Washington Correspondence: August 9, 1862

Washington Correspondence

Christian Recorder: August 9, 1862

Turner writes on the happenings in Washington, DC  and defends himself from being misquoted.

Keywords: Amos G. Beman, Preaching

Mr. Editor: - Through the goodness and mercy of a gracious Benefactor, it is my privilege to address you again, though I have nothing of such great importance to which I can call your attention. But I find since the Bishop question has been smothered up, there is quite a falling off among your contributors. I had not thought of the decrease in that respect, until my attention was called to it the other day by a distinguished gentleman of this city, who takes our paper. He remarked to me as follows: - “Mr.____, I discover, since the Episcopal controversy has stopped in the Recorder, the literati of your people are lost for a subject; I wonder if controversy is not peculiar forte among you!” I won’t tell you how I felt, for I can’t; but I faced it over as good as I could, and bid good evening.

I had the pleasure of attending the first Quarterly meeting of Rev. H.J. Rhodes, on last Sabbath, in Georgetown. Rev. James A. Handy delivered the 11 o’clock discourse, which was unquestionably one of the finest specimens of pulpit eloquence that we have had the honor of hearing for a long time.

It was announced to the previous Sabbath, that on Monday night last, 27th ult., the Rev. Amos G. Beman would lecture in Israel Church. The times appointed having arrived, Mr. Beman was on the spot; but there were not more than forty persons present. We were, of course, thrown into a great surprise as to where the people had gone, for Mr. Beman declared he could not lecture to so few. While waiting, with anxious hearts, for more to come in, a messenger arrived and spread the news like wild-fire, that at the Asbury M.E. Colored Church there was a great war meeting of the colored people. The house then adjourned, as no more were expected, and several of us went up to Asbury to see and hear. So on nearing up to the church, we found groups of colored people returning to their homes, and yet about a thousand appeared to be standing before the door. We soon learned that they had convened for the purpose of organizing a regiment of colored soldiers, and tendering them to the President, but that the Trustees had refused to open the church; and so determined were they to carry through their project, that they attempted to hold a mass-meeting on the steps, but the Trustees here seemed to rout them again, and finally the crowd dispersed. A great many of our people in the District think that the nation in freeing them and giving them their word in law equal to any person, white or colored, is a sufficient favor for them to return a corresponding compliment in aiding the Government in putting down its rebels. But who was the getter-up of this war meeting, is the great question. Our people certainly did it, but who they were, is the secret. Before leaving this subject, I would say that the stern refusal of the Asbury Trustees to open the church, came near resulting in the death of one of them. I was informed that he saved his life by the logic of fleetness.

The Hon. J.D. Johnson, Commissioner of Liberia, who has been here some time urging the claims of that young republic, was most inhumanly mobbed on last Tuesday night, by the colored people of this city, or, I should have said, by a colored mob. Report says that Mr. Johnson endeavored to get Congress to transport, regardless of consent, all the contrabands who might possibly obtain their freedom, to Liberia within sixty days after the date of their freedom, and hence a committee of colored gentlemen waited upon him to ascertain if the rumor were true, and that he treated the committee contemptuously, which so angered them that they, transformed themselves into a mob and let slip vengeance at him. I am informed that nothing saved his life but the intervention of some young ladies. I am sorry that our people acted so rudely in the matter, as I do not think it tends to their honor; and yet if Mr. Johnson thus acted, I am equally sorry that he wished to deprive us of that God-given right of choosing or refusing. I hope our people everywhere will soon begin to look upon mobs as the most contemptible, lowest, rottenest plan in all God’s universe of carrying power. Let us come out and expose men’s mean principles, but not injure their bodies, remembering that God made the latter, but never made the former; and it indicates an animal predominancy in its perpetrators.

Rev. David Smith has returned from Ohio, and is carrying on an extensive medical practice in Washington and Alexandria.

Rev. M.F. Sluby is in the city. He preached in Israel church on Thursday night, to a very respectable audience, and a higher state of Christian feeling is seldom seen than attended his discourse; he is peculiarly adapted to the practical ministry.

It is whispered about in Washington that Gen. McClellan sacrificed 100,000 men in the Peninsula, and that his removal is contemplated. Another sensation report says that the Rebels will attack Washington before another week.

The Republican paper of this city, notices a sermon preached by “the Rev. Mr. Turner, colored minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church,” in which it (the Republican,) while speaking very complimentary of Rev. Mr. Turner, sets him in a very singular aspect before the people.” It says that Mr. Turner “urged the policy of the colored people taking up arms and sustaining the Government by crimsoning every battle-field with their blood.” I was present and heard Mr. Turner’s remarks, but did not hear all the Republican says, in a certain direction, though Mr. Turner did say that we would pray for this nation, which is groaning beneath the scathing judgments of a God who never falters his promises nor swerves his threats, - for him to hold indivisibly, unsullied, the integrity and honor of this country; for if she failed in this her hour of trial, farewell, oh, farewell, thou goddess of liberty; hope for the poor, prospect for the oppressed, adieu, adieu, adieu!

Rev. George A. Rue passed through the city on his way to Newborn, N.C. He preached in Israel church, and stated his mission, and the people voluntarily, without being asked, came up and put $18 in his hands. 

                                                                                                                                             H. M. T.