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Scripto | Transcribe Page
New York State Free Suffrage Convention, September 8, 1845.
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of protection against the competition of half-paid and half-starved industry in Europe. The poor man of the North is denied liberty of speech in the House of Representatives, and the liberty of addressing citizens of the South on a common evil, through a free press. The commerce of the country, and all its vast interests of improvement, by railroads and canals, have been hazarded in the danger of a war for Slavery; and finally, that institution has secured a preponderating power in the Senate of the United States, by breaking down its high and glorious prerogative of making treaties with foreign States.
These are the alarms, the injuries, and the dangers which perplex the white men of the North. None of them could have happened if the freed men of the North had enjoyed and exercised their inalienable right of suffrage. Their instinctive sympathies could not have been misled. When the white man reproaches you with your complexion, you may safely tell him that a dark skin never covered a dough-face.
I confess, I look impatiently for the restoration of your right of suffrage. I see in its consequences not merely the elevation of a large portion of may fellowmen, to higher social virtues and enjoyments, in our own State, but also an influence which will strengthen public opinion, and direct it to the banishment of human Slavery from the face of the earth.
Be assured, then, that the votes I shall cast for a Convention and a Constitution, which will be harbingers of such results, will be the most cheerful exercise of the elective franchise in my life.
I am, dear Sir, with many thanks for the great kindness expressed in you letter,
Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, William H. Seward.
Mr. Wm. W. Brown, Farmington, Ontario Co.
The business committee then reported the following resolutions, which were taken up, discussed separately, and adopted:
Resolved, That the only thing for which a Government and laws are wanted is, for the protection of man in the rights which God has given him.
Resolved, That equality in the use of the elective franchise is the only true basis of a Democratic Government.
Resolved, That the extension of this right to one portion of the citizens of this State, and the withholding it from another, however small, is a shameful denial of the fundamental doctrines of genuine Republicanism.
Resolved, That the disfranchisement of the colored citizens of New-York was altogether uncalled for, and unjust, as forty-five years of equal suffrage full prove.
Resolved, That the majority, by imposing a property qualification upon colored voters, who are greatly in the minority, while they will not observe the same qualifications among themselves, betrays a spirit of despotism and oppression, which we can find only in the most tyrannical and despotic Governments.
Resolved, That it is hypocritical for the people of this State to complain of oppression in foreign lands, while they are tolerating an invidious constitutional distinction in regard to the fundamental principles of the Government, which holds that all men are created equal.
Resolved, That we find no fault with the laws of the land, which welcome the oppressed of other nations (if they are white) to the benefits of our institutions, and which furnish a safe asylum; but we complain that we, native-born citizens, are denied the same rights which are so largely and freely extended to foreigners.
Resolved, That the town Board of the several towns in this State, upon which is devolved, by the statute, the duty of selecting from the tax lists, suitable jurors for the courts of record of the respective counties, in uniformly rejecting persons of color, without regard to their qualifications or moral worth, have added greatly to the oppressions under which the colored people labor, and have thus given a semi-official sanction to the prevalent wicked prejudice against color, and gratuitously multiplied the disabilities of an injuried people.
Resolved, That the property qualification required of colored voters, is unreasonable, unjustifiable, and unnecessary; draws one line of caste between
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