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Title: Letters and Discussions on the Formation of Colored Regiments, - and the Duty of the Colored People in Regard to the Great Slaveholders' - Rebellion, in the United States of America
Author: Green, Alfred M.
Language: English
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                         LETTERS AND DISCUSSIONS
                                 ON THE
                     Formation of Colored Regiments,
                                 AND THE
                       DUTY OF THE COLORED PEOPLE
                            IN REGARD TO THE
                                 IN THE
                        UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

                           BY ALFRED M. GREEN.

                        111 SOUTH FOURTH STREET,

At the beginning of the great struggle between the Government of the
United States and the traitors who lifted their hands against it, I
sought the oracles of history for a precedent; and, having easily found
it, before uttering a single sentence as to its influence or results
upon the great question of slavery in America, I carefully scanned and
surveyed the whole question or ground upon which the issue rested. By
the fairest rules of comparison and analogy, I found it impossible to
separate slavery extension, or the nationalization of this vilest of
evils, from the purpose of the arch traitors as their avowed object, and
the determination on the part of slaveholders to exercise unlimited power
over their dejected victims of the African race as their leading object
and the mainspring of the rebellion. Then, having followed history by the
same rules of comparison and analogy, it was not very difficult for me
to decide as to our duty. Nor have I ever seen anything written, spoken,
or performed by the government—its agents—by my abolition friends and
associates—or by the conservative Democracy of our land—which has given
me occasion to change my opinion.

I have not a doubt at this hour, but that my hopes on the one hand, and
my fears on the other, may both yet be realized. A careful reading of
the following pages will clearly develop in what these hopes and fears
consist. My friends, who ask me from time to time what I think of the
present aspect of affairs, may learn from these pages that I am still
sanguine of the success of our cause as the result. Still, much depends
upon our own exertions as to the character and quality of freedom,
suffrage or the enfranchisement that we may enjoy.

Having written much upon the subject, I have been induced to throw
together some scraps of arguments offered in reply to the opposition I
have met in regard to my opinions, &c.

The first two articles in this pamphlet may be justly styled the
foundation of all discussion upon the questions presented. They were
met and opposed by white and colored men, while many others of all
parties gave my views support. After discussing the question through the
columns of the _Pine and Palm_ with my anti-slavery coadjutors, I met
and discussed it before the Church Anti-Slavery Society of this city on
the second Tuesday in September, 1861. A short report of said debate
appearing in the _Anglo-African_, drew forth the vigorous discussion
through the columns of that journal from which the body of this pamphlet
is made up.

I have several lectures and a poem on this same subject, entering more
minutely upon the details of the war and its results, which I have
delivered with great success and which I now propose, at the suggestion
of friends, to lay before the public for perusal at their leisure.

                                                             A. M. GREEN.


                          From the Philadelphia Press, of April 22, 1861.

A number of prominent colored men are now raising two regiments at the
Masonic Hall, in South Eleventh street, and hundreds of brawny ebony men
are ready to fill up the ranks if the State will accept their services.
Peril and war blot out all distinction of race and rank. These colored
soldiers should be attached to the Home Guard. They will make Herculean
defenders. Colored men, it will be remembered, fought the glorious battle
of Red Bank, when the city was in peril in 1777. The following is the

The time has arrived in the history of the great Republic when we may
again give evidence to the world of the bravery and patriotism of a
race, in whose hearts burns the love of country, of freedom, and of
civil and religious toleration. It is these grand principles that enable
men, however proscribed, when possessed of true patriotism, to say: “My
country, right or wrong, I love thee still!”

It is true, the brave deeds of our fathers, sworn and subscribed to by
the immortal Washington of the Revolution of 1776, and of Jackson and
others, in the War of 1812, have failed to bring us into recognition
as citizens, enjoying those rights so dearly bought by those noble and
patriotic sires.

It is true, that our injuries in many respects are great; fugitive-slave
laws, Dred Scott decisions, indictments for treason, and long and dreary
months of imprisonment. The result of the most unfair rules of judicial
investigation has been the pay we have received for our solicitude,
sympathy, and aid in the dangers and difficulties of those “days that
tried men’s souls.”

Our duty, brethren, is not to cavil over past grievances. Let us not be
derelict to duty in the time of need. While we remember the past, and
regret that our present position in the country is not such as to create
within us that burning zeal and enthusiasm for the field of battle, which
inspires other men in the full enjoyment of every civil and religious
emolument, yet let us endeavor to hope for the future, and improve the
present auspicious moment for creating anew our claims upon the justice
and honor of the Republic; and, above all, let not the honor and glory
achieved by our fathers be blasted or sullied by a want of true heroism
among their sons. Let us, then, take up the sword, trusting in God, who
will defend the right, remembering that these are other days than those
of yore—that the world to-day is on the side of freedom and universal
political equality.

That the war-cry of the howling leaders of Secession and treason is, let
us drive back the advance guard of civil and religious freedom; let us
have more slave territory; let us build stronger the tyrant system of
slavery in the great American Republic. Remember, too, that your very
presence among the troops of the North would inspire your oppressed
brethren of the South with zeal for the overthrow of the tyrant system,
and confidence in the armies of the living God—the God of truth, justice,
and equality to all men.

With a knowledge of your zeal and patriotism, and a hope of its early
development, I am yours, for God and humanity,

                                                             A. M. GREEN.

    PHILADELPHIA, April 20, 1861.


                      From the Philadelphia Sunday Transcript, May, 1861.

The colored portion of our population are anxious to do the State some
service. Already they have organized one or more regiments, and are
perfecting themselves in the drill. Among the documents which have
already emanated from this branch of our population, as to the propriety
of their engaging in such service, is the following from the pen of
“Hamilcar,” a negro of more than ordinary ability. Without endorsing his
communication we give it place, so that all sides may be heard:

“While many persons in the North—perhaps strong friends of the Union—are
not prepared to endorse the idea of admitting colored regiments into
its service, it might be well for us to remember that every effort is
being made by the South to make their black population efficient aids
in defending their soil against our army. The State of Louisiana, for
more than three months, has had colored regiments in the home guard
service, under the most efficient drill and pay. Vice President Stephens
recommended this course to all the States. Tennessee, in pursuance of
this recommendation, has passed an act to employ all the available
muscle of her free black population. There are four colored regiments
now in Virginia, in the service of the rebel government. It is said, on
perfectly reliable authority, that black troops shot down Union men at
the late battle at Manassas Gap.

“Where, then, is the consistency, or expediency, of fruitlessly wasting
so much time at the North, in discussing the propriety of adopting such
a measure, with reference to preparing our colored population for an
emergency, such as may be thrust upon us by the introduction of 50,000 or
100,000 Indians and negroes brought into the field against us, and they
having all the advantage of the most efficient drill and endurance, by
long months of preparation and practice, that we have hopelessly wasted
in discussing questions of propriety, &c., &c.

“Are we to be duped and forestalled in this last hope, so much relied
upon as a means of bringing rebels to terms, as we have been in almost
every other available means of speedy and honorable settlement? Should
the South generally adopt the idea of their dictators, Davis and
Stephens, to place in the field 50,000 free blacks, at $12 per month,
(term of enlistment for three years,) will they not soon discover that
the same amount of money would emancipate and place in the field 125,000
men, paying their masters liberally—settling also the question of servile
rebellion among themselves, the question of contraband emancipation, and
the general insecurity of that species of property during the rebellion?

