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Proceedings of the State Convention of the Colored Freemen of Pennsylvania, Held in Pittsburgh, on the 23d, 24th and 25th of August, 1841, for the Purpose of Considering their Condition, and the Means of Its Improvement. (Copy 2)

1841PA.9.pdf

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114

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

source of wealth, and is not only right in the sight of God, but honorable in the eyes of all good men; and those who give their children a good education and a trade, give them the best of all fortunes; one infinitely better than silver and gold, because it can neither be squandered nor lost. We therefore most earnestly entreat you, as you love your children, and desire their future usefulness and respectability in society, the happiness of your own declining days, and the general good of your country, to make every possible exertion and every necessary sacrifice, to give them a good education and a trade. We would pursue this important subject more in detail, but deem it unnecessary, because the moment you become rightly interested in it, you will find numerous friends around you, ready to give all necessary advice and assistance.

Newspapers and the Press

next claim our attention. The utility of newspapers is two-fold: 1, to impart intelligence, and, 2, to unite. They are the present history of the world; and he who does not read them is almost as though he were shut up in prison. They tend to inspire public spirit and enterprise, especially in young, and on that account no family should be without them: it were better that our children should eat plainer diet, and dress in coarser apparel, than to be deprived of the use of a well conducted newspaper. But, in addition to their intelligence, newspapers tend to impart the same sentiments and the same views to all who read them. They bring as it were into the society of each other, the most distant places and kingdoms of the earth. We imagine the day not far distant, when, by the influence of the press, shall be united in one, the whole family of man.

But circumstances make it absolutely necessary, that we should have a press of our own. It is just as absurd to imagine, that we can become intelligent and enterprising, by others speaking and writing for us, as that we can become fat by their eating and drinking for us. It is true that kind friends may persuade the master to unrivet the fetters of the slave, and the Legislature to repeal all unjust and unwholesome laws; but here their kind offices measurably end; the balance of the work is chiefly ours.

To purchase a press and its accompanying apparatus, would cost from five to seven hundred dollars; and to print an ordinary sheet, such as our case would require, would cost perhaps a little upwards of thirty-five dollars a week; amounting in a year say to two thousand dollars. And what are our resources for sustaining this expense? Our population is near fifty thousand; and although the statistical returns to our Convention were very imperfect, yet they were sufficient to show that we own at least two million dollars' worth of property. And will anyone presume that one thousand subscribers, able to pay two dollars a year each for a good paper, cannot be found in all those numbers, and all this wealth? We next call your attention to the subject of

Temperance

And although highly important, we shall not dwell upon it at any length because it has been so generally agitated throughout the state, you must understand all its consequences as well as ourselves. Temperate as we fondly hope we generally are, yet it is feared more is squandered for ardent spirits, than would furnish us with a newspaper, educate our children, and support our churches. We exhort you, by every consideration, to do all in your power to banish from society this scourge and curse of our race, by promoting every where the popular and unfailing principle of TOTAL ABSTINENCE.

The resolution of the Convention on

Farming

contains the reasons which induced its adoption; and we can not too earnestly recommend it to your careful attention. We have been too long, and too justly, we are sorry to admit, charged with crowding into the large towns and cities where it is impossible for us to find honorable or profitable employment. So

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