The Last Radical Howl Stifled

May 20, 1870


The Conservatives are getting a bill passed without a provision that mandates each voter and their ballot be numbered, which upsets the Radicals. The Government also denies the Radical requests to add the clause back into the bill.


The Last Radical Howl Stifled. The election law, with all the amendments to it, was buried in the ruins of the Supreme Court room, and a committee was appointed to get up the remains and arrange them in proper order. This process was conducted inaccurately upon one point. A clause which had been rejected was inherted in the bill, and it was passed without the detection of this error, and signed by the Governor In such a hurry that he could not give it a critical examination. Indeed, he had watched the progress of the bill, and thought he understood it perfectly. This error was a provision requiring that each voter should be numbered when registered, and that his ballot should be endorsed with his number, thus violating the object of the ballot, which is to screen the voter from all scrutiny as to his vote. When it was discovered, the Radicals set up a howl like a herd of bovines that had smelt the blood of one of their race. No doubt their tale bearers immediately ran off to Washington to tell Sumner, and Butler, and Company, that Virginia was again in insurrection and Union men's lives were again in peril. But the Legislature immediately put a gag in their mouths by passing very promptly a bill repealing the obnoxious provision, and it is no longer part of the law. The Radicals are greatly distressed at the repeal of this clause, which accidentally got into the bill. It was a nice thing for a Radical sensation, and some had ventured to hope that it would put Virginia once more under military rule. Well, the grist for these disturbers of the public peace is nearly run out, and some fine, frosty morning they will be, all gone like the sora ; but, unlike that bird, never to return.
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Bryce Smith




“The Last Radical Howl Stifled,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 20, 2022,