Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Paying for the Black and Tan Convention—Part 3

This post is number twenty-one in a historical series discussing Mississippi’s Whig/Republican governor and senator, James Alcorn, following the War Between the States and is the third in a subset discussing the Mississippi Constitutional Convention of 1868, known derisively as the “Black and Tan” Convention. For the two earlier posts on this topic see 8 May and 10 June 2015 respectively.

The other genuine matter the delegates needed to address was how to pay for the convention, a valid matter rendered ludicrous given the focus on matters not in the convention’s charter, most significantly its attempts at role playing as a legislative body, which it was not.

The United States government, under the demands of the Reconstruction Acts, paid for the registration of Mississippi’s electorate (see my 24 Feb 2015 post below) and the cost of the November election which called for a constitutional convention. At that point, costs reverted to the bankrupt state government.  

Lest the reader think that the destitute South was being supported by an overly burdened Northern tax base, understand that subsidizing the tyrannical bureaucracy created by the present occupiers of the South, and maintained in place by military force, came from the South’s hide. Payments made to support a displaced populace that refused to return to work and the day-to-day operation of institutions such as our insane asylum and penitentiary (nominally provided for by the Federal government) were offset by the sale of abandoned land and conscripted property. The biggest complaint the North could make toward the tax burden, is that Federal application of such confiscation toward maintaining Southern civil governments left the North with less of the plunder to put toward the “internal improvements” reserved for itself.   

One white democratic delegate at the convention motioned that a $2.50 poll tax be applied to every voter. That would have netted $348,317.50. Since the convention assessed, at the start, that $100,000.00 would be required to carry out its duties, this sum should have been more than adequate. However, the delegates (including the fella who made the motion, no doubt) realized the voters, at least the ones whose votes the Radicals needed, would not pay that poll tax—just like they didn’t pay it for generations after this period passed. The dominate party at this convention had no intention of “hitting up” those who benefited from the process. 

Other schemes included: 

-the issuing of state warrants to be made receivable in payment of taxes and other dues made to the state  

-send a committee of three to meet with the President, present the true state of affairs, and ask for a loan of $100,000 (Really, folks?)

The “committee” finally decided on a “finance committee” to frame an ordinance for levying a tax on the real and personal property in the state, thereby shifting the burden onto the shoulders of Mississippi’s taxpayer who received little consideration at the hands of this group. Those, who members referred to as “loyal” citizens, did not contribute enough to pay doorkeepers and pages hired to open the doors for these pompous delegates making up the convention. On 26 January, 1868, the chairman of the finance committee asked General Gillem if such a tax was proposed by the convention, would civil authorities be prevented from collecting it. General Gillem responded such a tax would not be prohibited as long as it conformed to the Reconstruction Acts. 

Perhaps a little time would have been saved if General Gillem had set forth more qualifiers or if the finance committee had been more forthright with him as to what it regarded as real and moveable property. What the convention produced was an elaborate tax ordinance made up of 36 sections taxing everything and everyone imaginable:  

-Auction stores, distilleries, livery stales, coal yards, carriage factories, bounty agents, gun smiths, banks, exchange brokers, street vendors, express and telegraph offices, grist mills, cotton gins, ferries, bridges, turnpikes, billiard tables, photograph galleries, insurance agencies... 

-Newspapers (a daily, $50.00; tri-weekly, $30.00; weekly, $20.00; printing offices, $25.00 each).  

-Five of Mississippi’s railroads were taxed $200.00 each; three $50.00 each; and all others $10.00 each). However, by virtue of their state charters, all railroads were exempt from taxation until 1874. 

-Every bale of cotton was taxed 50 cents. As of the time the Finance Committee proposed this tax, the federal tax on cotton was still in effect. It was repealed in March of this year (1866). 

-A special tax equivalent to one-third of the state tax was levied on all real and movable property. In other words, folks were taxed a third again on what they were already paying to the state. 

To collect these taxes, the convention proposed special tax collectors, one for each county (the counties already had sheriffs for that), who would be compensated five percent of all the money they collected. Gibbs pushed through a motion exempting these collectors from placing bonds. Anybody else reading the truth in the objective here? This group of special collectors was vested with extraordinary powers:
--to take oaths

--if not satisfied as to the amount of the taxpayers’ assets, the collector could assess and collect whatever he deemed just. There was no limit on his “judgment” and the taxpayer was given only five days to come up with the required assessment. 

