Colored Conventions Project Digital Records

Minutes of the National Convention of Colored Citizens; Held at Buffalo; on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th of August, 1843; for the purpose of considering their moral and political condition as American citizens.


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Minutes of the National Convention of Colored Citizens; Held at Buffalo; on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th of August, 1843; for the purpose of considering their moral and political condition as American citizens.


Pamphlet (39 p. ; 23 cm.)














On the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th of August, 1842.







"Ours is not the tented field—

We no earthly weapons wield—

Light and love our sword and shield—

Truth our panoply."

"Onward, then, ye fearless band—

Heart to heart and hand to hand—

Ours shall be the Christian's stand,

Or the martyr's grave."


At a meeting of colored citizens held in the city of New York, May 9th and 10th, 1843, to consider the subject of holding a National Convention, the Rev. Theo. S. Wright was appointed chairman, and A. J. Gorden, secretary. The following States were represented in said meeting, viz: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The following resolutions were, after mature deliberation, adopted:

Resolved, That we deem it necessary that a National Convention of the colored citizens of the United States of America be held this year.

Resolved, that this meeting recommend that a National Convention of the colored citizens of this country be held in the city of Buffalo, on the 3d Tuesday in August, 1843.

Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to prepare a Call, and that we, the, members of this meeting, sign it and solemnly pledge ourselves in the name of God, and bleeding humanity and posterity, to Organize, Organize, ORGANIZE, until Liberty and Equality shall embrace each other; and shall scatter their blessings throughout the whole land.

The committee reported the following call, which was adopted:


Fellow Citizens: At a meeting held in the city of New York on the 9th and 10th of May, 1843, composed of colored citizens from several States of this Union, for the purpose of considering the propriety of holding a National Convention of the oppressed citizens of the United States-after mature deliberation, it was decided that, by the permission of Divine Providence, a National Convention of the Colored Citizens of the United States be held in the city of Buffalo, to commence its sessions on the 3d Tuesday in August, 1843, at ten o'clock, A.M.

Dear Brethren: In presenting this call &lid soliciting your co-operation, we will mention a few of the reasons that have conspired to urge us to make this exceedingly important movement.

The oppressed in all ages of the world have emerged from their condition or degradation and servitude in proportion as they have exerted themselves in their own cause, and have convinced the world and their oppressors that they were determined to be free.

The history of the present and the past establish the great truth that it is as much impossible for any people to secure the enjoyment of their inalienable rights without organization, as it is to reach an end without means. Acting in accordance with this truth, the oppressed people of England, Ireland and Scotland, have banded themselves together in their respective nations to wage unceasing war against the green-eyed monster, tyranny.

Since we have ceased to meet together in National Convention, we have become ignorant of the moral and intellectual strength of our people. We have also been deprived of the councils of our fathers, who have borne the burden and heat of the day—the spirit of virtuous ambition and emulation has died in the bosoms of the young men, and in a great degree, we have become divided, and the bright rising stars that once shone in our skies, have become partially obscured.

Then, brethren, shall we not meet once more? Yes, let us assemble. We will assemble, God being willing. Come and rally under the banner of freedom--come from the east, north, south, and west. Come in the strength of the Lord, and prepared to take a bold stand for truth and suffering humanity, which shall prove to be unprecedented in the history of our people.We hope that that every city, town, hamlet, and village will be represented as well as Literary and Benevolent Societies.


The above call was signed by about fifty persons, representing seven different States of the Union.


In accordance with the preceding call, issued to the colored people of the several States, through the United States Clarion, a paper published at Troy, N. Y., inviting them to assemble in convention at Buffalo, on the third Tuesday in August, being the 15th of the month. At an early hour on said morning, about forty persons assembled, at a large public hall on the corner of Washington and Seneca streets in said city; and the hour for opening the Convention, agreeably to the call, having arrived, Henry Highland Garnit, Chairman of the Committee of Correspondence, called the meeting to order by reading the call of the Convention, and subsequently moving the appointment of Mr. Samuel H. Davis, of Buffalo, as Chairman pro tem. The Rev. James Fountain, of Utica, N. Y., was called upon to address the throne of grace, who offered fervent prayer to God. Mr, Davis then arose and delivered. to the friends assembled an excellent Address, from which the following extracts are copied :*



I consider this a most happy period in our history, -- when we, as a people, are in some degree awake to a sense of our condition; and are determined no longer to submit tamely and silently to wear the galling yoke of oppression, under which we have so long suffered; oppression riveted upon us as well by an unholy and cruel prejudice, as by unjust and unequal legislation. More particularly do I consider it ominous if good, when I see here collected, so much of wisdom and talent, from different parts of this great nation, collected here to deliberate upon the wisest and best method by which we may seek a redress of those grievances which most sorely oppress us as a people.

Gentlemen, in behalf of my fellow, citizens of Buffalo, I bid you welcome, from the East and West, the North and South, to our city. Among you are the men who are lately from that part of our country, where they see our brethren, hound and manacled, suffering and bleeding, under the hand of the tyrant, who holds in one hand the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees freedom and equal rights to every citizen, and in the other "the scourge dripping with human gore," drawn from the veins of his fellow-man. Here also are those who live in my native, New England, among the "descendants of the pilgrims," whose laws are more in accordance with the principles of freedom and equal rights; so that but few laws are found recorded on their statute books, of which we need complain. But though their laws are not marked with such palpable and flagrant injustice towards the colored man as those of the South; yet there we are proscribed, by a fixed and cruel prejudice, little less oppressive. Our grievances are many and great; but It is not my Intention to enumerate or to enlarge upon them. I will simply say, however, that we wish to secure for ourselves, in common with other citizens, the privilege of seeking our own happiness in any part of the country we may choose, which right is now unjustly, and, we believe, unconstitutionally denied us in a part of this Union. We wish also to secure the elective franchise in those

• The Address, though excellent, is in the judgement of the publishing committee, of too great length to be admitted entire.


States where it is denied us,-- where our rights are legislated away, and our voice neither heard nor regarded. We also wish to secure, for our children especially, the benefits of education, which in several States are entirely denied us, and in others are enjoyed only in name These, and many other things, of which we justly complain, bear most heavily upon us as a people; and it is our right and our duty to seek for redress, in that way which will be most likely to secure the desired end.

In your wisdom, you will, I doubt not, take into consideration these and the many other grievances which we suffer, and form such organizations, and recommend such measures, as shall, in your wisdom, seem most likely to secure our enfranchisement -- the benefits of education to our children, and all our rights in common with other citizens of this republic

Two objects should distinctly and constantly be borne In mind, in all our deliberations. One is the diffusion of truth, and the other the elevation of our own people. By the diffusion of truth, I mean that we must take a bold and elevated stand for the truth. We must determine, in the strength of God, to do every thing that will advance the great and holy cause of freedom, and nothing that will in the least retard its progress. We must, by every means in our power, strive to persuade the white people to act with more confidence in their own principles of liberty -- to make laws, just and equal for all the people.

But while the color of the skin is made the criterion of the law, it is our right, our duty, and, I hope I may say, our fixed determination, to make known our wrongs to the world, and to our oppressors; to cease not day nor night to

"Tell, in burning words, our tale of woe,"

and pour a flood of living light on the minds and consciences of the oppressor; till we change their thoughts, feelings, and actions towards us as men and citizens of this land. We must convince our fellow-men that slavery is unprofitable; that it is for the well-being and prosperity of this nation; the peace and happiness of our common country, that slavery and oppression be abolished within its borders; and that laws be enacted equal and just for all its citizens.

Proscription is not in accordance with equal rights, no more than is oppression with holy freedom, or slavery with the spirit of free institutions. The present system of laws, in this our country, enacted in reference to us, the oppressed and down-trodden descendants of Africa, do, and will continue to operate like the cankerworm in the root of the tree of liberty, preventing its growth, and ultimately destroying its vitality. We may well say, in the language of a distinguished statesman and patriot of our own land, "We tremble for our country when we reflect that God is just, and that his justice will not always sIeep." By the example of other nations, who have gone before, whose history should be a warning to this people, we learn that slavery and oppression has nowhere prospered long;-- it blasts a nation's glory and prosperity --divides her power -- weakens her strength, and grows like a corroding consumption in her very vitals. "God's judgments will not sleep forever, but he will visit the nations of the earth in justice." We love our common country--

"With all her faults, we love her still."

This is the land where we all drew our first breath; where we have grown up to strength and manhood; "here is deposited the ashes of our fathers;" here we have contracted the most sacred engagements, the dearest relations of life; here we have found the companions of our childhood, the friends of our youth,the gentle partners of our lives; here are the haunts of our infancy, the scenes of every endearing hour: -- in a word, this is our own native land I repeat it, then, we love our country, we love our fellow citizens, -- but we love liberty more.

We, as a people, are called upon to raise our voice in our own behalf, and plead our own rights, because so few are found to plead for us. The oppressed of every other land, no matter how distant their location, no matter what their complexion, when the fact is know that any people are oppressed, and are seeking their freedom, the friends of liberty are ready to espouse their cause, with all the talent and eloquence which this great nation possesses. Men of every rank can plead the cause of freedom. Even the slaveholders, who hold their iron grasp, like the grasp


of death, on the necks of their fellow-men; yes, who rule this nation too, with more than a tyrant's sway, can talk very earnestly in freedom's cause, and plead with their potent eloquence for the rights of men. What was it, a few years since that caused so much excitement in this nation and among the friends of liberty throughout the world, in behalf of the patriotic Greeks? Was it not the fact that they were oppressed and were seeking their freedom? Money, as well as arms and ammunition, were sent out from our own land. And not only these, many of freedom's noblest sons eagerly volunteered their own services, risking their lives and fortunes to the dangerous chances of war with the infidel, tyrant Turks, to secure the liberty and independence of the unconquerable Greeks.

D voted Poland also, in her severe but vain struggle to throw off the Russian yoke, shared in the warmest sympathies and ardent prayers of freedom's votaries. They were expressed in our halls of legislation and literature, and in the temples of God, with all the force and charms with which high-wrought eloquence and soul-stirring poetry could invest-them.

These things ought to encourage us. When we show to this nation and the world that we are properly awake to our own interests, and by wise, persevering, and determined measures, are seeking our rights, we too shall have the sympathy and assistance of the lovers of freedom, wherever freedom's friends are found.

How is it in regard to Irish liberty? Behold how the leaders of each political party seem to vie with each other, which shall be foremost in the cause of Irish repeal, and who can plead most for the liberty of that unhappy people.

These things should encourage use to seek our own liberty and the liberty of our brethren in bonds, by every means in our power; to make know the multitude and insufferable wrongs, imposed on us by arbitrary and oppressive laws, bearing us down to the earth, here in our own native land; enacted, too, by the very people who bid eternal defiance to tyranny, and declare, in the most broad and unrestricted terms, for universal freedom and equal rights, and claim themselves alone the honor of waving, untarnished, the banner of liberty among the nations of the earth.

It is time that we were more awake to our own interests, more united in our efforts, and more efficient in our measures. We must profit by the example of our oppressors. We must act on their principles in resting tyranny. We must adopt their resolutions in favor of liberty. "They have taught us a lesson, in their struggle for independence, that should never be forgotten. They have taught the world emphatically, that a people, united in the cause of liberty, are invincible to those who would enslave them; and that heaven will ever frown on the cause of injustice, and ultimately grant success to those who oppose it." Shall we, then, longer submit in silence to our accumulated wrongs? forbid it, heaven! that we should longer stand in silence, "hugging the delusive phantom of hope," when every gale that sweeps from the South, bears on its wings, to our ears, the dismal sound of slavery's clanking chains, now rivetted on three millions of our brethren, and we ourselves are aliens and outcasts in our native land.

