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Proceedings of the National Convention of Colored People and Their Friends; held in Troy, NY; on the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th of October, 1847

1847NY 22.pdf

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23

already commercial intercourse, existing to some extent, between the two countries. But in whose hands, whether in America, or on this island, is this important department of national prosperity ? In the hands of the friends, or the foes, of the advancement of the African race ? Is the influence which it gives, exerted for, or against us ? We fear that with few exceptions these interrogatories must be answered in the negative. This state of things ought no longer to continue. Did we possess a body of merchants in America, and a correspondent body in Jamaica, impressed with that indelible type which is the peculiar characteristic of the African race, we cannot mistake the vast amount of good that would be accomplished on all sides. White Americans visiting our ports, and having to transact business, for the most part, with men of our hue, would be found ere long to have acquired more humane and rational views of our race. They would stand rebuked as regards the prejudice and oppression which evil minded men are ever disposed to invoke against us and to inflict upon us.—They would return from our shores with more favorable impressions, and the re-action upon North American slavery would be irresistibly great. Unite the most repulsive of mankind in enlightened commercial intercourse, and their antagonism will be found to lose its edge, and the feelings of civility and politeness succeed to its place.

Commerce is the great lever by which modern Europe has been elevated from a state of barbarism and social degradation, whose parallel is only to be found in the present condition of the African race—to the position which she now so proudly occupies. Commerce ever has been the great means by which the Jews, her ancient people, have been able to preserve their national existence. To Commerce, America owes her present importance, and we, too, if we would acquire any very great influence for good, must join in the march of Commerce. With the means which Commerce supplies, enlightenment can be carried forward, religious and philanthropic institutions sustained, and the natural resources which God has caused to be buried in the bosom of the soil, may be successfully developed, and made to contribute their quota to universal happiness, which is calculated to bind all mankind in one common brotherhood.

To our white Anti-slavery friends, we would convey our deep and abiding sense of the cordial interests which they have manifested in our advancement. We would at the same time express our regret that in their cursory visits among us, they seem to have quite overlooked the absence of commercial engagements among our class. We solicit their co-operation in rendering us at once an intelligent community, and the West Indies shall

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