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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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universal liberty and brotherhood is already dawning upon the world, and every nation and every race will soon enjoy its glorious light. Whatever changes or revolutions add to the freedom and happiness of one portion of the human family, indirectly, perhaps, but certainly contribute to improve the condition of the rest of mankind. In all the triumphs of modern science and art, and in all the progress of the age, the colored race has a deep interest--they have suffered more than others, a greater change therefore awaits the and they may look forward with fonder hopes to the "good time coming."
As Anglo Saxons feel pleasure and pride and augur for themselves a glorious destiny from whatever is achieved by that race in any of its homes, so may the colored race draw encouragement and hope from whatever it is accomplishing in this or other countries. Every successful effort of individuals or of communities that serves to demonstrate the capabilities of your race will tend to disarm prejudice and ensure your respect. You have a deep interest in the personal success of each other, but a still deeper interest in the success of the experiments you are making as communities, whatever motives or causes have placed you in this country, in the West Indies, on the coast or in the interior of Africa, the necessity of mutual sympathy and co-operation is the same; success at one point will benefit all, failure any where will be equally widespread in its injury.
Whether your development as individuals and as a race will be best secured by being scattered over the whole country in immediate contact with other races, or by association as a separate community in some parts of it, or in the West Indies, or on the coast of Africa is a deeply interesting problem, the solution of which, if now difficult, may some day be pointed out more clearly by the finger of Providence, meanwhile I fully recognize the right of every human being to dwell in any part of God's earth where he may choose, and to enjoy there all the rights and blessings that pertain to humanity. I cannot believe that you are destined to be swallowed up and absorbed by any other race, neither can I for a moment believe that God has designed you to continue to be "hewers of wood and drawers of water" for other men. Your race has a noble destiny and its own measures of growth and happiness to fill and enjoy.
I rejoice that you meet to discuss all the questions that relate to your well being, and that some of you who have words of wisdom are ready to utter the. I rejoice that those of you who possess wealth are willing to lay it on the altar of liberty and progress. I rejoice also to know that so many of your people are striving to obtain that liberty and industrial education which will qualify the, to discharge their duties to themselves and to society. You have friends of whose sympathy you may be assured, but after all you will not forget that God helps those only who help themselves. "Who would be free themselves must strike the blow." Your friend,
Norton S. Townshend.
Hose of Representatives, Washington, Jan. 5, '52.
Messrs. John I. Gaines, and others, Cen. Com., &c--
The courteous terms of your letter, of the 17th ult., asking my opinion "as regards the present position of future prospects of the colored race in this country," requires me at least to acknowledge its receipt.
I regard the "present position" of you race in this country, as infinitely worse than it was ten years ago. The States which were then preparing for gradual emancipation, are now endeavoring to extend, perpetuate and strengthen slavery! In others where the masters then could teach a slave, he is now a criminal if he attempts to enlighten him! A vast amount of territory which was then free is now everlasting dedicated to slavery! The citizen of a free state could then speak a kind word to a fugitive for liberty without molestation; if he does so now he hazards an indictment and trial for treason! These are but a portion of the fruits (bitter as they may be to your people,) produced during the last ten years of this "age of progress and reform" through a war which cost our nation two hundred and thirty millions of dollars, 14? and an immense number of precious lives of her citizens. And I may add that all this has been accomplished in the face of the various party organizations which have professed to labor for different results.
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