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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.34.pdf
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man, and as was adapted to secure to all under its broad ÆGIS, the purest liberty God ever conferred upon him.
That Declaration, and that Constitution, we think, may be considered as more fully developing the primary ideas of American republicanism, than any other documedts. In these, individuals are regarded distinctly and respectively--each and every one as men, fully capacitated by the Creator, for government and progressive advancement- which capacities, in a natural exercise, are not to be interfered with by government.
Republicanism, in these two documents, has an eye to individual freedom, without lets or hindrances. In her operations, she is impartial. She regards man—all men ; and is indifferent to all arbitrary and conventional considerations. This we deem to be the character of the Declaration of Independence-and this, likewise, the character of the Constitution, after which it was modelled. Republianism was to be the distinguishing feature in its operations.
The Constitution of our State, as it sprung from the clear head and pure heart of that incomparable patriot, JOHN JAY, in its preamble and several sections, was, in spirit, concordant with it. By this we mean, that although the qualifications for voting, in general, were higher than those prevailing at the present, yet the ground of the suffrage enactment was not based upon national peculiarities, or complexional distinctions. It said that any man possessed of such and such qualifications, should be a political denizen of the State.
As the State advanced in age, intelligence, and population, augmented in wealth, and extended in resources, the call went forth for the extension of the franchise right. In accordance with the will of the people, thus expressed, a convention was held in the city of Albany in 1821-2.
We beg that it may be remembered, that the convention was called for the purpose of extending the suffrage right. We would also call your attention to the fact, that the votes by which many of the delegates were elected to that convention, were cast by colored voters. And more especially would we remind you, that during the proceedings of that convention, in its reports, addresses, &c., a peculiar deference is ever paid to the republican features of our common country, and its democratic tendencies. Yet in that convention, that portion of the citizens of the State whom we here represent, were shut out from an equal and common participation in the prerogatives of citlzenship, in the operations of both State and National Governments, and thus placed under the operation of laws and statutes without our agency, and to which we are subjected without acquiescence.
We, the Colored Citizens of the State, in Convention assembled, representing 50,000 of the population, do ask your earnest attention. your deep reflection, your unbiased and conscientious judgment in this matter. We ask you, as a matter in which YOU are deeply concerned, to come forward and restore the fountains of political justice
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