The convention passed the code, and a committee of taxpayers immediately confronted Gillem, claiming the code violated the Reconstruction Acts . The Reconstruction Acts had authorized the constitutional convention to lay a tax on the property of the state for defraying the cost of the convention.  

General Gillem took no action, but told the taxpayer committee to seek redress in the U.S. District Court. The taxpayer committee applied to Judge R. A. Hill, an old-line Whig from Tishomingo County who was elected probate judge in 1858 and continued in that capacity until Provisional Governor Sharkey in the spring/summer of 1865 appointed him chancellor of his district. Judge Hill opposed secession, but supported his people. He was respected and trusted by Unionist and Secessionist alike. In 1866, President Johnson, who knew him personally, appointed him a U.S. District Judge for Mississippi. He is technically considered a scalawag, but since the Unionists and Secessionists (and I’m talking Mississippi’s Unionists and Secessionists here) both continued to respect and trust him throughout Reconstruction, the approbation might be considered unfair. That aside, the taxpayer committee asked Judge Hill for an injunction to prohibit collection of the tax. The judge said he had no jurisdiction—I’m assuming he considered it a “state” matter between the taxpayer and the “constitutional convention”, though obviously the taxpayer is claiming violation of Article 8 of the Reconstruction Acts, which was most definitely federal. My limited research on Judge Hill indicates he played an active role in the convention of 1868, but that information does not state how he leaned. His refusal here to help the Mississippi taxpayer may or may not be telling. Perhaps, he really didn’t  have jurisdiction—it was, after all, the army officer who sent the taxpayer in his direction. 

Failing in the federal court, the taxpayer committee applied to a state circuit judge who granted the injunction. At this point, the state’s taxpayers (everybody with property) made it known, they would not pay these taxes unless the military under General Gillem approved the collection under the Reconstruction Acts. On 12 February, the convention made a resolution regarding the action of the state court and the hostility of the people and the press and requested Gillem publish an order forbidding action by the state court and direct the people to pay their taxes.  

Committee delegate, General McKee (carpetbagger), approached General Gillem on 13 February. General Gillem needed time to study the code. The delay prompted the constitutional convention to draft a resolution to General Grant requesting he direct General Gillem to enforce the convention’s tax code. This particular telegram took up 13 full lines of typed text in the journal, so goodness only knows what that telegram cost the Mississippi taxpayer, made all the more obscene in that it was petty, belittling, and beneath a group of individuals who had come together to write a state constitution. The action spoke volumes about the statesmanship of these small men.  

I’m not sure if Grant ever said anything to Gillem. Certainly he backed his general, who responded on 19 February that his review of the convention’s tax code found it in violation of the guidelines set forth by the Reconstruction Acts. The convention had not restricted itself to levying taxes on property, but had resorted to taxing persons, privileges, and franchises; it had made some taxes retrospective; and had created a new tax-collection system for the state by establishing collectors unfamiliar with the laws of the state, who were not required to make bonds, and created a special treasurer who was to receive and disburse the money collected. Gillem said that this tax code would net $300,000 for a matter only requiring $100,000. General Gillem blessed only that special “one-third-again” state tax; specified the county sheriffs would be responsible for collecting the taxes; and directed the state treasurer to distribute the money (to the convention). 

The additional state tax would have been bad enough, but the convention, now aware of Gillem’s boundaries, on 27 February proposed a special tax of fifty percent of the 1867 state tax on all property and a special tax of one and a half percent on the value of stock belonging to all dry goods stores, groceries, drug stores, and all other personal property regardless of nature and a fifty cent tax on every bale of cotton in the state. The convention gave sheriffs ten days to collect the tax. Gillem approved these taxes, but gave the sheriffs thirty days to carry out their duties. So in essence, the convention got a large percentage of what they originally proposed, short of actually getting their hands on the money.

At this point, the state’s railroads (The Meridian-Vicksburg took the lead) strode in and pointed out to General Gillem an 1854 state charter that exempted them from taxation until 1874. General Gillem, on the advice of his Staff Judge Advocate, Colonel Goodfellow, and the Mississippi High Court of Appeals, honored the state charter.  

