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Scripto | Transcribe Page
State Colored Men's Convention
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Louisiana was Republican in November, and we have faith that our Redeemer liveth.
I am asked what I think of the Louisiana case in Congress. Why, Louisiana never had any case in Congress. She has no business there. We settled the case here. There are persons who think differently, and some of them will have their claims settled by the House of Representatives. When you ask the Congress of the United States to set an example, and impose on them the duty of settling a contested election in a State, you throw open so broad a door that I think even the most desperate Fusionist ought to shrink back in horror. I took occasion last evening to say that there was no man in Louisiana that I would offer a more cordial welcome than to Senator Pinchback. After reading his speech this morning, if it were in my power to select the man who would do Louisiana the most good, my choice would be Senator Pinchback.
I do not make these remarks to pander to any one, but you may rest assured that before thirty days Senator Pinchback will be in his seat in the Senate of the United States, and that will settle the Louisiana question.
It devolves on us, on you, to so conduct the affairs of government as to redeem Louisiana from oppression; that this State, paralysed by rebel power, may be galvanized into prosperity by the colored men of the Republican party. You must satisfy the people by giving them such a government that they will have nothing to complain of. We are citizens of Louisiana as well as they.
I am asked to say what Congress will do in regard to Cuba. Congress will do whatever the people desire. A member of Congress is just as much of a man and a citizen after he gets there as he was before it. It is the sentiment of the people that the time to act in the Cuban case has arrived. In my opinion the alternative will be presented to Spain to "sell that island to me or you will enter the humiliation of having it wrested from you by force." I was gratified to read what Grant said this morning. It reverberates the old expression of "I propose to immediately on your works." When a statesman contemplates the map he finds that Spain, England, France, Denmark and all powers have a foothold there except the United States. There is another reason why we should take it, the act will free 700,000 slaves. The Cuban problem will have to be reopened, and the blood of the martyrs will be the seed of the church.
This convention is about to send men to Washington. Now the atmosphere of that place is peculiar. You want men to go there for your advantage, not theirs. I trust the convention will be careful in their choice.
Senator West was listened to with eagerness and was frequently interrupted with enthusiastic applause.
Senator Burch then moved that a special vote of thanks be rendered Senator West for his address, and to the committee who invited him. Carried unanimously.
Governor Antoine then introduced his Excellency Governor Kellogg to the convention, which received him with enthusiasm.
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