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Proceedings of the State Convention of the Colored Freemen of Pennsylvania, Held in Pittsburgh, on the 23d, 24th and 25th of August, 1841, for the Purpose of Considering their Condition, and the Means of Its Improvement. (Copy 1)

1841 Pittsburgh PA State Convention.03.pdf

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1. RESOLVED, by the Colored Citizens of Pittsburgh, in public meeting assembled, That we recommend to our Colored Fellow Citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the propriety of holding a State Convention at Harrisburgh, on the Third Monday in August next, to consider and adopt such measures as may best tend to invest us with the exercise of the right of the elective franchise in this Commonwealth.

2. RESOLVED, That when laboring for the attainment of an object of such vital importance to us, as the exercise of the elective franchise in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, all party feeling, all sectional jealousies, all personal prejudices, should be laid aside; and that we pledge ourselves to stand ready to make all necessary personal sacrifices for the general good, and to continue in the use of all lawful and honorable means until it is achieved.

3. RESOLVED, That a Corresponding Committee of thirteen be appointed, whose duty it shall be to correspond and confer with their fellow citizens of this Commonwealth on the subject of holding a State Convention.

After the reading of the Preamble and Resolutions, each paragraph and resolution was taken up and considered separately; after which the whole were unanimously adopted.

The meeting then appointed, for the Corresponding Committee, Lewis Woodson, John N. Templeton, J. Peck, A. D. Lewis, Charles Richards, J. B. Vashon, George Galbreath, T. Norris, T. A. Brown, Samuel Johnson, M. R. Delaney, P. Jackson, and George Gardner. And then the meeting adjourned.



In addition to the foregoing, the Corresponding Committee appointed under the third resolution beg leave to offer a few of the considerations which induced their constituents to recommend the holding of a STATE CONVENTION.

1. It is hardly to be expected that the Constitution will be altered, and the right of voting granted to colored persons, unless at least a majority of them in the whole state desire it.

2. If a majority in the whole state desire this right, they must, in some way or other, show it.

3. The general way of showing the popular will, in the United States, in favor of any individual, or of any great measure, is by holding a Convention.

4. If the white citizens cannot succeed, without submitting to the expense and and trouble of holding Conventions, we cannot see upon what ground the colored citizens expect to succeed, by easier and cheaper means.

5. Conventions possess a double advantage—(1.) Of showing the popular will—(2.) Of arousing the sympathies. They inspire confidence, and impart life and energy to the actions of men, in a manner superior to all other means. And this is the chief reason why they are so often resorted to for carrying great and important measures. So essential are popular assemblies to the liberties of man, that he cannot obtain them, or preserve them when obtained, without their aid. The whole history of the past is but one continued confirmation of the fact, that where there are no popular assemblies, there is no Republican Government.

6. We owe it to ourselves, to our friends, to our posterity, to make at least some effort to silence the charge which has long been preferred against us, of indifference to our rights; and we can conceive of no way of doing it, which promises more success, than the one now presented.

7. A further consideration why we should hold a Convention, and, if possible, interest a majority of the citizens in our favor, is, that after the desired alteration in the Constitution has been made and concurred in by two successive Legislatures, it must then be submitted to a vote of the whole state for their adoption.

As to the time and place of holding the Convention, we have named the third Monday of August, because immediately after harvest, which will best enable the farmers to attend; and Harrisburgh, because it is the capital, and near the centre of the state.

You are respectfully requested to call a public meeting of your fellow citizens, and lay the contents of this Circular before them, with as little delay as possible; but where this may not be necessary, from the smallness of their number, lay it before them individually; and return us the result of your deliberations at your earliest convenience.

By order of the Committee,


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