Tuesday, November 7, 2023

November 7 in San Antonio history...

Two bids for 345 miles of rural electric lines in Gonzales, Guadalupe, Wilson, Bexar and Lavaca counties were received by the Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative today.  If accepted, construction of the lines will bring electricity to 605 additional farm homes.

The first live broadcast over WOAI-TV got underway this afternoon at Alamo Stadium gymnasium. Co-sponsored by the San Antonio Appliance Association, the shows will extend over a three-day period and will feature professional and amateur talent.

Linda Ronstadt performs with Los Camperos in Municipal Auditorium.  Due to her diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, this is the final public performance of her career.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

 September 13 in San Antonio history...

The northern lights, visible from San Antonio for the first time in many years, had lawmen frantically looking for “the big fire” early Friday morning.

The San Antonio Light reports that Hurricane Carla has destroyed all but one of Galveston’s pleasure and fishing piers, including the Balinese.

Pope John Paul II visits San Antonio and gives a Mass for an estimated 350,000 people in Westover Hills on the site of what is today Stevens High School.  He also visits Plaza Guadalupe, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, San Fernando Cathedral and Municipal Auditorium. (photo courtesy of the San Antonio Express-News)

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

 September 12 in San Antonio history...

The Lone Star Brewery is opened for business.

The project to widen Commerce Street is begun. During the four year widening project on Commerce Street many buildings were either totally demolished or lost several yards of their original structure. The new five story Alamo National Bank building, was physically raised and moved back while work continued uninterrupted within it. With the movement of the bank building the entire project came to almost $1.5 Million. This is the equivalent to around $21 Million in today’s money. The city took pride in the transformation being undertaken to keep San Antonio as the number one city in Texas.

The first McDonald’s restaurant opens in San Antonio at 1330 S. Laredo St. (right).

Monday, September 11, 2023

 September 11 in San Antonio history...

General Woll and his Mexican army invades San Antonio. He was to capture San Antonio, then reconnoiter the Guadalupe River down to Gonzales-all within one month – but was repulsed by Texan troops in the battle of Salado Creek on the eighteenth, evacuated San Antonio two days later, and returned to Coahuila.

“The Carol Burnett Show,” featuring former San Antonian Carol Burnett, debuts at 9:00 p.m. on KENS Channel 5.  The show features guest stars Jim Nabors and Vicki Lawrence.

San Antonians, shocked by the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C., unite to pray, donate blood and help out in this time of crisis.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

 September 10 in San Antonio history...

With a known death list of 37 that may total more than 200 when all the missing are accounted for, and with a property loss of near $5 million, San Antonio was suffering the worst flood in its history.

An Air Force Captain is hospitalized in serious condition from severe smoke inhalation after a fire broke out during a space simulation yesterday at Brooks AFB.  The two pilots were “flying” at 27,000 feet with pure oxygen when fire broke out from behind the control panel.  The simulated astronauts fought the fire with an extinguisher during the 2½ minutes it takes to lower the simulator’s pressure enough to open the door.

High winds destroy the twin towers and scaffolding (right) two days before the arrival in San Antonio of Pope John Paul II.  Despite over $100,000 in damages, Richard Hemberger, state coordinator for the papal visit, says the Mass will proceed as scheduled.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

 September 9 in San Antonio history...

A driver was fined $10 for driving faster than 6 m.p.h. within the one mile circle on Flores.

After being officially known as “Camp Cecil A. Lyon” for a single week, the encampment of state troops on the Fort Sam Houston reservation is again “Camp Wilson” and will retain that name as long as it exists.

With the concrete walls of Olmos Dam towering high above the basin below and flood prevention work on the San Antonio River nearing completion, the sixth anniversary of the 1921 floods finds this city safe from further deluges.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

August 31 in San Antonio history...


The foundation of the new Builder’s Exchange building at Navarro and St. Mary’s streets has been completed and work on the first story will begin at once.  The building will be completed next April 1 at a cost of $250,000, according to Sidney Cornelius, manager of the Exchange.


“American Graffiti,” George Lucas’s coming-of-age film set in the summer of 1962, premieres at the Central Park Fox theater.


