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43d CoNaRESS, ( HOUSE OF EEPRESENTATIVES. ( Report 261,
2d Session, j ( Part 3.



LOUISIANA AFFAIRS.



REPORT



'of the



SELECT COMMITTEE ON THAT PORTION OF THE

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE



rp:t.ating to



THE CONDITION OF THE SOUTH.



11*.* I^«*-



TESTIMONY TAKEN BY THE COMMITTEE.



a * J

•> » J



WASHINGTOK:

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
1875.













/





13d CoNGr.ESS, ) HOUSE OF EEPKESEXTATIVES. j Report
^d Sefision. I ) No. I'Gl.



CONDITION OF THE SOUTH.



Febkuary 23, 1875. — Recommitted to tlie select committee on that portion of the
PresTiTent's message rekitiug to the condition of the South and ordered to be i^rinted.



Mr. Foster, from a majority of the select eomraittee on tbat portion
of tbe President's message relating to the condition of the South,
submitted the following

REPORT:

The undersigned^ a majority of the committee on the state of the SontJi,

respectfully report :

That they cannot agree to the report made to the committee by
Messrs. Hoar, Wheeler, and Frye.

The laws inimical to the colored people of Louisiana referred to in
tbeir report have been repealed for years. Except during the schism
of Governor Warmoth, in 1872, the republican party has long had con-
trol of the machinery of the State.

The late registration shows an excess of the colored over the white
voters, giving 90,781 colored to 76,823. In the absence of any direct
evidence that the late election was not free and fair, the assumj)-
tiou by the minority that enough colored voters must, therefore, have
been prevented from voting at the late election by the recollection of
the Colfax and Coushatta Ivillings, and by other riots which occurred
years before, to have changed the result of the election throughout the
State, is an assumption so violent — when it is recollected that both
those parishes elected a full Kellogg ticket by republican majorities —
as not to be received, if any other cause for the vote of the State can
be found.

Such causes exist and arc obvious. Among them are :

First. The registration was incorrect, and exceeded the true colored
vote.

The registration was wholly in the hands of the Kellogg officials, with
whom a republican committee, with United States Marshal Packard at
their head, co-operated. In only three ))arishes did the republican
supervisors of registration make any coinphiint of unfair or insufficient
registration. On the other hand, very great complaint was made by
the conservatives, who specified, with proof, 5,200 cases of conceded
false registration in New Orleans alone; and those conservatives who
had been co-operating in joint party committee to secure a fair regis-
tration gave u}) the effort in despair.

The census of 1870 (the correctness of which is not impeached) showed
87,076 whites and 86,1)13 colored males over 21 years of age. All the
statistics and evidence before us indicated no change in this proportion
in favor of the colored voters. Yet the registration of colored voters
exceeded by 4,000 the total number of colored adult males returned by
the census, Avhile the registration of white voters was 10,000 less.



I CONDITION OF THE SOUTH.

Second. Tlie wliole nmnbor of votos roiiistered was 107,004. Of tliese,
140,523 voted. This is a Jar^er i>roi)oitioii of lejiistered voters tliaii
usually vote in any of the Northern States. In an agricultural State,
sparsely settled, where Ion ii' Journeys had often to be made to reach the
])olls, it is unreasonable to sui)i)os«' that a greater ])roportion of the
registered blacks would have voluntarily turned out to sustairi a gov-
eiiinieiit under which the i)rosperity of the State, and their wages and
the value of their shares of production, had steadily declined than
usually vote at elections.

Third. 1874 was a year of i)olitical change, in which the vote through-
out all the States was seriously affected against the rei)ubiican party;
a (thange resulting largely from the financial distress of the people, and
whi(;h sliould, therefore, naturally have been even greater in Louisiana
than elsewhere.

Fourth. It became the interest of the conservatives, at least at the
late election, not to intimidate, but to acquire, by every fair means, the
colored vote.

