Colored Conventions Project Digital Records

Proceedings of the National Emigration Convention of Colored People Held at Cleveland, Ohio, On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, The 24th, 25th, and 26th of August, 1854


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Proceedings of the National Emigration Convention of Colored People Held at Cleveland, Ohio, On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, The 24th, 25th, and 26th of August, 1854


Book (77 p. ; 23 cm.)














The 24th, 25th and 26th of August, 1854.












The 24th, 25th and 26th of August, 1854.






Resolved, That all liberal and friendly Editors of newspapers, and other journals, be respectfully requested to notice these proceedings, especially the Platform, and Report on the Political Destiny of the Colored People, by copying the whole, or any portion of them into their columns.



THE Commissioners of the different States, and the various Delegates who were represented in the Cleveland Convention, each is entitled to a copy of the Minutes, who are respectively requested immediately on the receipt of which, to call Ratification Meetings of the PLATFORM. and doings of the Convention. They will also make collections in these meetings and at other times, off the friends of Emigration— all other modes of raising funds being solely the right of the Financial Department of the N. Board of Commissioners—and all the overplus Minutes which they may receive, are to be disposed of to the public at ten cents a copy—except in the distant State of California, and equally distant territories— where, to justify the expense of conveyance, the price is fixed at twenty-five cents ; all of which must be forwarded to the Financial Department, and go into the Treasury, for the purpose provided in the Constitution.




Secretaries of the Cleveland Convention.

PITTSBURGH, September, 1854.


The Committee on Publication, in presenting, for their perusal, this pamphlet to the public, would ask that it be received, not as the mere minutes of the proceedings of a Convention, such as is the public's wont to meet after the sitting of every political or other gathering, met for the purpose of devising some favorite project, interesting, perhaps, to none but they who were personally actively engaged in it; but on the receipt of a copy of this publication, we desire that it shall be carefully read and examined—that the great principles herein contained may be disseminated widespread among the people of this country, especially the black and colored inhabitants.

We earnestly call the especial attention of the reader to the PLATFORM, being the first ever established by the colored people in any Convention in the United States, and necessary as a guide for action; the CONSTITUTION of the NATIONAL BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, the first and only practically useful and comprehensively intelligent organization, unselfish in its motives and designs, ever established in this country among the black inhabitants of the republic; and the Report on the POLITICAL DESTINY OF THE COLORED RACE on this continent, we especially commend to the careful perusal of every black and colored person on the continent—as, without the views therein contained, we must forever be the dupes of, and deluded by the whites, even our most professed anti-Slavery friends, and continually drag out a miserable existence of the merest political sufferance and social degradation and disparagement.

Several of the promiscuous Resolutions, especially Nos. 5, 6, 9, and 11, we would call the attention of our colored readers to, all of


which are practical, and intended immediately to be set in active operation. In a word, let us suggest to the reader, that this Convention proved what it was intended to be, not merely a talking and theoretical, but an acting and practically doing Convention.

Every thing recommended in the proceedings of the Convention have already, ere a month has elapsed, been put into the most active operation, except the sending out of the Foreign Mission to enquire into the condition of other parts of the Western Continent; and these, it is fondly hoped and reasonably expected, will, ere six months, have gone on their laudable mission, for the Restoration of our oppressed people, and Elevation of our depressed race.

We will not anticipate the Committee on Financial Relations, by hoping that the true friends of our cause will not, when called upon, withhold their aid in Funds, as a loan, or in whatever manner the proper persons, set apart for this purpose, may negotiate for aid in this great and momentous project—the Restoration and Redemption of our Race from the most consummately abject political degradation.

We are frequently asked by the impatient white American enquirer: "What is it you black people want? What would the negro race desire at our hands more than we have done?" Our reply is, that we ask nothing at your hands, nor desire anything of your giving; but if you wish to know what we want and are determined on having, read our Platform and Declaration of Sentiments, and Report on the Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent. There you will get our wants, desires and determination.

Let every black person keep by him a copy of these Minutes, and hand them in lieu of an argument, to his oppressor or well wisher; who may there read the living sentiments as they teemed from the black man's heart, in words unmistakable, with a bold determination to be free.

It is hoped and believed that there will be no necessity for more than one more Convention, held by the friends of this great movement, which will be to hear the report of the Foreign Commissioners, who shall have returned from their tour; when the colored people of the whole United States, without restriction, will be summoned to hear and deliberate on the great and effective measures for the anxiously desired Restoration of our once fallen, but now gradually rising race.


First Day's Proceedings.

THURSDAY MORNING, August 24, 1854.

The National Emigration Convention assembled in the Congregational Church, on Prospect street. The Convention was called to order by Elder W. C. Munroe, of Michigan, by calling Dr. Martin R Delany, of Penna., to the Chair, and Charles W. Nighten, of Penna., and Wm. M. Lambert, of Michigan, Secretaries.

Prayer—by Elder W. C. Munroe.

On motion, the Call for the Convention was read by Wm. M. Lambert, and a Committee on Credentials was appointed, consisting of the following Delegates:

Rev. William Webb, of Pennsylvania,

J. Theodore Holly, of New York,

Rev. A. R. Green, of Ohio,

H. F. Douglass, of Louisiana.

Wm. M. Lambert, of Michigan.

On motion of Rev. A. R. Green, W. D. Goff, of Ohio, was appointed Assistant Secretary, in place of Wm. M. Lambert, who was transferred to the committee on Credentials.

The Committee on Credentials retired to the Vestry Room and each state was called on in geographical order for their credentials.

During the absence of the Committee on Credentials, Mr. Sorrel, of Penna., addressed the Convention, in some forcible and practical remarks. He was followed by Mr. Bruce, of the same State.


The Committee on Credentials reported the following test questions to be propounded to persons presenting themselves as Delegates to the Convention:

1st. Are you in favor of Emigration?

2d. Do you subscribe to the objects and sentiments contained in the Call for a National Emigration Convention, and will you do all in your power to carry out the same?

On motion of W. C. Munroe, of Michigan, the Chair appointed the following Committee to nominate permanent officers for the Convention:

Rev. A. R. Green, of Ohio,

Rev. William Webb, of Pennsylvania,

Rev. W. J. Fuller, of Rhode Island,

J. Theodore Holly, Esq., of New York,

Charles Starks, Esq., Missouri,

Mrs. Mary E. Bibb, of Canada West.

During the absence of the committee, the Convention was ably addressed by the Rev. E. Hart, of Penna.

Wm. Howard Day, Esq., the talented Editor of the Aliened American, being present in the Convention, Dr. Delany, the Chairman, kindly invited him forward to the Secretaries' tables, offering him the privileges of the Convention, stating that, wherever colored people were, William H. Day was free! whether or not he altogether agreed in sentiment on minor points.

Mr. E. P. Walker, of Ohio, moved that the Convention concur in the invitation offered by the President to Mr. Day. This motion was unanimously agreed to.

Mr. Brooks, of Ohio, made a lengthy speech, depicting the evils that colored men have to endure in this country.

Capt. Malvin, of Cleveland, enquired of the Chairman if there would be any remarks allowed that did not tend to Emigration.—He was answered in the negative.

Mr. Brown, of Penna., made some eloquent remarks in regard to extending liberal feelings to those who did not acquiesce with us, by giving them the privilege of making remarks, so that they were not in opposition to the specific object of this Convention.


The Committee on Permanent Officers reported through their Secretary, for


ELDER WM. C. MUNROE, of Michigan.

First Vice President,


Second Vice President,

MARY E. BIBB, of Canada West.

Third Vice President,

CHARLES STARKS, Esq., of Missouri.

Fourth Vice President,

REV. WM. J. FULLER, of Rhode Island.


CHARLES W. NIGHTEN, of Pennsylvania,


W. D. GOFF, of Ohio.

Business Committee.

DR. M. R. DELANY, of Pennsylvania.

REV. WM. WEBB, do,

REV. WM. J. FULLER, of Rhode Island,


REV. A. R. GREEN, of Ohio,

WM. LAMBERT, of Michigan,

A. DUDLEY, of Wisconsin,

T. A. WHITE, of Indiana.

CONAWAY BARBER, of Kentucky,

EDWARD BUTLER, of Missouri,

H. F. DOUGLASS, of Louisiana,

REV. JOHN A. WARREN, of Canada West.

Finance Committee.

THOMAS A. BROWN, of Pennsylvania.

LAURETTA SMITH, Pennsylvania.


REV. WM. WEBB, of Penna.

REV. R. M. JOHNSON, of Ohio.


REBECCA HARRIS, of Michigan.

Adjourned until 2 1/2 o'clock.




The Convention was called to order. The President, Rev. W. C. Munroe, in the Chair.

Prayer by Rev. E. Hart, of Penna.

The President proceeded to deliver an Inaugural Address, explanatory of the nature and objects of the Convention, and the purposes we have met to accomplish.

Dr. M. R. Delany, Chairman of the Business Committee, reported the Rules of Order, (being such as usually govern deliberative bodies,) and one additional rule, prohibiting any member from speaking longer than ten minutes, nor more than twice on the same subject, except by permission of the Convention. Also the following order of business:

1. Adoption of a Platform.

2. Report on Plan for Establishing a Paper.

3. Constitution of National Board of Commissioners.

4. Report on Plan for Finance.

5. Report on Political Destiny of Colored People.

6. Report on Emigration Society.

7. Resolutions.

8. Miscellaneous Business.

The report was received and adopted.

On motion a Messenger was ordered to be appointed.

By a further motion, Edward R. Parker, Esq., of Penna., was appointed Sergeant-at-Arms of the Convention.

Dr. Delany offered a resolution expressive of the sense of the Convention in relation to the death of Henry Bibb, Esq., of Windsor, Canada West, which occurred on the morning of August 1st, 1854. (See resolution A.)

The motion being supported, Dr. Delany proceeded to deliver a short but eloquent and touching eulogium on the life and character of the deceased. The motion was put to vote and carried unanimously.

The Committee on Business reported, through their Chairman, a Platform for the Convention, which, on motion, was received. A motion to adopt it article by article, was lost.

On motion, the Platform went through a second reading, previous to the vote of adoption, when it was put and carried unanimously.

It was resolved that the Convention will hereafter commence their


morning session at half-past 9, A. M., and close at half-past 12, P. M., and re-open at half-past 2, precisely.

Mr. Campbell, of Canada, made a speech in behalf of his country.

Mr. Reynolds, of Ohio, also addressed the Convention, and Mr. E. P. Walker, of Toledo, Ohio, made some pithy remarks.

The Convention then adjourned.

Second Day's Proceedings.

FRIDAY MORNING, August 25, 1854.

The Convention assembled immediately after the close of a Secret Session, which had been held for one hour in the Vestry of the Church.

Rev. W. C. Munroe, President, in the Chair.

Prayer by the Chaplain, Rev. E. Hart, of Pa.

The minutes of the previous Session being read, and no objection being offered, they stood affirmed.

Dr. Delany moved that the roll be now called, and that each male Delegate should come forward and pay the sum of $1, to defray the general expenses of the Convention,

Rev. A. R. Green, moved an amendment that when the proceedings of this Convention shall be published, copies of the same shall be mailed to those who contribute to these expenses. The amendment was put and carried.

A further amendment was adopted, by which the Ladies, as Delegates were invited to contribute whatever they be disposed.

The original motion, as modified by these amendments, was adopted unanimously.

The roll of names was called, and the contributions paid.

A report on the Political Destiny of the Colored Race, on the American Continent, was presented by Dr. Delany, from the Business Committee, which was read in part to the hour of adjournment.

AFTERNOON SESSION, 2 1/2 o'clock, P. M.

The minutes of the morning session being read and approved, the reading of the State Paper was next in order, which was continued by Dr. Delany, till the middle of the afternoon, during which


time it was listened to by a crowded assembly, of both black and white.

The Report being unanimously received, on the motion to adopt, the Rev. A. R. Green took the floor, saying that a document of such importance should not be permitted to pass the Convention by merely adopting it, and proceeded in a strain of thrilling eloquence and masterly power, to review and eulogise the document, as being a paper of unusual merit and ability.

He was followed by H. F. Douglass, Esq., of Louisiana, a young gentleman of rare talents and distinguished ability, who delivered an able and eloquent speech, following in the wake of the distinguished gentleman who preceded him, eulogistic of the merits of the report, exhibiting as he proceeded, a gigantic mind, commanding oratory, and an order of intellect of no ordinary degree.

The Business Committee reported progress on the Constitution for the National Board of Commissioners, and asked leave to sit again. Leave was granted.

The Business Committee reported a paper, sent in by James M. Whitfield, Esq., of Buffalo, N. Y., on the subject of establishing a Quarterly Repository, which was, on motion, received and laid on the table till next day.

Wm. H. Day, Esq., in a polite note to the Chairman of the preliminary Convention, Dr. Delany, kindly tendered to the use of the Convention any books, papers, charts or statistics which might be desired, during its sessions—all of which were gratefully and unanimously accepted.

On motion, it was resolved that the Convention hold informal sessions in the evening.

It was further resolved that the Convention meet at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning in Secret Session.

Adjourned to early candle light.


The Convention met according to adjournment.

Prayer by Rev. Wm. Webb.

The Chair appointed M. R. Delany, A. R. Green and William Webb to complete the Constitution of the National Board of Commissioners.

Dr. Delany moved that the business of the Convention be suspended, so as to give the members and others an opportunity to speak.


The motion was withdrawn to give the Committee on Finance an opportunity to set forth their claims.

Mr. T. A. Brown, of Penna., made an able and eloquent speech, vindicating the Convention against the reflections of those who feared that the Delegates have come to Cleveland needing favors at the hands of the citizens of that place. He repudiated—he spurned the idea, alleging that we desired to leave behind us in a pecuniary consideration, that which would benefit the people when we left. He concluded by inviting them at least to come to Pittsburgh, where the people were, as they always had been, ready, able and willing to entertain them, without money or price; though he repelled the idea of asking or receiving any such favors at their hands.

On motion, the rules were suspended, and the Convention was addressed by Mr. Barber, of Kentucky, and Mr. Lowery of Tennessee.

Mr. John I. Gaines, of Cincinnati, was invited to address the Assembly, who thanked the Convention for the courtesy extended to him, but declined.

John Mercer Langston, Esq., was called upon, who responded in a lengthy and rhetorical speech, replete with classic elegance.

He was replied to by H. F. Douglass, Esq., of Louisiana, in a speech of the most withering sarcasm. He kept the house in a ferment of emotion.

