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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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exile, as promising to them enjoyments from which they are cut off in the land of their birth. Gratitude to the bountiful Bestower of all good, compels us to rejoice in the acknowledgement that the lot of many of us has fallen in a happ1er and fairer portion of the land, to separate ourselves from which, or to promulgate a wish to do so without better prospects of improvement before us than has yet come to our knowledge, would be suicidal to the vital interests of the coloured people of the free states, and would justly draw upon us the execration of the thinking part in the slave states.
Ours is a defensive warfare; on our domicil we meet the aggressor, and if we move, or give our consent to move, and bid them to follow before we are driven, forcibly driven, from our lodgements—which, Heaven be praised, is not probable—their denunciations would be just.
The Canadian Reports, as published in the minutes of this Convention, may be regarded as the unequivocally expressed sentiments of the coloured people of the free states, viz.: improvement, but without emigration, except it be voluntary.
By an attentive perusal of the minutes and proceedings of the Convention, it will be apparent how deeply we sympathize in the distresses of our more unfortunate brethren, and the interest we willingly take, to the extent of our power, to mitigate their sufferings. We feel confident that the course pursued, as presented in this address, will receive the approbation of our constituents, and of those of our follow citizens who are solicitous that our moral, religious, civil, and political condition should be improved in the United States. To promote our welfare, a great and increasing interest is manifesting itself in various parts of the Union; and we feel assured that we shall receive the hearty concurrence and support of our brethren, in the measures herein recommended for our general benefit. We supplicate the intercession of Jehovah, to extend this interest to the most remote parts of our country. We think that we cannot make a stronger or more effectual appeal to your judgments to secure your active co-operation in the plans suggested, than by exhibiting to you a brief outline of the efforts making by our friends to elevate the character and condition of the man of colour.
With a view that we may the more clearly understand the duties that now devolve upon us, it may be necessary to advert to times gone by, when in a state of slavery, ignorance, and misery, with scarcely sufficient intellect remaining to wish for freedom: such is the deteriorating effect of the slave system, carried to the extent that it has been and now is in America; there arose a number of philanthropists, who espoused our cause, and by their continued exertions have effected the entire liberation of the slaves in some of the states; and the salutary influence of those principles has been felt, in some degree, in every part of the U. States, and once bid fair to make every citizen of our country proud of the distinguished appellation of an American. But it is lamentable that a deep and solemn gloom has settled on that once bright anticipation, and that monster, prejudice, is stalking over the land, spreading in its course its pestilential breath, blighting and
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