Gen. Banks

Gen. Banks’s antecedents were unfavorable to him when he landed in New Orleans. True, he was from Massachusetts, and was a Republican: but he belonged to the conservative portion of the party. The word “white” in the militia law, which had so long offended the good taste and better judgment of the majority of the people, was stricken out during the last term of Gov. Banks’s administration, but failed to receive his sanction. In his message vetoing the bill, he resorted to a laborious effort of special pleading to prove that the negro was not a citizen. The fact is, he was a Democrat dressed up in Republican garments. Gen. Butler had brought the whites and blacks nearly to a level with each other as citizens of New Orleans, when he was succeeded by Gen. Banks. The latter at once began a system of treatment to the colored people, which showed that his feelings were with the whites, and against the blacks. The old slave-law, requiring colored persons to be provided with passes to enable them to be out from their homes after half-past eight o’clock at night was revived by Gen. Banks’s understrappers…

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5 thoughts on “Gen. Banks”

  1. “…Democrat dressed up in Republican garments.” Interesting! I have never read anything by William Wells Brown, surprisingly enough. I have added Negro In American Rebellion: His Heroism & His Fidelity and Clotel to my Amazon wishlist. Good timing, as I watched Gone With the Wind for the first time last night. I’m definitely in a Civil War research mood. (I have also added both Grant and Sherman’s memoirs to my wishlist because I’m insane.)

    1. A Reference Librarian at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress just got back to me with the full text of “We Need a True, Strong, and Principled Party.”

      1. Oh, wow. How incredibly nice! Did they send it as a PDF, or did you convert it to one? So nice to be able to run a search!

        1. Ha! Yeah, she sent it to me as an unsearchable PDF. ABBYY FineReader 10 (a program which I paid for in full and encourage others to purchase legally just as I have) quickly and painlessly made Mr. Douglass’s words searchable.

  2. I looked him up while reading a speech from Frederick Douglass. A friend of mine was using the following excerpt to suggest that Douglass would’ve opposed affirmative action:

    Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, “What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall!

    That much of it makes it look like Douglass would have been strongly opposed to affirmative action. If you read around it, though, I think you get a different impression.

    There’s also this other bit that he said:

    I say, whenever the black man and the white man, equally eligible, equally available, equally qualified for office, present themselves for that office, the black man, at this juncture of our affairs, should be preferred. That is my conviction.

    I’m having trouble finding the full text of that speech or essay, unfortunately. More of the quote is here.

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