Reconstruction Meeting in Raleigh !
FIBST DAYS PROCEEDINGS ! !
The Loyal Republicans of the State of
both Races in Council It!
HARMONY AND ENTHUSIASM ! ! ! !
The First Step to " the Music
of the Union"!!!!!
The hour ot 12 M., Wednesday, the 27tli
inst., having arrived, the delegates were sum
moned to attend at the Common's Hall in
the Capitol building by the ringing of the
bell. The indefatigable Secretary to the pre
vious meeting, Mr. W. Ii. Richardson, hav
ing obtained permission to use the Hall,
which by his efforts was also tastefully deco
rated with national banners, draped upon
the galleries and over the Speaker's stand,
above which place was extended this motto,
in large letters, "UNION, LIBERTY,
Among these banners was that of the 1st
N. C. Union Volunteers, which had been
borne triumphantly throughout fourteen bat
tles, and now reposes in peace and beauty,
an honored relic of the past, dear to the heart
of every true North-Carolinian.
The galleries soon became densely packed
with colored people, who maintained the
most perfect order and decorum during the
whole proceedings, and who evinced unusual
interest in the deliberations of the honorable
body. The lobbies beneath were also crow
tied to their utmost capacity by both whites
and blacks, who pressed far into the main
aisle, seeking positions tor the purpose of
hearing what was said and seeing what was
to be done.
The delegates having been seated for the
most part, many being compelled to stand
for lack of chairs ;
Mr. C: L. Harris, of Rutherford, as Chair
man of the meeting of loyal members of the
Legislature, called them to order, when
lion. Alfred Dockery, of Richmond, was
nominated for temporary chairman, and
Hon. R. P. Dick, of Guilford, (white,') and
J. II. Harris, (colored) of Wake, were delega
ted to conduct the Speaker to the Chair,
which being done,
Mr. Dockery proceeded to address the
Convention in his usual forcible and eloquent
manner, as follows :
He said although he would not make a set
speech as presiding officer of this meeting, he
begged leave to submit a few remarks.
We recognize, gentlemen, in this assembly
a large number of the most intelligent and
trusty Union men of the State, coming to
gether from the sea-shore to the mountains
for the purpose of consulting as to the most
efficient method of co-operating with the
general government, in building up a loyal
State government here, and checking the
downward course of events. We desire to
restore North-Carolina to her full relations
to her sisters in the American Union. Let
others sneer and ridicule as they may. AVe
regard the movement as patriotic in the
highest degree (applause.)
To be a member of such a body, convened
for such a purpose, is an honor to any man.
To be selected as its presiding officer is a
distinguished honor, gentlemen, for which I
tender to you my highest sppprcciation (ap
plause.) After four years of war, after the most gi
gantic rebellion known in the annals of man
kind, the rebel armies surrendered to the
victorious forces of the general government.
As a consequence the legitimate and consti
tutional authorities of that government de
clared all civil government in the rebel States
suspended. The conquerors were in full pow
er. They remain so, and now, although we
have had sessions of the Legislature anil Con
vention, we find all the work of reconstruc
tion, upon our part at least, yet to be done.
The important question now is, how shall
we do it ? Look to the recent acts of Con
gress. They arc our text-books, the guides
. to lead us back into the Union. Carry out
their wholesome requirements, gentlemen, in
letter and spirit, not merely assubmissionists
but acceptors in good faith, by passing
laws just and proper in every particular ; let
this be done, and the work is accomplished.
When the new constitution is in formation,
great care should be taken to guard it against
insidious attacks from within and without.
No door, which can be closed against such
assaults, should be left open. Otherwise the
disaffected and evil-disposed will enter the
Without any desire to excite or agitate
parties at present, no one will deny that we
have been ruined by party combinations in
the past. To prevent the recurrence of sim
ilar disastrous events, let us sustain the acts
of Congress; and keep a sufficient num
ber of the leaders of the rebellion out of of
fice to do so successfully. For, gentlemen,
the experience of the past and present
warns us against reposing further con
fidence in them. Let us beware then, for i
the reconstruction of our State government I
is not intended for this generation alone, but i
for all time to come 1 And when we see ev
idences of genuine repentance, and they
bring forth the true fruits of that repentance
by word and deed, we will all unite to fling
the mantle of the past over their errors, but
not until then.
The work which we have to perform, gen
tlemen, is of great magnitude. But were it
possible to communicate with the dead, the
spirit of Washington would applaud it, and
encourage us to persevere. Then let our mot
to fe " no North, no South, no East, no
West!" (applause,) and that other sentiment
from the lips of a great and patriotic states
man, ' Liberty and Union, now and forever
one, and inseparable J" (Prolonged ap
plause.) On motion of W. W. Holden, Dr. H. J.
Menninger of Craven, (white) and J. S. Leary,
of Cumberland, (col.,) were.chosen temporary
The roll was then called and the follow
ing delegates answered to their names:
Alamance. J)r. J. W. McCauley, J. B.
HcMurray, J. W. Hardin, W. A. .Dunn,
(whites,) aud Wyatt Outlaw, Guilford Sel
lars, Henderson Hassell, Charles Moore, (col
ored.) Beaufort. D. M. Carter, S. T. Carxow,
Greene. Win. Conner, D. E. Best, (coL)
Guilford. R. P. Dick, J.Hiatt, (whites;)
H. Unthanks, L. Gibson, M. Alston, (col.)
Halifax.. Jas. A. Reid, N. B. Martin,
Harnett. J. M. Turner, Aaron Thomas,
J. a. Harrington, (whites.)
Ilenderton. A. H. Jones, (white.)
Hertford. L. W. Boofl. C. Moore, (col.)
Iredell. H. Verner, (white.)
Johnston. B. R. Hinnant, Dr. J. T. Leach,
Jonet. Dr. J. T. Leach proxy.
Lenoir. R. W. King, (white.)
Martin. S. W. Watts, J. J. Martin,
Mecklenburg, E. Fullings, (white,) Rich.
Smith, J. Davidson, (colored.)
Montgomery. A- Jordan, (white.)
Moore. W. B. Richardson, A. Walden, J.
Barrett, (whites;) M. McCloud, B. Rieves,
Nah. A. B. Baines, (white.)
New Hanover. Maj. J. L. Rhodes, J. H.
Neff. (whites;) G. W. Price, G. P. Romke,
E. Miller, colored.
Bertie. Chas. Harrell, Blount Pew, col.