Rev. A. R. Green, of Ohio, made some judicious remarks. He was followed by J. Theodore Holly, of N. Y.

The meeting adjourned at a late hour, after a delightful and gratifying session.

Third Days Proceedings.

SATURDAY MORNING, August 26, 1854.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and stood approved.

Dr. Delany moved that the Convention proceed to elect the National Board of Commissioners, and that the delegations from each State be authorized to nominate the Commissioners to be located in, their respective States. subject to confirmation by the Convention:


and that they be instructed to select them in one location in each State, which was supported and carried.

Pittsburgh, Pa., having been decided on as the location for the head of the Board, the following persons were nominated by the Pennsylvania delegation, and unanimously confirmed by the Convention.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Martin R. Delany, Alfred H. Johns,

Rev. Win. Webb, Edward R. Parker,

Thomas A. Brown, Samuel Bruce,

Charles W. Nighten, Parker Sorrel,

Samuel Venerable.

Detroit, Michigan.

Wm. C. Munroe, Wm. Lambert,

Louisville, Kentucky.

Conaway Barber, W.H. Gibson.

Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rev. A. R, Green, Philip Toliver, Jr.

New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jorden B. Noble, Rev. John Garrow.

Nashville Tennessee.

Elder Peter A. H. Lowery, Charles Barrat.

St. Louis, Missouri.

Rev. Richard Anderson, Rev. Jorden Brown,

Essex County, Canada.

Rev. Wm. Ruth, Colchester, George Cary, Dresden, Corresponding members of the Board.

After some highly interesting remarks from Rev. Mr. Brooks, of Kentucky, formerly a soldier under Gen. Jackson, at the battle of New Orleans, the evidence of which he bore in numerous scars, which he exhibited upon his person, according to the order of business, the Resolutions were taken up, all of which, after being duly moved, seconded, and, in many instances, discussed and corrected, were adopted; Preamble and Resolution 9th being moved by Madam Lauretta Smith, and seconded by Miss Amelia A. Freeman, both of Pennsylvania.

The members of the Board of National Commissioners appointed by the Convention, were notified to meet immediately in the Session


Room of the building, for the election of their officers, which resulted in the choice of the following gentlemen:

President—Dr. M. R. Delany.

Vice President—Wm. Webb, Esq.

Secretary—Charles W. Nighten, Esq.

Treasurer—Thomas A. Brown, Esq.

Auditor—Edward R. Parker, Esq.

All of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the seat of the Executive.

The document offered by the Rev. Augustus R. Green, containing the sketch of a Constitution for the organization of an Association respecting the purchase of Lands, was now taken up and referred to the Board of Commissioners for their disposal.

Landed associations, as such, met with little favor from the Convention, all rather encouraging the policy of each individual securing for himself a sufficient Homestead in a good Farm of One Hundred Acres, more or less, to suit the individual.

A vote of thanks being returned to the President and other officers of the Convention, for the able and impartial manner in which they conducted its affairs during the sessions—having transacted business equal to the duration of a season, and of vastly more importance than any other similar body of colored people ever before assembled in the United States—the Throne of Almighty God was solemnly invoked upon all our doings by the President who previously read from Psalms 124, when the Convention adjourned sine die.



The following comprise the Executive Delegates,

the Mass Convention not being taken in the list:

PENNSYLVANIA.—Allegheny County.

Martin R. Delany,

William Webb,

Charles W. Nighten,

Samuel Bruce,

Henry A. Jackson,

Jonathan Green,*

Mary E. Bruce,

Lauretta Smith,

Samuel Venerable,

James Jones,

Sarah Alexander,*

Edward Hart,

Ann Lewis,

Ann Taylor,

Jane Robinson,

Thomas Gray,*

James Barns,

Mary A. Bell,

George Dimmy,

Levi Diary,

Franklin Whets,*

Elizabeth Briscoe,

William Cross,

Margaret Scoot,*

R. M. Green,

Alfred Smith,*

Sarah Burley,*

Lucinda Pulpus,*

Margaret Campbell,

Mary E. Hawkins,*

Phoebe Miller,

Sarah E. Webb,

Rebecca Webb,

H. G. Webb,*

Sophia Lucas,

A. L. Hawkins,*

Maria Edmonds,

Isabella Butler,

Harriet Woods,

John Williams,*

George Stinson,*

Owen A. Barrat,*

Nimrod Dimmy,

W. J. Trusty,*

Ambrosia Trusty,

Nathan Cole,*

A. H. Johns,

Amelia Freeman,

Martin H. Freeman,

Adam Watkins,

Samuel Neal,*

Paris Burley,

Samuel L. Collins,*

Rebecca Jackson,*

Ursulla G. Bell,

Nancy Williams,*

Jane Parker,*

Joseph Massey,*

John Fitch,

Catherine Diary,

James W. Miller,

Edward R. Parker,

Spencer Watt,*

S. T. Lindsey,

Rebecca E. Templeton,

Parker Sorrel,

Catherine Green,*

Mary A. Blackson,*

Thomas A. Brown,

Arena Venerable,

Madoline Robinson,

James Ramsey,

Thomas Norris,

Elizabeth Tanner,

Catherine A. R. Delany,

Francis Brown,

G. W. Massey,*

R. L. Hawkins,*


Lyman Lyons,*

J. W. Pulprus,*

Jesse Jones.*

Lawrence County.

Lemuel B. Stewart.

Crawford County.

Richard Henderson.

Washington Country.

Jacob Palmer.

OHIO.—Hamilton County.

Augustus R. Green,

Lewis Leach,*

James Johnson,

W. D. Goff,

Philip Toliver, Jr.,

Frank Robinson,

Joseph Henry Perkins,*

Wesley W. Tate,*

Cuyahoga County.

Stephen Jones,

R.M. Johnson,

Mary Davis,

Nancy Williams,

Sarah Graves,

Louisa S. Brown,

Julia Williams,

Wm. Dixon,

Madison Tilly.

Lucas County.

E. P. Walker, Nancy Walker.

Ross County.

James O. Wine.

Lorain County.

William Underwood.

Huron County.

Henderson J. Moore.

Erie County.

George J. Reynolds,

Rev. T. H. Boston.


J. H. Brooks.


William J. Fuller.


J. Theodore Holly,

J. M. Whitfield.*

MICHIGAN.—Detroit, Wayne County.

W. C. Munroe,

Wm. Lambert,

Daniel Buckner,

James W. Underwood,

Charles W. Ellis,

Greenberry Hodge,

John Jackson,

J. W. Henry,

James Campbell,

Wm. Wilks,

Whitney Reynolds,

Richard De Baptist,

David Lowe.


Lenawee County.

Joseph H. Foster.

Saginaw County.

James Campbell.

Munroe County.

Rebecca Harris.

INDIANA.—Laport County.

T. A. White.

Wayne County.

Right Rev. William Paul Quinn.

LOUISIANA.—New Orleans.

H. F. Douglass,

Lawrence W. Miner.


Ambrose Dudley.

MISSOURI.—St. Louis.

Charles Starks, Edward Butler.


Conaway Barbour.


Daniel A. S. Lowery.


Mary E. Bibb,

J. A. Warren,

Israel Campbell,

Levi Foster.



Resolved, That this Convention has learned with deep regret and heartfelt sorrow of the death of our distinguished friend and brother co-laborer in the cause of our rights, HENRY BIGG, ESQ., of Windsor, Canada West, late establisher, editor and proprietor of the "Voice of the Fugitive," a newspaper devoted mainly to the cause of the Refugees from American Slavery.

In his death, the Slave has lost a faithful and untiring advocate—our cause a great and good man, and ourselves a warm-hearted friend and much esteemed brother. And we respectfully offer our tenderest condolence to his beloved and heart-stricken widow; aged, devoted and afflicted christian mother: assuring them that their irreperable loss, is his infinite and eternal gain.

1st. Whereas, in all great enterprises it is wise and good to implore Divine Aid; And whereas, we have now engaged in one of the greatest projects that ever entered into the mind of a people, therefore, be it—

Resolved, That we do humbly acknowledge Divine interposition in the affairs of Nations, and recommend our people to make our cause and condition a subject of supplication and prayer to the Author of all good, that he may bless and crown our efforts with success.

2. Resolved, That we recommend that a day be set apart as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God, for the many blessings conferred upon us as an oppressed people.

3. Resolved, That the Fourth Thursday of August of each year be set apart, as a day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God,


to be observed by the Colored People generally of the United States.

4. Resolved, That it is also recommended that set times be appointed by the various denominations among us, for special prayer for the deliverance of our oppressed race from the galling yoke of Slavery.

5. Resolved, That the rendition of men to slavery, is a requisition so criminal and heinous, that the wretch who aids in such an act, should by every colored person, be regarded as a common felon—a highwayman and assassin, and whenever an occasion requires it, by them treated as such.

6. Resolved, That the frequent seizure in the North of colored men, women and children, who are sent into slavery, have measurably alienated our feelings towards this country; dispelled the lingering patriotism from our bosoms, which compels us to regard as our common enemy every white, who proves not himself to the contrary.

7. Resolved, That the bold, determined, manly and independent position taken by Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Esq., Rev. Theodore Parker, Wendall Phillips and Attorney Richard H. Dana, Esquires, and other friends of freedom in Massachusetts, in defence of our victimized brother, Anthony Burns, against the trained bands of armed ruffians—agents of the United States Government—in his late rendition to Slavery by the kidnappers and man-thieves, merit the hearty thanks and encomiums of this Convention.

8. Resolved, That we recommend that hereafter the First Day of January of each year be observed as a day of Celebration, being the anniversary of Haitien Independence.

9. Whereas, we have looked upon the indefatigable labors of the Rev. Charles Avery, in erecting a College for the education of colored youths, as worthy of the gratitude and lasting remembrance of our people: And whereas, in the opinion of this Convention, the work of elevation among us cannot be complete until the education of our sons and daughters for the various pursuits of life have been fully accomplished, thereby fitting them for many high positions in society, either in their places of choice as emigrants, or otherwise:

Therefore, resolved, that this Convention recommend to our people the Allegheny Institute, established in Allegheny city, opposite Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pa., as an institution worthy of their


confidence and patronage, and will do what we can to encourage its progress and further its objects and designs.

10. Resolved, That we heartily regret the refusal of our recent ardent friend, Hon. Gerret Smith, further to serve the cause of the oppressed in the Councils of this Nation, and hope that on due reflection, he may yet consent to lose a meal of victuals, or an hour's sleep, for the cause of down-trodden and suffering humanity.

11. Resolved, That this Convention—as the only free territory in the North of America—recommend to the colored people throughout the "States," as the surest investment in social as well as political economy, to possess themselves with as much land as possible in the Canadas, especially Canada West; the land being now sold at Government prices, at the low rate of One Dollar and Ffty Cents an acre, which may be secured by paying but ten cents on the acre, with ten years to pay the balance of the money, at but six per cent interest. Thus, fifteen dollars will secure a Farm and Homestead of one hundred acres of land.

12. Resolved, That the Printing establishment of the late Henry Bibb, Esq., now in possession of his widow, be recommended to the consideration of the National Board of Commissioners.

13. Resolved, That the printing of this Convention be done at Pittsburgh, Pa., and the time shall not exceed one month from the adjournment.

14. Resolved, That the next Convention held under the Platform of the Cleveland Convention, be held in the City of Cleveland, Ohio.

15. Resolved, That the Free Soil House, kept by Mr. Brown and lady, deserves the patronage of the traveling colored cummunity; the host and hostess being the most pleasant, kind and obliging; their house being in a pleasant and central part of the city: and the boarding houses kept by Mr. John Henderson and Mrs. Julia A. J. Tilghman, be also recommended.

16. Resolved, That the spirit exemplified in the treatment of the Delegates to this Convention at a portion of the public Hotels of this city was highly commendable, and that our most hearty thanks be tendered to the proprietors of the Chase House, Franklin House and New England Hotel, for their kind and gentlemanly attention to those of us, during our sojourn with them.

17. Resolved, That the thanks of this Convention be, and are hereby tendered to the friendly citizens of Cleveland, for their lib-


erality and kindness towards the members of this Convention, during their stay in this pleasant city.

18. Resolved, That the foreign convict and pauper now in New York, from the chain-gang at Botany Bay, who has intruded himself into this country as a hireling pimp, for the fixed purpose of debasing and prostituting native Americans—the same outlaw who hopes for a "Plantation well stocked with healthy negroes in Alabama," and urges that the free citizens of Massachusetts should have been "hung on gallows higher than the steeple, and "shot down like dogs," calling them rebels for daring in their own country to defend liberty—is a debauch so abandoned, a ruffian so lost even to a sense of his own irretrievable depravity, that we can only be reconciled to the anomaly by the consideration, that the miserable being is an agent of that old strumpet, the Whore of Babylon, Slavery; and as such, should be regarded and treated by the silent contempt of all enlightened civilization.

19. Resolved, That the thanks of the Convention be tendered to the officers, for the able and impartial manner in which they have discharged the respective duties of their office.






of the


Whereas, for years the Colored People of the United States have been looking, hoping and waiting in expectation of realizing the blessings of Civil Liberty; and

Whereas, during this long, tedious and anxious period, they have been depending upon their white fellow countrymen to effect for them this desirable end: but instead of which they have met with disappointment, discouragement and degradation; and

Whereas, no people can ever attain to the elevated position of freemen, who are totally or partially ignorant of the constituent elements of Political Liberty; and

Whereas, in the multitude of Conventions heretofore held by our fathers and cotemporaries among the colored people of the United States, no such principles as a basis have ever been adduced or demonstrated to us as a guide for action; and

Whereas, no people can maintain their freedom without an interested motive and a union of sentiment, as a rule of action and neuclus to hold them together; and

Whereas, all of the Conventions heretofore held by the whites in this country of whatever political pretensions—whether Democrat, Whig, or Free Democracy—all have thrown themselves upon the declaration: "To sustain the Constitution as our forefathers understood it, and the Union as they formed it: all of which plainly and boldly imply, unrestricted liberty to the whites, and the right to hold the blacks in slavery and degradation:


Therefore, as the Declaration of Sentiments anti Platform of this Convention, be it—


Resolved, That we acknowledge the natural equality of the Human Race.


—That man is by nature free, and cannot be enslaved, except by injustice and oppression.


—That the right to breathe the Air and use the Soil on which the Creator has placed us, is co-inherent with the birth of man, and coeval with his existence; consequently, whatever interferes with this sacred inheritance, is the joint ally of Slavery, and at war against the just decree of Heaven: Hence, man cannot be independent without possessing the land on which he resides.


