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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings and Address of the Coloured Citizens of N.J. Convened at Trenton, August 21st and 22d, 1849 for the Purpose of Taking the Initiatory Measures for Obtaining the Right of Suffrage in this Our Native State.
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After which,the following from the Rev. Mr. Catto was submitted and adopted, as follows:
Resolved, that the delegates, and all persons concerned in the advancement of our present business, that of obtaining the elective franchise, shall continue to do all in their power to keep before the people the duty of striving to their utmost to obtain this right.
On motion it was Resolved, that Rev. J. Woodlin, I. Locke, and Rev. William T. Catto, be authorized to publish an Address to the citizens of New Jersey.
After which a contribution from certain delegates and others, citizens of Trenton, was handed over to I. Locke, of Camden, with orders to prepare and publish the minutes, &c.; and after a few mutual instructions the Convention at 2, o'clock, adjourned sine die.
A solemn Benediction was offered up by Rev. Mr. Catto, and the assemblage retired in peace and harmony to their homes.
From the Coloured Convention, assembled at Trenton, on
the 21st and 22d days of August, 1849
TO THE CITIZENS OF NEW JERSEY
We, the undersigned, on behalf of the aforesaid Convention, do make and promulgate this appeal to all the people in common throughout this our native State:--
Being endowed, under the blessings of a beneficent Providence and favourable circumstances, with the same rationality, knowledge and feelings, in common with the better and more favoured portions of civilized mankind, we would no longer deride you and ourselves by exhibiting gross inconsistency, and by so far belying the universal law and the great promptings of our nature; cultivated as we claim to be, as to have you longer suppose that we are ignorant of the important and undeniable fact that we are indeed men like unto yourselves.
Knowing then, that these things are so, you will naturally be led to suppose that with the same kind of teaching, and under the same influences, we should necessarily have the same kind of feelings and the same general ideas in common with yourselves.
And inasmuch as you have declared, and we have learned the fact,--that all men are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.
And that all political power is inherent in the people; and that they have the right at all times to alter or reform the same, whenever the public good may require it.
Therefore we now appeal to you in the face of your own assertions, and in respect of your justice, your patriotism, your intelligence, your honesty and love of liberty,--and in remembrance of your accountability to Him from whom cometh every good and perfect gift,--requesting that you will use your influence, each for himself, in assisting us in this our purpose of obtaining for ourselves and our posterity, the blessings and perquisites of liberty in the exercise of the elective franchise, or right of suffrage; which we respectfully ask as a right belonging to us in the character of men; but heretofore withheld as an attache of color, in the conservative spirit of some, and the ignorance, envy and prejudice of others.
In conclusion, we would only say that, with our knowledge of the eminent standing of the highest virtues of which humanity is capable,--the religion, morality, intelligence, jurisprudence and good citizenship, generally evinced in this our native State,--we confidently expect a majority of your signatures to our petitions wherever presented; and we verily believe that the day is not
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