Benjamin Orr was appointed by the committee to broach the railroad issue with General Gillem, and on day 113 (of the 115 day convention), Orr told Gillem the constitutional convention did not recognize state laws granted by the state legislature. The convention, according to Orr, had the same power to tax as did the Congress of the United States and if the railroad tax was not collected the deficiency would amount to roughly $50,000 (I’m thinking this figure is more bluff than fact) and the convention would have to delay its “contemplated adjournment” or meet again in ten days, which would greatly increase the expense of the convention. [What a wholly unsubtle attempt at goon-like extortion.] Gillem stuck by his guns regarding the railroads, but he’d already blessed the rest of the tyranny. Naturally, most county sheriffs did not want to collect the additional tax on people already struggling and some proved hesitant to do so. The convention supplied Gillem with a list of recalcitrant sheriffs, and he put the word out to do their jobs or lose them. The taxes were collected.
Near the closing day of the convention, the majority of the delegates resolved that at its first regular session, the new legislature, under the “new” constitution, would provide payment for all outstanding warrants. Further, it gave to the new legislature (which they foresaw would be comprised primarily of themselves, since most of the delegates’ names would shortly thereafter appear on the Republican ballot in some capacity) the power to enforce the collection of all outstanding taxes levied by the convention that remained unpaid. This group had no doubt it would be elected to govern Mississippi under the new constitution it had framed. And why not? It had enfranchised a constituency consisting of the majority of “new” citizens and disfranchised the taxpayer who it now intended to bleed dry in the name of democracy and freedom for all—all the while making Mississippi at least modestly worthy of occupying a place within the glorious Union. Of course, that could only be accomplished under Radical Republican leadership spawned in the North, because Southerners were not fit to govern a state. 

For earlier posts on Alcorn, (best read in sequence from oldest to most recent), start with 17 February 2014, 24 March, 16 April, 17 July, 24 July, 18 September, 9 October, 23 October, 5 November, 22 November, 15December, 29 December 2014, 13 January, 24 January, 9 February, 24 February, 9  March, 31 March, 8 May, and 10 June 2015 all provided below.



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Making Mississippi a Real “American” State Like Those in the North, The “Black and Tan Convention”, Part 2

This post is number twenty in a historical series discussing Mississippi’s Whig/Republican governor and senator, James Alcorn, following the War Between the States and is the second in a subset discussing the Mississippi Constitutional Convention of 1868, known derisively as the “Black and Tan” Convention.

President of Mississippi’s Union League Allston Mygatt opened the Reconstruction constitutional convention on 9 January 1868. According to the 1860 census, Mygatt had been born in New York and was at that time a “preacher” residing in Vicksburg. He also had a nineteen-year-old daughter who had been born in Wisconsin from which one might deduce he moved his family to Vicksburg sometime after 1841. He feebly supported the Confederacy until the fall of Vicksburg (4 July 1863) at which time he apparently became a born-again “Union” man.  

Eighty-three delegates answered to the roll call. A Negro delegate representing Harrison County, Benjamin H. Orr, Esq., was unable to produce evidence of his appointment, however, he was allowed to take his seat and a committee was formed to validate his credentials, which it did—uncovering that Mr. Orr had become a candidate for delegate under General Order #196 issued by General Ord. Subsequent research revealed that back in May 1867, Orr had been appointed one of General Ord’s original registrars in Harrison County, when, under the Reconstruction Acts, General Ord had registered the electorate of “loyal”, oops, excuse me, “qualified” voters. (See my 24 Feb 2015 post below.). Harrison County on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was not one of the counties with a Negro majority.  

Mr. Orr’s use of the title Esq., once exclusive to the English gentry, is interesting. At first blush, it could indicate he was a lawyer (unlikely given the time period and place—that being the United States of America of the 1860’s), since it is primarily that group which still uses the archaic title in the United States. Subsequent research indicates hostellers also used the title. Mr. Orr was very active in the convention and years later, after the Reconstruction period ended, he was shot in Pass Christian (Harrison County). I’ve tried, but so far have been unable to turn up any information regarding the “who” and “why” surrounding his demise.

After the roll call, Mr. Mygatt made his introductory remarks—and I paraphrase here—the long-looked-for hour has come bringing to a close a period of Mississippi history which the disloyal press has long sought to suppress and loyal men now hasten to bring about. He then ticked off the offensive items attributed to the Democratic Party (and the old slave power) that enriches the few at expense of the many, hindered the growth of cities and towns, built large landed aristocracies, discouraged agricultural improvements and mechanic arts, destroyed free schools, and lastly demoralized church and state.  

