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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Minutes of the First Colored Convention, held in the City of Portland, October 6, 1841.
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On motion of A. W. Niles, voted, that we adjourn till tomorrow morning at half past nine o'clock.
Adjourned by singing.
Friday morning, Oct. 8th, Convention met according to adjournment, prayer by Mr. John Siggs. Rev. Mr. Lewis, having been detained from the meeting till this late hour, now arrived and took his seat. Minutes of the preceding session were read, and after two amendments, were accepted.
Rev. Mr. Lewis then asked permission to read a letter, which had been received from the Rev. D. Thurston of Winthrop. The following is the letter.
WINTHROP, Sept. 30, 1841.
Rev. John W. Lewis,
My Dear Brother, Yours of 22d, ult. was received in due course of mail. I entirely approve of the movement of the colored people calling a Convention for the important purposes mentioned in your letter. Whether I shall be able to attend, is, at present quite doubtful. Should God, in his providence render it consistent with other duties, I shall, with great pleasure, take my seat among you at Portland, on the 6th of October.
The object you have in view, is of great magnitude; involving interests of the highest moment, not only to our colored brethren, but to the country, and especially the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is no small undertaking to secure the emancipation of two and a half millions of our fellow countrymen from the most wicked bondage, in which human beings have been held. Then there are 300,000 more towards whom the vilest and most unreasonable prejudice exists, injurious and cruel almost as slavery itself. To remove all the evils growing out of slavery and prejudice, the latter the offspring of the former, is a task worthy to call forth the energies of the wisest intellects, and the most benevolent hearts. Thanks be to God some of these are enlisted in your cause.
Could I speak to your assembly, I would say first, Brethren, throw off your despondency. Say not 'there is no hope,' that you can rise. Crushed though you are, by the customs of society, arising from the most mean, hateful, malignant prejudice, yet it is not invincible. From some minds, it has been exterminated. It is giving way to a better feeling in a multitude of other minds. Take courage then, for this mighty mountain in the way of your mental, social, moral and spiritual improvement, is already crumbling, and will, at length, become a plain. God has so decreed. The gospel will triumph over it. You already feel the weight lightened. It does not oppress you as it once did. No small amount of sympathy has been awakened in your behalf. The weight can be wholly removed. You must believe it can; you must believe it will be; not in a moment, not by any spasmodic movement, not by the. exertions of a few. Your united, discreet, arduous, persevering efforts will be ultimately successful. Despair palsies all the powers of the soul and 'sinks all its upward aspirations in death damps.' Be not faithless, but believe in the promises.
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