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Scripto | Transcribe Page
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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the advice of our abolition friends, resolved to save our money and move into the country, and try by labor, and economy, and honesty, and temperance, to earn for our people a better name than they had heretofore enjoyed. We have found by experiment, that the same money which paid our rent and marketing in the city, will purchase new land and improve it in the country. 'Tis true our undertaking was for us a new one. But the result is several hundred of us left our former occupations in the cities, and are now living on our own land. It was new timbered land when we bought it, and the nearest place we could purchase provisions was thirty miles distant. But we struggled along through the hardest of it. We own many thousands of acres of land. We have built comfortable houses to live in. Our land is cleared. We raise our own provisions and manufacture most of our own clothing. We have horses, and hogs, and cattle, and sheep. We have meeting houses and a school house. We have had a good school most of the time for six years. Our children have learned to read, and write, and cypher. We have Sunday schools where they are taught the principles of morality and religion. We have a saw mill and grist mill. We are striving to lead a quiet and orderly life. We wish to have our character plead for us." They further say, "We have cleared 1000 acres of wild land; made and laid up 350,000 rails, and built at least 200 different houses, to say nothing of some $10,000 which individuals of us have paid for our freedom."
They proceed to appeal to our brethren generally in very proper strains, and say, "And now, our colored brethren, we appeal to those of you who live in towns and follow those precarious occupations for a livelihood which prejudice has assigned to you; would you not be serving your country and your race to more purpose, if you were to leave your present residences and employments, and go out into the country and become a part of the bone and sinew of the land?" They proceed and say, "We the colored people must become more valuable to the State. We must help it to raise a revenue and increase its wealth, by throwing our labor into profitable employment.... Our employment must be of that character that people can see how we obtain a livelihood, and that we are useful.... But on the other hand, if our labor is all honorable and profitable, both to ourselves and the State, we shall have the increased satisfaction of a good living, and a good name, besides something to show as the fruits of our labor, and something to leave as an inheritance to our children."
The above testimony from our brethren in Carthagenia, is a case fully in point; it shows how decidedly those brethren in the short space of six years, though at first altogether unaccustomed to the business they are now following, have bettered their condition, how much more useful in all their relations, in their present circumstances they now may be than they could have been in their former ones; how much more full of hope and promise for the future for themselves and their children, are the circumstances in which they are now placed, than could have been the circumstances in which they formerly were. They have settled themselves down permanently, as well as usefully to themselves and others, and are not subject to those fluctuations and charges peculiar to a city life.
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