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inspired it and the limited construction which was to be given it that led me
at all to reject it or to regard it as an unfortunate state paper.

One of the great evils of our country in times of peace, in times of war,
and all the time of our history has been a disposition on the part of some
men, excellent men, many of them, too, to limit eternal and universal
principles. That has been the great error of the American people—to limit
what in its very nature is illimitable; to circumscribe principles intended by
the great Creator of the universe for the harmony of the universe, to be
equally applicable to all the people of the country. For instance, that
glorious document which can never be referred to too often on occasions
like this—the Declaration of lndependence—(applause)—to which we
are all pledged, our lives, our sacred honor, all that we have on earth—sets
out with the doctrine that “all men,” not a part of men, “all men”—not all
white men, “all men”—not the Englishman; not all men of the Teutonic or
of the Caucasian race; but “all men,” “all men are created equal.” (Ap-
plause.) That great doctrine, so long-limited, circumscribed, applied to a
particular race and to a particular class, I regard this Convention as intend-
ing to make a practical fact for this whole country. (Applause)

Perhaps I am getting too broad for comprehension. (A Voice— “Not a
bit.”) But I heard at the Southern Convention, a few moments ago, and I
took my license to speak from the able speech there made by the late
Attorney General Speed.⁴ (Applause. A voice—“three cheers for him,”
which were given.) He gave us to understand there that we were to find out
what was the truth, what we felt to be the truth, what we knew to be the
truth, and in that Convention proclaim it, and at the ballot box make it law,

4. Appointed U.S. attorney general by Lincoln in December 1864, James Speed (1812—87) held
that cabinet post until July 1866, when he submitted his resignation to Andrew Johnson. Born near
Louisville, Kentucky, Speed graduated from St. Joseph‘s College in Bardstown, Kentucky, in 1828 and
then studied law at Transylvania University. He established a legal practice in Louisville and taught law
at the University of Louisville. After a term in the state legislature, Speed ran unsuccessfully as a pro-
emancipation candidate for the state constitutional convention of 1849. After Lincoln’s election, Speed
publicly battled against secession and was elected to the state senate in 1861 as a Unionist. His support
for black suffrage and the Fourteenth Amendment caused Speed's break with Johnson. The presiding
officer of the Southern Loyalists' Convention, Speed bitterly assailed Johnson‘s Reconstruction pol-
icies in his welcoming address on the morning of 4 September I866. Returning to legal and teaching
careers in Kentucky, Speed remained active in that state‘s Republican party leadership but never again
held public office. Riddleberger, 1866: The Critical Year, 206, 214— 15; Castel, Presidency of Andrew
Johnson. 26—28, 67, 80—81; Robert Sobel, Biographical Dictionary of the United States Executive
Branch, 1774—1977(Westport, Conn, 1977), 314—15;ACAB, 5 : 625; NCAB, 2 : 89; DAB, 17: 440.

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