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Proceedings of the National Convention of Colored People and Their Friends; held in Troy, NY; on the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th of October, 1847
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Proceedings of the National Convention of Colored People and Their Friends; held in Troy, NY; on the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th of October, 1847
Pamphlet (32 p.)
IN TROY, N.Y.,
6th, 7th, 8th and 9th OCTOBER, 1847.
TROY, N.Y. STEAM PRESS OF J. C. KNEELAND AND CO. 1847.
WEDNESDAY MORNING, Oct. 6th, 1847, 10 o'clock A. M.
The Convention was called to order by H. H. Garnet, who read the call for the Convention, and moved that Peyton Harris, of Buffalo, be chosen President, pro tem. Wm. C. Nell, of Boston, and Charles Seth of Springfield, were appointed Secretaries.
The following list embraces the names of the Delegates appointed to the Convention:
New York - Henry H. Garnet, John Spence, Henry Morton, William Rich, James H. Gardner, L. Harper, Geo. W. Gordon, James H. Davis, Wiliam S. Baltimore, Littleton Becket, William G. Allen, Henry Brister, James McCune Smith, Charles B. Ray, Griffin Griffins, Enoch Moore, William H, Topp, Stephen Woods, John Harrison, George B. Wilson, Stephen Myers, Benjamin Cutter, Abraham Caldwell, A. Hooper, P. Farnum, Wm. Warren, James H. Henderson, H. W. Johnson, George Haggimore, Francis Thompson, Samuel Van Wranken, John Lyle, George H. Baltimore, Peyton Harris, Willis A. Hodges, Thomas Van Rensselaer, Alexander Crummell, R. H. Johnson, Moses A. Jackson, Wm. P. McIntyre, Lewis Jackson, Williams Meads, R. D. Kenny, Eli Hall, James Blair Webb, Charles Van Hoosen.
Massachusetts - William C. Nell, Frederick Douglass, Nathan Johnson, Benjamin Weeden, William W. Brown, Henry Watson, Leonard Collins, Charles C. Seth, James Mars, Othello Burghard, Samuel Smith, P. I. Schuyler, Thomas Thomas, Martin Thomas.
Pennsylvania - Z. P. Purnell.
Connecticut - J. W. C. Pennington, Ames G. Beman.
Vermont - Peter G. Smith.
Michigan - Lewis Hayden.
New Hampshire - J. Billings.
New Jersey - Samuel B. Hyers.
Kentucky - Andrew Jackson.
On motion of Alexander Crummell, a committee of five was nominated to report a list of officers of the Convention, viz:—Benjamin Weeden, Wm. W. Brown, Willis Hodges, Stephen Myers, Alex. Crummell.
At this stage of the proceedings, the question as to admitting persons as delegates, was debated. Some were in favor of the "largest liberty," others were for making restrictions; the question was subsequently settled by the adoption of the following:—
Resolved, That all gentlemen present, who have come from places from which there is no regular appointed delegation to the Convention, be considered as delegates from those places, and that all other gentlemen be requested to take seats as honorary members.
On motion, the following committee was then appointed to draft rules for the Convention: H. H. Garnet, R. D. Kenny, William H. Topp.
The nominating committee reported as follows:
President—NATHAN JOHNSON of New Bedford, Mass.
Vice-Presidents—J. W. C. Pennington, Hartford, Conn., J. McCune Smith, New York, Peyton Harris, Buffalo, N.Y.
Secretaries—Wm. H. Topp, Albany, Wm. C. Nell, Boston, Mass., Chas. B. Ray, New York.
Which list was accepted and unanimously adopted.
The President elect took his seat, and the Convention joined in prayer, offered by Leonard Collins, of Springfield, Mass.
Mr. Garnet, from Committee on Rules, reported the following, for the government of the Convention.
1. Resolved, That each session of the Convention be opened by addressing the Throne of Grace.
2. Upon the appearance of a quorum the President shall take the chair and call the Convention to order,
3. The minutes of the preceding session shall be read at the opening of each session, at which time mistakes, if there by any, shall be corrected.
4. The President shall decide all questions of order subject to an appeal of the Convention.
5. All Motions and addresses shall be made to the President, the member rising from his seat.
6. All motions, except those of reference, shall be submitted in writing.
7. All Committees shall be appointed by the chair unless otherwise ordered by the Convention.
8. The previous question shall always be in order, and until decided shall preclude all amendment and debate, of the main question and shall by put in this form, "Shall the main question be now put."
9. No member shall be interrupted while speaking except when out of order, when he shall be called to order by or through the chair.
10. A motion to adjourn shall always be in order, and shall be decided without debate.
11. No member shall speak more than twice on the same question without the consent of the Convention, nor more than 15 minutes at each time.
12. No Resolution, except of reference, shall be offered to the Convention, except it come through the business Committee; but all resolutions rejected by the Committee may be presented directly to the Convention if the maker of such wishes to do so.
13. Sessions of the Convention shall commence at 9 o'clock A. M., and 2 o'clock, P. M., and shall close at 1 o'clock, P. M., and at 6 o'clock P. M.
The Report accepted and the Rules adopted.
On motion, the following persons were appointed a committee, to prepare and report business for the Convention:—H. H. Garnet, C. B. Ray, Leonard Collins, Lewis Hayden, Willis Hodges.
On motion of C. B. Ray, a Roll committee was appointed by the chair, viz: Wm. P. McIntrye, Stephen Myers.
H. H. Garnet, on behalf of the business committee, presented a series of resolutions, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, which were accepted and Resolution No. 1 adopted, and a committee of two, on Agriculture, was accordingly appointed, viz:—C. B. Ray, Willis Hodges.
Resolution No. 2 was taken up and adopted, and a committee of three on Temperance, was appointed, viz:—S. Myers, J. W. C. Pennington, L. Collins.
Resolution No. 3, on "Universal Freedom" was taken up and warmly discussed by several; and an amendment by J. McCune Smith, viz: On the best means of abolishing Slavery and Caste in the United States, was adopted, and the following committee appointed:—Fred'k Douglass, Thos. Van Rensselaer, John Lyle, R. D. Jenny, Alex. Crummell.
Here Thos. Van Rensselaer moved that no members be designated by titles. Amended by J. Mc.Smith, "That the Secretaries obtain names of delegates in full, and omit titles."
On motion of W. W. Brown, to appoint a Finance Committee, the chair nominated W. W. Brown, Stephen Myers, Wm. S. Baltimore.
Resolution No. 4, on Commerce, was taken up and adopted, and the following were appointed a committee:—J. W. C. Pennington, W. C. Nell, R. D. Kenny, Peyton Harris, Chas. Seth.
Resolution No. 5, on Printing Press, &c., was taken up and adopted, and a committee of three was appointed, viz:—J.McCune Smith, Wm H. Topp, G.B. Wilson.
Resolution No. 6, on Education, was also adopted, and a committee of three appointed, viz:—Alex. Crummell, J. McCune Smith, P.G. Smith.
Alex. Crummell here obtained leave to read a series of resolutions which was connected with the report subsequently submitted by him. The resolutions were received, and laid over for further consideration, and the Convention adjourned to 2 o'clock, P. M.
Convention called to order by the President. Prayer by H. H. Garnet.
The minutes not being ready to read, Thos. Van Rensselaer, of N. Y., in a few brief remarks laid the subject of a Bank before the Convention, to be established for the benefit of the colored people.
The minutes of the Morning Session were now read, corrected and adopted.
J. McCune Smith, on behalf of the committee upon the Printing Press, made a report, which was accepted, and on motion to adopt it, Thos. Van Rensselaer spoke at length against the adoption of the report, expressing fears that the undertaking was too great to be carried into successful operation.
C. B. Ray advocated the adoption of the report. Stephen Myers opposed the measure, if it contemplated establishing a new paper, to the embarrassment of those now in existence, but was in favor of merging the "Ram's Horn" and "National Watchman" in one, to be the National paper.
Andrew Jackson of Kentucky warmly advocated the adoption of the report as an organ of the Colored Americans.
Peyton Harris of Buffalo spoke in favor of Press, &c.
George Wilson advocated the report, was in favor of a National Paper established upon a firm basis
Lewis Hayden doubted the propriety of establishing a National Press,—and wanted more light upon the subject before the report should be adopted.
