previous next

Louder than ten thousand thunders is the call which this day (July 4) utters in the ears of all men in whose veins flows the blood of Africa, and whose color has been the badge of slavery. The accumulated woes of many generations give direction and emphasis to the duty of to-day. The opportunity of years, now crowded into an hour, now visits you, and beckons, entreats, commands, you to come, come now, come instantly, come with a shout, and receive the baptism which is to admit you into the glorious company of the peoples, of every clime and of every hue, who, by their own blood, have vindicated their right to all the blessings and all the powers of liberty, and to whose own right arms the Lord of hosts has given the victory.

The controversy on the matter of payment continued for more than a year; the Government refusing to pay the men more than seven dollars a month, or the chaplains the pay due to their rank, which created great dissatisfaction among the men. The Legislature of Massachusetts appropriated money to make up the deficiency; and the Governor appointed Major James Sturgis, of Boston, assistant Adjutant-General, to proceed to South Carolina to make the payment; but the men refused to receive it. They demanded from the General Government equal pay with other United States volunteers. They were greatly in need of money, and their families were suffering at home; yet they resolutely determined to receive no pay unless they received full pay. The matter in June, 1864, was referred by the President to Mr. Bates, the Attorney-General of the United States, who gave a learned and elaborate opinion, in which he sustained every point which the Governor had taken. The following is the concluding paragraph of Mr. Bates's opinion:—

In view, therefore, of the foregoing considerations, I give it to you, unhesitatingly, as my opinion, that the same pay, bounty, and clothing are allowed by law to the persons of color referred to in your communication, and who were enlisted and mustered into the military service of the United States between the months of December, 1862, and the 16th of June, 1864, as are, by the laws existing at the times of the enlistments of said persons, authorized and provided for, and allowed to other soldiers in the volunteer forces of the United States of like arms of the service.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (3)
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Moses Bates (2)
James Sturgis (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 16th, 1864 AD (1)
June, 1864 AD (1)
December, 1862 AD (1)
July 4th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: