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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Report on the State Convention of the Colored Citizens of New York, Held at Schenectady, September 18-20, 1844.
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3d. Because the above resolutions place the success of the attempts to obtain an extension of the franchise on the success of a party which must ever comprise but a portion of the people, instead of relying upon the will and magnanimity of the whole people.
4th. Because the Convention, by assuming an attitude hostile to two political parties, thereby places itself, and those whom it assumed in this matter to represent, in the position of men asking from two political parties the power, to enable them to overthrow those parties--whilst the truth is, we seek the elective franchise, not for the purpose of upholding one party and prostrating another, but we ask it in good faith, as good citizens, feeling our capacity to enjoy that great privilege, and our determination to exercise it for the best interests of the whole people, without regard to sect or party.
Resolved, That the above Protest be signed by the Chairman and Secretary on behalf of this meeting, and that the delegates from this city be requested to present the above protest to the Convention with the request that it may be recorded upon the minutes of the Convention.
In behalf of the meeting, Jeremiah Powers, Chairman James M'Cune Smith, Secretary
The Protest having been read to the Convention, James M'Cune Smith, of the city of New-York, moved, "That the Protest be accepted, and recorded upon the minutes of the Convention." In support of this motion, he stated the facts in the case, to wit: "That the minutes of the Rochester Convention had not been read before any meeting of the citizens of New-York, until the evening of September 16th, 1844: that at the meetings held in that city, immediately after the adjournment of the Convention held at Rochester, the people of New-York city had, by a large majority, negatived a resolution of the same import with those objected to in the Protest; and that the earliest meeting at which the Rochester resolutions were read, had now protested against them: the protesters firmly believing that the said resolutions were not relevant to the franchise, took this means of recording their sentiments--sentiments which did not affect the inherent truth or falsehood of the Resolutions, but simply their relevancy."
Rev. H. H. Garnet, of Troy, opposed the Resolution to accept and record the protest: first, because the Resolutions protested against were, in themselves true; secondly, because, according to the statement of the mover, the Protest had been adopted at a small meeting; thirdly, because the Convention at Schenectady had no connection whatever with the Convention at Rochester, each Convention being independent and finishing its own work without appeal. He further said, that if the Protest had been signed by two individuals, he would have permitted it to be recorded.
Mr. Thompson, of Albany, advocated the reception and record of the Protests; because, the colored people seeing the franchise, as a boon, from the whole people, not from any party or portion of the people. He illustrated the absurdity of a contrary course, by the following fact which was not denied, viz: That the Convention at Rochester had passed a Resolution, instructing the General Committee to wait on the Governor, and request him to make favorable mention of the extension of the franchise to the people of color, in his annual message: that when the Central Committee waited on Governor Bouck, his Excellency stated his willingness to comply with their request, in case he found sufficient reason in the minutes of the Convention, which he requested the committee to bring to him. But the Chairman of the Central Committee (Rev. Mr. Garnet of Troy) could not be prevailed on to carry the minutes to the Governor, although frequently urged to do so. "And why?" said Mr. Thompson, "because those very minutes denounced the party to which Govenor Bouck belonged."
William P. Johnson, of New-York, opposed the motion, and hoped that the Protests would be crushed beneath the feet of the Convention, because it was an unrighteous proceeding; the meeting which adopted it, was an illegal meeting,
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