“Would any offer of our government induce those people to desert or fight
against their former masters and emancipators in such an event? Does
not our own wars, and the French and Spanish wars in Hayti, sufficiently
develop the fact that the slaves will defend the soil of their birth,
even on the most superficial promise of those who are their superiors.
Would not the South, by such an act, draw largely upon the moral
sentiment of Europe, (that must in no small degree operate for or against
their recognition,) by such an act in advance of the North?

“Could we draw more largely on that sentiment at home or abroad by
adopting such a measure, by mere necessity, than would the South by the
same principle? And especially, when we had to throw into the field raw
and undisciplined recruits against the most able and efficiently drilled

“To me it seems that reason, prudence, and judgment, aided by the present
signs of the times, would indicate that the available muscle, the bone
and sinew of our 30,000 colored inhabitants of the city and county of
Philadelphia should be encouraged in their (already manifest) patriotic
efforts in preparing to sustain and defend the soil and interests of
their native State.”


                                   From the Pine and Palm, June 22, 1861.


Since I last wrote you, on the subject of American revolution, and the
manifest interest we have in the great issue now before the country, I
have been incessantly laboring, with might and main, to carry out, or
to propagate, by all practicable means, the policy therein indicated.
Of course, I have not closed my eyes to the various objections raised
by learned and tried friends of the enslaved and disfranchised colored
Americans of these United States. Nay, on the contrary, I have read
and pondered them all over and over again, and I think I gave them the
consideration they merit. I do not advance these suggestions I am now
about to make, (in continuation of the position I have maintained in my
previous letter,) with any direct reference to any one of the opinions I
have met differing from my own; but merely for the purpose of indicating
to those who have been long acquainted with me and my most implacable
hostility to the slave power, and all who could in any way sympathize
with or apologize for the cruel system of tyranny in this country: and
to let those of our rulers who expect our cöoperation know, and know in
time, that while I am largely filled with patriotism and sympathy for the
government, yet that government must be magnanimously generous to the
poor and oppressed of this land, ere it can have my hearty and willing
support; and until it can have it thus, it cannot have it at all, by
no principle, nor by any rule of coercion or impressment that it might
adopt in this direction. I think, indeed I know, I have made myself more
thoroughly understood on this point by those in authority, both of the
State and of the United States, than among our own people. Many of our
people would be willing, after an act was passed, by which they were to
be forced into the field, to do the work white men would have them do,
_i. e._—shoot down the slaves and free colored population of the South,
who might have no possible means of escaping the necessity of going into
the service of the Southern Confederacy. As I remarked to a gentleman, a
few days ago, it would take a degree of patriotism that I do not possess,
to go South for such a purpose. I would readily go to shoot the enemies
of the government; but until it was made manifest to me that these men
were possessed of discretionary power, of their own will to act in the
case as they felt disposed, I should not be willing to shoot them; nor
would I do it, whatever the consequences of a refusal might involve in
such a case.

As I before stated, I have a motive, and an honorable and just policy
to be effected by the position I have assumed on this question, and
that policy must be accomplished through the issues arising out of this
great revolution, or rebellion, as you may choose to style it. I can
realize the necessity of a brother even shooting a brother, or of a
father shooting a son, in behalf of the government, among the whites—for
with them it is like Absalom’s rebellion against the house of King
David. The South, and all who aid them, are fighting for a principle
that anticipates the subversion of every principle of justice, and the
overthrow of the best and most liberal government the sun ever shone
upon. It is the right, therefore, of all white men who love government
and the blessings guaranteed to them by the government of the United
States, and who believe that “a house divided against itself cannot
stand,” to defend it even with the shedding of their own kindred blood,
to put down treason and rebellion, and maintain the Constitution and
the laws. With us it is different—it is different with the slaves and
free people of the South—and it is equally so with us. There can be no
comparison of the patriotism required to produce such a feeling in us,
and that which actuates white men in the same direction. Finding myself
greatly deficient when measured by such a standard, and learning that
this was the one by which white men measured for us, I have chosen to
make known my devotion to the government, and my willingness to serve it
in any just and honorable way. But to set myself boldly in the way of any
principle or theory, originating from whence it may, that might serve to
decoy my brethren, and lead them indiscriminately into the field, with
no other motive or purpose than to serve the doubly rapacious desire
of unworthy and unjust, hatefully prejudiced men against ourselves, as
well as those poor, friendless men they would have us fight, and who,
by a proper appreciation of the government paid to their defenceless
and unhappy condition, would settle half the bill with their masters,
and leave them an easy prey to the popular government, instead of being
compelled by the menacing attitude of both North and South, to take sides
against the former, even though they should have to settle with masters
whom they well understand afterwards—in such an event, I will never, nor
will a single man of the hundreds of my acquaintances, take sides with
the milk-and-water policy now manifested by the leaders of the United
States forces, though it is evident that they neither reflect the popular
sentiment of the people, or the policy of the Administration, only so far
as that policy is modulated by circumstances brought about by the long
reign of Hunker Democracy, whose demagogues early sought for place and
position in the army, since they could not get them by the voice of the
people at the last election; but who now for a time are allowed to put in
their last pleading, in behalf of their miserably deluded and tyrannical
brethren of the South, the slaveholders, whose days of glory and profit,
like their own, “are dwindled to the shortest span.”

In my last, I left off by introducing an analogy between our condition
and that of four persons living as neighbors in the same vicinity. A,
who hates me always, is a slaveholder. B, who is influenced so much
by A, is the government. C, who I represented as our friend, is the
liberal, true-hearted anti-slavery man of the country, who seeks by any
and every means, to emancipate the slaves and enfranchise the already
freed man. D, is the colored people, North and South; of course, we’ve
all but one interest in _this_ matter, at least. A and B are already in
deadly combat. C has a manifest disposition to lend B a hand, for he has
often expostulated with B about his allowing A so much influence and
power in controlling his affairs, especially on this very subject which
has created the quarrel. Of course, if they are not enough for A, D can
do nothing less than come in for his share of the responsibility. In a
word, if the government and the straight-out anti-slavery men of the
North cannot settle satisfactorily with the slaveholders, we are ready
to give them such a helping hand as will be felt by Southern chivalry
to their heart’s content. If the government is not willing to endorse
our project till it is reduced to an extremity, it may by such a course
advance our interests the more. At all events, hundreds of the noble sons
of the old Keystone State are coming into the ranks of our regiments now
being organized, and going through with the regular drill and school
of the soldier, knowing that the day is not far distant when duty will
demand efficient service at their hands, in behalf of the slave. Whether
government sanctions it or not, God will.

                          Respectfully, yours,

                                                             A. M. GREEN.


                                 From the Anglo-African, September, 1861.

The regular monthly meeting of the Church Anti-Slavery Society was held
on Tuesday evening, September 10th, at the Reformed Presbyterian Church,
Cherry street, east of Eleventh. The meeting was considerably larger
than usual, which, of course, during these times, is ominous of good
to our cause. Another very important item is the fact that the meeting
was largely interspersed with the leading and representative families
of color belonging to this city. Our people have long been derelict to
duty and interest in this direction, but it is hoped that war—this great
purifier and refiner’s fire of this as well as every other age—will
eventually bring us up to the standard of true elevation.

Wm. S. Young, Esq., was called to the chair, by the temporary absence of
the Rev. Dr. Church, the regular chairman. The Rev. Mr. Johnston, of the
Old School Presbyterian Church, as I was informed, opened the meeting
with prayer.

A note was then read from the Chairman (Rev. Dr. Church,) expressive of
his regret for unavoidable absence, and expressing the desire that the
meeting might be favored with the best consequences, &c.