H. H. Garnet advocated the adoption of the Report, and said, that the cause of freedom had so far advanced, that some method hitherto untried, needed to be resorted to He believed that the most successful means which can be used for the overthrow of Slavery and Caste in this country, would be found in an able and well-conducted Press, solely under the control of the people of color—He delieved most religiously in the doctrine of self-help. One of the poets had truly said,
"Hereditary bondmen, know ye not,
Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow?"
The establishment of a National Printing Press would send terror into the ranks of our enemies, and encourage all our friends, whose friendship is greater than their selfishness. He had listened carefully to argument, in opposition to the measure, and was surprised to see the greatest amount of it came from editors, who are, or are to be. Of course there was nothing of selfishness in all this. With or without the sanction of the Convention, a Press would be established, by the help of God.
Frederick Douglass was opposed to the adoption of the Report, was in favor
of a Press, but a National Press he was satisfied could not well be sustained. A Paper started as a National organ, would soon dwindle down to be the organ of a clique; it would in his opinion require a creed for the government of the Editor, in order to sustain a National Press. He was in favor of sustaining the "Ram's Horn, National Watchman, and Northern Star."
J. Mc. Cune Smith rose to support the Report and urged the necessity of having a Press, through which at any and all times the voice of the Colored People may be heard, and that a Press established upon the basis designed in the Report would prove an incalculable benefit in promoting our interest ; he instanced the fact, that in the recent struggle in Connecticut to obtain equal suffrage, the colored people of that State, were without the necessary means through which to make known and urge their claims,—whereas if this National Press were established—papers speaking forth our sentiments, making known the wrongs we suffer, and demanding the rights due to manhood could then be issued by thousands, where now there is none.
Willis Hodges spoke against the Report—to his mind it was clear that a National Press was not needed.
Mr. Collins was in favor of a National Organ—and wanted the combined influence of the leading men in New York, Philadelphia, and other chief Cities and towns, to be brought into action to sustain said organ.
Mr. Lyall advocated the adoption of the Report.
W.W. Brown doubted the practicability of sustaining a National Press. A National Press established by the colored people should be supported by them, and as reference had been made to the manner in which the "Liberator" was kept afloat, he asked, Would the colored people do by the National Press as well as the friends or supporters of the Liberator? They put their hands into their pockets and give their hundreds of dollars; now he doubted the like being done by the colored people.
Mr. Alexander Crummell rose to enquire if the Report contemplated establishing a paper. Mr. Ray said the object of the Report did contemplate printing a paper, to be the National Organ, but it did not preclude the probability of making those papers now published that Organ. No war upon any paper need grow out of the Report. Mr. C. thought much "mist" had been thrown about the Report, and would like a few minutes to clear it up. Mr. C. obtained the floor. On motion the Convention, adjourned to hold an Evening Session, at 7 o'clock, at Morris Place Hall.
Convention called to order by Vice Pres't Pennington. Prayer by Mr. Schuyler, of Worcester. Singing a Liberty song. Minutes of the afternoon session were then read and approved.
On motion of W. W. Brown, it was resolved that at the hour of half-past eight o'clock all business of the Convention be suspended to allow the Finance Committee to use means to raise funds.
Mr. Crummell not being present to claim the floor, Thomas Van Rensselaer spoke at length in opposition to the Report. Having consumed his time an additional 10 minutes was allowed him by vote. F. Douglass again opposed the adoption of the Report. J. McCune Smith spoke at length in favor of the Report and was also voted an additional 10 minutes. Here the debate was suspended, the Chair having notified the Convention that the hour had arrived for the Finance Committee to act, and W. W. Brown made an appeal to the Convention and audience generally to aid in defraying the expenses of the Convention, and subsequently reported Eighteen Dollars collected.
Debate upon the Report resumed, and Willis Hodges opposed its adoption.
Alex. Crummell advocated its adoption; Leonard Collins in favor. R. H. Johnson spoke against the Report, asking the question, "Are we ready for a National Press?"
On motion of H. H. Garnet, the Convention adjourned to Thursday Morning, 9 o'clock, at Liberty street church.
THURSDAY MORNING, Oct. 7th.
Convention called to order by the President—Prayer by E. N. Hall. Minutes of last evening were read and approved. Discussion resumed on the "National Press," by Stephen Myers, who favored the Press, but not a National paper at present. Peyton Harris followed, in favor of the adoption of the Report. H. H. Garnet moved to lay the Report on the table until eleven o'clock—adopted.
Leonard ColIins moved a re-consideration of the vote to lie over, and the motion prevailed, and A. G. Beman moved the previous question on the whole matter.
The Report being called for by several members, it was read by J. M. C. Smith. On motion of R. D. Kenney, the yeas and nays were called for, and the Report was adopted.
New York—H H Garnet, John C Spence, L Harper, Geo W Gordon, Wm S Baltimore, Littleton Becket, James H Henderson, Geo Haggimore, Samuel Van Wranken, John Lyle. Geo H Baltimore, Peyton Harris, Henty Brister, James McCune Smith, Alexander Crummell, Griffen Griffin—16.
Massachusetts—Henry Watson, Leollard Collins, Chas C Seth, James Mars, Othello Burghard, Samuel Smith, P J Schuyler, Martin Thomas, Thomas Thomas—9.
Connecticut—J W Pennington.—1.
New Jersey—Samuel B Hyers,—1. Total,27.
New York—Willis A Hodges, Thos Van Rensselaer, Mosel A Jackson, R H Johnson,- 4.
Massachusetts—Wm C Nell, Benjamin Weeden—2.
Connecticut—Amos Gerry Beman,—1.
Michigan—Lewis Hayden—1. Total 9.
A. G. Beman was here appointed Secretary. A discussion arose relative to the appointing a "Home Agent," by A. Crummell and R. Johnson, and on motion, H. H. Garnet was elected Agent.
It was moved by James Mars, that one from each State be appointed to nominate a committee to establish said Press.
On this question an animated discussion occurred; closed by J. McCune Smith offering the following: Whereas, the Convention has sanctioned the project of establishing a National Press, and that part of the Report which refers to the appointment of a National Press—Therefore,
Resolved, That so much of the Report on the Press as refers to the appointment of a Committee, (Sec. 2, 3, 4,) be referred to a Committee of seven, with power and authority to carry out the intention of the Convention in adopting said Report. Adopted, and the following were appointed the Committee, viz: J. M. C. Smith, N. Y., Z. P. Purnell, Pa., James Mars, Mass,, J. W. C. Pennington, Conn., Andrew Jackson, Ky., Leonard Collins, Mass, A. G. Beman, Conn.
W. W. Brown moved that each Delegate. be taxed Twenty-five Cents, to meet the expenses of the Convention, and J. M. C. Smith called for a statement of the exact sum needed, and the receipts, &c., and offered the following as an amendment: Resolved, That each member be taxed the sum of One Dollar, to meet the expenses of the Convention, and for the printing the minutes thereof—and all members who desire, shall receive a sufficient number of copies, the sale of which may pay back said dollar.
H. H. Garnet stated the voluntary efforts of the Committee of Arrangements for the Convention, &c.
The amendment of Dr. Smith was, after some debate, adopted.
Alex. Crummell, from the committee on Education, reported, and on motion of B. Weeden the report was accepted, and the Convention adjourned to 2 o'clock.
Convention called to order by the President. Prayer by Mr, Schuyler. Proceedings of Morning Session were read and approved.
Thos. Van Rensselaer called for the reading of a portion of the Report on Education, which was complied with by A. Crummell, when the discussion was resumed—J. M. C. Smith and Mr. Van RensseIaer, in favor. H. H. Garnet in favor of Colored Academies, but did not see the necessity of Colored Colleges, because there were those to which colored youth could be admitted. Leonard Collins, Alex. Crummell, Z. P. Purnell and Peyton Harris, advocated the report, and Mr. Johnson opposed; and on call for the yeas and nays, the report was adopted—yeas 26, nays 17, and the following committee was nominated to
report the committee of Twenty-five: Alex Crummell, S: Myers, T. Van Rensselaer, L, Collins, F. Douglass.
New York—John C Spence, William S Baltimore, Littleton Becket, James H Henderson, Geo Haggimore, Peyton Harris, Chas B Ray, Alexander Crummell, Griffen Griffins, William H Topp, Stephen Woods, Lewis Jackson, John Harrisson, William Meads, Geo B Wilson, Eli N Hall, James Blair Webb, Abraham Caldwell, Jamcs McCunc Smith—19.
