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Scripto | Transcribe Page
1865 Washington, D.C. Celebration by the Colored People's Educational Monument Association in Memory of Abraham Lincoln
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which fastened the black slave to it; and he arising unhurt, for the first time walked the deck of a free man.
Our ship of state, the Union, has for eighty years gone careering over the billows; our slave has been chained to our mast in the open daylight, and in the focal blaze of the eighteen centuries gone by, and we have hurried on in our crime regardless alike of the muttering of the thunder and the flashes of the lightning, until in one devoted hour the thunderbolt was sped from the hand of God. The mast was shivered; the ship was saved; but, thank God, the slave was free. The monument we rear, therefore, to Abraham Lincoln is a monument to liberty. Here will it stand on the edge of fathomless waters, a beacon forever. Rising up against the dark sky behind, it’s burning light will cheer many a home now desolate; and, reflected across the dark waste around us, will be crystalized by hearts there into solid joy. Thus we shall gather in the youth, and thus, copying this Institution’s effective example, we may each do duty for a race. We may not be a life-boat to go out upon the billows to save, but, in the language of my Scotch friend, Rev. Dr. Guthrie, we may each be a bell-rock tower, standing erect amid the stormy waters, where, during the day, the bell was rung, where during the night the fire was kindled, so that men are not saved from the wreck, but saved from being wrecked at all and
“Your name and praise,
Which, in these slavish days,
So many vainly dream are soon to perish,
As in the coming age
They shine on history’s page,
The proud shall envy and the good shall cherish.”
At the conclusion of the oration, which was received with frequent bursts of applause, the venerable John Pierpont, whose name is so dear to every intelligent household in America, rose and delivered, with great effect, the following spirited poem, abounding with real rare gems of thought, and with racy humor.
LET THERE BE LIGHT.
From the beginning, the Eternal Cause
Hath wrought according to eternal laws—
Laws on himself imposed; and His almight
Gives and obeys his law— “Let there be light!”
His great antagonist, the Evil One,
Says, as his first command, “Put out the sun!”
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