Is the question asked, what we shall do? Shall we petition for our rights? I do not pretend to dictate the course that should be pursued; but I have very little hope in petitioning longer. We have petitioned again and again, and what has been the result? Our humblest prayers have not been permitted a hearing. We could not even state our grievances. Our petitions are disregarded; our supplications slighted, and we spurned from the mercy-seat, insulted, abused, and slandered; and this day finds us in the same unhappy and hopeless condition in which we have been for our whole lives -- no other hope is left us, but in our own exertions, and an "appeal to the God of armies!" From what other source can we expect that help will come? Shall we appeal to the Christian community -- to the church of our own land? What is her position? Behold her gigantic form, with hands upraised to heaven! See her increased and made rich by the toil, and sweat, and blood of slaves! View her arrayed in her pontifical robes, screening the horrid monster, slavery, with her very bosom -- within her most sacred enclosures; that the world may not gaze on its distorted visage, or view its hellish form! Yes, throwing around this accursed system, the very drapery of heaven, to cover this damning sin and give it character and respectability in the eyes of the country, and in the eyes of the world. We cannot, therefore, look to her for help, for she has taken sides against us, and on the side of slavery. Shall we turn to either of the great political parties of the day? What are our prospects there? Is there any hope of help? No, they are but the slaves of slavery, too, contending which shall be most faithful


in supporting the foul system of slavery, that they may secure the vote of the slaveholder himself, and of his scores of human cattle. Shall we then look to the abolitionists, and wait for them to give us our rights! I would not say a word that would have a tendency to discourage them in their noble efforts in behalf of the poor slave, or their exertions to advance the cause of truth and humanity. Some of them have made great sacrifices, and have labored with a zeal and fidelity that justly entitle them to our confidence and gratitude. But if we sit down in idleness and sloth, waiting for them, or any other class of men to do our own work, I fear that it will never be done. If we are not willing to rise up and assert our rightful claims, and plead our own cause, we have no reason to look for success. We, ourselves, must be willing to contend for the rich boon of freedom and equal rights, or we shall never enjoy that boon. It is found only of them that seek.

In regard to the elevation of our own people On this subject I cannot now enlarge, nor need I, for we all know, and see, and feel its need. We know that any people wanting in intelligence and moral worth, cannot long be free. In the language of one of our most distinguished orators, "For ourselves and in ourselves there is a might work to be accomplished, -- an influence to be exerted, which can come from no other source. We must learn to act in harmony with the principles of God's moral government, or permanent prosperity can never be ours.

Mr. Davis having concluded his address, it was,

On motion, Resolved that Messrs. Henry Thomas and A.H. Francis, of Buffalo, be appointed Secretaries pro. tem.

It was then moved that the delegates present their credentials. -- About forty persons answered to the motion.

It was then moved that a committee of seven, to nominate officers for the Convention, be appointed by the chair. The chair appointed the following persons, viz: J.H. Townsend, of Albany, N.Y.; R. Allen, of Detroit, Mich.; Geo. Ware, of Buffalo, N.Y.; J.W. Duffin, of Geneva, N.Y.; Robert Banks, of Detroit, Mich.; F. Douglass, of Boston, Mass.; and D. Lewis, of Toledo, Ohio.

On motion, the chair appointed the following persons a committee to make a roll of the delegates, viz.: Robert Banks, of Detroit, Mich.; N. W. Jones, of Chicago, Ill.; and W. W. Brown, of Buffalo, N.Y.

Moved by Chas. B. Ray, that all gentlemen present, from places from which there is no regular deputed delegation, be considered as delegates from those places, and that all other gentlemen be considered as corresponding members.

This motion was opposed by Messrs. H. H. Garnit, D. Lewis, A.H. Francis, R. Francis, and others; and advocated by Messrs. Charles B. Ray, Frederic Douglass, C.L. Remond, and A.G. Beman. The gentlemen in the opposition took the ground, that thus to open the door to the convention, would give a decided advantage to places near by over places more remote, the tendency of which be to give a local rather than a general character to the business; and some feared also that it might bring into the convention persons of discordant or local views, the tendency of which would also be to protract discussion, and unnecessarily consume the time of the Convention, and that it were best now to adopt a preventive. The gentlemen in the affirmative of the question considered the reasons advanced by the opposition as not valid, and their fears as groundless -- that as nearly all the persons who would be enrolled in the Convention by that vote would be honorary members, and while it would give them a right to discuss questions, it would give them no right to vote upon them, and that while they had a right to discuss questions, yet as they were but honorary members their better judgment would


teach them that the time of the Convention belonged to the delegates proper. The gentlemen in the affirmative further contended, that there were many persons present who had not been favored wIth having been sent as delegates; but their interest in the ConventIon had brought them here, and that they thought with us, and felt with us, and doubtless had many thoughts in their mind, which, if made known, mIght be of service to the Convention, and which they would like to express and as the Convention was as vital to them as to us, it being a common cause,they ought to have the right to express their views--besides, we had come here to assert principles embracing the largest liberty to all, and to take broad ground in favor of the free expression of opinion; and to reject the motion now before us, would be subversive of the very spirit which has brought us together. Upon taking the question, the motion was lost.

The Convention now adjourned to meet at 2 o'clock, P . M.

Afternoon Session.—The Convention met according to adjournment. The Chairman pro tem. not being present, Robert Banks, of Detroit, Mich., was appointed Chairman. Prayer by Rev. Theo. S. Wright.

The committee on nominations reported the following list of officers for the Convention :—For

PRESIDENT, AMOS G. BEMAN, of New Haven, Conn.

VICE PRESIDENTS, F. PIERE, of Maine, F. DOUGLASS, of Mass. W. W. MATTHEWS, of Conn. JAS. SHARP. of New-York, A. M. SUMMER, of Ohio, H. JOHNSON, of Michigan, and N. W. JONES, of Illinois.

SECRETARIES, CHAS. B. RAY, of New-York, JAS. W. DUFFIN, of Geneva, N.Y. A. H. FRANCIS, of Buffalo, N. Y.

The motion respecting the admission of honorary members and persons as delegates who had not been delegated to this body, was on motion of H. H. Garnit. who voted with the majority, reconsidered. Upon the question being taken it was again lost. Whereupon Chas. B. Ray arose and submitted the following resolution:

Resolved, That all gentlemen present. who have come from places from which there is no regularly appointed delegation to the Convention. be considered as delegates from those places, and that all other gentlemen be requested to take seats as honorary members.

The mover urged the adoption of this resolution from a few serious and weighty considerations, and regarded it as vital to the harmony and success of the Convention. The President vacated the chair to one of the Vice Presidents, and urged in a short but masterly speech the adoption of the resolution. The question was now called for, and the resolution adopted by a large majority.

It was moved that a committee of nine persons to bring forward business for the Convention be appointed by the chair. The chair appointed the following persons, viz.: H. H. Garnit; Chairman; Robert Banks, David Lewis, Theo. S. Wright, C. Lennox Remond, M. C. Munro, J. H, Townsend, N. W.Jones, and Geo. Weir.


It was moved that a committee of three persons, to draft rules to govern the Convention, be appointed by the chair. The chair appointed the following persons, viz.: A. H. Francis, W. W. Brown, and J. P . Morris.

The Committee reported the following list of Rules, which were taken up separately and adopted:


1st. Resolved, That each session of this Convention be opened by addressing the Throne of Grace.

2d. Upon the appearance of a quorum, the President shall take the chair and call the Convention to order.

3d. The minutes of the preceding session shall be read at the opening of each session, at which time mistakes, if there be any, shall be corrected

4th. The President shall decide all questions of order, subject to an appeal of the convention.

5th. All motions and addresses shall be made to the President, the member rising from his seat.

6th. All motions, except those of reference, shall be submitted in writing.

7th. All committees shall be appointed by the Chair, unless otherwise ordered by the Convention.

8th, The previous question shall be always in order, and, until decided. shall preclude all amendment and debate of the main question, and shall be put in this form: Shall the main question be now put?

9th, No member shall be interrupted while speaking, except when out of order, when he shall be called to order by, or through the Chair.

10th. A motion to adjourn shall be always in order, and shall be decided without debate.

11th. No member shall speak more than twice on the same question, without the consent of the Convention, nor more than fifteen minutes at each time.

12th. No motion shall be reconsidered during the same session at which it was passed.

13th. No resolution, except of reference, shall he offered to the Convention except it come through the business committee; but all resolutions rejected by the committee may be presented directly to the Convention, if the maker of the resolution wishes to do so.

14th. The sessions of the Convention shall commence at 9 o'clock A. M. and at 2 o'clock P. M., and shall close at 12 o'clock at noon, and at 6 o'clock P. M.

15th. The.roll shall be called at each session immediately after prayer.

The business committee reported, in part, a series of resolutions, numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, which were accepted and laid on the table, to be called up in due order for further action. *

A committee was appointed to select speakers and make preparations for the evening meeting.

The Convention now adjourned to meet at the Park Presbyterian Church, at 8 o'clock P. M., which had been kindly tendered to the Convention for evening public meetings, and to meet in regular session, as per rule No. 14.

The meeting in the Park Church was largely attended by the citizens generally, without regard to class or rank, and was addressed by H. H. Garnit, C. B. Ray, F. Douglass, and C. L. Remond.

  • Each series of resolutions, as they were reported from the business committee appear in the minutes, just where the last of the series was adopted.—page 15.


Wednesday, August 16th, 1843.

Morning Session.—The Convention met pursuant to adjournment, The President in the chair. Prayer by the Rev. James N. Gloucester, of New York. The Convention then united in singing a liberty song. The minutes of the previous meeting were read, and after some slight corrections, approved.

The committee on business reported a series of resolutions numbered 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. The report was accepted and laid upon the table, to be called up in course.

The Committee on the roll submitted the following list of delegates, which was, on motion, accepted:



F. Piere.


C. L. Remond, Salem. Fred. Douglass, Boston,


A. G. Beman, N. Haven. W. W. Matthews, do.


Theo. S. Wright, N. Y. City, Charles B. Ray, do. James N. Gloucester, do. J. H. Townsend, Albany. Wm. P. McIntire, do, H. H. Garnit, Troy, John Wendall, Schenectady, T. Woodson, Utica. B. S. Anderson, do. James Fountain, do. James W. Duffin, Geneva. Jason Jeffrey, d o. Noah Palk, do. H. W. Johnson, Canandagua, James Sharpe, Rochester, Ralph Francis, do, J. P. Morris, do. R. H. Johnson, do, Wm. Sanders, do, David Wycoff, do. Harrison Powell, do. James P. Jackson, do. John Granbia, Phelps. Wm. Johnson, Batavia. A. Peek, Brockport. Albert Outley, Lockport. Sampson Talbot, do. K. B. Dunlap, Niagara Falls, J. F. Platt, Penn Yan. Uriah Lett, do. George Weir, Buffalo. Wm. Hall, do. W. W. Brown, do. Abner H. Francis, do. S. H. Davis, do. Jermin W. Loguen, Bath,


J. H. Malvin, Cleveland. H. Robinson, do. David Lewis, Toledo. David Jenkins, Columbus. J. M. Cordozer, do. A. M. Sumner, Cincinnati. W. H. Yancy, do. Wm. Watson, do.


R. Banks, Detroit. W. C. Munro, do. Robert Allen, do. Henry Jackson, do. G. W. Tucker, do.


Nimrod W. Jones, Chicago.