Parties who were alleged to have threatened blacks, even with re-
fusal of employment, were subject to prompt arrest. It was known
that pretexts would be sought to deprive the conservatives of the re-
sult if they prevailed in the election. It was therefore their interest to
avoid giving any such pretexts. Accordingly, they determined every-
where to co-operate with and conciliate the blacks. They votecl down
the propositions or suggestions which were made in the early part of the
campaign for refusal to emplo^^ those colored voters who would not co-
operate with them, and generally sought, by combining with colored
voters, to carry the election.

Local combinations against the Kellogg candidates were made in
many parishes by men of all parties and colors. In several parishes a
union ticket of colored conservative votes was voted for an<l elected.
An intelligent colored witness testitied that he *Mlesired better govern-
ment,'' and, to that end, "was willing to swallow the white men if the
white men would s^vallow the colored." These causes and feelings nat-
urally united to swell the conservative vote in such localities, exactly as
indicated by the returns.

Fifth. The entire want of any direct evidence to show any general
intimidation of the colored voters.

Of course, in so large a State, it would be impossible there should be
no instances of refusal to employ, nor of ijitimidation. Such occur in
every State. But the eviden(*e certaiidy indicates no general intimida-
tion of colored voters, and that such intimidation as «lid exist in the
State was rather in the interest of the republicans than of the conserva-
tives. The United States marshals, whose chief was chairman of
the republican State committee, armed in some cases by blank war-
rants, and aided by Federal troops, made constant arrests before
election, but not afterward. Tlie oversight of the elections an<l of the
returns was in the hands of Governor Kellogg's officials. Their count
and return did show 21) majority of members of tlie lower house elected
by the conservatives without any protest whatever, except in three
parishes, although it was their province and duty to protest in any case
where violence, or intimidation, or fraud existed.

Indeed, the (lirect evidence as to the election of 1874, as well as the
circumstances, clearly indicate a peaceable and fair election. \\\ fact,
after the visit of the first committee and the re-visit of the si)ecial com-
mittee, the Kellogg party, with all their machinery for colle(;ting evi-
dence, were unable to produce in the entire State more than half a dozen



CONDITION OF THE SOUTH. 3

persons to testify to anytbing impeaching: the freedom and fairness of
the hite elections who were not office-holders or connected with office-
holders.

Ag^ainst such facts, it seems to us idle to assume that the disturbances
so vividly pictured by the minority could have kept up throughout this
State such a feeling of intimidation as would justify the assumption
that but for that feeling the State would have gone republican. jSAY
experience shows that the result of the election of 1874, in Louisiana, as
returned to the returning-board, was natural, and to be only accounted
for by the reasons we have given.

We hold, therefore, that in November, 1874, the people of the State
of Louisiana did fairly have a free, peaceable, and full registration and
election, in which a clear conservative majority was elected to the lower
house of the legislature, of which majority the conservatives were de-
prived by the unjust, illegal, and arbitrary action of the returning-
board.

To the resolution reported to the House from the committee, as to
the action of the returning-board, we are all agreed.

We understand the committee to be unanimous in finding the fact
that the action of the returning-board has defeated the will of the
peoi)le as expressed by them at the polls on the 3d of November, 1874.
The people then elected to the lower house of their legislature a majority
of conservative members; a portion of the conservative members thus
elected were refused their certificates. This is an act of great injustice
to the individuals, of gravest danger to the State and free government,
and ought to be immediately corrected by anj^ i)ower competent to
correct it.

The resolution recommending the recognition of Governor Kellogg is
based upon general information and not upon evidence. On this point
no testimony was taken, either by the committee or any part of it.
Kellogg may or may not have been elected in 1872, but there is no evi-
dence to show the fact, or, if there be, it has been neither sought nor
found by this committee. Messrs. Foster and Phelps think that the
popular belief, taking both conservative and radical circles, inclines on
the whole to justify Kellogg and Penn's claims ; and that, as Kellogg is
and has been the acting governor of Louisiana tor the past two years,
to deny his right and install another in his place, after this lapse of
time, might involve much mischief to the legal and political interests
of the State.

To avoid the mischief and confusion of change, a majority of the citi-
zens of Louisiana seem willing to accept as a comprondse Kellogg's
recognition and the restoration to the conservatives of the control of
the lower house.

