« EelmineJätka »
Who are the friends of the slaves, and of the free people of color, in the slave-holding region ? This question has sometimes been debated at the north, and Prof. Andrews, who is by no means a partizan of colonization, seems to have had it particularly in view. At Baltimore, he says:
I have been much interested to-day in an interview with several of the officers of the Maryland Colonization Society. It was delightful to find, in the midst of slavery, men who feel deeply for the condition of the slave, and who delight in doing good to him, not only in the way in which they are called to act officially, but in all other modes which an enlightened humanity may propose.' p. 59.
At Washington, having pursued his inquiries farther, le writes again :
• The friends of the colonization cause are the only persons, whom I find in this quarter evincing a deep interest in the improvement of the African race, and such I know to be the case in States still farther south. Some regard their improvement only as subsidiary to colonization, but others consider it as a thing most desirable in itself, and without regard to their final settlement.' pp. 115, 116.
What good have the anti-slavery agitators done at the south?
• There is, at this time, a strong feeling of indignation, in this city, [Washington,) against the measures of the northern abolitionists, which Tenders any attempt to improve the condition of the colored people far more difficult than it was but a short time since. The excitement is greatest among the advocates of perpetual slavery, and least of all among the friends of colonization ; but all the friends of the African race deplore the interference which has occasioned it. p. 116.
• Since I entered the slave-holding country, I have seen but one man who did not deprecate, wholly and absolutely, the direct interference of northern abolitionists with the institutions of the south. abolitionist,” bas been the language of numbers of those with whom I have conversed, “I was an abolitionist, and was laboring industriously to bring about a prospective system of emancipation. I even saw, as I believed, the certain and complete success of the friends of the colored race, at no distant period, when these northern abolitionists interfered, and by their extravagant and impracticable schemes, frustrated all our hopes. We have no expectation, that in our day, the prospects of the slaves will ever again be as favorable, as they were at the moment when this ill-omened interference commenced. Our people have become exasperated, the friends of the slaves alarmed, and nothing remains but that we should all unite in repelling the officious intermeddling of persons who do not understand the subject with which they are interfering. We will not be driven by northern clamors, or northern associations, to do that which we would gladly accomplish in a prudent manner, if lest to ourselves." ' pp. 156, 157.
6. I was an
One of the most interesting topics in the whole field of inquiry respecting slavery and abolition, is the progress of Maryland 10ward becoming a free State. Some facts in relation to this subject have been collected by Mr. Andrews, which are well worthy to be considered by all who would understand what prospect there is of the abolition of slavery. It is only to be regretted ihat these facts, instead of being scattered here and there through a series of somewhat familiar letters, were not arranged and combined in such forms as to show more distinctly the great principles which they involve. Perhaps, however, the book might in that way have lost in popular interest more than it would have gained in pbilosophical precision.
“In this State,” says our author, “slave-labor employed in agriculture has long since ceased, with few exceptions, to be valuable.” This every body knows already; and every body knows the reason of it. Slave-labor, in Maryland, comes into competition with free-labor, and is therefore un profitable. And when the political economists of the south have “exhausted the argument" for the superior profitableness of slave-labor in agriculture ; it is answer enough to point to the agriculture of Maryland, and to demand of them an instance in which free-labor has become unprofitable when placed in competition on equal terms with the labor of slaves. Slave-labor then must cease to be profitable everywhere, just in proportion as the labor of freemen can be einployed in the production of the same commodities. Let the time come when the labor of intelligent freemen shall produce cotton, rice, and sugar, on a large scale, and slave-labor will cease to be more profitable in the agriculture of Louisiana and Mississippi, than it is in the agriculture of Maryland. In
consequence of the unprofitableness of slave-labor, there is an increasing desire among the citizens of Maryland to be rid of slavery. The transportation of slaves by thousands to the southern States, does not indeed indicate such a desire. But other things mentioned by our author, do indicate the desire in Maryland to become a free State. No serious legal difficulties are thrown in the way of emancipation. The testimony of one respectable witness, that he is well acquainted with the party, and that he knows him to bear a fair character for honesty and temperance, is regarded by the courts as sufficient to secure for ihe emancipated slave the privilege of a continued residence within the State. Emancipations are frequent, and are increasingly popular. It is stated, that not sewer than fifteen hundred slaves bad been manumitted within the three and a half years preceding the date of our author's inquiries; and that the majority of these were manumitted without reference to their emigration. Can it be doubted, that if at any time slave-labor should become equally unprofitable in tbe nore southern States, there will be in those more southern States he same disposition to be rid of slavery which now exists in Ma'yland?
Slavery in Maryland is actually on the wane. The number of slaves has been, for a quarter of a century, continually diminishng. At the first census, viz., in 1790, the number was 103,036. At the end of ten years the increase had been 2.52 per cent. During another ten years the increase was 5.55 per cent.; so that n 1910 the number of slaves was 111,502, or 8,466 more than n 1790. From 1810 to 1820, the decrease was 3.68 per cent.; ind from 1820 to 1830, it was 4.1 per cent.; so that in 1830 he slave population of that State was less than it was in 1810 by 3,508. The white population in the meanwhile has increased in a constantly increasiny ratio,-for the first ten years, 3.68 per cent.; for the second, 8.65; for the third, 10.67; for the fourth, 11.87. The time is not far distant, then, when Maryland will be numbered with the free States. Must not other States in their turn yield to the same influences, and become free?
