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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.20.pdf

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Current Saved Transcription [history]

21

be placed upon the same footing with other soldiers as regards their pay and bounty.

The attention of Congress will be directed to this subject, and from the generous manner in which they have treated the soldiers heretofore, it cannot be doubted that they will honor themselves by doing full justice to those of every color, who rally round the Union flag in time of public danger.

But I do not forget that the colored soldiers are not fighting for pay. They will not let their enemies reproach them with being mean, as well as cowardly. They will not lose this, their first chance, to vindicate their right to be called and treated as men. Pay or no pay, they will rally round the banner of freedom which shall soon float over a country that contains no slave within its borders.

The policy of the Government is fixed and immovable. Congress has passed the irrevocable Acts of Emancipation. The Supreme Court of the United States have unanimously decided that, since July 13, 1861, we have been engaged in a territorial civil war, and have full belligerent rights against the inhabitants of the rebellious districts. The President has issued proclamations under his hand and seal. Abraham Lincoln takes no backward step. A man once made free by law cannot be again made a slave. The Government has no power, if it had the will, to do it. Omnipotence alone can re-enslave a freeman. Fear not that the Administration will ever take the back track.

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