Speech of Mr. Turner

            Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention: [A voice, louder!] I will be loud enough directly. When I left my home in Georgia I went eastward, and determined, in passing through several of the states, to ascertain the will of the people. I knew it would be almost impossible to give Georgia’s electoral vote to any Republican, notwithstanding the dead have been raised. Everywhere I went, everywhere I mingled with the people, the name of Blaine seemed to be talismanic. It extorted a cheer, and the people seemed to be James G. Blaine, of Maine. And in doing this, Mr. President and gentlemen of the convention, I want it understood that some of the names that have been mentioned I revere with a reverence that my tongue cannot express. The name of Morton, the champion of Gov. Pinchback, the defender of the outraged people of Louisiana! I would borrow a Raphael’s pen, and dip it in the sunlight of heaven, and write on Morton’s brow- “Honor, eternal honor.”

But, Mr. President, I believe that we have before us now a name that will arouse the people of this great country in a remarkable manner that the name of Morton cannot. I have nothing to say against Mr. Bristow. I listened to the eloquence of the great poet (1) of New York, as he defended the name of Bristow; and I paid equal deference to that learned son of Massachusetts, our minister to England (!). But, Mr. President, in the person of James G. Blaine we have a Republican about whom there is no question. He commenced with the party, and for twenty-five years he has been in its front, and to-day he stands the champion of Republican principles, I believe, in the United States of America. He gave his own stated, --so says an aged and learned doctor of divinity of Maine—to that party, and forever, I expect, buried Democracy on that sacred soil. It will never lift its head there again, I trust. He originated the spirit of the fourteenth amendment. He stood by the immortal Lincoln during the great struggle this country was passing through for freedom and justice and equality to all mankind and to chase out of this nation a set of insurgents who lifted impious hands against that flag that still floats over us, thank God. Mr. President, there is one thing I like about Mr. Blaine: he is a representative of Young America. He is no dead fossil. He is not tied on to any old constitutional barriers that shut out a parcel, a class, of God’s humanity, and tie him to a set of principles that are antiquated. 

One thing more I wish to say of Mr. Blaine, and –I have a dozen points to make, but will make but now—it is this: But for Mr. Blaine you would have no Republican party to-day. Wait, and I will show it. When the Democrats carried this country, at the last election, the Republican party of those days all over this land was thunderstruck, paralyzed, dead, and bleeding. It was Blaine, standing on the floor of congress, who shook aloft the banner of the Republican party, united the party, and defied the Democracy of this nation, and breathed again the spirit of activity and hope into this prostrate Republican party. Who can deny it?

Turner, Henry McNeal. Speech at the Republican Convention. The Henry McNeal Turner Project. (1876, June 14-16th). http://www.thehenrymcnealturnerproject.org/2019/04/speech-at-republican-convention.html

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