1. Reconsider our determination to make known the existence of our Imperium, and avoid all mention of an emigration to Texas.
2. Quietly purchase all Texas land contiguous to states and territories of the Union. Build small commonplace huts on these lands and place rapid fire disappearing guns in fortifications dug beneath them. All of this is to be done secretly, the money to be raised by the issuance of bonds by the Imperium.
3. Encourage all Negroes who can possibly do so to enter the United States Navy.
4. Enter into secret negotiations with all of the foreign enemies of the United States, acquainting them of our military strength and men aboard the United States war ships.
5. Secure an appropriation from Congress to hold a fair at Galveston, inviting the Governor of Texas to be present. It will afford an excuse for all Negro families to pour into Texas. It will also be an excuse for having the war ships of nations friendly to us, in the harbor for a rendezvous.
6. While the Governor is away, let the troops proceed quietly to Austin, seize the capitol and hoist the flag of the Imperium.
7. We can then, if need be, wreck the entire navy of the United States in a night; the United States will then be prostrate before us and our allies.
8. We will demand the surrender of Texas and Louisiana to the Imperium. Texas, we will retain. Louisiana, we will cede to our foreign allies in return for their aid. Thus will the Negro have an empire of his own, fertile in soil, capable of sustaining a population of fifty million people.
Belton ceased reading the paper and returned it to Bernard.
“What is your opinion of the matter, Belton?”
“It is treason,” was Belton’s terse reply.
“Are you in favor of it?” asked Bernard.
“No. I am not and never shall be. I am no traitor and never shall be one. Our Imperium was organized to secure our rights within the United States and we will make any sacrifice that can be named to attain that end. Our efforts have been to wash the flag free of all blots, not to rend it; to burnish every star in the cluster, but to pluck none out.
“Candidly, Bernard, I love the Union and I love the South. Soaked as Old Glory is with my people’s tears and stained as it is with their warm blood, I could die as my forefathers did, fighting for its honor and asking no greater boon than Old Glory for my shroud and native soil for my grave. This may appear strange, but love of country is one of the deepest passions in the human bosom, and men in all ages have been known to give their lives for the land in which they had known nothing save cruelty and oppression. I shall never give up my fight for freedom, but I shall never prove false to the flag. I may fight to keep her from floating over cesspools of corruption by removing the cesspool; but I shall never fight to restrict the territory in which she is to float. These are my unalterable opinions.”