SERIES XXVIII N0
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES
HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL SCIENCE
Under the Direction of the
Departments of History, Political Economy, and
RECONSTRUCTION IN LOUISIANA
JOHN ROSE FICKLEN
Author of " Constitutional History of Louisiana.'
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. HISTORY OF RECONSTRUCTION IN LOUISIANA (THROUGH 1868).
By J. R. FICKLEN i
II. THE TRADE UNION LABEL. By E. R. SPEDDEN 237
III. THE DOCTRINE OF NON-SUABILITY OF THE STATE IN THE
UNITED STATES. By K. SINGEWALD 337
IV. DAVID RICARDO. By J. H. HOLLANDER 453
The author of the present volume, John Rose Ficklen,
son of Joseph Burwell Ficklen and Ann Eliza Fitzhugh,
came of an old and sturdy family of Virginia, and the essen-
tially fine qualities of the man were colored by that indefin-
able tint of gentility that is the precious heritage of such an
ancestry. Born in Falmouth, Virginia, in 1858, he received
at the University of Virginia that solid and yet broad cul-
tural training that distinguished the old college, and after
graduation he devoted himself at once to the pursuit of
scholarship. After a short period of teaching at the Louisi-
ana State University, Baton Rouge, Mr. Ficklen spent two
years abroad, studying at the universities of Paris and
"Berlin. He was connected with the University of Louisi-
ana, in New Orleans, before the foundation of Tulane Uni-
versity, and upon the merging of the two became professor
of rhetoric and history. Mr. Ficklen grew with the newly
created university, and soon began to devote himself to
history, especially to the history of Louisiana. In 1893 he
became professor of history and political science, and still
held this position when, in the summer of 1907, his life was
cut short by one of those accidents that seem the work of a
In presenting to the public this last and most cherished
fruit of his studies, I wish to turn aside for a moment to
record my own impressions of Professor Ficklen as a man
and as a teacher. I shall not soon forget the thoroughness
of his method as an instructor, his innate refinement and un-
failing courtesy in dealing with the student. In the class
room, and when in later years I had the honor of becoming
his colleague, Professor Ficklen was always the same help-
ful friend, unobtrusive yet ready in his counsel, generous,
with no thought of making one who had been his pupil feel
any condescension in his manner. It was this rare modesty
viii Editorial Note.
and perfect frankness of attitude that was I am confident
other former pupils will bear me out the most pleasantly
remembered characteristic of the man.
For more than a decade before his death Professor
Ficklen had been carefully collecting and digesting the
materials for a history of the reconstruction period in
Louisiana. The work was one requiring immense patience
and tact, for the mists of party strife have not yet cleared
away; many of the actors in the great contest for control
of the State are still living; their accounts, as well as most
of the documentary material for the work, even after they
had once been secured, needed the most careful adjustment
before it was possible to present a record at once clear and
fair. Moreover, the work was frequently interrupted by
other historical studies, and always made subordinate to the
first duty of the academic instructor. But at the time of
his death Professor Ficklen was proceeding rapidly in the
synthesis of the scattered data he had collected, and the
work now presented was completed by him in manuscript
in something like the form he wished it to assume finally.
Since the manuscript, however, had not received his final
revision, the editor has felt at liberty to revise, striving
always to preserve the substance and the wording. There
has been no alteration affecting matters of fact, no addition
to or change in the deductions drawn from facts. Obvious
errors have been corrected, a few passages of needless
matter repeating facts stated elsewhere have been omitted,
and the work has been divided into chapters. This has been
done under the direction of Professor Charles M. Andrews,
of the Johns Hopkins University, and under his direction
the references have been verified and put into proper shape
by Mr. Clarence P. Gould. The editor takes this occasion
to acknowledge with gratitude the able assistance of Mr.
William Beer, of the Howard Memorial Library, in veri-
fying certain references.
In no state of the former Confederacy was the work of
Reconstruction attended with greater difficulties than in
Louisiana. The history of the period was marked by epi-
Editorial Note. ix
sodes that at the time attracted the attention of the nation,
and that still echo in the press. It is a matter of deep regret
that a student so well informed, so calm and judicious as
Professor Ficklen did not live to complete in detail the
account of the remarkable revolution whose beginnings he
has presented with such clearness. Incomplete as it is,
however, the present volume will prove a valuable contri-
bution to the history of this most important period . of
February 19, 1910.