—That whatever interferes with the natural rights of man, should meet from him with adequate resistence.


—That, under no circumstances, let the consequences be as they may, will we ever submit to enslavement, let the power that attempts it, eminate from whatever source it will.


—That no people can have political liberty without the sovereign right to exercise a freeman's will.


—That no individual is politically free who is deprived of the right of self representation.


—That to be a freeman necessarily implies the right of the elective franchise.


—That the privilege of voting does not necessarily imply an exercise of the Elective Franchise, since a vote may be given, while the franchise is denied, to the individual who gives the vote.*


—That the elective franchise necessarily implies eligibility to every position attainable; the indisputable right of being chosen or elected as the representative of another, and otherwise than this the term is the sheerest imposition and delusion.



—That a people who are liable, under any pretext or circumstan-ces whatever, to enslavement by the laws of a country, cannot be free in that country, because the rights of a freeman necessarily are sacred and inviolable.


That, as men and equals, we demand every political right, privi-lege and position to which the whites are eligible in the United States, and we will either attain to these, or accept of nothing.


—That, as colored people, in whatever part of the country we may be located, we will accept of no political rights nor privileges but such as shall be impartial in their provisions; nor will we ac-knowledge these, except extended alike to each and every colored person in such State or territory.


—That the political distinctions in many of the States, made by the whites, and accepted of by the colored people, comprise, in many instances, our greatest social curses, and tend more than anything else to divide our interests and make us indifferent to each others' welfare.


—That we pledge our integrity to use all honorable means, to unite us, as one people, on this continent.


—That we have no confidence in any political party nor politician

—by whatever name they may be styled, or whatever their preten-sions—who acknowledges the right of man to hold property in his fellow man—whether this right be admitted as a "necessary" part of the National Compact, the provisions of the Missouri Compromise, the detestibly insulting and degrading Fugitive Slave act, or the more recent contemptible Nebraska-Kansas Bill.


—That the Act of Congress of 1850, known as the Fugitive Bill, we declare to be a general law, tending to the virtual enslave-ment of every colored person in the United States; and consequent-ly we abhor its existence, dispute its authority, refuse submission to its provisions, and hold it in a state of the most contemptuous abro-gation.




—That, as a people, we will never be satisfied nor contented un-til we occupy a position where we are acknowledged a necessary constituent in the ruling element of the country in which we live.


—That no oppressed people have ever obtained their rights by voluntary acts of generosity on the part of their oppressors.


—That it is futile hope on our part to expect such results through the agency of moral goodness on the part of our white American oppressors.


—That all great achievements by the Anglo-Saxon race have been accomplished through the agency of self-interest.


—That the liberty of a people is always insecure who have not absolute control of their own political destiny.


—That if we desire liberty, it can only be obtained at the price which others have paid for it.


—That we are willing to pay that price, let the cost be what it may.


—That according to the present social system of civilized society, the equality of persons is only recognised by their equality of at-tainments,—as with individuals, so is it with classes and communi-ties;—therefore, we impress on the colored races throughout this Continent and the world, the necessity of having their children and themselves properly qualified in every respectable vocation pertain-ing to the Industrial and Wealth accumulating occupations; of arts, science, trades and professions; of agriculture, commerce and man-ufactures, so as to equal in position the leading characters and na-tions of the earth, without which we cannot, at best, but occupy a position of subserviency.


—That the potency and respectability of a nation or people, de-pends entirely upon the position of their women; therefore, it is essential to our elevation that the female portion of our children be


instructed in all the arts and sciences pertaining to the highest civilization.


—That we will forever discountenance all invidious distinctions among us.


—That no people, as such, can ever attain to greatness who lose their identity, as they must rise entirely upon their own native mer-its.


—That we shall ever cherish our identy of origin and race, as preferable, in our estimation, to any other people.


—That the relative terms Negro, African, Black, Colored and Mulatto, when applied to us, shall ever be held with the same respect and pride; and synonimous with the terms, Caucasian, White, Anglo-Saxon and European, when applied to that class of people.


—That, as a people determined to be free, we individually pledge ourselves to support and sustain, on all occasions, by every justifiable effort, as far as possible, the declarations set forth in this bill of sentiments.

  • Note To Section 9.—Suffrage and Franchise are essentially dissimilar: suffrage implying the mere privilege or permission to give a vote, while franchise implies the right or acknowledged authority of eligibility, attainment, or in plainer language still, the right of being elevated to every position within the gift of the sovereign people. This is the elective franchise; while voting is a mere permission, a thing suffered to be done.

In France, Louis Napoleon permitted every man to vote for him, but none dared vote for any other person. Thus, those who elevated him to the Presidency could not themselves be so elevated. Here was an exercise of suffrage without the elective franchise.—Louis Napoleon himself, out of the forty millions of France, being the only person at the time who posses-sed the elective franchise, because the only person who could be elevated by election to position; all others who were elevated attaining their position by his appointment.




To be the Organ of the Black and Colored Race on the American


Your Committee, to whom was referred the duty of enquiring into the expediency of establishing a literary periodical, which should at the same time be the organ of the National Board of Commissioners, would respectfully submit, that they have investigated the subject as thoroughly as the limited time allowed them would permit.

It is evident to every one that a well-conducted and well supported press, is a most potent instrument in the moral and intellectual culture, and elevation of any pedple. This is emphatically a reading age and country. Elaborate works, which in former ages were only within the reach of the wealthy few, by popular and cheap editions, are brought within the reach of the most humble individual, or the most limited purse. While reviews, magazines and newspapers cover the land, authors, editors, essayists and critics have become a numerous class, and by no other class, in an enlightened country, is so great an influence exerted upon the characters of their fellow men, and the future destinies of the race. Theirs is the silent influence which goes with the divine into his study, and dictates the character of the doctrines and precepts which he must impress upon the minds of his hearers; it mounts the rostrum with the orator, and paints each glowing period that rolls from his tongue; it enters the hails of legislation, and gives tone to the debates, and shapes the character of the enactments; it enters the school-house, and stamps its impress upon the enquiring mind of the child, and moulds the character of the rising generation; in the domestic cir-


cle, and in every relation of life, its all-pervading influence is felt. It is this facility for the rapid spread of intelligence and communication of ideas, which principally distinguishes the civilization of the nineteenth century from all that have preceded it; and any movement which fails to secure a due share of this potent influence in its favor, will be always undervalued in public estimation. This, like all other great influences in this country, has been arrayed against the negro; and while both law and public sentiment have conspired to place him in such a position as to exclude him entirely from all the usual avenues of literature and science, and render it impossible for him to make any great proficiency in intellectual culture, the very fact that in those attainments he is inferior to the privileged class, who have every incentive to exertion, and every opportunity for improvement, is brought up as evidence of natural inferiority; thereby making the legitimate fruit of oppression the strongest argument in favor of the oppressor, and of perpetuating the oppression. In accordance with this spirit, every branch of learning has been subsidized for the express and avowed purpose of keeping the Negro down, and preventing him from ever rising in the scale of humanity. For this purpose the whole power of the government must be used to prevent the abolition of negro Slavery, or the building up of black nationality anywhere. The Word of God must be corrupted, and the evidence of the Church adduced to show that Slavery is a blessing, compatible with the exercise of the highest and purest Christianity; the well established facts of history must be falsified, and science must be suborned to prove that black is white, and that white is black; and to cap the climax, some American savans have given a practical answer to the question of the Prophet, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin?" by proving as they say, that the ancient Ethiopians belonged to the white race. But one more step is needed, and that, by the skill of American ethnologists, and the pure morals and strict virtue of American patriarch, is rendered comparatively easy, that is, to prove that the modern negroes, as well as the ancient ones, belong to the white race, and bring us back to the old-fashioned doctrine of the unity of the human species.

In spite of all the obstacles thrown in their way, many colored men in this country have made attainments in literature and science which would be creditable to any class of men, under the most favorable circumstances; but for want of a proper sphere of action,


have remained unknown, except in the immediate circle of their acquaintance. There has never yet been any fair exhibition of the literary and scientific attainments of the Negro race. In the literature of the whites, as well as in white society, the negro is at a discount, and nothing can raise him in either, but occupying a manly independent position, attained by his own efforts.

There have been published in the United States some twenty different newspapers, edited and conducted, most of them with marked ability, by colored men; all of which, with the single exception of Frederick Douglass' paper, after progressing for a longer or shorter period, have been suspended for want of patronage.* While, therefore, your committee have nothing to offer in relation to newspapers in the country conducted entirely by colored men, they would earnestly recommend the establishment of a periodical, which, while it shall be the organ of the Board of Emigration, shall be open to a fair and impartial discussion of all questions connected with the welfare, progress and developement of the Negro race; and that it should also be made a literary periodical, calculated to give a fair representation of the acquirements of the colored people. That to this end, some of the ablest colored writers in both hemispheres should be engaged as its regular contributors, and articles invited on the various branches of literature, science, art, mechanics, law, commerce, philosophy, theology, et cetera; and that all the articles shall be the productions of colored men, except such selections as may be useful in illustrating some of the fundamental principles of this organization. Your committee believe that the publication of such a work would effect an incalculable amount of good in various ways. It would bring the evidences of progress before those who deny such progress, in a manner that it could not be disputed; and by furnishing manifestations of talent on the part of a large number of colored persons, would have more effect than masterly productions by one or two individuals; at the same time that it would present to colored men of ability an inducement to write, which they do not now possess.

Your committee think that it should be made a standard and permanent work, capable of reflecting credit upon our race; and to this end would recommend that each number be stereotyped, so as to make it a permanent compendium and book of reference, to mark the progress and development of the race. Such a work, having a special duty to perform, should differ in some of its essential


tures—from any of the other publications, the monthly magazines, and quarterly reviews of the day. Although we have no doubt that such a periodical can, in a very short time, be made to sustain itself, and pay a fair profit; yet to place its success beyond contingency, and to ensure its permanency, we would recommend that all its expenses be paid from, and all its receipts go into, the regular fund of the Board. While we could not in the smallest degree slight or disparage the Anti-Slavery cause, and while such a periodical must, from its very nature, be the most powerful and efficient of all anti-Slavery instrumentalities, yet we would recommend that no piece be received merely for its anti-Slavery qualities, but only for its merit as a literary production. The fact that a considerable portion of its patrons, as well as contributors, will probably be from other countries, and that solid will doubtless predominate over light matter in its pages, together with economical reasons, show that it should be a quarterly. We, therefore, recommend for your adoption the following resolution:

Resolved, That the Board of Commissioners. be authorized and instructed to establish a quarterly periodical, as the organ of this organization, (in accordance with the foregoing outline,) to be called the Africo-American Repository, or some other name equally suggestive of its character.




Mr. Whitfield having to leave Cleveland for Buffalo, to answer the demands of a telegraphic dispatch, the report was handed in by Mr. Holly.

  • The Aliened American, we are assured, and requested by Mr DAY to say, will be, and is on the eve of being resumed. ______________

†The Committee had here recommended to the consideration of the Convention, Frederick Douglass' paper, but in consequence of the illiberal supercilious position assumed by him towards the Convention, from


the issue of the Call till its assembling, denouncing those concerned as being "unintelligent", "unwise", &c., and eventually refusing to publish any thing in favor of the movement, but promptly giving publicity to every thing against it, the Convention properly declined to entertain the proposition of the Committee, and consequently ordered it to be struck out.





FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN!—The duty assigned us is an important one. comprehending all that pertains to our destiny and that of our posterity—present and prospectively. And while it must be admitted, that the subject is one of the greatest magnitude, requiring all that talents, prudence and wisdom might adduce, and while it would be folly to pretend to give you the combined result of these three agencies, we shall satisfy ourselves with doing our duty to the best of our ability, and that in the plainest, most simple and comprehensive manner.

Our object, then, shall be to place before you our true position in this country—the United States,—the improbability of realizing our desires, and the sure, practicable and infallible remedy for the evils we now endure.

We have not addressed you as citizens—a term desired and ever cherished by us—because such you have never been. We have not addressed you as freemen,—because such privileges have never been enjoyed by any colored man in the United States. Why then should we flatter your credulity, by inducing you to believe that which neither has now, nor never before had an existence. Our oppressors are ever gratified at our manifest satisfaction, especially when that satisfaction is founded upon false premises; an assump-tion on our part, of the enjoyment of rights and privileges which never have been conceded, and which, according to the present sys-tem of the United States policy, we never can enjoy.

The political policy of this country was solely borrowed from, and shaped and moddled after, that of Rome. This was strikingly


the case in the establishment of immunities, and the application of terms in their Civil and Legal regulations.

The term Citizen—politically considered—is derived from the Roman definition—which was never applied in any other sense—Cives Ingenui; which meant, one exempt from restraint of any kind. (Cives, a citizen; one who might enjoy the highest honors in his own free town—the town in which he lived—and in the country or commonwealth; and Ingenui, freeborn—of GOOD EXTRACTION.) All who were deprived of citizenship—that is, the right of enjoying positions of honor and trust—were termed Hostes and Peregrini; which are public and private enemies, and foreigners, or aliens to the country. (Hostis, a public—and sometimes—private enemy; and Peregrinus, an alien, stranger, or foreigner.)

The Romans, from a national pride, to distinguish their inhabitants from those of other countries, termed them all "citizens", but consequently, were under the necessity of specifying four classes of citizens: none but the Cives lngenui being unrestricted in their privileges. There was one class, called the Jus Quiritium, or the wailing or supplicating citizen—that is, one who was continually moaning, complaining, or crying for aid or succor. This class might also include within themselves, the jus suffragii, who had the privilege of voting, but no other privilege. They could vote for one of their superiors—the Cives Ingenui—but not for themselves.

Such, then, is the condition, precisely, of the black and colored inhabitants of the United States; in some of the States they answering to the latter class, having the privilege of voting, to elevate their superiors to positions to which they need never dare aspire, or even hope to attain.