Massachusetts—Leonard Collins, James Mars, Stephen Smith, Martin Thomas, P I Schuyler, Thomas Thomas—6.
Pennsylvania—Z P Purnell—1. Total 26.
New York—Henry H Gamet, H W Johnson, John Lyles, Thos Van Renselaer, R H Johnson, M A Jackson, R D Kenny, Stephen Myers, Chas Van Hoosen,—9.
Massachusetts—Wm C Nell, Frederick Douglass, Benjamin Weeden, Wm W. Brown, Henry Watson, Chas C Seth—6.
Connecticut—Amos G Beman—1.
Michigan—Lewis Hayden—1. Total, 17.
The Business Committee reported the following:
Moved, That a committee of Five be appointed to report on the propriety, the mode, and the places of holding Annual National Conventions of the Colored People and their friends of these United States; amended by adding two in addition, and adopted by appointing R. D. Kenny, Benj. Weeden, Mass, L. Hayden, J. W. C. Pennington, Conn., F. Douglass, O,—Henderson, N. Y.,—Hyers, N, J.
W. W. Brown moved that a committee of three be appointed to nominate persons to speak in the evening at Morris Hall, viz: S. Myers, Weeden, John son, who subsequently reported the following; Henry Highland Garnet, Fred. Douglass, Thos Van Rensselaer, A, G Beman, Alex. Crummell, J. W. C. Pennington. Adjourned to 7 o'clock, P. M.
Per announcement, a large audience assembled at Morris Hall. Commenced by singing the "Fugitive," Prayer by Leonard Collins. The Chairman invited attention to H. H. Garnet, who read an eloquent and impressive address to the Slaves of the United States. He was followed by other speakers, viz: A. G. Beman, Fred. Douglass and Alex. Crummell, whose several speeches were received with enthusiastic admiration.
W. W. Brown of the Finance Committee made an appeal and obtained a contribution.
Alex. Crummell moved the acceptance of the committee of Twenty-five on the "College," which motion was carried, viz: Troy—William Rich, Albany—
William H.Topp, Stephen Myers, Moses Jackson. New York—William A. Tyson, Charles L. Reason, James McCune Smith, George T. Downing, John J. Zuille, Albro Lyons, Samuel E. Cornish, Charles B. Ray, Alexander Crummell, Patrick H. Reason, N. B. Vidal, Christopher Rush, E. V. Clark. Philadelphia—Joseph Cassey, William Douglass, James J. G. Bias, Stephen Smith.
Adjourned to 9 o'clock, Friday, A. M.
FRIDAY MORNING, Oct. 8th, 1847.
Convention called to order by the President. Prayer by A. G. Beman. Proceedings of last meeting were read and approved.
J. W. C. Pennington and Chas. Seth, urged the presentation of the report on Commerce.
H. H. Garnet moved that the Committee on Commerce now report, and that at 11 o'clock, A. M., the Committee on Convention submit their report—adopted.
J. W. C. Pennington, from the Committee on Commerce, reported, and spoke explanatory of objects therein suggested. Lewis Hayden moved acceptance—carried.
Here the President vacated his seat in favor of J. W. C. Pennington, Vice President whereupon a vote of thanks, &c., was passed.
A. G. Beman moved to appoint a Committee of five, to report as suggested in the resolutions of Committee on Commerce—carried.
R. D, Kenney gave some commercial statistics, and the above Committee was augmented as follows, viz: 1. J. W. C. Pennington, Nathan Johnson, Peyton Harris, W. C. Nell, R. D. Kenny, M. A. Jackson, A. G. Beman, Thos. Van Rensselaer, A, M. Sumner, H. H. Garnet, Alex. Thuey, Robert Barks.
Thomas Van Rensselaer called for the Report on Agriculture, which, with several Resolutions, was submitted by C. B. Ray for the Committee, and on motion was accepted.
S, Myers, from the Committee on Temperance, submitted the following as their Report: Resolved, That the subject of Temperance be referred to the Convention which is to be held at Great Barrington, July 7th, 1848, which was accepted.
R. D. Kenny, from Committee on Convention, reported Cleveland, Ohio, or Newark, N. J. Benj. Weeden moved that Newark be designated, which motion was discussed for and against by Stephen Myers, H. H. Garnet, R. D. Kenny, F. Douglass, Alex. Crummell and T. Van Rensselaer. R. H. Johnson moved that Rochester be substituted as an amendment. Several members claimed the floor, and calls for question were made. Leonard Collins obtained the right to speak, and moved PITSSBURGH as an amendment to the amendment. The vote was called for on the previous question, and resulted in the call for the amendment, Rochester, which was decided by Yeas, 12, Nays, 29—lost.
New York.—L. Harper, T. H. Henderson, George Haggimore, John Lyles. R H Johnson, L Jackson, C Van Hoosen,—7
Massachusetts—Wm H Brown, Henry Watson, PI Schuyler—3.
Kentucky—Andrew Jackson—Total 12.
New York—Henry H Garnet, H Morton, Geo W Gorden, J H Davis, S Van Wranken, Peyton Harris, W A Hodges, Thos Van Rensselaer, Alex Crummell, E Moore, M A Jackson, Wm Meads, G B Wilson, R D Kenney, S Myers, B Cutter, J B Webb, John Spence—18.
Massachusetts—F Douglass, W C Nell, Nathan Johnson, Benj Wheeden, Chas C Seth, Saml Smith, Thos Thomas, Martin Thomas—8.
Connecticut—J W C Pennington, Amos G Beman—2.
New Jersey—S B Hyers—1. Total 29.
F. Douglass moved Cleveland as an amendment, and also called the previous question, which was decided by Yeas 18, Nays 19.
New York—Geo Haggimore, S Van Wranken, John Lyles, Peyton Harris, W N Hodges, Thos Van Rensselaer, M A Jackson, Lewis Jackson, Wm
Meads, R D Kenney, B Cutter, J Spence — 12.
Massachusetts — Frederick Douglass, Wm W Brown, Henry Watson, Thos Thomas, Martin Thomas — 5. Connecticut—A G Beman.
Michigan—Lewis Hayden. Total 19.
New York—H H Garnet, H Morton, Geo W Gordon, W S Baltimore, J H Henderson, Chas B Ray, Alex Crummell, R H Johnson, E Moore, Geo B
Wilson, S Myers, J B Webb, C Van Hoosen—13.
Massachusetts—Nathan Johnson, Benj Wheeden, Wm C Nell, Leonard Collins, Saml Smith, P I Schuyler—6.
New Jersey—S B Hyers. Total 20.
The original motion on Newark, N. J., was then put and resulted thus: Ayes 25, Nays 14, and was decided to be the place for the next Convention
New York—H H Garnet, H Morton, L Harper, G W Gordon, W S Baltimore, J H Henderson, S Van Wranken, W A Hodges, Chas B Ray, Alexander Crummell, Wm Meads, Geo B Wilson, Stephen Myers, B Cutter, J B Webb, Spence, E Moore—17.
Massachusetts—N Johnson, W C Nell, B Wheeden, Chas C Seth, SamueI Smith, P I Schuyler, Thos Thomas—7.
Connecticut—J W C Pennington. Total 25.
New York—Geo Haggimore, John Lyles, P Harris, Thos Van Rensselaer, R H Johnson, L Jackson, R D Kenny, C Van Hoosen—8.
Massachusetts—F Douglass, H Watson, M Thomas, W W Brown, L CoIIins—5
Kentucky—A Jackson. Total 15. And was decided to be the place for the next Convention; and Alexander Crummell moved that the 3rd Wednesday of September, 1848, be the time for said Convention, which motion prevailed.
A. G. Beman moved to appoint an Executive Committee of five, to be appointed by the President, to call said Convention. Adjourned to 9 o'clock, A. M.
Convention called to order by the President. Prayer by C. B. Ray.
Minutes of morning session were read and approved.
On motion of A. G. Beman the report on Agriculture was taken up, and on motion for adoption, Stephen Myers, of Albany, advocated its adoption with the Resolutions.
C. B. Ray, of New York, spoke in favor of the recommendations embodied in the report.
Mr. Lyall was in favor of the third resolution attached to the report.
