-arms or other deadly weapons at or in the vicinity of the polls is positively prohibited under penalty of forfeiture of the weapons, and of being punished as prescribed by the statutes of the State forbidding the exhibition of deadly weapons in a threatening manner. All arms seized under this order will be turned in to the nearest post commander, for shipment to the chief ordinance officer
of the district.
12. Should violence or fraud be perpetrated at the election in any precinct, the general commanding will exercise to the fullest extent the powers vested in him, for the purpose of allowing to all registered electors an opportunity to vote freely and fearlessly, and any provision in any contract tending to abridge the right to vote is hereby declared utterly null and
13. No registrar, judge, or clerk, will be permitted to become a candidate for any office in this State at this election, nor will they be permitted to exercise the functions of any office, or authority, connected with the election, other than that received from these headquarters.
14. The evident intention of the law under which this election is held being to obtain an expression of the will of the qualified electors, it is ordered, that all officers of the army and agents of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, shall entirely abstain from public speaking, electioneering, or endeavoring to influence voters; but this order is not intended to restrict either class of the above-named officials their duty of instructing freedmen as to their rights as electors.
On the 4th of June, General Irwin McDowell, who had been appointed to the command of the Fourth Military District on the 28th of December, 1867, assumed the duties of that position. The first order issued by the new commander, after that by which he assumed command, was the following, making an important change in the executive administration of the State:
General Orders, No. 23. HEADQUARTERS, FOURTH MILITARY DISTRICT, DEPARTMENT OF MISSISSIPPI AND ARKANSAS, VICKSBURG, Miss., June 15, 1868. 1. Major-General Adelbert Ames is appointed, temporarily, Provisional Governor of the State of Mississippi, vice Benjamin G. Humphreys, hereby removed. 2. Captain Jasper Meyers is appointed, temporarily, Attorney-General of the State of Mississippi, vice C. E. Hooker, hereby removed.
3. The officers appointed, as above, will repair without delay to Jackson, and enter 'immediately
upon the duties of their respective offices. They will receive no other compensation than their pay and allowances as officers of the army. By command of Brevet Maj.-Gen. MCDOWELL. JOHN TYLER, First Lieutenant, 43d Infantry, Brevet-Major, U. S. A., A. A. A. G. NATHANIEL WOLFE, Second Lieut. 34th Infantry, A. A. Á. G. On the 16th General Ames notified Governor
Humphreys of his appointment to succeed the latter, and wished to be informed when it would be convenient to receive him "for the purpose of making such arrangements as may be necessary to carry into effect the order." Mr. Humphreys delayed his reply until the 22d, and then informed General Ames that he regarded the attempt to remove him from the office of Governor as a "usurpation of the civil government of Mississippi-unwarranted by and in violation of the Constitution of the United States." He also stated that he had telegraphed to the President of the United States, and was authorized to say that he dis approved the order making the removal. "I must therefore," says Mr. Humphreys, "in view of my duty to the constitutional rights c of the President of the United States, refuse to the people of Mississippi, and this disapproval vacate the office of Governor, or surrender the archives and public property of the State, unti tion of the State of Mississippi is appointed a legally qualified successor under the constit On the next day General Biddle, commander of the post of Jackson, demanded the surren der of the Governor's office. This being e fused, a squadron of soldiers marched in a took possession. Mr. Humphreys fitted another room in the building for an office, a still claimed to be Governor of the State, and his family was allowed for some days to occ a part of the Mansion House. Meantime t election took place and resulted adversely t new constitution. After this event, the fol lowing correspondence took place in relation to the possession of the Governor's mansion It contains its own explanation:
ly to the
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, STATE OF MISSISSIPP JACKSON, MISS., July 6, 1868. Hon. B. G. Humphreys :
Governor, I notified you that you might contin SIR: Soon after my arrival here as Provisional to occupy the Governor's mansion. Since then I have had cause to change my mind in the matter. You will oblige me by vacating the mansion at as early a day as convenient.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, A. AMES, Provisional Governor. EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, STATE OF MISSISSIPPI JACKSON, MISS., July 7, 1868. Gen. A. Ames:
SIR: Your letter of the 6th inst., informing me that I would oblige you by vacating the "mansion" early a day as convenient, was duly received thread the post-office of this city.
The Governor's mansion was built by the payers of Mississippi only for the use and occupat of their constitutional Governors and their fames They elected me to that office in 1865, and my family, have been in peaceable, quiet, and leg possession ever since. At the recent election, qualified voters of the State, both white and colored,