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Record of action of the convention held at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., July 15th and 16th, 1863, for the purpose of facilitating the introduction of colored troops into the service of the United States.

1863NY.14.pdf

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15

LETTER OF THE HON. CHAS. SUMNER.

Boston, July 13, 1863.

Dear Sir: - It will not be in my power to take part in the proposed meeting at Poughkeepsie. But I am glad that it has been called, and I trust that it will be successful.

To me it has been clear from the beginning that the colored men would be needed in the war. I never for a moment doubted that they would render good service; and thus far the evidence in their favor is triumphant. Nobody will now question their bravery or their capacity for discipline, All that can be said against them is that they are not white.

But they have a special interest in the suppression of this Rebellion. The enemies of the Union are the enemies of their race. Therefore, in defending the Union they defend themselves even more than other citizens. And in saving the Union, they save themselves.

I doubt if in times past our country could have justly expected from colored men any patriotic service. Such service is the return for protection. But now that protection has begun, the service should begin also. Nor should relative rights and duties be weighed with nicety. It is enough that our country, aroused at last to a sense of justice, seeks to enrol colored men among its defenders.

If my counsels could reach such persons I would say: Enlist at once. Now is the day and now is the hour. Help to overcome your cruel enemies now battling against your country, and in this way you will surely

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