Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Proceedings of the Illinois State Convention of Colored Men, assembled at Galesburg, October 16th, 17th, and 18th, containing the state and national addresses promulgated by it, with a list of the delegates composing it.
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TitleProceedings of the Illinois State Convention of Colored Men, assembled at Galesburg, October 16th, 17th, and 18th, containing the state and national addresses promulgated by it, with a list of the delegates composing it.
DescriptionMeeting at Edward Beecher's church in Galesburg, Illinois, "a convention of the colored Americans of the State of Illinois" resolved to "set in motion effective agencies for the permanent removal of all "disabilities, educational and political, that dwell upon persons of color in this State." An address "To the Colored Men of Illinois" calls for pursuit of "those God-given rights to which we are entitled, as citizens and men, " especially at the ballot-box, in the courtroom, and in the public schools. The committee on Resolutions calls for removal of the prohibition on testimony by Negroes in court. A passionate address to the people of Illinois emphasizes the service of African-Americans in the Civil War and in previous conflicts as well. Failure to accord equal rights amounts to "taxation without representation." Delegates are listed on page 38.
Subject (LCSH)African Americans - Civil rights - Illinois - Congresses; African Americans - Illinois - Social conditions - Congresses
Time Period1860s
PublisherChicago : Church, Goodman and Donnelley, printers
ContributorsIllinois State Convention of Colored Men (1866 : Galesburg)
Date Created (original)1867
IdentifierSpecial Collections E185.93.I2 I43 1866
CollectionStruggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
Date Digital2010-04-05
~ttttt ~1lnbtntion of ~ol1lrtb ~tnt
OC'fOBER 16TH, 17TH, AND 18TH.
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Page I';. after I ill<- :a; I'n,d
R. DKB_'\ PTISTE. Chm·n;u'ri.
J. B. TRUSTY. ")
GEORG}; BRE~,]', I .
G. H. HE~RY . r Comrmtier'
~Pa!-"e J7, line 40, for" of stati~tici' .. read .. .statistics."
Page 20, lin!' 9. for " peo!,le gOI-ennnent" rf'ad .. people It
·gon:rnmpnt .
Page :21. line 46. for .. lInIJonndrd ., read ··1mb01'1·o/!:eil.'·
Page 32. lim' 30. for •. re-nlliting " I'CUU " )'p-'Wriliwj.·'
Page 35. line S, for" lore" read" lore."
Page :15, line 39, for ., br·itN " j'(-nd .. hefter."
Pag(' 36.linf' :10, for ".:\ll1rican" rea.] (, Allieriam.'·
fir V? II;; V h!a~,
PURSUANT to a widely circulated call for such an assemblage, a con·
vention of the colored Americans of the State of Illinois, met at the
city of Galesburg, on the morning of October 16th, A. D. 1866.
The purpose of the body was to thoroughly canvass the subject of
the disabilities, educational and political, that dwell upon persons
of color in this State, impeding their rightful progress,a,nd to devise
and set in motion effective agencies for the permanent removal of
the same.
The place of meeting was the lecture·room of the church of the
Rev. Edward Beecher, D. D. At ten o'clock the convention was
called to order by Mr. Edwin R. Williams, chairman of the Chicago
delegation. At his request. prayer was pronounced by the Rev. T.
Strother, of Cairo. Mr. J . H. Barquette, of Galesburg, was elected
temporary chairman, and Mr. Lewis B. White, of Chicago, and Rev.
T. Strother, of Cairo, were elected temporary secretaries.
The call of the convention was then read by Joseph Stanley, of
Chicago, as follows:
To the Colored Men oj Illinois:
A year ago the long and bloody war for the preservation of the Union was
termmated. One of its immediate results was the abolition of sl3,very and the
partial recognition of the rights of the colored race. That recognition, how·
ever, after a year of discussion, is as yet but partial. The question which still
divides the country into two great parties is whether we shall receive, in their
entirety, those rights to which we are entitled from the Legislature of the Union
down to that of each State. This has been the great point of controversy.
And now that we are enabled to express, more fully than ever before, our un·
qualitied opinion about those questions which affect the entire interests of a.
people who have ever proved loyal to the government of their country, it has
been deemed advisable to issue a call for a Convention of the colored men of
this State, for the purpose of expressing their views in relation to the present
condition of public affairs, and of agreeing upon a course of policy which may
enhance the best interests of our people in general, and one which we cart
unitedly pursue, in order to obtain those God-given rights to which we are
entitled, as citizens and men.
Among the questions which will receive the especial attention of the Conven­tion
will be, the best course to pursue in order to obtain equall"rights for colored
men, both at the ballot-box and in courts of justice. While relying with unwa­vering
faith upon the genial action of the Congress of the United States, and of
the people of the State of lllinois, it is necessary for us to take measures look.
ing to the removal of such disabilities as now affect us by State laws, and with­out
the repeal of which auy favorable action on the part of Congress can be of
b ut little avail. And of those invidio\ls features of State legislation in regard
to the colored citizen, no one more eminently demands our utmost efforts for its
abolition than the proscription under which we labor, so far as educational
advantages are concerned. We desire to take strong grounds, to the eud that
the privileges of a common school education may be shared by us in unison
with others, and that we may have an opportunity of proving not only our
desire, but our capacity for improvement.
We desire, too, to consider in what manner we may utterly remove those
prejudices against us as a people, which still obtain in the minds of so many­prejudices
which are the effect of slavery. We desire to make known to all
our intention to pursue the even tenor of our way, never obtrusive nor permit­ting
obtrusion from others; trampling on the rights of none, but defendiug to
the uttermost those of ourselves and of our posterity.
And it will be our peculiar duty and our highest pleasure to commemorate
. the deeds of those colored soldIers who have proven on many a battle· field, in
many a weary siege and many a toilsome march, their fitness for defenders of
our Republic and for freedom most wide. Pointing to them, as we fondly do,
as proof of our devotion to a country that had enslaved us and is still unkind,
we will speak of them with pride aud with greatfnl remembrance. .
These are among the chief features for which we have issued this call for a
State Convention of colored men, to be held on the 16th day of October next,
at Galesburg, Illinois; and that there may be a thorough representation of the
colored citizens of the State, we desil·e to impress \lpon their minds the import­auce
of every city, town and village within its limits appointing delegates to
represent them in the Convention.
Any further information may be had on application to the Corresponding
Committee, Messrs. L. B. White, G. L. Thomas, E. R. Williams.
Cyrus Richardson, Alton.
Edward White, "
John J. Byrd, Cairo.
T. Strother, "
Samuel Witherspoon, Bloomington.
Bryant Smith, Shawneetown.
B. F. Rodgers, Springfield.
S. Donegal, "
Reuben Armstrong, Rockford.
Wylie Walden, "
J. B. Finchure, Galesburg.
J. H. Barquette, "
All communications can be addressed to
John Jones, Chicago.
G. L. Thomas, "
Joseph Stanley, "
John James, "
A. Cary, t~
L. B. White, t t
Wm. Baker, "
E. Hawkins,
R. W. Stokes, " E. R. Williams, "
E. C. Freeman, "
Secretary State Central Committee, Box '764, Chicago.
A Committee o~ Credentials was appointed, consisting of Messrs.
S. D. Williams, L. B. White, C. Richardson, A. Pleasants and E.
A.Grem. .
A Committee on Permanent organi2lation was created, comprising
the following gentlemen i George L~ Thomas, of Chicago, C. S.
Jacobs, of Decat.ur, B. Smith, of Shawneetown, G. W. Faulkner,
of Galesburg, R. Holly, of Bloomington, J. McSmith, of Galena,
J. W. Smith, of Tuscola, M. Richardson, of Mercer county, G. H.
Denny, of Henry county, E. W. Lewis, of Peoria, H. Hicklin, of
Springfield, J. W. Coleman, of Will county, G. T. Fountain, of
Adams county, James D. Davis, of Knox county, and Wm. Baker,
of Cook county.
This committee of fifteen was ordered to report at half-past two
o'clock p. ill.
The house was called to order at half-past two o'clock, by the
chairman. Prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Patterson.
George L. Thomas, chairman of the Committee on Permanent
Organization, made the following report:
For President- William J oh1180n, of Chicago.
" First Vice President- Eo A. Green, of Champaign City.
" Second Vice President- C. C. Richardson, of Alton.
" Secretary- R. C. Waring, of Chicago.
" Assistant Secretary- T. Strother, of Cairo,
" Treasurer- A. Pleasants, of Adams county.
" Sergeant at Arms- J. D. Davis, of Galesburg.
The report of the committee was adopted, and the officers elect
were introduced to the convention neatly and briefly by Messrs.
Joseph Stanley, L. B. Trusty and M. R. Richardson. Brief and
appropriate speeches were made by the retiring chairman and the
President elect, and the officers entered upon the discharge of their
respective duties.
On motion of E. R. Williams, all delegates present without cre·
·dentials were invited to seats in the convention.
At the instance of Mr. J. H. Barquette, a call of the roll was
On motion of Rev. J. Dawson, Rev. T. Strother was appointed
reporter for the" Christian Recorder" published at Philadelphia.
On motion of E. R. Williams, a Committee of five on Ways and
Means was appointed. The chair selected Messrs. Barquette, Davis,
Thomas, S. D. Williams and M. Richardson.
On motion of Mr. Barquette, a Committee of three on Printing
was ordered, the chair appointing Messrs. Barquette, S. Richardson
and Coleman to comprise it.
On motion of E. R. Williams, the following named gentlemen
were elected a Committee on Resolutions: Messrs. Joseph Stanley,
S. D. Willi'am,s, E. R. Williams, B. Smith, D. Fletcher, C. S.
Jacobs and H. Hicklin.
On motion of L. B. White, it was ordered that all resolutions
presented to the convention be referred to the Committee on Reso­luti()
lls, without debate.
A Committee of seven on Suffrage was, on motion of E. R. Wil­liams,
created, composed of Messrs. J. B. Daw on, C. C. Richardson,
E. A. Green, G. T. Fountain, J . D. Davis, R . DeBaptiste and R.
W. Stokes.
On motion of J. Stanley, a Committee of seven, to present an
address on the State of the (jountry, was elected as follows: R. W.
Stokes, of Chicago, J. B. Dawson, of Chicago, C. S. Jacobs, of De­catur,
G. T. Fountain, of Quincy, J. H. Barquette, of Galesburg,
M. Richardson, of Mercer county, and E . A. Green, of Champaign
'I'he committee were ordered to report at three o'clock p. m., on
Wednesday, 17th of October inst.ant.
On motion of R, W. Stokes, it was ordered that a committee of
five be appointed to prepare an address to the people of the State
of Illinois; that they report the same to the house at two o'clock
p. m., on the 17th instant; that it be made the order of the day
until disposed of, and that Messrs. R. DeBaptiste J. B. Trusty,
George Brent, G. H. Henry, and R. Holly be said committee .
On motion of J. B . Dawson, Messrs. E . R. Williams and T . Stro­ther
wei'e added to the Comtnittee on Suffrage.
On motion of R. DeBaptiste, Messrs. Joseph Stanley, George T.
Fountain, Walter Coleman, H . Hicklin and C. S. Jacobs were ap '
pointed a Committee on the Educational Statistics of the State.
On motion of J. B. Dawson, a Committee of seven on the Moral
Status of the Colored People of the State, was ordered. Messrs.
