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Proceedings of the Colored People's Convention of the State of South Carolina, held in Zion Church, Charleston, November, 1865. Together with the declaration of rights and wrongs; an address to the people; a petition to the legislature, and a memorial to Congress.
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Current Saved Transcription [history]
TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNITED STATES, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.
We, the colored people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, respectfully present for your attention some prominent facts in relation to our present condition, and make a modest yet earnest appeal to your considerate judgment.
We, your memorialists, with profound gratitude to almighty God, recognize the great boon of freedom conferred upon us by the instrumentality of our late President, Abraham Lincoln, and the armies of the United States.
"The fixed decree, which not all Heaven can move,
Thou Fate, fulfill it; and, ye Powers, approve."
We also recognize with liveliest gratitude the vast service of the Freedmen's Bureau, together with the efforts of the good and wise throughout our land to raise up an oppressed and deeply injured people in the scale of civilized being, during the throbbings of a mighty revolution which must affect the future destiny of the world.
Conscious of the difficulties that surround our position, we would ask for no rights or privileges but such as rest upon the strong basis of justice and expediency, in view of the best interests of our entire country.
We ask first, that the strong arm of law and order be placed alike over the entire people of this State; that life and property be secured, and the laborer as free to sell his labor as the merchant his goods.
We ask that a fair and impartial construction be given to the pledges of government to us concerning the land question.
We ask that the three great agents of civilized society—the school, the pulpit, the press—be as secure in South Carolina as in Massachusetts or Vermont.
We ask that equal suffrage be conferred upon us, in common with the white men of this State.
This we ask, because "all free governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed;" and we are largely in the majority in this State, bearing for a long period the burden of an odious taxation, without a
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