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Proceedings of the National Emigration Convention of Colored People Held at Cleveland, Ohio, On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, The 24th, 25th, and 26th of August, 1854

1854 Cleveland OH State Convention 53.pdf

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may entertain of our race—in accordance with the impressions made by the contumely heaped upon us by our mutual oppressor, the American nation—we admire his, for the many deeds of heroic and noble daring with which the brief history of his liberty-loving people is replete. We sympathise with him, because our brethren are the successors of his, in the degradation of American bondage; and we adduce them in evidence against the many aspersions heaped upon the African race, avowing that their inferiority to the other races, and unfitness for a high civil and social position, caused them to be reduced to servitude.

For the purpose of proving their availability and eminent fitness alone,—not to say superiority—and not inferiority, first suggested to Europeans the substitution of African for that of Indian labor in the mines; that their superior adaptation to the difficulties consequent to a new country and different climate, made them preferable to Europeans themselves; and their superior skill, industry, and general thriftiness in all that they did, first suggested to the colonists the propriety of turning their attention to agricultural and other industrial pursuits than those of mining operations.

It is evident, from what has herein been adduced—the settlement of Capt. John Smith being in the course of a few months, reduced to thirty-eight, and that of the Pilgrims at Plymoth, from one hundred and one, to fifty-seven, in six months—that the whites nor aborigines were equal to the hard, and to them insurmountable difficulties, which then stood widespread before them.

An endless forest—the impenetrable earth—the one to be removed and the other to be excavated. Towns and cities to be built, and farms to be cultivated: all presented difficulties too arduous for the European then here, and entirely unknown to the native of the continent.

At a period such as this, when the natives themselves had fallen victims to the tasks imposed upon them by the usurpers, and the Europeans also were fast sinking beneath the influence and weight of climate and hardships; when food could not be obtained, nor the common conveniences of life procured; when arduous duties of life were to be performed, and none capable of doing them—save those who had previously by their labors, not only in their own country, but in the new, so proven themselves capable—it is very evident, as the most natural consequence, the Africans were resorted to, for the performance of every duty common to domestic life.

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