By reading the minutes of the last meeting it occurred that, agreeably to
announcement, Prof. A. M. Green had been invited to address the meeting
on the Duty of the Colored People of the North in Relation to the Great
Rebellion. At eight o’clock Mr. Green was introduced, and proceeded
with great ability to reason not only the propriety but the practical
necessity of colored men taking an active part in this war, against the
aggressive power of the mighty dragon of the nineteenth century, American
slavery. Mr. Green argued that, viewed from whatever stand-point, every
honest man must conclude that this war is one that has been inaugurated
by the labors of abolitionists and anti-slavery men, in a moral contest
against this great evil; men have avowed it to be their purpose to bring
the two elements to a hand-to-hand struggle; the efforts of our party
for thirty years have been to array the North against the South on this
question of slavery. And though the government denies the responsibility
to be incurred by acknowledging the true issue, yet it also denies that
it had any thing to do with inaugurating it. It is just as emphatically
true that the government cannot control the issue involved in this war,
as it is true that it could not for thirty years control the moral
conflict kept up on this same question. It was our duty from very many
considerations, elaborately presented by Mr. Green, to bear an honorable
part in the great contest.

When Mr. Green closed, an opportunity was afforded for any remarks that
might be offered on the question of the evening. A white gentleman
present, whose name I learned at the time, but have since forgotten, took
the floor, and strongly opposed Mr. Green’s position. He claimed that
the government was even worse, if possible, than ever it was, for now
that it could justly, by availing itself of the war power, emancipate
every slave in the South, yet instead of doing so, it fled from it as a
man would flee from deadly poison. He said he had neither sympathy nor
faith in the government; and until the war-making power became honest
enough to emancipate, enfranchise, and wash its hands of the injustice
done to black men in the country, it was not fit for Christian men, white
or colored, but more especially the latter, to touch, taste or handle.
The gentleman argued in this strain at some length. Mr. Isaiah C. Wears
was called on, and in his usual very forcible manner dissented from
Mr. Green. He made many allusions to the meanness of the government,
and thought men would fall like sheep; that colored men could not be
spared at such a time, and in such a cause. He said the South were more
practically a fighting people than the North; that they were undoubtedly
the superiors of the Northern whites in this respect, and the Northern
whites were our superiors as much as the South was theirs; it could
readily be perceived that we were, therefore, of all people the least
prepared to go into this great slaughter-house of the government. He
agreed, however, with many points Mr. Green had raised, and was pleased
with his treatment of the subject; he believed this would be a long
war, and that no doubt thousands of colored men would see service in
this war before rebellion was put down. Several other gentlemen, white
and colored, participated on both sides of the question, which kept up
quite a friendly and spirited meeting till a late hour of the evening.
Just before adjournment, Mr. Green arose and said, he had taken the
main points suggested by those who expressed themselves as opposed to
his position, and he was willing to give them the consideration they
deserved. But he said his opponents admitted too much that was argument
for him; he said:

    1. They had admitted it was a war between North and South.

    2. That these two sections were naturally at war on the slavery

    3. That the South openly admitted that she was fighting for the
    uninterrupted extension of the slavery power.

    4. That they (the South) were the best fighters.

    5. That we, the colored people, were the poorest fighters of
    either of the disputants.

    6. That it would probably be a long war, and we would be called
    into it after a while.

He said he would ask those gentlemen whether it was not our duty, in view
of the first four admissions, to enlist with the North, if honest in our
ancient doctrines on the slavery question? And whether, in view of their
two last admissions, it was not a positive necessity to counsel strenuous
preparatory efforts among our people?

The subject was continued till the next meeting, on the second Tuesday in



                              From the Anglo-African, September 28, 1861.


The duty of the black man at this critical epoch is a question of much
importance, deeply interesting the friends of liberty, both white and
black. The most imposing feature of this duty, I am told, is in relation
to military organizations. This question, I am told, is forced upon us
by our eminent, educated, far-sighted leaders, who, anxious for our
elevation and zealous for our reputation, in connection with our white
brothers would have us write our names side by side with them upon the
immortal book of fame, won by well-contested and desperate encounters
upon the battle-field. Claiming that any omission on our part to exhibit
that patriotism so noticeable in the whites, will, when history shall
record the doings of this memorable country, leave our names without one
deed of patriotism or expressed desire for the success of the cause of
liberty; not one laurel to entwine the brows of those whose valor like
blazing stars upon the battle-field would, no doubt, have eclipsed those
whom we now are satisfied to acknowledge as superiors and protectors. Is
this all wisdom, this mode of reasoning; or is it a mistaken idea, called
into existence by a desire for fame? Is it a demanding necessity that the
world will decide belongs to us to meet, thus to prove our manhood and
love of liberty? Have not two centuries of cruel and unrequited servitude
in this country, alone entitled the children of this generation to the
rights of men and citizens? Have we not done our share towards creating
a national existence for those who now enjoy it to our degradation, ever
devising evil for our suffering, heart-crushed race?

Who that will carefully note the many historical reminiscences, made
mention of by those who are ready to do justice to us, can doubt our
bravery? Who that has heard of the many privations, hair-breadth
escapes, and the unflinching determination of our enslaved brethren
seeking the free shores of Canada, can doubt our love of liberty?
True patriotism does not consist in words alone, neither do patriotic
demonstrations always contribute to the end alone, independent of
material aid. I do not suppose any people have been taxed heavier or more
than the poor colored people for the cause of liberty, with such small
results to themselves. Now, if we have contributed our share to support
and establish a government, that we are not entitled to a share in the
benefits thereof, what becomes our duty when that government is menaced
by those they have cherished at the expense of our blood, toil and

Let your own heart answer this question, and no regiments of black
troops will leave their bodies to rot upon the battle-field beneath
a Southern sun—to conquer a peace based upon the perpetuity of human
bondage—stimulating and encouraging the inveterate prejudice that now
bars our progress in the scale of elevation and education.

I claim that the raising of black regiments for the war would be highly
impolitic and uncalled for under the present state of affairs, knowing,
as we do, the policy of the Government in relation to colored men. It
would show our incompetency to comprehend the nature of the differences
existing between the two sections now at variance, by lending our aid to
either party. By taking such measures we invite injustice at the hands of
those we prefer to serve; we would contribute to the African colonization
scheme, projected a half century ago, by ridding the country of that
element so dangerous to the charming institution of negro slavery.

Entertaining the sentiment and determination that they do, would it
not be unjust in them to accept our service? Would we still invite
them to cap the climax by forcing us to the cannon’s mouth to save the
destruction of those whose whole existence should be merged in with their
country’s weal and woe? That death should be the readiest sacrifice
patriotic citizens could offer to uphold the people’s hope, the people’s
palladium, no one should deny. But what do we enjoy, that should inspire
us with those feelings towards a government that would sooner consign
five millions of human beings to never-ending slavery than wrong one
slave master of his human property? Does not the contemplation of so
flagrant a wrong cause your blood to boil with Christian indignation,
or bring tears to the eyes of your broken-hearted old men, whose heads,
now silvered by time or bleached by sorrow, can no longer shoulder the
weightier responsibilities of a young man’s calling?

Not only that. Any public demonstration (for this could not well be done
in a corner) would only embarrass the present administration, by stirring
up old party prejudices which would cause the loss of both sympathy and
treasure, which the government cannot well afford to lose at present.
By weakening the arm of the government, we strengthen that of the slave
power, who would soon march through these States without fear of forcible

It would be contrary to Christian humanity to permit so flagrant an
outrage in silence to be perpetrated upon any people, especially a class
who have known naught else but wrong at their hands, whom they would so
gloriously serve in time of danger to their own liberties and sacred
rights, preferring now their services to uphold a Government leagued with
perdition, upon which the doom of death is written, unless they repent,
in letters so plain that he who runs may read. Let us weigh well this
thing before taking steps which will not only prove disastrous to the
cause we would help, but bring suffering and sorrows upon those left to
mourn unavailingly our loss.

