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[67]

Next morning brings Sheridan an assurance from the Adjutant-General, Townsend, that his conduct is “ approved:” to which assurance he replies by sending up his scheme for dealing with the Southern States; a document likely to be famous in the story of American Liberty. No Spanish viceroy in Sicily, no Muscovite governor of Poland, ever asked imperial masters for such license as Sheridan asks of President Grant. His scheme for governing the South rests on a proposal to have the chief citizens of these rich and prosperous States denounced by Government as outlaws and banditti, and delivered over to his subalterns for punishment!

This startling telegram to Belknap runs:

New Orleans: Jan. 5, 1875.
I think that the terrorism now existing in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas could be entirely removed, and confidence and fair-dealing established, by the arrest and trial of the ringleaders of the armed White Leagues. If Congress would pass a bill declaring them banditti they could be tried by a military commission. The ringleaders of this banditti, who murdered men here on the 14th of September last, and also more recently


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