Luke Dod.


Thomas Pollock, Raleigh.


Joseph Roxbury, Augusta.

Resolution No. I, previously reported by the committee was called up and read. Frederic Douglass proposed to amend it by inserting


the word "Christian" before the term church. The amendment, after some discussion, in which several gentlemen participated, was withdrawn. The motion then recurred upon the original resolution, upon which a spirited and somewhat lengthy discussion ensued, in which the following gentlemen participated: In the affirmative, H.H. Garnit, R.H. Johnson, F. Douglass, W.C. Munro, C. L. Remond, C.B. Ray, and J.H. Townsend; in the negative, Theo. S. Wright, E.B. Dunlap, P.Harris, and J. Sharpe.

The brethren in the affirmative all agreed in the existence of the church, but a difference of opinion existed as to what constituted the true church. They all agreed that the existing church in this country was corrupt--was wedded strongly to slavery, and was a pro-slavery church; that the passage of anti-slavery resolutions, as indicated on the face of them, was no evidence of their not being pro-slavery, while they keep what is called the negro-pew, and made a distinction at the communion-table on the ground of color; this with them was slavery in another form, its very spirit. And with respect to the leading ecclesiastical bodies, the gentlemen in the affirmative contended, that in their judgment, there was no hope of reforming them, they were so wedded to public opinion, so popularity- seeking, that they were past reforming, and that no true friend of liberty, especially no man of color, could, to be consistent, longer remain in church fellowship with them, and that they ought forthwith to withdraw from them. The brethren on the other side of the question took the old ground, that if they withdrew church fellowship, they would by that act, cut off all the influence they had, with which to reform them. Some of them did little more than to define their position as members of churches in affiliation with the great ecclesiastical bodies; they referred to acts of these bodies, to show an improvement in anti-slavery action, and which to them was great ground of hope; they thought, should they withdraw from them, they would have withdrawn from a body which soon wold be as much anti-slavery as could be desired, and they felt called upon to remain and help bring about that end. This was the ground taken, especially by Mr. Wright, of New York.

While this discussion was pending, the business committee came in and asked leave to present the following report, and upon which they asked immediate action:

Resolved, That a weekly newspaper be established in some large city, which shall be the organ of the colored people and their friends, and that each member of this Convention pledge himself to procure subscribers for it, and that an executive committee be appointed by this Convention, under whose management the paper shall be published.

Resolved, That a financial committee of three be appointed, to attend to the financial affairs of the Convention.

Resolved, That a committee be appointed to collect statistical information from the delegates present, and to make out a report upon the condition of our people.

On motion, the report was accepted.

On motion, so much of the report as referred to the establishment of a weekly newspaper was referred to the following committee for them to consider the subject and report thereon, viz,; Charles B. Ray, of New York; R. Banks, of Detroit; Wm. P. McIntire, of Albany; N.W.


Jones, of Chicago; H.H. Garnit, of Troy; T. Woodson, of Utica; S.H. Davis, of Buffalo.

The chairman appointed the following a committee on finance, viz., W. W. Brown, J. H. Platt, and J. Jeffrey.

The chair also announced the following persons a committee on the condition of the colored people, viz., J. N. Gloucester, of New York, chairman; Theo. S. Wright, of do; W. C. Munro, of Detroit; A. H. Francis, of Buffalo; W. H. Yancy, of Cincinnati; and S. Talbot, of Lockport.

The hour for adjournment having arrived, the Convention adjourned to meet at the hour appointed.

Afternoon Session.—The Convention met as per adjournment. The President in the chair. Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Davis, of Canada. The Convention united in singing a liberty song.

The roll was then called and the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

The chairman of the committee on finance reported the following resolution:

Resolved, That a collection be taken up during each session, also at the evening meetings, for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the Convention; the deficiency, whatever it may be, to be made up by the members.

The resolution was adopted.

The resolution pending at the hour of adjournment was called up, and a motion made for its reference to a select committee. The motion was lost. Charles Lennox Remond then obtained the floor, and proceeded to discuss the original resolution, taking the same view of the question as above stated. The previous question was then called for and sustained, when the question was put and the vote ordered to be taken by the yeas and nays. The resolution was adopted by the following vote: Yeas—C.L. Remond, F. Douglass, C.B. Ray, J.H. Townsend, W. P. McIntire, H.H. Garnit, T. Woodson, B.S. Anderson, J. Fountain, J. W. Duffin, J. Jeffrey, R. H. Johnson, W. Sanders, W. Johnson, A. Peek, A. Outley, S. Talbot, E. B. Dunlap, J. F. Platt, U. Lett, W. Hall, W. W. Brown, S. H. Davis, J. W. Loguen, D. Lewis, W. C. Munro, R. Banks, R. Allen, H. Jackson—23. Nays—J. N. Gloucester, J. Wandall, J. Sharpe, J. P. Morris, E. B. Dunlap, G. Weir, G. W. Tucker, N. W. Jones, J. Malvin, D. Jenkins—10.

The following persons were excused from voting, some on the ground that not having heard but partially the discussions, they were not prepared to decide; others on the ground that the discussions had produced conviction in their minds for and against the question, and they wished to be excused from voting, viz., T. S. Wright, N. Polk, H. W. Johnson, H. Powell, J. P. Jackson, J. Granbia, R. Francis, A. H. Francis, R. Robertson, A. M. Summer, W. Watson, and W. H. Yancy—13.

The business committee reported, by their chairman, H. H. Garnit, an address to the slaves of this land, prepared for the occasion, which was read and accepted.

C. B. Ray moved its reference to a select committee of five, of which he hoped Mr. Garnit, whose production the address was, would be the chairman. Mr. Ray remarked, that his object in moving its reference


to a committee was, that it might pass through a close and critical examination, and perceiving some points in it that might in print appear objectionable, to have it somewhat modified, and also that it might proceed forth from a special committee, of which the author should be the chairman, and thus receive the usual credit due to chairmen of committees presenting documents to public bodies.

H. H. Garnit arose to oppose the motion of reference, and anticipating more than was contemplated by the mover, and fearing the fate of the address, if the motion prevailed, proceeded to give his reasons why the motion should not prevail, and why the address should be adopted by the Convention, and sent out with its sanction; in doing which Mr. Garnit went into the whole merits of the case. He reviewed the abominable system of slavery, showed its mighty workings, its deeds of darkness and of death—how it robbed parents of children, and children of parents, husbands of wives; how it prostituted the daughters of the slaves; how it murdered the colored man. He referred to the fate of Denmark Vesey and his accomplices—of Nat Turner; to the burning of McIntosh, to the case of Madison Washington, as well as to many other cases—to what had been done to move the slaveholders to let go their grasp, and asked what more could be done-if we have not waited long enough—if it were not time to speak louder and longer—to take higher ground and other steps. Mr. Garnit, in this speech, occupied nearly one hour and a half, the rule having been suspended to allow him to proceed. It was a masterly effort, and the whole Convention, full as it was, was literally infused with tears. Mr. Garnit concluded amidst great applause.

Frederic Douglass, not concurring with certain points in the address, nor with the sentiments advanced by Mr.. Garnit, arose to advocate its reference to the committee, and also to reply to Mr. Garnit. Mr. Douglass remarked, that there was too much physical force, both in the address and the remarks of the speaker last up. He was for trying the moral means a little longer; that the address, could it reach the slaves, and the advice, either of the address or the gentleman, be followed, while it might not lead the slaves to rise in insurrection for liberty, would, nevertheless, and necessarily be the occasion of an insurrection; and that was what be wished in no way to have any agency in bringing about, and what we were called upon to avoid; and therefore, he hoped the motion to refer would prevail.

Mr. Garnit arose to reply, and said that the most the address said in sentiment, with what the gentleman excepted to, was, that it advised the slaves to go to their masters and tell them they wanted their liberty, and had come to ask for it; and if the master refused it, to tell them, then we shall take it, let the consequence be what it may.

Mr. Douglass said, that would lead to an insurrection, and we were called upon to avoid such a catastrophy. He wanted emancipation in a better way, as he expected to have it.

The question of reference was further discussed by James N. Gloucester, taking the same view of the case with Mr. Douglass; and by Wm. C. Munro, who opposed its reference, concurring fully in the views expressed by Mr. Garnit.


The hour for adjournment, as fixed upon by the rules, having come, the Convention adjourned to meet at 9 o'clock Thursday mornIng.

Thursday August, 27th, 1843.

Morning Session.—The Convention met pursuant to adjournment—the President in the chair—prayer by the Rev. James Sharpe of Rochester, N. Y. The members then united In singing a liberty song—the roll of the Convention was called—the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

The address to the slaves and its reference, being the subject of discussion at the hour of adjournment, the discussion was resumed, and Mr. Sharpe of Rochester, having obtained the floor, proceeded to speak in opposition to the address—the discussion under the motion having taken this wide range, Mr. Sharpe having occupied the time prescribed by the rules, asked for a suspension of them to allow him to proceed—the rules were not suspended. E. B. Dunlap of Niagara, rose to reply to Mr. Sharpe, but from the ground he took in the debate was pronounced out of order. C. B. Ray having obtained the floor, pressed his motion of reference, giving his reasons for so doing. The question was called for and put, and the motion prevailed by a large majority. The chair announced the following as the committee on the address. H. H. Garnis, chairman, F. Douglass, A. M. Sumner, S. N. Davis, and R. Banks.

The Resolution No. 2, upon the church, was then called up, and after its second reading was adopted without debate.

Resolution No. 3, upon church relations, was then called up. F. Douglass moved an amendment—the amendment was lost. C. B. Ray moved to insert the words—"and all other existing evils," after the words—"sin of slavery"—the amendment prevailed—the resolution was then adopted.

Resolution No. 4 was called up and warmly dIscussed in the affirmative of the question by Theo. S. Wright, F. Douglass, Wm. Watson, R. H. Johnson, C. L. Remond, and C. B. Ray; in opposition to it Geo. Weir. The friends in favor of the resolution took the ground that, a church that discriminated between its members on account of color, or graduated privileges upon such a principle, merely, took positive antichristian ground, and was not a true church of Christ, and that persons so proscribed and treated, ought not longer to remain in such a church or fellowship such a body of men as christians, and as christians themselves they could not consistently do so, and ought to come out from among them. Mr. Weir in opposing the resolution, supposed cases in which only such churches existed, and enquired to know where persons coming out from such churches would go. The brethren on the other side of the question replied, that where they were solitary and alone, let each set up divine worship in his own house; this were decidedly preferable to remaining in fellowship with such churches, with no hope of changing their character. Frederic Douglass moved an amendment that all after the words "equality," be stricken out; the amendment prevailed. The previous question was called for, and upon being put was lost—the motion then returned upon the resolution as amended—it was adopted.


1. Resolved, That we believe in the true Church of Christ, and that it will stand while time endures, and that it will evince its spirit by its opposition to all sins, and especially to the sin of slavery, which is a compound of all others, and that the great mass of American sects, falsely called churches, which apologize for slavery and prejudice, or practice slaveholding, are in truth no churches, but Synagogues of Satan.

2 Resolved, That we solemnly believe that slaveholding and prejudice sustaining ministers and churches (falsely so called), are the greatest enemies to Christ and to civil and religious liberty in the world.

3 Resolved, That the colored people in the free States who belong to pro-slavery sects that will not pray for the oppressed—nor preach the truth in regard to the sin of slavery and all other existing evils, nor publish anti-slavery meetings, nor act for the entire immediate abolition of slavery, are guilty of enslaving themselves and others, and their blood, and the blood of perishing millions will be upon their heads

4. Resolved, That it is the bounden duty of every person to come out from among those religious organizations in which they are not permitted to enjoy equality.

