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o. the people of the State of an opportunity of bringing to trial the Chief Magistrate of the State charged with high crimes and misdemeanors, an . criminal neglect and violation of his official
Resolved, That the members of the Senate, havin formed and expressed their opinion that the .# accused is entirely innocent, are disqualified from now sitting in judgment on the trial of the impeachment, and that this House can proceed no further in the premises, and are powerless to resent this flagrant outrage upon right, justice, and decency, and can only refer the matter to the people of the state for their consideration.
The same day Governor Kellogg sent a message to the House, replying to the several charges contained in the fourteen articles of impeachment, and concluding as follows:
In these fourteen frivolous accusations are concentrated all charges of wrong-doing which a majority of the House of Representatives, actuated by the strongest feelings of partisan enmity, have been able to concoct against me after fifty-nine days' session, innumerable investigations, and the utmost scrutiny
of the records of the State, even by going behind the barrier of the Wheeler adjustment. Only one other accusation has been made against me, namely, that in a time of revolution, of great public exigency, I sanctioned a temporary diversion of the State funds, which could not and did not result in the loss of a dollar to the State, and took this course solely in the public interest, and to protect the property of the city. If the Senate had not already acquitted me of high crimes and misdemeanors, the accusations passed at this late hour would have formed in themselves a complete assertion of my official rectitude. Added to this, I refer to the notoriously and often-repeated }. made by Democratic members of the egislature, and others authorized to speak for them, that if I would secure the passage by the Senate of the House election bill, and certain other laws to further the partisan ends of my accusers, no effort would be made to impeach me. I submit that these facts of themselves fully justify me in asserting that my accusers did not and do not believe me to have been guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors against the State.
The delegates of the Democratic party of
the State to the National Convention at St. Louis were appointed at the convention held in New Orleans, on the 5th of January. (For the platform and other proceedings, see ANNUAL CycloPAEDIA, 1875.) The State Central Committee, which was chosen at the same time, had a meeting on the 10th of February, and issued an address to the people. The following extract illustrates the spirit with which the canvass was opened: The time for decisive action has arrived. The issues are few in number, and simple in their character. The course is plain and straightforward. There must be an honest government in Louisiana– a State the fairest among all her sisters—or Louisiana, burdened with debt, exhausted by taxation. and suffering from the supremacy of ignorance over intelligence, will become a colony for convicts and the home of depravity. The people, for whom this committee speaks, are resolved, in this centennial of their liberties, to test the relative strength of intelligence and ignorance. They will use no violence,
NEW or LeANs.
but all the means in their power will be employed to defeat the further rule of the vicious and ignorant in this State. Happily, the people are united in advocating these demands, and this committee, as their organ, promises an earnest canvass to secure their rights. What remains to be done, is the perfection .#. Democratic Conservative organization in all Polo of the State where action has not been taken.
The following resolution was also adopted by the committee:
Whereas, It is apparent that the radical party in the State of Louisiana, despairing of success by fair means, have resolved to pursue the same policy by which in the past they have been enabled, against the wishes and voice of a majority of the people, to secure possession of the Fo of the State, and by the aid of Federal bayonets to retain the room thus fraudulently and violently obtained; and
Whereas, It is evident that they have determined at every cost to K. the Returning Board, which has heretofore done so much to render futile our victories at the ballot-box, and to destroy the liberties of the people: therefore, be it Resolved, That the Central Executive Committee of the Democratic Conservative party of the State of Louisiana earnestly urges upon the Democratic and Conservative members of the Legislature to exhaust every means in their power to prevent such an outrage upon the o: of the State as the passage of an election bill containing any provision esta lishing a Returning Board with unlimited power, or with any power which will enable them to defeat !. will of the people as expressed at the ballotox.