J. B. Dawson, R. DeBaptiste, A. Pleasants, J. W. Smith, R. R.
Smith, Joseph Faulkner and George Graves were appointed said
On motion of G. L . Thomas, the credentials of J. B. Smith, of
Knoxville, were referred to the Committee on Credentials. That
body reported favorably upon the matter referred to them, and Mr.
Smith was admitted to a seat in the convention.
On motion of George L. Thomas, it was ordered that the morn­ing
sessions of the convention commence at half-past nine o'clock,
and end at meridian. and that the afternoon session be from two
o'clock to five o'clock.
On motion of George L. Thomas, a rule was obtained, allowing
no member to speak more than twice upon the same subject, with­out
permission from the chair.
On motion, the convention adjourned to meet a~ half-past nine
o'clock a. m., on Wednesday, 17th.
WEDNESDAY, October 17th .
The Convention was called to order by the President at half-past
nine o'clock, and prayer was offered by the Rev. Mr. Jackson.
Doctor P. B. Randolph and A . J. Gordon, Esq., were introduced
to the Convention by J . H. Barquette.
The proceedings of the previous meeting were read and approved.
On the motion of E. A. Green, George T. Fountain was elected
Assistant Secretary of the Convention.
The proceedings of the meeting of Tuesday morning were read
and approved .
A call of the roll was ordered.
The Committee on Credentials reported the following gentlemen
as duly accredited delegates: George P . Morris, Thomas Steven­son,
R. B. Catlin, George Phenix, H . H . Hawkins, C. C. Rich­ardson,
C. Barbour, Philander Outland.
The Committee on Educational Statistics, through their chairman,
Joseph Stanley, made the annexed report, which was adopted.
FELLOW CITIZE~S OF THE STATE OF ILLI~ors ,- A.mong the great qnestions
which claim our special consideration, is that of education. ' The past and pre­sent
history of om native conntry, as well as of all other countries which have
attained to any degree of greatnesR, has proven that, without education, they
are lost to virtue, intelligence, aud to that usefulness which have made a people
great, good, happy, and contented.
If a nation, republican in form, loses her virtue, she can no longer claim pres­tige
with her sister republics. The same is with communities aud indi viduals.
What is it that makes a nation, a people, a community, or even an individunl,
great, good. and happy? It is a pure, unsullied love of virtue! And how
shall til is virtue be obtained, so as to become beneficial to all, irrespective of
color or condition?
Judgingfrom the past and looking at the present, we can see. through.the dim
vista, the future of a race of' people, who are giants in intellect, whose energies
have been crushed by the power of mi~ht - a people claiming the admiration
of men and angels, still entreating yon, By all tbat is patriotic in government
and sacred in religion, to be the witness of what they will do to establish their
claim to be recognized as men worthy of a chance in this your noble State, to
earn their bread, to educate themselves and their children - a people full of
love and humanity, ever ready to yield to tbose christian impulses and feelings
which characterize tbose whom God has chosen for his elect from all eternity.
Such characteristics must eventually have their reward; such virtues must
ever live. And, as a part of that race, living in your midst, tilling your soil,
loading your ships, and by our labor enriching you - willing to forget that yon
have oppressed, trampled us under foot, shot us down like dogs, treated us as
beasts of burden, having watered tbe soil of our fair country with the blood
of our fathers, motbers, brothers :lnd sisters - still, we feel it to be our duty to
sbow, not only to the people of the State of Illinois, but to the nation, that we
are men and American citizens; tbat we desire to acquire all your virtnes,
shunning every evil calculated to retard our moral , physical, and social concH­tion.
To do tllis, we ask you, in the name of twenty-two thousand colored
citizens of the State, to open wide your doors, and admit our children into your
public schools and colleges. We appeal to you, in behalf of eight thousand
colored boys and girls, with expansive minds, ready and willing to drink from
the fountain of literature and learning.
Slaves, many of us have been; but if you give us those advantages which
the Oonstitution guarantees to all citizens, we shall soon rise in the scale of
being so high that it will blush the cheek of many who have spent their golden
moments at the shrine of vice and infamy.
Looking at the educational statistics of our State, we find less than one hun­dred
of our colored children in public schools, or less than one in every eighty.
How long shall such a state of things exist; how long will you encourage pau­perism,
and charge us with having minds, not susceptible of culture. Your
legislature, less than two years ago, wiped from the escutcheon of our great
and noble State, a part of her black code.
Three years ago, you took from your midst twenty-five hundred true and loyal
blacks, to help till up your quota. and your generals led them to a scene bf car­nage
and death. As men' and soldiers of Illiuois they fought; as A.merican
citizeus they died, defending the honor of the State and the government.
Believing that the State, the government, and the entire people, irrespective of
all political differences, would honor their memory by doing jnstice in the edu­cation
of their children, the protection of their widows and orphaus, and
proving to the world that the genius of the American people is liberty unpro­scribed
to all. How can you hope fo r success in the establishment of the
government on the eternal foundation on which your fathers built, if you persist
in denying an education to a persecuted race. This is a world of compensations,
and he who would himself be great through the means of education, must not
ehslave the mind of his fellow-being. Then, fellow cititizens, accept the
aphorism, and enlarge upon it : say that, as the colored man is now free, he
may live a better patriot, a better man and a better christian.
Chairman aj Com. on Education.
The Chairman of the Committee on Resolutions, J. Stanley,
made, on behalf of that body, the following report, which was
WHEREAS, Taxation without representation is contrary to the genius and
spirit of our republican institutions, and
WHEl~EAS, The colored people of the State of TIlinois are taxed for the sup­pert
of the public schools, and denied, by the laws of the State, the right of
sending their children to said schools, therefore,
Resolved, That we regard it as a gross usurpation, unjustly shown toward the
colored citizens of TIlinois, and that this Oonvention do hereby recommend to
the colored people of the State to send their petitions to our legislature, asking
for the repoal of said law.
Resolved, That our State legislature, having ratified the amendment to the
Constitution of the United States, abolishing slavery, and repealing a part of her
black code, giving to colored men the righL to testify in the courts of j!!stice, must
be regarded as still remiss in her duty, until she educates the children of three'
thousand colored men who helped to fill the quota of the State.
L ____________________________________________________________________________ _
Resolved, That to deprive us and our children of this invaluable right (honor­ably
and patriotically defended by the blood of our fathers, brothers and sons),
is treating us with wrong and cruel injustice, unheard of in any civilized land
or country whose government, national or State, bave received the services
of black soldiers in defending the liberties of the entire people.
Resolved, That in view of the services rendered by the loyal and patriotic
black men of the State of lllinois, during the war which has just ended, wiping
from our national escutcheon the foul stain of slavery, that we ask the legisla­ture
to give us the free exercise of our inherent right, namely, the elective
Resolved, That the constitutional disability under which colored men labor in
this State, calls loudly for redress; it insults our manhood, and disgraces the
name of our great State.
Resolved, That, in ~pite of every opposition, we recommend to our people
the propriety of getting an interest in the soil, believing that there is power in so
doing: moreover, to cultivate and improve·the same is one of the great means
of elevating ourselves and every disfranchised American.
Resolved, That we believe the times require an earnest co-operation of the
colored citizens throughout the State, in securing a recognition of our rights, as
men and citizens, by the next legislature, and that we will unite our efforts with
those of our brethren elsewhere in securing the aforesaid end.
Resolved, That we believe that, under our present. form of government, no
man is secure in his life, liberty, or property, while he is deprived of the elective
Resolved., That, as the government called upon us to help defend it in the
hour of danger, and thus recognized us as citizens of the republic, it should
now give to us the right of the ballot box, for the protection of ourselves and
families; and that we will not cease to agitate the question, until we shall have
been recognized in law as the equals of every American citizen.
Resolved, That among the means to be adopted by the colored people of
Illinois, for insuring confidence from their white fellow citizens, is to form
themselves into stock associations, for raising cattle of all kinds, thereby proving
that we have the same pride and taste in enhancing the farming interests of the
State, as those who have, and are still laboring for her future aggrandizement.
Resolved, That our efforts for the achievement of the sttffrage question, the
admission of our children into public schools, the acquirement oflands, and the
raising of stock shall be unceasing; that we feel our manhood, and mllst exer­cise
it on every occasion, until we are satisfied that the prejudice which now
exists against us is done away, and that we .shall be treated as men and brethren
throughout the State.
Resolaed, That as a people whose characteristics are, we will con­tinue
to preach and pray, and, if necessary, fight against all laws making a
difference on account of color, either in Ohurch or State.
Resolved, That we do not ask our white fl'iends to elevate us, but only desire
them to give us the same opportunities of elevating ourselves, by admitting us
to the right of franchise, and an equal chance for educating ourselves, by open­ing
the doors of their free schools and colleges. .
E. R. WILLI.A.1>fS, OOOK 00.
On the motion of Rev. R. DeBaptiste, Dr. P. B. Randolph and
Mr. A. J. Gordon were invited to participate in the proceedings of
the Convention this p. m., and in the general speaking of the
body this evening.
On the motion of James D. Davis, "that a book of subscription
to a joint stock company be opened this afternoon" the Convention
voted affirmatively.
On the motion R. DeBaptiste, Messrs. L. B. ,Vhite, Joseph
Stanleyanel G. P. Morris, were appointed a committee to report
the proceedings of the Convention to the pub1ic journals .
The Convention adjourned to meet at two o'clock p. m.
The Convention was called to order at two o'clock.
'fhe proceedings of the morning session were read and approved.
The resignation of J . Stanley of his membership of the report·
ing Committee, was offered and accepted by the Convention .
On the motion of R. C. Waring, George L. Thomas was
appointed to fill the vacancy thus created .
The Committee on Credentials reported S. R. Smith as a duly
accredited delegate from Knoxville, and he was thereupon admitted
to a seat in the Convention. .
The Committee on the address to the people of the State of
Illinois, made, through their Chairman, Rev. R. De Baptiste, the
following report, which, after brief speeches in its support, was
P E 0. P L E OF T II ES T A TE 0. F ILL I N 0. IS.
As a part of the people of this great and pro~perous common·
wealth, we have assembled in Convention for the purpose of
considering such matters as relate to our intellectual, moral and
social prosperity . And we wish, by a calm and judicious discussion
of the questions that are intimately connected with our most vital
interests, even our rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness,
to arrive at such conclusions as will convince all of the justi<;:e of
our cause and the reasonableness of our demands.
Receiving, as conclusive upon that question, the legal decisions of
the highest authority known in the nation, including the judicial,
the legislative and the executive departments of its government,
we are citizens uf the State of Illinois. And yet, strange and
anomalous as it is, we aro disfranchised in the State of our residence,
without the commission of any crime by ourselves, as a reason for
our disfranchisement .
Therefore we address you, but not for the purpose of intruding
upon you, in this address, our opinions on the question of the
reconstruction of the rebel States' Governments into the RE'public
again, but we address you upon "the subject of State legislation,
which immediately effects and controls the most important rights
of the citizens." In the exercise of the commonest right known
to man,-the right of habitation,- we have chosen this State as
our dwelling place- our home.
