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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Minutes of the State Convention of Colored Citizens, Held at Albany, on the 18th, 19th, and 20th of August, 1840, for the purpose of considering their political condition.
1840 State Convention in Albany NY.compressed.30.pdf
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sympathizes with its modes, and forms, and operations; and this, from the fact that there is not a single shade of revolution in the political aspect of a country, but it is felt to the extreme limits of the body politic; operating upon the individual being of all its subjects.
The deprivation of our people of the elective franchise, and a participation in the various rounds of public duty, shows the evil here spoken of. The powers that should have been thus employed, have not lain dormant. A trait which we possess in common with our common humanity, has been manifested in us. Powers will have exercise, either healthy or unhealthy. The impartial and proscriptive, non-suffrage act, has been to us hurtful in the extreme. The powers that should naturally have been thus exercised, were wrested from their legitimate employment. It has been the source of evil; unmitigated, unalleviated; without even an approach to an adequate benefit. It is true, we might become possessed of the immunities of citizens and voters, by the property qualification. But this spur,this incitement, as it is regarded by some, lost all its zest, in the bitter reflection, in the searing conviction, that we were made aliens and strangers in the country of our birth; a disfranchised class in the very land where lie the bones of our fathers—the land whose liberties they helped achieve by patriotic service, and whose soil is enriched by their purest and noblest blood !
But this is not all. When we were deprived of the elective franchise, the blow was given which severed that hold, by which respect, deference, and consideration is obtained, by the poorest and humblest citizen. Our fellow citizens saw they had nothing to expect from us. We became a proscribed, depressed class. We felt every where we went, in all our relations, that we had been made separate from the rest of our fellow citizens.
The pure and refreshing waters of literary excellence, were not allowed to flow by us, to quench the burning thirst of an eager and longing people. In the various religious bodies, they have not found their purity of Christian feeling powerful and universal enough to treat man, aside from arbitrary distinctions, "without respect of persons." In short, the means and facilities-the ways and avenues to wealth and influence, were shut against us.
We ask, what might be expected of any people in such circumstances? What might be anticipated as legitimate results from such a condition?
Under like disabilities, we perceive the sufferings of the Irish in Ireland, the degradation of the Greek, the besotted stupidity of the lower casts in India, and the abasement and continual decrease of the aborigines of our own country. So in this State; under like sufferings, under like injustice, the greater amount of crime and sufferings among our people, has proceeded from a non-participation in the prerogatives of citizenship. Notwithstanding all these difficulties and depression, calculated as they are, to sicken the heart, to
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