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EDUCATIONAL CONDITION OF THE COLORED PEOPLE IN THE SOUTHERN
STATES, AND OTHER FACTS.
WASHINGTON, D. C.:
ADDRESSES AND CEREMONIES.
In the midst of the social and family festivities and greetings of the opening of the year 1867 at the national capital, the hearts of some benevolent ladies and gentlemen of Washington, D. C., were touched with Christian sympathy for a thousand freedmen on Arlington Heights, within sight of the capital, who needed words of sympathy to cheer them and material comforts to gladden their humble homes.
Remembering the precept of Him "who went about doing good," and who said, “When thou makest a feast, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors, but call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and thou shalt be blessed," some friends of humanity, and members of different denominations, resolved to give a New Year's Festival to these lowly children of our common Father, many of whom were the disciples of the Saviour, who, by his own precepts and beautiful examples, taught the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
THE PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE FESTIVAL
was held on Wednesday evening, December 26, 1866, at the residence of Hon. George W. McLellan, Second Assistant Postmaster General; Hon. Sayles J. Bowen, City Postmaster, presided, and S. V. Boyd, Esq., acted as secretary. A committee was appointed to make the necessary arrangements, consisting of Byron Sunderland, D. D., J. George Butler, D. D., Charles B. Boynton, D. D., Rev. B. F. Morris, General Charles H. Howard, Brevet Brigadier General James A. Ekin, General S. L. Brown, Hon. George W. McLellan, Hon. Sayles J. Bowen, S. V. Boyd, S. S. Bryant, Mrs. J. C. Lewis, Mrs. C. H. Morse, Mrs. U. H. Hutchins, Mrs. H. D. Cooke, Mrs. S. J. Bowen, Miss Mary E. McLellan, and Miss Nelson. Rev. Dr. Butler and others made appropriate remarks.
Thursday, P. M., December 27, the committee met at the room of Mr. Bowen, in the City Post Office. Messrs. Morris, Boyd, and Bryant were appointed a committee to procure speakers. Drs. Sunderland an utler and Rev. Mr. Morris a committee to prepare a circular appealing to the public. The Hon. Geo. W. McLellan an? Sayles J. Bowen were constituted a committee to receive all contributions and supplies, the same to be left with them at the Post Office building.
General S. L. Brown was authorized to make all preparations necessary in the procur. ing of buildings and arranging tables, &c., &c.
David Fisher, Elder of the Fifteenth Presbyterian (colored) church, Mathew Lewis, John A. Greery, and William A. Shorter, of the same church, and Gurdin Snowden, of the Asbury Methodist Episcopal (colored) church, were present, and were appointed to assist in the arrangements for the entertainment.
Rev. J. J. Marks, D. D., of Meadville, Pennsylvania, who had been a popular and devoted chaplain in the 63d Pennsylvania regiment during the war, and who is the author of an excellent volume entitled the "Peninsular Campaign," being on a visit to the national capital, volunteered to visit Philadelphia to solicit aid ; and for his valuable services he received the thanks of the committee.
The festival was voted to be held on Saturday, the 5th of January, 1867.
The following circular was published :
"APPEAL IN BEHALF OF THE FREEDMEN AT ARLINGTON HEIGHTS.
Nearly one thousand freedmen are located at · Arlington Heights, within sight of the capital of our nation. A large proportion are children and aged and infirm men and women, who need, and must have, the charities of the Christian public. Recently from bondage and helpless, they make a strong and touching appeal to the sympathies of the humane.
A number of ladies and gentlemen, of various denominations, of Washington, have organized, and are at work, to give these freedmen a New Year's entertainment, on Saturday, the 5th of January next, and also to provide for their material comfort during the present winter.
“An appeal is made, in this form, to the friends of humanity and of the freedmen, for aid in this truly benevolent and praiseworthy object. All articles of food, (bread and meats prepared, if possible,) clothing, new or partly worn, coarse fabrics of various kinds, and money, are earnestly solicited.
• Each pastor and person to whom this circular is sent, is requested to take up a collection, on Sabbath next, the 30th instant, or make up a box early in the coming week, and direct, through the express or the mails, to the Hon. George W. McLellan, Second Assistant Postmaster General, or Hon. Sayles J. Bowen, City Postmaster, Washington, D.C.
" It is confidently believed that this appeal will receive prompt and liberal responses, and the donors experience the happiness of our Saviour's precept, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'
"Friends of humanity and of our common Christianity! send a memorial to this noble charity, and make the hearts and humble homes of these lowly and suffering ones glad and grateful with your New Year's offerings and benedictions,
"The members of Congress and other distinguished citizens are invited, some of whom will address the colored people and the guests present, on topics of interest to the emancipated race and to our common country.