It has been said by a northern historian that the story
of the war between the States should be written by writers
of the North because the victors can always afford to show,
and will show, a more generous spirit in dealing with the
facts than can be expected of the conquered, and also for
the reason that the northern view is in the main correct.
From this proposition the corollary has been drawn that
the story of Reconstruction in the South should be told by
writers of the South, for to the South was given the final
victory in this conflict; 1 and it is beginning to be acknowl-
edged by writers of the North that Reconstruction of the/
congressional type was a gigantic blunder if not a political
Whatever may be thought of the theories just mentioned,
no one will deny that in the official records of the time we
have the facts given in exasperating detail of the political
progress of Reconstruction, innumerable investigations filling
volumes, orders and statutes and decisions of court galore.
For no other period is there so much sworn testimony, but
of the life in the South at this period, of the thoughts and
feelings of the mass of people who were disaffected to the
Federal government, no adequate portrayal has been given
for the South as a whole. Novelist and essayist have at-
tempted it for particular States, but even here their attempts,
however successful, have not given more than a partial view
of life in the South during those days of storm and stress.
Such a book is not easy of execution. Those who lived
through the time either do not care to write of their humilia-
tion, or are so carried away by the intensity of their feelings
that they present a distorted view of the period as a whole.
The task must fall to the historian of the younger genera-
tion, but it demands a rarely sympathetic touch to draw
1 David Y. Thomas, "The South and her History," Review of
Reviews, October, 1902, p. 464.
forth from those who lived through this period the recol-
lection that they would often rather conceal than reveal;
it requires much power of generalization not to lose oneself
in the infinite detail while drawing a picture that shall be
clear and distinct ; and it requires a calmness and impartiality
of judgment, hitherto little shown by North or South, to
enter into the thoughts and feelings of that day and to
weigh its conflicting aims and purposes. To gather the
needed materials, to get into touch with those who can
speak with authority, will naturally be the task of southern
writers. Recognition of this fact has been constantly com-
ing from the North itself, and the present writer has
received abundant encouragement from his northern friends
and colleagues in the arduous task of describing the recon-
struction period in Louisiana since he set it before him
some five years ago.
It is not for the writer to arrogate to himself especial
qualifications for his task; but he might without presump-
tion urge that he has been accustomed for many years to
deal with historical problems in which the passions of men
were involved, and in this instance he was too young to
take any part in the events which he wishes to narrate, and
thus may escape some of the snares of partizanship. Actual
participants in a struggle are almost never the best narrators
of events. Their narratives are valuable for comparison
with the narratives of those who were opposed to them, but
generally those who participate are too near to see the
whole or to catch the proper perspective. Born in another
Southern State, the writer came to Louisiana just at the
close of the period of Reconstruction, and the best years of
his life have been passed among men who were active
participants in the work, and he numbers among his
acquaintances some of the prominent actors on both sides
of the great controversy. Upon these facts he bases his
hopes of a fairly unbiased judgment. He does not expect
nor wish, however, to produce a colorless narrative. He
^/proposes to comment freely on events and on the characters
of the men who figured therein. JOHN R FICKLEN
HISTORY OF RECONSTRUCTION IN LOUI-
SIANA (THROUGH 1868).
ANTE-BELLUM HISTORY IN LOUISIANA.
There is a strong tendency in mankind to view the past
through a golden haze a tendency which is illustrated in
history and literature from the times when the Homeric
Nestor bewailed the fact that the young men were no longer
so brave and strong as in his own youth down to our own
day. Thus there are not lacking in Louisiana those who
look back to the thirties and early forties with regret, and
declare that at that period politics were pure, the office
sought the man, and there was no rampant democracy to
sue for the support of the proletariat and reduce all classes
of voters to a level. These eulogists of the past would
have us believe that in the years 1843 to I 846, when the old
Whig party lost control of the State, and when not only was
a Democratic governor elected but a Democratic constitu-
tion adopted abolishing the previous property qualification
for the suffrage, Louisiana suffered a distinct deterioration
in her political status and departed from the ideals she had
held before her in the past. As democracy as a form of
government is still on trial, it may not be possible to de-
termine definitively whether the latter condition of Loui-
siana was better than the former; heredity and association
will decide for most people whether they will take one side
or the other. The fact remains, however, that the period
mentioned records an important change in the dominant
attitude of Louisiana toward political affairs. The State
had for many years leaned toward the principles of the
io History of Reconstruction in Louisiana.