The diminution of the slave population in Maryland, has been accompanied with a great increase of the free colored population. In 1790 the number of free colored persons in Maryland was only 8,043. In 1830 the number was 52,938, making an increase of 558 per cent. in forty years. From 1820 10 1830, the increase was 33.24 per cent., just about three tinies as great as the increase of the white population for the same period. It is to be noticed, however, that since the probibition of the foreign slavetrade, the increase of the entire colored population, bond and free, has not been rapid. In the ten years, from 1800 to 1810, the increase was 16.13 per cent. Bui from 1810 to 1820, it was only 1.17 per cent. From 1820 to 1830, it was 5.98 per cent. If Maryland has her Prof. Dew, let bim tell us how much the internal slave-trade has to do with this diminished per centage. But however this may be, the great increase of the free colored population, is proof decisive of the tendency toward emancipation.
Some indications of the same kind appear in other States. In Virginia, the increase of the free blacks in the ten years preceding the last census, was 27.49 per cent.; that of the slaves, for the same period, was only 11.85 per cent. ; that of the whites, 15.12 per cent. In North Carolina, for the same period, the increase of the free blacks was 33.74 per cent.; that of the slaves, 19.79 per cent. ; that of the whites, 12.79 per cent. In Kentucky, the increase of the free colored population, for the same period, was 67.18 per cent. ; that of the slaves, 30.36 per cent.; that of the wbites, 19.12 per cent. In Tennessee, the increase of the free blacks for the same period, was 63.9 per cent. In Ohio, which, bordering upon a slave region, receives a great share of the slaves emancipated in the neighboring States, the increase of free blacks for the same period, was 96.91 per cent. In Indiana, during the same period, 2,499 free blacks were added to their numbers, making the increase of this portion of their population 195.04 per cent. These statistics show, that emancipation is all the while going on, not in Maryland alone, but in all ihe States in which the profits of slave-labor are diminishing. Taking the whole Union together, no class of population increases so rapidly as the free blacks.
But what will be the result of emancipation in the more northern slave States? Will the emancipated population be removed? Will they be employed as laborers upon the soil ? Will they coalesce with the white population, sharing with them on equal terms in all the employments of society? These are questions not to be answered with much certainty ; yet some of the statements made by our author may be regarded as affording materials for an approximation to a correct answer.
In Maryland, the labor of the free blacks is not considered valuable. There, as at the north, they are found, not in the country laboring upon the soil, not in the work-shop or manufactory, where work is to be done with steady application, but congregated in the cities. In Baltimore alone, which contains not one iwventy-fifth part of the slaves of Maryland, nearly two-fifths of the free blacks maintain their existence, living by just such einployments as support the free blacks in New-York and the cities of New-England.
The labor of white men is superseding the labor both of slaves and of the free people of color. In those employments which require severe and steady effort, not only is a decided preference given to the labor of white men, but white laborers are found in sufficient numbers to meet the demand. Mr. Andrews tells us, that all the great public works in Maryland have been constructed almost exclusively by the hands of Irishmen. He tells us furthermore, what every traveler passing that way has occasion to observe, that even in Baltimore, the Irish and other foreigners are competitors with the blacks for employment as porters, carmen, ostlers, and domestic servants. There is a constant immigration of foreign laborers into Baltimore. We find among our memoranda the following fact, stated at the time in one of the newspapers of that city. Between the first and the twenty-fifth of June, 1833, nearly seventeen hundred emigrants from Europe, of whom about one hundred and fifty were Irish, and the remainder nearly all Germans and Swiss, arrived at Baltimore, and were expected to settle in that part of the country. Such facts show, that in that region the labor of white men is likely to supersede the labor of the free blacks, as well as of the slaves. A similar competition exists to some extent in almost every part of the country. An intelligent gentleman from South Carolina, who had no ibeory to support, remarked to Mr. Andrews, that even there, Irishmen were ready to do any thing that the free blacks might be wanted to do.
Yet it is not impossible for the free blacks to find employment. The demand for labor is so great in ibis country, that all sorts of laborers are in request. In New-York it is remarked, that the colored people, by their address and ingenuity, contrive to monopolize, to a considerable extent, a certain class of employments, and to turn over to their Irish competitors the more coilsome business of carrying mortar, breaking stone, or digging and plying the wheel-barrow upon roads and canals. In Baltimore, Mr. A. observed, that many of the free people of color were much better dressed than the lower class of white people, particularly the Irish. As domestic servants, those colored people who have been brought up to that business, are far better than any others in this country. Thousands of the better sort of free colored people at the south, might find immediate employment in New-England, to the great relief of many a householder, whose daily grief is to bear the groanings of bis helpmate over the unskillsulness and misrule of her kitchen cabinet, and the difficulty, so unbeard of in politics, of filling vacant places.
The mortality among the free blacks is greater than in any other class of the community. For eleven years, the record of deaths in the city of Baltimore has carefully distinguished the three classes of whites, free blacks, and slaves. The deaths among the free blacks annually, are one in twenty-nine; among the whites, one in thirty-eight; among the slaves, only one in forty-four. If distinct records of the deaths in each of these three classes were kept everywhere, the proportion might not indeed be everywhere the same; but there is great reason to believe, that sinuilar results would everywhere appear. Mr. Andrews suggests the inquiry, whether it may not be that slavery alone prevents the colored race in the United States from a gradual extinction. Let us see what facts there are to answer this inquiry. The colored population of Massachusetts increased at the rate of only 2.62 per cent. in the ten years preceding the last census. Yet Massachusetts, while she sends out no colored emigrants, is every summer receiving into her metropolis colored emigrants from other States. Rhode Island has large iowds to give refuge and employment to the colored people ; yet in Rhode Island, for twenty years before the last census, the colored population was slowly decreasing. Connecticut sends no colored people to Georgia, to Illinois, or to Liberia ; but, on the contrary, her cities are continually receiving colored people from the south ; yet in Connecticut the increase of the colored populasion, for the ten years preceding the last census, was only 0.38 per