The Christian Recorder (1864)
I am not willing to fight for anything less than the white man fights for. If the white man cannot support his family on seven dollars per month, I cannot support mine on the same amount.
And I am not willing to fight for this Government for money alone. Give me my rights, the rights that this Government owes me, the same rights that the white man has. I would be willing to fight three years for this Government without one cent of the mighty dollar. Then I would have something to fight for. Now I am fighting for the rights of the white man. White men have never given me the rights that they are bound to respect. God has not made one man better than another; therefore, one man's rights are no better than another's. They assert that, because a large proportion of our race is in bondage, we have a right to help free them. I want to know if it was not the white man that put them in bondage? How can they hold us responsible for their evils? And how can they expect that we should do more to blot it out than they are willing to do themselves? If every slave in the United States were emancipated at once they would not be free yet. If the white man is not willing to respect my rights, I am not willing to respect his wrongs. Our rights have always been limited in the United States. It is true that, in some places, a colored man, if he can prove himself to be half white, can vote. Vote for whom? The white man. What good do such rights ever do us--to be compelled always to be voting for the white man, and never to be voted for? . . .
Liberty is what I am struggling for; and what pulse does not beat high at the very mention of the name? Each of us has already discharged the duties devolving on us as men and as soldiers. The very fact of such a union on grounds so common and deeply interesting to all undoubtedly cannot always fail by the blessing of God, to exert a hallowed influence over society, well fitted to break up alike the extremes of aristocratic and social feeling, which too, often predominate in society, and to beget unity, love, brotherly kindness and charity.
Let liberty be duly observed, and its influence be extended from town to town, from city to city, from nation to nation. In short from sea to sea, and from pole to pole. But everything is to be feared in the future from the shackles now forging. As an individual case, I may fall, as I may stand; but I trust that I am in the right place with the multitude on my side. I pass light and darkness, seeing not the end, you believing that the unaswering eye of God and seen it in the unchanging light of eternity and that, His strong arm will bring me out into a large place. They say that it is only in the minor duties of our experience that our true character is shown. We may be courageous in the field, true and perfect in drill, watchful and trusthworthy on guard; but, after all, this, we are by no means, cheerfully regarded for all the customs of camp life. Our merits are nowise measured or respected. I shall not take back anything that I have said, because, by so doing I should sanction the impieties of my opponents, who would thence take occasion to crush us with still more cruelty; yet, as I am a mere man and not God, I will defend myself after His example, who said: "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the will." How much more should I, who am, but dust and ashes, and so press to error desire that every one should bring forward what he can against my doctrine. Therefore, most serene Republicans and you illustrious Democrats, and all who may hear this, I implore you, by the mercies of God, to prove to me, by the writings of the prophets and apostles, that I am in error. As soon as I shall be convinced, I will instantly retract my errors, and will myself be the first to seize my writings and commit them to the flames.