I maintain that the principle of neutrality is the only safe one to
govern us at this time. When men’s lives are in their hands, and so
little inducement as there is for us to cast ourselves into the breach,
our work for the present lies in quite a different channel from assuming
war responsibilities uninvited, with no promised future in store for us—a
dilemma inviting enmity and destruction to the few, both North and South,
among our people, enjoying partial freedom.

The slave’s only hope—his only help—is his suffering brother at the
North. When we are removed, the beacon light which directs and assists
the panting fugitive is darkened and obscured—his once bright hope, that
gave comfort to him as he pressed on to liberty’s goal, is shadowed o’er
forever. Our own precipitous, unwise zeal must never be the cause to stay
the car of freedom, but ever let it roll onward and upward until earth
and heaven united shall become one garden of paradisal freedom, knowing
no color, no clime, but all one people, one language, one Father,
Almighty God.

Once under army discipline, subject to the control of government officers
or military leaders, could we dictate when and where the blow should be
struck? Could we enter upon Quixotic crusades of our own projecting,
independent of the constituted authorities, or these military chiefs?
Will the satisfaction of again hearing a casual mention of our heroic
deeds upon the field of battle, by our own children, doomed for all that
we know to the same inveterate, heart-crushing prejudice that we have
come up under, and die leaving as a legacy unto our issue—all from those
for whom you would so unwittingly face the cannon’s mouth to secure to
them a heritage denied you and yours?

Is this country ready and anxious to initiate a new era for downtrodden
humanity, that you now so eagerly propose to make the sacrifice of
thousands of our ablest men to encourage and facilitate the great work
of regeneration? No! no!! Your answer must be: No!!! No black regiments,
unless by circumstances over which we have no option, no control; no
initiatory war measures, to be adopted or encouraged by us. Our policy
must be neutral, ever praying for the success of that party determined to
initiate first the policy of justice and equal rights.

Who can say that in another twelve months’ time the policy of the South
will not change in our favor, if the assistance of England or France will
by it be gained, rather than submit to northern dictation or subjugation?
Did that idea ever suggest itself to your mind? Strange things happen all
the while. Look back for the last twenty-four months, and ask yourself if
you could have foretold what to-day you are so well informed has actually
transpired when coming events cast their shadows before?

In these days, principle is supplanted by policy, and interest shapes
policy, I find by daily observation, both in high and low places.
Although to many the above idea may seem idle and delusory, inconsistent
with the present spirit and suicidal policy of the South, yet I for one
would feel justified in entertaining it equally with the idea that the
North would proclaim a general emancipation so long as she supposed
it a possibility to reclaim the disaffected States of the Southern

And, if an impossibility, what would all proclamations to that effect

I believe with the act of emancipation adopted and proclaimed by the
South, both England and France, (and in fact I might safely say all
Europe,) would not only recognize their independence, but would render
them indirectly material aid and sympathy.

To get the start of the northern slave-worshippers, as they are sometimes
termed, who can say that, as a last resort, these rebel leaders have
not had that long in contemplation, knowing that should they succumb to
this government through force of circumstances, or the uncertain chances
of war, their lives would be valueless only as a warning to future

Then, why may we not hope that such is their ultimatum in case of
a series of defeats—the liberation of four millions of our poor,
heart-crushed, enslaved race. One or two large battles will decide the
future policy of both the contending parties—the sooner it comes the
sooner we will know our fate. It is in that scale it hangs.

Then let us do our duty to each other—use care in all our public
measures—be not too precipitous, but in prayer wait and watch the
salvation of God.

                                                                 R. H. V.



                                From the Anglo-African, October 19, 1861.


In your issue of September 28th, appears an able and elaborate article
on the “Formation of Colored Regiments.” I have no desire for contention
at a time like this with those who differ honorably from me in opinion;
but I think it just, once in a while, to speak out and let the world
know where we stand on the great issues of the day, for it is only by
this means that we can succeed in arousing our people from a mistaken
policy of inactivity, at a time when the world is rushing like a wild
tornado in the direction of universal emancipation. The inactivity that
is advocated is the principle that has ever had us left behind, and will
leave us again, unless we arouse from lethargy and arm ourselves as men
and patriots against the common enemy of God and man. For six months
I have labored to arouse our people to the necessity of action, and I
have the satisfaction to say not without success. I have seen companies
organized and under the most proficient modern drill in that time. I
have seen men drilled among our sturdy-going colored men of the rural
districts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in the regular African Zouave
drill, that would make the hearts of secession traitors or prejudiced
northern Yankees quake and tremble for fear.

Now I maintain that for all practical purposes, whatever be the turn of
the war, preparation on our part, by the most efficient knowledge of the
military art and discipline, is one of the most positive demands of the
times. No nation ever has or ever will be emancipated from slavery, and
the result of such a prejudice as we are undergoing in this country, but
by the sword, wielded too by their own strong arms. It is a foolish idea
for us to still be nursing our past grievances to our own detriment,
when we should as one man grasp the sword—grasp this most favorable
opportunity of becoming inured to that service that must burst the
fetters of the enslaved and enfranchise the nominally free of the North.
We admit all that has been or can be said about the meanness of this
government towards us—we are fully aware that there is no more soul in
the present administration on the great moral issues involved in the
slavery question and the present war, than has characterized previous
administrations; but, what of that; it all teaches the necessity of our
making ourselves felt as a people, at this extremity of our national
government, worthy of consideration, and of being recognized as a part
of its own strength. Had every State in the Union taken active steps in
the direction of forming regiments of color, we should now, instead of
numbering eight regiments or about eight thousand five hundred men, have
numbered seventy-five thousand—besides awakening an interest at home and
abroad, that no vacillating policy of the half-hearted semi-secessionists
of the North could have suppressed.

It would have relieved the administration of so much room for cavil on
the slavery question and colored men’s right to bear arms, &c. It is a
strange fact that now, when we should be the most united and decided as
to our future destiny; when we should all have our shoulders to the wheel
in order to enforce the doctrine we have ever taught of self-reliance,
and ourselves striking blows for freedom; that we are most divided, most
inactive, and in many respects most despondent of any other period of our
history. Some are wasting thought and labor, physical and intellectual,
in counseling emigration, (which I have nothing against when done with
proper motives); others are more foolishly wasting time and means in
an unsuccessful war against it; while a third class, and the most
unfortunate of the three, counsel sitting still to see the salvation of
God. Oh, that we could see that God will help no one that refuses to
help himself; that God will not even help a sinner that will not first
help himself. Stretch forth thy hand, said the Saviour to the man with
a withered hand. He did so and was healed. Take up thy bed and walk,
said he, and the man arose; go and wash, said he to the blind man, and
he did it. How many are the evidences of this kind. God is saying to us
to-day, as plainly as events can be pointed out, stretch forth thy hand;
but we sit idly, with our hands folded, while the whole world, even
nations thousands of miles distant across the ocean, are maddened by the
fierceness of this American strife, which after all is nothing less than
God’s means of opening the way for us to free ourselves by the assistance
of our own enslavers, if we will do it.

Can we be still or idle under such circumstances. If ever colored men
plead for rights or fight for liberty, now of all others is the time.
The prejudiced white men, North or South, never will respect us until
they are forced to do it by deeds of our own. Let us draw upon European
sentiment as well as unbiased minds in our own country, by presenting
an undaunted front on the side of freedom and equal rights; but we are
blindly mistaken if we think to draw influence from any quarter by
sitting still at a time like this. The world must know we are here, and
that we have aims, objects and interests in the present great struggle.

