Richmond (VA) Dispatch, "The Virginia Springs," July 1, 1854

    Source citation
    "The Virginia Springs," Richmond (VA) Dispatch, July 1, 1854, p. 2: 1.
    Newspaper: Publication
    Richmond Daily Dispatch
    Newspaper: Headline
    The Virginia Springs
    Newspaper: Page(s)
    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Zak Rosenberg, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.


    In one point of view, and that a very important one, the abolitionists have been of great service to the Southern States. Their repeated assaults upon the South have awakened Southern men to the necessity of adopting practical measures to develop the strength and resources of the Southern States. But for abolition, they might have gone on in the old apathetic, down-hill track, willing to remain provinces of the North, and perhaps believing themselves that they were the poorest and weakest section of the union, hopelessly degenerated from former times and left without the possibility of recuperation. But for abolitionism, they would have gone wearing out their soil and taking no means to renew it, holding manufacturers and commerce with the most lordly contempt, supplying all their wants at the North and educating their children universally at Northern schools and colleges. The rise and growth of abolitionism set the Southern people to thinking. They became convinced that their only reliance against the triumph of the party which menaced their property and rights, was the development of their own resources, the establishment of internal improvements, and the encouragement of their own industry in every shape and form. The abolitionists, who have poured hot coals upon our backs, have awakened us to life instead of destroying us. it will be found, on examination, that the date of the upward movement which the South is now making in agriculture, manufactures, internal improvements, and home education, corresponds with the period when abolitionism began to drop the mask and manifest its latent strength and its most diabolical spirit. Slave property itself, in spite of the underground railroad, has vastly increased in value like every other kind of property. This is but the beginning of the end. The South is awake to her true policy, and she will not close her eyes till she has direct trade with Europe, and till she has established manufactories on every river, so that she can make for herself every article needed for clothing, from the crown of the list to the sole of the shoe; every article of homestead use; and every mechanical and agricultural implement. All that we need to prosecute this glorious work to its consummation, is the continued agitation and spread of abolition fanaticism. Nothing else would ever have roused the South from a slumber that threatened to be eternal, but the fiendish assaults of abolitionism. With that space, she will continue to travel and to accelerate her speed, until she has attained a pre-eminence in wealth and power, from which she can laugh to scorn the assaults of her enemies.

    Wicked and destructive as abolitionism is in its character and designs, it has done more to build up and consolidate the Southern States, and to strengthen the institution of slavery, than the South would ever have been able to do for itself. Every new assault it makes but adds new stimulus to Southern enterprise, and consequently increases the tide of Southern prosperity. We have all the elements of independence within our own borders, a fact which we never realized, and of which we made no use, till abolitionism prematurely displayed its infernal schemes. The South has learned the secret of its power, and  has resolved upon independence in the Union, or if others leave the Union, independence still. Were there any disposition to falter, to hesitate, or to relax exertion, every new abolition outbreak adds new nerve to Southern hearts and new animation to Southern purposes. When Theodore Parker ironically addressed the crowd of raving abolition madman around him as "fellow-subjects of Virginia," there was more truth than poetry in the  expression. The sable vassals of the corn and tobacco fields, do not contribute as largely to the wealth and prosperity of the State, as do our refractory white lieges of Boston. They enable us to keep our money at home, and stimulate us to fesh exertion, to self-reliance and self-dependence.-The good result of abolitionism is, that instead of freeing the slaves it has freed their masters and is making them more powerful and independent every day.

    How to Cite This Page: "Richmond (VA) Dispatch, "The Virginia Springs," July 1, 1854," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,