For these reasons Messrs. Foster and Phelps do not wish to oppovse
the recommendation that the administration of Governor Kellogg be
recognized ; neither, in view of the fact that they know nothing of the
merits of the case as judged by competent evidence, do they wish to be
understood as urging it. They only wish to record their agreement with
those of their associates who believe that such a compromise might, by
making a termination of the uncertainty in Louisiana, be on the whole
less intolerable than the present distress.

But, to any resolution recognizing Kellogg, Messrs. Potter and Mar-
shall are utterly opposed. They find nothing to justify the belief that
Kellogg was elected. That he seized the government by the aid of Federal
trooi)s, through a void and fraudulent order which prevented the counting
and return of the votes, should be a standing presumption against him.



4 CONDITION OF THE SOUTH.

When the people, outrao^ed by the abuses of bis government, bad suc-
cessfully regained tbe office be bad usurped, be was again reseated by
Federal power. By tbe forms of legislation witb wliicb be bad in-
trencbed bimself, be once more sought to nullify tbe cboice of tbe peo-
ple at tbe late election, and to tbat end called on tbe Federal troops to
break up tbe meeting of a legislature.

For Congress to recognize usurpation so gross and so oppressive, is,
tbey tbink, to establisb a precedent by wbicb, under pretexts tbat can
readily be found, any State government may l)e overtbrown, tbe will of
tbe people nullified, fraud and violence made permanent, and republican
forms perverted to destroy liberty.

In tbeir judgment all tbat is needed in Louisiana is to withdraw tbe
Federal troops and leave tbe people of tbat State to govern themselves.

CHAKLES FOSTER.
WILLIAM WALTER PHELPS.
CLARKSON N. POTTER.
SAMUEL MARSHALL.



The special committee, to whom was referred so much of the Presi-
dent's message as relates to the condition of the South, report the fol-
lowing resolutions. They further submit the views of the various mem-
bers of the committee.
For the committee :

GEO. F. HOAK,

Chairman.

Whereas both branches of the legislature of Louisiana have requested
the special committee of this House to investigate the circumstances at-
tending the election and returns thereof in that State for the year 1874 ;
and whereas said committee hav^e unanimously reported that the return-
ing-board of that State, in canvassing and compiling said returns and
promulgating the result, wrongfully applied an erroneous rule of law,
by reason whereof persons were awarded seats in the house of repre-
sentatives of Louisiana to which they were not entitled and i^ersons en-
titled to seats were deprived of them :

Resolved, That it is recommended to the house of representatives of
Louisiana to take immediate steps to remedy said injustice and to place
the persons rightfully entitled in their seats.

Resolved, That William Pitt Kellogg be recognized as the governor of
the State of Louisiana until the end of the term of office iixed by the
constitution of that State.



The undersigned, a portion of the special committee to tvhom icas referred
so much of the President's message as relates to the condition of the South,
respectfully report :

The matters embraced in the reference to the committee are of the
]uost serious and important character. In several of the Southern
States a condition of affairs is said to exist which not only impairs the
welfare of those States, but greatly endangers the peace and safety of
the whole country. It seemed s})ecially important to investigate and
report to the House the state of things in Louisiana, as all parties there
are agreed, for different reasons, in demanding the immediate interpo-
sition of Congress to redress grievances of which they bitterly complain.

One party in Louisiana assert that there is a conspiracy in that State,
large in numbers and strength, though a minority of the legal voters, to
take possession by force and fraud of the State government; to drive
out of the State all white men who will not join in their schemes or re-
frain from any active resistance ; to deprive the negro of the political and
legal rights conferred on him by the fourteenth and fifteenth amend-
ments, and, in some mode hereafter to be more fully made manifest, to
reduce him to such a condition of political and personal dependence
upon the whites, that the will, of the latter shall be the law which deter-
mines his personal rights, and fixes the price and condition of his labor.
It is further charged that, in the execution of this inirpose, vast uum-



6 CONDITION OF THE SOUTH.

bers of mnrrleis have been committed ; that the eiifoicement of the law
has ceased over lar^e districts ; and tliat, by terror, violence, and fraud,
the holding of fair and peaceable elections, and fairly ascertaiuiiig the
resnlt, has been rendered iin])ossible.

