Minutes of the State Convention, of the Colored Citizens of the State of Michigan, Held in the City of Detroit on the 26th and 27th of October, 1843 for the Purpose of Considering Their Moral & Political Condition, as Citizens of the State.
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The Michigan State Colored Convention held in Detroit, October 26-27, 1843, assembled for the purpose of taking into consideration the political status of blacks within the state. Like Negroes in most of the free states, Michigan blacks were denied the franchise. The convention denounced this deprivation. As one clause of the resolutions put it: "whereas we find ourselves existing in this State, (many native born), with no marks of criminal -characters--no charges of disloyalty dishonoring our birth-right; and whereas we yet find ourselves the subjects and not the objects of legislation, because we are prevented from giving an assenting or opposing voice in the periodic appointments of those who rule us." The convention also registered concern over the limited opportunities for black youth to enter occupations from which they could obtain a livelihood, especially the manual trades. It saw no solution for blacks through any schemes of emigration or colonization outside the limits of the United States, but stressed the need to cultivate good morals, to establish moral reform societies, and to inculcate habits of industry, thrift, education, and temperance among the Negro population.
MINUTES OF THE STATE CONVENTION, OF THE COLORED CITIZENS OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, HELD IN THE CITY OF DETROIT ON THE 26th & 27th OF OCTOBER, 1843, FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONSIDERING THEIR MORAL & POLITICAL CONDITION, AS CITIZENS OF THE STATE
At a Public Mass Meeting, held in the city of Detroit, on the 19th of September, 1843, (Mr. Henry Jackson, chairman, and O. P. Hoyt, secretary,) for the purpose of considering the propriety of holding a State Convention of the oppressed citizens of this State; after mature deliberation, it was resolved, that a Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of Michigan, be held in the city of Detroit, to commence its sessions on the 26th day of October next, at 10 o'clock, A.M. On motion, the following individuals were appointed a committee to prepare and issue the Call for a State Convention, viz.:--
Messrs. Wm. Lambert, Wm. C. Monroe, Henry Jackson, F. Delany, and O.P. Hoyt.
Dear Brethren:--Believing the time has come to be united in sentiment and action, and to speak out in our own defence upon the great cause of Human Liberty and Equal Rights: we call upon you to co-operate with us in this important movement that we are about to make. For as we are an oppressed people wishing to be free, we must evidently follow the examples of the oppressed nations that have preceded us: for history informs us that the liberties of an oppressed people are obtained only in proportion to their own exertions in their own cause. Therefore, in accordance with this truth, let us come up, and, like the oppressed people of England, Ireland and Scotland, band ourselves together and wage unceasing war against the high-handed wrongs of the hideous monster Tyranny. Come up, brethren, and rally under the banner of Freedom; for since our late National Convention, a new and a bright star has made its appearance in our dark horizon, and has attracted the attention of our oppressors, and caused many to cry out, Go on, thou genius of Liberty, go on! The friends of liberty throughout the civilized world has hailed it, and now stand cheering us to go on. Then, brethren, shall we not meet together, and consult how we may better our condition? Shall we not infuse into the minds of our young men, and posterity, a disposition to be free, and leave their present low and degraded employment, and endeavor to obtain mechanic arts, and follow agricultural pursuits? Shall we not meet together and endeavor to promote the cause of Education, Temperance, Industry, and Morality among our people; and by our correct, upright and manly stand in the defence of our liberties, prove to our oppressors, and the world, that we are determined to be free?
Yes! yes! let us assemble--let us come together, and pledge ourselves in the name of God and bleeding humanity and posterity, to organize, organize and organize, until the green-eyed monster Tyranny, shall be trampled under the
feet of the oppressed, and Liberty and Equality shall embrace each other, and shall have scattered their blessings throughout the length and breadth of our land.
Then, come, dear brethren,
If we would be free,
We must demand our Liberty,
And strike the blow with all our might,
For Liberty is the Balm of Life.
Wm. Lambert, Chairman of Com.
N.B. The above call, when issued, was signed by a large number of individuals besides the committee.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONVENTION
Pursuant to the preceding call, issued to the Colored Citizens of this State, through the Signal of Liberty, at Ann Arbor, and the Daily Advertiser of Detroit, urging said people to assemble at Detroit in Convention on the 26th day of October, for the purpose of taking into consideration their Political Standing as a People, and to adopt measures for the improvement of the same; the Fort Street Second Baptist Church was thrown open at an early hour on Thursday morning of the above date, and soon became the scene of the most spirited and manly meetings that have ever engaged the energies of our people in this state.
At 10 o'clock, A.M., about eleven delegates were assembled from the different counties of the State, together with twelve who were chosen in city.
The Convention was called to order by the Rev. W. C. Monroe of Detroit, who moved the appointment of Wm. Lambert of Detroit, as Chairman pro tem.
On motion of Henry Jackson of the aforesaid place, W. R. Wilson of the same place, was appointed Sec'y.
Mr. Lambert, in taking the chair, remarked as follows:
Friends and Fellow-Citizens:--It is with great reluctance that I receive the honor that you have been pleased to confer upon me. Not that I wish to shrink from the duty l owe to my oppressed fellow citizens. But, because--besides my limited education, youth and inexperience--I have been deprived of that encouragement, aid and culture which we should have received to enable us to fulfill those noble designs for which the Great Author of the universe, created man. This is the reason why I so reluctantly receive the responsible station to which you have been pleased to call me. As this is the first time that we, the oppressed portion of the citizens of this State, have assembled in convention to consider our political condition, the eyes of the public are gazing upon us with great interest, to behold the course that we are about to pursue; many are waiting for an opportunity to belittle us, by taking the advantage of our inexperience, to use as a handle in argument to sustain them in their position of depriving us of those inalienable rights, which we have assembled to consider and deliberate upon; others are standing cheering us on, aiding and assisting us in the great cause of Human Liberty and Equal Rights; a subject with which Ireland is now threatening to revolutionize the combined powers of Great Britain--a subject that is now agitating the world. Yes, fellow citizens, we have convened to deliberate upon a subject which is now fast revolutionizing public opinion, and promises to extend human liberty and equal political rights to all the oppressed of these United States. Therefore it behooves us, as the representatives of the oppressed of this State, to act with that calm, cool, and brotherly affection, and unanimity of feeling, sentiment and action, which would be becoming to an oppressed people wishing to be free; for we are placed in a very responsible station, the future destiny of our people in this State for years yet to come, depends greatly upon our conduct here in convention assembled;--if our acts be good, they will give life, vigor and energy to the efforts of our friends who have enlisted in our cause, and will command honour and respect for our people and ourselves. Many of our oppressors who are now halting between the
two opinions of right and expediency will flock to our standard and eagerly aid and assist us in promoting our cause, for which we have now assembled. But if our acts be bad, they will only be so many disparagements to be used in the mouths of our oppressors, to impede the progress of our political advancement, and in a great measure would palsy the soul and cripple all the powers of our people and their friends.
