The companies being organized here, for the 1st regiment Illinois colored volunteers, are filling up rapidly, but recruits are not coming in as fast as they ought to, and as they would if circumstances were more favorable.
The folly of those persons, of whatever political persuasion, who are discouraging or who are even failing to encourage the enlistment of negroes, is becoming daily more apparent. The St. Louis Union "conservative" as it is, is smarter than that. It says:
"Accounts received from all parts of the State, go to show that the recent order for negro enlistments, is doing more to pacify the State than any other thing. The owners of slaves are forwarding them to the different railroad stations for the purpose of enlisting them in the military service. Of course the owner receives the bounty paid recruits, as a compensation for his property. The railroads are crowded with this class of property. We understand that some five or six colored regiments are now being organized in this State. It is estimated that at least twenty thousand soldiers can be recruited by this class of recruits; and as every enlisted negro counts for one white man, it is thought the quota of Missouri can be filled in this way and save the necessity of a draft.
Now Quincy and Illinois have suffered enough from slavery in Missouri, to be allowed to reap some of the benefits attending its extinction. Had Missouri abolished slavery twenty years ago, Quincy would not have been a city of forty thousand inhabitants. As it is, she has been fettered in trade and other respects by the general want of enterprise in Missouri, and especially by the clogs upon the freedom of intercourse, which slavery had interposed.
Would it be wrong, in view of this, for us to enjoy the benefits of some of their African enlistments. As it is now, negroes who come here to enlist, have to do so by stealth, and are often betrayed by Copperhead Illinoians. Suicidal policy! Let the negro-hater remember that every black man who enlists in Illinois, counts ONE and takes the place of a white man, perhaps himself.
Then why not receive them with open arms? Nay, why not send for them? But they will come fast enough if they can be assured that they will be honestly dealt with. They have a natural dread and suspicion of their old masters and neighbors, and will be loth to place themselves in their power, with the certainly of being brought back home at the close of their service, and perhaps reduced to slavery again. But Illinois is a free State. It has always been the promised land to them, and there is an inspiration of hope in the very idea of enlisting under free State men, in a free State regiment, which can penetrate the heart even of an African, and lead him to make many sacrifices to reach the happy goal.
Then let the slogan be sounded. Let it be published through Northern Missouri that recruits will be gladly received, and that no obstacles will be placed in the way of their free access to Quincy, and they will come, not as now, in squads of two and three, but by battalions. The regiment now organizing could be filled in Quincy alone, and perhaps another. We have no doubt that Gov. Yates could and will procure authority to raise more regiments, each one of which will count in filling up our quota. We see that New York and other States have obtained authority to raise a number of regiments and Illinois ought to have the same privilege. Quincy is, perhaps, the most favorable point in the State for recruiting. All depends upon the energy and activity of our citizens.