The other party, denying these charges, claim that the State of Loni-
siaua has fallen into the control of the negro popidation, under tbe lead
of a few white persons, mostly adventurers from other States, who have
possessed themselves of the State and local olhces, which they have ad-
ministered corruptly and wastefully lor their personal gain, wasting the
iniblic revenues until taxes have become an intolerable burden and the
rommerce of the State almost destroyed; tiiat the peojde of the State
have twice fairly elected other officers; but that the ])oi)ular will has
been frustrated by fraud, which would have been ineffective but for the
forcible interference of the National Government. They claim that
whatever violence has been used on their side is but the natural actioii
of freemen endeavoring to assert their political rights, or at least is to
be pardoned to men smarting under a sense of wrong and tyranny.

Both sides agree that the party who do not now hold the State
government of Louisiana are physically the strongest. It is only the
National Government that keeps in ])lace for an hour the governor,
the legislature, a large portion of the local officers (and i)erhaps the
judiciary) of Louisiana. Their opponents are prepared and able to take
possession of the State government at once, whenever the National
Government will not interfere. It is further claimed that a condition
not unlike that of Louisiana exists in several other Southern States.

In our judgment this condition of things is fraught with the gravest
peril to the whole country. That the people of any State should be
unwilling or unable to determine by peaceful and legal means the
result of their elections, and that the President should be compelled to
interi^ose the military force of the Government to i>revent civil war, is
itself a terrible misfortune. But the evil goes much further. Upon the
elections in Louisiana, as in otlier States, depends the right to their
seat of Senators and Eei)resentatives who are to aid in making laws for
the whole country, and the choice of Presidential electors, upon whose
vote may depend the title to office of the President of the United
States himself.

No party in the United States will like to submit to a result decided
by the votes of electors chosen by such means. Each party will be
likely to credit charges of fraud and violence made against its opponent,
and to discredit like charges made against its own side. Tliere is, in
our judgment, the greatest danger that these elements may enter into
the next national election to so great an extent that it may leave the
real expression of the will of the i^eople in doubt. In such case an ap-
peal to force, like that which has been made in Louisiana, must resnlt
in civil war, spreading throughout the entire country.

That this result is desired and expected by some persons who are
largely responsible for the troubles in Ijouisiana, we have great reason
to believe. We append an article published in the New Orleans Bulle-
tin of February 6, 1875, which exhibits the purposes of the contributors
of that journal, and, we fear, faithfully reflects the views of many men
who are active and influential in the State of Louisiana.

The committee have hadaccess to the reports made and evidence taken
by various committees of one or the other of the two Houses of Congress
since the close of the war, and have taken into consideration well-
known and uncontested facts in the recent history of the country. A
subcommittee visited the State of Louisiana, where they took oral and



CONDITION OF THE SOUTH. 7

documentary evidence, reportinof their conclusions in writinp^. Afterward
the whole committee determined to proceed to Louisiana to make fuller
investigation, which x^nrpose they have executed, a quorum bein«^- in
attendance during their entire stay. In discharging their delicate
and responsible duties, they have been deeply impressed with the impor-
tance of the questions which they had to consider to the people of Louis-
iana and to the whole country, and have endeavored to approach them
witliout partisan bias.

The question with which the American people has to deal will be
best understood, not by fixing the attention upon the details of par-
ticular acts of outrage on the one side, or of special and extraordinary
exertions of national power to prevent them on the other, both calcu-
lated to stir deeply the feelings of large masses of the people, but by
a dispassionate consideration of the indisputable facts of history.

The people of the States which engaged in the rebellion were com-
posed, in large part, of two classes — a dominant race of slaveholders
and those who approved and sustained slavery, and a subject race of
slaves.