Here many of us have purchased lands upon which we have
settled, and by the cultivation of the soil we propose to gain an
honest livelihood, and add to the material wealth of our adopted
State. Others of us have im-ested our means in the different
branches of mechanical trades and commercial pursuits, while yet
others are engaged in useful industrial occupations, by means of
which to maintain themselves and those dependent upon them, to
acquire property, and accumulate wealth. Having established our
family altars upon this soil, here erected our churches for worship,
and our houses for habitation, we propose to pursue our callings,
serve our God, our country, and our State. _ Our purpose is to be
intelligent, loyal, and peaceable citizens of the State, and to
m~intain such a standing among the rest of our fellow-citizens as
will command their respect. '1'0 attain t.o this end we require the
same means in its accomplishment as do others; we need the same
immunities and privileges that are accorded to others. To become
intelligent and useful citizens our youth need the free and
unrestricted common school privileges that others have, but which at
present they have not, except in a few particular localities, that
renders this great privilege- very justly esteemed as the pride of
our civilization and christian sentiment- by no means general and
free to us.
We wish to call your attention to Section 80 of "An Act to
establish and maintain a system of free schools in the State of
TIlinois, as amended February 16th, 1865" which reads as foll-ows:
"In townships in which there shall be persons of color, the board
of trustees shall allow such persons a portion of the school fund
equal to the amount of taxes collected for school purposes from
such persons of color in their respective townships."
llere under the specious pretence of "establishing schools for
persons of color" we are in reality cut off from the common school
privileges of the State . No portion of the funds derived from the
sale of school lands granted by the National Government for
common school purposes, or that derived from other sources of
school revenue, except that of direct tax, is to be given to "such
persons." And even the" portion" "of taxes collected for school
purposes" "the board of trustees shall allow such pE'rsons" is so
carefully guarded, and so adroitly set apart, as not to be in " amount
in proportion to the nUlllber of children under twenty-one years of
age" as is the case with others_ No provision is made for school
houses, or the management of such schools, or, in short, any thing
tha t is necessary to "Fee schools_"
Thus it is that the colored citizens of this great State, that
prides itself on its "system of free schools" must, under the
present partial and unjnst enactment, submit to see their children
driven from the well organized and ably conducted schools in the
districts where they reside, for no other delinquency than the crime
of being created with a darker skin than their neighbors. What
an insult to Him who" hath made of one blood all nations of men."
We protest that this is an unjust and unchristian discrimination
against a portion of your loyal citizens, and appeal to you to remedy
what is equally a reflection upon your sense of justice and christian
principle, as it is an injury to us, by taking out of the school laws
of the State all discriminations on account of color or race, and give
to all the people the bflnefit in common of the free schools.
The citizens of every free and enlightened government have
accorded to them the right of jury trial, before a jury composed of
their "peers" whenever their rights of person or property are
brought in question before a court of justice. And where is the
American citizen who does not deem this very sacred and time­honored
right an essential part of his citizenship? Certainly there
is not one to be found. But by the laws of this State, that portion
of its citizens who are not white are debarred, even in the most
petty case, the right to sit as a juror in any of its legal tribunals.
So that no colored citizen of the State of Illinois whose life, repu­utation
or property may be on trial in its courts, can have the
reasonable privilege or right to be confronted by a jury composed
either wholly or in part, of his equals, in the persons of his colored
The right to sit in the jnry box, in common with other citizens of
the State, we deem essential to our full citizenship. Necessary it
is, in many instances, to insure us a fair and impartial trial; and
yet more necessary do we regard its possession in order to vindicate
our character against the unfair aspersion with which the withhold­ing
of it assails us.
Therefore, we call upon you to demand of our legislature to so
amend the statutes of the State, that the humblest of its citizens
may be assured of a fail' and impartial jury trial, by removing the
bar that now shuts out from a seat upon the jury, every honest and
intelligent citizen who is not a white man.
We require these rights at your hands, because we believe every
American citizen in each State to be entitled to equal rights before
the law; that the Oonstitution of the United States contemplates
as much, when it says; "The citizens of each State shall be enti·
tIed to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several
States." That the" Civil Rights Bill" recently passed by more
than a two-thirds majority through both houses of Congress, is
designed to enforce this principle, and secure these" privileges and
immunities" to all alike_ Therefore, we ask of you that they be
restored to as, by an expression of your consent, through the ballot­box,
since we should be no longer deprived of them .
There is yet one more question to which we wish to call your
attention, and that is the most important of them all, as it is the only
safeguard to those we have already named, and all other rights of
the citizens. We refer to the electivefranchise. or the right to vote .
We wish to have a voice in the government which" derives its just
powers from the consent of the governed." By the Constitution of
the State of Illinois, the elective franchise is restricted to its
"white male citizens" who are twenty-one years of age. and in
consequence of this, the colored citizens of the State are deprived
of the right to vote_ This feature of the organic law of the State
is at war with the fundamental principles of this and all other truly
democratic governments. Foremost among these principles is the
one often repeated, but none the less forcible, since it is moved by
the power of eternal truth: that taxation and representation are
It is inconsistent with the Federal Consti.tution, which declares
that" the United States shall guarantee to every State in this
Union a republican fo rm of government." And we protest to you
that that is not a republican government, that constitutes a govern­ing
class or caste of a portion of its citizens, on account of the com­plexion
of their skin . An aristocracy of race or color is as repug­nant
to the principles of republicanism, as one of birth or wealth
would be.
Again, the system of restricting suffrage to the whites only, gives
countenance to that wicked, pernicious, and false doctrine, that has
arisen since the days of Washington and Jefferson, and which is at
present openly preached by some, and secretly cherished by more,
that "this is a white man's government_" This injurious and
undemocratic sentiment is elevated to a degree of respectability,
and its advocates furnished with a pretext upon which to predicate
a sort of consistency, when they are backed up by the unjust political
discrimination of which we complain, and by which a whole race
are debarred from all participation in the government, upon ItO
other ground than that they are not, and cannot be, .( white male
citizens." We have characterized this doctrine as false, because
the wise men who established this republic did not hold any such
doctrine; and if they did entertain such sentiments at all, they
were wise enough, and careful enough, in the performance of the
grand and noble work that fell to their lot, to rise above their
prejudices, and, as if guided by an inspiration scarcely less than
divine, gave to their children, for generations yet unborn, a Declara­tion
of Independence, and a Constitution for the United States,
without a trace of such a weakness, without the stain of such an
iniquity, that know no while man, no black man; but .embrace in
their God-like fold" .ALL ME~" and are for the" PEOPLE."
In many of the States, free colored citizens voted for the adoption
of the Federal Constitution, at the same ballot box, and in common
with their white fellow-citizens, which circumstance furqishes that
noble docnment with a commentary at once truthful and reliable,
defyinO' alike the sophistry of ambitious and unreliable politicians,
and the preconceived opinions of unjust judges; and setting forth
in the clearest light, so that he that runs can read, the meaning of
that broad and just expression, "We, the PEOPLE of the United
States, in order to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and
our posterity, do ordain and establish this COKSTITUTION_" This is
not, then, by the intention of its fonnders, simply a white man's
Government, and those who labor to make it such, because they
are in the majority, pervert it from the high purpose for which it
was established,- to "secure the blessings of liberty" to all its
people; and all legislation, whether State or National, that gives
countenance to such a perversion, and encourages those who are
laboring to accomplish it, shows a recreancy to the trust imposed
upon their posterity by the fathers, and a departure from the faith
which they proclaimed, " 'l'hat all men are created equaL"
Therefore we hope that the Constitntion of our State will be
amended by striking ont the word" white" so that it will ac~ord
with the Constitution of the U uited States, making no distinction
among its citizens on account of their complexion, but" promoting
the general welfare and securing the blessings of liberty" equally
to alL
'l'his, though strong, is not the only ground upon which we pre­dicate
our title to the elective franchise_ We have claims to the
right of suffrage, which we urge upon your consideration; and such
too as, if they were presented by any other class of our fellow
citizens, would ensure to them that right, the dearest and most
sacred to the American citizen-to have a voice in the selection of
those who are to make and execute the laws by which he is to be
"Ve are native American citizens" to the manor born" and have
never known allegiance to any other flag than" The Star Spangled
Banner" which to -da.y waves more proudly and gloriously than
when it was first thruwn to the breeze of beaven_ That flag our
Fathers, with yours, made sacred by sprinkling its altar with their
life's most precious blood, daring the ordeal through which it passed
in the" times that tried men's souls" in the Revolutionary war.
That our fathers served their country in the war of Independence,
and made" excellent soldiers" remarkable for their bravery, as well
as "distinguished for their soldierly appearance" there are abun­dant
historical proofs found upon the records of all the Northern
and some of the Southern States during that period .. In the secret
journal of the old Congress, Vol. 1, pp. 105~107, the following
record occurs: " On the 17th of March, 1779, it was recommended
by Congress, to the States of Georgia and South Carolina, to raise
3,000 colored troops, who were to be rewarded for their services by
their freedom. The delegations from those States informed Con­gress
that such a body of troops would be not only formidable to
the enemy, but would lessen the danger of 'revolts and desertions'
among the slaves themselves."
When British temerity insulted the dignity of our flag in the
war of ] 812, and defied its resistance to their encroachments, the
colored citizens of the Republic came forward at the call of their
country, to defend its flag against the invading foe. General
Jackson addressed them as " fellow citizens" with the whites, and
·said, " as sons of freedom you are called upon to defend our most
inestimable blessing. As Americans, your country looks with
confidence to her adopted children for a valorous support, as a
faithful return for the advantages enjoyed under her mild and
equitable Government. As fathers, husbands, and brothers, you
are summoned to rally round the standard of the eagle to defend all
that is dear in existence. Your country, although calling for your
exertions, does not wish you to engage in the cause without remu­nerating
you for the services rendered. Your intelligent minds are
not to be led away by false rep1'esentations. Your love of honor ~vould
cause you to despise the man who would attempt to deceive you. In the
sincerity of a soldier and the language of truth I address you."
The Hon. 11r _ Clarke in the Convention which revised the Con­stitution
of the State of New York in 1821, said in regard to the
right of suffrage for colored men, "In toe war of the Revolution
these people helped to fight your battles by land and by sea.
" Some of your states were glad to turn out corps of colored men,
and to stand shoulder to shoulder with them. In your late war
(1812) they contributed largtoly towards your most splendid vic­tories.
On Lakes Erie and Champlain, where your fleets triumphed
over a foe superior in numbers and engines of death, they were
manned in a large proportion with men of color !"
In the late rebellion, which has been so recently subdued, and
whose smouldering embers are yet threatening with danger the
peace and prosperity of the country, colored men, without excep­tion,
either North or South, ranged themselves on the side of the
old flag; and when called upon by 0111' worthy Governor in this
State, we :flocked to its standard and bore it in triumph in the face
of its rebel foes to certain victory. We offered our lives to defend
it and redeem it from the sin of slavery and the curse of rebellion.
Our blood was freely contributed to the red sea that deluged this
14 -
land, drawn from patriot veins b,y the instruments of death in the
hands of its enemies. Our sons and brothers suffered starvation
with yours in the loathso~e prisons of a barbarous foe. Our slain
sleep to-day with yours on the battle-fields of the wicked rebellion,
having given their lives, their all, in defence of their country and
its liberties.
