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THE INSIDE WORKINGS

OT THE

RECONSTRUCTION OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT IN FLORIDA AFTER THE CLOSE

OF THE CIVIL WAR.

BY JOHN WALLACE.
Lato Senator from Loon County.

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. :
DA COSTA PRINTING AND PUBLISUING HOUSE

1888,

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D. J.:

PREFACE.

The author of this work was born in North Carolina and held as a slave until 1862, when he made his escape while General Burnside was operating with his army against the Confederacy in that State. He went to Washington, D. C., after which he entered the United States Army on the 14th of August, 1863, enlisting in the Second United States Colored Troops raised in that city, and served two years and six months in that regiment, which was engaged in the operations of the Federal forces in Florida in the year 1864, and the early part of 1865. Discharged from the service of the United States at Key West, January 1st, 1866, he returned to Tallahassee, where he has since resided up to this period. He had no education while a slave, and never had the benefit of any school before or since he was discharged from the army, and has acquired what knowledge he may have of letters from constant study at night, which studies he was compelled to relax on account of injury to his eyes by the explosion of a bomb shell, near his face, thrown by the enemy at the battle of Fort Myers, Florida. His physicians advised him that if he persisted in pursuing his studies it would result in total blindness. He has acquired the knowledge of facts upon which this work treats by being constantly in the midst of the actors of the theatre of this period. He was first appointed a messenger of the Constitutional Convention of 1868, and upon the adoption of the Constitution, was elected Constable for Leon County, the Capital of the State, serving for two years. Was elected twice to the lower branch of the Legislature, serving four years; and twice elected to the Senate, where he served for eight years.

In submitting this work to the public, the author does not attempt to present a work adorned with beauties of rhetoric, as he would desire, but has resorted, as far as his limited ability would permit, to such language in the construction of sentences as he judged would give the reader a fair conception of the transactions which took place during the period mentioned in the title of the work.

The design of this work is to correct the settled and erroneous impression that has gone out to the world that the former slaves, when eufranchised, had no conception of good government, and therefore their chief ambition was corruption and plunder ; to prove that, although they had been for more than two hundred years deprived of that training calculated to fit a people for citizenship of a great republic like ours, yet their constant contact with a more enlightened race, though in the position of slaves, would have made them better citizens and more honest legis. lators if they had not been contaminated by strange white men who represented themselves to them as their saviours; that the laws of the State, passed with reference to the colored people in 1865, were not enacted as a whole to be enforced, but to deter the colored people from revenging any real or fancied wrongs that cruel masters may have inflicted while they were slaves; that these laws and the secret leagues, riveted the former slaves to these strangers, who explained them to be tenfold worse than they were; that it was white men, and not colored men, who originated corruption and enriched themselves from the earnings of the people of the State from the year 1868 to 1897; that the loss of the State to the National Republican Party was not due to any unfaithfulness of the colored people to that party, but to the corruption of these strange white leaders termed "carpet baggers;" that the colored people have done as well as any other people could have done under the same circumstances, if not better. This work is further intended to prove that notwithstanding the blunders of the ex-slaveholder towards the colored pea ple, the deception and betrayal by the carpet baggers of the colored people into the hands of their former masters, yet they, like the thunder-riven oak, have defied the storm which has now spent its terrific force, and like a caravan of determined pioneers cutting out highways in a new country, the Negro is laying the foundation for a civilization that shall be fully equal in every respect to that of any other race or people; and that the ascendancy of the Democratic party to the State government in 1877, has proved a blessing in disguise to the colored people of Marida

Respectfully,

JOHN WALLACE.

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