« ПретходнаНастави »
compromising these difficulties proposed by me can be considered. George H. Williams, Attorney General.
Attorney General to State Senator Ervin. Washington, Dec. 11. Hon. R. H. Ervin, Capitol, Montgomery, Ala. I advise that no action be taken by the body assembled at the capitol until a plan of compromising the difficulty about the General Assembly proposed by me can be considered. Telegram sent to the Governor.
George H. Williams, Attorney General.
Attorney General to Lieut. Governor.
Washington, Dec. 26th, 1872. Hon. Alexander Mokinstry, Mobile, Ala.
Your letter of the 22d inst. is received. I am disinclined to have anything more to say or do about the organization or proceedings of the Alabama Legislature; but it is proper, perhaps, that I should answer your inquiry, and state that according to all parliamentary law and usage the right of a claimant to a seat in a legislative body is to be decided by the vote of the body, and not by the presiding officer, and I should be bound so to hold if the question were referred to me in the case of the Alabama Senate.
I shall take the liberty to add, that telegraphic dispatches have been published here to the effect that the Republicans continue their organization in the court house, and are enacting laws there which produce upon my mind, and I think upon the minds of others, an unfavorable impression as to the purposes of the Republican members of the Assembly.
I will only say now that I should consider it most unfortunate in all respects if the present organization at the state house was dissolved by the act of the Republicans.
I hope that it will not be done in any event. Very respectfully, Geo. H. Williams, Attorney General.
Attorney General to Lieutenant Governor. Washington, Jan. 8th, 1873. Hon. A. Mckinstry, Mobile, Alabama.
I have received your letter of the 31st ultimo, in which I find among others the following paragraph, which I presume it is proper for me to answer: "When I sought to ascertain from you whether I might expect to be sustained, it was not that you or any one else would with propriety or should control the organization of the General Assembly of Alabama, but could the officers of Alabama be sustained by a posse in the peformance of their duty? And I beg leave to remind you that you have not answered this." Referring to your letter of the 22d ultimo, to which mine was an answer, I find the following to be the inquiry which you therein propounded to me: "I communicate with you to ask if, when the committee make their report, I shall decide what it establishes as to the Marengo Senator, or is it to be voted on by those present. If so the Marengo Senator will be unquestionably Democratic, because they have one majority, and they organize as a party on the simple question of seats or chairs, and are organizing a com
mittee to prepare rules. If it is for the presiding officer to decide in their presence, the decision will be obviously only on the report. Will you do me the favor to answer me, and inform me if I may be assured of support by you on my decision or action in the matter?"
To this inquiry of yours, in my letter of the 26th ultimo, I made answer that, "according to all parliamentary law and usage, the right of a claimant to a seat in a legislative body is to be decided by the vote of the body, and not by the presiding officer; and I should be bound to so hold, if the question was referred to me in the case of the Alabama Senate."
I think I may safely say, if this was not a full answer to your question, that the United States will not furnish a posse to support a Lieutenant Governor presiding in the Senate of a State, in deciding as to who are or are not entitled to seats in the body over which he presides.
I think it is proper that I should inform you that I have received a communication from Mr. Hamilton and others, members of the General Assembly of your State, in reference to the action of that body upon the plan of compromise which I had the honor to submit to its consideration, and also in reference to the proceedings by a part of the Assembly at the United States courtrooms, since its adoption of that plan.
While I disclaim all right to dictate, direct, or influence members of the Assembly in their official action, I have expressed to Mr. Hamilton my great surprise and regret at the proceedings in the United States court-rooms, to which he refers, and signified to him that any attempt to disturb the present organization of the General Assembly of the State would meet with no countenance or favor from me.
I confess, after hearing from both sides, that I can see no reason why the Assembly of your State may not now proceed to the transaction of its legitimate business, without further delay, and in the manner usual to the Legislative Assembly of a State.
Very respectfully, Geo. H. Williams,
Attorney General to State Senator Hamilton.
Washington, Jan. 8, 1873. Hon. P. Hamilton, Mobile, Ala.:
I have received your letter of the 3d instant, transmitting a paper signed by yourself and other members of the General Assembly of Alabama, purporting to be a statement of the action of that body upon the plan of compromise which I had the honor some time since to submit for its consideration, and also of the action of a part of the Assembly at the United States court rooms since its meeting in accordance with the terms of such plan of compromise, and asking for such action therein as my judgment may approve.
