Washington Correspondence: August 16, 1862

Washington Correspondence

Christian Recorder: August 16, 1862

Turner writes about the happenings in Washington DC paying particular interest to a grand war meeting held on Wednesday August 6, 1862. 

Keywords: Great War Meeting, George S. Boutwell, Preaching

Mr. Editor: Wednesday was a day which will be lastingly remembered by every grade of humanity in this city. It had been previously announced through the papers, there would be a grand war meeting held on the east side of the capitol, when and where there would be several distinguished orators who would deliver addresses.

At four o’clock, congruently to the announcement, the bells of all the principal places in the city began to ring. The drums irregularly arranged through the streets to beat the war notes; and cannons from surrounding summits, to base with iron lungs and powder tongues so terribly loud, that the atmosphere vibrations numbered the drum of every ear, as we listened to their dreadful roar, muttering in tones of desperate vengeance, imaginarily like awe echoing to awe, or that fear, dread, terror, and alarm had shivered the shaft which dared their wrath, and were contestably dialoguing the plans of their desperation, we could but remember that thus speaking stanza:
“When shivering like a parched scrollThe fuming heaven together roll
And louder yet, and yet more dread
Swells the high trump that wakes the dead"
But notwithstanding this threatening din, every imaginable glade of humanity was soon wending their way to the east of the capitol, which, when assembled, constituted such a dense multitude of human beings, that anyone interested in the future transpiration of things could hardly hold his lips from uttering:
“When man from judgment wakes from clay How great will be the throng that day”
But on the broad portico and steps on the east part of the capitol building, a large platform had been erected, which was appropriately decorated with the American flag. In view of a display, gas burners had been extended over the arch in front of the platform and one set of jets consistently taking the form of a star.

The platform was occupied by the President and several of his cabinet, the city council of Washington, invited civil and military guests, speakers and reporters for the press.

The ladies occupied the portico, and the great mass stood in front below the platform, and Mr. Colored lady and gentleman mingled in the crowd.

The speakers were generally very eloquent; but the Hon. G. S. (George) Boutwell was the only one out of all, who dared to take a bold stand in favor of the colored man. He took the ground that the states of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida should be dedicated to the black race and all along the gulf stream if necessary; and that the mild power of persuasion should be used to get the intelligent colored people from the North to emigrate there and establish a nationality. Shortly after, some man rose up, who apparently worked his upper jaw instead of his lower, and begin a raid of intimations upon the abolitionists.

Last Sabbath was quarterly meeting at Israel church and I noticed when the reports of trustees, stewards, and Sabbath school was being read to the congregation, that the following class leaders collected from their classes as follows:
Benjamin Newton…………………………………..$18.26
Rev. Chas. Hicks……………………………………$18.18
Rev. James Reed…………………………………… $ 8.37
Thomas Cyphus……………………………………..$ 8.10
James Hames………………………………………..$ 10.70
John Hawkins………………………………………..$ 9.13
Thomas Bell………………………………………….$ 6.24
Lewis Hillary…………………………………………$ 8.37
Total Amount………………………………………..$ 87.35
Rev. H.J. Rhodes preached the 11 o’clock sermon, which was received with many external demonstrations.

Rev. M.F. Sluby preached in the afternoon, and brought up the rear in triumphant pomp. And the minister who preached at 8 o’clock made the most grand and sublime failure.

Rev. James Lynch is on a visit to this city, and looks remarkably well. It is surmised in very credible circles, that he is soon to confer upon some distinguished miss the title of Mrs. Lynch.

                                                                                                                                                   H. M. T.
Washington, August 8th, 1862