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Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California, Held in the City of Sacramento, Dec. 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th, 1856.
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Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California, Held in the City of Sacramento, Dec. 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th, 1856.
Book (100 p. ; 22 cm.)
PROCEEDINGS OF THE SECOND ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE COLORED CITIZENS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
HELD IN THE CITY OF SACRAMENTO, DEC. 9th, 10th, 11th, AND 12th, 1856
FIRST DAY'S PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONVENTION
Morning Session, December 9th, 1856.
The delegates appointed by the colored citizens of the various Assembly Districts of the State, to hold a Convention on the 9th day of December, in the City of Sacramento, met pursuant to call at the A.M, E. Church.
Mr. J. H. Townsend, of San Francisco, Chairman of the State Executive Committee, called the meeting to order, and proposed that delegates at once proceed to appoint a Chairman and Secretary, pro tem., preparatory to the permanent organization of the Convention. On motion of J. B. Sanderson, F. G. Barbadoes, of Sacramento, was called to the chair, and, upon the motion of W. H. Newby, F.J . Vosburgh, of Yuba, was appointed Secretary, pro tem. Mr. Thomas Detter, of Sacramento, moved to appoint a committee of five to receive the same to the meeting. The motion was adopted, and the following gentlemen were appointed by the chair:
Committee on Credentials
M. S. Haynes,.....Sacramento.
E. K. Phelps,.....El Dorado.
W. H. Newby,.....San Francisco.
A. E. Dennison,..San Francisco.
The committee made the report as follows:
Number of counties represented,.............17.
Number of Delegates in convention, ........61.
Sonoma County, Geo. W. Miller,
Marin, " A. Sisco,
Shasta, " B. B. Young,
" " E. Vincent,
Yuba, " T. J. Vosburgh,
" " M. J. Brown,
" " Jacob Francis,
Nevada, " Emory Waters,
" " E. A. Booth,
San Mateo, " R. A. Hall,
Sacramento Co. F. G. Barbadoes,
" " Thomas Detter,
" " G. F. Fletcher,
" " J. M. Flowers,
" " M. S. Haynes,
El Dorado, Co., Wm. H. Hall,
" " Andrew Collins,
" " G. B. Brown,
" " F. Hutfield,
" " E. K. Phelps,
" " John Buckner,
" " J. B. Sanderson,
" " G. W. Booth,
" " F. Lawrence,
" " J. C. Mortimer,
Sacramento Co. (Con't)
" " J. B. Handy,
" " James Hubbard,
" " R. W. Freman,
" " S. Holmes,
" " David Lewis,
" " John Wilmot,
San Fran'co, W. M. Newby,
" " J. H. Townsend,
" " J. J. Moore,
" " E. J. Johnson,
" " A. G. Dennison,
" " G. W. Gordon,
" " C. B. Bass,
" " H. M. Collins,
" " Peter Anderson,
" " Wm. F. Courts,
San Fran'co Co. F. R. Carter,
" " Nathan Pointer,
" " E. H. Parker,
" " M. W. Gibbs,
" " C. H. McDougall,
" " D. P. Stokes,
" " Daniel Seals,
" " Charles Satchel,
" " J. E. Brown,
Butte, " W. H. Hall,
" " J. B. Johnson,
" " Alex. Ferguson,
Mariposa, " Thomas Duff,
San Joaquin, " Sam'l B. Hyer,
" " Wm. Robinson,
Siskiyou, " C. M. Wilson,
Placer, " I. P. Gibbs,
Napa, " C. A. Gibson,
Alameda, " W. H. Harper,
Tuolumne, " H. F. Smithl
" " N. F. Henry.
Mr. Detter moved to adopt the report of the Committee on Credentials. Mr. Sanderson inquired if members of the State Executive Committee are to be considered ex-officio members of this convention. Mr. Newby thought they should be so considered; to settle the point he would offer a motion that the names of J. B. Sanderson and Geo. W. Booth be recorded on the list of Delegates to the Convention, and that they be accredited as representing the assembly districts in which they reside; this motion was submitted as amendatory of the report of the Committee on credentials, and adopted.
The report on motion of Mr. Detter was adopted.
J. H. Townsend moved that a committee be appointed to consist of one from each county represented, to report a list of officers for the permanent organization of this convention. A discussion ensued as to the most satisfactory mode of appointing the committee as proposed in the motion of Mr. Townsend, in which Messrs. Hall, Phelps, Newby, Lewis, Henry, Moore, and others, participated.
Mr. J. B. Johnson, of Butte, suggested that in appointing this committee, we adopt the course pursued by the convention last year. On examination, Mr. Townsends motion was found to be in accordance with the course taken last year, and it was adopted without further debate. The chairman appointed the following gentlemen as the committee on nominating officers:
W.H. Harper, Alameda,
E. R. Phelps, El Dorado,
Thos. Duff, Mariposa,
Aaron Sisco, Marin,
E. A. Booth, Nevada,
C. A. Gibson, Napa,
I. Gibbs, Placer,
C. M. Wilson, Siskiyou,
B. B. Young, Shasta,
Richard Hall, San Mateo,
G. F. Fletcher, Sacramento,
S. B. Hyer, San Joaquin,
G. W. Miller, Sonoma,
W. F. Courts, San Fransisco,
W. D. Moses, Santa Clara,
N. F. Henry, Tuolumne,
Jacob Francis, Yuba.
The Nominating Committee, through their chairman, Mr. H. Harper, presented the following Report:
For President,--Wm. H. Hall, Butte County.
For Vice Presidents,--B. Young, Shasta "
" " " H.T. Smith, Tuolumne "
" " " T. Duff, Mariposa "
" " " F.G. Barbadoes, Sacramento "
" " " Wm . H. Newby, San Fran. "
For Secretaries,--J.B. Sanderson, El Dorado. "
" " " F.J. Vosburgh, Yuba "
" " " S. Howard, Sacramento "
For CHAPLAIN--Rev. J.J. Moore ...San Fran
For Door Keepers ..Mitchell S. Haynes, . . . . . . Sacramento --
" C. B. Bass, . . . . . . . . . . San Fran.
The Report was accepted.
On motion of Mr. Francis, a committee was appointed to wait upon the President, and conduct him to the chair; Messrs. Jacob, Francis, and Newport F. Henry, were by the chair appointed. The President, on being conducted to the chair, was received with applause-he addressed the convention as follows:
Gentlemen:--In electing me to preside over your deliberations, in this, the Second Convention of the Colored People of the State of California, you have conferred an honor, to which I did not dare aspire. I see around me gentlemen, who, by reason of their superior wisdom, and more extended experience of public assemblies, I deem far better qualified to discharge the duties of the position you have assigned me; for your partiality in singling me out for this honor, I beg you to accept my thanks. I shall endeavor, to the amount of my ability, to fulfill your expectations; to preside with impartiality and efficiency, assured that I may depend upon your good judgment to sustain me; young and inexperienced, I may make mistakes-have patience with me, for they will be faults of the head, not of the heart.
It is only with such feelings and such hopes I dare accept this honor. Gentlemen, the occasion which has brought us together is one of great importance. The object we seek, equal testimony in the courts of this State, is deserving of our most earnest effort; the eyes of the public are upon us, expectation is rife, our friends here and in the older States are looking with anxiety for the results of our action; as Nelson said when, about to engage at Trafalgar, "England expects every man to do his duty." expect our constituents of us. We are not without many enemies who would rejoice to see confusion and division in our midst, but let us enter upon our deliberations in a spirit of kindness and conciliation. If there ever was a people among whom union was necessary; union of purpose, of spirit, and action for the sake of success, then is it necessary to us. So peculiar are the circumstances and conditions amid which we live in our native country; of those conditions I need not speak in detail; experience has made us familiar with them. Gentlemen, for my own part, my hopes of my people in the future are strong; stronger to-day for what I see around me; I have not words to express my emotion; this scene, this occasion, I shall remember all my life with pleasure and gratitude. Since the convention of 1855, events have transpired indicating a slow, but sure and probable change in public sentiment in regard to our character as a people; the increase of intelligence, of wealth, of moral excellence, and as a consequence the development of those qualities which give dignity to men, and command for them the respect of their fellows, must inevitably secure the same results to us.
Gentlemen, our work is before us; we are fortunate in having a chart to guide us in the convention of last year; allow me to repeat, that I shall trust to your kindness and intelligence to aid me in the discharge of my duties in preserving order and in prosecuting wise and efficient action; may God speed the day when, as a people, we shall be truly free and equal.
After the applause which followed the President's speech had subsided, the chaplain, Rev. J. J. Moore was introduced, and addressed the convention as follows:
Gentlemen--I thank you for the honor conferred upon me by appointing me your chaplain. It is very gratifying to me to know, that in the beginning we acknowledged our obligations to, and our dependence upon our Creator and Heavenly Father; this is well. We are engaged in a good work, no less than that of our moral, political, and intellectual improvement. He that holds the lives of men in his keeping; that bringeth fear and trembling upon their hearts because of their evil doing. He can give us the victory over all opposition; in our labors prosecuting a righteous cause, nothing on earth can prevent our ultimate triumph. His attributes are pledged for our success, and if God is for us, who can be against us to prevent? Our claims upon our white fellow citizens have been neglected; our true character and general interests have been grossly misrepresented; but the darkness is passing and
and the light of truth begins to dawn. May God control our thoughts, our hearts, and our actions; as with his blessing, we had success in convention last year, so may we, with his favor, have success in our present convention.
Mr. T. Detter moved that a committee be appointed by the chair to prepare business for this convention. The motion was adopted, and the following gentlemen were appointed as the Business Committee,
J. H. Townsend, B. B. Young, N. F. Henry, G. W. Miller, M. S. Haynes, R. Hall, T. Detter, A. Sisco, J. Francis, T. Duff, E. R. Phelps, J. B. Johnson.
J. H. Townsend moved that a committee of seven be appointed by the chair to prepare and present to the convention a report upon the subject of a State Press, to be devoted to the interests of the colored people of the State of California. Motion adopted, and the following gentlemen appointed.
W. H. Newby, J. B. Johnson, B. B. Young, T. Duff, A. Ferguson, A. Collins, J. Francis.
F. G. Barbadoes moved that a committee of three be appointed by the chair on Finance. The motion was adopted, and the following gentlemen were appointed.
F. G. Barbadoes, G. W. Gordon, G. W. Miller.
Mr. F. Henry made a motion to appoint a committee of five to draw up a report upon the subject of Education. Mr. Henry said, that the subject of education was one of great importance, and that it should claim the interest and attention of the convention, and he earnestly hoped that the committee would be appointed immediately. The chairman remarked that he thought the motion of the gentleman from Tuolumne rather premature at the present stage of the convention; there was much other business of more immediate importance that should take precedence; he hoped the gentlemen would not deem him discourteous or opposed to the measure; he promised him every assistance for the advancement of his object, when it should at some later period come up before the convention.
Mr. Moore favored the immediate action of the convention upon Mr. Henry's motion. Mr. Francis said that his constituents had sent him there more particularly to work for the repeal of those laws which deprive us of our testimony in the Courts of California, and that he could not favor any other matter until we shall have made some progress in that direction, He was opposed to any action at present upon the question of Education. Mr. Richard Hall read the call of the convention and the objects proposed therein. He did not or would not oppose the motion, but thought that we should proceed in the order of business as proposed in the call.
Mr. Townsend thought that the report of such a committee as that which Mr. Henry contemplated, should refer especially to the laws which deprive children of color of equal school rights. He was opposed to the motion because it was not specific; he hoped that it would be withdrawn. Mr. Booth desired to be informed upon the subject; he had thought it was public sentiment that was the preventative. Mr. Townsend explained the matter. Upon a call for the question the motion was put on Mr. Henry's motion, and carried by 22 to 16.
The chair appointed the following gentlemen as the Committee on Education.
N. F. Henry, F. G. Barbadoes, C. M. Wilson, F. Hatfield, E. R. Phelps. Upon the motion of F. G. Barbadoes, the convention adjourned to 4 o'clock, P.M.
J. B. Sanderson, F. J. Vosburgh, S. Howard.
Afternoon Session. First Day.
At 4 o'clock, P.M., the convention was called to order by President Hall. The throne of grace was addressed by the chaplain, Rev. J. J. Moore. The Secretary then read the proceedings of the morning session, which were approved.
J. H. Townsend, chairman of the Business Committee, requested that the committee be allowed until to-morrow morning to prepare their report for the action of the convention. The request was granted.
Mr. Townsend then introduced the resolution, viz.: That this afternoon
be devoted to the hearing of remarks of delegates, one from each county represented, and that fifteen be allowed each delegate.
Mr. Ferguson proposed to amend the resolution by the words, "and that each county be called in the order in which the credentials were handed in" Amendment accepted, and the resolution adopted. The names were called in the following order, on the part of Sonoma county. G. W. Miller responded.