After 17 years of planning, battling and waiting, the end is in sight for completion of the North Freeway, now officially named the W.W. McAllister Freeway. The last section extends from Sandau Road on the south to north of Bitters Road on the north, a distance of some two or three miles. Construction on this final section should begin in five to six months and should be completed in about 18 months, according to Mal Steinberg, highway department consultant.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Right of Suffrage











24, 1868






COMMITTEE ROOM, Feb. 24, 1866

J.W. Throckmorton, President Convention, Austin:

PRESIDENT: Disagreeing with the majority of the Committee to whom the subject
of the Elective Franchise was referred, I proposed to the Committee the
following Amendment, to be inserted after the first section:

    “From and
after the 4th of July, 1866, every male citizen of the United
States, who shall have attained 21 years of age, or become a naturalized
citizen of the United States, and shall have resided in this State one year
next preceding an election, and the last six month in the district, country,
city or town in which he offers to vote, and who shall be able to read and
write the English or his native language understandingly,
shall be deemed a qualified elector.”

    This being
rejected, a further amendment was offered, substituting 1876 for 1866, which
was also rejected.  Then followed another
proposition, to amend the original resolution, so as to make it read, “From and
after the 4th day of July, 1866, every male citizen of the United
States born free,” &c., which shared the same fate of the preceding
amendments; so that, not being able to agree with the majority of the
committee, I be leave to offer the following:


    The majority
of the Committee on the Legislative Department, to which was referred that part
of the Constitution defining the qualifications of Electors, having reported in
favor of re-adopting that part of the old Constitution which deprives Africans
and their descendants of the right of suffrage, I respectfully beg leave to
present the following objections to their Report:


    The fundamental principle upon which the American system of
government was founded are,

    1st, The civil and political equality of all men.

    2d, That they are endowed with certain inalienable
rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    3d, That, to insure these rights, governments are instituted
among men.

    4th, That governments derive their just powers from
the consent of the governed.

    These fundamental principles of American liberty constitute the
basis of the Bills of Rights, which, under various modifications, pervade all
our constitutional charters.  The
doctrine, that the foundation of all free government was the right of the people to participate in the legislative
power, and in the organization of governments, was universally accepted by the
early American statesmen; and the framers of the Federal Constitution were care
to confide all power to the people,
and to provide for the protection of the whole
people.  To illustrate this, it is only
necessary to refer to the Constitution itself. In the 2d section of Article 1, the organization of the House of
Representatives is provided for, as follows:

    “The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen
every second year, by the people,”
&c.  And still later, when the
Constitution was amended, the rights of the people were not forgotten, but
protected by new safeguards, as may be seen by the following Articles:

    “ART. 1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom
of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a
redress of grievances.

    “ART. 2. A well regulated militia being necessary to the success
of a free state,
the right of the people to keep and
bear arms shall not be infringed.

    “ART. 4. The right of the people
to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable
searches and seizures, shall not be violated.

    “ART. 9. The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights
shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    “ART. 10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
nor prohibited by it, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    The founders of the Republic
of Texas
, acknowledging
the right of the people to govern, declared in their Bill of Rights that “all
political power is inherent in the people, and that all free governments are
founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit.”

    As the people of Texas
have declared their belief in this doctrine, and assuming that this Convention
will reaffirm it, it remains for us, in framing our organic law, to see to it
that every section shall harmonize with these great and acknowledged principles
of human liberty.

    If all political power is inherent in the people of Texas by what
authority can we prohibit any portion of the people form the free exercise of
that most important of all political power, the right of suffrage, as is
proposed by the Report of the majority, which, if adopted, would forever
exclude a large portion of the people of Texas from any participation in the
affairs of the government; against which injustice I hereby solemnly protest.


    In demanding
the right of suffrage for the colored citizens of our State, I do not ask for
the establishment of any new principle, or any untried experiment, but that we
give practical effect to our own theory of government be returning to the
usages adopted by the founders of the American Republic.