F. Douglass was fearful that the munificence of Mr. Smith would operate as an injury unless the lands bestowed by him be occupied, &c.; was in favor of immigration, and thought the best eulogium bestowed on Mr. Smith for his liberal donation would be by the owner of a lot going upon it and occupying it.
H. H. Garnet was also in favor of immigration, and urged all to go. The previous question being called for, the main question was put and the report adopted.
F. Douglass, on behalf of the committee upon the "Best means to Abolish Slavery and Caste in the United States," read the report, and was accepted and on motion for adoption, H. H. Garnet took exceptions to the phraseology in the report, "Sanctity of Religion," "Shedding of blood," " Moral Suasion."
Willis Hodges was opposed to the portion of the report relative to " Moral Suasion."
John C. Spence followed, giving his views as agreeing with the remarks of Mr. Garnet.
James H. Gardner, was opposed to moral suasion.
Mr. Beman moved to have the report referred back to the committee for modification. The report being called for was again read by Mr. Douglass, who gave some explanation.
Andrew Jackson rose to speak in favor of the report. It was here resolved to hold a meeting for business in the evening.
H. H. Gamet having the floor, the Chair announced the Committee to issue calI for next Convention as follows: E. P. Rogers, Newark, N. J., C. B. Ray,
New York, W. C. Nell, Boston, A. G. Beman New Haven, A. M. Sumner Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Convention adjourned to 7 o'clock, P. M.
FRIDAY EVENING MEETING.
Called to order by V. P. Pennington. Singing Liberty song. Prayer by Mr. Lyall. On motion, the reading the afternoon's proceedings was dispensed with, and upon a call, the Report on Abolition &c. was again read by Mr. Douglass.
H. H. Garnet resumed his remarks, to shew the necessity of qualifying certain expressions contained in the Report, and urged so much as related to "Religion sanctifying Slavery," be amended by a substitute to read Religion, faIsely so called. Another objectionable feature was the word "Moral Suasion," and was in favor of adding after Suasian and "Political action." His time having expired, it was voted to allow him to finish his remarks.
W. W. Brown advocated the Report and urged that Moral Suasion was needed in order to convince and convert the white people here in favor of abolishing Slavery.
F. Douglass took the floor again to explain and advocate the Report.
A. G. Beman was in favor of adding "political action." [Mr. Beman while on the floor made allusion to an article contained in a daily paper of Troy, which article reflected quite severely upon the doings of the Convention, and particularly upon some of his remarks made use of in his address the evening previous, and appealed to the audience if such an attack was just. The response was one of indignation towards the writer of said article.]
Andrew Jackson resumed in favor of the Report, and upon call of previous question a vote was taken and the Report was lost.
The Finance Committee reported $9 07 collected. On motion it was Resolved that this Convention adjourn sine die at 12 o'clock to-morrow (Saturday.) Song, and adjourned to 9 o'clock A. M.
FOURTH DAY. SATURDAY MORNING, OCT. 9.
Convention called to order by Vice Pres't Harris. Prayer by Mr. Spense, of Troy, N. Y. Minutes of Friday afternoon and evening were read and approved, when H. H. Garnett, from the Business Committee, reported a series of Resolutions numbering 7, 8, 9, 10; all of which were adopted.
The following Resolutions were submitted by ----- -----: " Resolved, That the creation and permanent establishment of a Banking Institution by the colored people of the United States is a measure which deserves the attention of this Convention.
"Resolved, That a Committee of three be appointed by this Convention to report on Banks and Banking Institutions."
Mr. A. Jackson moved to adopt them. Thomas Van Rensselaer spoke in favor of a Banking Institution originating among the colored people of the U. States, because they at present contribute to their own degradation by investing capital in the hands of their "enemies." Messrs. M. A. Jackson and W. C.
Nell were opposed to a Bank, and on motion of Thomas Van Rensselaer the resolutions were laid on the table to give way to a Reconsideration of the vote of last evening upon Mr. Douglass' Report. The vote was reconsidered, and A. G. Beman moved to a reference to a Committee of three. Messrs. Douglass, Johnson and Garnett, were appointed, and on motion two were added, Messrs. Van Rensselaer and Beman. Mr. Van Rensselaer here urged the necessity of continuing the Convention a day or two longer, that more important matters which were unfinished might be disposed of. The Bank question was now resumed. Willis Hodges was in favor of a Bank, establiehed for the benefit of colored people. Several members here claimed the floor; the Chair decided in favor of Mr. Harris, and the decision of the Chair was appealed from, and the Chair was sustained. Mr. Peyton Harris proceeded at some length to advocate the establishment of a Bank.
On motion of A. G. Beman the vote to adjourn to-day at 12 o'clock was rescinded.
On motion of H. H. Garnett, A. G. Beman was elected a Vice President.
The Committee to whom the Report on Abolition &c. was recommitted, made the Report with corrections, which was accepted, and the Report and Resolutions were adopted unanimously, and in accordance a Committee of one, (F. Douglass) was appointed.
Mr. Lyall here spoke against the Bank Resolutions. W. C. Nell was opposed to establishing a Bank, unless it be shown that the colored people cannot have the benefit of Banks now in existence. Thos. Van Rensselaer continued in favor and was allowed 10 additional minutes. S. Myers opposed the Bank. H. H. Garnet opposed, and moved the whole matter lie on the table. Carried.
Business Committee here reported Resolutions 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. On motion No. 14 was adopted without debate. Nos. 11, 12 and 13 elicited quite a warm discussion by Messrs. Johnson and Myers and were adopted, and the Convention adjourned to 2 1/2 o'clock.
Meeting called to order by Vice Pres't Beman. Prayer by ----- ----- Proceedings of morning were read and approved.
Willis Hodges moved a reconsideration of the "Bank Question" and advocated its passage. Mr. Van Rensselaer remarked, "that we should be willing to yield to the force of circumstances and establish a Bank for the purpose of our own elevation, though it should not be exclusive," &c., &c. Samuel Smith, of Lee, and Mr. Garnet, of Troy, opposed. Upon question, the Resolution was adopted and tde following were appointed a Committee: Thomas Van Rensselaer, New York, Wm. H. Topp, Albany, Peyton Harris, Buffalo, to report at the next National Convention. A communication was here read by the Secretary from Lewis Putnam, Utica, N, Y.
Resolution 15 was now taken up. On motion to adopt, Lewis Hayden was
in favor of the Resolution so to read as to include "the abettors of," as well as Slaveholders themselves. Mr. Spence, of Troy, opposed, on the ground that the object designed in the Resolution was not susceptible of doing any good, but rather the reverse. Peyton Harris objected to the passage of the Resolution. S. Myers was in favor. The Resolution was adopted, and a Committee of three was appointed to draft an Address to the Slaveholders, to report at the next Convention, consisting of H. H. Garnet, T. Van Rensselaer and A. G. Beman.
Resolution 17 was taken up and lost. M. A. Jackson moved to appoint a Committee of three to publish the Minutes of the Convention. H. H. Garnet, W. H. Topp and Thomas Van Rensselaer were appointed.
The Committee would recommend the appointment of the following Committees, to consist of as many persons as may be deemed sufficient.
1. A Committee of 2 on Agriculture. Passed.
A Committee of 4 on Religion. Laid over.
2. A Committee of 3 on Temperance. Passed.
3. A Committee of 3 on Universal Freedom. Amended, that a Committee of three be appointed to report on the best method of abolishing Slavery and Caste in the United States of America.
4. A Committee of 5 on Commerce. Passed.
5th Moved, That a Committee of three be appointed to report on the propriety of establishing a Printing Establishment and Press for the colored people of the United States. Passed.
6. Moved, That a Committee of three be appointed to make a report on the state and wants of Educational privileges of the colored people in the United States. Passed.
7. Resolved, That we return devout thanks to the Father of Mercies for the signal success which has followed the self-denying efforts of the friends of Freedom in the United States and throughout the civilized world.
8. Resolved, That notwithstanding the numerous obstacles that lie in our upward road, and great opposition to our cause which everywhere meets us, yet, having our faith in God and his immutable truth, we solemnly pledge ourselves anew to be faithful to the interests of our enslaved brethren until death.
9. Resolved, That we believe in the Church of God as established by his Son Jesus Christ, and that it never fails to evince its spirit by its opposition to all manner of sin, especially to that mother of abominations, Slavery; and that those sects (falsely called Christian Churches) who tolerate Caste, and practice Slave holding, are nothing more than synagogues of Satan.
