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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 61.pdf

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59

cept by express lcgis~ation. And it is the height of folly to expect such express legislation, except b.y the inevitable force of some ir~ resistible internal political pressure. The force necessary to this imperative demand o our part, we never can obtain, because of our numerical feebleness. Were the interests of the common people identical with ours, we, in this, might s cceed, because we, as a class, would then benumer- icaily the uperior. B t this iS not a question of the rich agaihst the poor, nor the common p ople against the higher classes; but a question of white against blackevery white person, by legal right, being held superior to a black or colored person. In Rus~ia, the common people might obtaia an equality with the aristocracy; because, of the sixty-five millions of her populati6n, forty-five millions are serfs or peasantsleaving but twenty millions of the higher classes, royalty, nobility and all included. The rights of no oppressed people have ever yet been obtained by a voluntary act f justice on the part of the oppressors. Chris- tians, philanthrqpists, and moralists, may preach, argue and philos- oph~se as theymay to the contrary; facts are against them. Volun- tary acts, it is true, which are in themselves just, may sometimes take place on the part of the oppressor; but these are always ac- ~iated by the force of some outward circumstances of self-interest, equal to a compulsion. The boasted liberties of the American people were established by a Constitution, borrowed from and modeled after the British magna clzarta. And this great charter of British liberty, so much boasted of and vaunt~d as a model bill of rights, was obtained only by force and~ extortion. The Barons, an order of noblemen, under the reign of King John, becoming dissatisfied at the terms submitted to by their sov- ereign, which necessarily brought degradation upon themselves terms prescribed by the insolent Pope Innocent III, the haughty sovereign Pontiff of Rome; summoned his majesty to meet them on the plains of the memorable meadow of Rum imede, where pre- senting to him their own Bill of Rightsa bill dictated by them- selves~ and drawn up by their own handsat the unsheathed points of a thousand glittering swords, they commanded him, against his will, to sign the extraordinary document. There was no alternative; he must either do or die. With a puerile timidity, he leaned for- ward his rather commanding but imbecile person, and with a trem

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