THE NEGRO'S NEEDS.
whether there was ever such a meeting. I don't
know whether the general ever made such a remark.
If he did, he deserves great credit for his wisdom, for
his foresight. The war had just begun. It was no
time to cheer. I say I don't know, and so far as my
people and myself are concerned, we don't care to¬
day whether that story is true or not; for we do know
by this time that there was a war, a terrible war, a
bloody war, a war that shook the earth and made na¬
tions hold their breath. We know that when it be¬
gan several millions of bondmen were in this country,
and that when it ended freedom reigned throughout
the land. We knowT that when the old flag wTas
hauled down from Sumter humanity shrieked and
" Hope, for a season, bade the world farewell."
But we know, too, that when once more again the
" gorgeous ensign of the republic " with " its arms and
trophies streaming in" more than " their original
lustre," with " not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a
single star obscured," was lifted by loyal hands to
kiss the sun and toy wTith the breeze, mankind all
over the wide earth smiled and rejoiced as never be¬
fore, except when the Babe was born in Bethlehem.