Washington Correspondence: April 25, 1863

Original document coming

Washington Correspondence

Christian Recorder: April 25, 1863

*Turner also wrote under the pseudonym Uncle Sam

Mr. Editor: Not much of interest has occurred here this week among our people. But what few facts are worth gleaning I will send you. The ladies who have been holding a festival for the benefit of the Trustees of Israel church, have done remarkably well, considering the inclemency of the weather. They not only presented the trustees with a handsome sum of money, but presented the pastor, Rev. H M Turner, with a magnificent suit of clothes, as a testimony, they say, “of his uniting efforts to enlighten the minds of the people and advance the interest of the church.”

The great baptizing was postponed last Sabbath, from the fact that the snow had fallen so deeply on Saturday night than it was almost impossible to get to the river. Tomorrow is the time now fixed for it, at which time, if nothing happens, there will be thousands of people on the banks of the Potomac to witness the heavenly consecration. We hope to see Rev. Caleb Woodyard about with his open eyes. Rev. Samuel Madden, under whose ministry these persons have been converted, is to perform the consecration; and I am happy to say that he is not only a Christian and a scholar, but “a terror to evil doers.”

Mr. J. Willis Menard, who is known throughout the country as a poet, and who replied to Frederick Douglass’ article relative to raising colored solders, has suggested the idea of calling a National Convention for the purpose of petitioning Congress to grant the colored people the State of Florida as a home. I favor Mr. Menard’s views very much. I have not thought of Florida so much, or any other place particularly, but I think the people of color should speak to the nation. Nobody knows their views, nor what they want.

I think they should define their position and let it be known whether we intend to emigrate of fight. But as for the fighting quality, I hear that’s dead. There is a report going the rounds in Washington, that all the colored people are leaving Massachusetts and going to Canada, since Governor Andrew has opened his colored recruiting offices. If the colored people of that noble state, after making so much to do in their speeches, resolutions, and demonstrations, &c., have shown themselves such contemptible cowards as that, they ought never to say freedom again while they have a hot tongue; but should rather hold their lips in confounded silence, and be as mute as soapstone statues forever. It will do more to damn our interests than twenty Copperhead Senators.

The itinerants, local preachers, and exhorters of the AME Church held a convention on Wednesday evening, the 8th inst., at Israel Church, Rev. B T Tanner in the chair, and Rev. H J Rhodes, Secretary. The chairman requested Rev. H M Turner to state the object of the meeting. Mr. Turner rose and said that since they (the preachers of the district) had held their last meeting, pledging unanimous support to Bishop Payne in behalf of Wilberforce University, to the amount of a thousand dollars, and more if necessary, the he had had the pleasure of visiting that noble institution, and wished to give them its dimensions and probable worth, &c. By motion it was resolved that Brother Turner make his statement, which he did in about twenty minutes, and afterward answered several questions. This called out many glowing tributes to the cause of education from ministers and exhorters present, after which the following resolutions were unanimously passed:

Resolved, That we hail with unmingled joy and satisfaction the evident tokens of Divine Providence and goodness, which promises so soon, with effort on our part, to place within our control the noble seat of learning, bearing the undying name of William Wilberforce.

Resolved, As ministers of the AME Church, itinerant and local, that we pledge every power of our being towards the consummation of so desirable an end; and we can but express the hope that the same spirit will actuate our entire ministry.

And after some private suggestions as a plan of operation, the meeting adjourned.

Another grand meeting was also held in Israel Church on Thursday evening, the 9th inst., Rev. H M Turner in the chair and J F N Wilkinson, Secretary. But Mr. Editor, suppose I copy the minutes of the meeting, as they probably will speak more clearly than I am able to do. Now here are the minutes of the meeting.

“At a meeting in behalf of the Wilberforce University, held in Israel Church*** Rev. H M Turner, after addressing the throne of grace, made a very beautiful and elaborate statement relative to the University, &c. which embrace an entire history of the same. His remarks were clear and pointed. Rev. James Reed then rose, and made a stirring appeal in behalf of the University and paid a glowing tribute to education; after which he offered a resolution that the entire audience resolve itself into a committee of the whole on the Wilberforce University, and that we do all in our power to purchase the same.

Mr. Thomas H C Hinton then made an eloquent and brilliant appeal in behalf of the same, which was listened to with breathless attention at the conclusion of which he offered the following resolutions, which passed unanimously.

Whereas, It does appear that the equality of our people is becoming of the highest consequences as they are developed and promoted by education, through which means natural intelligence in various conditions receives aid and comfort; and as a people feeling the same to be the only channel through which flows the current of our prosperity, therefore,

Resolved, That in view of the statement made by Rev. H M Turner, setting forth the object of his late visit to Xenia, Ohio, in obedience to the call of our beloved Bishop, Rev. D A Payne, D D., of the AME Church, that we feel it to be our indispensable duty to support the measure suggested and embodied in the subject of that call. And be it further

Resolved, That we, the colored people of the District, will use every proper means in our power in giving support to this matter, by voluntary contributions, general and individual, toward raising the sum of at least $1000 to meet the payment. And be it finally

Resolved, That we take action upon this matter, as soon as the different pastors can make it convenient to open their churches of the object.

Here the resolutions closed, except one that was offered and was not put, which resolved, that whoever did not support the object is a numskull.

The Zion AME Church opens their Conference today for this district, in the John Wesley Church, at 4 o’clock, PM. Ministers are pouring in and we think it bids fair to be a conference that will reflect credit upon our people.

The big guns around Washington are bellowing awfully today. Heaven knows what’s the matter. I hope they are saluting the downfall of Charleston.

Uncle Sam