A. Sisco, Marin,
B. B. Young, Shasta,
J. Francis, Yuba,
E. A. Booth, Nevada,
R. Hall, San Mateo,
F. Hatfield, El Dorado,
N. F. Henry, Tuolumne,
D. Lewis, Sacramento,
T. Detter, "
J. H. Townsend, San Francisco,
A. Furguson, Butte,
T. Duff, Mariposa,
Wm. Robinson, San Joaquin,
C. H. Wilson, Siskiyou,
W. H. Harper, Alameda,
C. A. Gibson, Napa,
I. Gibbs, Placer.
The afternoon, from 4 to 7, was thus occupied, and much valuable information communicated, embracing statistics of population, business, wealth, and character of the colored people living in the counties represented. It is to be regretted that the various members made no notes of their remarks, as they could then have been published. Messrs. Booth and Detter having handed in notes, Mr. E. A. Booth, said:
"Mr. President and gentlemen--I am happy to meet with you on this occasion, and to respond to the call on behalf of Nevada county. The object for which we have met is a good one, and I feel deeply my want of language to express my feelings in relation thereto; but I will endeavor, briefly, to present a few facts respecting the condition of our people in my county. There are about five hundred colored people residing there, variously employed. A few are farmers and mechanics, a small number are engaged in trading, but the majority of them are miners. It is with pride I say it, we are showing to our white fellow-citizens that we have some natural abilities; we are resolved to let them see that all we want is an equal chance, an open field, and a fair fight.
If they will dig the mountains down,
We will the rivers dry;
And if they can the color raise,
We certainly can try.
"We intend to disprove the allegation that we are naturally inferior to them. The colored people of Nevada county possess property to the amount of $300,000 in mining claims, water and ditch stock, and some real estate. We have one church, but no permanent school-house; a company is about forming to build one. Immediately upon seeing the call for this convention we came together, and after some deliberation, the people chose Mr. Emory Waters and your humble servant to represent them in the convention. Our constituents feel deeply the disabilities which we suffer. Under the present laws of this State, as they refer to our testimony and the school privileges of colored children, and they are willing to join you and do their part in the struggle for our rights. It is with regret I acknowledge that we have some among us who are indifferent to their condition, but I trust that all such will soon see and feel that every colored man is the victim of bitter prejudice and unjust laws, and that they can lend their influence to change the one and abate the other; to this end how important it is that we should be united; if it be true that 'union is strength,' then is it also true, that division is weakness? Who then speaks of disunion or weakness? Brothers in suffering and oppression! our experience teaches us that by union only can we accomplish the purpose for which we have assembled. Let us drive out from our midst all local or sectional prejudice; we are all brothers, whether from Missouri or Maine, from New York or Alabama; crushed by the same power, let us be actuated by the same motives, the same aspirations; then down with the demon discord, and from to-day let us labor in union for the common good."
Mr. Detter said--"Mr. President, there seems to be a feeling of the deepest interest manifested here to-day. I rejoice at it, and I sincerely
hope that love and unity may govern us in our actions. Why have we convened together? Because the law, relating to our testimony in the Courts of California, is but a shadow. It affords no protection to our families or property. I amy see the assassin plunge his dagger to the vitals of my neighbor, yet, in the eyes of the law, I see it not. I may overhear the robber or incendiary plotting the injury or the utter ruin of my fellow citizen, and yet, in the judgment of the law, I hear it not. The robbery may follow, the conflagration may do its work, and the author of the evil may go unpunished, because only a colored man saw the act or heard the plot.
"Under these circumstances who are really injured and losers by the law? It deprives colored men from testifying in cases where white persons are parties. Is it not evident that the white citizen is an equal sufferer with us? When will the people of this State learn that justice to the colored man is justice to themselves? Why, in the despotic lands of Europe the humblest servant may approach his sovereign, present the statement of his grievance, and rarely does he fail to obtain redress; but here, in this boasted land of liberty and equality, where the people are the sovereigns, the laws but express the popular sense of right; the judges interpret, and the courts enforce them. What redress have we from the legal tribunal? What protection from injustice have we? Even the ministers of the law are often compelled to stifle their convictions of right or wrong, and do violence to their sense of justice under this enactment. Mr. President, I do not believe this state of things can last; the people of this State cannot be interested in upholding and continuing an act which never has been and never can be made compatible with the safety and security of the lives and property of those whom, by a gross sophism, it assumes to benefit and protect. It is an act alike disgraceful to the intelligence of this State, and a foul blot upon the pages of her Statute Book. Friends, let us feel assured that a brighter day is opening, the public mind is awakening, let us continue to hope and work for this change, and may heaven crown our efforts with success."
Seven o'clock, the hour of adjournment having arrived, the President declared the convention adjourned to Wednesday, 10 o'clock, A.M.
J. B. Sanderson, F. J. Wosburgh, S. Howard,} Sec's
SECOND DAYS PROCEEDINGS
Morning Session.--Dec. 10th, 1856.
Convention met at 10 1/2 o'clock. President Hall called the Delegates to order. Proceedings were opened with the reading of the 15th chapter of Proverbs, and prayer by the Chaplain. Minutes of the previous meeting read and approved. Messrs. Lewis Mortimore, of El Dorado, and Charles Gibson, of Napa counties, presented their credentials, and were invited to take their seats as members.
B. B. Young said he desired to avail himself of the present opportunity to thank the Convention for the honor they had conferred in making him one of the Vice Presidents. He hoped that the action of the Convention would redound to the honor of its members, and the success of our cause.
Mr. Newby remarked, "I hope that Delegates will endeavor to be puntual in their attendance on the Sessions of the Convention, so that we may commence business according to the rules which have been adopted. If it is obligatory upon the President to adjourn at the hour named in those rules; it is equally obligatory upon him to open the Sessions at the hour specified therein."
Mr. Gordon moved that Mr. David Seals, of San Francisco, be invited to take a seat as a Delegate. Motion adopted.
Mr. George W. Booth moved that Mr. Lawrence, of Placerville, be invited to take a seat as a Delegate.
Mr. Newby objected; he said, "I hope this motion will not pass. The colored people of Placerville, whence Mr. Lawrence comes, have been guilty of great dereliction of duty. Placerville refused to send Delegates to this Convention, at least none have come from the people. They are said to have
treated the authority of the last Convention with neglect, and practiced bad faith towards the Executive. I do not say Mr. Lawrence has done this personally, neither would I be guilty of discourtesy towards him. But this Convention should have more self-respect than to receive a Delegate from the Placervillians until the matter charged upon them is satisfactorily explained. The colored people have sent us here to act for them; it is an earnest work in which we are engaged."
Mr. Booth explained; he said, "my idea in proposing Mr. Lawrence was this: that gentleman is in possession of facts respecting the action of the people of Placerville; admit him as a member, and you afford him an opportunity of stating those facts."
Mr. Townsend hoped the question would be taken, and the matter disposed of one way or the other. He thought we were losing valuable time upon a point of slight consequence.
Mr. Ferguson said, "let us have no informality in our action. I have ever noticed, that in public assemblies, haste and informality generally result in failure, and that formality is the basis of success. The gentleman from Placerville once admitted, you will have established a bad precedent. You will have cast off that form and dignity of action, which, as a Convention, gives you influence and importance with the people."
Mr. Newby said, "it is better to be just ourselves, and at the same time to the people of Placerville. Society makes laws to punish offences, to prevent crime, or its repetition. Society assumes and exercises this right as necessary from the nature of things. The colored people have delegated us to act for them to a certain extent, for specific purposes; in working out these purposes, these results, the details must be followed and enforced. Here is a case, for which, as well too for ourselves, we are in some sort compelled to make a law. We claim the right to enforce a moral necessity, and to denounce those who, having acknowledged the Convention, and their interest in the success of its action, yet utterly disregard the obligations to the Convention which they had voluntarily assumed. It may be right to be courteous, and most certainly I feel no bitterness, my words are spoken
More in sorrow than in anger.
The people of Placerville are guilty of something; a wrong has already been committed; I consider that she has been arraigned, and until purged of that wrong, she is not entitled to the same courtesies with other counties; courtesies which we yield to others as their unquestioned right, as we claim them for ourselves while acting in good faith. The question of courtesy is not involved in this proceeding. Placerville holds the relation to this Convention of a person charged with an offence; he is not yet judged; but the onus probandi; the burden of proof rests upon him. From these circumstances can you treat her Delegates as you do those from the other counties? No! Some of your best men, members of your Executive Committee, visited Placerville to settle certain business agreeably to the action of the last Convention; that they were not successful, let Placerville bear the blame; for my own part, I hold that she has treated us most shamefully, most disgracefully."
Mr. Francis thought that we were pre-judging the case; no specific charge has been made; until this is done, we cannot decide upon the facts; we want information.
Mr. C. M. Wilson said, "I hope the gentleman who made the motion under discussion will withdraw it until the facts are ascertained; let us not be in too great haste; if the people of Placerville have acted wrongfully, let us know the facts."
Mr. N. Henry said, 'the gentleman from Placerville is a stranger to me, and I can have no prejudice against him; I would go for letting him come in at once, but it is said there is wrong, there is trouble among our people at Placerville; at present, there are no definite charges. If it had been said that this gentleman was implicated in the wrong, I should be against his admission; but if he had not a participation therein, then let us receive him."
Mr. Emory Waters said, "are there not Delegates from El Dorado county in the Convention? If you have already received Delegates from that county, it seems to me you should let those from Placerville come in; I think it will be inconsistent to refuse them; if they have troubles, let them settle them
among themselves, refusing Placerville, it seems to me, will be reflecting upon the county, and equivalent to placing all our people there under ban."
Mr. H. M. Collins, asked, "is Mr. Booth a Delegate from El Dorado county?"
Mr. Booth said, "I am not sent as a Delegate from Placerville, though a resident of that place. I am here as a member of the Executive Committee, appointed by the Convention of last year. The people there did, at first, propose to send Mr. Lawrence to this Convention, with three other gentlemen, but afterwards decided to send no Delegate. As Mr. Lawrence is here, I wished the Convention to receive him that we might get his statement of facts."
Mr. Moore said, "we can avoid getting into trouble ourselves; let us go right; the question is, has the gentleman got credentials? Is he delegated by the people of Placerville? Delegate means one sent and empowered to act for others. Is he sent to this Convention? This will be the best way of coming to a decision upon the question of admitting or not."
Mr. Ferguson, though averse under ordinary circumstances to shutting of discussion, "because I am in favor of the largest liberty, liberty of speech. Yet, it is plain we may not otherwise be able to decide as to the propriety or impropriety of receiving the gentleman from Placerville, and for the purpose of facilitating business, I will move that the previous question be now put." The motion being seconded, was sustained.
The President then put the motion of Mr. Booth, that J. F. Lawrence, of Placerville, be invited to take a seat as a Delegate, and it was carried.
Mr. Peter Anderson stated that he intended, during the Session of the Convention, to bring in a series of resolutions in favor of a State Press.
Mr. M. S. Haynes moved that a committee of three be appointed to investigate the charges presented against Placerville, and report upon the same to the Convention.
H. M. Collins proposed to amend by appointing five on that committee; amendment accepted. The chair appointed Messrs. H. M. Collins, E. A. Booth, Richard Hall, Charles M. Wilson, William H. Thomas.
Mr. S. Howard asked permission to read a series of resolutions--granted.
The resolutions having been read, were, by vote, laid on the table. The Business Committee, by its chairman, J. H. Townsend, reported the following preamble and series of resolutions.
Whereas, The state and condition of the colored citizens of California is one of political as well as social debasement, and calls loudly upon them to exert themselves in behalf of reform, and to unite their energies to repeal and overthrow the cruel and unjust laws of this State which are imposed upon them, and
Whereas, We are satisfied that our condition, according to the opportunities enjoyed, will bear a favorable comparison with that of any other class of men in this State; and being fully determined to use every proper exertion to obtain those great and inestimable rights for which our fathers fought and bled, in common with others, that they might secure them as an inheritance to us, their children. Therefore, be it
Resolved, That we will use every means in our power to exhibit a true state of our condition, repudiating the base slanders and falsehoods that have been fabricated against us.
Report of Business Committee
Resolved, That we will continually remind our white fellow-citizens that they are imposing upon us the same wrongs and grievances which caused their forefathers to rebel against Great Britain, and to appeal to their arms, and the God of battles.
Resolved, That the laws of the State of California disfranchising its colored citizens, on the ground of color, are a foul blot upon the Statutes of the State, having no precedent in the annals of the world, unworthy of, and a disgrace to, the enlightened and progressive spirit of the American people.
Resolved, That we claim our rights in this country, as any other class, not as citizens by adoption, but by right of birth; that we hail with delight its onward progress; sympathise with it in its adversity; and would freely
cast our lot in the fortunes of battle, to protect her against foreign invasion.
Resolved, That the laws of evidence in judicial investigation, should be accommodated to, and identified with, the laws of the human mind, and, therefore, every force and circumstance having a tendency to throw light upon the subject under investigation, should be heard and judged of according to their relative weight and value, and with reference to all the circumstances of credit or discredit connected with them.
Resolved, That past experience has abundantly shown, that all attempts to establish artificial standards of credibility, depending upon such tests as race, color, creed, or country, are as unwise as they are unjust; that they serve only on the one side to obstruct the investigation of truth, by the erection of useless barriers; and, on the other, to defraud the excluded classes, while, at the same time, they subject them in their lives, in their persons, and in their property, to outrage and injustice, with impunity, from the more favored classes.
Resolved, That the true and only tests of credibility in a witness, are his intelligence, integrity, and disinterestedness; and that, as a race, we are willing to be subject to these tests, to be applied in each case as it occurs, and that we ought not to be subject to any other.
Resolved, That to a class of people, the right of testimony is as valuable as the right of self-defence-a right which no generous foe will deny even to an enemy.
Resolved, That we recommend the creation of a contigent fund, to be controlled by a committee, having discretionary power, to enable them to carry forward any measures that have for their object amelioration of our condition.
