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Full text of "Justice and mercy: a sermon preached at a united service held in the Methodist Episcopal church, of Davenport, Iowa, on the national fast day, June 1st, 1865"

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.TTJNK 1st, 1865, 








Davenport, June 5th, 1865. 

Rev. William Windsor 

De/ir Sir: — Beiui;- satisfied tliat llie discourse delivered b)' 
you on the National Fast Day, and repeated, by request, on Salibatli 
morning, woidd be productive of good, if widely circulated, we respect- 
fully reciuest the manuscript for publication. 

Very trulv, your fviends, 




D. P. McKOWN'. 

0. G. BLOOD, 
.7. S. CONNER. 


W. O. tllSKEY. 

To Hon. I^^^\.^[ Prfck, li. Lowkv. 

.1. Tj. 1") .'.yTT'.s, and others: — 

(jenUenieii.: — Your request for the discourse preaciied on the iate 
National Fast Day has been received and considered. 

it is with confidence in your judgment rather tlian my f)W'n that the 
manus(;riiit is liereby placed at your disposal. If it sliall in any degi'ee 
subserve tlie intei'ests of justice and humanit5^, the re^vard will belong 
more to your efiorts tlian to those of the writer. 


Davrnpout, .Ittkk 10, 18(i.~). 

KRRATA — Paire lirel, '21et lint! for •■M ihfii"' reiui •'all ihis." 

Page tliin!, 28tli<:ijf fot "God lia<l" read "God ban.' 

Page ei!ve;i, 31sl liiu- for " unasciilHtion " read " emasculafioii.' 

Pii^e Beven, 82d lino, a poiiiina instead of a period after the word siistaineil 


The frequent calls for a national recognition of God as our Provi- 
dential Ruler and Preserver, which have of late emanated from the 
Chair of our Chief Magistrate, are peculiarly gratifying to those who 
revere the name of God. While we admit no authority to command 
it, as Christian men and women we gladly unite in such public ac- 
knowledgments of the Almighty. Therefore, are we here to-day. 

It is to be presumed that most of us are satisfied that, no such sorrow 
can lind expression to-day in connection with this service, either here 
or elsewhere, as deluged the land seven short weeks since, when the 
startling cry rang forth from the Capitol, " Lincoln is murdered ! " 
The grief of that day was too intolerable to be kept secret. One 
long, loud wail swept over the continent. It outran the sun. The 
throbbing wires scattered the anguish faster than the beams of the 
morning fly westward. Few were they who did not mourn. And the 
long protracted obsequies of that stateliest funeral which crept like a 
moving pall of death over the breadth of the loyal domain ; the land 
everywhere sombre with the emblems of the grave ; tens of thousands 
in mute tearfulness gazing on the face of him they loved as scarce any 
other ruler was ever loved, who held in his hand the affectionate trust 
of millions, twice given, as the honest guardian of the nation's integ- 
rity and safety : — all the**, the tense, the passionate, the wide-spread 
sorrow of a bereft and outraged people, cannot be repeated to-day. 

We lament calmly at this hour. Not that we have so soon foi-gotten 
our loss, and the diabolical deed of hireling treason. Nay ! Let it 
never be forgotten to the latest history of the American nation ! Let 
its memory be perpetual : that the abominations of secession, and all 
the foul and hellish spirit of the slave system condensed into one act, 
may be forever seen, and be the herald at once, of its own unequalled 
shame, and its most merited and accursed doom. But the tumultuous 
grief that carried evei"y man along on its sweeping tide, has settled, 
(has it not?) into mightier purposes of duty. It softened the heart 


and ptiriHptl (lie iiiulerstiiiidiiii^- ol' I he j^eople lo IVcl more seusibly. 
and see more clearly tUe guilt of treason, and tlie claiins of justice. 

And niough the peculiar approj^riateness is not so apparent of a 
day of fasting and humiliation for a deed that not we but our enemies 
committed, and for seeking alleviation of a sorrow impossible again to 
be known, yet it is eminently tit, as the proclamation of the President 
proposes, that we should seek that the ''bereavement he mnctiflecl '' to 
us and to the nation. This is of vastly more moment than that our 
sorrow should " he oxsiirigeil by mmnvinion with our FatJier in heaven." 
The demand of the hour is not so much relief of heart, as a high 
toned and heroic purpose of duty. 

