October 19, 1865: Preparing for the Mass Convention

The Cape Girardeau Weekly Argus of October 19, 1865 published the call for a Mass Convention in st. Louis to support presidential reconstruction and to oppose the new Missouri constitution with its “cocklebur” oath that kept former Confederates out of almost all public positions. Along with this statewide call, it also published the report of a local meeting called to select delegates for that Mass Convention. The resolutions passed by the Cape Girardeau County meeting include a call to preserve constitutional liberties, and especially to oppose “the policy of adulterating our civil liberty by the admixture of negro franchise with the white man’s”.

Public Meeting

Pursuant to call a respectable number of the citizens of Cape Girardeau County assembled at the court house in the town of Jackson for the purpose of passing resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting and to appoint delegates to the Grand Mass Convention to be held in the city of St. Louis on the 26th October, 1865. The meeting was called to order by Captain Jacob H. Burrough, when Judge Thomas B. English was called to the chair and explained the object of the meeting, whereupon, on motion, Jacob Tobler was appointed secretary. On motion, it was agreed that the Chairman appoint persons as a committee to draft and report resolutions, when the chair appointed Judge George H. Greene, Capt. Jacob H. Burrough, William M. Hamilton, Robert W. Harris and William E. Alexander as such committee, who, after having withdrawn for some time, reported the following resolutions:

Resolved, that we approve of the objects and purposes of the Mass Convention to be held on the 26th inst., as explained in the call for the same, and that it is expedient that the friends of order and enlightened civil liberty be represented therein from this county.

Resolved, that we rejoice in the restoration of peace and the Union and we hope to soon see a revival of prosperity and fraternal relations among the states and people of the two great sections recently estranged by a mad fratricidal conflict, and we approve of the policy of reconstruction announced by President Johnson, having this patriotic object in view, by securing the principles of sound Republican Government, founded on the consent of the governed, under a mild and liberal policy in which we so prospered in the palmy days of the Republic.

Resolved, that all honor is due our brave troops, both regular and militia, who so gallantly battled for the flag of the country, and the restoration of Union and Constitutional liberty; that the work will be but half done if a rampant spirit of Revolution, as wild and destructive as Secession, be permitted to fasten upon the country and overthrow civil and religious freedom, and trample the Constitution under foot.

Resolved, that we are opposed, as inimical to progress and destructive of liberty, the policy of adulterating our civil liberty by the admixture of negro franchise with the white man’s. It’s [sic] effect must be to lower the standard of our civilization, and introduce confusion, anarchy and disorder.

Resolved, that the New Constitution of this State, in some of its provisions, is illiberal und unjust in the extreme, and in contravention of the Constitution of the United States, unworthy of an enlightened age, and calculated to keep up strife among our citizens, even after peace has been restored, and to retard the growth and prosperity of the State; and therefore that the objectional features ought to be modified or repealed, so soon as the same can be done by Constitutional and lawful means.

Resolved, that ____________ be appointed delegates from the County to said Convention, and that they have power to substitute others in their respective places in case of vacancy.

Which resolutions being read, were on motion adopted.

It was then moved and carried that the blank in the last resolution be filled with the names of twenty citizens from this County as such delegates, to be appointed by the Chair. Upon which, the following persons were appointed:
Judge George H. Greene, Capt. J. H. Burrough, Col. H. H. M. Williams, Wm. M. Hamilton, Robert W. Harris, Dr. Kendell H. Burford, Eugene Garaghty, Capt. Elisha Sheppard, James M. McGuire, Major David W. Shepperd, Capt. Ezra King, Samuel M. Green, Andrew Clippard, William F. Kinder, jr., Amzi D. Leech, Isom Strong, John R. Henderson, David C. Hope, John J. Miller and William E. Alexander.

Whereupon, on motion, the Chair was added to the list of delegates.

On motion, it was resolved that the proceedings of this meeting be made out, signed by the officers, and sent to the Cape Girardeau Argus for publication. Whereupon the meeting adjourned.

Thos. B. English, Ch’n.
Jacob Tobler, Secretary.

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