The Convention then adjourned to meet at the hour fixed upon by the rules.

Afternoon Session.--The Convention met according to adjournment—the President in the chair--prayer by the Rev, J.H. Townsend of Albany. The members united in singing a liberty song—the roll was then called and the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. Mr. T. T. Tatum of Buffalo, now rose and announced that a gentIeman of Pittsburgh, Pa., had forwarded to the friends of the slave nine fugitive slaves, and that one of the number was now in the house—(great cheering). The person was called to show himself, also to give his name, and where from; this being done, H. H. Garnit arose and moved that Mr. Dod be a delegate to this Convention from Virginia—the motion was carried with cheers. C.B. Ray arose and moved that Thomas Pollock from Raleigh, N.C., being present under similar circumstances, be considered a member from North Carolina; the motion was unanimously carried.

The next business in order was a series of resolutions from the business committee previously reported, numbering 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Resolution No. 5 was called up and read, and upon motion to adopt, Frederic Douglass arose and spoke in opposition to the resolution. W.W. Brown, C, L. Remond, R. Francis and P. Harris, also opposed its adoption. The resolution was advocated by H.H. Garnit, Wm. C. Munro, J. N. Gloucester, Theo. S. Wright, David Lewis and C.B. Ray. The brethren on the opposition contended, that this was decidedly a Liberty party resolution, that they did not come here to adopt the Liberty party—that they were opposed to that party—some of them said they were opposed to all parties, believed them verily and necessarily corrupt, and our friends from Mass., said they would not except the Liberty party. Some of the brethren on the other side of the question, said that, as this resolution did not mention party, it could not be said that we were adopting any party; others of them contended that this did adopt the Liberty party, for that reason they went for it, if it did not they would go against the resolution and so amend it, as to make it take still stronger ground, and they considered that the question of the Liberty party was now fairly before the Convention, and they felt bound to go for it. The


question was fully and fairly discussed warmly on both sides, and the resolution was adopted wIth but 7 dissenting voices.

Resolution No. 6 was called up, read and adopted wIthout debate.

Resolution No. 7 upon Agriculture, was read, and on motion referred to a committee of five to consider which and report as early as possible. The chair announced the following gentlemen on saId commIttee. Charles B. Ray, of New York, chairman, A. M. Sumner, and W. H. Yancy of Cincinnati, O. D. Jenkins, of Columbus, O., and Sampson Talbot, of Lockport, N. Y.

Resolution No. 8, upon the mechanic arts was read, and on motIon referred to a committee of three to consider which, and report at the earliest possible period. The chair announce the following gentlemen on said committee. Robert Banks, of Detroit, Mich., Geo. Weir, of Buffalo, and James Fountain, Utica, N. Y.

Resolution No. 9 on Temperance, was called up, and after a few remarks from several gentlemen, setting forth the glorious influence, and happy effects of the Temperance movements upon the community, and urging upon the Convention the importance of practically holding up those principles in our several communities, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 10, offered to the Convention under rule 13, by Wm. C. Munro, was on motion laid upon the table, to be made the order of the day immediately after the opening of the evening session.*

The hour for adjournment having come, the Convention adjourned to meet at half past 7 o'clock.

5. Resolved, That it is the duty of every lover of liberty to vote the Liberty ticket so long as they are consistent to their principles.

6. Resolved, That we believe that it is possible for human governments to be righteous as it is for human beings to be righteous, and that God-fearing men can make the government of our country well pleasing in his right, and that slavery can be abolished by its instrumentality.

7. Resolved, That this Convention recommend and encourage agricultural pursuits among our people generally, as the surest and speadiest road to wealth, influence and respectability.

8. Resolved, That this Convention recommend to our people the importance of aspiring to a knowledge of all the Mechanic arts of the age.

9. Resolved, That among the various and important measures for the improvement of our people, this Convention view the principles of Temperance as of vital import, and we urge the hearty adoption of them by our whole people.

Evening Session.—The Convention met as per adjournment. Henry Johnson, one of the Vice Presidents in the chair. Prayer by the Rev. Geo. Weir, of Buffalo—the roll of the Convention was called—the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. The resolution of Wm. C. Munro being the order of the day, was called up and Mr. Munro proceeded to discuss the subject matter of the resolution, which he did in a very forcible manner. He endeavored to show the absurdity of several decisions having been made in inferior courts, that colored men though native and free born were not citizens. Mr. Munro thought it high time for us to speak out upon this subject, and that the present was the time. The resolution was opposed by R. H. Johnson. While this question was pending, the committee to whom bad been

  • This resolution after having been called up and discussed two several times, was indefinitely postponed and finally voted to be expunged from the minutes.


referred the address to the slaves, came in and announced that they were ready to report. Frederic Douglass claimed the privilege of speaking to the resolution pending—the house voted that Mr. Douglass proceed:—he opposed the resolution, and stated that the constitution of this country was a slaveholding instrument, and as such denied all rights to the colored man. Others who opposed the resolution, said that its sentiments were self-evident—that nothing could be plainer, than that native free born men must be citizens, and that the converse of this was palbably absurd—it was for this reason that they were opposed to the resolution; it was too plain and self-evident, to be entertained by the Convention for a moment, and they were opposed to bringing it in, and now that it was before us, to entertain it for a moment. While this subject was pending, a motion was made that the report of the committee on the address (the report of the committee being in order), be the first thing in order to-morrow morning—the motion was lost—the committee then presented the address with some very slight alterations: they also reported the following resolution.

Resolved, That each member of this Convention who is friendly to the sentiments contained in this address, come forward and sign it in the name of the ever living God, and that measures be taken to print 1000 copies for circulation—The report was accepted.

A motion was made that to-morrow at 10 o'clock be the order of the day to collect reports and statistical information from the delegates upon the state and condition of our people.

A motion was made by Mr. Sumner of Cincinnati, that the further consideration of the address to the slaves, be laid over until to-morrow at 2 o'clock P. M. Mr. Wright of New York, proposed an amendment—to fix the time at 9 o'clock A. M., instead of 2 P. M.—While this motion was pending, the hour for adjournment having come, the Convention adjourned to meet as per the rules.

Friday, August 18th, 1843.

Morning Session.—The Convention met according to adjournment. The president in the chair—prayer by the Rev. Mr. Malvin, of Cleveland, O.—The roll of the Convention was then called, and the minutes of the previous meeting read and approved. C. L. Remond moved a reconsideration of the vote by which the minutes had been approved—the motion did not prevail.

C. B. Ray moved, that one of the assistant secretaries having left the city, and the other being detained on business, that two persons be appointed to fill their places protempore—whereupon Messrs. W. P. McIntire and W. H. Yancy were on motion appointed.

The address to the slaves, with the resolution attached, being under consideration at the hour of adjournment, now being the order of the day, was called up, and Mr. Sharpe, of Rochester, obtained the floor to speak in opposition to it. The subject was further discussed on the same side by Mr. W. Watson of Cincinnati, and by Mr. Malvin of Cleveland, O. The president then announced that the order of the day had arrived, it being to hear reports and to collect statistics upon the condition of our people.



On motion of Charles B. Ray, it was resolved that we do adjourn sine die on, or before 12 o'clock to-night.

On motion of Mr. A. M. Sumner, it was Resolved, That the order of the day be suspended that we may proceed to consider the address to the slaves, and the resolution attached. Mr. Sumner proceeded to oppose the address. He remarked that the adoption of that address by the Convention would be fatal to the safety of the free people of color of the slave States, but especially so to those who lived on the borders of the free States; and living in Cincinnati as he did, he thought he was fully prepared to anticipate very properly what mIght be the result thereabouts and he felt bound on behalf of hImself and his constituents, to oppose its passage. Mr. Sumner said, that we of Cincinnati were prepared to meet any thing that may come upon us unprovoked, but we were not ready injudiciously to provoke difficulty; he entreated the Convention to pause before they adopted the address.

Mr. Munro moved that no person who had before spoken on this subject be permitted to speak more than ten minutes—it was carried.

Messrs. Watson of Cincinnati, and Jenkins of Columbus, O., and Malvin of Cleveland, O., took the same view of the question with Mr. Sumner. The subject was further opposed by Messrs. Outley of Lockport, N. Y., Remond of Salem, Mass., and Brown of Buffalo. The subject was advocated by Messrs. Johnson of Rochester, and Lewis of Toledo, O.; they concurred with Mr. Garnit, and thought it was tIme to speak the sentiments of this address.

Mr. Garmit then rose and spoke at length, he being allowed by vote an additional ten minutes, urging the adoption of this address. He took much the same view of the subject that he had before taken, excepting that he reviewed the objections of the brethren who thought it would be fatal to the free people of the slave states, and to those also on the borders of the free states.

C. B. Ray, chairman of the committee to whom had been referred the subject of the Press, announced on behalf of the committee, that they were ready to report—the report was accepted and laid on the table to be called up at the next session. The hour for adjournment having arrived, the Convention adjourned.

Afternoon Session.—The Convention met pursuant to adjournment—the president in the chair—prayer by the Rev. Mr. Watson of O. The members united in singing a liberty song. The roll of the Convention was called—the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

Tho committee to whom had been referred the subject of the Mechanic Arts, reported by their chairman Robert Banks—the report was accepted and on motion adopted. For the report see page 26.

The address to the slaves now being the order of the day, Frederic Douglass rose and made some forcible remarks against its adoption. Mr. Townsend of Albany, moved that the question upon the address be now taken—it was carried. Mr. Remond moved that the question be taken by the yeas and nays—carried. The question being taken was lost by the following vote. Yeas—Theo. S. Wright, J. H. Townsend, W. P. Mclntire, H. H. Garnit, John Wandall, T. Woodson, James Fountain,


Jason Jeffrey, H. W. Johnson, A. Peek, R. H. Johnson, S. Talbot, E. B. Dunlap, U. Lett, D. Lewis, W. C. Munto, R. Banks, R. Allen—18. Nays—C. Lennox Remond, F. Douglass, James Sharpe, J. P. Morris, R. Francis, W. Johnson, A. Outley, J. F. Platt, G. Weir, W . W. Brown, S. H. Davis, A. M. Sumner, W. Watson, W. H. Yancy, D. Jenkins, G. W. Tucker, H. Jackson, N. W. Jones, Joseph Roxbury—19.

On motion it was resolved that all persons having statistical information respecting our people, report the same to the committee on the condition of the colored people.

The business committee reported a series of resolutions on colonization—the report was accepted.

It was on motion resolved, that the resolutions be taken up separately.

Resolution No. 11 was called up, and after a few remarks explanatory of the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 12 was read and adopted without debate.

Resolution No. 13 was then taken up and supported by Mr. Munro, of Mich.—R. H. Johnson rose to reply. Mr. Wright of New York, moved the previous question-the motion was carried—the motion then recurred upon the resolution—it was adopted.

Resolution No. 14 was called up, read and adopted without debate.

Resolution No. 15 was also adopted without debate.

Resolution No. 16 upon Colonization Missionaries was called up and read; this resolution elicited remarks from several gentIemen.—Some of them enquired if the Colonization Society as such, had in fact any Missionaries proper under their control—if they had not, we ought not to infer that they had, and say so as did this resolution; if they had, then the resolution ought to pass in its present form-they further said that there were Missionary operations in and about Liberia, to which this resolution would in truth apply, and they were for so applying it-but they believed those Missionaries were not under the auspices of the Colonization Society. The brethren on the other side said that whether these Missionaries were, or were not directly under the auspices of the Colonization Society, they supported and encouraged it, and threw themselves upon it for protection; and it encouraged-supported, and in some form protected them; and if they were not one in form, they were in fact, and the resolution fitly applied to them. The brethren on the other side admitted that the resolution did apply to them in spirit, all they wanted was that it might be so worded as to apply to them strictly in letter.

