Thomas Roderick Dew (American National Bibliography)

William J. Barber, "Dew, Thomas Roderick," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
Dew gained still more notoriety in 1832 with the publication of his Review of the Debate in the Virginia Legislature, 1831-1832 (which became even more widely circulated when it was reprinted in 1852 in a collection of essays by southern writers entitled The Pro-Slavery Argument). This work was prompted by the turmoil following the Nat Turner revolt, during which some members of the Virginia legislature championed state support for gradual emancipation and deportation of slaves. Dew was harsh in his criticisms of legislators who expressed such views and defended the "peculiar institution" vigorously. In his judgment, "slavery has been, perhaps, the principal means for impelling forward the civilization of mankind." Those who sought to eliminate it might be well intentioned, but they were naive. Proposals to remove the black population through colonization in Africa and elsewhere were too expensive to be contemplated, but neither was emancipation without deportation a feasible option. Dew insisted "that the slaves, in both an economical and moral point of view, are entirely unfit for a state of freedom among whites."
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