A Letter to the Hon. Charles Sumner

A Letter to the Hon. Charles Sumner:

From: A Letter from Colonel J.E. Bryant of Georgia To Hon. H. Hamlin, U.S.S. Also, letters from Several Distinguished Men.

Washington DC Gibson Brothers Printing, 1870

Nov. 24, 1869

Dear Sir—Colonel J.E. Bryant, whose appointment will come up for confirmation before the Senate, will doubtless be bitterly opposed by several so-called Georgia Republicans. In the event he meets with opposition, I beg leave to state the facts in his case. Colonel Bryant was the first white man in this State who took up the question of negro rights, and fought for a long time alone, except the aid he received from a few of us colored men. He was consequently regarded by all the colored as our ablest champion, and abused accordingly by the whites. The Colonel held this high state of confidence till about a year ago, when a division rose in Georgia as to the final adjustment of our political difficulties, viz, whether Georgia was reconstructed or not! Colonel Bryant, at this juncture, being a lawyer, assume the technical grounds peculiar to that profession, and advocated the affirmative side of question, while the majority, with Governor Bullock at its bead, differed, and weaving their desires into policy, most uncompromisingly oppose his theory. This difference of opinion created a war of words, until crimination and recrimination nearly lacerated the entire party. Colonel Bryant was accused during this time of pandering to rebels, but we are now satisfied that he is one of our purest men; his course for the last eight months has been nobler than ever before. Since Swayze has been bought out by the rebels to do their dirty work, our people almost in mass have dropped his paper, and Colonel Bryant's paper is taken by them in every country in the State, and if he is confirmed he will be able to run it; otherwise, he cannot. Had I remained in office, my entire salary would have been given to the good cause, but as I am out by hellish strategy, Colonel Bryant must be retained, if possible. Colonel Bryant is the only man in office in the State who, in my opinion, will give a hundred dollars of his income for the advancement of our race, except Mr. Belcher. I was as bitterly opposed to Colonel Bryant ten months ago as anyone could possibly be, but since I have seen his unyielding devotion to the right, and his sympathy for our race, and how lavishly he spends his income for the good cause, I am more devote to him than ever. In short, Hon. Senator, if Colonel Bryant is not confirmed, we, the colored people, will be left without an organ in the State. Swayze is going to move heaven and earth against him, because he knows if Colonel Bryant's paper is published, he is bound to go down. The grand wretch says he can make more money blackballing Republicans now than he can by serving the Government. He told a leading Democrat, so I am informed, that inasmuch as the Administration had done nothing for him, in the way of office, he would kill at least half of the damned scoundrels that did get office.

I pray for confirmation of Colonel Bryant in the name of a majority of our colored citizens.

Your humble servant,

H.M. Turner