The Republican Convention for the nomination of delegates to the National Convention at Cincinnati was held at New Orleans on the 30th and 31st of May. W. P. Kellogg, P. B. S. Pinchback, S. B. Packard, and W. G. Brown, were the delegates at large. The platform, after alluding to the achievements of the Republican party, and pledging coöperation in support of its principles, submitted the following measures of national policy:
1. The nomination of a candidate for the prestdency whose personal character will afford a guarantee of an honest, able, economical, and effective administration of the national Government upon Republican principles. 2. A system of Federal finance which will insure the collection of the revenues, punish all official or other frauds upon the Treasury, and bring about a steady, speedy, and permanent return to the payment of specie into and out of the Treasury in all Federal transactions. 3. A system of revenue, taxation, and assessment which, while it shall provide ample means to meet the public expenditures and obligations, shall assume the protection of certain national interests against the destructive competition of foreign productions, especially i. that the capital and labor employed in the production of the national staples of sugar and rice should be included among any articles entitled to such protection. 4. The just apportionment of Federal appropriations for *...". of internal improvement. Taking into account the immense advances received by our more fortunate sister States during the period when Democratic domination denied to the Southern States their just share of the common fund, such a measure of equalization would justify national aid to a Southwestern Pacific Railroad and branches, to the protection by levees of the capital and iabor employed in the culture of cotton, sugar, and rice and to the effectual navigation of the Mississippi River, its principal tributaries, and its outlet.
Resolutions were also adopted declaring that the delegates to the National Convention should be left untrammeled in their action, exressing approval of the Administration of resident Grant, and declaring the Hon. O. P. Morton was “entitled to the warm gratitude of the Republicans of all the Southern States, and especially of Louisiana.” Opposition was declared to the Hawaiian treaty, and the following was also among the resolutions adopted: Resolved, That the assassination of many hundreds of prominent Union men in the South on account of their political principles, the massacre of thousands of inoffensive colored citizens, the relegation of nearly all the Southern States to the control of the disloyal elements whose treason brought about the war, and the election of a national Congress largely composed of ex-leaders of the Confederate army, indicate grave national dangers, which demand the
enactment of such additional laws, and the enforcement of such a policy, as shall secure to every citizen of the United States, in fact as well as in name, the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, irrespective of his political views, and irrespective of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
The Republican Convention for the nomination of candidates for State offices began at New Orleans on Tuesday, June 27th. There were two prominent factions, and a permanent organization was not effected until the following Saturday, when P. B. S. Pinchback was chosen president. On the same day a platform was adopted, consisting of the following statements, and a reaffirmation of the principles declared at the previous convention: 1. The Republican party of Louisiana, in convention assembled, reaffirm the tenets and principles of the national Republican party as declared from time to time, and especially as enunciated in the platform adopted at .. National Convention held at Cincinnati, June 14, 1876. We particularly commend and indorse the declaration that the United States of America is a nation and not a league, and that upon the nation, devolves, the duty of protecting the citizens of the United States in all their rights, at home and abroad; thus maintaining full the Constitution of the United States and the amendments thereto. 