Harper's Weekly 02/13/1869


We hope that Senator Folger's bill to sub-
mit to the people the Constitution, which was
adopted by the State Convention last year, will
promptly pass. The bill provides that the
town elections shall be held upon the 4th of
April, and that there shall be two additional
ballot-boxes, one for the property qualification
clause for colored citizens, and the other for the
whole Constitution. Should the Constitution
be adopted, an election is to be held in June
for Judges of the Court of Appeals and of the
city Common Pleas.

It is time that the absurd and barbarous dis-
crimination against certain voters because of
the color of their skin should be abolished, and
it is humiliating that in such a State as New
York there should be such a blot upon the pres-
ent Constitution. A colored citizen, however
intelligent, industrious, and prosperous, must
have lived twice as long in the State as the rest
of us and pay a tax, which is imposed upon no-
body else, as the price of the right of suffrage.

There are some Republicans who have hith-
erto opposed this equality of suffrage; but the
great weight of the opposition has proceeded
from the Democratic party. In the Conven-
tion Mr. Henry C. Murphy and Mr. William
rested their opposition upon an alleged
inferiority of race. It is amusing to observe the
traces of the traditional aristocratic mastery
of that party. The other day the New York
World, commenting upon General Grant's
speech to the deputation of the colored Con-
vention, spoke of him as being very reticent to
the white people, but very complaisant to their
“scullions.” So the Boston Post, speaking of
American sympathy for the people of other
countries who were trying to mend their condi-
tion, described those people as “canaille.” The
true Democratic instinct, the honest faith in
man, is as foreign to the Democratic managers
as it was to a South Carolina overseer.

The party which heaved such portentous
sighs over the temporary political disability of
those who sought to destroy the Government
will doubtless vote against the equal enfranchise-
ment of the citizens of New York. But every
man who is opposed to a wanton oppression of
any class of his fellow-citizens will vote to
equalize the suffrage.

Website design © 2000-2004 HarpWeek, LLC
All Content © 1998-2004 HarpWeek, LLC
Please submit questions to webmaster@harpweek.com