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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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depended, must be numbered among the things of the past. The Dred Scott interpretation of the Constitution from the Supreme Court, under which the negro has no political rights which a white man is bound to respeet, goes, with all this other rubbish, into the dumping-ground of slavery" (Immense applause) And I serve a notice here, to-day, upon them, that I am preparing a bill that I intend to introduce on the first day of the next Congress, for the personal liberty of every freedman of the Republic. (Applause.) I want them to understand, further, that I belong to a body of men that are accustomed to sleep on the field of victory (cheers;) a class of men that accept the doctrines of the New Testament; that accept as the living faith of the North American Republic, the Declaration of Independence; a class of men that represent the principles of liberty, humanity, and justice; and a class of men that never were, and never can be defeated. (Applause.) If any doubt it, let them look back for the last thirty years, and they will doubt no longer.
When I came here, a young man, twenty-nine years ago last May, I didn't know anybody in Washington, and nobody had any reason to know me. I went across to the Island, saw the infamous Williams' slave pen; saw the poor people manacled and marched down to the river-side, and shipped off the to "far South." I went up to the Capitol - to the House of Representatives - and saw the slave-masters "laying on the table" the petitions of the Christian men and women of this country against this abominable traffic in human bodies. In the pride of their power they thought they could crush out the spirit of the people. I went back to Massachusetts, filled with pity for the hapless bondman, and with defiance to his oppressor. I found noble men and Christian women devoting all they had and all they hoped to be, to the cause of the oppressed, and I linked my name with theirs; and, for these thirty years, I have acted with anti-slavery men, who have put up parties and put down parties, and can do it again. (Immense cheering.)
I saw a grand old party, led by Clay and Webster, and other men of eminent talent and character, yield to the tempter, bow humbly at the feet of the slave power - and then I saw it die. (Applause.)
I saw an "American" organization spring up; they spoke for liberty and voted for liberty, but they were seduced by the slave oligarehy, and I stood by their grave soon after. (Applause.)
I saw the old "Demoeratic" party - a party that eould commit more offences against humanity, while professing to be its champion, than any other party that has ever existed, ingloriously defeated - its leaders beaten. I have seen State after State - under its acknowledged influence - plunge into the vortex of revolution
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