Resolution No. 17 was taken up, and adopted without debate.

11. Resolved, That it may be possible that the scheme of American Colonization was originally established upon pure motives; but if it were, its subsequent operations show that it has been fostered and sustained by the murderous spirit of slavery and prejudice.

12 Resolved, That such being the character of the institution, it has neither the confidence or respect of the free people of color of the United States.

13 Resolved, That the manner in which the American Colonization Society secures its victims—to wit, by begging slaveholders to emancipate their slaves, only on condition that they will go to Liberia, shows in what low estimation it should be held by the common sense, and philanthropy of the nation.

14. Resolved, That those professed ministers of the gospel, and professing christians, who believe and declare that the pure gospel cannot elevate our race in this


part of the world, are blind guides and shamefully ignorant, and that they libel pure religion and undefiled, which is able to exalt man from his lowest estate, to companionship with God and angels.

15. Resolved, That inasmuch as this is our native land, and as our sweat and blood have been poured out in it, that neither persuasion, intrigue or physical force shall drive us from it.

16. Resolved, That we entertain but a very poor opinion of the Missionary efforts of the American Colonization Society, and that we have formed our opinions from the facts elicited from some of the Missionaries themselves, wherein they have stated that they had shot down some of the natives to whom they were sent to preach the gospel.

17. Resolved, That we believe that the American Colonization Society has done incalculable injury to Africa, by swallowing up all the good that was intended for that unfortunate and much abused country.*

The report upon the Press which had been laid upon the table, was now called up and read, and on motion was adopted—with the resolutions accompanying it. See page 27.

The business committee reported the following resolution: the report was accepted and on motion adopted.

18 Resolved, That this Convention appoint a Corresponding Committee, consisting of two from each state, whose business it shall be to issue a call for another National Convention whenever they shall deem it expedient, and that said committee be appointed by the house.

19 Resolved, That this Convention designate the place for the meeting of the next National Convention.

It was moved that the house do now proceed to appoint said Committee, and to designate the place for the holding of the next Convention.

The house appointed the following corresponding committee,—for the State of Maine, Rev. A. N. Freeman, and H. G. Piere; N. H., Rev. J. W. Lewis; Mass., J. T. Hilton and Wm. C. Nell; R. I., J. E. Crawford and A. Nigers; Conn., Rev. J. W. C. Pennington and A. G. Beman; New York, Rev. H. H. Garnit and James W. Duffin; New Jersey, L.P. Rogers and J. C. Morel; Penn., John Lewis and J B. Vashon; Ohio, A. M, Sumner and D. Jenkins; Mich., Rev. W. C. Munro and Mr. Freeman of Ann Arbor, Indiana; A. Duncan of Madison; J. G. M. Britton of Indianapolis, Illinois; N. W. Jones of Chicago; M. Robinson of Alton.

On motion it was unanimously resolved, that the city of Troy, N.Y., be the place in which to hold the next Convention.

A resolution on the subject of travelling on the public highway was presented and laid on the table.

The committee to whom had been referred the subject of Agriculture announced through their chairman. C. B. Ray, that they were ready to report—the report was called for, read and accepted. It was moved that it be adopted—upon the motion to adopt Mr. Townsend of Albany, wished to make a few remarks; he said he thanked the committee for bringing in that report—it was just what we wanted; just what this Convention ought to send out to the world; he believed that

  • It is proper to state that this series of resolutions elicited but very little debate as there was but one sentiment in the Convention upon that subject, and that sentiment had been so often and so fully expressed.


our people would have to turn their attention to Agriculture before they would ever be an elevated people; he spoke of the great evil in people's clustering about the large cities, and picking up just what they could get to do, and never having any thing permanent; he had lived in some of those cities, and had seen much to convince him of the bad policy of so clustering about them; he said he hoped, as he doubted not, the report would be unanimously adopted. Mr. Weir of Buffalo also spoke in favor of the report; he advanced about the same train of thought with Mr. Townsend, he hoped the report would be adopted—the report was adopted. See page 30.

The committee on the condition of the colored people announced through their chairman, J. N. Gloucester, that they were ready to report, upon which several members rose and said that they had in their possession statistical information, which they had not handed to the committee—they were requested to do so, to enable the committee to complete their report.

The business committee reported a series of resolutions upon various subjects, which report was accepted.

It was on motion resolved, that the resolutions be taken up separately.

Resolution No. 20 upon the success of the abolition cause was called for, and Its adoption was moved, when Mr. Wright of New York rose and proceeded to make some remarks upon the resolution—he referred to the self-denying spirit of the anti-slavery men of this country, and briefly reviewed the history and progress of the cause, and remarked that its triumph thus far was a matter that called for thankfulness to the God of the oppressed. The resolution was then unanimously adopted.

ResolutIon No. 21 was read and adopted without debate.

Resolution No. 22, also upon slavery, was read and adopted without remark.

Resolution No. 23, upon State Conventions of our people, was then read and adopted without debate.

Resolution No. 24, with the preamble attached upon education, and the moral training of our youth was read, and after a few remarks from several gentlemen approving highly of its subject matter, in the course of whose remarks one gentleman took occasion also to express his regret that the subject of education had not been brought forward at an earlier day, so that It could have been referred to a committee in time for them to have considered and reported ably upon the subject*—it was then adopted.

Resolution No. 25, upon the formation of the Freeman's Party, was read, and its adoption being called for, was opposed by F. Douglass, C. L. Remond, and W. W. Brown: and warmly advocated by H. H. Garnit, W. C. Munro, and others. The gentlemen in the opposition said, that the Freeman's Party, to which the resolution referred, they took for granted was the Liberty party so called,—if so, they did not hail it at all, much less did they hail it with pleasure—they neither believed in the party, nor in the leading men of the party, and as a matter of course could not, and would not enroll themselves under its broad banner, nor encourage others to do so; and they remarked that they

  • It is proper here to state, that this resolution had, in the hurry of matters, been overlooked, until it was too late for a Committee to report upon it, and do the subject justice, as was intended.


were opposed to the resolution for the same reasons that they were opposed to the resolution previously adopted approving of the Liberty Party, and as that had already been adopted, and the Convention in their judgment had shown itself a Liberty Party Convention, it mattered less to them as to what disposition was made of this resolution.

The gentlemen on the affirmative side of the question remarked, in substance, that by the Freeman's Party the Liberty Party was meant, and that believing most heartily in the principles of the party, in its measures and in its object, having confidence In its leaders, and believing, further, that the cause of human liberty in this country demanded the existence of such a party, that they hailed it with peculiar pleasure, and were not only ready, but believed it to be their duty to enlist under its broad banner. They sincerely believed that the cause of the slave demanded it of them, and also that they should encourage and persuade all others to do so likewise; and they therefore urged the adoption of the resolution. The resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 26 was then read, and without debate adopted.

20th. Resolved, That we return devout thanks to the God of the oppressed for the signal success which has followed the self-denying efforts of the abolition host of these United States.

21st. Resolved, That in the opinion of this Convention, the disabilities of the nominally free people of this country flow from slavery, and that while that heaven-daring system continues, our entire enfranchisement will be retarded—and hence we are loudly called upon to labor, in connection with the friends of impartial liberty, for the entire destruction of this destructive system

22d. Resolved, That notwithstanding the numerous obstacles before us, and the great opposition to our cause, having our faith in God and in his truth, we will gird on the panoply of heaven, and pledge ourselves anew to the slave, to his master, and to the God of all, that the sword of truth, by us unsheathed, shall never return to its scabbard, till slavery is dead, till lamentation and mourning ceases, and righteousness exalts the nation.

23d. Resolved, That this Convention view, with feelings of satisfaction and hope, the spirit evinced by the State Conventions of our people, which have been held for the consideration of their moral and political interests, and do recommend this mode of action to all of our brethren who are oppressed with State legal disabilities.

24th. Believing that the possession of moral and intellectual worth are the legitimate sources of power, and that just in proportion as an individual or people possess these qualities, they will have the respect of all good men. Therefore

Resolved, That we urge upon our people everywhere, especially upon parents, the all-engrossing subject of the education and moral training of the young and rising generation, as an essentially important means of bettering the condition, and of elevating our whole people.

25th. Resolved, That we hail with pleasure the organization of the Freeman's Party, based upon the great principles contained in the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal, and that we cheerfully enroll ourselves under its broad banner, and hereby pledge to each other and to the world, our sacred honor, never to disband until liberty shall be proclaimed throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.

26th. Resolved, That we recommend to the Freemen of this nation immediately to organize Liberty Associations in their respective counties, where they have not already done so, and nominate tried friends of liberty for all the offices for which they will be called to vote.

The hour for adjournment having come, the Convention adjourned to meet at half-past 7 o'clock.

Evening Session.—The Convention met as per adjournment, the President in the chair. Prayer by the Rev. Charles B. Ray. The roll of the Convention was called, and the minutes of the previous


meeting read and approved. The Convention united in singing a liberty song. The business committee reported complete. The report was accepted.

J. N. Gloucester, chairman of the committee upon the condition of the colored people, announced that the committee were ready to report. The report was read, and, on motion, adopted. (See last Report.

R. Francis, having voted with the majority upon the address to the slaves, now moved a reconsideration of that vote.

Mr. Ray, of New York, rose and opposed the reconsideration of the vote, and gave his reasons, among others, that that subject had already occupied too much of the time of the Convention, and they had fixed upon the hour for the final adjournment of the Convention; that they had as much business before them as could be attended to in the interim, and if this subject should now come up again, it would consume all the time to the hour of adjournment; for himself, with many others who had not yet spoken upon the subject, and had intended not to, would feel called upon to express their views upon the subject.

Mr. Sumner, of Ohio, objected to reconsider the vote, on the ground that several persons having remained to the Convention longer than they had at first intended, expressly to vote upon that subject and see it finally disposed of, had left the Convention, and he feared, that fact being known, that advantage had been taken of it; and he was, for this reason, as well as for many others, opposed to reconsider the vote.

Mr. Banks, of Michigan, said, though having voted with the majority, he was, nevertheless opposed to reconsider the vote, for the same reasons, among others, as stated by Mr. Sumner. He thought that justice demanded that it should not be reconsidered.

Upon the question being taken, the vote was reconsidered.

Mr. Francis, of Rochester, then rose and advocated the adoption of the address, and stated, that since the adjournment he had changed his mind in respect to it, and should the question be taken, should change his vote.

Mr. Morris, of Rochester, said he had also changed his mind in respect to the merit of the address, and should also change his vote.

The President now evacuated the chair to one of the Vice Presidents, and took the floor to speak in opposition to the address. He said that he should probably want one hour to express his views upon the subject before us, whereupon the Convention suspended the rules to give him time. Mr. Beman took a moral view of the subject, and opposed it principally upon moral grounds. He said that he objected to it because it had too much of the physical, and not enough of the moral weapon about it. The remarks of Mr. Beman were of great force, and produced effect upon the audience.

Mr. Garnit rose and replied to Mr. Beman; he endeavored to meet the objections raised by the President.

Mr. Douglass spoke forcibly in opposition to the address.

Mr. Remond spoke upon the same side of the question.

Mr. Ray rose and proceeded to speak in opposition to the address, but owing to the lateness of the hour, and the time having nearly come to adjourn, he did not proceed to give his views.

