this vote was counted among those necessary to secure the passage of the constitutional amendment. Was this an attempt to enforce a fiction or to establish the truth? Such are the deeds which go to make up the record of crime against the liberties of mankind. The proceedings in Arkansas to ‘institute’ a republican state government were inaugurated by an order from the President of the United States to Major General Steele, commanding the United States forces in Arkansas. At this time the regular government of the state, established by the consent of the people, was in full operation outside the lines of the United States army. The military order of the President, dated January 20, 1864, said:
Sundry citizens of the State of Arkansas petitioned me that an election may be held in that State, in which to elect a Governor; that it be assumed at that election, and thenceforward, that the Constitution and laws of the State, as before the rebellion, are in full force, except that the Constitution is so modified as to declare that there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude . . .The order then directs the election to be held for state officers, prescribes the qualifications of voters and the oath to be taken, and directs the general to administer to the officers thus chosen an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, and the ‘modified Constitution of the state of Arkansas,’ when they shall be declared qualified and empowered immediately to enter upon the duties of their offices. The reader can scarcely fail to notice the novel method here adopted to modify or amend the state constitution. It should be called the process by ‘assumption’—that is, assume it to be modified, and it is so modified. Then the President orders the officers-elect to be required to swear, on their oath, to support ‘the modified Constitution of the State of Arkansas.’ Now, unless the constitution was thus modified by assuming it to be modified, these state officers were required by oath to support that which did not exist. But it was not so modified. No constitution or other instrument in the world containing a grant of powers can be modified by assumption, unless it be the Constitution of the United States, as shown by recent experience. Yet the chief object for which these officers were elected and qualified was to carry out these so-called modifications of the state constitution. This adds another to the deeds of darkness done in the name of republicanism. Meantime some persons in the northern part of Arkansas, acting under the proclamation of December 8, 1863, got together a so-called state convention on January 8, 1864, and adopted a revised constitution containing the slavery prohibition, etc. This was ordered to be submitted to a popular vote, and at the same state officers were to be elected.