Harper's Weekly 02/06/1869


The object of the National
Convention of colored men,
recently in session at Wash-
ington, was to inquire into
the actual condition of the
negro race in this country,
and to consider the political
and social problems which
that race has to encounter as
the result of emancipation.
At the close of the Conven-
tion, on the morning of Jan-
uary 19, the Convention sent
a committee of twelve to call
upon General Grant. Mr.
Langton, the Chairman, ad-
dressed the General as fol-

General Grant:—In the name
of 4,000,000 of American citizens;
in the name of 700,000 electors
of African descent—electors who
braved threats, who defied in-
timidation, whose numbers have
been reduced by assassination
and murder in their efforts in
the exercise of a franchise guar-
anteed by American law to every
one clothed in the full livery of
American citizenship, to secure
in the late Presidential canvass
the election of the nominees of
the National Republican party
to the high places to which they
were named, we, the accredited
delegates of the National Con-
vention of Colored Men, the ses-
sions of which in this city have
just closed, come to present to
you our congratulations upon
your election to the Presidency
of the United States. Permit us,
General, to express, in this con-
nection, our confidence in your
ability and determination to so
execute the laws already enacted
by our National Congress as to
conserve and protect the life, the
liberty, and the rights, no less
of the humblest subject of the
Government than those of the
most exalted and influential.
Called as you are to fill the Chair
of State, your duties will be ar-
duous and trying, and (especially
since in this reconstruction pe-
riod of the Government, remov-
ing the rubbish, the accretions
of the now dead slaveholding
oligarchy) you will administer
the government according to the
principles of morals and law an-
nounced by the fathers. In ad-
vance we bring to you, General,
as a pledge of our devotion to
our common country and Gov-
ernment, the liveliest sympathy
of the colored people of the na-
tion, and in their name we ex-
press the hope that all things
connected with the administra-
tion of the Government, upon
which you are so soon to enter
as our Chief Magistrate, may be,
under Providence, so ordered
for the maintenance of law and
the conservation of freedom,
that your name, written high on
the scroll of honor and fame,
may go down to posterity,
glorious and immortal, associ-
ated with the names of your il-
lustrious predecessors in the
Great Chair of State—Washing-
and Lincoln. Again, Gen-
eral, we express our congratula-

To this address General
Grant replied:

I thank the Convention, of
which you are the representa-
tive, for the confidence they have
expressed, and I hope sincerely
that the colored people of the
Nation may receive every pro-
tection which the laws give to
them. They shall have my ef-
forts to secure such protection.
They should prove by their acts,
their advancement, prosperity,
and obedience to the laws, wor-
thy of all privileges the Govern-
ment has bestowed upon them;
and by their future conduct
prove themselves deserving of
all they now claim.

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