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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Southern States Convention of Colored Men, held in Columbia, S.C., commencing October 18, ending October 25, 1871.
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any country in the world. The only reason why we have not had a great influx of immigration and capital for the South, is that there has been a want of security for person and property; for capital and immigration will neither go nor remain where they are not protected. More than this, the laboring masses of the South are growing restless under the burden of these ghastly outrages, that have become so frequent that they are passed over with scarcely a comment. We hear of schemes of emigration and expatriation, in order that they may be relieved from the terrors of anon lawlessness and crime.
It would be sad, indeed, for the South, if these schemes could ever be practically realized. But I apprehend that is is not the proper method for solving this Southern problem.
What we must do is to insist that the laws for the protection of the citizen by rigidly enforced; that the perpetrators of those outrages against society be speedily brought to justice, and be made to suffer the penalty of their crimes. To this end, let us endeavor to inculcate a moral sentiment in the South in favor of law and order so strong and powerful that lawlessness and crime will not dare lift their dark forms to overshadow our fair land. Let us unite with the good and honest men of the South who are willing to assist in maintaining law and order, and who are willing sincerely to accept the new order of things, to forget the animosities and resentments of the past. Let us combine with them to suppress these outrages, and the spirit which produces and sustains them; that every one may be secured in the enjoyment of all his rights; that peace and prosperity may exist throughout the entire South.
Again, there is no more important question connected with the new order of things in the South than the question of labor. And there is no point that should be insisted upon with more earnestness than that.
THE LABORER SHALL BE JUSTLY REMUNERATED FOR LABOR PERFORMED
This question of labor is one of the most delicate, as well as one of the most pressing questions of the age; and, under the most favorable circumstances, it presents difficulties that puzzle the brain of the most astute statesman. How shall capital and labor be properly balanced? How shall the laborer be justly remunerated? These questions have given rise to the International Societies of Continental Europe, the Trades Union of England, and the Workingmen's Union of our own country.
If these difficulties exist where free labor has reached its highest perfection, we may reasonably expect to encounter greater difficulties here in the South, where free labor is accepted, not from choice, but from necessity, and with the most earnest protest. The minds of the Southern people, with the passions and resentments of the war still alive, and these aggravated by the stinging consciousness of defeat, are ill prepared to contemplate calmly the issues involved in this subject. With their sincere belief in the utter inadaptibility of free labor to their soil, they are led to resort to all manner of expedients to escape the disastrous effects of what they believe to be uncertain and unreliable labor. Yet, free labor must be maintained, secured, and developed, and the laborer must receive just compensation for services rendered. How can this be
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