"And are we to be thus looked to for help in the 'hour of
danger,' but trampled under foot in the hour of peace?" Are we
to contribute our blood and treasure to support and defend the
government when thrf'atened with destruction, and yet to be denied
all participation in its management when the crisis is passed and
the issue is settled? If so, what shall we say of the justice and
magnanimity of the white Americans: that it is clean gone forever?
We believe better things of them, and shall still hope on for im­partial
justice to be meted out to us. If a residence in this country
that antedates the organization of the government in its duration,
is long enough to entitle to vote, then it is ours by right. If a
loyalty, tried, unswerving and well attested at all times, commands
your admiration and gratitude, and entitles those who possess it to
a voice in the government, then we present the same, and why
should it be longer withheld from us? In short, there are no
claims that can be presented, or arguments that can be urged in
behalf of other American citizens, to insure them a right to vote,
that we do not present, except the all-powerful one that we are
white men.
From the genius of onr government, frrom the considerations of
consistency, from the scars of war and the proofs of loyalty, aye,
from our very birth-right as American citizens, we appeal to you
for impartial justice, for equal political and civil.-rights with our
fellow-citizens in this State.
With our wllole hearts we endorse the following noble sentiment
uttered by the Hon. Horace Maynard, of 'l'Emnessee, and which,
with much propriety, may be said to be "the Word for the Hour:"
" Let our laws and institutions speak not of white men, not of black men,
not of men of any race or complexion, but like the laws of God, the Ten
Oommandments, and the Lord's Pr'ayer, let them speak of PEOPLE."
After the adoption of the report the Oonvention was addressed
at length by Doctor P. B. Randolph, of Louisiana. Mr. J. H.
Barqliette introduced to the Oonvention Rev. Dr. Edward Beecher,
by whom the body was briefly and pertinently addressed.
On the motion of J. H. Barquette the Oonvention tendered a
unanimous vote of thanks to Rev. Dr. Beecher and Dr. Randolph,
for the remarks made hy them before it.
The Ohairman of the Oommittee on the state of the country, R.
W. Stokes, by direction of that body, made its report which was
On the motion of Rev. R. De Baptiste, the adoption of the
report was made the special order of business for this evening.
On motion the Convention adjourned, to meet at half·past
seven o'clock this evening.
The Convention was called to order at half-past seven o'clock.
Prayer was pronounced by Rev. T. Strother.
On the motion of E. R. Williams, the Committee on printing
were ordered to procure fifty· five copies of the Chicago" Tribune"
and a like number of the Galesburg" Free Press" for the use of
members of the Convention.
The address reported from tbe Committee Qll the State of the
Country, the adoption of which bad been made the special order,
was next considered.
The measure elicited considerable discussion.
On the motion of E. R. Williams, the address was referred back
to the Committee reporting it, for condensation .
Mr. A. J . Gordon, on being called, addressed the Convention at
some length.
On motion the Convention adjourned to meet at half-past nine
o'clock on Thursday morning, October 18th.
THIRD D.AY, Thursday, Oct. 18th.
The Convention was called to order at balf past nine o'clock by
the President. The opening prayer was made by Rev. Mr. Faulkner.
The following telegram from the Convention of Men of Color, in
session at Albany, New York, was received, and communicated to
the Convention:
" To President and Oommittee of Oolored Oonvention:
" Over one hundred (100) delegates ill convention greet you, and
pledge cooperation in your and our work.
"M. B. CASS, WM. RICH, } a
The despatch was most cordially received, and the Convention
created Messrs. Wm. Johnson, President of the Convention, R . C.
Waring, and L. B. White, a Committee to return a reply to it.
The proceedings of the afternoon session of Wednesday, October
17th, were read and approved.
The Committee on Credentials reported the names of Tilford
Richardson and Joseph Perkins as duly authorized delegates, and
they were thereupon admitted to seats in the Convention.
On motion, Mr. A. W. Jackson was admitted to a seat in the
The O'Olllmittee on replying to the Albany telegram reported the
follow ing, which was approved, and ordered to be forwarded:
" To the Officers and Membe?'S of the New Ym·k State Oonvention of
Oolored Men:
,. Illinois, through fifty six (56) delegates assembled, sends greet·
ing, and joins in the onward march to freedom and equality.
L. B. WHITE, Com.n
On the motion of O. Barbour, the Oonvention suspended the rule
to adjourn at twelve o'clock m., and ordered a continuance of the
se sion until five o'clock p.m.
The chairman of the Oommittee on Suffrage, Mr. E. R. Williams,
made a report from that body, which, on motion, was received:
The time has come for action. He that would be free, himself' must strike
the blow.
In t.imes like these, when the public mind is being absorbed in deep thought
concerning the welfare of the country, which has jus~ passed throtlgll ol\e of the
most terrific struggles that ever befell a civilized government, and our loyalty
to the government d<Jring that struggie was such that should entitle us to all
the rights, privileges, and immunities in common with other American citizens;
ana it is right, and important as it is right, that colored people who live in the
StMe of Illinois and the United States, should understand and know from the
past how to appreciate the great value of liberty, and all its bleesings, and
cause them to use every means in their power for the purpose of educating the
masses up to the full height of our situation; and that we hould never remain
contented until we have obtained all the rights enjoyed by other men.
And for the purpose of obtaining these great priviliges, of which we are so
unjustly deprived, we, your Committee would recommend the following plan as
a basis of operation to be adopted by this Oonvention.
1st. That. there shall be a Stare Central Suffrage Oommitteo, consi ting of
thirteen members - one from each congressional district, and a gencral agcnt
lor the State at large, all to be elected by th is Con vention.
Zd. It shall be the duty of the State Central Committee to adopt such mea·
sures as will enable them successfully to accomplish the great objects set forth
in the address. .
3rd. Upon the election of the said Committee. they shall immediately proceed
to organize for action by eiecting the following officers: viz., PreSident, Vice­Pre
ident, Secretary, and Treasurer.
4th. The duties of the General Agent shall be, to canva,ss the State, form
auxitliary Leagues, circulate petitions alld urge the people to action, and collect
such moneys as he may be able from time to time, and pay the same to the
treasnrer of the said State Central Committee, alld to perform slIch otber
duties as may be required in the accomplishment of the great objects for which
they were appointed; and for such services rendered, be shall bc paid, from
the State treasury, the sum of --- dollars. and traveling expenses.
It shall also be the duty of the State Central Committee to till all vacancies
th,tt may occur during the time for which they are elected. ?,fol'(\over, the
said State Central Committee and General Agent shall be elected by annual
State Conventions, held on or about the twenty-second day of September of
each year, at such places as the Convention may hereafter determine, the said
Conventions to be composed of delegates from the various Suffrage Leagues
of the State_
On the motion to adopt, Mr. L. B.·White moved that the last clause
of the report be so amended as not to make it obligatory to summon
a Oonvention annually, but to leave the calling of such an assembly
discretionary with the Oentral Oommittee. The amendment pre
vailed, and on the motion to adopt the report as amended, the House
recorded an affirmative vote.
A communication of a suggestive nature, by a friend to ri ghtful
human progress, was received from Muscatine, Iowa, and laid on
the table for future action. Its animus was competent to have
secured for it a careful canvass by the Oonvention; but the accu­mulated
unfinished business of the body, in view of the impending
final adjournment, precluded the consideration of the propositions
presented in it.
On the prevailing motion of L. B. White, that the Ohair appoint
a committee of nine, to nominate candidates for the State Oentra1
Oommittee, the following gentlemen were assigned to that duty by
the President: Wm. Baker, O. O. Richardson, Rev. Bryant Smith,
M. Richardson, G. Brent, W. Ooleman, E. A. Green, Philander
Outland, G. T. Fountain.
On motion, the Oommittee were requested to report at two .
o'clock p.m.
The Oonvention voted a recess of thirty minutes.
On the re-assembling of the house, the Oommittee on the Moral
Status of the colored people of the State, made, through their chair­man,
Rev. J. B. Dawson, the annexed report, which was adopted:
Your Committee on the Moral Status of the colored people of this State res­pectfully
report as follows:
We are fully persuaded that the morals of a people are very closely connected
with their permanent prosperity, and are impressed with the fact, that those
who disregard the laws of this part of our complex nature can never hope to be
either great or prosperous; and it is with pleasure that we present the following
of statistics, all an indication of the moral status of the colored people in the State
TIlinois. There are, among the colored people of this State, forty churches, whose
church property is valued at one hundred thousand dollars. The number of
members i:l these churches is about five thousand. Ministers of the gospel,
ordained and licensed, about eighty. Sabbath schools, about forty ; Sa~bath
Buhool scholars, three thousand. All of which we respectfully submit,
On the motion of Joseph Stanley, that a committee of five be
appointed to revise and publish the proceedings of the Convention,
thp. following gentlemen were created such committee: Joseph
Stanley, L. B. White, R. C. Waring, Wm. Johnson, E. R. Williams.
On the motion of George P. Morris, it was ordered that the
printing be done in Chicago.
On the motion of C. S. Jacobs, it was ordered that the proceed.
ings of the Convention be published in pamphlet form, to the num·
ber of from five hundred (500) to one thousand copies (1,000) copies,
at the discretion of the Publishing Committee.
On the motion of George L. Thomas, the members of the Con·
vention were assessed one dollar each, to constitute a fund for the
payment of the expenses of the body.
The Committee on Ways and Means reported as follows:
October 16. To Cash collection. . . • . • . . • •. • •.........••..•••...•
" 17. ~ ~ , ,
H 18. from assessment of delegates at one dollar each
Total cash receipts ... " •••.•..... " •••..••...•..•...••.•••
October 18. By Cash paid for printing ........... ~ ... •.. . •.••.....
" 18. " "52 copies of "Free Press " .•••.....•
u 18. " Rent of hall ......................................... ..
18. " " Stationery, to S. D. Williams ............... ..
" IS. " ,~ Posting bills ...... ........................ .......... ..
November 14. u " Paper for revising Min. (by R. C. Waring)
$4 46
56 00
$64 17
$3 50
2 60
20 00
o 90
o 50
o 50
$28 00
Balance. • • •. . • • . .. • . . .. •. . . •.. • • •. . .• ..•.•••...•••••••.••• 36 l'l
The chairman of the Committee on the nomination of candidates
for State Central Committee reported the names of the following
gentlemen: William Johnson, Joseph Stanley, L. B. vVhitp., Chi·
cago; George T. Fountain, Quincy; H. Hicklin, Springfield; C.
C. Richardson, Alton; S. D. Williams, Galesburg; E. A. Green,
Champaign City: C. S. Jacobs, Decatur; Rev. B. Smith, Shawnee·
town; A. Hill, Joliet; G. P. Morris, Monmouth; G. Ellis, Cairo.
On the motion to create these gentlemen the State Central Com·
mittee. the Convention recorded an affirmative vote.
The' chairinan of the Committee on Resolutions reported the
following resolution of Mr. R. W. Stokes, which, on motion, was
Resolved, That in view of the great interests involved in the pending political
contest in our country, and the desirableness of our being united upon a course
of action for the securement of all our rights as American citizens, the
State Central Committee created by this House be, aud tbey are hereby instructed
to correspond with all other colored State Central Committees, as to the pro­priety
of, time, and place for holding a Congress of colored men, representing
all parts of the country.
On the motion of J. Stanley, "That this Convention tender a
vote of thanks to the citizens of Galesburg for the courtesy exhibited
to its members while in their beautiful city, than which we know of
no place where there has been so little prejudice shown to colored
men - this glorious city of colleges and churches" the house gave
a unanimous affirmative vote.