10. Resolved, That the Declaration of American Independence is not a lie, and, if the fathers of the Revolution were not base and shameless hypocrites, it is evident that all men are created equal,and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
11. Resolved, That in our judgment it is the duty of all men to abstain from the use of ardent spirits and from the traffic in it.
12. Resolved. That it is expedient that the friends of Temperance. without a thought of color, but as one man, unite our efforts to extend the principles of Temperance throughout the world.
13. Resolved, That the Influence of Temperance on the intellectual elevation, the moral character, the social happiness and the future prospect of mankind, is such as ought to obtain for it the cordial approbation and the united, vigorous and persevering effort of all the philanthropic and humane of every class and sex of the country.
14. Resolved, That this Convention earnestly urge the attention of our colored citizens and their friends to the duty of holding State Conventions in their several States, for the purpose of urging, morally and politically, upon the people of each State the duty of acknowledging and establishing all the rights which are withheld from them; likewise to consider all the local interests for their improvement or elevation.
15. Resolved, That this Convention make an Address to the SlavehoIders in this country, and demand of them that they immediately let the slaves go free.
16. Resolved, That a Committee of three be appointed to carry the above Resolution into effect.
17. Resolved, That this Convention recommend to our people the propriety of instructing their sons in the art of war.
W. C. Nell offered the following Resolves which were passed:
Resolved, That our sincere thanks are hereby submitted to the Committee of Arrangements for having generously volunteered their efforts for the successful accommodation of Delegates to the Convention.
Resolved, That we tender our grateful acknowledgments to the friends at Troy for their agreeable contribution to our comfort while sojourning in their beautiful city.
Resolved, That we would also express our gratitude to the proprietors of Liberty Street Church for the gratuitous use of their house for the sittings of this ConventIon.
A Resolution was adopted recommending the "Ram's Horn," "Nation Watchman," "Northern Star," "Disfranchised American" and "The Mystery," as worthy the encouragement and support of the people.
The amount paid to the Publishing Committee was $34. They received the Minuies from the Secretaries on the 21st of October. The Minutes appear to be incomplete in some instances, but the Publishing Committee have strictly followed the manuscript placed in their hands.
Finance Committee reported $ collected; voted the balance, after paying Printing &c., to go to Committee on Publishing, and after a song the Convention adjourned sine die.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON A NATIONAL PRESS.
The Committee on a "National Press and Printing Establishment for the People of Color" made the following
on the importance and practicability of such an undertaking:
"It being admitted that the Colored People of the United States are pledged, before the world and in the face of Heaven, to struggle manfully for advancement in civil and social life, it is clear that our own efforts must mainly, if not entirely, produce such advancement. And if we are to advance by our own efforts, (under the Divine blessing,) we must use the means which will direct such efforts to a successful issue.
Of the means for the advancement of a people placed as we are, none are more available than a Press. We struggle against opinions. Our warfare lies in the field of thought. Glorious struggle! God-like warfare! In training our soldiers for the field, in marshaling our hosts for the fight, in leading the onset, and through the conflict, we need a Printing Press, because a printing press is the vehicle of thought—is a ruler of opinions.
Among ourselves we need a Press that shall keep us steadily alive to our responsibilities, which shall constantly point out the principles which should guide our conduct and our labors, which shall cheer us from one end of the land to the other, by recording our acts, our sufferings, our temporary defeats and our steadily approaching triumph—or rather the triumph of the glorious truth "Human Equality," whose servants and soldIers we are.
If a Press be not the most powerful means for our elevation, it is the most Immediately necessary. Education of the intellect, of the will, and of character, is, doubtless, a powerful, perhaps the most powerful means for our advancement: yet a Press is needed to keep this very fact before the whole people, in order that all may constantly and unitedly labor in this, the right direction. It may be that some other means might seem even more effectual than education; even then a Press will be the more
necessary, inasmuch as it will afford a field in which the relative importance of the various means may be discussed and settled in the hearing of the whole people, and to the profit of all.
The first step which will mark our certain advancement as a People, will be our Declaration of Independence from all aid except from God and our own souls. This step can only be taken when the minds of our people are thoroughly convinced of its necessity and importance. And such conviction can only be produced through a Press, which shall show that although we have labored long and earnestly, we have labored in too many directions and with too little concert of action; and that we must, as one man, bend our united efforts in the one right direction in order to advance.
We need a Press also as our Banner on the outer wall, that all who pass by may read why we struggle, how we struggle, and what we struggle for. If we convince the world that we are earnestly and resolutely striving for our own advancement, one half the battle will already be won, because well and rightly begun. Our friends will the more willingly help us; our foes will quail, because they will have lost their best allies—our own inertness, carelessness, strifes and dependence upon others. And there is no way except through a Press—a National Press—that we can tell the world of our position in the path of Human Progress.
Let there be, then, in these United States, a Printing Press, a copious supply of type, a full and complete establishment, wholly controled by colored men; let the thinking writing-man, the compositors, pressman, printers' help, all, all be men of color;—then let there come from said establishment a weekly periodical and a quarterly periodical, edited as well as printed by colored men;—let this establishment be so well endowed as to be beyond the chances of temporary patronage; and then there will be a fixed fact, a rallying point, towards which the strong and the weak amongst us would look with confidence and hope; from which would flow a steady stream of comfort and exhortation to the weary strugglers, and of burning rebuke and overwhelming argument upon those who dare impede our way.
The time was when a great statesman exclaimed, "Give me the song-making of a people and I will rule that people." That time has passed away from our land, wherein the reason of the people must be assaulted and overcome: this can only be done through the Press. We have felt, and bitterly, the weight of odium and malignity wrought upon us by one or two prominent presses in this land: we have felt also the favorable feeling wrought in our behalf by the Anti-Slavery Press. But the amount of the hatred against us has been conventional antipathy, and of
the favorable feeling has been human sympathy. Our friends sorrow with us, because, they say we are unfortunate! We must batter down those antipathies, we must command something manlier than sympathies. We must command the respect and admiration due men, who, against fearful odds, are struggling steadfastly for their rights. This can only be done through a Press of our own. It is needless to support these views with a glance at what the Press has done for the down-trodden among men; let us rather look forward with the determination of accomplishing, through this engine, an achievement more glorious than any yet accomplished. We lead the forlorn hope of Human Equality, let us tell of its onslaught on the battlements of hate and caste, let us record its triumph in a Press of our own.
In making these remarks, your Committee do not forget or underrate the good service done by the newspapers which have been, or are now, edited and published by our colored brethren. We are deeply alive to the talent, the energy and perseverance, which these papers manifest on the part of their self-sacrificing conductors. But these papers have been, and are, a matter of serious pecuniary loss to their proprietors; and as the proprietors are always poor men, their papers have been jeoparded, or stopped for the want of capital. The history of our newspapers is the strongest argument in favor of the establishment of a Press. These papers abundantly prove that we have all the talent and industry requisite to conduct a paper such as we need; and they prove also, that among 500,000 free people of color no one man is yet set apart with a competence for the purpose of advocating with the pen our cause and the cause of our brethren in chains. It is an imposition upon the noble-minded colored editors, it is a libel upon us as a free and thinking people, that we have hitherto made no effort to establish a Press on a foundation so broad and national that it may support one literary man of color and an office of colored compositors.
The importance and necessity of a National Press, your Committee trust, are abundantly manifest.
The following plan, adopted by the Committee of seven, appointed by the Convention with full power, is in the place of the Propositions proposed by the Committee of three.
1st. There shall be an Executive of eleven persons, to be denominated the Executive Committee on the National Press for the Free Colored People of the United States, viz:
2nd. Massachusetts—Leonard Collins, James Mars; Connecticut—Amos G. Beman, James W. C. Pennington; Kentucky—Andrew Jackson; New York—J. McCune Smith, Chas. B. Ray, Alex. Crummell; New Jersey—E. P.
Rogers; Pennsylvania—Andrew Purnell, George B. Vachon; of which Committee James McCune Smith, of New York, shall be Chairman, and Amos G. Beman, of Connecticut, Secretary.
3d. The members of this Committee residing in the city of New York shall be a Financial Committee, who shall deposite, in trust for the Executive Committee, in the "New York Seaman's Bank for Savings," all the funds received by them from the Agents.