Apprehensive that any discussion of the facts presented by you might imply an assumption of authority which I wholly disclaim, I will only say that I have heard with surprise and extreme regret of those extraordinary proceedings at the United States court rooms to which the paper refers.
I have instructed the U. S. marshal not to allow those rooms to be used for any purpose connected with the legislative affairs of the State; and if I had any other official control in the matter, I would exercise it in the same way. I have further to say with respect to the future, that any attempt upon any pretext whatever to disturb the present organization of the General Assembly of Alabama will meet with no countenance or favor from me. I see no reason why that body, as now organized, may not proceed to legislate without further delay and decide contested elections and other questions that may arise, as is usual in the Legislature of a State. Very respectfully, Geo. H. Williams,
Governor Baxter to the President.
Little Rock, April 15, 1874. I have been advised by public rumor that in the State circuit court for this county, in a long pending case brought by Jos. Brooks for the office of Governor of this State, a demurrer to the complainant was overruled, and immediately judgment of ouster against me given. This was done in the absence of counsel for me, and without notice, and immediately thereafter the circuit judge adjourned his court. The claimant has taken possession of the State buildings and ejected me by force. I propose to take measures immediately to resume possession of the State property, and to maintain my authority as the rightful Governor of the State. Armed men, acting under this revolutionary movement, are now in charge of the Government armory and capitol buildings. I deem it my duty to communicate this state of affairs to the President. I trust these revolutionary acts may be settled without bloodshed, and respectfully ask the support of the General Government in my efforts to maintain rightful government of the State of Arkansas, and that the commander of the United States arsenal at this post be directed to sustain me in that direction. I respectfully request a reply to this communication at an early moment.
Elisha Baxter, Governor of Arkansas.
Governor Brooks to the President.
Executive Office, Little Rock, April 15. Having been duly installed as Governor of Arkansas by the judgment of a court, I respectfully ask that the commanding officer at the arsenal be instructed to deliver the arms belonging to the State, now in his custody, or hold the same subject to my order. Jos. Brooks.
The President to Governor Baxter.
Department Of Justice, Washington, April 16. Hon. Elisha Baxter, Little Rock, Ark.:
I am instructed by the President to say, in answer to your dispatch to him of yesterday, asking for the support of the General Government to sustain you in efforts to maintain the rightful government in the State of Arkansas, that in the first place your call is not made in conformity with the Constitution and laws of
the United States, and in the second place, as your controversy relates to your right to hold a State office, its adjudication, unless a case is made under the so-called enforcement acts for federal jurisdiction, belongs to the State courts. If the decision of which you complain is erroneous, there appears to be no reason why it may not be reviewed and a correct decision obtained in the Supreme Court of the State.
George H. Williams, Attorney General.
The President to Governor Brooks.
Washington, April 16. Hon. Joseph Brooks, Little Rock, Ark.:
I am instructed by the President to say, in answer to your dispatch to him of yesterday, asking that the United States commanding officer at the arsenal be instructed to deliver the arms in his custody, belonging to the State, to you, or hold the same subject to your order, that he declines to comply with your request, as he is not advised that your right to hold the office of Governor has been fully and finally determined by the courts of Arkansas.
George H. Williams, Attorney General.
The President to Secretary of War.
Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C, April 16. Sir: The President directs me to request that you will please instruct the commanding officer at Little Rock, Ark., to take no part in the political controversy in that State, unless it should be necessary to prevent bloodshed or collision of armed bodies.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
0. E. Babcock, Secretary. The Secretary Of War.
Secretary of War to Captain Rose. War Department, Adjutant General's Office, Washington, April 16. Commanding Officer,
Little Rock Barracks, Arkansas: By direction of the President, the Secretary of War instructs that you take no part in the political controversy in the State of Arkansas, unless it should be necessary to prevent bloodshed or collision of armed bodies. Acknowledge receipt, E. D. Townsend,
The Attorney General to U. S. Marshal. Washington, April 16. Take notice of existing troubles and notify the officer commanding United States troops if collision is imminent. He is expected to prevent bloodshed.
