The Present – An Age of Hope (1837)

Hope is made up of two ingredients, desire and expectation. Hope for a special object, is a desire for that object, in full expectation of obtaining it, accompanied with prominent reasons why.

Desire for an object, without expecting to obtain it is not hope, and to expect an object with no desire for it, is also, not hope; but both united is real hope.

Such hope, produces corresponding action, and influences to such steps as will secure the end hoped for. It leads the mind, wisely, to adopt those measures, which are most appropriate to accomplish the end in view; in a word, it makes the subject a consistent one. The present age of time, may be considered verily, one of hope; for wherever we turn our eyes, we see men of all classes buoyant with hope. The mechanic, and the artisan, each hoping to excel; the merchant and the commercial man sustained principally by hope, in their enterprises; and in the great political contest, and amidst the rage of speculation, the one, hoping for political honor, and the other, that fortune may attend his emergencies. But with no class of citizens is the above more emphatically true, than with colored Americans.

We have everything to hope and nothing to fear. It is impossible, that our condition in this land of republicanism, and in this age of reform, can be worse than it has been; we must, therefore, be on the verge of a better condition. – It is one of hope.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.
The hope of colored Americans differs materially in kind, from that of other citizens; we hope for rights – rights which as men, as American men, as Christian men, belong to us; but of which, we have been most unjustly deprived; but we cannot; must not, much longer, be deprived; and we fully expect we shall not. We view ourselves verging to the point where we shall enjoy our rights as other citizens; this is our hope, and surrounding circumstances justify us in indulging such. The principles of our government say so, and these principles will live, and move, and work their legitimate results, – the opposition of slave-holders and their abettors to the contrary, notwithstanding. Christians and philanthropists are beginning to awake to this subject, and say so. God has said so, but with a more audible voice, he makes this nation hear, and feel it is so. It now only remains for colored Americans to come forward and say so, and it will be so. Whoever knew a people robbed of rights, and oppressed who came forward, en-masse and declared their rights, and sought redress, who did not achieve them.

We hail the “Colored American” as an event, not a little calculated to accelerate the object of our hope; let us rally around it then, and say it shall live – it shall be found living when we are dead, and shall cease not to speak, till the consummation of all things.

This is our prosperity, on it we intend to stamp sentiments in words which shall burn, and make this nation feel; let us colored Americans come forward then as one; on the principles of truth and justice, and declare our discontent with oppression, and with half our rights; let us say respectfully, we cannot, must not, will not, longer thus be wronged; and see if we cannot move this nation and achieve our privileges.

In contrast with such principles, slavery is an unnatural creature, and before the march of such, every species and vestige of it must die. One reason why we have been oppressed so long is, we have not made noise enough about it, – silence, on our part, has said, we consent to it, and are willing to have it so. Let us now counteract such an influence, by supporting our paper to speak for us; also, the general movements in this great cause, and by letting the world see and hear, that we believe ourselves subjects of hope, and know that we live in an age of hope; let us cry aloud and spare not; lift up our voice like a trumpet, and show this nation her transgressions, this government their sin. “Let us quit ourselves like men, be strong, knowing that he that is for us is more than he that is against us; and who is he that will harm you, if you be followers of that which is good.”

Source:  The Colored American for April 8, 1837

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