December 10, 1868
The Dispatch talks about the status of Reconstruction legislature and politics in Virginia. They talk about how the proposed Alexandria constitution (which was seen as forced upon the people of Virginia) has a chance at becoming the law of the land in Richmond. The Dispatch also talks about the effect of the presidential election on this, saying that it has made everything more uncertain. The main message is that carpet-baggers are in Washington trying to cut corners to force their unfair legislation down the throats of white Virginians.
Virginia Reconstruction- The public have been advised of the activity of the hungry adventurers of this State in endeavoring to press upon Congress the necessity of an early election in Virginia, and of the adoption of the Constitution framed by the monstrous convention held in Richmond last winter. They have succeeded in getting some bills embodying their objects referred to committees. It remains to be seen whether Congress will gratify the wishes of these persons by passing such bills. The Presidential election, the doubt as to what effect the admission of the southern States would have upon that, and the determination to avoid any adverse result by bringing them in only as Radical States, have occasioned the delay and the oppression of reconstruction. That election is over, and is no longer a motive to retard our admission or to restrain tho liberties of the people. Naturally, there should be a change in the views of men controlling the Government at Washington. They should look more to the general welfare and less to the mere partisan objects of the moment, since their party is fairly fixed for four years in the possession of the offices of Government. They have been confessedly wearied - nay, disgusted - with reconstruction, and more with the eternal solicitations and clamors of the carpet-baggers and scalawags. Moreover, the conduct of the negro at the South has smartly disappointed them, and we may reasonably infer that they are in a frame of mind to admit the States not yet in on " some general principles " separated from those little tricks and contrivances of the incompetent and untrustworthy self-styled "loyalists" designed to restrict the rights of the white people and to place those of the negroes without limit. All this may reasonably be conjectured upon manifestations at Washington. It can hardly be the determination of the Government, for the sake of the few hungry adventurers who have so recently immigrated hither, to place the State under negro domination - to make ineligible nearly every intelligent citizen in the Commonwealth - and thus to occasion distrust of the Government and a paralysis of the industry of the people. Certainly for a motive so small and trilling in itself the welfare of the whole Union will not be subjected to injury by the continued disability of that intelligence and experience of the State which alone can bring her affairs out of chaos and restore the public prosperity. We therefore do not believe that the desire of these ruthless adventurers will be gratified. They know that their chance for office depends upon making all trustworthy and capable men in the State ineligible ; and this stirs them to their visits to Washington, and their importunate appeals to Congress. Most assuredly they cannot prevent the restoration of the white people to their rights, nor can they, we believe, prevent the restoration of elections in their true character of "selections" by the people. The welfare of the nation and the commonest principles of justice will demand this ; and it will be done, whatever be the fate of the adventurers. They have a certain amount of rope, which will soon run out, and there will be the end of them as well as the rope. The nation will not for their poor sakes give to the negroes that which is denied to white men; and when this is determined upon, we shall have, as a corollary, the fate of those whose whole labor now is to restrict the privileges of the white man and enlarge those of the negro.
About this article
“Virginia Reconstruction,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed August 8, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1214.