Cabarrus. W. M. Coleman, white.
Carteret. Dr. M. F. Arendell, J. C. Cod
ner, whites; Francis Gibble, colored.
Caswell. Turner Patilo, colored.
Chatham Silas Burns, Wm. T. Gunter,
whites ; T. Taylor, R. Ramsay, Henry
Craven. C. R. Thomas, D. Heaton, H. J.
Menninger, whites ; Jno. R. Goode, G. R.
Green, C. J. Brown, colored.
Cumberland. E. L. Pemberton, J. R. Lee,
whites ; J. W. Hood, James Bowman, J. S.
Leary, colored. J
Davidson. W. F. Henderson, n Adams,
N. Chandler, George Riley, whites and
Richard Heir, colored. -
Davie. Jesse Green, white.
Edgecombe. W. II. Knapp, John Norfket,
Forsyth. E. B. Teague, Dr. J. L. Johnson,
Franklin. John E. Thomas, white.
Gaston. D. A. Jenkins, Dr. W. Sloan,
whites; and James Rhyne, colored.
Granville. John Peed, Dr. E. Grissom,
Northampton. Jno. B. Odom, (white) ; J.
II. Longford, B. H. Jones, (colored.)
Orange. 11. J. W. McCau'.ey, (white,)
Caldwell Wilson, (colored.)
Pasquotanl. C. C. Pool, (white.)
Person. Br. C. H. Jordan, (white.)
Polk. N. B. Hampton, (white.)
Randolph. J. Ashworth, M. Bobbins,
(white) ; Thos. Potter, (colored.)
It chmond. Alfred Dockery, Dr. Hadle.C,
Rowan. S. II. Wilcy.J. J. Helper, (whites.)
Robeson. Jas. Sinclair, (white.)
Rockingham. Thos. Settle, (white.)
Rutherford. G. W. Logan, N. Scoggin.
C. L. Harris, (whites) ; V. Michaelcolored.)
Slanly. L. C. Morton, (white.)
Utokes. A. II. Joyce, W. Estes, J. J. Mar
Surry. Saml. Forkncr, (white.)
Wake.W. W. Holden, W. R. Richard
son, J. C. L. Harris, J. F. Taylor, W. D.
Jones, Jefferson Fisher, R. K. Ferrell, J. W.
Holden, B. S. D. Williams, Jacob Sorrel!,
C. J. Rogers. David Peed, A. L. Davis, B. T.
Strickland, J. J. Overby, (whites) ; and Jas.
Henry Harris, G. W. Brodie, W. Warwick, J.
R. Caswell, II. B. Lockett, F. S. Pierson, Jr.,
Ransom Avery, (colored.)
Washington. J. A. Melson, (white.)
Warren. D. R. Goodloe, (white) ; Wm.
Cawthorne, John Hyman, A. Berges, col.
Wayne. Jno. Robinson, T. A. Deans,
C. II. llrogden, whites ; J.E. OTIara, col.
Wilkes. C. J. Cowlet, Capt. J. Q. A. Bry
Wilson. G. W. Stanton white.
Yadkin. T. M. Vestal, white.
Yancey. C. L. Harris, proxy.
Mitchell. C. L. Harris, do.
Washington City, D. C. Dr. R. J. Powell,
B. S. Hedrick, whites.
When the name ot C. J. Rogers, of Wake,
was presented Mr. Jas. F. Taylor objected.
He saiil that he did so purely on political
grounds. It was well known that Mr. Rog
ers had opposed the Howard Amendment,
and that he had not acted with the loyal
members of the Legislature of this State of
which he was a member. Sir. Taylor held
that there must be some line of distinction
drawn, and according to his view of the
matter, Mr. Rogers did not come up to the
standard ho could not pass muster in this
Mr. Rogers replied that his opposition to
the IToward or Constitutional Amendment
could not be denied, but he had said that he
opposed that amendment because it was not
a finality. Had it been a finality laid down
by Congress, he should have supported it.
Mr. Rogers said he would submit to the ac
tion of the Convention.
Hon. D. R. Goodloe said that he did not
think this was a time to repel any one, who
desired to come forward and aid in the work
of reconstruction. Let us all comply with
the terms of Congress in good faith, without
increasing enmity or cherishing a prescript
Mr. Grissom, of Granville, defended Mr.
Rogers. That gentleman, said he, stood
firm in the dark hours of the rebellion, and
the memory of his good service then should
not now be forgotten.
Mr. Taylor said that if Mr. Rogers would
give his assent publicly to to the platform
and resolutions of this Convention to be laid
down, and avow himself a member of the
great Republican party, he would withdraw
Mr. Rogers eompljing, the objections were
On motion of Mr. Grissom a committee on
credentials was raised, consisting of Messrs.
Grissom, Cowles, Henderson, and Jenkins,
whites ; and Messrs. Harris, Goode, and
Smith, colored. The committee retired,
Mr. Dick, of Guilford, moved that a com
mittee ofeight tour of each race be ap
pointed to designate officers for the perma
nent organization of the Convention.
Mr. Watts, of Martin, said that the com
mittee on credentials should report before a
permanent organization was effected, or steps
taken in that direction. He did not know
whether objection would be made to his
presence or not, or to any one else ; but he
could say for himself that he was a true loy
alist, oue that had come up out ot much
tribulation. But lie desired this committee
to report so that all might pass muster. If
any one doubted him, he could refer to gen
tlemen on this floor, who would vouch for
him, that he stood by the flag of his coun
try and defended it against domestic traitors
from the beginning of the rebellion to the
Mr. Settle thought that Mr. Watts had mis
apprehended the intention of the committee.
It was not to raise further objection to any
one, but to consider the question involved iu
the case of Mr. Rogers.
Mr. Dick regretted that such an issue was
before the Convention. He was here with
out credentials from any meeting of his fel
low-citizens, but he was a Union man, and
lie presumed that was enough. (Applause.)
He came here as such to aid in the work of
restoration, and also to be present a partici
pant in this Convention when it should sol
emnly resolve to fling to the breeze the lustrous
banner of the Republican party, resolved to
conquer or die beneath its folds 1 (Great ap
plause.) What inquisitorial committee should
now be called upon to sit upon the fitness of
delegates, come hither for that patriotic pur
pose ? Let us all here pledge ourselves to
stand by the Union of the States, and its
great defender, the Republican party of the
Nation, and that was enough (applause)
such credentials could pass muster in this
meeting victoriously. (Applause.)