Resolved, That a State Executive Committee be appointed by the Convention, with full powers to adopt such measures as may be deemed expedient to accomplish the objects in view.
Resolved, That the common law, and the common school, are the only hope of a free and enlightened people; the former their shield, and the latter, their guide; and no people can be prosperous and happy who are deprived of these inestimable rights of God to man.
Resolved, That the character, integrity, industry, and intelligence of the colored citizens of California, will compare favorably with that of any class of men in this State, and are deserving of better treatment from the authorities than that to which they are exposed, by the legalizing of the principle (as applied to them) that "might makes right."
Resolved, That we will memorialize the Legislature at its approaching session, for the repeal of so much of the 3d and 4th paragraphs of Section 394, of an Act passed April 29th, 1851, entitled An Act to regulate proceedings in civil cases in the Courts of Justice in this State," as relates to negroes; also, to repeal so much of Section 14, of an Act entitled An Act concerning crimes and punishments," passed April 16th, 1850, as relates to negroes and mulattoes, and which disqualifies negroes and mulattoes from being competent witnesses in the Courts of Justice in this State, in cases or proceedings to which white persons are parties.
The Report of the Business Committee was accepted on motion of Mr. Anderson.
Mr. Henry moved to adopt the Report in sections:
Mr. Ferguson suggested that the preamble should be in order: adopted after the resolutions.
Resolutions No. 1 being read again, and upon the motion of Mr. Newby, adopted.
Resolution No. 2 read, and on motion of Mr. Barbadoes, adopted.
Resolution No. 3 read, Mr. Robinson moved its adoption--carried,
Resolution No. 4 was read, pending a motion to adopt it Mr. Newby said:
"I am opposed to the language of this resolution, 'that we hail with delight its onward progress;' no man can expect me to do this; a country whose prosperity and wealth has been built upon our sweat and blood; to say we hail its progress with delight, is to make ourselves ridiculous; to tell this to America--to the world--is to volunteer the acknowledgement of a degree
of servility, that would make us undeserving the sympathy and respect of just men.
We freely cast in our lots in the fortunes of battle, to protect against foreign invasion; this may be patriotism--but patriotism may be a vice; in a white man-- a freeman, it may be worthily indulged; as an American, the events of his country's history, and the circumstances of her present condition, may indeed stir within him sentiments of pride and love of country; but to the colored people, what is the history of the past, in America, but the history of wrongs and cruelties such as no other people upon the face of the earth have been forced to endure? The same institutions that bless the white man, are made to curse the colored man.
Shall we say 'we will protect against foreign invasion?' God knows I speak advisedly--I would hail the advent of a foreign army upon our shores, if that army provided liberty to me and my people in bondage; this may be thought ultra, but in saying it I am influenced by the same motive and spirit which influenced [Patrick] Henry, when he said to the burgesses of Virginia, 'give me liberty, or give me death!' words that made men's blood move fast within them, and caused them instinctively to clutch the handles of their swords.
"Henry was thought at first to be bold and ultra; but history regards him as a brave and noble man. We are wronged; let us declare it openly to the world. England has done her duty towards us; she has abolished slavery in her colonies, and is doing what she can to destroy the system from the earth. In the great conflict of opinion that is stirring the nations, her example, her influence is on the side of freedom.
"Would we, could we do battle against England? There is in men an innate sense of justice--we feel it; let us not stultify ourselves. I trust the resolution will not be adopted."
Mr. Henry said:--"I love my country, with all her faults, I love her," but I cannot hail with joy her progress; if, by progress, is meant the acquition of Territory and the extension of slavery therein, as in the case of Texas, Kansas and Nebraska. If we were capable of hailing such a progress, we were fit for nothing else, and ought to be enslaved.
"It is said to be impolitic to express such sentiments; but is it right for the oppressed to tell their oppressors of their wrongs, face to face.
"As to shouldering our muskets and marching to the field of battle to fight against foreign invaders; our fathers did that, pouring out their blood, and giving their lives freely for American liberties; how were they, how have their posterity been rewarded? with chains and oppression. Look at the laws of the United States; look at the public documents which illustrate her public sentiment; how prevalent the spirit of prejudice and hatred against the colored man; they have injured, and therefore hate us; let a different course be pursued-let the whites put away their prejudice, and do a just part by us; and, when they do this, we shall feel that we have a country--that patriotism is a noble virtue, and like our fathers, we will shoulder our muskets, and expose our bodies, ever ready to defend our country against foreign invaders or domestic foes, to protect her institutions, and promote her progress."
Mr. D. Lewis said--"Mr. President, it seems to me, we are traveling out of the record; I supposed we had met for a specific purpose; this resolution is leading us away into a maize of inextricable confusion; let us come back and attend to the matters proposed in the call for the convention."
Mr. J. Hubbard said:--"The only objection I have to the resolution is, it is not clear in its language. Like Mr. Henry, I love the land of my birth, and hail its progress in the right; but the laws which sustain her slave pens and prisons, her auction blocks, and the selling of human beings, the branding of men and the scourging of women, the separation of man and wife, parents and children, I hate them. Fight for the protection of these, no! Men identified with those who have been and still are the victims of these oppressors; and, let it not be supposed that we could fight against any country that has repudiated this system. Why did the pilgrims leave England, protesting against the laws, the institutions of their country? Because they could not enjoy freedom of conscience, and religious toleration, popular history says, now, the puritans were right. Americans know they were right
in that open protest, at home and abroad, even against the laws and policy of their native country."
Mr. Moore said:--"If it is to build up slavery, that is quite another thing. I do not think this is the intended meaning of the language; neither do I think the friends need to fear that the country will make any more progress in that direction. It is true the south continues to threaten, that if she is not allowed to bully the people, and drive the country further in this progress backwards, thus extending the area of slavery, and consolidating their power, so that they may suppress free thought, free speech, and a free press, break down the last vestige of liberty, all but the liberty for themselves to be the national masters and overseers; why then they will dissolve the Union. But we know these threats, as the politicians say, are for buncombe; the south don't mean it; they, indeed, dread nothing so much.
"But, then, I don't think it possible for them to get the North to go any further downward; they are beginning to combine in self-defense, acting upon the principle of "the greatest good to the greatest number," with the definition that that is "number one." The people of Yankeedom deserve no special credit from us; it is not sympathy with our condition; but whencesoever comes this manliness in them, I am glad to see it. Slavery is welding the chains about the white man, and they are galling him; herein too is a sign of hope; taking up arms is scarcely compatible with my profession; if it were, I am inclined to think I should 'right about face.' "
Mr. F. G. Barbadoes said:--"It is with sorrow that I have listened to the intemperate expressions uttered by gentlemen in opposition to the fourth resolution. I do not entirely endorse that resolution, for the reason that I think some of its expressions unnecessary at this time. I speak of that portion referring to invasion by a foreign foe. Our country, thank God, is not menaced by such a probability; should that time come, I doubt not, that the colored man will be found as he ever has been in all the wars of America, fighting for home and liberty.
"With the affairs of England or other foreign nations, we have nothing to do at this time. With the question of Slavery, and the Union, we have nothing to say. This is not the time or place for the introduction of such inflammable and discordant subjects.
"We are here as American citizens, amenable to the laws and claiming their protection by right of nativity, while acting upon a matter strictly local in its nature, benefits, and effects, viz., the removal of a special grievance in the laws of our adopted State; a grievance which leaves us without a shadow of safety or protection for our families and property from the incursions of the robber, incendiary, or assassin. It is to the carrying out of this purpose that we should gather all our strength, and concentrate all our efforts.
"I appeal to the good sense of this Convention, if the introduction of all matter not directly touching the points for which we have assembled, should not be promptly suppressed? We cannot, in justice to our constituents, allow such subjects to have occupancy in this Convention. I trust that the resolution may be withdrawn, and that harmony may be restored."
Mr. Newby said:--"Mr. Barbadoes dislikes the language used in reference to this resolution; he calls it rash, incendiary, and yet he is opposed to the resolution; yes, to that part which refers to foreign invasion. What fallacy is this! The policy recommended by gentlemen may be very good, but let us not promulgate a lie. How long shall we be governed by this degrading policy? I do not believe it necessary that we should assume a position so wanting in respect; we concede much to the public continually in our intercourse with them, by our words and actions, by the humility of our general deportment; it is not necessary we should be hypocritical; neither interest or true policy so dictate; right thinking men would despise us for it. We have permitted this sort of policy to govern our conduct long enought, not that we should make it a point to offend, but speak frankly and truthfully. Intelligent whites know and appreciate intelligence wherever they see it; they despise cowardice and duplicity; we know that we should act, as they know they would in the same circumstances, because it is right so to act.
"The Petitions sent in to the Legislature--and were respectful [illegible] humble. Should we fall down upon our knees and kiss their feet? There is no necessity for this; let the people know what we feel and what we think;
that where there is wrong, we hate it; where right is, we love it; we cannot deceive the whites; they will know better if they give a thought to it, and in this resolution would see a lie."
Mr. George Gordon said--"One would think, from the remarks of gentlemen, that we were disposed to imitate 'Bully Brooks,' or some other Southern fire-eater. I am opposed to the course proposed by those gentlemen who would have us proceed with such a high hand, as though it were in our power to enforce rule or ruin. It becomes us to be cautious, in view of the circumstances of our position; we are soliciting the attention of the people to the injustice of the laws which deprive us of testimony, and our children of public schooling. When we shall go to the State House asking for the repeal of those laws, we shall petition respectfully. Let us not here adopt any language or deportment incompatible with our attitude as petitioners there, or that is likely to prejudice the success of those petitions."
Mr. Handy said--"The last clause of the resolution I am opposed to; but with the language respecting the progress of our country I agree, if it refers to progress in wisdom and righteousness. Righteousness exalteth a nation, while sin is a reproach to any people."
Mr. Townsend said--"I did not expect this resolution to pass without opposition, and perhaps alteration in its phraseology; the language of the resolution is plain; it is the unqualified statement of a fact, the connection between our actions and our words. We are interested in the progress of this nation; we are benefitted by her general progress in learning, in the arts and sciences, and in her material prosperity; there are men, a great number of whom care for nothing but wealth and power, the almighty dollar being their God; but there are also men who measure the greatness of a nation by its attainments in intellectual culture in science, in the arts, and in moral excellence; the growth and progress of a nation in its parts, the evil with the good is simultaneous. If this country has made progress in the amount of its Slave territory, the number of its Slave victims, the strength and scope of its bad policy, so has it made progress in knowledge, general education, religious toleration, moral science, in spreading the influences and developing the results of a high civilization.
"In the former case, as we have suffered, we deprecate progress in that direction as going backward. It is the increase of the diameter of the circle at the opposite side. So in the latter case upon this side, we have benefitted in many ways; there is such a thing as the world's public opinion; we have hope in the progress of the nations, each extending its influence as so many circles, cutting the plain of, and mingling with our own. Liberty, truth, and humanity, must and will prevail. By her general progress in all that is high and noble we are benifitted. I said there is a connection between the words of the latter part of the resolution and our actions; it is so. At home, by our firesides, we are patriots; we glory in the patriotism of our fathers, in the success of the American arms; even in the Mexican war, how many of our young men went with the American troops to that country and endured hunger, sickness, privation, and exposure of life, such as the army often endured."
Mr. Newby--"In what capacity did they go, and from what motives"
Mr. Townsend--"I am as sensitive as any one in regard to the grovelling conduct of some of our people, and have ever been opposed to a certain sort of servile phraseology indulged in by them in their intercourse with the whites.
"But let us make the case personal. How would we act in the event of an invasion, in our somewhat altered circumstances? In the last war colored men volunteered to drive the invader from the plantations. Invaders are not wont to respect private rights or regard private wrongs. As property holders, as fathers, as husbands, interested in the general observance of good laws, the preservation of social order, in maintaining inviolate the rights of property and the sanctity of home, how would we act? War is a state which suspends all laws except those established for its own efficiency. It is a very different thing from the practiced evolutions at the parade grounds, the ornamental drills in our thoroughfares. The spirit of war aroused, its maddening taste for blood, the wild excitement of license and passion; we do not expect to find in each soldier a Cincinnatus,1 a Scipio,2 or a Washington. Are we not
interested in should we not hail the progress of this nation? Yes! and in the hour of trial we shall act in accordance with this resolution."
Mr. H. M. Collins said--"It is not always right to wait for public sentiment before taking a position; it is better to go for the right and wait for public sentiment to come to it. Speaking of what we would do in case of an invasion, we may judge of the future by the past. At the time of the Mexican war, our young men at Pittsburgh held a meeting to decide upon the propriety of going to Mexico; the elder heads opposed the plan, and our Young America stayed at home; but what was the fact? If we did not oppose Mexico directly, we did indirectly; it made the fact evident, too, that colored young men, under similar circumstances, are influenced by similar motives and feelings with the whites."
Mr. C. M. Wilson said--"Being on the Business Committee I wrote this resolution; all the resolutions that come from the Committee are not approved by them; it is their duty to arrange and present business, and it is for the Convention to take such action upon it as they may deem expedient or right; that can only be determined upon by the exchange of opinions. If gentlemen think that the adoption of this resolution will be productive of good, why not adopt it? For my own part I think it will, because it is conciliatory and in harmony with the popular American view of things."
Mr. Detter said--"Let us proceed to take the vote upon this resolution. There are, probably, many gentlemen who are in favor of it without alteration, while others regard it as stating what who would modify or reject. Let us now dispose of it."
Mr. J. Francis proposed to amend, by striking out all the words after "sympathise with it in its adversity."