4th. No disposition shall be made of the funds by any less than a two-thirds majority of the whole Committee.
5th. The Committee shall hold stated meetings once in six months, and shall then publish an account of their proceedings, the receipts, and from whom all sums are sent to them by the Agents.
6th. The Rev. J. W. C. Pennington, of Connecticut, shall be the Foreign Agent of the National Press; and the Agents shall always be ex-officio members of the Committee.
7th. The renumeration of the Home Agent shall be 20 per cent.; of the Foreign Agent 30 per cent., on collections made.
8th. The meetings of the Committee shall take place in the city of New York.
9th. The Agents shall report and remit to the Committee, at least once a month for the Home, and once in two months for the Foreign Agent.
10th. Members of the Committee, from any two States, may call an extra meeting thereof by giving the Chairman and Secretary thirty days notice.
J. Mc'CUNE SMITH, G. B. WILSON, WM.H.TOPP.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE.
The Committee on Commerce, on meeting to take into consideration the subject assigned them, found in the possession of one of their number a document which seems to them to be so immediately connected with the subject, that they agree to have it read.
By the mysterious providence of God, we find that captivity has dispersed our race far and wide. Long years of darkness, imbecility and slavery, have been our portion. But God hath appointed us unto restoration. For princes shall come out of Egypt, and Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God. We bless and praise Jehovah's name that he ever liveth to carry out his own counsels of judgment and mercy. To this island of Jamaica, he hath been especially gracious. He hath brought to our shores the inestimable boon of Freedom, and opened before us a career of glory that is sufficient to animate and inspire the most apathetic and deadened soul. What hath the Eternal here wrought? He hath conferred upon us the blessings of free institutions, and the gift of a country, in the most endearing sense of that term. We are the great body of the people. We have a climate which seems made for us, and we for the climate. SureIy, "the lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places, and we have a goodly heritage." The price by which great things may be obtained is in our hands, and our only desire is that it may be used wisely and for the best of purposes. But to make our advantages of the best possible avail, we need encouragement and co-operation from our brethren and friends throughout the world. Lend us your prayers and your sympathies, and we stipulate on our part, that the great experiment which is now in progress for the elevation of our long injured race, shall be thoroughly successful and satisfactory in its results. It is our blessing, notwithstandmg hItherto it has not been in our power to turn it to the best account, that we are surrounded by similar moral and political institutions, and speak a language the same as that spoken by the great body of our brethren in America, and friends in other parts of the world. In this we are afforded great facilities for correspondence. We also possess a goodly number of churches and chapels and schools, such as our present circumstances might be thought to admit of. In these institutions no caste distinctions are tolerated. Our civil and political advancement is, upon the whole, encouraging, In the jury box, in the magistracy, in the municipal corporations and the Legislature, we are rapidly filling our places. But in one respect our progress does not keep pace with our general advancement. In the Commerce of the country we have no proportionate share. Now the relation existing between us and our brethren of North America, is one of mutual sympathy and co-operation in all that pertains to the general welfare of the race, and your co-operation with us, is in nothing more demanded than in Commercial enterprise. In this island our people constitute phatically the market, and in America abound those commodities which are in the greatest demand amongst us. There is
already commercial intercourse, existing to some extent, between the two countries. But in whose hands, whether in America, or on this island, is this important department of national prosperity ? In the hands of the friends, or the foes, of the advancement of the African race ? Is the influence which it gives, exerted for, or against us ? We fear that with few exceptions these interrogatories must be answered in the negative. This state of things ought no longer to continue. Did we possess a body of merchants in America, and a correspondent body in Jamaica, impressed with that indelible type which is the peculiar characteristic of the African race, we cannot mistake the vast amount of good that would be accomplished on all sides. White Americans visiting our ports, and having to transact business, for the most part, with men of our hue, would be found ere long to have acquired more humane and rational views of our race. They would stand rebuked as regards the prejudice and oppression which evil minded men are ever disposed to invoke against us and to inflict upon us.—They would return from our shores with more favorable impressions, and the re-action upon North American slavery would be irresistibly great. Unite the most repulsive of mankind in enlightened commercial intercourse, and their antagonism will be found to lose its edge, and the feelings of civility and politeness succeed to its place.
Commerce is the great lever by which modern Europe has been elevated from a state of barbarism and social degradation, whose parallel is only to be found in the present condition of the African race—to the position which she now so proudly occupies. Commerce ever has been the great means by which the Jews, her ancient people, have been able to preserve their national existence. To Commerce, America owes her present importance, and we, too, if we would acquire any very great influence for good, must join in the march of Commerce. With the means which Commerce supplies, enlightenment can be carried forward, religious and philanthropic institutions sustained, and the natural resources which God has caused to be buried in the bosom of the soil, may be successfully developed, and made to contribute their quota to universal happiness, which is calculated to bind all mankind in one common brotherhood.
To our white Anti-slavery friends, we would convey our deep and abiding sense of the cordial interests which they have manifested in our advancement. We would at the same time express our regret that in their cursory visits among us, they seem to have quite overlooked the absence of commercial engagements among our class. We solicit their co-operation in rendering us at once an intelligent community, and the West Indies shall
become the great nursery from which may be obtained those best suited, from their peculiar constitution, to carry the blessings of Religion, Agriculture and Commerce to the very heart of Africa. We believe the Niger Expedition to have been perfectly feasible, and failed only from the want of associating with it a sufficient number of intelligent and God-fearing men of the African race. May our Anti-slavery friends then feel the importance of engaging our people, both here and in America, in the pursuit of a healthy and vigorous Commerce. This will give us energy of character, and fit us for embarking in the most arduous enterprises for the rescue of suffering humanity. May God move their hearts to assist us in such a manner as we may best assist ourselves.
To carry out these views we have availed ourselves of the opportunity which is presented in the visit of Mr. Pennington to our island, to organize a society to be called the Jamaica Hamic Association. The object of this Society is to effect a correspondence with our brethren in America, and friends throughout the world. We solicit your hearty concurrence with us in these measures as we are anxious to engage our race, and friends, universally, in some common effort for the extinction of slavery and the elevation of our people, and engage them in Commerce throughout the wide range of our dispersion; and Agriculture in our fatherland will place within our reach the means of successfully competing with slavery on the one hand, of disarming prejudice on the other, and at the same time of promoting that charitable feeling which everywhere and under all circumstances characterize the christian. A movement of this kind would be indeed the harbinger of better times, and a dawn of that glorions day when the lion shall lie down with the lamb, and they shall no more hurt nor harm in all the holy mountain of the Lord.
Committee-EDWARD VICARS, President; Peter Constantine,George Ennis, Vice Presidents; Peter Jallep, James Millington, Secretaries; George Reily, Treasurer; Robert Duaney, Teller, &c., &c.
Kingston, Jamaica, April 28th, 1846.
Resolved, That we hail with great pleasure the courteous proposal from our brethren in the island of Jamaica to open a friendly correspondence with us.
Resolved, That we cordially respond to the sentiments contained in the address of the Jamaica Hamic Association, believing as we do that a more intimate acquaintance with our brethren in those islands will be of mutual benefit and advantage.
Resolved, That a committee of thirteen be appointed to reply to the address of the Jamaica Hamic Association, and that said
committee be instructed to express to our brethren our cordial sympathy and readiness to unite with them in any proper measures for the advancement of our common cause.
Signed—J. W. C. Pennington, Randall D. Kenney, W. C. Nell, P. Harris, Charles Seth.
Resolved, That the committee of West India Correspondence be, and they are hereby, instructed to report their correspondence to the next Annual Convention.
The following committee was appointed by the Convention, in accordance with the recommendation of the Report: Connecticut, J. W. C. Pennington, A. G. Beman; New York, R. D. Kenney, T. Van Rensselaer, George Hogarth, Peyton Harris, Henry H. Garnet, Nathan Johnson; Massachusetts, Moses Jackson, Wm. C. Nell; Ohio, A. M. Sumner; Michigan, Robt. Banks; Nassau, N. P., Alex. Theuy.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE.
Your Committee to whom was referred the subject of Agriculture, regret that they have not had time so fully to consider the subject as its importance demands; they beg leave, however, to submit the following reflections.
