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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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having been made an adjourned meeting at the end of the previous one, when everybody, almost, had gone away.
Ulysses B. Vidal, of New-York, urged the reception and record of the Protest; because New-York city having been misrepresented at the Rochester Convention, had undoubted right to record her sentiments in regard to the resolutions against which she protested, at this the very first and most fitting opportunity; he further (after eliciting from Mr. Johnson that his statement in regard to the adjournment was made upon hearsay) stated that he (Mr. V.) had been Chairman of the meeting in question, and that the adjournment had been legally made while the body of the meeting was yet in session: he further held, that this Convention having been appointed to be held at Schenectady by the Rochester Convention, was, therefore, the creation of the Rochester Convention, was in strict connection with it, and had a right to review its doings.
Mr. Moulton, of Troy, objected to the Resolution to accept the Protest; because this Convention had no right to review the proceedings of the previous Convention.
William P. Powell, 2 of New-York, advocated the reception of the Protest, on the ground that it would enable this Convention to regain the confidence lost and thrown away by the last, in the false step which it had taken. He dwelt upon the inconsistency of the colored people in identifying themselves with a political party to obtain the Elective Franchise in 1844, when they had already lost the Franchise, by a similar false movement in 1821.
J. M'Cune Smith, 3 of New-York, said that the debate had taken too wide a range. The question before the Convention was, shall we grant the request of the citizens of New-York, and record their Protest, or shall we not? If the Convention accepted the Protest, it did not adopt its sentiments, it simply granted to the people of New-York the right to be heard, granted their respectful request--their petition. If the Convention rejected the Protest, it rejected the request of the people of New-York, denied their right to be heard, violated the sacred right of petition and remonstrance.
Rev. H. H. Garnet, of Troy, moved that the Convention do adjourn, to meet at 7 o'clock, P.M. which was carried.
During this debate, the number of delegates present did not exceed twenty-five.
During the interval, at the invitation of Mr. Rich, of Troy, your delegates partook at a splendid Soiree, at which were present about one hundred ladies from that city.
The session having been opened with prayer, Rev. H. H. Garnet, of Troy, again opposed the reception of the Protest; he admitted the strength of the proposition that a rejection of the Protest would be a violation of the Right of Petition: but held that to be a false statement of the present case, and a statement which had been assumed by the cunning of the delegates from New-York, (he was here called to order and retracted the word cunning); he insisted that the Protest was not a fair issue and that it must be rejected.
J. M’Cune Smith, of New-York, said that the opposition having admitted the strength of the position occupied by those who urged the reception of the Protest, it was useless to debate the question further: it remained with the Convention to admit or reject the right of the citizens of New-York to record their sentiments respectfully expressed--"to admit or deny the right of petition."
The question being put, the Convention by a vote of 11 ayes and 38 noes, refused to accept or record the Protest.
Of the 49 votes cast, about 33 were from Schenectady and Troy, nearly all in the negative: thus these two places with a joint total colored population of less than 1,000 rejected the petition of New-York, containing 20,000 free colored people.
Immediately upon the announcement of this vote, U. B. Vidal, W. B. Powell, and James M'Cune Smith, of New-York, rose--the first two tendered their resignations as members of the Business Committee, and all tendered their resignations as members of the Convention, each giving his reasons for taking this step; the resignations were accepted by the Convention.
In taking the very decided step of withdrawing from the deliberations of the convention, your delegates respectfully submit, that they were fully
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