Mr. Ferguson said--"Upon the whole, I like the resolution as it is; in dealing with enemies, my course is to oppose them with their own weapons; knife against knife, pistol against pistol: still, gentlemen, it cannot be denied, that we are surrounded by peculiar circumstances; while acting in the midst of enemies, it is necessary we should be politic.
"Much has been said of progress; what is progress? It is to go forward to the light before us to new and higher ideas; for example, history and experience show us the defects of old customs, manners, and institutions, and also prove their excellencies. Progress is to reject the evil, to accept the good, and go forward trusting in development. Infinite power and wisdom has established the laws of progressive development; we limit that power and wisdom when we doubt the possibility of progress beyond present attainments. The difference between the Fejee Islander and Daniel Webster illustrates progress; so there is improvement all the way from the lowest barbarism to the highest point of present civilization, and beyond, interminably.
"Republicanism is progress from the old politics. New York and Ohio were thoroughly pro-slavery; their late political action is the result of progressive ideas; it is the kind of progress we hail; and there is a propriety in our saying it to the world as showing that we see, weigh, and appreciate it.
"Again, why should we not declare our readiness to defend our country against foreign invasion? We claim this as our country; the love of our native land; as it is a duty, so it is natural; we feel its power and acknowledge its obligations; wrongs I know are inflicted upon us, but we are struggling for right, strong in the hope that it will prevail; in the trial hour, as our fathers did, we would again prove the justice of our claims, and no sooner refuse to defend our country than the whites. It is, indeed, simply the defence of our bread and butter; to this point it comes at length."
The vote upon the amendment of Mr. Francis being call for, was taken, and the amendment adopted.
Mr. Barbadoes moved to recommit the resolution--motion lost.
Mr. Ferguson moved to adopt the resolution as amended.
The vote was taken with the following result--Ayes, 27; Noes, 29.
Resolution No. 5 being read, was, on motion of Mr. Newby, recommitted, for the purpose of altering its phraseology.
Resolutions 6, 7, and 8, were also recommitted.
Resolutions 9,10, 11, and 12 were read and adopted.
Resolution No. 13 was again read, pending a motion to adopt.
Mr. Newby said--"I hope this resolution will be recommitted, and the Committee instructed to erase the word 'Mulatto,' from it. Such a word ought not to be used in application to any class of men; it is of Spanish origin, false in its signification, referring, as it does, to the mule. If it simply means cross mixture, the word will apply with equal propriety to the mixture among the divisions of the race, without a drop of African blood in their veins."
Mr. Townsend said--"I do not perceive, in the remarks of my friend, Mr. Newby, any good practical reason for discarding the word 'Mulatto;' it is commonly used to designate a class; the public are familiar with it, and so are we; as generally used no opprobrium is intended, besides it is the term used in the Statute; to have it erased from the Statute, is, indeed, the object for which we are laboring. I trust this resolution will be adopted as it is."
The hour of 2 o'clock having arrived, the Convention adjourned to 4 o'clock.
J. B. Sanderson, F. J. Vosburgh, S. Howard,} Secy's.
At 4 o'clock the President called the Convention to order, and prayer was offered by the Chaplain.
Minutes of the Morning Session read and approved.
Resolution No. 13, of the series, reported by the Business Committee, pending at the adjournment of the Morning Session, again read.
Mr. Henry moved its adoption--carried.
J. H. Townsend moved that Mr. Isaiah Gibbs, of Placer county, be invited to take a seat in the Convention as a member--motion adopted.
The series of resolutions presented by Mr. S. Howard, at the Forenoon Session were taken up, on motion of J. Hubbard, and referred to the Business Committee.
Mr. P. Anderson asked leave to read a series of resolutions--granted. Mr. Anderson's resolutions related to the establishing, conduct, and support of a State Press.
J. Francis moved that the resolutions of Mr. Anderson be referred to the Committee appointed to report upon the subject of a State Press--carried.
Mr. Francis thought it would facilitate business, if gentlemen wishing to present resolutions would place them in the hands of the Business Committee, and let them come before the Convention through that medium.
Mr. Newby read an article from the Sacramento spirit of the Age, of December 10th, as follows.
CONVENTION OF COLORED MEN
This body met yesterday morning in the Seventh street African Methodist Church, and after electing officers, etc., adjourned until the afternoon. Nothing of importance occurred in the last session. They met again this morning; there were about one hundred persons in attendance, and a more decent appearing body of men we have not seen any where together.
The Rev. Mr. Moore, acting as Chaplain, initiated the proceedings with prayer and the reading of Scripture, making practical application of certain passages, by a few piquant remarks as he went along. The elocution of the speaker was very distinct and natural, contrasting strongly with the nasal mannerism quite common in the pulpit.
The article elicited expressions of gratification from several gentlemen, and was approved by all.
Mr. Francis read resolution No. 14, Resolved, That hereafter, all matter extraneous and foreign to the three great objects set forth in the call of this Convention be suppressed. This resolution was adopted.
Mr. George W. Booth presented a resolution as follows:
Resolved, That this Convention adjourn sine die, tomorrow, (Thursday) afternoon, at 2 o'clock--not seconded.
H. M. Collins, chairman of the Committee appointed to examine into and report upon the facts in the case of Placerville, in accordance with a resolution passed at the Morning Session, presented the following
In respect to the charges brought against Placerville, your Committee beg to say that it is ascertained that the sum of $146 was raised by the ladies of Placerville, with the understanding it was to be sent to the State Executive Committee, to be used by them in carrying out the purposes of the Convention last year. This money was deposited for security in the hands of Armstead Pollock, of El Dorado county.
During the present month, when the people of Placerville met in public meeting to appoint Delegates to attend this Convention, a proposition was made to send four Delegates.
Another proposal was made to take funds from the amount collected last year to pay the expense of those Delegates.
A majority of the citizens decided against this last proposal, and finally decided to send none.
The party in favor of using the $146 being thwarted and disappointed, hastily called a meeting on Saturday, Dec. 6th at the unusual hour of 9 o'clock, A.M., got possession of the money, voted to divide the same among the twelve ladies who had collected it, which was done accordingly.
Among those who voted for the division were William Quinn, George Anderson, James Butler, F. Lawrence, J. Smith, C. Smith, J. Moss, P. Williams, Ray, Abernethey, etc.
Messrs. Quinn, Butler, Anderson, and Lawrence, were nominated as Delegates.
Such are substantially the facts in the case of Placerville, as interrogated by your Committee: H. M. Collins, E. A. Booth, Richard Hall, C. M. Wilson, William H. Thomas.
The report was accepted, and ordered to be placed on record. The Committee on Education was called upon to report. N. Henry, chairman of that Committee, stated they were not yet ready to report; he requested that Delegates would give in their statistics, and asked for further time.
Mr. Phelps, of the Finance Committee, presented a resolution from that Committee.
Resolved, That each Delegate be assessed in the sum of $2.50, to defray the expenses of the Convention.
Mr. Hayne proposed to amend by substituting $4 each.
Messrs. Francis and Thomas supported the amendment, and Messrs. Newby, Moore, and Wilmot opposed it.
Mr. Henry moved to refer the whole question of the assessment of members, back into the hands of the Committee of Finance--carried.
C. M. Wilson, of the Business Committee, introduced resolution No. 16,
Resolved, That one Delegate from each county be appointed to collect funds in his respective county; said funds to be placed at the disposal of the State Executive Committee, and that each person so appointed by this Convention, be authorized to appoint others in the different precincts to collect funds therein for the same purpose.
Mr. Townsend proposed to amend resolution 16, and appoint two in each county-amendment accepted.
Mr. Phelps wished to amend still further he thought the Convention should appoint four in each county.
Mr. Harper was in favor of referring this resolution back into the hands of the Business Committee, with instructions.
Mr. Newby said--"The Business Committee are not compelled to report back resolutions so referred; they are often otherwise disposed of we had better act upon this question now."
Mr. Anderson thought gentlemen were wasting time in the discussion of a matter of so little importance. He moved to lay resolution 16, with the amendment of Mr. Phelps, on the table.
The motion was seconded and carried.
Mr. T. Detter, in behalf of Mr. Hyer, offered resolution No. 17,
Resolved, That this Convention appoint one person in each county to distribute Petitions, and direct the circulation of the same for names, to be presented to the Legislature during the approaching Session. Voted to refer to the Business Committee.
Mr. F. G. Barbadoes offered, in behalf of F. Hatfield, the 18th resolution,
That we recommend the printing of 1,000 copies of the proceedings of this Convention, and that each Delegate be furnished with five copies.
Referred to the Business Committee.
George W. Booth moved that a committee of three be appointed on publication.
J. M. Flowers suggested the propriety of appointing five instead. Voted to lay the matter on the table.
Mr. Henry offered a motion to appoint a Committee of seven, to present a report on statistics--motion adopted.
The Chair appointed the following gentlemen--P. Anderson, E. A. Booth, John Buckner, James Hubbard, David Lewis, Frank Hatfield, Minor J. Brown.
Mr. Newby expressed the hope that the Committee, in making up the statistics of the colored people, would accept no vague and uncertain statements; certainly none will be published.
Mr. Anderson remarked that verbal statements were received last year, and when they are reliable, there can be no objection to receiving them.
Mr. Henry said--"In Tuolumne county we have been particular in collecting our statistics. Delegates and the public may rely on their correctness when published."
Mr. G. W. Booth read a resolution as follows:
Resolved, That this Convention adjourn sine die, at 3 o'clock, tomorrow afternoon, and that we hold but one session tomorrow. It was tabled.
The chairman of the Business Committee again reported resolution No. 17, of Mr. Hyer, amended with the proposition to appoint four persons in each county to circulate petitions-voted to adopt.
The meetings of Committees were announced, and with benediction, the Convention adjourned to Thursday morning.
J. B. Sanderson, F. J. Vosburgh, S. Howard, } Secy's.
THIRD DAY'S PROCEEDINGS
Morning Session.--Dec. 11th, 1856.
At 10 o'clock President Hall called the Convention to order. The XIXth Psalm was read, and prayer offered by the Chaplain.
The Rules of the Convention being called for by R. H. Hall; they were read by the Secretary.
The Chairman of the Business Committee reported a series of resolutions, as follows:
Resolved, That we recommend the immediate printing of petition heads, to be furnished to the members of the Convention.
Whereas, The Constitution of this State denies us the right of suffrage, the only safeguard of a free people, and
Whereas, We believe such a course is not only unjust, proscriptive and cruel, but inconsistent with the spirit of our Constitution, based, as it is, upon the doctrine that 'all men are created free and equal' therefore
Resolved, That we will use all lawful means in our power to secure the abrogation of the provision which deprives us of this right.
Resolved, That as a means of elevating themselves, we recommend to the colored people of California, the engaging in agricultural pursuits; also, the cultivation of a knowledge of the arts and sciences, believing it would tend to dissipate prejudice and proscription, by establishing the fact of our ability to compete with our oppressors in those branches requiring practical skill, ingenuity, and high intelligence.
Resolved, That we deprecate the excessive use of intoxicating liquors, and the practice of gambling, and recommend the adoption of some means
calculated to suppress those vices, believing they tend to degrade and impoverish those who indulge in them.
On motion of Mr. Gordon, the report was accepted.
Voted upon the motion of Mr. Geo. W. Booth, to adopt, seriatim.
First section, No. 19, adopted, on motion of G. W. Booth.
Second section, the Preamble and Resolution No. 20, adopted on motion of W. H. Thomas.
Third section, 20th resolution, adopted on motion of F. R. Carter.
Fourth section, resolution No. 21, on motion of J. M. Flowers, was adopted.
Fifth section, adopted on motion of W. H. Hall, of El Dorado.
Of Preamble and Resolution No. 20, N. Henry is author; of 21 and 22, J. M. Flowers.
The report having been adopted, J. J. Moore expressed himself as much gratified at the progress the Convention had made in the adoption of so many excellent resolutions; the only thing he regretted was, that resolution No. 22 had not been couched in language more strongly condemnatory of intemperance and gambling among the colored people; he felt deeply, and hence expressed himself in emphatic language when speaking of those evils. He hoped the time would soon come when they would be eradicated from amongst us.
F. G. Barbadoes, Chairman of the Finance Committee reported progress. Finance Committee instanced on motion of H. M. Collins to adopt such measures to raise funds for the expenses of the Convention as they deem for best.
The report of a Committee on a State Press being called for, W. H. Newby, chairman of that committee, stated that they were not ready to report.
Committee to report upon the subject of Education called for: Mr. Henry, its chairman, said the committee had not completed its report.
Mr. Townsend thought as the committee were not ready with their report, it would be a waste of time simply to introduce a resolution at this stage.
The President decided that it was Mr. Henry's right to read the resolution, being germane to the subject given to the committee to report upon to the Convention.
Mr. Newby--"Is the resolution a part of the report of the Committee on Education?"
Mr. Henry--"Yes; I have put the resolution in the hands of the Business Committee; I hope it has not been lost; the friends may deem me ultra, but the resolution embodied the views of my constituents, and if not carried out, I desire to have them briefly and, in that way, presented before this Convention, if for no other purpose than to send an expression of opinions thereon."
Mr. C. M. Wilson presented the resolution of Mr. Henry, which contained a suggestion touching the propriety of securing, at an early day, the purchase of a portion of the public lands for the erection of a College and Manual Labor Schools thereon, for the benefit of the colored people.
Mr. Geo. Miller moved the adoption of the resolution.
Mr. Henry said:--"Before the resolution is disposed of, I desire to make a few remarks, pertaining to the Committee on Education; the reason the Committee have not reported is, they have been unable to command the necessary statistics; we early proposed a resolution that delegates from the counties collect and bring in the required information; let the public see the facts; the numbers, the business, the taxes, and the general claims of our people; let the facts go out to the confines of the State; it would remove prejudice from the minds of the whites, and encourage the colored people. In this early point of the history of our State, we should commence efforts to secure to our children the advantages of education. It is a source of pride and encouragement to me, that we have now amongst us men of talent and education, who have enjoyed the benefits and honors of Oberlin. Why should we not have an Oberlin here, in this State? There is now no school of that class; is it reason we should have none?
"Sir, I may be thought extravagant and ultra, but I have labored for this, and hope to see the day when I shall be permitted to assist in laying the first stone in the foundation of such an institution; what so important in, and necessary to our elevation, as education? We have seen and felt a thousand times this fact, this sentiment; here are men of education, who have settled in California permanently; they are taxed:"--
Mr. Newby raised a point of order; he thought Mr. Henry was wandering from the points of the resolution.
Mr. Henry:--"I don't wish to take up the time unnecessarily; my argument grows materially out of the resolution."
Mr. Newby:--"I move to refer this whole matter back into the hands of the Committee on Education, with instructions to report through the columns of the Mirror."
Messrs. Wilson and Hubbard also thought that the best way to present the subject to the people, in detail, and with the statistics.
The vote being called for upon Mr. Newby's motion to refer the subject to the Committee on Education, with instructions, etc.,--the motion was lost.
Mr. Geo, Miller moved the adoption of Mr. Henry's resolution.
Pending this resolution Mr. Townsend said:--"I am sorry to see such a visionary and impracticable scheme thrown into the Convention, only calculated to divert the attention from the particular object to promote which, we have convened.
"Colleges and Manual Labor Schools, are excellent things in themselves, and it is well enough to discuss their merits at the proper time and place, but what have we to do with them now? Why lug in such matters as the Oberlin College? What have we to do with anything like a College in our present circumstances? These are such institutions as are required by a people surrounded by the conditions of an old settled and well regulated society, with wealth, leisure, inclination, and the demand for high culture.
"The proposal to establish a College proposes also, that those whom it is to benefit, have advanced beyond and above the endowments of public schools.
"Sir, we are not able to sustain the cost of building a College; the pecuniary embarrassments which hung over Oberlin, like a dead weight, for years, should deter us here from attempting such a scheme, in the present circumstances."
Mr. Wilson doubted a general statement of Mr. Townsend as to the cost of Oberlin College.
Mr. Townsend:--"The gentlemen is a graduate of Oberlin, and naturally feels, at remarks touching his 'alma mater;' although I have not been to that institution, I know something of its cost: It costs, at least, a million of dollars.
"The whites are now trying to establish a college, but, with all their efforts they cannot succeed at present; how much less are we likely to succeed? It is folly for us to talk of it. Let us first secure the removal from the Statute Book the law which deprives our children of common schooling, and get them into the Common Schools. I feel as deeply interested in the education of our children, and in the high intellectual culture of our people as any one; but this proposition I hold to be utterly impracticable at present, and I hope it will not be adopted."
Mr. Wilson:--"I differ from the gentleman who has just spoken; he does not appear to understand the spirit and purport of the resolution, nor the motives of the party who offered it. We do not ask that immediate measures be taken to carry out the views of the resolution--we do not expect this. The object was to get an expression, as a part of the report of the Committee on Education; if the Convention thought favorably of it, they would, by their approval, initiate the subject."
Mr. Lewis said--"In some respects I agree with Mr. Henry, and I was pleased at the general tenor of his remarks; but, as in the present circumstances of our condition it is evidently impossible to carry out such an enterprise, I hope the resolution will not be adopted."
Mr. Gordon moved to lay the subject matter on the table--carried.
Mr. R. Hall moved to suspend the 8th rule, relating to the time allotted to speakers.
Mr. M. S. Haynes, to bring the question more formally before the Convention, presented the following Preamble and Resolution:
Whereas, Much useless discussion has arisen upon trivial subjects, thereby retarding the proper business of the Convention, therefore
Resolved, That no person shall be allowed to speak longer than five minutes, nor more than twice upon the same subject, without special permission from the house.
This resolution was adopted with but few dissenting votes.
Mr. Hall, of El Dorado, moved that the State Executive Committee be called upon to make their report.--Carried.
Mr. Townsend, Chairman of the State Executive Committee presented a verbal report.
Mr. Newby asked if the foregoing was to be regarded as the official report of the Executive Committee? "Is this all we are to get from them? If so, then the Committee have been greatly remiss in their duty.
"It devolves upon this Convention to appoint a new Executive Committee; that new Committee, when appointed, should receive the books and papers from the hands of the old, as a chart by which, to some extent, they are to be regulated in future efforts, in proper condition. It is due the Committee that it should have a more formal report."
Mr. Townsend stated that the books of the Committee were in possession of the Recording Secretary, Mr. E. P. Duplex, of Marysville; that much to the regret of all, and the disappointment of the Committee especially, he had not attended the Convention.
Mr. Barbadoes moved that a dispatch be immediately sent for the books of the Executive Committee.
Mr. Anderson thought the report was satisfactory; as a member of the Executive Committee he would defend it. If the motion to send a dispatch for the books was intended as a reflection upon that report, he was opposed to the motion.
Mr. Hall, of El Dorado:--"It will be impossible for us to proceed to the appointment of a new Committee unless we have a detailed report of the action of the old."
W. H. Thomas did not see why the Executive Committee should hesitate about having the books examined. The report of Mr. Townsend is well enough as far as it goes, but it is not practicable enough.
Mr. Moore thought Mr. Anderson mistaken in the motives of those who are in favor of sending for the books; it is not that we are dissatisfied with the management of the Committee--they have done well. We had looked forward to their report, before this Convention, as one of the most important. That which was presented verbally was good, but let us now see the records.
Mr. Harper moved to lay this subject on the table.--Carried.
The vote was then taken upon the motion of Mr. Barbadoes to send a dispatch for the Books of the Executive Committee, and the motion was carried. The following letter having been received by one of the Secretaries, from Mrs. Jane R. Fortie, of Placerville, was ordered read:
Placerville, Dec. 9th, 1856.
Mr. Sanderson:--I have felt it to be my duty to forward to the State Executive Committee, through you, the proportion of the $146 belonging to the Committee, which was paid to me by Mr. Quinn. In sending it I hope I have done my duty. I am not able to say anything about the rest of the money. The amount paid to me, and which I send is $11. In addition, I send one dollar as a slight contribution to the cause, making $12.
Yours for the cause, Jane R, Fortie.
This letter was, by a vote of the Convention, ordered to be placed among the proceedings.
Mr. Geo. Miller moved that the thanks of this Convention be tendered to Mrs. Fortie for her just and honorable conduct in the matter of the funds collected at Placerville for the State Executive Committee. The motion was unanimously adopted--the Delegates rising in their seats, voted that the Secretary inform Mrs. Fortie of the receipt of her letter with the money, and the action of the Convention upon the same.
An expression of thanks was tendered the ladies of Sacramento for their proposal to assist the "Mirror."
Minutes of the last meeting again called for and read by the Secretary.
Voted to take up the subject of appointing persons to circulate petitions; four in each county, according to resolution, No. 17, and proceeded to appoint as follows:-–
Amador County--D. Wills, W. J. Bird, Mr. Kenedy.
Alameda County--William Rich, Isaac Flood, John Paterson.
Butte County--W.H. Holmes, Peter Blackstone, James Allen, R. Tilghman.
Contra Costa County--Matthias Cooper, Wilson Freeman.
Calaveras County--.G. Brooks,William Hough.
El Dorado County--A. Collins, H. W. Hall, E. R. Phelps, F, Hatfield,
Los Angeles County--Thomas J.Ricks.
Marin County--Aaron Sisco, I.Morton.
Merced County--Manuel Quivas.
Mariposa County--Stephen Hilman, Joseph Adams, L. A. Munroe.
Napa County.--H. M. Pennington, Jacob Sinclair, E. Halton.
Nevada County--Jordon Caselev, James H. Hubbard, Edward A. Booth, Emory Waters.
Placer Country--James Howard, Isaiah P. Gibbs, Joseph G. Underwood,--Dudlop.
Sacramento County--J. B. Starkey, David Lewis, Thomas Detter, F. G. Barbadoes.
San Francisco County--W. D. Moses, George W. Gordon, M. W. Gibbs, H. M. Collins.
San Joaquin County--W. C. Patrick, Rev. M. Campbell, Wm. Robinson, Samuel B. Hyer.
Sierra County--John Black, D. Brown, J. J. Butler.
Stanislaus County--T. W. Burgess.
Sonoma County--Elisha Banks.
Shasta County--J. J. Pindall, E. D. Vincent, Charles W. Hall, Thos. Thomas.
Siskiyou County--Samuel Kunee, George W. Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, Nathan Furbert.
Santa Clara County--Alfred J. White.
San Mateo County-- R. Hall, Thos. Forrester.
Tuolumne County--H. T. Smith, R. Banks, J. D. Guillard, A. Oldham.
Trinity County--J. D. Milling.
Yuba County--E. H. Duplex, G. R. Symes, J. Francis, A. Jackson
Mr. Barbadoes referred to a remark of Mr. Townsend, respecting the conditions of the petitions last year, when sent to the Executive Committee, and offered a resolution, as follows:
Resolved, That this Convention request those who circulate petitions for signatures to be presented to the Legislature, to forward the same to the Executive Committee in as clean and proper condition as may be practicable.
Mr. Townsend seconded this resolution, and said: --"It is desirable in circulating petitions, to secure the names of those who are esteemed our best men. There are names that have but little weight, being those of persons obscure, and often unknown beyond the immediate circle in which they reside.
"In San Francisco we took especial pains, and obtained upwards of 500 signatures of our most prominent and influential citizens. The result was our petition was received most readily, and most respectfully."
Mr. Henry--"Are petitions to be signed only by the whites?"
The vote was taken upon the motion to adopt resolution No. 24, and it was adopted.
Mr. S. Howard asked leave to make a request of the Convention, viz.: That the Convention appoint a time before it adjourns sine die, to give him an opportunity to deliver his address.
Mr. E. R. Phelps moved that Mr. Howard's request be granted.
The vote was taken upon the motion of Mr. Phelps, and the President declared the motion negatived. Mr. Phelps doubted the decision; vote retaken with the following result:--Yeas, 13; Nays, 27.
Resolution No. 25 was presented by T. Detter, as follows:
Resolved, That those persons appointed under the 17th resolution to circulate and obtain signatures to the petitions, be instructed to send them in to the State Executive Committee by the 20th day of January, 1857.
Mr. Detter's resolution was unanimously adopted.
Mr. G. W. Booth renewed the motion which he proposed yesterday afternoon, that a committee of three be appointed on publication. The motion was seconded. Mr. Townsend proposed to amend by appointing five. Amendment accepted, and the motion to appoint adopted.
The chair subsequently announced the following as a Committee on Publication--B. Sanderson, J. J. Moore, J. H. Townsend, G. W. Gordon, W. H. Newby.
It was moved by Mr. E. A. Booth, that a committee of three be appointed to prepare an address to the colored people of this State, upon the subjects of Agriculture and Mining, and the benefits to be derived from the same. This motion was amended, at the suggestion of Mr. Francis, who proposed five on the committee, and was adopted.
The Chair appointed the following gentlemen--Messrs. J. Francis, E. A. Booth, S. B. Hyer, E. D. Vincent, and J. Hubbard.
Mr. Henry presented a motion, that a committee of five be appointed to prepare an address to the white people of California.
Mr. Francis proposed to amend by striking out the word "white."
Mr. Phelps was opposed to the amendment, he said--"Why have we met in this Convention? To adopt measures to secure a redress of our grievances. It is to the whites who have passed the laws which oppress us. Why then should we not address ourselves to them? As we desire they especially should know our opinions and our wishes. Let this word be retained."
Mr. Detter--"A resolution has already been adopted, in which similar language is used in reference to appealing to the whites; and yet it is proposed to strike the word out of Mr. Henry's resolution, to be consistent the Convention should reconsider, and throw out a former resolution."
Mr. Anderson favored the amendment of Mr. Francis. He was generally opposed to the use of such words when speaking to the people, "Let us," said he, "claim to be men, neither more nor less, and when asking that justice be done us, as we contemplate asking at the hands of the people of California, let not the word white be retained in the convention."
Mr. E. Waters:--"It is essential to a good understanding of the matter, that, in an address to the public generally, we should retain this word; we want to appeal to the whites specially, to let them know we mean something definite. They have got the power; we know it--they know it; we appeal to them as whites, to use that power beneficently towards us; we must appeal to them as superiors.
The President announced that the hour of adjournment had arrived, and benediction having been pronounced, the Convention adjourned until afternoon.
Met at 4 o'clock, President Hall in the Chair; prayer was offered by the Rev. Emory Waters.
The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.
The subject of Mr. Henry's motion to appoint a Committee to prepare an address to the white people of California, was taken up, with Mr. Francis' proposed amendment to strike out the word "white."
Mr. Henry thought it proper to designate the persons addressed.