Whigs. It is not to be expected that where towns are few
and large plantations are numerous the seeds of democracy
will find as favorable soil as in New England townships.
Moreover, the Whig platform of protection to internal
industries and of subsidies to internal improvements suited
to perfection a State where each large plantation had in-
vested much capital in the planting and manufacture of
sugar and demanded protection, and where the numerous
waterways needed the aid of the Federal government for
But in the early forties the great mass of immigrants who
had poured into the northern part of the State, where small
farms contrasted with the plantations of the southern sec-
tion, cared nothing for the theories of the Whigs, and their
democratic sentiments were echoed by the foreign immi-
grants who took up their residence in New Orleans. More-
over, the Whigs began to lose popularity because of a new
issue which had arisen like a storm cloud upon the horizon,
and now began to overshadow ominously the question of
protection to manufactures and internal improvements.
This issue was the extension of slavery, violently opposed
by the northern Whigs and strongly favored by the southern
Democrats. Furthermore, the admission of Texas into the
Union, which was already a national question, placed the
Whigs of Louisiana in a quandary. As slave-owners them-
selves, they could not oppose the extension of slavery by
the acquisition of Texas, but they feared the possible rivalry
of Texas as a producer of Louisiana staples. In any case,
in 1844 the State was carried for Polk and annexation by
the political genius of John Slidell, who became the un-
disputed leader of the Democratic party, and who has never
been equalled in Louisiana for skill in political strategy and
for success in inspiring the blind devotion of political ad-
herents. It is true that in 1848, in the national mix-up of
politics, Louisiana, with five other Southern States, voted
for Zachary Taylor, a Whig, but a resident of Louisiana
and a slave-owner, in preference to Lewis Cass, the Demo-
Ante-Bellum History in Louisiana. 1 1
cratic candidate, whose doctrine on the slavery question did
not go far enough ; but in all local affairs the Democrats held
their own against the Whigs, and the spoils of office were
Many disgruntled Whigs went over to a new party which
for a while exercised a great fascination over the minds of
men in all sections of the country. The Know-Nothings,
who derived their name from their invariable answer to all
inquiries as to their platform that they " knew nothing in
their principles contrary to the Constitution and the laws
of the land," composed a gigantic secret society which ap-
pealed to many by its paraphernalia of signs, grips, and
gradations of the initiated. Its principles seem to have
included purification of elections, the exclusion of foreigners
from public offices, and an insistence on the doctrine that
the office must seek the man. We have the testimony of
Charles Gayarre, the historian of Louisiana, who was an
adherent of the new order, that not only the Whigs but the
whole of Louisiana may truly be said to have rushed with
enthusiastic precipitation into the arms of this seductive
society. Soon, however, it began to be whispered about
that the order was opposed to the Catholic religion and
intended to proscribe all Catholics. The rumor was put to
the test when, at a great convention in Philadelphia, a dele-
gation of five Protestants and one Catholic presented them-
selves from Louisiana. The Catholic was refused admis-
sion, 1 and resenting this discrimination against a State
in which half the population was Catholic, all the delegates
withdrew. In vain the leaders of the movement agreed to
make a discrimination on this point in favor of Louisiana;
the order was doomed. In Louisiana its adherents fell
away rapidly, and its secrecy and its religious intolerance,
so opposed to the American spirit, precipitated its ruin
everywhere. 2 In New Orleans, however, it did not die
without a struggle. Such scenes of violence and intimida-
1 This was Charles Gayarre himself.
2 Gayarre, History of Louisiana, IV, 678.
1 2 History of Reconstruction in Louisiana.
tion occurred at an election for sheriff in 1853 tnat > though
the Know-Nothings elected a sheriff named Hafty, he was
removed from office by a formal act of legislature. The
death-knell of Know-Nothingism had been sounded.
