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Proceedings of the Colored National Convention, held in Franklin Hall, Sixth Street, Below Arch, Philadelphia, October 16th, 17th and 18th, 1855.

1855PA 29.pdf

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FELLOW CITIZENS :—In behalf of three millions of our brethren, held in Slavery, in the United States :

In behalf of two hundred and fifty thousand, so called, free persons of color, occupying various grades of social and political position, from equal citizenship in most of the New England States, to almost chattel slavery in Indiana and the Southern States :

In behalf of three hundred thousand slaveholders, embruted with the lawlessuess, and drunken with the-blood-guiltiness of sIaveholding:

In behalf of the Constitution of these United States, during sixty years perverted and misconstrued, so as to read things for persons, and Slavery for Liberty:

In behalf of the religion of Jesus Christ, brought into shame and disrepute by the evil constructions and worse practices fastened upon it by the American Church :

In behalf of the sacred cause of HUMAN FREEDOM, beaten down and paralyzed by the force of American Example—

The undersigned, delegates to a Convention of the People of Color, held in the city of Philadelphia, October 18th, 1855, beg leave, most respectfully, to address you:—

We claim that we are persons not things, and we claim that our brethren held in slavery are also, persons not things ; and that they are, therefore, so held in slavery in violation of the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.* For the Constitution expressly declares, that all human beings, described under it, are persons,† and afterwards declares, that "NO PERSON shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law;"‡ and that the right of the people to be secure in their persons shall not be violated.§ And as no law has ever been enacted,¶ which reduced our brethren to slavery, we demand

  • Art. 6. § 2.

† Art. 1. sect. 2. § 3. and sect. 9. § 1. and Art. 4. sect. 2. § 3.

‡ Amendments Art. 1. § 5.

§ Ib. § 4.

¶ Speech of Judge Mason on Fugitive Slave Bill in Congress 1850. "If it be required that proof shall be brought that Slavery is established by existing laws, it is Impossible to comply with the requisition, for no such proof can be produced, I apprehend, in any of the slave States. I am not aware there Is a single State in which the Institution Is established by peculiar law."—Aug. 19th, 1850.

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