2. We hail the nomination of Governor Rutherford B. Hayes with pleasure and pride, believing that in his elevation to the presidency the country will secure an Administration which will maintain the . of all classes of citizens of the republic, and which will administer the government economically and execute the laws faithfully. We are not less ratified at the nomination for Vice-President of illiam A. Wheeler, whose reputation as a Republican and character as a statesman are national. In our ticket we see a guarantee of success. We indorse and ratify it. 3. The Republican party of Louisiana are in full accord with the national Republican party upon all financial questions as declared in the Cincinnati platform; and we believe that during the Administration of President Hayes a resumption of specie payment can be effected through a return to general commercial and productive prosperity throughout the Union. Two more days were occupied in making nominations and agreeing upon a State Central Committee. The ticket for State officers finally accepted was: For Governor, S. B. Packard; for Lieutenant-Governor, C. C. Antoine; for Secretary of State, Emile Honoré; for Auditor, George B. Johnson; for Attorney-General, W. H. Hunt; for Superintendent of Education, W. G. Brown. The candidates for presidential electors were: J. H. Burch, William P. Kellogg, at large; and L. A. Sheldon, Peter Joseph, Morris Marks, A. B. Levissée, O. H. Brewster, and Oscar Joffrion, from the districts. P. B. S. Pinchback was made chairman of the State Central Committee. The Democratic nominating convention was held at Baton Rouge, beginning on the 24th of July, and continuing four days. The report of the Committee on Credentials was not made until the third day, and then organization was promptly effected, and the following platform adopted:
We, the representatives of the Democratic Conservative party of the State of Louisiana, in convention assembled, do hereby declare administrative and political reform to be the paramount issue in the coming general election, and we earnestly appeal to our fellow-citizens, of every former political association of white and colored, to zealously cooperate : us in our pronounced effort to effect such reorial. We arraign the radical party of Louisiana for marked and frequent violations of the letter and spirit of the Constitution; for the assumption of illicit powers for the benefit of party, and to the great injury and almost total ruin of the State; for formenting dissensions between the races and deliberately exciting strife and turmoil, thereby cruelly sacrificing the lives of colored and white citizens, with the intent of procuring unwarranted and unconstitutional interference in our State affairs. We denounce the usurpative and bad government which Louisiana has suffered for the last four years, a usurpation under which officers elected by the people have been displaced, the government arbitrarily overthrown by ederal power, the Legislature invaded and dispersed by bayonets in time of profound peace; and such violent and unlawful interference adds but another to the long list of crimes for which the Republican party should be held to account in November next. We hereby proclaim that it is our desire and fixed purpose under any and every provocation to have a fair and peaceable election; but we demand and will insist that there shall be no violence or intimidation exercised toward such of our colored fellow-citizens as may wish to cooperate with us for the redemption of the State from misrule. We fully recognize the binding effect of the three recent articles of amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and accept the same as a final settlement of the controversies that engendered civil war, and we pledge ourselves to protect every citizen in the exercise of the rights acquired and guaranteed by said amendments, whatever be his race, color, or previous condition. We hereby pledge our party to the satisfaction of all the legal obligations issued by the State of Louisiana: to the most strenuous efforts in the direction of reform and an economical administration of the government, and especially to the abolition of all unnecessary public officers; to the reduction of the fees and salaries of offices: to the standard of a fair remuneration and the consequent reduction of taxation to the lowest possible limit commensurate with the necessary expenses of the government and the preservation of the public faith, and to the curtailment of the dangerously-large patronage of the chief Executive of the State. We declare ourselves in favor of the passage of the Texas Pacific Railroad bill, now ... before Congress, and recommend our members of Congress to advocate its passage at an early date. We advocate the fostering of the public schools for the benefit of all the educatable children of the State, and that equal advantage be given to all children, colored as well as white. We cordially approve of and indorse the platform of the national Democratic party, recently assembled in convention at St. Louis, and feel inspired with the hope of a better government in the future; but the great question of reform is brought before the people of the whole country by a great national party, and we pledge ourselves to use our utmost efforts to secure the success of those great exponents of national reform, Samuel J. Tilden and Thomas A. Hendricks.
