Grand Tribute to Virginia
April 21, 1868
Even General Schofield sees the problems of the iron-clad oath. Schofield is the head of appointing new officers yet he thinks it impossible to build a decent government with the oath in place.
Grand Tribute to Virginia. " I have been now for more than a year " administering the laws, in accordance with " the reconstruction acts of Congress, in this " State. I have had to select and appoint " registering officers, as well as civil officers, " in the different counties throughout the " State. In some of the counties I have " been able to find one, and only one, in " some two, and in some three men of either " race who could read and write, and who " could at the same time take the oath of " office."-General Schofield to the Scallawags. The foregoing passage in the speech of General Schofield to the late Convention held in this city by order of Congress is one of the proudest tributes ever paid to the State. Her people resisted the Federal Government at her command, upon a point of honor and principle; but being overcome, they gracefully submitted, and gave in their adhesion to the National Government. For party purposes the dominant faction in Washington disfranchised her best citizens and prescribed an oath of office to which none who obeyed the voice of their State could with honesty subscribe. But they were not to be swerved from their integrity by the hope of reward or the threat of harsher punishment; and thus we have this grand tribute from General Schofield to the State. With the iron-clad oath, General Schofield truly told the Convention that it would be " impossible to inaugurate a government yet the obstinate and reckless majority treated his remonstrances with contempt, and adhered to that prescriptive oath, which must ostracise from public service and public trust nearly every man in Virginia who is capable and fit for either. And thus the Constitution goes before the people with the denunciation of the Commander of the district, as an utterly impracticable thing-as a basis upon which it is " impossible to inaugurate a government." Thus Virginia, by her integrity and constancy, is bringing confusion upon her persecutors. She will continue to preserve her fair name.; and whenever she is solicited to consent to her own disgrace she will indignantly spurn the proposition. Her next proud act will be the tripling of the detestable Constitution now offered her in the dust.
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“Grand Tribute to Virginia,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 24, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/999.