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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the National Conference of Colored Men of the United States, Held in the State Capitol at Nashville Tennessee, May 6, 7, 8 and 9, 1879.
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Gov. Pinchback. I will explain this matter. I will defend the Chair in this———
Here B. F. Williams interrupted Gov Pinchback, and desired to make a motion, but was ruled out of order.
Gov. Pinchback. I have the floor.
There were one or two more interruptions, but Gov. Pinchback was declared to have the floor, as no motion could be made while he had the floor. He said that the Chair could not be forced to make an explanation, and he therefore rose in his defense. It was the intention of the primary convention held the night before to map out the work of the body, and the executive committee usurped no power in doing that which would command the respect of the public. [Applause.] The Speaker had been urged to accept the position he occupied. If there was any man in the convention who wanted the position he was not fit for it. [Applause.] The time had come when the office should seek the man and not the man the office. [Applause.]
B. F. Williams, of Texas, said he arose to ask for information. He said: " I have come a long ways, but I seem to be behind the times. [Laughter.] I ask it as a favor to be heard in the name of an old man. I feel I am not up to this crisis." A Delegate. " What is the crisis?" which remark Mr. Williams did not catch. Said he, continuing, " I want to find out what in all this convention is buried, hid, [laughter,] and some one fears the other is going to get to it first. [Laughter and applause.] Some one seems to think some one will somewhere be debarred from it."
A Delegate. The gentleman is discussing something not before the house.
Mr. Williams. I think this meeting is exactly before the house, [laughter,] and, as a part and parcel of this meeting, I am before the house. [Renewed laughter.] I wish to learn whether anybody is to be rewarded for coming here. There seems to be a terrible anxiety that some one will not be honored.
A Delegate. I rise to a point of order.
Mr. Williams, (pointing his finger toward the person interrupting him.) Now, look ahere, you are a young man, [laughter,] and I ask it as a favor as an old man—I migrated from this State forty-six years ago, and by the time you have had my experience, if you have had heard the prayers of our forefathers and mothers, [uproarious laughter,] you would feel this Conference was more like a house of mourning. Let us not come here seeking honor, to be looked up to as a great man. The man that is the greatest man let him furnish the greatest amount of brains. [Laughter and applause.] Mr. President, there is something the matter—something the matter somewhere ; somebody is suffering; somebody is in need; somebody needs help, and the assembly wants to know where this help is to come from. [Applause and laughter.] There are a good
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