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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 66.pdf

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It is, fellow-countrymen, a fixed fact, as indellible as the Covenant of God in the Heavens, that the colored people of these United States, are the slaves of any white person who may choose to claim them!

What safety or guarantee have we for ourselves or families ? Let us, for a moment, examine this point.

Supposing some hired spy of the slave power, residing in Illinois, whom, for illustration, we shall call Stephen A., Counsel B., a mercenary hireling of New Yotk, and Commissioner C., a slavecatcher of Pennsylvana, should take umbrage at the acts or doings of any colored person or persons in a free State; they may with impunity, send or go on their knight errands to the South, (as did a hireling of the slave power in New York—a lawyer by profession,) give a description of such person or persons, and an agent with warrants may be immediately despatched to swear them into slavery forever.

We tell you, fellow-countrymen, any one of you here assembled—your humble committee who report to you this address—may, by the laws of this land, be seized, whatever the circumstances of his birth; whether he descends from free or slave parents—whether born North or South of Mason and Dixon's Line—and era the setting of another sun, be speeding his way to that living sepulchre, and death chamber of our race—the curse and scourge of this country—the Southern part of the United States. This is not idle speculation, but living, naked, undisguised truth.

A member of your committee has received a letter from a gentleman of respectability and standing in the South, who writes to the following effect. We copy his own words:

"There are at fhis moment, as I was to-day informed by Colonel W., one of our first magistrates in this city, a gang of from twenty-five to thirty vagabonds of poor white men, who for twenty-five dollars a head, clear of all expenses are ready and willing to go to the North, make acquaintance with the blacks in various places send their descriptions to unprincipled slave holders here—for there are many of this kind to be found among the poorer class of masters— and swear them into bondage. So the free blacks as well as fugitive slaves, will have to keep a sharp watch over themselves to get clear of this scheme to enslave them."

Here, then, you have but a paragraph in the great volume of this political crusade, and legislative pirating by the American people,

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