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Newspaper Reports on the Convention of the Colored Inhabitants of the State of New York, August 18-20, 1840


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Resolved, That a committee of two, consisting of Charles L. Reason, of New York, and Rev. Eli N. Hall, of Albany, be appointed to draft the government of !his Convention.

Resolved, That a committee of ten be appointed, to suggest, in a becoming form, business for this Convention. Adopted.

The following gentlemen were appointed as a business committee:

Charles B. Ray, of New York, Chairman

James W. Duffin, Geneva

Charles S. Morton, Albany

Elimus P. Rodgers, Whitesboro

John Wendell, Schenectady

Armstrong Archer, Williamsburgh

Theodore S. Wright, New York

Patrick H. Reason, "

Frederick Olney, "

George Baltimore, Troy

Abner H. Francis, Buffalo

After adopting these preliminary arrangements, at 12 o'clock the Convention adjourned, to meet at 2 o'clock P.M.

Tuesday Afternoon.--The business committee reported, by their the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas, We have assembled together here in convention, to devise means, and deliberately to act, and to call upon all who are willing, to assist us in acting, that we may remove that proscriptive clause in our State Constitution contained in these words: "No man of color, unless he shall have been for three years a citizen of this State, and for one year next preceding any election, shall be seized and possessed of a freehold estate of of two hundred and fifty dollars, over and above all debts and incumbrances charged thereon, and shall have been actually rated and paid a tax thereon, shall be entitled to vote at any election"--we think it our place here to declare, that we hold all distinctions between native-born citizens growing out of complexion, as unjust--not because it restricts us socially with respect to the rest of the community, but because it unwarrantably withholds rights inherent to us as men, and farther guaranteed by the noble charter of our country's liberty; it therefore becomes us, as the objects of this proscription, direct to state the ground of our grievances, to protest against the unrighteous discrimination, and to appeal to the reason, and nobler sentiments of the power holding majority, for its peaceable but thorough overthrow:--therefore be it

Resolved, That all laws established for human government, and all systems, of whatever kind, founded in the spirit of complexional cast, are in violation of the fundamental principles of Divine law, evil in their tendencies, and should therefore be effectually destroyed.

Resolved, That the toleration of complexional difference in the State of New York, is a stain upon its Constitution, and attaches it to the great system of oppression in the land, so vital to our national character--since it is upheld, not only in direct opposition to the common rights of humanity, but also runs counter to those very political principles asserted by the framers of our republican government.

Resolved, That the Acts of the Convention of 1821, which amended the State Constitution so as to extend the right of suffrage to one portion of the citizens of the State, unrestricted, and demand for its exercise a property qualification of another portion, was a violation of every principle of justice, anti-republican, and repugnant to the assertion of man's equality upon which our government is founded.

Resolved, That the discrimination introduced by the adoption of the above mentioned article was a violation of justice, because it deprived us of those rights which should have been enjoyed in common by all native born citizens, because it guaranteed to foreigners naturalized, advantages over denizens of the soil; because it oppressed those who fought and bled for their country's freedom, and thereby were entitled to the unrestricted enjoyment of its political institutions.

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