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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Minutes of the State Convention of the Colored Citizens of Ohio, Convened at Columbus, Jan. 15th, 16th, 17th and 18, 1851.
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BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS
law, that it is a hideous deformity in the garb of law. Blackstone has justly recorded that real law commands what is right, and prohibits what is wrong. This enactment--unworthy the name of law--reverses this definition, by prohibiting what is right, and commanding what is wrong. Such is the outrage of this abomination of all abominations, upon the just and universally admitted principles of the common law. But it does not stop here. By it all the great bulwarks of Liberty are stricken down. It kills alike, the true spirit of the American Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the palladium of our liberties. It is unconstitutional for the following considerations:--It strips man of his manhood and liberty upon an ex parte trial; sets aside the constitutional guarantee of the writ of Habeas Corpus, which, under the constitution, can never be suspended, except in cases of rebellion or invasion; declares that the decision of the commissioner, the lowest judicial officer know to the law, upon the matter of personal liberty--the gravest subject that can be submitted to any tribunal, shall be final and conclusive; holds out a bribe in the shape of double fees, for a decree contrary to liberty and in favor of Human Slavery; forbids any enquiry into the facts of the case by confining it to the question of personal identity. Thus the law strikes down all the shields of liberty, by aiming to make a local crime a national sin.
On motion of Doct. C. H. Langston, the resolution was amended as follows: that a committee of three be appointed, to draft a petition to Congress, asking the unconditional repeal of said law, after which the resolution, as amended, was unanimously adopted.
The 14th resolution was taken up, considered, and adopted.
The 15th resolution was adopted.
The 16th resolution was adopted.
The 17th resolution was then taken up, and while pending, Mr. C. A. Yancy arose, and remarked as follows:
"Mr. Chairman:--I am constrained to oppose the resolution now before us, from the fact that I believe it will have a tendency to disunite the efforts of the colored people of this State. The resolution declares that we shall not countenance, support, or associate with any person, society, or church, unless we are satisfied that they are purely anti-slavery. Now, Mr. Chairman, I am not satisfied that this Convention is purely anti-slavery, notwithstanding it is composed of the literati of the colored men of the State, who should be purely anti-slavery. The majority may be, but I don't believe that it is purely so. Again: Whenever you interfere with the Church, you scatter discord, strife, and disunion among our people. So I think it inexpedient to pass such a resolution. Not because I think there is any society or church to sacred or profane for me to strike at if it restricts my liberties. Yet I think that the language of that resolution is too tenacious, and will fail to effect the object which it seems to aim at."
Thos. Harris, of Pike, was opposed.
J. H. Johnson, of Franklin was in favor of the passage of the resolution.
Mr. Douglass of Cuyahoga, offered the following amendment, "nor the Constitution of the United States."
Mr. Chas. H. Langston offered the following as a substitute for the whole:
Resolved, That we will not support any Church, unless we are convinced that it is anti-slavery.
In support of which he offered the following remarks: He did not think that the discussion of the resolution would tend to divide people--he wished it to be fully discussed. He did not think the church matters too sacred to be talked of. It does the church great injustice for gentlemen to say, that its character cannot be brought under review without creating hard feelings and divisions. If the Church possess any good, investigation will only tend to increase its brightness. I wish the Church separated from all other matters, and stand or fall upon its own merits. It has now reached its eighteen-hundredth year, and is certainly able to stand alone. I hope therefore the amendment will prevail.
The hour of 12 o'clock having arrived, the Convention took a recess.
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