Letter to the editor, The March of Freedom

Source citation
“The March of Freedom,” New York Daily Times, 21 January 1857, p. 2.
Author (from)
J. C. Underwood
Newspaper: Publication
New York Times
Newspaper: Headline
The March of Freedom
Newspaper: Page(s)
Date Certainty
Meghan Allen
Transcription date
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print.  Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

The March of Freedom.

To the Editor of the New-York Daily Times:

If examine the progress of population in the Slave States we must become satisfied that the time is not distant when the border States of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri will be redeemed. We shall find that there are three stages in the history of Slavery; the first or most flourishing stage is that in which the Slave population increases in a greater ratio than the Whites. The second, or stationary stage, is that in which though the Slaves increase in numbers they increase in a less ration than the Whites. The thirds, or declining stage, is that in which, while the Whites increase as they do in all our States the Slaves are diminishing in numbers.

The figures below from the various census tables of the United States will show the condition of the States of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia at the double decades of 1790, 1810, 1830 and 1850:

1790. 1810. 1830. 1850.
Delaware—Whites.. 46,310 55,261 57,601 71,169
Delaware—Slaves.. 8,887 4,117 3,292 2,290
Maryland—Whites.. 208,649 235,117 291,108 417,943
Maryland—Slaves... 103,076 111,502 102,934 90,368
Virginia—Whites.... 443,115 551,534 694,300 834,800
Virginia—Slaves.... 293,427 302,518 463,757 472,528

It will be seen by the above statistic that as early as 1810 Delaware had entered upon the third or declining stage, Maryland upon its second or stationary stage, while Virginia was still in the first stage, as the increase of her white population for the preceding 20 years was but 24 cent., while that of her slave population reached about 34 per cent. In the next period of 20 years Maryland passed into the third stage, and Virginia into the second, her white population increasing in a much larger ration than her slaves. In the last double decade, ending in 1850, Virginia had an increase of over 200,000 whites, while her slave population increased less than 3,000. I have no doubt but that the census of 1860 will show Virginia very decidedly in the third or declining stage of Slavery, and that her white population has increased more than in any previous decade. The panic which has existed so extensively during the Christmas holidays, and which has filled the jails in Virginia with those slaves who were guilty of knowing how to read in spite of the laws, and who were therefore suspected of loving liberty too well, has aided and will continue to aid in diminishing the slave population of that and other border States. The impulse which has been given to the cause of internal improvements has had the same effect, both by introducing a large force of Northern and foreign freemen, and by the sale of slaves to raise the means of carrying on those improvements.

The population of Virginia is now about 25 while that of New-York exceeds 75 persons to the square mile. Commercial statistics show that in the year 1850, the total exports and imports of Virginia were less than $4,000,000, while those of New-York amounted to more than $163,000,000. In arts and manufactures nearly the same disparity existed; and in agriculture, which is the peculiar boast of Virginia, we see by the census of 1850, that Virginia’s 61,000 square miles of farming lands were estimated at $216,000,000, and her agricultural implements at $7,000.000; while the 46,000 miles of New-York were estimated at $554,000,000, and her agricultural implements at $22,000,000. No well-informed man doubts that Slavery has been the cause of the slow progress of Virginia. But the fear has prevailed that there was no hope of removing the great evil, except by some terrible servile commotion, by the rising of some future Moses, who, aided by the exterminating thunders of Almighty retribution, should lead his enslaved brethren through a red Sea of fire and blood, which shall swallow up the masters in one undistinguished ruin.

But it seems to me that the statistics above presented show a reasonable certainty that, in the border States at least, freedom will be attained at no distant day, by the operation of natural and peaceful causes, by the diffusion of knowledge and Christian charity, and by the greatly-accelerated movement of those causes effected by information imparted through the late political canvass as to the ruinous economy (to say nothing of the morals) of Slavery. These statistics should arrest the attention, not only of patriots and philanthropists, but of farmers and moneyed men. By application of one of the greatest of modern inventions: “The Endgrant Aid Society,” not only could liberty, arts and education be speedily transplanted to the Northern Slave States, but very large investments could be made in lands which would be more than doubled in value in a single year. In the neighborhood of the Blue Ridge, lands held at from $10 to $20 per acre, would be trebled if held in large quantities, and occupied by industrious and intelligent freemen, so as to secure to themselves schools, society and respect for labor. What adds greatly to the importance of such an investment, is the fact that the lands would be in a most genial climate, within 4 hours of the political capitol, and within 16 hours of the commercial capitol of the country.

ASTOR HOTSE, Monday, Jan. 12, 1857.

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