Status: Needs Review

13 APRIL I872 295

diligence to arrive in time, and the toil and fatigue almost unnerved him to

Mr. Douglass said he supposed the object of the convention had already
been fully stated. According to his view it had two distinct objects. The first
was to gather the moral and political force of the colored people of the United
States; and the second was to direct and wield that force in such a manner as to
vouchsafe to those people all the liberties contained in the Declaration of
Independence. (Great Applause.) The history of their liberties was not so old
already that they had forgotten how they were achieved or did not remember
what slavery was. (Applause) There was a time when colored men did not
hold conventions in Louisiana. (Applause) He related the anecdote of the
colored man who was once brought before a recorder in New Orleans on a
charge of larceny. The recorder advised him never to come there again. “I
did not come, Mr. Recorder, the constable fouch me.” (Laughter) So it
was with the colored delegates who formerly came to Louisiana, the con-
stable “fouch” them with handcuffs upon their wrists. But that day, thank
Heaven, was gone, never to return! Never! never! never! (Prolonged enthu-
siasm.) Every man now comes with his own consent and leaves when he
desires. (Applause) The change was vast and wonderful! This country did
not seem to be the same United States it was of old. The sun does not rise
and set as it did in those dark and gloomy days. The very air now seems
more pleasant; somehow we breathe freer than then.

But colored men, like all others, are apt to be forgetful. Do they often
and fully consider the tedious, weary, and bloody processes by which the
revolution was accomplished? They can well recur to the history of the
rise and progress of all great revolutions and gather instruction for the fu-
ture. Revolutions do not spring from the ground. They are not the crea-
tures of a day. The cause of humanity has never made a step, not moved
an inch in advance that was not purchased with agony and tears. Thirty
years ago there was no equality for all men, even in Massachusetts. Un-
der the very shadow of Faneuil Hall the slave hunter pursued and seized
his victim.2 As broad as was this great land with its vast plains, its green
fields, and its classic spots, so grand in history, there was no single nook
where the fleeing man of his complexion was not hunted down and
brought back to bondage. There was no valley so deep, no mountain so
high that it was free from the slave hunters. The slave was started up on

2. A reference to the rendition of Anthony Bums.

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