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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Colored National Convention, held in Franklin Hall, Sixth Street, Below Arch, Philadelphia, October 16th, 17th and 18th, 1855.
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all, fellow-citizens, so confidently rely, shall be entirely erased therefrom. The personality of the negro and of the white man stand therein side by side; you cannot destroy the one without also destroying the other; you cannot uphold the one without also upholding both.
We solemnly believe, fellow-citizens, that a vast majority of you ardently wish that slavery may be abolished, and are willing to join in any lawful movement to accomplish this great purpose. We call upon you, therefore, at once to set about this glorious work in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution which is the "supreme law of the land." Elect such a Congress, such a President, and thereby secure the appointment of such a Judiciary as will guarantee to each man, woman and child, in the land, the right to their own persons, which the Constitution guarantees. There is no other way, there never has been, there can be no other way to abolish slavery and the slave power throughout the land.
It is idle to talk of preventing the extension or circumscribing the limits of slavery: there is no foot of American Territory over which slavery is not already triumphant, and will continue triumphant, so long as there remains any foot of American Territory on which it is admitted that man can hold property in man. It is imbecile for you, fellow-citizens, with the gyves on your wrists, and your chains clanking audibly to the rest of mankind, any longer to boast the possession, or speak of the maintenance of your personal rights and franchises. During sixty-eight years you have suffered us to be robbed of these rights and franchises, in the belief that your own continued unimpaired. But now, after the experience of two generations, you find your own rights invaded and your own privileges taken away in like manner with ours. It is now, therefore, demonstrated, by incontrovertible History, that you cannot, by whatever neglect or suffered misinterpretation of the Constitution, imperil or abandon our rights, without, in like manner, imperiling and abandoning your own. It stands forth, in letters of living light, that there can be not one white free-man while there remains one black slave in the Union. And there can be no higher praise of the Constitution, than that its workings are absolute—if rightly interpreted, for Freedom—if wrongly, for Slavery—to all.
As at present misisterpreted and carried out, your own rights under the Constitution, fellow-citizens, are not a shade higher than those of the veriest slave in the South: your local
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