Without this we will be left a hundred years behind this gigantic age
of human progress and development. I never care to reply to such views
as those which set up the plea of previous injustice or even of present
injustice done to us, as a reason why we should stand still at such a
time as this. I have lived long enough to know that men situated like
ourselves must accept the least of a combination of difficulties; if,
therefore, there is a chance for us to get armed and equipped for active
military service, that is one point gained which never could be gained
in a time of peace and prosperity in this country; and that could have
been done months ago, and can now be done in a few weeks, if we adopt the
measure of united effort for its accomplishment.

Does any one doubt the expediency of our being armed and under military
discipline, even if we have always been sufferers at the hands of those
claiming superiority? But enough of this. As to public demonstrations of
this kind weakening the arm of the Federal Government, I must say that I
was prepared to hear that remark among Democratic Union-savers, but I am
startled to hear it from among our own ranks of unflinching abolitionists.

Indeed, sir, the longer the government shirks the responsibility of such
a measure, the longer time she gives the rebel government to tamper with
the free colored people of the South, and prompt and prepare their slaves
for shifting the horrors of Saint Domingo from the South to the North;
and, in such an event, could we rid ourselves from the responsibility of
entering the field, more than any other Northern men whom the government
chose to call into active service?

Could we more effectually exercise proper discretion, without arms,
without drill, without union, than by availing ourselves of all these at
the present time, looking boldly forward to that auspicious moment?

The South (as I have said in an article written for the Philadelphia
“Press,” and copied into several popular journals) can mean nothing less
than emancipation, by the act of her having thousands of free colored
men, as well as slaves, even now under the best military discipline.
England and France of course would favor such a project, should the
South thus snatch the key to a termination of this rebellion from the
hands of the Federal Government. But how much better off would we be,
sitting here like Egyptian mummies, till all this was done, and then
drafted and driven off, undisciplined, to meet well-disciplined troops,
who will then truly be fighting for freedom; and while we could have no
other motive than to help conquer a peace for the “_Union still_” in its
perfidious unregenerate state? Tell me not that it will be optional with
us, in the event of emancipation by the South, whether we fight or not.
On the contrary, there is no possible way to escape it but to either
commit suicide or run away to Africa, for even the climate of Canada, in
such an event, would not be cool enough to check the ardor of fighting
abolitionists against the hell-born prejudice of the North, and the
cowardly black man, would sit here quietly with his arms folded, instead
of taking advantage of the times, till even the emancipated slaves of the
South, rigorous in their majesty, force him to rise and flee to Canada
to save his unsavory bacon. Let us then, sir, hear no more of these
measures of actual necessity inaugurating a “dilemma, inviting enmity,
and destruction to the few, both North and South, among our people
enjoying partial freedom.” That is a work that cannot be accomplished
by loyal patriotic efforts to prepare a hundred thousand men to do
service for God, for freedom, for themselves. Sitting still, shirking the
responsibility God has thrown upon our shoulders, alone can engender such
a dilemma.

Your correspondent also asks whether: “Once under army discipline,
subject to the control of the government officers or military orders,
we could dictate when and where the blow should be struck. Could we
enter upon Quixotic crusades of our own projecting, independent of the
constituted authorities or these military chiefs?” Sir, it appears to me
that, under whatever changes of governmental policy, our favor would be
courted more under such circumstances, and our dictation received with
more favor and regard, both by the authorities, chiefs, and the people
at large, than by our weak, effeminate pleadings for favor on the merits
of our noble ancestry, rather than nerving our own arms and hearts for a
combat that we have long half-heartedly invited by our much groanings and
pleadings at a throne of grace.

The issue is here; let us prepare to meet it with manly spirit; let
us say to the demagogues of the North who would prevent us now from
proving our manhood and foresight in the midst of all these complicated
difficulties, that we will be armed, we will be schooled in military
service, and if our fathers were cheated and disfranchised after nobly
defending the country, we, their sons, have the manhood to defend the
right and the sagacity to detect the wrong; time enough to secure to
ourselves the primary interest we have in the great and moving cause of
the great American rebellion. I am, as ever, yours, for truth and justice,

                                                         ALFRED M. GREEN.



                                From the Anglo-African, October 26, 1861.


That it is the duty of every one advancing propositions for public
adoption, inviting scrutiny and analysis, counseling a policy, to assign
competent reasons, I am sensibly convinced; and that Mr. A. M. Green,
in your issue of the 12th, was disposed to combat my ideas—I could only
accept as a compliment—differing, no doubt, from what it was intended.
It raises me in my own estimation to think that one like myself, of so
feeble an intellect, of so little cultivation, should have provoked the
notice of so able a man as my literary opponent. I therefore bow to
it, and for the last time upon this subject, proceed to reiterate in
substance my former sentiments, while I attempt to reply to my worthy
antagonist, though co-worker, who has the advantage of me in assuming the
leadership or acting the spokesman for our race in this country.

Mr. Green says:—

“But I think it just, once in a while, to speak out and let the world
know where we stand on the great issues of the day, for it is only by
this means that we can succeed in arousing our people from a mistaken
policy of inactivity,” &c., &c.

The policy which he recommends, is certainly one which, if followed, must
destroy every vestige of that power which by our united influence has so
long troubled the plotters of our ruin and extinction to the detriment of
their wily schemes.

If his sentiments are those of our people generally, I am heartily sorry,
and must differ with them, though I stand alone, as the only advocate of
the policy of peace measures or neutral action in the great struggle.

He also says, that “this inactivity that is advocated, is the principle
that has ever had us left behind and will leave us again, unless we
arouse from our lethargy and arm ourselves as men and patriots against
the common enemy of God and man.”

I admit that there is less activity in the right direction than advisable
or beneficial to our cause, but never have our people displayed more
wisdom than the present in refraining from initiating or making
demonstrations of war measures. In that particular, discretion has marked
their action—I, for one, must give them credit. That grasping the sword
will emancipate us from prejudice, from slavery, may be well enough
to declaim, but will it bear questioning? He intimates that it will
emancipate us from our now unhappy and heart-crushing disabilities, will
take the manacles from our limbs, remove the obstacles that debar our
elevation to the equality to which we aspire.

I have yet to learn that these are practical established facts; it may be
clear to the mind of Mr. G., but he must make it appear so by something
more than simple declamation.

Who accuses us of cowardice? No one, unless it be my honorable opponent.
Can we purchase freedom and independence by the sacrifice of thousands of
our unfortunate people, in belligerent opposition to those who have the
prëeminence in position, power and influence; whose numerical strength
is ten times that of our own? We may sell our lives dearly, carry
havoc and destruction into the ranks of our enemies, but the numerical
preponderance, the unlimited means at their control, must force us to
succumb or cease to exist on this continent as a race. All reason and
experience will decide that—look at it as you may. The history of the
Aborigines of this country must satisfy you of the force of this mode of

To contend against the government then with any hope of success, is vain
and not worthy of the time we spend in discussing it.

Admitting, for mere argument, that the government would accept our
services, how could we, more than the commander of the West, General
Fremont, influence the policy of the administration to our liberation or
emancipation from prejudice and slavery? No, my friends, your reason must
answer, no!—no fighting will emancipate you from prejudice. Will any one
tell me that to-day a poor man, of little or no intellectual cultivation,
from the Independent Government of Hayti, will be more respected in this
or any country than one of the native born of this country, of our color?
Did they not wield both fire and sword fiercely, to desperation, for the
liberties they now enjoy? But to command respect, wealth and education
must do it—_they_ will do more towards destroying that prejudice which
darkens our existence than all the fighting we can effect under the most
favorable circumstances.