The chairman of the Committee on the State of the Country,
R. W. Stokes, under the direction of that body, reported back, in
its original form, the Address to the People of the United States,
which, by an order of the Convention, had been recommitted for
abridgment. Briefly recapitulating the scope and purpose of the
Address, the previous question was called by him, and under its
operation the Address was adopted.
Upon its original presentment to the house, the chairman of the
Committee said:
in the collective .presence of a thousand intelligences, and utter
" right words" before them, is a work which only the learned and
experienced can reasonably hope successfully to achieve. '1'0
address the entire sovereignty of a State of the American Union,
is a task of still profounder difficulty of performance. But when
we address a great nation of thirty millions of people, we have the
whole earth for our auditorium, and civilized humanity every where
for our eventual hearers. At the threshold of such an audience·cham­ber,
the wisest may well pause, ere entering upon the view of tens of
thousands of intelligences, all direct emanations from the grand
over-soul Himself. In obedience to the law of circumstances, how­ever,
there sometimes devolve upon men duties - solemn duties ­the
performance of which it were unmanly to even seek to evade.
Pursuant, therefore, to the decision of the Committe on the State
of the Country, of which I have the honor to be a member, I beg
leave to submit the Address, which they have instructed me to
" We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created
equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable
rights among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,
and that governments derive their just powers from the consent of
the governed."
Such were the principles enunciated by the patriot fathers of
American nationality, and under their inspiration they waged the
war of independence against the domination of the mother country,
which culminated in the formation of the great political community
named the United States of North America. The intelligence of
mankind will bear us witness, upon a review of the national history,
that had these fundamental principles- emanations, as they are,
from the eternal verities- been permitted to imbue the life and con­trol
the action of the people government of the nation, it would have
been spared the inestimable loss of the precious lives of half a
million of men, and the taxing the industry of the country to the
extent of three thousand millions of money.
To-day we face a prospect, to properly appreciate which recourse
may suitably be had to retrospection.
The animus residing in, and the complications arising out of, the
existing atrocious rebellion (" existing" because, though as a physical
entity it has been conquered by cannon, its spirit, intensified in
venom by defeat, permeates the quarter once dominated by it; and
is seeking, through ten thousand agencies, political, moral, and
physical, to regain in the forum what it lost in the field) - a rebel­lion
for magnitude of extent and wickedness of incentive without
historic parallel - have eventuated in the advancement of human
liberty on this continent.
Candor, pur et simple, compels the admission. that this conclusion
is due as much, or more, to the obstinacy of the rebellious power ­an
obstinacy born of infatuation - than to the existence in the
Northern people and government of a disposition to discern and
accept the fitness of things as seen in the light of the justice of God.
Born of resistance to tyranny, and taking her place as one of the
family of nations upon the great democratic idea of the natural
equality of rights of all men, America has, since the commencement
of her national life, been vainly endeavoring to render homogeneous
two actively opposing and wholly irreconcilable principles - right
and wrong; freedom and slavery! This compromise with wrong
seems to have been made by the fathers of American liberty, to
whom it was a confessed anomaly in their system of government, in
the belief that the wrong principle thus admitted to a co-partner­ship
witn the right would soon be eliminated by it. But the pro­gress
of events demonstrated the impolicy of nations or men doing
evil that good may come, for the wrong principle became a collossal
agent of political power in the general State, and the ever fruitful
cause of sectional dissensions in the nation. Essentially aggressive,
the slave power has been unceasing and persistent in its opposition
to liberty-subsidizing to its interests the pulpit and the press of
almost the entire country. Submission to one of its behests,
became the parent of a numerous progeny of demands, each ambi·
tious, rapacious, inexorable J Its sanctuaries were the dwelling
places of its victims-its altars their hearth·stones, and its sacri·
fices their life's blood, wrung out by refinements of cruelty, and
with inexpressible torture.
In the midst of its empire it set up its idol Moloch, and made
reverence for it the price of admission to the blood·stained privi­leges
of its realm. The lash was its stern ukase-the manacle the
sacrfld symbol of its power, while incest and adultery were at
once among its means of commerce and the hand·maidens of its
pleasures. The deity of its worship was the demon of injustice
and oppression, while it exultingly trampled beneath its sacriligious
feet the mandates of the God of the universe! Clothed in purple
and fine linen, with its haughty brow decked with a diadem dipped
in blood, it held forth its golden sceptre, promising the rewards of
its empire to those that should become worshipers at its shrine.
The psaltery, the harp, the sackbut, and the dulcimer of its pro­gramme,
were the passions of lust, cupidity, prejudice and ambition;
and upon these it played skillfully, drawing myriads to the worship
of its unhallowed rites, until, all ove1' the land, from rostrum and
pulpit-from the gilded halls of mirth-from the place of prayer,
and from the couch of the dying, the smoke of its offerings ascended I
Boasting itself to be the embodiment of a civilization ordained of
God, it assiduously labored to dim the lustre of God's" true light"
to chain the human intellect to its chariot wheels, " and shut the
gates of mercy on mankind!"
However great the accessions to its power, such was the rapacity
of its lust of dominion, that, like the insatiate daughters of the
horse·leech, " Give, G-tve" was its ever· resounding refrain.
When it had instilled its virus into the heart, and placed its
incubus upon the brain of almost the entire nation, grown more and
still more arrogant by success, it committed a cardinal error against
its own being, in that it forsook the forum and assumed the sword !
The forum had been the scene of its profoundest triumphs. There,
it had been wont to receive the adulations of its worshipers, and
the abject submission of its opponents. There, for decades of
liberty·throttling years. its northern foremen-with a few thrice
honorctble exceptions-had been used, as a fitting finale to their con·
tests with the blood· loving and tear·bathed Moloch, to fall down
in its presence with their hands upon their mouths, and their faces
in the dust, and to cry before it, "Unequal and unclean I"
But not content with the" great concessions" made, times almost
innumerable, to its rapacity, or freely proffered to its acceptance as
a subsidy for its unhallowed support, and fearing that the ancient
spirit of liberty inherent in the organic law of the land, and still
extant in the great heart of the nation, might survive the ponderous
compress under which it had placed her, and shine in her own un·
bounded splendor, to bless this continent and mankind; and desiring
to secure and to perpetuate its own unimpeachable supremacy in
the nation, it threw aside and trampled upon its senatorial robes­assumed
the helmet of battle-drew the sword of rebellion-cried
" havoc" and" let slip the dogs of war I"
For four-score years, the American people had gone forward in a
career of industrial prosperity relatively unparalleled among the
llations of the earth_ The wings of their commerce swept every
known sea accessible to civili zed traffic, and beside the ensigns of
all the maritime nations of the earth, .the American flag floated, the
respected and honored emblem of a nation's greatness. Out on the
sOllnding sea, it had waved from the peak amid the thunder of battle,
and when the smoke of the contest lifted, "the flag was still there"
the earnest of many hard-gained victories. On the dry land, amiu
charging squadrons and the deep -mouthed bay of cannon, it had
been borne into the fray on many a battle-field; and although war­torn
by the enfilading fire of the foe, and stained with the blood of
heroes, victory had again and over been domiciled within the temple
of her pleasure-upon its crest.
Into the lap of America, tbe earth, the sea and the heavens
pourecl their selectest treasures, to builcl her up and make her of
the greatest among the nations. But while she was thus prospered, .
distinguished, and honored. there was rioting in the innermost
recesses of the national life, the canker-worm of a great national sin!
Ignoring God, in ber conuuct as a nation, she had gone forward in
the greatness of her strength, laying iniquity to sin, in her oppres·
sion of the poor of the land, ancl beyond her borders, until the national
transgression was piled a monstrous mountain of abominations,
towering to the skies I
For scores of years, within her boundaries, the cry of the soul­anguish
of the oppressed-mothers bereaved of their children-hus­bands
separated from their wives-sons and daughters put to the
torture before the sorrowing eyes of their helpless parents-the
marriage tie desecrated-the family relation, with all its tender
associations, its hallowed influences, ignored-woman robbed of her
virtue-the human intellect persistently darkened-the honor of
manhood, the dignity of womanhood, insulted ancl outraged in a
thousand ways-the ground opening her mouth to receive the gush­ing
blood from the lacerated, quivering flesh of the innocent-the
agonized death-cry of the immolated victims of the great tyranny,
wailing upward to the throne of the universe, from out the smoke
and ashes of their funeral pyre-the embodimen t of all these horrors,
and ten thousand more, had been ascending to God, until the ear of
mercy was pained, and the" glittering sword" of justice leaping
from its Rcabbard, hung suspended over the favored land! Inlpartial
history will record the poetic ju~tice of tbe retribution meted out to
the foul power that sought, in the spirit of its own philosophy, to
perpetuate its existence and extend its authority, by rebelling
against the pillar that sustained its throne ~ Blinded by a mistaken
belief in its own invincibility, it ruthlessly unchained the thunder­bolt
that was destined to destroy it. It spoke, through the mouths
of its cannon, directed against Fort Sumter, its bold defiance to the
authority of the nation. Not more brave were the defenders of the
celebrated pass of 'I'hermopylre, than were those courageous few to
whom first, in the ushering in of the great American conflict, came
the fiery baptism of battle-the garrison of that beleaguered fortress.
Succumbing, at length, to the unequal force of seven thousand
against seventy men, they yet, in evacuating their stronghold, re­tailled
possession of the flag they had so heroically defended-it,
glorious, though trailed in the dust-they, invincible even in defeat I
At a later day that flag waved again over Sumier! Roused by the
rattling thunders of artillery, the nation spra,ng to arms with an
earnest avidity, for which hist.ory supplies no parallel, presenting
to mankind a spectacle of sublime grandeur-the uprising of a great
From the mountain and the vale-from the hill-top aud the plain
-from the anvil and the axe-from the shuttle and the ship- from
the cloister and the desk-from the bench alld from the bar-from
the hamlet and the town-from all life's varied callings, they came,
with an almost continuous" tramp, tramp, tramp" at the call of
the Executive, to the defence of the Governm~nt, ordained by the
labors, and consecrated with the blood, the sacred blood of their
. fathers; and heralding before their advancing standards the sup­porting
I' ,Va are coming Father Abraham,
Three hundred thousalld more I ;,
Nor did the Sons of America alone respond to the call of their
country. Woman, the central point of generous impulse and
end1~ring love, added new leaves of laurel to her glorious bays,
during a nation's baptism in a nation's blood! .
What praise can be beyond the merit of America's loyal women in
the hour of America's supremest need! Upon their brows shall
history bind true fame's unfading chaplet, and honored shall their
memories be by coming generations!
"They also sl'Jrve who only wait and hope."
The widowed mother with an only son-the hope, the confidence
of her declining days-laid that dear son upon the altar of :1er
country and smiled to know she had a son to give.
The devoted sister gave her cherished brother, and dwelt alone
in sadness, but in hope.
The fondly clinging wife, gave him, around whom her heart
strings closely twined, and shedding o'er the pledges of her loye for
him, the pearly symbols of the anguish of her soul, yet strong in
love of country, liberty and duty, she gently bid him go.
The tender girl, with all a maiden's mantling blush upon her,
yet in true heroism strong, with a parting kiss that left its impress
on her lover's lips forever, gave him, her heart's most cherished idol,
and died herself to happiness and hope that liberty might live.
