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North; and there were relations between the class of masters who were as kings to the subject race and those for whom they held themselves responsible, that softened at times the horrors of slavery itself. The slave question ran at us--the people of the United States-open mouthed as a political question, not exclusively or chiefly as a social relation, or even a racial issue. It was estimated that there was in the slave States a representation of persons held to service—a phrase equivalent in meaning to slavery-amounting to thirty members of the House of Representatives. That figure was given by a Mississippi member on the floor of the House, and probably it was too high. He said to a Northern member, "The negro has thirty representatives here. Let us see you put the nigger out of the House, sir.” It was the voice of an ardent Mississippian.
The racial question is as great as the slave question, and not susceptible to the solution of the sword. Grant and Lee might meet in vain as leaders of armies or councilors, to abolish the problem of the African and European question we have in specially formidable form in North America. The European immigration was the legitimate movement of labor Westward, when the discovery of the New World did not reveal in the red man a supply of labor; and then came the call for black labor, and the demand was supplied by the African slave trade. Its victims in the course of the fearful commerce in men lured the sharks across the sea to inhabit the caves of the rocks at the mouth of the harbor of Havana.
Whatever may be the time taken, or the cost of the process of the policy that prevails, the history of man points straight to the necessity of doing justice between_man and man on the broad terms of the Declaration of Independence. Our people do not like the Spanish way of mixing races. In Havana, at the public balls in the Tacon Theatre, the blacks and whites waltz together, without regard to color; white women with black men, and white men with black women, all smoking cigarettes, with often a long white ash that seems never to fall in the upturned faces of the dancers; but that is not conjecturable as a way of conclusion of the racial problem in our country. It is separated from our condition by a century or two, more or less, whichever road we take, and we are not traveling far on that subject. The race question is so portentous, those who know the most seem to have the least to say of it; and perhaps the part of wisdom is to ask for time, and do all that can be done, in human kindness, in the interest of peaceful evasions in forcing rugged issues of the problems that are insoluble. It is safe to say that we may remember the quality of mercy, and may hope to find on earth the statesmanship of Heaven.
President Roosevelt has done two things that have caused agitation in the South. The first worried a class of politicians that are the production of
the solid partisan situation of the Southern South; and the second has troubled the sensitiveness of the Southern dominant race in the districts and States where the black people are in the majority. It is more than a problem—it is a puzzle—what shall be done when the majority of citizens of a sovereign State are of the disfranchised class? This is to be referred to committees of consultation,
> inconst President Roosevelt is the first man who has filled the great office, whose memory does not include personal knowledge of that which took place before Appomattox; who did not, in his mind at least, take part in “the irrepressible conflict” of which the statesman Seward spoke; or participate as a partizan in settling whether the country should be all slave or all free, instead of half slave and half free, to employ Lincoln's way of putting the same case at the same time. More than this, President Roosevelt is the first President in all our history, himself half Northern and half Southern. His father was a New Yorker, his mother a Georgian. He goes no farther than his own parents and their immediate kindred to include honored historic names in the two Empire States of the sections divided by the Red Sea of War.
Let those who can go to the deepest sources of vital information as to his state of mind and conscience and the determination of duty, examine the official reports and magazine and journalistic essays written by Theodore Roosevelt, of the Civil Service Commission, and see how eager and strong he was for a change in office holding, composed upon qualifications especially educational, that gave the most enlightened people official consideration. His views on that subject were well known to the representatives of the Republican party in the National Convention that first nominated a Vice-President with unanimity; and he got every vote from the South, and all but his own from the
As President Roosevelt construed, and so far as he had power, enforced, the Civil Service law when a Commissioner, he will do as he has thus far done, in the way of selecting competent men for office, which the masses of the white people in the Southern States have for a generation solicited. He proposes to eliminate an element of competition. The color line can not, in.justice, common sense, or-decently fair play, be drawn against the blacks on this subject; and it would not be honorable to draw it, if it were practicable, which it is not. Why, therefore, the rude quaking and clamor that we have heard about Booker Washington dining with the President of the United States ? There is something about this unreasonable and irrational. The President of the United States must, if he has reached, and has not lost, the common discretion of a sound and disposing mind, feel the obligation to treat with civility a representative man-and that man, according to the tests in all other countries, a gentleman who is one of the nine million citizens of these United
States. The outcry against this commonplace courtesy to a man who has done a great work for his people, is a "relic of barbarism.” Is there, by possibility, a subterranean political movement about this disturbance, because there have been many declarations that if the fear of black dominance could be exorcised from the South, all the States that were half way or altogether in the Southern Confederacy would change their politics, and there would be found no fork in the national road they would travel.
Booker Washington has the statesmanship and the instinct of supporting the thing that can be done, that leads him to believe the better course for the people of his race is not to stir up strife by office seeking, especially by those who, through no fault of their own perhaps, are incompetently ignorant. He believes in the further emancipation of his race, through the increase in numbers and advantages of education of black farmers and the black housekeepers on the land their husbands own.
The real issue that appeals to the people is, whether we shall make an effort to put out sectionalism from National politics, not to go through the old formula of those who sought to elude the questions of the day by shouting, “No North, no South, no East, no West.” Let us have a North, South, East and West-a solid quadrilateral.
