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all open, never to be closed.
Revolutions do not go
backward. Therefore you may rest secure in what has been won. Of this be sure, Slavery will never be revived, nor will you be restrained or limited in any of these rights you now enjoy. [Applause, and three cheers
for Mr. Sumner.]
Most sincerely do I congratulate you on these signal triumphs, so little to be expected when I first became acquainted with you. And when we consider the brief period in which they have been accomplished, I am sure you will unite with me in hope and trust for the future. [Cries," We will!"]
It is my duty, however, to remind you that the work is not yet completed. This will be only by the enactment of a Civil Rights Bill which shall relieve the citizen, whoever he may be, from any exclusion or discrimination on account of his color. Only then will be established that Equality before the Law to which now, for the first time in our history, all political parties are distinctly pledged. Here there can be no question. [Applause.] It is in the platforms of all. Of the early passage of such a law I do not doubt. Then will you have all the assurance of your rights that can be found in the Constitution and law. But that law will be the cap-stone. [Applause.]
I shall not disguise from you that something more will be needed. There must be a constant, watchful, public opinion behind, to see that these are enforced in letter and spirit. Here there must be no failure in awakening and invigorating this public opinion. You can do much, I would almost say you can do everything. How constantly have I urged, in public speech and in all my intercourse with you, that our colored
fellow-citizens must insist upon their rights always, by petition, by speech, and by vote! Above all, never vote for any man who is not true to you. Make allegiance to you the measure of your support. [Cheers.] So doing, all parties will seek your vote. [Cheers.] You will be felt, and your cause will be irresistible.
Please accept these few words as my acknowledgment of your kindness this evening. [Cries, "Go on!"] From long acquaintance you know something of my sympathies. [A voice, "I do!"] Always from the beginning I have sought to serve you, and always to the end shall I seek to serve you. To your cause my life is dedicated, and nothing can turn me from it, nothing can tempt me or drive me from its support. [Loud applause.]
FREDERICK DOUGLASS AND PRESIDENT
LETTER TO HON. ANDREW D. WHITE, PRESIDENT OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY, AUGUST 10, 1872.
WASHINGTON, August 10, 1872.
Y DEAR SIR,
I am surprised by a statement purporting to proceed from you, which I find under the telegraphic head, to the effect that I have misrepresented facts with regard to Frederick Douglass.
In making this allegation you defend the Commissioners to San Domingo, and allege that Mr. Douglass was well treated by them. I have never said the contrary, nor have I ever alluded to the treatment he received from them. Not a word or hint can be found on the subject in anything written or spoken by me.
My allusion was to the exclusion of Mr. Douglass from the common table of the mail-packet on the Potomac, almost within sight of the Executive Mansion, simply on account of color, and I added, that the President, on whose invitation he had joined the Commission, never uttered a word in rebuke of this exclusion, and when entertaining the returned Commissioners at dinner carefully omitted Mr. Douglass, who was in Washington at the time, and thus repeated the indignity. On this
you are represented as remarking, that General Sigel was also omitted, but that, in fact, Mr. Douglass and General Sigel had already left for their homes (forgetting that Mr. Douglass continued in Washington); and you do not allow yourself to doubt, that, had they been in town, they would have been included in the invitation. Your apology clearly shows your opinion that they ought to have been invited; but please not to forget that there was a reason for inviting Mr. Douglass that did not exist in the case of General Sigel. The General was white, and he had suffered no indignity on board a mail-packet which it was in the power of the President to rebuke by example.
But you are mistaken in the facts, as appears by the newspapers of the time. The Commissioners reached Washington on the evening of March 27th. They were entertained at dinner by the President March 30th. On the day before the dinner Mr. Douglass presided at the Convention to nominate a Delegate to Congress from the District of Columbia, and on taking the chair made a speech. Mr. Chipman was nominated against Mr. Douglass, who made another speech thanking his supporters for their votes. To gratify the friends of Mr. Douglass, there was an understanding that he should succeed Mr. Chipman as Secretary of the District. These things show that Mr. Douglass was not only in Washington, but conspicuously so, presiding at a public Convention, and being voted for as a candidate for Congress.
But we are not left to inference. Mr. A. M. Green, of Washington, who at the Convention nominated Mr. Douglass for Congress, assures us that he did not leave. town till some days later. Mr. Green further states, in
a note dated August 10th, now before me, that about this time he and another friend called on Mr. Douglass, in relation to his appointment by the President as Secretary of the District; that Mr. Douglass, while thanking them for their earnestness in his behalf, assured them that he had no hope of success; that he had "new evidence of the conservative character or tendency of the Administration, which warranted him in the opinion that we could not succeed"; and Mr. Green says that Mr. Douglass added these words: "I was not only neglected without any rebuke for the offence from the President, but the Commissioners have been invited to dine with the President, and the same spirit of neglect has been exhibited in that respect also." Mr. Green adds, that recently, while on the way to the National Colored Convention at New Orleans, Mr. Douglass, in conversation with Mr. Downing and himself, "referred in a complaining spirit to this circumstance."
I have also before me a note, dated August 10th, from Mr. Wormley, so well known for his excellent hotel in Washington, who says that he asked Mr. Douglass, shortly after his return, if he dined with the President and the Commissioners, to which he answered, "No, and for the good reason that I was not invited"; and then he added, "It is no use to deny it, but I feel it sorely." This was at Mr. Douglass's office. On another occasion, at his son's house, referring to the same thing, he said to Mr. Wormley, "I felt it keenly."
Mr. Gray, recently of the Legislative Council of the District, nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, now a School Trustee, assures me that Mr. Douglass spoke to him of his omission by the President with the same feeling that he exhibited to Mr. Green