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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Civil Rights Mass-Meeting held at Lincoln Hall, October 22, 1883. Speeches of Hon. Frederick Douglass and Robert G. Ingersoll.
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Robert G. Ingersoll.
The Hon. Frederick Douglass Introduced the speaker as follows:
"Abou Ben Adhem—may his tribe increase!
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, like a lily in bloom,
An angel, writing in the book of gold:
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold;
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?" The vision raised its head,
And with a look made all of sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord,"
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so;"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still, and said: "I pray thee, than,
Write me as one who loves his fellow-men."
The angel wrote and vanished. The next night
It came again, with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest;
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led the rest."
I have the honor to introduce ROBERT G. INGERSOLL.
MR. INGERSOLL'S SPEECH.
LADIES AND GENTLEMAN:
We have met for the purpose of saying a few words about the recent decision of the Supreme Court, in which the tribunal has held the first and second sections of the Civil Rights Act to be unconstitutional; and so held in site of the fact that for years the people of North and South have, with singular unanimity, supposed the Act to be constitutional—supposed that it was upheld by the 13th and 14th Amendments,—and so supposed because they knew with certainty the intention of the framers of the amendments. They knew this intention, because they knew what the enemies of the amendments and the enemies of the Civil Rights Act claimed was the intention. And they also knew what friends of the amendment and law admitted the intention to be. The prejudices born of the ignorance and slavery had died or fallen asleep, and even the enemies of the amendments and the law had accepted the situation.
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