Mr. Townsend proposed as an amendment to Mr. Francis' amendment, the following resolution:
Resolved, That the State Executive Committee, be authorized to prepare an address to the citizens at large of this State--setting forth the true character and position of the colored people of California.
Mr. Ferguson thought the resolution of Mr. Townsend could not be accepted, in order, as an amendment; but as a substitute, it could: he read from Jefferson's Manual, to illustrate.
Mr. Newby did not agree with Mr. Ferguson: he thought the language of Mr. Jefferson, upon the point speculative, indefinite and unsatisfactory.
Mr. Moore thought it better to retain the word white.
Mr. Townsend opposed its retention; we have met as a convention of colored men, and there will be, no doubt, in the public mind, as to whom we address. He hoped no more time would be consumed in discussing a word.
The vote was taken on the motion to adopt Mr. Francis amendment, and was lost.
Mr. Phelps moved the reference of the subject proposed in Mr. Henry's
motion, to the State Executive Committee, with instructions to prepare an address to the white citizens.
Mr. Phelps' motion was adopted by the following vote:---yeas, 27; noes, 24.
The Committee appointed on the subject of a State Press, presented the following, prepared by Mr. Ferguson:
Report of the Committee on a State Press
As consolidation of interest and oneness of purpose are the surest guarantee of success, the Committee, to whom was referred the duty of reporting the best mode of conducting a State Press, beg leave to report the following:
First, That the Mirror of the Times be adopted as the State Organ of the colored people of California.
Second, That its size be reduced one-fourth.
Third, That it be under the immediate control of the State Executive Committee, and be supported by the General Fund.
Fourth, That the Executive Committee have plenipotentiary powers to levy such contributions on the people of the different counties in pro-rata to the population of the respective counties, as may be necessary for the successful publication of the paper.
Fifth, That the financial affairs of the paper, both in receiving and disbursing, be wholly under the control of said Committee, or such persons as they may select for that purpose; said Committee at all times responsible to the source whence they derive their authority for the prompt and faithful performance of the functions of their office.
Sixth, The place of publication shall be San Francisco,--the periods of publication, weekly.
Seventh, There shall be one general editor, and one associate, located in the place of publication, whose salaries shall be respectively seventy five dollars per month.
Eighth, The Committee shall have power to appoint corresponding editors in different sections of the State, as their discretion may suggest, whose labors shall be accredited as "labors of love."
Ninth, The financial condition of the paper shall be published in the Mirror, quarterly; and all monies received either from subscribers or pecuniary contributions, be accredited weekly in the same.
Data, The Committee find the cost of publishing the Mirror of the Times, in its present size, exclusive of the pay of editors) to be, per month $200.00
Allowing one hundred dollars each to the Editors 200.00
Rent of offices, fuel, lights, stationery, &c, per month 25.00
Total, per month $425.00
Reducing the size of paper one-fourth 60.00
Making cost of the paper so reduced $365.00
Account Debtor per Contra, Estimating the reliable circulation of the paper at 500 copies per month, at 40 cents per month will yield $200.00
Profits from advertisements, local notices, &c 75.00
Account credit $275.00
The above estimate leaves a deficit per month of 90.00
Or per annum of 1,080.00
All of which is respectfully submitted,--Accepted.
Mr. Henry moved to adopt the report by sections,--carried.
The first section being again read, pending a motion to adopt, Mr. Anderson said: "This Convention ought to assume the ownership and responsibility of sustaining the Mirror, as the first step, and then take the entire control of its financial affairs, and see to it, that this department is properly conducted."
Mr. Ferguson:--"In making this report, we seek the public good. Mr. Anderson is right in proposing caution: look well into the plan before you adopt. In regard to the conductors of the 'Mirror,' thus far, their characters and their management have been above reproach; let us place a proper estimate upon them. We often fail in our efforts, from distrust of our leaders; let us presume them honest, at heart, until they prove otherwise. A continual fear and suspicion is our bane; either let us sustain and uphold the hands of those, who , possessing ability, a generous love for, and devotion to the right, are giving themselves to labors for our good, or cease our complaints against the popular wrongs of which we are victims; cease to meet in Convention to devise plans for their removal, or elsewhere to parade our professions of anxiety to become a free and respected people."
Mr. Anderson:--"It was not my intention to impugn the motives or character of any one. I have all confidence in those gentlemen who have had control of the 'Mirror;' what I want, is, that this Convention of the people, will decide to take the paper as their own. At present it has neither father or mother; it is an orphan; let this Convention adopt and become its foster parents, and provide for its permanent maintenance." Mr. Anderson proposed an amendment, i.e., that this Convention assume the proprietorship of the Mirror of the Times, and at once adopt measures to raise the means to carry that resolution into effect.
Mr. Collins:--"It was the expectation of the Publishing Committee when they commenced the paper, that it would, at length, come into the possession of the people."
Mr. E. A. Booth agreed with Mr. Anderson's resolution, and thought it the better way for us to become possessors of the paper, and then go to work and accomplish the details.
Mr. E. Waters:--"The information just communicated, is new to me; I did not know the originators of the paper meant it should become the property of the people through this Convention. What are we to pay? what new taxes are to be imposed upon our people? if my constituents, agree with you, they will go to the bedrock to sustain you."
Mr. Wilson called for the question on the amendment as proposed by Mr. Anderson.
Mr. Townsend thought the amendment was substantially the same thing as the 1st Section proposed by Mr. Ferguson: "it is perhaps a little more definite. Now, as to the facts in regard to the Mirror, it has never yet been made to pay expenses. Established in some haste, from the conviction that such an instrument was imperatively necessary, up to the present, all the means which have been received, have been paid over to the printers. But this state of things cannot last; from the first, we have expected efficient aid from the people, whose cause it was establish to advocate.
"At the Convention last year, a Committee was created to report on the propriety of establishing a press; the Mirror is the effect of the causes, or necessities of our condition in this State as intimated in the report of that Committee; necessities which are demanding our attention more forcibly every day.
"The colored people, resident in California, must represent themselves; we wish now to know,--will you assume the Mirror? What we have done as its publishing committee, as its editors, has been done freely; we have desired and still desire to see this enterprise succeed, and are willing to do what we can to promote its success: let the people now decide what they will do with it."
Mr. Harper:--"I think the Mirror is a very important instrument; it should not be permitted to go down by any possibility. Let us not hurry over this subject. I am in favor of the 1st Section, and in order to give ourselves time for a fuller consideration of the subject, hope it will be referred again to the Committee."
Mr. W. D. Moses:--"I rejoice at this manifestation of interest in the paper. I have labored to extend its circulation, believing it was accomplishing a good work. Somewhat acquainted with its financial condition, I can testify to the correctness of Mr. Townsend's statement; that it has been expensive and sometimes burthensome to a few. The ladies of San Francisco, have lately come to the rescue: they have formed a Mirror Association, and are
aiding in keeping it alive; and for their efforts, they deserve great credit."
Mr. Newby:--"It is true, an association of ladies has been formed in San Francisco, but their aid is necessarily uncertain: a permanent means of support is required. It is not only the labor of the composition and pressmen that must be compensated, but the time, talent, and labors of its editors: these cannot be given. As for San Francisco, with a large population of colored people, she has not contributed as liberally towards the support of the paper as we anticipated. Inland localities have done more in proportion to [their] numbers: the question now is, shall the Mirror live?"
The vote was taken upon the adoption of the amendment proposed by Mr. Anderson, and it was carried.
The question recurred upon the adoption of the 1st Section as amended, and it was adopted.
2nd Section of the report was read: a motion being made to adopt it, Mr. Phelps said that he was sorry that a proposition was made to reduce the size of the Mirror: he was for progressing and not for going back. He was poor, but felt willing to make a sacrifice rather than have the size of the paper cut down.
Mr. Newby:--"I would like to have the present size retained, but this cannot be: not alone its permanency, but the life of the Mirror is in danger. Let us secure that, and place it upon a firm and healthful basis. If this paper were to fail, it would be a disgrace to us: who would not regret and mourn such an event? I am not generally very sanguine, and even now have my fears."
Mr. Ferguson proposed as an amendment to the 2nd Section, that the determination of the question of the size of the paper be left to the Executive Committee.--amendment adopted.
3d Section of the report read. Mr. Wilson made a motion to adopt, pending which, Mr. E. A. Booth said, it will be better to create a Special Committee, independent of the Executive Committee, to attend to the financial affairs generally of the paper.
Mr. Ferguson said--"As the author of the report, I will state the meaning of this section. We presume the Executive Committee will appoint, from among their own number, a special committee, to whom will be assigned the responsibility of devising ways for the management and sustainment of the paper."
Mr. Francis said--"It will be a disgrace to let the Mirror of the Times go down; how far our constituents will sustain us in this action I cannot say; it is certain that our friends of San Francisco deserve great credit for their enterprise and energy; I take pride in according it on all proper occasions; now that we have adopted this child, let us assume the duties of a parent, take it by the hand and lead it to the Goddess of Liberty, and have it baptized; for heavens sake don't let it go down; I trust the people are ready to become its sponsors."
The hour of adjournment having nearly come, Mr. Haynes moved that so much of Rule 2d as relates to adjournment of the P. M. Session, be suspended--carried.
Moved by Mr. Haynes to extend the hour for adjournment to eight o'clock, P. M. --carried.
Mr. D. Lewis said--"I am a friend to the paper, and go for supporting it; the changes we are seeking in the laws for the sake of common security of life and property must be effected through it, and as the result of an altered public sentiment; to produce this latter, we greatly need a paper; it seems, then, as clearly my duty to support the paper, as to labor for my daily bread; but I do not agree with the plan now before us; I think a better way would be to purchase a press. Have we not confidence in those who sent us here? Let each member pledge himself for his constituents, and thus a sum might be immediately raised, placed in the hands of a committee for that purpose appointed, and a press at once purchased; you could employ colored printers; I know there are several whose services could be obtained now in other employment, because they cannot procure business with white printers."
The Convention took a recess of ten minutes, during which the choir, attached to the Church, assisted by several of the Delegates, sang an anthem in the fine style.
Resuming, Mr. Wilson proposed a substitute to Section 3d, as follows: "The Mirror of the Times shall be placed under the control of a Board of
Trustees, to be appointed by this Convention." He said--to-morrow I shall go in favor of appointing a committee to raise funds for the Mirror.
Mr. Townsend hoped that gentlemen would endeavor to avoid complication in their arrangements; let the machinery be as simple as may be.
Mr. Ferguson said--"Gentlemen may rest assured, that if this paper is controlled by the Executive Committee, they will use it to promote solely the success of the general cause."
Messrs. Moses and Detter were in favor of the Board of Trustees.
H. W. Hall, of El Dorado, hoped no measure would be urged that would work against its prosperity; as to failure, the moral effect of such an event would be hurtful in the extreme.
Mr. Wilmot said--"As a Delegate coming from (the) Michigan Bar, he would say for the people of that locality, that they feel a deep interest in the continuance and success of the Mirror; they have done something and will do much more for it; they instructed me to go in favor of whatever plan should appear to be right, and most likely to keep it alive; their language was "sustain the Mirror."
Mr. Haynes offered the following, as amendatory to the substitute proposed by Mr. Wilson, to Section 3d, "The money placed in the hands of the Executive Committee shall not be appropriated for the paper, but each Delegate shall pledge himself, in a definite sum, in behalf of the county he represents for the support of the paper."
Mr. Moore said--"I fear that we are about to organize an intricate piece of machinery, and that confusion will be the result of an attempt to make it work. You are going to have an Executive Committee and a Board of Trustees, each to have power in the management of the paper; this will certainly occasion conflict in regard to the expenditure of the funds. How much better were it to increase the number of the Executive Committee, and give them plenary power and the sole control of the paper. Last year you gave them power over the whole business of the Convention. Did they not act wisely and prudently? Let them now, in regard to this scheme, have power to organize all necessary plans; what we want is our testimony; if we get this, we care not how; if the committee are honest, it is all we need ask."
J. Hubbard said--"I am for the Executive Committee, and have entire confidence in them; but the people ought to feel sufficient interest in, to support the paper independently, without having recourse to the general fund of the Committee,
J. B. Sanderson, F. J. Wosburgh, S. Howard, } Secy's.
FOURTH DAY'S PROCEEDINGS
Morning Session. Dec. 12th, 1856.
President Hall in the chair; called the Convention to order at 10 o'clock.
The 16th chapter of Proverbs was read, and prayer offered by the Chaplain. In the absence of the Secretary, who held the minutes of the last meeting, the President announced the unfinished business to be the motion pending to adopt Mr. Wilson's substitute to section 3d of the report of Committee on State Press, with Mr. Haynes' amendment to the substitute.
The President begged gentlemen to bear in mind that this is the fourth day of the Convention; he would not have them any less deliberate and careful in the disposition of business, but to consult brevity in their speeches.
Mr. Wilson having obtained the consent of Mr. Haynes, asked leave to withdraw his proposed substitute, with Mr. Haynes' proposed amendment to the substitute--it was granted.
Mr. Francis moved to lay the remainder of the report on the table; the motion not sustained.
Mr. Collins proposed the following amendment:
"That no appropriation shall be made out of the funds now in hand; and one-third of all the monies received after the 1st of January, 1857, be appropriated to the State Press."--The amendment was accepted.
Mr. Barbadoes offered a substitute to the amendment of Mr. Collins, as
follows:--"That a State Central Committee of one from each county be appointed, who shall assume the direction of the Mirror; act as its agents, solicit subscribers, raise funds, and direct its general financial affairs." Amendment not sustained.
