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Scripto | Transcribe Page
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
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the composition of which it is, that it might yield food for man and food for beast. And when he said, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," he meant, that by man's labor should he eat bread. And it is equal evident, that that labor was to be expended in procuring from the earth's subsistence. Your Committee have made these remarks, from their convictions that an Agricultural life was the life intended for man to pursue. If so, then it is among the most happy and honorable of pursuits.
The great aim of the masses of mankind, in this life, is to be placed in easy circumstances, or beyond want, prospective as well as present. Towards this point they bend all their efforts, it is the great absorbing theme that engrosses all their thoughts and attention. Or if to be placed beyond want for the future, as well as the present, be no the absorbing theme with man, then what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed, is the question. When man is this provided for, or has the means by which, in ordinary cases, he is certain thus to be provided for; if he does not regard himself in easy circumstances, all his anxieties and cares for the future, vanish away.
The question now is, what pursuit in life is best adapted to place man in the circumstances in which it is his highest aim to be placed, viz; freedom from undue care and anxiety about the necssaries and comforts of life. Your Committee, without hesitation, reply, that the cultivation of the soil, of which man is himself the owner, is the very pursuit best adapted to accomplish this end. For the man who owns his farm and devotes his time to cultivate it, to planting and sowing, to the raising of fruits and flocks and herds, with a congenial sun and refreshing showers, will, after a few months, when cometh the harvest, reap and gather into barns, food for the supply of his own wants and the wants of his beasts. And if, at seed time, he has laid his plans accordingly, he will, in ordinary cases, have something to dispose of to meet such wants, as the products of his farm, directly, do not meet. If the earth should yield but sparingly, the producer thereof will have the first supply; if any be in want, it must be him who produces not.
The wants of man, in most cases, are more of the imaginary than real. The imaginary wants, what men would have if they could, occupy the thoughts and the attention, much more than they pain the heart. It is the real wants that cause solicitude, anxieties and pain. Now, the pursuit of Agriculture, will, in all ordinary cases produce wherewith to meet the real wants of life, and in most cases do even more. In fact, it is the only pursuit in which a man has so many reasons to expect that the reward of his hands will be given him. For harvest, as well as seed time,
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