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Convention of the Colored Citizens of Massachusetts, August 1, 1858.

1858MA.3.pdf

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98

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

rejoice, for they were of some account, after all, and their words and acts in this convention would have their weighty influence over the entire land.

Mr. William C. Nell reported the following series of resolutions, in behalf of the Business Committee:--

Resolved, That on this the twenty-fourth anniversary of British West India Emancipation, our hearts overflow with gratitude to the God of Truth and Freedom, for that signal and crowning act in the history of Great Britain which immortalized her fame, and emblazoned with more glory her national escutcheon than the conquest of Waterloo; when, in obedience to the sovereign mandate of the people, she severed at a blow the chains from 800,000 human beings, and bade them stand erect free men and women, acknowledging no Master but God, the Father of us all.

Resolved, That we welcome to the United States, and commend to an audience of her entire people, the Rev. Mr. BLEBY, missionary from Barbadoes, whose experience and observation for twenty-seven years among the colonists during their slavery and transition to freedom, and whose faithful services and martyrdom for the right, warrant his acceptance as a witness whose competency and veracity are abundant and conclusive.3 His presence at this time we deem as signally opportune--indeed, the 'man for the hour,' when the enemies of freedom are fulminating their falsehoods of the failure of the British West India experiment--an experiment demonstrating to the world the duty and safety of immediate emancipation.

Resolved, That we deeply lament the recent course of the London Times, in catering to the wishes of American slaveholders, by its perversion of the facts of the British West India emancipation, and its general tone of disparagement of the Anti-Slavery cause; and sincerely hope and believe that the people of England will not be influenced by its dictation, but rather heed the words of Lord Palmerston,4 who, in his recent speech in Parliament on the question of reopening the slave trade, spoke as follows:

'It would be dishonorable to this country, and abandoning the high position in which we have hitherto stood, if we were suddenly to turn round at the moment of success, and set an example to the world the very opposite of that which has redounded to much to our honor.'

Resolved, That as it is sometimes said by the pro-slavery press of America, that England entailed on her the curse of slavery; in the language of George Thompson, we would answer: 'As you imitated England in her guilt, so imitate her in her repentance'; and we pledge our labors and prayers to hasten that good time coming, when America shall do likewise--when over this broad expanse of earth, from the Atlantic to the Pacific sea, there remains not a tyrant or a slave.

Whereas, the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dred Scot case, bu which that Court declares that we are not, and cannot become citizens of the United States, is in palpable violation of the 1st section of Article 4th of the Constitution of the United States, which expressly declares--'The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.'

Whereas, we deem the doctrine so ably laid down by Judge Curtis,5 of Massachusetts, in dissenting from that of Chief Justice Taney and his associates, to be impregnable: 1st. That the free native-born citizens of each State are citizens of the United States. 2d. That as free colored persons, born within some of the States, are citizens of those States, such persons are also citizens of the United States. 3d. That every such citizen, residing in any State, has the right to sue and be sued in the Federal Courts as a citizen of the State in which he resides.

Whereas, this righteous doctrine has bee rejected by the Supreme Court, and we are left without protection or redress as citizens of the United States; and until that decision be reversed, or an entire change wrought in the structure of the Supreme Court, (of which there is no hope,) or Massachusetts be divorced from the Union, we stand deprived of those privileges and immunities which are guaranteed to use by the Constitution of our country.

Whereas, in the language of Rev. Hosea Easton, the colored people who are born in this country are Americans in every sense of the word--Americans by birth, genius, habits, language, &c.6 They are dependent on American

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