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three years ago, when he was about seven years old. A few weeks since he returned to his native city, and was eagerly welcomed by his own people, and by many of the old citizens, who favorably remembered his father and mother, and had watched his own career with friendly eyes. The changes wrought in this more than half a century were more than revolutionary. The stone rejected by the builders had become the head of the column. The magnates had disappeared, and those who made them so had taken their places. It was a bewildering dream; yet the retributive fact stood prominent.
The descendants of Calhoun, Rhett, M'Queen, Hayne, and Brooks no longer ruled like their fathers. New influences and new ideas prevailed. Mr. Purvis stood among his kindred like another Rip Van Winkle, with the difference that he was not forgotten; and as he walked the streets of Columbia and received the ovation of his friends in Charleston, he saw and felt that, although slavery was dead and the old slave-lords deposed, the sun shone, the grass grew, the flowers bloomed, the birds caroled, and the waters run, as when the magnates lived on the labor of others as good as themselves, and often died confessing that their bad work must come to a bitter end.
Robert Purvis is one of the best proofs of the influence of education, travel, good associations, and natural self-respect. Few would distinguish him to be what he often proudly calls himself, “a negro." His complexion is not darker than that of Soulé or Manning. His manners are quiet and courtly. His general knowledge is large, and his conversation easy and intellectual. Educated at some of the best of our Philadelphia schools before there was any prejudice against the reputable man or woman of color, and when colored votes were thrown at all the elections, he has reached sixty, universally esteemed. His family is among the most refined in the aristocratic country neighborhood where he lives, and he commands respect of others by the courage with which he and his children respect themselves.
THE COMING CENTENNIAL.
Yet while he walks erect in all circles, and yields to none in the graces of manhood, and in the observances of what we call society, he is the ardent friend of his people, determined that they shall eventually secure all their civil, as they have now their political, rights. No more useful or influential man will sit among the delegates to the Philadelphia National Convention, Wednesday, the 5th of June, 1872.
As these colored colleagues of Robert Purvis from the South gather around their friend and teacher, how many a story they could relate of their individual lives! Each has had his romance of hard reality. Their struggles as slaves—their experience as freedmen—their “hair-breadth 'scapes by flood and field”—their restoration to family and friends——the fate of their old “masters ”—what material for the poet, the novelist, the historian, and the philanthropist !
[May 26, 1872.]
PHILADELPHIA was honored by a national convention in the shape of the Colonial Congress, which, ninety-six years ago, next 4th of July, proclaimed American independence. The body which is to assemble at the Academy of Music, Wednesday, June 5, will be one of the only three that gave practical expression to the ideas of the Declaration. While slavery existed, no national convention of any party could consistently plead for freedom. And as the years rolled on, the fetters of the bondmen were more closely riveted, and the chains of the political leader made heavier. Now all is in harmony with the protest and prophecy of Thomas Jefferson and his compatriots. Thousands will be present who never saw Philadelphia; and if they will trace the growth of their country in the growth of the City of Brotherly Love, they will study American history on the spot where American liberty was born. They will walk the streets trod by Washington. They will see the places described by Franklin in his incomparable autobiography. They will be taken to the spot where he was buried. They will realize where John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Alexander Hamilton, Robert Morris, Andrew Jackson, Delegates or Senators in Congress, Cabinet Ministers, financiers, etc., lived in those trying times; and as they follow up the
progress of events from their source they will better understand why President Grant is to-day the strongest public man in America. Discounted by the accidents, and, if you please, by the errors of all men in his position, you find the great fact remaining, that he is the only man who ever had the full opportunity, and seized that opportunity boldly, to prove his devotion to the principles of the Declaration of Independence. Without any thing like a party record, and without the slightest pretension, he has grasped the whole situation, with all its obligations, and has been as true to advanced Republican doctrines, as these have been crystallized by experience, as if he had made that species of philosophy a study. The danger has always been that those earliest in defending great truths become hypercritical as they grow old. Grant's rare merit is that he accepts a fact proved by trial, and incorporates it into his administration. In this respect he resembles George Washington. Washington never was a political experimenter. He never reveled in theories. He was not carried away by visionary hopes of human perfectibility. He wrote little and spoke
And yet, as President, he executed the laws, kept the peace between Hamilton and Jefferson, bore with the eccentricities of John Adams, and never lost his temper when Thomas Paine and Philip Francis Freneau hurled their bitterest shafts against his private character. I need not elaborate the parallel. You have Grant before you, and can do it without
SENATOR HENRY WILSON.
Twenty-four hundred years of human effort, revolution, and ambition may be studied in the remains of ancient and the triumphs of modern Rome. With the torch of our new intelligence we light up and restore the memories of those almost forgotten centuries. “A railroad to Pompeii !" says that fascinating writer, George S. Hillard, of Boston, in his charming book, “Six Months in Italy"_"it seemed appropriate to be transported from the living and smiling present to the heart of the dead past by the swiftest and most powerful wings that modern invention has furnished.” Our one century of government discloses wonders and trophies of another kind. The world has
gone forward with the speed of magic, and as we turn back for a moment to contemplate what has been done in that cycle, what better aid could we have to illuminate our path than the living lessons of the city of Philadelphia, as taught by the men of the Revolution, whose posterity can even yet recall their features, and rejoice with us among the magnificent harvest of the seed which they planted ninety-six years ago?
[June 2, 1872.]
HENRY Wilson, our candidate for Vice-President, is a fine example of the effect of free institutions upon the struggling youth of America, and also a proof of the practical consistency of the Republican party. I have known him well for over seventeen years. Twelve months younger than Mr. Sumner, he has always been his friend, even when compelled to differ with him. Wilson is one of the men who wear well. Time and trial improve and ripen them. No day passes that they do not learn something. I met him while I was presiding over the House of Representatives in the stormy session of 1855-56, and had
a chance to study his character. He saw that the time was coming when Democrats like myself would be compelled to choose between liberty and slavery, and his anxiety to secure such a reinforcement to his party was shown in his kindness to and confidence in that brave and earnest body of men. And when the storin broke, in 1858, and Buchanan sought to force the Lecompton Constitution upon Kansas, Henry Wilson threw himself with especial fervor among the revolting Democrats. He consulted with us and encouraged us; he traveled far and near to effect co-operation and organization; and when my name was presented for Clerk of the House in 1859, he insisted that I should be elected without pledges. These had been demanded by some of the more violent Republicans, and sternly refused. I did not ask for the place, and would not have touched it if it had interfered with my independence as editor of The Press. Wilson declared that I was right, and with the aid of Charles Francis Adams, John Hickman, John B. Haskin, and John Schwartz, we organized the House, and soon after the anti-Lecompton Democrats constituted a resistless Republican reserve. Henry Wilson is a superb organizer. His temperate life and high principles, his fine health and strong convictions, his knowledge of the prejudices and wants of men, made him a great power against the rebellion, as well in the army as at the head of the Committee on Military Affairs. The amount of work performed was prodigious. He was a real break-of-day man—a sleepless, untiring, and unmurmuring patriot. A little too impulsive, perhaps, his is one of the truest of hearts, warm, generous, and forgiving. His frugal habits accord with his strict integrity. He is inexpensive in his tastes and desires, and lives among his books and his friends. He visits a great deal, and reads much. Active and quick, regular in his seat in the Senate, he is often seen on the Avenue and in society, though he never touches wine or cigars. He is a thorough common-sense man, and a natural medium between