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[583] am sure that, with the blessing of Providence, we have a right to hope for the best results, not merely on any given field or from any special campaign, but on the broader field which includes the statesmanship both of war and of peace. Ideas are now clearly in the lead: confidence in the convictions and stability of the people has been established in the minds of men, both at home and abroad, occupying places of great power and responsibility. Whatever at any former time might have been their doubts or hesitations, we have now but to stand together, to stand firmly, and, on the great question of the hour, to support the principles and methods confirmed by the President in his recent message to the Congress of the United States, and to maintain the courage of men, and the fidelity of patriots.

A colored man, who had originally enlisted in the Fifty-fourth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, and who had shown remarkable capacity for military command and for bravery in the field, had been recommended to the Governor as a proper person to be commissioned as a line officer; and the Governor was anxious to issue the commission; and only waited the consent of the Secretary of War to have him mustered in, which was not obtained: this man was Sergeant Swailes. Major-General John G. Foster, commanding the Department of North Carolina, had approved of the recommendation; Lieutenant-Colonel Browne, who was in Washington, was requested by the Governor on the 12th of December, to call upon Secretary Stanton, and obtain permission to have the man mustered in. In this letter, the Governor said,—

It is perfectly certain, that there is no legislation necessary to secure the just promotion of Sergeant Swailes: it is only needful that the proper commanding general should understand that he may discharge the sergeant for promotion; and it is equally clear, that there is no regulation apparent of the War Department in the way of such discharge. There is nothing in the world to prevent it, but a sort of ill-defined notion, that, when the law speaks of a man, a soldier, or a person, they cannot possibly include a man of “African descent.” I wonder Scipio Africanus is not struck out of the list of Roman heroes, on account of his cognomen. Mr. Stanton will readily see the way to clear up all difficulties, so soon as he perceives what the point of the case is.

It would appear that Secretary Stanton, upon considering the

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Edwin M. Stanton (3)
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