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Civil Rights. Address of the Colored Citizens of Chicago to The Congress of the United States.

1866IL-Chicago_Address (4).pdf

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4

CIVIL RIGHTS.

The suffrage of the citizen is the strength of the republic!

Constituting a part of the American nation, 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.

We regard the occasion of making this, our thank-offering to Congress, sufficiently solemn and important for us to proffer in it an acknowledgement of our inexpressible gratitude to the High and Mighty Ruler of the Universe for His manifold mercies to the nation, and to us as a part thereof.

We thank Him that although permitting the deeds of the days of "the Union as it WAS," when insidious treason lurked amid the very corridors of the executive mansion, and eventually threw down its encrimsoned gauntlet in the council chambers of the nation, while hostile forces were preparing to attempt the overthrow of the government founded by the fathers of American nationality, He was pleased in the eternal counsel of His will to have organized a victory for the right !

We thank Him that "even in troublous times," when the dark and billowy main of slavery, surcharged with treason, was dashing its ponderous waves against the giant sides of the American ship of state, it pleased Him to take by the hand the pure patriot, the capable, honest, progressive man and astute ruler, Abraham Lincoln, our late beloved marty President, saying to him in the order of His providence:

"Seize, seize the helm, the reeling vessel guide; With aiding patriots stem the raging tide."

And of him permit us here in brief to speak. How the nation loved him; how we, as a part thereof, were "the truest mourners" around his blood-stained bier; how, as he loved his country and liberty, slavery slew him, are solemn verities, already safely garnered by the muse of history as incentives to coming generations of men everywhere to be unswervingly loyal to the sacred principles of human liberty ! Green be the turf above him, and peaceful be the rest of Abraham Lincoln, "the emancipator of men."

Under a continued sense of our dependence upon the favor of the Supreme and Immutable Executive of the universe, we thank Him for the existence and preservation of the gallant army and navy of the United States, and for the signal victories accorded to their valor during the late civil war.

We supplicate Him that the rebellion of barbarism against the civilization of the century, which, though vanquished "in the field," is still rampant, and seeking to permeate the government and people of the United States, may by the power of truth and liberty be vanquished in spirit as well, and with its legitimate iniquitous outgrowth, American prejudice, be committed to the tomb of the Capulets, to sustain no resurrection.

We thank Him that He has given to us at this crisis a congressional majority composed of men whose hearts, touched as with a living coal from off the ever-glowing altar of truth, have been strengthened for the right in the great conflict of opposing principles, in which, while battling against "principalities and powers," they have waged a good warfare to a successful conclusion in a given field. And we supplicate His mercy and favoring goodness that in the reconstruction of the revolted States He may so guide and govern the law-making power of this nation that the restored and regenerated "Union" may be made to rest upon a truly republican base, wide as the continent of America and enduring as the everlasting hills; that the educational care of all the people of the United States may be made the legal duty of the general government of the same; that justice shall become the central and ruling idea of the great republic, evolving liberty without license for all men as its legitimate outgrowth, and making our country the Mecca of the oppressed of every clime, who, in common with our-

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