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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.13.pdf

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enterprising, by others speaking and writing for us, as that we can become fat by their eating and drinking for us. It is true that kind friends may persuade the master to unrivet the fetters of the slave, and the Legislature to repeal all unjust and unwholesome laws; but here their kind offices measurably end; the balance of the work is chiefly ours.

To purchase a press and its accompanying apparatus, would cost from five to seven hundred dollars; and to print an ordinary sheet, such as our case would require, would cost perhaps a little upwards of thirty-five dollars a week; amounting in a year say to two thousand dollars. And what are our resources for sustaining this expense? Our population is near fifty thousand; and although the statistical returns to our Convention were very imperfect, yet they were sufficient to show that we own at least two million dollars’ worth of property. And will any one presume that one thousand subscribers, able to pay two dollars a year each for a good paper, cannot be found in all those numbers, and all this wealth?

We next call your attention to the subject of


And although highly important, we shall not dwell upon it at any length; because it has been so generally agitated throughout the state, you must understand all its consequences as well as ourselves. Temperate as we fondly hope we generally are, yet it is feared more is squandered for ardent spirits, than would furnish us with a newspaper, educate our children, and support our churches. We exhort you, by every consideration, to do all in your power to banish from society this scourge and curse of our race, by promoting every where the popular and unfailing principle of TOTAL ABSTINENCE.

The resolution of the Convention on


contains the reasons which induced its adoption; and we can not too earnestly recommend it to your careful attention. We have been too long, and too justly, we are sorry to admit, charged with crowding into the large towns and cities, where it is impossible for us to find honorable or profitable employment. So long as we pursue this most pernicious practice, we must expect to remain degraded and despised. Its evils are innumerable, only a few of which can be noticed here.

1. The want of constant and profitable employment must forever keep us poor.

2. Poverty exposes us to insult and abuse from others, without the proper means of defending ourselves; and it also creates strong temptation to the commission of crime.

3. It prevents parents from bringing up their children in an orderly and proper manner, rendering them unfit for any thing honorable or useful in future life.

4. It compels them to put their children out at service, to perform the most degrading drudgery, for a bare subsistence, which often proves alike fatal to their health and their morals. This is most lamentably true as it regards our females. The very heart sickens even to think of the insults and miseries which they suffer in large towns and cities; it is enough to extinguish every delicate and virtuous feeling peculiar to the sex.

5. The inevadeable poverty of our people, in the cities, crowds them into dwellings, and places, distinguished for any thing but comfort and health; and every one knows that the consequence of inhabiting such dwellings is disease and death. Within the last ten years, causes which we shall not stop here to notice, have either prevented or destroyed the lives of more than two hundred

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