The Philadelphia Inquirer

1884: November 21

Reassuring Words from President-elect Cleveland.

ALBANY, N.Y., Nov. 20. -- Governor Cleveland was asked by an Associated Press reporter to-day if he was aware of a delusion existing among the colored people of the South that a change in administration would unfavorable effect their condition, to which he replied:

"Yes, I have been astonished at the statement that there was an apprehension existing among the colored people that in some way their rights, now secured to them under the laws and Constitution of the United States, were in danger from the election of a Democratic President. I am even told that some of them are led to suppose the result of the recent election means that they may again by made slaves. All of this has appeared to me so absurd, and I have been so sure that the slightest intelligent reflection would dislodge such foolish fears, that I can hardly deem any notice of them necessary.

"But there is not the slightest objection to calling the attention of all who are in the least uneasy or uncertain upon this subject to the fact that the title of colored people to freedom and all the rights of citizenship cannot be disturbed expect by a change in the Constitution which it would be absolutely impossible to make. Besides, the present condition or status of those people has been so fully accepted by the entire country that no one should have the slightest idea that any attempt will be made to change it if there was any possibility of accomplishing such a thing.

"So far as the new administration is related to this subject, the whole country can be sure that the lawful power and jurisdiction of the Executive will be so exercised that the rights of all citizens, white or black, under the Constitution or laws, will be preserved and protected, and all the advantages to citizenship, will be secured to them. There need be no fear that either the Democratic party or the newly-elected administration proposes to oppress or enslave any part of our population, or to destroy the business interests of the country. We hope, on the other hand, to do something to benefit the people. It seems to me that our efforts in that direction would be aided if mischievous croaking and dark imaginings should give place to an earnest endeavor to inspire confidence and to make universal a cheerful hope for the future."