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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.

1865CA.24.pdf

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191

CALIFORNIA, 1865

The debate was further continued by Mr. R. H. Small, who said he would be false to his constituents and to his principle if he did not express his own and their sentiments of the adoption of the report and the memorial or petition. In urging our claim to equal rights we should occupy the highest position; we should be importunate and persistent; we should request of the Legislature the privilege of telling our own story; we should have our orators, men of eloquence, to address the Legislature on the important subject; we should also have our agents and orators canvass the State, and appeal to the people. There is nothing more powerful than eloquence to sway the minds of the people. We should, by our orators, present stirring, eloquent appeals to the dominant race for our rights. There is nothing of greater influence than the living, breathing agent. The press is also an important element in this matter, and we should support our newspapers, as a fearless, outspoken periodical is greatly needed. We have many white friends whose papers speak nobly in our favor; but we can best tell our own story, and advocate our own cause. He was in favor of adopting the report.

On the conclusion of Mr. Smalls remarks the report of the Committee on Elective Franchise was adopted.

Rev. T. M. D. Ward, Chairman of the Committee on Industrial Pursuits, presented the report of the Committee, which he prefaced with appropriate remarks.

Report of the Committee on Industrial Pursuits

We, the Committee, to whom was assigned the duty of reporting on Industrial Pursuits, beg leave to submit the following:

Whereas, the aphorism long since expressed that the indolent shall eat the bread of sorrow, has been abundantly corroborated by the experience of the past, therefore it is an ordination of God, that man shall earn his bread by the sweat of his brow; toil and suffering, care and sorrow, are in this life our allotted inheritance. Would we command the respect of the ruling class, we must possess a knowledge of mechanism, become owners and tillers of the soil, abandon the cities, drop menial employments and become producers as well as consumers. We, in our conventional capacity, conceive ti to be the imperative duty of parents and guardians to give their sons trades and teach them the dignity of labor. He who will not work shall not eat, is the stern declaration of Sacred Writ. The young men who spend their time in idleness, or what is still worse, in following vocations which not only infringe upon the civil law but comes in conflict with the higher law of Heaven, should be reminded that the entrance into industrial pursuits alone will secure to them health, wealth, contentment and respect.

Therefore be it Resolved,

1.--That we recommend the colored people of the Pacific States and Territories, to secure farms, purchase homesteads, enter largely into quartz and other branches of mining, engage in mechanical and manufacturing occupations and eagerly embrace every method and opportunity which will insure profit, honor and independence.

2.--That our colored traders, mechanics and manufacturers, receive from us every encouragement possible.

3.--That we recommend the formation of agricultural associations, established on the principle of joint stock companies, putting the price of shares at such a rate as will make them accessible to all classes of men.

4.--That where our men have not the money wherewith to buy farms, that they be advised to unite in companies and rent lands for agricultural purposes.

5. --That we urge upon the people of this coast to seek unsettled lands and preempt them, as is the right of every American citizen.

6.--That a Committee of three be appointed to present to the proper authorities the expediency of the employing of from twenty to forty thousand freedmen on the great Pacific Railroad, and to petition the honorable the Legislature of California through our Representatives in Congress to procure such aid from the Federal Government as to them may seem fit, for the following reasons:

I--To speedily complete this great National enterprise.

II--The value and the cheapness of the labor sought.

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