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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

Re: Senate Rpt - Negro Exodus from So. States PT 2

Copy of Testimony of Henry Adams ... p154-158
Questions here are by:
1) Mr. Zebulon B. Vance, Democrat, from North Carolina -- Governor, Representative and Senator(1879-1894).
2) Mr. Henry W. Blair, Republican Representative and Senator from New Hampshire (1879-1885, 1885-1891).

The following conversation between the two senators occurred when Mr. Blair was in the middle of reading from Henry Adams' journal of 'observations', which was submitted as evidence.

"Compiled by Henry Adams"

In the year 1866, in the parish of Caddo, State of Louisiana, I seen hanging to a limb of an oak tree, about six miles south from Shreveport, the body of a colored man...

Vance: What year is that (addressing Mr. Blair)?

Blair: 1866. This is an account of things that came under the witness's personal observation.

Vance: Well, I have no objection to going back in the account to the discovery of America.

Blair: I suppose it is necessary to go back to these occurrences, for the purposes of the witness's statement and this investigation.

Vance: Perhaps it is; if Columbus had not discovered this country there would have been no exodus.

Blair: (continuing to read for a few moments loner.)
...
Q. Now, here is another document, in continuation of your statement, headed "statements of individuals" (colored), and beginning with De Soto parish, and going on to detail the specific cases of outrage to the number of 683, each case occupying a line or two - the last one being as follows: "683d. James Metimes (colored), beaten by Billy Willfort, a white man on Dr. Shempa's place, because he did not get out to work as soon as he wanted him to go. Done in 1868;: and these instances occurring as I see in the different years from 1866 to 1876. You say that these statements of colored people are statements as made to you and you jotted them down as they were given?

A. Yes, they are as they were told to me, and I would set it down as they say.
...
Q. Here are also eleven affidavits of colored men, with their signatures where they have signed them, and "marks" of those who could not write their names. Are these true copies of those affidavits ?
A. Yes, sir; they are.

Mr. Blair: Well, we will receive them without taking the time to read them.

Mr. Vance: But we ought to have the opportunity to cross-examine the witness on these statements. You wish these statements to go in as testimony (addressing Mr. Blair)?

Mr. Blair: Yes, sir; they are statements such as we have been receiving and admitting into the testimony. We have had any amount of such testimony in the examination.

The Chairman: I would suggest hat they be allowed to go in the record.

Mr. Vance: I see the statement says a colored man's head was seen lying by the roadside. For all we know to the contrary, the body might have been lying there attached to the head. And it says a wagon belonging to a colored man was burning, and the mules were burned to death. How do we know but the mules set the wagon on fire!

Mr. Blair: The witness testifies to the event; it is a simple and brief record of the occurrence, that is all.

Mr. Vance: I know that; but if the thing is filed in bulk, we can have no opportunity of cross-examination.

Mr. Blair: I know that, but that is no reason for excluding testimony that is pertinent, and it is such as we have been receiving.

Mr. Vance: Very well.

The statements, with affidavits, were filed - and appeared in the printed record.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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