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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the State Equal Rights' Convention, of the Colored People of Pennsylvania, held in the city of Harrisburg February 8th, 9th, and 10th, 1865 : together with a few of the arguments presented suggesting the necessity for holding the convention, and an address of the Colored State Convention to the people of Pennsylvania.
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latter class. His belief was, that the Anti-Slavery Society had been organized for a special purpose" the abolishment of Slavery, and when that object was achieved their work of course ceases.
Mr. William D. Forten stated, in answer to Mr. Turner, that the whole question before the Anti-Slavery Society, at the time referred to, was the reconstruction of Louisiana, and they could consistently have given expression to their objections to some of its features.
The Resolution was then adopted.
Prof. George B. Vashon, Chairman of Business Committee, presented an Address, which may be found in the Appendix,and the following Preamble and Resolutions. They were adopted on motion of Mr. William Cooper.
Whereas, A great and bloody civil war has been raging in this country for nearly four years, destructive of the peace, prosperity and happiness of the American people; and
Whereas, Every offer of compromise and all terms of peace suggested from the beginning of the contest have been utterly abortive, and have failed to secure even a short cessation of hostilities, for the purpose of reconstruction and compromise; and
Whereas, We have distinctly seen the arm of God made bare in leading the nation through this sea of blood to a higher civilization and a more holy and God-approved religion:--
1st. By the emancipation of the District of Columbia and all other territories of the United States from the dark barbarism of Slavery;
2d. By emancipating all escaping slaves, and fixing a penalty upon all officers who returned said slaves from our lines to their masters,25
3d. By emancipating the slaves of all States in rebellion, on the first of January, 1863;
4th. By revoking the infamous decision of the late incumbent of the Supreme Court of the United States, whereby colored men are declared citizens of the same, 26
5th. By the enlistment of thousands of colored men in the army of the United States, 27 thus practically setting beyond all doubt the opinion of Attorney-General Bates in regard to their citizenship, etc.;28
6th. By equalizing the pay and compensation of the U. S. Colored Troops, and providing for the freedom and security of their families;
7th. By the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law; 29 the recent adoption of a new article in the Constitution forever prohibiting Slavery or Involuntary Servitude throughout the United States, and the endorsement of all these by an overwhelming vote of the people at the late Presidential election; all of which points with unerring certainty to the wisdom and power of God in subverting the power and contraverting the wicked machinations of the pro-slavery propagandists throughout the country; Therefore
Resolved, That it is the duty of the American people, viewed in the light of all past history and the Divine revelations, to recognize the mysterious hand of God in vindication of His own righteous will and in verification of the prophetic injunction, "to unloose the hands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke," and, that a full and entire submission to these demands, is the only means left for a peaceful reconstruction of the Union, and the future peace and prosperity of the country.
Resolved, That the recent emancipation of Maryland, Missouri and other slave States, by the vote of the people of these States themselves, influenced alone by the force and power of these truths, is an example worthy of the imitation of the people of the free States in freeing the colored people from the prejudice and breaking the political yokes which shackle them in nearly every loyal State in the Union.
Resolved, That a Committee of three, consisting of Messrs.
Octavius V. Catto, Alfred M. Green,
Joseph C. Bustill,
be appointed to revise, correct and publish the proccedings of this Convention for general distribution.
Resolved, That this Convention return its sincere thanks for the manner in which they have conducted its business, and of Harrisburg who have so kindly and generally extended their hospitalities to the members during its session.
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