George H. Williams, Attorney GeneraL
Mayor of Little Rock to the Attorney General. Little Rock, April 17. To Attorney General Williams, Washington, D. C.: In your dispatch to Governor Brooks I infer that you intend to be understood as saying thai the President cannot recognize him as Governor until his right has been fully and finally recognized by the courts. I understand from your dispatch to Governor Baxter that the President cannot recognize him as Governor until his right has been settled by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will not be in session until June. Now, what are we to do in the meantime? Governor Baxter has issued a proclamation putting this county under martial law, and armed men, pretending to act under his orders, are patrolling the streets, stopping peaceable and unarmed citizens, and setting the authority of the city officers at defiance, and arresting the police. Not only this: private property is being forcibly seized and appropriated in a like manner. The construction placed on your dispatch by Governor Baxter is that it is a license to make an attack on the Brooks faction, with an assurance that in so doing the Federal Government will not interfere. You will readily see that the city is sure to become a scene of bloodshed, and over a strife they are not responsible for, and which they have not the power to settle under the case of facts stated and placed, when an appeal to either one of the persons claiming to be Governor lays the city authorities liable to the charge of being the partisans of the one appealed to. I desire to ask you if the Federal Government is powerless to protect the lives and property of twenty thousand inhabitants who are situated as we are. If you will instruct the officers in command of the arsenal to aid the city police in making the arrest of men who are openly violating the law and setting the same at defiance, I could preserve the peace of the city without being compelled to take sides with either of the contending factions. This question of who is the rightful Governor can only be settled by the courts, a thing that may not be done for the next twelve months, and I now implore you in the name of peace to aid me all in your power until the other question is settled.
Fred. K. Kramer, Mayor, City of Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Attorney General to U. S. District Attorney.
Washington, April 17. S. R. Harrington, Esq.,
United States Attorney, Little Bock, Ark.: Colonel Rose must execute the orders of the War Department to prevent bloodshed and the collision of armed bodies according to his own judgment. George H. Williams,
Captain Rose to Governor Baxter. Headquarters Little Rock Barracks, Little Rock, April 17. Sir: I am informed by the United States marshal of this district that there is danger of a collision between the forces under your command and those of certain forces under the command of Joseph Brooks.
I therefore have the honor to enjoin upon you that you make no movement with your forces in any direction in the city of Little Rock, Ark., or its vicinity, with a view to bring about such a collision, or that may bring on such a collision,
or to make any movement that may possibly bring about a collision with the United States troops under my command, or to impede any movement I may wish to make with the troops of my command to prevent the shedding of blood and the collision of armed forces.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, T. E. Rose, Capt. lQth Infantry, Commanding Po&L Gen. Elisha Baxter,
Commanding Forces in the State of Arkansas. (Copy of the foregoing letter sent to Joseph
Executive Office, Little Rock, April 17. Captain: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of this date.
In compliance with your request, I will not advance my lines to-night toward the enemy. At the same time, I trust that your request, or injunction, does not extend to the prohibition on my part of any military operations.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, Elisha Baxter,
Governor of Arkansas.
Executive Office, Little Rock, April 17.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 17th instant, "enjoining me to make no movement with the forces under my command in any direction in the city of Little Rock, Ark., or its vicinity, with a view to bring about a collision with the forces under the command of Elisha Baxter, or that may bring on such a collision, or that may bring about such a collision," &c.
The forces under my command will only be used to repel any attack that may be made by the forces under the command of Elisha Baxter, having for its object the custody or control of the state-house and state-house grounds. Any and all such attacks will be resisted with all the force at my command. I have not and do not now contemplate removing any portion of my command from the state-house grounds. My position is not one of aggression but that of defense.
I take pleasure in assuring you that the force under my command will not in any manner impede any movement having for its object what is stated in your communication of this date.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, * Joseph Brooks,
Governor of the State of Arkansas and Commander-in- Chief.
The Attorney General to the Mayor. Department Of Justice, Washington, April 18. You must be aware that the President cannot interfere in the domestic difficulties of a State, except in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the United States. He cannot recognize a call made upon him for military aid by the mayor of a city. He has instructed the officer commanding the United States troops at Little Bock to prevent bloodshed. That is all he can do under existing circumstances. I will ask, in answer to your inquiry whether the United States are powerless to protect twenty thousand people situated as the citizens of Little Rock are, if the people of Arkansas have not patriotism enough to allow a question as to who shall hold a State office to be settled peaceably and lawfully, and not bring upon their State the disgrace and ruin of civil war.