On the fourth day the nominations were made, the State ticket being as follows: For Governor, Francis T. Nicholls, of Assumption; for Lieutenant-Governor, Louis A. Wiltz, of
Orleans; for Attorney-General, H. N. Ogden, of Orleans; for Secretary of State, William A. Strong, of Winn; for Auditor, Allen Jumel, of Iberville; for Superintendent of Public Education, Robert M. Lusher, of Orleans. The candidates for electors were: John McEnery and R. C. Wickliffe, at large, and Louis St. Martin, Felix P. Poché, Alcibiade De Blanc, W. A. Seay, R. G. Cobb, and K. A. Cross, from the districts. The political canvass, though attended with considerable excitement, was generally free from disorder and exhibitions of violence. There had been some political trouble early in the year in the parishes of East Baton Rouge and East Feliciana, but it was of a purely local character, pertaining to alleged misconduct in parish offices. In East Feliciana a mass-meeting was held in January, in which both white and colored citizens took part, and resolutions were adopted declaring that great good had been done in “ridding the parish of malicious, ignorant, and corrupt officers,” and pledging support to all “fair-minded, competent officers in the maintenance of peace, law, and good order.” The “malicious, ignorant, and corrupt officers” alluded to appear to have been driven out of the parish by organizations called “regulators.” In East Baton Rouge, in March, the sheriff, the parish judge, and tax-collector, were called upon to resign, and a petition was addressed to Governor Kellogg asking him to accept their resignations. The proceedings were taken in a public meeting, in which colored citizens took part. Governor Kellogg wrote to the District Attorney, under date of March 28th, calling his attention to combinations of lawless persons to displace the civil authorities of the parish, and requesting him to institute proceedings against those concerned in the “recent unlawful disturbances in the city of Baton Rouge.” The District Attorney replied that he knew of no combination of lawless persons; that the action of citizens had been taken in public meeting, and was characterized by calmness and deprecation of violence; and that the officials had been induced to resign peaceably and without the violation of any law. Early in May two men were shot by a masked assassin at Coushatta, and on the 17th of June there was a riot at Port Hudson, in which shots were fired, but these occurrences appear to have had no political significance. There was a slight outbreak of race antagonism at Monroe, and through the surrounding country, about the last of August. There was a gathering of armed negroes and threats of burning the town, but finally the negroes were induced to disperse, and there was no serious disorder. Generally throughout the political canvass the Conservatives pursued the policy of endeavoring to prevent any compromise of their claims through violence and disorder, and of securing the coöperation, so far as possible, of colored citizens. Negro voters were in many places enrolled in the same clubs with Conservative whites, for the purpose, it was alleged, of protecting them from intimidation by colored Republicans. In other cases they formed Conservative clubs of their own. Colored speakers took part in the canvass on the Democratic side, and the antagonism to the existing State government seemed to extend among all classes. An address to the colored citizens of the State from one of their own number, named Joseph A. Craig, dated September 14th, urged them, in the interest of peace and good government, and for the sake of their own welfare, to vote for the Democratic candidates. In reply to a letter from a colored Conservative club of New Orleans, Mr. Nicholls, Democratic candidate for Governor, under date of September 20th, said: You may rest fully and thoroughly assured that your faith and belief are well founded when you say you are satisfied that the ticket nominated at Baton Rouge “gives to the colored people throughout the State the assurance that if elected their rights will be amply protected and a new era enacted in the State administration.” My remarks at Baton Rouge, made to the convention which nominated me, were not only the expression of my individual convictions, both of right and policy, but the enunciation of the plainest principles of official duty which will have to guide me in the event of my election. The laws should be general in their operation, and any law attempted to be passed directed against a class or race of the community would meet my most determined opposition. No such attempt, however will be made; for, independently of the constitutional barriers which would stand in the way, the Democratic and Conservative sentiment of the whole State is united against such action. To disregard and go back upon the pledges which I have given on this subject would be to disgrace me before the country; I shall certainly not place myself in such a position. The national canvass was made entirely subordinate to that of the State, and occupied little attention. Before the election in November, there appeared scarcely any indication of political disturbance. There were some arrests in the parishes of Orleans and West Feliciana for alleged attempts at intimidation of colored voters and for false registration, but no outbreaks of violence preceded, attended, or followed them. The election itself passed off with a peace and quiet altogether unusual in the State. It was some days before there was any definite knowledge as to the result of the election, the process of making the returns being very slow; but it very soon appeared that a majority of the votes actually cast were for the Democratic candidates. Nevertheless, on the 11th of November, Governor Kellogg sent a very confident dispatch to the North claiming that there was no doubt of a Republican victory. He declared that the parishes of East and West Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, Morehouse, and Ouachita, had been “overrun and intimidated by armed bands of the White League before and on the day of the election.” He said that these parishes were strongly Re
