Harper's Weekly 12/01/1866


SOUTHERN LEGISLATION.

The Alabama Legislature met on the 12th. Govern-
or Patton in his Message commends the good behavior
of the freedmen, and urges measures to protect them
against the occasional bad faith of their employers.
He would remove all restrictions upon negro testi-
mony, and devote a portion of the poll-tax collected
from freedmen to the education of colored children.
But the Governor strongly opposes the Constitutional
Amendment. The first section, he says, gives to the
General Government such enlarged judicial powers as
would overshadow, and might possibly nullify, the in-
fluence of the State courts both in important and in
trivial cases. The second section, he claims, is unjust
as being partial to the North in the matter of repre-
sentation. The third section, he says, establishes a
test of eligibility for office, both State and Federal,
which is unnecessary and unjustly proscriptive. If it
was meant as a punishment of past treason there were
already sufficient penalties laid down in the national
statute book for that offense without recourse to the
injustice of an ex post facto law. There would, how-
ever, be no injustice in insisting upon present loyalty
as a test of eligibility. The Governor concludes from
the premises that the Constitutional Amendment ought
not to be ratified.


On November 1 Governor Throckmorton, of Texas,
sent in a special message to the Legislature, urging the
passage of resolutions expressive of “the earnest and
sincere desire of our people for peace and perfect res-
toration, their determination to obey the laws of the
General Government, and their wish to cultivate
friendly and cordial relations with the people of all
the States—solemnly pledging the authorities of the
State Government and the people to sustain the laws
of the land, and to afford all persons, without distinc-
tion, the fullest measure of protection for life, property,
and the enjoyment of political sentiment.” He advo-
cates the admission of negro testimony, and the ap-
propriation of taxes from the freedmen to the educa-
tion of colored children. He hopes that the wish of
the President that the Legislature will “make all laws
involving civil rights as complete as possible, so as to
extend equal and exact justice to all persons, without
regard to color,” will be responded to in a proper
spirit. In conclusion, he says;


“The firm and hopeful view of the President in re-
gard to the future of our beloved country must be en-
couraging to every patriot. I trust he may not be dis-
appointed, and I feel that it is the highest duty of pa-
triotism to aid him by every wise and prudent means
at our command.”


Georgia has rejected the Constitutional Amendment.
In the House there were for rejection 131, against it 2.
In the Senate the vote to reject was unanimous. The
Committee to whom the matter had been referred con-
sidered that constitutionally the Amendment was not
before the States, not being proposed by two-thirds of
a full Congress, eleven States having been refused the
right to participate in the debate on proposing the
Amendment, and yet being expected to ratify it when
thus proposed. The right to ratify implied the right
to take part in the original proposition.



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