The ILLEGAL enactments of Ohio, are extremely oppressive to her colored population. – These LAWS were made by our Western Fathers, in the reign of wolves and bears.* They are vestiges of backwoods barbarism, and never were intended for this enlightened day.
The first settlers passed them, merely to guard themselves against too great an ingress of worn-out slaves, set free from Kentucky and other slave states. They intended them, merely, as a protection, for the time being, that would be superseded by civilization and education. The axe and the hoe, before which the western forests have fled, should long since, have come in contact with all these unequal, unrighteous, and injurious laws.
The state legislature has been memorialized several times on the subject. The voice of the people has called, LOUDLY, for the repeal of the oppressive code, yet the members have stuck to it, with the same KIND of tenacity, that the Haytians do, to the usages of their fathers, in working their oxen by their horns. They have no other good reason. OUR FATHERS MADE THESE LAWS, and we must not BREAK THEM, is the VERY BEST apology, that possibly can be made, for their existence in this light and liberal age.
For the benefit of such of our readers, as are not acquainted with the disabilities to which our brethren in Ohio are subjected, we will mention a few of them. They exist, under a clause, of the old constitution of the state, in which colored men are denied a residence in the State, without bonds and freehold security, for good behaviour, and as an indemnity against their ever becoming a public charge. They are denied the right of suffrage, and of giving testimony against a white man, in any case, or any circumstances whatever. (more…)