Dr. J. T. Leach, of Johnston, concurred
with Mr. Dick. He desired to act from the
present, on the basis of Union, Liberty,
Eqtjalitt, (cheers,) which motto was written
above the speaker's stand ; and we might add
to that, he said, that other memorable senti
ment, " the Union, the constitution and the
enforcement of the laws !" (Great applause.)
We came here to harmonize and start anew.
Let every true patriot, without regard to race
or color, assist in this work of restoration.
He wished to reach the promised land of rest,
where peace, prosperity and plenty would
again smile upoo us. In order to do this we
must have one purpose in view, strict com
pliance with the lavs of Congress. There is
no use to cavil about terms. They have been
laid down we must accept them he advis
ed all to do so as cheerfully as he did, and
the labors would be light .in comparison to
past sufferings, and the future measures of
Congress which threaten the Southern peo
ple. Should we go back, he for one would
find a hearty welcome he knew in his father's
home by the Potomac. ' There wouZd be re
joicing when the prodigal returned, ancl the
fatted calf should be killed. He could see
nothing humiliating in these terms, mate
than in many other things in the past now
almost forgotten. Indeed, our sins have been
great in comparison to their punishment.
The motion of Mr. Dick was adopted after
some further remarks by Messrs. Kino-, Carter
The President then appointed Messrs. t
A. Jenkins, John Robinson, H. Adams, E. B.
Teague, whites ; and G. W. Brodie, H. B.
Lockett, Jas. Bowman and John Hyman,
colored the committee on permanent or
ganization. Mr. Grissom from the committee on cred
entials reported that all the delegates present
were duly qualified.
Mr. Goodloe said he thought it injudicious
to complicate the work of reconstruction by
attempting now to form permanent political
parties. He was a Republican, ami had been
from the organization of that party in 1855.
He had assisted in the formation of the first
Republican Association in the City of Wash-,
ington ; and he was now a member of the
National Union Committee. But he was
not willing to repel any man from our ranks
who was willing to accept in good faith the
conditions of reconstruction, by requiring
him to adopt a party name which had here
tofore been so odious to the Southern people,
and to the great majority of this Convention.
Let us inscribe on our party banners the
noble words over your head, Mr. Chairmnn,
Liberty, Union, Equality, and welcome all
who are willing to join with us, without re
gard to past records. This is all that the
act of Congress requires, and it is all that it
Mr. Settle said that the Convention fully
appreciated the suggestions of the gentle
man, but we were now Republicans, and
for the future that party name was the choice
of the loyalists of North-Carolina, without
regard to race or color.
Mr. Hedrick, of Washington City, said
that he agreed with Mr. Goodloe. He fa
vored the name of Union party, and said
that was its proper designation in the
Northern States. There had been a Repub
lican party of which he was a member before
the war, but upon the opening of the rebel
lion that name had been dropped and
the word Union substituted. The word
Union is still used, said Mr. II., and he fa
vored its adoption by this Convention.
There were only two parties, ho continued,
in this country at present, the Union and the
Democratic or Copperhead faction.
Mr. Goodloe begged to interrupt the gen
tleman in order to give the reason of his
statement, that during the war the name
Republican was in many States dropped,
and the name Union substituted. It was
because the Republicans felt their inability
to carry those States without the aid of the
war Democrats; and it was therefore found
expedient to leave the name Republican in
abeyance, and enter upon the canvass under
the common name of Unionists. But before
the election took place the Democrats were
willing to be called Republicans and black
Mr. Hedrick said that he must still insist
that the Union party existed in name and
organization. Therefore, it was the proper
name. It was used here, and all could act
under it. He wished all the people to do
something in the work of reconstruction will
ingly ami according to their ability. But if
any were disposed to be balky horses, he
desired to tell them that they must get out
of the way, for the wagon was going on to
Mr. Sloan thought the discussion out of
order. He said that the name Republican
was satisfactory to himself and this Conven
tion he hoped, cheers for the member well
know that that party preserved the country
from destruction. Continued applause.
Mr. Jenkins, chairman of the committee
on permanent organization, reported that
the committee had agreed upon officers for
the Convention and asked leave to report,
which being granted,
He announced the name of Hon. A. n.
Jones, of Henderson county, for President,
Messrs. D. Heaton, of Craven, and Dr. O.
P. Hadley, of Richmond, Vice Presidents on
the part of the whites ; and
Messrs. J. II. Harris, of Wake, and J. R.
Goode. of Craven, Vice Presidents on the
part of the colored people; and
Dr. II. J. Menninger. of Craven, white
and J. E. O'Hara, of Wayne, colored for
The report was unanimously adopted,
Messrs. Sloan of Gaston and Harris of
Wake, were appointed to conduct the Presi
dent to the Chair. The other officers being
Mr. Jones addressed the Convention as
My Republican Fei.low-Citizens: We have
now arrived at the period from which we can see
the end of the mightiest rebellion whivh the
civilized world lias ever known. North-Carolina
lias, lv her own voluntary action, debarred her
self of the benefits of a benign government, under
which she had lived for eighty years, and now
lor the first time the general government has seen
tit to allow tier the opportunity again to unite
hcrselt in all her full relations that her insane
folly destroyed the 20th day of May, 1MU.
To-day we have met together for the first time,
irrespective of races, for the purpose of consult
ing and conferring one with the other, as to the
most speedy and prompt mode to carry out theacts
of Congress towards a reconstruction. By the act
of the 3'Jth Congress, passed on the 2nd day of
March, and by a subsequent supplemental net of
the 40th Congress, passed on the tfird of March,
the loyal people of North-Carolina, if they so
elect, can become a part of the national sister
hood of States, comprising the great American
Republic. Let us cordially respond to this call.
Let us unite our hearts and hands in assisting and
abetting those who have been appointed to con
trol and supervise the accomplishment of this
happy consummation. (Applause.)
Thank God ! the sun of a brighter day has
burst through the thunder clouds ot war that
has deluged our com.try in fratricidal blood.
The rays of that sun now'gild the Star-Spangled
Banner of freedom throughout this" broad land.
Thank God ! that every American citizen can now
exclaim, that he belongs to but one glorious and
united country that but one banner floats in the
breeze from tiie Atlantic to the Pacific from the
mighty lakes of the North to the suuny shores of
the Mexican gulf. (Applause.)
