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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored Citizens of the State of Illinois, held in the city of Alton, Nov. 13th, 14th and 15th, 1856.
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and especially at the present, for the signs of the times are portentous of evil to the cause of Liberty in this country, and it therefore behooves us to act wisely and well.
I doubt not, gentlemen, that my ideas of the principles and measures to be adopted for the accomplishment of the object aimed at, will fully coincide with those of your own. Of course we all agree that union of sentiment and concert of action are first necessary. But how shall these be brought about? I answer, just as I suppose you would, without my suggestion, do, and that is, institute a thorough and efficient system of organization, as the first step in this great work. By well organized associations, we assign to each and every man a place to work; and surely every individual can do something, however small, in this great movement.
The next requisite, or means necessary to sustain and carry on the organization to a successful termination, is money. It is the lever on which everything turns in this country, and especially in Yankee land. This is a power in the land, and all are, in duty bound to contribute their mite to augment it.
But let us not forget, that in all our gettings “get knowledge, get understanding;” for,
“Ignorance is the curse of God,
Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to Heaven.
The means to be used in getting Knowledge is Education. Then do not omit to attend well to this subject. We have but little to expect from the old and ignorant; but our great hopes are centered in the Education of the rising generation. Aye, it is the saving hope of mankind. And every parent, and especially every mother, should feel impressed with its importance, and should awake to their duty, and act, in right good earnest, in reference thereto.
Though we all agree that money is power, and knowledge is power, let us not forget, that more powerful than both these combined is Truth. Money and Power, in the vicissitudes of human life, may both be lost, or wrested from us; but Truth, absolute truth, is eternal, like its great author, the Infinitely wise and Gracious God. Man may disregard it for a time, until the period arrives when its rays, according to the determination of Heaven, irresistibly break through the mists of prejudice, and, like the opening of day, shed a clear and unextinguishable light over the generation of men. Then let us be true to ourselves and to our God. Finally, brethren, let us labor and wait; for as sure as God lives and rules the destinies of men, so surely will justice come. But it will not come until we do our whole duty; for God has promised to help only those who help themselves. I have said justice will surely come. I may well say justice; for, if ours is not a just cause, then there is not a just cause on Earth; and well may justice mourningly fly the Earth, and leave it in possession of the proud Coins, to walk up and down in it, with undisputed power.
I cannot dismiss this letter without adding a few thoughts in reference to the late great National Decision, claimed to have been given by a majority of the people of the United States. This decision is a staggering blow, not only to the liberties of the black man, but to the white man as well. But let us not despair, but take courage in the reflection that truth though crushed to earth will rise again. And still more, even a small “radical” minority, with principles planted on the whole truth, with God upon their side, is a majority against the universe; for God alone is a majority, and he is pledged to the ultimate triumph of his own truth.
In my zeal, and writing in the midst of the noise of five little children around me, I omitted in the proper place, to mention the plan of organization, which, in the absence of no better, my mind is strongly inclined to favor. I refer to the “Repeal Association” of Cook County.
Your Brother and Co-Laborer,
H. O. WAGONER.
CHICAGO, November 12, 1856.
Mr. R. J. Robinson also read the following letter from Augustus Hill of Joliet.
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