Virginia with soil and temperature and mineral wealth inviting free and skilled labor, yet with lowland where the negro attained his perfect physical development, stood as mediator between the two.
Many of her statesmen—George Mason, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, Wythe, Pendleton, Richard Henry Lee—emulated each other in their confession of the iniquity and inexpediency of holding men in bondage.
We have seen the legislature of colonial Virginia in 1772, in their fruitless battle
1772. with the king respecting the slave-trade, of which he was the great champion, demand its abolition as needful for their happiness and their very existence.
In January, 1773, Patrick Henry threw ridicule and con-
1773. tempt on the clergy of Virginia for their opposition to emancipation.
In that same year, George Mason, demanding improvements in the constitution of the Old Dominion, addressed to its legislature these memorable words:
Mean and sordid, but extremely short-sighted and fooli