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Scripto | Transcribe Page
State Convention of the Colored Citizens of New York, Albany, January 20, 1855.
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STATE CONVENTION OF THE COLORED CITIZENS OF NEW YORK, ALBANY,
JANUARY 20, 1855
COLORED PEOPLE OF NEW YORK
Gov. Hunt, in his late annual message, took occasion to recommend a liberal appropriation by the Legislature, for the removal of the free colored people of the State, under the auspices of the Colonization Society. He also presents the inseparable accompaniment of all Colonization recommendations, viz: slander of the colored population. He talks of their 'inferiority--of their 'life of servility and drudgery'-says 'their anomalous position forms one of the most serious obstacles to the emancipation of the slave,' &c
The colored people, in an address to the people of New York, vindicate themselves from these charges with an ability which renders their inferiority to Gov. Hunt quite questionable, whether we consider their rhetoric, their logic or their morals. In conclusion, they protest against the adoption of his recommendation to appropriate funds for their removal to Africa, or anywhere else, for the following reasons:
First--Because the appropriation is unconstitutional. The 10th section of the 7th article of the Constitution states that 'the credit of the State shall not in any manner be given or loaned to, or in aid of any individual association or incorporation.' The American Colonization Society is an 'association' foreign to the State, and unknown to its laws. By granting no matter what sum to that Society, the good faith of the State would be pledged to the cruel and monstrous doctrines on which that Society is founded--that a man has no right to live in the land of his birth.
Secondly--Because such an appropriation is entirely unnecessary. Of the colored population of this State, there are not fifty persons, all told, who desire to emigrate to Africa. Even the New York and Liberia Agricultural Association, no longer held together by the cohesive power of eleemosynary plunder, is to send other persons to Africa--other persons having been conjured up for the purpose of lining the pockets of the members of the association.
We need no State appropriation. Should it ever occur that we should be called upon to leave our native State, having means of our own, we shall not burden the public fund in our departure any more than we do while remaining at home. In consulting the mysteries of Providence, touching such departure, and with his face turned toward the East, our worthy Chief Magistrate has not been vouchsafed the true reading of the auguries: Intonuit laevum: the road is short to Canada; from whose fertile fields and equal institutions, we might be permitted to witness the prosperity of that State, which, in giving us birth, has entwined in its commonweal every fibre of our being; this would take away the bitterness of exile, and would leave us the privilege, should peril come to her, of baring the breasts of black men as a shield to whatever may be aimed against the heart of the Empire State.
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