There has, of late years, been a false impression obtained, that the privilege of voting constitutes, or necessarily embodies, the rights of citizenship. A more radical error never obtained favor among an oppressed people. Suffrage is an ambiguous term, which admits of several definitions. But according to strict political construction, means simply "a vote, voice, approbation." Here, then, you have the whole import of the term suffrage. To have the "right of suffrage," as we rather proudly term it, is simply to have the privilege—there is no right about it—of giving our approbation to that which our rulers may do, without the privilege, on our part, of doing the same thing. Where such privileges are granted—


privileges which are now exercised in but few of the States by colored men—we have but the privilege granted of saying, in common with others, who shall, for the time being, exercise rights, which, in him, are conceded to be inherent and inviolales: Like the indented apprentice, who is summoned to give his approbation to an act which would be fully binding without his concurrence. Where there is no acknowledged sovereignty, there can be no binding power; hence, the suffrage of the black man, independently of the white, would be in this country unavailable.

Much might be adduced on this point to prove the insignificance of the black man, politically considered in this country, but we deem it wholly unnecessary at present, and consequently proceed at once to consider another feature of this important subject.

Let it then be understood, as a great principle of political economy, that no people can be free who themselves do not constitute an essential part of the ruling element of the country in which they live. Whether this element be founded upon a true or false, a just or an unjust basis; this position in community is necessary to personal safety. The liberty of no man is secure, who controls not his own political destiny. What is true of an individual, is true of a family; and that which is true of a family, is also true concerning a whole people. To suppose otherwise, is that delusion which at once induces its victim, through a period of long suffering, patiently to submit to every species of wrong; trusting against probability, and hoping against all reasonable grounds of expectation, for the granting of privileges and enjoyment of rights, which never will be attained. This delusion reveals the true secret of the power which holds in peaceable subjection, all the oppressed in every part of the world.

A people, to be free, must necessarily be their own rulers: that is, each individual must, in himself, embody the essential ingredient—so to speak—of the sovereign principle which composes the true basis of his liberty. This principle, when not exercised by himself, may, at his pleasure, be delegated to another—his true representative. 

Said a great French writer: "A free agent, in a free government, should be his own governor;" that is, he must possess within himself the acknowledged right to govern: this constitutes him a governor, though he may delegate to another the power to govern himself.


No one, then, can delegate to another power he never possessed; that is, he cannot give an agency in that which he never had a right. Consequently, the colored man in the United States, being deprived of the right of inherent sovereignty, cannot confer a suffrage, because he possesses none to confer. Therefore, where there is no suffrage, there can neither be freedom nor safely for the disfranchised. And it is a futile hope to suppose that the agent of another's concerns, will take a proper interest in the affairs of those to whom he is under no obligations. Having no favors to ask or expect, he therefore has none to lose.

In other periods and parts of the world—as in Europe and Asia—the people being of one common , direct origin of race, though established on the presumption of difference by birth, or what was termed blood, yet the distinction between the superior classes and common people, could only be marked by the difference in the dress and education of the two classes. To effect this, the interposition of government was necessary; consequently, the costume and education of the people became a subject of legal restriction, guarding carefully against the privileges of the common people.

In Rome, the Patrician and Plebeian were orders in the ranks of her people—all of whom were termed citizens (cives)—recognized by the laws of the country; their dress and education being determined by law, the better to fix the distinction. In different parts of Europe, at the present day, if not the same, the distinction among the people is similar, only on a modified—and in some kingdoms—probably more tolerant or deceptive policy.

In the United States, our degradation being once—as it has in a hundred instances been done—legally determined, our color is sufficient, independently of costume, education, or other distinguishirrg marks, to keep up that distinction.

In Europe, when an inferior is elevated to the rank of equality with the superior class, the law first comes to his aid, which, in its decrees, entirely destroys his identity as an inferior, leaving no trace of his former condition visible.

In the United States, among the whites, their color is made, by law and custom, the mark of distinction and superiority; while the color of the blacks is a badge of degradation, acknowledged by statute, organic law, and the common consent of the people.

With this view of the case—which we hold to be correct—to elevate to equality the degraded subject of law and custom, it can


only be done, as in Europe, by an entire destruction of the identity of the former condition of the applicant. Even were this desirable—which we by no means admit—with the deep seated prejudices engendered by oppression, with which we have to contend, ages incalculable might reasonably be expected to roll around, before this could honorably be accomplished; otherwise, we should encourage and at once commence an indiscriminate concubinage and immoral commerce, of our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, revolting to think of, and a physical curse to humanity.

If this state of things be to succeed, then, as in Egypt, under the dread of the inscrutible approach of the destroying angel, to appease the hatred of our oppressors, as a license to the passions of every white, let the lintel of each door of every black man, be stained with the blood of virgin purity and unsullied matron fidelity. Let it be written along the cornice in capitals, "The will of the white man is the rule of my household." Remove the protection to our chambers and nurseries, that the places once sacred, may henceforth become the unrestrained resort of the vagrant and rabble, always provided that the licensed commissioner of lust shall wear the indisputable impress of a white skin.

But we have fully discovered and comprehended the great political disease with which we are affected, the cause of its origin and continuance; and what is now left for us to do, is to discover and apply a sovereign remedy—a healing balm to a sorely diseased body—a wrecked but not entirely shattered system. We propose for this disease a remedy. That remedy is Emigration. This Emigration should be well advised, and like remedies applied to remove the disease from the physical system of man, skillfully and carefully applied, within the proper time, directed to operate on that part of the system, whose greatest tendency shall be, to benefit the whole.

Several geographical localities have been named, among which rank the Canadas. These we do not object to as places of temporary relief, especially to the fleeing fugitive—which, like a paliative, soothes for the time being the misery—but cannot commend them as permanent places upon which to fix our destiny; and that of our children, who shall come after us. But in this connexion, we would most earnestly recommend to the colored people of the United States generally, to secure by purchase all of the land they possibly can, while selling at low rates, under the British people


and government. As that time may come, when, like the lands in the United States territories generally, if not as in Oregon and some other territories and States, they may be prevented entirely from settling or purchasing them; the preference being given to the white applicant.

And here, we would not decieve you by disguising the facts, that according to political tendency, the Canadas—as all British America—at no very distant day, are destined to come into the United States.

And were this not the case, the odds are against us, because the ruling element there, as in the United States, is, and ever must be white—the population now standing, in all British America, two and a half millions of whites, to but forty thousand of the black race; or sixty—one and a fraction, whites, to one black!—the difference being eleven times greater than in the United States—so that colored people might never hope for anything more than to exist politically by mere suffrance—occupying a secondary position to the whites of the Canadas. The Yankees from this side of the lakes, are fast settling in the Canadas, infusing, with industrious success all the malignity and negro-hate, inseparable from their very being, as Christian Democrats and American advocates of equality.

Then, to be successful, our attention must be turned in a direction towards those places where the black and colored man comprise, by population, and constitute by necessity of numbers, the ruling element of the body politic. And where, when occasion shall require it, the issue can be made and maintained on this basis. Where our political enclosure and national edifice can be reared, established, walled, and proudly defended on this great elementary principle of original identity. Upon this solid foundation rests the fabric of every substantial political structure in the world, which cannot exist without it; and so soon as a people or nation lose their original identity, just so soon must that nation or people become extinct.—Powerful though they may have been, they must fall. Because the nucleus which heretofore held them together, becoming extinct, there being no longer a centre of attraction, or basis for a union of the parts, a dissolution must as naturally ensue, as the result of the nutrality of the basis of adhesion among the particles of matter.

This is the secret of the eventful downfall of Egypt, Carthage, Rome, and the former Grecian States, once so powerful—a loss of


original identity; and with it, a loss of interest in maintaining their fundamental principles of nationality.

This, also, is the great secret of the present strength of Great Britain, Russia, the United States, and Turkey; and the endurance of the French nation, whatever its strength and power, is attributable only to their identity as Frenchmen.

And doubtless the downfall of Hungary, brave and noble as may be her people, is mainly to be attributed to the want of identity of origin, and consequently, a union of interests and purpose. This fact it might not have been expected would be admitted by the great Magyar, in his thrilling pleas for the restoration of Hungary, when asking aid, both national and individual, to enable him to throw off the ponderous weight placed upon their shoulders by the House of Hapsburg.

Hungary consisted of three distinct "races"—as they call themselves—of people, all priding in and claiming rights based on their originality—the Magyars, Celts, and Sclaves. On the encroachment of Austria, each one of these races—declaring for nationality—rose up against the House of Hapsburg, claiming the right of self-government, premised on their origin. Between the three a compromise was effected—the Magyars, being the majority, claimed the precedence. They made an effort, but for the want of a unity of interests—an identity of origin, the noble Hungarians failed.—All know the result.

Nor is this the only important consideration. Were we content to remain as we are, sparsely interspersed among our white fellow-countrymen, we never might be expected to equal them in any honorable or respectable competition for a livelihood. For the reason that, according to the customs and policy of the country, we for ages would be kept in a secondary position, every situation of respectability, honor, profit or trust, either as mechanics, clerks, teachers, jurors, councilmen, or legislators, being filled by white men, consequently, our energies must become paralysed or enervated for the want of proper encouragement.

This example upon our children, and the colored people generally, is pernicious and degrading in the extreme. And how could it otherwise be, when they see every place of respectability filled and occupied by the whites, they pandering to their vanity, and existing among them merely as a thing of conveniency.

Our friends in this and other countries, anxious for our elevation,


have for years been erroneously urging us to lose our identity as a distinct race, declaring that we were the same as other people; while at the very same time their own representative was traversing the world and propagating the doctrine in favor of a universal Anglo-Saxon predominence. The "Universal Brotherhood," so ably and eloquently advocated by that Polyglot Christian Apostle* of this doctrine, had established as its basis, a universal acknowledgment of the Anglo-Saxon rule.

The truth is, we are not identical with the Anglo-Saxon or any other race of the Caucasian or pure white type of the human family, and the sooner we know and acknowledge this truth, the better for ourselves and posterity.

The English, French, Irish, German, Italian, Turk, Persian, Greek, Jew, and all other races, have their native or inherent peculiarities, and why not our race? We are not willing, therefore, at all times and under all circumstances to be moulded into various shapes of eccentricity, to suit the caprices and conveniences or every kind of people. We are not more suitable to everybody than everybody is suitable to us; therefore, no more like other people than others are like us.

We have then inherent traits, attributes—so to speak—and native characteristics, peculiar to our race—whether pure or mixed blood—and all that is required of us is to cultivate these and develope them in their purity, to make them desirable and emulated by the rest of the world.

That the colored races have the highest traits of civilization, will not be disputed. They are civil, peaceable and religious to a fault. In mathematics, sculpture and architecture, as arts and sciences, commerce and internal improvements as enterprises, the white race may probably excel; but in languages, oratory, poetry, music and painting as arts and sciences, and in, ethics, metaphysics, theology and legal jurisprudence; in plain language—in the true principles of morals, correctness of thought, religion, and law or civil government, there is no doubt but the black race will yet instruct the world.

It would be duplicity longer to disguise the fact, that the great issue, sooner or later, upon which must be disputed the worlds destiny, will be a question of black and white; and every individual


  • Elihu Burritt.


will be called .upon for his identity with one or the other. The blacks and colored races are four-sixths of all the population of the world; and these people are fast tending to a common cause with each other. The white races are but one-third of the population of the globe—or one of them to two of us—and it cannot much longer continue, that two-thirds will passively submit to the universal domination of this one-third. And it is notorious that the only progress made in territorial domain, in the last three centuries, by the whites, has been a usurpation and encroachment on the rights and native soil of some of the colored races.

The East Indies, Java, Sumatria, the Azores, Madeira, Canary, and Cape Verde Islands; Socotra, Guardifui and the Isle of France; Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, Barca and Egypt in the North, Sierra Leon in the West, and Cape Colony in the South of Africa; besides many other Islands and possessions not herein named. Australia, the Ladrone Islands, together with many others of Oceanica; the seizure and appropriation of a great portion of the Western Continent, with all its Islands, were so many encroachments of the whites upon the rights of the colored races. Nor are they yet content, but, intoxicated with the success of their career, the Sandwich Islands are now marked out as the next booty to be seized, in the ravages of their exterminating crusade.

We regret the necessity of stating the fact—but duty compels us to the task—that for more than two thousand years, the determined aim of the whites has been to crush the colored races wherever found. With a determined will, they have sought and pursued them in every quarter of the globe. The Anglo- Saxon has taken the lead in this work of universal subjugation. But the Anglo-American stands pre-eminent for deeds of injustice and acts of oppression, unparalleled perhaps in the annals of modern history.

We admit the existence of great and good people in America, England, France, and the rest of Europe, who desire a unity of interests among the whole human family, of whatever origin or race.

But it is neither the moralist, Christian, nor philanthropist whom we now have to meet and combat, but the politician—the civil engineer and skillful economist, who direct and control the machinery which moves forward with mighty impulse, the nations and powers of the earth. We must, therefore, if possible, meet them on vantage ground, or, at least, with adequate means for the conflict.



Should we encounter an enemy with artillery, a prayer will not stay the cannon shot; neither will the kind words nor smiles of philanthropy shield. his spear from piercing us through the heart. We must meet mankind, then, as they meet us—prepared for the worst, though we may hope for the best. Our submission does not gain for us an increase of friends nor respectability—as the white race will only respect those who oppose their usurpation, and acknowledge as equals those who will not submit to their rule. This may be no new discovery in political economy, but it certainly is a subject worthy the consideration of the black race.

After a due consideration of these facts, as herein recounted, shall we stand still and continue inactive—the passive observers of the great events of the times and age in which we live; submitting indifferently to the usurpation, by the white race, of every right belonging to the blacks? Shall the last vestage of an opportunity, outside of the continent of Africa, for the national development of our race, be permitted, in consequence of our slothfulness, to elude our grasp and fall into the possession of the whites? This, may Heaven forbid. May the sturdy, intelligent Africo-American sons of the Western Continent forbid.

Longer to remain inactive, it should he borne in mind, may be to give an opportunity to despoil us of every right and possession sacred to our existence, with which God has endowed us as a heritage on the earth. For let it not be forgotten, that the white race—who numbers but one of them to two of us—originally located in Europe, besides possessing all of that continent, have now got hold of a large portion of Asia, Africa, all North America, a portion of South America, and all of the great Islands of both Hemispheres, except Paupau, or New Guinea, inhabited by negroes and Malays, in Oceanica; the Japanese Islands, peopled and ruled by the Japanese; Madigascar, peopled by negroes, near the coast of Africa; and the Island of Haiti, in the West Indies, peopled by as brave and noble descendants of Africa, as they who laid the foundation of Thebias, or constructed the everlasting pyramids and catecombs of Egypt.—A people who have freed themselves by the might of their own will, the force of their own power, the unfailing strength of their own right arms, and their unflinching determination to be free.