publican, and that the vote claimed there by the Democrats was “procured by intimidation, violence, and assassination, and the proof of this is overwhelming and perfectly conclusive.” The vote, he thought, would be close, “counting the vote in the five bulldozed parishes as the Democrats claim it; not counting these parishes, while the Republicans will be deprived of a legitimate majority of nearly 4,000, in no contingency can the Democrats have carried the State.” Many letters were made public, written by colored men in different localities, denying charges of violence and intimidation, while other statements were made alleging that many were prevented from voting as they wished. There was from the first apprehension on both sides that there would not be a fair count of the votes, and a declaration of the result in accordance with the actual will of the people. President Grant on the 10th of November had General Augur instructed to be vigilant with the forces at his command “to preserve peace and good order, and to see that the proper and legal Board of Canvassers are unmolested in the performance of their duties. Should there be any grounds of suspicion of fraudulent count on either side,” he added, “it should be reported and denounced at once. No man worthy of the office of President should be willing to hold it if counted in or placed there by fraud. Either party can afford to be disappointed in the result. The country cannot afford to have the result tainted by the suspicion of illegal or false returns.” He also requested several gentlemen prominently connected with the Republican party to proceed to New Orleans to witness the canvass of the vote by the Returning Board. These gentlemen were John Sherman, of Ohio; E. W. Stoughton, of New York; J. H. Van Alen, of New York; Eugene Hale, of Maine; J. A. Garfield, of Ohio; Cortlandt Parker, of New Jersey; Wm. D. Kelley, of Pennsylvania; Sidney Clark, of Kansas; and J. C. Wilson, of Kansas. Several others were associated with them in New Orleans, where they arrived on the 12th, among whom were Stanley Matthews, of Ohio; John A. Kasson, of Iowa; William Cumback, of Indiana; Edward F. Noyes, of Ohio; Lew Wallace, of Indiana, and several more. At the request of the chairman of the National Democratic Committee, several gentlemen also went out to New Orleans in the interest of the Democratic party. They arrived there on the 13th, and included John M. Palmer, Lyman Trumbull, and William R. Morrison, of Illinois; Samuel J. Randall, A. G. Curtin, and William Bigler, of Pennsylvania; J. E. McDonald and George W. Julian, of Indiana; Henry Watterson and J.W. Stevenson, of Kentucky : Oswald Ottendorfer, of New York; J. B. Stallo, of Ohio; Lewis F. Bogy and J. B. Brodhead, of Missouri; John Lee Carroll, of Maryland, and others. This committee of Democrats, on the 14th of November, addressed a formal request to the visiting Republicans, that “in view of the unhappy controversies which have heretofore arisen from the action of the Returning Board of the State where its action could not in any count change the result of a presidential election, and in view of the desire of all good men that effect should be given to the will of the majority as lawfully expressed, they would meet and confer with them [the Democrats] personally or through committees, as may be deemed most wise, in order that such influence as we possess may be exerted in behalf of such a canvass of the votes actually cast as by its fairness and impartiality shall command the respect and acquiescence of the American people of all parties.”
A reply of considerable length was made on the 16th, in which the Republicans heartily concurred in the “earnest desire for a perfectly honest and just declaration of the results of the recent election; ” but stated that they knew of no reason to doubt that such a declaration would be made, and did not see the “propriety or utility of a conference.” They were there as private citizens, with no power to modify the laws of the State or control its officers, and were unwilling to interfere. They quoted the law of the State as to the powers of the Returning Board, and argued that it was not desirable to interfere with the judicial functions of that body, or to reduce their action to a mere ckerical count of the votes as cast. To this reply the Democrats made a rejoinder, expressing their regret that their efforts at a conference were not met in the spirit in which they were made, disclaiming any desire to interfere with the legal performance of the duties of the Returning Board, and declaring that their only wish was that the joint influence of the visiting committees might be used to secure a perfectly fair count.
