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Minutes of the Fifth Annual Convention for the Improvement of the Free People of Colour in the United States; Held by Adjournments, in the Wesley Church, Philadelphia; from the first to the fifth of June, inclusive; 1835.

1835PA 21.pdf

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22

been promulgated or executed, whether under parliamentary, colonial, or American legislation, we declare them in the sight of Heaven wholly null and void, and should be immediately abrogated.

That we find ourselves, after the lapse of two centuries, on the American continent, the remnants of a nation amounting to three millions of people, whose country has been pillaged, parents stolen, nine generations of which have been wasted by the oppressive cruelty of this nation, standing in the presence of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and the civilized world, appealing to the God of nations for deliverance.

Surely there is no people on earth whose patriotic appeals for liberty and justice possess more hallowed claims on the just interposition of Divine Providence, to aid them in removing the most unqualified system of tyranny and oppression, under which human beings ever groaned.

We rejoice that it is our lot to be the inhabitants of a country blest by nature, with a genial climate and fruitful soil, and where the liberty of speech and the press is protected by law.

We rejoice that we are thrown into a revolution where the contest is not for landed territory, but for freedom; the weapons not carnal, but spiritual; where struggle is not for blood, but for right; and where the bow is the power of God, and the arrow the instrument of divine justice; while the victims are the devices of reason, and the prejudice of the human heart. It is in this glorious struggle for civil and religious liberty, for the establishment of peace on earth and good will to men, that we are morally bound by all the relative ties we owe to the author of our being, to enter the arena and boldly contend for victory.

Our reliance and only hope is in God. If success attend the effort, the downfall of Africa from her ancient pride and splendour, will have been more than glorious to the establishment of religion; every drop of blood spilt by her descendants under the dominion of prejudice and persecution, will have produced peaceful rivers, that shall wash from the soil of the human heart, the mountains of vice and corruption, under which this nation has long withered.

And if our presence in this country will aid in producing such a desirable reform, although we have been reared under a most debasing system of tyranny and oppression, we shall have been born under the most favourable auspices to promote the redemption of the world; for our very sighs and groans, like the blood of martyrs, will prove to have been the seed of the church; for they will freight

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