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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.
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This kind of independence, itself, leads to, and makes respectability. It seems to be man's true element to cultivate the soil; he was made to be a shepherd, to have flocks and herds, and to till the land—it is after God's arrangement. It seems better adapted to his moral condition, and moral susceptibilities than to plunge himself into commercial affairs.
Farming is no longer regarded in the light of drudgery and as a menial calling—that age is past—now it has got to be a scientific business, and becomes a proper subject for the vastest minds of the age. The Chemist, the Botanist, the Geologist, and the Mineralogist all find their professions very useful in farming; still farming can be successfully done, as it has been, and the farmer not theoretically learned in these sciences—but he who is a faithful farmer is now regarded as engaged in the first, and most honorable pursuits of the age.
Your committee are of the opinion, that the business of farming heartily entered into is the shortest, surest road to respectability and influence; especially would it be to a people reproached, and maligned as are our people. The business itself is respectable, and gives character, besides it puts the one farmer, be he whom he may, upon the same level with his neighbors—their occupation is one, their hopes and interests are one; his neighbors see him now, not as in other situations they may have done as a servant; but an independent man; they see him in the same position in society with themselves; they are not above him nor he above them; they are all alike upon a level; farmers, they respect their own calling, feel themselves independent—they must, and will respect his, and feel that he is alike independent; and as it is only by placing men in the same position in society, that all casts are lost sight of; all cast in his case, were he previously of the proscribed class, will fade away and be forgotten. In proof of which your committee would refer you to a statement from a body of colored farmers in Mercer Co., Ohio. They say, "In our present residence in this county, we have never in any manner been injured by our white neighbors; but on the contrary We have been treated in a kind and friendly manner. They attend our meetings, come to our mill, employ our mechanics, and day laborers, buy our provisions, and we do the same by them. That is we all seek our own convenience and interest without regard to color."
Your committee are of the opinion also, that while farming renders the man independent and makes him wealthy, that it is the only possible way to wealth now open to our people—that by turning our attention to this mode of life, we may become wealthy. We have not the capital to engage successfully in other business, which, with a large amount of capital, and fortune's smile might soon lead to wealth; but there are tens of thousands of us in different parts of the country, of almost all ages, and each having capital enough to engage in the business of Agriculture, and all of whom in a few years might become a wealthy people, and thus change the whole face of society around us decidedly for the better. In proof that such might be the fact, we would again refer you to another extract from the letter of our friends in Mercer Co., O. It is proper also to say, that these brethren only left the cities of the west in 1837, for the country, most of whom with but moderate means, to turn their attention to farming. They say, "We then agreeably to
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