Mr. Settle moved that a committee of
twenty be appointed by the President, ten
of each race, to draft resolutions, and to
whom should be referred all matters pertain
ing to reconstruction, after being read, with
Mr. Chapin, ot Guilford, said that he was
opposed to this gag-law. He desired free
dom of speech upon all occasions and sub
jects brought before this Convention.
Mr. Sloan explained that his motion
gagged no one, but was ' intended for the
acceleration of public business. Unless some
system was adopted, we might spend our
most precious time on irrelevant matters.
As for himself, were the attempt made here
and carried out to seal any man's lips, white
or black, he would take his hat anl leave
Mr. Chapin said that he deemed it his
duty to express the opinion that the occupa
tion of this Convention was gone, the passage
of the supplementary bill having superseded
all necessity for action on the part of the
people towards restoration. We had noth
ing to do with, parties or platforms. Ten or
fifteen gentlemen about Raleigh might get
together and call a Convention, but did it
represent the people ? He entered his pro
test against further proceedings in that di
rection. Mr. Settle replied, saying that if we can
here put forward a platform on which all
can unite, he was in favor of doing so. It
was no matter how we came together we
are here from all parts of the State. And
we are here also trying to form a party to
reconstruct the Union. It was a patriotic
work, worthy of our earnest endeavors, and
ho trusted that no one was disposed to re
tard the effort.
Mr. Logan said that a difference having
arisen as to what should be done by this
Convention, he would explain the reasons
that actuated the callers thereof, of whom he
vfis one. It was called to perfect a plan to
reorganize the State government, under the
Sherman bill to do all that was necessary
in that direction. Fortunately the passage
of the supplemental bill has relieved ns of
the preparation of tha machinery of recon
struction. But -we af bound to act under
that supplemental bill, and we are here to
organize for that puq)ose. :
The motion of Mr. Settle was adopted
without further debate.
Mr. Samuel Wilson was elected Door
keeper. Dr. C. H. Jordan, of Person, said there
were members here with resolutions and
propositions aside from the matter of recon
struction, and ho hoped a committee would
be raised to consider such things.
The President then announced the follow
ing gentlemen a committee on resolutions,
&c, to wit : Messrs. Thos. Settle, B. S. Hed
rick, D. M. Carter, R. P. Dick, E. Grissom,
C. L. Harris, Alfred Dockery, C. R. Thomas,
J. W. Holden, John B. Odom, white, and
Messrs. Jas. Bowman, J. S. Leary, J. W.
Hood, G. W. Brodie, W. M. Cawthorn, E.
Miller, J. R. Caswell, II. B. Lockett, W. R.
Smith aud II. Unthanks, colored.
On motion it was ordered that in the offi
cial written proceedings of this Convention
hereafter no distinction of color should be
On motion of Dr. R. J. Powell, the Presi
dent was requested to make arrangements
to have the deliberations of this Convention
opened with prayer.
The parliamentary rules in usage by the
House of Commons were then adopted for
the government of this body.
The Convention then adjourned until 7
o'clock, P. M.
The Convention was called to order pur
suant to adjournment, the President occupy
ing the Chair.
Prayer by Rev. Mr. nood, colored dele
gate from Cumberland.
The minutes of the morning session were
read and approved.
Mr. C. L. Harris presented the proceed
ings of a Union meeting in Yancey County,
whereat he was appointed proxy for that
County. His name was ordered to be so
The names of several delegates, included
in the above list, were presented and ac
cepted. A communication from Mr. A. W. Tour
gee, Editor of the Greensboro' Register, was
read, expressing regret at his unavoidable
absence, but also setting forth his reasons for
not approving of the assembling of this
Convention or transaction of business by it
Mr. Settle offered the following letter from
W. Morgan Powell, Esq., which was ordered
to be read :
" Gkove Hilj., Warren County, N. C,
March 20th, 1S07.
To the Loyal Union citizens of the State to assemble
in Balciyh on the 27th instant.
I regret very much that circumstances render
it inconvenient lor me to meet you, on the day
named, to consult in regard to the best mode of
reconstruction ; but having the utmost coutidence
in any decision that yon may make, therefore, I,
as a member of your body, will cheerfully concur
with you in whatever it liiay be.
I have ever been an avowed Union man, from
the commencement of the rebellion up to this
time, and expressed myself to at nil times. And
I cannot say that there was another open Union
man in this county Warren. It was with dilli
culty that one could escape with his life and ex
press himself in favor of the Union, or for Holden
and the Maiultird durinr the rebellion. But I
did both all the time, aud was threatened with
mob law and violence in various ways in and out
of the county (hanging, &c.) I opposed seces
sion in every way I could, but it cost me fifty
thousand dollars. So much lor secession.
With the highest regards, etc.
WM. MORGAN POWELL."
The following letter from Tod R. Caldwell,
Esq., was also read :
" Morgamos, N. C, 22d March, 1807.
COL.. C. L. llAKltIS
My Dear Sir : I had hoped that it would be
possible for me to meet my friends in Raleigh on
the :27th instant, but the condition of uiy wounds,
of which I apprised you some weeks siuce, pre
vents my attendance. I beg, however, to assure
our friends through you that though absent in
person 1 will be "present with them in spirit. I
trust your conference will redound to the lasting
advantage of onr good old mother, and have the
effect of speedily restoring us to our lost estate
in the Union, and that such measures will be de
vised ns will forever prevent those persons, who
sought to destroy the best government ever
vouchsafed by God toman, from again participat
ing iu the management of our political affairs,
until they shall have heartily repented of their
sins, turned from the error of their ways and given
unmistakable evidence of a clongc of heart and
determination to demean themselves us loyal men
for the future. To bring about results so desir
able is worthy of the best efforts of our best men,
and I here pledge my feeble aid in the laudable
enterprise Hoping that your gathering may be
large, fraternal and harmonious, in all things, I
subscribe myself your hearty co-laborer in a good
cause, TOD R. CALDWELL."
After these various communications were
read, Mr. W. F. Henderson, of Davidson,
proceeded to address the Convention.
He said that it had assembled to take into
consideration the condition of the country.
Let it mature everything and proceed with
deliberation. If it complies with the act of
Congress in all respects, no difficulties could
intervene to hinder the return of the State.