Several voices were for taking the question. The President


announced that we had but a few minutes before the time would come for us to adjourn, and we had business yet to do. Some were for continuing in session until we had finished our business; others were for adjourning until to-morrow morning at six o'clock. The President announced that the time when we were to adjourn had about expired, and he should have to consider the Convention adjourned unless some action to the contrary was taken; that what was done must be done now.

Mr. Sumner, of Ohio, moved that we now adjourn to meet to-morrow at nine o'clock, and that the final vote upon the address be taken at half-past nine o'clock.

The motion was carried, and the Convention adjourned as per the vote.

Saturday, August 19th, 1843.

Morning Session.—The Convention met according to adjournment. The President in the chair. Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Wright, of New York.

It was on motion, resolved that we adjourn, without day, at eleven o'clock, A. M.

It was moved that we dispense with the reading of the roll, singing, &c. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

The hour having come when the final vote upon the address was to be taken, it was moved that the vote be taken by the yeas and nays—carried. Upon the question being taken, it was again rejected by the following vote:

Yeas.—J. H. Townsend, W. P. McIntire, H. H. Garnit, J. Wandall, E. B. Dunlap, W. C. Munro, R. Allen, N. W. Jones, J. Roxburg—9.

Nays.— C. L. Remond, F. Douglass, A. G. Beman, T. S. Wright, C. B. Ray, B. S. Anderson, J. Fountain, J. Sharpe, G. Weir, A. M. Sumner, W. H. Yancy, D. Jenkins, G. W. Tucker, T. Pollock.—14.

On motion of Mr. Wright, of New York, it was resolved that we now take up the resolution of Wm. C. Munro, upon the rights of citizenship under the Constitution.

On motion of Mr. Sumner, of Ohio, it was indefinitely postponed.

On motion of Mr. Sumner, it was expunged from the minutes.

It was on motion resolved, that we take up the remainder of the report from the business committee.

The following plan of operations, submitted by the committee on business, was read, and on motion adopted:


The committee would respectfully recommend that at least one lecturer be employed to travel through each of the free States of this Union, to present to the people the disabilities and claims of the oppressed colored people of this land.

That such persons only shall be employed who are well informed in regard to the condition, sentiments, wants, and wishes of the colored people.

The lecturers be instructed, especially, to urge the following subjects upon the consideration of our people, viz., education—associations for improvement in science and literature—temperance—practical abolitionism—Sabbath-schools and an intelligent ministry, and an application to the mechanic arts.

That the lecturers also acquaint themselves with the advantages of agriculture,


and recommend to our people in the cities and large towns, to remove to the country, and become the owners and cultivators of the soil.

That a paper be established in some large city, to be the organ the colored people, and that in such a case, the lecturers be appointed as agents, to lay its claims before the people, and urge the importance of subscribing for it, and rendering to it a hearty support.

Resolution No. 27, upon the exercise of the suffrage, was taken up, and on motion adopted.

Resolution No. 28, upon the character of the two leading political parties, was read, and on motion adopted without remark.

27th. Resolved, That those who enjoy free suffrage, and who use it to elevate slaveholders and their apologists to office, are practical opposers of the basest kind, and that those who, having the power to redeem their fellow-men, by their votes, and who refuse to do it, are in effect the same.

28th. Resolved, That it is evident that the two great political parties, (the Whig and Democratic,) must of course be pro slavery, while they rule, and slavery exists; and therefore we recommend our brethren, who are qualified to vote, to give their suffrage to the Liberty Party, which has the abolition of slavery for its main object.

James H. Gloucester, of New York, offered the following resolution, which was on motion adopted:

29th. Resolved, That we hail with great emotions of joy the recent sitting of the World's Convention, in the city of London, for the entire overthrow of slavery throughout the world; and we pray God that It may never cease its triennial assemblings until the great object be consummated.

The following resolution was offered by H. H. Garnit, and on motion adopted unanimously:

30th. Resolved, That we hail with joy the progress which the people of Ireland are making in the cause of liberty, and tender them our hearty sympathy.

The chair then announced the fallowing persons as the committee to take measures to establish a press, to be the organ of the colored people of this country, as recommended in the report on the press, viz: C. B. Ray, P. A. Bell, and Theo. S. Wright, of New York; J. W C. Pennington, of Hartford, Conn.; A. G. Beman, of New Haven, Conn.; H. H. Garnit, of Troy, N. Y.; S. E. Cornish, of Newark, N. J. The committees for the several States, to be the same persons constituting the committee upon the call of another Convention.

The chair also announced the following named persons to constitute the committee to publish the proceedings of this Convention, viz., C. B. Ray, H. H. Garnit, T. S. Wright, and W. P. McIntosh.

On motion, the President was added to the committee on publication.

On motion, it was resolved that the minutes be published in pamphlet form.

Upon this motion, the Secretary arose and stated to the Convention that it would take upwards of $50 to meet the expense of issuing them in pamphlet form. He suggested, that if the delegates present were not prepared to furnish that amount of money down, that each delegation present, subscribe for as many copies as they would take, and forward the money to the committee, immediately upon their return home, as the committee would not feel warranted to publish the proceedings



until sufficient money to cover the expense should be furnished them. This proposition was accepted.

The finance committee then reported, that the money collected during the sessions of the body had been more than sufficient to cover the expense, by the sum of eight dollars.

It was moved that the balance be placed in the hands of the publishing committee 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 adopted:

Resolved, That we tender a vote of thanks to our friends in Buffalo, who have so kindly entertained us during our stay among them.

Resolved, That we present our sincere thanks to the citizens of Buffalo, for their attendance at our meetings, for the interest they have manifested, and the attention given to our deliberations during our session.

Resolved, That a vote of thanks be tendered to the trustees of this Hall for the free use of it, and especially to the officers of the Park Street Church for opening their doors for the public meetings of this Convention.

Resolved, That a vote of thanks be tendered to the President for the impartial manner with which he has presided over our deliberations, and to the other officers of the Convention, and also to the Chairman of the Business Committee, for his faithfulness in furnishing business for the Convention.

Resolved, That we adjourn sine die, by rendering thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, who has spread his shield of protection over us, and has favored us with his approving smile.

The Rev. Theo. S. Wright then led the Convention in devout thanksgiving to Almighty God. The convention then united in singing a hymn of praise, after which we parted to meet each other again, we hope, in Convention, if need be, either by representation or in person; if not, to meet, we hope, where there will be no occasion to deliberate upon measures to deliver from slavery and wrongs imposed; but where all shall be equals and free in the highest and most glorious sense.

Thus ended our Convention, after a pleasant but laborious session of four days and a half.



The committee would have been glad to have drawn up a more full report, and gone more into detail, but time would not permit. We cannot too earnestly recommend to our people the importance of the mechanic arts. In almost every age of the world, this has been a subject of deep importance to the people; and the nearer the mechanical arts have been carried to perfection, the higher have the people risen in wealth and intellect. It is a branch of industry which naturally expands the mind; and every country where proper attention is paid to education, the mechanics form a powerful and influential body. Many of the ablest statesmen, divines, and philanthropists of this country, and in other countries, have arisen from this class. Our duty to ourselves and our posterity should impell us into all those avenues which will influence and elevate our characters. Our destiny is upward and onward. Every thing around us is on the move, and pressing forward to greater perfection. We again earnestly entreat our people to improve every opportunity in which they or their children can learn the mechanical arts.



Your committee, to whom had been referred the subject of a press, having, in the brief time allotted to them, considered the subject, beg leave now to report.

Your committee entertain the common views entertained of the power and influence of the press, for good or for evil; they believe that much of the existing good, as well as of the evil in the world, owes itself to the press as an instrumentality, and that most of the peculiar evils to which we of this country are subjected, if not brought into existence, are now sustained by the power and influence of the press; that slave-holding, in this country, finds now, as it ever has found, support and a grand means of defence, in the influence of the newspaper press; that that peculiar and unhallowed sensibility, so prevalent in this country, called prejudice against color, has become wider spread, and firmer fixed, by the views and sentiments which sustain it, having been taken up and palmed off upon the reading public by the press.

Your committee also are of the opinion that, if the press, with its almost mysterious influence, is so productive of mischief to us, as they really believe it has been, and as proof or which they would say, let all


the mobs of the land answer, that the same power, in proper hands, but especially in our own, would be exerted, or at least might be, not only merely to counteract the influences against us, but be made an instrumentality to promote positive good, the tendency of which would be to elevate the people ; in other words, a press in our own hands would be wielded to disabuse the public mind in respect to us, and correct the false views and sentiments entertained of us, and of questions necessary to our general welfare, and would be the means of promoting correct views and sentiments in reference to the same objects.

The press takes hold of the public mind, and gets at the public heart; its influence reaches the spot to form and influence public opinion ; and to what do the disabilities of the colored people and the slavery of this country owe their existence, more than to public opinion ? What is a more fruitful source of evil than public opinion, when wrongly formed ? This, then, once corrected, and formed as it should be, and our work, so far as the influences from without are concerned, is done. If one class of the people ought to have a press absolutely under their control, it is that class who are the proscribed, and whose rights are cloven down.

Your committee believe that the press may not, and will not only be wielded successfully in combatting and turning away the influences which are without, but it will be exceedingly useful in the influence it may and will exert within, or among ourselves. 1st.—A paper emanating from, and circulating among us, will bring us almost as it were in contact; will make us better acquainted with each other, and with the doings of each other. It will also have the tendency to unite us in a stronger bond, by teaching us that our cause and our interests are one and common, and that what is for the interest of the one, or a point gained in our common cause in one section of the country, is for the interest of all, or a point gained by all. Besides, being the organ of the whole, it would necessarily chronicle the public measures of the whole, and thus become a medium to enable us to learn about, as well as from each other.

A papersuch as it should be, necessarily conveys general information, and becomes a means of knowledge : no instrumentality is more efficient in conveying information upon general subjects than the newspaper press. If It be a means of knowledge, then it aids in the formation of character, and every family, especially where there are children, ought to take a newspaper for the information it contains. But if papers tend to the formation of character, then ought we to see to it that papers only of correct sentiments come into the hands of our children.

Your committee, while they see evidently the necessity of having established amongst us a good newspaper, find many difficulties in the way of establishing one in the present state of things, and hardly have known to what conclusion to come. They admit that we are enough in numbers to sustain three or four papers; that there are men and women enough among us searching for useful information, and whose love of improvement lead them to feel the necessity of, and most heartily desire to have a paper, to sustain one; but to get properly at these, is a work of time, of labor, and expense.

A paper to be well sustained must have at least two thousand


punctually paying subscribers, and if these subscribers are to be obtained, and continued, as experience has taught us they must be, by travelling agents who must receive a compensation for their services, then it must have three thousand or more punctually paying subscribers. If a paper cannot be well sustained with less than two thousand well paying subscribers, and as much time must necessarily elapse before such a number could be obtained, they therefore conceive here a difficulty in the way of establishing one, unless a few hundred dollars, with which to carry it through the first year, can be procured, either by loan or by contribution, the latter of which may, and ought to be done.

Finally, your committee are of the opinion, in view of the necessities of the case, and that something ought to be done, that this Convention ought to take measures, notwithstanding the difficulties in the way, to establish a paper of their own, as an organ for the people; or in the event that one should be established, by any individual enterprise, of a proper character, to pledge itself to its support, by now appointing a committee whose business it shall be either to get up a paper, or in the event that one should be got up of a proper character, to adopt it as the organ of the people, and to recommend it to their patronage and support.

