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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored Men, Held in the City of Columbus, Ohio, Jan. 16th, 17th, and 18th, 1856.
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God-given rights. Genius of America!--How art thou fallen, oh Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou fallen!
In view of these things, it is self-evident, and above demonstration that we, as a people, have every incentive to labor for the redress of wrongs. On our native soil, consecrated to freedom, civil liberties are denied us, and we are by compulsion subject to an atrocious and criminal system of political tutelage deleterious to the interest of the entire colored race, and antagonistical to the political axioms of this Republic.
Intuitively then, we search for the panacea for the manifold ills which we suffer. One, and only one, exists; and when each individual among us realizes the absolute impossibility for him to perform any work of supererogation in the common cause, the appliances will prove its own efficacy; it is embodied in one potent word--ACTION. Let unanimity of action characterize us; let us reject the absurd phantasy of non-intervention; let us leave conservatism behind, and substitute a radical, utilitarian spirit; let us cultivate our moral and mental faculties, and labor to effect a general diffusion of knowledge, remembering that "ascendancy naturally and properly belongs to intellectual superiority." Let "Excelsior" be our watchword; it is the inspiration of all great deeds, and by the universal adoption of this policy we will soon stand triumphantly above that ignorance and weakness, of which slavery is the inevitable concomitant--will soon reach that apex of civilization and consequent power to which every earnest, impassioned soul aspires.
Continued and strenuous effort is the basis of all greatness, moral, intellectual, and civil. "Work, man," says Carlyle,"work! work! thou hast all eternity to rest in."
To you, gentlemen, as representatives of the oppressed thousands of Ohio, we look hopefully. This convening is far from being nugatory or unimportant. "Agitation of thought is the beginning of truth," and, further, more, by pursuing such a line of policy as you in your wisdom may deem expedient, tending toward that paramount object, the results may transcend those attending similar assemblies which have preceded it. True, you are numerically small; but the race is not always gained by the swift, nor the battle by the strong, and it has become a truism that greatness is the legitimate result of labor, diligence, and perseverance.
It was a Spartan mother's farewell to her son, "Brong home your shield or be brought upon it." To you we would say, be true, be courageous, be steadfast in the discharge of your duty. The citadel of Error must yield to the unshrinking phalanx of truth. In our fireside circles, in the seclusion of our closets, we kneel in tearful supplication in your behalf. As Christian wives, mothers and daughters, we invoke the blessing of the King, Eternal and Immortal, "who sitteth upon the circle of the earth, who made the heavens with all their host," to rest upon you, and we pledge ourselves to exert our influence unceasingly in the cause of Liberty and Humanity.
Again we say, be courageous; be steadfast; unfurl your banner to the breeze--let its folds float proudly over you, bearing the glorious inscription, broad and brilliant as the material universe: "God and Liberty!"
Sara G. Staley,
In behalf of the Delaware Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society.
The Committee on petitions reported the following:
We, the undersigned, citizens of ____ county, respectfully but earnestly petition your honorable body, 1st. To immediately take the necessary constitutional steps to so alter or amend the Constitution of this State as to strike out the word "white" in the first Section of the fifth Article. 2d. To so alter or amend the first Section of the ninth Article of the Constitution as to strike out the word "white" in that Article. 3d. Also, to repeal all laws and parts of laws which make distinctions on account of color.
The Committee on Finance reported the following receipts expenditures:
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