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Proceedings of the Convention, of the Colored Freemen of Ohio, Held in Cincinnati, January 14, 15, 16, 17 and 19, 1852.
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BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS
and provided for. And what provision can be so efficacious and toward, that of establishing independent communities--in the West Indies, on the coast of Africa, or elsewhere,--which, should the great crisis ever arise, will be able to act for the freedom of their brethren in this country, as the laws of God may require. I say, as the laws of God, but ought I not rather to say, as the example of God may require; for did not He secure the emancipation of the children of Israel, by sinking their oppressors in the water of the Red Sea? There was both justice and mercy in that dispensation. The pursuers only were destroyed, wives and children and those who did not participate in the guilt of the pursuit, were saved.
In considering this extreme aspect of the case of slavery, (never I trust to be realized, and certainly to be realized only as the last resort of outraged humanity,) we cannot refrain from seeing how vastly more efficacious for good would be the powers of the services of leading colored men, in a community of their own, than when scattered, and comparatively lost among people who have so little regard for their rights, as any existing community of whites now have. Frederick Douglass, Henry Bibb, Samuel R. Ward, William Crafts,11, William Brown, surnamed Box,12 and a score of others whom I might name, have talents that would adorn the highest stations in civilized society. Instead of making speeches they might be making laws. Instead of commanding the types of a newspaper press, they might be commanding armies and navies; and making those appreciate the weight of their power who will not regard the force of their logic and their humanity. Robert Purvis is a gentleman whose manners and education would become a court; yet now I suppose he cannot be so much as a constable or justice of the peace.
Do not these considerations, gentlemen, bear directly and strongly upon the great question, as your letter expresses it, "of the future prospects of the colored race in this country,"--that is, as I understand you, the colored race, both bond and free? I think they do. While, therefore, it is our duty to do whatever we can to ameliorate the condition of the colored people among us and especially to resist the pro-slavery action of ambitious politicians and of the general government, it is your duty to project some broad and comprehensive plan, and to devote all your energies to its execution, which shall look to the ultimate redemption and elevation, within the shortest practicable period, of your brethren in bondage, "in this country," and throughout the globe. Gird yourselves for this work. Seek for wealth as a means education, advancement and influence; build yourselves up as far as possible into a condition of independence; let your hearts be penetrated with the moral and religious fervor which belongs to a good and holy cause, and may God bless your endeavors.
Very truly, Yours, &c. Horace Mann.
Messrs. John I. Gaines, Wm. H. Day
John Jackson, and David Jenkins } Central Committee.
Washington, Dec. 25th, '51.
I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your esteemed favor of the 17th, acquainting me of a Convention to be holden at Cincinnati the 14th of January by the colored people of Ohio, and asking my opinion as to their present position and future prospects in this country. The condition of this unfortunate class of our citizens is truly distressing and alarming. Like Joseph of old, they have been sold into bondage; but the same kind Parent watched over and delivered him from Slavery, is alike mindful of them, and their long-suffering and forbearnace. May they be patient and persevere a little while longer, when deliverance shall come. The slave will not only throw off his chains, but a great nation will be redeemed from worse than Jewish pride--the slavery of party, and enter upon its sublime mission of Christian Democracy, to regenerate the people and nations--not with the sword, but by the practical illustration of a humane and just government, carrying out those wise measures begun by the Fathers of the Revolution. The kidnapping law which disgraces our Federal Statute, is founded in supreme selfishness, and meant for evil, but God in his providence is overruling it for good. Its enormities are so palpable, as to startle and arrest the attention of that portion of community hitherto indifferent to the cause of suffering humanity. When the American people become fairly aroused in regard to the
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