Box 10, Folder 9

Z. Trueblood to Governor Arthur I. Boreman, June 16, 1866

Lewisburg, W. Va., June 16th 1866

To his excellency Gov. Boreman

Dear Sir:

I hope I shall not be guilty of an intrusion in thus addressing you on a subject in which I am assured you are deeply interested. It is the correct registration of the Voters of W. Va. The first registration is over and no doubt all the registrars have performed their duties with honesty & fidelity. But owing to different constructions being placed upon the law by the several registrars there has certainly been a deplorable lack of uniformity in the discharge of duty. Some thought that the present status of the individual, regardless of the past constituted the qualification for registration and have registered almost the whole population as all claim to be loyal. Others have supposed that the past action and motive of the person (which he was permitted to assert on oath) was to be the test of his present loyalty; and I as one of this number have rejected all applicants for registration who would not take the test oath. This in my judement (sic) is the intent of the law. I expressed this to the County Board of registration in which that Board concurred. Yet one of that Board being appointed registrar for the Town of Lewisburg finding that very few would register on the oath Basis omitted it in such cases as suited him. The consequence is that his list was considerably enlarged and a great deal of difficulty and contention about the election is still going on. But this is a digression. What I wish to say is this. That if this course is the correct one then I have done injustice to the people of my Township which I wish to correct for the mass of the people of my Township are as loyal as any other in the county. Though I am sorry to say my estimate of it is very low. But I was going (to) suggest that you should send some instructions to the Board of registration to be by them given to the registrars before they sit for the correction and revision of the registration books and thus secure uniformity of action. If this should meet your approbation I think it would do much to allay strife. I think that the registrars are disposed to do their duty firmly. But acting without instruction must necessarily differ and experience has proven how difficult it is for the Board to correct registration when improperly done. So difficult indeed has it been in this County that the Board accepted all the returns without alteration. Though some of the registrars required the oath of all, while others did not. This is manifestly wrong. If a man in Lewisburg may be registered without taking the oath, so should they be in all parts of the County and country. There is a very heavy outside pressure to admit all persons to registration by liberal constructions of the law, by Constitutional guarantees and by modification of the oath. I think that of the original voters of the County will register even if the oath is required; it will certainly be the case in this Township which is the largest but one in the County and those registering will include a fair average of the practical businessmen of the County, the assertions of Rebels and papers to the contrary notwithstanding. I am requested (to) ask you one question. It is your opinion of if the voluntary modification of the test oath affects the entire oath. The case in point is that a citizen of this Township whom I believe to be thoroughly loyal and always has been. Such he claims to be, but being subject to conscription with no chance of evading the field service, sought and accepted a commission of Surgeon I the Rebel Army. He wishes to register but it is difficult for him to reconcile seeking office with involuntary action. In analyzing that oath I see no obstacle to his taking it, we refer it to you. You perceive that this is no solitary case. So many cases may come under it that I think the decision an important one. There are many other subjects on which we would like to consult you but cannot do it in this communication which is already unpardonably lengthy and I have made it so partly because the idea is generally prevalent here that your correspondants (sic) in this county have not fully performed their duty. But enough of this. When I learn from your excellency that further correspondence is desirable I a may write further. Answer this if you can consistently with your many duties.

Yours with great Consideration

Z. Trueblood.


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