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Minutes of the fifth annual convention of the colored citizens of the state of New York : held in the city of Schenectady, on the 18th, 19th, and 20th of September, 1844.

1844 Schenectady NY National Convention_cropped.15.pdf

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16

Whoever will take the pains to examine facts on the subject, will find that real influence, and property dwindles away in the hands of our people, as we approach cities and large towns. In New York City there is but one * instance among our High Schools, Theological Seminaries, and Colleges, in which a colored youth can avail himself of its benefits. In many other cities not even one exception is found.

Indeed the Committee know of no College or Female Seminary in any city in the Union whose doors are open for our children.

If the talents of our young men, which in the cities are hindred in their growth were transplanted to the country there is no prejudice so strong as to be able to roll back the tide of our enfranchisement. †

In every prosperous country, and among every powerful and influential people, whose territory would admit of the employment, agriculture has contributed its full share of wealth and glory. In our Country, where labor is honorable, and where the fruitful earth invites the husbandman to dress and till it, agriculture is emphatically the surest road to temporal happiness.

In the proudest days of Rome, when she stretched out her sceptre over a subjugated world, she called her favorite from the furrowed field. Her Legislators encouraged her farmers, nor did the sun of her glory begin to set, until her fields were neglected, and her sons exchanged that honorable labor for the luxury and licentiousness, of cities and camps. The committee would venture to say, that if agriculture bore such an important part in promoting the greatness of an entire nation, the same course would secure an influence for the oppressed portion of any people.

But every man that removes to the country, or to some small and growing town, need not necessarily become a Farmer. If he be a Mechanic, he may turn his attention to his trade, with great advantage. Cities are not in themselves unfavorable to our people, but public opinion in them is such as to render it next to impossible for us to rise above dependence. Let our men become the owners of the soil, and they

  • Union Theological Seminary.

† A member of the committee was a short time ago informed by the esteemed Governor of Massachusetts, that there is a humble, though upright colored citizen of his town, who is doing more by his example and intelligence to benefit his people, than all other human efforts. He would not have been noticed in a large city.

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