How then may we best improve this occasion for such an end ? By 
reflecting on tlie virtues of our departed chief ? This were a grateful 
task certainly ; and if it should inspire us to contend to the last for 
the accomplishment of the woi'k in which his life was sacrificed, it 
were well. But we have not time for it in one brief hour. Besides, 
the goodness and fidelity of the great dead are familiar to you all as 
household sayings. His acts and words have transpired too recently 
to need repetition here to save them from forgetfulness. 

Ought not our thoughts to turn rather to our duty as citizens of 
this great Republic, just emerging as it is from the most fearful of 
civil wars. For never was there a rel)ellion with so little to justify 
it. Never in an enlightened and civilized country was one begun for 
ends so unworthy of civilization and chi'istianity. Never one of so 
prodigious magnitude, and of so truculent and deadly spirit. Never 
weie a people ostensibly warring for independence so faithless to truth, 
and honor, and liumanity. History when asked for a parallel, with 
downcast eye stands mute and ashamed. And never were a people 
called on to decide so grave questions for themselves, and for the 
cause of liberty, as are we. 

If our lost President were to counsel us to-day, none can doubt that 
he would do as lie ever did when he was with us, turn our attention 
away from himself, to C4od and country, and duty. 

It will tie appropriate then to ask for the line of duty. Not all 
duty ; but of duty as citizens ; with special reference to the prime sub- 
jects furnished us by this rebellion. Duties we ought to understand, 
and must meet. Subjects about which we ought to have intelligent 
opinions, so as to abide by thenT. Yet there are too many if all are to 
be contemplated to-day. 

The question of State rights as sujierior to the rights of the National 
Government, has found a practical and sufficient solution. The over- 
whelming victories of the National arms will stop the mouths at least 

of those who may still he t(jo stuljboru or olftusc to admit the validity 
of the claim. 

The question of reconstruction, let statesmen discuss. The direct 
facts in the case are not before us as yet with sufficient distinctness to 
debate. We cannot apply to it definitely the law of christian duty. 
Moreover this as an immediate duty is rather with legislators than 
with citizens. But there ai'e things which appeal at once, to-day, to 
the understanding and the conscience of every christian, and of every 
man that is a patriot. Questions which Divine Providence has thrust 
before us, and we must consider; to which we can uow apply the 
principles of God's word. The rebellion has brought us face to face 
with two parties — disloyal whites, and loyal blacks, — what should be 
our conduct towards them ? 

And the passage of Scripture which suggests the thoughts proposed 
for our consideration and, as is believed, indicating a clear and safe 
course of duty in the premises, is, 

MiCAU 6;s. He hath allowed thee, O luan. wliat iw good, and wliai dolli tlie Lord 
ri_'(iitireof tliee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk Iitimbly with thy God. 

Without ilwelling on the case of the Jews here brought to view, let 
it suffice to say that they had by their idolatry and oppression incur- 
red God's severe displetisure. it is tiu' implication of the prophet 
tliat they ccmtemplated .some sort of atonement for their sins by offer- 
ing beasts in sacrifice tind pouring out free oblations of oil. He re- 
minds them that God had tilready showed them what the good way 
was. That it was not this ; but that " to obey is better than sacrifice." 
The needed reform consisted not in larger offerings — but in doing 
justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God. None the less 
is it true that God ha(i abundantly shown us tint the "good way," is 
right doimj. 

In the use of the text, your attention is asked first, to the emphatic 
relation of justice and mercy which appears in it. You notice justice 
stands first. It is impossible to be merciful till you have been just. 
With justice prostrate, mercy is to the guilty, license to sin, — to the 
oppressed, a taunt and a mockery. 

Nor is this a fanciful idea caught at for an occasion. It is tlie 
fundamental principle of all government, and is the only safe one. It 
underlies God's governnient, and sound human and family govern- 
ments, and if in these latter the order is reversed, it can be done only 
occasionally, and then it is tittended with more or less of peril. When 
Christ enumerated the weightier matters of the law to the Pharisees, 
they were "judgment, mercy, taitli." This ])re('edence, moreover. 


appears with remarkable clearness in the atonement scheme of revela- 
tion. There is no mercy till the law is honored. "Without shedding 
of blood is no remission." God is just, before he justifies. 

