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Minutes of the National Convention of Colored Citizens; Held at Buffalo; on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th of August, 1843; for the purpose of considering their moral and political condition as American citizens.

1843NY 7.pdf

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in supporting the foul system of slavery, that they may secure the vote of the slaveholder himself, and of his scores of human cattle. Shall we then look to the abolitionists, and wait for them to give us our rights! I would not say a word that would have a tendency to discourage them in their noble efforts in behalf of the poor slave, or their exertions to advance the cause of truth and humanity. Some of them have made great sacrifices, and have labored with a zeal and fidelity that justly entitle them to our confidence and gratitude. But if we sit down in idleness and sloth, waiting for them, or any other class of men to do our own work, I fear that it will never be done. If we are not willing to rise up and assert our rightful claims, and plead our own cause, we have no reason to look for success. We, ourselves, must be willing to contend for the rich boon of freedom and equal rights, or we shall never enjoy that boon. It is found only of them that seek.

In regard to the elevation of our own people On this subject I cannot now enlarge, nor need I, for we all know, and see, and feel its need. We know that any people wanting in intelligence and moral worth, cannot long be free. In the language of one of our most distinguished orators, "For ourselves and in ourselves there is a might work to be accomplished, -- an influence to be exerted, which can come from no other source. We must learn to act in harmony with the principles of God's moral government, or permanent prosperity can never be ours.

Mr. Davis having concluded his address, it was,

On motion, Resolved that Messrs. Henry Thomas and A.H. Francis, of Buffalo, be appointed Secretaries pro. tem.

It was then moved that the delegates present their credentials. -- About forty persons answered to the motion.

It was then moved that a committee of seven, to nominate officers for the Convention, be appointed by the chair. The chair appointed the following persons, viz: J.H. Townsend, of Albany, N.Y.; R. Allen, of Detroit, Mich.; Geo. Ware, of Buffalo, N.Y.; J.W. Duffin, of Geneva, N.Y.; Robert Banks, of Detroit, Mich.; F. Douglass, of Boston, Mass.; and D. Lewis, of Toledo, Ohio.

On motion, the chair appointed the following persons a committee to make a roll of the delegates, viz.: Robert Banks, of Detroit, Mich.; N. W. Jones, of Chicago, Ill.; and W. W. Brown, of Buffalo, N.Y.

Moved by Chas. B. Ray, that all gentlemen present, from places from which there is no regular deputed delegation, be considered as delegates from those places, and that all other gentlemen be considered as corresponding members.

This motion was opposed by Messrs. H. H. Garnit, D. Lewis, A.H. Francis, R. Francis, and others; and advocated by Messrs. Charles B. Ray, Frederic Douglass, C.L. Remond, and A.G. Beman. The gentlemen in the opposition took the ground, that thus to open the door to the convention, would give a decided advantage to places near by over places more remote, the tendency of which be to give a local rather than a general character to the business; and some feared also that it might bring into the convention persons of discordant or local views, the tendency of which would also be to protract discussion, and unnecessarily consume the time of the Convention, and that it were best now to adopt a preventive. The gentlemen in the affirmative of the question considered the reasons advanced by the opposition as not valid, and their fears as groundless -- that as nearly all the persons who would be enrolled in the Convention by that vote would be honorary members, and while it would give them a right to discuss questions, it would give them no right to vote upon them, and that while they had a right to discuss questions, yet as they were but honorary members their better judgment would

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