Mr. Henry moved to postpone the further consideration of the subject of the State Press until minutes of the previous meeting were read--carried.
The Chairman of the Finance Committee, F. G. Barbadoes, reported the contingent expenses of the Convention to be:
For printing 1000 copies of proceedings, . . . . . . $125.00
For printing 100 heads of petitions, . . . . . . . . 15.00
For stationery for use of Convention, . . . . . . . 10.00
For use of Church. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.00
Also, that the Committee recommend, in order to raise the above amount, that each Delegate be assessed in the sum of $3.00.
Mr. Barbadoes explained the several items of expenses presented in the report; after which, on motion of Mr. Thomas, it was adopted.
The minutes of Thursday Afternoons Session were called for, read, and approved.
Third section of the report on State Press was again read, considered, with the amendment of Mr. Collins.
Mr. Ferguson said:--"Mr. President, I do not wish to impede the progress of this discussion, nor precipitate the vote upon this question with indecent haste; but we have already spent much time upon the third section, and it is to be presumed that the point as to how and whence this organ is to get support, is generally understood and decided upon; not because it comes from me do I favor it, but because it is important, and I think we are all satisfied with the proposition in its present form, I move the previous question."
Mr. Ferguson's motion was sustained. The previous question was put, section third, embracing the amendment of Mr. Collins, was adopted without a dissenting vote.
Fourth section of report read, and adopted on the motion of T. Duff.
Fifth section read; E. R. Phelps moved that the blank in this section, as to the place of publication be filled with the name of San Francisco; motion adopted.
Mr. Francis thought the State Press question was absorbing too much of the time of the Convention; the State Press Committee seemed to have combined, to drive it through to the exclusion of other important matters.
Mr. Ferguson wished to act fairly and impartially; no intrigue had been practiced in this business. On the question of locating the paper, Mr. Newby said:--"Although one of its Editors, and Chairman of the Press Committee had intimated no partiality as to place." The vote was taken on the sixth section, and it was adopted.
Seventh section read; Mr. Henry moved that blank in section seventh, having relation to the pay of editors, be filled with the sum "seventy-five dollars"--accepted.
Mr. Harper proposed one hundred dollars instead; Mr. Harper withdrew, afterwards, his proposition.
Mr. Henry thought that according to the report of delegates, our people have not been as liberal in supporting the paper, as was to be expected under the present circumstances, and considering that the Mirror will be but a weekly paper, $75 was enough.
Mr. Ferguson:--As amendatory to Mr. Henry's motion, proposed that the following words be inserted in section seventh after the sum $75; "with power to raise the same to one hundred dollars at any time when the resources of the paper will justify it." Section seventh, with Mr. Henry's motion and Mr. Ferguson's amendment were adopted.
Eighth section read; and adopted on motion of E. A. Booth.
Ninth and last section read; and adopted on motion of Geo. W. Miller, unanimously.
A vote was passed tendering thanks to Mrs. Jackson, and the ladies of San Francisco, for their efforts in behalf of the Mirror.
The Committee on Statistics was called upon to report; the report was presented in a fragmentary and unsatisfactory form.
Mr. Newby moved to refer back to the Committee on Statistics.
Mr. Moore thought nothing could be gained by referring; it is to be supposed that the Committee have sought information, but delegates have not come prepared with statistics; to collect them hereafter, and place them in the hands of this Committee to be combined in a report can hardly be expected.
Mr. Wilson was for referring, because he did not want the report published in its present form.
Mr. Newby asked permission to amend his own motion, by adding the words "with instructions, etc." Upon the motion of Mr. Barbadoes, the subject matter of the report was laid upon the table.
Convention, on motion of Mr. Townsend voted to appoint a Committee of three, to examine the books, and audit the accounts of the State Executive Committee. The Chair appointed Messrs. Alex. Ferguson, B. B. Young, C. M. Wilson.
E. R. Phelps moved that the Convention go into Secret Session this afternoon between the hours of 4 and 5 o'clock, to hear and act upon the Official Report of the State Executive Committee--seconded Messrs. Anderson, Detter, Moore and Newby were appointed to the Secret Session.
Ferguson and Herbert favored it. Mr. Ferguson said: "I am in favor of the Secret Session, not because I fear any revelations will be made, or action taken, of which we need to be ashamed, but as a matter of policy."
Mr. Newby:--"Secret Sessions I oppose, as a matter of principle; I hold them to be anti-democratic in their spirit and tendency; they are often resorted to when bodies of men, possessing power and means, would concoct schemes against the interests and liberties of the people; the people always detest them, fearing that some rascality is to be done."
Mr. Ferguson:--"Let it be remembered that it is not alone the Executive Committee of whose action the records speak there are others to . Secret Sessions are often necessary in democratic and monarchial governments, when at war with other nations, that government should not know their purposes, During the last war, this government held Secret Sessions, decided upon its measures, and concealed them from the public, only communicating them to those who were to carry them into execution. What's your Executive Committee for? For what do you give them power and the control of your funds? Sir! the public must be content to confide in their wisdom and faithfulness, without knowing the details of their action."
Mr. Moore: --"My convictions are nevertheless against the propriety of the Secret Session. What do we propose to do in it? As I understand, simply to examine the accounts. The people desire to hear the facts, and besides, it will increase their confidence in the Committee. I am, therefore, for an open session, and for letting the people come in."
W. H. Newby:--"I do not know what questions will enter into the deliberations of the Secret Session. Mr. Ferguson says it is policy that dictates this proposal. I fear it is more a matter of pride than aught else. I am still of the opinion that an open session should be held, and the facts of the action of the Executive Committee communicated to the people; it will stir them to greater earnestness in sustaining the Committee. If the Committee have been derelict, let it be seen; or, if the colored people of California have not done their duty--have not come up to their pledges, let it be known." The vote was taken upon the motion for a Secret Session, and it was carried.
N. Henry, in behalf of Mr. Robinson, offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That a portion of the Proceedings of this Convention be published in one of the daily papers. This resolution, after being amended by a proposal of Mr. Ferguson with the words "provided the paper selected publish such proceedings gratuitously."--adopted.
T. Detter offered a resolution that a committee of five be appointed to examine and decide upon the fitness and propriety of publishing articles sent to the "Mirror of the Times" for that purpose.
J. H. Townsend thought that editors should decide upon the fitness of articles sent for publication.
E. A. Booth was of the opinion that the editors should not have power to suppress at discretion.
J. J. Moore thought that some power should be established, to which appeal can be made when wrong is done to a correspondent, in the matter of disposing of his communication; an editor may be in the wrong, and he should be held responsible, when complained of to some authority.
J. H. Townsend:--"I am surprised that Mr. Moore should express such views. It was proposing to hedge in an editor to an extent that no man, with ability and independence necessary to the efficient conducting of a paper, would willingly be confined. The power to decide upon articles is commonly exercised by editors. Take the San Francisco 'Evening Bulletin,' and the course of the lamented James King of Wm. for example: while he lived, one of the most independent of men in the State; his press one of the most liberal, opened freely for communications upon all subjects of interests to the people. Did he admit all the articles he received? Unquestionably not! It is a mistake to suppose because a man is of good character, therefore can write a communication fit to be printed. In the multitude of letters and communications an editor is continually receiving, he has seldom time to alter and correct that which may be full of faults; he is compelled to decide, 'print or not' often in haste, and in so doing may, without design, give offence; experience is to be trusted, and, in general, the fitness of articles may be ascertained before they are sent to be published."
J. M. Flowers moved to lay Mr. Detter's resolution on the table--motion carried.
Mr. Richard Hall moved that so much of 3d Rule as relates to the hour of adjourning the Afternoon Session be suspended, and that the Afternoon Session of this day be extended to such a time as delegates shall deem it proper to adjourn; seconded by Mr. Newby, and adopted unanimously.
F. G. Barbadoes asked permission to read a series of resolutions, which had been drawn up and placed in his hands by Mr. Thomas Duff, of Mariposa--granted. Mr. Barbadoes read.
Resolved, That the Delegates be instructed by this Convention, to call meetings of the colored people of their respective counties, to consider upon the best ways of raising funds for the support of the Mirror of the Times.
Resolved, That we heartily endorse the manly stand taken by the Mirror of the Times in behalf of our injured and much abused people; and we will do all in our power to make it worthy of the people it represents.
Resolved, That we approve of the manner in which the Mirror has been conducted by its original proprietors: that they have proved themselves capable of making it an honor to the colored people of the State of California.
Resolved, That we recommend as an effective way to raise funds for the paper, that each delegate call meetings in their respective counties, and form clubs to make donations of such sums as may be agreed upon by those composing the clubs.
Resolved, That the sums donated by the clubs to the Mirror, be forwarded to the Executive Committee monthly, at such times as their members shall decide upon.
Resolved, That we look upon the Mirror of the Times as a beacon light, shining brightly and clearly on the path by which we are to reach that position, that as a free and intelligent people, we should occupy in common with our white fellow-citizens; showing beyond a doubt, that we possess talent, industry and enterprise in our ranks; and that all we want is, the equal enjoyment of those civil and political rights, and privileges that are possessed by the whites, and we will stand second to no class of people in the American Union.
The series of resolutions of Mr. Duff, were, on the motion of Mr. Ferguson, adopted unanimously.
Mr. George W. Booth asked if the Business Committee was ready to report on the resolution of Mr. Hatfield, touching the distribution of the proceedings of the Convention, which was, at the Wednesday afternoon session, referred to the Business Committee?--Committee not ready.
Mr. Booth proposed a motion, that the pamphlets of proceedings, when published, be distributed among the delegates--each one to be entitled to an equal share.
Mr. Newby seconded the motion; and the vote being taken thereon, it was lost.
Adjourned to 4 o'clock, P.M.
Convention met at 4 o'clock, President Hall in the Chair. Prayer was offered by Rev. J. B. Handy.
Committee appointed to examine the books, and audit the accounts of the State Executive Committee was called upon for their report.
The Convention being in secret session from 4 to 5 o'clock, P., Mr. Ferguson, Chairman of the Examining Committee, read extended extracts from the records of the Executive Committee: the reading being finished, Mr. B. B. Young wished to offer a resolution in regard to the report; decided to be premature.
Mr. Henry remarked: --"In regard to the report to which we have just listened, it has afforded me great satisfaction; it met his approval from beginning to end; there is a clearness and straightness in it that I like. The gentlemen composing the Executive Committee, have acted in a manner worthy of the highest praise; they have made sacrifices such as we had no right to expect of them, in acting for the people; and here I may express the hope, that our people will never refuse to support this Committee, as long as it may be necessary to continue it, from an unwise and unjustifiable want of confidence."
Mr. Newby moved to adopt the report of the State Executive Committee--carried unanimously.
Mr. Ferguson read the following resolution, and moved its adoption:
Resolved, That the colored people of the State of California, through their representatives here assembled, tender their heartfelt thanks to the members of the State Executive Committee, for the prompt and faithful manner in which they have discharged the arduous duties imposed upon them by virtue of their office--it was adopted by acclamation.
Mr. G. W. Booth moved the reconsideration, of the vote of yesterday, by which a motion relating to the disposal of the pamphlets of proceedings--was laid on the table.
Mr. Newby seconded the motion, and it was carried.
Mr. Francis proposed a motion that the proceedings, when published, be equally distributed among the members of this Convention.
Messrs. Henry, Townsend and Moore, opposed the motion. Mr. Henry thought they should be a source of revenue for the purposes of the Convention. He would suggest an amendment, so as to give 8 copies to each delegate,
Mr. Moore:--"Some provision should be made to furnish the Executive Committee with extra copies. I move that each delegate shall receive 10 copies of the proceedings, and that the remainder be placed in the hands of the Executive Committee"--this amendment was accepted, and on motion was adopted:
Mr. Detter introduced the following resolution, which was seconded by Mr. Vosburgh, and unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That the State Executive Committee be composed of fifteen persons ten of whom shall reside in San Francisco, Sacramento and Marysville; and the other five chosen from the different sections of the State.
Voted, on the motion of Mr. A. G. Dennison, that a Committee of five be appointed to nominate a list of names to constitute the State Executive Committee.
The Chair appointed Messrs. R. Hall, A. G. Dennison, C. M. Wilson, J. J. Moore, E. Vincent.
Mr. F. J. Vosburgh presented resolution No. 29, as follows: Resolved, That the members of this Convention tender their thanks to E. P. Duplex, Esq., of Marysville, for the prompt and efficient manner in which he has discharged the arduous duties of Recording Secretary of the State Executive Committee for the past year.
The resolution being seconded, Mr. Ferguson, expressed himself as of the opinion, that the resolution pending, had been anticipated by resolution, which the Convention had already adopted.
Mr. Newby agreed with Mr. Vosburgh, and thought we should designate in the case of Mr. Duplex.
Mr. Townsend:--"I hope this resolution will be passed by the Convention; Mr. Duplex has done well; it gives me pleasure to testify to the efficiency
and value of his services, and I am sure that every member of the Executive Committee will respond to it."
Mr. Ferguson--"I am the last man to attempt to despoil any one of well earned laurels. The man of magnanimity who does his duty, feels rewarded when his services are acknowledged in a manly way: such a man, I believe is Mr. Duplex. Gen. Washington, in his best days, did not receive his meed of praise. Were Mr. Duplex here, I think he would hold it to be superfluous and invidious, in a case where his associates have also well performed their duty. In his place, I certainly would not expect it, and though I were grateful to the friends who proposed, I would protest against it."