This idea then is one of great significance. It cannot be ignored in 
any wise and safe consideration of questions of duty where the exer- 
cise of justice and mercy is involved. It bears with cogent pertinency 
on the case before us. 

The next fact essential to be noticed in the text, is that God requires 
that wc do justly and love mercy. To love mercy — so that prejudice 
and passion may not prevail under the garb of mercy — that we be 
ready to show mercy whenever it is safe as well as when it is required ; 
but still not to love it so as not to do justly. At all hazards do justly. 

This we note the Lord requires. He does not leave it optional with 
men. Governors, Congressmen, and President are no more at liberty 
to elect which they will do, than the people, nor the people than they. 
It is God's unmodified requisition laid upon the highest and the low- 
est. Bo justly ; Love mercy. 

We have then, two important points established : 

One is, that it is of first importance for the welfare and safety of 
the nation that jndice he done. 

The second is, that God demands that where wrongs have been 
inflicted it shrdl he done. To the guilty, justice retributive ; to the 
wronged, justice compensative. 

We see, therefore, that the only question left us to ascertain as we 
consider our duties to the two classes concerning whom the rebellion has 
insisted on our decision, is, what is justice to the traitorous whites, 
and what to the loyal blacks of the South V What treatment do they 
deserve at the hands of the gorernment, at the bar of the people's 
heart and conscience!' For justice to traitors is more specially in the 
hands of the National government ; — justice to the blacks is very 
largely in the hands of the people. But in either case we need 
right public sentiment. And let no man say, " it is wf no concern to 
me." It is of concern. If yoii are a citizen of this great Republic, 
the duty is as much yours as mine, and mine as yours, to decide, — 
what is justice? And the issues of fidelity or neglect will be shared 

Let us ask then, tiist, what is the justice we owe to traitors? We, 
— the government in its judicial and executive capacity, — the people 
in its moral judgment. 

There is little need in order to a decision, of arraying before you 
the treason of secession, of armed rebellion. No man who is not him- 
self infected with the spirit of treason, but will pronounce the act of 

those men, who, while under the oath of fidelity to support the Con- 
stitution, were secretly and deliberately plotting the robbery of the 
National government, disunion, and civil war, to be point blank trea- 
son. It is known to history now, that the plan was long in forming; 
the conspiracy was deliberate and widesjiread. And when a suitable 
pretext by the election of Abiniiam Lincoln was furnished, the plot 
was simply exposed; treason was manifested; perjury was declared; 
war was inaugurated ; disunion attempted. We need no argmnent in 
the case. This most monstrous and l)ase of perfidies was enacted in 
the sight of the nation, and the world ; and tlie success of perjury 
soon became its proudest l)oast. 

Shall we rehearse the events of the four years succeeding the 
assault on Sumter, consummated in that cold and heartless murder of 
one of the best of men v No, it is not required. Many a heart would 
bleed afresh at the story of the battle scenes of the past. The graves 
of our slaughtered heroes wrinkle many a gory field. Our brave sol- 
diers have peopled with thousands many a hospital cemetery. 

And who shall speak of those charnel houses, in the forests of Texas, 
at Florence, at Selma, at Columbus, at Andersonville '! What tongue 
can steady itself to tell of Libby prison and Castle Thunder, and 
Belle Isle ? Oh, the horrors impossible to be written, of those pens 
and dungeons of want, and misery, and disease ; — our captive soldiers 
fed with corruption itself; — their woes steadily protracted to the last 
endurance of stalwart natures ; — I'oljbed of life fibre by fibre, of hope 
atom by atom, till a gibbering idiot falls amid his skeleton comrades 
in ghastly sympathy of death. And we see their guard of well fed 
traitors taunt them with their woes, oi- silently gloat over the ruin so 
effectively made of noble men. 

