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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored Men of the State of Tennessee, :with the addresses of the convention to the white loyal citizens of Tennessee, and the colored citizens of Tennessee. : Held at Nashville, Tenn., August 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th, 1865.
1865-NASHVILLE TN-STATE CONVENTION OF THE COLORED MEN OF TENNESSEE.2.pdf
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STATE CONVENTIONS, 1865
occasion. He was there as an American, claiming the inalienable rights of man. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, were his prerogatives. Life and liberty meant to share in the Government by which they were protected and the right to live anywhere on the continent. Should not these rights be the rallying theme of the Convention. By the music we march to victory. We shall be heard before Congress and before the Legislature. We come here for principals, and there will be no dissension. We want the rights guaranteed by the Infinite Architect. For these rights we labor, for them we will die. We have gained one--the uniform is its badge. We want two more boxes, beside the cartridge box--the ballot box and the jury box. We shall gain them. The government of this nation shall not false to its plighted faith. It proclaimed freedom and we shall have that in fact. It will not forswear it-self. Let us all work faithfully unto the end.
The Rev. Mr. Merry followed Sergt. Maxwell in allusion to the former enjoyment of suffrage by free colored men of Tennessee. He named [illegible] then in Convention, who had voted for Gen. Jackson for President--the Rev. Edmund Jones and Andrew Tait. The Rev. gentleman proceeded to urge harmony in council and advise that all talk be directed to stir the heart to action and not influence the tongue to noise.
The Rev. James Lynch, of Baltimore, Missionary in South Carolina and Georgia responded to a call and in a most eloquent and stirring speech spoke of the rights which had already been achieved, and those which were yet to be gained. The speaker made telling hits, and keeps the audience thoroughly awakened. Among other things he said:
We are engaged in a serious task; we have met here to impress upon the white men of Tennessee, of the United States, and of the world, that we are part and parcel of the American Republic. For four years this [illegible]. This war, while it has decided the permanency of the nation, has not been without its influence upon us and by its operations the shackles have been broken from the limbs of out race in America. In pursuance of the great work thus begun, we are here, by our counsels and by humble petition, to secure for ourselves the full recognition of the past, but would act for the future. We cherish no hostility to the whites; we love them, as we ever did, and if they be loyal men, we love the Southern man ever better than the Northern. We simply ask for those inalienable rights which are declared inalienable. Why should we not have them? In the past struggle, when the nation stood tremb-ling upon the verge of the precipice, the black man came to the rescue, his manhood recognized in that hour of national trial, and why? From neces-sity--and I tell you, my hearers, that necessity will secure us our full re-cognition as freemen and citizens of this glorious republic. We were needed to fill up the army, we were needed to supply the place of copperhead con-scripts who had no stomach for the fight. Senator Saulsbury, of Delaware,2 a drunken scoundrel, [here don't misunderstand me, I do not which to abuse any officer of the Government, but as he was understood to belong more to the Confederacy, I will speak of him,] said the whole negro race of America could be swept from the earth, without loss; but even he found use for us, and the question of political power in this country will soon present another neces-sity which will give us the ballot box. There has been by implications un-friendly legislation in Tennessee, but Tennessee, proud and noble as she is, has a master, and that master is the United States. That master has decided, that we are entitled to our oaths. The Freedmen's Courts will hear us when we swear for the maintenance of our rights.
The Committee on Permanent Organization then reported the following nominees:
President--Daniel Watkins, Davidson.
Vice President--A. Ford, Knox; Warner Madison, Shelby; Nelson Walker, Davidson.
Secretaries--A. Smith, Davidson; Anthony Motley, Shelby; F. Maxwell, Washington.
Pending action on report, after its reception, the Convention ad-journed till 3 P.M.
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