Therefore, let us by our upright, correct, and manly stand in defence of our Liberty, prove to our oppressors and the world, that we are deserving of our rights, and are determined to be free.
After Mr. Lambert's remarks, the Rev. Mr. Brooks was called upon to address the throne of grace.
On motion of Mr. Henry Jackson of Detroit,
Resolved, That a committee of five, consisting of M. J. Lightfoot and A. Derrick of Detroit, J. W. Brooks and A. Aray, of Pittsfield, and G. B. Blanks, of Marshall, be appointed by the Chair, as a committee to examine the credentials, and to make out a roll of this Convention. Adopted.
On motion of Richard Gordon, of Detroit,
Resolved, That all persons, favorable to the call of this Convention, and who have been sent under that call, to deliberate in the doings of this Convention, are requested to hand in their names and their credentials to the committee for examination. Adopted.
The committee after collecting the names and the credentials of all who had appeared as delegates, retired below, in the basement room, to make out the roll. After an absence of about fifteen minutes, they returned, and reported the following list, as the names of those who had been legally elected, and sent to participate in the transactions of the Convention.
The roll here given, stands as the one subsequently completed and used by the Convention, to wit:
Detroit--Rev. W.C. Monroe, Richard Gordon, Henry Jackson, William Dolerson, William Lambert, Willis R. Wilson, Alford Derrick, Madison J. Lightfoot, Robert Allen, George R. Sims, Henry Bibb, Othello P. Hoyt.
Jackson--Calvin Hackett, Henry Calvin.
Marshall--G. B. Blanks, A. R. West.
Washtenaw Co.--William Smith, W. Hardy, John Rigs, Nelson Ockry, Asher Aray, Rev. J. W. Brooks, Thomas Freeman of Ann Arbor.
The committee after reporting the above roll, also stated that eight other individuals of Detroit had appeared and handed in their credentials to the committee, and after a strict examination, was by them rejected, upon the consideration of their not having been elected by the mass of the people, but at a private meeting, called by themselves, after the regular delegates here reported, had been legally elected by the mass of the people of the city.
A dispute took place which occupied much time, and continued until the leader of those eight, who also claimed seats as delegates, had left the house. The Convention then resumed its business.
On motion of Mr. Dolerson.
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed by the Chair to select from among the delegates, candidates for the regular officers of this Convention, the said committee to report forthwith. Adopted.
The chair appointed the following gentlemen, as said committee:--Henry Jackson, Asher Aray, and Thomas Freeman.
The committee, after retiring, reported the following gentlemen who were unanimously elected, and took their seats as officers of the Convention:
Rev. Wm. C. Monroe, President.
Calvin Hackett, of Jackson,}
J.W. Brooks, of Pittsfield,} Vice Presidents.
Othello P. Hoyt ,of Detroit,}
Nelson Ockry, of Sharon,} Secretaries.
The Rev. Wm. C. Monroe, in assuming his station as President of the Convention, in his usual plain and impressive style, addressed the members in a brief but very appropriate manner.
After the President had taken his seat, and declared the Convention open for regular business, it was, on motion of Henry Bibb,1
Resolved, That the committee that was appointed to examine the credentials, and make out the roll, now be a standing committee, to take the names and examine the credentials of all who may hereafter appear as delegates. Adopted.
On motion of Wm. Lambert,
Resolved, That a committee of three be by appointed by the President, to draft rules for the government of this Convention. Adopted.
The President appointed the following gentlemen as said committee: Henry Jackson, G. B. Blanks and Richard Gordon.
On motion of Wm. Lambert,
Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed by the President, to suggest in a becoming form, business for this Convention. Adopted.
The following gentlemen were appointed as the business committee: Wm. Lambert, of Detroit, chairman, Asher Aray, of Pittsfield, Thomas Freeman, of Ann Arbor, William Hardy, of Pittsfield, Willis R. Wilson, of Detroit.
After adopting the preliminary arrangements, at 12 o'clock the Convention adjourned, to meet at 2 o'clock, P.M.
The Convention assembled as per adjournment, and after singing a Liberty Song, (title, I am a Friend of Liberty,) was opened with prayer by J. W. Brooks.
The committee on Rules, then submitted the following report, which, on motion, was, as a whole, adopted.
1. Upon the appearance of a quorum, the President shall take the chair, and the Convention be called to order.
2. The minutes of the preceding session shall be read at the commencement of each meeting, at which time, mistakes, if any, shall be corrected.
3. The President shall decide all questions of order, subject to an appeal to the Convention.
4. All motions and addresses shall be made to the President, the member rising from his seat.
5. All motions (except of reference,) shall be submitted in writing.
6. All committees shall be nominated by the President, unless otherwise ordered by the Convention.
7. The previous question shall always be in order, and until decided, shall preclude all amendments and debate of the main question, and shall be put in this form, "Shall the main question be now put?"
8. No member shall be interrupted while speaking, except when out of order--when he shall be called to order by or through the President.
9. A motion to adjourn, shall always be in order, and shall be decided without debate.
10. No member shall speak more than twice on the same question, without leave, or over fifteen minutes at each time.
11. No motion shall be reconsidered at the same session at which it was passed.
12. No resolution, (except of reference,) shall be offered to the Convention, except it come through the business committee.
13. The sessions of the Convention shall commence at 10 o'clock in the morning, and 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
Henry Jackson, Ch'n of Com.
The Convention was now again interrupted by George W. Tucker, and one Almond Goff, who were the leaders of those eight individuals, who interrupted the Convention in the morning, and who in the afternoon declared that they would break up the Convention, unless they were admitted in as delegates. They thus continued to interrupt the Convention until near evening, when the city Marshal was sent for, who came, and after conversing with both parties, begged leave of the Convention to make a few remarks, and also to offer the following resolution, (which was the proposal of this Almond Goff.)
The yeas and nays was taken on the request, and the rule suspended, and the Marshal permitted to proceed, after which, the resolution, which read as follows, was offered by Wm. Lambert, chairman of business committee:
Resolved, That the claims of the two sets of city delegates, be left to the county delegation to decide, which set of delegates are entitled to seats. Adopted.