By Agriculture, is meant the cultivation and improvement of the soil, with everything intimately connected therewith, such as the cultivation of fruit, the raising of flocks, herds, &c.
This subject is beginning now to take its proper rank among the great questions of the civilized world. More than formerly, it is receiving a portion, at least, of the attention it demands, as well in Europe as in this country, from men in the first conditions of life, both as respects literature and wealth. And well It may, for it was the primitive pursuit of life, the calling of earth's first born ones, the mode of subsistence and happiness prescribed by God himself, therefore the true mode by which to live, the best mode. When God made this earth, he intended to people it with man, as well as to make it the abode of beast. It was, therefore, as necessary to provide some thing, as well as some place, upon which to subsist. God, therefore, who understood the wants of man and beast, and best how to supply them, made the earth of
the composition of which it is, that it might yield food for man and food for beast. And when he said, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," he meant, that by man's labor should he eat bread. And it is equal evident, that that labor was to be expended in procuring from the earth's subsistence. Your Committee have made these remarks, from their convictions that an Agricultural life was the life intended for man to pursue. If so, then it is among the most happy and honorable of pursuits.
The great aim of the masses of mankind, in this life, is to be placed in easy circumstances, or beyond want, prospective as well as present. Towards this point they bend all their efforts, it is the great absorbing theme that engrosses all their thoughts and attention. Or if to be placed beyond want for the future, as well as the present, be no the absorbing theme with man, then what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed, is the question. When man is this provided for, or has the means by which, in ordinary cases, he is certain thus to be provided for; if he does not regard himself in easy circumstances, all his anxieties and cares for the future, vanish away.
The question now is, what pursuit in life is best adapted to place man in the circumstances in which it is his highest aim to be placed, viz; freedom from undue care and anxiety about the necssaries and comforts of life. Your Committee, without hesitation, reply, that the cultivation of the soil, of which man is himself the owner, is the very pursuit best adapted to accomplish this end. For the man who owns his farm and devotes his time to cultivate it, to planting and sowing, to the raising of fruits and flocks and herds, with a congenial sun and refreshing showers, will, after a few months, when cometh the harvest, reap and gather into barns, food for the supply of his own wants and the wants of his beasts. And if, at seed time, he has laid his plans accordingly, he will, in ordinary cases, have something to dispose of to meet such wants, as the products of his farm, directly, do not meet. If the earth should yield but sparingly, the producer thereof will have the first supply; if any be in want, it must be him who produces not.
The wants of man, in most cases, are more of the imaginary than real. The imaginary wants, what men would have if they could, occupy the thoughts and the attention, much more than they pain the heart. It is the real wants that cause solicitude, anxieties and pain. Now, the pursuit of Agriculture, will, in all ordinary cases produce wherewith to meet the real wants of life, and in most cases do even more. In fact, it is the only pursuit in which a man has so many reasons to expect that the reward of his hands will be given him. For harvest, as well as seed time,
is sure to come. The liabilities also, to a failure, in this pursuit, are less than in others. The pursuit of Agriculture, then, is the surest road for man to place himself in easy circumstances, or beyond want.
The farmer is an independent man; the man of no other pursuit is so much so. He may do without what men of trade and traffic have to dispose of, and upon the disposal of which, depends their very living; but they cannot do without what he produces. To him they must come for the very things upon which human existence, under God, is absolutely dependent. Without him, they have neither house, home, food, nor clothing. They must have the bread he produces, the cotton, the flax, and the wool he grows. They must have the timber from his forest the claw from his bed for brick, the sugar from his grove, his beet, or his cane. They must have the silk from the worm he nurses, and the covering for the feet even, from the back of the herds and the flocks he raises. Yea, the very articles in which they trade and traffic, are the fruit of the farmer's toil. If he toil not, then they trade and traffic not. The great staples of the commerce of the world, are either directly or indirectly the products of the farm. Let the farmer cease his toil, or toil only to supply his own wants; let him produce for himself alone, and not for others, and our merchants must close their shops; our ships must lie moored at their respective docks; our manufactories must cease the hum of the spindle, and the loom, and the millions of operatives must scatter themselves whither they will. Our cities, too, must become desolate, and the capital of the world of nothing worth. The converse of this, it is true, is the state of the civilized world; but it is because the agriculturalist toils on, producing what he can, and the earth yields sufficiently, through his skill, for him who toils, and for him who toils not. The surplus beyond the wants of the producer is converted into articles of trade, and the merchant buys, sells, ships and gets gain, and commerce and trade flourish.
An agricultural life is productive of moral, mental and physical culture. The farmer levels the forest, shatters and cleaves the rock in sunder, and tills the soil, which God's own hands hang made; and when he climbs the mountain, even to the clouds, or enters the forest, or surveys the plain; when his eye glances upon the waving grass and grain, upon the thrifty corn, he see the order, the variety, the beauty, and the wonders of nature, and must be led to look from nature up to nature's God, to love and admire the wisdom, the goodness, and the power of God, as thus displayed, and be made a better man.
But an agricultural life is evidently the employment designed by God for man; it must be adapted to his whole nature, mental
and physical, as well as moral, and conduce therefore to the growth of the mind. An agricultural pursuit is peculiarly adapted to, and promotive of, scientific pursuits. It may very naturally lead to the study of the structure and composition of the various earths, rocks and minerals, of which the earth is composed, and of the vegetables which she produces. The Agriculturist may then become the better geologist, mineralogist and botanist, because aided in the study of these sciences by the very employment he follows, and that too, without interfering scarcely at all with that employment. It must, then, produce mental culture. And the very nature of the employment calls into exercise the muscles and the physical powers of the body, and must conduce to physical culture and to health.
But an Agricultural life is open to all, and the things that obstruct other modes of life do not obstruct this. And if it be the road to competency, to independence and to easy circumstances, and if, in addition thereto, it is conducive to moral, mental, and physical culture, then ought it to be resorted to by our own people. For from all, or nearly all, the other pursuits in life, which lead to easy circumstances, we are deprived, or have not the means to embark therein, to compete with those long skilled in these pursuits and having capital adapted thereto. But we live in a country yet comparatively in its infancy, and most of which is an unbroken wilderness, with a temperate climate, and where land is both cheap and productive. And there is no barrier to the purchase of the soil by our people in any part of the country where it is desirable to seek a home. And if we may not, from the peculiar circumstances in our case, be men of other pursuits, we may become, if we will, Agriculturalists, and be independent and happy. Besides, the farmer's life is adapted to our pecuniary circumstances and condition. To commence a business, in the business part of the country, which would yield, in ordinary cases, a competency, would require a capital much larger than the most of us possess. But a few dollars, comparatively, will purchase a farm sufficiently large to afford a comfortable subsistence, at the outset; will provide the necessary implements of husbandry, and at the same time be the most productive investment that can be made of small sums of money. For every stroke of the ax, every furrow of the plow, and every rod that is cultivated, while it meets the current wants, will be adding improvements and increasing the value of the farm. He may not have money as men in other pursuits have, he does not need it as they do' they are dependent upon their money for the necessaries of life, he has them without money and without price. But though he has not the money they have, the very means by which he lives
adds annually to the value of his farm, and he is becoming every year a wealthier man.
An Agricultural life also tends to equality in life. The community is a community of farmers. Their occupations are the same; their hopes and interests the same; they occupy a similar position in society; the ones is not above the other, whether of the proscribed or any other class, they are all alike farmers. And as it is by placing men in the same position in society that all castes fade away, all castes in this case will be forgotten, and an equality of rights, interests and privileges only exist. An Agricultural life then is the life for a proscribed class to pursue, because it tends to break down all proscriptions.
Your Committee cannot close these suggestions without refering to the beneficent act of GERRIT SMITH, ESQ., which has opened the way to our people to the farmers life. They refer to it also because they wish to urge those possessed of these advantages to use them, as well from the influence it will exert upon others as for the benefit that will result to themselves. Your Committee think they see in this beneficent act of Mr. Smith's, a Divine Providence directing our people to this mode of life as well as opening the way to it. They regard this as a God-send, which, like other gifts of God, is not to be slighted, but used and not abused; and which, if used, will give to us a character, a name and a place among the people of the earth, useful to ourselves, gratifying to the donor and honorable to God. For here we have put into our hands, without money and without price, the means to place us in independent and happy circumstances And we believe that the destiny of our people now hangs upon the use to be made of this gift by those to whom it is given, as much as upon any one thing that presents itself to our consideration. That, if this land shall be settled and improved, and the wilderness made to bud and blossom as the rose, as bud and blossom it may, by its now present owners, that they will work for themselves a character and create an influence that shall command the respect for themselves and their brethren, of those who now very little respect us; that will stop the mouths of those who speak slightly of us, and will exert an influence upon our brethren who have not shared in those gifts, to turn their attention to and engage in the pursuit of Agricultural life.
