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To intensify your allegation, you insist that I am ranged with Jefferson Davis and Robert Toombs; but, pardon me, nobody knows how the former will vote, while Robert Toombs is boisterous against Horace Greeley, and with him are Stephens, Wise, and Mosby. This is all very poor, and I mention it only to exhibit the character of your attempt.
In the same spirit you seek to avoid the real issue by holding up the possibility of what you call a Democratic Administration; and you have the courage to assert, as within my knowledge, that by the election of Horace Greeley "Congress is handed over to the control of the party who have persistently denied the rights of the black man." You say that I know this. Mr. Speaker, I know no such thing, and you should be sufficiently thoughtful not to assert it. I am entirely satisfied that a canvass like the present, where the principles declared at Cincinnati are openly accepted on one side and not contested on the other, must result in a larger number of Congressional Representatives sincerely devoted to the rights of the colored citizen than ever before.
The Democrats will be pledged, as never before, to the ruling principle that All Men are Equal before the Law, and also to the three Constitutional Amendments, with the clause in each empowering Congress to enforce the same by appropriate legislation. But besides Democrats, there will be Liberal Republicans pledged likewise, and also your peculiar associates, who, I trust, will not betray the cause. Senators and Representatives calling themselves Republicans have been latterly in large majority in both Houses; but the final measure of Civil Rights, to which you refer, though urged
by me almost daily, has failed to become a law, less, I fear, from Democratic opposition than from Republican lukewarmness and the want of support in the President.
The great issue which the people are called to decide in November is on the President, and nobody knows better than yourself that the House of Representatives, chosen at the same time, will naturally harmonize with him. So it has been in our history. Now harmony with Horace Greeley involves what I most desire. With such a President, Congress will be changed. For the first time since the war the Equal Rights of All will have a declared representative at the head of the Government, whose presence there will be of higher significance than that of any victor in war, being not only a testimony, but a constant motive-power in this great
Opposition, whether open hostility or more subtle treachery, will yield to the steady influence of such a representative. Therefore in looking to the President I look also to Congress, which will take its character in large measure from him. In choosing Horace Greeley we do the best we can for the whole Government, not only in the Executive, but in the Legislative branch, —while we decline to support nepotism, repayment of personal gifts by official patronage, seizure of the war powers, indignity to the Black Republic, also, the various incapacity exhibited by the President, and the rings by which he governs, none of which can you defend. You know well that the rings are already condemned by the American people.
For myself, I say plainly and without hesitation, that I prefer Horace Greeley, with any Congress possible on
the Cincinnati Platform, to President Grant, with his personal government and his rings, a vote for whom involves the support of this personal government, with prolonged power in all the rings. There must be another influence and another example. The Administration, in all its parts, is impressed by the President. Let his soul be enlarged with the sentiment of justice, quickened by industry, and not only the two Houses of Congress, but the whole country, will feel the irresistible authority, overspreading, pervading, permeating everywhere. Therefore, in proportion as you are earnest for the rights of the colored citizen, and place them above all partisan triumph, you will be glad to support the candidate whose heart has always throbbed for Humanity. The country needs such a motive-power in the White House; it needs a generous fountain there. In one word, it needs somebody different from the present incumbent; and nobody knows this better than Speaker Blaine.
The personal imputation you make upon me I repel with the indignation of an honest man. I was a faithful supporter of the President until somewhat tardily awakened by his painful conduct on the island of San Domingo, involving seizure of the war power in violation of the Constitution, and indignity to the Black Republic in violation of International Law; and when I remonstrated against these intolerable outrages, I was set upon by those acting in his behalf. Such is the origin of my opposition. I could not have done less without failure in that duty which is with me the rule of life. Nor can I doubt that when partisan sentiments are less active you will regret the wrong you have done me. Meanwhile I appeal confidently to the candid judg
ment of those who, amidst all present differences of opinion, unite in the great objects, far above Party or President, to which my life is devoted.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
THE HONORABLE SPEAKER BLAINE.
RETROSPECT AND PROMISE.
ADDRESS AT A SERENADE BEFORE HIS HOUSE IN WASHINGTON, AUGUST 9, 1872.
THE serenade was given under the auspices of the colored men of the District, on the occasion of the Senator's departure for Boston, — and the crowd in attendance is reported to have been "one of the largest ever gathered in Washington for a similar object." On presentation by Dr. Augusta as "the tried and true friend of the African race," Mr. Sumner said:
FRIENDS AND FELLOW-CITIZENS:
AM touched by this voluntary expression of friendship, and beg to thank you from the heart.
In seeing you on this occasion I think of you only as personal friends among whom I have lived more than twenty years. During this considerable period changes have occurred of incalculable importance to the country, but especially to the colored people. When I entered. upon my public duties here Slavery was in the ascendant, giving the law to all the usages of life. The colored man was degraded. He was not allowed to testify in court; he was shut out from the public schools; he was excluded from the public conveyances, and thrust away from the ballot-box. But here in the National Capital all these terrible wrongs have ceased. The court-room, the school-house, the horse-car, and the ballot-box are.