A Thought For The Times. 299
A THOUGHT FOR THE TIMES.
The question which has agitated the minds of our people in
the Southern States recently has been that of the limitation of
Already in Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina and even
North Carolina, laws have been enacted which have been aimed
especially at the Negro's privilege of voting; and have prac-
tically accomplished the aim of the promoters of the laws.
I am aware that the right of voting is not the highest and
most important right of a citizen, but in a Republican form of
government, it is one of the bulwarks of freedom. No Re-
publican form of government can exist in the broadest sense
of the term, where the citizen's right to share in the making
and development of that government is curtailed.
However unwise the 14th and 15th amendments may
be considered by our enemies as well as our friends, I
cannot but feel that statesmen like Sumner and his contem-
poraries saw the necessity for such legislation and did not
make a mistake in having them enacted. But, on the other
hand, no laws can make a race or an individual equal to the
task of self-government or of taking an intelligent part in
governmental affairs, without a possession of the fundamental
principles requisite for government.
No saying is more trite than this: "Knowledge and virtue
among a people are conditions essential to the success of a
free government." This saying has found a verification in the
failure of every attempt to extend over a people a government,