Won't Jollificate for Good Reason
January 7, 1868
Alexander H. H. Stuart remarks on the sour attitude of disenfranchisement for white Southerners while black citizens are allowed the right to vote.
Won't Jollificate-for Good Reasons. The Hon. A. H. H. Stuart having been invited by a committee to a banquet to be given in Washington on the 8th day of January (to-morrow) courteously declines the invitation for very proper reasons. We give his letter below, and commend it most heartily. "Words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in pictures of silver": Staunton, Va., January 2,1868. Gentlemen,-I pray you to accept my thanks for your kind invitation to attend a banquet to be given at the Metropolitan Hotel, in the city of Washington, on the 8th instant, under the auspices of leading members of the Conservative Democratic party. Under Ordinary circumstances it would be peculiarly gratifying to me to participate in the festivities of that occasion, and to enjoy " the feast of reason and flow of soul" which, I doubt not, will give zest to your entertainment. But situated as I am-disfranchised as a citizen, denied the political privileges which are accorded to my negro servant; repelled from the hall of the House of Representatives, to which I was elected almost by acclamation; my native State, the proud old mother of Washington, and Henry, and Jefferson, unrecognized save as Military District No. 1-1 must confess I would feel somewhat out of place at your board. In former days, when I visited Washington as representative of the people, or as the associate of Webster, Crittenden, and Corwin, in the executive councils of the nation, I felt that in the eye of the law at least, I was the peer of the loftiest in the land. I was privileged to think freely and to speak freely on all matters of public concern. Were I to join your circle now, I should feel painfully conscious of the difference between your position and mine. No military order can consign you to a dungeon beyond the reach of habeas corpus, and no persuasive bayonets admonish you to speak with " bated breath." With me the case might be different. But be that as it may, while Virginia mourns I cannot rejoice. While the cypress encircles her brow I cannot twine the myrtle round my own. But may I not hope that the present condition of things is temporary? If I do not misinterpret the signs of the times, the day is near at hand when, by the mandate of a magnanimous people, the shackles will be stricken from the limbs of Virginia and; her southern sisters, and there shall be given unto them "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." When that glorious day shall have arrived I shall be happy to meet you and your lei, low patriots around the festive board, and on behalf of Virginia to offer a willing and hearty tribute of gratitude to the noble Conservative Democrats who set her free. Respectfully, your obedient servant, Alexander H. H. Stuart.
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“Won't Jollificate for Good Reason,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed November 18, 2017, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/760.