John H. Rock, First Black Practitioner Before the US Supreme Court

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 25, 1865

Below we present the February 25, 1865 edition of Harper's Weekly. This original newspaper features important news and illustrations of the war. Our site allows you to read all these original documents online to help you develop a more in depth understanding of this important period in American History.

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124

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[FEBRUARY 25, 1865.

JOHN H. ROCK, COLORED COUNSELOR.--[PHOTOGEAPHED BY RICHARDS, PHILADELPHIA.]

INCIDENT ON BOARD THE "OCTORARA," JANUARY 26, 1865.

JOHN H. ROCK, COLORED COUNSELOR.

WE give on this page a portrait of JOHN H. ROCK, the colored lawyer who was on February 2 admitted as a practitioner before the Supreme Court of the United States, on motion of the Honorable CHARLES SUMNER. Mr. ROCK is known in Boston as a first class lawyer. This event, following two days after the passage by Congress of the proposition to amend the Constitution so as to abolish slavery in the United States, will be regarded by the future historian as a remarkable indication of the revolution which is going on in the sentiment of a great people. Mr. ROCK has never been a

slave. He represents the colored freeman, as Mr. DOUGLASS represents the freedman. This extraordinary reversal of the DREAD SCOTT decision is an act almost sublime. It is related of AESOP, who had been born a slave, that the Athenians erected a statue to his memory, or as PHAEDRUS has it :

Servumque posuere in aeterna basi.

The Supreme Court of the United States has taken one of a race crushed down to the earth with its own most solemn sanction, has taken one who merely by the chance of birth was not himself a slave, and has placed him not indeed in marble, in aeterna basi, but upon " the enduring pedestal" of an honorable citizenship.

INCIDENT ON BOARD THE
" OCTORARA."

THE incident illustrated in the above cut is thus narrated by our correspondent: "On the night of the 26th a torpedo boat came out from Mobile Bay, and made an unsuccessful attack upon the Octorara. At about 2 A.M., though the night was very dark, an object was discovered not many yards astern, and making direct for the vessel. The look out hailed lustily, ' Boat ahoy !' The response came, `Ay, ay !' as though from one of our own boats. The officer of the deck immediately sang out to them to ' lie on their oars;' to which they answered, `Ay, ay!' A moment after they rasped along the vessel's side

from aft forward to the guards. The knowledge that it was the torpedo boat of the rebels now flashed upon all. The intrepidity of the captain of the after guard is worthy of the highest praise. Though all expected momentarily to be blown up, this man, seeing how readily they could gain an advantage over the enemy by prompt action, grasped her smoke pipe as it came by the guards of the ship, at the same time crying out lustily for a rope to make the devil fast with. The remaining. sailors, acting under different impulses, recoiled to the opposite side of the deck. Several shots were fired at this brave man, and as his exertions were hardly sufficient to retain his hold upon the hot pipe, he preferred to let go rather than be dragged overboard."

NEGRO QUARTERS, ARMY OF THE JAMES.[SKETCHED BY CAPTAIN L. L. LANGDON.]

John H. Rock
Octorara
Negro Quarters

 

 

  

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