Doc. 135.-Governor Murphy's address.
To the People of the Counties of Arkansas for which no Elections have been held:Citizens of Arkansas: I address you because you have been so far deprived of the privilege of aiding in the restoration of civil government in the State, by the occupation of your section of the State by the rebel army. In January last, a Convention of Delegates, elected by a portion of the people, met at Little Rock, remodelled the Constitution of the State, and appointed me for Governor. The new Constitution differs fiom the old in this: That it abolishes slavery in Arkansas forever. The members of the Convention were sober, earnest men, on whom events had made a deep impression. They were tired of war, and the desolation that war produces; they remembered the security and happiness that they enjoyed when law and order prevailed, and the flag of the free was the only emblem of their nationality. They remembered, too, when, in an evil hour, a combination of insane politicians forced their State into rebellion against their own Government. Not one of the traitors had been wronged — not one of them had ever been deprived of a right. On the contrary, they had always been protected in their special exclusive rights — especially in their right to hold slaves. Yet, in their insane madness, they rejected that protection, and sought to overturn the Government that protected them in the possession of their slaves. The results of the rebellion they now see — you all see and feel; the slaves free; the masters fugitives or prisoners, or the recipients of the pardon of the Government against which they rebelled, and tried, but in vain, to destroy; all the families in the land in mourning; property pillaged and destroyed; poverty and desolation everywhere; happiness changed to misery; joy, to mourning and woe. They saw no way to escape the evils under which we were all suffering, but to return to the government of our ancestors, and remove the cause of our trouble. The Constitution was referred to the people on the fourteenth of March, and ratified by a very large vote, and is now the supreme law of the State. State and county officers have been elected. You have been deprived of the right by the presence of rebel forces in your counties. The Convention provided, by an ordinance, that in such cases, an election may be holden on any other day thereafter, that the people may agree upon, for county officers. I therefore recommend to you, that as soon as you can hold an election with safety to yourselves, that you appoint a day in your respective counties, and that you elect representatives to the Legislature, and all your county officers, and take on yourselves all the rights and duties of freemen, and give your aid and influence to the restoration of the State to her position in the Union, and to peace and former security. We have all erred — we have all gone astray. Father, forgive us, as we forgive those that have sinned against us. Let this spirit prevail, and happiness will soon be ours; peace and security will soon spread over the land, and we will again be honored citizens of the United States of America. This is nobility enough; this is honor enough — to be called a citizen of the United States, whose flag commands the admiration and respect of the world; and whose Government has never failed to avenge or right the wrongs done to its humblest citizen. Spurn, then, the tyranny and oppression of the leaders of this wicked rebellion, and return to the home of your ancestors, and your own by inheritance, and atone for the past by securing to your posterity freedom, security, and happiness hereafter.