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Scripto | Transcribe Page
State Meeting of the Colored Citizens of Connecticut, September 27-28, 1854.
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remark turned upon the past. It was more than twenty years since we took our "staff" in the morning of youth, and in the brightness of hope, and went to Hartford to been wrought in all directions! Having made up our minds teach school. Since that hour, how many changes have to visit Middletown, we spent some hours unfolding the pages of memory's book, reading the lessons there written as with the point of a diamond on tablets more enduring than brass marble. Middletown was our home for more than three years. It was this city that we commenced in good earnest the improvement of our humble talent. It was not in that day as at the present time. Now schools and colleges of the first grade are open on every hand, bidding all to come take of the waters" of knowledge almost "without money, and without price." Recourse was therefore had to private tuition. This, for a year or two, went on well--students in Wesleyan University teaching for due reward. In 1832, Rev. Charles B. Ray having fitted in the Academy at Wilbraham, Mass., came to Middletown and entered the college, for the purpose of preparing for more tensive usefulness. Here he found many of his former class-mates, and fellow students in his preparatory course; but they hardly knew him, although they had been on terms of friendship and intimacy in the Academy. "A change had come o'er the spirit of their dreams"--a storm was brewing--they had made up their minds to "change his countenance and cast him away." Coming, events cast their shadows before." It was soon hinted that Mr. Ray must leave the University. After several angry meetings among the students, he was compelled to leave--to turn from the path of intellectual culture--suppress his noble aspirations after knowledge--turn his back upon the Seminary and go, he knew not whether, for an education. Who shall describe his feelings in that bitter hour? Let the world judge. He was a young man of spotless moral and religious character--a communicant in the Methodist Episcopal Church, with an exhorter's license in his pocket. Many of the students were "young preachers, and all the professors in the institution were "Christian men," with Rev. Wilbur Fisk, D.D., for the President. 1 From the midst of such a company, one who came there for the noblest of purposes was driven by the followers of the Rev. John Wesley, because he wore "a skin not colored like their own;" for that "worthy cause" he was banished "with his own consent." During this period, and for some time afterwards, we continued on in the "even tenor of our way," going there to recite. Insults and jeers from the students we frequently encountered; but, belonging to the "unterrified Democracy," we were not daunted. The following letter, with an extract from the comments upon which our teacher made and published in the Liberator at the time, will speak for themselves. We keep them as mementos of the past.
Middletown, Oct. 5th, 1833.
To Beman, Junior:
Young Beman:--A number of the students of this University, deeming it derogatory to themselves, as well as to the University, to have you and other colored students recite here, do hereby warn you to desist from such a course; and if you fail to comply with this peaceable request, we swear, by the ETERNAL GODS, that we will resort to forcible means to put a stop to it.
Twelve of Us.
The letter was given to our teacher, who says:
The President being absent, the letter was shown to two of the Professors. One of them, with a significant toss of the head, passed by on the other side; the other stated that bating the profanity, it expressed the sense of a by-law enacted by the Board of Trustees at their last meeting. By subsequent inquiry, we have found it even so. The resolution was moved and supported by ardent Colonizationists.
S. P. Dole.
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