The Country delegation, after collecting the public papers containing the call for the convention, and the public meetings of the citizens at which the delegates were elected, retired below, in the business room, and returned and submitted through their chairman, Mr. J. W. Brooks, the following report, which settled the question at issue:
The country delegation, to which was referred the claims of the two sets of city delegates, would now respectfully report which of the two are entitled to seats. After giving the subject a thorough investigation, we are convinced that the city has but one legitimate set of Delegates, and they are those who have already been enrolled upon the list and have taken their seats as delegates. The ground upon which we give this decision, is as follows:
On the 19th of September, we had our attention drawn by the Signal of Liberty, to a public meeting, held by the colored citizens of Detroit, of which Mr. Henry Jackson, was chairman, and O. P. Hoyt, secretary, and at which, a committee was appointed to issue a call for a State Convention, and as we were acquainted with the majority of that committee, we took a deep interest in reading the call, and resolved to throw down our farming utensils for a few days, and in obedience to the call, to assemble with our brethren, and consider and deliberate upon our moral, mental and political condition. We were again informed by the Signal of Liberty, the Detroit Daily Advertiser, and Free Press, of a public mass meeting, called by this same call committee, on October 16th, who were appointed at the first meeting to issue the call, and after they had done so, to call the citizens to elect their delegates and appoint committees to make preparation for the Convention. At that meeting, the regular city delegates were elected by ballot--committees were appointed to make all necessary arrangements, also to receive and provide quarters for the country delegates; money was also collected to defray the expense of printing the Liberty Songs, which we now behold scattered all over the house. Thus were we informed by the public papers of Detroit, of all the public meetings, and business transacted by our brethren here in the city, long before we left our homes; we were well informed who were the regular city delegates, and how elected, and who were the committee to receive us, and to make all necessary arrangements for the Convention. But of these other eight individuals, we had seen nothing, heard nothing, nor knew nothing of their existence, until we saw them here, declaring that they would break up the Convention, unless they were admitted to have a seat in it. A few minutes ago a paper was handed to us by one of the leaders of those eight, bearing the date of October 25th, which was yesterday, and in it, there was a meeting called by the leaders of these eight individuals, which was held on the 17th of October, the night after the regular mass meeting, at which the regular delegates were elected. Therefore, this is sufficient to show that these eight individuals have no right to seats in this convention, because they were not elected by the public, but a private meeting, called by themselves, after the regular delegates, which have been here reported, and are now in possession of their seats, had been legally elected by the mass of the people.
Therefore, we hope that no more time will be spent in this dispute, for we have thrown down our farming utensils, to attend this Convention, hoping to accomplish much good, and we now trust that the Convention will be permitted to resume its business.
On motion of Henry Jackson, the Convention adjourned to meet at 7 o'clock in the evening.
The Convention assembled as per adjournment, and was opened with prayer, by Mr. A. Aray. The minutes were read and approved.
The business committee reported by Wm. Lambert, their chairman, the following preamble and resolutions which, after being ably supported were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, We, the oppressed portion of this State, have been called upon by the deprivations experienced daily by our oppressed brethren and ourselves to assemble in convention to consider and deliberate upon the cause of our being deprived of our rights as citizens of the State; and whereas we find ourselves existing in this State, (many native born,) with no marks of criminality attached to our names as a class--no spots of immorality staining our characters--no charges of disloyalty dishonoring our birthright; and whereas we yet find ourselves, the subjects and not the objects of legislation, because we are prevented from giving an assenting or opposing voice in the periodic appointments of those who rule us;
And Whereas we are thus made passive instruments of all laws, just or unjust, that may be enacted, to which we are bound to subscribe, even while we have no instrumentality, either in their formation or adoption;
And Whereas said laws in their operation, act upon us with destructive tendencies, by subjecting us to taxation without representation--by allowing us but a scanty and inadequate participation in the privileges of education--by shutting us out from the elective franchise, a right which invigorates the soul, and expands the mental power, and is the safe-guard of the liberty and prosperity of a free and independent people, and by being deprived of this right, we are virtually and manifestly shut out from the attainment of those resources of pecuniary and possessional emoluments, which an unshackled citizenship does always insure.
And whereas for the same avowed proscriptions in the privileges of the government, did the fathers of the Revolution of 1776, declare these United States to be absolved from allegiance to the British crown, and established a republican form of government for their future protection, laying its foundation upon the broad platform of those noble principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence, which declares that "all men are born free and equal, and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, among which, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed; that the people have a right to institute, alter or abolish forms of government whenever they fail to secure the ends for which they were established; that to enable all men to exercise their right to institute governments, they should enjoy the right of suffrage, that this right, is a natural right belonging to man, because he is a person and not a thing, an accountable being, and not a brute; that government is a trust to be executed for the benefit of all, that its legitimate ends are the preservation of peace, the establishment of justice, the punishment of crime and the security of rights;
And Whereas the fathers of the revolution pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors, for the maintenance of those noble republican principles, and thereupon established the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees to every State in the Union, a republican form of government, and expressly declares that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states; and whereas the first three clauses in the first article of the Constitution of this State, (Michigan) expressly declares, 1st. That all political power is inherent in the people. 2d. Government is instituted for the protection, and benefit of the people, and that they have the right at all times to alter or reform the same, and to abolish one form of government and to establish another, whenever the public good requires it. 3d. No man or set of men are entitled to exclusive or separate privileges;
And Whereas, we, the oppressed, form a portion of the people of this State, and are deprived of all the rights and privileges guaranteed to the people;
Therefore, be it Resolved by this Convention, That we enter our solemn protest against the word "white," embodied in the first clause of the second article of the State Constitution, which provides for all white male citizens, the exclusive and separate privilege of the exercise of the elective franchise, of which we are deprived, and which is also contrary, and gives the
lie to the third clause of the first article of said Constitution which expressly declares that no man or set of men are entitled to exclusive or separate privileges.
Resolved, That as the long lost rights and of an oppressed people are only gained in proportion as they act in their own cause, therefore it is our duty, here in convention assembled, to breathe out our sentiments without reserve against all political injustice.
Resolved, That this Convention declare it to be a violation of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and not in accordance with a republican form of government--contrary to the first article of our State Constitution--injustice of the most aggravated character, either to deprive us of a just and legitimate participation in the rights and privileges of the State, or to make us bear the burdens, and submit to its enactments, when all its arrangements, plans, and purposes are framed and put into operation, utterly regardless of us, and which in their practical operation act upon us with a destructive tendency.