Let us, then, not survive the disgrace and ordeal of Almighty displeasure, of two to one, witnessing the universal possession and


control by the whites, of every habitable portion of the earth. For such must inevitably be the case, and that, too, at no distant day, if black men do not take advantage of the opportunity, by grasping hold of those places where chance is ln their favor, and establishing the rights and power of the colored race.

We must make an issue, create an event, and establish for ourselves a position. This is essentially necessary for our effective elevation as a people, in shaping our national developement, directing our destiny, and redeeming ourselves as a race.

If we but determine it shall be so, it will be so; and there is nothing under the sun can prevent it. We shall then be but in pursuit of our legitimate claims to inherent rights, bequeathed to us by the will of Heaven—the endowment of God, our common parent. A distinguished economist has truly said, "God has implanted in man an infinite progression in the career of improvement. A soul capacitated for improvement ought not to be bounded by a tyrant's landmarks." This sentiment is just and true, the application of which to our case, is adapted with singular fitness.

Having glanced hastily at our present political position in the world generally, and the United States in particular—the fundamental disadvantages under which we exist, and the improbability of ever attaining citizenship and equality of rights in this country—we call your attention next, to the places of destination to which we shall direct Emigration.

The West Indies, Central and South America, are the countries of our choice, the advantages of which shall be made apparent to your entire satisfaction.

Though we have designated them as countries, they are in fact but one country—relatively considered—a part of this, the Western Continent.

As now politically divided, they consist of the following classification—each group or division placed under its proper national head: The


Consist of: Square miles. Population in 1840

Guadaloupe, - - 675 - - -124,000

Martinico, - - - 260 - - 119,000

St. Martin, N. part, - 15 - - - - 6,000

Mariegaiante, - - 90 - - - 11,500

Deseada, - - - 25 - - - - 1,500



Consist of: Square miles. Population in 1840.

Santa Cruz 80 - - 34,000

St. Thomas, 50 - - 15,000

St. Johns, 70 - - 3,000


St. Bartholemew 25 - - 8,000


St. Eustatia, 10 - - 20,000

Curacoa, - - - 375 - - - 12,000

St. Martin, S. part, 10 - - 5,000

Saba, - - - 20 - - - 9,000


Margarita, . -00 - -, 16,000


Cuba, - 43,500 - - 725,000

Porto Rico, 4,000 - - 325,000


Jamaica, - - 5,520 - - 375,000

Barbadoes, - - 164 - - - 102,000

Trinidad, - 1,970 45,000

Antigua, 108 - - 36,000

Grenada and the Granadines, 120 29,000

St. Vincent, 121 - - - - 36,000

St. Kitts, - - 68 - - - 24,000

Dominica, 275 - 20,000

St. Lucia, - 275 - 18,000

Tobago, - 120 - - - - 14,000

Nevis, - - 20 - - 12,000

Monsterat, - 47 - - 8,000

Tortola, - - 20 - - - - 7,000

Barbuda, - 72 - - - - 0,000

Anguilla, - 90 - - - - 3,000

Bahamas, - - 4,440 - - - 18,000

Bermudas, 20 - - - - 10,000


Haiti, - - 000 - - - - 800,000


In addition to these, there are a number of smaller Islands, belonging to the Little Antilles, the area and population of which are not known, many of them being unpopulated.

These Islands, in the aggregate, form an area—allowing 40,000 square miles to Haiti and her adjunct islands, and something for those the statistics of which are unknownof about 103,000, or equal in extent to Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and little less than the United Ringdoms of England, Scotland, Ireland and the principality of Wales.

The population being on the above date, 1840: 3,115,000—three millions, one hundred and fifteen thousand—and allowing an increase of ten per cent in ten years, on the entire population, there are now 3,250,000 (three millions, two hundred and fifty thousand,) inhabitants, who comprise the people of these islands.


Consists of— Population in 1840.

Guatamala, . . . . 800,000

San Salvador, . . . . 350,000

Honduras, . . . . 250,000

Costa Rica, . . . . . 150,000

Nicaraugua, . . . . 250,000

These consist of five States, as shown in the above statistics, the united population of which, in 1840, amounted to 1,800,000 (one million, eight hundred thousand,) inhabitants. The number at present being estimated at 2,500,000, (two and a half millions,) shows, in thirteen years, 700,000, (seven hundred thousand,) being one-third and one-eighteenth of an increase in population.


Consists of— Square Miles. Population in 1840.

New Grenada, . . . 450,000 . . . 1,687,000

Venezuela, . . . 420,000 . . . 900,000

Ecuador, . . . 280,000 . . . 600,000

Guiana, . . . 160,000 . . . 182,000

Brazil, 3,390,000 . . . 5,000,000

North Peru, . . . 300,000 . . . 700,000

South Peru, Bolivia, 130,000 . . . 700,000

Buenos Ayres, . 750,000 . . . 700,000


Consists of-- Square miles, Population in 1840

Uruguay, - - 92,000 - - - 75,000

Chili, - - 170,000 - - - 1,500,000

Patagonia, - - 370,000 - - - 30,000

The total area of these States is 7,050,000 (seven millions and fifty thousand,) square miles; but comparatively little (450,000 square miles,) less than the whole area of North America, in which we live.

But one State in South America.Brazil-is an abject slave- holding State; and even here, all free men are socially and politically equal, negroes and colored men partly of African descent, holding offices of honor, trust and rank, without restriction. In the other States, slavery is not known, all the inhabitants enjoying political equality, restrictions on account of color being entirely unknown, unless, indeed, necessity induces it, when, in all such cases, the preference is given to the colored man, to put a check to European presumption, and insufferable Yankee intrusion and impudence.

The aggregate population was 14,040,000, (fourteen millions and forty thousand,) in 1840. Allowing for thirteen years the same ratio of increase as that of the Central American States being one- third, (4,680,000)--and this gives at present a population of 18,720,000 in South America.

Add to this the population of the Antilless and Guatimala, and this gives a population in the West Indies, Central and South America of 24,470,000 (twenty-four millions, four hundred and seventy thousand) inhabitants. But one-seventh of this population, 3,495,714, (three millions, four hundred and ninety-five thousand, seven hundred and fourteen,) being white, or of pure Evropean extraction, there is a population throughout this vast area of 20,974,286 (twenty millions, nine hundred and seventy-four thousand, two hundred and eighty- six,) colored persons, who constitute, from the immense preponderance of their numbers, the ruling element, as they ever must be, of those countries.

There are no influences that could be brought to bear to change this most fortunate and Heaven-designed state and condition of things. Nature here has done her own work, which the art of knaves nor the schemes of deep-designing political impostors can never reach. This is a fixed fact in the zodiac of the political heavens, that the blacks and colored people are the stars which


must ever most conspicuously twinkle in the firmament of this division of the Western Hemisphere.

We next invite your attention to a few facts, upon which we predicate the claims of the black race, not only to the tropical regions and South temperate zone of this hemisphere, but to the whole Continent, North as well as South. And here we desire it distinctly to be understood, that, in the selection of our places of destination, we do not advocate the Southern scheme as a concession, nor yet at the will nor desire of our North American oppressors; but as a policy, by which we must be the greatest political gainers, without the risk or possibility of loss to ourselves. A gain by which the lever of political elevation and machinery of national progress must ever be held and directed by our own hands and heads, to our own will and purposes, in defiance of the obstructions which might be attempted on the part of a dangerous and deep—designing oppressor.

"From the year 1492. the discovery of Hispaniola—the first land discovered by Columbus in the New World—to 1502, the short space of ten years, such was the mortality among the natives, that the Spaniards, then holding rule there, 'began to employ a few' Africans in the mines of the Island. The experiment was effective—a successful one. The Indian and the African were enslaved together, when the Indian sunk, and the African stood.

It was not until June the 24th, of the year 1498, that the Continent was discovered by John Cabot, a Venitian, who sailed in August of the previous year, 1497, from Bristol, under the patronage of Henry the VII, King of England."

In 1517, the short space of but fifteen years from the date of their introduction, Carolus the V, King of Spain, by right of a patent, granted permission to a number of persons annually to supply the Islands of Hispaniola, (St. Domingo,) Cuba, Jamaica and Porto Rico, with natives of Africa, to the number of four thousand annually. John Hawkins, a mercenary Englishman, was the first person known to engage in this general system of debasing our race, and his royal mistress, Queen Elizabeth, was engaged with him in interest and shared the general profits.

The Africans, on their advent into a foreign country, soon experienced the want of their accustomed food, and habits and manner of living.

The aborigines subsisted mainly by game and fish, with a few patches of maize, or Indian corn, near their wigwams, which were


generally attended by the women, while the men were absent engaged in the chase, or at war with a hostile tribe. The vegetables, grains and fruits, such as in their native country they had been accustomed to, were not to be obtained among the aborigines, which first induced the African laborer to cultivate "patches" of ground in the neighborhood of the mining operations, for the purpose of raising food for his own sustenance.

This trait in their character was observe and regarded with considerable interest; after which the Spaniards and other colonists, on contracting with the English slave dealers—Captain Hawkins and others—for new supplies of slaves, were careful to request that an adequate quantity of seeds and plants of various kinds, indigenous to the continent of Africa, especially those composing the staple products of the natives, be selected and brought out with the slaves to the New World. Many of these were cultivated to a considerable extent, while those indigenous to America were cultivated with great success.

Shortly after the commencement of the slave trade, under Elizabeth and Hawkins, the Queen granted a license to Sir Walter Raleigh, to search for uninhabited lands, and seize upon all unoccupied by Christians. Sir Walter discovered the coast of North Carolina and Virginia, assigning the name "Virginia" to the whole coast now comprising the old Thirteen States.

A feeble colony was here settled, which did not avail much, and it was not until the month of April, 1607, that the first permanent settlement was made in Virginia, under the patronage of letters patent from James I, King of England, to Thomas Gates and associates. This was the first settlement of North America, and thirteen years anterior to the landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock.

And we shall now introduce to you, from acknowledged authority, a number of historical extracts, to prove that previous to the introduction of the black race upon this continent, but little enterprise of any kind was successfully carried on. The African or negro was the first available contributor to the country, and consequently is by priority of right, and politically should be, entitled to the highest claims of an eligible citizen.

"No permanent settlement was effected in what is now called the United States, till the reign of James the First.—Ramsay's Hist, U.S., Vol. 1, p. 38.

The month of April, 1607, is the epoch of the first permanent


settlement on the coast of Virginia, the name then given to all that extent of country which forms thirteen States.—Ib. p. 39."

The whole coast of the country was at this time explored, not for the purpose of trade and agriculture—because there were then no such enterprises in the country, the natives not producing sufficient of the necessaries of life, to supply present wants, there being consequently nothing to trade for—but, like their Spanish and Portugese predecessors, who occupied the Islands and different parts of South America, in search of gold and other precious metals.

Trade and the cultivation of the soil, on coming to the new world were foreign to their intention or designs, consequently, when failing of success in that enterprise, they were sadly disappointed.

"At a time when the precious metals were concieved to be the peculiar and only valuable productions of the new world, when every mountain was supposed to contain a treasure, and every rivulet was searched for its golden sands, this appearance was fondly considered as an infallible indication of the mine. Every hand was eager to dig. * * *

"There was now," says Smith, "no talk, no hope, no work; but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold. With this imaginary wealth, the first vessel returning to England was loaded, while the culture of the land and every useful occupation was totally neglected.

"The colonists thus left, were in miserable circumstances for want of provisions. The remainder of what they had brought with them was so small in quantity, as to be soon expended—and so damaged, in course of a long voyage, as to be a source of disease.

* * In their expectation of getting gold, the people were disappointed, the glittering substance they had sent to England, proving to be a valueless mineral. Smith, on his return to Jamestown, found the colony reduced to thirty-eight persons, who, in despair, were preparing to abandon the country. He employed caresses, threats, and even violence, in order to prevent them from executing this fatal resolution."—Ibid, pp. 45-6. 

The Pilgrims or Puritans, in November, 1620, after having organized with solemn vows to the defence of each other, and the maintenance of their civil liberty, made the harbor of Cape Cod, landing safely on "Plymouth Rock," December 20th, about one month subsequently. They were one hundred and one in number, and from the toils and hardships consequent to a severe season, in



a strange country, in less than six months after their arrival, "forty persons—nearly one-half of their original nurnber"—had died.

In 1618, in the reign of James I, the British government established a regular trade on the coast of Africa. In the year 1620, negro slaves began to be imported into Virginia; a Dutch ship bringing twenty of them for sale."—Sampson's Historical Dictionary, p. 348.

It will be seen by these historical reminiscences, that the Dutch ship landed her cargo at New Bedford, Massachusetts—the whole coast now comprising the old original States, then went by the name of Virginia, being so named by Sir Walter Raleigh, in honor of his royal mistress and patron, Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen of England, under whom he received the patent of his royal commission, to seize all the lands unoccupied by Christians.

Beginning their preparations in the slave trade in 1618, just two years previous—allowing time against the landing of the first emigrants, for successfully carrying out the project—the African captives and Puritan emigrants—singularly enough!—landed upon the same section of the continent at the same time—1620—the Pilgrims at Plymouth; and the captive slaves at New Bedford, but a few miles, comparatively, South.

"The country at this period, was one vast wilderness. The continent of North America was then one continued forest. * *

"There were no horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, or tame beasts of any kind. There were no domestic poultry. * * There were no gardens, orchards, public roads, meadows, or cultivated fields.— * *

They often burned the woods that they could advantageously plant their corn. * * *

"They had neither spice, salt, bread, butter, cheese, nor milk.—They had no set meals, but eat when they were hungry, or could find anything to satisfy the cravings of nature.

"Very little of their food was derived from the earth, except what it spontaneously produced. * * The ground was both their seat and table. * * Their best bed was a skin. * * They had neither iron, steel, nor any metallic instruments." —Ramsays Hist., pp. 39-40.

We adduce not these extracts to disparage or detract from the real worth of our brother Indian—for we are identical as the subjects of American wrongs, outrages, and oppression; and therefore one in interest—far be it from our designs. Whatever opinion he


may entertain of our race—in accordance with the impressions made by the contumely heaped upon us by our mutual oppressor, the American nation—we admire his, for the many deeds of heroic and noble daring with which the brief history of his liberty-loving people is replete. We sympathise with him, because our brethren are the successors of his, in the degradation of American bondage; and we adduce them in evidence against the many aspersions heaped upon the African race, avowing that their inferiority to the other races, and unfitness for a high civil and social position, caused them to be reduced to servitude.

