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Poulson, Zachariah (1761-1844) To the free Africans and other people of color in the United States

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06212 Author/Creator: Poulson, Zachariah (1761-1844) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Broadside Date: 6 January 1796 - 9 May 1797 Pagination: 1 p. ; 45.9 x 28.2 cm.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06212 Author/Creator: Poulson, Zachariah (1761-1844) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Broadside Date: 6 January 1796 - 9 May 1797 Pagination: 1 p. ; 45.9 x 28.2 cm.

Summary of Content: Two addresses by the conventions of delegates of the Abolition Societies of the United States. The first is dated 9 May 1797 and signed by Joseph Bloomfield as President of the Convention. The second is dated 6 January 1796 and signed by Theodore Foster, also as President. Printed by Zachariah Poulson. Discolored and damaged, corners missing and split in middle with slight text loss. Previously restored and lined.

Background Information:

Full Transcript:
[Draft Created by Crowdsourcing]
To the Free Africans and other free People of color in the United States.

The Convention of Delegates from the Abolition Societies in the United States, ...having again assembled for the purpose of promoting your happiness, consider it their duty, once more to call your attention to the advice which was addressed to you by the Convention of last year, and which we subjoin to the present address, in order that you may, at one view, be able to profit by these collected advices of your sincerest friends. The oftener we review that advice, the more we are impressed with its importance, and the more anxious we are to urge your strict and faithful observance of it. We shall only add thereto, at present, one other request, and that is, that you would avoid gaming in all its varied forms - the ruinous and miserable consequences of this most pernicious evil, are so notorious, and so generally acknowledged, that we cannot too forcibly endeavour to guard you against it. It subjects you to the controul of the most degrading passions, and too generally leads to the loss of fortune, reputation, and of every good principle.

We can with peculiar satisfaction inform you, that schools and places of worship have been established, and that they are well attended by people of your color, in New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and other places; and we are happy to find, that many of you have evinced, by your and moral conduct, that you are not unworthy of the freedom you enjoy.

Go on in these paths of virtue: By persevering in them you will justify the solicitude and labors of your friends in your behalf, and furnish an additional argument for the emancipation of such of your brethren as are yet in bondage in the United States and in other parts of the world.
By order, and in behalf, of the Convention,
Joseph Bloomfield, President.
Philadelphia, May 9th. 1797.
Thomas P. Cope, Secretary.


To the free Africans and other free People of color in the United States.

The Convention of Deputies from the Abolition Societies in the United States, assembled at Philadelphia, have undertaken to address you upon subjects highly interesting to your prosperity.
They wish to see you act worthily of the rank you have acquired as freemen, and thereby to do credit to yourselves, and to justify the friends and advocates of your color in the eyes of the world.

As the result of our united reflections, we have concluded to call your attention to the following articles of advice. We trust, they are dictated by the purest regard for your welfare; for we view you as Friends and Brethren.

In the first place, we earnestly recommend to you, a regular attention to the important duty of public worship; by which means you will evince gratitude to your Creator, and, at the same time, promote knowledge, union, friendship, and proper conduct amongst yourselves.
Secondly, we advise such of you, as have not been taught reading, writing, and the first principles of arithmetic, to acquire them as early as possible. carefully attend to the instruction of your children in the same simple and useful branches of education. Cause them, likewise, early and frequently to read the holy Scriptures; these contain, amongst other great discoveries, the precious record of the original equality of mankind, and of the obligations of universal justice and benevolence, which are derived from the relation of the human race to each other in a common Father.

Thirdly, teach your children useful trades, or to labor with their hands in cultivating the earth. These employments are favorable to health and virtue. In the choice of masters, who are to instruct them in the above branches of business, prefer those who will work with them; by this means they will acquire habits of industry, and be better preserved from vice, than if they worked alone, or under the eye of persons less interested in their welfare. In forming contracts, for yourselves or children, with masters, it may be useful to consult such persons as are capable of giving you the best advice, and who are known to be your friends, in order to prevent advantages from being taken of your ignorance of the laws and customs of our country.
Fourthly, be diligent in your respective callings, and faithful in all the relations you bear in society, whether as husbands, wives, fathers, children or hired servants. Be just in all your dealings. Be simple in your dress and furniture, and frugal in your family expenses. Thus you will act like Christians as well as freemen, and, by these means, you will provide for the distresses and wants of sickness and old age.

Fifthly, refrain from the use of spirituous liquors; the experience of many thousands of the citizens of the United States has proved, that these liquors are not necessary to lessen the fatigue of labor, nor to obviate the effects of heat or cold; nor can they, in any degree, add to the innocent pleasures of society.

Sixthly, avoid frolicking, and amusements which lead to expense and idleness; they beget habits of dissipation and vice, and thus expose you to deserved reproach amongst your white neighbours.

Seventhly, we wish to impress upon your minds the moral and religious necessity of having your marriages legally performed; also to have exact registers preserved of all the births and deaths which occur in your respective families.

Eighthly, endeavour to lay up as much as possible of your earnings for the benefit of your children, in case you should die before they are able to maintain themselves - your money will be safest and most beneficial when laid out in lots, houses, or small farms.

Ninthly, we recommend to you, at all times and upon all occasions, to behave yourselves to all persons in a civil and respectful manner, by which you may prevent contention and remove every just occasion of complaint. We beseech you to reflect, that it is by your good conduct alone that you can refute the objections which have been made against you as rational and moral creatures, and remove many of the difficulties, which have occurred in the general emancipation of such of your brethren as are yet in bondage.

With hearts anxious for your welfare, we commend you to the guidance and protection of that Being who is able to keep you from all evil, and who is the common Father and Friend of the whole family of mankind.
By order, and in behalf, of the Convention,
Theodore Foster, President.
Philadelphia, January 6th. 1796.
Thomas P. Cope, Secretary.
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People: Poulson, Zachariah, 1761-1844

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: SlaveryAfrican American HistoryAbolitionReform MovementBlack Lives in the Founding EraTranscript Project: Black Lives in the Founding EraTranscript Available

Sub Era: The Early Republic

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