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Centennial: The American Negro from 1776-1876; Oration Delivered at Avondale, Ohio, 1876
			
                           [ 24 ]
come alone at the point of the negroes' bayonet.  It is not
ours alone to praise, but to be praised, that the country is
cleansed of plague, that bloodshed is staunched, that peace
and plenty crown our land, and that the two sections of our
country are brought together in indivisible fellowship.
     The anti-slavery society did much to sever the bond-
man's chain; the Republican party did its share too; but nei-
ther one nor both of them unlocked the prison door or set
the bondman free.  It was the divinity of the decree that
"all men are free and equal," in the soul of the negro soldier
that made this country forever free.  No party or sect can
claim the honor of liberating the negro.  No historian dare
write that four and one-half millions of slaves in the United
States were set free by this or that society, and lifted in the
arms of government to the dizzy height of citizenship.
But, on the other hand, the muse of history will record,
that when the slave institution was rocking with its living
freight; when it had poisoned the life blood of liberty, and
seduced the North; when it had precipitated civil war,
wasted our army, and emptied our national treasury, and
when the life of our nation hung upon the thread of un-
certainty, the slave threw down his hoe, took up his mus-
ket, and saved the country.
     Such is the decree of history; such the negro's place
in history. It was impossible for the anti-slavery society
to educate the Southern conscience. History proves it to be a
failure.  Luther failed to reform the clergy; Vincent Oge
failed to move the inhuman assembly of St. Domingo.  So
Garrison and Sumner failed to convince the slave-holding
South that slavery was wrong.  But as soon as the com-
mon people heard the "Battle-cry of freedom," they rallied
for the conflict. It was no longer a struggle among the
upper classes, but a common warfare, for a common cause,




			
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OHS Archives/Library Pamphlet Collection

Centennial: The American Negro from 1776-1876; Oration Delivered at Avondale, Ohio, 1876

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