regiment to the official or chaplain; who has, pursuant thereto, been duly commissioned as such by the Governor of his State, according to the law and the regulations of the Army, and who has been mustered as such into the military service of the United States, and who, so long as his health permitted, has continued to perform the religious and official functions pertaining to his capacity and duty.
If, as private soldier, he might not have been, by reason of his color, entitled to the full pay of a soldier, even while performing the fully duty of soldier; if as an officer of U. S. Volunteers, be was, by reason of his color, to be deprived of the compensation provided by law for officers of his rank and grade; yet it will be the first time, I believe, since the Christian era that a man in holy orders in the Christian church has, by reason of his color, descent, or origin, been refused the rights, immunities, and privileges pertaining to his office and character.
In the ancient church of Rome, whose history antedates all other Christian churches, the road has been open to men of African descent to positions of high dignity and honor. Not only to the lower orders of the priesthood, but even bishoprics have been filled by men of this complexion. Nor is color or national origin the condition of reception or the ground of rejection in any Protestant church of Christendom, whether in regard to laymen or clergymen. For the first time n ow in history has it happened that such a laborer is pronounced to be unworthy of secular recognition; and I earnestly ask York Excellency tor it can be possible that a man set apart by a branch of the church as a competent minister of religion, elected by his brother officers as one of themselves, commissioned according to the law, and mustered as an officer, an officer, and entitled, as I have shown by Your Excellency's own order, to all the rights of other officers of volunteers, shall be condemned, in contempt of hisg to the flesh, so suffer loss of the pay and allowances provided for incumbents of the office he filled, and be degraded in his compensation to the rank of persons unenlisted, uninspected, unsworn, and unmastered, who are employed in mass under an exception stature for whatever service they may severally and respectively be found after ward competent to perform.
I appeal, therefore, to Your Excellency, as the supreme executive magistrate, to direct the Pay Department of the Army to recognize the rights of this chaplain, and to pay him accordingly. I appeal not merely in behalf of the men of African descent against a decision made in defiance of the law and of the contract, but in behalf of the official character of an officer of volunteers which this decision appealed from seeks to reduce to that of a chance employe at day labor; and also in behalf of the Christian church, whose creed forbids any respect of persons, save that founded in religion itself, before whose altars all earthly distinction vanish, the peasant and noble kneeling alike in the humility of a common penitence, and at whose altars its ministers serve a celestial master bound together by the ties of a spiritual brotherhood, "not after the law of a canal commandant, but after the power of an endless life." In one word, may it please Your Excellency, the sacraments, the doctrines, the consolations of the Christian church do not derive their efficacy from the origin, color, or social position of its ministers; nor are the prejudices of men, moved by secular ambition and worldly motives and principles,entitled to any place at the altar of God. The church its pastors. The flock, in this instance, according to the law,