them were distinguished for their orderly appearance.’
, in the convention which revised the Constitution
of New York in 1821, speaking of the colored inhabitants of the State
‘In your late war they contributed largely towards some of your most splendid victories.
On Lakes Erie
and Champlain, where your fleets triumphed over a foe superior in numbers and engines of death, they were manned in a large proportion with men of color.
And in this very house, in the fall of 1814, a bill passed, receiving the approbation of all the branches of your government, authorizing the governor to accept the services of a corps of two thousand free people of color.
Sir, these were times which tried men's souls.
In these times it was no sporting matter to bear arms.
These were times when a man who shouldered his musket did not know but he bared his bosom to receive a death-wound from the enemy ere he laid it aside; and in these times these people were found as ready and as willing to volunteer in your service as any other.
They were not compelled to go; they were not drafted.
No; your pride had placed them beyond your compulsory power.
But there was no necessity for its exercise; they were volunteers,—yes, sir, volunteers to defend that very country from the inroads and ravages of a ruthless and vindictive foe which had treated them with insult, degradation, and slavery.’
On the capture of Washington
by the British
forces, it was judged expedient to fortify, without