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Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored People : held at Albany, New-York, on the 22d, 23d and 24th of July, 1851.

1851NY.26.pdf

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78 BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

23. In 1772, in the case or the Negro slave James Sommerset, the British court, with Judge Manfield reading the decision, abolished domestic slavery in England, using the argument that liberty was "commensurate with, and inseparable from British soil."

24. In the Bible (Daniel v, 1-31), it is recorded, "In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace." Mene mene teke upharsin were the prophetic words in question, observed by Belshazzar, King of Babylon, while entertaining guests during a famous feast. Daniel, an exiled Jew, interpreted the meaning of the mysterious words. The fateful "handwriting on the wall," as revealed by the prophet, told Belshazzar that the days of his kingdom were numbered, that he had been found wanting, and that his kingdom would be divided and assigned to others.

25. John Davenport clergyman and author, was born in England and later emigrated to America, where he helped found New Haven, Connecticut, in 1638. Davenport is remembered most particularly for his role in 1661 in protecting two regicide judges, Edward Whalley (d. 1674 or 1675) and William Goffe (d. 1679?), both of whom had fled to the colony after the restoration of the Stuarts, who sought vengeance because of the role these two men played while members of the High Court of Justice, empaneled to try the case of Charles I (1600-1649). Both men had signed the King's death warrant.

Davenport had generously paved the way for them at New Haven by a series of sermons and there they found refuge temporarily while the royal officers searched for them. It is said that for a month they remained hid in Davenport's own house. When inquired of, he, however, disclaimed all knowledge of their whereabouts.

26. The reference is to the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1846. The convention itself, after extended debate, refused to approve an equal suffrage clause in the new constitution, but agreed to submit the issue, by way of referendum, to the people. The new constitution was approved by the people on November 3, 1846, by a vote of 221,528 to 96,436, and the proposed amendment granting equal suffrage to black persons was rejected by nearly the same vote--85,306 to 223,834. See George Walker, "The Afro- American in New York City, 1827-1860." See also Charles Z. Lincoln, The Constitutional History of New York from the Beginnings of the Colonial Period to 1905, Showing the Origin, Development and Judicial Construction of the Constitution (5 vols.; Rochester, N.Y., 1906), II, 212-213.

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