These all deserve well of their country, for freely have they laid
upon that country's altar their choicest offerings, and schooled
themselves to " suffer and be strong."
It will be within your recollection, fellow countrymen, that such
were among the agencies called into vigorous action by the commis­sion
of the overt act of treason to the flag. But, neither Govern­ment
nor people seemed to comprehend the plainly written lesson
of the hour. By acts too historic to be questioned, they demon­strated
their willingness to make, for the salvation of the country,
every sacrifice, save one,-and that the indispensable condition of
safety,-the sacrifice of wrong upon the altar of right.
Desirinl! simply to restore the original status of the States, they
were unwilling to lay the axe at the foot of the tree of the national
evil, to strike home upon the arrogant monster who had, with­out
cause, inaugurated war upon the ancient 1·egime, ,that it
might overthrow the Government of the people, and build upon its
ruins an oligarchy, the chief corner stone of which should he human
slavery, while lust, cupidity and prejudice-a most unhallowed trium­virate-
should form the fitting key stone to the principal arch of
the infernal structure. But when the lengthened contest assumed
proportions almost infinitely more vast than had been conceived
probable, or even possible, on the part of either contestant, when
the dark shadow cast by the wing of the angel of death had rested
upon half the households in the land, the Government and people,
realizing, through the implacable logic of events, that, in seeking
conjointly to crush the slaveholders' rebellion, and rivet the shackles
stillmore firmly on the enslaved portion of the American people,
th!?)" wpre simply assisting in the creation of a vortex in which
their own liberties would assuredly be engulphed, measurably gave
up their idle purpose, and sought to assume a policy based upon
common sense, and supported by common justice.
As the initial, and yet cardinal, act of that policy, the President
of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, of happy memory, pro­claimed
to a large proportion of the chattel bondmen of America,
BE FREE! Nor was that clarion note of the Executive an edict of
emancipation to these alone. It was the herald of freedom to all
those communities and men who were subordinate to the require­ments
of the so· called " peculiar institution."
It was the master key to unpadlock the lips of " the American
Tract Society"-lips closed in the fear of man, from uttering bold
denunciations in the fear of God, against the prime iniquity of the
It was the lever, designed and calculated to heave from its base,
the cause that made an acre of land in North Carolina of less pecu­niary
value than the same superficial extent of soil in Pennsylvania.
It was a measure calculated to restore to labor the acknowledg­ment
of its true dignity, by the dethronement of a power that had
placed its "mudsill" brand of degradation upon it, while itself
rioted in a stolen opulence that gave to it a fictitious respectability.
It was within the competency of its scope to increase the defen·
sive power of the Republic by eliminating it.s principal element of
weakness,-to uplift the literature, enlarge the culture, and improve
the morals of the entire country. Not only did it bid the enslaved
be free, but it solemnly pledged the faith of the Government, and
thereby the honor of tlie,nation, to "maintain the freedom of such
Shall the sacred honor of the nation, plighted amid the rattle of
musketry, the clash of sabres, the loud-mouthed bay of cannOll,
"the thunder of the captains, and the shouting" " and garments
rolled in blood" be "maintained" under the peace which the war
has purchased, in its letter and in its spirit?
Fellow citizens, for your answer to the solemn interrogatory here
propounded, universal humanity pauses I
The Baltimore Platform, upon which the second election of Mr.
Lincoln to the Presidency occurred, not only re-affirmed the abolish­ment
of slavery within the United States, but boldly pronounced
for its" exti7pation" from the soil of the country.
Following the issuance of the great proclamation - the funda·
mental act in the reuemption of the country from the crimson record
of the past America-came the enlistment of colored men as soldiers
of RepUblic. Through the diabolism, pure and simple, of American
prejudice, they had been deemed not only unfit to be defended by
the flag (purchased as well with the blood of their forefathers as
that of other men), but also unworthy to bare their bosoms to the
iron-hail of the opposing power, in that flag's defence, and die for
it and liberty, as died vainly many of their forefathers on revolution­ary
and other battle-fields.
But there came an hour in which the voice of the government, in
accents invitatory, went forth to them, saying: "Your country's in
danger, and calls for you now _" And nobly did they respond. Two
hundred thousand of them went forth, and stood in armed defence
of the cradles, the hearthstones, and the hearts of the people of the
United States. They did this that the Republic might not perish,
and that liberty might live. Impartial and inevitable history will
lend a haloed leaf to the record of the great fact that, mightiest
among the mighty changes wrought by the great conflict of princi­ples,
p'roducing the clash of gigan tic armies in America, a people
" robbed and peeled" arose from the dust, and on fields of blood and
carnage, already as imperishable as Thermopylre, and Marengo, and
Austerlitz, and Flodden Field, and Pharsalia, and Yorktown, sus­tained,
amid the collision of arms, their long derided assertion of
their God-given manhood. Many of these brave soldiers of the
Republic-falling with their feet to the foe, bat.tling beneath the
banner of tl:eir country - sleep now their last sleep on the gory
plains of war, with no stone raised to mark their crimson sepulchre;
yet shall the muse of history, weeping above their sacred manes,
write them down with honor on her tablets, as among the patriot
heroes of Olustee, Fort Wagner, Milliken's Bend, Port Hudson,
and many other well fought fields (If strife.
Millions of this class of citizens have domicil amid communities
whose infidel power they so largely assisted to overthrow. If, being
so placed, they be left by the military po,ver of the government,
without the protecting shield of equality of rights befO'i'e the law, what
mus t become their status? Shall serfdom or peonage succeed to the
chattel slavery, out of which, at the fiat" of "military necessity"
they have been lifted by the national arm? Shall they, from being
slaves of individuals, become the slaves of communities- t,he pariahs
of society? To" maintain" their "actual freedom" intact, the
faith of the nation stands solemnly pledged.
Sigismund violated his safe conduct- the word of an emperor­and
blushing scarlet in the assembly of noti}bles, blushes still in his­tory,
a.nd must blush through all coming time! Shall the fullness
of blushing become the historic mantle of America, because of her
dereliction of duty to any class of her citizens, that in the hour of
the common danger, stood forth in the common defence?
The proclamation which proved itself to be no mere bnttem fulmen,
as was affirmed of it, did not make free all the cha.ttel slaves within
the United States, but the adoption of an important amendment to
the organic law of the land did. For, under the plastic hand of cir­cumstances
it had become the mtionale of American liberty, that the
perpetuity of her reign required that her safeguards should be
enshrined in the constitution itself. Because the war, through the
agency of two hundred pounder Parrott guns, armored ships and
spherical shot, had been productive of an iron-clad logic, preViously
unknown to American executive power, Ameriean legislation, or
• v American jurisprudence.
It is a part of the usual course of legislation, in the promulgation
of a law regarding matters already legislated upon, to make the
latest enactment the repealer of all laws and parts of laws incon­sistent
with itself. The logic of this rule needs no exemplification
- it bears its own comment. When the abolishment of American
slavery transpired, all laws, ordinances or enactments that had
been made in its interests and for its snpport, fell with the legally
defunct tyranny and became extinct - " null and void, and of none
effect." Whatever enactment, therefore, has since been formed,
in its spirit and for its sustainment, has been so formed in contraven­tion
of the supreme> law of the land-is contumacious and nullifying
in its essence, and is of no force or rightful authority with any crea­ture
But an unenfranchised class, dwelling where public sentiment
sanctions such enactments, can, and doubtless will be, as they unques­tionably
are, made the victims of local legislation, in ways and under
circumstances not at all likely to be remedied by the power of the
Constitution, imperfectly or insincerely administered. The enfran­chisement
of this class eliminates this never··be-depre­cated
condition of things, bY.rendering catholic tbe benign operation
of the organic law of liberty, where every man is made at once its
subject and an interested sustainer of it.
State action might, at least partially, accomplish this. But will
even that, by all the States, be done? A learned, reverend and
venerable American loyalist, at the collapse of the rebellion, declared,
that if the enfranchisement of the freedmen should be left to the
determination of the States whose slave-power over them had been
broken by the war, it would never be effected. Do not all tbe indi­cations
at present observable sustain that view?
The nature of" the government under which we live" is three­fold-
executive, legislative, and j udicial- each co-ordinate branch
of it having its own legitimate sphere of action assigned to it by the
fundamental law creating them all .
'1'0 take care that the laws are faithfully executed is the highest
constitutional duty of the chief ma.gistrate; to decree laws for the
government and protection of the American people, is the proper,
legitimate office of the Congress oJ the United States, and of no
other power whatever; while the supreme judicial tribunal exhausts
its functions when it has decided upon the constitutionality, or the
converse, of any law so made.
The Constitution has made it the duty of the United States to
" guamntee" to each State a republican form of government. No
government, whether State or national, is republican in form or in
spirit, in which any portion of its citizens-except for crime or
nonage - are denied the exercise of the rights common to the
remainder. The subject of suffrage has hitherto been controlled by
the several States respectively, and many of them, in controlling it,
have excluded from t.he exercise of the ballot an entire class of Amer­ican
citizens, or have admitted them only upon property, or other
physical qualifications, unknown to the Constitution-the supreme
law of the land . The power that created this" policy" and sus­tained
its existence, having failed to maintain its own corporeal
being on an appeal to the sword, every adumbration of an excuse
for its coutinuance has passed away.
Over the whole subject, we regard the power of Congress as ample;
else is the Constitution a nullity, and the Union lAnder it "a rope
of sand." But such a conclusion as is involved in the terminus of
this proposition is not in any sense tenable, in view of the sea of
precious blood, and the billions of treasure so lavishly and so S~lCCesS­fully
expended by the American people for the preservation and

perpetuity of both. It is, then, within the competency of the Con­stitution-
given authority of the Congress of the United States} to
" guarantee" to every American citizen the unobstructed exercise
of his inherent right "to take part in determining the laws, the
magistracies, and the public policies under which he and his children
are to live." Principles are deathless entities. "You can not
hush up a principle I" Since the formation of the government, that
attempt has been made continuously; but principle has lifted her
voice in the pulpit, on the hustings, upon the rostrum, at the couch
of the dying, and at length in the thunder-clang of battle, while she
has written her immortal presence all over the land in characters
of blood.
An able pen has written, "No question is ever settled that is not
settled right." "Of the questions that came up for settlement by
our fathers! those in which they touched principle were settled for ­ever,
and they never gibber or flit; but those questions where, in­stead
of touching principle, they only touched the quicksand of
expediency, have been all our lives tormenting us. And if there
was ever a people that ought to have learned that· to touch the
ground of principle is safe, and that to come short of that is unsafe,
we are that people. So let us not commit another mistake ."