Mr. G. tells us that we should make ourselves felt. In that I agree with
him; but may we not question the manner in which we can do it the more

I am told the object of the exhibitors at the Great Exhibition in London,
the World’s Fair, in 1851, was to make themselves felt by the exhibition
of their great advancement in Art and Science; the object of those
nations contributing their quota by invitation, was the same. The Fair
was, we are told, a complete success. That should satisfy us, that the
cultivation of peace, of arts and science, will go equally as far as an
unsuccessful war, to produce that high respect we are advised to fight
for. I, for one, am satisfied that other means of making ourselves felt,
at less sacrifice of existence and more beneficial to the desired end,
than wielding the sword, can be found. That impression that awards us
credit, and challenges not only competition as equals, but commands that
respect which an array or force of arms, situated as we are, can never
force upon this or any nation whose interests are immediately identified
with the institution of slavery—and the safety of that depending to an
extent upon the crushing despotism and deprivations visited upon those
dangerous to its progress or stability—is what we want to make ourselves
felt. No unarmed, ununiformed masses of colored men, parading through
the streets, will ever produce or tend to produce such impression.

Mr. G. takes this stand: (I give his own language, word for word, as
follows:) “Now I maintain that, for all practical purposes, whatever
be the turn of the war, preparation on our part, by the most efficient
knowledge of military art and discipline, is one of the most positive
demands of the times.”

As an off-set to that position, I here take my stand: That the
encouragement of every pursuit of industry and education, aside from war
matters, are deserving and should (more especially at this time while the
usurpers of our rights and liberties are engaged in desperate conflict)
meet our most vigorous and undivided cöoperation! That that policy,
adopted, realized, and perfected, alone can produce the requisite means
to establish our claim to the respect we need; to open the many avenues
of wealth, prominence, political and civil equality, without which, no
display of military drill, of hordes of unarmed or armed men, ignorant of
every other necessary qualification as serviceable citizens, will command.

Momentary admiration for exhibitions of well drilled men and military
tactics, which I believe would follow, would create sensation among the
sight-lovers who swarm in all thickly populated districts; but that
indelible impression, mighty to move the hearts of men to action, but
when moved, calls forth imperishable convictions, lasting as time itself,
must emanate from something deeper, more reliable, than brute force or
the chance life of military campaigning, of soldiers ungarnished by the
more essential qualities that make the man the citizen. As to military
displays creating respect by efficient drill, especially among us, I
have my doubts. The most ignorant, unprincipled desperado, or tyrant,
or usurper, that disgraces humanity by his villainy, may be the most
perfectly disciplined soldier, may be daring, regardless of danger either
to limb or life—his daring may create admiration, but his infamous
character, as a man of dishonorable proclivities, dissipation and
barbarity, will blast his reputation, however bravely won on the field of

Mr. G. says: “Had every State in the Union taken active steps in the
direction of forming regiments of color, we should now, instead of
numbering eight regiments, of about eight thousand five hundred men,
have numbered seventy-five thousand, besides awakening an interest,
at home and abroad, that no vacillating policy of the half-hearted
semi-secessionists of the North could have suppressed. It would have
relieved the administration of so much room for cavil on the slavery
question, and colored men’s right to bear arms,” &c., &c.

Permit me to ask of any candid thinker, who, perhaps, is better informed
than myself on this matter, whether the States can independently force
any number of men upon the General Government contrary to the wish
or will of the constituted authorities, who I suppose have the power
of either accepting or rejecting white or colored men, as prudence,
interest, or necessity dictates, or who were disqualified by legal

If the States cannot constitutionally do this, would not then the
encouragement of raising those regiments environ the administration in
complications, and force that cavil which friend G. would obviate?

Mr. Green also informs us that “the evidences of God’s demands upon our
patriotism as warriors, are so strong, that none need mistake them.” I
have yet to see the evidences of God’s will or demands upon us in that
direction, to take up arms for our own destruction, to destroy our bond
brother, or to assist those who are contending in spirit against His
righteous mandates, the principle of which is “Love thy neighbor as
thyself.” If, then, the result of that policy advocated by Mr. G. cannot
effect the desired end he would have, we must, if ever entertaining it,
abandon it at once, and pursue that policy which reason teaches is not
only the safest but the wisest.

I am satisfied, that recruiting, drilling or fighting, will never break
this innate prejudice imbedded in the hearts of this nation.

The admiration we might win by bravery, &c., when brought into action as
soldiers, might easily be overshadowed by one act or false accusation,
brought against us by those jealous of our gallant exploits when in
active service.

With all respect for Mr. Green’s literary accomplishments and
scholar-like production, he is still in the dark, and may with propriety
cry out, as one in times gone by, “Lord! that I may receive my sight.”

Supposing that we, with one accord, enter upon that fallacious policy
of raising regiments for the war, could we do it without it becoming a
public feature, noticeable by foes as well as friends?

With Southern emissaries thronging our hotels, thoroughfares, stores,
&c., would not the Confederates be likely to gain this important
information with equal facility as they obtain other news that enables
them to counterbalance every move made by the national forces? If we
admit this, why may we not, from the knowledge we have of their (the
Southerners’) disposition, believe that, as a direful retaliation, they
would arm their free and enslaved colored men, and compel them to fight
against us on the field of battle, while such patriots as A. M. G., who
we could not well afford to lose, would have the unpleasant duty assigned
to him and his associates in arms of destroying those whom he might now
benefit by adopting a policy contrary to the misguided suicidal course he
so eloquently advocates. If I have the honor to be termed “one of those
unfortunates who are willing to wait and see the salvation of God,” by
Mr. G., I accept the conferred honor with many thanks.

The wisdom of the course I advocate, and that advocated by A. M. G.,
time alone will decide. Patiently, however, I abide time, clinging to my
avowed policy, humbly trusting in Him who I have every reason to think
has taken the cause of the oppressed of our people in this land out of
our weak hands, and has or is about to answer our many appeals in His own
glorious way, while we continue to lift our hearts, our hands, in praise
and thanksgiving to His holy name.

                                                                 R. H. V.



                         From the Anglo-African, November 9 and 16, 1861.