“BYRON SUNDERLAND, D. D.,
"Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. "J. GEO. BUTLER, D. D.,
"Pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church.
"B. F. MORRIS, Resident Minister. "Committee on behalf of a Meeting of the Friends of the Freedmen. " WASHINGTON, D. C., December 28, 1866."
This appeal was directed to be sent to each pastor of the churches in Washington city. It was also sent to churches in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and some neighboring towns, and to a number of benevolent persons abroad. Liberal responses were ma
to it by benevolent persons and by various churches, especially in Philadelphia, which are acknowledged elsewhere.
A large number of invited guests were present, among whom were Hon. Portus Baxter, member of Congress from Vermont, and his wife; Hon. Messrs. Moulton and Bromwell, members of Congress from Illinois ; Hon. Mr. Clarke, member of Congress from Ohio, and his wife; Hon. John H. Farquhar, member of Congress from Indiana; Hon. George A. Lincoln and his wife, from Brooklyn, New York; Hon. Mr. Jewett, of Buffalo, New York; Colonel U. H. Hutchins and wife, of Okio; Mrs. Mary C. Ames, the correspondent of the Independent; Mrs. S. J. Bowen and sisters; Mrs. C. H. Morse ; Mrs. John J. Jolliffe ; the Misses McLellan, Nelson, Spear, and Borden ; Drs. Sunderland and Butler; Rev. Mr. Morris; Rev. Mr. Turney, and his wife; Rev. Mr. Johnson; S. V. Boyd; General Charles H. Howard, Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, and others.
Invitations had been extended to Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, Hon. Henry Wilson, Senator in Congress from Massachusetts; Hon. Horace Maynard, member of Congress from Tennessee; Hon. George W. Julian, member of Congress from Indiana; Hon. Ira
Harris, Senator in Congress from New York; Hon. J. M. Edmunds, xe-Commissioner of the General Iland Office; Hon. James C. Wetmore, Military State Agent for Ohio; John R. Elvans, Esq., of Washington city, and other distinguished friends of the colored race, but who were unable to be present. Letters from some of these gentlemen were received, which will be found elsewhere.
The beautiful spot where the festival was held has local memories, past and present, of suggestive historic interest. The large landed estate, consisting of twelve hundred acres, known by this name, was the property of Washington, who bequeathed it to his fosterson, George Washington Custis, whose daughter is the wife of General Robert E. Lee, the chief of the rebel army during the civil war. His treason forfeited it to the Government, and it became, by an order of the Secretary of War, Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, the home of the freedmen. It was for forty years before the rebellion the seat of social, intellectual, and political attractions to eminent public men of the country, especially those from the Southern States, who participated frequently in its elegant hospitalities. The mansion over which now waves the flag of the nation contained many mementoes of the Father of his Country, some of which remained after its owner, General Lee, left it to lead the armies of the rebellion, and which are preserved as interesting trophies of the war.
THE SOLDIERS' CEMETERY, on Arlington Heights, near to the mansion, is a consecrated spot of this memorable and historic estate. It was selected, after the war closed, by the National Government as the final resting-place of many of the brave men who fell in the great battles of the conflict in Virginia, and who died in the hospitals, and who have thus, in their lives and death, consecrated the spot to patriotism and freedom. The serried columns of the graves of ten thousand of our brave soldiers, white and black, buried beneath the green trees of Arlington Heights, within sight of the capital of the nation, are still the sentinels of safety to the city and the country, and will be perpetual memorials of the sacrifices made for the free-' dom of an enslaved race and the salvation of our republic.
So sleep the brave who sink to rest,
FREEDMEN'S VILLAGE, located on an elevated part of Arlington Heights, and overlooking the capital, has an instructive history. In the opening of the war, a large number of fugitive slaves, from Maryland and Virginia, coming within our lines, made Washington their city of refuge. These colored people, then called “contrabands of war,” were taken under the care of the Government. Their first home was in the Old Capitol, in which the first Congress that met in Washington city, in: 1800, held its sessions, and which was used during the war as a place of confinement for rebel prisoners. Subsequently the quarters of these colored persons were located in “Duff Green's Row," a block of buildings on the same square, east of the present Capitol. These buildings have memorable associations connected with many of the leading men of the rebellion. John C. Calhoun, the father of secessionism, and the great champion of slavery in Congress, and other leading southerners, enjoyed the intimate hospitalities of the owner, whose name the buildings baar, and in them were held frequent social and political conferences during the reign of slavery.
In May, 1862, Rev. D. B. Nichols, who furnishes these facts, and a devoted friend to the colored race, came to Washington as missionary from the American Missionary Association, to labor among the colored people. He was appointed Superintendent of the