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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Maryland Free Colored People's Convention, July 27-28, 1852.
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Current Saved Transcription [history]
B. Jenifer, chairman of the committee on the platform, made the following report, which was read by Charles O. Fisher:
Whereas, The present age is one distinguished for inquiry, investigation, enterprise and improvement in physical, political, intellectual and moral sciences, we hold the truths to be self-evident that we are, as well as all mankind, created equal, and are endowed by our Creator with the right to enquire into our present condition and future prospects; and as a crisis has arisen in our history presenting a bright and glorious future, may we not hope that [before] long the energies of our people may be aroused from their lethargy, and seek to obtain for themselves and posterity the rights and privileges of freemen--therefore,
Resolved, That while we appreciate and acknowledge the sincerity of the motives and the activity of the zeal of those who, during an agitation of twenty years have honestly struggled to place us on a footing of social and political equality with the white population of this country, yet we cannot conceal from ourselves the fact that no advance has been made towards a result to us so desirable; but that on the contrary, our condition as a class is less desirable than it was twenty years ago.
Resolved, that in the face of an immigration from Europe, which is greater each year than it was the year before, and during the prevalence of a feeling in regard to us, which the very agitation intended for good, has only served apparently to embitter, we cannot promise ourselves that the future will do that which the past has failed to accomplish.
Resolved, That recognizing in ourselves the capacity to conduct honorably, and creditably, in public affairs; to acquire knowledge, and to enjoy the refinements of social intercourse; and having a praiseworthy ambition that this capacity should be developed to its full extent, we are naturally led to enquire where this can best be done, satisfied as we are that in this country, at all events from present appearances, it is out of the question.
Resolved, That in comparing the relative advantages of Canada, the West Indies and Liberia--these being the places beyond the limits of the United States to which circumstances have directed our attention--we are led to examine the claims of Liberia particularly, where, alone, we have been told that we can exercise all the functions of a free republican government, and held an honorable position among the nations of the earth.
Resolved, That in thus expressing our opinions it is not our purpose to counsel emigration as either necessary or proper in every case. The transfer of an entire people from one country to another, must necessarily be the work of generations--each individual now and hereafter must be governed by the circumstances of his own conditions of which he alone can be the judge, as well in regard to the time of removal, as to the place to which he shall remove; but deeply impressed ourselves with the conviction, that sooner or later removal must take lace, we would counsel our people to accustom themselves to the idea of it, and in suggesting Liberia to them, we do so in the belief that in there alone they can reasonably anticipate an independent national existence.
Resolved, That as the subject is one of the greatest importance to us, .and the consideration of which, whatever may be the result, cannot be put aside, we recommend to our people in this State to establish and maintain an organization in regard to it, the great object of which shall be enquiry and discussion, which, without committing any one, shall lead to accurate information, and that a convention like the present, composed of delegates from the counties and Baltimore city, be annually held at such time and place as said convention, in their judgment, may designate.
A motion was made to accept the report, which lead to debate, John H. Walker speaking at length in opposition to the re solutions, and hoped that they would be referred back to the committee, contending that there should have been a recommendation to raise a fund to see a lawyer, or some influential citizen of this State, to go to Annapolis next winter to endeavor to obtain a change of legislation in reference to the colored race.
B. Jenifer, of Dorchester, replied to Walker, urging that his views were in opposition to the spirit of the circular which called them together, and of a majority of the delegates present.
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