Absence from home has prevented my notice of the rejoinder of your able
correspondent, R. H. V., on the War policy. I now avail myself of a
leisure hour to reply. I am one of those who believe that truth loses
nothing from investigation, and it is at all times the most pleasant and
agreeable feature in the honest investigation of truth to know that your
opponent can properly appreciate honor, candor and gentlemanly generosity
for the views of his antagonist. My friend, your correspondent R. H. V.,
seems largely to possess those characteristic traits of a gentleman and
scholar. I am pleased to find my antagonist on this question, of that
progressive class of minds, who can honorably differ with his fellows,
without condescending to that hateful and disgusting virulence manifested
of late among the ancient leaders of our people, in very high circles. I
think among us boys, (as our more ancient leaders are wont to term us,)
this practical fact of itself develops progress. My friend thinks that
so far as my declamation is concerned, my arguments may do very well;
but he wants facts to make it appear that my position is tenable. I am
willing to submit our previous articles, respectively, to the arbitration
of those who have read them, and abide their decision as to whose
arguments are the most self-evident, and whose position is sustained by
the greatest number of facts. I think that a careful comparison of the
articles and the premises on which they are based, will prove my friend’s
production quite as liberally bereft of that important auxiliary in
debate (proof) as my own iridescent missive. Invidious distinctions among
the colored people of this continent have done more to keep us oppressed
than all other efforts of white men combined. By this rule we have ever
been unable to wring from this government the acknowledgment of black
genius, adequate to the successful competition of whites, in governmental
power. White men have ever made us believe that the interests of black
men in Mexico, Hayti, Jamaica, Canada, and even in Africa, were really as
dissimilar to the interests of colored Americans, as is the difference in
the respective statures of the giraffe and dormouse. All these countries
offered very superior advantages to colored men of genius, long before
American diplomacy and American prejudice had the power to influence
them against us. But this stand-still policy, and this reasoning upon
the false and prejudiced suggestions of our oppressors and misguided
friends, has been the successful drawback to every well-directed plan of
concentrated effort for our elevation, such as would have been adopted
with successful results by any other people similarly situated. Had we
obeyed the dictates of reason, and the offer of those people made to
us years ago, instead of now going to California to black boots, wait
at tables, and wash spittoons, our leading men might have been large
contractors, land owners, and citizens to all intents and purposes;
while the secondary class of our people might have filled very enviable
positions in contrast to what they now fill in that country; for, you
remember, that the acquisition of territory from Mexico changed none of
her laws relating to her resident citizens in any part of the territory
ceded to, or purchased by, the United States. What, then, kept us from
joining with the English and French emigrants in California before the
war?—becoming citizens under the law of Mexico, and forcing the United
States, by the laws of nations, to respect that position to the present
day, as she does blacker men and less cultivated than two-thirds of the
colored people of the United States—who cannot even enjoy their oath
against one of those fellows, black though he be, if he happen to be a
Mexican? The reason is obvious; white men, seeing the result of such a
measure, denied our identity of interest with the colored people favored
by the laws of Mexico and California; and though Mexico entreated us
to make our home with them, (as Hayti now entreats us from the same
reasons,) we objected. Our leading men, reasoning upon this absurd
theory of prejudiced white men, counseled us to stand still and see the
salvation of God; but instead of the analogy being carried out, and we
seeing our oppressors declining in strength, as did Israel, we see them
day by day growing stronger; until they had made that blessed land of
Freedom as odious from their accursed prejudice as any other part of
the United States, and now these same leaders cease to counsel standing
still, but counsel our going to California. In the name of heaven, I ask,
for what should we now go there? They say, to better their condition and
make a living; I say to become worse slaves and menials than us they
leave behind. This is the stand-still policy I am at variance with;
standing still till all advantages are lost, and we are left in the same
darkness and degradation that a brilliant epoch in the history of our
country has found us, and is compelled to leave us, because we refuse
to get up and run with the world to the great issue to which she is
tending—universal Freedom. There is no such thing as stand still in this
nineteenth century; you must progress backward or forward; the world is
rushing on; he or they who will not move with her, must be crushed by her
onward march.

My friend says he has yet to learn that these are practically established
facts; “that grasping the sword will emancipate us from prejudice and
slavery.” Indeed, he asks: “Will the proposition bear questioning?” I
answer, yes, in the most positive sense, because four-fifths of all the
emancipations from these evils among men have been brought about by this
means. The Israelites were carried away captives seven times by Pharoah,
Tiglath-Pilaser, Shalmanezer, Nebuchadnezer, and finally, by Titus. These
men forced them to serve as slaves and vassals, not only to themselves,
but to their successors in Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, and Persia, over
which empires they respectively held dominion. The Israelites groaned and
prayed to God, lifting their windows towards the city of the great King
three times a day—but never were released in five out of seven cases,
till they grasped the sword, and like Samson, cried to God for strength
to drive it to the hilt. In one of the other cases of the seven, God
himself, by the use of elements more destructive and desolating than the
sword, effected the purpose by a national slaughter. My comment on all
these Bible transactions may be found in the writings of the Prophets
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Hosea. A careful study of these
inspired writers, and the chronological history of the Jews through all
those years of their servitude and degradation, develops the fact that
the special direction of God, by the mouth of his prophets, is decidedly
at variance with my friend’s peace measures and neutral policy, in a
war against the greatest moral, social, and intellectual antagonist to
human progress that now curses the civilized world. Turning from sacred
history to more recent dates, I am taught by the modern historian that
the vassals and slaves of the entire continent of Europe, a few centuries
ago, are now its free citizens—made free by the power of their own
strength, contending often against fearful odds for the advancement of
the cause of human suffrage. The once lowest castes of Hindostan are now
the free gentoos of that empire. The slaves that built the pyramids of
Egypt are now, it is true, the degraded but free Moslem of that land.
The Mexicans that Cortez found in that country, working as slaves of
the emperors and priesthood, are now the free population of Mexico.
The slaves of England, France, and Spain, in the West Indies, are now
the independent Haytians, the citizens of the Dominican Republic, and
the British West Indies. Now let me ask by what special interposition
of Providence, aside from the general rule of grasping the sword, have
these changes been brought about? The answer comes back from the earliest
antiquity, that the universal rule for Emancipation, Equality and
Enfranchisement, whether it be to the Jewish slaves of antiquity, the
Roman slaves, the Grecian helots, the German feudal vassals, the serfs of
Russia, the Indian slaves of Mexico and Central America, or the African
slaves of the West India Islands, the one, the all-prevailing influence
for removing these accursed systems of tyranny and oppression is, and
ever has been, an appeal to the sword, wielded by strong and energetic
arms and minds, aided and guided by that Omnipotence that is ever on the
side of justice, and who directs the blow so as to spread terror and
dismay among the oppressors of a crushed and bleeding race, the outraged
struggling victims of injustice and wrong. So will God help us if we
conform to this universal rule; and cease to cling to this abstract rule
of “stand still and see the salvation,” etc., which, after all, never can
be applied to our case at present, for the Israelites had done what we
have steadily refused to do, _i. e._, they had spoiled their oppressors,
and were marching out of their land in rank and file. Are we willing to
do likewise? Then, again, it was only when they had gone to the last
extremity of human effort, and were about to turn back to slavery, and to
be buried in Egypt, that Moses gave the command to stand still, etc. Now,
I am willing to grant my friend the full benefit of this one isolated
case in support of his theory, as far as it goes—when we have performed
our part as faithfully even as those to whom it was addressed. When the
slaves have raised the standard of rebellion against their masters,
and have broken every yoke, and then, by some great impending danger,
are about to yield and go back again to slavery, I, like Moses, rather
than retrograde, would readily counsel standing still, at least for a
while. When we of the North, by indefatigable exertion (and sacrifice,
if required) have armed and equipped ourselves, and become proficient in
all that pertains to self-defence, as men in our condition should be,
and then find ourselves environed with some of the difficulties that
my friend predicts would follow such a significant result, and we, like
Israel, are about turning back to our present unhappy and insignificant
condition, I, for one, should steadfastly counsel standing still with
fixed bayonets and torn cartridges, to see the salvation of God; which I
verily believe would be seen, if we followed those general rules to which
I cling, notwithstanding the enemy’s prëeminence of position, superior
numerical strength, &c.

