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

1858MA.9.pdf

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Current Saved Transcription [history]

104

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS

The following were appointed the Committee on the Dred Scott Decision:-- Messrs. W.C. Nell, J.B. Smith, C.L. Remond, Solomon Peneton, Lewis Hayden, Bela C. Perry, Robert Morris, Ebenezer Hemmenway, W.W. Brown, and George Allen.

The following resolution was next submitted:--

Resolved, That though some colored Americans have been induced, from various promptings, to increase their fortunes by leaving their homes for other climes, the majority are now, as ever, determined to remain in the United States until, at lease, the last fetter falls from the last American slave.

Mr. Henson, of Canada, opposed the resolution. He did not think this Convention had a right to dictate what action colored people in other States should adopt. Massachusetts sometimes went so far as to set law and gospel at defiance.

Mr. Nell said that the resolution did not question the right of a man to emigrate if he chose, but simply advised in the matter. He wished to place his foot upon the colonization scheme.

Mr. Blain spoke against emigration. We were born here, and here let us stay.

Mr. Isaiah C. Ray17 also spoke against it. He said, when the fugitive slave bill was passed, he told the colored people to send a fugitive to his house, and he would protect him. Let the colored people in the U. States remain where they belong.

The resolution was adopted.

Mr. Remond moved that a committee of five be appointed to prepare an address suggesting to the slave at the South to create an insurrection.18 He said he knew his resolution was in one sense revolutionary, and in another, treasonable, but so he meant it. He doubted whether it would be carried. But he didn't want to see people shake their heads, as he did see them on the platform, and turn pale, but to rise and talk. He wanted to see the half-way fellows taken themselves away, and leave the field to men who would encourage their brethren at the South to rise with bowie-knife and revolver and musket.

Father Henson doubted whether the time had come for the people of Massachusetts to take any such step. As for turning pale, he never turned pale in his life. [Father Henson is a very black man] He didn't want to fight any more than he believed Remond did. He believed that if the shooting time came, Remond would be found out of question. As he didn't want to see three or four thousand men hung before their time, he should oppose any such action, head, neck and shoulders. If such a proposition were carried out, everything would be lost. Remond might talk, and then run away, but what would become of the poor fellows that must stand? And then the resolution was ridiculous for another reason. How could documents be circulated among the negroes at the South? Catch the masters permitting that, and you catch a weasel asleep. However, they had nothing to fight with at the South--no weapons, no education. 'When I fight,' said Father H., 'I want to whip somebody.'

Mr. Troy, of Windsor, Canada, wanted to see the slaves free, for he had relatives who were property of Senator Hunter, 19 of Virginia; but he knew no such step as was now proposed could help them at all. He hoped the Convention would vote the thing down.

Capt. Henry Johnson concurred with the last two speakers. It was easy to talk, but another thing to act. He was opposed to insurrection. In his opinion, those who were the loudest in their professions, were the first to run. The passage of the resolution would do no good. It would injure the cause. If we were equal in numbers, then there might be some reason in the proposition. If an insurrection occurred, he wouldn't fight.

Mr. Remond expressed himself as quite indifferent whether his motion was carried or not. He was in collusion with no one, and he cared nothing if no one supported him. It had been intimated that he would skulk in the time of danger. The men who said so, judged of him by themselves. Some had said the address could not be circulated at the South; in that case, its adoption could certainly do no harm. Others said, many lives would be lost if an

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