knew that in the nature of things military jurisdiction was arbitrary and temporary in this character, and that no stability could possibly be hoped for from any measures or arrangements of military commanders who were likely at any time to change their minds or be superseded by other commanders who entertained different views and wished to put into operation another policy. Of course their State government, thus subordinated, soon lost their confidence and fell into disrepute. Matters, therefore, remained much as they were before any civil government was attempted-in a state of confusion and uncertainty. This is what I mean by "failure from excess of zeal. "
On the other hand, we have had military commanders who were purely professional soldiers, and who, believing that their military operations were their main, if not indeed their sole business, directed every measure to that end alone, and either overlooked or neglected a duty certainly of equal consequence, viz, the restoration of civil government in the regions conquered by our arms. It is easy to understand that military success would be the first object of a military commander, but in a civil war like this military administration should be conducted with a view to the future condition of the people living the military jurisdiction. A military success may be achieved which shall in its very nature utterly destroy all hope of the citizen in the conquered States.
To an officer acting purely in his professional character, any jurisdiction except his own is repugnant for some sound, but more unsound, reason, and he would naturally look with disfavor upon any attempt to establish a jurisdiction not under his supreme control. I would be unreasonable under such administration to hope for success in any attempt to restore civil government. This is what I mean by "failure from lack of zeal. "
Perhaps the history of Louisiana for the past three affords the best illustration of the foregoing remarks. I by no means intend to say that the various measures pursued in that State have been fruitless of valuable results. They have at least given us the benefit of experiments which, properly, studied, tend to facilitate the solution of this important question. I only refer to them as past transactions, whose failure can now, as it seems to me, be traced to its true cause. It is probable that these experiments necessarily preceded the adoption of any policy likely to be successful and were judicious in the light of the experience and information then possessed and of the circumstances which then existed.
It would now seem feasible, in view of these past results and of a changed condition of things, to inaugurate a policy which would avoid these causes of unsuccess; and it is with this hope, and in view of the necessity of doing something, and that speedily, to begin measured which will tend to restore a more healthy condition of the public mind and of public affairs in the States lying in the Mississippi Valley, that I venture to present to Your Excellency the following views. With these States alone have I any proper concern.
It would seem that the shortest and perhaps the most practicable method of returning to a civil status would be to revive the old State governments, with such modifications of their constitutions as have been made necessary by past and existing circumstances, and to give such vitality to the State executive and civil officers as is necessary to create confidence in their stability and reliance upon their status as the final appeal of the people on all question relating to their civil affairs.