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Scripto | Transcribe Page
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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rights of man, there will remain no doubt about the final issue of the controversy now enlisting the attention of both countries. It rejoices my heart, gentlemen, to know that the colored race are becoming more active in asserting their rights. The Convention to which you allude, will result in good I cannot doubt, and materially aid the cause of emancipation. None can plead so eloquently and efficiently against tyranny and oppression as the victims of despotism themselves. Nevertheless, all should bear in mind that blessed injunction "remember those who are in bonds as being bound with them." You justly remarked that the people of the old world and of the new have taken up the problem of human rights, and are solving it for themselves. This is the surest indication of final success. Kossuth's present mission to the United States appears to my mind strikingly analogous to St. Paul's at Corinth, where he proclaimed, "He whom ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." The very happy and forcible manner in which Kossuth elucidates the great principle of Justice, and the glorious doctrine of human Progress, cannot fail to produce a lasting and most beneficial effect on the mind and heart of the American people. The principle of Law which he elaborated so eloquently and powerfully to the New York Bar, ought to be indelibly impressed on every mind throughout the world. It is a great elementary principle which should be at the very threshold of moral and political investigation. I will here quote a few lines from the commencement of that speech:
"Let me say, as a member of your profession, in respect to my opinion about the system of codification as opposite to customary law; you have the great authority of Livingston, 13 and though it may be a piece of presumption for one to state a principle contrary to his, yet I would remark I differ from him. I confess I am no friend to codification. I am no friend to it because I am a friend to free and unresisted progress. It is an iron hand that hinders the circulation of intelligence, and fetters the development which freely must go on towards boundless perfection--the destiny of humanity. In conclusion, gentlemen, allow me to express my best wishes for your welfare, and for the cause you seek to promote."
John I. Gaines and others, Central Committee.
Washington, Dec. 26th, 1851.
Messrs. Gaines, Day, Jenkins, and Jackson:
Gentlemen:--Yours of the 17th inst., is just received, and it gives me great pleasure to see our colored friends actively moving in so just and glorious an enterprise as stated in your letter. You have to encounter a most unjust and illiberal prejudice, which everybody knows, is all wrong; but it nevertheless, exists, and you must take things as they are, and not as they should be. The first thing, then, on your part, is to overcome this prejudice, by proving in your own persons that it is untrue and unfounded. In order to this, I would advise, as far as possible, that you should withdraw from all menial employments, form yourselves into communities by yourselves, when, by cultivating the soil, and practicing the mechanical arts, you will soon attain to independence, and thus situated you will have the means of educating your children, and bestowing upon them those advantages which they cannot, at present enjoy, while scattered about among the white people. They will thus acquire habits of self-respect and independence, and this will compel your white brethren to respect you: and I doubt not, soon convince them, that with equal opportunities, you are by no means their inferiors. I rejoice to see that the colored people have taken their own destinies into their own hands. This is the right way. All just men will sympathize with them, and aid them all in their power. But, after all, their ultimate emancipation, must depend upon themselves. Be temperate, industrious, and by all means in your power, promote among yourselves the cause of education, and the result cannot be doubtful. The color of the skin is nothing,--when was it ever known that virtue, industry and intelligence were not respected? When these results of your present most patriotic enterprise shall be realized, those who defame you most, will be the first to do you reverence.
I rejoice to see you organizing among yourselves, form one great brotherhood throughout the State, so that you can all co-operate to the same great
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