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[401] upon unqualified indorsement of the Constitution by their nominees. This the respectable whites will not give. Hence the late Convention will be reproduced in the legislature, a large majority being either worthless radicals, white and black, or bitter opponents of reconstruction upon the congressional plan. The danger is that we will have on our hands, not only one big elephant in the Constitution, but a host of little ones in the shape of officers-elect who are not fit to be installed—a prospect not very encouraging, at least.

My impression is that the wisest course would be to let the thing fall and die where it is—not submit it to the people at all. We can then go on putting Union men in office and reorganizing the provisional government upon a loyal basis, until the friends of reconstruction get control of the State. Then a convention can be called which will frame a Constitution fit to be ratified by the people of the State and approved by Congress and the country at large.

If Congress would give a little more latitude in the selection of officers, by modifying the test oath, there would be no difficulty in filling all the offices in the State with men who would aid restoration. Without some such change, the work of reorganization cannot be carried very far. The view of the question which I have given above is, of course, the local one; but it seems to me the national one leads to the same conclusion. I can't see how the indorsement of such a Constitution as this one, by the Republican party, can be otherwise than damaging to them in the North. Would it not be wise for Congress to say at once, We reject, once and for all, proscriptive constitutions?

I have written this letter merely to suggest points that occur to me as worthy of very careful consideration. I suppose Congress alone can determine what is to be done.

As explained in my official letter to-day, I feel bound to await the action of Congress before ordering an election. The nominating conventions of the two parties meet in Richmond on the 6th and 7th of May. Perhaps it may be best for Congress to await their action before determining the question. . . .

The newspaper clipping inclosed in the above letter to General Grant was a report of the proceedings of the Convention which appeared in the Richmond Dispatch

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