    Under the
Articles of Confederation, Congress acted directly upon the subject of
suffrage, in the organization of territorial governments, which were to result
in State governments.  The celebrated
ordinance of 23d April, 1784, drafted by Jefferson, authorized the “Free males
of full age,” without distinction of color, to take part in forming these
governments; and the still more famous ordinance of July 13, 1787, vested the
right of suffrage in all the “free male inhabitants of full age,” who had
certain qualifications of freehold or residence.

ordinance was re-enacted immediately after the adoption of our present
Constitution, by the act of Congress of August 7, 1789; and in this respect was the precedent for
every subsequent territorial act passed until 1812.  The several acts passed from the foundation
of the government to that date, were as follows.

    Under the
Congress of the Confederation, those to which I have referred, namely, that of
April 28, 1784, “For the temporary government of territory ceded or to be ceded
by the individual States to the United States;” and that of July 13, 1787, “for
the government of the territory of the United States northwest of the river

    And by the
Congress of the United
since the adoption of the

    The act of August 7, 1789, already
referred to as re-enacting the ordinance of 1787;

    The act of May 26, 1790, for the government of the territory of
the United States south of the river Ohio, under which the State of Tennessee
was organized;

    The act of April
7, 1798
, for the establishment of a government in the Mississippi territory;

    The act of May
7, 1800
, establishing the Indian territory;

    The act of March
26, 1804
, for the government of Louisiana,
which provided for a legislative council, to be appointed by the President of
the United States,
and not for an elective legislature as did all the rest;

    The Act of June
11, 1805
, for the government of Michigan territory.  The Act of March 2, 1805, for the establishment of the territory of Orleans,
and the Act of February 3,
, for the government of Illinois
territory.  In no one of these ten acts
was any restriction placed on the right of suffrage by reason of the color of
the citizen.  In none of these was the
word white used to limit the right of

    It is also true, that under the Articles of Confederation, and
long subsequent to the adoption of the Federal Constitution, the free colored
man was a voted, and that the framers of the Constitution intended by the word
people,” all classes and
complexions.  In proof of this, it is
only necessary to refer to the Journals of the Convention which adopted the
Articles of Confederation, which record the fact that, when the 4th
article was under consideration, which proposed that the “free inhabitants of
each of these States shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free
citizens in the several States,” the delegates from South Carolina moved to
insert the word white, so as to make it read “free white inhabitants,” that
only two of the eleven States represented voted to sustain the motion.  South
, thus signally defeated, tried another
expedient to accomplish the same object, and again failed, thus placing upon an
imperishable record the consistency of the Convention and its determination to
make to invidious distinction between races or colors.


    It is an important historical fact, that at the time of the
adoption of the Federal Constitution, there was but one state, (South
,) whose Constitution distinguished in this
respect against the colored man.

    The Constitution of Massachusetts provided that every male
person, being 21 years of age, and possessing certain property qualifications,
should have the right to vote.

    The Constitution of New York gave the right of suffrage to every
male inhabitant of full age, with certain property qualifications.

    In New Jersey,
the Constitution provided that all
inhabitants of the colony, who were of full age, and worth fifty pounds, were
entitled to vote.

    The Constitution of Pennsylvania allowed that every freeman, of
21 years of age, who had paid taxes, should enjoy the right of an elector.[†]

    In Maryland,
the right to votes was extended to all
who possessed a certain amount of property.

    Virginia and Delaware gave the right to all men who had a
common interest with an attachment to the community.[‡]

    The Constitution of North Carolina provided that all freemen who
had paid taxes should be entitled to vote.[§]

made electors of all citizens and inhabitants who paid taxes.

    The colonial charters of Rhode Island
and Connecticut
made no distinction on account of color or race.

    The Constitution of Tennessee provided that every freeman who
possessed a freehold should be entitled to vote; and for nearly forty years the
colored man of Tennessee
exercised the elective franchise.[**]

    The Legislature of Colorado, at its first session in 1861, passed
a law, establishing the qualifications of voters, making no distinction of color
or race.

    Thus I have presented undoubted historical evidence that the
founders of our Republic, and of the individual States composing it,
practically enforced their theory, (so eloquently expressed in the Texas
Declaration of Rights, that “all political power is inherent in the people,”)
by giving to the whole people, without distinction of color, equal political
rights and privileges.

