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1865 Washington, D.C. Celebration by the Colored People's Educational Monument Association in Memory of Abraham Lincoln


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orphans of our martyred President; and, O God, place thy finger upon the heart of his successor; and give him light to see that there are constitutional rights for loyal men who are so by nature, as well as for those who are made so by the taking of an oath which they hate. Fold thy wings, O Lamb of God, around the great American Statesman, whose heart is now bereaved of his loved one, who has fallen another victim, whose tender soul could not bear the shock, caused by the ring of the assassin's knife, trying in fury to murder her dear husband. May the echo of her heavenly song fall with comforting accents upon his soul through all his useful life. O Lord, there are with us, before Thee today, wise and tried senators, generals of the army and officers of the Government. Bless them, O Lord, with the desire and hearts to perform all the duties devolving upon them well. May the wrongs committed on the weak and defenceless of all colors be speedily redressed. May thy blessings be abundantly poured upon all the schools, Sunday and weekly. Make them, O God, potent engines for this long oppressed people. Fold thy wings in peace around this vast assembly, this day. Lead our common country by thine own hand in the path of her duty; and when she has accomplished her mission among the family of nations, receive all her prepared children into the Paradise of God. AMEN.

The Declaration of Independence was then read by John F. Cook, in a loud and clear voice.

Mr. Cook then announced that the committee had received a number of letters, which he read. They are as follows:

Letter of Gov. Andrew.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

Executive Department, Boston, July 1, 1865.

Messrs. Wm. Syphax and John F. Cook, Committee of Colored Citizens, Washington, D.C.:

Gentlemen: Your invitation of the 28th ult. has been gratefully received, and I should be happy to accept it, if it were possible for me to be in Washington on the occasion of the anniversary of our National Independence. I trust your meeting will be an honorable exhibition of the intelligence, good taste, and good judgment of those by whom it will be conducted, and will tend to increase the confidence of all Americans in the capacity of their colored fellow-countrymen to share in the duties and all the rights of citizenship. For myself, I am sure that equal right and impartial liberty will yet be accorded to all who own this for their country and home. I am sure that no rule or doctrine less fundamental will be tolerated by that grand, conservative sense, always prevalent at last. Let despots and slaves demand despotism or submit to it - there is logic in their doing so - but let freemen accept no place nor franchise as an order of privilege, nor permit it to another.

I am, respectfully, yours, John A. Andrew.

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