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Union. Without it there is nothing but insecurity for the colored people, instability for the local government, and weakness for the Union, involving of course the national credit. Without it the Rebellion will break forth under a new alias, unarmed it may be, but with white votes to take possession of the local government and wield it at will, whether at home or in the national councils. If it be said that the colored people are unfit, then do I show that they are more fit than their recent masters, or than the “poor whites.” They have been loyal always; and who is he, that, under any pretence, exalts the prejudices of the disloyal above the rights of the loyal ? Their suffrage is now needed,
more even than you ever needed their muskets or sabres. An English statesman, after the acknowledginent of the Spanish Colonies as Independent States, boasted that he had called a new world into existence to redress the balance of the old. In similar spirit, we, too, must call a new ballot into existence to redress the tyranny that refuses justice to the colored race.
The same national authority that destroyed Slavery must see that this other pretension is not permitted to survive; nor is there any doubt that the authority which destroyed Slavery is competent to the kindred duty. Each belongs to that great policy of justice through which alone can peace become permanent and immutable. Nor may the Republic shirk this remaining service, without leaving Emancipation unfinish and the early promises of the Fathers unfulfilled. Vain the gift of Liberty, if you surrender the rights of the freedman to be judged by recent assertors of property in man. Burke, in his day, saw the flagrant inconsistency, and denounced it, saying that whatever
such people did on this subject was “arrant trifling," and, notwithstanding its plausible form, always wanted what he aptly called “the executory principle.”] These words of warning were adopted and repeated by two later statesmen, George Canning and Henry Brougham ; but they are so clear as not to need support of names. The infant must not be handed over to be suckled by the wolf; it must be carefully nursed by its parent; and since the Republic is parent of Emancipation, the Republic must nurse the immortal infant into maturity and strength. The Republic at the beginning took up this great work: the Republic must finish what it began; and it cannot err, if, in anxious care, it holds nothing done so long as anything remains undone. The Republic, with matchless energy, hurled forward victorious armies: the Republic must exact that "security for the future” without which this unparalleled war will have been waged in vain. The Republic to-day, with one consenting voice, commemorates the martyred victim: the same Republic, prompt in this service, must require that his promises to an oppressed race be maintained in all their integrity and completeness, in letter and in spirit, so that the cause for which he became a sacrifice shall not fail ; his martyrdom was a new pledge, beyond any even in life.
The colored suffrage is an overwhelming necessity. In making it an essential condition of restoration, we follow, first, the law of reason and of Nature, and, secondly, the Constitution, not only in its text, but in the light of the Declaration. By reason and Nature there can be no denial of rights on account of color;
1 Letter to Henry Dundas, April 9, 1792: Works (London, 1801 - 27), Vol. IX. p. 281.
and we can do nothing thus irrational and unnatural. By the Constitution it is stipulated that “the United States shall guaranty to every State a republican form of government”; but the meaning of this guaranty must be found in the birthday Declaration of the Republic, which is the controlling preamble of the Constitution. Beyond all question, the United States, when called to enforce the guaranty, must insist on the equality of all before the law, and the consent of the governed. Such is the true idea of republican government according to American institutions.
The Slave-Masters, driven from their first intrenchments, occupy inner defences. Property in man is abandoned; but they now insist that the freedman shall not enjoy political rights. Liberty has been won. The battle for Equality is still pending. And now a new compromise is proposed, in the name of State Rights. Sad that it should be so. But I do not despair. The victory may be delayed, but not lost. All who set themselves against Equality will be overborne; for it is the cause of Humanity. Not the rich and proud, but the poor and lowly, will be the favorites of an enfranchised Republic. The words of the Prophet must be fulfilled : “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I WILL MAKE A MAN MORE PRECIOUS THAN FINE GOLD, EVEN A MAN, THAN THE GOLDEN WEDGE OF OPHIR.” 1 I accept these sublime promises, and echo them back as assurance of triumph. Then will the Republic be all that heart can
1 Isaiah, xiii. 11, 12.
desire or imagination paint, , -"supremely lovely and serenely great, majestic mother” of a free, happy, and united people, with Slavery and all its tyranny beaten down under foot, so that no man shall call another master, and all shall be equal before the law.
In this great victory death is swallowed up, and before us is the vision of the Republic performing all that was promised. How easy, then, the passage from sorrow to exultation !
Fellow-citizens, be happy in what you have. Mourn not the dead, but rejoice in his life and example. Rejoice, as you point to this child of the people, who was lifted so high that Republican Institutions became manifest in him. Rejoice that through him Emancipation was proclaimed. Rejoice that under him “government of the people, by the people, and for the people" obtained a final verdict never to be set aside or questioned. Above all, see to it that his constant vows are performed, and the promises of the Fathers maintained, so that no person in the upright form of man is shut out from their protection. Do this, and the Unity of the Republic will be fixed on a foundation that cannot fail. The corner-stone of National Independence is already in its place, and on it is inscribed the name of GEORGE WASHINGTON. Another stone must also have place at the corner. It is the great Declaration itself, once a promise, at last a reality. On this adamantine block we will gratefully inscribe the name of ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
IDEAS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
LETTER TO THE MAYOR OF Boston, ON THE CELEBRATION OF
NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE, JULY 4, 1865.
Mumie vith my Fellow.citizens of "Boston'in cele
Boston, July 4, 1865.
unite with my fellow-citizens of Boston in celebrating the anniversary of our National Independence ; but I rejoice that we can celebrate it so happily, with Victory as the master of ceremonies.
Do not, I pray you, Mr. Mayor, let the great day pass without reminding our fellow-citizens that victory on the field of battle is not enough. There must be the further victory found in the recognition, everywhere throughout the country, of the ideas of the Declaration of Independence.
It must be confessed, that, according to these ideas, republican government can be founded only on “the consent of the governed” and the equality of all before the law. And why not dedicate ourselves to the work of establishing these ideas?
Then will our fathers be vindicated, and our country be glorified. God save the Republic !
Accept my thanks for the invitation with which you have honored me, And believe me, dear Sir, faithfully yours,