There are but two parties in this country,
said he, the Republican party, and the anti
Republican. The former is the friend of the
government, the latter is against it. Let us
act with the Republican party with the
friends of the Union, (applause.)
Two years have elapsed since the surren
der. At that time, wc were nearer reconstruc
tion than we .now are. Why is this so ? Be
cause the rebels were then humble, and only
wished to save their lives. But when
leniency was exercised, the secessionists
took the reins in their own hands and
controlled things their own way. We
wont eat any more dirt, said they. But now
they must cat it by the bushel. Applause.
They must stand back let loyal men rule,
and the old State will be so restored to the
Union of our fathers. I repeat, let us act
with Congress. I have proclaimed it on the
stump in Western Carolina, I proclaim it here
to-night that I am for Congress and opposed
to Andrew Johnson and secession 1 Great
applause. He attempted to resurrect the
Democratic party from the foul grave of se
cession, and I am opposed to him. What
we now need among Union men Republi
cans of the South, is a long pull, and n strong
pull all together, leaving Andyjjohnson and
secession out of the question ! Laughter and
cheering. Not only must we leave Andrew
and secession out, but we mutt set aside
the latter-day-war-saints also ! Cheering.
Especially those obstinate men, who de
nounced every friend of Congress as a con
temptable mean white man 1 There are those
too who started well, were Union men up to
the close of the war, who are all wrong now.
We must not include them when we count
the elect, for they are those who falter be
tween the porch and the altar. Let us earrj
out the act of Congress in good faith, against
Andrew Johnson and secession to the strict
letter of the law 1 Great applause. Let
us have no bickerings in our camp, but act
cheerfully and unitedly.
Mr. J. H. Harris moved to lay the letter of
Mr. Tourgce on the table, which was carried.
Dr. Jordan, of Person, arose to respond
to the sentiment of the gentleman from Da
vidson, who said we had come here for the
good of the people. That was his purpose.
Mr. Jordan continued. These are exciting
times. When I remember my losses by the
war, Sir, including two sons, I can scarcely
restrain the emotions of my heart. I can
scarcely control my indignation against
those who brought this ruin on our coun
try. I do not desire, nor will I indulge, in
crimination, but those two who brought
about this rebellion, thank God, one of thein
is now in his prison, I think the most
wicked of men. But we must be calm. Let
us proceed quietly and determinedly, . for
Sir, I say that those who were instrumental
in getting up this war, should never hold
office. I always opposed the rebellion and
favored n jgotiation to put an end to it, and
when it ended I rejoiced to learn that Jeff
Davit was captured and on his way to For
tress Monroe. Sir, I recollected his bastile
at Salisbury, where the innocent died with
out a trial, ever being accorded them; and
when any one expresses sympathy with him.
I can scarcely keep my temper. I never
committed treason. If sending my boys
some provisions and clothing is treason, I did
that. They volunteered because of the im
pending draft, for conscription had not then
been imported from France by that man
who, next to Benjamin, hd the lowest in
stincts in the world one Wigfall, whom
nobody has ever heard of sitice he got over
the Mississippi I Cheers. Let us be firm
and determined as I hare said and there is
nothing to rear. " After some further remarks
Mr. Jordan offered the following resolutions :
Whereas, In the opinion of this meeting while
it is eminently proper and right that the State of
North-Carolina should be restored to her former
position in the Union, that peace, prosperity and
social happiness may return to our people, and
whereas we profess to have aud feel a deep in
terest in their future welfare and permanent pros
perity, and whereas we are painfully impressed
with the belief that four-fi ftbs of them are unable
to pay taxes and meet their individual indebted
ness, under our present collection laws, there
fore, Resolved, That in order to avert very great dis
tress amongst the people ot the State and avert
the sacrifice of the property thereof as to allow
the citizens an opportunity of workingout of their
indebtedness, we respectfully solicit Gen. Sickles,
the military commander of this district to inter
pose his authority in arresting an evil so disas
trous to the peace, happiness and future pros
perity of our citizens by a suspension for a time
of the collection laws now in force iu this State.
Jtesolvtd, That the President of this meeting ap
point a committee of to confer with Gen.
Sickles on this subject, which they may do by
correspondence or personal interview with the
general, or both, as they may deem most expedi
ent, iu order to effect the object above specified
on all debts contracted before the war and that
they report to
The resolutions went to the committee.
There being nothing ot an important char
acter before the Convention, the Hon. Thos.
Settle was loudly called upon for a speech.
Mr. Settle said that, through loss of sleep
and weariness, he was scarcely able to do
justice to himself or properly entertain the
Convention ; but there wai so much to talk
about, that he would proceed to say some
thing. The rebels, he said, had time and
again spurned the terms offered them by the
general government they had especially re
fused to adopt the Constitutional Amend
ment, which to rebels was the most magnan
imous offer in all the history of the world
from the conqueror to his fallen foe. But
owing to their stubbornness we were here
to-day to break dirt and lay the cornerstone
of the Republican party in North-Carolina.
Applause. The war, he said, was com
menced to per n isyite slavery. It went the
other way, contrary to the expectations of
all the leaders of the rebellion. Therefore,
slavery is forever dead in the United States
of America. This has been the work of God,
and I can say that it is for the best. Great
applause. We have been educated up to
the true point ot republican liberty we are
now willing to see every man clothed upon
with all his rights, immunities and fran
chises without regard to race or color.
Some of the Northern States Ohio is be
hind us. We hope she may catch up.
Laughter and cheering. With us the old
crust of ideas formed by the institution of
slavery is broken up in a thousand frag
ments. They are floating off passing away,
ns everything must pass away not founded
upon the eternal rock of justice. Applause.
We are called radicals. Why, all great re
formers are radicals, they go to the root of the
matter. Franklin, Morse, Fulton and Field
were accounted radicalsin science. So all great
men, who show to the old fogies something
new under the sun. Look at the progressmade
in this country, in railroads in every kind
of improvement. Shall our laws "stand
still ? The old ideas were good in their time.
But wc live in a new era of revolution,
where one month flings a greater flood of
light upon the world than fifty years ordina
rily. Sir. allow me here to refer to the ad
dresses of the colored gentlemen, to whom
I listened in committee this evening. Mod
crate, intelligent, patriotic in all their views,
such utterances would reflect credit upon
any man or set of men. We have also
agreed in that committeeto unfurl the ban
ner of the great Republican party to the
breeze 1 Tremendous applause. Without
a party of that kind, all our efforts will be
wasted. There can be no display of practi
cal patriotism until we form a party of true
men and exert ourselves for the cause of
"Union, Liberty and Equality," systemati
cally ! Applause
I was a Democrat prior to the war. I en
tered that part- fighting for reform for free
suffrage among whites. At the opening of
the war, I joined the Unioi. party. Since
then we have not been able to do much.
