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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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The Committee on Statistics was called upon to report; the report was presented in a fragmentary and unsatisfactory form.
Mr. Newby moved to refer back to the Committee on Statistics.
Mr. Moore thought nothing could be gained by referring; it is to be supposed that the Committee have sought information, but delegates have not come prepared with statistics; to collect them hereafter, and place them in the hands of this Committee to be combined in a report can hardly be expected.
Mr. Wilson was for referring, because he did not want the report published in its present form.
Mr. Newby asked permission to amend his own motion, by adding the words "with instructions, etc." Upon the motion of Mr. Barbadoes, the subject matter of the report was laid upon the table.
Convention, on motion of Mr. Townsend voted to appoint a Committee of three, to examine the books, and audit the accounts of the State Executive Committee. The Chair appointed Messrs. Alex. Ferguson, B. B. Young, C. M. Wilson.
E. R. Phelps moved that the Convention go into Secret Session this afternoon between the hours of 4 and 5 o'clock, to hear and act upon the Official Report of the State Executive Committee--seconded Messrs. Anderson, Detter, Moore and Newby were appointed to the Secret Session.
Ferguson and Herbert favored it. Mr. Ferguson said: "I am in favor of the Secret Session, not because I fear any revelations will be made, or action taken, of which we need to be ashamed, but as a matter of policy."
Mr. Newby:--"Secret Sessions I oppose, as a matter of principle; I hold them to be anti-democratic in their spirit and tendency; they are often resorted to when bodies of men, possessing power and means, would concoct schemes against the interests and liberties of the people; the people always detest them, fearing that some rascality is to be done."
Mr. Ferguson:--"Let it be remembered that it is not alone the Executive Committee of whose action the records speak there are others to . Secret Sessions are often necessary in democratic and monarchial governments, when at war with other nations, that government should not know their purposes, During the last war, this government held Secret Sessions, decided upon its measures, and concealed them from the public, only communicating them to those who were to carry them into execution. What's your Executive Committee for? For what do you give them power and the control of your funds? Sir! the public must be content to confide in their wisdom and faithfulness, without knowing the details of their action."
Mr. Moore: --"My convictions are nevertheless against the propriety of the Secret Session. What do we propose to do in it? As I understand, simply to examine the accounts. The people desire to hear the facts, and besides, it will increase their confidence in the Committee. I am, therefore, for an open session, and for letting the people come in."
W. H. Newby:--"I do not know what questions will enter into the deliberations of the Secret Session. Mr. Ferguson says it is policy that dictates this proposal. I fear it is more a matter of pride than aught else. I am still of the opinion that an open session should be held, and the facts of the action of the Executive Committee communicated to the people; it will stir them to greater earnestness in sustaining the Committee. If the Committee have been derelict, let it be seen; or, if the colored people of California have not done their duty--have not come up to their pledges, let it be known." The vote was taken upon the motion for a Secret Session, and it was carried.
N. Henry, in behalf of Mr. Robinson, offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That a portion of the Proceedings of this Convention be published in one of the daily papers. This resolution, after being amended by a proposal of Mr. Ferguson with the words "provided the paper selected publish such proceedings gratuitously."--adopted.
T. Detter offered a resolution that a committee of five be appointed to examine and decide upon the fitness and propriety of publishing articles sent to the "Mirror of the Times" for that purpose.
J. H. Townsend thought that editors should decide upon the fitness of articles sent for publication.
E. A. Booth was of the opinion that the editors should not have power to suppress at discretion.
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