Mr. Newby--"I feel that I rise at disadvantage after Mr. Ferguson. A common soldier does his duty as well as his general; but does the nation award no more honor to the successful general, than to the common soldier? Mr. Duplex, as the Secretary of the Committee, has labored most faithfully has done a most important work; we look to him for full and faithful reports of the doings of the Committee; had he been neglectful of his duty, we could not have told where we are; but the papers from his hands speak for themselves: they are an honorable testimony of his zeal, faithfulness and ability. I would challenge any man in this State to produce clearer and better records of the doings of a public body, than are presented in the books of the Executive Committee: they are worthy of imitation, and will be an incentive to those who may follow in the same path. Public bodies do not overlook these points, nor should we:--I trust the resolution will pass."
Mr. Hubbard spoke in support of the resolution; when the vote was taken, and it was adopted.
Mr. R. Hall, from the Committee appointed to nominate a list of persons to constitute the State Executive Committee, reported the following names: --J. H. Townsend, H. M. Collins, M. W. Gibbs, . H. Newby, J. B. Sanderson, F. G. Barbadoes, M. S. Hayne, Thomas Detter, E. P. Duplex, George R. Symes, B. B. Young, H. Hall, Joseph J. Underwood, H. T. Smith, Thomas Duff.
Mr. Ferguson moved that the report of the Committee be adopted.
Phelps, Flowers, and Henry opposed the adoption; were in favor of substituting two other names for those of Townsend and Newby, for the reason that their services were indispensable in an other position.
Mr. Henry said it would conflict with their duties as editors of the Mirror.
Francis and Booth hoped the names of Townsend and Newby would, by all means, be retained.
President Hall vacated the Chair, (which was taken by one of the Vice Presidents,) and said:--"We have now reached an important point of the Convention, being about to reform the State Executive Committee; when we shall have adjourned, that Committee will be expected to work for you, for all of our people in this State, and certainly it is not a work of slight importance to us; let not the proposition to leave off two such men as Townsend and Newby from the Committee, be entertained for a moment. I feel deeply in regard to this matter; if they were men of questionable character, that would be just cause for leaving them off, but the people of California know, them to be able and honorable men, worthy of their confidence. I do not think their connection with the Mirror, will needs lessen the value of their services as members of the Executive Committee; much as I love my friend Townsend and Newby, deeply as I feel interested in the continuance and success of the Mirror, let either of them get out of the right way, and that love and confidence, with the little support I have hitherto been proud to extend to them, shall be withheld."
Mr. Hubbard said--"Of one thing I think it is safe to assure the friends, Messrs. Townsend and Newby will not be able to run off with the Executive Committee."
The motion of Mr. Ferguson to adopt the reported list, was carried.
Mr. F. R. Carter offered resolution No. 30, "That J. H. Townsend be appointed the principal and responsible editor of the Mirror of the Times."
Mr. Detter proposed to amend as follows:--That J. H. Townsend and W. H. Newby be appointed responsible Editors, etc. Detter's amendment was accepted, and resolution No. 30 was adopted.
Mr. Ferguson asked permission to read a letter, which had been placed in his hands by Mr. Hyer--granted. The letter having been read, was, by vote of
the Convention, ordered to be recorded among the minutes of the Convention. It was as follows:
The citizens of San Joaquin send greeting to the Convention of colored men being held in Sacramento. The great objects embraced in the call for the Convention meet our unqualified approval; and shall have, in the struggle to obtain them, our best energies.
The disgraceful enactments that so cripples us in all that pertains to our elevation and happiness should be repealed. Gentlemen, you have our cooperation in this glorious struggle; we hope that measures will be adopted, calculated by their wisdom and efficiency to promote all our interests, but chiefly the repeal of the Statutes invalidating our testimony in Courts of Justice where white persons are parties. This deprivation subjects us to many outrages and aggressions by wicked and unprincipled white men; by it, prejudice is aroused against us that would not exist but for this Statute; its debasing effects upon the morals of our people is evident, in its tendency to crush their aspirations, and thus to prevent the full development of those qualities which are the basis of high moral character. In conclusion, gentlemen, accept our hearty good wishes for the attainment of the great objects we have so much at heart.
In behalf of the people of San Joaquin,
S. B. Hyer.
A resolution respecting the form of Petitions, was presented by Mr. Newby.
Resolved, That the form of the Petitions to be presented to the Legislature shall be the same as those of last year, with the addition of that portion of the late report of the Grand Jury of San Francisco relating to Chinese and African testimony.
Mr. Townsend remarked, that the Executive Committee would be careful in the heading of the Petitions; the experience of last year had been instructive to them in that respect.
Ferguson, Handy, Detter, Henry and Phelps, opposed the adoption of Mr. Newbys resolution.
Mr. Detter moved to lay it on the table carried-24 to 20.
Mr. Collins moved that the whole matter of the form of the Petitions be referred to the Executive Committee.
Mr. Phelps supported the motion for reference.
Mr. Newby opposed; he thought the Convention could as well decide, and were likely to know as much as the Executive Committee.
Mr. Townsend thought the reference would save time.
Mr. Ferguson offered an amendment to the motion for reference, as follows: and that they place the words, in conformity with the instructions of the Grand Jury of San Francisco, we petition your honorable body, &c., &c., at the head of the Petitions.
Newby thought the proposed amendment contained a statement that was not true, in the expression, "In conformity with the instructions, &c., &c."
Mr. J. B. Johnson was in favor of leaving out of the Petitions all reference to the Report of the Grand Jury,
Mr. Ferguson altered the phraseology of his amendment, so that it read --"In conformity with the late Report of the Grand Jury of San Francisco, we petition your Honorable Body," &c., &c.
In this form the amendment was accepted, and the motion to refer adopted.
Mr. Detter offered a resolution, that J. B. Sanderson prepare the Proceedings of this Convention for publication, by the 1st of January, and receive for his services the sum of $40.
Mr. Gordon proposed as a substitute, resolution No. 31.
Resolved, That Mr. J. B. Sanderson be requested to prepare, at his earliest convenience, the Proceedings of this Convention for publication, and that the sum of $50 be awarded him for his services.
Mr. Gordon's substitute was accepted and passed.
Mr. E. Waters spoke of the school at Grass Valley, referring in complimentary terms to the teacher of it, and offered a resolution in relation thereto. This subject was decided to be irrelevant and out of order.
Mr. Ferguson offered a resolution in relation to the Executive Committee, viz.: "that they have power to expel members." Resolution not seconded.
Mr. C. M. Wilson proposed Resolution No. 32.
Resolved, That we will use our earnest endeavors in the several counties of our residence, to induce our constituents to sustain the pioneer of literature among us.
E. Waters was the author of this resolution; it was adopted. Mr. Vosburgh presented the following: Resolved, That the thanks of this Convention are hereby tendered to William H. Hall, Esq., for the dignified, efficient, and impartial discharge of his duties as President of this Convention.
The resolution was adopted by acclamation. Upon its adoption, Mr. Hall arose and addressed the Convention in the following speech:--
Fellow Members of the Convention:
The high obligations committed to your care, through the confidence of your constituents, are about to be dissolved. Your labors, as a representative body, legislating for the advancement of the condition of an oppressed people is nearly closed. The record of your proceedings stands here for the examination of the critical, and as a comparison with the works of any other assemblage that has convened together upon the Pacific shores. To many of us the honor of members in a Convention have never before been enjoyed, and consequently the want of experience in such deliberations was greatly felt; but where conception failed to penetrate great difficulties, the impulses of the heart aroused internal sense of our wrongs, and directed our energies to the accomplishment of one great end--the right of oath. If evidences of respectability and intelligence, wealth and probity are sufficient guarantees of the privileges we deserve, it will not require much other effort to obtain it. It is true that the spirit of selfishness may for a period retard our progress, but the men in this State whose minds are capable of higher sensations, will not dedicate themselves to an ignoble work. The age in which we live is a progressive one; the elements of refinements form the basis of all well regulated society, and in proportion as any people inculcate and disseminate these principles of civilization, in the same proportion do they receive and enjoy its immunities. The time has arrived when we must act in accordance with the sentiment which governs other men; not as a nation menials controlled by arbitrary will, but as a community of equals, participating in every blessing, and contributing to the perpetuity of every honorable avocation. We are not debased on account of any repugnance to our complexion, nor are we disfranchised in consequence of natural inferiority--human actions are often prompted by motives contrary to the elevated spirit of pure virtue, and so long as we continue to alleviate the burthens of others, we must expect to wear the odium of its conditions. Brethren, we have initiated a great work, and it seems to be essential that we must not only be superior in mental endowments to those we are to mingle with, but it is also required that we be devoid of other men's vices. Every small folly of our lives, every error of judgment, and every thoughtless, intemperate word of speech is magnified into positive reasons why we are incapable to enjoy the rights we ask. The disadvantages we are compelled to encounter are of such a magnitude that almost any other people would be appalled at its mere contemplation-deprived of protection for the safety of our families, taxed for the support of education, and yet the doors of the common schoolhouse closed against our children; denied the exercise of the elective franchise, and subjected to be governed by laws in which we had no hand in framing. Every position of emolument and honor that our country has to bestow, our claims as native born citizens are overlooked, and the ignorant foreigner or the most degraded American citizen is awarded the preference.
These considerations are humiliating to our manhood, and should rouse the latent energies of the mind to activity. In conclusion, let us go home, gentlemen, deeply impressed with the necessity of each and every one performing the active duties which the subjects we have considered demanded. In retiring from amid the excitement of political life, we are conscious of
having done our duty to God, to ourselves, and to our fellow men, and though we feel this self-congratulation, let it be remembered that without diligence and constant effort, the great measures we have matured will be futile in their operations. I would urge each one of you to consult and instruct our less favored brothers, both colored and white, remove their prejudices in regard to our true condition, induce our colored brethren to cease prattling about being the equals of our oppressors, until they present the mental, pecuniary, and other necessary evidence of being such. Converse with our ignorant white brethren, those who despise the poor negro because he is a negro, and convince them that their social condition and ours are alike degraded, and whatever political measures afflict us, are none the less severe upon them. Reason and argue with those who hold power within their fingers upon the injustice with which we are treated, Convince them of our capabilities in a moral and social point of view. Revert their minds back to the days of childhood when neither knew any difference, neither felt any compunctions, but when each heart mingled its grateful emotions in the reciprocity of innocent amusement. Arouse their sympathies in our behalf, because none know us so well as they do. Appeal to their magnanimity and to their adoration of country, and discover if they are content in the enjoyment of their greatness by compelling us, the equal participators of their troubles, to bear the yoke of servitude. Let us be united in acquiring knowledge and wealth; educate your children for farmers, mechanics, and other industrial pursuits; instill within them the glowing pride of their avocations, and the meanness of menial callings. Teach them to look upwards, onwards, and beyond the obeyance of degraded conditions, and by the time we again assemble here in Convention, we shall behold results cheering to our ambition, and security to our rights.
Mr. Hall's speech was frequently interrupted with applause.
Mr. J. B. Johnson introduced resolution No. 34, which was adopted.
Resolved, That the thanks of this Convention be tendered to the Vice Presidents, Secretaries, Chaplain, and other officers of the Convention for the prompt and faithful discharge of their respective duties. Mr. Smith of Tuolumne said--As one of the Vice Presidents, he begged to return his thanks to the gentlemen of the Convention; he felt it to be an honor that he had been appointed to that office.
Mr. Thomas made a motion that Mr. J. Howard be now allowed to read a portion of his address, Mr. Newby opposed, on the ground that it was too late. The question was taken on Mr. Thomas' motion, and it was lost,
F. G. Barbadoes, Chairman of the Finance Committee reported the amount raised for the expenses of the Convention. Report adopted on the motion of Mr. Ferguson.
A vote of thanks was tendered the Choir of the church, and a collection taken up for the benefit of the Church. The Choir sang an Anthem, and benediction being pronounced, the Convention adjourned, sine die.
J. B. Sanderson,
F. J. Vosburgh,
S. Howard, } Secy's
OFFICERS OF THE CONVENTION
W. H. HALL.
B. B. YOUNG, H. F. SMITH, F. G. BARBADOES, THOS. DUFF, W. H. NEWBY.
J. B. SANDERSON, F. J. VOSBURGH, S. HOWARD.
J. B. SANDERSON, F. G. BARBADOES, M. S. HAYES, THOS, DETTER
E. P. DUPLEX, G. R. SYMES.
B. B. YOUNG.
J. H. TOWNSEND, H. M. COLLINS, M. W. GIBBS, J. W. H. NEWBY.
W. H. Hall.
H. T. SMITH.
J. B. SANDERSON, J. H. TOWNSEND, J W. H. NEWBY, G. W. GORDON, J. MOORE.
Copy in the Harvard University Library.
1. Cincinnatus (Lucius or Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus) was a fifth century B.C. Roman patriot. On two occasions (458 and 439 BC.), while serving as dictator, he saved Rome from the threat of invading armies.
2. Scipio Africanus Major (234183 B.C.) was a Roman general and conqueror of Hannibal in the Punic Wars.
Convention Minutes Item Type Metadata
Meeting Place Name
Bethel A.M.E. Church (St. Andrews)
Meeting Place Affiliation
Second Annual Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California (1856 : Sacramento, CA), “Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California, Held in the City of Sacramento, Dec. 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th, 1856.,” ColoredConventions.org, accessed November 20, 2019, http://coloredconventions.org/items/show/266.