    Under these Constitutions the free colored man continued to
exercise the right of suffrage, until the slave system had acquired sufficient
power to effect by its insidious diplomacy a radical change in the organic law
of nearly every State, disenfranchising a large portion of the people, who were
thus deprived of that political power, which had been the boast of our Fathers,
and which was the chief corner stone of American liberty; but now that slavery
has been blotted out by the blood of the Nation, it is but just and reasonable
that the rights of the people should be restored to them.[††]


    The Federal
Constitution stipulates that “the United States
shall guarantee to every State in this Union,
a republican form of government.”

    That it may
be clearly understood what Congress considers a republican form of government,
I respectfully beg leave to submit the following extracts from a series of
resolutions, lately presented to the Senate of the United States, by Hon. Charles
Sumner, which clearly indicates the line of our duty, and the course we must pursue in order to be admitted to
the Union.

    The preamble
and resolution read as follows:

declaring the duty of the United States to guarantee republican governments in
the rebel States on the basis of the Declaration of Independence, so that the
new governments shall be founded on the consent of the government and the
equality of all persons before the law.

“Resolved, That it is the duty of the United States at
the earliest practicable moment, consistent with the common defense and the
general welfare, to re-establish by act of Congress republican governments, in
those States where loyal governments have been vacated by the rebellion, and
thus to the full extent of their power fulfill the requirement of the
Constitution, that “the United States” shall guarantee to every State in this Union,
a republican form of government.

    “That in
determining the extent of this duty, and in the absence of any precise
definition of the term ‘republican form of government,’ we cannot err if when
called to perform this guarantee under the Constitution, we adopt the
self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence as an authoritative rule
and insist that in every re-established State, the consent of the governed
shall be the only just foundation of government and that all persons shall be
equal before the law.

independent of the Declaration of Independence, it is plain, that any duty
imposed by the Constitution must be performed in conformity with justice and
reason, and in the light of existing facts; that therefore, in the performance,
of this guarantee, there can be no power under the Constitution to
disenfranchise loyal people, or to recognize any such disenfranchisement.

    “That the United States,
now called at a crisis of history to perform this guarantee, will fail in duty
under the Constitution, should they allow the re-establishment of any State,
without proper safeguards for the rights of all the citizens.

    “That the
path of justices is also the path of peace, and that for the sake of peace it
is better to obey the Constitution, and, in conformity with its requirements,
in the performance of the guarantee, to re-establish State governments on the
consent of the governed and the equality of all persons before the law, to the
end that the foundation thereof may be permanent, and that no loyal majorities
may be again overthrown or ruled by any oligarchical class.”

 This amendment
proposed by the majority Report, tried by this test, falls fatally short of its
requirements.  It not only disfranchises
nearly one-half of the loyal citizens of this State, but makes this
disfranchisement perpetual, heredity and insurmountable.  It clings to each man and his posterity
forever, if there be a traceable thread of African descent.  No achievements of war or peace, no
acquisition of property, no education, no mental power or culture, no merits
can overcome it.

    Texas as an independent Republic and as a State of the Union has tested the value of the constitutional
provision now under consideration, and the result has been the perfect
demonstration, that the system is essentially and practically oligarchical, in
such a sense as actually and seriously to have endangered the public peace and
the success of republican institutions.

    Suppose now
with the lights thus afforded us, we adopt the report of the majority and
incorporate into our Constitution a provision disfranchising a large portion of
the loyal citizens of the State, and with that instrument in our hands, ask to
be admitted into the Union, could we have a reasonable hope of success?  Does any man believe that Congress would be
so unmindful of its duty and its pledges, as to admit us with a Constitution so
far behind the spirit of the age and the demands of the nation, in view of the
changed condition of affairs, besides being so unjust and so entirely anti-republican?


Another objection to the report of the majority is
based upon the fact, that if we refuse to enfranchise the freedmen, we reduce
our representation in the Congress of the United States and thus materially
weaken our political power.