Resolved, That we the representatives of the oppressed of this State will continue to write, publish, cry aloud and spare not, in opposition to all political injustice, and all legislation, violating the spirit of equality until the first and second articles of our State Constitution shall cease to conflict with each other and the blessings of Equal Political Liberty, shall have been extended to all men of whatever clime, language or nation within this State, and also the United States, which professes to be the land of the free, and an asylum for the oppressed of all nations.
Resolved, That the Declaration of Independence, is the text-book of this nation, and without its doctrines be maintained, our government is insecure.
[This last resolution above, called the President from his chair, who in his able support of it, showed the many great causes that led the fathers of 1776 to make its avowal, and bleed and die in its defence. Among whom were many of our fathers, who were laid low in obtaining the liberty demanded by that noble declaration, and which we, as American citizens, ought now to enjoy. Therefore it was our duty, if need be, to lay down our lives, in the maintenance of those noble principles avowed in the Declaration of Independence, for on them depends our political salvation.]
On motion of W. R. Wilson,
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed by the President, to draw up an address to the State of Michigan, upon the political condition of our people. Adopted.
Wm. Lambert, Richard Gordon, and M. J. Lightfoot, were appointed said committee.
On motion of H. Jackson,
Resolved, That a finance committee be appointed by the President, to collect funds to defray the incidental expenses of the Convention. Adopted. H. Bibb, Wm. Dolerson and R. Allen, were appointed said committee.
On motion of A. Derrick,
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed on printing. Adopted.
Wm. Lambert, Henry Jackson, and O.P. Hoyt, were appointed said committee.
On motion, adjourned to meet on the following morning, at 10 o'clock.
Friday Morning, Oct. 27.
The Convention met according to adjournment, and after singing several Liberty Songs, was opened with prayer, by Mr. Ockry. Minutes read and approved. The chairman of business committee, then reported the following resolutions from R. Allen, which, after being ably supported by R. Gordon, H. Bibb, and others, were unanimously adopted.
Resolved, That as a State Convention, we will exert our influence to the utmost, for the immediate abolition of American slavery, and the improvement of the conditions of our colored people throughout the Union.
Resolved, That we believe State Conventions, composed of colored people who are deprived of their political rights, may do much towards ameliorating our own condition, and extending blessings of liberty to our Southern brethren, who are the victims of American slavery.
Resolved, That we hold this to be a sound and essential principle of republican governments, to wit: That all men are entitled to enjoy equal civil
and political privileges and that any act or measure of Government, calculated to create distinctions in political rights, is hostile to this principle, and shall ever receive our entire opposition.
Resolved, That we believe in the principles avowed by the fathers of the Revolution of 1776, and for which they shed their blood, and that by these principles we are willing to have our civil and political rights determined.
Resolved, That we are fully sensible of the benefits of general education and freedom of opinion in all matters civil and religious, that by every means in our power, we will extend the benefits of education to the colored children of this city and State, and will wage war against tyranny in every form, whether emanating from a crowned head abroad, or an overbearing aristocracy at home.
Resolved, That we, the colored citizens of Michigan, claim the name and rights of American citizens; that we find ourselves at home in a land professing civil and religious liberty, and yet we are most unjustly debarred of any voice in making those laws, to which we and our property subject.
Resolved, That we will whisper in the ears of our white brethren, that the time is not far distant when they can no longer stifle in us that spirit of liberty which burst forth from the bosom of their ancestors and led them to bleed and die in its defence.
Resolved, That the colored citizens in every part of this State, be requested and urged to petition the Legislature of this State, year after year, until they extend to us those political rights and privileges which as American citizens we have a right to demand at their hands.
G. B. Blanks of Marshall offered the following resolutions through the business committee, which were unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That this Convention holds in remembrance, the name of Jabez M. Fitch, late of Marshall, State of Michigan, deceased, who exemplified in his practice, the sincerity of his professions in the cause of human rights--gave freely, of not only his money, but was willing to sacrifice (what most men prize more dearly,) his personal popularity, in his efforts to promote the welfare of his fellow beings.
Resolved, That while we reverence the names of Wilberforce2 and Clarkson, 3 as the great champions in the cause of human liberty, we also appreciate the efforts of those among us in Michigan, who, actuated by the same good spirit, are willing to be called Abolitionists, despite the sneers and the ridicule of men, who profess to believe that "all men are born free and equal, and possessed of certain inalienable rights," but who, by their conduct, give the lie to their professions.
Resolved, That in the self-denying life and martyr death of Lovejoy,4 we have the gratifying assurance that American Abolitionists are to be found who prove their faith by their works, and who are willing, if need be, to sacrifice worldly goods, and life itself, in the cause of the oppressed slave; and as the blood of the martyrs has heretofore proved to be the seed of the church, we trust the day is not far distant when the blood of Lovejoy may cry from the ground, and the millions now in slavery shall shout their jubilee song of deliverance from the bondage which oppresses them.
The following resolution of R. Gordon, after being supported by himself and others, was unanimously adopted.
Resolved, That our Government was instituted to mete out equal justice to all mankind; hence the tax on northern men to support slaveholders, is unjust, and therefore they having the largest proportion of representation should secure to themselves their lost rights, and show to the slave-holders that they will no longer submit to dough-faceism.5
The following resolution of H. Bibb, was ably supported by himself and others, and adopted.
Resolved, That we, the colored citizens of Michigan, be united in sentiment and action and never to consent to emigrate or be colonized from this, our native soil, while there exists one drop of African blood in bondage in these United States.
The following resolutions were offered through the business committee, by A. Derrick, and after being ably supported were adopted:
Resolved, That indolence is the parent of vice; it is a fact that cannot be denied, that the want of mental and manual employment often proves the
incentive to vice which will infallibly produce misery, and so surely as the earth will bring forth noxion weeds when left uncultivated, so surely will one vice beget another, which, if not eradicated, will multiply to an alarming extent, until its victims become a pest to civil society, and a disgrace to mankind.
Resolved, That productive labor is the legitimate source of all our wealth, individual and National, and this labor is profitable to us as a nation.
The following resolution, by J.W. Brooks, was ably supported by John Riggs, and adopted:
Resolved, That whereas agriculture is the bone and sinew of our country: Therefore be it resolved, that we recommend it to our people as best calculated to promote their rise and progress in this State.
The following resolution by John Riggs, was ably supported by himself and others, and adopted:
Resolved, That whereas, for fourteen years, our cause has been agitated by our warm hearted white friends, yet we find ourselves the objects of oppression: Therefore be it resolved, that we awake to the importance of our own cause by united action for the promotion of literary institutions of our own, and encourage agriculture and mechanism among ourselves, and thereby establish a character which will do much to lighten the burdens of our suffering brethren in the South.
