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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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Current Saved Transcription [history]

Resolved, That inasmuch as the possession of a freehold estate, to the amount of $250, secures to use the elective franchise, we do, therefore, strongly recommend to our people throughout the State to become possessors of the soil, inasmuch as that not only elevates them to the rights of freemen, but increases the political power in the State, in favor of our political and social elevation.

A very spirited debate arose on this resolution, owing to the exception taken to that part of it which asserted that the obtainment of a certain amount of property, "elevated us to the rights of freemen." The resolution was supported in the affirmative by C.B. Ray, T.S. Wright, E.P. Rodgers, chiefly, and opposed by H.H. Garnet, U. Boston, A. Crummell, and others. The discussion on the resolution, continued till near the close of the session, when Mr. Ray introduced an amendment, which was strongly opposed, owing to its containing, as was contended the same objectionable feature as the original resolution. While yet the question was pending, the Convention adjourned at half past 12 o'clock.

Wednesday Afternoon. The minutes were read and approved.

The Convention went into a committee of the whole, to receive statistical statements; Austin Stewart in the chair. A number of very important facts respecting the real and personal estate owned in the represented places and their vicinities--the state of schools, churches, &c., were made known--statistics of many places removed from the seats of representation, were communicated by the delegates who had made it their duty to procure such general information. The committee sat in very pleasant meeting, for one hour and forty-five minutes, when it rose and reported progress, the facts obtained being handed over to the committee on statistics, to be kept by them for the further use of the committee on address.

Mr. Ray's amendment, which was under consideration at the close of the morning session, was called up, and after some further discussion, was laid indefinitely upon the table.

On motion,

Resolved, That a committee of eight, one from each senatorial district, be appointed by the house, to form plans and suggestions, by which we can effectually and harmoniously proceed in our future efforts to obtain the right of suffrage.

Resolved, That P.H. Reason, U. Boston, Wm. H. Topp, E.P. Rodgers, A.H. Francis, A. Dunbar, J. Sharp, James W. Duffin be that committee.

To be continued.

The committee appointed on Wednesday morning to report a form of petition for special signatures of the Convention, reported through P.H. Reason, chairman, the following, which was adopted.

Form of Petition

The State Convention of colored citizens assembled at Albany, on the 18th, 19th, and 20th, to consider their political condition, in behalf of their brethren throughout the State, would respectfully represent:

That although by the nature of the government we are taught, that an equality, not of property or favor, but of rights, is the firmest foundation of liberty, and that on which democracy is founded--yet, by Art. II, Sec. 1, State Constitution, a distinction is made with regard to them of the most serious nature--which, while it acknowledges them as citizens, denies them the rights which all other possess as attached to that honorable appellation.

They would submit it to your honorable body, whether it can be for the benefit of the community, that a part should be depressed and degraded; whether humanity and policy do not alike suggest the propriety of elevating the character of the humblest members of the State, by not debarring them from the most efficient instrument of their elevation, simply on account of complexional difference.

In view, therefore, of the injustice and levelling policy of this act, they would respectfully ask, that by an amendment, the enjoyment of equal political rights and privileges, may be extended to them as foreigners. In

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