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[633]

On April 1, 1867, Major General Pope assumed command under the act of Congress of March 2d. On June 18th a superintendent of registration was appointed, and the conditions for the registration of voters were prescribed. The result of the registration was 11,148 whites and 15,434 blacks. The election of delegates to the so-called state constitutional convention was held on November 14th, 15th, and 16th, and on January 20, 1868, the convention assembled, and contained seventeen blacks as members. A disgraceful quarrel arose in the convention, and twenty members absented themselves. The twenty-one remaining claimed to be a quorum, formed a constitution, and adjourned. The absentees then returned and, with three or four from the other side, organized and proceeded to form a constitution. The others appeared and claimed their seats. Great disorder prevailed, but by the intervention of Major General Meade, and by putting in the chair his subcommander, some degree of order was restored, and such an arrangement effected that the second constitution was completed. All the requisite measures under it were adopted, and on June 29th, the surrender of the so-called government of the state by the military power of the United States to the civil authority was made. The political quarrel continued long afterward.

In Alabama the proclamation of President Johnson was issued on June 21, 1865, by which Lewis C. Parsons was appointed provisional governor and the usual proceedings prescribed. On July 20th the governor issued a proclamation which renewed the powers of the persons holding the township offices in the state; called a state constitutional convention to assemble on September 10th, and reordained the civil and criminal laws, except those relating to slaves, as they existed previous to 1861, and prescribed other regulations. A peaceful election was held, and the delegates to the so-called convention assembled and took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Union thereof, and all proclamations relative to the emancipation of slaves. Slavery was prohibited, the war debt declared void, and the secession ordinance repealed. An election for state officers, members of the legislature, and Representatives in Congress, was ordered on the first Monday of November. The new constitution was not submitted to a vote of the people on account of the delay it would occasion. Robert M. Patton was elected governor, and the legislature assembled on November 20th. The amendment to the Constitution of the United States prohibiting the existence of slavery was ratified, and on December 18, 1865, the provisional Governor surrendered the conduct of the affairs of the state to the governor-elect.

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