Now I’m not sure what he meant by demoralized church and state, but him being a preacher, I’m sure he had his opinions. As far as the other points, he’s speaking of the state’s refusal to embrace the progressive Northern agenda. That agenda requires taxes. Taxes feed government, which gets hungrier, then fatter with every initiative it takes to “improve” the lot of its people by controlling, eventually, every aspect of their lives. It was a system that produced large industrialized, filthy, crime-ridden cities seeded with poor immigrants who didn’t have “free” housing or “free” medical provided by employers who paid them just enough to live in squalor and manage to eat, while high tariffs protected Northern industry at the expense, not only of the South, but also Northern workers forced to pay higher prices for goods. The affluent enjoyed the benefits of taxation in the nicer parts of town or in the suburbs—talk about enriching the few at the expense of the many! There’s an argument to be made against the growth of big cities, and I can’t help but wonder why Mygatt left the North and came to Vicksburg when things were so much better back where he came from.

And that part about Southerners discouraging agricultural improvements has always stuck in my craw. This senseless and hateful criticism of the South predates the Republic and is not an original thought on the part of Mygatt. As time crawled forward, it became linked to slavery—the wealth created by slave power allowed the waste. What waste? Southerners cleared and farmed land for more than a century and a half before the Revolution. The story is we moved west after we depleted the land. Well, yes, depletion happened for one crop, but it was replaced with another. Oh wait! Perhaps I’ve been hasty in my rebuttal. That probably explains the deserted seaboards and ghost “cities” of Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia! Of course, what was I thinking?  

Yes, that’s sarcasm you “hear” in my writing. The answer isn’t complicated. The South, by virtue of its agrarian economy was successful. Mother England did so appreciate success in her colonies. Success brought the South influence, which translated to some degree of power, and the colonies to the north didn’t like it. That land didn’t become fallow for pity’s sake. If they in the North were so enlightened when it came to agricultural improvement, what was their reason for moving west? Growth? Why is the term “growth” used for the North while we in the South are depicted as a bunch of locusts? Is it because with our expansion we continued to “deplete” fertile land when we could have been polluting it with industry like our Northern neighbors? The truth is the Puritans crash-landed in Massachusetts and didn’t have much in the way of soil to work with from the git-go. The “friendly” natives blocked rapid expansion west (not to mention the seaboard was their tie to the motherland). They had no choice but to figure out ways to keep their soil producing or they’d have starved. All that is commendable, but petty jealousies of the South’s agricultural success are not. We had the fertile land, and we farmed it; we had cities and ports that met our needs; and we had a society rich in culture and history that reflected it. Those who were unable or unwilling to make a living from the land, turned their pursuits elsewhere. 

I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but what prompted the above diatribe is the insufferable attitude flaunted by men such as Mygatt. What it boiled down to was the kind of government the respective people chose to live under. Southerners wanted little government interference in their lives—safety and defense and managing trade, and most especially a government that left the fruits of folks’ labor in the hands of the folks themselves to make their own damn improvements as they saw fit. Such improvements as the people chose were decided in state legislatures, composed of men chosen by the taxpayers. For this we were denigrated as backwards and ignorant.  

Northerners chose state governments that gave elected officials the power to provide for internal improvements constructed and/or organized and paid for by the “state”. That meant taxation and a cache of “everybody’s money” (and a greater potential for malfeasance that comes with it—I have no delusions regarding such occurrences in Dixie, but the less money available for exploitation by politicians, both legal and illegal, the less the chance of misuse). There’s a price to be paid for all that “progress and enlightenment” and the “backwards and the ignorant” knew it. States were sovereign and their choices were their own, but by 1868, choice had been taken from the South by an unjustified war and a central government, blessed by the Northern voter in the elections of 1866, that regarded the Constitution as putty to be reformed according to its will. 

These points as causes for the violent struggle waged by Southerners to wrest control of their states from the profligate usurpers who pillaged the Southern populace during Reconstruction are, for the most part, missing from the popular dialogue on the subject today, causes being relegated to the denial of civil rights for the freedman. But that denial of civil rights was and is a smokescreen to deny the Constitutional rights once afforded sovereign states.  

