Friday, January 8, 1875.
...A Prophet In His Own Country.
his name as Lieutenant General of the army. Did this dispatch sound like an American officer? Did it not sound like the commander of a band of Janissaries, asking for instructions from some Oriental despot? In a time of profound peace he asks that Congress shall pass an ex post facto law, that he shall try by military commission and murder his own fellow-citizens. As he (Mr. B.) said, if the proper feeling existed in high quarters General Sheridan would not remain where he was five minutes. He had proved himself utterly unfit for his position. Instead of conciliation, kindness and obedience to the civil law, he rushes at once to set up a military despotism. We talk of Russian rule in Poland, and yet what Russian officer ever penned a dispatch of such remorseless cruelty as this. We read that Secretary Belknap sent a dispatch to General Sheridan that "the president and all of us approve of your course." Every feeling of disgust, of horror and of indignation which I have for the man who could send such a dispatch I have for those who approve it. He believed that the American people would repudiate "all of us" who indorse such action. Mr. B. then quoted at length from the decision of the Supreme Court in the Michigan case on military commissions. General Sheridan holds out threats which are disgraceful to the cloth he wears and to the country of which he is a citizen. The proposition is now here
that the President can, of his own motion and his own discretion, adjudge that sufficient domestic violence exists as to warrant him to interfere in the organization of a Legislature. So far as right is concerned, the people of Louisiana have as much right to pass upon the qualifications of the members of the two Houses of Congress as Congress has to pass upon the qualifications of the members of the Legislature of Louisiana. What has been done in Louisiana to-day may be done in New York to-morrow and in Massachusetts the next day, and it can be done in this Capitol on the fourth of March. He will have the same right to sustain the Clerk of the present House with troops, and allow them to call such names as he pleases and organize the House as he pleases. There would be no physical power in Congress to prevent it. But the American people would stand in the way. They will visit upon the heads of the offenders all such violations of law and right.
He said this movement now was an attempt to feel the popular pulse, to see how far power could go. If the American people were insensible to the wrongs of their fellow-citizens in Louisiana, depend upon it they would feel themselves, and in a broader manner, the same disregard of their rights and liberties.
had been put over this new usurpation; that there was no pretence of obeying the civil authority; no sham of carrying out the decrees of a corrupt court; but it was plain, open, naked hand of the soldier, and it was for the people to meet the issue....
- National Republican, Washington, D.C., Saturday Morning, January 09, 1875. Vol. XV. No. 39. Pg. 1.