March 27, 1868
Talk of removing the disabilities on the Southern people ensues. Past acts of rebellion do not slow down the process of emancipation and the only requirement of being relieved of the disabilities is to convert to Radicalism.
Removing Disabilities. In considering the question of the removal of disabilities imposed upon the southern people there is a prevalent error in the supposition that rebellion constitutes any difficulty in the way. It matters not what a man has done; indeed, the nearer his achievements in the war on the side of the Confederacy came to heroism the more readily will he be relieved and enrolled among the " emancipated." The only requirement will be that the applicant for relief shall have become a convert to Radicalism-shall have joined the party in power, and pledged himself to cooperate in forcing upon his country the destructive measures of reconstruction passed by Congress. Indeed, his whole pledge and undertaking is to give his influence and vote to curtailing the rights of his white fellow citizens and to enlarging and multiplying those of the blacks. Any man who will make this pledge can be relieved of all his disabilities in a little while. Indeed, had the people of the South immediately after the war, joined the Radical party negroes would not have been made voters. This was apparent at the time ; but the southern whites were not made of such stuff as that. It is not surprising that there should be some who are ready to sell themselves for office. When the greed for that seizes a man it gnaws like the undying worm : and men will sell peace, honor, kin, family, and even country, to appease it. It is a glory of the South that so few have thus bartered the most precious jewels in this world for a thing so base. There are no truer people in God's world than the southern to all their pledges and promises. The country can boast of none more faithful to the Constitution and laws. But to gain that peace, that order, that personal liberty and rights which are denied them, they will not sell themselves. It is for such as would continue the prostration of these people-for such as would shave down the rights of southern white men and transfer the ruling power to ignorant negroes and depraved interloping whites-to pay the price exacted by the congressional Algerines for ransom. Such men may take their way-verily they have their reward.
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“Removing Disabilities,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 20, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/939.