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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 57.pdf

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IX

Interview with General Grant.

On Tuesday morning at ten o'clock a committee appointed by the Colored National Convention, consisting of J. M. Langston, Ohio; Robert Purvis, Pennsylvania; Geo. T. Downing, Rhode Island; W. S. Mathews, Maryland; John F. Cook, D. C.; George L. Vashon, D. C.; John C. Bowers, Pennsylvania; John T. Gaskins, Rhode Island; Alexander Clark, Iowa; O. L. C. Hughes, Pennsylvania; A. M. Green, Pennsylvania, and O. S. B. Wall, Ohio, waited upon General Grant at Army Headquarters, and were by him cordially received.

Mr. Langston, Chairman of the Committee, addressed the General as follows:

GENERAL GRANT: In the name of fou millions of American citizens—in the name of seven hundred thousand electors of African descent— electors who braved threats, who defied intimidation, whose numbers have been reduced by assassination and murder in their efforts, in the exercise of a franchise guaranteed by American law to every one clothed in the full livery of American citizenship, to secure, in the late Presidential canvass, the election of nominees of the national Republican party to the high places to which they were named—we, accredited Delegates to the National Convention of Colored Men, sessions of which in this City have just closed, come to present to you congratulations upon your election to the Presidency of the United States.

Permit us General, to express, in this connection, our confidence in your ability and determination to so execute the laws already enacted and to be enacted by our Nationa Congress as to conserve and protect the life, the liberty, the rights, no less of the humblest subject of the Government than those of the most exalted and influential.

Called as you are to fill the chair of State, your duties will be arduous and trying, especially since, in this reconstruction period of the Government, removing the rubbish, the accretions of the now dead slaveholding oligarchy,—you will administer the Government according to the principles of morals and law announced by the fathers.

In advance, we bring to you, General, as a pledge of our devotion to our country and Government, the liveliest sympathy of the colored people of the nation; and in their name we express the hope that all things connected with the administration of the Government, upon which you are so soon to enter as our Chief-Magistrate, may be, under Providence, so ordered for the maintenance of law, and the conservation of freedom, that your name, written high on the scroll of honor and fame, may go down to posterity, glorious and immortal, associated with the names of your illustrious predecessors in the great chair of State—Washington and Lincoln.

Again, General, we express our congratulations.

General Grant replied as follows:

I thank the Convention of which you are the representatives for the confidence they have expressed, and I hope sincerely that the colored people of the nation may receive every protection which the laws give them. They shall have my efforts to secure such protection. They should prove by their acts, their advancement, prosperity, and obedience to the laws, worthy of all privileges the Government has bestowed upon them and by their future conduct, prove themselves deserving of all they now claim.

The members of the committee were then severally introduced to General Grant, subsequently withdrawing and proceeding to the Capitol, where, in the Speaker's room of the House of Representatives, they had. an interview with Spraker Colfax, who greeted all very cordially.

Interview with Speaker Colfax.

Mr. Langston addressed Mr. Colfax as follows:

Mr. Colfax: The National Convention of Colored Men, composed of delegates from all parts of our country, whose sessions in this city have just closed, has sent us to present to you the congratulations of the colored people of the nation upon your election to the Vice-Presidency, and to express to you

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