Harper's Weekly 11/03/1866


The Mississippi Legislature met October 16. Gov-
ernor Humphreys delivered his message at the open-
ing of the session. The Governor said in regard to the
Constitutional Amendment:

“Though our voice can not be heard nor our rights
respected in the adjustment of our federal relations,
many questions present themselves for our considera-
tion and action as citizens of the State that may affect
our condition as citizens in the Union. Prominent
among them is the amendment proposed by Congress
as No. 14, which at the request of the honorable Secre-
tary of State, Wm. H. Seward, I herewith report for
your action. This amendment, adopted by a Congress
of less than three-fourths of the States of the Union,
in palpable violation of the rights of more than one-
fourth of the States, is such an insulting outrage and
denial of the equal rights of so many of our worthiest
citizens who have shed lustre and glory upon our sec-
tion and our race, both in the forum and in the field,
such a gross usurpation of the rights of the State, and
such a centralization of power in the Federal Govern-
ment, that I presume a mere reading of it would cause
its rejection by you.”

The Governor also opposed the Civil Rights bill,
on the ground that it conflicted with State law. He
added: “While the Civil Rights bill can not be re-
ceived as a rule for our guidance, the interests of the
white race will be subserved by the relaxation of the
rigidity of our laws, which, in order to guard society
against threatening evils, was rendered necessary.
Public justice to both races demands the admission of
negro testimony in all cases brought before the civil
and criminal courts. Now that the negro has shown
a confiding and friendly disposition toward the white
race, and a desire to engage in the pursuits of honest
labor, justice and honor demand of us full protection
to his person and property, real and personal. Fire-
arms are not essential to his protection of property or
his happiness, and society should be guarded by re-
quiring him to procure a license to carry them—a priv-
ilege he can always secure where his character for
good-conduct and honesty is known.”

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