What record on the questions of section and questions of race has Theodore Roosevelt made? There is no mystery, no shadow of doubt, about his opinions. He speaks without uncertainty of all things that interest the people, and his utterances have been more remarkable for their frankness and their force than the sayings of any other man of his age and generation. Has there been any finer tribute paid to the South since the war of her desolation than this, written by President Roosevelt, of his reception in Texas with his troops, on the way from San Jacinto to Tampa, Florida, and bloody Santiago de Cuba ? The words are those of a hero, a high toned gentleman, a humane man, who knew and respected, as it was in his heart's blood and brain to regard and revere, the misfortune of brave men who were beaten in tremendous war; and good women who suffered and were sad because the fife and drum and bugle gave them music that stirred sorrowful memories :
"Everywhere the people came out to greet us and cheer us. They brought us flowers; they brought us watermelons and other fruits, and sometimes jugs and pails of milk-all of which we greatly appreciated. We were traveling through a region where practically all the older men had served in the Confederate Army, and where the younger men had all their lives long drunk in the endless tales told by their elders, at home, and at the cross-roads taverns, and in the court-house squares, about the cavalry of Forrest and Morgan, and the infantry of Jackson and Hood. The blood of the old men stirred to the distant breath of battle; the blood of the young men leaped hot with eager desire to
accompany us. The older women, who remembered the dreadful misery of war —the misery that presses its iron weight most heavily on the wives and the little ones-looked sadly at us; but the young girls drove down in bevies, arrayed in their finery, to wave flags in farewell to the troopers and to beg cartridges and buttons as mementos. Everywhere we saw the Stars and Stripes, and everywhere we were told, half-laughing, by grizzled ex-Confederates, that they had never dreamed in the bygone days of bitterness to greet the old flag as they now were greeting it, and to send their sons, as now they were sending them, to fight and die under it.”
We have said much of the unreserved speech of President Roosevelt. What has he said, may be asked, that is not precisely to the point and unclouded, about matters of the same nature as are involved in the dining with a black gentleman question? He has done that in his capacity as Governor of New York, and his address is found in the volume of public papers of Governor Roosevelt for the year 1899. The occasion was the unveiling of the monument of Frederick Douglass, whose name is full of history, at Rochester, New York, June 10th, 1899. We present his address in full that there may be no glint of color absent from the color question. Address at Unveiling of Frederick Douglass Monument,
At Rochester, June 10th, 1899: "Mr. President: I am glad to have the honor of being here to-day. I am proud to be able to do my part in paying respect to the memory of a man who was a worthy representative of his race because he was a worthy representative of the American nation.
"Doubly proud I am to take part in a representative way in a demonstration in which so prominent a part is played by the old soldiers, who fought for four years for the freedom of that race to which Frederick Douglass belonged, and in order that there might be an undivided and indissoluble Union. Doubly proud am I, comrades of the last war, that you and I had the chance last summer to show that we were at least anxious to be not unworthy sons of those who fought in the great war.
"Here to-day, in sight of the monument of the great colored American, , let us all strive to pay the respect due his memory by living in such a manner as to determine that a man shall be judged for what a man is, without regard to his color, race or creed, or aught else but his worth as a man. That lesson has a double side and I would dwell upon the one side just as I would on the other side.
“The worst enemy of the colored race is the colored man who commits some hideous wrong, especially if that be the worst of all crimes, rape; and the worst enemy of the white race is the man who avenges that crime by another crime, equally infamous.
"I would I could preach that doctrine, that it is best for each to know and realize, that all over this country, not merely in the South, but in the North as well, shameless deeds of infamous hideousness should be punished speedily; but by the law, not by another crime. I would preach to the colored man that the vicious and disorderly elements of his own race are the worst enemies of his race, and that he is in honor bound to war against them. I would preach to the white man that he who takes part in lawless acts, in such lynchings as we have recently known, is guilty not only of a crime against the colored race, but guilty of a crime against his own race, and against the whole nation.
"If it were in my power, I would feel that I could render service to my country such as I could render in no other way, by preaching that doctrine in its two sides to all who are in any degree responsible for the crimes by which our country has been disgraced in the past. It is for the interest of every man, black and white, to see that every criminal, black and white, is punished at once; but only under the law. Every scoundrel who commits rape or some similar infamy, and every body of men who usurp the province of the law, who usurp it by committing deeds which would make a red Indian blush with shame, prove that they are not only unworthy of citizenship in this country, but that they are the worst enemies this country contains.
"There is a great lesson taught by the life of Frederick Douglass, a lesson we can all of us learn; not merely from the standpoint of his relations with the colored race, but his relations with the State. The lesson that was taught by the colored statesman was the lesson of truth, honesty, and strong courage, of striving for the right; the lesson of disinterested and fearless performance of civic duty.
"I would appeal to every man in this great audience to take to heart the lesson taught by his life; to realize that he must strive to fulfill his duty as an individual citizen, if he wishes to see the State do its duty. The State is only the aggregate of the individual citizens.
“There is another thought that I want to preach to you, a lesson to be learned from the life of the colored statesman, Frederick Douglass; strive to do justice to all men, exact it for yourselves and do it to others.
“I want to draw an application of immediate consequence at this moment. The Legislature passed at its last session and placed on the statute books one of the most beneficial and righteous laws that this State has seen in recent years; a law declaring that corporations that derive the greater part of their profits from the franchises they enjoy shall bear a fair share of the burden of taxation. In putting that law on the statute books, we were animated by no vindictive spirit; we were neither for nor against corporations or private individuals. We acted not as a friend of the man of means nor his enemy; simply as the friend of all men who do their whole duty to the State.