But to-day I enter this new party battling
for reform for free suffrage ! Let us stand
fairly and squarely upon that platform. We
are now Republicans our banner is to the
breeze- let us rally for the conflict.
Mr. Grissom, of Granville, asked permis
sion to introduce Col. Dewecse to the Con
vention. He was a federal officer, and he
hoped would be welcome by all.
Col. Deweese advancing was greeted with
applause, lie said that when he came into
this Hall to-day, he expected to remain si
lent, but what lie had seen and heard im
pelled him to express his sentiments of grat
ification. This Convention was alive ani
mated witli the true spirit, buoyant with
hope. I shall go North in a few days.
There I expect to meet with distinguished
public gentlemen. I can bear glad ti
dings with me. I can tell them that
North-Carolina is in earnest in this attempt
at reconstruction. I was born a Southern
man and wear the federal blue. When I vo
ted for Fremont in Arkansas, they expelled
me from that State. I then owned slaves,
which I had inherited, but now thank God
they are as free as I am ! Applause. I
was ever opposed to that institution. When
they sent me away from Arkansas I told
therr I would return, and so I did. I went
back in 18G3 at the hend of 4,000 cavalry,
and when I left that town loyalty was at a
premium. What do we behold here to-day !
The practical display of the principles in
scribed iu the declaration of independence
that all men are created free and equal.
What radical could have reasonably expect
ed this six years ago ? It is a glorious sight,
sir, to us all. And I would say to these col
ored gentlemen beware of rebel influence.
The men who massacred your brethren at
Fort Pillow, New Orleans, and Memphis,
who burn your sehool-houscs, and persecute
you to-day, would tear down the fabric of
these free institutions, which you are to-night
engaged in erecting, and re-enact the horrors
of Laurel Valley in every county of the State.
Beware especially of those who proclaim that
they are merely overrun, not subjugated.
Gentlemen, the whole North is looking
upon you. That people will scrutinize your
every action as carefully as does the mother
her babe, striving to walk for the first time.
I appeal to you to do your whole duty, and
ere long the members from North-Carolina
will be re-enrolled on the books of the Con
gress of the nation. I have some desire to
settle in your beautiful State. It will make
me a pleasant home, should the principles of
free speech and human liberty become the
recognised right of every man. I do not care
for ridicule and neither do you, but I warn
you that in a week or so this Convention will
be the best abused set of men in this part of
District No. 2.
After some further playful remarks, Col.
Deweese thanked the audience for their at
tention and retired. His speech was fre
quently interrupted by cheering and other
demonstrations of appreciation for such a
well timed and well-worded effort. Let us
hope the Colonel may become a citizen of
North-Carolina, redeemed and purified.
Mr. Jas. Henry Harris, of Wake, colored
orator, was next called upon to address the
meeting. He said that so many able speeches
had already been delivered, that he felt
somewhat diffidentiipoff this occasion. But
he would venture to speak, and utter the
true sentiments of his heart, at this the prou
dest moment of his life, when all men meet
tree and equal for the first time beneath the
dome of the Capitol of the Old North State.
What is the real object of this Convention,
gentlemen? Why are we here assembled?
Not to devise the machinery of reconstruc
tion, but to enquire into the best means of
working under the supplemental bill, which
Congress has enacted for our benefit. To
organize for that purpose, is the great
object of this Convention. But just
here interposes the negro question, which
has vexed the minds of the most dis
tinguished statesmen of the nation in
times past and the present. For two
hundred and fifty years the negro and
white man lived together as friends
such friends as master and slave could be.
Now that the negro is frej. all of a sudden
the whites and blacks become unacquainted
with each other. For the first time they do
not know what to do each with the other.
Laughter and cheers. How is this ? Why
is it that the white man does not know
what disposition to make of the negro, or
the negro of the white man, after they have
lived together in the same country for so
many years. I can tell you, gentlemen, it is
because they become strangers to each other.
Let us get acquainted once more, and all
the difficulties will be removed. Applause.
But it is said by some that it will never
do to enfranchise the coloied man. They
desire to see him colonized sent back to the
wilds of Africa, beyond the blue waters of
the great ocean. How is that,? Has
the surface of America contracted grown
smaller ? so that there is no room for those,
who have lived here for centuries ? Shall
we be expatriated for lack of broad acres
the acres which our forefathers cleared and
have rendered beautiful and fertile ? I ap
peal to your reason. Is it possible that
such a thing has been seriously considered
in this country, where the bones of our an
cestors are laid, and around whose altar the
warmest affections of our hearts are en
twined ? Applause.
But let me illustrate the objection to the
enfranchisement of the colored man in my
feeble way. It reminds me of the young
man, who owns a fine horse, which he is in
the habit of driving although he is very
much afraid of him, so that he cannot con
ceal it. Ah, says a friend to him, that is a
fine horse of yours, but you seem afraid
of him, will you sell him ? No, re
plies the young man, I'm afraid of him,
but he is valuable and I can't sell him. So
they seem to be afraid like the young man
of this horse, that if they put us in the po
litical harness we will run away with the
concern and damage the body politic.
Laughter and applause. That is the way
they regard us, they are afraid of us but
we are not going to fulfil their fears. We
are going to work in the political harness
with a good will we are going to help to
pull the State back into the Union but all
we now ask is that the buckles may not be
drawn so tight sensation and cheers for
we have grown a little corpulent, politically
speaking. (Continued applause.)
But we have these prejudices to overcome.
Yet one moment's candid reflection would be
sufficient to remove such wrong impressions,
so much indulged. Now let us look at it.
What has been the history of our race during
the late rebellion ? Can any nation on earth
present so grand a record ? With all their
wrongs and sufferings upon them, with
a knowledge that "their Union friends
were battling for their freedom, they
staid at the homes of their masters, who
weie absent fighting to keep them in sla
very, and protected the defenceless females
with a wonderful fidelity ! What other peo
ple under the canopy of Heaven would have
done this thing ? What nobler exhibition of
selt-sacrifice can be furnished in tho history
of mankiud ? True to their instincts, they
continued on the farms, tilling the soil
and in doing so, thev raised to themselves
a monument high as the Heavens and deep
as the great sea ! Prolonged cheering. Wha
man can now tolerate unworthy prejudices
against our race!
