THEY ARE ALL GENTLEMEN.
They are “all honorable men,” said the great demagogue of his day, when he came “to bury Caesar, not to praise him,” and the darkies of Ord’s Convention are all “gentlemen!” These negroes are all insulted, because the Reporter of the Clarion, designates them as “colored,” and fails to attach the cabilistic prefix “Mr.” to their names!
A white vagabond, named Clarke, submitted the following:
Mr. Clarke offered a resolution, that no reporter be admitted within the bar, who makes a distinction in the members of the Convention, when they speak of them. – He had noticed that the Clarion Reporter had left “Mr.” off in speaking of the colored members.
Henry Mayson, the negro “barber,” favored the resolution. “He had been afraid to speak, because he did not wish to be called colored!” The Reverend Stringer, a sanctimonious, psalm-singing “gemmen ob cullur,” was “strongly in favor!” He thought “gentlemen” should be “recognized wherever they were, without regard to their color, and if the reporters of the Clarion did not do so, they were not gentlemen! He wanted to see no more of this clannish disposition! He was not so much opposed to the word “color” being attached, but he expected the Reporters to add the Mr. if they remained here. He was proud of his race – he was a negro!” Fitzhugh, the cider colored negro, from Wilkinson – the colleague of tallow-faced Gibbs – “claimed that he was a gentleman, and considered it a disgrace to be spoken of at all by such dirty sheets as are published in Wilkinson county, and the Clarion was no better.” If mentioned at all by the Clarion, or other Democratic papers, he hoped they “would treat him with respect,” but “preferred they would not, as he considered it a disgrace for any colored gentleman to be spoken of by them!”
Newsom, another psalm-singing, negro parson, favored the resolution, though he “did not object to the word colored.” – “He wanted proper respect.”
The Honorable Cuffee Combash, the delegate from Washington county, “did not care.” They “were negroes and were proud of it, and they were gentlemen, and if the Clarion failed to call them so, it did not hurt them. He knew he was a gentleman, and that was sufficient for him!”
Several other “gemmen ob cullur,” illuminated on the subject of negro gentility, when a white scullion called Warren proposed to amend Clarke’s resolution as follows:
Amend by adding that whoever again offends shall be excluded from the floor of the house. He thought the time for such distinctions had passed.
The whole matter was finally tabled, Alderson, Mygatt, McKee & Co., voting in the negative.