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Virginia, at the time the United States became independent, was the most populous and by much the most wealthy State, but it now holds a very inferior rank. By the census of 1790, it appears that Virginia contained 442,117 whites, and 292,627 slaves. The State of New York, at the same time, contained 318,796 whites, and 21,324 slaves. By the census of 1820, Virginia contained 618,222 whites, and 428,152 slaves; and New York 1,372,812, of which only 10,000 were slaves, and these decreasing every year. Virginia would have contained many more slaves, but numbers are every year sold out of the State and sent to the south. Maryland, in 1790, had 217,649 free whites; Pennsylvania, 424,099. In 1820, Maryland had only 266,483 free whites, and 39,730 free coloured; while Pennsylvania had 1,040,395 of which only 7,557 were slaves. This may be seen in a still stronger light, by contrasting the State of Ohio with that of Virginia. The latter the oldest, first settled State of America, while the former has only existed as a State since the year 1802. By the census of 1820 Ohio contained 576,714 free whites, and Virginia only 618,222.
The white population of the slave States increases a little in the sea-port towns, but scarcely at all in the interior. The mixed breed, however, is constantly becoming more numerous; for the young men of a family are allowed to cohabit with the female domestic slaves, who from being mulattoes are in general preferred to the pure negresces. Some of these girls are uncommonly handsome, and have but very little black blood in them. Indeed I have seen some of these female slaves, who being three or four generations removed from the negro, were nearly as white and fully as good-looking as the ladies they waited upon. This beauty is occasioned by the following circumstances. The father of a family cohabiting with a negress produces a mulattoe, with whom his legitimate son grows up, and if when of age he cohabits with her, another girl is perhaps the fruit of this incestuous union. Afterwards his son, or the first's grandson, cohabiting with his natural sister, gives birth to a light brunette, who can scarcely be distinguished from the legitimate grand-daughters.
All these spurious generations are slaves, liable to be sold, and often actually sold to negro drivers, who again sell them to some one else, for mistresses. Indeed in the southern States, the ladies would be very angry, and turn any one out of society, who kept a white woman for his mistress ; but would not scruple even to marry him, if he had a coloured one, and a whole family of children by her. But what should we say in Europe if a man sold his own natural son, brother, or sister? This however takes place quite commonly, and as a matter of course. I could mention the name of a lady not 100 miles from Washington, who lets out as a servant
her own natural brother, a good-looking Mulattoe. Indeed it is a saying in Kentucky, that “ many a man makes his own Niggers ;” for many a slaveholder, in gratifying his passions, increases at the same time, what may be called his live stock.
The further to the south, the worse the slaves are off. This is particularly the case in those States that do not produce food for them. In the more northern slave holding States, as Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and towards the west, in Kentucky, where Indian corn, and other sorts of grain abound, the slaves are somewhat better provided for. But in the more southern, where little else is raised but cotton, sugar, coffee, and tobacco, the food of the slave (which must be bought) is an object of greater consequence to the master, and consists of little but Indian corn and salt fish. Moreover, in these States, the slaves are kept together in much larger gangs, and with a much smaller admixture of whites; consequently, there are fewer of the domestic slaves, who, under a humane and kind master, are not much worse off than the lowest order of domestic servants in Europe, always however excepting their liability to be beaten or sold. •
With regard to the demoralizing effects of Slavery, I shall content myself with quoting the words of that good man, and excellent patriot, Mr. Jefferson, the third President of the United States....
“ There must doubtless,” he observes, “ be an
unhappy influence on the manners of our people, produced by the existence of Slavery among us. The whole commerce, between master and slave, is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions ; the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and the most degrading submissions on the other, Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive, either in his phi. lanthropy or his self-love, for restraining the in-' temperance of passion towards his slave, the presence of his child should always be sufficient. But generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of younger slaves, gives a loose to his worst passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped with its odious peculiarities. The man must indeed be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. With what execration then should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one-half of the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies. He destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriæ of the other. For if a slave can have a country in the world, it must be any other in preference to
that in which he is born to live and labour for another.
« With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slavés, a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. I tremble for my country, when I reflect, that God is just ; that his justice cannot sleep for ever; that considering numbers, nature, and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events ; that it may become probable by Superior interference. The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest."
These fears of Mr. Jefferson are far from being imaginary. They are hastening every day to their accomplishment, and it is astonishing that the slave-holders will not take warning. Like Belshazzar, they cannot, or will not, read the writing on the wall.
Many indeed must be aware of the danger; but hoping probably that the evil day will not come in their time, they indulge in the weakness of procrastination. But Slavery is a cancer, the cure of which becomes more dangerous, the longer the means of cure are delayed, and which at last cannot be eradicated without causing death.
In 1790 the whole number of slaves in the United States was only 694,480. In 1820 they