So you see, sir, that we understood each
other in our old relations ; and if we get tho
roughly acquainted in our new, we shall suc
ceed as well iu the future as we did in the
past. In conclusion allow me to repeat that
this is the proudest moment of my life.
When I behold these Star-Spangled banners.
spreading in beauty above an assemblage of
people without regard to race or color, this
motto of "Union, Liberty, Equality" earned
into practical operation, sir, upon this the
first occasion in the State of JNortli-Carolina,
my heart swells with emotions, which can
scarcely find intelligible utterance! (Cries
of go on ! go on ! and loud cheers.)
Well, Mr. President and gentlemen I will
trespass a while longer on your patience.
I hold, sir, that the sin of slavery was a
national sin. But I hold, sir, in addition
that, we must bury that dead past. Let us
sink its memory a thousand fathoms in the
ocean of oblivion and look only to the bright
Recently I have travelled in the Northern
States and consulted with the first gentle
men of the nation. One thing is fixed.
They have determined to reconstruct these
States on a thoroughly loyal basts. They
have aided me and sent me here to consoli
date my people and organize them. Fer the
colored people are a loyal race. They are
not too ignorant to be so. Go to any planta
tion, wake up the most stupid negro and ask
him if he loves liberty, and he nill an
swer you, yes ! Cheers. Now do not run
the ignorant ticket. I tell you the negro
knows enough to distinguish friend and foe.
The man who goes on the ignorant platform,
will certainly go down ! Applause. The
colored people will vote all right for they
will stand by the Union and its friends.
Mr. President, I have said that the future
is bright ! I can see, sir, the beacon sun of
liberty rising overthe dissolving storm-cloud
of war, gilding the whole nation with the
light of its splendor! Cheers. Though
the political waters have been disturbed and
shaken to the dregs, I can behold the old
Ship of State still breasting the billows tri
umphantly, her prow pointed homeward
over the now subsiding waves of a great
commotion, no longer bearing the foul car
cass of slavery upon her shining decks, but
which, thank God, has been washed over
board in the tumult, and sunk forevermore
in the fathomlcsswaters 1 Great sensation.
I can behold t he Eagle of America, the free
bird of the freest government of earth, shed
ding from his pinions over every section ot
our beloved country, peace, protection and
prosperity ! Whence come these visions of a
glorious futuxe ? It is the work of God him
self, who has resolved that all men shall be
free and equal 1 Tremendous applause.
At the conclusion of his eloquent address,
Mr. Harris xvas invited to the President's
seat, and presided for the balance of the
evening over the deliberations of the Con
Mr. J. W. Hood, colored, of Cumberland,
proceeded to address the meeting. He fail
ed to perceive the magnanimity of the Con
stitutional Amendment, but he could per
ceive the greatness of the present bill. An
overruling Providence has brought us our
freedom, and has conducted the whole af
fair. Let us unite with the Republican party.
It is the only true party in the country. It is
the champion of liberty and it has ordain
ed, under God, that when this State be re
admitted to the Union, her Constitution
shall be absolutely pure, wherein the rights
of all should be guaranteed. Applause.
The Convention then adjourned to Thurs
day morning, 10 o'clock.
SECOND DAY'S PROCEEDINGS.
Thcbbday, March 28th;i867.
The President caller! tli rv
order at 10 o'clock.
Prayer by Rev. Mr. Hood, of Cumberland.
Mr. Knapp, of Edgecombe, then proceeded to
address the Convention. He said that he re
joiced that the hour for doing even handed jus
tice to all men and all races had arrived when
every man should have his Just rights accorded to
him and maintained. Let as not now fritter
away the precious moments, but go ahead. There
is no use waiting for Conservatives. Applause.
Let them go up. They are in the way of the na
tion, and they must get out of it. Let us educate
the colored people. Give them all the advanta
ges which the whites possess, and with 6neh an
even start there can be a fair race. Gov. Worth
proposed to colonize them. What humbug!
Send nil your laborers away ? What folly! Wc
need the colored people hereto retain the capital
in the country, which has already come down
here from the "North to improve the lands.
Mr. Settle, of Rockingham, the chairman of the
committee on resolutions reported a series, which
were read from the Clerk's desk. They are given
iu full, ns passed, below.
Mr. Settle, said he would not detain the Con
vention by any extended remarks. The resolu
tions spoke for themselves. He referred, how
ever, especially to that one which seemed to touch
the heart of every delegate the resolution in re
lation to the Republican party, where we pledge
ourselves to the maintenance of its principles.
Cheers. That resolution, sir, meets my heartiest
approbation,and 1 only hope that hereafter we
shall forever keep even step with the great, pnrtv
which saved and perpetuated the Union and the
Constitution. Prolonged applause.
Mr. Dick then took t he floor. He said that the
members of this convention were the pioneers in
the work of reconstruction the true exponents
of the grand ideas of the age, for we find both
races here assembled, rising above mere prejudice,
and mingling their efforts in godlike majesty of
mind for the restoration of the Union. We" are
now completing the work of the old revolution
we are fulfilling the expectations of all true Re
publicans, in re-establishing and perfecting free
institutions upou the basis of liberty and cquulit y
Tfie speaker here referred to the Congress at Hali
fax lie said that its name had come down hi his
tory, renowned the world over, because its mem
bers cutting loose from the old, but mistaken
idea of the world that man was ineupaMe of self
government, established a constitution so suited
to the development of all the generous impulses
of the human heart, that, under its beneficent
provisions, the people of our good old State had
run a career of prosperity, unsurpassed for its
glories, which were those of peace and not of
war. He drew a picture of the happiness ol this
mtion then iu gloomy words recalled the mem
ories of that, disastrous era, when the wail of the
mourner was heard in all the land, and the iraunt
spectre of famine assailed the threshold of every
habitation. When the war ended, he said, in
stead of meeting with contumely or receiving
harsh terms from the conqueror, he imposed so
light a burden, that all were astonished. Under
the influence of this kindness, what was done?
Anything towards restoring the government up
on a stable foundation? No, nothing in renlity.
