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Reports on Two Iowa Conventions


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Reports on Two Iowa Conventions

March 21, 1857. PROVINCIAL FREEMAN. Chatham, Canada West. Colored Convention in Iowa.

We have received the proceedings of a Convention of colored men, held in Muscatine, Jan. 5th, 1857; and regret that the want of space prevents us from giving the Proceedings in full. Mr. Bowser of Henry County was chosen President; Benjamin Matthews of Muscatine, Vice-­‐ President; Wm. Bener of Linn, and Charles Jackson of Muscatine, Secretaries. A. Clark, R.H. Cain, J.T.L. Honer [sic: Hiner], Committee on Declaration of Sentiment reports as follows:

WHEREAS, We, the colored people of the State of Iowa, in convention assembled, feel ourselves deeply aggrieved by reason of cruel prejudice we are compelled to suffer, in this our native land, which is as dear to us as the white man, knowing full well that the blood of our forefathers, in common with that of the white man, was poured out in the open battle-­‐field, in defence of the liberties we now are deprived of, we are compelled to make the following appeal and address. "We hold these truths to be self-­‐evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed." Now, if this be a fact, we hope no one will or can deny that, as we are men, we do, and ought of a right, claim the rights of men; and we do claim to be men -­‐ and appeal to you, in the name of God and an oppressed, down-­‐trodden, disfranchised people, for those rights we are deprived of -­‐ holding up in characters of living flames, that immortal instrument, the Declaration of Independence, to your sight, which should teach all men that God is just, and will suffer no inequality among his people without just retribution. We ask in the name of God, how long shall our cries be scanned by an intelligent and civilized people? Behold the blight of the noonday of the nineteenth century! Civilized Christianity chastising suffering humanity -­‐ robbing, disfranchising the colored people of their inalienable rights to liberty and its security! Oh! will you stop and pause for a moment! Remembering that God rules the destiny of men and of nations, we leave our appeal to your consideration trusting in God for the justice of our cause.

Three other Committees were appointed, composed of the following gentlemen:

On form of Petition, -­‐ A. Clark, R.H. Cain and J.P. Prichard.

On Education -­‐ T.C. Mott, R.H. Cain and Noah Tutt.

Select Committees also made reports upon the subject of Colonization and Emigration.

The report on emigration reads as follows:

We, the committee to whom was referred the subject of emigration, beg leave to say that we deem it unnecessary to enter into an elaborate detail on the subject; but we think proper to say that we would recommend to our people that their interests and elevation had better be sought in this our native land, and especially while our enemies are conniving at every scheme to remove us from the soil of our nativity, it behooves us to stand fast and let our cry and our watchword be, by the help of God, we are here and we intend to live and die here, ever trusting

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