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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 28.pdf

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We shall appeal to the coloured churches to take decisive measures to rid themselves of the sin of slavery and immorality. We shall endeavour to pledge all the ministers and elders of our churches to the cause of Moral Reform. We hope to train the undisciplined youth in moral pursuits, and we shall anxiously endeavour to impress on our people everywhere, that in moral elevation true happiness consists. We feel bound to pursue the present course as a duty we owe to ourselves, our God, our common country, and the interests of suffering humanity. The free coloured population of the United States now amount to about 400,000, and are constantly increasing by a double process, and we believe that the philanthropic exertions that are now making in our country for the abolition of slavery, will shortly remove the fetters from thousands annually, and these will be continually adding to our number. We are unable to conceive of any better method by which we can aid the cause of human liberty, than by improving our general character, and embracing within our grasp the liberated slave for moral and mental culture. By pursuing this course we shall certainly remove many of the objections to immediate emancipation. And we further believe, that all who have either thought or felt deeply on this subject will not only sanction such an organization, but will feel bound to aid in promoting its objects. We shall intreat those that are constantly persecuting and calumniating our general character, to cease with their vituperations, and suffer a people already bowed to the dust, to breathe out their existence in peace and quietude. We will intreat our brethren to bear with Christian fortitude the scoffs and indignation that may be cast on them on account of their complexion, and pity the source from whence it emanates, knowing it is the offspring of wickedness and ignorance.

In the present state of society, we must expect to endure many difficulties, until the world improves in wisdom, and a polite education, and a more liberal and enlightened philosophy supplants the present system of national education. If we but fully rest ourselves on the dignity of human nature, and maintain a bold, enduring front against all opposition, the monster, prejudice, will fall humbly at our feet. Prejudice, like slavery, cannot stand the omnipotence of Truth. It is as impossible for a bold, clear and discriminating mind that can calmly and dispassionately survey the structure upon which prejudice is founded, and the material of which it is

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