It has been stated that 64,000 brave men have died in rebel prisons. 
What were they there for V Why did the hundreds of thousands of 
our patriot armies endure the privations and dangers of the camp and 
the field ? That this government might not perish at the hands of 
traitors. That this nation might not be shivered into a score of petty 
warring kingdoms. They were there that you and I might still speak 
of an undivided union ; that we need not weep the wreck of liberty ; 
that this nation, glorious even in its shame, might not become the 
scorn of the world, the by- word of kings and despots, by the triumph 
of treason and slavery ; that the hope of the oppressed on other shores 
might not be blotted out ; that our shame might be purged ; that 
Columbia, the faireet daughter born of freedom, might look up still to 
the star decked sky, and behold the Iteautiful emblem of lier purity 
and perpetuity. For this they fought and endured. For this they 

died. But of all (Hir battle hosts none have Mien nioie heroically, 
and to none will the meed of honor and gratitude be more fondly in 
scribed by a saved and thankful people, than to those who fill a cap- 
tive's grave. 

But who created the necessity for such armies, and carnage, and 
carnival of death V Of whom can the world ask the account ? Of 
whom does outraged humanity and stern justice demand the blood o1' 
our myriad slain v Of Jeff. Davis, and Floyd, and Cobb, and Breck- 
enridge, and Benjamin, and the host of .secession counsellors and 
State Governors, without whom there could have been no orgrmization 
of treason iiito a rebellious government. 

Of Lee and Johnston, and the host of other officers oi the military 
power of the traitors without whom war could not have been conducted. 

Whoever else are not, Davis and Lee certainly must be charged as 
primaries in these deeds of darkness and shame and cruelty. The one 
was the head and front of treason in the government ; the othei' the 
head and front of treason in the military department of the reltellion. 
His.tory will, and lay it at their door. If it was the basest per- 
jury that led Davis to his chair, it was the .same perjury that girded 
Lee's sword upon him. His fine plea of devotion to Virginia, if sin- 
cere, shows only that the most solemn oath of fidelity to the govern- 
ment that had educated him, fed him and given him his honors, to 
which he owed everything, was not sufficient to hold liim. In other 
words, that it was easier tor him to be a traitor than to frown on 
treason; to plunge the steel into the bosom af his own mother, rather 
than defend her. And an unbiased view of the facts in the case must 
convince us that the awfully aggravated ;ind unparalleled guilt of the 
slow murdei' of our prisoners, is to be charged ultimately to him. 
Winder and Turner were but his executioners. Every officer on 
guard was in the end responsible to Lee. A word from him would 
have staid the horrors. But who ever heard that word. AVe listenetl 
in vain for it, from the "refined and magnanimous" Lee. It adds to 
the certainty of his guilt, moreover, that much of it transpired Avithin 
his own special jurisdiction, in Richmond, where he both could have 
known, and ought to have known the treatpient of his caiDtives. N<> 
fine, gentlemanly speeches about a sense of lionor, and the like, should 
be allowed to blind us to his tremendous guilt. If iie who could have 
prevented it, and did not, is not guilty, pray tell us who is guilty / 
But without more in this strain, w' hat is meant to be affirmed is that 
the prime cimspimtors and abettors of this rebellion, are guilty of the 
highest crime known to our own or any human law — treason against 
the government ; deliberate, most persistent, unrelenting treason. 

Who (loiibt-s it V Which of Ihcm has cxprtssed peuiteucc for it y To- 
day, those who are arrested, express no regrets at their crime, but 
simply convictions that they have failed in their endeavor. And is it 
indeed come to this, that we sliall be willing- to count tliat alone trea- 
son that succeeds, while that which fails is only an error in judgment 
on the part of misguided men. If it is, God pity the nation. 

In his farewell address to his army on snrroider, Lee glorities the 
obstinacy and daring with which iiis men have sustained the work of 
treason, as " unsurpassed courage and fortitude," and closes with these 
remarkable words: "You will take with you the satisfaction that pro- 
ceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed." * * 

* * * "With an increasing admiration of your constancy and 
devotion to your counti-y, and a grateful remembiance (jf your kind 
and generous consideration of myself, I bid you on aflfectionate fare- 
well." Here this fellest crime of treason is elegantly termed "dutv 
faithfully performed," while he ccmfesses to a growing admiration ol" 
their "constancy and devotion " in this same fearful and ahominalilc 
"work. But enough. 

