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

1840NY.15.pdf

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common school system, yet we have been enabled, not only to sustain them from among ourselves, but likewise, in many instances, select schools of our own. A spirit of intellligence pervades our entire people. Keeping pace with the progressive spirit of the age, and the continual intellectual progress of the nation, there are but few families in which books are not a common and necessary commodity.

In all parts of the state, from Montauk to Buffalo, literary and debating societies and clubs exist among our people, in city, town, and village. In some instances, these socities are adorned and made more useful by libraries and reading rooms. Our schools and associations are continually sending forth a host of youth, with strong determination and purpose of subserving the best and highest interests of their proscribed race. And not an inconsiderable number of the rising hope of our people, have sought, in some of the higher institutions of learning, either in this or a foreign land, the privileges of a classical education.

We have scattered, as bright spots all along the State, a number of young men, aspirants for the ministry, preparing for academical instruction; or entering, once in a while, the medical profession; with cultivated minds, and hearts devoted to the interests of man, and the great purposes of truth. The causes that have thrown a damp upon our literary ardor, have operated disadvantageously in our ecclesiastical relations. The prejudice against us in the community, has been more potent than the dictates of Christian equality. Not only are we debarred from the rightful exercise of ecclesiatical privileges, but we also meet with indignities and hindrances in the simplest forms of religious communion. We have often been driven from the quiet and peaceable enjoyment of those rights with which the death of a common Saviour invested us, in common with the rest of our fellow creatures of the human family.

Of necessity,then, have we been often forced to form religous societies of our own. Throughout the State, we have upwards of forty independent religious congregations, of the Presbyterian, Episcopal, Methodist and Baptist denomination; each with a temple erected to the worship of the Almighty; most with settled pastors under a regular yearly stipend; in connection with which there are aboout 6000 communicants, who, with the respective congregations in attendance with them, average in the aggregate not less than 15,000 of our people who statedly are under the influence of religion, in connection with our own churches, besides those in attendance elsewhere.

The amount of energy and intellect brought out by these various projects, may be justly regarded as much for the virtue and character of a disfranchised and oppressed people. Aside from this, a large body of our people are in partial communion with the various Christian communities throughout the State. From these sources, streams of religious influence and blessings are in continual flow, refreshing and invigorating our entire body.

An undue and disproportionate development of powers, produces unnatural effects. A continual enlargement of certain capacities, to the entire neglect of others, of equal, or it may be of more importance, produces deformity. In order to develope symmetry of either form or character, a full, general, healthy and vigorous exercise of all the powers, is absolutely necessary. In bringing forth the character of a people, this is clear and manifest. The history of the serfs, under the feudal system, the character of the same class in Russia ,and the prominent traits of the disfranchised class in all communities at the present day, and especially the condition of enslaved men throughout the universe, give strong verity to the sentiment herein expressed. Human nature is complex in its formation. In proportion as the various powers of man are harmoniously educed, so is the nobleness and vastness of its capacity manifested. Free scope and ample verge given for the exercise of the physical and mental powers, to the detriment of the moral, an hideousness of character is evinced. And so if the moral alone is cultivated, to the neglect of the mental and physical, the character is not symmetrical.

In a community, man sustains various relations, and possesses powers adapted to them--which, if not permitted a natural and legitimate exercise, are turned upon hlmself and follows with augmented and fearful capacity for evil, from the fact of having been diverted from a natural channel. It is thus with the possession or non-possession of the franchise in any state of

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