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Minutes of the First Colored Convention, held in the City of Portland, October 6, 1841.
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every person by the aid of books can now obtain, the schoolmaster is abroad, but we must not suppose that we can learn nothing without his aid, we should depend more on ourselves, for our improvement, and not on the charity and sympathy of others for all those advantages we most need. We ought to use more self exertion and self dependence, and cultivate a taste for reading, for without books life is not worth having. We should remember, that if we would become laborers in the rich mine of intellect, we must delve unceasingly by the pale light of the solitary and 'consicious lamp,' ere we may hope to gain the prize which will reward our toil.
The cause of temperance continues to extend and multiply its triumphs, notwithstanding the machinations of the multitude, who are striving to demolish the only barrier which can save them from destruction. The formation of Temperance Societies, and the holding of annual conventions in several of the States, promises the happiest results. While therefore, in view of these things, we are called upon to thank God and take courage; let us remember that much remains to be done.
Much indeed has been done, in staying this plague among us as a people, but all our energies are needed to stem the torrent which is spreading misery and ruin in the dwellings of many colored people. A great work is still before us. Let all the friends of the cause be united, consistent and persevering; let us lift a warning voice until the ravages of intemperance are arrested and the rising race are rescued from its deadly grasp. What can be more gratifying to the friends of liberty, than the opening prospect in this country, and the whole civilized world at this period! The nations of Europe are undergoing a great moral renovation; the many are awakening to just comprehension of their rights, and liberal principles are dissolving before them the maxims of tyranny and the institutions of oppression. In our own guilty country, our rights and liberties are secured by the impregnable strongholds of constitutional law. 'Man will yet walk abroad in his native dignity and majesty, lord of the soil upon which he treads.' Let America give to every man his invaluable birthright, (the possession of himself,) and distinct individuality and allow the germ of genius to shoot forth, unchecked by artificial distinctions, and unrepressed by odious restraints. The mind of every colored American and genuine lover of his race must be invigorated and enlarged by the contemplation of the scenes now exhibited to view, both in the old and new world.
Gentlemen-I have neither time nor space to go into details on the various topics embraced in your letter, and only encourage you to press onward. Time, intelligence, inquiry, application, perseverance, and the consequent overwhelming power of public sentiment, are the great levers which will work out for us a glorious triumph.
I remain your obedient servant, THOMAS COLE. A. N. Freeman, J. W. Lewis, A. W. Niles, Committee.
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