They would further recommend, that a committee of two from each State be appointed as a standing committee of correspondence upon the subject of the paper, whose business it shall be to appoint an agent, or agents, as the case may require, to canvass their respective States—to lay the claims of the paper before the people of those States—to procure subscribers for it, and otherwise to solicit funds in its behalf; to lecture also upon the general condition of our people, upon the various subjects that interest and concern them—to urge them also to form lyceums for improvement in literature—and temperance and benevolent societies. Such agent shall be accountable to the State committees, and said committees shall be accountable to them for their salaries, which, however, shall be a fixed percentage upon the moneys they may raise, and shall come out of said moneys; provided, however, that said salary shall not exceed 33 1-3 per cent on the moneys raised, the balance to be paid directly to the proprietor of the paper; or, should the Convention establish one, to the person or persons they may appoint to manage it.

Should the Convention take measures to establish a paper, your committee believe that it ought to be published in the city of New-York, it being the great commercial mart of this nation, as well as the centre of all the great benevolent operations of the country. The foregoing is the only favorable plan the committee, from the circumstances of the case, have been able to light upon. They would recommend the following resolutions :—

Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed by this Convention to take measures, as soon as may be, to establish a weekly paper, devoted impartially to the welfare of our whole people, without regard to condition, and to the welfare of humanity universally—to appoint an editor and publisher, and to fix their salaries; or in the event they should not establish a paper, and one should be commenced a s an individual enterprise, of a proper character, to recommend said paper as entitled to the patronage and support of the people.


Resolved, That this Convention appoint a committee of two from each State, with power to increase their numbers, whose business it shall be to carry out the recommendations in the foregoing report, which refers to State committees upon the subject of a newspaper.

All which is respectfully submitted.

{ CHARLES B.RAY, R. BANKS, Wm. P. McIntire, N. W. JONES, H.H. GARNIT, T. WOODSON, S. H. DAVIS, } Committee.


Your committee, to whom had been referred the subject of Agriculture, regret that they have not had time to consider the subject so fully as its nature and importance demands. They beg leave, however, to submit the following as the result of their deliberations.

Among the variety of things, as well in our own country, as in all civilized countries, which tend to elevate man, or at least to bring him into more favorable notice, wealth is among the most prominent.—Whether this ought so to be is another question; but such is the state of society, that nothing is more notorious than that such is the fact. And to become wealthy, or to place one in easy circumstances, is, after all, the great aim, the absorbing thing with all people, and no less so with our own people.

Your committee admit, that there are various standards of wealth, varying according to circumstances and habits of country, and of place; but we believe, that to be independent, or in circumstances where we have a competency of the necessary things of life, is to be wealthy—and that the farmer alone, who is the owner of the soil he cultivates,can in reality be in such circumstances of independency. We admit, that there can be no absolute independence—that mankind are more or less dependant upon one another; but such a state of independence as may, in the nature of things exist, the farmer alone possesses.

Your committee would further say, that there is, and can be no real wealth, but in the possession of the soil. The soil alone possesses a real value—all other things have only a relative value: their value is to be computed from the amount of land they will purchase. Money and all other things are only creatures of exchange—representatives of a real value—that is only a real value which can be made to serve the real purposes of life, the demands of our physical being; money and all other commodities are of real value, or are useless only, as they do, or do not answer this purpose; for this alone are they really wanted, and that which will directly serve this purpose, is not only really wealth, but the only wealth whIch is needed. The committee avow, that the soil alone is absolutely capable of doing this, all other things being but creatures of exchange; and hjowever much they may be used towards


contributing to this purpose, are but means to that end, of which the soil is the real source of supply. Money, ships, houses, merchandise the professions, the mechanic arts, all these, however much to be appreciate in their proper use, are valueless, unless mother earth shall have first opened her hands, and supplied us of her bounty; they cannot meet the demands of our nature, and with all the pearls of the ocean in possession, and the real wants of our nature unsupplied, would that be wealth?

Your committee insist upon it, that the man who owns his farm unencumbered, with the necessary accompaniments, with no other possessions, is independent and wealthy; and how can he be otherwise? for with a congenial sun, and the congenial showers, and both of which he is sure to have, they are unavoidable, and come of a natural necessity; with these the earth will, as she ever has done, yield her increase, food for man, and food for beast. In the language of another we would say, "If we take good care of old mother earth (cultivate her,) she will take good care of us." Besides, the products for food, from the same natural causes,will come the necessary products for clothing; hemp and flax; wool will grow upon the sheep's back, and the worm will spin our silk, and the wheel, the distaff and the loom will convert them into the convenient state for the back, and this the farmers can do in and among themselves; as to the luxuries of life, the beet and the maple tree, will, where the cane cannot be cultivated, furnish one of the most needful. Is not such a man independent? who ill more so ? nay more, who as much so? for who can live without the things which he grows? and where shall he who does not produce them, and must have them, go for supply, but to the farmer—he is the farmer's dependent, how much gold soever he may have, or however many ships, or houses, or other things he may possess, these are nothing to him, unless he be supplied with what the agriculturist has, without money, and as it were without price.

Besides being independent, he is also wealthy. His farm may have cost him in its present state of cultivation, not to exceed three hundred dollars—that sum in money or in merchandise, commercial, or in most mechanical business, would be a capital insufficient from which to hope, even, for an ordinary living—in most cases, in most of the business operations, with a capital so small, despair would attend at every step; such a sum is but a fractional part of the value of the wardrobe of persons in some circumstances in life, yet in the more preferable countries for agriculture, it will buy a farm quite large enough, build an house, furnish the necessary implements, and make other improvements sufficient to produce a happy living. And if he is not wealthy at the commencement; as wealth may be estimated in the older countries, or the popular cities, or even in the neighborhood where he lives, he is so prospectively according to their standard, and having enough, he is so really. Still further, his farm produces, or yields him all that is necessary to live upon; he need not go in debt; at the same time, his farm is improving, and his land increasing in value, and every new crop he reaps, or new acre he cultivates, his wealth is increasing, and a few years finds him prepared to add farm to farm, and to give presently to one son a farm here, and to another a farm yonder, and himself living as he always has done, independently all the time.


This kind of independence, itself, leads to, and makes respectability. It seems to be man's true element to cultivate the soil; he was made to be a shepherd, to have flocks and herds, and to till the land—it is after God's arrangement. It seems better adapted to his moral condition, and moral susceptibilities than to plunge himself into commercial affairs.

Farming is no longer regarded in the light of drudgery and as a menial calling—that age is past—now it has got to be a scientific business, and becomes a proper subject for the vastest minds of the age. The Chemist, the Botanist, the Geologist, and the Mineralogist all find their professions very useful in farming; still farming can be successfully done, as it has been, and the farmer not theoretically learned in these sciences—but he who is a faithful farmer is now regarded as engaged in the first, and most honorable pursuits of the age.

Your committee are of the opinion, that the business of farming heartily entered into is the shortest, surest road to respectability and influence; especially would it be to a people reproached, and maligned as are our people. The business itself is respectable, and gives character, besides it puts the one farmer, be he whom he may, upon the same level with his neighbors—their occupation is one, their hopes and interests are one; his neighbors see him now, not as in other situations they may have done as a servant; but an independent man; they see him in the same position in society with themselves; they are not above him nor he above them; they are all alike upon a level; farmers, they respect their own calling, feel themselves independent—they must, and will respect his, and feel that he is alike independent; and as it is only by placing men in the same position in society, that all casts are lost sight of; all cast in his case, were he previously of the proscribed class, will fade away and be forgotten. In proof of which your committee would refer you to a statement from a body of colored farmers in Mercer Co., Ohio. They say, "In our present residence in this county, we have never in any manner been injured by our white neighbors; but on the contrary We have been treated in a kind and friendly manner. They attend our meetings, come to our mill, employ our mechanics, and day laborers, buy our provisions, and we do the same by them. That is we all seek our own convenience and interest without regard to color."

Your committee are of the opinion also, that while farming renders the man independent and makes him wealthy, that it is the only possible way to wealth now open to our people—that by turning our attention to this mode of life, we may become wealthy. We have not the capital to engage successfully in other business, which, with a large amount of capital, and fortune's smile might soon lead to wealth; but there are tens of thousands of us in different parts of the country, of almost all ages, and each having capital enough to engage in the business of Agriculture, and all of whom in a few years might become a wealthy people, and thus change the whole face of society around us decidedly for the better. In proof that such might be the fact, we would again refer you to another extract from the letter of our friends in Mercer Co., O. It is proper also to say, that these brethren only left the cities of the west in 1837, for the country, most of whom with but moderate means, to turn their attention to farming. They say, "We then agreeably to


the advice of our abolition friends, resolved to save our money and move into the country, and try by labor, and economy, and honesty, and temperance, to earn for our people a better name than they had heretofore enjoyed. We have found by experiment, that the same money which paid our rent and marketing in the city, will purchase new land and improve it in the country. 'Tis true our undertaking was for us a new one. But the result is several hundred of us left our former occupations in the cities, and are now living on our own land. It was new timbered land when we bought it, and the nearest place we could purchase provisions was thirty miles distant. But we struggled along through the hardest of it. We own many thousands of acres of land. We have built comfortable houses to live in. Our land is cleared. We raise our own provisions and manufacture most of our own clothing. We have horses, and hogs, and cattle, and sheep. We have meeting houses and a school house. We have had a good school most of the time for six years. Our children have learned to read, and write, and cypher. We have Sunday schools where they are taught the principles of morality and religion. We have a saw mill and grist mill. We are striving to lead a quiet and orderly life. We wish to have our character plead for us." They further say, "We have cleared 1000 acres of wild land; made and laid up 350,000 rails, and built at least 200 different houses, to say nothing of some $10,000 which individuals of us have paid for our freedom."

They proceed to appeal to our brethren generally in very proper strains, and say, "And now, our colored brethren, we appeal to those of you who live in towns and follow those precarious occupations for a livelihood which prejudice has assigned to you; would you not be serving your country and your race to more purpose, if you were to leave your present residences and employments, and go out into the country and become a part of the bone and sinew of the land?" They proceed and say, "We the colored people must become more valuable to the State. We must help it to raise a revenue and increase its wealth, by throwing our labor into profitable employment.... Our employment must be of that character that people can see how we obtain a livelihood, and that we are useful.... But on the other hand, if our labor is all honorable and profitable, both to ourselves and the State, we shall have the increased satisfaction of a good living, and a good name, besides something to show as the fruits of our labor, and something to leave as an inheritance to our children."

The above testimony from our brethren in Carthagenia, is a case fully in point; it shows how decidedly those brethren in the short space of six years, though at first altogether unaccustomed to the business they are now following, have bettered their condition, how much more useful in all their relations, in their present circumstances they now may be than they could have been in their former ones; how much more full of hope and promise for the future for themselves and their children, are the circumstances in which they are now placed, than could have been the circumstances in which they formerly were. They have settled themselves down permanently, as well as usefully to themselves and others, and are not subject to those fluctuations and charges peculiar to a city life.



Besides the foregoing extracts, your committee would refer you to other cases of our brethren in the State of Ohio. In Jackson Co., in that State, there is a settlement of about 50 colored families, mostly farmers, and all of whom own their own farms, and in a high state of cultivation. These friends went to that country many years since, when that whole country was comparatively a new one, and that age a dark age; and all along they have had to contend with a variety of trying obstacles. They have, however, risen above all that obstructed their pathway, and in spite of all, they have ever maintained a good reputation, have comfortably supported their families from their own produce, have educated well their children, have lived to see the wilderness become a plain, and the desert blossom as the rose, and are now in ease and comfort, with produce annually above supplying their own wants, abundantly to export.