George H. Williams, Attorney General. Frederick Kramer, Esq.,
Mayor af Little Rock.
The President to Captain Rose. Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C, April 18. Captain Rose,
Commanding U. S. Troops, Little Rock. I have a dispatch from the acting president of the Western Union Telegraph Company, saying that "Baxter's officers now inspect all messages at Little Rock before transmission, and will allow no messenger to pass out with any message for the Brooks party, whether from the United States officials or otherwise. Under these circumstances it will be seen that this company is unable at present to maintain the sanctity of telegraphic correspondence."
While the Government takes no part in the unhappy state of affairs existing in Arkansas at this time, you will see that all official dispatches of the Government, whether from the military or civil departments, are transmitted without molestation by either of the contestants for the gubernatorial chair. Report to the Secretary of War the situation of affairs. U. S. Grant.
Captain Rose to the Secretary of War. Little Rock, April 19. Received the President's instructions; they are carried out; there is some excitement; it will soon subside; force small on each side.
T. E. Rose, Capt. \§th Infantry,
Governor Baxter to the President.
Little Rock, April 19. A few days since, in the absence of my counsel, and at a time wholly unexpected, the circuit judge of this county, a court of inferior jurisdiction, rendered judgment in favor of Brooks against me for the office of Governor of the State, and without notice to me or my counsel. I was at once forcibly put out of the office, and that Without any pretense of a writ being served on toe. All this was done, too, after the Supreme Court of this State had twice decided that no court in the State had jurisdiction of the case at all, and the Legislature alone had the jurisdiction. At once, on being ejected from the office, I took steps to restore myself, and to get possession of the office, and to carry on the government. The people are coming to my aid, and are ready to restore me at once. In making this organization, I am obstructed by the inteference of the United States troops, in displacing my guards from the telegraph office; and now it is apprehended that there will be further interfer-,
ence. Such interference breaks me down, and prevents any effort on my part to restore the State government and to protect the people in their rights. I beg of you to modify any order to the extent of such interference, and leave me free to act in this way to restore law and peace as the legitimate Governor of the State. Such interference does not leave me any chance to assert my claim to the office of Governor. In the interests of peace and of those people who are flocking here to my support by the hundreds, I beg of you to remove the United States troops back to the arsenal, and permit me to restore the legitimate government by my own forces, which I will do promptly if the United States will not interfere. There is an armed insurrection against the legal State government here, and I call upon you to aid in suppressing it; but if you will not, then leave me free to act, and order the United States troops, without an hour's delay, to their own ground, and keep them out of my way. I have been thwarted and delayed thus long, and in fact ejected from my office, because of the fact that I had heretofore disbanded the militia of the State. I make this earnest demand to repress insurrection and prevent domestic violence under my sense of duty to the Constitution and laws of the United States, as well as of the State of Arkansas, and I rely confidently, as I have all the time, upon the assurances contained in your letter of September 15,1873, to prevent the overthrow of my official authority by illegal and disorderly proceedings. An immediate answer is requested; otherwise bloodshed may be the result.
Elisha Baxter, Governor of Arkansas.
Governor Brooks to the President.
Little Rock, Ark., April 20. Sir: I hereby inform you that one Elisha Baxter, a private citizen, pretending to be Governor of Arkansas, without warrant or authority of law, assumed to declare martial law in the capital county of the State, and to appoint a pretended military governor of the city of Little Rock, the seat of government; that he called out armed bodies of men for the avowed purpose of attacking and capturing the capitol of the State by military force, and forcibly installing himself as Governor of such State; that large bodies of armed men have assembled, and are continually assembling, under said Baxter's proclamation of mariial law, and are in close proximity to the state-house, and have this day actually advanced on the state-house and confronted a body of Federal troops stationed in front of the State-house, under order from their commanding officer, acting under your command to preserve the peace, and were only prevented from making the attack by the presence of Federal troops; that these armed bodies have seized and appropriated private property, and are hourly seizing and appropriating private property without compensation; have conscripted, and are continually conscripting, private citizens, and compelling them to aid and abet them in their insurrectionary purposes, and have seized and are daily seizing railroads in the State, and appropriating them to the same illegal and insurrectionary purposes; that there are armed bodies at this moment assembled within a few hundred yards of the state-house, and threaten an immediate attack upon it; that the Legislature adjourned sine die in April last; has not since been convened; is not now in session, and cannot be convened in time to prevent the threatened attack; that domestic violence now actually exists in this State, and at the seat of government, which the civil and military authorities under my control are powerless to prevent or suppress. Therefore I, Joseph Brooks, Governor of the State of Arkansas, in pursuance of the Constitution and laws of the United States, hereby make application to your Excellency to protect the State capital and the State of Arkansas against domestic violence and insurrection.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the great seal of the State to be affixed at Little Rock, this the twentieth day of April, A. D. eighteen hundred and seventyfour. Joseph Beooks, Governor.