The following resolution was offered by O. P. Hoyt, through the business committee:
Resolved, That we recommend to our people throughout the State the great necessity of their using their utmost endeavors to procure education for their children, moral, mental, and political, that they may in due time be qualified to demand, and able to appreciate their rights, and thereby become good and useful citizens.
On motion of H. Jackson, Resolved, That a committee be appointed to report on the above resolution. Adopted.
The following gentlemen were appointed as said committee: Willis R. Wilson, Asher Aray, Alford Derrick.
On motion, adjourned to 2 o'clock, P.M.
After singing a Liberty Song the Convention was opened with prayer by J. Anderson. Minutes read and approved.
The business committee then reported the following resolutions from the following members, and which, after being ably supported were adopted:
The following resolution of Thomas Freeman, was ably supported and adopted.
Resolved, That the mechanical arts if practically adopted and carried into effect by us, would wear upon the prejudices of the community--put to silence the unworthy aspersions with which we are assailed,--overcome the obstacles now in our way, and lead us forth to the happy issue of our equal political rights.
The following resolutions of O.P. Hoyt, were ably discussed and adopted.
Resolved, That it is the duty of those among us, who are parents, to give their children trades, where circumstances will admit, it is therefore the duty of each and every one of us to give the preference and support, by patronage to those among us who are mechanics, and thereby enable them to support apprentices.
Resolved, That we, the colored citizens of this State (being well convinced that neglect is in a great measure the cause of degradation) form throughout the State, among our people, Moral Reform societies, the object of which shall be to cultivate good morals, and to instill into the minds of each other, habits of industry, and that said societies shall correspond with each other throughout the State, upon the great topics of education, temperance, morality, human liberty, and equal rights.
The Convention was here again interrupted by Almond Goff, the leader of those eight individuals who disturbed the Convention on the previous day. The President requested him to sit down and be silent, which he refused to do, and declared that no business should be done, unless he had a hand in it, he thus continued to disturb the Convention until the members seized hold of him
and put him out of doors, after which, the city Marshal was sent for, who came and took him in custody and held him to bail for his appearance at the Mayor's court, to answer to the charge of disturbing the public peace.
The Convention was again permitted to resume its business. The following resolution of R. Gordon's, was called up, and after being ably discussed by J. Brooks, R. Gordon, and others, was adopted.
Resolved, That alcohol is not a product of creation, but regenerates after the life of the original is dead; therefore it is the mother of misery, the bane of society, and life-blood of oppression; for it dethrones the reason, stupefies the conscience, and hardens the heart; therefore the use of it is detrimental to an oppressed people.
On motion, adjourned until 7 o'clock in the evening.
After singing a Liberty song, the convention was opened with prayer by Wm. Dolerson. Minutes read and approved.
The committee appointed to report on the subject of Education, submitted, through their chairman, Willis R. Wilson, the following report:
Mr. President, the committee on the subject of Education, after a short consideration, respectfully submit the following REPORT:
As Education is the great rampart in protecting Human Liberty, we should as an Oppressed People, encourage it to its fullest extent. As the ball of oppression is now about to burst, let us arouse to a sense of our duty. With our crippled minds we see the season of reflection has come. Therefore let us exert ourselves--let us cultivate our minds, and we may yet glean a rich harvest for ourselves and posterity. To do this, let us lay the corner stone with a mutual desire for a general diffusion of knowledge, based on the principles of Human Liberty and Equal Rights. By so doing, we will increase our individual happiness and prosperity, by improving the minds of our people and elevating the standard of Liberty, raise ourselves up and take our stand with the well informed. Then let us be consolidated into one party, not sectarian, but the true Liberty and the Free-Knowledge-Dispensing Party. As our youths are coming up, it behooves us to put them on the right track, that they may not tread the paths of vice and misery. Let us arouse from our lethargy, and by appeal to the liberal minded and generous hearted, we will retrieve that which has been kept from us by the unjust. Let the palladium of Liberty be sounded, let the voices of our parents, wives and children, be united with our own, and with one united and vigorous effort, raise ourselves from the state of disgraceful despondency into which we are plunged, and place ourselves on a level with our energetic rivals, by ingrafting into the minds of our youth, virtue and intelligence, which will in time to come, bring forth fruit pleasing to the eye, and which will cheer us in our declining years and cause them to bless our memory, when we are cold in the grave.
Therefore be it resolved, that we use our utmost endeavors to educate our children. WILLIS R. WILSON, ch'n of Com.
The above report, after being submitted, was unanimously adopted.
Wm. Lambert, chairman of the committee to draw up an Address to the State, then submitted the following report, which was received with great applause, and unanimously adopted.
Mr. President, the committee appointed to draw up an Address to the State would now respectfully report and submit the following address to your consideration:
AN ADDRESS TO THE CITIZENS OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
Fellow Citizens,--The State Convention of Colored citizens, assembled in Detroit, October 26th, and 27th, to consider their political condition, in behalf of their people in this State, would respectfully address you on a subject to them of the most vital importance.
We, the oppressed portion of this State, rejoice that we are the native born inhabitants of a country that professes to be the land of the free, and an asylum for the oppressed of all nations.
But yet we feel ourselves aggrieved, that we are deprived by injustice of those inalienable rights with which we are endowed by the Creator of the Universe, and incorporated and made sacred to every native born inhabitant of these United States, by the Declaration of the American Independence.
Therefore do we solemnly appeal to you for a just reason, why we should be deprived of our free born rights, which are guaranteed to us as native born Americans.
For we find ourselves existing in this State, with no marks of criminality attached to our names as a class, no spots of immorality staining our characters--no charges of disloyalty dishonoring our birth-right; yet we are prevented from being participants in those free-born rights and sympathies, that are bountifully guaranteed not only to common humanity of this State, but also to foreigners of whatever clime or language. We find ourselves the subjects and not the objects of legislation, because we are prevented from giving an assenting or opposing voice in the periodic appointment of those who rule us, and are made passive instruments of all laws, just or unjust, that may be enacted, to which we are bound to subscribe, even while we have no instrumentality, either in their formation or adoption, and which in their practical operation act upon us with destructive tendency. By subjecting us to taxation without representation, by allowing us but a scanty and inadequate participation in the privileges of education. For we are deprived of a just and equal participation in the educational privileges of the State, for which we are equally taxed to support.
