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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.12.pdf
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to our country and obedient to her laws; and in so far as we have been permitted, have contributed our share to its happiness and prosperity; and we deem it but simple justice that we should, in common with others, share its privileges.
Before dismissing this part of our address, permit us to say a few words in regard to the payment of
Some have supposed, that because we are not allowed to vote, we ought not to pay taxes; but this is in part a mistake. Taxation was in use, long before voting, as it is practised in this country, was known; and the equivalent which men in those days received for their taxes was protection. The subject paid into the treasury of the king so much taxes; and the king granted the subject, as an equivalent, so much protection. Such is the case in many powerful kingdoms even at the present day; such as Russia, Austria, Turkey, &c. The power that receives taxes is always bound to protect; and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by receiving into her treasury our taxes, guarantees to us the protection of her laws. We pay our taxes, then, not the less for our vote, but the more for the protection of the laws.
The important subject of
next claims our attention; and we cannot too much commend to your attention and practice, the resolution of the Convention on this subject. Considered in itself, education is a matter of the first importance, on account of the moral pleasure and elevation which it imparts to its possessor; but when, in addition to this, it is remembered that it qualifies for every thing useful, good, and great, its importance is infinite. But the education which we recommend is that which qualifies for usefulness in its best and most extensive sense; and is not finished, until its subject has learned some trade, by which he may decently maintain himself in society. Labor is the natural source of wealth, and is not only right in the sight of God, but honorable in the eyes of all good men; and those who give their children a good education and a trade, give them the best of all fortunes; one infinitely better than silver and gold, because it can neither be squandered nor lost. We therefore most earnestly entreat you, as you love your children, and desire their future usefulness and respectability in society, the happiness of your own declining days, and the general good of your country, to make every possible exertion and every necessary sacrifice, to give them a good education and a trade. We would pursue this important subject more in detail, but deem it unnecessary, because the moment you become rightly interested in it, you will find numerous friends around you, ready to give all necessary advice and assistance.
NEWSPAPERS AND THE PRESS
next claim our attention. The utility of newspapers is two-fold: 1, to impart intelligence, and, 2, to unite. They are the present history of the world; and he who does not read them is almost as though he were shut up in prison. They tend to inspire public spirit and enterprise, especially in the young, and on that account no family should be without them: it were better that our children should eat plainer diet, and dress in coarser apparel, than be deprived of the use of a well conducted newspaper. But, in addition to their intelligence, newspapers tend to impart the same sentiments and the same views to all who read them. They bring as it were into the society of each other, the most distant places and kingdoms of the earth. We imagine the day not far distant, when, by the influence of the press, shall be united in one, the whole family of man.
But circumstances make it absolutely necessary, that we should have a press of our own. It is just as absurd to imagine, that we can become intelligent and
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