Now, what do^ ji/Mice demand in the premises? Is there such a 
thing as justice ? If there is, let it be heard. Now is the time for it. 
Can any one deny that it claims the full penalty inflicted by human 
law against such unequalled crime ? What is the value of law, if the 
most accomplished and successful violators of it are to be released 
from its grasp v Do we send the thief, the incendiary, the murderer 
to a foreign clime for the rest of his days, cursed with the harmless 
curse of the law V Shall we then send to other shorcvS these arch con- 
spirators of treason ; simply dismiss them with a malediction ? Will 
banishment satisfy a law, which by the common consent of all nations 
demands the life of the transgressor as the least moiety of retribution. 

It is to be esteemed a sign of deplorable weakness in public moral 
sentiment, an emasculation of those stabler elements on which alone in 
a world of wickedness, government can Iw sustained, wWhen men 
plead for mercy to be shown to such criminals and are afraid of jus- 
tice ; when such men as Horace Greeley plead almost piteously that 
the lives of the chief traitors be spared, that no lilood be shed. Such 
a man's judgment of the quality of crime is not to be trusted. How- 
evei- safe he may be on other things, in this he cannot be counted less 
than the foe of his country, though undesignedly. What constitutes 
the defence in law but its execution ? What measures crime to men 
but penalty '? Behold for an instant the American government, with 
three billions of treasure sunk in the ravenous paunch of war ; see 
that vaet multitude of widows and the fatherless that gather weeping 


at its .side ; sec it stand in solemn silence of grief l)y the graves of itx 
two hundred and eighty thousand slain — then behold it turning from 
this sickening, this awful scene of desolation, and saying to Davis, 
and Lee, and his compeers in treason, as they stand at the national 
bar, " You vile traitors ; see what you have done ; you are not fit to 
live with us ; — begone ! to other lands." Yet Horace Greeley asks 
this — others are weak enough to ask it. Shame upon us, if the sense 
of crime, and the worth of justice is sunk so low as to be satisfied 
with this ! It is not revenge demands their life. That would insist 
on their unmitigated torture. That we too would deprecate. But we 
plead for calm, stern justice. The traitor must die — that all men may 
see what treason is and be afraid ; that the true and infinite value of 
the interests it seeks with red hand to destroy may be rightly esti- 

But it is said " the South is full of traitors, they are numbered by 
thousands ; they cannot all be put to death." No they cannot. That 
the leaders should be we all affirm, and all who have gone heart and hand 
into this work with them are worthy of death, but mercy may meet out 
for them a milder doom. When justice has expres.sed itself against 
the chief offenders, then we are ready to consider the claims of mercy. 

The amnesty proclamation of President Johnson, just out, indicates 
no indiscriminate and silly terms of reconciliation. Treason is to be 
treason. May God help all the people as they prize peace, stable law, 
good government, and sweet liberty, to pronounce in the name of 
justice unanimously, deliberately, and in fear of God, the stern male- 
diction of the law upon Treason. God holds us responsible for this 
high duty. 

So much for the traitor. We need not dwell so long on the duty of 
justice and mercy to the loyal black. 

It must be considered another indication of the same feebleness of 
moral sentiment which clamors for gentleness towards traitm's, that 
there is in some a jealousy of according to the negro tiie privileges he 
has so nobly earned by his loyalty. In the one case it is a mawkish 
sentim'entalism ; in the other an unreasonable prejudice. 

It is indeed a great step in advance that to-day the claims of the 
colored man may be urged from the pulpit, and will be listened to by 
the people. But many still hold back in a sort of dread of some 
strange and terrible revulsion in society, if the same rights are 
accorded the black as the white man. They stand trembling as on 
the verge of a social earthquake. But let it be remembered that the 
voluntary doing of justice never works disastrous revulsions. They 
come when God takes the work out of the hands of unwilling men. 

and does it himself. Press any of these timid souls for a reason and 
thoy can give you nothing which cannot be simmered down to a dis- 
like, a prejudice. But what candid man will quote a dislike, as a rea- 
son, in such a case. To-day let us be willing to consider reasons, and 
consign prejudices, whose very age and strength is their greater 
shame, to forgetfulness. 

The logic, in which the reasons we seek are contained, is very short, 
and very straight. It requires but little sagacity to penetrate it. 
That it may be old is nothing against it. It has been true a long 
time that two and two make four, and that men love liberty. 