Congressional joint Committee on reconstruction have agreed to the following
amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

    “Article -. Representatives
and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be
included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, counting the
whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed, provided,
that whenever the elective franchise
shall be denied or abridged in any State, on account of race or color, all
persons of such race or color shall be excluded from the basis of

amendment, or some Act equivalent to it, will undoubtedly pass and become a
law.  As an amendment to the
Constitution, its ratification by three-fourths of all the States in the Union will be required and judging by the tone of the
Northern press and by other indications of public sentiment North and West, its
ratification will be certain.

    The provision
of this amendment would apply to all States, where suffrage is based on color,
whether North or South, although practically the effect would be felt only in
the late slave States.

    If the
colored men of the South are all
counted in, to measure the right of representation and are then all
disfranchised, the whites in the late slave States will be represented in
Congress by thirty-three more members
than an equal number of whites in the Northern States.  This would be unjust because unequal, and
will not be permitted.  On the contrary
if we enfranchise our blacks and they are then included in this basis of
representation, we shall go back into the Union
with thirteen more representatives,
than we were entitled to before the abolition of slavery.

    Again, if the Southern States should follow the example which Texas
is about to present, and refuse to enfranchise the negro, and he is therefore
excluded from the basis of representation, we shall return to the Union with an
immense loss of political power in the House of Representatives, having at
least twenty members less than we were entitled to before 1861.[‡‡]

    When Texas was a member of the Union, three-fifths of her slave
population were represented in Congress, and it is now for us to determine by
our own acts whether we will have our entire population included in the basis
of representation, thus increasing the political power of the State, or
diminishing it by allowing nearly one-half of our inhabitants to go


    We are reminded by his Excellency Gov. Hamilton, in his late
message that, “by the voice of the American people, assuming the form of
constitution law, slavery has been abolished, and he suggest, that this
radicals change should be fully recognized in the amended Constitution by
providing for the new condition of the freedmen, by giving them civil and
political rights on an equality with the white population of the State, and
that the enjoyment of these privileges should not depend upon the accident of
birth or color, and that should we fail to make these political privileges
depend upon rules of universal application, we will be betrayed into the error
of legislating under the influence of ancient prejudice, and that “any system
of laws intended to deprive the colored race of the actual fruits of liberty,
will meet with resistance from the Congress of the United States.”

    The report of the majority entirely ignores these words of wisdom
and of patriotism. Instead of conforming to the new condition of affairs it
presents for our acceptance a pro-slavery provision of the Constitution adopted
in 1845, and retained in the amended Constitution of 1861.

    The former Constitutions of Texas were framed so as to protect
the institution of slavery, and therefore consistently deprived the colored man
of the rights pertaining to citizenship; but now that slavery is abolished, our
relations to the colored race are materially changed.

    Thos who were lately slaves, having “no rights which a white man was
bound to respect,” are now freemen, entitled to all the rights and privileges
of American citizens.

    Under the slave system, these people enjoyed the protection of
their masters, whose interest impelled them to surround their property by all
necessary safe-guards; but now, this protection is withdrawn, and henceforth their
grievances are to be redressed by the law, and their rights maintained by our

    Born upon the soil, and attached to it by a variety of
association and interests, they will, despite our desires or our efforts to the
contrary, remain with us.  As the cloud
of ignorance and oppression by which they have so long been overshadowed, is
gradually dispelled by education and the change in public sentiment, they will
enter into all the industrial and business pursuits of our people, and thus
become a power in the State, whose presence and influence cannot be ignored.

    Our own interest therefore imperatively demands, that we should
deal justly by these people – that our laws should afford them ample protection
– that we should extend to them the hand of kindness, encourage their efforts
towards elevation, and do whatever may be necessary to make them good and
useful citizens, lest they become a pest and a scourge to society.

    To extend to the freedmen the right of suffrage would elevate
them in their own estimation – give them increased importance in every
community, and would extend over them a shield so broad that it would
effectually protect them against wrongs and oppressions which they would
otherwise be subjected.

