War of the Rebellion: Serial 100 Page 0429 Chapter LIX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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I suppose that since the opinion of Attorney-General Bates, no one connected with yor administartion has questioned the citizenship of free colored men more than that of free white men. The rstriction in the amnesty proclamation operated as a revocation of the order to General Shepley; buta s I understood you not to be wedded to any particular plan of reconstruction, I hoped that reflection and observation would satisfy you that the restriction should not be adherred to. I fully sympathized with your desire for the restoration of the Union by the change of rebel slave States into Union free States, and was willing, if I could not get exactly the plan I thought best, to take the plan you thought best and trust to the future for modifications. I welcomed, therefore, with joy the prospect of good results from co-operation of General Banks with the free State men of Louisiana. I think General Banks' error, and I have said so to hi, was in not acting through, instead of over, the free State committee. This committee had already shown itself disposed to a degree of liberality toward the colored people quite remarkable at that time. They had admitted delegates from the creole colored population into their free State convention and evinced a readiness to admit intelligent colored citizens of that class to the right of suffrage. I have no doubt that great and satisfactory progress would have been made in the same direction had not the work been taken out of their hands. An impression was created that the advocates of general suffrage were to be treated with disfavor by the representatives of the Government, and discouragement and discontent were the natural consequences. For one I was glad of all the good that was done, and naturally wanted more. So when I came to Washington last winter I saw General Banks, and being more deeply than ever persuaded of the necessity of universal suffrage, begged him to write himself, and to induce the Senators and Representatives-elect from Louisiana to write to members of the legislature and urge them to exercise their power under the constitution by passing an act exending suffrage to colored citizens. I knew that many of our best men, in and out of Congress, had become convinced of the impolicy and injustice of allowing representatives to States which had been in rebellion and were not yet prepared to concede political rights to all loyal citizens. They felt that if such representation should be allowed, and such States reinstated in all their former rights as loyal members of the Union, the colored loyalists of the States restored would be practically abandoned to the disposition of the white population with every probability against them, and theyfelt that this was equally unjust and dangerous. I shared these sentiments and was, therefore, extremely desirous that General Banks should take the action I urged upon him. I thought, indeed, that he concurred mainlyin my views, and would, to some extent at least, act upon them. I must have been mistaken, for I never heard that he did anything in that direction.

I know you attach much importance to the admission of Louisiana, or rather to her right to representation in Congress, as a loyal State of the Union. If I am not misinformed, there is nothing in the way except the indisposition of her legislature to give satisfactory proof of loyalty by a sufficient guarantee of safety and justice to colored citizens, through, the extension to loyal colored men of the right of suffrage. Why not, then, as almost every loyal man concurs with you as to the desirableness of that recognition, take the shortest road to it, by causing every proper representation to be made to the Louisiana Legislature of the importance of such exentsion? I most earnestly wish you could have read the New Orleans papers for the past few months. Your