« PreviousContinue »
and Mr. Wormley. These witnesses are all colored, but even without the new law nobody would question their testimony. I add my own acquaintance with the case. At my house, Mr. Douglass, while speaking not unkindly, said that he felt the President's neglect in not inviting him to dine, which was more noticeable, as he had gone to San Domingo at the express invitation of the President, and on his return was insulted on board the Potomac mail-packet. He added, that an invitation from the President would have been a proper rebuke to those who had insulted him.
I will add, that it is a matter of common notoriety that Mr. Douglass did not disguise his feelings on account of this Presidential incident.
Such are the facts and the evidence. I think that you will see, my dear Sir, that, if there is any misstatement, or, as you express it, " perversion of facts," it is not on my part.
LIBERAL REPUBLICAN HEAD-QUARTERS,
BOSTON, August 24, 1872.
MY DEAR SIR, I am directed by the Liberal Republican State Committee to communicate to you a vote of which the following is a copy:
"Voted, That the Chairman, in the name of the Liberal Republican State Committee, invite the Hon. Charles Sumner to address his constituents on Public Affairs in Faneuil Hall, at the earliest day that may suit his convenience."
Allow me to add my earnest personal wishes that you will be able to comply with the request. "The great soul of the world is just," and the sober second thought of the people of Massachusetts will, I doubt not, sustain you in the position you have taken in favor of Reform and Reconciliation, and therefore of the election of Greeley and Brown. Very faithfully yours,
HON. CHARLES SUMNER.
F. W. BIRD.
BOSTON, August 30, 1872.
DEAR SIR, I have been honored by your communication of August 24th, inviting me in the name of the Liberal Republicans of Massachusetts, to speak in Faneuil Hall. It is with inexpressible pain and regret that I feel constrained to decline this flattering opportunity.
I had confidently hoped, on returning home, to meet my fellow-citizens in that venerable forum, so dear to us all, and to speak once more on great questions involving the welfare of our country; but recurring symptoms of a painful character warn me against any such attempt. My physician advises that I must not for the present make any public effort, and he prescribes rest. Valued friends, familiar with my condition, unite with the excellent physician.
In submitting most reluctantly to these admonitions, I cannot renounce the privilege of communicating with my fellow-citizens, and therefore hand you a copy of what, with the blessing of health, I hoped to say. In the House of Representatives undelivered speeches are sometimes ordered to be printed. You may follow this precedent with mine, or do with it as you please. Meanwhile accept my best wishes, and believe me, dear Sir,
Very faithfully yours,
HON. FRANCIS W. BIRD, Chairman, etc.
ELLOW-CITIZENS,- It is on the invitation of
the State Committee of Liberal Republicans that I have the honor of addressing you. I shall speak directly on the issue before us. If I am frank and plain, it will be only according to my nature and the requirement of duty at this time. But nothing can I say which is not prompted by a sincere desire to serve my country, and especially to promote that era of good-will, when the assent of all shall be assured to the equal rights of all.
THE TWO CANDIDATES.
AT the approaching Presidential Election the people are to choose between two candidates. By the operation of our electoral system, and the superadded dictation of National Conventions, the choice is practically limited to President Grant and Horace Greeley; so that no preference for another can be made effective. One of these must be taken. Preferring Horace Greeley, I have no hesitation in assigning the reasons which lead me to this conclusion.
Believing the present incumbent unfit for the great office to which he aspires for a second time, and not doubting that a vote for him would be regarded as the
sanction of abuses and pretensions unrepublican in character, I early saw the difficulty of taking any part for his reelection. Long ago I declared, that, while recognizing party as an essential agency and convenience, I could not allow it to constrain my conscience against what seemed the requirements of public good. Regarding always substance rather than form, I have been indifferent to the name by which I might be called. Nor was I impressed by the way in which the candidate was urged. Supporters, while admitting his failure, and even the abuses and pretensions so notorious in his civil life, commended his reëlection as necessary to uphold the party with which I have been associated. But it is easy to see that a vote for such a candidate on such a reason was "to do evil that good might come," which is forbidden in politics as in morals.
Two courses seemed open. One was to abstain from voting, and I confess that this was my first inclination. But it is not easy for me to be neutral,- certainly where wrong-doing is in question; nor is it my habit to shrink from responsibility. But the doubt that beset me was removed when I saw the Democratic Party adopt the candidate opposed to President Grant, being an original Republican already nominated by a Republican Convention, and at the same time accept the Republican platform on which he was nominated. An old party, which had long stood out against the Republican cause, now placed itself on a Republican platform, the best ever adopted, with a Republican candidate, who was the most devoted Republican ever nominated, — thus completely accepting the results of the war, and offering the hand of reconciliation. At once the character of the contest changed. This was no common