In Louisiana mutterings of the coming struggle between
the States preceded actual hostilities by several years. As
we read the messages of the governors of the State in the
period before secession we catch more than one reflection of
the deep unrest which filled the minds of Louisianians and
of the defiant attitude which the utterances of the new or
" Black " Republican party had aroused. " The irrepressible
conflict between opposing and enduring forces," as Seward
named it in 1858, had already been recognized as a reality
by some of the wiser spirits of the time, and men had begun
to take sides on the basis of the finer distinctions which the
great controversy was bringing to light. A suspicion of
heresy on the subject of the " peculiar institution" was suf-
ficient to declare the ineligibility of any candidate for office ;
nay, more, orthodoxy began to depend upon the correct
attitude toward the doctrine of " Squatter Sovereignty " and
the extreme view held as to Federal protection of slavery in
the territories. It was even maintained that Slidell, the
great leader of the Democracy, whose orthodoxy had been
beyond reproach, was not above suspicion in regard to the
extreme claims of his party, and that, being by birth a
Northerner, he was not in full sympathy with Louisianians,
but upheld the doctrines of Stephen A. Douglas. 1 Hence
Pierre Soule, a Frenchman by birth, but long a resident of
Louisiana a Prince Rupert of oratory headed a factional
fight against Slidell. 2
When the Democratic convention met in Charleston in
1 Soule, who disliked Slidell, may have said this, but Senator
Jonas says that there never was any truth in it ; Slidell was always
2 Soule himself ended by becoming a Douglas man and a coopera-
tionist, whether from conviction or from a desire to oppose Slidell
does not seem clear. McCaleb says Soule supported Douglas in
1856 and 1860 : " Subsequently, to the surprise of his friends, he
declared himself an opponent to the secession of Louisiana." The
Louisiana Book, ed. by McCaleb, p. 137.
Ante-Bellum History in Louisiana. 1 3
April, 1860, a strong opposition developed to the nomination
of Douglas. On the question of the extension of slavery
in the territories Douglas held the doctrine that the people
of any territory in their territorial condition had the right to
determine whether slavery should or should not exist there,
and he denied the duty, or even the right, of Congress to
protect persons or their property (slaves) in a territory
against the will of a majority therein. This doctrine, that
a territorial legislature was stronger than Congress itself
and could determine the policy of a territory before it was
ready to frame its constitution for statehood, was given full
utterance by Douglas in his great debate with Lincoln in
1858, but it did not please the great majority of Southerners,
who held that, according to the Dred Scott decision, Con-
gress must protect slavery in a territory until the territory
became a state.
In pushing his " Squatter Sovereignty " so far, Douglas
lost, in a great measure, the adherence of the Southern
States and forced them to choose a candidate who upheld
their peculiar views. This candidate was John C. Brecken-
ridge of Kentucky. The choice of Breckenridge produced a
fatal schism ; and, to make the situation still more desperate,
some elements of the old Know-Nothing party and some
new elements combined to nominate John Bell, of Ten-
nessee, who conservatively held that the extreme views of
Republicans and Democrats should be dropped and that the
platform should be simply " The Constitution of the country,
the union of the States, and the enforcement of the laws."
Because of these Democratic divisions the Republicans
carried their candidate, Abraham Lincoln, to victory on a
platform which declared in favor of leaving alone the
domestic institutions of the States and of keeping slavery
out of the territories. The electoral vote for Lincoln was
180, and for all the other candidates 103; but the popular
vote for the Democratic candidates was 2,823,741, while
Lincoln received only 1,866,452. In Louisiana Brecken-
ridge received 22,681 votes, Bell, 20,204, and Douglas,
14 History of Reconstruction in Louisiana.
7625. Slidell had organized his party so well that the
State was carried for his candidate and Douglas was de-
feated ; but it will be noted that the vote for Bell, represent-
ing the conservative view, was almost as large as the vote
In the meantime the messages of the governors of Loui-
siana to the General Assembly had shown evidence of the
growing bitterness of feeling toward the North, and espe-
cially toward the Abolitionists. This party had indulged
in unmeasured abuse of the South, and represented its whole
industrial system as based upon sin and iniquity. It was a
subject of special complaint on the part of the South that at
least twenty Northern States had passed "personal liberty
laws " intended to defeat the laws passed by Congress, in
accordance with the Constitution, to secure the return of
fugitive slaves. " Such acts," says Wilson, " were as plainly
attempts to nullify the constitutional action of Congress as
if they had spoken the language of the South Carolina
ordinance of I832." 1 Nor was this paying back the South
in her own coin, for South Carolina at least maintained that
her nullification ordinance was constitutional, while the
North did not pretend to make any such claims for the
" personal liberty " laws. Governor Chase openly declared