previous next

[619] should be bound in his action by any opinion of any civil officer of the United States.

The President vetoed the bill, and in his message said:

Thus, over all these ten States, this military government is now declared to have unlimited authority. It is no longer confined to the preservation of the public peace, the administration of criminal law, the registration of voters, and the superintendence of elections; but, ‘in all respects,’ is asserted to be paramount to the existing civil governments. It is impossible to conceive any state of society more intolerable than this, and yet it is to this condition that twelve millions of American citizens are reduced by the Congress of the United States. Over every foot of the immense territory occupied by these American citizens, the Constitution of the United States is theoretically in full operation. It binds all the people there, and should protect them; yet they are denied every one of its sacred guarantees. Of what avail will it be to any one of these Southern people, when seized by a file of soldiers, to ask for the cause of arrest, or for the production of the warrant? Of what avail to ask for the privilege of bail when in military custody, which knows no such thing as bail? Of what avail to demand a trial by jury, process for witnesses, a copy of the indictment, the privilege of counsel, or that greater privilege, the writ of habeas corpus?

Congress having thus completed its plan of operations, the crushing wheels of subjugation began to move forward. Let us proceed with the narration of affairs in Virginia.

On the appearance of Major General Schofield at Richmond, all the proceedings of the so-called civil government, for the organization and restoration of the state to the Union, at once ceased, and he assumed command. A board of army officers was named by the commanding general for the purpose of selecting suitable persons for appointment as registering officers throughout the state. In making the selections, the preference was given, first, to officers of the army and of the Freedmen's Bureau, on duty in the state; second, to persons who had been discharged from the Federal army, after ‘meritorious’ services during the war; third, to ‘loyal’ citizens of the county or city where they were to serve. On April 2d an order appeared from the major general, suspending all elections, whether state, county, or municipal, ‘under the provisional government,’ until after the registration was completed. A lecture on ‘The Chivalry of the South,’ advertised to be delivered in Lynchburg, was suppressed by the order of the post commander at that place. A warning was given by the major general to the editor of the Richmond Times, which said, ‘The efforts of your paper to foster enmity, create disorder, and lead to violence, can no longer be tolerated.’ On the refusal of five magistrates of the Corporation Council of Norfolk to receive the testimony of a negro, they were arrested on a process

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: