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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California, Held in the City of Sacramento, Dec. 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th, 1856.
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that where there is wrong, we hate it; where right is, we love it; we cannot deceive the whites; they will know better if they give a thought to it, and in this resolution would see a lie."
Mr. George Gordon said--"One would think, from the remarks of gentlemen, that we were disposed to imitate 'Bully Brooks,' or some other Southern fire-eater. I am opposed to the course proposed by those gentlemen who would have us proceed with such a high hand, as though it were in our power to enforce rule or ruin. It becomes us to be cautious, in view of the circumstances of our position; we are soliciting the attention of the people to the injustice of the laws which deprive us of testimony, and our children of public schooling. When we shall go to the State House asking for the repeal of those laws, we shall petition respectfully. Let us not here adopt any language or deportment incompatible with our attitude as petitioners there, or that is likely to prejudice the success of those petitions."
Mr. Handy said--"The last clause of the resolution I am opposed to; but with the language respecting the progress of our country I agree, if it refers to progress in wisdom and righteousness. Righteousness exalteth a nation, while sin is a reproach to any people."
Mr. Townsend said--"I did not expect this resolution to pass without opposition, and perhaps alteration in its phraseology; the language of the resolution is plain; it is the unqualified statement of a fact, the connection between our actions and our words. We are interested in the progress of this nation; we are benefitted by her general progress in learning, in the arts and sciences, and in her material prosperity; there are men, a great number of whom care for nothing but wealth and power, the almighty dollar being their God; but there are also men who measure the greatness of a nation by its attainments in intellectual culture in science, in the arts, and in moral excellence; the growth and progress of a nation in its parts, the evil with the good is simultaneous. If this country has made progress in the amount of its Slave territory, the number of its Slave victims, the strength and scope of its bad policy, so has it made progress in knowledge, general education, religious toleration, moral science, in spreading the influences and developing the results of a high civilization.
"In the former case, as we have suffered, we deprecate progress in that direction as going backward. It is the increase of the diameter of the circle at the opposite side. So in the latter case upon this side, we have benefitted in many ways; there is such a thing as the world's public opinion; we have hope in the progress of the nations, each extending its influence as so many circles, cutting the plain of, and mingling with our own. Liberty, truth, and humanity, must and will prevail. By her general progress in all that is high and noble we are benifitted. I said there is a connection between the words of the latter part of the resolution and our actions; it is so. At home, by our firesides, we are patriots; we glory in the patriotism of our fathers, in the success of the American arms; even in the Mexican war, how many of our young men went with the American troops to that country and endured hunger, sickness, privation, and exposure of life, such as the army often endured."
Mr. Newby--"In what capacity did they go, and from what motives"
Mr. Townsend--"I am as sensitive as any one in regard to the grovelling conduct of some of our people, and have ever been opposed to a certain sort of servile phraseology indulged in by them in their intercourse with the whites.
"But let us make the case personal. How would we act in the event of an invasion, in our somewhat altered circumstances? In the last war colored men volunteered to drive the invader from the plantations. Invaders are not wont to respect private rights or regard private wrongs. As property holders, as fathers, as husbands, interested in the general observance of good laws, the preservation of social order, in maintaining inviolate the rights of property and the sanctity of home, how would we act? War is a state which suspends all laws except those established for its own efficiency. It is a very different thing from the practiced evolutions at the parade grounds, the ornamental drills in our thoroughfares. The spirit of war aroused, its maddening taste for blood, the wild excitement of license and passion; we do not expect to find in each soldier a Cincinnatus,1 a Scipio,2 or a Washington. Are we not
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