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Proceedings of the Colored National Labor convention : held in Washington, D.C., on December 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th, 1869.
1869-WASHGINGTON DC-Colored national Labor Convention 7.pdf
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remained. The dark ages ensued and with them every from of misfortune and misery. Had it not been for Christianity and its influences all Europe would have then relapsed into its primeval barbarism.
From this peril Europe, and the world, were rescued by the inherent manhood of the down-trodden laborer. Rising in his misery--
"With strength in his arm and lightning in his eye,"
the laborer, by his prowess and tenacity, soon taught his oligarchical tyrant to dread--"the might that slumbers in a peasant's arm!"
Nor did he cease his war for freedom for the rights of his humanity, until he had banished the worst form of bondage from Christendom, and transformed, by his genius, the degradation and misery, the barbarism of the dark ages, into the prosperity and comforts, the glory and light of our present civilization.
Gentlemen, this is a brief and rapid survey of this noble history of the laborer. It should be to you a history full of encouragement. Its examples should excite your emulation in your present movements for the vindication of your rights and interests as workingmen ; for yours is the cause of humanity, the cause of civilization ; and nothing is more true than that in proportion as its people are free, in proportion that its industrial classes are free and happy, just in proportion is the nation free, happy, and prosperous.
I therefore hail with the liveliest satisfaction your assembling here in the National Capital for the maintenance of the rights and interests of labor. I have always cherished these rights, and have labored to encourage and advance them, believing that in doing so I was fulfilling but my duties as a citizen, as a Christian, and a friend to humanity. It was so in the great battles with slavery.
The oligarch, revolting against the rapid strides of freedom and its beneficent institutions--revolting against a civilization which threatened the destruction of their own debasing tyranny--attempted to hurl back our country into the utter darkness and barbarism, into the poverty, misery, tyranny, and horrible wickedness of feudal times.
Thank God, they failed. Their failure, and the vindication of the freedom and the rights of humanity in the triumph of the Union cause, has forever banished the destructive power of the oligarch from our country, and opened up a new era of freedom and manhood, in which all of every race stand before the laws as men and equals.
Hence I rejoice that you, a convention of colored workingmen, should assemble here for the purposes of asserting and securing the rights of your race in the main penance of the rights of labor. The great and final battle for freedom having been fought and won, it is but proper that, as soldiers, citizens, and patriots, you should secure and take the necessary steps to properly preserve the fruits of the victory. Labor gives energy and activity to the intellect. And I would advise every man--
First. To learn some trade, business, or profession.
Second. To follow the trade, business, or profession through life.
Third. To be regular and prompt in all your affairs.
Fourth. to be honest to yourself and you will be so to others.
Fifth. Do not put off till to morrow what you can do to day.
To the workingmen I would say, in the language of another, "Put on the armor of strength and intelligence, buckle to your side determination and energy, and demand and preserve your rights in the field, in the councils of the nation, and in all things wherein your happiness lies. Be frugal, hospitable, charitable, kind, and generous, and spurn him who would tax your hard toil without giving a fair equivalent. Disdain empty show, parade. and extravagance in everything, for they are incompatible with the dignity of sensible men, and that simplicity of life which conduces the most to health and happiness ; and as surely as the sun that rises in the East to illumine your path shall set in the West to close the day the Great Overseer will be ready to pay the laborers their wages, the reward of their toil."
Again I tender you our heartiest greeting. I congratulate you upon the brilliant prospects of your race--upon the openings of your grand, new era and civilization, before which will pass away all the blighting prejudices and tyranny of despotism forever.
A resolution read in the morning session, relative to the action of the
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