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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored People : held at Albany, New-York, on the 22d, 23d and 24th of July, 1851.
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NEW YORK, 1851
Report on Colonization
The advancement which the Colonization Society has made in late years, though haud passibus aequis, through bequeathed legacies, through life contributions, and through the strenuous efforts of collective bodies, prove conclusively, though not alarmingly, the hold it has gained on the public mind; and of the paramount necessity of our calling the attention not only of the free colored people of this State, but of every state in the union where they can act individually, and collectively, to the detriment and discomfiture of the institution.
In the formation of this society, in the earliest period of its existence, when the principles, and objects of its organization and government were promulgated, when its Proudfits,12 its Buchanans,13 its Ashmuns,14 its Clays,15 its Cressons,16 its Gurleys,17 its Pinneys,18 and a host of others were sent into the field as pioneers, as Governors, as Lecturers, as Orators, and as Presidents, under the pretext as we know, and as we ever have and still believe, of ameliorating the condition of the colored people--of promoting their general welfare, by striving to send the nominally free portion of them to Liberia; but whose sole purpose in fact was, and is still, the accomplishment of a "happy riddance" of us, from this our native land, to be transported to the burning deserts of Africa.
This project for our removal, wholesale and retail, created in the mind and heart of every man and woman of us, a bitter contempt, and animosity toward such an institution, and all those who associated themselves with it.
The scheme was derided and mocked and repelled by the people of color and their friends, at every step diligently for a season, until, in the minds of some, the success of such an object seemed too impossible to give cause for any real apprehension of its working evil in the future; and the people appear to have folded their arms, and consigned their hitherto assiduous opposition to the keeping of a "masterly inactivity," tacitly watching the movements of these pretended philanthropists.
But in the progress of time; through the diligent and unremitting efforts and untiring zeal of the colonizationists for the success of their "daring scheme," we find at this stage of the society's existence, of more than a quarter of a century, a resuscitation of life, still vigorous; still growing; strengthening in its strength; accumulating in numbers; gaining in resources; and.with a spirit of determination to effect the desire of its purposes, if possible, in the end. To facilitate the completion of this work, the "powers that be" have been invoked to engage in the mean calling--a calling adverse to the wishes and dispositions of nine hundred and ninety-nine colored persons out of every thousand; of urging them by gaudy pictures, to seek a new home in a foreign land, no more peculiar to their natures, (and assuredly repugnant to their inclinations,) than it is adapted to any other portion of the American people, or the European nations.
Through the will of an all-wise Providence we were born in this country; consequently by virtue of that birth, this is our country, and the only one we claim as our own, and is in every respect suited to our natures wholly.
That on the color of a man, or of a nation, depends the civilization and evangelization of the same, is not only absurd but libellous of reason.
Not African complexion, or the descendants of Africa alone, but through the hazard of acclimation, foreigners of all complexions may, out of the unhewn material of the native intellect, by the process of civilization, education and evangelization, based upon God's laws--the precept and practice of his religion, not man's, work out that country's ultimate redemption and salvation from ignorance, and place her on the road to national eminence.
And we avail ourselves of the convenience here, to assert that it is not from any feeling of malignance, in the slightest degree whatever, towards Africa, and her rescue from darkness and oblivion, or any other country of heathenism and idolatry, (although the Liberians have suggested some infamous offers to this government in their eagerness to be nationally recognized,19 and which we shall allude to in the conclusion of this report,) that we denounce the American Colonization scheme; but from the fact, notwithstanding it ostensibly bears upon its face a kind of philanthropy; such skin-deep philanthropy we spurn--that its primary and ending object is our complete
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