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Proceedings of the Convention of Colored Citizens of the State of Arkansas : held in Little Rock, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30, Dec. 1 & 2.

1865AK.5.pdf

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193

ARKANSAS, 1865

Public collection, $52.00.

Mr. Cobb, a returned Southron, being present, was called upon. He very reluctantly came forward to the stand, and spoke with feeling, and finally resorted to tears (though they may have been hypocritical ones) to impress upon his auditors' minds the love he has ever had for the Negro; said that he felt bitterly the pang; he knew he had been a reb.; had done all he could against the Government and the Negro, but he now confessed all, and implored his colored brethren to forgive him, and "let by-gones be by-gones."

The meeting then adjourned, to meet on Saturday morning at 10 o’clock, A.M.

THIRD DAY

Saturday Morning, December 2d, 1865.

The House was called to order at the appointed hour--President in the Chair.

The House opened with prayer by Rev. J. T. White, after which the roll was called and the House proceeded to business.

Minutes of the previous meetings were read and adopted.

On motion, the Chairman of Committee on Memorials and Resolutions was called upon to report. Mr. W. H. Grey, Chairman of said Committee, came forward and produced Memorials and Resolutions, and handed them to the Secretary to be read. They read as follows:

Memorials and Resolutions

We, the Delegates of the different Counties of the State of Arkansas, in Convention assembled, this, the 2d day of December, A.D., 1865, do adopt the following resolutions memorializing the State Legislature and Congress of the United States, to grant us our oath, before the Civil Courts, and the right of suffrage, etc.

1st. Fellow Citizens of the United States of America: We, the members of the Colored Convention, assembled at Little Rock, this, the 2d day of December, to confer with each other as to the best means of completing the Emancipation Enfranchisement and elevation of our race, so signally begun amid the throes of revolution and the most stupendous internal strife the world ever witnessed. We sincerely thank God for the events of the past four years, and whilst we congratulate you upon the success of your arms, we also thank you, like St. Paul, for the first time in our existence we can answer for ourselves.

2d. By an Act of the Convention of '64, neither slavery nor involuntary servitude can hereafter exist in this State (Arkansas) otherwise than for the punishment of crime whereof the parties shall have been convicted by due process of Law.

This is emancipation as it now stands, without the protection of law or guarantee of its future existence in fact; therefore, we, your humble petitioners, as an earnest of our future liberties, pray that the Legislature grant us equality before the law.

When great and terrible calamities are abroad in the land, men are said to learn righteousness. It would be a mark of unspeakable national depravity if neither the horrors of war, nor the dawning prospects of returning peace, should soften the hearts of the American people and dispose them to do a partial justice to a down-trodden and helpless race.

The persecutions of two and a half centuries have not been enabled to destroy our confidence in the eventual justice of the American people. We believe the time has come when wisdom again asserts her sway in the councils of the nation.

We dream no more--our country wakes at last

And reads wise lessons from the stormy past.

The spirit of the nation, proud and free,

Might err and wander, reft of memory;

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