Malfeasance and corruption were legion during that time period [like now], but one doesn’t even have to address them—except, perhaps, to point out that corruption (legal and illegal) is one of the consequences of a “progressive” agenda—to see that what was at stake was much greater than pilfering the taxpayer’s money. It was the Republic itself. Even laying that to one side, the holier-than-thou attitude that Northern self-righteousness be foisted upon the Southerner because he was too stupid to know how un-American he was is reason enough, in my opinion, to justify the Southerner’s push back against such self-aggrandizing tyranny. Racism and civil rights are merely watchwords to mask the underlying battle between a strong central government and state rights, the now decaying cement of our lost Republic. These are the truths advocates for a strong central government want forgotten, thus the emphasis on racism/civil rights to the near total omission of state sovereignty, constitutionality, and federalism. 

On a less opinionated note, I’d like to make another comment regarding Mr. Mygatt’s introductory remarks, “...and loyal men now hasten to bring about.” That would be a follow-on reference to the long awaited hour for disposing of the “disloyal” men. The majority of delegates making up that convention were in no hurry to complete their new, progressive constitution. Their focus was on taking over the state’s civil government, and every wasted day of their “elaborate” convention was paid for by struggling taxpayers—the very people they were hell-bent to rule for the good of all.  

Subsequent to Mr. Mygatt’s remarks, General Eggleston, U.S.A., was elected president of the convention, Thad P. Sears, another “ex” of the Grand Army of the Republic, the secretary. The convention’s first order of business was to determine the compensation to these delegates for their role in reconstructing Mississippi into a state worthy to reside in a United States now freed from the onerous Southern pestilence.  

Mr. Field, of Lowndes County, suggested that, “in order to expedite business and quicken consciences,” delegates pay their own expenses. That was tabled. [From perusing more of the journal pages, I’ve deduced that Mr. Field was probably a Democrat or ex-Democrat turned conservative scalawag.  

[The make-up of Mississippi’s Republican “scalawags” between 1867 and 1875 runs the gamut from Radical to ex-Democrats/Union Whigs who, like Alcorn, believed economic recovery could only be achieved through the Republican Party now in control of the national government. Scalawags are, in fact, an interesting group and will make a nice subject for a separate post or two down the road, as well as fodder for fictional tales.]   

At that point a vote was taken to form a committee to fix salaries for the convention delegates. This was eventually fixed at $10.00 a day ($166.67 in today’s money*) for each delegate plus 40¢ per mile for gas (Just kidding. The term used was “mileage” and that 40¢ computes to $6.67, by the way). Some delegates ended up collecting up to $240.00 ($4,000.00 today) for mileage. The average was $160.00 ($2666.67 today). Having some idea as to the distances to the capitol from various points in the state, I’m thinking this payment would have been compensation for one round trip only. 

Less than 12 of the delegates who voted themselves this compensation were landowners (therefore taxpayers) in Mississippi. There were 47 yea votes and 29 nays. If one gives this group the full benefit of 12 taxpayers [I got that figure from James Garner’s Reconstruction in Mississippi. How am I supposed to take ‘less than 12’?] that leaves 35 non-taxpaying delegates deciding how much their services were worth to the tax-payers of the state.  

A quick aside here: I know 47 + 29 does not add up to 100 delegates (the number of delegates allowed by General Ord, see my 8 May 2015 post immediately below), but perusal of the journal indicates attendance averaged seventy-five percent (give or take) daily. 

Compensation for the convention was not the problem, neither was it unprecedented nor unjustified. The problem was its being paid to men who were not representative of the people paying taxes and who displayed a decided lack of frugality in their expenditures and lack of responsiveness in quickly carrying out the duties assigned in their charter. This was pointed out by Dr. W. M. Compton, a Democratic delegate (do recall there were 30 such representatives there) from Marshall County. He resolved: “...in as much as a large and influential class had been disfranchised, and a large class who had never been citizens were enfranchised, a majority of the delegates on the floor were not entitled to their seats, and therefore the assembly was illegal and not entitled to compensation.” His resolution, of course, was voted down amid shouts Dr. Compton be expelled. Undeterred he offered that after 20 days, no delegate should receive more than $5.00 per day per diem. Amid cries of insult to the convention, a counter resolution was offered asking Dr. Compton to withdraw and pay his own expenses. He was then censured and granted a leave of absence of 14 days. With the exposure of such discord in the midst of this “long awaited hour”, a committee was formed by the afflicted “aspirants for the new age” to ascertain if any member was opposed to Reconstruction or who believed the convention unconstitutional.  

