Colyer: Lincoln Adamant Against Returning Fugitive Slaves

Vincent Colyer

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 63, Number 150, 13 June 1862

Mr. Vincent Colyer, in his address at the Cooper Institute at N.Y. , on Tuesday night, said, he had seen the President , and spoke as follows: “The President said that the idea of closing schools and sending back fugitive slaves, and searching vehicles going north, never had emanated from his administration. Such an order had never been given by him, nor would it be tolerated by him or his administration. He said more than that. He said no fugitive slave who came within the lines of the United States army should ever be returned to his master.”


According to Wikipedia, Vincent Colyer was an American artist noted for his images of the American west.  During the Civil War, Colyer created the United States Christian Commission, and worked with the federal government to try to help freedmen and Native Americans.

As superintendent of the poor in New BernNorth Carolina under General Ambrose Burnside, he wrote the Report of the Services Rendered by the Freed People to the United States Army in North Carolina, in the Spring of 1862, After the Battle of Newbern (1864). With the government decision in 1863 to allow black troops to fight, Colyer began to recruit and train the men for the United States Colored Troops. He also served with the Indian commission.

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