the State bankrupt. The convention had long passed a constitutional provision, for which they, as a body, deserve great credit, abolishing slavery. But constitutional provisions require laws to carry them into effect. No system has been enacted by which these freedman shall be controlled, educated, or maintained. This burden, therefore, remains upon the United States and is borne by them now. The poor of the city and of the State are supported by the United States. The free schools for colored children are supported by the United States. In default of a supreme court questions of large importance are constantly and from necessity adjudicated by the commanding general. The militia is unorganized,and at last, after four months waiting for the action of the State, it is being done by military authority. The taxes of the city are collected by military orders. In fine, every disagreeable and expensive duty appropriate to civil government is allowed to rest upon the broad shoulders of the United States, and the State, and the State government takes on steps toward the discharge of these its primary duties, the duties to which earnest men thoroughly devoted to their work would first direct themselves. It is not the receipt of salaries, but the performance of duties that make government desirable to the governed. The military authorities are desirous to be relieved from these burdensome charges. They anxiously desire that Congress may so act that the State government of Louisiana may be a reality. They are ready to co-operate with and sustain Your Excellency and the Legislature in every good work and to turn over from time to time such portions now covered by them as you are able and willing to take charge of, but they are not willing that while these duties are being discharged by them that the military control should be interfered with.
I beg Your Excellency to understand me distinctly, so that there may be no pretense for collision hereafter. You will, of course, admit that the city of New Orleans is not now governed in the forms prescribed by law. You, as civil Governor of Louisiana, can only secure to the city the form of government prescribed by law. If you, as civil Governor, have commissioned any other or different class of offices than as prescribed by law, your commissions are void, and would be so held by any court. But under military law the change has been made, and it can only be sustained by military law. It is of no consequence through what channel the commission comes or by what agent, the acting mayor and other temporary officers of the city are military appointees, and can only then [thus] be sustained. Whenever the ordinary of government as provided by law can safely be restored to the city of New Orleans then these temporary officers will cease. Until that time they cannot. Your Excellency, as the agent of the military government, will, I trust, recommend such parties as you chanced fit for these offices, or if you desire and ask for it the control of these appointments will be given you. Your Excellency will remember that I had the honor to call upon you for engineers to superintend the levees. These great works, on which they very life of your State depends, have been wholly neglected by the State authorities, and the burden of these also is cast upon the United States. Your Excellency has the reputation of being a good lawyer, and I very respectfully submit to you that the propositions contained in this communication are undeniable. If Your Excellency can satisfy me that these temporary and acting offices are officers of the State of Louisiana I shall refrain from any interference with them, as I have from interfering with those who are known to be such; otherwise, the control of them must rest with the power that created them. It will be Your
47 R R-VOL XLI, PT IV