Each of these classes possessed the virtues and the faults which
might be expected from its condition. The dominant class were unsur-
l)assed among the nations of the earth in courage, spirit, hospitality,
and generosity to their equals. They were apt to command and apt to
succeed. Constantly on the lookout for the dangers which attended
the presence in their community of a large servile class, they acquired
the habit of acting in concert in all matters which concerned their class
interests. They were able politicians. With the love and habit of
truth which becomes brave men in all common concerns, they were
subtle and skillful diplomatists when diplomacy was needed to accom-
plish any political end. Their whole society could unite as one man
in attempting to create an impression which it was their interest
to give, and to stitle all expressions of dissent. On the other hand,
they were domineering, impetuous, impatient of restraint, unwilling to
submit to any government which they did not themselves control, easily
roused to fierce anger, and when so roused, both as individuals and in
masses, cruel and without scruple. They never had learned to respect
human rights, as such, or to tolerate the free expression of oi)inious
which differed from their own, or to see dignity in manhood beyond
their own class. It was such a people that engaged in the rebellion,
and such a people who were required to live under a new order of things,
to which they had been led, not by change of character or opinion, but
by mere force of arms.

They had submitted to the national authority, not because they would,
l)ut because they must. They had abandoned the doctrine of State
sovereignty, which they had claimed made their duty to their States
paramount to that due to the nation in case of conflict, not because they
would, but because tliey must. They had submitted to the constitu-
tional amendments, which remlered their former slaves their equals in all
})olitical rights, not because they would, but because they must. The
passions which led to the war, the passion's which the war excited, were
left untamed and unchecked, except so far as their exhibition was re-
strained by the arm of power.

On the other hand, the negro was, in his ordinary condition, gentle,
patient, docile, affectionate, and grateful. His confidenc^e was easily
won. The fear of the whites and habit of submission had been im-
planted in him by ages of slavery. The virtues of frugality, of honesty,
of respect for justice, either in private or public concerns, had never been



8 CONDITION OF THE SOUTH.

exbibited toward liim by liis superiors, and he was not likely to be an ex-
ample of them in himself, or to be very exacting in demanding them in
those whom he regarded as his friends.

It was to these two classes, varying in numbers, in the various South-
ern States, just about equal in th<». State of Louisiana, that the
experiment of republican government was iutrusted on their re-
admission to the Union at the close of the war. To these were
added a small number of i)ersons wiio h-ul, in tlie exercise of their
nndoiibted privilege as American citizens, moved into the South
from other States. The whole spirit and policy of American insti-
tutions has been to encourage immigration in the fullest and freest
manner. In all our States the native of foreign countries is not only
welcomed and attracted by all possible inducements to take up his resi-
dence, but he is in a brief time clothed with citizenship and awarded
quite iiis full share of political intiuence and consideration. But the
citizen from the North who moved into the South was quite commonly
opposed in opinion to the old residents on T)ublic questions. This oppo-
sition made him the natural ally, and his superior education made him
the leader of the colored poi)ulation. It was only to be expected,
unless the nature of man were in this case to be thoroughly changed,
that he should be regarded by the native white citizen of the South
with distrust and dislike, especially if he came into their State for the
puipose of engaging in politics, or held high State or national ofdce
without the consent ot the white inhabitants. A still greater difficulty
attended the problem. In every Northern State the people had founded
their institutions upon the theory that universal suffrage and universal
education are inseparable. In some form of statement this axiom is
declared in the constitutions or laws of all of them. It has become a
maxim too trite and familiar for repetition. No considerable number of
American citizens of northern birth could be found who would not
agree that their own institutions would have proved a disgra-ceful
and disastrous failure but for the common school. Yet the Rep-
resentatives of these same States, while imposing by national au-
thority universal suffrage upon communities to all whose previous opin-
ions and habits it was totally alien, made no provision for securing to
the freedmen the defense of education. Of the number of njales over
twenty-one in the State of Louisiana in 1870, there were by the census,
white,' 87,066; colored, 87,121; total, 174, 187. Of the whole colored
population over twenty-one there were 157,019 who could not read and
write. If half these were female we have of colored voters who are re-



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House Select Committee on[Report of the select committee on that portion of the President's message relating to the condition of the South → online text (page 1 of 208)