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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Newspaper Reports on the Convention of the Colored Inhabitants of the State of New York, August 18-20, 1840
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upon that portion of the people whose influence is tender, gentle, and benign--we call upon the women. We invoke the entire people, in their strength and manliness, to put forth intelligent, and well directed effort in this matter.
We respectfully solicit the efforts and influence of the clergy. This is a rational struggle, in which it becomes them to participate, inasmuch as our ecclesiastical disabilities originate in political degradation, and because the clergy of the power-holding body are generally against us. Let the prayer of the fervid saint go up for the people. We need that influence that can nerve the arm--that can move the universe.
That we shall eventually triumph is sure and certain. Whether the day of success shall be near or remote, depends measurable upon whether we put forth efforts characterised for their strength and straight-forwardness. Ours is the cause of truth. For its success we have the pledge of God himself. And truth is full of His mightiness. We have no fear of truth and principle in any circumstances, among wicked men or malignant fiends. It matters not how hard the times, how evil the day--onward she goes, conquering and to conquest:--
The eternal years of God are hers.
Through all the vicissitudes of time, amid all the revolutions of earth, hers is a triumphant, a heavenly career.
Let these convictions seize upon and color the minutest portions of our souls. Let them be characteristic of our efforts in this matter.
Thus, brethren, we shall achieve the great object upon which we are intent. Thus shall we further the cause of man. Thus shall we secure to ourselves great and important privileges of civil and religious liberty.
Colored American, November 21, 1840.
ADDRESS OF THE NEW YORK STATE CONVENTION
OF COLORED CITIZENS, TO THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE
Fellow citizens:--The State Convention of Colored Citizens assembled in Albany, August 18th, 19th and 20th, to consider their political condition, in behalf of their people in this state, would respectfully address you on a subject to them of the most vital import. They would call your earnest and unprejudiced attention to the unjust and withering policy that in 1821 led to the endorsing of an anti-republican enactment, (Art. II, Sec. 1, State Constitution,) by which a portion of the citizens of this State were restricted in the exercise of a natural right, and refused an equal participation in its political arrangements. And they would also solemnly desire you to look around, and witness the multiplied evils that have for years weighed, and do now weigh heavily upon them, from not being allowed to use, on liberal and worthy terms, the all-important privilege of the elective franchise.
The patriotic framers of our State Constitution, in view of the then recent unwarrantableness of British jurisdiction, and pondering on the self-evident truths that had been made the solemn charter of their country's liberties, did, in 1777, (by declarations as were calculated most efficiently to secure the rights and liberties of the good people of this State--most conducive to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and of America in general.
Basing themselves upon the avowed principle of the democratic colonies, that taxation and representation should go together, and that governments receive their just power from the consent of the governed--they established in the Constitution, as a foundation guard to the plainest rights of the people, such provisions as were best designed to keep inviolate their undeniable prerogative to select their rulers--this being the first article of belief in their republican faith.
In so doing, they did not think it consistent with the principles they professed, to divide freemen; those who had shared with them the dangers of
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