Page:Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1892).djvu/479

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
471
REVELS AND BRUCE, SENATORS.

and indignation with which Mr. Hendricks deplored the possibility of such an event. In less, however, than a decade from that debate, Senators Revels and Bruce, both colored men, had fulfilled the startling prophecy of the Indiana senator. It was not, however, by the half-way measure, which he was opposing for its radicalism, but by the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments, that these gentlemen reached their honorable positions.

In defeating the option proposed to be given to the States to extend or deny suffrage to their colored population, much credit is due to the delegation already named as visiting President Johnson. That delegation made it their business to personally see and urge upon leading republican statesmen the wisdom and duty of impartial suffrage. Day after day Mr. Downing and myself saw and conversed with those members of the Senate whose advocacy of suffrage would be likely to insure its success.

The second marked step in effecting the enfranchisement of the negro was made at the "National Loyalist's Convention," held at Philadelphia, in September, 1866. This body was composed of delegates from the South, North, and West. Its object was to diffuse clear views of the situation of affairs at the South and to indicate the principles by it deemed advisable to be observed in the reconstruction of society in the Southern States.

This convention was, as its history shows, numerously attended by the ablest and most influential men from all sections of the country, and its deliberations participated in by them.

The policy foreshadowed by Andrew Johnson (who, by the grace of the assassin's bullet, was then in Abraham Lincoln's seat)—a policy based upon the idea that the rebel States were never out of the Union, and hence had forfeited no rights which his pardon could not restore—gave importance to this convention, more than anything