War of the Rebellion: Serial 100 Page 0428 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

complexion, and encouragement and support to them in the reorganization of State governments under constitutions securing suffrage to all citizens of proper age and unconvicted of crime. This you know has long been my opinion. It is confirmed by observation more and more. This way is recommeded by its simplicity, facility, and above all, justice. It will be hereafter counted equally a crime and a folly if the colored loyalists of the rebel States are left to the control of restored rebels, not likelyin that cae to be either wise o just until taught both wisdom and justive by new calamities. The application of this principle to Louisiana is made somewhat difficult by the organization which has already taken place; but happily the constitution authorizes the legislature to extend the right of suffrage, and it is not to be doubted that on a suggestion from the national authorities that its extension to colored citizens on equal terms with white citizens is believed to be essential to the future tranquillity of the country as well as just in itself, the legislature will promptly act in the desired direction. What reaches me of the condition of things in Louisiana impresses me strongly with the belief that this extension will be of the greatest benefit to the whole population. The same result can be secured in Arkansas by an amendment of the State constitution or what would be better, I think, by a new convention, the members of which should be elected by the loyal citizens, without distinction of color. To all the other States the general principle may be easily applied.

I most respectfully but most earnestly commend these matters to your attention. God gives you a great place and a great opportunity. May He guide you in the use of them. I noticed this morning your proclamation closing the ports, and was glad to see it. I presume the law of forfeiture was wel considered, and also the effecton against foreign vessels.

Most respectfully and truly, yours,


BALTIMORE, April 12, 1865.


MY DEAR SIR: The American of this morning contains your speech of last evening. Seeing that you say something on the subject of my letter to you yesterday-reconstruction-and refer, though without naming me, to the suggestions I made in relation to the amnesty proclamation, when you brought it before the heads of Departments, I will add some observations to what I have already written.

I recollect the suggestions you mention; my impression is that they were in writing. There was another which you do not mention, and which I think was not in writing. It is distinct in my memory, though doubtless forgotten by you. It was an objection to the restriction of participation in reorganization to persons having the qualifications of voters under the laws in force just before rebellion. Ever since questions of reconstruction have been talked about it has been my opinion that colored loyalists ought to be allowed to participate in it, and it was because of this opinion that I was anxious to have this question left open. I did not, however, say much about the restriction. I was the only one who expressed a wish for its omission, and did not desire to seem pertinacious. You will remember, doubtless, that the first order ever issued for enrollment, with a view to reconstruction, went to General Shepley, and directed the enrollment of all loyal citizens, and