For the purpose of proving their availability and eminent fitness alone,—not to say superiority—and not inferiority, first suggested to Europeans the substitution of African for that of Indian labor in the mines; that their superior adaptation to the difficulties consequent to a new country and different climate, made them preferable to Europeans themselves; and their superior skill, industry, and general thriftiness in all that they did, first suggested to the colonists the propriety of turning their attention to agricultural and other industrial pursuits than those of mining operations.

It is evident, from what has herein been adduced—the settlement of Capt. John Smith being in the course of a few months, reduced to thirty-eight, and that of the Pilgrims at Plymoth, from one hundred and one, to fifty-seven, in six months—that the whites nor aborigines were equal to the hard, and to them insurmountable difficulties, which then stood widespread before them.

An endless forest—the impenetrable earth—the one to be removed and the other to be excavated. Towns and cities to be built, and farms to be cultivated: all presented difficulties too arduous for the European then here, and entirely unknown to the native of the continent.

At a period such as this, when the natives themselves had fallen victims to the tasks imposed upon them by the usurpers, and the Europeans also were fast sinking beneath the influence and weight of climate and hardships; when food could not be obtained, nor the common conveniences of life procured; when arduous duties of life were to be performed, and none capable of doing them—save those who had previously by their labors, not only in their own country, but in the new, so proven themselves capable—it is very evident, as the most natural consequence, the Africans were resorted to, for the performance of every duty common to domestic life.


There were no laborers known to the Colonists, from Cape Cod to Cape Lookout, than those of the African race. They entered at once into the mines, extracting therefrom the rich treasures which for a thousand ages lay hidden in the earth; when plunging into the depths of the rivers, they culled from their sandy bottoms, to the astonishment of the natives and surprise of the Europeans, minerals and precious stones, which added to the pride and aggrandisement of every throne in Europe.

And from their knowledge of cultivation—an art acquired in their native Africa—the farming interests in the North and planting in the South, were commenced with a prospect never dreamed of before the introduction on the continent of this most interesting, unexampled, hardy race of men. A race capable of the endurance of more toil, fatigue and hunger, than any other branch of the human family.

Though pagans for the most part in their own country, they required not to be taught to work, and how to do it; but it was only necessary to bid them work, and they at once knew what to do, and how it should he done.

Even up to the present day, it is notorious that in the planting States, the blacks themselves are the only skillful cultivators of the soil, the proprietors or planters, as they are termed, knowing little or nothing of the art, save that which they learn from the African husbandman; while the ignorant white overseer, whose duty is to see that the work is attended to, knows still less.

Hemp, cotton, tobacco, corn, rice, sugar, and many other important staple products, are all the result of African skill and labor, in the southern States of this country. The greater number of the mechanics of the South are also black men.

Nor was their skill as herdsmen inferior to their other proficiencies, they being among the most accomplished trainers of horses in the world.

Indeed, to this class of men may be indebted the entire country, for the improvement South, in the breed of horses. And those who have traveled in the southern States, could not have failed to observe that the principal trainers, jockies, riders, and judges of horses, were men of African descent.

These facts alone, are sufficient to establish our claim to this country, as legitimate as that of those who fill the highest stations, by the suffrage of the people.


In no period since the existence of the ancient enlightened nations of Africa, have the prospects of the black race been brighter than now; and at no time during the Christian era, have there been greater advantages presented for the advancement of any people, than at present, those which offer to the black race, both in the Eastern and Western hemispheres—our election being in the Western.

Despite the efforts to the contrary, in the strenuous endeavors for a supremacy of race, the sympathies of the world in their upward tendency, are in favor of the African and black races of the earth. To be available, we must take advantage of these favorable feelings, and strike out for ourselves a bold and manly course, of independent action and position; otherwise, this pure and uncorrupted sympathy will be reduced to pity and contempt.

Of the countries of our choice, we have stated that one province and two islands were slaveholding places. These, as before named, are Brazil, in South America, and Cuba and Porto Rico in the West Indies. There are a few other little islands of minor consideration—the Danish, three—Swedish, one—and Dutch, four.

But in the eight last referred to, slavery is of such a mild type, that—however objectionable as such—it is merely nominal.

In South America and the Antilles, in its worst form, slavery is a blessing almost, compared with the miserable degradation of the slave under our upstart, assumed superiors, the slave-holders of the United States.

In Brazil, color is no badge of condition, and every freeman, whatever his color, is socially and politically equal, there being black gentlemen of pure African descent, filling the highest positions in State, under the Emperor. There is also an established law by the Congress of Brazil, making the crime punishable with death, for the commander of any vessel to bring into the country any human being as a slave.

The following law has passed one branch of the General Legislative Assemby of Brazil, but little doubt being entertained that it will find a like favor in the other branch of that august general legislative body:


All children born after the date of this law shall be free.


All those shall be considered free who are born in other countries, and come to Brazil after this date.



Every one who serves from birth to 7 years of age, any of those included in article 1, or who has to serve so many years, at the end of 14 years shall be emancipated, and live as he chooses.


Every slave paying for his liberty a sum equal to what he cost his master, or who shall gain it by honorable gratuitous title, the master shall be obliged to give him a free paper, under the penalty of article 179 of the criminal code.


Where there is no stipulated price or fixed value of the slave, it shall be determined by arbitrators, one of which shall be the public promotor of the town.


The government is authorised to give precise regulations for the execution of this law, and also to form establishments necessary for taking care of those who, born after this date, may be abandoned by the owners of slaves.


Opposing laws and regulations are repealed.

Concerning Cuba, there is an old established law, giving any slave the right of a certain legal tender, which, if refused by the slave holder, he, by going to the residence of any parish priest and making known the facts, shall immediately be declared a freeman, the priest or bishop of the parish or diocese, giving him his "freedom papers". The legal tender, or sum fixed by law, we think does not exceed two hundred and fifty Spanish dollars. It may be more.

Until the Americans intruded themselves into Cuba, contaminating society wherever they located, black and colored gentlemen and ladies of rank, mingled indiscriminately in society. But since the advent of these negro-haters, the colored people of Cuba have been reduced nearly, if not quite, to the level of the miserable degraded position of the colored people of the United States, who almost consider it a compliment and favor to receive the notice or smiles of a white.

Can we be satisfied in this enlightened age of the world—amid the advantages which now present themselves to us—with the degradation and servility inherited from our fathers in this country?—


God forbid. And we think the universal reply will be—We will not.

A half century brings about a mighty change, in the reality of existing things, and events of the world's history. Fifty years ago, our fathers lived: for the most part they were sorely oppressed, debased, ignorant and incapable of comprehending the political relations of mankind; the great machinery and motive power by which the enlightened nations of the earth were impelled forward. They knew but little, and ventured to do nothing to enhance their own interests, beyond that which their oppressors taught them. They lived amidst a continual cloud of moral obscurity—a fog of bewilderment and delusion, by which they were of necessity compelled to confine themselves to a limited space—a known locality—lest by one step beyond this, they might have stumbled over the precipice, ruining themselves beyond recovery in the fall.

We are their sons, but not the same individuals; neither do we live in the same period with them. That which suited them, does not suit us; and that with which they may have been contented, will not satisfy us.

Without education, they were ignorant of the world and fearful of adventure. With education, we are conversant with its geography, history and nations. and delight in its enterprises and responsibilities. They once were held as slaves; to such a condition we never could be reduced. They were content with privileges; we will be satisfied with nothing less than rights. They felt themselves happy to be permitted to beg for rights; we demand them as an innate inheritance. They considered themselves favored to live by sufferance; we reject it as a degradation. A secondary position was all they asked for; we claim entire equality or nothing. The relation of master and slave was innocently acknowledged by them; we deny the right, as such, and pronounce the relation as the basest injustice that ever scourged the earth and cursed the human family. They admitted themselves to be inferiors; we barely acknowledge the whites as equals—perhaps not in every particular. They lamented their irrecoverable fate, and incapacity to redeem themselves and their race. We rejoice, that as their sons, it is our happy lot and high mission, to accomplish that which they desired and would have done, but failed for the want of ability to do.

Let no intelligent man or woman, then, among us, be found at the present day, exulting in the degradation that our enslaved parents


would gladly have rid themselves, had they have had the intelligence and qualifications to accomplish their designs. Let none be found to shield themselves behind the plea of our brother bondmen in ignorance; that we know not what to do, nor where to go. We are no longer slaves, as were our fathers, but freemen; fully qualified to meet our oppressors in every relation which belongs to the elevation of man, the establishment, sustenance and perpetuity of a nation. And such a position, by the help of God our common Father, we are determined to take and maintain.

There is but one question presents itself for our serious consideration, upon which we must give a decisive reply—Will we transmit, as an inheritance to our children, the blessings of unrestricted civil liberty, or shall we entail upon them, as our only political legacy, the degradation and oppression left us by our fathers?

Shall we be persuaded that we can live and prosper nowhere but under the authority and power of our North American white oppressors; that this (the United States,) is the country most—if not the only one—favorable to our improvement and progress? Are we willing to admit that we are incapable of self-government, establishing for ourselves such political privileges, and making such internal improvements as we delight to enjoy, after American white men have made them for themselves?

No! Neither is it true that the United States is the country best adapted to our improvement. But that country is the best in which our manhood—morally, mentally and physically—can be best developed—in which we have an untrammeled right to the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty; and the West Indies, Central and South America, present now such advantages, superiorly preferable to all other countries.

That the continent of America was designed by Providence as a reserved asylum for the various oppressed people of the earth, of all races, to us seems very apparent.

From the earliest period after the discovery, various nations sent a representative here, either as adventurers and speculators, or employed laborers, seamen, or soldiers, hired to work for their employers. And among the earliest and most numerous class who found their way to the new world, were those of the African race. And it has been ascertained to our minds beyond a doubt, that when the Continent was discovered, there were found in the West Indies and Central America, tribes of the black race, fine looking people, hav-


having the usual characteristics of color and hair, identifying them as being originally of the African race; no doubt, being a remnant of the Africans who, with the Carthagenian expedition, were adventitiously cast upon this continent, in their memorable adventure to the "Great Island," after sailing many miles distant to the West of the "Pillars of Hercules"—the present Straits of Gibralter.

We would not be thought to be superstitious, when we say, that in all this we can "see the finger of God." Is it not worthy of a notice here, that while the ingress of foreign whites to this continent has been voluntary and constant, and that of the blacks involuntary and but occasional, yet the whites in the southern part have decreased in numbers, degenerated in character, and become mentally and physically enervated and imbecile; while the blacks and colored people have studiously increased in numbers, regenerated in character, and have grown mentally and physically vigorous and active, developing every function of their manhood, and are now, in their elementary character, decidedly superior to the white race? So then the white race could never successfully occupy the southern portion of the continent; they must of necessity, every generation, be repeopled from another quarter of the globe. The fatal error committed by the Spaniards, under Pizarro, was the attempt to exterminate the Incas and Peruvians, and fill their places by Eurepean whites. The Peruvian Indians, a hale, hardy, vigorous, intellectual race of people, were succeeded by those who soon became idle, vicious, degenerated and imbecile. But Peru, like all the other South American States, is regaining her former potency, just in proportion as the European race decreases among them. All the labor of the country is performed by the aboriginal natives and the blacks; the few Europeans there, being the merest excrescences on the body politic—consuming drones in the social hive.

Had we no other claims than those set forth in a foregoing part of this Address, they are sufficient to induce every black and colored person to remain on this continent, unshaken and unmoved.

But the West Indians, Central and South Americans, are a noble race of people; generous, sociable and tractible—just the people with whom we desire to unite, who are susceptible of progress, improvement and reform of every kind. They now desire all the improvements of North America, but being justly jealous of their rights, they have no confidence in the whites of the United States, and consequently peremptorily refuse to permit an indiscriminate



settlement among them of this class of people; but placing every confidence in the black and colored people of North America.

The example of the unjust invasion and forcible seizure of a large portion of the territory of Mexico, is still fresh in their memory; and the oppressive disfranchisement of a large number of native Mexicans, by the Americans—because of the color and race of the natives—will continue to rankle in the boom of the people of those countries, and prove a sufficient barrier henceforth against the inroads of North American whites among them.

Upon the American continent, then, we are determined to remain, despite every opposition that may be urged against us.

You will doubtless be asked—and that, too, with an air of seriousness—why, if desirable to remain on this continent, not be content to remain in the United States. The objections to this—and potent reasons, too, in our estimation— have already been clearly shown.

But notwithstanding all this, were there still any rational, nay, even the most futile grounds for hope, we still might be stupid enough to be content to remain, and yet through another period of unexampled patience and suffering, continue meekly to drag the galling yoke and clank the chain of servility and degradation. But whether or not in this, God is to be thanked and Heaven blessed, we are not permitted, despite our willingness and stupidity, to indulge even the most distant glimmer of a hope of attaining to the level of a well protected slave.

For years, we have been studiously and jealously observing the course of political events and policy, on the part of this country, both in a national and individual State capacity, as pursued toward the colored people. And he who, in the midst of them, can live without observation, is either excusably ignorant, or reprehensibly deceptious and untrustworthy.

We deem it entirely unnecessary to tax you with anything like the history of even one chapter of the unequalled infamies perpetrated on the part of the various States, and national decrees, by legislation, against us. But we shall call your particular attention to the more recent acts of the United States; because whatever privileges we may enjoy in any individual State, will avail nothing, when not recognized as such by the United States.

When the condition of the inhabitants of any country is fixed by legal grades of distinction, this condition can never be changed


except by express legislation. And it is the height of folly to expect such express legislation, except by the inevitable force of some irresistible internal political pressure. The force necessary to this imperative demand on our part, we never can obtain, because of our numerical feebleness.

Were the interests of the common people identical with ours, we, in this, might succeed, because we, as a class, would then be numericaily the superior. But this is not a question of the rich against the poor, nor the common people against the higher classes; but a question of white against black—every white person, by legal right, being held superior to a black or colored person.

In Russia, the common people might obtain an equality with the aristocracy; because, of the sixty-five millions of her population, forty-five millions are serfs or peasants—leaving but twenty millions of the higher classes, royalty, nobility and all included.

The rights of no oppressed people have ever yet been obtained by a voluntary act of justice on the part of the oppressors. Christians, philanthropists, and moralists, may preach, argue and philosophise as they may to the contrary; facts are against them. Voluntary acts, it is true, which are in themselves just, may sometimes take place on the part of the oppressor; but these are always actuated by the force of some outward circumstances of self-interest, equal to a compulsion.

