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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 30.pdf

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The Committee appointed to draft a Report respecting the best means of abolishing Slavery and destroying Caste in the United States, beg leave most respectfully to Report: That they have had the important subjects referred to them, under consideration, and have carefully endeavored to examine all their points and bearings to the best of their ability; and from every view they have been able to take they have arrived at the conclusion that the best means of abolishing slavery is proclamation of truth and that the best means of destroying caste is the mental moral and industrial improvement of our people.

First, as respects Slavery. Your Committee find this monstrous crime, this stupendous iniquity closely interwoven with all the great interests, institutions and organizations of the country; pervading and influencing every class and grade of society, securing their support, obtaining their approbation and commanding their bondage. [Availing?] itself of the advantage which age gives to crime. it has perverted the judgment, blunted the moral sense, blasted the sympathies, and created in the great mass, -- the overwhelming majority of the people -- a moral sentiment altogether favorable to its own character and its own continuance. Press and pulpit are alike prostituted and made to serve the end of this infernal institution. The power of the government, and the sanctity of religion, church and state are joined with the guilty oppressor against the oppressed -- and the voice of this great nation is thundering in the care of our enslaved fellow countrymen the terrible [fiat?], you shall be slave or die! The slave is the minority, a small minority. The oppressors are an overwhelming majority. The oppressed are three million, their oppressors are seventeen million. The one is weak, the other is strong; the one is without arms, without means of concert, and without government; the other possess every advantage in these respects; and the deadly aim of their million of [musketry?], and loud-mouthed cannon tells the down-trodden slave in unmistakable language, he must be a slave or die. In these circumstances, your committee are called upon to report as to the best means of abolishing slavery. And without pretending to discuss all the ways which have been suggested from time to time by various parties and factions, though did time permit they would gladly do so, they beg at once to state their entire disapprobation of any plan of emancipation involving a resort to bloodshed. With the facts of our condition before us it is impossible for us to contemplate any appeal to the slave to take vengence on his guilty master, but with the utmost reprobation. Your Committee regard any counsel of this sort as the perfection of folly, suicidal in the extreme, and abominably wicked. We should utterly frown down and wholly discountenance any attempt to lead our people to confide in brute force as a reformatory instrumentality. All argument put forth in favor of insurrection and bloodshed, however well intended is either the result of an unpardonable impatience or an atheistic want of faith in the power of truth as a means of regenerating and reforming the world. Again we repeat, let us set our faces against all such absurd unavailing, dangerous and mischievous ravings emanating from what source they may. The voice of God and of common sense, equally point out a more excellent way, and that way is a faithful, earnest, and persevering enforcement of the great principles of justice and morality, religion and humanity. These are the only invincible and infallible means within our reach with which to overthrow this foul system of blood and ruin. Your Committee deem it susceptible of the clearest demonstration, that slavery exists in this country, because the people of this country WILL its existence. And they deem it equally clear, that no system or institution can exist for an hour against the earnestly-expressed WILL of the people. It were quite easy to bring to the support of the foregoing proposition powerful and conclusive illustrations from the history

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