Your Committee, aware that this gift of land by Mr. Smith concerns the people of the State of New York directly, have nevertheless, referred to it here, with the hope that the Convention will pass the Resolutions in reference to this matter herewith submitted, both to evince our appreciation of those gifts, and to express our high regard for the donor, as well as to exert some in-
fluence upon those in possession of these lands to go and cultivate them. We also submit a resolution recommending our people generally to become Agriculturalists, as the life easiest of access to them.
Whereas, GERRIT SMITH, of Peterboro, has made a donation of One Hundred and Forty Thousand acres of land, to Three Thousand Colored Citizens of New York: and,
Whereas, This Convention regards the above donation as a manifestation of love on the part of the donor; a love for God, in carrying out the Divine intention to grand all a share in the means of subsistence and happiness; a love for humanity, in seeking the down-trodden and oppressed among men as the objects of this donation, and a love of human progress in placing in the hands of the oppressed the means of self-elevation; and,
Whereas, The freedom, independence and steadiness of the farmer's life will throw among the colored people elements of character essential to happiness and progress; Therefore,
Resolved, That this Convention do express its deep thanks to Gerrit Smith, of Peterboro, for this splendid donation to the cause of God and humanity.
Resolved, That this Convention do call upon the Grantees of this land to forsake the cities and towns and settle upon this land and cultivate it, and hereby build a tower of strength for themselves.
Resolved, That we recommend to our people, also, throughout the country. to forsake the cities and their employments of dependence therein, and emigrate to those parts of the country where land is cheap, and become cultivators of the soil, as the surest road to respectability and influence.
Resolved, That a copy of the preamble and these resolutions that refer to the gifts of Mr. Smith, be signed by the President and Secretary of this Convention, and transmitted to him at Peterboro.
All which is respectfully submitted.
CHARLES B. RAY, WILLIS A HODGES.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON ABOLITION.
The Committee appointed to draft a Report respecting the best means of abolishing Slavery and destroying Caste in the United States, beg leave most respectfully to Report: That they have had the important subjects referred to them, under consideration, and have carefully endeavored to examine all their points and bearings to the best of their ability; and from every view they have been able to take they have arrived at the conclusion that the best means of abolishing slavery is proclamation of truth and that the best means of destroying caste is the mental moral and industrial improvement of our people.
First, as respects Slavery. Your Committee find this monstrous crime, this stupendous iniquity closely interwoven with all the great interests, institutions and organizations of the country; pervading and influencing every class and grade of society, securing their support, obtaining their approbation and commanding their bondage. [Availing?] itself of the advantage which age gives to crime. it has perverted the judgment, blunted the moral sense, blasted the sympathies, and created in the great mass, -- the overwhelming majority of the people -- a moral sentiment altogether favorable to its own character and its own continuance. Press and pulpit are alike prostituted and made to serve the end of this infernal institution. The power of the government, and the sanctity of religion, church and state are joined with the guilty oppressor against the oppressed -- and the voice of this great nation is thundering in the care of our enslaved fellow countrymen the terrible [fiat?], you shall be slave or die! The slave is the minority, a small minority. The oppressors are an overwhelming majority. The oppressed are three million, their oppressors are seventeen million. The one is weak, the other is strong; the one is without arms, without means of concert, and without government; the other possess every advantage in these respects; and the deadly aim of their million of [musketry?], and loud-mouthed cannon tells the down-trodden slave in unmistakable language, he must be a slave or die. In these circumstances, your committee are called upon to report as to the best means of abolishing slavery. And without pretending to discuss all the ways which have been suggested from time to time by various parties and factions, though did time permit they would gladly do so, they beg at once to state their entire disapprobation of any plan of emancipation involving a resort to bloodshed. With the facts of our condition before us it is impossible for us to contemplate any appeal to the slave to take vengence on his guilty master, but with the utmost reprobation. Your Committee regard any counsel of this sort as the perfection of folly, suicidal in the extreme, and abominably wicked. We should utterly frown down and wholly discountenance any attempt to lead our people to confide in brute force as a reformatory instrumentality. All argument put forth in favor of insurrection and bloodshed, however well intended is either the result of an unpardonable impatience or an atheistic want of faith in the power of truth as a means of regenerating and reforming the world. Again we repeat, let us set our faces against all such absurd unavailing, dangerous and mischievous ravings emanating from what source they may. The voice of God and of common sense, equally point out a more excellent way, and that way is a faithful, earnest, and persevering enforcement of the great principles of justice and morality, religion and humanity. These are the only invincible and infallible means within our reach with which to overthrow this foul system of blood and ruin. Your Committee deem it susceptible of the clearest demonstration, that slavery exists in this country, because the people of this country WILL its existence. And they deem it equally clear, that no system or institution can exist for an hour against the earnestly-expressed WILL of the people. It were quite easy to bring to the support of the foregoing proposition powerful and conclusive illustrations from the history
of reform in all ages, and especially in our own. But the palpable truths of the propositions, as well as the familiarity of the facts illustrating them, entirely obviate such a necessity.
Our age is an age of great discoveries; and one of the greatest is that which revealed tlmt this world is to be ruled, shaped and guided by the marvelous might of mind. The human voice must supersede the roar of cannon. Truth alone is the legitimate antidote of falsehood. Liberty is always sufficient to grapple with tyranny. Free speech—free discussion—peaceful agitation,---the foolishness of preaching these, under God, will subvert this giant crime, and send it reeling to its grave, as if smitten by a voice from the throne of God. Slavery exists because it is popular. It will; cease to exist when it is made unpopular. Whatever therefore tends to make Slavery unpopular tends to its destruction. This every Slave-holder knows full well, and hence his opposition to all discussion of the subject. It is an evidence of intense feeling of alarm, when John C. Calhoun calls upon the North to put down what he is pleased to term "this plundering agitation." Let us give the Slaveholder what he most dislikes. Let us expose his crimes and his foul abominations. He is reputable and must he made disreputable. He must be regarded as a moral leper----shunned as a loathsome wretch----outlawed from Christian communion, and from social respectability----an enemy of God and man, to be execrated by the community till he shall repent of his foul crimes, and give proof of his sincerity by breaking every chain and letting the oppressed go free. Let us invoke the Press and appeal to the pulpit to deal out the righteous denunciations of heaven against oppression, fraud and wrong, and the desire of our hearts will soon be given us in the triumph of Liberty throughout all the land.
As to the second topic upon which the Committee have been instructed to report, the Committee think the subject worthy of a far wider range of discussion than the limited time at present allotted to them will allow. The importance of the subject, the peculiar position of our people, the variety of interests involved with questions growing out of it, all serve to make this subject one of great complexity as well as solemn interest.
Your Committee would therefore respectfully recommend the appointment of a Committee of one, whose duty it shall be to draft a full Report on this subject, and report at the next National Convention.
Your Committee would further recommend the adoption of the following Resolutions us embodying the sentiments of the foregoing Report:
Resolved, That our only hope for peaceful Emancipation in this land is based on a firm, devoted, and unceasing assertion of our rights, and a full, free and determined exposure of our multiplied wrongs,
Resolved, That, in the language of inspired wisdom, there shall be no peace to the wicked, and that this guilty nation shall have no peace, and that we will do all that we can to agitate! AGITATE!! AGITATE!!! till our rights are restored and our Brethren are redeemed from their cruel chains.
All of which is respectfully submitted,
FREDERICK DOUGLASS, JOHN LYLE, ALEXANDER CRUMMELL, THOS. VAN RENSSELAER.
Convention Minutes Item Type Metadata
National Convention of Colored People and Their Friends (1847 : Troy, NY), “Proceedings of the National Convention of Colored People and Their Friends; held in Troy, NY; on the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th of October, 1847,” ColoredConventions.org, accessed September 20, 2019, http://coloredconventions.org/items/show/279.