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Minutes of the State Convention of Colored Citizens of Pennsylvania, Convened at Harrisburg, December 13-14, 1848.
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Wilson, Taylors, and a host of others whose highest aim was justice to mankind. These men were the master builders of your Republican Edifice. If the spirits of the departed are permitted by Providence to take a survey of the scenes of their earthly glory, shall these transcendent spirits look down from their peaceful abode on your amended Constitution, and there behold a barrier against the exercise of civil rights, more potent than is to be found in any despotic government on the globe? We know that when adversity overshadows your prosperity, it is only of ephemeral duration--and we humbly trust that you will not suffer the GREAT SUN of your republican Eden to be long eclipsed by a scintillating planet from exploding monarchies. To you has been bequeathed the important duty of preserving this government from the fate of the ancient republics. If you protect its principles, and pass them down to posterity unimpaired, you will have completed the noble structure whose corner stone was laid by your fathers; and when future generations shall be surrounded by republics like our planetary system around the great Orb of Day, the traditionary historian will point to YOUR republican model, as the political SUN in the great firmament of nations, from whence they derive their light and heat.
No other suitable trophy can be erected to the memory of your revolutionary sires. Then, and not until then, will the martyred blood that washed your virgin soil have produced trees of liberty, from which mankind may, without distinction of complexion, pluck the heaven-born fruit. Their appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world from the rectitude of their intentions was in behalf of mankind, and the true mission of republics, can never be achieved until mankind, without distinction of nation or complexion are embraced within its folds.
When your Independence Hall, on the fourth day of July, 1776, was made sacred by a consecration to the great cause of human liberty, your Morris, Rush, Franklin, Wilson, and Ross pledged themselves--their fortunes and sacred honors--for the purpose of establishing a republican form of government, with the representatives from Massachusetts, through her Adams, Paine, and Gerry--with Rhode Island through her Hopkins and Ellery, and although Vermont was not represented in that illustrious body, she may now be added to the list of those States that have succeeded in establishing universal suffrage.
After having finished the duties assigned them by their constituents, they severally returned to their homes, and commenced spreading the live coals from the altar of freedom until the electric sparks galvanized the dead corpse of political liberty, and the people rushed in masses to their standards, while posterity caught the flame, and the proud and ever-glorious result is realized in the fact that each of these States have succeeded in establishing a republican form of government where men of all complexions enjoy an equality of rights.
It is now left for you to decide whether Pennsylvania shall be less fortunate. Must the arduous labours of your great men fail to be consummated, while those of their confederates have been crowned with triumphant success?
We make not foreign issue with you--we place ourselves on your own declaration of rights and principles. On these hang our future hope, and with them we will stand or fall. We will now leave the subject with the hope that no collateral issue may affect the justice of our claims; it being solely a question of rights springing from your own republican creed.
In soliciting an extensive circulation for this appeal, we must draft on the benevolence and liberality of the press; for without its favourable influence, no cause, however pure, may hope to succeed, and with it truth and justice must prove invincible.
We shall live and labour in the glorious anticipation of success; but if it should prove otherwise, and you should not consent to repeal the sentence you have passed on Providence, we shall derive the rich consolation that in making this appeal we have discharged a duty we owed to ourselves, to freedom, and republicanism--to posterity and to God.
Abram D. Shadd,
J. F. Dickson,
J. J. G. Bias,
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