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25 SEPTEMBER I872 335

Now gentlemen, if any of our people are confused and bewildered, and
do not know how to vote in the approaching election, or if any class of the
American people have doubts of our ability to form intelligent opinions of
public men, parties, principles, and measures, I hope the proceedings of
this meeting may be made useful to them. The colored citizens of New-
England have already spoken in Faneuil Hall, and their word has gone over
the whole country.³ The colored citizens of New-York will have a not less
universal hearing, nor be less potent in point of right influence.

Fellow-citizens, while we are deeply interested in maintaining the
present financial and foreign policy of the Government which has given to
our country credit, prosperity and peace; while we are touched by the
humanity of the Administration toward the Indians, and commend its
wisdom; while we, in common with other citizens, desire light taxation and
an honest administration of the Government, the chief and all commanding
interest which all feel in the contest, is found in its bearing upon the great
questions of human liberty and equality. Here it touches us deeply, and is a
matter of supreme concern. To the millions of our color at the South it is
vastly more important than to us. It is, in effect, a thing of peace and war, of
order and disorder, of life and death, if not of liberty and slavery. It, in fact,
involves the maintenance of all the progress made during the last dozen
years, and the inauguration of a process of reaction, which may land our
race into a condition only a little better than the bondage and degradation of
ages from which we have just begun to emerge.

I know that this statement of the issues involved is stoutly denied by
one party to this canvass, and no doubt honestly denied, but you and I know
that there is such a thing as being honestly wrong. Hell is said to be paved
with good intentions. ⁴

The political canvass before us is indeed a very peculiar one. There is
nothing like it in the past, and I hope there may never be anything like it in
the future. To outward seeming we have two political parties seeking to
possess the Government, while professing substantially the same princi-
ples and commending their candidates for the same noble qualities and
dispositions. Two parties and one platform. It is this seeming agreement
which leads to confusion, and would almost deceive the very elect. We
have no longer an honest fight between armies under their own respective

3. Douglass spoke. at the pro-Grant convention of blacks that met in Faneuil Hall in Boston on 5
September 1872.

4. James Boswell popularized this proverb in his Life of Johnson. James Boswell, The Life of
Samuel Johnson LL.D., 2 vols. (1791; London, 1906), l : 555.

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