The boasted liberties of the American people were established by a Constitution, borrowed from and modeled after the British magna charta. And this great charter of British liberty, so much boasted of and vaunted as a model bill of rights, was obtained only by force and extortion.

The Barons, an order of noblemen, under the reign of King John, becoming dissatisfied at the terms submitted to by their sovereign, which necessarily brought degradation upon themselves—terms prescribed by the insolent Pope Innocent III, the haughty sovereign Pontiff of Rome; summoned his majesty to meet them on the plains of the memorable meadow of Runnimede, where presenting to him their own Bill of Rights—a bill dictated by themselves, and drawn up by their own hands—at the unsheathed points of a thousand glittering swords, they commanded him, against his will, to sign the extraordinary document. There was no alternative; he must either do or die. With a puerile timidity, he leaned forward his rather commanding but imbecile person, and with a trem-


bling hand and single dash of the pen, the name KING JOHN stood forth in bold relief, sending more terror throughout the world, than the mystic hand-wringing of Heaven throughout the dominions of Nebuchadnezzar, blazing on the walls of Babylon. A consternation, not because of the name of the King, but because of the rights of others, which that name acknowledged.

The King, however, soon became dissatisfied, and determining on a revokation of the act—an act done entirely contrary to his will—at the head of a formidable army, spread fire and sword throughout the kingdom.

But the Barons, though compelled to leave their castles—their houses and homes—and fly for their lives, could not be induced to undo that which they had so nobly done; the achievement of their rights and privileges. Hence, the act has stood throughout all succeeding time, because never annulled by those who willed it.

lit will be seen that the first great modern Bill of Rights was obtained only by a force of arms: a resistence of the people against the injustice and intolerance of their rulers. We say the people—because that which the Barons demanded for themselves, was afterwards extended to the common people. Their only hope was based on their superiority of numbers.

But can we in this country hope for as much? Certainly not.—Our case is a hopeless one. There was but one John, with his few sprigs of adhering royalty; and but one heart at which the threatening points of their swords were directed by a thousand Barons; while in our case, there is but a handful of the oppressed, without a sword to point, and twenty millions of Johns or Jonathans—as you please—with as many hearts, tenfold more relentless than that of Prince John Lackland, and as deceptious and hypocritical as the Italian heart of Innocent III.

Where, then, is our hope of success in this country? Upon what is it based? Upon what principle of political policy and sagacious discernment, do our political leaders and acknowledged great men—colored men we mean—justify themselves by telling us, and insisting that we shall believe them, and submit to what they say—to be patient, remain where we are; that there is a "bright prospect and glorious future before us in this country! May Heaven open our eyes from their Bartemian obscurity.

But we call your attention to another point of our political degradation. The acts of State and general governments.


In a few of the States, as in New York, the colored inhabitants have a partial privilege of voting a white man into office. This privilege is based on a property qualification of two hundred and fifty dollars worth of real estate. In others, as in Ohio, in the absence of organic provision, the privilege is granted by judicial decision, based on a ratio of blood, of an admixture of more than one-half white; while in many of the States, there is no privilege allowed, either partial or unrestricted.

The policy of the above named States will be seen and detected at a glance, which while seeming to extend immunities, is intended especially for the object of degradation.

In the State of New York, for instance, there is a constitutional distinction created among colored men—almost necessarily compelling one part to feel superior to the other; while among the whites no such distinctions dare be known. Also, in Ohio, there is a legal distinction set up by an upstart judiciary, creating among the colored people, a privileged class by birth! All this must necessarily sever the cords of union among us, creating almost insurmountable prejudices of the most stupid and fatal kind, paralyzing the last bracing nerve which promised to give us strength.

It is upon this same principle, and for the self same object, that the General Government has long been endeavoring, and is at present knowingly designing to effect a recognition of the independence of the Dominican Republic, while disparagingly refusing to recognize the independence of the Haitien nation—a people four-fold greater in numbers, wealth and power. The Haitiens, it is pretended, are refused because they are Negroes; while the Dominicans, as is well known to all who are familiar with the geography, history, and political relations of that people, are identical—except in language—they speaking the Spanish tongue—with those of the Hatiens; being composed of negroes and a mixed race. The government may shield itself by the plea that it is not familiar with the origin of those people. To this we have but to reply, that if the government is thus ignorant of the relations of its near neighbors, it is the height of presumption, and no small degree of assurance, for it to set up itself as capable of prescribing terms to the one, or conditions to the other.

Should they accomplish their object, they then will have succeed- ed in forever establishing a barrier of impassable separation, by the creation of a political distinction between those people, of superior-


and inferiority of origin or national existence. Here, then, is another stratagem of this most determined and untiring enemy of our race—the government of the United States.

We come now to the crowning act of infamy on the part of the General Governrnent towards the colored inhabitants of the United States—an act so vile in its nature, that rebellion against its demands should be promptly made, in every attempt to enforce its infernal provisions.

In the history of national existence, there is not to be found a parallel to the tantalising insult and aggravating despotism of the provisions of Millard Filmore's Fugitive Slave Bill, passed by the thirty-third Congress of the United States, with the approbation of a majority of the American people, in the year of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, eighteen hundred and fifty.

This Bill had but one object in its provisions, which was fully accomplished in its passage; that is, the reduction of every colored person in the United States—save those who carry free papers of emancipation, or bills of sale from former claimants or owners—to a state of relative slavery; placing each and every one of us at the disposal of any and every white who might choose to claim us, and the caprice of any and every upstart knave bearing the title of "Commissioner."

Did any of you, fellow-countrymen, reside in a country the provisions of whose laws were such that any person of a certain class, who whenever he, she or they pleased, might come forward, lay a claim to, make oath before (it might be,) some stupid and heartless person, authorized to decide in such cases, and take, at their option, your horse, cow, sheep, house and lot, or any other property, bought and paid for by your own earnings—the result of your personal toil and labor—would you be willing, or could you be induced, by any reasoning, however great the source from which it came, to remain in that country? We pause, fellow-countrymen, for a reply.

If there be not one yea, of how much more importance, then, is your own personal safety, than that of property? Of how much more concern is the safety of a wife or husband, than that of a cow or horse; a child, than a sheep; the destiny of your family, to that of a house and lot?

And yet this is precisely our condition. Any one of us, at any moment, is liable to be claimed, seized and taken into custody by any white, as his or her property—to be enslaved for life—and


there is no remedy, because it is the law of the land! And we dare predict, and take this favorable opportunity to forewarn you, fellow-countrymen, that the time is not far distant, when there will be carried on by the white men of this nation, an extensive commerce in the persons of what now compose the free colored people of the North. We forewarn you, that the general enslavement of the whole of this class of people, is now being contemplated by the whites.

At present, we are liable to enslavement at any moment, provided we are taken away from our homes. But we dare venture further to forewarn you, that the scheme is in mature contemplation and has even been mooted in high places, of harmonizing the two discordant political divisions in the country, by again reducing the free to slave States.

The completion of this atrocious scheme, only becomes necessary for each and every one of us to find an owner and master at our own doors. Let the general government but pass such a law, and the States will comply as an act of harmony. Let the South but demand it, and the North will comply as a duty of compromise.

If Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts can be found arming their sons as watch-dogs for southern slave hunters; if the United States may, with impunity, garrison with troops the Court House of the freest city in America; blockade the streets; station armed ruffians of dragoons, and spiked artillery in hostile awe of the people; if free, white, high-born and bred gentlemen of Boston and New York, are smitten down to the earth,* refused an entrance on professional business, into the Court Houses, until inspected by a slave hunter and his counsel; all to put down the liberty of the black man; then, indeed, is there no hope for us in this country!


  • John Jay, Esq., of New York, son of the late distinguished jurist, Hon. Wm. Jay, was, in 1862, as the counsel of a Fugitive Slave, brutally assaulted and struck in the face by the slave catching agent and counsel, Busteed.

Also, Mr. Dana, an honorable gentleman, counsel for the fugitive Burns, one of the first literary men of Boston, was arrested on his entrance into the Court House, and not permitted to pass the guard of slave catchers, till the slave agent and counsel, Loring, together with the overseer, Suttle, inspected him, and ordered that he might be allowed to pass in! After which, in passing along the street, Mr. Dana was ruflianly assaulted and murderously fallen to the earth, by time minions of the dastardly southern overseer.


It is, fellow-countrymen, a fixed fact, as indellible as the Covenant of God in the Heavens, that the colored people of these United States, are the slaves of any white person who may choose to claim them!

What safety or guarantee have we for ourselves or families ? Let us, for a moment, examine this point.

Supposing some hired spy of the slave power, residing in Illinois, whom, for illustration, we shall call Stephen A., Counsel B., a mercenary hireling of New Yotk, and Commissioner C., a slavecatcher of Pennsylvana, should take umbrage at the acts or doings of any colored person or persons in a free State; they may with impunity, send or go on their knight errands to the South, (as did a hireling of the slave power in New York—a lawyer by profession,) give a description of such person or persons, and an agent with warrants may be immediately despatched to swear them into slavery forever.

We tell you, fellow-countrymen, any one of you here assembled—your humble committee who report to you this address—may, by the laws of this land, be seized, whatever the circumstances of his birth; whether he descends from free or slave parents—whether born North or South of Mason and Dixon's Line—and era the setting of another sun, be speeding his way to that living sepulchre, and death chamber of our race—the curse and scourge of this country—the Southern part of the United States. This is not idle speculation, but living, naked, undisguised truth.

A member of your committee has received a letter from a gentleman of respectability and standing in the South, who writes to the following effect. We copy his own words:

"There are at fhis moment, as I was to-day informed by Colonel W., one of our first magistrates in this city, a gang of from twenty-five to thirty vagabonds of poor white men, who for twenty-five dollars a head, clear of all expenses are ready and willing to go to the North, make acquaintance with the blacks in various places send their descriptions to unprincipled slave holders here—for there are many of this kind to be found among the poorer class of masters— and swear them into bondage. So the free blacks as well as fugitive slaves, will have to keep a sharp watch over themselves to get clear of this scheme to enslave them."

Here, then, you have but a paragraph in the great volume of this political crusade, and legislative pirating by the American people,


over the rights and privileges of the colored inhabitants of the country. If this be but a paragraph—for such it is in truth—what must be the contents when the whole history is divulged! Never will the contents of this dreadful record of crime, corruptlon and oppression be fully revealed, until the Trump of God shall proclaim the universal summons to judgment. Then, and then alone, shall the whole truth be acknowledged, when the doom of the criminal shall be forever sealed.

We desire not to be sentimental, but rather would be political; and therefore call your attention to another point—a point already referred to.

In giving the statistics of various countries, and preferences to many places herein mentioned, as points of destination in emigration, we have said little or nothing concerning the present governments, the various State departments, nor the condition of society among the people.

This is not the province of your committee, but the legitimate office of a Board of Foreign Commissioners, whom there is no doubt will be created by the Convention, with provisions and instructions to report thereon, in due season, of their mission.

With a few additional remarks on the subject of the British Provinces of North America, we shall have done our duty, and completed, for the time being, the arduous, important and momentous duty assigned to us.

The British Provinces of North America, especially Canada West—formerly called Upper Canada—in climate, soil, productions, and the usual prospects for internal improvements, are equal, if not superior, to any northern part of the continent. And for these very reasons, aside from their contiguity to the northern part of the United States—and consequent facility for the escape of the slaves from the South—we certainly should prefer them as a place of destination. We love the Canadas, and admire their laws, because as British Provinces, there is no difference known among the people—no distinction of race. And we deem it a duty to recommend, that for the present, as a temporary asylum, it is certainly advisable for every colored person, who desiring to emigrate, and is not prepared for any other destination, to locate in Canada West.

Every advantage on our part, should be now taken of the opportunity of obtaining LANDS, while they are to be had cheap and on the most easy conditions, from the Government.



Even those who never contemplte a removal from this country of chains, it will be their best interest and greatest advantage, to procure lands in the Canadian Provinces. It will be an easy, profitable and safe investment, even should they never occupy nor yet see them. We shall then be but doing what the whites in the United States have for years been engaged in; securing unsettled lands in the territories, previous to their enhancement in value, by the force of settlement and progressive neighboring improvements. There are also at present, great openings for colored people to enter into the various industrial departments of business operations: laborers, mechanics, teachers, merchants and shop-keepers, and professional men of every kind. These places are now open, as much to the colored as the white man, in Canada, with little or no opposition to his progress; at least in the character of prejudicial preferences on account of race. And all of these, without any hesitancy, do we most cheerfully recommend to the colored inhabitants of the United States.

But our preference to other places, over the Canadas has been cursorily stated in the foregoing part of this paper; and since the writing of that part, it would seem that the predictions or apprehensions concerning the Provinces, are about to be verified by the British Parliament and Home Government themselves. They have virtually conceded, and openly expressed it—Lord Brougharn in the lead—that the British Provinces of North America, must, ere long, cease to be a part of the English domain, and become annexed to the United States.

It is needless—however much we may regret the necessity of its acknowledgment—for us to stop our ears, shut our eyes, and stultify our senses against the truth in this matter; since by so doing, it does not alter the case. Every political movement, both in England and the United States, favors such an issue, and the sooner we acknowledge it, the better it will be for our cause, ourselves individually, and the destiny of our people in this country.

These Provinces have long been burdensome to the British nation, and her statesmen have long since discovered and decided as an indisputable predicate in political economy, that any province as an independent State, is more profitable in a commercial consideration to a country, than when depending as one of its colonies. As a child to the parent, or an apprentice to his master; so is a colony to a State. And as the man who enters into business is to the man-


ufacturer and importer; so is the colony which becomes an independent State, to the country from which it recedes.

Great Britain is decidedly a commercial and money-making nation, and counts closely on her commercial relations with any country. That nation or people which puts the largest amount of money into her coffers, are the people who may expect to obtain her greatest favors. This the Americans do; consequently—and we candidly ask you to mark the prediction—the British will interpose little or no obstructions to the Canadas, Cuba, or any other province or colony contiguous to this country, falling into the American Union; except only in such cases where there would be a compromise of her honor. And in the event of a seizure of any of these, there would be no necessity for such a sacrifice; it could readily be avoided by diplomacy.

Then, there is little hope for us on this continent, short of those places where by reason of their numhers, there is the greatest combination of strength and interests on the part of the colored race.

