Status: Needs Review


acted as “temporary president.” When Pinchback escorted Douglass into the
great hall of Mechanics Institute on the morning of his address, all “present
rose to their feet and received him with cheers and applause.” At 12:00 P.M.
James H. Ingraham, first vice president, called the assembly to order. The
Reverend C. H. Thompson led the assembly in prayer, after which the names
of the delegates from New York, the District of Columbia, and Rhode Island
were added to the roll. Douglass was escorted to the speaker’s stand by
Pinchback, Ransier, and Isaac Myers, a labor leader and the delegate from
Maryland. Ingraham introduced Douglass, whose address was warmly re-
ceived, the New Orleans Bee noting that “in fluency, diction and argument” it
“fully sustained his reputation as an orator.” At the conclusion of his remarks,
the delegates voted Douglass their “thanks” and proceeded with the regular
order of business. New Orleans Bee, ll, 12, 13 April 1872; New Orleans
Picayune, 11, 12, I3, 14 April 1872; New Orleans Republican, 11, 12, 13
April 1872; New Orleans Semi-Weekly Louisianan, 14 April 1872.

Mr. Douglass gracefully thanked the Convention for the cordial manner in
which he had been introduced, and earnestly expressed his gratitude for the
feeling exhibited in selecting him as the permanent President of the Con-
vention, inasmuch as there were at least twenty men present better quali-
fied by their mental aptitudes than himself for the peculiar duties of a
presiding officer. He judged that the choice was intended not so much to
compliment him as a chairman, as it was to convey to him a grateful
recognition of his earnest labor in their behalf through all the vicissitudes
of their long struggle for liberty. (Applause) From the response he saw
his inference was right. He regretted his arrival at the end instead of
the beginning of the Convention. He labored under the disadvantage there-
fore of not knowing what sentiments had been uttered, what principles had
been asserted, or what resolutions had been adopted,1 and this almost
prevented him from speaking intelligently. He was likely to repeat what
had already been said. He had been six days upon his way, but had used due

I. Although he had been elected the permanent chairman of the convention on the first day of the
proceedings, Douglass did not arrive in New Orleans until the fourth day. In his absence Lieutenant
Governor P. B. S. Pinchback served as temporary chairman of the sessions. For two of those days the
convention discussed repudiating sympathies and connections with two other conventions: the Labor
Reform Convention that had been held in Columbus, Ohio, and the convention of Liberal Republicans.
scheduled to meet in Cincinnati, Ohio, in May. The resolution to repudiate sympathies passed by a two-
to-one margin the day before Douglass’s arrival, some delegates intensely pro-Grant and others pro-
Sumner. New Orleans Republican, ll, 12, 13 April 1872; New Orleans Bee. ll, 12, 13 April 1872;
New Orleans Picayune. ll, 12, 13 April 1872.

Notes and Questions

Nobody has written a note for this page yet

Please sign in to write a note for this page