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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 58.pdf

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their confidence in your ability and purpose in the position to which you have been called by the suffrages of the people, to so discharge the duties resting upon you to sustain and perpetuate the welfare and freedom of our great Commonwealth.

Your record in connection with our national affairs, your conduct in connection with the grave matters which have claimed your attention and that of your associates in Congress for the last eight years, furnish to us an example and satisfactory guarantee that the liberty, the rights of no class of the population of our country will suffer detriment when in your power to protect and maintain them.

Under the influence of this belief, with full knowledge of the record which you have made by your efforts in favor of emancipation and enfranchisement of the people whom we represent, it is with profound satisfaction and pleasure that we bring you the congratulations, the sympathy, the prayers of our people for the success of the administration of affairs upon which you are so soon to enter as the Vice-President of the United States.

Mr. Colfax replied:

While I am gratified to receive on behalf of the millions you represent this expression of their confidence, I knew, without even this formal call, how heartily all of them rejoiced over the result of last November. The great Republican organization then so triumphantly rejoiced, proclaimed that. God helping them, this Republic should stand conspicuous among the nations of the earth, as one which recognized that the greatest glory of a government was to protect to the fullest extent, not its mightiest and most influential citizens, but rather its humblest and defenceless. In that great declaration of human rights proclaimed when our Republic was born, and for the sincerity of which our ancesters appealed to the Searcher of all hearts, it was avowed that all governments derived their just powers from the consent of the governed. Despite prejudices which seemed in former years almost ineradicable, our party has constantly gone forward, in each advancing step in its progress in the light of liberty and justice shining on its forehead, and realizing that the world itself was not created in a day,


it has, like its martyred President, whom you all remember with so much affection, progressed as fast and as far as an enlightened and advancing public sentiment would ratify and maintain. The late election has proven, as often before, that organizations based on temporary popularity and relying for their strength on the power of prejudice, are like the house built on the shifting sands, while those founded on principle, justice and right, are like the house built on a rock, against which the waves of opposition dash powerless and in vain. I rejoice with you that the day has already dawned when, from sea to sea, every one within our borders shall have their rights maintained and protected, and when we shall realize as a nation in the fullest degree, a truly republican form of government.

At the conclusion of Mr. Colfax’s remarks, the members of the committee were introduced to him, all subsequently withdrawing.

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