Will you, then, seek to re-erect the national structure npon " the
quicksand of exp~diency" when principle lies at your feet, not
r equiring to be quarried, but full of the fair proportions that follow
the application of the line, the level, and the square, and ready to
be used for the purpose of building for you and for your posterity
" a sure house 7"
Loyal men, representing" the South" from the Missouri to the
Rio Grande, are giving evidence before the American people of the
temper and tendency of the dominant class of the inhabitants of the
insurgent section of the land_ They tell you that, whoever,
during the nation's bloody baptism, stood forth in defence of, or
remained firm in allegiance to the old flag- the assaulted flag of your
fathers- is proscribed and rendered unsafe in person and property
by the friends and supporters of the unslain spirit of the rebellion
- the spirit that invoked the war- that -enginee;'ed it.s forces against
liberty- that starved, and slew in cold blood, the imprisoned defenders
of the Republic- that, as its crowning act of deepest infamy, assas­sinated
our beloved martyr President- and that now, though disem­bodied,
lives, vigorously lives, and is couchant only where restrained
by the military arm of the nation, and rampant wherever that arm
is not. They stood by you in the dark and perilous hours of the
nation's life; they know the deep diabolism of the power they con­front;
they know the sure and effectual remedy for the ills they
endure; they know your right and your power to apply that remedy,
and they come to you and ask, as the deliberate conviction of their
judgment, that you give to them an efficient ally, by enfranchising
the colored loyalists of the South.
They tell you, in words that burn, that the suffering loyal people
at the South need this support as indispensable to their safety in
person and property, and to enable them to stand up like men, and
effectually declare, in the face of the actively malicious power of
secessiou and treason, that American constitutional liberty, and the
Union of these States, are and shall be "one and inseparable, now al'ld
forever I"
Will you stretch forth the mailed hand of the nation to save
them, or shall your friends-the friends of the Union and liberty­be
permitted to perish?
"A war of races" (so mis-called, we think, because, believing
that there is but one race of mankind, the human race, divided as it
is into multiplied families of the earth, but "made of one blood")
such a war has been spoken of in high quarters, with no deterring
sentence of condemnation upon it_ With the spirit of the rebellion
still stalking abroad in the land, such utterances might well be
expected to bear fruit. Are not the sauguinary occurrences at
Memphis and New Orleans their legitimate outgrowth?
Whatever their origin and purpose, the verity remains that
neither executive favor, nor judicial decisions, nor "honied lies" of
" Can blazon evil deeds, or wnsecrate a crime I' 1
The universe possesses no power that can elevate error into the
dignity of right.
"I am a Roman citizen" had once to him who bore the title, a
potency of protection in it, greater than that afforded by fleets and
armies. Standing beneath the folds of the proud banner of his
country, the American citizen should find in it immunity 'from
wrong and violence. But, neither in the memorable occurrence on
the banks of the Ogeechee, transpiring in the rear of the magnificent
army that, under the leadership of its great captain, through the
heart of an enemy's country, victoriously" marched down to the
sea" nor yet in the more recent crimson baptisms, accorded to two
of the cities of the South, did the flag avail to save the blood of
loyal men.
For the shedding of that blood a fearful responsibility somewhere
vests. Will the nation assume it? These acts areconstituent parts
of a crime so despicable in its moral turpitude, so appalling in the
pure diabolism of its character, that history can have for it no palli­ation,
and mankind no pardon.
Although the idol to which a great nation bowed low to do
reverence, performed well its work of corrupting the public con­science,
during its supremacy, we do not regard a war with the
indicated purpose and RESULT as impending. We worship an icono­clastic
God I
All adown the pathway of the centuries is the cumulative evi­dence
discoverable, that no people, bowing down before the cross,
have ever, by another so worshipping people, been exterminated.
The aboriginal man of America, once the undisputed possessor of
this continent, preceding, by coenYion, the "star of empire" on its
westward way, stands now upon the Pacific slope, his footsole
almost laved by the waters of that great sea.
Acknowledging the God of the universe, beside the council fire
in the wilderness, and on the war path red with the blood of the
slain,-in the star that shimmerd its light upon his meandering riv­ulets,
and in the storm-cloud charged with the thunderbolt, the
God of revelation was to him as to the ancient worshippers on
Areopagus, "THE UNKNOWN GOD." Scorning to a.dopt the civili­zation
that grew up and became dominant around him, he elid not
" kiss the Son ." His shrine was the shrine of the universe, but at
the altar of revelation, he bent not the suppliant knee. And now
the light of his camp fires is paling before the advancing beacons
of civilization, and ere a few decades of years shall have grown
hoary, the last of the primeval children of America will have sunk
to rest beneath the clods of the soil, that once owned the sway of
his ancestors, or wit,hin the bosom of the deep and calm Pacific,
with all its wide expanse to form his mighty -mausoleum.
But though the track of his moccasin cease from the continent­though
his war-path be replaced by the railway- though on the site
of his wigwam shall arise the mansion palatial, and though he
"perish from the way" yet shall the memory of America's child of
the forest, long linger in the land that was his,
"For his name is on your waters,
And ye can Dot wash it out I"
But, as Simon the Cyrenian bore the burden of the Great Prophet,
when he was weak and had thrice fallen, up to the very apex of the
hill of atonement, laying down his encnmbrance only where the stan­dard
of redemption was set up, so has the Africo-American, during
all the two centuries of his thraldom on this continent, borne the
weight of the" throne of iniquity" and found his only refuge at
the foot of the cross of the crucified I Surely, fellow-citizens, not
even they that" sat clown by the waters of Babylon" and wept when
they remembered Zion, had the poisoned chalice so preferred to their
lips, whose, bitter contents, we, for two hundred years, have quaffed.
And yet, we number five million souls! We worship an icono­cas
tic God- we, as a people, bow down befm'e the Dross I
During the war, a purpose briefly existed, of virtually ostracising
an entire class of Americans, "native and to the manor born" as a
means of placating the unappeasable spirit, that at the moment was
endeavoring, with fire and sword, to fulfill its long-cherished 11urpose
to "rend the Union, from turret to foundation" that upon the
debris of the government framed by Washington and the fathers,
and consecrated with the blood, and tears, and prayers of the Ameri­cim
people of "the times that tried men's souls" a government
should be erected, having for its chief corner stone, a political class
distinction, subversive of the rights of, and degrading to universal
humanity. The policy of their deportation finds now but few de­fenders,
and no philosophic demonstrator. Its reenactment would
be, not the, perhaps, excusable farce of a first attempt, but a stu­pendous,
inextenuable, tragic crimel " Indissolubly connected with
the great body of the '.American people, we possess with it a com­mon
destiny. Our record in the past. we think, warrants the belief,
that, with it, we will be found willing to do, to dare, to suffer, and
if need be, to die, in defense of American constitutional liberty for
the entire American people." Weare fully aware that the devotion
to the flag, every where observable among us, is scarcely explicable '
to foreign peoples, and far too little understood by the majority of
our own countrymen. An excerpt of a letter, written immediately
after the receipt of the earliest intelligence of the battle of Shiloh
Church, by a young man from among us, may serve to make that
plain, and place us rightly upon record as having a reason for the
fai th that is in us :
"An American by birth, by residence, and in feeling, I love my
country, and I love her flag.
" 'Lives there the man with soul so dead
That never to himself has said,
This is my own-my native land 7'
"In every foreign port where I have seen it, and on the bosom
of the wide, wide sea, I have greeted it with a feeling of affection
that I may not undertake to describe. I knew-with unutterable
pain I knew-that its bright stars and broad stripes had covered
and protected the horrors of the' middle passage I' I knew that
while it flaunted in proud beauty from the dome of the capitol at
Washington, the seat of the government of my country, 'the model
republic,' all around it, and protected by it, were the shambles of
the traffickers in human blood, and tears, and sighs, and groans I In
blood that would have sufficed in quantity to have changed to crim­son
all the raiment of all the chief executives of my country's gov­ernment,
since its formation. In tears sufficient in multitude to
have filled to overflowing the brazen sea of the first temple. In
sighs that for decades of years had pained the ears of mercy. In
groans that for generations had been ascending as one great, em­bodied
prayer of" misery, to heaven, and with the earnestness of
desperation, laying hold on the thrones of the Trinity! All this,
and more, I knew, and knowing, loved that flag! I loved it because
it was the symbol and the outgrowth of the great democratic idea
of the natural equality of man. I loved it because beneath its regis
there was an evident vestige of the primitive rights of man. I loved
it because, upon the waters of every sea, it held an independent
position beside the ensigns of all the maritime nations of the earth.
I loved it because it was the symbol of my country's greatness. I
loved it for contests waged and victories won beneath its ample
folds. I loved it because, while I knew that bitter things were
written against it on earth and in heaven, I yet hoped for the day
of its pe?fect purification from them all; for the day when, in the
strength and glory of its new birth, it should say to cupidity-to
lust-to avarice- to prejudice-' What have I to do any more with
idols?' I loved it, while I believed that for it to reach the high
goal of the hopes of mankind, it mllst pass thtough an ordeal of fire.
Has not the hour of that ordeal dawned upon us? On the Potomac­on
the 'sacred soil' of Virginia- in Missouri- in Arkansas- in
Tennessee-in Kentucky- in the Carolinas- along the banks of
'the Father Waters '- shakes not the earth beneath the tread of
-martial men? And in how many places is no,t the sound of the
groans of the poor slave- convicted of no crime, attainted of no
treason- replaced hy the sharp crack of the rifle, the rattle of mus­ketry,
the clash of sabres, and the booming bass of artillery?
"And in this great conflict, this deadly' wreck of matter,' the old
flag is borne upward and ~mward to the re-achievement of its right­ful
heritage by the stalwart arms and courageous hearts of its heroic
defenders. Surely, to-day, amid its glorious victories, it is receiv­ing
its solemn baptism of fire and of blood I"
And thus we loved and love the flag.
Mr. Alexander H. Stephens, on being inducted into the second­ary
position upon" the throne of iniquity" declared the new" gov­ernment"
of which he was a pillar, to be 1'efO'rmatory in its character.
But, if it be true that great reforms never move backward, it must
be admitted that the armed insurrection of American slavery was
not a reform, but a retrogression j evolving, however, out its very
necessities, a true reform, of an animus deeply and implacably antag­onistic
to itself.
It sought to unwrite the superscription of the Almighty upon
humanity. To-day, the reform which it has engendered is re-unit­ing
manhood on man. It sought to account the prayers, the tears,
the trials, and the love of civil and religious liber.ty of the Pilgrim
Fathers unholy; and to blot out" Plymouth Rock" from the sacred
remembrance of Americans. But to-day, from an hundred battle­fields,
the bleaching bones of the honored sons of the" Mayflower's"
ocean wanderers speak in thunder tones to the surviving descendants
of the Puritans, to contend earnestly in the spirit of their progeni­tors,
for that which the forefathers sought and found- I: Freedom
to worship God I" It sought to undeclare the most noble utterances
of 1775, the foundation -stone of American liberty, and American
nationality. But to day, these sentiments, haloed in fire, and a
thousand-fold intensified by their baptism in a nation's blood, are
far more than in the hour when the continent of America became
vocal with them, and distant thrones of power trembled before them,
cherished in ten thousands of bosoms, by whom they are accounted
as among the eternal verities I
People of America I in virtue of the sacred blood of the slain of
an hundred battle-fi!)lds, and of the noble naval heroes that have
sunk to their last sleep beneath the engulphing waves, that the
country and liberty might not perish- in justice to the honored army
of living witnesses, who bared their bosoms to the foeman's steel,
that freedom might not die, and in the name of all who have suffered,
and hoped, and striven for the redemption of the land, we ask you
if this reform shall not be made perfect by being advanced to its
legitimate, logical conclusion?
