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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 35.pdf

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[35]

of the land, as the result of such improvements, it would be found to have yielded him many hundred per cent, besides himself with his family having all the time had absolute command of their time, at no one's bidding nor call, and having lived independently, and been growing in influence and respectability, and as they might, in intelligence and usefulness continually. Your commIttee believe that these opinions of theirs, are no air phantoms, no heated imaginations of the brain, no wild groundless assertions, but a fair statement of what in such emergencies in thousands of instances have been—what are the occurrences of every year, and what again will be—just what the nature of the case admits of, and with a judicious selection and proper management, cannot be otherwise. And we would further say, that a person, or persons, having but a few hundred dollars beforehand, as is the case with most of our people, cannot invest it half so advantageously, as to settle themselves with it upon a farm of their own; and if such are to be the advantages of an agricultural life, who are the people in the whole land, whose position, viewed in all possible relations, and whose circumstances so demand, that they should at once avail themselves of those advantages, so much as the free colored population of this country?

Your committee would recommend, as the place towards which they who may emigrate should look as their future homes, the States of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and the Territories of Wiskonson and Iowa. With respect to the States, some of them, it is true, are, or may be, objectionable on account of their laws; but these laws are not like the laws of the Medes and Persians, unchangeable. They are subject to change, and the time and the growing intelligence of the people, and their better understanding of the great laws of humanity, are destined to make those laws obnoxious to the people themselves; and in they be not rescinded, they are destined to become a dead letter; and these States and Territories, but especially the latter, seem to spread themselves out in their grandeur. with their proud rivers, their noble prairies, their tall trees, their mountains and vales; all imprinted with the glory of an Almighty land, and say to the colored population, why stay ye clustered in those big cities, the servants of all? why do ye not come out here and settle down, and cultivate my face, and turn to your account my rivers, and with the proper self moral training, I will make you all you ought, or all that man can be. The Territories have yet no constitutions; now, equal laws prevail there—the right of preemption is open to all, another great advantage, and your committee believe that no time is to be lost on our part, for us to strike for that region, that we may be found there forming acquaintances with the people, and making the people acquainted with us; and, by such contact, becoming identified with each other's interest, and interested in each other's case— that we may be on the spot, with our influence, to aid in giving character to their constitution and laws, when the time shall have come for those Territories to become States.

Your committee would submit the following plan of emigration, viz: let twenty families, more or less, with health, habits of industry, and economy, with intelligence, a sound moral and religious character, with respect for a confidence and interest in each other, who agree, as far as can be, on all great questions of fundamental morality unite

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