    The colored people of our State constitute and important part of
the body politic; as citizens they will be called upon to sustain an equal
share of the public burthens,  - in
common with other members of the community, they will be taxed to support the
government, and to pay their share of the debt incurred for their emancipation;
as property holders, they will have a permanent interest in the welfare of the
State, and if ever the necessity should arise, they will be required to shed
their blood in defence of our common country. Who then will say, that they should be deprived of the rights of

    It has been suggested, that the mass of our colored people,
because of their ignorance and want of education, are unfit to exercise the
right of suffrage.

    The same objection can, with equal force, be urged against a
certain class of white men, but no one pretends in their case, that the
objection is valid; and if we would avoid class legislation, we must make the
same rule apply to both.

    If this objection be good as applied to the present generation of
blacks, it can not apply to the next, or to future generations, because the
General Government through the agency of the Freedmen’s Bureau has already
amply provided for their education, and when this bureau shall have been
withdrawn our own school system will continue the work so auspicious commenced,
and as we are legislating for generations to come, this objection is without
force and unworthy of further consideration.


    We are also met the objection, that if we enfranchise the negro,
white men, and especially his late master will control his vote.

    With this we have nothing to do; it is our duty and our business
to give him the right of suffrage, and his
to exercise it as he pleases.  White men
are usually divided into political parties and if they have the control of
colored voters, the colored vote will be divided, and if the whites vote all
together, they will be no stronger if the colored men vote with them.

    On large plantations, the relation of employers and employed may occasionally
operate to give the planter some undue control over the laborers.  So it was formerly but falsely said, that
wealthy capitalists, who employed a large number of workmen, held them in
political bondage, but no one ever suggested this as a reason why they should
be disfranchised; but if the late slaveholders really believe they can control
the votes of their emancipated claves, I appeal to them to sustain my views,
that they may avail themselves of this new and important element of political


    It is sometimes urged with
apparent solemnity, that if the negro is enfranchised, it would result in a war
between the two races.

    One of the old arguments against emancipation, was the
anticipated terrible efforts were sure to follow the sudden liberation of the
slave.  The freedmen were certain to
wreak their long pent up revenge, the moment they were released from bondage.  This argument was used to prevent
emancipation in the British West Indies, and Senator Davis, of Kentucky, made free use of it in the United States Senate
to intimidate Congress, when it was disposed to give liberty to the slaves of
the District of Columbia.  But notwithstanding this, freedom was not
withheld in either case, and was received by the emancipated with thanksgiving
and prayer, whose hearts were filled to overflowing with joy and gratitude, and
not with revenge, so that the evil predictions were not fulfilled, no war of races ensuing.

    As the year 1865 drew to a close, the whole Southern country was
terrified by an apprehended war of races to be inaugurated during the coming
holidays.  Under the slave system, this
had always been a season of alarm; dreadful forebodings took possession of
almost every Southern heart; but the season usually passed of without any
slaughter, save that which took place among the pigs and poultry in the barn
yards of the neighboring planters; but this
time there would be no mistake – the negroes were free – they could go where
they pleased and do as they pleased, and the bloody horrors of St. Domingo were
certain to be re-enacted.  The eventful
days approached – Federal bayonets and Confederate home-guards were ready to
repel the first attack of the black hordes who were now to begin the war of
races.  The holidays come, and all was
peace and quietness over the land, while hundreds of Southern fields, for the
first time during this merry-making season, were blackened by sable laborers,
who now, having a new motive for toil, were industriously preparing the soil for
future harvests.  This again were the
cowardly and unmanly fears of the late slaveholding communities dispelled, and
the war of races was still further

    It is now proposed to take one more step towards the elevation of
the colored race by giving them the right of suffrage, and again are the hands
of his late oppressors raised in holy horror at another prospect of a war of
races, which must be inevitable, if this last mad act of fanaticism is
consummated. True, previous anticipations failed, but only give the negro the
right to vote, and war, with all is bloody horrors will sweep over the sunny
South like a destroying angel, filling the land with mourning – crimsoning
every cotton field and reddening every stream, while blazing towns and cities light
up the horrid scene with terrific grandeur! False friends of the colored man, stay your hands!  Let him remain
half a slave that his race may be preserved.