The text may be applied to the case in hand by asking and answer- 
ing the following questions : 

What are the essential privileges of a man in these United States ? 

Is the negro a man ? 

Has he these privileges ? 

If he has not, is he justly dealt with ? 

It will hurt no sensible man to consider these questions candidly. 
And let us not forget that, as in the preceding case the administering 
of justice was in the hands of the National government specially, so 
in this latter case it lies for its practical settlement at the door of 
every citizen. There Providence has placed it, and we find it to-day. 
We must decide upon it. 

What then are the essential privileges of a man in these United 
States? Some of them? 

That he own himself. That he be permitted to be and do, all he 
can be and do honestly. That he be entitled to the protection of law. 
That if he be taxed he have the right to representation. That if to 
this latter end he desire citizenship and will comply with the condi- 
tions and obligations of the same, he may have the privilege of fran- 
chise. That these are essential privileges is seen in the fact that in 
the case of any white man not a criminal the deprivation of any of 
these is counted an unlawful disability. 

These are enough to refer to. And these privileges are accorded to 
an Englishman, not because he is an Englishman, but because he is a 
man ; to a Scotchman, a Germin, a Frenchman, a Spaniard, an Irish- 
man, a Mexican, a Brazilian, a Russian, simply because in each case he 
is a man who seeks them, and for no other reason. Should a Hindoo 
ask them, we could give no good reason why they should be with 
held. So with a Chinese. 

Our National Constitution makes no limitation as to the color of 
the cheek or the hue and texture of the hair. The responsibility in 



these matters is left at the door of eveiy State, which means at your 
and my door. The broad principle of American liberty is that, man- 
hood, honest manhood, may prefer claims to these privileges. There 
can be no successful plea against this statement. The States have 
never made but one exception, viz : that against the African. And 
all the reasons given for this are reducible to one, viz : that slavery 
has put him vmder our feet, and it is human nature to despise those we 
trample on. His color and his kinky hair would not have stood in his 
way, it may be aflSrmed most confidently, had he never lain under our 
feet a slave. We have made him abject, robbed him of his manhood, 
then denied that he had any, and then turned and despised him on 
account of his degradation, while it is his sorrow and our shame that 
he is whei-e he is and what he is. That is, to the sharpest cruelty, we 
have added the very keenest insolence. 

But is he not a man ? There is not one here who believes he is not, 
or if he did, would dare affirm it. He would be ashamed so to stultify 
his common sense. The nation has uttered its voice in this matter. 
It is needless to echo it. Where have we looked for the elements of 
true manhood in the South during this rebellion ; for loyalty ; for 
truth ; for humanity ? To the lordly traitorous whites ? Nay ! But 
to the negro. There we found them. If perjury, treason, and cruel- 
ty, done up in a white skin, make manhood, then let the traitor be the 
man. If honesty, fidelity to the government, and humanity, are more 
manly, then let the negro be a man, though he be as Ijlack as mid- 
nio-ht. It is a sorry judgment indeed that weighs manhood by the 
(!olor of the skin, rather than by the qualities of the heart. Our 
armies have been glad to count the negro a man. Our President and 
all the departments of the government have pronounced him such- 
To-day we are glad that two hundred thousand such men stood up 
with us against rebellion ; men who by their docility, subordination, 
and aptness to learn, as well as by their daring, discovered that they 
too have some of the elements of first value in the citizen. The negro 
is a man. I should do your sense wrong longer to argue it. 

But, has he the privileges of a man ? It shames me to say he has 
not. Why has he not? Simply because the black man has been a 
slave, and he is black. Our statutes deny him the privileges of a man. 
Blush, fellow citizens, that Iowa has such statutes. We tax him, but 
allow him no possibility of representation. We hold him amenable to 
our laws, but allow him no voice in making or amending them. And 
it is not because he is ignorant. There are multitudes of white men 
who go to the polls every election in this city who cannot read a let* 



ter of their ticket ; many, too, that are reckless and riotous, who can 
be bought by the highest bidder ; unsafe possessors of the franchise ; 
just the material with which unprincipled demagogues can accomplish 
their designs. But we say, "they are men — let them go to the ballot 
box." But there are other men here, in this State, many, who can 
read, are intelligent, are peaceable, have too much principle to l)e 
bribed, but they are barred from the ballot box — barred by a relent- 
less and disgraceful statute — repelled by the undeserved contempt and 
scorn of those who glory in the name of American freemen — and 
spuriied by none more maliciously than hj the same reckless class just 
alluded to. Why is this '? Because they are BLACK, and the Mad; 
man has been the slave. Does it reflect honor upon our wisdom that we 
make so unreasonable and shallow distinctions'? Is it noble thus to 
treat men '? Men who are guilty of no crime but having a dark skin. 
Who prides himself on such nobility of character? Let him show 
himself that the world may see him. 

