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THE WAR IN AMERICA. 4.

MINING COMPANY REVELATIONS.

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THE AMERICAN NEGROES AND MR.…

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THE AMERICAN NEGROES AND MR. LINCOLN. The following letter from Mr. Robert Purvis, a coloured man, has been published in the Press of Phila- delphia. The Anti-Slavery Standard says:—" It is just such a production as we should expect, under the cir- cumstances, from its high-toned and proud-spirited author." Byberry, Pa., August 28, 18S2. Hon. S. C. Pomeroy, Government Colonisation Agent. Sir,—I have read with deep and painful interest your address to the "Free Coloured People of the United States," and, as a coloured" man, beg the privilege of saying a few words in reply. Forty-five years ago an overture similar to that con- tained in your address came to the coloured people from the city of Washington. That proposed West- ern Africa as the happy place where they were to be colonised-this proposes Central America. On the receipt of that proposition a public meeting of the coloured people of Philadelphia was called, with a view of expressing their opinions of it. It was held in Bethel Church, in the month of January, 1817, and my honoured father-in-law, the late James Forten, was its chairman. It adopted a series of resolutions, the first and last of which were as follows:—"Resolved, That as our ancestors (not of choice) were the first successful cultivators of the wilds of America, we their descendants, feel ourselves entitled to participate in the blessings of her luxuriant soil which their blood and sweat enriched, and that any measure, or system of measures, having a ten- dency to banish us from her bosom, would not only be cruel, but in direct violatian of those principles which have been the boast of this republic. Resolved,—That having the strongest confidence in the justice of God and philanthropy of the free States, we cheerfully submit our destinies to the guidance of Him who suffers not a sparrow to fall without His special providence." Senator Pomeroy, these were the sentiments of the coloured people of Philadelphia, and of the whole land, in 1817; they have been their sentiments ever since, and they will be found to be their sentiments now. Ex- ceptions there may have been, and may be again. I speak of the whole, not of a fraction. Sir, for more than twenty years the question of coloni- sation agitated and divided this country. The coloured people stamped it with the seal of their reprobation; the whites acquiesced in the justice of their decision, and the vexed and vexing question was put to rest. Now it is revived. The apple of discord is again thrown into the community, and as though you had not already enough to divide and distract you, a new scheme is hit upon and deliberately sent upon its errand of mischief. There are some aspects of this project which surely its advocates cannot have duly considered. You pur- pose to exile hundreds of thousands of your labourers. The wealth of a country consists mainly in its labour. With what law of economy, political or social, can you reconcile this project to banish from your shores the men that plough your fields, drive your teams, and help build your houses ? Already the farmers around me begin to feel the pinching want of labour: how will it be after this enormous draft? I confess the project seems to me one of insanity. What will foreign nations, on whose good or ill will so much is supposed now to depend, think of this project ? These nations have none of this vulgar prejudice against complexion-what, then, will they they think of the wisdom of a people who, to gratify a low-born prejudice, deliberately plan to drive out hundreds of thousands of the most peaceable, industrious, and competent labourers? Mr. Roebuck said, in a late speech at Sheffield-as an argument for intervention-" that the feeling against the black was stronger at the North than in the South." Mr. Roebuck can now repeat that assertion, and point to this governmental project in ccrrobo- ration of its truth. A "Slaveholders' Convention" was held a few years since in Maryland, to consider whether it would not be best either to re-enslave the free blacks of that State or banish them from its borders. The question was discussed, and a committee, the chair- man of which was United States Senator Pearce, was appointed to report upon it. That committee reported that to enslave men now free would be inhuman, and to banish them from the State would be to inflict a deadly blow upon the material interests of the common- wealth that their labour was indispensable to the wel- fare of the State." Sir, your Government proposes to do that which the Slaveholders' Convention of Mary- land, with all their hate of the free blacks, declared to be inconsistent with the public interest. But it is said this is a question of prejudice, of national antipathy, and not to be reasoned about. The President has said, whether it is right or wrong I need not now discuss." Great God.! Is justice nothing ? Is honour nothing ? Is even pecuniary interest to be sacrificed to this insane and vulgar hate? Bur it is said this is the "white man's country." Not so, sir. This is the red man's country, by natural right, arid the black man's by virtue of his sufferings and toil. Your fathers by violence drove the red man out, and forced the black man in. The children of the black man have enriched the soil by their tears, and sweat and blood. Sir, we were born here, and here we choose to remain. For twenty years we were goaded and harassed by systematic efforts to make us colonise. We were coaxed and mobbed, and mobbed and coaxed, but we refused to budge. We planted our- selves upon our inalienable rights, and were proof against all the efforts that were made to expatriate us. For the last fifteen years we have enjoyed comparative quiet. Now again the malign project is broached, and again, as before, in the name of humanity are we invited to leave! In God's name, what good do you expect to accomplish by such a course ? If you will not let our brethren in bonds go free-if you will not let us, as did our fathers, share in the privileges of the Government—if you will not let us even help fight the battles of the country—in Heaven's name, at least, let ua alone. Is that too great a boon to ask of your magnanimity? Sir, I have spoken with freedom, but not, I trust, with disrespect. If I have expressed myself with warmth, put yourself in my place and ask if you would not do the same. Sir, my revered father, William Purvis, of Charleston, S. C., was a loyal citizen of this country and a true patriot. He died leaving an escutcheon without a stain. My father-in-law, James Forten, served this country in the revolution of 1776, and suffered as a captive of war on board the British prison ship, Old Jersey. He, too, died without a blot on his memory. I myself have paid the taxes and borne the burden of the Government without|being allowed a share in its privileges. Of this I don't now complain. In bitterness of spirit, but with unwavering loyalty, I have been true to the country which has never ceased to injure me. I have hoped and laboured for better things. I still hope and labour for better things and don't complain. But let me alone. I elect to stay on the soil on which I was born, and on the plot of ground which I hstve fairly bought and honestly paid for. Don't advise me to leave, and don't add insult to injury by telling me it's for my own good; of that I am to be the judge. It is in vain you talk to me about the two races," and their mutual antagonism." In the matter of rights there is but one race, and that is the human race. God has made of one blood all nations to dwell on all the face of the earth." And it is not true that there is a mutual antagonism between the white and coloured people of this community. You may antagonise us, but we do not antagonise you. You may hate us, but we do not hate you. It may argue a want of spirit to cling to those who seek to banish us, but such is nevertheless the fact. Sir, this is our country as much as it yours, and we will not leave it. Your ships may be at the door, but we choose to remain. A few may go, as a few went to Hayti and a few to Liberia, but the coloured people as a mass will not leave tne land of their birth. Of course I can only speak by authority for myself, but I know the people with whom I am identified, and I feel confident that I only express their sentiment as a body when I say that your project for colonising them in Central America or anywhere else, with or without their consent, will never succeed. They will migrate as do other people, when left to themselves, and when the motive is sufficient; but they will neither be compelled to volunteer" nor con- strained to go of their own accord, Your obedient servant, ROBERT PURVIS. ♦-

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