By shutting us out from the exercise of the elective franchise, a right which invigorates the soul, and expands the mental powers, and is the safeguard of the liberty and prosperity of a free and independent people, and by being deprived of this right, we are virtually and manifestly shut out from the attainment of those resources of pecuniary and possessional emoluments, which an unshackled citizenship does always ensure. These proscriptions in the privileges of the State, we consider to be undemocratic, unjust, and not in accordance with the spirit and political institutions of our republican form of government, and contrary to the first article of our State Constitution, which in the first three clauses of said article, expressly declares that, 1st, All political power is inherent in the people. 2d, Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people, and they have the right at all times, to alter or reform the same, and to abolish one form of government and establish another, whenever the public good requires it. 3d, No man or set of men are entitled to exclusive or separate privileges. And as we, the oppressed form a portion of the people of the State, and are deprived of all the rights and privileges guaranteed to the people, therefore, we enter our solemn protest against the word white, embodied in the first clause of the second article of the aforesaid Constitution, which provides for all white male citizens, the exclusive and separate privilege of the exercise of the elective franchise, of which we are deprived, and which is also contrary, and gives the lie to the third clause of the first article of the Constitution, which so positively declares that "no man, or set of men are entitled to exclusive or separate privileges."
For the same here avowed proscriptions in the privileges of the government, did the fathers of the Revolution of 1776, declare these United States to be absolved from all allegiance to the British crown. They published as a justification, a declaration of rights, and an extensive list of grievances, and then established a republican form of government for their future protection, laying its foundation on the broad platform of those noble principles set forth in their Declaration of Independence; which so nobly declares that all men are born free and equal, and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, among which, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted amongst men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that the people are the only legitimate force of lawful political power, and that they have a right to institute, alter or abolish forms of government when they fail to secure the ends for which they were established; and that this right is inherent, inalienable and supreme.
That the definition of "the people," is all men; that to enable all men to exercise their right to institute government, they should enjoy the right of suffrage. That this right is a natural right, belonging to man, because he
is a person and not a thing--an accountable being and not a brute. That government is a trust to be executed for the benefit of all; that its legitimate ends are the preservation of peace, the establishment of justice, the punishment of crime, and the security of rights. These principles declare eternal war against all political injustice. They condemn all Legislation violating the spirit of equality. They are the foundation of a true, and unproscriptive republican form of government and the correct guides in all political action.
For the maintenance of these noble republican principles, the fathers of the Revolution, pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors, and thereupon ordained and established the Constitution of these United States, which guarantees to every State in this Union a republican form of government, and explicitly declares that the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States. In accordance with these glorious republican principles, have we, year after year petitioned our State for the redress of grievances, and we have received from time to time but little or no attention.
In that declaration of fundamental principles, set forth by the fathers of '76, we fail to discover anything like a system of exclusion. No! there is not an expression, nor an implied sentiment to be found making a distinction in the rights and privileges of any class of American citizens. But on the contrary, its first infant breath, boldly proclaims that all men are born free and equal, and that consequently life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are inherent in every individual, vested inalienably by natural birth-right.
Had the declaration said that all "white-men are born free and equal," then our ancestors would not have been deceived into the belief, that they were included as constituting a portion of the party, engaged in the strife against British oppression. Nor have given occasion to the observation of General La Fayette, when he visited this country, that, during the Revolution, the white and black soldiers fought and messed together without hesitation, The records of that period clearly prove that the blacks rushed forth to the conflict, and poured out their blood with as much bravery as their white fellow soldiers, in the attacks made upon what they then considered to be common enemy. The testimony of Generals Washington, Green,6 and many others, to the valor of our people in the time of our country's greatest peril, and danger, shines too conspicuous to be impeached by an enlightened individual.
Yes! fellow-citizens,--again in the War of 1812, our people were called upon to repel an invading foe from our soil. Regardless of the wrongs that had already been heaped upon them, they immediately rushed forth to the conflict; and under the command of General Jackson in the Southern Army, and especially at the battle of New Orleans, distinguished themselves as valiant soldiers, fighting in defence of their country's honor.7 The splendid naval achievements, on Lakes Erie and Champlain, were owing, mostly, to the skill and prowess of Colored men. The fame of Perry was gained at the expense of the mangled bodies and bleeding veins of our disfranchised people. The blood of our fathers is mingled with the soil of every battle field and their bones have enriched the most productive lands of our country. Yes! in those ever-memorable battles which achieved the Independence, and maintained the honor of our country, your fathers and ours, fought side by side, many of both were laid low, bleeding and wallowing in their gore, which was the dear price they paid for the Independence of this, our beloved, country, that all their posterity might enjoy the blessings of Equal Liberty.
Therefore, we feel ourselves aggrieved, that the blessings obtained by the blood and toil of our fathers, are not administered as equally to us as to yourselves. We feel that our sufferings caused by our being deprived of our Political Rights, should call forth the sympathies of the whole human race, but more especially those of yourselves, among whom we dwell & who are the authors of our calamities. For you have trampled our Liberties in the dust, and thus standing with the iron-heel of Opression upon our heads, you bid us rise to a level with yourselves; and because we do not rise, you point the finger of scorn and contempt at us, and say, that we are an inferior race by nature. Yes! when all the avenues of privileged life have been closed against us, our hands bound with stationary fetters, our minds left to grope in the prison cell of impenetrable gloom, and our whole action regulated by
constitutional law, and a perverse public sentiment, we have been tauntingly required to prove the dignity of our human nature, by disrobing ourselves of inferiority and exhibiting to the world, our profound scholars, distinguished philosophers, learned jurists, and eminent statesmen. The very expectation on which such a requisition is founded, to say the least, is unreasonable; for it is only when the seed is sown, that we can justly expect to reap. But yet we feel constrained to say, we present the curious and acknowledged credible spectacle of a people beinding under the weight of a galling proscription, who will not suffer by comparison with our more privileged fellow citizens of the same rank, either in religion, morality, industry or general information.
A spirit of intelligence pervades our entire population, keeping pace with the progressive spirit of the age, and the continual intellectual progress of the nation. There are but few families in which pen, ink and paper, and books, are not common and necessary commodities. If then, amidst all the difficulties with which we are surrounded, and privations we have suffered, we present an equal amount of intelligence with that class of our fellow citizens that have been so peculiarly favored, a very grave and dangerous question presents itself to the world, on the natural equality of man; and the best rule of logic, would place those who have oppressed us, in the scale of inferiority.