By the Governor: Edward Currey,
Secretary of State ad interim.
Captain Rose to Secretary of War.
Little Rock, April 20. The condition of affairs is unchanged, except that both parties have received reinforcements. The party at the state-house is barricaded, and occup}' no other part of- the city. The other party is about three hundred yards from them. I am in position to move between them instantly. T. E. Rose, Captain 16th Infantry.
Little Rock, April 20. It will not do to trust dispatches sent from here. I send this by Memphis. Since I sent my report this morning a disturbance occurred again by a mob marching in front of Baxter's quarters. I rode near to them alone on horseback to observe them, as they were violating a truce. When I got near them the leader fired a pistol at me and several of the mob fired also. I then formed the troops to resist an attack; the mob fired in all directions and stampeded without making further attack. One of the wounded is since dead; the troops nor myself did not fire a shot. I was unarmed, and therefore could not; the soldiers were too far off. I think the strife is ended. I do not need any more troops than I have. Thomas E. Rose,
Capt. 16th Infantry, Commanding Post.
Little Rock, April 21. The situation is about the same, except that there is an uncontrollable armed mob constantly parading on the streets. All parties agreed to a truce until to-morrow at nine o'clock, but at about five o'clock this afternoon the usual armed mob commenced parading on the streets in front of Mr. Baxter's quarters. Iimmediately went near, to observe them and inquire of their leaders what their object was, about which time an indiscriminate firing took place, resulting in the wounding of two men. The leaders will now probably disperse their own mobs, and the strife cease. Thomas E. Rose, Capt. 16th Infantry, Commanding Post.
LrsTLE Rock, April 21. In compliance with yours of yesterday, I have to report that the situation here is about the same, except that both parties continue to be reinforced. I reported to you yesterday, and received yours two hours after. After my report of yesterday, there was some disorder by hostile parties making an array against each other. This led me to throw one company of infantry to corner of Markham and Louisiana streets, and one company of infantry and two pieces of artillery to corner of Second and Louisiana; this effectually separated the two hostile forces. Negotiations are pending which I think will end the strife. Tnos. E. Rose,
Capt. 16th Infantry, Commanding.
Little Rock, April 22. It is now proposed by Governor Baxter to evacuate the city of Little Rock and encamp on the north side of the river, with the understanding that no hostilities shall be carried on from that side of the river, nor any movements made with a view to the commencement of hostilities without due notification thereof made to the commandant of Little Rock barracks. I think such a movement would result in the disintegration of Baxter's force. There is no change in the situation since last report, except that one company of Baxter's men went home this morning. Thomas E. Rose, Capt. 16th Infantry, Commanding Post.
Little Rock, April 22. Will you authorize me to furnish transportation to all the belligerents of both contending factions to their homes, the same to be charged to the State of Arkansas? I deem that the interests of the public good require it. It is important that you answer immediately.
T. E. Rose, Capt. 16th Infantry.
Secretary of War to Captain Pose.
Washington, April 22. The law gives me no authority to furnish transportation, and your application must be declined. W. W. Belknap, Secretary of War.
Governor Baxter to the President.
Little Rock, April 22. As I cannot move with my troops to assert my claims to the office of Governor without a collision with the United States troops, which I will not do under any circumstances, I propose to call the Legislature together at an early day, and leave them to settle the question, as they alone have the power; but to do this the members of the Legislature must have assurances of protection from you and a guarantee that they may meet in safety. This will be a peaceable solution of the difficulty, and I will readily abide by the decision of the Legislature. Elisha Baxter, Governor of Arkansas.
The President to Governor Baxter.
Washington, April 22, Hon. Elisha Baxter: I heartily approve any adjustment peaceably