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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.10.pdf
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124 STATE CONVENTIONS, 1865
Mr. Parrish was appointed as the committee.
Elder Watkins offered a resolution, which was adopted, for the appointment of a State Central Committee. The following gentlemen were elected said committee:
N. Walker, W. B. Scott, N. G. Merry, D. Brown, D. L. Lapsley, R. Harris, F. Parrish, D. Watkins, A. Smith.
Resolutions were offered by Mr. Rapier in relation to the appointment of a Central Committee, which was adopted, and to authorize the Committee on Agriculture to enquire as to the number of acres under cultivation, which were adopted.
A resolution was offered by the Rev. Mr. Merry, suggesting that an address of thanks be made to President Johnson for the work he has done, and to remind him of his promises he has made us. Referred to Business Commit-tee.
The Rev. Mr. Lynch was then introduced and made the following earnest and effective speech.
Mr. Lynch rose to a question of privilege and spoke as follows:
Mr. President and fellow-citizens: I thank you for the consideration you have shown me during this Convention, and confess my surprise that I have been made the signal object of your favor. Freedom, justice and equality (that is equality before the law,) must be the motto and involve the principles which control a government, if the government expects honor, peace and enduring prosperity.
What is history, but the indisputable witness of truth of this proposition? Has it not shown that the irresistible and irrepressible desire of man is for freedom--for the opportunities of social, intellectual and religious development? Has I the power I would call from the grave, Caesar,11 who fell by the hand of an assassin, or whom Oliver Cromwell12 made to tremble, George III13 or Napoleon Bonaparte,14 the elder, and ask them what policy a government had best pursue, and I believe they would answer that it was that which was dictated by freedom, justice, and equality before the law for all men.
The colored men of Tennessee ask, for the sake of the white man, as well as the colored, that the testimony of the latter be admitted in civil courts in all issues between parties, or them and the State, irrespective of color. Why, if this request be not granted by Tennessee she casts in the teeth of the Federal government her defiance; because that government has formed courts--Freedmen's Courts--where all cases in which a colored man is a party, shall be tried, provided that the civil court in the district where he lives, does not admit his testimony. This State, made glorious and redeemed by the great Patriots--the heroes of the afternoon of the nineteenth century, President Andrew Johnson, Governor Brownlow and Horace Maynard,15 and others, who have fought in the field, standing the storm of chot and shell, or falling maimed or wounded, or have given up their lives on the altar of devotion to their country, repudiate this Tennessean link in the chain of unionism that alone binds the gallant State to her noble loyal sisters that stretch forth their hands in sympathy, and raise their imploring voice for blessings on her head. Aye, Tennessee does this, if it does not give the black man his oath, and more than this, the result is fearful in its influence upon the white man. Look at the matter--suppose a white man lives on the commission of robbery, every one believes he is a thief, but he commits his depredations among colored men or white men, only in such a way as black testimony could be of service to secure a just punishment. Now then the law acquits that man, as an honest man, and the whole community in which he resides believes him to be a rogue. He mingles in society as a trustworthy citizen, when everybody feels that he should be in the Penitentiary. Cannot every one see that such a course lessens the security of the rights of the rights and property of the whites, which property is, and will be much in the custodianship of the colored men? Does it not lower the standard of morality, and decrease the regard for law and
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