A Radical Trick-General Canby Involved

October 11, 1869


General Canby has a trick up his sleeve in hopes of slowing down the end to Reconstruction.


A Richmond letter in the Alexandria Gazette says : "Apropos of the chagrin of the ultra Radicals at seeing the fruits of their late defeat, it is asserted on good authority that on the meeting of the House of Delegates on Wednesday it was the intention of General Canby to issue a circular to that body giving as his opinion that the opinion of Attorney-General Hoar against the test-oath did not extend to the officers of the Legislature, and that in order to legalize their work it would be necessary for the Speaker, Clerk, etc., to subscribe to its parts; but that at the request of leading Radicals he withheld it until they would hold a conference on the subject. A special caucus was called, and it was decided that if the point was well taken they had better reserve it until Congress met, and then urge that the ratification of the fifteenth amendment was illegal on the ground of ineligibility of the officers acting when the vote was taken. They hope in this way to stave off action on the question of Virginia's admission till towards the close or the session of Congress, and then have the work of ratification remitted back to the Virginia Legislature on the technical ground above alluded to. The finale of this scheme to obstruct reconstruction is that congress must adjourn before the Legislature can be reassembled, and thus continue the military government another year, giving them the control of every office in the Sate until they can accumulate a sufficient fund with which to carry them 'to hum' when the storm descends, and provide for their wants after they get there. "Of course no serious apprehension is felt by the friends of reconstruction that this crowning piece of villainy will succeed."
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Jermaine Reynolds




“A Radical Trick-General Canby Involved,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1515.