I think that I am quite safe in assuming that there is no scrap of
history that can be brought by analogy to prove, “that we must either
succumb to the numerical preponderance of power, which our enemies may
bring to bear against us, or cease to exist on the continent.” I think
the history of the aborigines of this country goes but a short distance
in proof of this mode of reasoning; they sunk by thousands in the very
pursuits under which our race have steadily increased. Besides, there are
very many reasons why they have diminished, aside from the aggressive
war of extermination forced upon them by the whites; while the sword
among them has slain its thousands, the introduction of rum of the most
poisonous character has slain its tens of thousands. Delirium tremens,
mania a potu, and a thousand other hereditary diseases more fruitful of
death and the entire destruction of the human family than the sword,
through the wily craft of white men have been thrust among them—then
what has followed? Internal dissensions among the different tribes, by
which means the sword, in the hands of brethren, has done more for their
extermination than enemies of the opposite race. But our people usually
drink good whiskey, or the best of brandy, and I therefore do not exactly
look for the same results to them in this direction; and, with their
knowledge of the deceptive character of our oppressors, I cannot think
we will ever be induced by them to slay each other indiscriminately,
as the Indians have. My friend speaks of world’s fairs, agricultural
pursuits, arts and sciences, etc., versus momentary admiration for
exhibitions of well disciplined men, well drilled in military tactics,
&c. He brings wealth, education, industry, &c., against efficient
military drill, well contested battles, bravery and gallant exploits
in active service, etc. But he evidently does not draw his conclusions
from a very careful study of his subject and the nations to whom he
refers. Great Britain first made herself free, then became the governess
of her numerous colonies, then became mistress of the seas, before she
turned her attention to these social and civil pursuits that my friend
cites us to. France had pillaged the world by her superior perfection in
artillery and infantry tactics, before she was satisfied to go to work
at world’s fairs and what not. But the slaves of every nation are those
who challenge competition in mechanics, agriculture, and the fine arts.
Why then have they not been freed by this means without an appeal to
arms? My friend refers to Hayti, and says, they are not more respected
though “they wielded the sword to desperation, etc.” Thank God, they
are at least free and independent. Besides this, the colored planters,
though they were acknowledged the most wealthy, educated, industrious,
and thrifty of the Haytians, challenging competition by their industry
and wealth, and commanding respect by their education and refinement,
yet they never were recognized or respected at home or abroad until they
grasped the sword and taught their oppressors and the world a lesson of
African chivalry, versus so much mock morality, peaceful submission,
etc., in this stirring age of human progress. By this means the blacks
of Hayti are felt in a way that world’s fairs, &c., &c., would not have
made them felt for centuries yet to come. My friend inquires how we
could influence the administration more than Gen. Fremont; and whether
the States could thrust upon the war department persons whom interest or
necessity might dictate they should reject; or whether they could accept
the services of those who are legally disqualified? He then says, if
this may not be constitutionally done, would not my policy environ the
administration and force that cavil I would obviate? I think I fairly
met these questions in my previous article. I will again, for the esteem
I have for my friend, answer him as best I can. First, no one can tell
how much Gen. Fremont has or can influence the war department; the
fact that Mr. Cameron visited Fremont in person, and that Fremont has
made no public protest against the ruling of the cabinet, looks very
suspicious that they understood each other, and were only acting up to
the necessity of keeping their own counsel. Fremont evidently wields
an influence that would require but a very few men of his stamp to
emancipate the entire South. He may yet be commander-in-chief under our
present administration. Secondly, the States have and are doing every day
all that we would require them to do; _i. e._, they are raising troops,
preparing them by all available means for the time the government will
need them; and may they not as readily prepare colored as white men?
Would this not be a step in the direction of enfranchisement? And after
all, is it not through this medium, the recognition of our rights by
the people, that we may ever hope to reach the government? As to legal
disqualification, and constitutional necessity being in our way, I would
refer my friend to Mr. Lincoln’s speech at Independence Hall, in this
city, when he said that “after all, decisions of the Supreme Court, and
our constitutional and compromise obligations are not eternal principles,
but must vary with the necessities of the times, etc.” A solution of
these strange words are given in the Rev. H. H. Garnet’s passports by Mr.
Seward; and Mr. Lincoln’s answer to the writ of habeas corpus issued by
the highest judicial authority in the country. Garnet’s passport and the
suspension of the writ of habeas corpus are the best of arguments against
constitutional and legal restrictions, preventing the recognition of a
hundred thousand men of the best muscle and determined bravery in the
Federal ranks.

As to what southern emissaries may do, by throwing information into the
hands of the Rebels, of our movements, etc., I have only to say that
it is an abstract question that should have no weight with men willing
to do their duty in a great crisis like the present; follow this rule
of reasoning and we should have no army, no President, no freemen, no
free-soil, nor aught else to defend. Seven years ago the serfs of Russia
were hopeless slaves; the nobility had frustrated the efforts of every
cabinet for the amelioration of their condition. At length a war broke
out between Russia, Turkey, France and England. The Czar, driven to an
extremity, proposed to place in the field 250,000 serfs. The nobility
protested against it, fearing the result to themselves. The serfs
opposed it because they could see no issue in the war favorable to their
interest; they believed England and France to be far more favorable to
their freedom than Russia. The war raged, and finally Alexander, over the
heads of nobility and serfs, drafted 75,000 serfs and sent them off to
the Crimea, and in less than three years from that time, nearly thirty
millions of slaves are freed by the result of that policy. There was
no way to dispossess these people of the influence they swayed by that
one stroke of war policy; but to emancipate them was inevitable. Is not
our condition analogous to theirs in many respects, and may we not by
the same policy expect a similar result? I must thank my friend for two
considerations of kindness toward his old, misguided, suicidal friend;
first, for his anxiety “that I might receive my sight;” second; for
his anxiety lest I should be lost while performing an unpleasant duty.
There are two kinds of blindness mentioned in scripture, an unfortunate
blindness and a wilful one; as my friend has placed me among the first
class, by Moses’ law, Leviticus 19: 14, I am entitled to commiseration,
and by the same law, Deut. 27: 18, he should be sorely punished for
trying to lead me to wander out of the way, etc. I am somewhat fearful
that my friend may be of the opposite class mentioned in the ¶ from the
37th to the 52d verse of the 12th chapter of John. If so, a solution to
his unfortunate state may be found in Matthew, 15: 14.

                                                             A. M. GREEN.


Associations and Lecture Committees will do well, when making engagements
for a course, or for single Lectures, to remember that =PROF. A. M.
GREEN= is prepared to deliver either of the following VERY POPULAR AND
INSTRUCTIVE LECTURES, on the most reasonable terms:


    SUBJECT—_Lessons in the School of Mythology_.


    SUBJECT—_Slavery, Rebellion, Emancipation_.


    SUBJECT—_The Terrific Power of Intemperance when it Becomes a
    Master Passion_.


    SUBJECT—_The Beauty and Power of a Christian Education; or,
    Pagan and Christian Literature Contrasted_.


    SUBJECT—_The Destiny of the Colored People of the American


    SUBJECT—_The Past, Present, and Future—a Poem on the Great


    SUBJECT—_The World’s Reputed Heroes, and what We should Learn
    from Them_.


    SUBJECT—_Captain John Brown—the Model Hero, and the Noblest
    Roman of them all_.

=PROF. GREEN= is also prepared to exhibit his beautiful =ETHIOPIAN
PAGODA= of Astronomy, Natural Science and History, including some of
the most interesting scenes of the Rebellion, &c. Having Lectured
before several of the most prominent Literary Associations, both white
and colored, and having the highest and most satisfactory testimonials
of success, wherever heard, he offers these Lectures to the favorable
consideration of his friends—willing to serve them at any time when
properly notified, and on the most reasonable terms.

Letters will receive immediate attention.

                                              A. M. GREEN,
                               _906 Catharine St., Philadelphia, Penn’a._

Or they may be addressed to him, care of REV. A. R. GREEN, Box 1608,
_Detroit, Mich._

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters and Discussions on the Formation of Colored Regiments, - and the Duty of the Colored People in Regard to the Great Slaveholders' - Rebellion, in the United States of America" ***

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