Really, they needed a committee for that? The convention pursuant to the actions of Congress that forced it upon the state of Mississippi was unconstitutional, plain and simple. But what did constitutionality have to do with the price of tea in China? The Constitution had not mattered since 1861. Still, there can be little doubt such motions made to counter ones which Democrats believed in excess of the convention’s charter or frugality (and there were plenty of them) were purposefully disruptive. 

In addition to the delegates’ pay, the convention hired thirty employees to “support” the genius behind Mississippi’s new constitution. Here is a partial list of additional employees—and their per day salaries:  

Reporter ($15) ($250.00 today)

Secretary ($15—I’m not sure if this is a “different” type secretary from Mr. Sears or a duty added to his “delegate” status thereby netting him $25 a day—or maybe simply $5 tacked on to his $10 as delegate—I opt for that one)

2 Assistant secretaries ($10 each)

Sergeant at Arms ($10)

2 Assistant Sergeants at Arms ($5 each)

1 Printer ($10)

1 Warrant clerk ($10)

2 Enrolling clerks ($10)

1 Reading clerk ($10)

1 Minutes clerk ($10)

1 Auditor ($10)

1 Treasurer ($10)

1 Auditing clerk ($10)

1 Chaplin (a new feature of the Reconstruction Convention-$10) 

1 Postmaster ($8)

1 Hall porter ($4)

And a number of committee clerks (ranging from $5-$15 per day)  

I thought of adding it all up—for 115 days, the delegates and their “staff”, but I can’t believe all those positions were required for every day of this thing—the “enrolling” clerk, for example, and the committee clerks would have been used only when committees were formed, right? Well, maybe. But to further counter my own argument, there might have been several committees functioning simultaneously over days and days. And no, the convention journal does not clarify this question. 

These were lucrative jobs at the taxpayers’ expense. All of these support positions were given to Northern men or Negroes—“men of known loyalty.” When a native white Republican put forth a resolution that some of the clerkships be given to loyal Southern whites, it was voted down. Anybody other than me get the feeling that Southern Republicans (the scalawags) are regarded with some disdain by the Northern Republicans (carpetbaggers)? [This divide among jackals will grow over the next seven miserable years, and Alcorn will be swept up in it]. 

Before leaving the extravagance of this group behind, I’d like to point out a few other expenses. One was a demand for stationery from the Secretary of State, who promptly informed them he had none and no means to procure any (the Treasury was broke let me reiterate). So, the convention appointed a committee of three to appraise the stationery situation. The committee suggested sending an agent to New Orleans to purchase a supply. The proposal was agreed to, and the agent purchased stationery for a grand total of $1458.80. ($24,313.33 today). 

This purchase included not only paper, but pens, penholders, etc.—yep, they got themselves all tooled up. What’s missing here, and I think would be interesting to know, is from whom in New Orleans the purchase was made. The Northern printing industry made a killing in the South during this time. I know that during the years of carpetbag rule in Mississippi (that’s coming up), the legislature’s routine purchase of printing paraphernalia (presses, type, ink, etc.) along with completed print projects from the North/Northern agents would be part of the fuel stoking the fire of resistance to Republican rule. 

Along that same vein, convention delegates felt an “official” need to be informed, supplying themselves with up to five copies of any daily—primarily newly established Republican papers, but they did pay $1123.53 ($18,725.50 today) for the Clarion, which most certainly was not a Republican paper. It’s just my opinion, but I would think keeping up with the other side’s analysis of what you’re doing is more important than rereading what you’re spewing out. Anyway, regardless of what they “each” did with all those copies, the convention spent $3670 ($61,166.67 today) dollars on newspapers, the majority of which were owned and operated by and for members of the Republican Party in Mississippi. 

Finally, a not inconsiderable sum was spent sending telegrams to Washington and “committees” to various places, but primarily over to Vicksburg to “consult” with General Gillem, who, as you will see, routinely told them to quit mucking in legislation, go back to Jackson, and write a new constitution. More on that next time. 

Thanks for reading,


*I used Dave Manuel’s “Inflation Calculator” online in order to give the reader some appreciation for how much money these men were actually expending during the course of this convention. I don’t know how “pin-point” accurate it is, but I figure it’s providing a good “ball-park” figure.

For earlier posts on Alcorn, (best read in sequence from oldest to most recent), start with 17 February 2014, 24 March, 16 April, 17 July, 24 July, 18 September, 9 October, 18 October, 5 November, 22 November, 15 December, 29 December 2014, 13 January, 24 January, 9 February, 24 February, 9 March, 31 March, and 8 May 2015, all provided below.