At a meeting of colored citizens favorable to a call for a State Convention, held
in the city of Portland , June
11th, 1841 , A. N. Freeman in the
chair, and J. W. Lewis , Secretary, the
following preamble and resolution were unanimously adopted. That if acting
conformably to the will of our Creator in securing our own
happiness and the happiness of our fellow men, are objects of the highest moment,
then we are loudly called upon to cultivate and extend the great principles of
Virtue and Truth: and therefore Resolved, That it is expedient to hold a
Convention of the people of color in this State the ensuing Fall, for mutual
consultation, and the general benefit of our people.
The undersigned were appointed a committe to prepare and issue an address to our
people.This they submit as
A CALL to the Colored
citizens of Maine and N. Hampshire .
Fellow Citizens; We invite your attention to this Call of a State Convention to
be held in the city of Portland on Wednesday, the 6th day of October next.
Brethren, we think this meeting ought to be regarded, and hope it will be with
peculiar interest by every Colored man and woman among us, and no pains spared to
render it interesting and profitable.
Our own, our native land demands, our posterity, our enslaved brethren, and our
own interests for time and eternity, demand an immediate effort for our moral and
intellectual elevation. The consideration and adoption of the means to these great
ends we ought no longer to defer.
As individuals we must mainly achieve our high purposes, yet it is proper and
necessary for us to embody our efforts.—We shall need all the counsel, sympathy,
encouragement and strength of union; and by it, with the blessing of
God , we may wisely plan, and successfully accomplish the
mightiest enterprise. We need a nucleus around which may gather the moral energy
of our whole population: and we beg of you a candid and prayerful attention to
this matter. Citizens, as you love your country, and would have it a mountain of
holiness and a dwelling place of righteousnoss, think of the subject and come.
Fathers, would you have the paths of wisdom, honor and profit opened to, and every
encouragement given to your beloved offspring to walk in them, consider it well,
and come. Mothers, withhold not your influence. The characters of
Newton , Wesley ,
Whitfield and Washington tell of the
powers of maternal influence. We may have noble minds among our people.—Exert your
influence to furnish occasion and encouragement that they may be ornaments to
society and blessings to mankind.
Come all. A trodden down and peeled people ought not to rest. Oppression is not
heaven inherited by any one. Such a condition is not, cannot be consistent with
our duties as moral beings. The largest liberty is essential to humanity. The
means for our full emancipation are within our reach; and we cannot longer refuse
to use them, and be innocent.
The subjects which will come up for consideration and action, are many and great.
"Call" we can of course allude, and briefly too, to but a part of
Next to our personal relations to our Heavenly Father , the
subject of Education should interest us. We cannot measure its importance, but we
feel it in our relations to man. And the power it has given to others, it offers
to us. Through the goodness of God knowledge is held to our
lips and we may drink even to that which is life eternal. It has no prejudices,
but whosoever will, may come.
We are identified with the poor, suffering, bleeding slave of the
South . He is our brother. The claims of kin are added to
the claims of humanity upon us to labor directly and heartily with the
philanthropist, to undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free. The
condition of our enslaved brethren greatly affects our own. We cannot expect the
full enjoyment of all our rights while the influence of Slavery is felt in our
The baneful influence of intemperance has been felt by multitudes among us.
Prejudice is, alas! too strong without any cause. None of us, therefore, by
intemperance or any vicious indulgence, should contribute in the least to foster
it. Temperance is proving a blessing to all who embrace her. Elevating and
purifying, her ways are pleasantness, and her paths peace. And in her ways alone
is there certainty of final triumph.
We would also ask your attention to the important subject of the future
occupations of our offspring. The employment naturally affects the disposition and
mind as well as the condition. Some corrupt the principles; others contract the
mind ; while others leave its powers stagnant. If such employments do not degrade
they cannot have an elevating tendency. Our aims require that their minds and
hearts be guarded from all evil influences; that their occupations be favorable to
the developement and cultivation of the mind; consistant with sound principle;
such as generate enlarged views and generous sentiments; and such as will render
them as useful as their talents will permit. Such desirable employments there are,
and some of them are open to us.
It is neccessary that we should have all the statistical information we can
procure in regard to our numbers, occupations, and resources, and benevolent and
other societies supported among us. And we hope every one will come prepared to
give such information.
Brethren, Our enterprise is a great one, and will demand the influence and labor
of every one. None can be spared. And none we trust will increase our difficulties
by their indifference. Our brethren in other States are moving in this cause.
Come, let us take counsel together; encourage each others' heart; strengthen each
others' hand; and planting, in humble relience upon the Great
Deliverer , await the sun and shower of his favor, and the plentiful
Yours truly, for truth and right,
A. N. FREEMAN , J. W. LEWIS
, A. W. NILES , Com.