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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Minutes and proceedings of the Third annual Convention, for the Improvement of the Free People of Colour in these United States, :held by adjournments in the city of Philadelphia, from the 3d to the 13th of June inclusive, 1833.
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subject. We venture to assert, that no portion of our fellow citizens has as deep an interest in the promotion of the cause of Temperance, as that to which we belong, and no body of men either in their individual or collective capacity, are pressed with weightier responsibilities, than that to whom we now address ourselves—what we are to be as a people is peculiarly suspended upon our moral and intellectual qualities.
For in addition to all those weighty considerations tending so remarkably to correct the public opinion of other portions of community, and are working such moral wonders, there are other considerations which ought deeply to interest the "Free people of Colour of the United States," and to rivet the conviction upon every mind, that they of all others ought by every possible means to urge forward this glorious reformation; not that intemperance abounds more among us, than among others, for in the face of the declaration to the contrary, made by the disparagers of an injured people, your committee are prepared to prove, that it does not exist among us even tons great an extent as among others; but notwithstanding, it, more than any thing under our control, tends to perpetuate that relentless prejudice, which arrays itself against our dearest interests; frowns us away from the avenues of useful knowledge and of wealth; and which with a cruel hand wrenches from us our political rights.
In all our deliberations, we recognize the idea, that intelligence, industry, economy, and moral worth, in connexion with the purifying power of heaven-born truth, am sufficient alone, to prostrate, this iron hearted monster.
Now the destroyer, Intemperence, directly counteracts the influence of these redeeming qualities, and what is worse, nurtures in their stead every thing loathsome.
Those children in tatters, who are cruelly permitted to waste those precious hours, which should be employed in the acquisition of knowledge, who are shivering with cold, or crying for a morsel of bread, are the children of intemperate parents. These impoverished families, these premature graves, are the production of strong drink.
What is the foundation of those vile and unreasonable slanders, which are trumpeted throughout this land of freemen? "That the situation of the slave of the south, is far preferable to that of the coloured freeman of the north." It is founded in the opinion of the apologer of slavery, formed, when beholding degraded men, clustering around those fatal corners, where "liquid fire is dispensed, or while beholding here and there, the staggering steps of miserable men and women, who with fœtid breath, deride the idea of "TOTAL ABSTINENCE." Here too, we have the source of four fifths of the pauperism known among us, and that of the most of those petty crimes which, contribute much to keep in countenance those weak men who are for ever prating about extraneous mass, and African inferiority.
We take the liberty farther to recommend as powerfully tending to advance the Temperance reformation, the formation of Societies, in religious congregations; in each ward of large cities, and in each large village in the UNITED STATES, where
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