And now, to-day, I plead because the text pleads, because God re- 
quires it, because it is eminently right that I should plead, that so far 
as we can we do justice to the black man. I might say how he has 
laid us under perpetual obligations by his faithfulness through all this 
long rebellion ; ever our friend ; bravely fighting for us. I might say 
let gratitude impel us to make speedy amends f«r wrongs so long in- 
flicted and so patiently borne. But I will not. I plead for the sake 
of justice. Do not think our debt to him is paid when we send school 
books and teachers, and old clothes, and rations to the suflfering and 
needy thousands of the emancipated. To do all this and still refuse 
him the full rights of manhood, is but to give a stone for bread. It 
is the semblance of mercy only — justice is not done. If they are still 
to be cast out by the cruel ban of prejudice, and denied privileges 
they count within their grasp ; if the sun of liberty is to fall back 
again into the East before it has even risen upon them ; then I^etter that 
they be left to their .stolid ignorance, to weep still in lonely bondage 
in the swamps ; better than to tantalize them with the hope of good 
they shall never reach. Let us not enlighten them to appreciate the 
more their misery, nor teach them to stretch out their hands after a 
blessing we intend not to give. Oh ! my friends, we must not disap- 
point the yearning hopes, nor spurn the claims of this long oppressed 
race. Nor can we do it and prosper. The South has drank its cup of 
retribution for its cruel bondage of them ; we have .shared it with 
the South ; but let us beware lest God press yet another to our lips, if 
we will not as.sist them to the level of humanity and lift up the down 
trodden. I plead for them, not because they are African, or black, 


but because they are'men defrauded of their rights. Let us do justice. 
There is no mercy without it. Give the black man the rights of man- 
hood. Give it to him in the South, where his vote may balance that 
of the secret secessionist, and the seditionist, who will plague us 
many a long year with their mischief. 

It may be there are moral conflicts yet to transpire on these shores, 
when we shall see that the African heart, that swells with a religious 
emotion we know but little of, tropical in its fervor like the clime 
that gave it birth, may be the balance of power in our salvation, as 
African muscle and bravery have been now. 

As this has been the heroic age of the republic in the valor of the 
field, let it be also in the triumph of right princiiile in overcoming 
passion and prejudice which have held so long rule in our hearts. 

We shall honor our free institutions, our government, ourselves, 
more by the doing of justice than by any assumed pre-eminence of 
race. Let us leave aristocracies to those who think they need them. 
Freemen are nobler without them. Let us say-. 

We'll shine in more substantial honors, 
And to be noble, we'll be good." 

There is nothing so exalting to human character as to do right. It is 
our boast that liberty is in the air of America. Let every nutn then 
breathe it to the full. Let us add to the glory of our brave struggle 
all noble acts of justice and generous mercy for the utter undoing and 
oblivion of the foul wrongs done to the slave. 

It is no mean thing to have the blessing of them that are ready to The gratitude of the delivered will be a mine of wealth. 
The most sacred l^onds will bind to us in lasting affection and fealty 
the growing millions. In an emancipated people, lifted out of the 
degradation of slavery and raised to the height of an intelligent and 
happy people, coming generations will see one of the fairest jewels in 
our national diadem. In ages yet to be, as right moves on in triumph, 
the trophies of justice and philanthropy will shine the most brilliant- 
among those with which the right royal patriotism of the American 
armies has adorned the brow of Columbia. 

As God has made us mighty, so may he help us to be just. May our 
laws ever be the bulwark of our honor and unity; and with justice 
and mercy, on either side of the judgment seat, secure under the folds 
of our rescued and regenerated national banner, may traitors ever 
tremble, and the poor ever find shelter. 

And let all the people say, Amen. 


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