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Proceedings of the California State Convention of the Colored Citizens, Held in Sacramento on the 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th of October, 1865.
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BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS
broad principle of liberty and self-government, her citizens were not actuated by the spirit of '76 ; they did not desire to recognize the Negro as a man, nor to elevate him as a brother, but they seemed to be guided by an axiom of the learned Blackstone, in his theory upon the origin of governments, where he asserts that "The only true and natural foundations of society are the wants and fears of its individuals." The men of New England birth and education who exercised a predominating influence, comprehending the magnitude of this dictum, and stimulated by the immense mineral and agricultural resources opened to industry, could not tolerate a system that enabled one man with his hundred poor, black, ignorant slaves, to compete with the brains, the energy and toil of the same number of white freemen. They knew they owed fealty to compromises and expedient fugitive slave laws, but the greater law of self preservation outweighed all supposed obligations and consecrated the virgin soil of this young State to freedom. Sir, we have lived and prospered under the experiment, through the devastations of floods and fires, and Heaven still continues to bless the land. The motives that prompted the adoption of a free constitution in 1850, were those of policy, and are equally paramount now upon the expediency of Negro suffrage. California did not actively participate in the conflict of the great rebellion; she has no sins to atone for to her disloyal element for the entombing of thousands of Southern chivalry; but when dread embarrassment nearly neutralized the efficiency of the Government, when gold and silver were like drops of precious blood oozing from a decaying body, her hardy sons drained her hills and valleys to retard the inflation of a paper currency; to restore confidence to the farmer, the mechanic and the merchant, and once more to unbar the closed doors of the manufacturer to employment. What she failed to give physically was imparted materially, and every thousand hard dollars sent at such a critical time, from these golden shores, was equal to a brilliant victory won by the fearless Hooker6 towering in the clouds, or the gallant Porter7 ploughing the majestic waters of Mississippi. The vital question to be seriously pondered over by the Union men, who have been baptized in the grace of the Emancipation Proclamation is: If it was impolitic, at the adoption of the State Constitution, to confide its influence and power upon those inimical to free labor, what can be gained now by permitting the same lurking, ambitious spirits to exercise privileges over the loyal Negro, under the beneficent government they have aimed to strike from the family of nations? Do sane men believe that the temper which impelled the atrocities at Andersonville, capable to purify the Tory blood that sanctified the Hartford convention,8 and reared that emphemeral dynasty at Richmond, which laid its cornerstone amid the agony of human suffering? A mere amnesty oath, not sacred enough to quiver the lips of those who rejoiced at the massacre of Union soldiers upon the bloody plains of Fort Pillow, cannot attest the fixed determination of unfeeling hearts. A thousand pardonings from a lenient President, a million voices sounding the redeeming grace of God's eternal word, will never remove the damning prejudice against the Negro, and unappeasable hatred nourished against Yankee success. The opponents of a reconstructed Government and of a reunited people are not yet appeased to the humiliation of defeat; they are of a proud and revengeful spirit, educated in the opinion that they were born to rule, and dispense whatever immunities may accrue; they have not yet relinquished the purposes they sought to accomplish upon the field of battle; they are determined again to be in power, to curb the despised Yankees in all their isms, and grind deeper down in despair the unprotected Negro. To perfect this unholy purpose, they may be seen merging with Short and Long Hairs, rallying under every deceptive banner, spreading their canvass to catch the popular breeze of the great People's Party, and in order to mislead, divide and scatter these great elements of Unionism, founded upon the patriotism of the immortal Lincoln, they are endeavoring to arouse the vulgar passions of the ignorant upon false issues against the Negro's undoubted claims to equality before the law. I am here, sir, though of humble social position, and without notoriety, to warn those who are conservators of the public peace, in whose places another generation, perhaps not so well experienced, are soon to stand, that the loyal heart and well directed vote of the Negro should now be summoned to counteract the deep laid schemes of involving this nation in another revolution--not a revolution swayed by vast armies, complete navies, and military heroes, eclipsing the world in wonderful daring--but an insidious revolution of public sentiment,
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