the intensest abhorrence and invites mankind to kill the crim¬
inal on sight. This charge thus brought against the negro, and
as constantly reiterated by his enemies, is not merely aga'.ns::
the individual culprit, as would be in the case with an inoivv
ual culprit of any other race, but it is in a large measure a
charge against the colored race as such. It throws over every
colored man a mantle of odium and sets upon him a mark tor
popular hate, more distressing than the mark set upon the first
murderer. It points him out as an object of suspicion and
avoidance. Now it is in this form that you and I, and all of
us, are required to meet it and refute it, if that can be done.
In the opinion of some of us, it is thought that it were well to
say nothing about it, that the least said about it the better
In this opinion I do not concur Taking this charge in its
broad and comprehensive sense in which it is presented, and
as now stated, 1 feel that it ought to be met, and as a colored
man, I am grateful for the opportunity now afforded me to
meet it. For I believe it can be met and successfully met. I
am of opinion that a people too spiritless to defend themselves
are not worth defending.
Without boasting, on this broad issue as now presented, I
am ready to confront ex-Governor Chamberlain, Bishop Fitz¬
gerald, Bishop Haygood, and Miss Frances Willard and all
others, singly or altogether, without any doubt of the result.
But I want to be understood at the outset. I do not pre¬
tend that negroes are saints or angels. I do not deny that they
are capable of committing the crime imputed to them, but I
utterly deny that they are any more addicted to the commis¬
sion of that crime than is true of any other variety of the
human family. In entering upon my argument, I may be
allowed to say, that 1 appear here this evening not as the de¬
fender of any man guilty of this atrocious crime, but as the de¬
fender of the colored people as a class.
In answer to the terrible indictment, thus read, and speak¬
ing for the colored people as a class, 1, in their stead, here an J
now plead not guilty and shall submit my case with confidence
of acquittal by good men and women North and South.
It is the misfortune of the colored people in tivs country
that the sins of the few are visited upon the many, and I am
f-'ere to speak for the many whose reputation is put in peril by