Your committee might also refer you to other settlements of our people in the counties of Brown, Shelby and Warren, in the State of Ohio, all of which are in a flourishing state, and the people living within their own resources—independently, respectably and usefully, and in some of which, where prejudice once was rampart, is so far overcome, and lived down, that the white children and the colored children in the most friendly feeling are educated in the same school, although that is against both the laws and the spirit of that State, and the other settlements where the same is not the case, the people are educating well their own children.

Your committee without the facts above stated, and but few of which have they had the time to collect, or the room to embody, are of the settled opinion that it is time that the mass of our people in the big cities, and large towns of the East, and South, yea, and of the West too, turned their attention to this subject. As they now live, they have nothing permanently to depend upon for a support; their occupations are precarious, as fluctuating as the wind, subject to all the changes of fortune and of circumstances to which those who employ them are subject, as well as to all the vexatious changes in the business affairs of the country. Your committee believe that in their present occupations, if they do not on the whole exert an influence against their own highest good, and the highest good of their brethren, that they are less useful to themselves, and of little or no use to their brethren at large; and that the comfort of their families, the future good of their children, and their whole interest, as well as the general good of our cause demands, that with their means, and their influence, and large numbers of whom have the means, they should emigrate to those countries where land is cheap, and settle themselves down as freemen, and become at once independent, useful and happy.

Many of our people in the cities have money loaned at interest, and which netts them but 5 per cent, and themselves are, as they ever have been, following the dependent occupations peculiar to the same class in large cities, and large numbers are engaged in the unpleasant business of the sea, with no hope of promotion to office; when that money invested in a farm even in the new countries of the West, would yield at least 25 per cent from the commencement, and after a few years, from the improvements that would be made, and the increase in the valuation


of the land, as the result of such improvements, it would be found to have yielded him many hundred per cent, besides himself with his family having all the time had absolute command of their time, at no one's bidding nor call, and having lived independently, and been growing in influence and respectability, and as they might, in intelligence and usefulness continually. Your commIttee believe that these opinions of theirs, are no air phantoms, no heated imaginations of the brain, no wild groundless assertions, but a fair statement of what in such emergencies in thousands of instances have been—what are the occurrences of every year, and what again will be—just what the nature of the case admits of, and with a judicious selection and proper management, cannot be otherwise. And we would further say, that a person, or persons, having but a few hundred dollars beforehand, as is the case with most of our people, cannot invest it half so advantageously, as to settle themselves with it upon a farm of their own; and if such are to be the advantages of an agricultural life, who are the people in the whole land, whose position, viewed in all possible relations, and whose circumstances so demand, that they should at once avail themselves of those advantages, so much as the free colored population of this country?

Your committee would recommend, as the place towards which they who may emigrate should look as their future homes, the States of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and the Territories of Wiskonson and Iowa. With respect to the States, some of them, it is true, are, or may be, objectionable on account of their laws; but these laws are not like the laws of the Medes and Persians, unchangeable. They are subject to change, and the time and the growing intelligence of the people, and their better understanding of the great laws of humanity, are destined to make those laws obnoxious to the people themselves; and in they be not rescinded, they are destined to become a dead letter; and these States and Territories, but especially the latter, seem to spread themselves out in their grandeur. with their proud rivers, their noble prairies, their tall trees, their mountains and vales; all imprinted with the glory of an Almighty land, and say to the colored population, why stay ye clustered in those big cities, the servants of all? why do ye not come out here and settle down, and cultivate my face, and turn to your account my rivers, and with the proper self moral training, I will make you all you ought, or all that man can be. The Territories have yet no constitutions; now, equal laws prevail there—the right of preemption is open to all, another great advantage, and your committee believe that no time is to be lost on our part, for us to strike for that region, that we may be found there forming acquaintances with the people, and making the people acquainted with us; and, by such contact, becoming identified with each other's interest, and interested in each other's case— that we may be on the spot, with our influence, to aid in giving character to their constitution and laws, when the time shall have come for those Territories to become States.

Your committee would submit the following plan of emigration, viz: let twenty families, more or less, with health, habits of industry, and economy, with intelligence, a sound moral and religious character, with respect for a confidence and interest in each other, who agree, as far as can be, on all great questions of fundamental morality unite


together, not to form a community of interests, have things common, but to settle, each adjoining the other, on his own purchased farm, and thus form one neighborhood; and let them unite together In all matters of public interest that are for the good of the whole ; such as schools, and churches, roads and bridges, if need be, and flouring mills and saw mills, the two latter of which would doubtless net a profit; and let them share that profit according to the amount of stock each had advanced; and where it can be, we would not object to a few white families in such a company; only where there is known to exist a harmony of views and feelings, where all are willing to identify themselves with each other's interests, and to care for each other's welfare, and to share alike in the sorrows and the joys, in the privileges and the privations, and to seek the one, to build up the other as he would himself; when such an arrangement can be made, we believe it will be found to be, to all concerned, in all respects essentially useful ; and let them have their minister, who goes as the rest do, save only to teach them the way of life, and also their school teacher.

We further wish to say, that one of your committee, on his way to this Convention, spent some hours with a friend, a colored gentleman, who is deeply interested in this subject, who has at his command to dispose of thousands of acres of excellent land in the southern part of the State of Michigan, on one of her best rivers; and who will soon be ready to join an interesting and proper company, and go and settle upon this land, and give them all the advantages that his possession of the land will afford; he was exceedingly anxious that this subject should be brought before the Convention. Your committee would further recommend the following resolution:

Resolved, That this Convention recommend to our people, especially those in our large cities and seaport towns, to emigrate into the agricultural districts of the country, and invest their money in the purchase of the soil, and become farmers, as a positive road to wealth, influence, and usefulness.

All which is respectfully submitted.



The committee to whom had been referred the subject of the condition of the colored people beg leave to report. They would respectfully say that their report is necessarily lean to what it should be, in view of our numerous, wide-spread, and growing population. But it must be remembered that, with the exception of three slave States, and those only from one single borough in each. that only the free States are represented in this Convention, and also but barely a majority of them; and again, that only the principal cities or larger


towns of those have sent delegates; that from some of them, but one place is here represented, and still further, that some of the delegates have brought with them no statistics, as they should have done, and are now so unable to furnish verbally any information that can be relied upon, that they do not attempt it. In view of these things, your committee do not presume that they are presenting to you the true state of the condition of our people—it is a bird's eye view merely—being confined to but very few places. It is such, however, as we have been able to glean from the scanty records that have been presented to us, and the hurried manner in which they have been obliged to gather and embody what they could. They think, however, that there is sufficient in it to wake up some interest on the part of the Convention, upon this feature of its business; and also of all others who may read it, after it shall have suffered the will of the Convention should that will be to adopt it, and publish it with the rest of its proceedings.


Colored inhabitants 700—real estate 70,000 dollars—mechanics and persons in mercantile business 28—churches 2, Baptist and Methodist, with 300 members inclusive—Sabbath-schools 2, with 100 members inclusive—common schools 2, with 90 members inclusive—literary societies 2, with 40 members inclusive; and one semi-monthly periodical.


Colored inhabitants 700—churches 2, Methodist and Baptist—1 Sabbath school,, with 60 members—mechanics 20—merchants 2—1 common school with 80 members—1 total abstinence society, with upwards of 300 members.


Colored inhabitants 500—real estate 47,000 dollars—churches 2, Methodist, with about 200 members—1 Sabbath-school with 40 members—benevolent societies 3—1 debating society—mechanics 12— a district school with 40 members.


Colored inhabitants 311—real estate 10,000 dollars—common schools 1, with 50 scholars—1 female benevolent society—public property 1500 dollars.


Colored inhabitants 200—real estate $10,000, 1 common school, with 30 members—churches 1, Methodist, with 30 members—one Sabbath-school, with 20 members—mechanics 10.


Colored inhabitants 50—professors of religion 20—real estate 300 dollars.



Colored inhabitants 30—professors of religion 20—real estate 8,000 dollars—mechanics 3—merchants 2—and 1 agriculturist.


Colored inhabitants 150—churches 1—1 district school—1 female benevolent society—real estate 12,500 dollars.


Colored inhabitants 250—1 church—3 female benevolent societies—1 male do.—Sabbath-school 1—debating society 1—1 temperance society, with 100 members—real estate 15,000 dollars—mechanics 3.


Colored inhabitants 100—churches 1—1 district school—1 temperance society—real estate 2,000 dollars.


Colored inhabitants 16,000—churches 10; Methodist 6; Presbyterian 1; Baptist 2; Episcopalian 1—communicants 3000, including those attached to other churches—Sabbath-schools 13—district schools 5, one of which embraces 4 departments, and another 2 departments, with 12 colored teachers—select schools 2—benevolent societies, male 13, female 15—temperance societies 4— literary societies, male 3, female 1—education societies 2—1 public library, with———volumes—public property, including churches, burying-grounds, and one public hall, 120,000 dollars—real estate difficult to estimate.


Colored inhabitants 4,500—churches 6, of different denominations, containing 900 members inclusive—Sabbath-schools 5, with 478 members inclusive—day schools, with four colored teachers, 200 scholars inclusive—benevolent societies, female, 5, with 340 members—temperance societies 2, adult 750 members, juvenile 350 members—literary society 1, with 40 members—real estate 350,000 dollars—mechanics 130.


Colored inhabitants 1000—churches 2, with 350 members—schools 3, with 75 members—temperance societies 1, with 220 members—Sabbath-schools 1, 30 members—mechanics 12—literary societies1, with 25 members—2 female benevolent societies, with 40 members—real estate 35,000 dollars—6 agriculturists.


The following letter from Mr. Johnson, of that place, will speak for itself:

NEW BEDFORD, Aug. 12th, 1843.

Gentlemen,—It would afford me much pleasure to be present at the


Convention to assemble in Buffalo on the 15th inst., but present engagements deprive me of that pleasure. I must be content by giving you the following statistical information of our people:

We have 1,100 inhabitants; 2 churches, with 200 members inclusive; one a Christian Baptist, the other an Independent Methodist; both are under the pastoral charge of colored ministers; 2 literary societies, with 50 members; 6 benevolent societies, with 160 members; 1 Sabbath-school, with 40 members—a considerable number attend the white schools and churches.

We have but few mechanics, as many of our people follow the sea in the whaling business. We have 3 merchants, 5 house carpenters, 5 tailors, 4 blacksmiths, 3 coopers. 2 painters, 1 boot maker, 1 harness maker, 1 caulker, 1 whaling captain, 1 first mate, 2 second mates, & third mates, and a number of under officers. The ships generally carry from 25 to 30 men. The property owned by colored people, which is principally in real estate, amounts to upwards of 100,000 dollars, and gradually increasing. We have few in affluent circumstances.

Ezra R. Johnson

All which is respectfully submitted.

{Jas. N. Gloucester, Theo. S. Wright, Wm. C. Munro, A. H. Yancy, S. Talbot,} Committee.

The subscriber would here say, on behalf or the committee of publication, that the great delay in getting these proceedings before the public, has been wholly beyond their control. We were instructed to publish them so soon as the delegates should have furnished us with the money to meet the expense of publication; and we have been waiting for them to do so; but finally have had to issue them with but part of the money necessary to cover such expense.


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National Convention of Colored Citizens (1843 : Buffalo, NY), “Minutes of the National Convention of Colored Citizens; Held at Buffalo; on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th of August, 1843; for the purpose of considering their moral and political condition as American citizens.,” Colored Conventions Project Digital Records, accessed May 23, 2024,