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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 62.pdf

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60

trembling hand and single dash of the pen, the name KING JOHN stood forth in bold relief, sending more terror throughout the world, than the mystic hand-wringing of Heaven throughout the dominions of Nebuchadnezzar, blazing on the walls of Babylon. A consternation, not because of the name of the King, but because of the rights of others, which that name acknowledged.

The King, however, soon became dissatisfied, and determining on a revokation of the act—an act done entirely contrary to his will—at the head of a formidable army, spread fire and sword throughout the kingdom.

But the Barons, though compelled to leave their castles—their houses and homes—and fly for their lives, could not be induced to undo that which they had so nobly done; the achievement of their rights and privileges. Hence, the act has stood throughout all succeeding time, because never annulled by those who willed it.

lit will be seen that the first great modern Bill of Rights was obtained only by a force of arms: a resistence of the people against the injustice and intolerance of their rulers. We say the people—because that which the Barons demanded for themselves, was afterwards extended to the common people. Their only hope was based on their superiority of numbers.

But can we in this country hope for as much? Certainly not.—Our case is a hopeless one. There was but one John, with his few sprigs of adhering royalty; and but one heart at which the threatening points of their swords were directed by a thousand Barons; while in our case, there is but a handful of the oppressed, without a sword to point, and twenty millions of Johns or Jonathans—as you please—with as many hearts, tenfold more relentless than that of Prince John Lackland, and as deceptious and hypocritical as the Italian heart of Innocent III.

Where, then, is our hope of success in this country? Upon what is it based? Upon what principle of political policy and sagacious discernment, do our political leaders and acknowledged great men—colored men we mean—justify themselves by telling us, and insisting that we shall believe them, and submit to what they say—to be patient, remain where we are; that there is a "bright prospect and glorious future before us in this country! May Heaven open our eyes from their Bartemian obscurity.

But we call your attention to another point of our political degradation. The acts of State and general governments.

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