    Reason and argument having failed, thus do the opposers of this
last crowing act of emancipation feebly attempt to defeat the ends of justice
by again seeking to operate upon the fears of the timid, by once more raising
the absurd cry of a war of races!

    Unworthy of serious consideration as this objection really is,
let us briefly examine it.

    All the bloody feuds between the white and black races of which
history gives any account, were the result of injustice and oppression at the
hands of the superior race.

    But who is now to begin this war of races?  Certainly not the white man, for he will find
it his interest to be upon the best possible terms with the newly made
voters.  The leading men, and the hosts
of political aspirants in every community, will suddenly find that these people
are entitled to respectful consideration, for voters are not to be slighted,
much less treated with indignity; and for this reason, they will every where
receive that kindness and attention which their political importance demands;
and at the polls their rights will be carefully protected by their white
political friends.  Is it not therefore
clear that the white man will not begin this dreadful war of races?  And is it not equally certain that the black
man will not begin it?

    Men are not apt to make war upon their friends or upon those who
have conferred great and lasting benefits upon them; but the history of the
human race is full of bloody illustrations to the contrary.  Wrongs and injustice many be submitted to for
a time, but the hour of retribution is certain to come; therefore, if we would
live in peace and harmony with the colored race, from which we cannot be
separated, and whose destiny is so indissolubly interwoven with our own, we
much do them no wrong, practice no injustice upon them, but being the superior
race, protect them from all harm and bestow upon them every right and privilege,
which their changed condition justly demands.

    These people were called upon to defend with their lives, the
integrity of the Union, and thousands of them
are still under arms ready to perish in defence of their native land and they
are now everywhere clamoring for the right of suffrage.  the last battle in Virginia
had scarcely ceased, before they held conventions in Petersburg,
Richmond and Alexandria, declaring by resolutions their
desire and their right to vote.  Their example
was soon followed by the colored men of Tennessee,
Mississippi, Alabama,
North and South Carolina and Louisiana, who in large conventions have
demanded the same right.  Their petitions
to Congress are of daily occurrence, while at the same time they are
maintaining at the seat of government a large and talented delegation of black
men, for the purpose of urging their claims upon Congress and the
President.  Since the discussion on this subject
has commenced, Congress has, by an overwhelming majority pass a law giving
unconditional suffrage to the colored people of the District of Columbia.

    This has the agitation of this question been commenced and
carried forward with extraordinary vigor; those who demand this right are
counted by millions, and let no man suppose that agitation will cease, or that
its fervor or intensity will abate, until their claims are satisfied.

    Let us then learn wisdom from the history of the past, and
without compulsion from any quarter, cheerfully accord to our own freedmen, rights
and privileges, long unjustly withheld, thus insuring our peace and prosperity,
and their gratitude and friendship forever more.

    In consideration of the importance of this subject, and the views
hereby presented, I respectfully bed leave to offer the following resolution:

    That so much of the report of the Committee, as related to the
right of suffrage, be referred to a select committee, with instructions to
report an amendment, to provide for the prospective admission of the freedmen
to the right of suffrage.



[*] Speech of Hon. Wm. D. Kelley in House of
Representatives, June 10,

[†] Hon. Wm. D. Kelley of Pennsylvania, in a speech made in the House
of Representatives, January
16, 1865
, made this statement in reference to negro suffrage in his

   “I remember well to have seen negroes at the
polls exercising the right of suffrage in Pennsylvania, where they enjoyed it
from the foundation of the government to the year 1838, when the growing
influence of the increasing slave power of the country, deprived colored men of
this right by following the example of South Carolina and inserting the word
“white” in the Constitution of the State.

   Again said Mr. Kelley: “When the
Constitution was adopted the free colored men of New Jersey and of the States
adjoining, and of all the States excepting South Carolina and probably Delaware
and Virginia, in which suffrage was regulated by statute, and not by
constitutional provision, were citizens and did vote on the question of its adoption.
I challenge the production of any legal decision or historical work to
contradict this assertion.”

