by military or semi-military authority to civil offices in the State prior to the 4th of March, 1865. I have given this subject the attentive and serious consideration which its importance demands, and I find it complicated not only with the private and public interests of the people and State of Louisiana, but also with the direct interests of the Government of the United States, or with the obligations imposed upon that Government by the condition of the country, or by the antecedent exercise of lawful military authority. To the extent that these considerations obtain, they are controlling considerations, and I cannot find that I have any authority to delegate the duties devolved upon me by my official position, or to evade the responsibilities which it imposes. I venture to suggest, also, that the evils complained of, and which are so apparent and painful to all who are interested in the restoration of civil authority, will scarcely be obviated by the course You recommend, but will, in my judgment, give rise to complications that will embarrass not only the State but the General Government. All officers who hold their offices by the tenure of military appointment, and subject to military authority and control, will not be permitted to interfere in any manner whatever with the exercise of functions that have been committed to You as Governor of Louisiana. If they are obnoxious to the charge of misconduct in office, or of obstructing You in Your efforts to re-establish civil government, they will, upon Your recommendation, be removed. If, under the constitution and laws of the State, the power of appointment resides in the Governor, my duty will be ended by vacating the appointment. If the office is elective, the military appointment will be canceled so soon as the successor is elected and qualified. In the alternative cases the removal will be made, and successors recommended by You, and against whom there are no disqualifying charges, will be appointed.
This, in my judgment, is the only course which will remove all legal objections or eleven legal quibbles. I desire to divest myself as soon as possible of all such questions from those that are purely military in their character, and commit them to the care of the proper officers of the civil Government. Some of these questions are complicated in their character and involve not only private and public interests, but the faith of the National Government. Originating in the legal exercise of military authority, they can only be determined by the same authority. There is another consideration not directly but incidentally involved in the subject of Your communication, to which I have the honor to invite Your attention. The results of the past four years have worked many changes, both as to institutions and individuals, within the insurrectionary States, giving to some of the interests involved an absolutely national character, and in others leaving the relations between the General Government and the States undetermined. So far as Congress has legislated upon these subjects it has placed them under the direct control of the General Government, and under the laws of nations and laws of war the same principle applies to the other subjects. Until Congress has legislated upon this subject, or until Executive authority sanctions it, no questions of this character will be committed to the jurisdiction of the local courts. I make these suggestions to You for the reason that I have already found a sn in some sections of the country to forestall the action of the General Government by bringing these subjects more or less directly under the control of the local courts, and I have neither the authority nor the disposition to establish precedents that may