For it is a sad fact that the mass of the Southern
people, still led by the pardoned leaders of the
rebellion, grew defiant, neglected the plaiu re
quirements of duty, and indulged iu invective and
denunciation towards the greatest statesmen of
the republic. Therefore, the work of reconstrue
tiou remains yet unaccomplished. We have now
the terms once more laid down, we know the
guarantees necessary to be given for future good
behavior, and as a portion ol the people, we'have
assembled to express our willingness to carry out
the laws ol Congress in word and spirit. Iu or
der to do so practically, we have further deter
mined to unfurl the brilliant banner of the Re
publican party. We shall then be in fraternal
concord with the Northern people, and Union,
Liberty, Equality become cardinal principles for
all ages. Air. Dick paid a glowing tribute to the
colored people, their remarkable fidelity and
loyalty. The heresy of the past is exploded. We
can now Bee that justice and confidence will do
more to win their affections, than anything else.
Let us now inculcate a feeling of nationality a
broad sentiment of patriotism not confined within
State lines. The speaker then delivered an elo
quent eulogy upon America, and closed amid the
applause of the delighted audience.
Mr. Dick's speech will appear in full hereaf
Mr. Coleman, of Cabarrus, arose to say that
he was glad the line was to be drawn here to
day. Let those, who had never bowedtheir knees
10 anal, Keep that line well defined because its
obliteration benefitted the sccessiouists, who
were now all "Union" men. Let us be called Re
publicans, aud devote ourselves to the mainte
nance of the piiueiples ol that party. Mr. Cole
man referred to bis consistency in the past he
told the colored people that lie had ever been
their friend, and rejoiced to sec them start in
the race even with the white man. He had no
fears of the success of their race. For as civili
zation started in Egypt upon the banks of African
Nile, he thought it would yet be ornamented by
the intellects of the dusky sons ol that clinic
transplanted to free America. The spe iker was
frequently interrupted by bursts of applause.
Rev. Geo. W. Brodie of Wake, colored, was
loudly called for. He said that he had wished to
remain a silent member of this Convention. But
being thrown into the battle, as it were, he deemed
it his duty to fight. These things are a wonder to
me a grand and sublime sight. In the Capitol
01 JNortu-uaroima we are assembled this Con
vention of whites and colored. Look at the past
history of these races, behold diem in the present.
What a wonderful sight for the eyes of all men !
icnecrs. j vv e have moved ahead of all others
a step in advance of other people, there is not one
who now wishes to so back ! These are the
reasons, why these things are a wonder to me 1
lam rejoiced also, sir, at the tone of modera
tion observed in those resolutions. With the
memory of all our wrongs in the past, the color
ed people still desire to send forth loyal princi
ples of good will to mankind, appeafing to the
honorable sentiments of the human heart. I am
glad this is bo. As a colored man, 1 am watched,
observed and feared. When I left my home in
the South years ago, I went to enjoy the freedom
of the British government. But I loved my na
tive bouth I knew m my heart that I should yet
comeback a freeman. Audi have so returned,
thank God. Cheering.
Those resolutions also speak of party. The
colored people are iu lavor of one party the
party that bears on its banner and in its heart
the motto of " Union, Liberty, Equality." Give
ns that liberty to enjoy ourselves in the highest
sense of the term, for it is sweet to us. We love
it. Else I may ask you in the language ol Burns,
If I'm designed yon lordling's 6lavc,
Rir nuiiii-rt'c Ion- iitciimjifl
r, - .g.
w it y
liy was an independent wish
S er planted in my mind ?
fSensation and great applause.! But we havo
adopted the name of Republican. I love that
name. I have ever been a republican, aud I can
tell my white frieuds that they will love it too,
before they get through with it. Laughter and
cheers. Continue your course, my friends, aud
you will succeed for the colored man will 6taud
by his friends.
Let me, however, undeceive my white friends.
They regret the war we do also because of its
sufferings, but we do not regret it as they do, for
it brought us liberty ! Let them remember that
fact always, and we can never differ ou other
I have before also said that 1 love my country.
We all love it, but the colored man hates its
wrongs to him. But we bury the past it is
swallowed up in the glory of the present. Great
applause. Look at the progress of our people
their wouderful civilization. What have we to
tear iu competition with the whites, if they give
us a fair race We will make good citizens, some
of our people statesmen ot renown. I appeal to
a Douglas and a Laugston. The slave from the
dank swamp and cotton field, to-day delights the
most refined audiences in the nation with varied
learning and polished oratory, or compet es before
the most eiudite gentlemen of the republic, be
fore the learned Supreme Court of the United
States, in discussions upon the profound matters
of constitutional and international law. Sensa
tion. We have reason to be proud to thank
God, who made Abraham Lincoln an instrument
ol our deliverance. Now that the tree of liberty
is planted, with its roots watered by such show
ers as these, I can Btaud under the pleasant
shadow of its branches and cry happy! happy! I
This is a glorious event No modern history
records such an event. But going back two
thousand years, we can find a parallel in the
schools of Greece and Egypt, where the white
and black man together quaffed at the fountain
of learning Cri. s of that's so. There was no
distinction then. And now we have again caught
up the graud idea of the ancient republicans aiid
disciples of liberty, and this day beholds its re
production upon the soil of the new world
Cheers. Talk not of our ignorance. I have re
ferred to our Douglas and Langrton. The latter
is a friend and companion of mine. But there is
a Garnett too, a man who In England holds a
place second to none in law and theology. Tou
issantLe Overture and Hannibal are generals of
SSLTfc ?Vh.at does thi8 mean? Why God
Slrv n- brain! tov aI1 nlike-the coloris the
use our brains, and see where the colored man
then stands! Takes colored child, give lira a
aTvwheuUC M,,n' a.d.heTw111 improve ts ttnchas
rlte chlld- 1 hia 1 8tty buu6e the experi
ence of every day ilia strates its truth.
T tbhl tT"8,'- ?,n? who,.caIled the rcgro a baboon.
I rather thmk he is inclined that wiy himself.
5S? t1" PP'M'M-J We do not fear our
i pnd? mysL,f n . as muukas the white
man on his color For it i. not men, but meas-
P1"!!!8 whicn to-day control; the
civilized world. Applause.
Gentlemen, I am glad that I nm connected with
this Convention. The people among the- whites
can say the same. Both whites and blacks, how
W"J"ft prepare to work. My people are ready.
Ed W.L,1 WB desire the injury of no one, we will
applause Ut pa,ty ! li-
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