The law provided that the returning officers “for all elections in the State” should consist of five persons, “to be elected by the Senate from all political parties.” Their powers were defined in the following section of the act of 1874:
SECTIox 3. That in such canvass and compilation the returning officers shall observe the following order: They shall compile first the statements from all polls or voting-places at which there shall have been a fair, free, and peaceable registration and election. Whenever, from any poll or voting-place, there shall be received the statement of any Supervisor of Registration or Commissioner of Election, in form as required by section 26 of this act, on affidavit of three or more citizens, of any riot, tumult, acts of violence, intimidation, armed disturbance, bribery, or corrupt influences which prevented or tended to ". a fair, free, and peaceable vote of all qualified electors entitled to vote at such poll or voting-place, such returning officers shall not canvass, count, or compile the statements of votes from such poli of voting-place until the statements from all other Fol. or voting-places shall have been eanvassed and compiled. T. returning officers shall then Roo. to investigate the statements of riot, tumult, acts of violence, intimidation, armed
disturbance, bribery; or corrupt influences at any such poll or voting-place; and if, from the evidence of such statement, they shall be convinced that such riot, tumult, acts of violence, intimidation, armed disturbance, bribery, or corrupt influences did not materially interfere with the purity and freedom of the election at such poll or voting-place, or did not }. a sufficient number of qualified voters thereat rom, registering or voting to materially change the result of the election, then, and not otherwise, said returning officers shall canvass and compile the vote of such polling-place with those previously canvassed and compiled; but, if the said returning officers shall not be fully satisfied thereof, it shall be their duty to examine further testimony in regard thereto, and to this end they shall have power to send for persons and papers. If after such examination the said returning officers shall be convinced that said riot, tumult, acts of violence, intimidation, armed disturbance, briber , or corrupt influences did materially interfere with the purity and freedom of the election at such poll or voting-place, or did prevent a sufficient number of the qualified electors thereat from registering and voting to materially change the result of the election, then the said returning officers shall not canvass or compile the statement of the votes of such poll or voting-place, but shall exclude it from their returns: Provided, That any person interested in said election, by reason of being a candidate for office, shall be allowed a hearing before said returning officers upon making application within the time allowed for the forwarding of the returns of said election.
Section 26, referred to, is as follows:
Sec. 26. That in any parish, precinct, ward, city, or town, in which during the time of registration or revision of registration, or on any day of election, there shall be any riot, tumult, acts of violence, intimidation and disturbance, bribery or corrupt influences at any place within said parish, or at or near any poll or voting-place, or o of registration, or revision of registration, which riot, tumult, acts of violence, intimidation and disturbance, bribery or corrupt influences, shall prevent; or tend to prevent, a fair, free, peaceable, and full vote of ali the qualified electors of said parish, precinct, ward, city, or town, it shall be the duty of the Commissioners of Election, if such riot, tumult, acts of violence, intimidation and disturbance, bribery, or corrupt influences occur on the day of election, or of the supervision of registration of the parish, if they occur during the time of registration or revision of registration, to make in duplicate, and under oath, a clear and full statement of oil the facts relat. ing thereto, and of the effect produced by such riot, tumult, acts of violence, intimidation and disturbance, bribery or corrupt influences in F.; a fair, free, and peaceable and full registration or election, and of the number of qualified electors deterred by such riots, tumult, acts of violence, intimidation and disturbance, bribery or corrupt influences from registering or voting, which statement shall also be corroborated under oath by three respectable citizens, qualified electors of the parish. When such statement is made ". a Commissioner of Election or a Supervisor of Registration, he shall forward it in duplicate to the Supervisor of Registration of the parish (if in the city of New Orleans to the Secretary of State), one copy of which, if made to the Supervisor of Registration, shall be forwarded by him to the returning officers provided for by section 2 of this act, when he makes the returns of election in his parish. His copy of said statement shall be so annexed to his returns of elections by paste, wax, or some adhesive substance, that the same can be kept together, and the other copy the Supervisor of Registration shall deliver to the Clerk of the Court of his parish for the use of the District Attorney.