Our condition as a people in ancient times, was far from indicating intellectual or moral inferiority. For, we are informed by the writings of Herodotus,8 Pindar,9 Aeschylus10 and many other ancient historians, that Egypt and Ethiopia held the most conspicuous places amongst the nations of the earth. Their princes were wealthy and powerful and their people distinguished for their profound learning and wisdom. Two thousand years ago, people flocked from all parts of the known world, down into Africa, to receive instruction from those woolly haired and black skinned Ethiopians and Egyptians. Yes, even the proudest of the Grecian philosophers, historians and poets, among whom were Solon,11 Pythagoras,12 Plato,13 Herodotus, Homer,14 Lycurgus,15 and many others, all went down into Africa, and set at the feet of our ancestors, and drank in wisdom, until they were taught in all the arts and sciences of those ancient African nations. The code of laws administered by Solon to the inhabitants of Athens, shows no inferiority of their black African tutors. The form of Government established by Lycurgus, to raise up the downtrodden Spartans, to become the dread and terror of all their neighboring Grecian states, shows no inferiority in the Governmental knowledge of his black African teachers. The song of Homer sung of Egypt's Thebes with her hundred gates of polished brass, her splendid architecture, her statues, her pyramids, and temples of sculptured marble, which were so gigantic and stupendous, that the very ruins are yet so tremendous, that they still impress the mind with such gigantic phantoms, that Napoleon's whole army (while in Africa) all suddenly stopped, and with one accord, stood in amazement, and clapped their hands with delight, over the ancient world's great Empress, on the Egyptian plain, which three thousand years ago,
Spread her conquest over a thousand States,
And poured her heroes through a hundred gates;
Two hundred horsemen and two hundred cars,
From each wide portal issued forth to the wars.
Under the African conqueror (Sesostris, King of Egypt,) who went forth and conquered the whole known world, leaving Ethiopian and Egyptian colonies behind him, to civilize and improve the condition of the nations that he had conquered. He also caused his own statue to be carved of marble and placed among them, to raise them from ignorance and barbarism, to learning and civilization. We are assured on the personal evidence of Herodotus and Strabo16 that the statues erected by this African leader still remained in their days (which was from Sesostris, a period of 860 years) and even that they were actually inspected by them in India, Syria, Palestine, Arabia, Media and
Assyria. The inscription which these proud monuments every where bore was to the following effect:
Sesostris, king of kings and lord of lords, subdued this country by the power of his arms.
Herodotus also mentions that Sesostris founded the Kingdom of Colchis near Pontus and left a colony there; and we are informed by Apollonius Rhodius17 that the posterity of the Egyptian governor subsisted at Ea, the capital of Colchis for many generations. The descendants of this military colony presenting the black complexion and woolly hair of Africa, were long distinguished from the natives of the district among whom they dwelt. And it is possible even at this day, to find among the Circassians, certain distinguished families, whose blood might be traced to the soldiers of Sesostris and whose features still verify the traditional affinity which connects them with the ancient inhabitants of Egypt and Ethiopia. The great Assyrian empire of the once powerful Babylon and Nineveh, were once founded by Ethiopian colonies and peopled by blacks. Tyre and Carthage, the most industrious, welathy and polished states of their times, were also once founded by Ethiopians and Egyptian colonies and peopled by blacks, from the banks of the Nile, whose proud monuments are still spared by the hand of time, to be the wonder and admiration of the world, and which by their gigantic dimensions and exquisite workmanship, shows no inferiority of the wealth, power or wisdom of those ancient African nations.
The sun of civilization rose from the centre of Africa and like the bright luminary of the celestial regions, it cast its light, into the most remote corners of the earth, giving arts, sciences and intellectual improvement, to all that lay beneath its elevating rays.
Therefore, fellow citizens, proscribe us no longer, by holding us in a degraded light, on account of natural inferiority, but rather extend to us our free born right, the Elective Franchise, which invigorates the soul and expands the mental powers of a free and independent people. We then would be able to disrobe ourselves of inferiority, and prove to the world, that we are worthy of the name of American citizens. Therefore, we appeal to you to secure to us our political rights; for the enjoyment of those rights in a free country, is a stimulant to enterprise, a means of influence, and a source of respect; they send life, vigor and energy through the entire heart of a people; the want of them in a community is the cause of careless [illegible] intellectual inertness, and indolence. Yet many of us have sprung above all these depressing circumstances, and exerting ourselves with unwonted alacrity, by native industry, have accumulated property, for which we are now taxed and not represented. We are firm believers in the doctrines set forth in the Declaration of Independence. We are among those who believe that taxation and representation, should go together. We acquiesce in the sentiment that Governments can only derive their just power from the consent of the governed. Therefore, we declare it to be a violation of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and not in accordance with a republican form of Government, contrary to the 1st article of our State Constitution and of injustice of the most aggravated character, either to deprive us of a just and legitimate participation in the rights and privileges of the State, or to make us bear the burdens and submit to its enactments; when all its arrangements, plans,and purposes are framed and put into operation utterly regardless of us, and which in their practical operation, act upon us with destructive tendency.
Therefore, Fellow Citizens,--the Colored Citizens of this State, through us, their representatives, respectfully and earnestly ask at your hands, the speedy adoption of such plans, and the formation of such measures as may secure to them their Equal Political Rights.
Wm. Lambert, Ch'n of Com.
On motion of H. Jackson, Resolved that the Convention tender their heartfelt thanks to Wm. Lambert, chairman of the committee, for so ably defending us, in his address to the State. Adopted.
On motion of H. Jackson, Resolved, that this Convention adjourn tonight at 10 o'clock. Adopted.
On motion of R. Gordon; Resolved, that this Convention appoint a State Corresponding Committee whose duty it shall be to appoint Public Meetings, call future Conventions, and transact all public business for the colored Citizens of this State, until the next Convention. Adopted.
The following gentlemen were appointed said committee, viz: Wm. Lambert, Henry Jackson, Richard Gordon, Madison J. Lightfoot, of Detroit;--Asher Aray of Pittsfield, Washtenaw co.;--Calvin Hacket of Jackson, Jackson co.;--A. C. West of Marshall, Calhoun co.;--J. W. Brooks of Pittsfield, Washtenaw co.;--John Smith of Pontiac, Oakland co.;--Samuel Dickerson of ______Lenawee co: --Henry Powers of Grand Rapids, Kent co.;--Jefferson Fitzgerald of York, Washtenaw co.;--Thomas Freeman, Kalamazoo co.;--Washtenaw.co.
On motion of R. Gordon, Resolved, that each member now come forward and plank down his dollar to the committee on printing, to pay for the printing of the minutes of this convention.