The present is peculiarly an age of IDEAS_ The invention of the
Telegraph- perhaps the grandest achievement of uninspired human­ity,
rimming the chariot-wheels of science with the fire of heaven's
artillery- the improvements in fire -arms- new and superior modes
of warfare, offensive and defensive- greatly advanced educatorial
appliances- the dissemination in many languages of the world's
great civilizer and purifier, the Holy Scriptures- the prosecution of
the honored labors of the husbandman, upon principles elaborated in
the studio of the philosopher - new and important combinations in
the uses of steam, the great motor of the age- the ever-advancing
and indispensable railway enterprize of the world- the tunneling of
mountains- the bridging of rivers; all these, and more than are
mentionable, are but so many multiplied evidences of the birth and
growth of ideas- the expansion of mind, the liberal unfolding of
humanity's intellectual power_ And amid them all, there st.ands
prominently forth- colossal, majestic, cummanding- the grand idea
- solemn, sublime, immortal, of the inherent right of man to self­government!
That idea is stronger far to-day on this continent,
and throughout Christendom, than in any previous era of the world's
The inst.1tutions of the old world, founded upon a political class
distinction in society, are being eliminated by the progress of libe­ral
ideas, and by the sword_ The Austrian Hapsburg power-the
power that could create and sustain a Radetskv, the woman-whipper
of Hungary- has been made to quail before the house of Loraine;
and through the liberalizing ideas promulged by the Prussian needle­gun,
Bismarck makes his mark upon the century_
Italy- classic ground forever- possesses now the citadel of the
strength of her hereditary foe, thfl celebrated Quadrilateral,- the
name of Garibaldi and freedom are as ever synonymous, and as ever
honored, while Victor Emmanuel is King of an almost universally
united Italy_
In England, the mother-land, the popular cry is for" a redistri­bution
of seats" an enlargement of the suffrage_ The sturdy
yeomanry of Britain, the stay and the staff of the throne of that
noble woman, England's widowed Queen, demand that their voices
shall be heard, and their rights and influence acknowledged in her
Majesty's Government of the realm_
In the far north, despotic Russia, through the courage, intel-
ligence and patriotism of her liberal· minded Czar, has loosed the
bonds of serfdom, and elevated manacled millions of the human
race into the beauty, strength and dignity of unfettered manhood.
Spain is looking forward to an early cleansing of the crown of
Castile from the foulest blot upon its jewelled disc; and even the
Island of Sumatra has decreed its atmo~here too pure to be
breathed by a single chattel bondman.
Fellow countrymen 1 Shall America, the youngest born of th-e
nations, in which man is put on trial as to his ability to govern
himself,-shall America, the land of Bibles, of free speech and a
free press,-shall America, whose every enfranchised citizen is a
sovereign in his own right,-srall she require to learn a single lesson
in human liberty from governments built upon, and peoples imbued
with, the idea of "the divine right of Kings to govern wrong? "
It is the distinguishing characteristic of the highest attained
human governmental development-the American Republic-that
the common people are not only" the power behind the throne"
but the pillars and possessors of the throne itself. And, as if
resulting from its reflex influence upon senior nationalities, the
importance of the people as the true SOU1'ce of POW81', is being almost
every where acknowledged,
"Talk not to me of the State" in a former period, said the
monarch of France, "I, Louis the XV, am the State."
In a recent speech at Montbrison, France, the Duc de Persigmy,
speaking through the populace to the Emperor, bids him "Onward
King of the people 1 "
Whatever may be the political significance of such an utterance
at the present period, by the distinguished relative of the astute
Emperor of the French, it seems to be within the compass of
human comprehension that the time approximates in which the
popular cry of disenthralled nationalities will be "Onward, liberty of
the people I Liberty is King!
Christian people! The retrospect of the great contest adduces
the painful fact that, throughout the desperate conflict of immortal
truth with perishing error, the wide extended diabolusian war, the
church has been led, and not leading, as is her high prerogative, and
her bounden d~dy.
For, however swift, sure and comprehensive, may be the march
of civilization, should not the humaJlt development of the mind of Christ
be unapproachably in advance of it, preparing the highways for its
passage, and illumining them, not with the transient glare of the
meteor, however brilliant, but with the steady radiance of the
fixed constellation, a light as unerring and glorious as the resplen·
dent birth star of "the Prince of the House of David 7"
" Is not this the day, is not this the hour, in which the American
church, and the American State, each in its own order, should labor
with the single.heartedness of christians, and the candor and fervor
of patriots that
shall be the sure upon which the restored and regenerated
Union shall rest?
The vestiges of the Dictatorships of the world do not prove them
to have been peculiarly favorable to the existence and increase of
popular liberty _ The people of Rome had once the popular boast
of Roman citizenship. But under the second Dictatorship of
Julius Cresar, nineteen hundred years ago, that people had so far
lost the ancient Roman lore of liberty, that their popular cry, their
highest aspiration, was "panem et circenses--bread and public shows."
Such a people might well be held the vassals of the ambition of a
bold, aspiring man, already possessed of place and power_ Under similar
circumstances other nations might exhibit a similar degeneracy.
What the near future holds in reserve for our country can not now
be divined. The elective pronouncement of the people may create
a Congress equal to the requirements of the crisis_ •
But cis-Atlantic lovers of their country and of constitutional
liberty, will not be nnmindful, in view of what is transpiring imme­diately
around us, of the trans-Atlantic coup de etat of the second
of December. 'vVe are no alarmists, but the public danger, though
lessoned is not destroyed.
'Twere well the vanguard of liberty should pile high the faggots
on the watch-fires of freedom.
Fellow patriots! the history of the human race, the records of
the deeds of buried centuries afford incontestable evidence that
"unfinis·hed questions have no pity for the repose of mankind."
With all the light derivalJle from an examination of the line of
political knowledge, as developed by the histories of past and
present nations of the earth, with all the war-learned lessons of the
great conflict between tortuous, punctilious wrong, and simple
logical right-lessons carried by cannon to the very lintels of the
doors of the citadel of the strength of the American Government,
the homes and the hearts of the American people, the way to the
possession of a just and enobling national grandeur and perpetuity,
is made possible and plain to you in the sight of all the civilized
nationalities and peoples of the earth. Tbe curtain so long veiling
the entrance to that way from the moral perception of the nation, has
been lifted by the sword, and the dear old flag has entered upon its
march to a brighter and beiter civilization, to the tenor clash of
sabers, and the booming bass of artillery_
That which the bullet saved from destruction, is now to be re­mitted
to the ballot for preservation_ The contest is, for the moment,
adjourned from the field to the forum I The questions arising out of
it, or by which it was created, must now, or in the near future, be
met and decided by the honor, patriotism, and statesmanship of the
American people, or by the converse of these qualities in them.
Under which dominion shall it be?
A voice from the tomb of the martyred Lincoln seems now to
reach the national ear, saying, "The hour is come in which to en­franchise
the colored American people, that they may 'help you
keep the jewel of liberty in the family of freedom_'" To the test
of man's fitnes8 for self-government, as presented by "the model
republic" the oppressed of every clime still fondly look_ To
cleanse and purify it- to make it a light casting its rays of grandeur
and stability far into the dim vista of the future- to essentially aid
in the redemption of the nations, from whatever tyrannizes over
man- the image of his Maker- is your great worle And in the
memorable words of departed excellence and worth, it is within
your competency to "meanly lose, or nobly save, the last best hope
of the eart,h !"
Our plea with the nation is based upon no prescriptive rights of
complexional hue or of lineage_ We plead simply as men with
men, for the restoration of the exercise of the rights of men. The
rights theJIlselves inhere to us and to all men, and are inalienable, but
their exercise by us, has been obstructed by an undue application, on
the part of the majority, of the law of Jorce.
We plead with you, that you do not allow" the government of the
people, by the people, for the people" to perish from the earth
through any imperfect application of the true principles upon which
it is founded, in obedience to the behests of a prejudice possessing
no element of greatness and no quality of logic competent to COll -
meud it to the favorable consideration of God or man. .
And now, fellow -citizens, our cause is before you. We believe
it to be the cause of our country and of human progress. 'Po God,
the universal governor, and to you, we commit it, and ask you to
decree by your suffrages, Equality oj rights JIYf all loyal men in America,
beJlYfe the bar oj Am1'icctn law!
R. W. STOKES, Chairmctn, Chicago.
J. B. DAWSON, Chicago.
M. L. RICHARDSON, Mercer County.
GEO. C. FOUNTAIN, Quincy.. .
CHAS. S. JACOBS, Decatur.
E. A. GREEN, Champaign.
On the motion of the Rev. R. DeBaptiste, the Convention elec­ted
Mr. John Jones, of Chicago, to be the general agent of the
State. On motion of R. DeBaptiste, the following was adopted:
WHEREAS, Dr. P. B. Randolpb, who is one of "our men" and a member
of tbe Convention of Loyal Soutberners, and one of the Committee from that
Convention, who recently went tbrough the country and publicly advocated
equal suffrage for the colored people of the United States; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Randolph is now engaged in lecturing through this State, on
the question of the equal rights of all men, tllUs aiding this Convention in the
work before it ;
Resolved, That we indorse the course of this champion of the rights of man,
and bid him and his associate, Mr. A. J. Gordon, God speed in their noble
work, and that we will attend in a body his lecture this evening, at half past
~even o'clock.
On the motion of L . B. White, a vote of thanks was tendered
to t.he reporter of the assoeiated press, for the able manner in
which the proceedings of the convention have been furnished to
the public journals.
On the motion of George L. Thomas, a vote of thanks) as an
expression of the feelings of the colored citizens of the State,
was tendered to John Jones, and all who were associated in the
effort for securing the repeal of the" Black Laws" of Illinois.
The following resolution was offered by Mr. Barbour, of Alton.
It was referred to the Committee on Resolutions, who reported
favorably upon it, and on motion it was adopted.
Be it resolved, That this Convention request every delegate to solicit the names
of his constituents, and send them to the State Central Committee, with the
name of the County, and that the Committee send this document to the legisla­ture
of the State of Illinois, as the prayer of so many thousands of her citizens
praying for the right of suffrage.
On the motion of Mr. J. H. Barquette, the thanks of the con­vention
were tendered to the President and the remaining officers
of the body, for the discharge of the duties belonging to their several
The patriotic hymn commencing with" My country 'tis of thee"
was sung by the entire assembly.
On motion, the third State Convention of colored men of Illinois
was·adjourned without day.
G. T. GRAVES, Galesburg, llJ.
J. D. DA. VIS, U
J. B. TRUSTY, '4
REV. McSMITH, Galena,
G. T. FOUNTAIN, Quincy, "
H. HICKLIN, Springfield,
A. W. JACKSON, Jacksonville, Ill.
S. R. SMITH, Knoxville, "
J. B. ShrlITH" "
'T. STEVENSON, Monmouth,
R. B. CATLIN, " "
GEO. P. MORRIS, Monmouth, TIl.
E. W. LEWIS, Peoria,
W. COLEMAJ.'i, Will Co.
J. W. SMITH, Douglas Co.
R. HOLLY, Bloomington,
REV. P. WARD, ,.
C. S. JACOBS, Decaturl ~~
E. A. GREEN, Champaigne City, "
GEORGE HENRY, Henry Co., "
REV. B. SMITH, Shawneetown, "
REV. T. STROTHER, Cairo, "
J. B. DAWSON, Chicago, Ill.
Physical Description37 p. ; 22 cm.
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