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Proceedings of the National Convention of the Colored Men of America: held in Washington, D.C., on January 13, 14, 15, and 16, 1869.

1869 National Convention in Washington DC 21.pdf

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You see, gentlemen and brethren, I have joined the secular with the religious, the physical with the spiritual, wealth and riches to truth and righteousness. God has united them, I cannot separate them. When He made man, he placed him under the two laws, the one requiring him to obey authority, the other commanded him to subdue the earth—to acquire property. To acquire property, he must have brain; to use it rightly he must have heart. Did I say brain and heart? I mean knowledge to enlighten the brain; piety, which sanctifies the heart; wealth, which renders head and heart beneficial to man and glorious to God.

Permit me now to say a word about the Republican party. Our votes, our prayers aided in securing the success of that party. It is not enough that it had success; it must have love—a love for humanity stronger than its love for race—a love for justice stronger than its love for power. Liberty, justice, Love must triumph in that party, and over that party, leading it completely captive. For this, let us fondly hope, diligently labor and devoutly pray.

If our labors be systematic, untiring and wise—if our prayers become the intercessions of faith—our hopes shall be realized, and the Republican party become not only progressive but invincible for two generations to come.

With the best wishes for the success of the Convention, I am, brethren,

Fraternally yours,


Cols. John W. Forney and Alexander K. McClure, being in the gallery, were elected Honorary Members, and were invited to come forward and take seats, which they did, and both made short addresses amid great applause.

Colonel Forney said:

My Fellow-Citizens: My thanks are due to your distinguished President, (Mr. Douglass,) and to yourselves, for this warm greeting, which, though most unexpected on my part, is I feel, wholly sincere on yours. I need not tell you I did not come here to make a speech. I came simply to behold a spectacle as interesting and as suggestive as any in the world's experience, and to wish God-speed to a movement so full of importance to all human destinies. Whatever else is nnsettled, my friends, impartial suffrage is settled. What is our daily experience? Why simply that your late most inveterate enemies are here persistently pressing for the restoration of their so-called rights, on the condition of recognizing yours—theirs having been deliberately lost in rebellion, as yours were inherited as part of your birth-right, which, given by God, cannot be taken from you by man. There is, indeed, an exception to this rule. While the late slave masters are ready to accept impartial suffrage as part of the situation, the Northern Democrats say no to every attempt to extend suffrage to all the States of the Union; and this answers the base accusation that while the Republicans have secured impartial suffrage in the South they have not dared to apply it North. Why, my friends, you know if the Republicans could have settled this thing in the North, as a Republican Congress did in the South, there would not be a disfranchised citizen in the Republic. But the whole Northern Democracy, reinforced by a small per centage of bolting Republicans, have been strong enough to defeat the good work. Let the present Congress close the gap by a comprehensive amendment, so as to make suffrage wholly impartial, and the Northern Democracy will be stopped forever. Bat I have said enough. There is a gentleman now here, Colonel A. K. McClure, of Pennsylvania, who, in the late terrific October contest in that State, when we carried the old Keystone by less than 10,000 votes out of nearly 700,000 cast, was a host in counsel and in discussion, and with his gallant friend, the popular Governor Curtin, made our borders ring with is eloquence.

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