[‡] The father of Democracy, the illustrious Jefferson, in a letter dated July 12, 1816 in discussing a proposed
amendment to the Constitution of Virginia, thus clearly set forth his views:

“The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every
citizen in his person and property, and in their management.  Try by this as a tally every provision of our
Constitution and see if it hangs directly on the will of the people.  Let
every man who fights or pays exercise his just and equal right in their
.” – Jefferson’s Works, vol. 7, page 11.

   And again, in a letter written April 19, 1824, he said:

   “However nature may, by mental or physical
disqualifications, have marked infants and the weaker sex for the
protection  rather than the direction of
government, yet among men who either pay
or fight for their country, no line of right can be drawn
.” – Works, vol.7, page 345.

[§] In regard to North Carolina, it may not by
inappropriate to refer to its early law and usage, as state by one of its
distinguished jurists, Judge Gaston, in an opinion pronounced in 1838, in the
case of the State vs. Manual, which may be found in 4 Devereux, and Battle’s
North Carolina Reports, page 25.

   “The very Congress which framed our
Constitution (the State Constitution of 1776) was chosen by free holders. That
Constitution extended the elective franchise to every freeman who had arrived
at the age of twenty-one, and paid a public tax; and it is a matter of
universal notoriety, that under it free person without regard to color, claimed and exercised the franchise until
it was taken from free men of color, a few years since, by our amended

[**] In reference to Tennessee,
it is an interesting fact that Cave Johnson, one of the distinguished men of
our country, was elected to Congress by Negro votes.  On mage 1305 of the Congressional Globe for
the session of 1853-54, will be found the following statement of Hon. John
Petit, of Indiana,
made in the United States Senate, May 25, 1854, while discussing the suffrage clause of the
Kansas Nebraska bill:

   “Many of the States have conferred this
right [of suffrage] upon Indiana,
and many, both North and South, have conferred it upon free Negroes without
property.  Old Cave Johnson, of
Tennessee, an honored and respectable gentleman, formerly Postmaster-General,
and for a long time a member of the other House, told me with his own lips that
the first time he was elected to Congress from Tennessee (in 1828) it was by
the votes of free negroes; and he told me how. Free Negroes in Tennessee
were then allowed by the Constitution of the State to vote; and he was an iron
manufacturer, and had a large number of free Negroes as well as slaves in his
employ.  I well recollect the number he
stated.  One hundred and eighty-four free
negroes in his employ went to the ballot-box and elected him to Congress the
first time he was elected.”

[††] EMANCIPATION IN RUSSIA – When Alexander II, the
present Emperor of Russia, by a proclamation set free twenty-three millions of
serfs, he completed his work by supplementary provisions investing the freedmen
with civil and political rights, including the right to testify in Court – the
right of suffrage, and the right to hold office.  This immortal proclamation, dated at St. Petersburg, 19 February 1861, was
promulgated amidst prayers and thanksgiving in all the Churches of the National
Capitol, and at once sent to every part of the Empire by the hands of generals
and staff officers of the Emperor himself.

   One of these “supplementary provision,” or
laws regulating the emancipation of the serfs, secures to the freedmen complete equality in the courts with
“the right of action, whether civilly or criminally, to commence process, and
to answer personally or by attorney; to make complaint, and to defend their
rights by all the means known to the law, and
to appear as witnesses and as bail, conformably to the common law
.”  Other sections secure to the freedmen
equality in political rights, by providing, that, “on the organization of the
towns, they shall be entitled to take part in the meetings and elections for
the towns and to vote on town affairs, and to exercise diverse functions; “
that they shall also “take part in the assemblies for the district, and shall
vote on district affairs, and choose the chairman,” and generally enjoy all
right to choose their local officers and to be chosen in turn. – Charles Sumner’s Speech, Worcester, Mass.

[‡‡] Hon. Thad. Stevens said in a recent speech in Congress
on this subject. “If the Southern States exlude the colored population, they
will lsoe at least thirty-five
Representatives in this hall. If they adopt it, (negro suffrage) they will have
eighty-three votes.  Take it away from
them and they will have only from forty-five to forty-eight votes all told in
the House of Representatives.”