In [an earlier] article, I told about the trial of John Loslo, a Revolutionary War veteran tried for murder in Ouachita Parish. After he was found guilty, Governor Henry Johnson (served 1824 – 1828) came to Monroe to pass sentence. Gov. Johnson’s visit was the first to Monroe by a Louisiana Governor. While he was here in November, 1825, he was wined and dined by the leading citizens of Ouachita Parish. Below is a description of one of those dinners. It ran in the local newspaper, The Washita Gazette.
On the 19th inst. GOV. JOHNSON arrived amongst us, and on Monday the 21st the Militia of our Parish turned out for review Notwithstanding so little attention has been paid heretofore to the organizing & disciplining of the militia of our parish, it is truly gratifying and interesting to state that we could perceive as honorable emulation and that their performance was truly excellent; reflecting the highest encomiums upon the officers, who commanded them.
The Governor the General and their staff was invited on the same day to a public dinner at the house of F. Foy Esq. in the Town of Monroe which was accepted, and on that day a large and respectable number of the citizens of this parish, with their guests, sat down to a public dinner, agreeably to arrangement ; when Gen. John Hughes was unanimously chosen to preside as president, assisted by the Hon. Oliver J. Morgan as Vice President. The following are the toasts drank on the occasion.
- The president of the U.S.
- The Navy of the U.S.
- The memory of the immortal Washington.
- Agriculture, commerce and manufactures – may they mutually assist each other in conducting our country to prosperity and happiness.
- Gov. Johnson – his long and faithful services to Louisiana, will ever ensure to him all that is in the power of a faithful State to bestow.
The Gov. Then rose and made the following interesting address.
THIS kind and flattering testimony of friendship and esteem, mingled with the recollection of the distinguished marks of confidence and respect bestowed on me on former occasions by the respectable citizens of this parish, when personally known but a few of them, fill my heart with emotions of gratitude and respect more readily conceived than described, such proofs of confidence, although I am sensible they have been but too little merited on my part, afford a gratification of the most exalted character, and command my warmest acknowledgements, to my fellow citizens of this parish.
I feel bound by every tie that can influence a grateful heart, and they may be assured that I can never forget the obligations I owe them, and that I shall ever be devoted to their interests. Permit me to offer the following sentiment;
- The parish of Washita ; combining the advantages of a fertile soil, good navigation and a temperate climate : inhabited by an intelligent, generous and patriotic people.
- The government of the United States – wisdom as contrived in strength will support it, and the beauty of a perfect Union adorn it until time is no more.
- Dewitt Clinton, and the New York Canal – may this great work give a general impetus to internal improvement in other states. [The canal would become known as the Erie Canal.]
- Lafayette, – May the close of his days whether in his native or adopted country be as happy as his youth was glorious.
- The Hero of New Orleans [note: this refers to Gen. Andrew Jackson] – Louisiana will always be grateful for his service.
- Boliver – the Washington of the South.
- The Congress of the U.S. – may they soon settle the land claims of Louisiana.
- The fair of La. – transcendent in beauty, may their smiles ever reward the defenders of their country.
By Gen. J. Walker – The militia of Washita, in peace good citizens in war brave soldiers.
Col. G.H. Hunter – The memory of William Dunbar [note: this is George Hunter, toasting his friend and fellow explorer William Dunbar. The two had been sent by Thomas Jefferson after the Louisiana Purchase to explore the Ouachita River region.]
Gen. John Hughes – the three pillars supported by wisdom strength and beauty.
Hon. O.J. Morgan – Thomas Jefferson & the Centre College of Virginia. [Note: This is the University of Virginia, which had just opened its doors in March.]
Hon. H. Bry – Gov. Johnson the first Governor of the state that visited our parish, a good omen of its prosperity.
Lieut. Col. F. Morgan – Citizens without hypocrisy, soldiers without fear.
R.C. Scott Esq. – Our distinguished fellow citizen Josiah S. Johnston.
Dr. J.W. Mason – The star spangled banner – should the Island of Cuba change its government may that be the only flag to wave on its ramparts.