Mr. Gordon then very ardently supported this resolution to some length and to substantiate the sincerity of his remarks, he "planked down" his dollar, he then turned and very sarcastically appealed to the rest of the members to come up and do likewise. The members not wishing to be out-done, consequently came up and planked down their money; which, after being counted by the committee, was found to be $9 cash, with the names of nine individuals with their promises to pay.
The Finance Committee then reported, that the money collected during the sessions of the Convention, had been more than sufficient to cover the expense, by the sum of $2.35.
It was moved that the balance be placed in the hands of the committee on printing, to aid in publishing the proceedings. Carried.
The President then announced that there was no more business before us. The following resolutions were then offered, and on motion unanimously adopted.
Resolved, that we tender a vote of thanks to the trustees of this church for the free use of it.
Resolved, that we tender a vote of thanks to the President, for the impartial manner with which he has presided over our deliberations; to the Secretaries, for the willing manner in which they have performed their duties, and also to the Chairman of the business committee, for his faithfulness in furnishing business for the Convention; and to all the other officers, who have amply discharged their duties.
The President then rose from his seat, and very feelingly addressed the members to some length, upon the leading subjects that had occupied their deliberations, and at the close of his remarks, he expressed a sincere desire that the sentiments which had been so earnestly expressed in the Convention, and which were now about to be published to the world, might grow brighter and brighter in their memories, and by their practical operations prove the sincerity of their avowals.
After the President had thus concluded his remarks and taken his seat, it was, on motion of Henry Jackson, Resolved, that we now sing a Liberty Song, address the throne of Grace, and adjourn, sine die.
The members then led off, and the audience joined in the song, after which the closing prayer was made by Wm. Smith,
Copy in the Schomburg Collection, New York Public Library; Copy in the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library.
1. Henry Bibb (1815-1854) was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, the son of a slave mother and a white father. As a slave, he was sold at least six times as a result of his stubborn resistance to discipline. An early escape attempt with his wife and child was aborted, but he finally succeeded alone in 1837, passing in the process through Missouri, Ohio, and Michigan to Detroit. While an active participant in the statewide convention of Michigan
blacks, held at Detroit in 1843, he also, in the following year, vigorously spoke for and supported the candidate of the Liberty Party.
With the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which struck terror in the hearts of the free black community and sent thousands fleeing into Canada, Bibb formed a colonization society to aid in resettling his people there. In 1851, he established in Detroit a bi-monthly newspaper entitled The Voice of the Fugitive. His Refugee's Home Society, founded at Detroit in May 1851, sought through public grant or private purchase from the Canadian government sufficient land to be distributed to refugee blacks in twenty-five acre plots.
An active figure in the antislavery movement, Bibb helped form the Anti- Slavery Society of Canada in 1851 and, in 1852, was. appointed a vice-president of the group. His Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb appeared in 1849. Frederick Douglass reviewed it and noted in the North Star (Aug. 17, 1849) that Bibb's work was "one of the most interesting and thrilling narratives of slavery ever laid before the American public. . . . We deem the work a most valuable acquisition to the anti-slavery cause, and we hope that it may be widely circulated throughout the country."
2. William Wilberforce (1759-1833), aroused to the antislavery cause by Thomas Clarkson, began to work in Parliament in 1787 to end the slave trade. The slave trade was abolished in 1807.
3. Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846), pioneer British abolitionist, was active for over sixty years with Granville Sharpe and Wilberforce in the battle against slavery and the slave trade.
4. In 1837, Elijah P. Lovejoy (1802-1837), a clergyman who had an antislavery paper in St. Louis, was forced to leave that city and carry on his work in Alton, Illinois. Here·he organized the Illinois Anti-Slavery Society and edited the Alton Observer. Pro-slavery mobs destroyed one printing press after another, and, on November 7, 1837, the night after third press was installed, the printing office was attacked and Lovejoy killed while defending his property.
5. A northern politician over-anxious to please the South was a "Dough-face." The term is believed to have been invented by John of Roanoke.
6. The reference is to Nathanael Greene (1742-1786), American Revolutionary general. He should be distinguished, however, from Christopher Greene, Revolutionary soldier, identified below.
7. On December 18, 1814, General Andrew Jackson issued the following proclamation to the free people of color:
"Soldiers! when on the banks of the Mobile I called you to take up arms, inviting you to partake the perils and glory of your white fellow citizens, I expected much from you; for I was not ignorant that you possessed qualities most formidable to an invading enemy. I knew with what fortitude you could endure hunger and thirst, and all the fatigues of a campaign.
"I knew well you loved your native country, and that you, as well as ourselves, had to defend what man holds dear--his parents, wife, children, and property. You have done more than I expected. In addition to the previous qualities I before knew you to possess, I found among you a noble enthusiasm which leads to the performance of great things.
"Soldiers! the President of the United States shall hear how praiseworthy was your conduct in the hour of danger, and the representatives of the American people will give you the praise your exploits entitle you to. Your General anticipates them in applauding your noble ardor.... " See Philip S. Foner, The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass (New York, 1950), II, 265.
8. Herodotus (484?-425? B.C.), Greek historian, was called the father of history.
9. Pindar (518?-c.438 B.C.), Greek poet, was generally regarded as the greatest Greek lyric poet. He travelled widely throughout the ancient world, but lived principally at Thebes.
10. Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.), famous Greek writer of tragedy, was the predecessor of Sophocles and Euripides.
11. Solon (c. 639-c. 559 B.C.), Athenian statesman and founder of Athenian 'democracy, is best known as a lawgiver and reformer.
12. Pythagoras (c. 582-c. 507 B.C.), pre-Socratic Greek philosopher and founder of the Pythagorean school. The Pythagoreans were influential mathematicians and geometricians, and the theorem that bears their name is witness to their influence on the initial part of Euclidean geometry.
13. Plato (427?-347? B.C.), famous Greek philosopher and disciple of Socrates, established his Academy at Athens, where he taught mathematics and philosophy until his death.
14. Homer was the famous Greek poet, author of the Illiad and Odyssey.
15. Lycurgus (c. 7th cent. B.C.?) is traditionally credited with founding the Spartan constitution. The earliest mention of him is in Herodotus. Nothing is known of his life--when he lived or if he was a real man, a god, or a mythical figure.
16. Strabo (c. 63 B.C.-c. 21 A.D.) was a Greek geographer and historian.
17. Apollonius Rhodius (3d cent. B.C.), epic poet of Alexandria and Rhodes, was also librarian at Alexandria.