We have ventured to predict a reduction of the now nominally free into slave States. Already has this "reign of terror" and dreadful work of destruction commenced. We give you the quotation from a Mississippi paper, which will readily be admitted as authority in this case:

"Two years ago a law was passed by the California Legislature granting one year to the owners of slaves carried into the territory previous to the adoption of the Constitution, to remove them beyond the limits of the State. Last year the provision of this law was extended twelve months longer. We learn by the late California papers that a bill has just passed the Assembly, by a vote of 33 to 21, continuing the same law in force until 1855. The provisions of this bill embraces slaves who have been carried to California since the adoption of her Constitution, as well as those who were there previously. The large majority by which it passed, and the opinions advanced during the discussion, indicates a more favorable state of sentiment in regard to the rights of slave holders in California than we supposed existed." (Mississippian.)

No one who is a general and intelligent observer of the politics of this country, will, after reading this, doubt for a moment the final result.

At present, there is a proposition under consideration in California, to authorize the holding of a Convention to amend the Consti-


of that State, which doubtless will be carried into effect; when there is no doubt that a clause will be inserted, granting the right to hold slaves at discretion in the State. This being done, it will meet with general favor throughout the country by the American people, and the policy be adopted on the State's right principle.—This alone is necessary, in addition to the insufferable Fugitive Slave Law, and the recent nefarious Nebraska. Bill—which is based upon this very boasted American policy of the State's right principle—to reduce the free to slave States, without a murmur from the people. And did not the Nebraska Bill disrespect the feelings and infringe upon the political rights of Northern white people, its adoption would be hailed with loud shouts of approbation, from Portland to San Francisco.

That, then, which is left for us to do, is to secure our liberty; a position which shall fully warrant us against the liability of such monstrous political crusades and riotous invasions of our rights.— Nothing less than a national indemnity, indelibly fixed by virtue of our own sovereign potency, will satisfy us as a redress of grievances for the unparalleled wrongs, undisguised impositions, and unmitigated oppression, which we have suffered at the hands of this American people.

And what wise politician would otherwise conclude and determine? None we dare say. And a people who are incapable of this discernment and precaution, are incapable of self-government, and incompetent to direct their own political destiny. For our own part, we spurn to treat for liberty on any other terms or conditions.

It may not be inapplicable, in this particular place, to quote from high authority, language which has fallen under our notice, since this report has been under consideration. The quotation is worth nothing, except to show that the position assumed by us, is a natural one, which constitutes the essential basis of self-protection.

Said Earl Aberdeen recently in the British House of Lords, when referring to the great question which is now agitating Europe:— "One thing alone is certain, that the only way to obtain a sure and honorable peace, is to acquire a position which may command it; and to gain such a position every nerve and sinew of the empire should be strained. The pickpocket who robs us is not to be let off because he offers to restore our purse;" and his Grace might have justly added, "should never thereafter be entrusted or confided in."


The plea doubtless will be, as it already frequently has been raised, that to remove from the United States, our slave brethren would be left without a hope. They already find their way in large companies to the Canadas, and they have only to be made sensible that there is as much freedom for them South, as there is North; as much protection in Mexico as in Canada; and the fugitive slave will find it a much pleasanter journey and more easy of access, to wend his way from Louisiana and Arkansas to Mexico, than thousands of miles through the slave-holders of the South and slave- catchers of the North, to Canada. Once into Mexico, and his farther exit to Central and South America and the West Indies, would be certain. There would be no obstructions whatever. No miserable, half-starved, servile Northern slave-catchers by the way, waiting cap in hand, ready and willing to do the bidding of their contemptible southern masters.

No prisons, nor Court Houses, as slave-pens and garrisons, to secure the fugitive and rendezvous the mercenary gangs, who are bought as military on such occasions. No perjured Marshals, bribed Commissioners, nor hireling counsel, who, spaniel-like, crouch at the feet of Southern slave-holders, and cringingly tremble at the crack of their whip. No, not as may be encountered throughout his northern flight, there are none of these to be found or met with in his travels from the Bravo del Norte to the dashing Oronoco—from the borders of Texas to the boundaries of Peru.

Should anything occur to prevent a successful emigration to the South—Central, South America and the West Indies—we have no hesitancy, rather than remain in the United States, the merest subordinates and serviles of the whites, should the Canadas still continue separate in their political relations from this country, to recommend to the great body of our people, to remove to Canada West, where being politically equal to the whites, physically united with each other by a concentration of strength; when worse comes to worse, we may be found, not as a scattered, weak and impotent people, as we now are separated from each other throughout the Union, but a united and powerful body of freemen, mighty in politics, and terrible in any conflict which might ensue, in the event of an attempt at the disturbance of our political relations, domestic repose, and peaceful firesides.

Now, fellow-countrymen, we have done. Into your ears have we recounted your own sorrows; before your own eyes have we exhib-


ited your wrongs; into your own hands have we committed your own cause. If there should prove a failure to remedy this dreadful evil, to assuage this terrible curse which has come upon us; the fault will be yours and not ours; since we have offered you a healing balm for every sorely aggravated wound.






A. DUDLEY, Wis.,





T. A. WHITE, Ind.,






There shall be established a National Board of Commissioners, consisting of Nine persons, to be chosen from and located at the place where the President is to reside; who shall be known as the Central Commissioners; five of whom shall constitute a quorum to do business---and two additional members from each of the other States.


The Officers of the Board shall consist of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Auditor, and Special Foreign Secretary.


The President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Auditor, and Special Foreign Secretary, shall constitute the Executive Department of the Board, who shall transact any business of emergency, in all cases where a quorum of the Board of Commissioners cannot be obtained; provided always, that the doings be laid before a Council of the Board at the earliest opportunity.


The Board of Commissioners shall consist of three departments: Domestic, Financial, and Foreign Relations.


These Departments shall be managed by three committees: Committee on Domestic, Committee on Financial, and Committee on Foreign Relations.

This organisation is intended to be legally incorporated, and ere this pamphlet is published, that end may be consummated.



The President shall preside at the Councils of the Board, sign all authenticated drafts on the Treasury for money, and at least once every year, give in an intelligently written paper, a general statement through the columns of some public journal, of the general political condition of the Colored People in the United States; the legal enactments (if any) recently passed against them; their domestic advancement, and their intercourse with foreign nations and countries; if in the wisdom of the Board thought proper; he shall also have power to call special councils of the Board, whenever an emergency demands it.


The Vice President, in the absence of the President, shall perform all his duties.


The Secretary shall keep all the records of the Board of Commissioners, draw all drafts on the Treasury for money, seeing that the same is duly authenticated by the attest of the Auditor, and present the same to the President for his signature, he countersigning the same.


The Treasurer shall hold in trust all moneys belonging to the Board, safely deposited in some banking house; pay all drafts properly authenticated as directed in Article X of the Constitution, and shall be required to give sufficient and ample security for the faithful performance of his duty.


The Auditor shall have general oversight of the Treasury; examine, at his pleasure, the books and accounts pertaining to this department, and must, at least once in three months, make an official report to the Board, and once every year fully audit the accounts of the Treasury, making an official annual report of the same. He must also examine the Treasury previous to signing a draft, and must be satisfied, before so doing, that the money is to be properly and legally appropriated; otherwise the signature is to be withheld, without which no moneys may be drawn. But if he be satisfied that the order is just, he must authenticate the draft, with the word "Attest," and his signature following at the lower margin of the paper, on the left extremity, below the last line; the action of the Board being sufficient guarantee for his attest.



The Committee on Domestic Relations shall take cognizance of all matters of social, local, municipal or State interests, when pertaining to the colored people, if thought worthy of note; they shall also continually enquire into and investigate the price of lands and other real estate property, and from time to time, lay the same officially before the President, for the consideration of the Board, with a recommendation to the colored people to secure immediately, as much as possible.


The Committee on Financial Relations shall have general management of the Financial condition of the Board; shall from time to time enquire into its state and condition; shall originate plans for raising a Revenue when required, and manage everything properly pertaining to this department; provided, that at least once in every three months, and oftener if required, an official statement of their doings be made to the Board in council, or the Executive, for their approval of the same.


The Committee on Foreign Relations shall open correspondence with all Foreign Countries, directed by the Board of Commissioners; diligently enquire into and obtain such information as may be obtainable, pertaining to the political and domestic relations, climate, soil and productions of such countries. They shall also hold correspondence with the Foreign Mission which shall be sent out by the Board, and do everything else pertaining to a Foreign Office and the limits and design of this organization; always presenting, in an official manner, at least once in three months, and oftener if required, the result of their doings to the President, who shall lay the same before the Board or the Executive department.


The Board shall appoint a Foreign Commission, to consist of not more than Three persons, whose business it shall be to go on a Foreign Mission, to such countries and places as they may be instructed; to make a geographical, topographical and political enquiry into the state and condition of those places and people; who shall hold correspondence with the Committee on Foreign Relations, whenever convenient; provided that in their official duties, the position of the colored people in the United States be not compromised, and their mission does not exceed one year. They shall also appoint a Special Foreign Secretary to the Committee on Foreign Relations.




In all cases of appointment of either the Foreign Mission, one of the Nine Commissioners, or a Committee of either of the Departments, the President shall have the right to nominate, but the Board in council must confirm the appointment. In the event of a nominee being three times rejected, it shall be considered final; when a new candidate must be put in nomination. In all cases, however, a simple majority is sufficient for confirmation.


The Two Commissioners in each of the several States, shall be required to meet the National Board of Commissioners in Council, at their annual meeting, on the twenty-fourth day of August in each year; and shall take cognizance of all matters of a domestic or municipal character, pertaining to their own State; especially oppressive laws and other acts bearing on the colored people; communicating the same to the Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Relations, who shall immediately lay the same before his Committee, to be presented to the Board or the Executive.


The Committees, each in their departments, shall be independent of the other; and no person may be a member of two committees at one time; but the whole shall be answerable to the Board of Commissioners and the Executive, for their acts and doings.


In the event of a failure to effect an official meeting on die part of either of the Committees, their doings shall be laid before the President, who shall immediately call an Executive Council, for the consideration of such business, all of which shall subsequently be laid before the Board of Commissioners.


The Board in council, may at any time call upon the President for any information or papers which he may possess, pertaining either to the Domestic, Financial or Foreign Relations, when he shall be required, at the earliest possible conveniency, to lay such before the Council.


All official notices pertaining to State interests, shall be sent- through the Committee on Domestic Relations to the Commissioners of that state, whose duty it shall be to take immediate action on the matter, according to the instructions of the Board.


ARTICLE XXI. The Nine, and Two other Commissioners from each State, shall be appointed by this Convention, from the States here represented; who shall immediately proceed to elect their officers. But the members from the States which are not here represented, shall be choson by the Board of Commissioners in council, after their organization; all of whom shall hold their office for three years, or until succeeded by others, appointed by a Conveition held on the basis of the Cleveland Platform, and principles of a Black Nationality.

ARTICLE XXII. The Stated Councils of this Board shall be held on the first Friday in each month, and the Quarterly Councils on the first Friday in April, June, November and December.

ARTICLE XXIII. The Board shall have power to fill all vacancies in their body, the nomination having been presedented by the President at east one month previous to the time of confirmation. This has reference to the Central body of the Board, those in the different States being regulated according to the time that the nomination is sent in ; a month also being allowed from the time which such nomination is recieved by the President.

ARTICLE XXIV. This Constitution may be altered or amended, by a Convention such as referred to in Art. XX: provided that notice has been given of such intended alteration, at least one year previously by a regularly organized Convention, held under the auspices of the Cleveland Platform, agreeing in principles and sentiments with this Convention.




Central Commissioners,—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

M.R. DELANY, President.

WM. WEBB, Vice President.

THOS. A. BROWN, Treasurer.

EDW. R. PARKER, Auditor.

CHAS. W. NIGHTEN, Secretary.

Prof. M. H. FREEMAN, A.M., Special For. Sec.,






Committee on Domestic Relations.




Financial Relations.

THOMAS. A. BROWN, Chairman,



Foreign Relations.

REV. WM. WEBB, Chairman,



Special Foreign Secretary.




WM. C. NELL, Boston,


New York—Buffalo.












Missouri—St. Louis.









Louisiana—New Orleans.



California—San Francisco.



NOTE.—The Commissioners who stand appointed in the list, will refer to the Constitution of the National Board of Commissioners for their duty. Other States, which have received no appointments, are requested to send on their names—two from the same town or district, if possible—to the Board at Pittsburgh, Pa., that each State may be fully represented in the Board.




The address of the President of the National Board of Commissioners, is "M. R. Delany, Pittsburgh, Pa."

The address of the Secretary of the Board is "Charles W. Nighten, 43 St. Clair street, Pittsburgh, Pa."

The address of the Chairman of Financial Relations is "Thomas A. Brown, 13 Decatur street, Pittsburgh, Pa."

The address of the Chairman on Domestic Relations is "Samuel Bruce, 43 St. Clair street, Pittsburgh, Pa."

The address of the Chairman on Foreign Relations is "William Webb, corner of Webster and Elm streets, Pittsburgh, Pa."

REMARKS. The Proceedings of the Convention, according to Resolution 13, should have been issued within one month from the adjournment of the same, which would have been done, but for the outbreak of the Cholera in the city during the month of September, which, for a fortnight, put nearly all business to a stand.

Those names of Delegates marked with an asterisk -- thus * -- were absent from the Convention. This note should have been appended to the list, but was inadvertantly omitted.


The name of Mr. Conaway Barbour, of Kentucky, has, in several places, been erroneously spelled Barber. This was not noticed until that part of the work was struck off.



The Convention—a Resolution, - - - 2

Note to the Commissioners and Delegates, - - 3

Prefatory Remarks, - - - - - - 5

First Days Proceedings, - - - - - 7

Second Days Proceeding, - - - - 11

Third Days Proceedings, - - - 13

List of Delegates, - - - - - - - 16

Resolutions, - - - - 19

Platform, - - - - - - - 23

Report on Establishment of a Periodical, - - 28

Report on the Political Destiny of the Colored Race, 33

Constitution of the National Board of Commissioners, - 71

Organization of the National Board of Commissioners, 76

Resident Address of Officers of N. Board of Commissioners, 78

Remarks, - - - - - - - 78

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National Emigration Convention of Colored People (1854 : Cleveland, OH), “Proceedings of the National Emigration Convention of Colored People Held at Cleveland, Ohio, On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, The 24th, 25th, and 26th of August, 1854,” Colored Conventions Project Digital Records, accessed May 20, 2024,